The Caliber complex was developed by the Novator Design Bureau based on the operational-strategic cruise missile for the Granat KS-122 submarines and its Land Relief variant. Both complexes with subsonic cruise missiles had a range of about 3000 km and were equipped with a nuclear warhead. KR “Granat” were part of the armament of submarines of projects 971, 667AT, 945, 671РТМ. KR complex "Relief" only prepared for entry into service.
However, in the 1987 year, a perpetual agreement on the elimination of medium and short range missiles (INF) was signed between the USSR and the USA. This treaty included not only ballistic, but also ground-based cruise missiles. In pursuance of the agreement, the installation batch of Relief missiles was destroyed under the supervision of specialists from the United States, and no new ones were produced. And in 1989, between Gorbachev and Reagan, a “gentlemanly” (not written) agreement on the composition of weapons of the fleets of the USSR and the USA was reached. According to the agreement, the fleets should not have remained nuclear ammunition and their carriers, except for ballistic missile submarines (SLBMs). And the Granat cruise missiles from submarines were handed over to the storage bases. Nevertheless, the scientific and technical groundwork accumulated during the development of the KS-122 missiles was not in vain.
Back in the beginning of 80-s, in the Novator Design Bureau, work was carried out on the adaptation of a very successful strategic missile for various non-nuclear combat units. "Pomegranate" was launched from a submarine through a torpedo tube of standard caliber 533-mm. He did not require separate mines to launch and was placed on submarines along with the rest of the mine-torpedo ammunition. Therefore, on the basis of the "Grenade" it was decided to create an anti-ship missile "Turquoise" and a cruise missile for strikes against coastal targets with a non-nuclear Caliber missile. Both missiles were included in the new complex under the indices 3М-54 and 3М-14. And the complex itself was called "Caliber". Later, anti-submarine torpedoes 91Р and 91РТ appeared in its composition, due to which it became truly universal in its objectives.
The new complex has also become universal in media. Cruise missiles can be equipped with submarines (Caliber-PL complex, Club-S export designation), surface ships (Caliber-NK complex, Club-N export designation) and aviation (complex "Caliber-A", export designation "Club-A").
Like the “Pomegranate”, the “Caliber” also received its land variants. There is a coastal anti-ship complex “Kalibr-M” (export name “Club-M”) and a complex located in standard sea containers “Kalibr-K” (“Club-K”). Fully resurrecting the “Relief” cruise missiles does not allow the INF Treaty. However, the new Iskander-M operational tactical complex, along with the 9М723 ballistic missiles, also includes the new R-500 cruise missile with a range of less than 500 km. It does not fall under the prohibition of the INF Treaty. And although the Iskander-M uses a mobile launcher, which is similar to the anti-ship Caliber-M, the range for land cruise missiles has to be artificially limited.
Actually, therefore, we have to use ships and submarines to deploy tactical missiles. The Caliber 3М-14 missiles (and their various modifications) are designed to destroy objects on land. They have fully autonomous control. The flight path correction can be carried out either by satellite navigation (GLONASS) data, or by the terrain relief, which is verified with a three-dimensional map embedded in the onboard control system. The flight takes place at extremely low altitudes (with a rounding of the terrain) along a previously laid route. The route itself can be laid along a complex trajectory, with a detour of strong air defense zones. Flight range - over 2500 km. This means that from the Caspian Sea they can hit targets throughout the Transcaucasian republics, Turkey or Afghanistan, in most parts of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Romania.
Thus, even completely not large ships of the 21631 project, which carry 8 missiles of the Caliber complex each, are a very significant part of the defense potential.