Model for aerodynamic testing of the far unobtrusive shock UAV XQ-222 "Valkyrie"
Undoubtedly, the most popular and high-speed strike weapons of the 21st century are hypersonic air attacks, adapted to launch from various types of carriers and capable of accomplishing the task at 9 — 12 times faster than standard subsonic tactical and strategic missiles of the JASSM-ER and Tomagawk families . This weapon includes both missiles and UAVs with ramjet engines, and operational-tactical ballistic missiles reaching speeds of 4,5 — 5,5М. Their main advantage is the assignment to the enemy of the minimum time to detect, set up the route and intercept using medium-range and long-range anti-aircraft missiles. For example, if the marching section of the 6 flywheel hypersonic LA trajectory passes at an altitude of 30 km above the positions of the C-300PM1 anti-aircraft missile battalion, immediately after this unit enters the 150-kilometer radius of the 48H6E anti-aircraft missile, the axis will have a distance from the distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of a distance of 15 mm. to intercept until the enemy's aircraft is out of the elevation radar of the illumination and 40Н50Е guidance (in the so-called “dead zone funnel” located in ≥30 °, outside the radar pattern of the backlight).
There will be even less time if the hypersonic air attack of the enemy has a small radar signature and is equipped with airborne electronic countermeasures. Thus, the capture range of an air object with an 0,05 m2 EPR, a defensive airborne REB complex, for the RPN 30Н6Е may be 50 — 70 km. If there is a massive use of such hypersonic SPN, then even several C-300PM1 divisions have almost no chance of fully reflecting this blow. But are present in hypersonic high-precision weapons and significant shortcomings. Considering that the flight portion of the flight of such aircraft usually takes place in the stratosphere (at altitudes of 20 — 40 km), they can be fairly easily detected using optical-electronic sighting systems installed on tactical fighters and optical / radio reconnaissance aircraft at distances of a couple of hundred and more kilometers. There are no limitations on the radio horizon for this type of targets either: the detection range depends solely on the energy potential of the ground SARO, the EPR of the target, and the availability of the EW equipment. The terrain does not help to hide the location of such an object.
Another thing is tactical missiles and drones carrying high-precision weapons, operating both at high and at very low altitudes, where it is possible to use any curvature of the terrain to conceal their presence in the air theater sector. In the Russian Aerospace Force, these weapons of the WTO include the low-profile strategic cruise missiles of the 3М14Т-Caliber family and even more long-range X-101 / 102, in the USA - the well-known RGM / UGM-109E “Tomahawk Block IV” and AGM-158B JASSM But while in this sector of high-precision weapons, the positions of the Russian and American defense industries are about the same level, in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles carrying guided bombs and missiles, overseas "colleagues" have taken the lead far ahead.
So, back in July, it became known that within the framework of the 52nd Parisian International Aviation and Space Salon Le Bourget-2017, the concept of a “non-returnable” promising long-range unmanned aerial vehicle with purely shock capabilities XQ-222 LCASD was presented to the public. Valkyrie ", the first prototype of which should take off in the spring of 2018, and reach operational combat readiness by the 20s. You shouldn't be surprised at such a rush, because the American private company Kratos Defense & Security Solutions is working on the project, which, unlike Lockheed Martin and Boeing loaded with orders for F-35A and F / A-18E / F, has the ability to focus all efforts on the design of the "Valkyrie". And the rush itself is not an accident and chronologically coincides with a slightly earlier (April) statement by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces Viktor Bondarev regarding the imminent achievement of the initial combat readiness of the S-500 Prometheus air defense / missile defense system. Consequently, the rushed development of the XQ-222 "Valkyrie" can be considered an asymmetric response from the United States. It remains only to find out how dangerous the new drone is aviation US Air Force complex for the naval, land and air component of the Russian air defense.
