Over the past six months news sections of dozens of domestic and foreign military-analytical resources do not cease to be full of headlines and short publications on the promotion of the promising project of the American perspective multi-purpose tactical air-launched missile JAGM (Join Air-to-Ground Missile), which is a worthy development of the anti-tank AGM-114 Hellfire family ". A variant of the JAGM rocket developed by Lockheed Martin since 2012 in accordance with the 1st stage (“Increment 1”) (previously the option was also considered by the Boeing-Raytheon consortium), in February 2018 the next stage of full-scale tests was successfully completed at the Yuma test site, after which the developer’s headquarters decided to start small-scale production of a direct descendant of well-proven versions of the Hellfire, released in the amount of 75 thousand rockets. The first order from the US Armed Forces for a batch of “fresh” JAGMs worth almost $ 27 million, announced by the US defense department on August 16, was not long in coming. In the face of such circumstances, it would be extremely relevant to assess the degree of threat to Russian military units on the European theater of operations from this type of multi-purpose missiles.
To perform such an analysis, it is necessary to build on three criteria - the type of air carrier for JAGM, as well as the flight performance and detailed characteristics of the missile guidance system. The modification of the JAGM rocket as part of the phase “Increment 1” is a peculiar conceptual and constructive improved hybrid of the AGM-114K “Hellfire II” and AGM-114R “Longbow Hellfire” anti-tank missiles, which became donors for the JAGM dual-band guidance system. The first one borrowed a semi-active laser channel of guidance, represented by a photo-receiver, “capturing” a point from the laser target designator beam, placed either on board the carrier or on a third-party combat unit. From the second, a millimeter active Ka-band homing radar channel (with a frequency of 94000 MHz) was taken, providing the highest pointing accuracy even in difficult meteorological conditions. As a result, depending on the atmospheric conditions, terrain, and interference used by the enemy, the crew of the carrier (for example, the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter) can vary the modes of operation of the JAGM guidance system in a tactically correct configuration. Conclusion: disorienting the dual-band HOS of the JAGM rocket will not be so easy both with the help of electronic countermeasures and with the help of a smoke screen. There are a number of other ways, but not everything is so smooth here either.
First of all, it is the use of active protection systems of the type “Arena” and “Arena-M” (in the case of T-72B3М and T-90C / AM), as well as “Afganit” (in the case of T-14 Armata ), which are able to easily deal with JAGM missiles approaching at a speed of 1,3, because the estimated speed of the target being hit for KAZ Arena / -M reaches 700 m / s, and for Afganit 1500 - 2000 m / s. But, unfortunately, about any large-scale updating of the tank fleet of Russia, even with simple “Arenas” today, there is no talk about it. What is the situation with the T-72B3M, on the frontal armor plates of the towers of which the outdated wedge-shaped 4CXNNUMX “Contact-22” dynamic protection still flaunts?
Secondly, it is the use of such “exotic” means as high-frequency combat EMI generators of the “Ranets-E” type or more advanced variants that can easily disable the onboard radio-electronic “stuffing” of tactical missiles of any type at a distance of a couple of tens of kilometers . It is known that the work on the Ranets-E project was carried out by specialists of the Moscow Radiotechnical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences from the middle or the end of the 90s, but later, at the beginning of the 2000s, all the developments and progress on this program were initially postponed to a long box, and later completely forgotten by analogy with the project of a long-range air combat missile "Product 180-PD" with an integral rocket-ramjet engine. This sad fate befell more than one strategically important project for our country's defense; and, unfortunately, this tradition is preserved.
As the third option to counter the dual-channel GOS of JAGM missiles, the use of Peresvet type laser complexes and various types of self-propelled laser systems that could damage a rocket laser photoreceiver with its own high power beam could be considered, after which the JAGM rocket, having lost its semi-active laser guidance channel, could use an exclusively active radar sensor, for which it would be sufficient to develop specialized false targets that emit response and distracting interference in the W-band at a frequency of 94 GHz. But all this is present only in our theory, while the number of different laser facilities at the disposal of the VKS and / or military air defense does not exceed several units. And there is absolutely no information about the capabilities of the operation of these laser complexes for targeting radars of military air defense weapons. Conclusion: the most proven way to counter the threat from multi-purpose JAGM missiles is the modernization of self-propelled military air defense weapons as such.
Given the fact that when using the Apache suspension, the effective JAGM range reaches 16 km, completely “covering” not only the radius of the Tor-M1 SAM (12 km using the standard 9М331 SAM), but also the radii of the new Tor -M2U / KM ”(15 and 16 km using ZUR 9M331D and 9M338, respectively), the operators of any version of this self-propelled air defense missile system are not able to intercept the helicopters launching missiles. And even from closer distances (with difficult terrain), such an interception of Apache by means of Tor-M2 systems is not guaranteed, because a helicopter hiding in a lowland cannot be hit by radio-guided missiles, as the direct visibility between the air defense system and the enemy’s helicopter is lost. For such a “hunt”, rockets are needed either with active radar homing (like the British CAAM complex “Land Ceptor”), or with ICGOS (like “IRIS-T”). The Pantsir-С1 anti-aircraft missile and artillery complex in the process of repelling an Apache strike will look in a much better light, since it can open fire on enemy attack helicopters even before launching JAGM missiles (at a distance of 17 - 19 km), which can deprive the crew "Headache" associated with the need to intercept dozens of already running JAGM. But such an alignment is possible only on an ideal flat terrain, while in difficult terrain the same problem will be observed as that of the “Thors”, because the 57E6E anti-aircraft guided missiles also have a radio command guidance method.
JAGM multipurpose rocket launch
Based on the foregoing, we can state that today (in dueling situations, when friendly fighter aviation squadrons are diverted to air battles with enemy fighters) the security of motorized rifle regiments and tank brigades of the Russian army from air strikes with JAGM missiles has a very dubious appearance, where instead of the early destruction of carrier helicopters, the operators of the Tor-M2U and Pantsirey-S1 military air defense systems will have to intercept already launched missiles, the number of which can reach tens of units.
Only one "Apache" can take on the nodes of the suspension 16 missiles of this type. The potential for such interceptions from our "Thors" and "Pantsirey", of course, is available, especially given the low speed of the JAGM and the high channel of the air defense system. But why risk the lives of servicemen (in case of missing several missiles during a massive strike), when you can simply develop a more long-range interceptor missile with active radar homing and destroy attack helicopters or low-altitude UAVs before the attack from their side. Yes, and the installation on the tanks and BMP systems, active protection of armored vehicles would be worth thinking today.