What "hotels" on the deck of "Admiral Kuznetsov" are waiting for "moderate" and igilovskikh militants in Syria?
While the global network and mass media are “boiling” over the first long-range march of the full-fledged AUG of the Russian Navy to the shores of Syria with the aim of conducting a combat operation against ISIS, as well as covering our military contingent and the Syrian armed forces from possible attacks of the OVSA of the western coalition, new intriguing details about advanced strike weapons deployed on the basis of the 279-th separate naval fighter air regiment, which is deployed on board the TAVKR "Admiral Kuznetsov." It is already known that the multipurpose MiG-29K / KUB with a rich nomenclature of missile-bomb armament will form the strike base of the deck wing, and several advanced Su-33 equipped with high-precision SVP-24-33 “Gefest” will have air cover and additional work on ground targets. At the same time, the composition of the Ka-52K Katran armament attack helicopters has not been revealed until recently.
But 26 October 2016, the Internet version of the well-known daily newspaper Izvestia, revealed some details regarding the missile complex of the promising Katran helicopter. It is reported that the pilots of the machines will receive the Hermes-A (Klevok-A) anti-tank missile system, the range of which was increased by the specialists of the Tula Instrument Engineering Bureau, for about a decade, and eventually reached 34 km (the maximum reach the most long-range modifications defined in 100 km). It would seem that the 34 km is only slightly larger than that of the American tactical missile JAGM (28 km) developed on the basis of the Hefire ATGM, but the advantage of our missile system is not limited to only one range. Of great importance here are the design and speed of flight, which are strikingly different from the 2-x missiles.
The maximum airspeed of the JAGM reaches 1530 km / h, the average (at approach and dive) is on the order of 950 — 1100 km / h), and the case diameter is 17,8, see. Modern radar systems of military air defense missiles can detect this missile at a distance more than 10 km, and the MRLS of type 30Н6Е / 92Н6Е is about 25-35 km. Its low airspeed gives the calculation of the air defense system a lot of time to detect, set the track, capture and intercept. Hermes has other characteristics.
The Hermes-A two-stage bicalyber rocket is structurally similar to the 9М335 / 57-6 anti-aircraft missile. The first (starting) stage is represented by a solid-propellant rocket engine, which accelerates the rocket up to the speed of 4680 km / h (note, 3 times faster than Hefire). During operation of the upper stage, the rocket gains altitude up to 28 km (the altitude range fluctuates depending on the distance to the target), then the stage separates and the combat stage continues the high-altitude flight with a decrease to the target. The compact swept combat stage, having a diameter of 130 mm and a mass of about 50 kg, has a low deceleration rate due to excellent aerodynamic and mass characteristics, so that at a range of 34 km the rocket speed remains within 1,5 — 2М. It is also difficult to intercept this combat stage, like the 152-mm high-explosive fragmentation projectile.
The stability of the flight of the combat stage is ensured by a decent elongation of the hull, as well as by large tail area stabilizers. The Hermes-A rocket also possesses high maneuverability due to the aerodynamic “duck” scheme, where cruciform aerodynamic rudders are placed in front of the aerodynamic focus of the rocket (in its nose section).
Hermes, like its anti-aircraft counterpart Pantsir-С1, has a high-performance multi-channel fire control system with at least 4 target channels (exact data were not disclosed). Like the American multi-purpose tactical missile JAGM, the rocket of the Hermes complex has increased noise immunity due to the use of most of the known guidance channels. For example, after climb, declination towards the target and separation, the march stage of the combat (2) stage begins, in which inertial guidance with radio correction is used, the combined optical-electronic homing head with infrared and semi-active laser guidance sensors is activated in the final flight segment . A missile on-board computer if the enemy uses opto-electronic countermeasure complexes against one of the guidance channels (for example, a semi-active laser), can select information received simultaneously from two GOS sensors, and after identifying a suppressed channel, it is (in our case, laser) eliminated and the guidance process is assigned exclusively to the thermal imaging channel. To counteract the systems currently possessed by ISIL militants, there is more than enough two-channel homing head for the Hermes-A missiles. But later, if the conflict breaks out to the apogee of military-political instability, and regular military units of the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US will be drawn into the game with wide-spectrum countermeasures to both laser and infrared homing heads, it will be necessary to modernize the Hermes complex.
