A few days ago, Deputy Prime Minister D. Rogozin visited the testing ground of the 106 Guards Airborne Division, located in the Tula Region. During this visit, a lot of events happened and a large number of statements were made, however, the most interesting are the words and deeds that concerned the anti-tank missile systems and their associated systems.
The events around the anti-tank complexes began with the fact that the vice-premier was taught a short course of dealing with the Metis-М1 system. After the briefing, Rogozin checked his knowledge on a computer simulator. This was followed by a training launch of a missile from a combat training missile complex, which differs from a full-fledged combat missile only by the presence of a second optical system for the instructor. After some training sessions, the vice-premier under the guidance of instructor G. Epifanov struck a training target - an old tank with a white dot painted on it. As it turned out a little later, Rogozin managed to get exactly the mark on the armor from a distance of two kilometers.
According to the vice-premier, shooting from the Metis-M1 anti-tank complex turned out to be surprisingly easy. As you know, Rogozin is engaged in shooting, but before that he dealt only with rifle weapons. Mastering the anti-tank complex was very simple: after a short briefing and a short practice on a computer simulator, it turned out to be right on target. Rogozin noted that Metis is easy to manage and quite accessible for development during the year of service. Therefore, soldiers-conscripts should not have problems using such systems.
Unfortunately for the deputy prime minister, he managed to make only one launch of the rocket. Pilots participating in the Victory Parade trained in the sky above the training ground at that time, and therefore all firing was temporarily stopped. However, such prohibitions are the exception rather than the rule. According to Captain S. Yakushkin, head of the test site, soldiers shoot at the test site almost every day and no one saves on ammunition. Fighters learn to use existing weapons both in theory and in practice. Yet the head of the landfill complained about the lack of new weapons systems.
One of the exhibits of the improvised exhibition, organized for the arrival of the distinguished guest, was a kind of illustration of the words about constant training. In addition to armored combat vehicles for the landing, there was an armored Tiger vehicle with a combat module installed on it. In the cargo volume of the armored car, two rising structures are installed, on which the Kornet-EM anti-tank missile launchers are fixed. Each launcher has its own devices for aiming and targeting, and can simultaneously carry four transport-launch containers with missiles.
Thus, at the same time on both launchers of this modification, "Tiger" has eight missiles. The same amount is inside the machine and, if necessary, can be placed on launchers. N. Khokhlov, Deputy General Director of the Tula Instrument Design Bureau, who developed anti-tank missiles, said that the calculation of a combat vehicle could prepare them for firing and mount them on launchers without leaving the vehicle. To do this, the launchers are lowered inside the light-armored hull.
Of particular interest are the words of the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Colonel General V. Chirkin, concerning the effectiveness of the Tiger machine with the Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles. According to him, one unit of such equipment can destroy up to 16 tanks the enemy, due to which eight vehicles have the same efficiency as the anti-tank artillery division, armed with guns like the MT-12 Rapier. Thus, only a dozen anti-tank systems on a wheeled chassis are enough to ensure the defense of an entire motorized rifle brigade.
Rogozin commented on the capabilities of the "Tiger" with rockets a little differently: according to the vice-premier, one machine can fight "immediately with a tank company." In addition, he noted the high export potential of the proposed modification of the armored car. As for the specific running characteristics of the wheeled armored vehicle, V. Chirkin is inclined to evaluate them as an advantage. As an example, he cited the famous march in Kosovo. In his opinion, this march on the new armored cars would take three times less time than on armored personnel carriers, as it was in the late nineties.
The existence of an anti-tank complex of the Cornet family based on the Tigr armored car became known several years ago. It was first demonstrated at the international exhibition MAKS-2011. At the same time, the characteristics of the system were announced. Thus, the Kornet-EM missiles are capable of hitting targets at ranges from 150 meters to 10 kilometers. A missile is aimed at a target automatically, by a laser beam. The presence of two launchers with their own sights and a laser guidance system allows the combat vehicle to simultaneously launch and direct two missiles, which can be sent both to the same target and to different ones.
The sighting equipment of the Kornet-EM missile system allows finding and firing targets not only during the day, but also at night. The sight has two channels: television daytime and thermal night. In addition, each channel can operate in two modes: wide-field and narrow-field, which differ from each other in the size of the surveyed sector. After detecting the target, the operator of the anti-tank complex can measure the distance to it using a laser rangefinder. It is noteworthy that the range of measured distances significantly exceeds the range of the missiles: it allows you to measure the distance to 15 kilometers. After detection, the target is followed automatically or manually.
According to data from 2011, the Cornet-EM complex could use two types of missiles, with tandem-shaped cumulative and space-detonating combat units. Rockets have a greater degree of unification, but differ in some characteristics. For example, a rocket with an armor-piercing warhead together with a transport and launch container weighs 31 a kilogram, i.e. two kilograms less than thermobaric ammunition. In addition, the anti-tank missile flies a little slower, at a speed of 300 m / s against 320 m / s. It is worth noting that the most important difference between rockets is the flight range. Anti-tank ammunition flies only eight kilometers, and a range of ten kilometers refers to a rocket with a thermobaric charge. According to official data, a rocket with a tandem cumulative warhead can penetrate up to 1100-1300 millimeters of homogeneous armor for dynamic protection. The thermobaric warhead of another Kornet-EM ammunition, in turn, is equivalent to an explosion of seven kilograms of TNT.
