Do we have many air defense systems? We continue the conversation about domestic air defense systems. Today we will consider short-range air defense systems that are currently in service and that have no detection radars in their avionics. We will try to adhere to the same order of presentation as in the article "Why do we need so many air defense systems?"but there will be some retreats along the way.
The development of the Strela-10SV air defense system began in the late 1960s. This complex, which was adopted in 1976, was supposed to replace the short-range air defense system of the Strela-1 regimental unit mounted on the BRDM-2 chassis. As a base for Strela-10SV, it was decided to use the MT-LB tracked lightly armored multi-purpose tractor. Compared to the Strela-1 air defense system, the Strela-10SV complex had enhanced combat characteristics. The use of 9M37 missiles with thermal and photo-contrast channels increased the likelihood of damage and noise immunity. There was an opportunity to fire at faster targets, the borders of the affected area expanded. Using the MT-LB chassis made it possible to increase the ammunition load (4 missiles in the launcher and 4 additional missiles in the fighting compartment of the vehicle). Unlike Strela-1, where the muscular power of the gunner-operator was used to turn the launcher toward the target, the launcher deployed on Strela-10SV with an electric drive.
Two variants of the Strela-10SV combat vehicles were serially produced: with a passive direction finder and millimeter-range radio range finder (command vehicle) and only with a radio range finder (fire platoon vehicles). Organizational platoon Strela-10SV (command and three to five subordinate vehicles), together with a platoon of ZRPK Tunguska or ZSU-23-4 Shilka, was part of the missile and artillery battery of the anti-aircraft battalion of the tank (mechanized rifle) regiment.
The Strela-10 air defense system was repeatedly modernized. The Strela-10M complex included 9M37M missiles. The homing head of the upgraded anti-aircraft missile selected the target and organized optical interference by trajectory characteristics, which allowed to reduce the efficiency of thermal traps.
In 1981, mass production of the Strela-10M2 air defense system began. This option received equipment for automated target designation from a battery control unit PU-12M or control unit of the air defense regiment PPRU-1, as well as target designation equipment that provided automated guidance on the target launcher.
Photo: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru
In 1989, the Strela-10M3 complex was adopted by the Soviet Army. Fighting vehicles of this modification were equipped with new sighting and search electron-optical equipment, which provides an increase of 20-30% in the detection range of small targets, as well as improved guided missile launch equipment, which made it possible to reliably capture the target with a homing head. The new 9M333 guided missile, compared with the 9M37M, had a modified container and engine, as well as a new GOS with three receivers in different spectral ranges, with logical target sampling against the background of optical interference along trajectory and spectral features, which significantly increased the noise immunity. A more powerful warhead and the use of a non-contact laser fuse increased the likelihood of a miss during a miss.
9M333 missiles have a starting weight of 41 kg and an average flight speed of 550 m / s. Firing range: 800-5000 m. Defeat of targets is possible in the altitude range: 10-3500 m. The probability of hitting a fighter target with one missile in the absence of organized interference: 0,3-0,6.
In the late 1980s, the Strela-10M4 complex was created, which was supposed to be equipped with a passive sighting and search system. However, due to the collapse of the USSR, this SAM did not become mass, and the achievements gained during its creation were used in the modernized Strela-10MN. The complex has a new thermal imaging system, a target acquisition and tracking machine and a scanning unit. But, apparently, the modernization program affected no more than 20% of the complexes available in the troops.
At present, the Russian armed forces have approximately 400 Strela-10M short-range air defense systems (M2 / M3 / MN; about 100 in storage and during modernization). Complexes of this type are in service with the air defense units of the ground forces and marines. A certain amount of SAM "Strela-10M3" is available in the airborne troops, but their parachute landing is impossible. In 2015, air defense units received more than 30 modernized short-range anti-aircraft missile systems Strela-10MN.
Photo: Vitaliy Kuzmin
However, the reliability and combat readiness of the complexes that have not undergone major repairs and modernization leaves much to be desired. This applies to both the hardware of the air defense system and the technical condition of the chassis, and anti-aircraft missiles, the production of which ended in the first half of the 1990s. According to some reports, during the training and control firing at the firing ranges are not rare cases of failure of missiles. In this regard, anti-aircraft missiles that are outside the warranty storage period and have not undergone the necessary service in the factory will have a less likely chance of hitting the target. In addition, the experience of local conflicts in recent years has demonstrated that the use of zone assessment equipment in real-life conditions for real purposes unmasks the complex and, with a high degree of probability, leads to the disruption of the combat mission, or even the destruction of air defense systems. Refusal to use a radio range finder increases stealth, but also reduces the likelihood of hitting a target. In the near future, our armed forces will part with a significant part of the Strela-10 family complexes. This is due to the extreme wear and tear of the air defense systems themselves and the impossibility of further operation of the obsolete 9M37M missiles.
