Russian artillery is a fairly modern and effective branch of the military. Perhaps, the Russian gunners were able, on the one hand, to preserve the Soviet artillery legacy (Peony, Tulip, Malka), on the other hand, to slowly but quite confidently put new types of weapons into operation. Uralvagonzavod continues to supply 2S19M2 Msta-S howitzers to the troops, deliveries of 2S35 Coalition-SV have begun, the Burevestnik Central Research Institute in Nizhny Novgorod is working on self-propelled mortars on a 2S42 Drok wheeled chassis (82 mm) and 2S40 "Phlox" (120 mm).
Naturally, work is underway in the field of management. The reconnaissance-spotter unmanned aerial vehicles that have appeared in the last 10 years have greatly simplified the work of target designation and fire adjustment, but required new equipment and new control methods.
It was within the framework of solving such problems within the walls of the All-Russian Research Institute "Signal" in the city of Kovrov, the old armory of the country, that a small-sized wearable complex for automating the control of artillery and mortar units (KSAU-MN) was recently created.
The complex was named "Plate-A" and was created to facilitate and automate the work of the commander of an artillery battalion, commanders of batteries and commanders of guns and mortars.
In 2019, Tablet-A successfully passed state tests and was put into service.
Modern automated fire control systems used in Russian artillery have, let's say, a narrow specialization. For example, machines of the "Success" family exist in several modifications:
- "Success-R" - for equipping MLRS such as "Hurricane", "Grad", "Smerch";
- "Success-S" - to equip the self-propelled guns "Msta-S";
- "Success-B" - for equipping barreled wheeled and self-propelled guns.
Unlike vehicles of the Success family, the Tablet-A can successfully operate, in addition to self-propelled guns and MLRS, with mortars and towed artillery. This is a real breakthrough, because earlier mortars (and some towed guns) did not have control automation tools.
Basically, you should be happy for the mortarmen, for whom the use of the "Tablet" increased the accuracy of the calculations and significantly reduced the preparation time for firing. Still, artillery is primarily mathematics ...
"Tablet-A" perfectly interfaces with modern reconnaissance equipment: laser rangefinders, thermal imagers, automated weather kits and ballistic computers. The complex receives information in an automated mode and takes into account the coordinates of objects, the meteorological situation in the target area when calculating. All data is processed and transmitted to the screen to the gun commander, taking into account the brand of the gun in whose interests the calculations are being made.
Thus, Tablet-A can control all the artillery systems that the Russian army has and are included in the system database and the entire range of ammunition.
The system works perfectly with all types of domestic radio stations that are in service with the Russian army for data transmission over a radio channel.
A feature of Tablet-A is the ability to adapt the system in the shortest possible time to work not only with any Russian artillery systems, but also provide target designation data and calculations for units armed with artillery systems of various types.
A very useful feature, since mixed-type units consisting of various artillery systems are a normal phenomenon, which also needs modern methods of data processing.
Another useful ability of the "Tablet" is that the system operates not only with electronic maps received from satellites of various systems, but can upload and use photographs taken by unmanned reconnaissance aircraft or reconnaissance aircraft. Loading cartographic data allows you to update the processed information as much as possible in the shortest possible time.
Currently, the developers of "Tablet-A", inspired by the success of their offspring, are working to study the possibilities of implementing some solutions in artillery fire control systems developed earlier. For example, KAUO 1V12 "Machine-S" and 1V17 "Machine-B", which are still in service with the Russian army and clearly need to be modernized, can be significantly improved through integration with the Tablet.
In the future, the developers have the idea of covering all artillery systems of the Russian army, from 82-mm mortar to 203-mm howitzer and 240-mm self-propelled mortar.
Much attention is paid to obtaining data from UAVs. Here, work continues to improve the UAV-operator-battery commander data exchange system.
Any reconnaissance drone is suitable for working with the Tablet. There are no technical difficulties and there cannot be. Moreover, if the UAV is equipped with its own laser target designator-rangefinder, then Tablet-A can use it to target guided and corrected artillery ammunition. Work in this direction is carried out by specialists from the All-Russian Research Institute "Signal" and JSC "Design Bureau of Instrument Engineering".
By the way, a flying UAV can be on a ground-based robotic complex. It doesn’t matter at all to the system from whom to receive data for issuing target designations.
An export model of the Tablet is being actively developed, capable of working with foreign-made equipment. In principle, there are no difficulties for this, it is only necessary to have a complete set of data on the artillery system for which calculations will be made.
At the same time, work is underway to interface "Tablet-A" with the Belarusian artillery weather station.
But our headline is not "Tablet-A", which is just going to artillery units, but something else.
This is the case when new equipment, having passed state tests, is placed on the conveyor, and a newer and more advanced version is already being prepared.
The new artillery control complex "Planshet-M-IR". The complex is located in the Atlet armored car, preliminary tests of the complex will take place before the end of this year, said Vladimir Artyakov, First Deputy General Director of the Rostec State Corporation.
Artyakov emphasized that Tablet-M-IR is an initiative developed by NPO High-Precision Complexes, which includes VNII Signal.
What is good about the new Tablet-M-IR and why should it be taken into account, despite the fact that Tablet-A, which has a lot of positive reviews, has not really entered the troops yet? Aren't Rostec employees running, as they say, "ahead of the locomotive"?
They don't run.
"Tablet-M-IR" is a more advanced version of "Tablet-A", during the creation of which the developers focused on maximum automation.
The complex was very conveniently placed in the Athlete armored car, which made the complex more mobile. "Athlete" is a well-known "Tiger-M" on steroids.
The mass of the car increased by as much as 4 tons and amounted to 9 tons, the body acquired a V-shaped bottom. Carrying capacity remained at the same level, 1600 kg of payload. Power reserve 1000 km, maximum speed 120 km/h.
All these qualities make Athlete a very suitable platform for placing Tablet-M-IR. The machine is able to follow any artillery systems at any turn and work to provide calculations with data.
You can control Tablet-M-IR both from the car and from outside it. The position of the UAV operator has already been planned next to the position of the Tablet operator, which ensures the fastest possible coordination of work.
The reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle can exchange data with the system in automatic mode, overlaying the picture broadcast by the UAV on the map. In general, the ability to see the battlefield in real time allows you to clearly adjust the fire of artillery.
There is another innovation: Tablet-M-IR can receive data not only from UAVs, reconnaissance robots, reconnaissance groups via radio channels, but also from reconnaissance radars via satellite channels. This is a significant step in the development of automated control systems.
In general, the creation of such systems based on proven and proven hardware and software is the future. The more the human factor is excluded from such complex calculations as artillery target designation, the less time is spent on data processing and calculations, the faster and more accurately the targets will be hit. Rostec believes that under optimal scenarios, in the very near future, no more than two minutes will pass from receiving primary data to striking.
The further the developers of domestic weapons go along this path, the more the capabilities of Russian artillery will increase. Which is still the decisive factor in any conflict anywhere in the world.