In previous articles "The concept of an aircraft-carrying cruiser with a sixth generation UAV" и "Concept of shipborne unmanned aircraft AWACS" the technical possibilities of building a new generation light aircraft carrier are considered.
It was proposed to build an aircraft-carrying cruiser (AK) on the basis of the Priboy UDC (with a displacement of 25 thousand tons) or the Ivan Rogov UDC (standard / full displacement of 30/40 thousand tons). Project KGNTs "Priboy" may be even preferable for AK, due to the fact that we do not have a power plant suitable for AK.
Both UDC projects use engines, developed for the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, of insufficient power. With the same length of both UDCs, the width of the Priboy ship is less, and its speed should be higher. The maximum width of Rogov (38 m) is excessive for AK.
The aircraft wing of the AK consists of 40 UAVs - subsonic fighter-bombers (IS) weighing 4 tons. There are also 3 UAVs of AWACS weighing 6 tons. km. For this, it was proposed to develop planning bombs and missiles (PB and PR).
Some readers felt that such a number of new developments translates the AK project into the realm of fantasy. Undoubtedly, if now we begin the full development of the AK, then (given the deplorable state of our defense industry), it will take 12-15 years before commissioning.
However, the global trend of transition to UAVs cannot be ignored. And if we wait another 10 years, we will find ourselves at the same broken trough as now. And engineering schools will be lost. The development of at least a prototype of a critical element for air defense - an AWACS UAV - needs to start now.
In 2020, it was announced about the bookmark 2 of the UDC Ivan Rogov with a plan for the further continuation of the series. However, nothing was announced about the alleged combat use. Apparently, they can only land in those areas where enemy troops are absent. We do not have fire support destroyers and are not expected. The Ka-52 helicopters are heavy (11 tons) and are not designed to suppress air defense. Therefore, UDC alone can be applied only in a very limited number of cases. A joint landing operation of the UDC and AK would be very effective, and the construction of the UDC would make sense.
In the presented series of materials, an attempt is made to show that the AK is a serious combat unit, best suited for participation in regional conflicts. This article analyzes the ways of organizing a reliable air defense AUG. In the next, the AK strike operations will be considered.
Next, we will consider the actions of the AUG as part of the AK, two frigates or corvettes and, possibly, auxiliary ships.
2. Technical means of organizing air defense
The AK provides for the placement of a powerful radar complex (RLK), superior in its characteristics to the Aegis air defense system radar. The design of the radar is described in the article “The effectiveness of the air defense of a promising destroyer. Alternative radar complex "... The basis of the radar is formed by a missile defense radar, which provides ultra-long-range detection of ballistic missiles and all aircraft flying above the horizon. Its 70cm wavelength range makes it easy to detect all aircraft, including Stealth, and operate with almost no interference.
The enemy has no jammers in this range. Except for the jammers of radio communication lines in this range, they are too weak to suppress the radar.
The disadvantage of the missile defense radar is the not so high accuracy of measuring the angles of the target and the inability to work on low-altitude anti-ship missiles. These shortcomings are eliminated by the multifunctional (MF) radar, operating in the 5,5 cm range. It provides high-precision tracking of targets and the guidance of missiles at them.
The air defense system includes long-range and short-range missiles (DB and MD). The number of 9M96E2 type anti-aircraft missiles is small - 16, and they are used as a reserve (in case of an unexpected IS attack) or against hypersonic anti-ship missiles. The communication line of the missile defense system with the MF radar must also be carried out in the 5,5 cm range. The MF radar has a sufficiently high range and tracking accuracy to bring the missile defense system even to a stealth target.
For example, the error in determining the coordinates of the IS F-35 at a distance of 150 km will be 50–70 m. With this guidance accuracy, the seeker will have time to aim the missile defense system, even if the target is locked by the seeker at a very short range, for example, 3 km. With such small errors, all target maneuvers are detected quickly enough and the trajectory of the missile defense system can be optimized by driving it at high altitudes. This will increase the range of destruction of missiles to 150 km.
