Fire tests of the Indian anti-aircraft missile system "Akash". Immediately after descending from an inclined ZUR launcher for 4,5, it accelerates to 1800 km / h thanks to a powerful launch solid-fuel charge, then, after turning on a sustained rocket-propulsion engine (RPD), Akash anti-aircraft missile picks up speed in 3600 km / h Massive flows on the tips of the tail-on stabilizers of the SAM (in the photo) - receiving antennas of the radio correction channel and radiating antennas of the transponder
Against the background of an increasingly aggravated situation in relations between Beijing and Washington, Tokyo, Taipei and Seoul due to a territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Archipelago, as well as plans to deploy the batteries of the missile complex THAAD in RK, Vietnam "under the guise" reflects on the advisability of purchasing its main anti-China partner, India, of a certain number of divisions of the Akash air defense system. “Wonderful” way, release date news (January 11 2017), referring to the Minister of Defense of India Manohar Parrikar, approximately coincided with information on the arrival of the super-maneuverable multipurpose fighter jets of the 4 ++ generation Su-35С to the front units of the Chinese Air Force. Apparently, Hanoi is pushing for such reflections by the fact that in December 2016 of the year, Beijing declared its intention to use Su-35С in the tasks of patrolling the airspace over the disputed island archipelago Spratly in the South China Sea. But what guides the defense department of Vietnam, choosing exactly the “Akash” air defense system, is not entirely clear.
EXISTING AIR CAPACITY OF VIETNAM ALLOWS TO RESIST IN A SHORT-TERM MILITARY CONFLICT
The current state of Vietnam's air defense and missile defense is at a fairly high level. The air defense divisions that are part of the Vietnam Air Force are armed with both old and time-tested systems, and very advanced air defense systems of short / medium / long range of the latest generations. Their basis is 2 S-300PMU-2 Favorit anti-aircraft missile battalions, as well as 6 Buk-M2E divisions, which are designed to cover strategically important objects of the country from Chinese air defense missiles, ballistic missiles, as well as from missile and bomb attacks tactical aviation. The Three Hundreds, which are part of the 361st and 367th Air Defense Divisions, cover industrial and military infrastructure in the provinces nearby with Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Under their anti-ballistic "umbrella" are batteries of coastal artillery, as well as coastal anti-ship systems "Bastion-S". The latter play a huge role in containing Chinese fleet in case of escalation of a local military conflict over the ownership of the Spratly Islands or Paracel Islands. Also, the S-300PMU-2 “Favorite” division, deployed near Hanoi, provides a no-fly zone over most of the Gulf of Tonkin, thereby complicating the possible actions of Chinese attack fighters deployed at two air bases in the Hainan island province. Due to its proximity to the border with the PRC, the 361st Air Defense Division in Hanoi also received from one to three Buk-M2E air defense divisions, as well as a certain amount of Armor-C1 for covering the Bukov’s “dead zones” and “Favorites”.
Replacement of transport-launch containers with 48H6-2 SAMs on 5P85CE launchers of Vietnamese C-300PMU-2. TPKs are stored in specialized packages 5P32 and 5P32F
The rest of the Buk-М2E air defense missile system and the Pantsir-С1 air defense missile system are distributed between the 375 and 377 air defense divisions. And the latter is strategically important for Hanoi. It protects the sky over the Cam Ranh naval base and most of Khanh Hoa province. Today, this VmB is of great importance both for warships of the Russian Navy and for Il-78M tankers. According to the agreement, our fleet NKs may enter Cam Ranh in order to repair and replenish fuel reserves during long hikes from the Atlantic to the APR or from the APR to the Mediterranean. And thanks to the IL-78М air tankers deployed at the airfield attached to the base, it is possible to regularly patrol the Indo-Asian-Pacific region with strategic missile-carrying Tu-160. The year before last, the US Armed Forces command in the APR tried to persuade Hanoi to expel our air tankers from Cam Ranh, but received a hard rejection, because the modern Vietnamese air forces are built solely on Russian arms and spare parts for him, and such an excessive friendship with Washington does not promise anything for the country good
In recent years, the Vietnamese leadership has made a lot of efforts to build decent information support for the ground and air components of air defense missile defense. So, at the end of May 2016, according to the information resource defence-blog.com, the Ministry of Defense of Vietnam finally decided on a contract for the purchase of 2 airborne aircraft AWACS C295 AEW & C from the concern Airbus Defense & Space / Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). The vehicles are equipped with a powerful Israeli AFAR radar, developed by IAI / ELTA units. The detection range of fighter-type targets reaches 350-400 km. In the Vietnamese Air Force, C295 AEW & C will perform missions to detect Chinese aviation and WTO, as well as issue target designations for "Favorites" and Su-30MK2
However, amid growing tensions around the Spratlys, Hanoi went toward rapprochement with the United States and the entire “anti-Chinese axis.” So, back in October 2015 between Tokyo and Hanoi, an agreement was reached on the use of the Cambrunian VmB warships of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces at the time of the naval exercises and anti-piracy missions. It is not difficult to guess that the range of operations includes a confrontation with the Chinese Navy. And on October 4 2016, the Cam Ranh naval base had already received the DDG-56 USS "John S. McCain" URO destroyer, the official version of which is the strengthening of naval engagement with Washington.
