Multipurpose portable missile system "Xu Jiang" (China)
It is reported that a promising multipurpose portable missile system was created by the organization of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) on its own initiative, without any order from the armed forces of China or other countries. The goal of the Xiu Jiang project, also referred to as the Hidden Blade, was to create a promising portable missile system suitable for combating various targets. Declared the possibility of destruction of fixed ground objects, cars or lightly armored vehicles. In addition, there is the possibility of attack and defeat low-flying aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles. The possibility of using a new missile as a weapon for unmanned aerial vehicles is not excluded.
The new missile system is proposed for infantry weapons or special units that require light and powerful weapons that can hit a wide range of targets. All elements of the complex must be transported by the forces of calculation, which imposes special requirements on dimensions and mass. Also required to reduce the time required to transfer the system to the combat position. Requirements for combat qualities and dimensions of the product led to the formation of the original appearance of the complex.
The Hidden Blade system is divided into two main components: the launcher and the rocket. The project involves the use of a reusable light launcher, which includes all the necessary devices to search for targets, preliminary missile guidance and launch. The rocket, in turn, is a guided munition with characteristics sufficient to perform the assigned tasks.
It is proposed to launch a rocket using an easy launcher designed specifically for it. In order to maximize the weight of the structure, the starting device is made of plastic and has a fairly simple design. An important feature of the launcher is the possibility of its repeated use. To carry out a new attack, the calculation of the complex should be placed inside the launch "pipe" of a new rocket and perform a number of other procedures. This architecture of the missile system allows reducing the total mass of the entire system and ammunition carried by the fighters.
The main element of the launcher is a tubular guide for the rocket. Like other units of the installation, it is made of plastic. The length of the pipe is about 700-800 mm, the internal diameter is 60 mm. In front of the pipe provides a large influx, through which it connects with other devices launcher. A large unit is installed on the mountings, which holds all the necessary parts and assemblies. On the large front of this unit, a U-shaped design with two vertical handles is provided to control the weapon. In the rear there are attachments for the sight and shoulder rest, improving the ergonomics of the weapon.
Missile launch control is carried out using a trigger mounted on the rear of the vertical handle. Above it has a large button, which, apparently, is responsible for the exclusion of unauthorized start. The second handle of the front block of the launcher is designed to more easily hold the weapon. The type of trigger and launch control system was not specified. Probably, we are talking about electrical devices that command the main devices of the rocket.
On the left surface of the launcher has a bracket to install the sight. With the help of the latter, the operator of the complex must find the target and produce the initial guidance of the rocket. The specific type of sight is not indicated, however, to solve the tasks assigned, an optical system with parameters that allow searching for targets in the entire range of firing ranges can be used.
The main element of the Xiu Jiang complex, which is directly responsible for hitting the target, is the eponymous guided missile, characterized by its small size and weight. The total length of the ammunition is only 690 mm, caliber - 60 mm. Rocket weight in combat status - 4 kg. Despite the small size, the rocket proposed by the Chinese specialists should have a sufficiently high efficiency in dealing with various targets.
The rocket of the Xu Jiang complex received a cylindrical body with a diameter of 40 mm, equipped with an ogival head with a straight front cut. In the tail part of the body there is a small area of reduced diameter, which is connected to the main unit using a conical “adapter”. This form of the tail section of the hull is associated with the need to install a feather that increases the flight data of the rocket.
The product received two sets of planes. In the central part there are steering wheels made in the form of rectangular plates. The handlebars are hinged, on thin racks. Due to this design in the transport position, the rudders are placed in the corresponding slots of the body. After exiting the launcher, they unfold by turning back, forming an X-shaped system. In the narrowed tail part of the body are fasteners for the four planes of the stabilizer. They have a trapezoidal shape and are mounted on spring-loaded hinges. In the transport position, the stabilizer planes are stacked on the body, which has led to the need to reduce its cross section.
The characteristic appearance of the rocket, presented at the recent exhibition Airshow China 2016, allows you to build some assumptions about the new product. Thus, the central compartment of the hull, in contrast to other units, received a color, which can be used as a marking type of ammunition. Known information about the project "Hidden Blade" also provide an opportunity to determine the possible layout of the rocket. The head compartment should be given under the guidance equipment, behind which the warhead is placed. The central part of the body obviously accommodates the steering cars, while the entire tail volume is given for the placement of the engine.
