Russia's new mega-missile stuns the globe

The SS-N-30 obviously boasts a much greater range than its predecessors and can also strike targets on dry land. That makes it broadly similar to the American Tomahawk missile, which the U.S. military traditionally fires in large numbers from ships and submarines in order to wipe out enemy air defenses before conducting aerial bombing campaigns. The U.S. Navy fired Tomahawks to hit the most heavily defended ISIS targets at the beginning of the American-led air war over Syria in September 2014.

Very few countries posses Tomahawks or similar munitions—and only the United States and Great Britain have ever successfully used them in combat. Now Russia has joined that exclusive club of global military powers. And that should worry the Pentagon, Wertheim said: “It should be a wakeup call that we don’t have a monopoly on the capability.”

What’s particularly striking is that Moscow has been able to build this long-range naval strike capability with much smaller vessels than anyone thought possible. In the U.S. Navy, large destroyers, cruisers, and submarines carry Tomahawk cruise missiles—and those vessels are typically at least 500 feet long and displace as many as 9,000 tons of water.