First of all, it concerns the integration in the GOS of an active radar homing module operating in the millimeter wavelength range, which can provide a high-precision strike even for that radio-contrast ground target, which is “reflected” by all possible optical and thermal distortion methods - from infrared traps to an aerosol curtain and infrared spotlights.
During the conversation with Izvestia correspondents, Dmitry Kornev, editor-in-chief of the Militaryrussia resource, identified the Hermes-A complex’s two-stage rocket design as one of the few missile flaws, but one cannot fully agree with such a judgment. Yes, the two-stage bicalyber concept has always been more difficult from a technological point of view (calculation of the center of mass and aerodynamic focus), the mass of such missiles is usually more than one-piece products, but all the positive features are obvious. So, we have: a higher flight speed due to acceleration by a powerful 1-th stage; lower deceleration rate of the “thin” march (combat) stage, which ensures high-speed overcoming of the missile defense system of the enemy object being protected; smaller radar, infrared and optical signatures of a compact combat stage.
Target designation for Hermes-A will be carried out both from the Arbalet airborne radar and the stabilized optoelectronic sighting system GOES-451 Katran, as well as via the tactical information exchange channel with other ground, sea and airborne reconnaissance units. So, the coordinates of the target can be obtained from the ORTR Tu-214R aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, tactical aviation, warships and ground infantry units equipped with appropriate electronic equipment. The Syrian theater of operations has the most comprehensive list of external target designation tools. Target designation is transferred from the BIUS helicopter to the Hermes computer complex via the standard data bus MIL-STD-1553. One of the main elements of the complex is a 2-channel module of semi-active laser target designation, which illuminates for 2 Hermes missiles at once 25 ground targets within a radius of XNUMX km (depending on meteorological conditions this distance can be even less).
In later versions of Hermes, it became possible to immediately fire 12 targets using both laser and infrared guidance channels: the 2 laser channel plus 10 radio command correction channels for infrared sensors. It is reported that "Hermes" can destroy targets with EPR to 0,01 m 2, apparently, here we are talking about the future modification of the missile with ARGSN. In addition to the destruction of land and sea targets, the complex can also operate on air targets at a distance of up to 15 km, although the 100-kilometer range of the complex and ICGOS theoretically provides for long-range interception of the air enemy. For such use in the “air-to-air” mode, with the possibility of equipping the P-77 / RVV-SD missiles, the Ka-52K in the near future, instead of the “Crossbows” will receive promising radars with active PAR.
The standard Hermes-A tactical missiles of the aviation version will be delivered to the helicopter regiments in dual launchers (in 2 transport-launch containers) assembled in pairs, forming a four-starter module. Each Ka-52K can carry 8 URVZ, but thanks to the combat load in 2000 kg, after the launch modules are modified, helicopters will be able to take on board up to 16 missiles (the arsenal is really huge). In the skies of Syria, the Katrans will operate with 8 missiles of the Hermes-A complex.
Despite the fact that the Hermes was originally planned as an extended-range anti-tank complex, over the years of testing and modernization it has become an advanced multi-purpose tactical missile system both for destroying enemy armored vehicles and for suppressing strongholds and destroying enemy fortified areas at extraordinary distances. For this, the 2nd (combat) stage is equipped with a high-power high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing up to 28 kg, its declared equivalent armor penetration reaches 1 meter of steel armor plate. When attacking such a "blank" in the upper projection, no modern tank simply has a chance. Even if only one Hermes-A missile is used against a modern MBT with an active defense complex, and KAZ manages to intercept it, a “hail” of fragments of a heavy warhead at supersonic speed will definitely damage the optoelectronic sighting equipment tank, antennas of KAZ radar sensors, and possibly a power plant. This warhead is able to easily penetrate thick concrete floors of structures in which enemy armored vehicles can be located.
