MiG-35: a mountain of surprises for the enemy. Best in class!
In the second half of May 2018, an event of great significance for the further development of the tactical aircraft fleet of the Air and Space Forces of Russia took place: the United Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (UAC) has started the state acceptance tests of the 4 ++ MIG-35 multi-functional super-maneuverable tactical fighter. Factory tests focused on testing on-board RLC, opto-electronic sensors, weapons control systems, as well as three-channel EDSU with 4-multiple redundancy, were successfully completed in December 2017 of the year.
To challenge the importance of this event is almost impossible for several reasons. “The 9-67 product”, which is preparing for operational readiness in 2019, already in the first small batches will be able to partially compensate for the numerous technological shortcomings of such obsolete machines, such as the MiG-29 / SD / M2 / SMT, on the most significant air routes of the Western military District In particular, these machines, despite the presence of the multiplex data exchange bus MIL-STD-1553B in the radio-electronic "stuffing" for the integration of new elements of the pilot's information field, means of warning about radiation, as well as future adaptation to new types of rocket launcher bomb weapons, equipped with "ancient" pulse-Doppler airborne radar HNNUMXMP Zhuk-ME and HNNUMXMP Topaz.
These products are represented by slotted antenna arrays that are characterized by extremely low noise immunity, low throughput “on the pass” target tracking (10 simultaneously tracked targets), low target channel (4 and 2 simultaneously fired targets for Zhuk-ME and Topaz ” respectively), poor maintainability and low reliability due to the presence of a single transmitting and receiving paths, as well as weak energy parameters, providing the target detection range of the type “F / A -18E »order 100 km (with ESR within 2 sq. M). If we speak in a more understandable language, due to the presence of a single high-frequency transmitter, a radar with a slit antenna array has a short time between failures, and a lower range of work is observed due to the impossibility of installing such a massive transmitter whose power would be equivalent to the total power of all the MRP active phased array
As a rule, stations with slotted antenna arrays are distinguished by large restrictions on the minimum effective reflecting surface of the object to be detected (within 0,05 — 0,1 sq. M), because of which the prospective, inconspicuous enemy cruise missiles may not be obvious even at minimal distances. The only advantage that retains such radars in service in the second decade of the 21st century is the software capability for implementing the Synthetic Aperture Mode (SAR), although the resolution of the resulting radar image is 15 m, and therefore the possibility of identifying small ground targets of the “launcher OTBR "or surface type" patrol boat "is practically absent, can only be made on the classification of the apparently EPR marker of the object on the multifunctional indicator.
It is fitting to note here that tactical fighters of the F-15E “Strike Eagle” families, as well as the F-16C Block 52 / 52 +, being in service with the US Air Force, have for several years been slowly but surely going through a program to upgrade the weapon control complex new radar complexes with active phased arrays AN / APG-82 (V) 1 and AN / APG-83 SABR. The radar data not only fully outstripped the AN / APG-70 and F / AN AN / APG-89 (V) 9 old slot-hole radars of the Strike Needles AN / APG-011 and the Falcons radars, but also partially surpassed the Russian on-board radars radar stations with passive HEADLAMPS H035 “Bars” and even the most “far-sighted” H30 Irbis-E series radars in the world, because in AFARs, thanks to programmed power control and frequency characteristics of each receiving-transmitting module, there is the possibility of a sector “ reset "pattern in the direction of the director of electronic noise of the enemy. These qualities, which are absent in the Su-35CM and Su-35С, should appear in the promising "medium" fighter of the transitional generation MiG-XNUMX, the basis of which onboard electronic equipment is for the first time in stories A Russian military aircraft industry will be equipped with a radar with an active phased array “Zhuk-A” (in the FGA-35 version), represented by 960 receiving and transmitting modules of 8 watts.
