Some Hero Strapped a Camera to a Low-Flying Missile

And the results are blisteringly fast.

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A new video could be the first ever to show a low-flying missile from the perspective of the missile itself. The video shows a Roketsan Atmaca, Turkey’s first locally produced anti-ship missile, as it skims over the wavetops to hit a simulated ship-sized target.

For decades, navies have armed themselves with so-called “sea skimmer” anti-ship missiles. Thanks to the curvature of the Earth, the lower an object flies the longer it can stay off enemy radar systems. “Sea skimmers” typically fly thirty feet or less over the wavetops, the lower the better, to prevent the enemy from detecting, tracking, and shooting them down until the last possible minute.

A missile flying at 30 feet above the surface of water can be detected by a radar 45 feet above the ground at just 18 miles. That gives enemy defenses just under two minutes to shoot down a missile moving even at high subsonic speeds.

All of this sounds exciting but few have actually seen a sea skimmer in action—let alone seen a missile's eye view of such a flight. This new video, produced by Turkish defense contractor Roketsan, was taken with a camera nestled into a prototype Atmaca anti-ship missile. Atmaca is similar to the American Harpoon II or Russian Kh-35 anti-ship missiles. Like its American and Russian counterparts, Atmaca blasts out from a storage canister using a rocket motor, which propels the missile to a suitable height and speed. The rocket motor then falls away and a turbojet engine kicks in for the duration of the flight. A radar altimeter allows the missile to fly just above wave level.

USS Coronado (LCS 4) Launches Harpoon Missile During RIMPAC
A U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missile launched from USS Coronado, 2016.
U.S. Navy photo by Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Andrew Pilato

, Atmaca’s development began in 2009. The missile is an all-weather weapon, “effective against fixed and moving targets,” is resistant to anti-missile countermeasures,” and includes “target update, re-attack, and task cancelation capabilities, and advanced routing system (3D routing).”

The ability to strike fixed targets strongly hints that Atmaca has a land attack role in addition to the primary anti-ship role. The missile allegedly has a range of 155 miles, although the video quotes a 124 mile range.

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