The potential and capabilities of the Kh-101 cruise missile

34

Rocket Kh-101 during preparation for flight. November 2015. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

In the first half of the tenth years, the armament of the Russian long-range aviation received the latest air-launched cruise missile Kh-101. A couple of years later, products of this type were first used outside the training ground and against real enemy targets. Subsequently, Kh-101 missile launches became regular and each time they performed the assigned combat missions, which showed the high potential of this weapons.

Rocket and its targets


According to known data, a new air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) with the X-101 index has been created at the Raduga State Design Bureau since the mid-nineties. This product was considered as a future replacement for the current X-55 missiles, and should have been significantly different from them. The Kh-101 was a non-nuclear weapon, and at the same time a unified Kh-102 ALCM with special combat equipment was being developed.



Design work on two missiles was completed at the turn of the nineties and two thousandths, after which tests began. Another 10-12 years were spent on comprehensive checks and fine-tuning of the new ALCMs, after which they received a recommendation for adoption. Serial production and delivery of Kh-101 missiles to the Air Force began in 2012-13.

On November 17, 2015, Tu-160 strategic bombers launched Kh-101 missiles at real targets for the first time. 16 products were simultaneously used at the facilities of illegal armed groups in Syria, and the launch was carried out at a great distance from the Syrian borders. In the following days, Tu-160s again used new missiles. About a year later, in November 2016, the first combat launch of new ALCMs from the Tu-95MS aircraft took place - and not the last for them.


Waiting for suspension. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

At the beginning of March 2022, the first reports appeared about the use of the Kh-101 during the Special Operation to Protect Donbass. With the help of a certain number of such products, they successfully hit a military facility in Kyiv. In the future, new messages appeared repeatedly and launches of the Kh-101 on Ukrainian military targets. Several times, bystanders even managed to film a rocket in flight. At the same time, the characteristic features of the flying product made it easy to recognize the X-101.

The latest reports of the use of X-101 came just a few days ago. On June 5, with the help of such weapons, the workshops of one of the Kyiv factories, which were used for the repair and preparation of foreign armored vehicles, were destroyed. The combat vehicles were hit along with the factory facilities.

Technical appearance


The X-101 product is a long-range cruise missile designed for use by strategic missile-carrying bombers. Its carriers are Tu-160 and Tu-95MS aircraft in existing and modernized versions. The Tu-160 carries 12 such ALCMs on two internal drum sets. Tu-95MS has eight external hardpoints.

The X-101 is built according to the normal aerodynamic scheme and resembles the previous X-55 product. The new project uses a high elongation fuselage with a characteristic cross section. In the central part of the fuselage, a swept wing is installed, which is unfolded at launch. The tail unit is also made folding. In the tail is a retractable engine nacelle. The length of the product reaches 7,5 m, the wingspan is approx. 3 m. Starting weight exceeds 2,2-2,3 tons.


Missiles on the Tu-160 internal launcher. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

A characteristic feature of the X-101 and X-102 projects are measures to reduce visibility and counteract detection systems. The missiles have characteristic fuselage contours that scatter radar signals. According to some reports, the missiles are equipped with their own electronic warfare stations.

The rocket is equipped with a compact short-life turbojet engine, which develops a high subsonic speed. Different flight profiles are envisaged with altitudes from tens of meters to 8-10 km. The maximum range is 5500 km, which places the X-101 ALCM in the category of strategic missiles.

According to known data, the X-101 is equipped with a combined control and guidance system. It includes inertial navigation devices, an altimeter and digital map correction tools. According to some sources, a radar or optical homing head is used in the final leg of the flight. Due to such GOS, the missile is capable of hitting stationary and moving targets with a CEP of no more than 7-10 m.

The X-101 ALCM carries a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 400 kg. The unified Kh-102 missile is a carrier of a nuclear warhead. The exact parameters of the latter are unknown.

The potential and capabilities of the Kh-101 cruise missile

Cruise missile in flight over Ukraine, March 2022. Photo by Telegram / "Rybar"

Potential and its application


Since 2015, the Russian Air Force has used several dozen Kh-101 cruise missiles and successfully destroyed a comparable number of enemy targets. These products have proven their performance and potential, and have demonstrated a number of important benefits. At the same time, it can be assumed that the new domestic ALCMs have not yet fully shown themselves and retain a reserve of characteristics. In addition, one cannot exclude their future modernization with the aim of a new increase in performance.

Like the previous Kh-55/555 ALCM, the new Kh-101 has the highest flight performance. The missile is capable of hitting targets at a strategic depth of defense. In addition, it is possible to use it for less distant targets with the construction of an optimal route that bypasses dangerous areas. In a number of cases, carrier bombers also get the opportunity to launch over their own territory without approaching the enemy's air defense coverage area.