A relatively simple and cheap photoelectric homing head was developed to target a missile at a target. In the front section of the head fairing there is a transparent window through which the light must come to the sensitive element of the guidance system. According to reports, the used homing head before launching should “memorize” the chosen target, distinguishing it against the background of other objects and the surrounding terrain. Further, processing the information arriving through photo cells, automatic equipment should issue commands to the steering cars and take the rocket to the target.
Similar principles of missile targeting have several advantages over other homing heads. In particular, the rocket cannot be reduced from the correct trajectory using electronic warfare or some other counteraction systems. At the same time, the photoelectric method of tracking a target has significant drawbacks in the form of the difficulty of maintaining tracking in various conditions. Thus, the complex terrain with a large number of contrasting objects can "confuse" the homing head, because of which the rocket will not be able to continue correct targeting to the target, disrupting the attack.
The type of warhead of the Xu Jiang missile has not yet been specified by the development organization, which is why one can only speculate on this point. The range of combat missions defined by the Chinese specialists, as well as the types of targets to be hit, suggests the use of a high-explosive or similar warhead. At the same time, the total mass of the product does not allow one to rely on a large explosive charge capable of destroying well-protected targets.
The tail section of the hull accommodates a solid-fuel engine, which provides for acceleration of the product to the required speeds and a flight to a specified range. For the initial acceleration and withdrawal of the rocket from the launcher guide, and then for the controlled flight to the target, the same engine is used, performing the functions of both the launch and the cruise.
It is argued that with the help of the existing power plant, the Hidden Blade rocket will be able to hit targets at ranges of at least 150 m. When firing at ground targets, the maximum range is determined at the level of 3 km. By air - 2 km. The use of a missile system as a weapon for a UAV can significantly improve the firing range. Due to launching from a certain height and, consequently, more efficient use of solid fuel energy, it is possible to hit targets at distances up to 5 km from the launch point.
In the basic configuration, involving the use of the launcher and missiles, the "Xu Jian" complex can become a weapon for infantry units, as well as special operations forces. Representatives of the company CASC argue that such weapons can be a good "surprise" for an opponent who does not expect a serious response. Thanks to such weapons, any small unit can strike either on manpower or unarmored vehicles, or on armored vehicles or low-altitude aircraft. Small size and weight of the complex will facilitate its transportation and thus have some impact on the overall efficiency of the application.
Rocket close up. Photo Fyjs.cn
It is alleged that in the near future a new modification of the Hidden Blade, designed to arm unmanned aerial vehicles, may appear. Apparently, the main difference between such a weapon will be a different layout of the launcher, devoid of sights and other units necessary for the use of the complex by a person. The development of such a complex will increase the number of shock drones due to the corresponding modernization of light and medium class equipment. Rockets weighing 4 kg each can be light, but quite effective weapons.
It is reported that the project Xiu Jiang already out of the early stages and came close to the beginning of mass production. Back at the beginning of 2016, experts from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation conducted tests of the missile complex, which showed its capabilities. By now, the checks and fine-tuning of the system have been completed. The industry is ready to begin mass production of missiles and launchers for them at any time. To start production, only a supply contract is required: when it appears, production will start as soon as possible.
Further prospects of the original multifunctional missile system are still in question. The project "Xu Jiang" was created by CASC corporation on its own initiative and without order of the military, which can have a noticeable effect on its future fate. The absence of an order underlying the project indicates that the Chinese armed forces are not showing interest in such weapons systems. If the People’s Liberation Army of China considered light missile systems to be necessary, the industry would have received an order to create them. Thus, the army, apparently, does not intend to purchase serial samples, which seriously worsens the possible future of the project.
However, the Xiu Jiang / Hidden Blade complex may be of interest to foreign armies. The stated capabilities of this system make it possible to consider it an effective means of increasing the firepower of infantry and other units, which should attract the attention of potential customers. Guided missile "Xu Jiang" can be a good replacement for existing rocket launchers and disposable anti-tank grenades. With similar ease of use, a complex with a guided missile can be a much more effective means of combating various targets. Even with certain limitations on performance, a rocket with a photoelectric guidance system should have significant advantages over common samples of unguided weapons.
The Xi Jiang multipurpose portable missile system was first demonstrated to specialists and potential customers just a few days ago. Because of this, potential buyers of such weapons, being the “target audience” of the first show, could not yet decide their opinion about the new Chinese design. Having received all the necessary information, the armies of foreign countries will be able to evaluate the complex and draw conclusions about its necessity. After that, the first orders for the supply of weapons may appear, but so far no information has been received on negotiations on a possible contract. Perhaps the first export contracts will be known in the next few months.
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