The 3M-54 Kalibr cruise missile can transport a nuclear or convention warhead up to 2,000 kilometres. However, it is believed Russia is looking to boost the range to over 4,500 kilometres. Kalibr missiles can be fired from either submarines or surface ships.
A military source told the state-linked Tass Russian News Agency: “The newest high-precision ship-based Kalibr-M cruise missile with a maximum firing range of more than 4,500km was being developed for the Russian Navy.”
The weapon upgrade should be complete by 2027, though some Kalibr-M missiles could be supplied to the Russian navy before this date.
Currently the upgrade is at the research stage, with funding provided by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
According to Tass, the new missile will be “designed to destroy land facilities and will be able to carry both conventional and nuclear warheads”.
The missile will also increase significantly in size, with the weight of the warhead approaching one ton.
Russia has deployed Kalibr cruise missiles against ISIS positions in Syria since intervening in the country’s civil war in 2015.
This was the first time the missile system was deployed in battle.
Separately, the Washington Free Beason reports Russia is preparing to send Kalibr missile armed ships into the western Atlantic Ocean, close to the US, in the next few months.
Such patrols occurred frequently during the Cold War, but died down following the collapse of the USSR.
In May last year the US Navy revived its Second Fleet to strengthen its North Atlantic seaboard defences against foreign threats.
Last October Admiral James Foggo III, commander of US naval forces in Europe, commented: “Russia is not 10 feet tall, but they do have capabilities that keep me concerned.
“There firing the Kalibr missile, a very capable missile.
“It has a range which, if launched from any of the seas around Europe, could range any one of the capitals of Europe.
“This is a concern to me, and it’s a concern to my NATO partners and friends.”