Initially, we note that the "Valkyrie" must be counted among the "early" long-range tactical aviation of the 6 generation. The design features of this unique machine indicate that the concept is not focused on the high combat load of the machine, but on the huge radius of action (approaching the indicators of the strategic bombers of the 4 and 5 generations), ultra-small radar and infrared signatures, and on decent maneuverability. The first thing that catches your eye while familiarizing yourself with the concept is the large “months-long” air intake of a highly economical non-corrosive turbofan, which is located on the upper surface of the fuselage, which is done to reduce the EPR of the drone during irradiation with ground-based radar equipment from the lower hemisphere.
We can also see a very original approach of the Kratos designers to the shape of the Valkyrie air intake in the longitudinal plane: the upper edge protrudes forward, its side sections have 30 — 40-degree slope to the root part, which contributes to the discharge and scattering of electromagnetic waves emitted by the onboard enemy fighter radars and airborne radar complex airborne enemy airborne early warning and control aircraft. The XQ-222 EPR also contributes to the reduction: the 90-degree camber of the all-turning tail rudder height-stabilizers and a specialized shield in the air intake channel that prevents the passage of X-ray radar waves to the blades of the jet engine compressor. The nozzle of the engine has a flat rectangular cross section with a small wedge-shaped spike: there is some similarity with the nozzle compartment of the out of service low-profile strategic cruise missile type AGM-129A (ACM), which was to become the main “nuclear asset” of the Global Shock Command of the US Air Force, using suspension systems strategic bomber-rocket carriers B-52H and B-1B. This design has the name "beaver tail" and does not apply to the details of the turbofan; it is a separate cooling circuit to reduce the temperature of the jet stream, which ultimately reduces the infrared visibility of the Valkyrie.
The strategic cruise missile AGM-129A (ACM) at one time was the most advanced type of precision weapons: its EPR did not exceed 0,01 - 0,02 м2, and the range reached 3700 km. Nozzle circuit "beaver tail" significantly reduced the infrared signature of the TFR
As for the flight-technical and operational-tactical parameters of the XQ-222, they are at a very good level, given that the machine is equipped with a driveless engine. In particular, the Valkyrie is able to accelerate to a speed of 1050 km / h at the maximum mode of operation of the turbofan engine and maintain a transonic speed for a long time. The swept wing with an angle of 30 ° has a span of 6,7 m with developed angular inrush at the root chord. This significantly increases the carrying qualities of the airframe, increasing the maneuverability of the combat drone at low altitudes and cost effectiveness - at high altitudes. Moreover, the probability of stalling when maneuvering at low subsonic speeds (300 — 400 km / h) is markedly reduced. The minimum height of ultra-low-altitude flight in the mode of following a flat terrain or water surface is only 15 m! At such a moment, only the C-300PS / PM1 and the CGP and the C-400 “Triumph” air defense systems are able to intercept the Valkyrie at a distance of 35 km (using the 48X6EX2 / 3 anti-aircraft missiles) and at a distance of 60 — 80 km (with the help of the ZNXXXX9 / 96) ZNXX / ZNXX / 2 ZNX / ZNXX / 50. In the latter case, an external target designation from A-222U aircraft or closer to the XQ-XNUMX trajectory ground observation and multifunctional radar will be required. At first glance, it may seem that sooner or later the Valkyrie will definitely fall into the “capture” of one of the anti-aircraft missile divisions, but not everything is so simple.
Here the large range of the Valkyrie, which is implemented thanks to the optimization of the airframe's internal volumes for the maximum size of the fuel tanks, comes to the fore (the most compact landing gear units and small internal weapon compartments are designed for this). According to representatives of Kratos, the range of an unmanned attack aviation complex can be 4350 km with a high altitude. It’s hard to believe in such numbers, considering that the drone has a fuselage length of 8,8 meters. The figure in 3500 km looks more believable. Consequently, the “high-low-high” mixed flight profile will reduce the combat radius to 3000 km. Such a large radius of action indicates that the XQ-222 has the ability to fly around the most dangerous air defense / missile defense position areas that form the air boundaries of the A2 / AD zones to exit to the dump area of guided high-precision weapons to the most priority targets in the rear of the enemy. In practice, it looks like this: in order for JASSM-ER missiles launched from the F-16C Block 52 + to reach the Volga region or the Western Urals, any deviation from the direct path is excluded due to the relatively short range in 1200 km; Observance of a direct trajectory is fraught with falling into the radii of action of ground-based anti-aircraft missile brigades.