If the UAV AWACS detects an over-the-horizon target, then the AWACS OBD radar missiles can be guided at it with almost the same accuracy as the MF radar. The number of MD SAMs should be large - at least 64. Currently, there are 3 types of MD SAMs.
The first type of 9M100 missile defense system has an IR seeker, but it is quite heavy (140 kg) and very expensive due to the complexity of the design. The low speed of missiles will make it difficult to intercept supersonic anti-ship missiles, which maneuver exactly on the final section of the trajectory.
The second type of SAM system "Pantsir" weighs 75 kg, but does not have a seeker. Its other disadvantage is the requirement to start not from the UVP, but from a tilt-and-turn launcher. On the MRK "Odintsovo" the Pantsir-M air defense system is installed, the tower of which is similar to the tower of the land version of the air defense system.
It is not possible to place such a tower on the AK, since it will reduce the width of the runway. Another disadvantage of the Pantsir-M air defense system is the use of the millimeter-wave range for the missile guidance radar. Even a slight deterioration in meteorological conditions (drizzling rain, fog) leads to a significant attenuation of millimeter waves. As a result, the target tracking range drops to 10–12 km, and the guidance accuracy also decreases. That is, at a distance of 10 km, the probability of hitting anti-ship missiles remains low.
The best option is the third type of SAM 9M338k SAM Tor. Although it also does not have a GOS, it starts vertically. The firing range is 15 km. MF radar will provide all-weather missile guidance. The target tracking error at a distance of 15 km will be halved compared to the Pantsir radar. The SAM guidance line will have to be transferred to the MF radar range of 5,5 cm.
The AK must withstand much more intense raids than the UDC. In this case, the main load at ranges of more than 20 km is taken not by the air defense missile system, but by the UAVs of the IS, carrying up to 8 PR. The ammunition load of the PR for the AK must be at least 200 pcs. With the help of PR, it is possible to provide air defense at ranges of up to 150 km.
The radar station of the IB UAV is equipped with two AFARs - a bow and a tail, which allows the UAV to conduct long-range air combat (DVB) and evade close combat. When developing tactics for DVB using PR, we will assume that the enemy uses only aviation Medium-range missile launcher (SD) of the AMRAAM type, the launch range of which is estimated at 150 km. It will not be possible to carry out a full-fledged defense of an IS UAV against AMRAAM attacks using our K-77-1 SD SD because of the shorter launch range - 110 km.
If you immediately abandon the idea of an oncoming battle, then instead of the expensive and rather heavy UR K-77-1 (190 kg), switch to a PR with a mass of 70 kg. It is expected that the missile launcher, when launched from an altitude of 17 km at a speed of 270 m / s, can fly 100 km in gliding mode. If the PR turns on the engine and drops the gliding wing, then it can accelerate to a speed of more than 1000 m / s and hit the target, flying another 20 km.
Based on the incomparability of the launch ranges of the PR and AMRAAM, we come to the following tactics of the DVB:
- UAV IS flies towards the IS of the enemy and, when the distance is reduced to 100-150 km, launches a pair of PRs in planning mode.
- Immediately after the launch, the UAV turns around and leaves in the opposite direction. With an overload of 3-4 G, the turn will take 20-30 s.
- Two PRs are planning, scattering to the sides to take the target in "ticks".
- When the distance from the PR to the IS is reduced to 20-25 km, the UAV gives the PR command to start the engine and continues the PR command guidance.
- At a distance of 3 km PR switches to homing.
The main difficulty of this DVB method is that the IS UAV does not have a powerful radar. Even with an external control center, the detection range of the F-16 IS with an effective reflective surface (EOC) is 2 sq. m will be 120 km, and according to the information security F-35 with an image intensifier of 0,1 sq. m - 50 km. The accuracy of command guidance turns out to be low, for example, with a target range of 30–40 km, the tracking error of the F-16 will be 100 m. Such an error will require the use of a more complex IR seeker on the PR.
Perhaps, in order to avoid such complication, it will be necessary to develop group methods for scanning the radar or the interaction of the UAV's radar with the AWACS radar or with the MF radar.
