Ground SAM "Tor-M2". Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
In 1986, the newest short-range anti-aircraft missile system 9K330 "Tor" entered service with the military air defense of the Soviet Army. In the future, several major upgrades were carried out, and the process of improving this air defense system does not stop. It is proposed both to increase all the main characteristics, and to expand the scope of application. On the basis of the modern modification "Tor-M2" it is proposed to make an air defense system for ships of the naval fleet.
The January issue of the National Defense magazine published an interview with Fanil Ziyatdinov, General Director of the Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol (part of the Almaz-Antey VKO Concern). The head of the enterprise spoke about the current work and plans, incl. affecting the further development of the "Tor" air defense system family.
The improvement of these complexes is carried out due to the transition to a new element base. In addition, work is underway to further expand the range of the so-called. carrier base. In particular, a prototype on a floating wheeled chassis is expected.
The Kinzhal air defense missile launcher on board the Admiral Vinogradov spacecraft. Photo by US Navy
Also IEMZ "Kupol" is studying the issues of transformation of the land complex "Tor-M2" into interspecific. Work on the creation of a shipborne air defense system has already begun. At the same time, F. Ziyatdinov did not disclose even the approximate characteristics and possibilities of such a modification of the complex. The timing of its appearance and potential carriers also remained unknown.
In the context of the marine modification of the Tor-M2 product, it is necessary to recall the 3K95 Dagger complex. It was developed in the mid-eighties by NPO Altair, MKB Fakel, KB Start and other enterprises. After lengthy and difficult tests, in 1989 the "Dagger" complex was adopted by the Soviet Navy and recommended for installation on ships of various types.
The Kinzhal air defense missile system includes a specially designed 3R95 antenna post with a phased antenna array and an optoelectronic unit. Also, new high-speed automated data processing and fire control systems were created. Post 3P95 was responsible for detecting air targets at ranges up to 45 km, and also provided firing missiles or from an AK-630 gun.
Antenna post 3P95 from the "Dagger". Photo Wikimedia Commons
For the Kinzhal air defense system, the Fakel ICB developed the 9M330-2 anti-aircraft guided missile - a modified version of the 9M330 air defense missile system from the Tor ground air defense system. The characteristics of the rocket as a whole remained the same - range up to 12 km and altitude up to 6 km. The missiles are equipped with an under-deck drum-type launcher with 8 cells for missile containers.
SAM 3K95 was installed on ships of several types of late Soviet development. The most notable carrier of the "Dagger" is the aircraft-carrying cruiser "Admiral Kuznetsov". It has 24 launchers with a total ammunition load of 192 missiles. It was possible to fit 1144 units into the dimensions of the compartments of the heavy nuclear missile cruiser pr. 16. Large anti-submarine ships of the project 1155 carry eight such products, and the patrol boats of the project 11540 were equipped with four.
"Thor" on the ship
The ship's "Dagger" is unified with the land-based "Thor" only in terms of the used missile defense system. Any attempts to expand the unification and / or adaptation of the army anti-aircraft complex to the needs of the fleet have not been made for several decades. However, in October 2016, an interesting experiment was carried out, which showed the fundamental possibility of using the Tor-M2 product not only on land.
Preparing for the Tora-M2KM tests on board the Admiral Grigorovich. Photo by IEMZ "Kupol"
During the tests, the Tor-M2KM air defense system in container design was loaded onto the Admiral Grigorovich frigate of the Black Sea Fleet and secured on its helipad. The integration of the complex into the ship's control systems was not carried out, "Tor" worked as an independent combat unit in the position.
The ship with the air defense system on board went to one of the sea ranges, after which the shooting began. An attack on a frigate was simulated using a target rocket. Tor-M2KM successfully detected the threat and responded to it. The conventional anti-ship missile was hit by the first missile launch. Unusual carrier, pitching and other characteristic factors did not interfere with the performance of the combat training mission.
Experiments with the "Tor-M2KM" container version are of great interest. They showed that such an air defense system can be installed on an offshore platform and successfully used by strengthening its air defense. We also managed to collect a lot of various information for further work. However, the tested option for placing the complex is of very limited practical value, since it excludes the operation of a deck helicopter.
SAM module on the helipad. Photo by IEMZ "Kupol"
It is obvious that the Tor-M2 air defense missile system needs serious revision to be used on ships. First of all, it will be necessary to abandon the existing architecture with the placement of all units on a common base. Taking into account the ship's specifics, the launcher, calculation jobs, radar equipment, etc. should be separated and possibly placed in different volumes of the hull and superstructure.
The own radars of the anti-aircraft complex are inferior in their basic characteristics to similar systems of any ship. Therefore, "Thor" should be able to receive data from shipborne detection equipment. At the same time, it will be necessary to retain the guidance station, which carries out target tracking and transfers the command to the missiles.
Unlike the old "Dagger", the modern "Tor-M2" can use the entire range of existing missiles 9M330 / 331/332. This will, in a known way, expand the capabilities of a promising shipborne air defense system in comparison with the existing one.
The complex is waiting for the training target. Photo by IEMZ "Kupol"
A hypothetical naval air defense system based on the land-based "Tora-M2" will be able to effectively solve the assigned tasks and increase the air defense potential of the carrier ship and the ship formation. In addition, such a complex will have obvious advantages over the existing "Dagger" using the same missiles.
Such an air defense system can be of great interest to the navy. If the Navy is interested in such a development, then in the distant future, new and modernized ships will have a new means of defense for the near zone. It is not known how soon this rearmament of our fleet will begin, and which ships will have to carry the updated Thor.
Several other important questions remain unanswered. So, it is not known whether it will be possible to create a full-fledged shipborne air defense system that meets all naval requirements. Tests in 2016 showed the fundamental compatibility of the ship and the Tora-M2KM, but did not reveal some of the other issues.
Rocket launch. Photo by IEMZ "Kupol"
In addition, the place of the new air defense system in the nomenclature of the Navy's weapons is unclear. A number of short-range complexes are already in service, such as the 3M87 "Kortik", the 3M89 "Broadsword" or the 3M47 "Gibka". A naval version of the "Shell" is created. Perhaps the new version of the "Torah" will have to compete with other domestic developments.
It seems that the IEMZ Kupol has begun the development of one of the most interesting modern projects in the field of air defense. The modernization of existing air defense systems with the increase of certain characteristics has long become a common thing, which cannot be said about the transfer of complexes from a land chassis to sea platforms.
Thus, several high-profile "premieres" will take place in the foreseeable future. Several new modifications of the "Tor" air defense missile system are being created at once with various features, including a fundamentally new naval one. As the experience of past years shows, the modernization potential of such a complex has not yet been exhausted - and the development of one more direction in the form of naval air defense will only increase it.