“Valkyrie” with its 3000 kilometers of radius does not have such problems, and can use any part of the relief very flexibly for its own purposes. Even more freely, the “Valkyrie” will feel in the area of airspace that is not covered by air defense fighter aircraft (Su-30CM, Su-35С or MiG-31BM), or is covered up, but in an insufficient degree. The deficit of the 9М96Е2 SAM with an active RGSN also plays into the hands of the VKS of Russia if the Valkyrie appears on the European theater of military operations. Standard 48Н6Х2 / 3 missiles can only knock down the CC of the line of sight (radio horizon) of the on-load tap-changer 30НХNUMXЕ / 6НХNUMXЕ; “Valkyrie” can masterfully “bypass” this zone, and nothing good will come of it. 92H6 radar detectors or 64H6 low-altitude detectors will be able to be fixed by the Valkyrie due to an advanced irradiation warning system, whose sensors will be integrated into the onboard complex / defense system, which also functions as a passive electronic intelligence station. It is also reported that XQ-76 will receive compact infrared sensors and an optical-electronic sighting system (TV-channel of sight) for conducting optical-electronic reconnaissance over remote enemy territories that are outside the range of on-board side-view radars of strategic reconnaissance RQ-6A / B “Global Hawk” and E-222C “J-STARS”.
Next, consider the armament of the Valkyrie strike drone. No precise information on this matter was provided either by the developer "Kratos Defense & Securitu Solutions" or by the Western media. It is only known that its combat load is within 226 kg, and the internal weapons compartments are about 2 meters long. As you can see, the XQ-222 is not intended for delivering a large range of missile and bomb weapons to a remote battlefield and for long-term battles with enemy ground units. Its main goal is to suddenly overcome the densest anti-missile lines "A2 / AD" in the Western Military District of Russia and over the eastern part of China, carry out complex electronic reconnaissance, as well as deliver surgical precision strikes against the command-and-staff infrastructure, critical at that time, Radar stations in key air directions, automated control stations for mixed anti-aircraft missile brigades, etc.
Based on the apparent geometric dimensions of the internal weapons bay and payload, XQ-222 will be able to take on such types of missile-bomb "equipment" like the 2 high-precision controlled "narrow" bombs of the GBU-39 SDB ("Small Diameter Bomb") with planning range to 110 km when dropped from 12 — 15 km altitude, or 4 multi-purpose tactical missiles JAGM with a range from 16 to 28 km. The first ones can be used for high-altitude strikes against strategic targets of the enemy, covered by a short- and medium-range antimissile umbrella based on HQ-16A / B, Buk-M2 / 3 (to avoid falling into their range); the second, for the attack of short-range ground-based air defense systems (ZRSK Tor-M1 / 2, Artillery-С1) during low-altitude flight in the rounding mode of the terrain.
The JAGM tactical missile fits perfectly into the overall dimensions of the internal compartment of the XQ-222 "Valkyrie" armament: length 1800 mm, body diameter 178 mm and weight 48,9 kg. At the same time, it can be considered a fairly modern high-precision weapon with an advanced combined guidance system, which provides: the highest noise immunity from the classical ground-based means of setting REP, as well as all-weather use. The JAGM rocket is a conceptual and constructive analogue of the AGM-114L anti-tank guided missile, which received a Ka-band millimeter radar homing head for operation in high smoke and dust conditions, when it was set by the enemy in a smoke screen, as well as in difficult meteorological conditions. JAGM received an even more modern 3-channel combined GOS, which is represented by: active radar, semi-active laser and infrared homing channels. Semi-active laser and infrared sensors provide missile immunity in the event that an adversary makes radio-electronic interference in the 20 — 40 GHz frequency range. A two-fold increase in range (compared to the AGM-114K / L helicopter variants) was made possible by using solid propellant with a reduced burning rate in a single-chamber engine.
