About a year ago, the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense reported on the first instances of the combat use of operational-tactical missile systems 9K720 "Iskander" as part of an operation in Syria. A few days ago there were new messages about similar work of rocket complexes. It was noted that during real combat launches, missile systems showed high performance and coped with the tasks. Thus, Iskander OTRK was able to confirm its capabilities in the context of a real conflict of low intensity.
However, operational-tactical missile systems of the new type were created not only for local armed conflicts, but also for full-scale wars. In addition, as shown by the events of recent years, "Iskander" are an effective military-political tool that can influence the situation by its presence alone. In this regard, clear questions arise: what exactly makes OTRK of the Iskander family so effective in different areas and why are such complexes an essential element of the Russian armed forces?
Obviously, the combat qualities of any OTRK are primarily determined by the tactical and technical characteristics of its individual components. Indeed, the characteristics of various machines from its composition make a significant contribution to the capabilities of the Iskander complex. All fixed assets of this complex are made on self-propelled chassis and have high mobility, which allows them to reach the specified positions in time and prepare the launch of rockets.
The structure of OTRK 9K720 includes six machines for different purposes, not counting the training facilities and the so-called. arsenal equipment. In the standard rocket brigade, more than 50 machines of various types are operated in total. The basis of the complex - self-propelled launcher 9P78-1. Her work is provided by the transport-charging machine 9Т250, the command-staff 9-552, as well as the information preparation point, the life-support machine and the machine for regulation and maintenance.
The main machines of the complex are built on the four-axis chassis of the MZKT-7930 "Astrologer"; other funds are mounted on KamAZ vehicles. Using such chassis, the components of the Iskander OTRK are capable of driving on a highway with speeds of at least 70 km / h. It also provides movement on a dirt road at a speed of 40 km / h or over rough terrain with overcoming various obstacles. Water barriers intersect at fords or bridges. The power reserve of the launcher - 1000 km.
The 9P78-1 combat vehicle and other elements of the complex are capable of moving to a predetermined position in a minimum time for deployment and launch production. According to reports, the launch of the rocket can be performed through 4-5 minutes after arriving at the position. Much of the preparation for the launch of the rocket is carried out by automation, but human involvement is not completely excluded. An important feature of the OTRK 9K720 is the presence of two missiles at once on one launcher. Two more products are on the transport-charging machine and can be overloaded to the launcher. According to the standards, the overload of one rocket takes 16 min.
The first for the Iskander OTRK was the creation of a ground-to-ground ballistic missile of type 9М723. This is a single-stage solid-fuel rocket with a non-detachable head part, having a guidance system based on inertial and satellite navigation. It is also known to develop several alternative homing heads, which determine the target using radar or optical systems. The 9М723 rocket looks and resembles the ammunition of other domestic PRTRs in its design, but it has a number of serious technical and operational differences.
First of all, it is necessary to take into account that the product 9М723 is a so-called. quasi-ballistic rocket. During the flight, it is able not only to move along a given ballistic trajectory, but to maneuver. On-board control systems allow you to perform some maneuvers in all parts of the trajectory, from the moment of launch to the fall on the target. Intensive maneuvering on the way to the target is one of the main ways to protect the missile from enemy air defense or missile defense.
Maneuvers with significant overloads on the active site make the rocket's trajectory unpredictable, which makes it difficult to intercept it with modern air defense and missile defense systems. On the ballistic part of the trajectory, interception is hampered by two factors. First of all, at this stage, the rocket rises to a height of about 50 km and goes beyond the zone of responsibility of air defense weapons. In addition, the unpredictability of the trajectory associated with maneuvering, in turn, eliminates the effective operation of modern missile defense systems.
Some sources mention that the 9М723 rocket carries a means of overcoming missile defense, similar to the equipment of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The product is capable of dropping false targets that interfere with enemy radars. Also mentioned is the presence of its own onboard electronic warfare equipment.
On the descending part of the trajectory, a quasi-ballistic rocket is capable of falling almost vertically at a target at a speed of more than 2 km / s, while at the same time performing maneuvers with overloads over 20 units. High speed, maneuvering and the correct course of combat dramatically reduce the likelihood of successful detection, tracking and interception of missiles with modern air defense and missile defense systems designed to combat the "ordinary" ballistic targets.
Products 9М723 can be equipped with different warheads designed to destroy various enemy targets. Point targets, including protected or recessed, should be attacked with high-explosive and concrete-borne monoblock combat units. To attack areal targets, there are several variants of a cluster warhead, differing from each other in types of combat elements. The cassette can contain high-explosive, cumulative, detonating and self-targeting anti-tank submunitions. There is also a special warhead in the form of a monoblock power 50 CT.
The quasi-ballistic missile 9М723 is capable of delivering a warhead to a range of up to 280 km. Its improved version of the 9М723-1, included in the Iskander-M OTRK, according to various sources, has a range of 400 or 480 km. Thus, the 9М720 complexes with ballistic missiles comply with the requirements of the currently valid Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. The circular deviation of the missiles, according to different sources, does not exceed 10-20 m.
In the course of further development of the base Iskander OTRK, the Iskander-K system was created. Its main difference lies in the used rocket. Especially for this modification of the complex, a ground-based cruise missile was developed. As before, the self-propelled launcher carries two missiles and is able to use them almost immediately after arriving at the specified position.
The basis of the Iskander-K complex is the 9K728 cruise missile, also known as the P-500. As follows from the available data, this product was created without taking into account the developments on other ammunition "Iskander", and it is based on the experience of completely different projects. According to different versions, the 9K728 rocket could be built on the basis of the C-10 “Granat” missile, products of the “Caliber” family or even on the basis of the X-101 air-launched missile. Which of these versions is more true - is not known for certain. Apparently, there is a certain commonality with the modern cruise missiles of the Caliber complex, but the real degree of unification is not revealed.