THE CONTRACT ON "AKASHAM" CAN BE THE INDICATOR OF THE CHANGE OF FOREIGN POLICY VECTOR VIETNAM
It is well known that the Indian Admiralty and the Air Force provide great assistance to the crews of Vietnamese diesel-electric submarines, 636.1 Varshavyanka, as well as to the flight strength of the Su-30MX2 multi-purpose fighter jets in understanding the management skills of these high-tech units, which indicates that close technical support has been maintained, which indicates that close technical support is maintained between countries; but for what reasons did Hanoi get interested in Akash complexes?
The photo shows one of the night flights of the Su-30MK2 of the Vietnamese Air Force. In total, the 923rd, 927th and 935th fighter aviation regiments are armed with 24 machines of this type. These modifications of "Sushki" are equipped with a more advanced airborne radar with Cassegrain N001VE, capable of working against sea and ground targets, as well as an upgraded VTS with integrated software for the use of the R-77 URVV (RVV-AE). Together with C295AEW & C, the Su-30MK2 represent the air component of Vietnam's air defense
Their tactical and technical characteristics are far from bad for the 21st century, but they are not able to form such a reliable anti-missile “shield” that can be created by additional purchases of modern Russian air defense systems of the Buk-MXNUME type or C-2BM Antey-300. Designed by the Defense Research and Development Organization of India DRDO in the 2500 year, the Akash SAM began to enter service in the 2001 year. It is obvious that Akash is a deeply refined conceptual analog of the Russian Kub air defense system, in particular, in terms of the missile component. The Akash rocket, like our 2009М3, has a “pivoting wing” scheme with 9 aerodynamic steering wheels in front of the missile system, which are shifted closer to the rocket's aerodynamic focus; due to them, the rocket has the ability to maneuver with overloads from 4 to 20 units. On the tail stabilizers there are ailerons for rotating the missiles on roll. Despite the fact that the Indian rocket has a similar starting solid-fuel charge, as well as an integrated solid-fuel rocket engine with solid fuel, its maximum flight speed reaches 24 km / h, while 3600М3 only accelerates to 9 km / h. This allows her to intercept more high-speed targets in pursuit. The marginal overload of the intercepted targets, according to some information, can reach 2850-9 units, which is not a good indicator for the 21st century air defense system. The Akash Assault Range reaches 10 km, and the interception height is 27 km.
SAM "Akash"; visible red conical body intake pipes IRPDT
When reviewing the Akash anti-aircraft guided missile, it should be immediately noted that, like our Kub 3М9 SAM system, it is equipped with a cruise integrated rocket-ramjet engine (IRPDT) with an additional solid propellant rocket engine (TRT), represented by sodium nitrate and naphthalene mixed charge powdered magnesium, carbon and nitroglycerin; oxidant is atmospheric oxygen. Unlike a simple ramjet, where the central conical body of the diffuser is empty, at the IRPDT it usually contains the above-mentioned solid fuel block of the gas generator, whose burnout products are mixed in the ejector of the IRPDT with oxygen coming from the air intake device and create an even greater release of thermal energy in the afterburner. Since the “Akash” IRPDT of the Akash has an 4 small side air intake manifold, the TRT checker is located not in the conical bodies, but in the central part of the rocket body.
At the exit to the combustion chamber, the solid fuel block is equipped with an 12-channel distribution head with 12 small nozzles that evenly distribute the combustion products that enter it and mix with atmospheric oxygen. At the same time, the TRT checker provides for a multi-layer press technique of execution, due to which the intensity of its burning in the upper section of the trajectory is much higher than on the final one. In this type of rocket-ramjet engine (RPD), the starting and accelerating solid-fuel checker is integrated into the direct-flow air path of the engine (combustion chamber), which causes simplicity and reliability of the design. Protection of the case from the high-temperature extreme mode of operation of IRPDT provides 10-millimeter composite envelope based on phenol-formaldehyde resin, and in order to avoid deformation of the metal layer of the case when the thermal protection envelope is heated, a third layer of specialized elastic material is laid between them. In fact, the IRPDT is a simplified, reliable and forced version of a conventional ramjet. At this point, the similarity between the “Kub” and “Akash” SAM systems ends.