It should be noted that the Kh-101 ALCM is used by the Tu-95MS and Tu-160 strategic missile carriers. They have a high flight range and have the ability to refuel in the air. Due to this, the combat radius of the aviation complex consisting of an aircraft and a missile can exceed 10-12 thousand km.

The missile has an increased chance of breaking through enemy air defense / missile defense. This is facilitated by reduced visibility, the possible presence of an electronic warfare system, as well as the use of an optimal route and high-altitude flight profile. The ability of the X-101 product to break through the defense was repeatedly shown during the current Special Operation. The launched missiles successfully hit all the intended targets, incl. in areas with maximum air defense cover.


Flight of the product to the target, June 2022. Photo by Telegram / ChDambiev

In the official materials of the Ministry of Defense and on filming from the spot, the hit of Kh-101 missiles on the target and the consequences of such strikes were repeatedly demonstrated. All these photos and videos show the real accuracy of hitting targets, provided by a modern multi-component guidance system.

Available materials also show the high efficiency of the used warhead. At the same time, strategic aviation has at its disposal a unified Kh-102 missile with a special warhead for special cases. Fortunately, this potential of the original project has not yet been used. However, a nuclear missile is involved in the processes of nuclear deterrence and also contributes to national security.

Obvious prospects


Thus, the Kh-101 long-range cruise missile is distinguished by its high tactical and technical characteristics and wide operational capabilities. Thanks to this, it is one of the most effective types of weapons in the arsenals of Russian strategic aviation. With its help, missile bombers not only hit targets at long ranges, but also become a more flexible and convenient tool, and not only of a strategic class.

All these possibilities have been repeatedly confirmed by practice. X-101 successfully hit targets in Syria and Ukraine. It can be expected that the use of such weapons against Ukrainian targets will continue as needed. It is not known what goals the command will assign, but it is obvious that the next launches will again be successful and effective.
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  1. 0
    14 June 2022 06: 04
    The unified Kh-102 missile is a carrier of a nuclear warhead. The exact parameters of the latter are unknown.

    The nuclear version (X-102) carries a warhead with a yield, according to various sources, of 250 kilotons or 1 megaton
    https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Х-101
    Some sources indicate that one of the warhead options is a multiple warhead, which allows you to destroy two targets at a distance of one hundred kilometers.
    1. -11
      14 June 2022 08: 34
      With X-102, it was necessary to start SVO 2 in Lviv and 10 in the most important military facilities ..
      1. -1
        22 August 2022 00: 26
        Why bomb Russian cities? Sigh on the Polish airfield. Or, corny, in the Baltic Sea, with the simultaneous introduction of troops into the Baltic states.
        1. 0
          22 August 2022 07: 28
          They will still be destroyed, but at the same time, a large number of our soldiers will die, and if nuclear weapons were used, the SVO would have already ended with the fulfillment of all our conditions .. Poland is next after the Balts and Kazakhs ..
    2. 0
      14 June 2022 16: 53
      Some sources indicate that one of the warhead options is a multiple warhead, which allows you to destroy two targets at a distance of one hundred kilometers.

      belay
      That is, there is a breeding unit (and this is at heights
      from 30—70m to 10m

      Or does a 100 km krbd fly without a head fairing or some kind of hole in the body in place of the warhead compartment?
      / but
      1. +1
        15 June 2022 01: 56
        In the head part it has radar \ OLS and other control systems. Just above the first target, she drops the first warhead, most likely by parachute. And from the second it flies to the next target. Otherwise, this cannot be done.
        The doors of the "bomb bay" open and warhead No. 1 falls out.
        1. 0
          15 June 2022 10: 28
          I wrote "or"
          And wrote
          or some kind of hole in the case in place of the warhead compartment?

          For a rocket flying parallel to the ground, it is not necessary to have argsn and OESK in the head. Maybe somewhere closer to the center.
          I have a question: I dropped one bon barrel on a parachute from compartment number 2, the mass has changed, the centering has changed. There is no way to solve this problem, since the final track and fuel are almost gone, pumping will not help.
          How to be there, far away over a foreign territory for 5000 km?
          1. +1
            15 June 2022 16: 32
            Quote from TreeSmall
            I have a question: I dropped one bon barrel on a parachute from compartment number 2, the mass has changed, the centering has changed. There is no way to solve this problem, since the final track and fuel are almost gone, pumping will not help.

