Over the past two decades, all relatively large-scale military conflicts involving the United States and NATO countries as an indispensable element included the massive use of sea-based and air-launched cruise missiles (KR).
The US leadership is actively promoting and constantly improving the concept of "contactless" war using high-precision weapons (WTO) long range. This idea implies, firstly, the absence (or reduction to a minimum) of casualties on the part of the attacker and, secondly, effective solution of the most important task characteristic of the initial stage of any armed conflict, winning unconditional air supremacy and suppressing the enemy’s air defense system. "Contactless" strikes suppress the morale of the defenders, creates a feeling of helplessness and inability to fight the aggressor, and has a depressing effect on the highest governing bodies of the defending side and subordinate troops.
In addition to the "operational-tactical" results, which the Americans repeatedly demonstrated during the anti-Iraq campaigns, attacks on Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and others, the accumulation of the Kyrgyz Republic also has a "strategic" goal. The press is increasingly discussing the scenario in accordance with which the simultaneous destruction of the most important components of the Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Russian Federation by conventional warheads of the Kyrgyz Republic, mainly sea-based, during the first “disarming strike” is assumed. After delivering such a strike, command posts, mine and mobile launchers of the Strategic Missile Forces, air defense facilities, airfields, submarines in bases, control and communication systems, etc. should be disabled.
Achieving the desired effect, according to the American military leadership, can be achieved through:
- reduction of the combat strength of the Russian strategic nuclear forces in accordance with bilateral agreements;
- an increase in the number of WTO funds used in the first strike (first of all - the CD);
- the creation of an effective missile defense system in Europe and the United States, capable of “finishing off” the Russian strategic nuclear forces not destroyed during a disarming strike.
For any unbiased researcher, it is obvious that the US government (regardless of the president’s name and skin color) persistently and persistently achieves a position where Russia, like Libya and Syria, is cornered, and its leadership will have to make the last choice: agree to the full and unconditional surrender in terms of making major foreign policy decisions or still trying out on themselves another version of "decisive power" or "unbreakable freedom."
In the described situation, for the Russian Federation no less vigorous and, most importantly, effective measures are needed that can, if not prevent, or at least delay "D-day" (maybe the situation will change, the threat will be reduced, new arguments will emerge against the implementation of the force option "Martians will land, American" tops "will become more responsible - in order of decreasing probability).
Possessing enormous resources and reserves of constantly improving WTO samples, the US military and political leadership rightly believes that repelling the massive strike of the Kyrgyz Republic is an extremely costly and complex task that today is beyond the reach of any of the potential opponents of the United States.
Today, the ability of the Russian Federation to repulse such a blow is clearly insufficient. The high cost of modern air defense systems, whether it is anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) or manned aviation interception complexes (PAK), it is not possible to deploy them in the required quantity, taking into account the enormous length of the borders of the Russian Federation and the uncertainty with the directions from which strikes can be carried out using missile defense.
Meanwhile, possessing undoubted advantages, the CD is not without significant drawbacks. First of all, there are no means of detecting the fact of an attack of the Kyrgyz Republic from the side of a fighter on the modern samples of “cruise ships”. Secondly, on relatively long stretches of the route, cruise missiles fly with a constant course, speed and altitude, which facilitates the interception. Thirdly, as a rule, the CD fly to the target by a compact group, which makes it easier for the attacker to plan the attack and theoretically contributes to increasing the survivability of the missiles; however, the latter is carried out only if the target channels of the air defense systems are saturated, and otherwise, this tactic plays a negative role, facilitating the organization of interception. Fourth, the flight speed of modern cruise missiles is still subsonic, on the order of 800 ... 900 km / h, so there is usually a significant time resource (tens of minutes) for intercepting the CD.
The analysis shows that to combat cruise missiles, a system capable of:
- intercept a large number of small-sized subsonic non-maneuvering air targets at extremely low altitude in a limited area for a limited time;
- to cover with one element of this subsystem a section (boundary) with a width much larger than that of existing air defense systems at low altitudes (approximately 500 ... 1000 km);
- have a high probability of performing a combat mission in any weather conditions day and night;
- to provide a significantly higher value of the integrated criterion "efficiency / cost" in the interception of the Kyrgyz Republic in comparison with the classical air defense systems and the PAC interception.
This system must interface with other systems and air defense / missile defense systems in terms of control, enemy air reconnaissance, communications, etc.
Experience of fighting the Kyrgyz Republic in military conflicts
The scale of the use of the Kyrgyz Republic in armed conflicts is characterized by the following indicators.
During the operation "Storm in the Desert" in 1991 from the surface ships and submarines of the US Navy deployed in positions in the Mediterranean and Red Seas, as well as in the Persian Gulf, 297 launches of Tomahawk-type SLCMs were carried out.
In 1998, in the course of Operation Desert Fox, a contingent of American armed forces deployed more than 370 naval and air-launched cruise missiles to Iraq.
In 1999, during the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia, in the framework of Operation Decisive Force, cruise missiles were used to launch three massive air-missile strikes that took place during the first two days of the conflict. Then the United States and its allies switched to systematic hostilities, during which cruise missiles were also used. In total, more than 700 sea and air-launched missile launches were performed during the active period.
In the process of systematic hostilities in Afghanistan, the US armed forces used more than 600 cruise missiles, and during Operation Freedom to Iraq in 2003, at least 800 KR.
In the open press, as a rule, the results of the use of cruise missiles are embellished, creating the impression of the "inevitability" of the blows and of their highest accuracy. Thus, on television, a video was repeatedly shown in which a case of a direct hit of a cruise missile in the window of a building, etc. was shown. However, neither about the conditions in which this experiment was carried out, nor about the date and place of its conduct, no data were given.
However, there are other assessments in which cruise missiles are characterized by markedly less impressive efficiency. It is, in particular, the report of the Commission of the US Congress and the materials published by the officer of the Iraqi army, in which the percentage of American cruise missiles hit in 1991 by Iraqi air defense systems is approximately 50%. The losses of cruise missiles from Yugoslav air defense weapons in 1999 are considered to be somewhat smaller, but also significant.
In both cases, cruise missiles were brought down mainly by portable Strela and Igla air defense systems. The most important condition for interception was the concentration of calculations of MANPADS on rocket-prone areas and timely warning of the approach of cruise missiles. Attempts to use "more serious" air defense missile systems to combat cruise missiles were difficult, as the inclusion of radar detection of targets from the air defense system almost immediately caused strikes against them using anti-radar aircraft.
Under these conditions, the Iraqi army, for example, returned to the practice of organizing aerial surveillance posts that detected cruise missiles visually and reported their appearance by telephone. During the period of fighting in Yugoslavia, highly mobile Osa-AK air defense systems were used to counteract cruise missiles, including a radar station for a short time, with an immediate change of position after that.
So, one of the most important tasks is to exclude the possibility of a “total” blinding of the air defense / missile defense system with the loss of the ability to adequately cover the air situation.
The second task is the rapid concentration of active agents in the direction of impact. Modern air defense systems for solving these problems are not quite suitable.
Americans are also afraid of cruise missiles
Long before 11 in September 2001, when kamikaze planes with passengers on board crashed into United States facilities, American analysts revealed another hypothetical threat to the country, which, in their opinion, could be created by rogue countries and even individual terrorist groups. Imagine the following scenario. Two hundred and three hundred kilometers from the coast of the country, where "happy ness" lives, there is a non-ordinary cargo ship with containers on the upper deck. Early in the morning, in order to use the haze that makes it difficult to visually detect air targets, cruise missiles, of course produced by the Soviet production or their copies, "welded" by craftsmen from an unnamed country, suddenly start from several vessels on board this vessel. Further, the containers are dumped overboard and flooded, and the missile carrier vessel pretends to be an “innocent trafficker” who happened to be here by accident.
Cruise missiles fly low, their start is not easy to detect.
And their combat units are filled with not ordinary explosives, not toy bears with calls for democracy in their paws, but, naturally, powerful poisonous substances or, at worst, anthrax spores. Ten or fifteen minutes later, the rockets appear over the unsuspecting coastal city ... Needless to say, the picture was painted by the hand of the master, who was watching the American horror films. But in order to convince the US Congress to fork out, we need a "direct and obvious threat." The main problem: to intercept such missiles, there is almost no time left for alerting active interceptors - missiles or manned fighters, because the ground radar can "see" a cruise missile flying at ten meters high at a distance not exceeding several tens of kilometers.
In 1998, for the first time, money was spent on developing the nightmare protection of cruise missiles arriving "out of nowhere" in the United States as part of the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System (JLENS) program. In October, 2005 was completed research and experimental work related to the verification of the pledged ideas for feasibility, and the company Raytheon received the go-ahead for making prototypes of the JLENS system. Now it’s not about some unfortunate tens of millions of dollars, but about a solid amount - $ 1,4 billion. The elements of the system were demonstrated in 2009:
71M helium balloon with ground station for lifting / lowering and servicing, and Science Applications International Corp. from St. Petersburg received an order for the design and manufacture of the antenna for the radar, which is the payload of the balloon. A year later, a seventy-meter balloon for the first time flew into the sky with radar on board, and in 2011, the system was checked for almost the full program: first imitated electronic targets, then they launched a low-flying aircraft, after which the turn came on a UAV with a very small EPR.
Actually, there are two antennas for aerostat: one for detecting small targets at a relatively long range, and the other for accurate targeting at a smaller range. The power to the antennas is supplied from the ground, the reflected signal is “lowered” through the fiber-optic cable. The performance of the system was tested up to the height of 4500 m. The ground station has a winch that provides the lift of the balloon to the desired height, a power source, as well as a control cabin with the workplace of a dispatcher, meteorologist and aerostat control operator. It is reported that the equipment of the JLENS system is mated with the shipboard Aids air defense system, the Patriot air defense system and the SLAMRAAM complexes (the new self-defense air defense system, which uses converted AIM-120 SD, which were previously positioned as air-missiles air").