When evaluating the combat value of non-upgraded systems of the Strela-10 family, it should be taken into account that the target is visually detected by the complex operator, after which it is necessary to orient the launcher in the direction of the target, wait for the target to be captured by the GOS and launch the missile. In conditions of an extremely fleeting confrontation between air defense systems and modern means of air attack, when an enemy attack often takes a matter of seconds, the slightest delay can become fatal. The big drawback of even the latest Strela-10M3 air defense system developed in the USSR is the inability to work effectively in night and adverse weather conditions. This is due to the absence of a thermal imaging channel in the sighting and search system of the complex. Currently, 9M37M and 9M333 anti-aircraft missiles do not fully comply with modern requirements. These missiles have insufficient maneuverability for the current conditions, small boundaries of the affected area in range and height. The affected area of all modifications of the Strela-10 air defense system is significantly shorter than the range of use of modern aviation anti-tank missiles, and the tactic of “hitch” used by helicopters in the fight against armored vehicles significantly reduces the possibility of firing due to the long reaction time. The likelihood of defeating aircraft flying at high speed and performing anti-aircraft maneuvers with the simultaneous use of heat traps is also not satisfactory. Partially, the Strela-10M3 air defense missile systems were managed to be fixed in the upgraded Strela-10MN complex. However, the "fundamental" flaws of the complex, the first version of which appeared in the mid-1970s, are unable to completely eliminate modernization.
Nevertheless, subject to the modernization of Strela-10 air defense systems, they still pose a real danger to air attack systems operating at low altitudes and will remain in the army until they are replaced by modern mobile systems. In 2019, it became known that the Russian Ministry of Defense signed a contract worth 430 million rubles for the modernization of the later versions of the Strela-10 and 9M333 SAM systems. In this case, the life of anti-aircraft missiles should be extended to 35 years, which will allow them to operate at least until 2025.
To compensate for the inevitable "natural decline" of the Strela-10 air defense system, several options were considered. The budget option is to use the MT-LB chassis in combination with the Sagittarius near-field complex. In 2012, an export modification of such a complex was presented in Zhukovsky at the forum "Technologies in Mechanical Engineering".
The mobile air defense system, which received the designation “Archer-E,” is equipped with an optical-electronic station with a thermal imaging camera that can operate at any time of the day. To destroy air targets, SAMs from the Igla and Igla-S MANPADS with a firing range of up to 6000 m are intended. But, apparently, our Ministry of Defense was not interested in this mobile complex, and information on export orders is also not available.
Another complex based on MT-LB was Bagulnik air defense system, which in the past was offered to foreign buyers under the name Pine. In fairness, it is worth saying that the development of the Sosna / Bagulnik air defense system was very delayed. Experimental design and development work on this topic started in the mid-1990s. Ready for use in the arsenal of the sample appeared after about 20 years. However, blaming the creators of the complex would be incorrect. In the absence of interest and funding from the customer, the developers could do little.
For the first time, for domestic anti-aircraft systems, the Bagulnik SAM uses the method of transmitting commands to direct anti-aircraft missile guidance aboard a laser beam. The hardware of the complex consists of an optoelectronic module, a digital computing system, launcher guidance mechanisms, controls and information display. To detect targets and aim anti-aircraft missiles, an optoelectronic module is used, which in turn consists of a thermal imaging channel for detecting and tracking a target, a direction finder for a rocket tracking, a laser range finder and a laser rocket control channel. Optoelectronic station is able to quickly search for a target at any time of the day and in any weather conditions. The absence of a surveillance radar in the complex eliminates unmasking high-frequency radiation, and makes it invulnerable to anti-radar missiles. A passive detection station can detect and track a fighter target up to 30 km away, a helicopter up to 14 km, and a cruise missile up to 12 km.
Destruction of air targets is carried out by 9M340 anti-aircraft missiles, which are located in transport and launch containers, in two packages on the sides of the optoelectronic module in the amount of 12 units. 9M340 missiles used in SAM is two-stage and is made according to the bicaliber scheme. The missile consists of a detachable launch accelerator and marching stage. Within a few seconds after launch, the accelerator informs the rocket of a speed of more than 850 m / s, after which it is separated and then the marching stage continues to fly by inertia. This scheme allows you to quickly disperse the rocket and provides a high average speed of the rocket over the entire flight area (more than 550 m / s), which, in turn, dramatically increases the likelihood of hitting high-speed targets, including maneuvering ones, and minimizes the flight time of the rocket. Due to the high dynamic characteristics of the used missiles, the distant border of the Bagulnik’s zone of destruction in comparison with the Strela-10M3 air defense system has doubled and amounts to 10 kilometers, reach in height - up to 5 km. The capabilities of the 9M340 missile make it possible to successfully hit helicopters, including those employing “jump” tactics, cruise missiles and jet planes flying with enveloping terrain.