This radar confidently detects air targets with EPR in 1 square. m at a distance of about 140 km, at the same time “ties trails” of 30 and captures 6 objects for accurate auto tracking of objects for interception by means of long-range air combat missiles with active semi-active / passive radar homing RVV-SD. The F-15E tactical fighter “Strike Eagle” with a mixed suspension configuration (EPR around 7 sq. M) can be detected at a distance of about 250 km. As the main advantage of “Zhuk-A” in the work on surface and ground targets, the resolution in the mode of the synthesized 0,5 m aperture is noted, as indicated by the information table provided by the developer (Phazotron-NIIR JSC) in addition to the full-size demonstrator. It is this radar that, if it is possible to identify surface targets, can be compared with onboard radar H036 “Belka”, installed on the 5 generation fighter Su-57.
An important detail of the delivery of the MiG-35 multi-role fighter jets to the Airspace Forces of Russia is their relatively low price, of the order of 45 — 50 million dollars (in 1,3 — 1,5 times less than in Su-35С). As a result, the Ministry of Defense of Russia expects to purchase about 170 of similar machines, which have significantly better interference immunity of a BRLK in air battles at medium and long distances in comparison with “Dryers”. The next point is more logical to consider the capabilities of the MiG-35 multi-role fighter in “passive work” on enemy surface, ground and air targets, which implies the full use of integrated optical-electronic complexes without the active mode of the Zhuk-A radar. This method of using the fighter’s weapons control system minimizes the likelihood of opening its own location by such enemy electronic reconnaissance tools as a multi-element radiation warning station with a distributed aperture AN / ALR-94 of the low-profile F-22A fighter, consisting of 30 high-sensitivity antenna modules capable of bearing the direction finding at a distance of 460 and more than km, the PTR complex 55000 AEELS (“Automatic Electronic Emitter Location Systems”) of strategic intelligence amolota RC-135W / V «Rivet Joint», or shipboard electronic intelligence station AN / SLQ-32 (V) 2, martial imparted information management system «Aegis» destroyers class "Arley Burke".
If you look, for example, at the early MiG demonstration aircraft (“No. 154”), developed on the basis of the experimental two-seater MiG-29М2 and MiG-29KUB as early as 2006, to attract the attention of high-ranking military officials of the Indian Defense Ministry (as part of the MMRCA tender) , then you can pay attention to the richest range of integrated optical-electronic means. In particular, the following equipment was observed on board: the OLS-UEM nasal optoelectronic complex (works in the infrared / television viewing channels and is capable of detecting targets at a distance of 45-50 km to the rear hemisphere and 20 km to the front hemisphere), similar to a dual-band optical-electronic OLS-K complex (it detects individual units of large armored vehicles at a distance of 20 km, small landing craft - 40 km, and frigate-class ships - 90-120 km, depending on the meteorological situation), located in a conformal container howling engine nacelles, as well as an Attack Missile Detection Station (SOAP).
The latter is represented by an infrared sensor of the lower hemisphere (HC-OAR) and upper hemisphere (BC-OAR), capable of detecting and tracking virtually any rocket (from anti-radar and anti-aircraft missiles at a distance of 50 km to an AMRAAM air combat missile - about 30 km). Moreover, the system is capable of detecting launches of operational-tactical ballistic missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles at a distance of several hundred kilometers, as well as the DAS complex of the American Fighter X-Numx generation F-5A. As you know, by introducing the appropriate software and hardware options, you can achieve full-fledged synchronization of the SOAR with the KUV of the fighter, which ultimately allows the system operator (second MiG-35 pilot) to target the sensors of this system not only to target air fighters the enemy, but also on the attacking missiles of the air combat and the enemy's SAM. The air combat missiles R-35, РВВ-СД, Р-77 РДМ-73, and also РВВ-МД are adapted for these tasks.
In practice, it looks like this. generation fighter "4" and "4 +" MiG-29S, MiG-29SMT and Su-27, equipped with obsolete radar system with slotted antenna array N019MP "Topaz", "Zhuk-ME", as well as the Cassegrain antenna N001, have little or no opportunity intercepting air combat missiles launched by the enemy due to the lack of ability to detect such small targets in advance and capture them for auto tracking (the effective reflecting surface of AIM-9X Block II and AIM-120D barely reaches 0,03 — 0,07 square meters). Successful implementation of such interception can occur only if the pilot visually detects the moment of “Sidewinder” descending from the underwing pylon of an enemy fighter located at a distance of 8 — 10 km, and instantly applies the “standby” capture of the torch of the approaching rocket by means of a GOS of its own 73. As is known, such a “fast” mode requires only the alignment of the aiming crosshair, which is the cone of the scan of ICGSN of the rocket, with the visible heat-contrast object.
