In the last days of March, the capital of Armenia hosted the participants and guests of the international military-technical exhibition ArmHiTec-2018. A significant part of the area of this event was occupied by Russian defense enterprises. Together with other representatives of Russia, NPK Tehmash participated in the exhibition. This organization showed layouts and promotional materials for several existing projects, and its leadership revealed plans for the near future.
On March 30, during the conversation with journalists, Alexander Kochkin, Deputy Director General of the concern, spoke about existing plans for the development of armaments. In parallel with the work in already developed areas it is proposed to implement new ideas. With their help, it is planned to create a promising multiple rocket launcher system with unusual capabilities, weapons for future assault unmanned aerial vehicles and weapon based on the electromagnetic pulse and the original means of intelligence.
A. Kochkin outlined one of the tasks of Tehmash for the near future. Concern plans to create a completely new MLRS of unusual appearance. The project is supposed to use certain elements of robotization. In addition, the finished system will have special tasks: with its help it will be possible to deal not only with ground targets, but also with air targets. Such a universal complex will be able to complement the existing means of air defense of small radius.
A new model of weapons is still at the stage of elaboration of the appearance, and work is being carried out on an initiative basis. According to A. Kochkin, NPK Tekhmash hopes to be interested in such a proposal by the Russian Ministry of Defense, as a result of which a full-fledged technical task for the project may appear. The MLRS of a new type, according to the concern, may be of interest to the airborne troops, marines and special forces. Their units, forced to work in isolation from the main forces, need light means of fire support, and the new salvo system may be suitable for solving such problems.
In the proposed form, the promising multi-purpose MLRS receives a rocket caliber 50-80 mm and a number of other completely new tools. Within the framework of the new project, it is proposed to create a special fire control and guidance system that meets the existing requirements. Automatic recharge will be applied. Due to sophisticated controls, the complex will be able to fire at targets at any time of the day, in any weather conditions and regardless of the existing jamming environment. Interestingly, the proposed project provides for the compatibility of the launcher with existing unguided rockets of specified calibers.
It is assumed that the universality of the new salvo fire system will allow to solve a variety of combat missions. First of all, small-caliber missiles will be used for delivering massive strikes against ground targets. The second way to use them is to shoot at aerial targets. A. Kochkin indicated that such missiles will be able to hit air targets at distances from 1,5 to 2 km. Reach height - no more than 1 km. Targets for the new missiles will be helicopters and drones of the enemy.
At the moment, the research and production concern "Tehmash" is actively developing the idea of a multipurpose MLRS with the functions of an anti-aircraft missile system. The project still has no name and is not yet supported by the military. However, the developer hopes that his ideas in the near future will interest a potential customer in the person of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Another new area being developed by Tehmash Research and Production Company is close to the field of unmanned aerial vehicles. At present, the Russian defense industry is working on new shock drums of the middle and heavy class, and the ammunition manufacturer takes this into account. Work has already been launched on the creation of specialized weapons intended for use with drones.
Unfortunately, A. Kochkin did not disclose the details of work in this direction. He only mentioned that “Engineering Technologies” are working to create a combat load for shock drone vehicles. In addition, according to him, certain samples already exist. What kind of products are created, how far the work has progressed, and when real results in the form of the supply and use of such weapons should be expected - it was not specified.
The deputy general director of Tehmash recalled that in the past, domestic enterprises had already tried to create new ammunition that hit enemy equipment and equipment with a powerful electromagnetic pulse. In particular, this topic was engaged in the NGO “Splav”. Then the Russian Ministry of Defense did not wish to continue the development of this area, and there are still no orders for the creation of such weapons.
The reason is simple: the military is satisfied with the work of existing and promising ground-based and air-based electronic warfare agents, as a result of which special ammunition is not considered necessary. According to A. Kochkin, this is reflected in the new State Armaments Program. This document does not provide for the creation of electromagnetic weapons in the foreseeable future.
However, Tekhmash does not plan to abandon this promising direction and continues to work on its own initiative. The reserve for new ammunition has already been created and is being implemented in one form or another. It is assumed to create a special warhead, when triggered, generating a powerful electromagnetic pulse. Due to the high power, the latter will, at a minimum, disrupt the operation of the enemy’s electronic and other systems. In some cases it will be possible to disable the equipment.
Warheads of the new type, which have an unusual principle of operation, can be used with various delivery vehicles. A. Kochkin indicated that such charges could be used on unguided rockets for MLRS, in shells of cannon artillery and as aviation means of destruction. At the same time, apparently, so far we are talking only about a preliminary study of the issue without creating an ammunition suitable for use in practice.