3. Provision of a long-range air defense line using UAVs armed with gliding missiles
During sea crossings, the illumination of the air situation can be produced by the AK radar or the AWACS UAV. If the AUG needs to observe the radio silence mode, then only AWACS is used, which is carried out at 120–150 km, and a pair of IS UAVs on duty is on the deck for 30 seconds. readiness.
Upon detection of unidentified aircraft at ranges of 400-500 km from the AK, AWACS within 1 min. makes the connection of the aircraft route. If the target flies towards the AK, then the IS on duty in 5-6 minutes rise to an altitude of more than 15 km, and the AWACS retreats closer to the AK.
Further actions are determined by the type of attack. In this case, we will assume that the AWACS aircraft uses a radar range of 5,5 cm.
3.1. Reflecting the attack of subsonic anti-ship missiles
Suppose that AK is attacked by an F-35 stealth group. According to our estimates, AWACS can detect F-35 at a distance of 220 km from AWACS. Let a pair of F-35s, spaced 5 km apart, being at a range of about 300 km, turn on the interference. Then a noise illumination will be created on the AWACS indicator in a sector with a width of 1,5 °.
Consequently, the AWACS operator will know the direction of attack, but not the current IS range. Immediately after the appearance of interference, the operator lifts a pair of UAVs on duty, which, during the ascent, scatter 20-30 km in order to track the jammers and determine their range.
Consider the option of an attack, when a group of F-35s from a line of 250 km from the AK launches 20 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, moreover, in the form of a star raid, that is, anti-ship missiles must simultaneously approach the AK from 3-4 directions.
By the time the anti-ship missile launcher is launched, the pair on duty will have time to determine the range to the directors, and another 4-6 UAVs will be lifted into the air. By the turn of 200 km, all launched anti-ship missiles will be detected by AWACS. Except those that fly inside the sector illuminated by interference, elongated in the direction from the IS to the AWACS. However, these anti-ship missiles can also be detected by a UAV on duty if it flies along the illumination sector, but to the side of it at a distance of 10-15 km. AWACS aims each UAV at its own group of anti-ship missiles.
The UAV's radar allows it to simultaneously fire at targets in a strip up to 40 km wide. If the group of anti-ship missiles assigned to this UAV is compact (size no more than 5 km), then the destruction of the anti-ship missile system is made by a direct attack. At a distance of about 15 km, one missile launcher is launched for each anti-ship missile. The planning mode is not used in this case.
The target tracking error at the time of its meeting with the PR will be about 20 m, which provides a high probability of targeting the PR using the IR seeker. In case of a miss, there will still be a reserve of time for a restart. As a result, almost all anti-ship missiles will be destroyed at distant lines, and almost no need to use air defense systems.
3.2. The defeat of supersonic anti-ship missiles (SPKR)
Suppose that the enemy ship has SPKRs similar to those of Onyx. Then the SPKR can be launched from ranges of up to 600 km. Let the EOP SPKR be 0,3-0,5 sq. m, then the AWACS will be able to detect it at a distance of 280 km. If the marching section of the SPKR trajectory flies at an altitude of 12 km, then the missile defense radar can detect it at a greater range than that of the AWACS - 440 km.
In any case, the time reserve for interception is extremely small. Therefore, only a pair of UAVs on duty, already in the air, can intercept the SPKR on the marching sector. The interception method is similar to the previous one - direct attack. The missile launcher is launched at a range of 10-15 km up to the SPKR, and in a pair at once. It will no longer be possible to restart in the event of a miss.
UAVs starting from the deck will be able to intercept the SPKR only in the low-altitude over-the-horizon section. The best accuracy of UAV output to SPKR will be provided by AWACS, but (in the absence of AWACS), the UAV can detect over-the-horizon SPKR on its own.
The PR is launched at a distance of 10 km. Since the height of the target is 10–15 m and is not accurately measured, it is advisable to bring the PR using the built-in altimeter at a height of 12 m to the meeting point and use the seeker.
3.3. Interception of the enemy's IS
IB will strive to break through to AUG for a variety of purposes.
