Long-range "destroyer" S-400 or ordinary modernization of HARM with mediocre updates. What's hidden in the AGM-88G
Information on the implementation of successful flight tests at the Pacific range near Avb Point Mugu of a prototype of a promising long-range anti-radar missile AGM-88G AARGM-ER from the suspension unit of the carrier-based multi-functional fighter F / A-18F of the US Navy in the blink of an eye turned into an unpaved field of activity for numerous domestic military experts and observers who went all out - in predicting the effectiveness of these products in the event of their probable combat use against the Kaliningrad and Crimean anti-aircraft zones of restriction and denial of access and A2 / AD maneuvers built by mixed anti-aircraft missile groups based on the S-300PM2 air defense missile system / 400, as well as self-propelled military air defense systems of medium and long range "Buk-M2" and S-300V4.
It poses a threat only with massive use from ultra-low altitudes, but it is still subject to interception even by far from new military air defense systems "Buk-M2"
This modification of the well-known family of anti-radar missiles HARM owes an increased interest from expert and observer circles to nothing more than the nickname "S-400 destroyer", given to it by employees of state information publications and regularly appearing in the American and Western European media spaces since June 2021.
Meanwhile, a completely logical question arises: to what extent do the true tactical and technical parameters of this line of anti-radar missiles correspond to this nickname?
After all, it is well known that the tradition of multiple overestimation of the characteristics and pretentious promotion of their military equipment is an integral component of the positioning of American military-industrial corporations on the world arms market.
Indeed, the updated AGM-88G AARGM-ER ("Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile - Extended Range") has a number of tactical and technical advantages in comparison with the early modification of the AGM-88E AARGM.
In particular, the aerodynamic layout and power plant of the new product have undergone dramatic changes, providing (in comparison with the AGM-88E) an increase in the range from 130 to 190-220 km and the flight speed in the initial section of the trajectory from 2,2 to 3,5-4M respectively.
To implement these parameters, the specialists of the military-industrial company "Northrop Grumman"
firstly, for the AARGM-ER we have designed a more “high-torque” dual-mode solid propellant rocket engine with a longer burnout period for solid propellant charges,
secondly, we have moved away from the classical aerodynamic scheme with front planes of aerodynamic control surfaces of a large area (which significantly increase aerodynamic resistance),
thirdly, we endowed the hull of the new PRLR with developed aerodynamic influxes of high aspect ratio, ensuring the implementation of the effect of the so-called "subplanning" on the stratospheric trajectory to increase the flight range.
In the future, the above features will allow the crews of carrier aircraft (EA-18G "Growler", F / A-18E / F "Super Hornet", and in the future, and F-35A / B / C) to launch anti-radar AARGM-ER missiles using radars illumination and guidance of the C-300PM2 / 400 and HQ-9 air defense systems from low and medium altitudes at launch ranges of 130-150 km, which will significantly reduce the likelihood of interception of carriers due to the inevitable decrease in the flight performance of anti-aircraft guided missiles HQ-9 (FD-2000 ) and 48H6E2 / 3.
This fact is due to the need to operate the latter in the dense layers of the troposphere at the terminal sections of the trajectories, where the high density of the atmosphere will contribute to an increase in aerodynamic drag and accelerated deceleration with the resulting loss of proper maneuverability, giving the pilots of the Growlers and Super Hornets a chance to perform an effective anti-zenith maneuver.
The early modification of the PRLR - AGM-88E provided the possibility of low- / medium-altitude launch from a much shorter distance (about 90-100 km), at which the above-mentioned anti-aircraft missiles still retain high speed and maneuverable potentials even when intercepting low-altitude targets in dense layers of the troposphere.
In the case of massive use of AGM-88G against the S-300PM2 and S-400 Triumph air defense systems from ultra-low altitudes and an over-the-horizon position at a distance of 55-60 km semi-active radar seeker), at the disposal of combat crews "Three hundred" and "Four hundred" will remain almost 48-6 times less time (about 2-1,5 seconds before entering the "dead zone") to detect, "tie" routes and "Capture" of dozens of AARGM-ERs in an approaching anti-radar outfit, rather than in the case of 2-mahova HARMs.
Therefore, if the enemy implements the above tactics of a sudden anti-radar strike, the combat stability of a single regiment of two S-300PM2 / 400 air defense missile systems, which has two 6-channel radars for illumination and guidance 30 / 92N6E, will be a big question.
For timely and effective suppression of such attacks, the element base of combat control points and illumination / guidance radars of all combatants S-300PM2 and S-400 should be subjected to software and hardware adaptation to the use of 9M96DM missiles equipped with active radar seeker and capable of intercepting the approaching Hornets / Growlers "before they reach the AGM-88G launch line beyond the radio horizon.
Moreover, each S-300/400 regiment should be covered with a battery of self-propelled military air defense missile systems "Tor-M2U" or ZRPK "Pantsir-SM", covering the "dead zone" of long-range complexes and capable of intercepting the AARGM-ER arrays that have escaped from ranging radars 30 / 92N6E and destruction by anti-aircraft missiles 48N6E2 / DM.
As for the electrodynamic parameters and flight performance of the AGM-88G PRLR, they practically do not differ from the earlier AGM-88E AARGM.
Having an active-passive radar seeker of the WGU-48 / B line with the same diameter and area of the radio-contrast slotted antenna array, the promising anti-radar missile AARGM-ER retained an effective reflecting surface at the level of 0,07 sq. m, providing the possibility of its detection by means of the 96L6 all-altitude detector and 92N6E illumination radar at a distance of about 120 and 170 km, respectively.
No less significant nuance is also the absence of the AARGM-ER gas-jet system of thrust vector deviation and developed aerodynamic control surfaces, which excludes the possibility of performing intensive anti-aircraft maneuvers on the cruise and terminal sections of the trajectory by the PRLR data.
As a result, the interception of such low-maneuverable targets can be carried out even by means of the 9M317 missiles of the Buk-M2 complexes, not to mention the S-350 Vityaz and Buk-M3 with the super-maneuverable 9M96DM and 9M317MA.
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