            The issue is resolved only by placing warhead No. 1 (the first CR leaving the corps) near the center of mass.
            The warhead of the KR is never placed in the warhead. In the "head" of the avionics, the control compartment, behind it - the warhead. If there are two warheads and they are located in tandem, then the one that is closer to the center leaves first. And the second one works directly in the CD when reaching goal number 2.
            1. +2
              15 June 2022 18: 26
              In compartment number 2 I wrote
              No location to the center of mass is possible
              And it is installed in the head compartment, if anti-ship or buried undermining or anti-bunker

              And suppose that 2 warheads for CRBD is nonsense.
              However, I do not insist...
              1. 0
                15 June 2022 20: 00
                You brought these "Caliber", But we are still talking about the X-101, which is still larger and it has been said about it since the beginning of the 00s that "two warheads for 2 targets).
                The only way to implement this is to drop the first warhead, which is closer to the center of mass.
                1. +1
                  15 June 2022 20: 42
                  Quote: bayard
                  But we are still talking about the X-101, which is still larger and it has been said about it since the beginning of the 00s that "two warheads for 2 targets).

                  Wake up, comrade! Where did you manage to read about 2 warheads on the KR X-101? belay It happens that people confuse the "fork with the bottle"! You seem to have confused the X-101 with the X-90 Koala! Here, in the story about this experimental missile launcher, it was said about 2 warheads! wink
                  1. 0
                    15 June 2022 21: 16
                    Quote: Nikolaevich I
                    You seem to have confused the X-101 with the X-90 Koala!

                    No, in several publications from the beginning of the 00s there was information that the X-101 was capable of carrying two warheads. He himself racked his brains on how he would drop the first one if she had a low-level flight - WWI.
                    But after the start of the Syrian campaign, when they began to show it, there was no longer any mention of two heads. And yes, in those publications, of course, it was about the X-102 with the 2nd nuclear warhead.
                    Maybe there were such plans, but I have not heard about their implementation from confirmed sources. The conversation is generally theoretical - is it possible to realize such an opportunity at all.
                2. +1
                  15 June 2022 20: 43
                  Tomahawk!
                  (although it doesn't matter)
                  Where can I get X-102? You can also go for it.
                  About "they say" crying
                  Borisov is talking, talking. For good reason, he has already spoken about the Su-57 for retirement (at least)! Rogozin won't let you lie☝️
                  2 warheads per cr - I know how to implement this and once worked on it in the 80s.
                  But on x-101 this is technically not feasible.
                  1. 0
                    15 June 2022 21: 30
                    Quote from TreeSmall
                    Tomahawk!
                    (although it doesn't matter)

                    The difference is really small, I didn’t even look closely - I chatted on Skype at that time.
                    Quote from TreeSmall
                    About "they say"
                    Borisov is talking, talking. For good reason, he has already spoken about the Su-57 for retirement (at least)! Rogozin won't let you lie☝️

                    That's what they say. Rather, they said - for a long time and periodically it was published somewhere, and therefore it was deposited in memory.
                    It was generally discussed in the comments about the very possibility of implementing such a solution. I’m not at all sure of the rationality of this - the CD must be raised at least a few hundred meters before being dropped, otherwise the shock wave will catch up. And this is a direct set-up under air defense fire in the target area. So one is better.
                    But then, talk about two heads stubbornly went on ... in various magazines and even books.
                    Perhaps such a desire arose due to the fact that nuclear warheads are seriously lighter than conventional warheads, so I wanted to shove more into the standard (for non-nuclear) CR case, that is, the second warhead. But this is my guess.
                    Quote from TreeSmall
                    2 warheads per cr - I know how to implement this and once worked on it in the 80s.

                    Then maybe you can tell me why they wanted to implement it, because in terms of combat use (the need to climb hundreds of meters in the target area) this is an extra hassle and the risk of losing the CD immediately with 2 warheads.
                    Or did they plan not to take the CD to a distant second target, but to undermine both warheads synchronously, but with a spacing of some distance? To cover a larger area with two explosions?
                    Quote from TreeSmall
                    But on x-101 this is technically not feasible.