Another interesting quality of a tactical missile is the possibility of using it in the “let-forget” mode with obtaining targeting to the trajectory via satellite communication channels. Because of this, XQ-222 is capable of attacking a target out of direct visibility, for example, if it is located beyond a high hill or hill. In the event that the drone drilled into the depths of the airspace unnoticed, the sudden appearance of this missile can be expected anywhere on the rear zones in 2,5 — 3 thousand kilometers from the front line; and it’s not a fact that the impact drone with the 0,03 EPR-0,05 m2 EPR will be immediately detected and intercepted, because during a major regional conflict at the same European theater of operations most of the 4 and 5 generations will be involved in the task of achieving superiority in the air above the Raptors, the Super Hornets, the Lightnings and other promising tactical aircraft.
Dummy target-EPR simulator of various types of aircraft ADM-160C "MALD-J"
And do not forget that the Valkyries will act not as links from 4-x drones, but whole squadrons from 12 - 24 machines. They will be supported by both subtle tactical missiles JASSM-ER and UAV simulators / directors of REB ADM-160C "MALD-J". To calculate 24 "Valkyries" in such an air flock will be quite difficult. The only thing that can drastically correct the situation by the time of putting XQ-222 into service is the beginning of the modernization of existing 4 generation fighters of the PFAR / AFAR radar, capable of detecting new drones at significant distances in 100 - 120 km, as well as refining and adopting prospective combat EMI generators of the “Ranets-E” type capable of disabling the on-board radio-electronic equipment of the UAV at a distance of 14 - 20 km and significantly disrupt its operation at a distance of 40 - 50 km. However, this project was also “safely frozen”, while a sufficient number of 9X96X2 SAMs to work on complex over-the-horizon targets in the Aerospace Forces are not observed.
Meanwhile, it became aware of the economic side of the issue of mass production of promising low-profile Valkyrie drones. In particular, the price of one unit will be 2,5 - 3 million dollars (for the cost of one F-35A, you can create 30 or 40 similar drones). The extremely attractive price and the high estimated combat effectiveness is already causing serious interest in the car from the US Air Force and the US government. According to the statement of the head of the company “Kratos” Eric DeMarco, the US government, represented by unnamed representatives, has already shown interest in XQ-222, having considered the possibility of acquiring 100 units. And this is only a drop in the ocean in comparison with those orders that may follow later. When the execution and execution of the first contract follows, the operational and tactical situation in the European theater will drastically change not in our favor. So what can we oppose in accordance with the worn Gorbachev term “asymmetrical answer”? The answer is predictable: nothing but the strategic CD "Caliber" and X-101 / 102. The remarkable project of the Scat long-range drone UAV from RAC MiG was not destined to be embodied in a serial modification, actively entering the combat units of the Naval Aviation of the Navy or the Air Force of the Russian Federation. A single-engine 10-tonne drone 10 long and spanning 11,5 m designed according to the “flying wing” could deliver about 1500 - 2000 kilograms of deadly precision weapons to the enemy’s positions, leaving at least a chance to intercept in comparison with the weapons that the Valkyrie carries. Why?
The fact is that the tactical JAGM missiles and the “narrow bombs” of the GBU-39 SDB family, although they are highly intelligent means of air attack of the XXI century, have extremely low flying speed and maneuverability. So the GBU-39 “Small Diameter Bomb”, after being dropped from the internal point of the suspension, plans to reach the target at a speed of the order of 0,7 - 0,9М, while its EPR is of the order of 0,015 м2; it does not have the ability to perform anti-aircraft maneuvers, since it will quickly lose its "energy" and will not be able to reach its goal due to the lack of a power plant. Modern multi-purpose radars of the type 92H6Е can detect it at a distance of 80 - 100 km, since the discharge is often carried out from the stratosphere. The tactical JAGM missile has a similar EPR, while the speed in the upper stage reaches the 1,4M. Consequently, immediately after a start is detected (at the time of engine operation), it can be easily detected by a hot torch using an L-136 “McF” infrared station, which is mounted on the 9-34 “Gurza” air defense system. After that, it can be intercepted using XURUM 9M333. JAGM can even destroy Igla-S or Verba MANPADS, but only if the operator is well trained, or after receiving target designation to the tactical terminal tablet from the Ranzhir UBF.