The transfer to the Syrian Tehran Katranov armed with Hermes will provide much better safety for the Ka-52K pilots than with the use of the 9-121 “Whirlwind” anti-tank complex. So, for the latter to confidently hit the target, it is necessary to approach enemy positions at a distance of 8-10 km, where the crew of the helicopter of the rotary-wing strike machine finds itself within range of military ZRSK, and can also be fired at by enemy anti-aircraft missiles that can be scattered within 4 - 7 km from the defended object. The Hermes complex can quite suddenly cover armored vehicles and fortified areas of the so-called “moderate” and igilovtsevs from over-the-horizon, by targeting external reconnaissance assets. The threat to the lives of pilots in this case is minimal.
The military baptism of the Hermes-A tactical missile system in Syria is planned not only for the purpose of developing regimes and analyzing the effectiveness of the advanced attack tools of the Russian Navy and Russian Space Forces against a fairly experienced enemy in the face of ISIL and other paramilitary forces, but also to demonstrate its capabilities to potential customers in Asia and in the Middle East, which in the near future will lead to an increase in the competitiveness of Hermes.
On one of the first places among such buyers today is Egypt. For the Air Force of this state, X-NUMX Ka-50 Alligator attack helicopters were acquired, with the help of which it is planned to counter the possible terrorist activities of ISIL and other organizations in the territory of their own state, as well as to carry out strike operations on the territory of North African states (for example, in Libya) where terrorist enclaves managed to raise their heads almost to the level of the armed forces of these countries. The Egyptian Navy is also preparing to execute a contract for the purchase of the Qatran Ka-52 for staffing the purchased Mistral-class French amphibious assault ships, after which the Egyptian fleet will be able to carry out long-distance hikes and participate in Arabian coalition military operations beneficial to it in Front Asia and the eastern shores of the African continent. For the Ka-52 and Ka-52K, the Hermes-A tactical / anti-tank missile system, due to the upgrading of the air defense system of the potential enemy, is of paramount importance to which the 52-kilometer Vortex cannot correspond.
Specialists and amateurs prefer to compare Hermes with another complex similar in some performance characteristics. According to Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, the Spike-NLOS (Tammuz) long-range anti-tank missile system, created by the Israeli company Rafael, is the only analogue of our Hermes-A worthy in terms of tactical and technical characteristics. An Israeli product has been created since the late 70s, taking into account the experience of using anti-tank weapons gained during the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War. And therefore, the Spike-NLOS rocket received a “long-playing” solid-propellant rocket engine, which allows it to strike enemy armored vehicles, bunkers and pillboxes at a distance of up to 25 kilometers or more. The combined two-channel high-resolution TV / IR homing head of this complex, as well as an interference-free telemetry radio channel, allow the operator in the control room at the MFI to clearly view the territory over which the Spike-NLOS trajectory passes, detect other targets, and, if possible, retarget to more priority. Thus, the Israeli complex is also a good reconnaissance combat dronecapable of conducting optical-electronic reconnaissance of the area.
Spike-NLOS has three controlled flight profiles: “low-altitude” (with a bend around the terrain), which is often used in dense clouds; medium altitude; and "optimal", which is the highest. The “optimal” mode is used for viewing large areas of the surface before approaching the battlefield, as well as for getting into the most vulnerable upper projection of the BBM. But despite all these qualities, the Israeli complex is significantly inferior to the Hermes-A in flight speed, which ranges from 475 to 700 km / h. To intercept such a goal with the help of modern air defense systems will not be difficult.
The uniqueness of the Hermes-A, the land and ship versions of which will also later appear on the armament of the Russian Army, does not cause us any doubt. After equipping a more powerful solid-fuel first stage, the range of a Russian tactical missile can be about 100 km: conceived as an ordinary long-range ATGM, the Hermes will become one of the most advanced and compact means of air attack beginning of the new century. The successes of the first military operations in the direct support of the Syrian government troops, carried out by our "Katranami" with the new complex on board to liberate the Syrian lands, we will observe in the coming weeks.
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