                    I carefully looked at the belly of the X-101 even at its first shows, but admitted that the X-102 may have its own design features.
                    And the X-101 has an ordinary warhead, while not even enhanced power, compared to lighter CRs.
                    1. 0
                      15 June 2022 21: 50
                      Quote: bayard
                      that nuclear warheads are seriously lighter than conventional warheads, so I wanted to shove a little more into the standard (for non-nuclear) CR case, that is, the second warhead.

                      not seriously, of course. but lighter, but the VOLUME is almost the same.
                      W80 Model 1

                      vs WDU-36/B (even smaller in volume)

                      Given that you need a reset system, a gate, something else: to no avail.
                      And of course the shock wave.
                      Quote: bayard
                      Then can you tell me why you want to implement it

                      the range potential of these missiles is very high, and the time is finite.
                      This is not always required (Syria, Ukraine).
                      CRBD is unified, warhead compartments are unified.
                      one carrier, the price of one product two purposes.
                      They wanted to fan. the destruction of not 2 targets that lie along the trajectory, but 2 on the "sides" of the trajectory / this is my opinion
                      and the idea from the 80s to destroy one anti-ship missile: 2a ships (they are there side by side anyway)
                      only the anti-ship missiles are somewhat different: in terms of speed, uphill before defeat, and the targets are not so far away.
                      How to implement this with the X-101 with its 900 km / h at an altitude of 100-150 m = is not clear. it will not go higher: this pillar is easy to knock down
  2. Eug
    0
    14 June 2022 06: 16
    Hmm ... if it worked out - how realistic is it to create sea and land-based modifications? In the "late" USSR, at Khartron, they worked on projects 516, 517, 518 and 536, 537, 538 - a control system for unified cruise missiles with land, sea and air launch, the lead developer is NPO Mashinostroeniya (OKB Chelomey, Reutov), ​​with "1" - subsonic product, with "3" - supersonic.
    1. +1
      14 June 2022 09: 21
      Why make a marine version of the X-101 when there is Caliber and work is underway on Caliber-M?
      The caliber is easier to land. In addition, the X-101 should already be replaced by the X-50. At least information about the completion of state tests of the X-50 (X-SD) slipped through. And tactical aviation can already carry it .

      . In Russia, the final tests of the most secret missile of the Russian Aerospace Forces - Kh-50 were carried out.

      The development of Russian aircraft missiles of the "X" series allowed the domestic developer to create a unique cruise missile, significantly superior in its class to Soviet missile designs of the same series. Information about the creation of the X-50 rocket periodically appeared in the media, however, information about this rocket was never disclosed, due to its extreme secrecy.

      https://avia.pro/news/v-rossii-otrabotali-udary-samoy-sekretnoy-raketoy-vks-rossii-h-50
      1. Eug
        +1
        14 June 2022 12: 41
        In fact, the interspecific unification of weapons is one of the real ways to reduce the cost.
      2. Eug
        0
        14 June 2022 12: 41
        In fact, the interspecific unification of weapons is one of the real ways to reduce the cost.
        1. +1
          15 June 2022 02: 01
          For unification, it is Caliber that is much better suited, and in the future Caliber-M. They have a circular section, they are placed in a container with a circular section or loaded into a TA submarine. For land-based deployment, they are convenient in that they are compact and unified with the Iskander launcher (new elongated launcher).
          1. Eug
            -2
            15 June 2022 08: 26
            Hypersonic Caliber is achievable only at a launch speed of the order of 2M, to which it is accelerated by the MiG-31 and - possibly - the Tu-22M3. How and with what are you going to disperse it to the GZ during land and sea launch? And the range is incomparable ...
            1. +1
              15 June 2022 16: 25
              Quote: Eug
              Hypersonic Caliber

              "Caliber" - SUBSONIC cruise missile, used exclusively by sea and (if necessary) ground carriers.
              With the MiG-31K, the Kinzhal aeroballistic GZUR, created on the basis of the Iskander OTRK missile, is used. It is launched from the MiG-31 at an altitude of about 17 km. and at a speed of 2500 km / h.
              1. Eug
                0
                15 June 2022 17: 08
                Really - I found some kind of insanity ... confused two things, however, both woolen ... damn it ... ashamed.
    2. +1
      14 June 2022 09: 42
      I think that ground-based is possible, why not, all that is needed is to attach an upper stage to start how to do it, I think it’s not a problem for engineers to solve the issue. but the range of 5500 km is, of course, powerful, sooo powerful. given the inconspicuousness, bending around the landscape, etc., etc., well, just what you need. and the very pulp, since it is not a ballistic missile, but a cruise missile, then against it the Americans are essentially only a patriot who, well, everyone knows what kind of vegetable it is. it turns out a very good chance for this missile to hit targets on NATO territory or even the United States itself.

      it is necessary to develop this direction shorter
    3. +1
      14 June 2022 16: 54
      Where are you going to put it? In place of the P-500, if only?
  3. +3
    14 June 2022 07: 08
    Fantastic view in the bomb bay.
  4. -4
    14 June 2022 13: 05
    Is there at least one ukrocel worthy of launching this thing? It would be better if they learned how to pour 60 tons of simple bombs on the heads of unlucky gunners shelling Donetsk. Who then and why developed the FAB-5000 and FAB-9000, which could serve as excellent denazifiers if there are no carriers for them? Neither the Tu-95 nor the Tu-160 have bombing equipment - shame...
    1. +3
      14 June 2022 16: 42
      Quote: Ilya_Nsk
      It would be better if they learned how to pour 60 tons of simple bombs on the heads of unlucky gunners shelling Donetsk.