But such a “trump” opportunity is unlikely to become a frequent event of the air battles of the 21st century, where AIM-120С / D is launched from the distance 50 — 100 km. Moreover, visually detecting the start of a solid propellant solid propellant rocket with a modern low-smoke fuel is not so simple. Consequently, only an infrared station detecting attacking missiles, synchronized with the fighter’s QMF, is able to turn into reality similar plans to destroy the enemy's missile defense system. In the United States, a similar concept of using air combat missiles is slowly progressing towards implementation as part of the ambitious SACM-T project (Small, Advanced Capability Missile Technologies), which has been developed for several years by a military-industrial company specializing in the design of missile and radio electronic weapons Raytheon, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.
The project, launched by Lockheed Martin, is based on the creation of the radically improved small-sized (“trimmed”) modification of the air-to-air missile AIM-120C AMRAAM. The product, also referred to as CUDA, is planned to be equipped with high-precision active radar homing head of the millimeter range, as well as 13 "gas-dynamic belts" of more than a hundred miniature transverse control engines, which ensure the kinetic destruction of the intercepted missile by the enemy using the direct hit method. SACM-T / CUDA’s launch into the US Air Force and Navy fighters’s ammunition is expected by the beginning of the 30-s, and therefore the Vympel GosMCB specialists have plenty of time to equip RVV-SD missiles for self-defense missiles. Another issue is that today neither military-diplomatic sources, nor the developer himself speak of such priorities for the modernization of defensive equipment for the HVS fleet. and there is still such a moment as financing, which is better to keep quiet about.
A picture is emerging that is similar to the slipping of the “once-through” program of the RVV-AE-PD ultra-long-range air battle missile. But it is precisely the advancement of such projects that will determine the safety of the flight personnel of our Aerospace Forces in the event of a collision with aviation Western Air Force. Thus, it can be stated that in matters of self-defense of fighters of the Russian aerospace forces, all hope remains only for linking the R-77 family missiles to the attack missile detection station (SOAP), but to consider such linking as an ideal asymmetric response to the American SACM-T project , because the flight performance of the CUDA interceptor missile will be almost 2 times higher than the RVV-AE due to the gas-dynamic control, because the first was originally developed to combat small Class azheskimi missiles "B-B".
We will now proceed to assessing the structural changes in the placement of the optical-electronic module for operation in the air-to-surface mode on new prototypes of the MiG-35 for the Russian videoconferencing, as well as the associated negative and positive consequences. If you take a close look at the early demonstrator MiG-35 with the onboard number "154", assembled for demonstrations within the MMRCA, and then at the last demonstrator "No. 702 blue", which passed the factory flight tests in 2017 year, you can notice that OLS-K optical-electronic complex in a small-sized streamlined conformal module-container, on the bottom surface of which an optical-transparent turret is placed for viewing the lower hemisphere.
The mass of this module, as well as the coefficient of aerodynamic drag are minimal, which only slightly affects the combat range. On the demonstrator with the onboard number “702” for Russian video conferencing, we can pay attention to the more massive and large-size suspended container optical-electronic complex Т220 / Э. Apparently, this particular complex will be used on the Russian MiG-35. Undoubtedly, its main drawback can be considered a significant aerodynamic resistance due to the container diameter 370 mm and a very large attachment to the right engine nacelle, which will reduce the radius of action by several tens of kilometers. We should also expect an additional reduction in the maximum speed (if there are missiles on the suspension) from 2100 to 1850 — 1900 km / h.
There is a complex Т220 / Э and serious advantages over OLS-K. This is a much better overview of the upper sector of the elevation plane, achieved thanks to the container turning turret oriented to the front hemisphere, in contrast to the fixed turret OLS-K, which looks down. Due to this, T220 / E can not only conduct a review of the lower hemisphere, but also “look” at an angle 7 — 10 degrees above the horizon line (in the upper hemisphere). Therefore, the complex can be used to classify and identify remote air targets in the television range, in addition to the OLS-WEM.