IS, wishing to reveal the composition and location of the AUG ships, will fly up at a low altitude and, having completed the "slide" at a distance of 50 km and after reconnaissance, will go back.
IS flying at high altitude, seeking to intercept UAVs or AWACS. As well as information security, striking the AUG weapons medium range. For example, PB.
In all cases, we will assume that IB have UR AMRAAM. At heights of IS and targets of 10 km, the launch range of the missile launcher is estimated at 150 km. When the IS is flying at low altitude, and targets are at an altitude of 16 km, the launch range will be less than 100 km. On the contrary, the launch range of PR from top to bottom will increase from 20 to 30 km.
All modern information security systems are equipped with electronic countermeasures (KREP), the parameters of which are classified. Therefore, the assessment of the results of the operation of the KREP on the UAV radar will be taken into account only qualitatively.
Further, we will consider only air defense from IS Stealth F-35.
3.3.1. Interception of low-altitude information security
In order not to be detected by the AK radar, the enemy's IS must fly below the radio horizon at a distance of 400 km below 10 km, at a distance of 200 km - 3 km, at 100 km - 0,8 km. Therefore, only AWACS can detect IB. The detection range is estimated at 220 km.
IB will seek to determine the coordinates of the AWACS by tracking its radiation. To do this, a pair of IBs must scatter to the sides by 30-50 km. In order to prevent the measurement of its own coordinates from the AWACS, the IS emit interference, starting already at a distance of 300 km from the AWACS. In this case, 2 jammers must simultaneously enter the AWACS beam in order not to make it possible to accurately measure the bearing of any of them. That is, the distance between the IS should be 1–3 km.
If the AWACS is moved forward by 100 km, then interference will appear when the range from IS to AK is 400 km, while the IS speed will be subsonic. Then a pair of UAVs on duty rises from the deck and, during the climb, scatters to the sides by ± 20-30 km relative to the IB-AWACS line. While the UAV has not yet risen, the AWACS sees only a sector 1,5 ° wide, illuminated by noise interference. The AWACS cannot get a mark on targets and determine the distances to them when the range is so great.
After the IS UAV has risen to a height of 5-10 km, they will fall into the IS line of sight and will be able to receive jamming signals that IS emit against the AWACS. The received interference and AWACS and both UAVs are relayed to the AC, where they are jointly processed. As a result, the AK operator can determine how much IS emit interference and the azimuths of each of them. At ranges of more than 300 km, the errors in determining the coordinates of the IS are too large for the guidance of the PR, but at a distance of 150 km, guidance is possible. Moreover, with a decrease in the distance from the AWACS radar to the IS, the influence of interference weakens, and the radar, starting from a certain range, detects the target mark.
As a result, we get that the pair on duty moves forward, and the AWACS follows them at a distance of about 50 km. When the distance from the UAV to the IS is reduced to 120 km, the UAVs launch the PR in the planning mode, and they themselves turn around and go to the AWACS. PR, when approaching the IS at 30 km, turns on the engine and, while descending, is guided to the target by the AWACS commands. The seeker is turned on at the last stage of the attack.
3.3.2. Interception of high-altitude information security
The difference between this case and the previous one is that the attacking IS themselves seek to intercept AWACS and UAVs at the maximum available ranges. Therefore, IS fly at a cruising supersonic speed, for example 500 m / s at an altitude of 15 km. In this situation, AWACS becomes unnecessary, since the missile defense radar can detect the F-35 at a distance of 500 km or more. The pair on duty, climbing to a height of 17 km, after 500 seconds. after the start, it will fly to the line of 100 km, and the IS will fly up to the line of 250 km. At this moment, UAVs launch PR in pairs on each target, turn around and go to the AK.
All targets are tracked by the missile defense radar, which the F-35s cannot emit due to the absence of a 70 cm range in their CREPs. completely satisfied. The MF radar takes over the guidance of the PR. During planning within 250 minutes. at a speed of 500 m / s, the PR-IB distance will be reduced to 3–200 km. Further, the PR engines are turned on, and the MF radar directs the PR. The target tracking error of the MF radar is only 25 m, which facilitates the work of the seeker.
