Russian industry completed work on promising unmanaged aviation missile S-8OFP “Armor-piercer”. As it became known the other day, the production of such products has begun and documents are being prepared for their official adoption. All necessary procedures will be completed next year.
The latest news
On May 25, TASS published a statement by Alexander Kochkin, Executive Director of NPK Tekhmash. He said that the concern had manufactured the first batch of promising NAR for use in the framework of pilot military operation and development of combat use. Products are released at the expense of the manufacturer, and he hopes that the Ministry of Defense will begin the necessary activities in the near future.
At the beginning of 2019, the leadership of Techmash announced the completion of state testing of the S-8OFP product and the imminent start of experimental military operation. However, the real timing of the transfer of missiles to the troops has moved. According to A. Kochkin, this is due to a change in the terms of reference. In the very near future, the customer will adjust the requirements, which will allow to continue work.
On May 27, a representative of NPK Tekhmash again revealed some details of current work, this time in an interview for RIANews". The concern is ready to launch production of new NAR in the interests of the aerospace forces. Serial deliveries are scheduled to begin as early as 2021.
The issue with the terms of reference was successfully resolved, the Ministry of Defense made the necessary changes. Now his task is to prepare documents for the official adoption of the NAR into service, and this work will begin in the coming days. How long it will take is not specified.
A new example of the old family
Recall, the unguided missile S-8OFP "Armor-piercer" is another representative of a fairly old family of aircraft ammunition S-8. The development of this line of NAR has been going on since the mid-sixties, and to date it includes one and a half dozen products for various purposes with different characteristics.
The development of a new version of the old rocket was carried out in the NPO "Splav", which is part of the NPK "Techmash". The latter, in turn, is included in the control circuits of the state corporation Rostec. The main objective of the project was to create a NAR with an increased flight range and a penetrating warhead that was fundamentally new for the family.
The materials for the S-8OFP project were first shown to the public in 2014. After that, the NPO Splav completed the design and brought the missile to testing. For the first time such works were reported in May 2018. Then it was claimed that by the end of the year the Armor Striker would pass state tests. In February 2019, Techmash reported on the successful completion of these events. Soon there was information about the imminent adoption and the launch of the series.
The new Armor Striker missile is made in the old S-8 form factor, which ensures compatibility with existing launch blocks. In this case, completely new components and solutions are used that provide a significant increase in the basic characteristics.
The caliber of the S-8OFP rocket remained the same - 80 mm. The length of the product reaches 1500 mm and generally corresponds to other members of the family. Starting weight - no more than 17 kg. The missile has a cylindrical body with a conical head. The tail unit in the transport position is laid on the body by turning sideways; at launch, it opens, providing the promotion and stabilization of the rocket.
The "armor-piercer" receives a new high-explosive fragmentation warhead of the penetrating type - this particular feature is listed in the "OFP" index. Warhead weighing 9 kg carries more than 2,5 kg of explosive and has a hardened body with an internal notch for the formation of fragments. The warhead is equipped with a dual-mode contact fuse. It can be set to undermine when in contact with the target or with some delay - to break through the barrier and explode behind it.
For the new NAR, a solid propellant rocket engine with improved energy performance and dimensions of previous products has been developed. With its help, a flight is provided for a range of up to 6 km. For comparison, the most advanced modifications of the NAR S-8 have a range of no more than 3-4 km.
Due to the preservation of the old form factor, the S-8OFP product can be used with all existing suspended launch blocks. Similar devices can carry from 7 to 20 missiles. Accordingly, the new NAR can be used by a wide range of domestic aircraft and front-line helicopters. Apparently for the effective use of uncontrollable weapons with altered flight and energy characteristics, additional tuning of fire control systems is required.
According to domestic media reports, the Su-25 attack aircraft will receive the new weapons in the first place. It is also intended for attack and multi-purpose helicopters of several types. However, with the supply and implementation of the “Armor Striker” it can become part of a typical combat load and other aircraft capable of using S-8 or other NAR.
Uncontrolled aircraft missile S-8OFP "Armor-piercer" is of great interest to the airborne forces in the context of solving a wide range of combat missions. Despite the advent of high-precision systems, NAR remain the most important part of the front-line aviation weapons complex, and the new product expands the range of available ammunition and gives previously missing capabilities.
One of the main advantages of the “Armor Striker” over its predecessor is associated with the new engine. With its help, the firing range increases by 1,5-3 times in comparison with various types of NAR. Due to this, the construction of a combat approach is simplified and the likelihood of a number of enemy anti-aircraft weapons entering the affected zone is reduced. In addition, the new engine compensates for the significant increase in the mass of the rocket itself and its warhead.
The new high-explosive penetrating warhead is several times heavier than the combat equipment of other versions of the S-8 NAR. So, the base S-8 carried a 3,6-kg warhead with 1 kg of explosive. Concrete NAR S-8B and S-8BM carried warheads weighing up to 7,4 kg, but with a reduced charge. The promising "Armor Striker" combines a large mass of charge and warheads in general.
The robust warhead casing provides penetration of various obstacles, which can be used for delayed blasting. There is the possibility of breaking through brick and concrete buildings, earth embankment, etc. Also, S-8OFP becomes an effective tool against lightly armored enemy vehicles. Targets with stronger protection can suffer severe damage to combat effectiveness.
The possibility of undermining after breaking through the barrier will be useful when attacking enemy buildings and / or manpower hiding in them. The destruction of such an object using high-explosive fragmentation warheads is associated with a significant expenditure of ammunition, and a penetrating charge can give substantial savings - especially taking into account the relatively low accuracy of NAR.
Despite all the innovations, the “Armor Striker” remains an unguided missile, which reduces the possible accuracy of the hit and increases the consumption of ammunition for hitting a small target. As in the case with other NAR, this problem is solved by using modern weapons control systems. A significant part of the Russian Air Force strike aircraft has already received the SVP-24 Gefest sighting and navigation system, which provides increased accuracy for unguided weapons.
According to known data, a radical solution is also being prepared - a guided missile based on the existing NAR. Recently, a project of ammunition with the code "Monolith" regularly appears in the news. According to some reports, this missile is made on the basis of the “Armor Striker” with various design changes, as well as with the introduction of homing tools. Thus, the new "Monolith" will combine the characteristics of NAR with increased accuracy.
According to Techmash, a prototype of the Monolith product will be ready only in 2-3 years, and the base Armor Striker will be released next year. It follows that after 2021, for several years, VKS will be able to use only the uncontrolled version of the S-8OFP - although in the future there will be a wider choice.
According to recent reports, the latest uncontrolled aircraft missile of the S-8 family has passed the necessary tests, after which it is preparing for experimental military operation and for adoption. At the same time, work continues on its improved version, probably equipped with homing tools.
Thus, the development of the NAR line, which began more than half a century ago, continues to this day and gives the desired results. The concept of an 80-mm unguided rocket has not yet exhausted its capabilities, and the advent of new technologies and components allows its continued development. Thanks to this, already next year our VKS will receive an armor striker product with improved capabilities, and in the future they will have a more perfect and accurate Monolith.