Hypersonic weapons: USA and Russia
Recognize the degree of threat emanating from hypersonic weapons, perhaps only by examples. You can talk arbitrarily for a long time about the superiority of Russia in the creation of hypersonic weapons, but so far all the information about the X-47M2 “Dagger”, “Zircon” and “Vanguard” give rise to more questions than answers. The first specialists are most often called not hypersonic, but an aeroballistic complex based on the Iskander. All that we saw on the Zircon are two transport and launch missile containers aboard the Admiral Gorshkov frigate, which are supposedly intended for this very complex. In turn, the “Vanguard” is sometimes even called a “step back” in comparison with conventional intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine ballistic missiles, if we talk about the destructive power of weapons.
But the Americans are not doing well either: this is visible even through the prism of American propaganda. In February, it became known that the United States closed due to lack of funds the project to create an air-launched hypersonic missile Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon, the carriers of which were to become fighters and bombers. However, he left with himself another similar project - ARRW (Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon). This project, according to available data, is a solid-fuel aeroballistic missile with a warhead, the role of which is played by a detachable hypersonic warhead with a Tactical Boost Glide engine. With our own eyes we saw him last year - as a mass-size model suspended under the wing of the B-52H strategic bomber.
Interestingly, the speed of the war block, according to Western sources, can reach 20 Machs. If this is true, then the speed of the ARRW combat equipment is approximately two times higher than the speed of the “Dagger” and, probably, Zircon, although the latter, we repeat, is definitely too early to judge.
It is no secret that the United States traditionally focuses on air power and navy, not forgetting, however, about ground forces. Last year, information appeared about a land-based hypersonic complex under the uncomplicated name Hypersonic Weapons System (for the US Army). We recall that it is a two-container complex towed by an Oshkosh M983A4 tractor. And the concept is based on the multi-functional highly maneuverable planning hypersonic warhead Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). Earlier it was reported that its warhead can be created on the basis of the warhead Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which in theory can reach Mach 8. Not as impressive as ARRW, but still.
On the whole, on the issue of developing hypersonic systems, the United States clearly does not look like an outsider: neither against Russia, nor against China, or against anyone else. Rather, all other countries need to survive. And they understand that.
Complex of usefulness
Since Russia does not have the financial capabilities of the United States, the answer will have to be “cheap and cheerful.” On February 12, Izvestia reported, citing a source in the military-industrial complex, that an ultra-long-range air-based missile is being designed in the Russian Federation for the Soviet MiG-31 and the promising MiG-41. The product has the unpronounceable name MFRK DP (multifunctional long-range interception missile system). It is designed to intercept "complex targets", namely, hypersonic blocks of promising American missiles. Allegedly, today they have already carried out theoretical research on the air-to-air missile, which has a divided warhead. Now determine the technical details of the complex.
It is worth noting immediately that this is not a rocket, but a complex with a capital letter, which has several main components. If you summarize all the data, the principle of the system looks something like this:
1. An interceptor fighter launches a carrier capable of flying about 200 kilometers.
2. A unit with several air-to-air missiles is detached from the carrier.
3. Using active radar homing heads, these missiles seek out and hit targets.
The flight of thought really strikes the most daring imagination: against the background of such weapons even the mythical two-stage KS-172 fades, which should (should?) Have a range of about 400 kilometers. The main question can be formulated as follows: who needs such a complex complex and why? In short, it is designed to dramatically increase the chances of successfully repelling a blow with a hypersonic weapon. “An ordinary anti-aircraft missile has one warhead,” military expert Dmitry Kornev said earlier. - The probability of a miss on a hypersonic maneuvering target is very high. But if one ammunition carries several homing shells, then the chances of hitting a high-speed object are significantly increased. ”
In general, it seems that we are talking about a massive blow, since in this case conventional means can indeed prove to be powerless. The most interesting thing is the choice of submunition. That is, a rocket, which should become a thunderstorm of maneuvering hypersonic blocks. One of the voiced candidates - promising aviation medium-range missile K-77M, which is the next version of the RVV-AE or R-77.
K-77M should have a very long launch range, and in addition be relatively compact: the missile should be located in the internal compartments of the Su-57. In this regard, one involuntarily recalls the mysterious product shown last year at the exhibition of the Vympel NGO, which is part of the Tactical Missile Arms Corporation. Recall that the missile presented then, according to experts, was significantly shorter than any known version of the RVV-AE. There are other differences. "The nozzle is wider, which may indicate that it (a rocket. - Approx. Aut.) Has the ability to control the thrust vector," then wrote the Western media.
The missile, judging by the appearance of the bare part, has an active homing radar head. All of this theoretically fits into the requirements of the IFPC DP. By the way, it is appropriate to recall that in addition to the K-77M, there is also the K-77ME project - roughly speaking, a similar product, but with an increased flight range.
Finally, the most exciting thing for aircraft enthusiasts is the new-generation MiG-41 fighter-interceptor project, which is now mentioned again. In the West, for some reason they like to call him the "sixth generation" (let us leave this on their conscience). As we know, the MiG-31 in the broad sense is a deeply modernized MiG-25, which made its first flight in 1964. Whatever one may do, it’s very, very difficult to make an aircraft of the 31st century out of the 41st: if only because of a mismatch with modern requirements of maneuverability, economy and radar stealth. In turn, the promising fighter, the MiG-25, should be a completely new platform, while maintaining the main trump card of the MiG-31/XNUMX, namely, very high speed.
The data provided by Izvestia once again shows that the MiG-41 is not just a “phantom”, but a real project. It is worth recalling that back in 2018, the CEO of MiG Corporation Ilya Tarasenko said that the MiG-41 is not an invention, and the Russian aircraft building corporation will present the results of work on the creation of a new fifth-generation fighter in the foreseeable future. It’s worth mentioning right away that absolutely all MiG-41 images “walking” on the Web have almost nothing to do with the aircraft. Therefore, such statements are the only thing we have now.