Turkish anti-aircraft missile and gun system Roketsan Burç
ZRPK Burç in the pavilion of the IDEF-2023 exhibition
The Turkish defense company Roketsan has long been engaged in the topic of anti-aircraft weapons and regularly shows new developments in this area. At one of the recent exhibitions, for the first time, she presented the promising Burç self-propelled anti-aircraft missile and gun system. It is made on a serial Turkish-made chassis and is equipped with an original combat module with receiver and missile weapons. It is expected that such an air defense missile system will be of interest to potential customers.
At the end of July, another IDEF military-technical exhibition was held in Istanbul - the main platform for demonstrating the latest achievements of the Turkish defense industry. As always, a large exposition was presented by Roketsan. One of the main novelties from her was the ZRPK Burç (“Zodiac”).
The promising complex was shown in the form of a prototype built on the Pars İzci armored chassis manufactured by FNSS. The eight-wheel modification platform received the original combat module with anti-aircraft weapons and the corresponding internal equipment. Along with the combat vehicle, related samples and products were demonstrated - demonstration models of missiles, radars, etc.
The development company also published a short promotional video that reveals basic information about the Burch product and presents it in the best light. In the advertisement, the ZRPK was shown from all sides, in a parking lot and in motion. Firing from a cannon at an air target was also demonstrated. For greater effect, the shooting was carried out at night using tracer shells.
Prototype being tested
The development of the Burç project is reported to be largely completed. The necessary tests have been carried out and the calculated performance characteristics have been confirmed. Production is currently being prepared, and it will be able to start immediately after receiving contracts - if they are signed.
The creator company highly appreciates its new ZRPK and expects it to find its customers. Roketsan plans to sell the Zodiac to both the Turkish army and foreign customers. It is assumed that this year the new complex will be ready for sale and for the launch of production.
However, orders for such equipment have not yet been reported. Not much time has passed since the first show of the new ZRPK, and potential buyers probably have not yet had time to make a decision. News negotiations or contract signing should be expected later.
Platform and module
From the point of view of the general architecture, the new Turkish Burç air defense missile system is an armored combat vehicle on one or another chassis with suitable characteristics. The well-known prototype for testing and exhibition was built on the basis of the four-axle Pars İzci armored personnel carrier, but other platforms can also be used, incl. foreign production. This is probably how export complexes will be built.
The main element of the Burch air defense missile system is the combat module, made in the form of a wide, low-profile armored turret with remote control. The module housing protects internal units, incl. weapons, from bullets and shrapnel. Apparently, all components of the tower are mounted only inside the dome, and its installation does not require space inside the base vehicle.
Close-up combat module
The main means of illuminating the air situation, detecting and tracking targets is the Retinar AESA radar from Meteksan Defense. The station has four antenna devices located around the perimeter of the combat module. Each of them has three blades and operates in a sector 90° wide in azimuth and elevation. Together, four AFARs completely cover the upper hemisphere. The radar operates in the S-band and is capable of detecting large air targets at ranges of 20 km, ground targets at least 24 km. Small UAVs are escorted from 4 km.
An optical-electronic station with day, night and laser channels is placed on the roof of the tower. It is used to track targets at shorter distances, incl. just before firing a cannon or launching missiles. Also, the detection means complex includes a separate state identification interrogator.
Radar and optical means are integrated into the digital fire control system. The control system provides all the necessary information to the operator console, and also performs all the basic calculations and actions. With its help, the movements of the turret and weapons, as well as shooting and launches, are fully controlled. There are communications facilities of NATO and Turkish standards. Burç can exchange air situation data with other air defense systems.
The combat module carries a 20-mm three-barreled automatic cannon – a Turkish licensed copy of the American M197. The gun with a rotating block of barrels has an external drive, giving a rate of fire of 750-1500 rounds/min. Standard unitary NATO rounds with different types of projectiles are used. The design of the installation allows elevation angles from -1° to +70°. The dimensions of the ammunition located in the central part of the turret are not specified.
Inside the tower are two retractable missile launchers. In the stowed position they lie inside the turret, and in the combat position they rise to an angle of up to 80° - to capture the target with the homing head. Burch uses missiles from the Sungur man-portable missile system. These are lightweight ammunition with an infrared seeker, a high-explosive fragmentation warhead and a solid propellant engine. The missile is capable of hitting high-speed air targets at ranges of 8 km and altitudes of 4 km.
For self-defense Zrpk "Zodiac" has only smoke grenade launchers mounted on the rear of the tower. However, a cannon with sufficiently high characteristics can also be considered as a means of defense.
Ready and new
Roketsan assumes that its new Burç air defense missile system will soon enter service with the Turkish army, and will also be of interest to foreign customers. In general, it has grounds for such optimism - the presented complex has strengths that can become a competitive advantage. However, it is not without weaknesses.
With sufficiently high performance, "Burch" is characterized by a certain simplicity and can have a reasonable cost. The project was carried out mainly on the basis of available components that have been on the market for a long time. So, a ready-made chassis was used and the use of other available machines is envisaged. The gun was borrowed from attack helicopters, and the missile was taken from the MANPADS. At the same time, the key components that solve the problems of fire control were developed specifically for the new complex.
The applied complex of radio and optical-electronic means is of certain interest. "Zodiac" received a radar with a full-fledged AFAR, which allows increasing performance characteristics. In this case, instead of one rotating antenna, several fixed ones (relative to the tower) are used. This ensures a constant and simultaneous overview of the entire upper hemisphere, with clear consequences for operation and application.
Night firing from a 20 mm gun
The composition of the weapons of the new air defense missile system generally corresponds to the assigned tasks, but raises questions. Thus, it is unclear how effectively a 20-mm cannon will cope with typical air targets. In addition, its caliber limits the effective range of fire. Even a 30-mm gun would significantly improve the combat qualities of the artillery system.
For the used Sungur missiles, fairly high range and altitude characteristics are declared, as well as increased reliability of tracking and hitting targets. At the same time, it can be expected that the use of MANPADS missiles on a combat vehicle with optical-electronic means and a full-fledged fire control system will be more effective than a standard shoulder launch. In addition, the design of the Burch combat module allows it to transport large amounts of ammunition.
Sample with perspectives
Thus, the Turkish company Roketsan has completed the development of its new anti-aircraft missile and gun system, put it through tests and is preparing for mass production. In addition, an experienced ZRPK got to the exhibition and attracted the attention of potential customers. The developers expect that such interest will be developed in the form of real contracts.
It can be assumed that this optimism is well founded. The Burç product has fairly high tactical and technical characteristics and has other advantages. His positive qualities can contribute to receiving orders. However, how soon the first buyers will appear and how much equipment they will want to purchase is not yet clear.
- Ryabov Kirill
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