Photo: JSC "KBtochmash named after A. E. Nudelman"
In the process of combat work, the calculation of the Bagulnik air defense system searches for the target independently or receives external target designation via a closed communication line from the command post of the battery, other fire platoon combat vehicles, or interacting radars. After detecting the target, the optical-electronic module of the air defense system using a laser range finder takes it for tracking along angular coordinates and range. After the target enters the affected area, a missile is launched, which at the initial stage of the flight is controlled by a radio command method, which ensures the launch of missiles to the line of sight of the laser guidance system. After turning on the laser system, beam telecontrol is performed. The receiver in the tail of the rocket receives a modulated signal, and the rocket’s autopilot generates commands that ensure that the SAM is continuously held on the line connecting the SAM, the missile and the target.
SAM 9M340, bottom - transport and launch container
Conceptually, the 9M340 bicaliber missile launcher is in many ways similar to the 9M311 anti-aircraft missile used in the Tunguska air defense system, but uses laser guidance instead of the radio command guidance method. Thanks to laser guidance, the anti-aircraft missile has high accuracy. The use of special guidance algorithms, a ring diagram of the formation of a fragmentation field and a non-contact 12-beam laser fuse compensates for pointing errors. The missile is equipped with a fragmentation-rod warhead with a durable tip. Undermining warhead is carried out at the command of a laser fuse or contact inertial fuse. 9M340 missiles made according to the "duck" scheme, and has a length of 2317 mm. The weight of the rocket in the TPK is 42 kg. The crew is loading manually.
After the start of mass deliveries to the troops of the Bagulnik air defense system, it will be possible to reduce the extra units of equipment and personnel in the air defense units of the regimental and brigade level. Unlike the Strela-10M3 air defense system, the Bagulnik mobile systems do not require transport and loading and control and verification vehicles.
The public is presented with a variant of the Bagulnik air defense system on the MT-LB chassis. However, this does not preclude the future use of another wheeled or tracked base. Currently, options for placement on other chassis, for example, BMP-3 and BTR-82A, have been worked out. In the past, information was published that for the Airborne Forces on the basis of the BMD-4M, a short-range complex of "Poultry" is being created, which will include the 9M340 SAM. However, the complexity of creating an airborne mobile anti-aircraft complex is associated with the need to ensure the operability of fairly fragile nodes, electron-optical circuits and units of the complex after discharge on a parachute platform. Landing a multi-ton machine when landing from a military transport aircraft can be called soft only conditionally. Although the parachute system dampens the rate of descent, landing from above is always accompanied by a serious blow to the ground. Therefore, all vital components and assemblies should have a margin of safety much greater than in vehicles used in the ground forces.
ZAK "Derivation-Air Defense"
Most likely, paired with Ledum in the future will operate the artillery complex "Derivation-Air Defense". Since the mid-1990s, Russia has been quite actively experimenting with 57-mm artillery guns. Cannons of this caliber offered to arm the modernized version of the light floating tank PT-76. In 2015, the AU-220M uninhabited combat module was introduced for the first time, armed with an improved 57-mm artillery system based on the S-60 anti-aircraft gun. The AU-220M combat module was designed to arm the promising Boomerang armored personnel carriers and the Kurganets-25 and T-15 infantry fighting vehicles.
The 57-mm rifled automatic high-ballistic gun used in the AU-220M module is capable of making 120 aimed shots within a minute. The initial velocity of the projectile is 1000 m / s. The gun uses unitary shots with shells of several types. To reduce recoil the gun is equipped with a muzzle brake.
The military’s interest in the 57 mm automatic gun is due to its versatility. There are no infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers in the world whose armor at real combat distances is capable of withstanding the hit of a 57 mm shell. An armor-piercing projectile BR-281U weighing 2,8 kg, containing 13 g of explosive, at a distance of 500 m normally pierces 110 mm of armor. The use of a sub-caliber projectile will increase armor penetration by about 1,5 times, which will make it possible to confidently hit modern main battle tanks on board. In addition, the 57-mm automatic gun when firing at manpower successfully combines a fairly high rate of fire with a good fragmentation effect. The 281-kg fragmentation tracer grenade OR-2,8U contains 153 g of TNT and has a continuous destruction zone of 4-5 m.In terms of the 57-mm fragmentation grenade, it is justified to create anti-aircraft ammunition with a programmable remote or radio fuse.