The main “caliber” of our Skat was heavy X-2,5P X-31P heavy missile anti-radar missiles, X-31A anti-ship missiles, Uran X-31Y subsonic (as well as any other multipurpose missiles that fit the dimensions of the internal drone compartments) 4400 x 750 x 650 mm). The first two, despite their decent radar signature, are quite difficult to intercept with the help of various types of self-propelled air defense missile systems due to the high speed of flight and the ability to anti-aircraft maneuvering. For the Avenger ZRSK, the X-31P family is altogether outside the high-speed interception range. Unfortunately, the “Skat” UAV project, exactly like the concept of the high-frequency EMI generator “Ranets-E”, was shelved at the end of the 2000's.
Even in China, things are much more rosy. Firstly, not one aerospace exhibition was remembered by visitors for the appearance of advanced demonstrators of reconnaissance and attack unmanned aerial vehicles. The most notable of these are the Wing Loong and Wing Loong II drum machines. The flight lasts about a day with a ceiling of 5000 m. At the same time, there are 6 suspension units designed to accommodate shock weapons. The machine is capable of striking in a radius of 2000 - 3000 km. From reconnaissance vehicles, one can distinguish the high-altitude strategic drone of optical and radio-technical reconnaissance “Soar Dragon” (“Soaring Dragon”). This drone cannot be considered a full-fledged analogue of the American Global Hawk, because the range is only 3200 km versus 4450 km for the RQ-4A and 7050 km for naval option MQ-4C "Triton". At the same time, a practical ceiling of 18000 m provides exactly the same atmospheric conditions for conducting long-range optical reconnaissance as that of Global Hawke. In the front lower part of the fuselage you can see a similar radiolucent segment, behind which lies a powerful centimeter radar complex for mapping the terrain in the synthesized aperture mode and for classifying surface and ground targets. The functionality of the radar fully coincides with the American AN / ZPY-2.
At the same time, the specialists of the Chengdu and Guizhou companies had to alter the full-time design of the American Global Hawk glider by installing the advanced horizontal tail of the backward sweep, coupled with the wing. This is done to prevent stalling and preserve the normal bearing qualities of the drone with increasing angles of attack, since the center of gravity of the machine is significantly shifted to the tail section. This disadvantage is observed due to the installation of a heavier turbojet engine “Guizhou WP-13”, which is a modernized version of the old Russian P-13-300 (they equipped Su-15 and MiG-23 interceptors). Its mass is 1200 kg, at the same time as the Rolls-Royce AE4 used on the RQ / MQ-3007 has a mass of 719 kg. This is one of the visible answers.
Our colleagues from China also have one more interesting unmanned aerial vehicle, possessing reconnaissance and shock capabilities. We are talking about the X-NUMX-meter drone CH-T5,8 with a take-off weight of 1 kg, payload around 3000 - 750 kg and flight speed in 800 km / h. As you can see from the photos placed in May 850 of the year on various Chinese information resources, we have a promising attack ekranoplan drone (apparently, “one-time” / non-returnable) that can fly at super-low heights in 2017 - 1,5 m above the water surface and in 3 - 6 m - above the earth's surface. Under the radio transparent nose cone there is a multifunctional on-board radar / active RGSN, which forms a digital terrain map and detects surface, ground, and possibly air targets. The practical ceiling of the product is limited to 10 m, which is sufficiently head to conduct low-altitude raids on island positions or carrier strike groups of the US Navy. It can be noted that the airframe of the rocket ekranoplan-rocket is designed taking into account the stealth technology: the tail horizontal tail with the elevator has the 3000 - 120-degree camber, the front horizontal tail is small and stationary. Most of the constructive components of the airframe is made of composite materials.