      And what, besides the "White Swan" is there no one to do this? What, MFIs, attack aircraft and their own artillery disappeared somewhere?
      Or do we have to spend 60 tons of bombs per battery?
      Quote: Ilya_Nsk
      Who then and why developed the FAB-5000 and FAB-9000, which could serve as excellent denazifiers if there are no carriers for them?

      Hand face.
      FAB-9000 was developed 70 years ago. Then its carrier was the "young" Tu-16. And even in Afghanistan, under the FAB-9000, they had to be used.
      Quote: Ilya_Nsk
      Neither the Tu-95 nor the Tu-160 have bombing equipment - shame...

      Uh-huh ... and also the "Boreas" do not have equipment for launching the CD. Otherwise, they would have loaded them with "Caliber" - and forward, to the Black Sea or the Baltic, to shoot at adversaries.

      Unlike the Tu-160 and Tu-95MS, the V-1V is not a strategic missile carrier. And it's not even a bomber. Therefore, the "Lancer" can safely throw UAB - he does not need to be on duty in the pit, he does not need to be ready to use special products, he does not need to dismantle the revolver for hanging bombs. He no longer carries nuclear weapons, so he can have fun with conventional bombs and missiles.
    2. 0
      16 August 2022 11: 11
      Quote: Ilya_Nsk
      Is there at least one ukrocel worthy of launching this thing? It would be better if they learned how to pour 60 tons of simple bombs on the heads of unlucky gunners shelling Donetsk. Who then and why developed the FAB-5000 and FAB-9000, which could serve as excellent denazifiers if there are no carriers for them? Neither the Tu-95 nor the Tu-160 have bombing equipment - shame...

      Tu-160 can use free-fall bombs.
  5. -1
    14 June 2022 17: 09
    Quote: Author
    The missile has an increased chance of breaking through enemy air defense / missile defense. This is facilitated by reduced visibility

    recourse
    Vague doubts torment me.
    - a turbofan engine put forward on a pylon, which itself will also emit a pylon with a casing
    - not shielded by the body of the turbofan engine. (compressor blades) from the frontal plane will radiate (you can’t stick them in there) and from the rear hemisphere there are already turbine blades.
    Why make such a "stele body" and leave a retractable do?


    Quote: Author
    It can be expected that the use of such weapons against Ukrainian targets will continue as needed.

    This is very expensive, and we are shooting our own nuclear weapons carriers in Ukraine, which can be very useful in a “big” war.
    In general: the author reprinted something without even thinking about it.
  6. +2
    14 June 2022 20: 40
    According to some sources, a radar or optical homing head is used in the final leg of the flight. Actually, the initial reports talked about a television seeker on the final (terminal) section of the trajectory ... Due to what can the X-101 be improved? The fact is that the initial design version of the X-101 provided for the use of a turboprop engine with propfen propellers ... The range was planned to be up to 8-10 thousand km instead of 5500 km!
  7. 0
    15 June 2022 02: 06
    The prospect of using such missiles against NATO countries with a developed air defense system and AWACS on duty in the air is doubtful.
  8. -1
    15 June 2022 13: 48
    Soon the time will come and X-102 ...
  9. +1
    17 June 2022 06: 28
    For a war in the European theater of operations, the ranges of our cruise missiles are redundant, and the warhead power is extremely small, 400 kg is nothing. Why it happened so is clear, they are sharpened for special warheads, and the usual warhead is a by-product. We need a missile with a shorter range, I think 1000 km is enough, and the usual warhead is at least 1000 kg. Then you can take out the bridge and much more. The Tu-95MS does not have a bombsight, but there are fasteners for hanging bombs in the compartment. A container weighing 95 tons is quietly placed in the bomb bay of the Tu-12MS; in troubled times, wine was transported from the Crimea. Work on the use of conventional bombs with the Tu-160 was not completed due to restructuring and collapse. Only using conventional bombs from him is not effective, they will shoot down and the names will not be asked. In modern conditions, it is categorically not recommended for heavy vehicles to enter the air defense zone, no electronic warfare will help, they will point it through the optical channel. We need missiles tailored for conventional warheads with great destructive power.