On the Indian anti-aircraft guided missile, in addition to the radio-fuse, a contact fuse can also be installed, which indicates a sufficiently high accuracy of semi-active radar guidance in the final part of the trajectory. If the firing channel in the “Kub” air defense missile system is provided by the obsolete centimeter parabolic guidance station 1С31, then the Akash complex uses a completely modern multifunctional “Rajendra” radar with a passive HEADLAMP. The PFAR canvas is represented by 4000 transceiver modules operating in the centimeter C-band and X-band (at 4-8 GHz and 8-12 GHz frequencies), the AN / MPQ-53 complex of the “Patriot PAC-2” complex in the similar bands and 92H6E of the C-400 complex. "Rajendra" has a sufficiently high resolution in the work on air targets, and in some cases even direct hits can be achieved.
In addition to the main PPAR, there are also: PAR of the channel for radio-correction of the rocket (consisting of 1000 MRP), operating in the J-band and PHAR of the state recognition of aerial objects, consisting of 16 MRP. The station is capable of tracking airborne targets on the 64 aisle and capturing for accurate auto tracking (with provision of illumination for Akash SAM) - 4 airborne targets. In the airspace scanning mode, the Rajendra antenna post rotates at a speed of 36 degrees / s. Air targets of the “4 ++ generation fighter” type (EPR = 1 m2) are detected at a distance of 67 km, such as an “anti-radar missile” (0,1 m2) - 37 km, which is a very good indicator. The elevation angle of view is from -5 to + 65 hail, which allows the Akash air defense system to operate successfully at higher elevations with low-altitude targets, but with a serious limitation, which raises the export attractiveness of the anti-aircraft missile system as a whole.
We are talking about the lower boundary of the affected area, which is 30 m. All air objects that are below cannot be intercepted by the complex. Against this background, modern Chinese tactical as well as strategic cruise missiles CJ-10A (DF-10) are capable of flying in the following-terrain mode at 25-30 m on the cruising trajectory and 20-25 - on the last TTX SAM "Akash" absolutely does not fit. Moreover, the complex has a significant limitation on the speed of the intercepted target, which is 2520 km / h. This suggests that Akash is very easy to destroy with Chinese high-speed PRLR of the CM-102 type, the speed of which at approach can reach 3500 km / h. DRDO specialists are trying in every way to raise the rating of their offspring, stating that according to the performance characteristics Akash is comparable to the American Patriot air defense system, but this is absolutely in vain, since other parameters do not speak in favor of the first one.
Multifunctional radar "Rajendra", having similar accuracy with the AN / MPQ-53 MRLS, loses the last one in the target channel exactly 2 times (4 simultaneously fired at targets against 8); The azure range of the Rajendra is also inferior to AN / MPQ-2 in 53 times, accounting for all 45 degrees (mechanical rotation saves the situation); in the elevation plane, the Indian radar sector of the survey is only 65 degrees which forms a huge funnel of the “dead zone” over the Akash air defense system, from where Akash can be attacked by absolutely any type of high-precision weapons. The range of the radar "Rajendra" is also approximately 2 times less than the "Patriot" radar: 80 vs. 145 km (for the purpose of the type "fighter" with EPR = 2 м2). As for the comparison of missiles, here the Indians have really overdone it and have made laugh the “public”. The Akash missile is inferior to MIM-104C in range by 6 times (27 versus 160 km), in speed almost 2 times (3600 km / h versus 6000 km / h) and in interception height approximately 2 times (15 versus 30 km ). One of the few advantages of the rocket is that the period of operation of the main engine covers most of its flight path, which allows it to maintain maneuverability even at maximum range, but this does not fundamentally change the situation.
From all of the above, we can conclude that the Indian Akash anti-aircraft missile systems are not able to give the air defense of Vietnam the necessary qualities to protect against the existing and promising means of air attack of the Chinese defense industry complex. They can only be used as additional air defense systems at the level of the more long-range C-300PMU-2 or Buk-M2E divisional kits. Why, then, does Vietnam spend tens of millions of dollars on an anti-aircraft missile system with such controversial characteristics?
There are several answers, but the most correct one is “laying the foundation” in further economic and military-technical relations with India against the background of foreign policy hedging in relation to other partners. Speaking in a simpler language, Hanoi focused on cooperation exclusively with its ideological allies on anti-Chinese issues, and, as you know, our state will not be included in this list under any pretext. The Vietnamese leadership clearly sees that it is unlikely to be able to sit on two chairs, and is looking for a spare armament supplier, which India is becoming today. As for purely military-technical issues, Delhi today cannot provide Hanoi with weapons capable of posing a weighty threat to the PRC, and the Akash air defense missile system is no exception.