Chinese “sliding” multipurpose long-range drone CH-T1
The distinctive feature of the CH-T1 drones is that they are capable of operating at heights up to 10 - 15 and numerous network-centric shock shelves of several dozen machines. Detecting them with ground-based radar equipment is much more difficult than detecting, for example, a “swarm” of heavy 2-fly-flying anti-ship missiles 3М45 “Granit” (the latter have a large ESR than the composite CH-T1, and the flight height above the water surface is not less than 5 m, while the Chinese missiles - 1 - 2 m). Chinese WIG drones are capable of applying the massive anti-ship strike tactics used by our P-800 "Granite: 24 - 32 CH-T1, forming 3 or 4 impact lines on 8 machines, are suitable at a height of 3 - 4 and ship percussion groups, one of the drones rises to the height of 300 - 500 m and scans the sea surface for the presence of enemy surface ships (scanning can also be carried out in the ARGSN passive mode of operation to reduce the likelihood of detection by shipborne radar stations).
In the latter case, the enemy will be dialed by the radiation of its own radar AN / SPY-1D (V) and the emitted radio channels of the tactical system Link-16. This drone will transmit accurate target designation of detected objects aboard "creeping" at the bottom of the slave UAV, after which their high-performance sighting and navigation systems quickly distribute targets. This stage will occur at a distance of 30 - 40 km from the targets. At a distance of 10 - 15 km, the cars will switch on the EW onboard systems and launch an attack on the CUG. About half of the CH-1T will be intercepted with the RIM-162 ESSM or RIM-116 Block 2 SAM missile, the rest successfully reached the enemy ships. The high-explosive fragmentation “equipment” weighing a tonne of 1 will “turn the inside out” of the “Arley Burke” and “Ticonderogh” add-on lines, as well as disable the entire Aegis radar architecture.
Naturally, the presence of the American carrier-based aircraft E-2D, which for 100 - 150 km will find a “swarm” of Chinese drones, can be contrasted with such an outcome, and on the radio link Link-16 will bring a dozen shipboard long-range missile systems RIM-1 to the 4 , but in addition to drones, an air theater would also have several hundred other aircraft, including tactical naval aviation, supersonic YJ-174 anti-ship missiles, etc. The use of these drones can be very successful. He is working on a similar project of a “non-returnable” strike UAV and the aforementioned company Kratos. The concept has the UTAP-18 "Mako" index and has long been undergoing flight tests. As the manufacturer claims, "Mako" should be used both in conjunction with "Valkyrie" and independently. Its aerodynamic design is more conservative: the 22-meter fuselage is lively-shaped with a swept wing, whose span reaches 6,13 m. The external placement of the turbojet engine in the outer under-fuselage engine nacelle makes the UTAP-3,2 outwardly outdated anti-ship missile, similar to P-X-100N-88N-22, resembling P-X-100N-100N-0NNXX in the outdated anti-ship rocket, similar to the P-X-22N-500. here is the speed of the American product hardly reaches 1120 km / h.
The range, on the contrary, reaches 2600 km, and the 15200 m practical ceiling. The drone has an equally advanced aiming-navigation system, like the VQyrie XQ-222, and must also receive a lot of optical and radio intelligence sensors that can be extracted from ground and airspace of the enemy a lot of important tactical information. While the Americans are preparing to launch their Valkyries and Mako into large-scale production, we can only hope that the ongoing delays in starting the mass production of Altius-M diesel UAVs will finally end, and the German aircraft diesel RED A03 / V12 will be found a worthy replacement for the domestic development. In addition, a turning point in the development of the Russian segment of unmanned military aircraft promises to provide the company Kronstadt and Sukhoi to the beginning of the 20-s.