A new Russian missile boat designed to attack aircraft carriers is ready for export and strong demand is expected from the Middle East and Asia, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported recently. The 470-ton Skorpion has stealth capability to reduce chances of radar detection and is armed with Kashtan 1 supersonic anti-ship missiles with a range of 300 km (180 miles) and an advanced guidance system, according to the report, which did not cite any sources.
The report said the boat's prime mission would be attacking aircraft carriers and other vessels equipped with aircraft. Aircraft carriers are operated mainly by Western navies, with the United States running the world's largest squadron of the vessels.
ITAR-Tass claimed the Skorpion could destroy an aircraft carrier and its escort ships _ a claim likely to be challenged since an aircraft carrier's planes could intercept the Skorpion long before it was within firing range. Russian officials said last year the vessel's stealth capability would help it to sneak up on a target.
Strapped for domestic orders, Russia's arms industry has focused on foreign sales, developing rugged and relatively inexpensive weapons that have claimed a growing niche on the world market