Back in 2011, the Tigr with Cornet missiles became the subject of heated debate. The proposed combat vehicle had both supporters and opponents. In recent days, in view of the new appearance of the anti-tank complex on the wheelbase, discussions have flared up with a new force. Both sides of the disputants put forward their arguments and strongly defend their point of view.
The main plus of a self-propelled anti-tank complex is a large ammunition. Unlike infantrymen armed with similar missiles, the armored car is capable of carrying both 16 missiles of both types at once. Thus, as the commander-in-chief of the ground forces and the vice-premier noted, one combat vehicle in ideal conditions can destroy up to 16 enemy tanks at a distance far exceeding the capabilities of enemy tank weapons. The firing range of the most modern tank guns is several times smaller than the maximum range of the Kornet-EM, and far from all existing tanks can give a symmetrical response in the form of a guided missile launched from the gun barrel.
The second advantage of the Tiger with the Cornet-EM is its mobility. The wheeled undercarriage provides good road performance on the highway and is acceptable on the roads. Thanks to this, combat vehicles will be able to change their position before tanks, artillery or aviation the enemy. Of course, a wheeled undercarriage, by definition, cannot provide patency at the tank level, but a light base chassis significantly increases the chances of surviving on the battlefield. In addition, retractable launchers to some extent mask the combat vehicle, not allowing the enemy to accurately identify it among other equipment on the same base.
The nomenclature of weapons of the new self-propelled anti-tank complex includes two types of missiles. Thus, the “Tiger” with launchers is not “tied” to a specific type of target. If necessary, he can bombard infantry or enemy fortifications with rockets with a space-detonating warhead. In combination with a relatively large ammunition ammunition nomenclature will allow new combat vehicles to perform a wide range of tasks.
Finally, a set of characteristics makes the missile system based on a car a more promising weapon system than towed anti-tank artillery. In fact, “Cornet-EM” loses to “Rapier” only at the cost of ammunition. In terms of mobility, survivability and firing range, the missile complex is ahead of the cannon. Several decades ago, an attempt was made to increase the potential of the gun MT-12. In the course of these works, the Tula engineers from the Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering created the 9K116 "Kastet" complex with the 9М117 guided missile launched through the cannon. For its time, it was a worthy model of weapons, but now he has a very serious competitor in the form of the Cornet-EM complex.
As the main problem of the "Tiger" with anti-tank missiles, the base machine’s defense is too weak. An unarmored or lightly armored car can be damaged or destroyed even by small arms. In addition, machines with anti-tank weapons, possessing great potential, will be the first target for hitting the enemy, which will only aggravate the situation with their survival on the battlefield. Finally, the patency of the wheeled chassis is much worse than that of tracked vehicles. Thus, an inadequately protected self-propelled anti-tank complex runs the risk of being stuck on the battlefield and becoming a convenient target for any suitable weapon.
The second problem of the anti-tank complex on the basis of the Tigr vehicle, as well as other similar systems, lies in the ratio of the characteristics and the actual situation. An armor-piercing missile "Kornet-EM" flies eight kilometers only in ideal conditions of the landfill. Far from every terrain where combat is possible with the participation of tanks and anti-tank complexes will allow missile launches at maximum range. Thus, the chances of the anti-tank complex to liquidate enemy tanks and / or helicopters are significantly reduced prior to striking, depending on the characteristics of the particular landscape. After reducing the maximum visibility range and, as a result, shooting, the chances of both sides can be equal. If necessary, in appropriate conditions, an armored car with missiles can be located on a natural elevation, which will increase its “horizon”. But in this case, the combat vehicle will attract the attention of the artillery and aviation of the enemy, which, combined with the low survivability, condemns it to death.
In the light of the relatively low survivability of the self-propelled complex and the specific conditions of combat use, the problem of cost comes to the fore. In some cases, the accuracy and mobility of the Tigers with missiles will be too expensive, especially in comparison with anti-tank artillery. In addition to cheap "blanks" in the ammunition of existing guns, there are also guided missiles, which under certain conditions can be a worthy substitute for the ammunition of the Cornet-EM complex.
It is difficult to say what future awaits the Kornet-EM anti-tank missile system based on the Tiger wheel chassis. It has both pros and cons, which need additional analysis. Probably in the future, the Russian armed forces will begin to receive such systems en masse. The reason for such a development of events could be called D. Rogozin's famous love for new promising types of weapons and protection that was motivated by it. However, another assumption seems more plausible and practical. According to the Instrument Design Bureau, the Kornet-EM missile systems can be mounted on any suitable chassis, regardless of the type of running gear. Therefore, in the very near future, new variants of the anti-tank complex, made on the basis of armored tracked vehicles, may appear. Such equipment already exists and is in service: it is the combat vehicle of the Sturm-S complex based on the MT-LB tractor and the Chrysanthemum complex mounted on the BMP-3 chassis.
The need for a full-fledged mass outfitting of ground forces with self-propelled anti-tank missile systems was long overdue. However, the state of the existing fleet of such systems and the pace of its updating leave much to be desired. It is quite possible that the next modification of the honored complex “Kornet” will become the very system that will significantly improve the situation in the army and give them a worthy argument in a possible fight against enemy tank units.
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