The plans of SPC "Tehmash" there is another type of special ammunition designed to solve special problems. It is proposed to create an optical reconnaissance system in the form factor of a weapon of one kind or another. As is the case with some other promising concepts, the proposal for optical reconnaissance ammunition is still at the preliminary development stage. The military department did not order the creation of a complete product of this kind.
* * *
Now enterprises from the structure of the Scientific-Production Corporation "Engineering Technologies" produce a wide variety of ammunition for various weapons systems used in all branches of the military. In this case, while we are talking about shells, rockets and shots of well-known models, using well-studied and mastered principles. Meanwhile, scientists and designers propose to create fundamentally new models of weapons and weapons of destruction, built on the original principles. If at least a part of the existing Tekhmash proposals is approved by the Ministry of Defense and accepted for implementation, in the future the army will be able to receive the most interesting weapons.
At the moment, the most interesting both from a technical and practical point of view is the proposal to create a light multipurpose multiple launch rocket system capable of destroying targets on the ground and in the air. As the head of NPK Tekhmash rightly noted, some branches of the military are forced to work in isolation from the main forces, and therefore they need special weapons. Unlike the mass of existing systems, which are in service with the Airborne Forces, marines, etc., the universal MLRS can improve the combat capability of the unit without the need to use separate combat vehicles.
As follows from the published data, while the nameless project may involve the use of existing aviation small-caliber unguided rockets C-5 or C-8, which are planned to be supplemented with new means of guidance and control. They can be launched from a light land installation, directing it to ground or air targets. “Landing” an aviation missile will provide some advantages of a production and operational nature, while at the same time allowing you to maintain the desired fighting qualities.
However, known problems are possible. The versatility of the salvo fire system will lead to a significant complication of its ground components, first of all, of the controls. On one combat vehicle, it will be necessary to use equipment for aiming weapons at ground targets, as well as instruments for searching, tracking and attacking air guns.
Finally, a universal MLRS may not be superfluous for some types of troops. So, it is proposed to use it in the airborne troops, in need of both shock weapons and air defense. However, at present, in the interests of the Airborne Forces, a specialized anti-aircraft complex with the code "Poultry Man" is being developed, which meets the special requirements of these troops. In the presence of ready-made machines of this kind, there is no need for a multipurpose MLRS.
The situation is interesting in the field of weapons using an electromagnetic pulse. A few years ago it became known that the Russian defense industry was working on similar projects, but their real results, as far as is known, have not yet reached the troops. A few days ago, the deputy general director of NPK Tekhmash clarified why this happened.
In this context, it is worth remembering news previous years. So, in the fall of 2014, reports appeared in the national press about a project called “Alabuga”, the purpose of which, it was claimed, was the creation of electromagnetic weapons. An unnamed industry representative claimed that the goal of this project was to create a special rocket carrying a powerful high-frequency radiation generator.
It was argued that the rocket would use such a “warhead” at a given point at a height of no more than 300 m from the ground. At the same time, it could "hit" enemy targets within 3,5 km. The impulse was supposed to suppress communication channels and radar, as well as disable various radio-electronic systems. According to media reports, by the middle of 2014, the Alabuga product had passed some tests.
In September last year, the concern "Radioelectronic Technologies" revealed some information about the program "Alabuga". It turned out that a project with such a name existed at the beginning of this decade, and its goal was to develop promising ways and means of electronic warfare. At the same time, it was clarified that electromagnetic weapons are indeed being developed, but the details of such projects are not to be disclosed.
Now about their plans in the promising area said SPC "Tehmash". As it turned out, the concern’s enterprises had already tried to create such weapons, but the customer, represented by the Ministry of Defense, was not interested in them. The command considered that the army could solve the existing tasks with the help of other means.
A. Kochkin also spoke about the development of aviation weapons of destruction for prospective drone drone drone. At present, Russian enterprises are creating several such UAVs at once, but they are still far from being exploited by the troops. Details of the weapons for them were not given, but you can make some assumptions. Obviously, weapons for UAVs will resemble existing types of weapons used by manned aircraft. At the same time, it will differ in size and weight, corresponding to the capabilities of its carriers. Also, you may need some innovations related to the specifics of the on-board systems of the equipment of UAVs.
The development of weapons of different types of troops should not stop, and sooner or later the army will have to master fundamentally new systems. Ways of such a modernization of the material part should be worked out in advance and with a great foundation for the future. This is what the Engineering Technologies Research and Production Concern is doing now. Perhaps not all of the proposed ideas and concepts will be implemented, but their theoretical and practical study will make a significant contribution to the renewal of the army and the strengthening of defense capability.
On the materials of the sites: