“Provided that funding and interest of the army in this direction will be preserved, development work (R & D) to create melee weapons of the new generation will be completed in 2014 year, and the implementation of the first state defense order (GOZ) to replenish arsenals with new ammunition Go, - believes Vladimir Korenkov. - Not only that, since 2015, we are already planning new developments, which will go to the development of the ROC currently being implemented. And I think we will offer the army something new each year in order to equip it with the most advanced weapons by the year of 2014, as indicated in all the directive documents. ”
“And if the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation offers us participation in export projects, we are open for cooperation with all interested parties,” he added.
Over the past 10 years, the importance and effectiveness of SBBs has increased by orders of magnitude, while their current capabilities have fallen behind the times. The development of qualitatively new ammunition, carried out by MSTU named after E.E. Bauman in broad cooperation with the best forces of the country, is based on an analysis of modern combat operations, logistics of the battlefield, global trends and forward-looking estimates of the promising battlefield.
Currently available in the arsenal of the armies of the world, the SBR was developed under the ideology and understanding of the conduct of hostilities, which were formulated as a result of the Second World War, and suggest frontal contact and the battlefield in a place convenient for the troops. Accordingly, the main task, in particular of grenade launchers, was to destroy tanks as the main force on the battlefield. However, over the past time, the situation has changed dramatically. Back in the late 90s, Colonel General Anatoly Sitnov, the then chief of weapons of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, declared tanks as a class an unpromising weapon, because there were too many kinds of weapons accumulated against them. In addition, an analysis of the hostilities on the example of European (in the Balkans) and Middle East conflicts suggests that they all moved either to rough terrain or to cities - places where tanks generally become an ineffective force. As the main operational tool, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and other equipment are used here, in addition to tanks, SBB should now work. “Accordingly, multi-purpose destruction systems come first and this is the main global trend in the development of close combat systems,” the scientist notes.
“Funds developed under the ideology of war in the field, when there is a lot of time to choose the target and own position, as well as a consistent tank destruction system - a helicopter, an ATGM, and a melee in the conditions of the city practically do not work,” explains Vladimir Korenkov. “Here, melee weapons, which represent certain universal systems that are capable of solving a wide range of tasks, preferably with a limited nomenclature, come out in the first place.”
The first step towards the solution of universal tasks was the creation of thermobaric ammunition (BP) for SBB. For the first time they were developed in Russia and then began to be cloned in other countries, in particular in Bulgaria and Sweden. These BP, having a warhead weighing from two to five kilograms, are capable of striking, including heavy targets like a tank from convenient angles (when hit in vulnerable places) and reliably destroy all other types of armored vehicles. At the same time, damage is also provided to such characteristic objects for the city as walls (a breach in them for the formation of an aisle or buildings and various fortifications are completely destroyed). Including the struggle with the advancing infantry of the enemy, located in a chain or in groups.
The war in the city implies, among other things, the confusion of positions, when one's own and others are close to each other and where the selectivity of weapons is very important. In this case, traditional ammunition, the effectiveness of which is determined, including the size of the radius of destruction, is of little use: they limit the zone of contact and interfere with the conduct of hostilities. In the city, it is desirable to have a power supply with a radius of destruction not very large - from an exact hit to a few meters. At the same time, it is important that outside of this small radius all parameters of power — fragmentation, high explosiveness, and others — in order to avoid side effects (for their troops or for the civilian population) very quickly fade away. “This is the second trend that has emerged and is being implemented in different countries when creating promising ammunition for both melee and other types of BP,” the director of the SPC informed.
Another feature of combat in urban conditions, as well as on rough terrain is the fact that the space on which the enemy is viewed does not exceed 50 – 500 meters. At the same time, reconnaissance is extremely difficult, while in a short-term battle with short contact zones, it is very important to quickly identify the enemy and then destroy it. This factor determines the third development trend of the BP for melee weapons - the ability of them to perform the functions of strike-reconnaissance complexes. That is, a prospective ammunition should simultaneously carry out reconnaissance on the ground and, if it identifies the enemy, destroy it, and otherwise - self-destruct, without causing damage in the area in which reconnaissance was made. “Everything that existed until now, fired at the observed targets. Today, the task is to shoot at unobservable objects, ”the scientist said.
Previously, similar developments have already begun in Ukraine, Israel and Russia and were embodied in prototypes. However, the lack of appropriate technologies to ensure reliable communication between the PSU and its party did not allow the implementation of existing developments in real weapons. And since the battlefield is an extremely smoke-filled, noisy (in the sense of saturated electromagnetic effects) dusty space, it requires a very reliable connection. At the same time, the equipment of the munition, in addition to reconnaissance sensors, with additional systems (control, guidance, information processing) displaced from the shooter, would mean its multiple appreciation.
“Recently, technologies have emerged that provide, despite any opposition from the enemy, a reliable connection between the shooter and ammunition at distances of the“ urban zone ”(from 0 to 1,5 kilometers) and thus solve the tasks of reconnaissance and destruction. And we have some groundwork that will allow us in the near future to get a qualitative change in the nature of the ammunition and in the nature of the conduct of hostilities in cramped conditions, ”Vladimir Korenkov stressed.
“Ammunition is an attack and reconnaissance complex - the most effective ideology,” the scientist believes. “Everything else is first reconnaissance, such as a drone, and then shooting is a loss of efficiency.” At the same time, ensuring the removal of other functions to the fighter, gives in addition to cheaper ammunition and other advantages, for example, it expands the capabilities of the SBB up to its network use. “This kind of ammunition, which simultaneously performs the functions of reconnaissance and destruction, automatically replenishes the overall collective information base on the battlefield. Therefore, this development trend of melee weapons with the possibility of rapid reconnaissance of the submachine gun complements the tactical level control system, ”Korenkov explained.