In addition, judging by the significantly larger size of the T220 turret head in comparison with the OLS-K, the first one has a much longer and high-aperture optical system, allowing to realize the optical magnification of the observed object in 30X and more, not counting the digital one.
Not without Т220 / E and disadvantages. One of them is the constructive impossibility of turning the lens to angles greater than 20 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the suspension container. Bottom line: the possibility of reviewing the lower sector of the rear hemisphere is excluded (the operator of the MiG-35 systems will not be able to track the ground tactical situation “in the tail” of the vehicle without performing a fighter reversal). Complex OLS-K boasts this feature. What tactical advantages does this feature of OLS-K give? There is no need to retract the fighter in the direction saturated with modern enemy anti-aircraft missile systems, which cover the reconnaissance object.
In addition to the standard optoelectronic reconnaissance of ground objects in the rear hemisphere, OLS-K also provides their illumination for tactical missiles with semi-active laser homing heads launched from other carriers (from Su-25 attack aircraft to Hermes anti-tank systems in various versions). Such opportunities for working with targets in the rear hemisphere are not provided by any domestic or foreign container sighting and navigation complex, including such well-known products as Sapsan-E, as well as Shtatovsky Sniper-ATP (Advanced Targeting Pod). The only products that are close to the OLS-K in the ZPS survey area are the French TALIOS Multi-Function Targeting Pod and Turkish ASELPOD-ATP, whose turret heads rotate on bearings in a vertical plane. Anyway, one will have to be content with the technological advantages of the Т220 / Э complex, given that not a single multipurpose fighter of the 4 + generation of the MiG-29CMT, Su-27M and Su-30 families has ever deployed suspension intelligence equipment. and targeting.
Against the background of all the above-described advantages of the weapons control complex of the multifunctional MiG-35 fighter, the statements of various Russian specialists in the article “Experts have rejected the shipboard MiG-35” on the Ytro.ru resource look absolutely unreasonable. So, in the publication you can find the opinion of the chief editor of the magazine “Arms Export”, Andrei Frolov, in accordance with which the MiG-35 is outdated as a platform for developing a promising deck-based aviation system. In essence, this conclusion is justified by the “gluttony” of the turbojet RD-33MK / MKV turbojet engines, the small combat radius of action, and the discrepancy of the radar signature of the airframe to the 5 generation machines. But is it all so sadly formed for an advanced modification of the fighter of the MiG-29 family, the glider of which for decades will be considered an “aerodynamic standard” along with the gliders of the T-10 family?
The new “9-61 / 67 products” due to the introduction of a larger number of elements represented by composite materials, keep an empty (“dry”) mass within 11000 — 11500 kg, while the normal take-off weight with 4800 kg of fuel, as well as 6 rockets RVV-SD and 2 RVV-MD on suspensions will be about 17,8 — 18 tons. When a part of the fuel is used up (at the time of the air combat), the weight of the vehicle will be within 16 tons, which, when combined with the RD-33MKV TRDDF in 18000 kgf, provides thrust-to-weight ratio in 1,12 kgf / kg. Not bad for a melee air combat with the “Super Hornet” even with the use of an ordinary steady turn with an angular velocity of 23 degrees / s. And there is also an all-view deflection vector deviation system!
If we talk about the effective reflective surface (EPR) of the MiG-35, then when using radio-absorbing coatings, we have a reduction to 1,2 — 1,5 square. M that for the fighter generation of the transition is simply an excellent indicator. MiG-35 was not conceived by the RAC "MiG" specialists as a concept for the 5 generation, however, in terms of the level of avionics, it is in line with this level. A striking example of this is the work of Boeing on such 4 ++ generation machines as the F-15SE “Silent Eagle” (the glider project is more than 45 years old, but no one in the USA calls this fighter an “ancient scrap metal”) or F-16 Block 70 . As for the radius of action in 1000 km, then for a multipurpose (especially deck) middle fighter, this is quite worthy; just look at F / A-18E / F or F-35A. Another thing is that the construction of the Storm class aircraft carrier, not to mention the series, is under a huge question and in a fog of uncertainty ... But this question is a completely different review.
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