If the enemy emits interference with the MF radar, then the MF radar goes into a semi-active mode of operation, when the target is illuminated by those UAV or AWACS radars that are away from the line connecting the target and the MF radar. In this mode, the MF radar itself does not emit anything, but only receives the signal reflected from the target. KREP IS automatically directs interference only in the direction of the emitting radar, and the MF radar remains unirradiated, and the PR guidance continues successfully.
4. The technical capabilities of the close-range air defense
The capabilities of command guidance of MD missiles that do not have a seeker are well known. The guidance radars of the MD air defense missile system, as a rule, have a low energy potential and do not provide the required guidance accuracy to inconspicuous targets such as anti-ship missiles or IB F-35 at long ranges.
No less difficult for "headless" missiles is the task of intercepting a maneuvering target. For example, if an anti-ship missile flying at a range of 15 km, with the help of its seeker detects an attacking missile defense system at a distance of 2 km, then it can perform an anti-aircraft maneuver. The guidance radar will notice the maneuver when the anti-ship missile deviation from the trajectory has already reached 5–8 m. Therefore, even a low overload of 1–2 G will allow the anti-ship missile to avoid defeat. Supersonic anti-ship missiles can develop an overload of up to 10 G. Further, we will assume that a conventional air defense system radar can quickly detect a target maneuver at a range of 5–7 km, and an MF radar - 8–10 km.
A much more effective solution to the problem of tracking maneuvering anti-ship missiles is the involvement of another radar located on the side of the anti-ship missile trajectory to accompany anti-ship missiles. For example, let an AWACS or an IS UAV be placed in the direction of the attack at 10-15 km and are located on the side of the anti-ship missile trajectory at a distance of 5-20 km. Consider that a typical radar will measure range to a target much more accurately than angles. Therefore, for a radar located on the side, any anti-ship missile maneuver to the left or to the right will cause a change in range that differs from the change in range that occurs when the target is moving straight. Even a deviation of less than 1 m will already be recorded by the second radar and transmitted to the missile defense system.
Consequently, the AK (unlike other ships) is able to organize the interception of maneuvering targets even on the far border of the zone of destruction of the MD SAM.
In addition, we note that the energy potential of the MF radar is large enough, and the radar beam is narrow enough not to fear jammers operating from relatively safe distances, for example, 100 km.
5. Notes on the possibility of using KREP to thwart anti-ship missile attacks
Placing the KREP transmitter on the ship itself does not guarantee a disruption of the attack, since the GOS of the anti-ship missile system uses the radiation of the KREP as a radio beacon and is aimed even more accurately than without interference. Therefore, interference should be emitted from different ships and, due to controlled flickering, swing the anti-ship missile guidance loop.
However, the development of UAV technology makes it possible to use, for example, quadrocopters with suspended KREP transmitters. The distance from the quadcopter to the spacecraft should be 0,5–1 km. As a last resort, the transmitters can also be suspended under an IS UAV.
The presence of IS UAVs, armed with PR, allows you to organize a long-range air defense line without the use of large and expensive air defense missiles.
The interception of attacking anti-ship missiles is carried out on long trajectory sections, which makes it possible to intercept anti-ship missiles again. Until its guaranteed destruction.
Only a small part of the anti-ship missiles salvo will reach the defense line of the MD SAM and, given the ability of the MF radar to simultaneously aim at least 10 SAMs in the defense sector of each AFAR, all anti-ship missiles will be intercepted with a given reliability.
The presence of an AWACS UAV makes it possible to exclude unexpected attacks from low-altitude IS and to optimize the distribution of air defense resources.
UAV flight at high altitudes allows the use of PR against supersonic IS of the enemy and compensate for the absence in the Russian Federation of UR SD, equivalent to UR AMRAAM.
The overall effectiveness of the AK's AA defense is superior to that of the destroyer Orly Burke.
The high reliability of the AK air defense allows not to have URO destroyers in the AUG, but to focus on anti-submarine defense.