These three major trends will determine the appearance of melee weapons for the next 10 – 20 years. And traditional melee weapons, such as grenade launchers, will either disappear altogether or move into the background, because promising ammunition will solve the problem for a wider class of targets hit and more widely situationally, the scientist is confident. At the same time, the cost of a new class of SBB, taking into account the development and mass production of the corresponding technologies, will slightly differ from today's cheap means such as RPG-26, RPG-27 and similar products.
Russia is in the forefront in terms of the implementation of the trends that have emerged throughout the world in the development of the SBB. Rapid tracking and understanding of these trends allowed leading scientists to begin proactive development at the beginning of the 2000-s and create the necessary groundwork. Now, when the forecasts that were available at that time were fully confirmed, the created reserve was successfully used to implement the State Armaments Program.
Regarding the issue of the power of ammunition, one should not expect any fundamental changes in this area. For many years, as all types of power reached its practical limit. The energy characteristics of all types of explosives, which are and are actually used, do not drastically exceed those that were made after the Second World War. Explosives that appeared in the middle of the last century, for example, compete completely in their power parameters with the most modern special compositions, yielding somewhat in characteristics, but at the same time are a hundred times cheaper than the compositions that provide extreme parameters. At the same time, these extreme parameters themselves exceed the standard ones by no more than 20 – 25 percent at a multiply increased cost. The overall world level of armor penetration for cumulative ammunition is six to seven calibers and all further attempts to increase it for mass-produced items turned out to be unproductive. “It’s easier to tackle this issue according to the tendency that has emerged in recent years - to search for more vulnerable places against targets and hit them precisely in these places,” Korenykov explains. “At the same time, the need for this kind of development disappears, which is becoming, on the one hand, more and more expensive, and on the other, unpromising.” For example, taking into account technological limitations, the depth of armor penetration of cumulative PSUs of more than 12 calibers is very problematic — the laws of nature associated with various instabilities and the properties of materials themselves come into play.
A similar situation exists with the armor-piercing piercing shells, which also reached its limit and are limited by the power of the guns. Attempting to solve this issue in some extreme way leads to all sorts of side effects. In particular, the use of uranium in the BP - to clog the battlefield and its unsuitability for its own troops, and even getting uranium particles in the fighter's lungs - to cancer diseases.
The same applies to fragmentation. All its characteristics and all methods of obtaining specified characteristics - from a given fragmentation to controlled crushing of monoliths - have long been known.
“One should not expect any cardinal change in traditional forms of power - high-explosive, fragmentation or cumulative armor-piercing action; today they are close to saturation. Therefore, the main main line of development of ammunition remains - their sharp intellectualization, ”the head of the Scientific and Production Center“ ST ”stressed.
At the same time, it is important to solve this question at the development stage, that is, to lay down “good ideas” in the structures themselves and in the ideology of application. Then the main function of the PSU will be high adaptability to the situation. “The ability to adapt very quickly to the changing situation on the battlefield thanks to the technical solutions put in place is the main direction in the development of all weapons and power supply in particular,” said the scientist.
In Russia, there are no plans to lag behind the leading Western specialists in working out new challenges in the direction of close combat, he said. “Here, at MSTU, as part of a branch science, we solve these issues. Acting as the head developer for melee means, we are trying to involve the best forces in the country, those who are interested in this and are able to solve tasks together with us, in carrying out the work, ”Vladimir Korenkov stressed. - We participate in the state defense order, we offer our solutions in tenders, we work in the interests of the Ministry of Defense. I am very optimistic about the capabilities of those professionals with whom I work and whose circle is constantly expanding. This means that we will effectively solve those tasks that exist as challenges and those that have already been set. ”
The optimism of the scientist is supported by positive changes in the attitude of the state to the ammunition industry. In recent years, the situation here has changed dramatically, the most senior officials are involved in solving problems in the industry. So, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said recently that the state defense order for 2013 will be adjusted, the quota for the purchase of ammunition will increase: “Already, a decision has been made to correct the state defense order of the current year. On 2013, the quota for ammunition purchases will be increased. ”
The Vice Prime Minister noted that it was necessary to modernize the ammunition industry. Especially for this, a strategy has been developed for eliminating the ammunition and small arms industry from the crisis. In addition, according to Rogozin, enterprises for the production of special chemistry are also being modernized. “I hope that in the next two to three years we will extend this industry,” he said.
Rogozin is the initiator of the creation of the Kalashnikov ammunition corporation on the basis of the Izhmash and Izhmekh enterprises, as well as of his competitor on the basis of the Dygterev Kovrov plant. Funds are being invested in the construction of new arsenals for the storage of ammunition, in promising methods for their disposal.
So, as they say, the ice has broken off with respect to the ammunition industry in Russia. We wish her seven feet under the keel.
In a conversation, Vladimir Korenkov drew attention to the problem of the disposal of ammunition: “Relatively recently, the design of ammunition in the technical assignment began to pave the way for disposal. If earlier it was believed that all BPs are destroyed on the battlefield, today, the design is carried out taking into account the possibility of their storage and disposal, that is, the entire life cycle. "
The remark sounded like a prophecy: on the day of the interview, another fire occurred and a series of explosions in Russian ammunition depots in the Samara region. Unfortunately, this is not the first time this is repeated, and it indicates that the efforts made so far to ensure the safety of the disposal of ammunition are not enough.