The P-500 is a subsonic cruise missile with a turbojet propulsion engine. The rocket is completed with an inertial guidance system with the possibility of correction by satellite navigation signals. The autopilot is capable of guiding a missile to a target along an optimal trajectory, ensuring maximum secrecy and reducing the likelihood of successful enemy air defenses. However, the data on this subject is not too much.
According to the available information, the 9K728 rocket is capable of low-altitude flight with a rounding of the terrain. It is also possible to use a ballistic trajectory, during the operation of the starting engine, providing access to greater altitude. Further, the flight and the exit to the target is carried out on the optimal profile. In particular, it is possible to approach the target at a low altitude, drastically reducing the allowable response time of air defense and missile defense.
Whether the P-500 rocket has any means of breaking through the enemy’s defenses apart from the correct flight profile is unknown. In this case, it can be noted that the characteristic architecture of this product does not allow carrying a large stock of false targets. It is also not entirely clear whether there can be a jamming station on board the rocket.
The cruise missile for the Iskander has a range of up to 500 km - this parameter is limited by the requirements of the INF Treaty. However, foreign experts and politicians are not inclined to trust the official Russian data. They express doubts on the basis of which the real accusations are based. According to various estimates, the real range of the 9K728 / P-500 product is significantly higher than the stated. The most courageous assumptions bring this parameter to 2000-2500 km. The consequences of this are accusations of violation of the INF Treaty, since this agreement prohibits the development and production of land-based missiles with a range of more than 500 and less than 5500 km.
However, the 9K728 rocket of the operational-tactical complex Iskander-K is not the most popular reason for criticism. US politicians in this context show much more interest in the Russian 9K729 rocket, which, allegedly, also does not comply with the terms of the INF Treaty.
Benefits and Threats
In the framework of the project with the Iskander code, a unique operational-tactical missile system was created by domestic designers, or rather, a whole family of such systems. At the heart of the entire range of complexes are the same ground vehicles, including self-propelled launcher and a set of auxiliary machines. The unified combat vehicle is capable of using ballistic and cruise missiles of several types, differing in their purpose and capabilities.
Last year, the management of the Engineering Design Bureau, which developed the PTRK 9K720, revealed interesting information about the Iskander-M project. It turned out that so far, seven complete missiles of various types and purposes have been developed for this system. Perhaps it was about already known products and their modifications, but in this case, the announced data looks extremely interesting. They directly indicate the potential and combat qualities of the OTRK, as well as its ability to influence the military-political situation.
The Russian army is armed with a universal missile system capable of attacking and destroying various enemy targets at the operational depth using missiles and combat units of a number of types. In fact, we are talking about a universal system with the highest possible and permissible characteristics. For example, the firing range of cruise and ballistic missiles is limited, first of all, by international agreements.
Simultaneously with the maximum possible firing range, the Iskander complex is distinguished by the extreme difficulty of intercepting flying missiles. In the development of ballistic and cruise missiles, both well-known and new ideas were used, which positively affected their ability to break through the enemy's air defense and missile defense systems. The means and methods of breakthroughs were created taking into account the features of modern anti-missile and air defense systems, and therefore the Iskander is one step ahead.
A mobile system with a range of up to 500 km and the possibility of breaking through modern defenses naturally turns out to be a convenient military and political tool. With its help, in the conditions of a real conflict, it is possible to hit various enemy targets, leaving almost no chance for him to repel the blow. In peacetime or in a threatened period, the Iskander family PTRCs can be a convenient means of power projection or even a threat designed to hint transparently at the views and opinions of the state.
In recent years, Iskander complexes have been deployed in a number of ground forces formations based in different regions. The total number of complexes in the army has long exceeded one hundred and, apparently, will increase. Highly efficient military and political means mastered by the troops and able to solve the tasks assigned to it.
Problems of the future
At present, the most possible way of discussing a possible breach of the INF Treaty. The reason for this, the American side calls violations by Russia. In search of accusations, foreign experts recall the old estimates of the range of a cruise missile 9K728, which, allegedly, is able to fly farther than permissible 500 km.
If the Treaty on Medium and Shorter-Range Missiles is broken, Russia will have to take appropriate measures. One of the consequences of the termination of this agreement could be the emergence of American missiles of new types in different countries of Europe. In this case, the answer to them may be OTRK "Iskander", located in the western regions of Russia. Their task will be to strike the starting positions of a potential enemy - both retaliatory and, possibly, proactive.
Abroad, fear that the cruise missile 9K728 may be based on one of the existing sea-based or air-based products, and for this reason have a range above the limits. And there is a curious logical problem. If the accusations in the direction of the 9K728 rocket are not groundless, and it really violates the Treaty, then as a result of the latter’s breakup, Russia has a “new” weaponcapable of striking at long ranges. And all this will happen before NATO can respond. However, for this it is necessary that the Iskander-K complex really does not meet the current restrictions.
Anyway, now the operational-tactical missile systems of the 9K720 “Iskander” family represent a serious military and political argument that gives our country certain advantages in the international arena. Obviously, the further development of this range of complexes will allow you to maintain the desired opportunities, and with a certain development of events - to multiply them. At the same time, the complex is unlikely to lose its potential even if the situation changes and the existing international agreements are abandoned. "Iskander" will continue to be dangerous for the likely enemy, and therefore extremely useful for our country.
On the materials of the sites:
Why Iskander Is Dangerous?
- Ryabov Kirill
- Photos used:
- RF Ministry of Defense / mil.ru
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