For the first time, the new 57-millimeter Derivation-Air Defense self-propelled anti-aircraft gun was presented at the Army-2018 forum in the Pavilion of the Rostec State Corporation. Self-propelled artillery mount was made on the chassis of the well-proven BMP-3. In addition to the 57-mm automatic gun, the armament includes a 7,62-mm machine gun coaxial with a gun.
The combat module of the vehicle "Anti-aircraft defense" self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery complex
According to information published in open sources, the maximum range of destruction of air targets is 6 km, height - 4,5 km. Vertical pointing angle: - 5 degrees / +75 degrees. Horizontal guidance angle - 360 degrees. The maximum speed of the hit targets is 500 m / s. Ammunition - 148 rounds. Calculation - 3 people.
To detect air and ground targets day and night, an optoelectronic station is used in its capabilities similar to that used in the Sosna air defense system. The detection range of an air target of the “fighter” type channel in the overview mode is 6500 m, in the narrow field of view mode - 12 000 m. Accurate measurement of the coordinates and speed of the target is carried out by a laser range finder. On a combat vehicle, for obtaining external target designation from other sources, telecode communication equipment is installed. The defeat of air targets should be carried out by a fragmentation shell with a programmable fuse. In the future, it is possible to use a guided projectile with laser guidance, which should increase the effectiveness of the complex.
It is stated that ZAK "Derivation-Air Defense" is able to deal with combat helicopters, tactical aircraft aviation, drones and even shoot down rockets of multiple launch rocket systems. In addition, the 57-mm quick-firing installations are able to successfully operate on small-sized high-speed sea targets, destroy armored vehicles and manpower of the enemy.
To ensure the combat operation of the Derivation-Air Defense systems, a transport-loading machine is used, which provides ammunition for the main and additional weapons of the combat vehicle and for refueling the barrel cooling system with liquid. TZM is developed on the basis of the Ural 4320 high-terrain wheeled chassis and is capable of transporting 4 ammunition.
Currently, in the anti-aircraft division of the motorized rifle brigade, the state is supposed to have 6 Tunguska air defense systems (or ZSU-23-4 Shilka) and 6 Strela-10M3 air defense systems. Most likely, after the start of large-scale production of new anti-aircraft missile and anti-aircraft artillery systems, the Sosna air defense missile defense system and the Derivation-PVO air defense missile defense system will become part of the anti-aircraft divisions in the same proportion.
New systems designed for arming air defense units of the ground forces of regimental and brigade level are sometimes criticized for the lack of active radar equipment in the onboard equipment that allows for independent search for targets. However, when conducting military operations against a technologically advanced enemy, self-propelled air defense systems and anti-aircraft missile systems that are in the same battle formations with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers, when the radars are turned on in the immediate vicinity of the military contact line, will inevitably be detected by enemy electronic intelligence equipment. Attracting unnecessary attention to yourself is fraught with the destruction of anti-radar missiles, artillery and guided tactical missiles. It should also be understood that the primary task of air defense units at any level is not the destruction of enemy aircraft, but the prevention of damage to covered objects.
Unable to detect mobile anti-aircraft systems by radar receivers, the pilots of enemy aircraft and helicopters will not be able to take timely evasion maneuvers and jamming devices. It is difficult to imagine that the crew of an anti-tank helicopter or a fighter-bomber, suddenly discovering nearby explosions of anti-aircraft shells, will continue to carry out further combat missions.
It is possible that the determining factor in the fate of the new anti-aircraft artillery complex was the experience of using air defense systems in protecting Russian military installations in Syria. In the past few years, the Pantsir-C1 air defense missile system, deployed at the Khmeimim base, has repeatedly fired on unguided rockets and drones launched by Islamists. At the same time, the cost of the 57E6 anti-aircraft missile with radio command guidance is hundreds of times higher than the price of a simple Chinese-made drone. The use of expensive missiles against such goals is a necessary measure and economically unjustified. Considering that in the future we should expect an explosive increase in the number of small-sized remotely controlled aircraft above the battlefield and in the frontline, our army needs an inexpensive and simple means of neutralizing them. In any case, a 57-mm fragmentation projectile with a programmable remote or radar fuse costs many times less than the 57E6 SAM from the Pantsir-C1 air defense system.
To be continued ...