However, in the spring of 2012, the JLENS program began to have difficulties: The Pentagon, as part of the planned budget cuts, announced it was reluctant to deploy the first batch of 12 serial stations with 71M balloons, leaving only two radar stations already completed to tweak the radar and eliminate identified deficiencies in hardware and software .
30 April 2012, in the course of practical launches of missiles at a training and testing ground in Utah, using a target designation from the JLENS system, was shot down by an unmanned aircraft using REB equipment. The representative of the company Raytheon said: “It’s not only that the UAV was intercepted, but also that it was possible to fulfill all the requirements of the technical assignment to ensure reliable interaction between the JLENS system and the Patriot air defense system. The company hopes that the military’s interest in the system will be renewed JLENS, because previously it was planned that the Pentagon will purchase hundreds of sets in the period from 2012 to 2022.
Symptomatic can be considered the fact that even the richest country in the world, apparently, still considers unacceptable for itself the price that would have to be paid for the construction of the "great American antimissile wall" using traditional means of intercepting the Kyrgyz Republic, even if in interaction with the latest detection systems for low-flying air targets.
Proposals for the appearance and organization of countering cruise missiles with the help of unmanned fighters
The analysis shows that it is advisable to build a system to combat cruise missiles based on the use of relatively mobile units armed with guided missiles with thermal seeker which should be focused in a timely manner on the threatened direction. As part of such units should not be stationary or low-mobile ground radar, which immediately become the targets of enemy strikes using anti-radar missiles.
Ground-based air defense systems with ground-to-air missiles with thermal seekers are characterized by a small course parameter, which is a few kilometers. Dozens of complexes will be required to reliably cover the boundary with a length of 500 km.
A significant part of the forces and means of ground defense in the event of the passage of enemy cruise missiles on one or two routes will be "out of work." There will be problems with the placement of positions, the organization of timely warning and target distribution, the possibility of "saturating" the fire capabilities of air defense weapons in a limited area. In addition, the mobility of such a system is quite difficult to provide.
An alternative could be the use of relatively small-sized unmanned interceptor fighters armed with short-range guided missiles with thermal seekers.
The division of such aircraft can be based on one aerodrome (aerodrome take-off and landing) or in several points (non-aerodrome start, aerodrome landing).
The main advantage of aviation unmanned aerials to intercept cruise missiles is the ability to quickly concentrate efforts in a limited corridor of the enemy’s missile flight. The expediency of using BIKR against cruise missiles is also due to the fact that the “intelligence” of such a fighter, currently being implemented on the basis of existing information sensors and calculators, is sufficient to hit targets that do not actively counteract (with the exception of CU).
A small-sized unmanned fighter of cruise missiles (BIKR) must carry onboard radar with a range of detection of an airborne target of a cruise missile against the ground of the order of 100 km (Irbis class), several UR air-to-air (P-60, P- 73 or MANPADS "Igla"), and also, possibly, an aircraft gun. Relatively small mass and dimension of BIKR should help reduce the cost of vehicles compared with manned fighter-interceptors, as well as reduce the total fuel consumption, which is important given the need for mass use of BIKR (maximum engine thrust can be estimated equal to 2,5 ... 3 tf, i.e. approximately like a serial AI-222-25). In order to effectively combat cruise missiles, the maximum TIKR flight speed should be near-sonic or low supersonic, and the ceiling should be relatively small, no more than 10 km.
BIKR control at all stages of flight should be provided by an "electronic pilot", whose functions should be significantly expanded compared with typical aircraft automatic control systems. In addition to autonomous control, it is advisable to provide for the possibility of remote control of BIKR and its systems, for example, at the stages of take-off and landing, as well as, possibly, combat use of weapons or decision-making on the use of weapons.
The process of combat use of the BIKR unit can be briefly described as follows. After detecting by the senior chief (low mobile ground surveillance radar cannot be entered into a subunit!), The approach of enemy cruise missiles into the air raises several BIKRs so that, when the unmanned interceptors reach the calculated areas of the detection radar, the entire undercover radar plot.
Initially, the maneuvering area of a particular BIKR is set before departure in the flight mission. If necessary, the area can be updated in flight by transmitting relevant data over a secure radio link. In the absence of communication with the ground-based KP (radio link suppression), one of the BIKR acquires the properties of a "command apparatus" with certain powers. As part of the BIKR electronic pilot, it is necessary to provide for an analysis of the air situation, which should ensure the massing of airborne BIKR forces in the direction of the approach of the tactical group of enemy cruise missiles, as well as organize the call for additional BIKR duty forces if all cruise missiles are not manages to intercept the "active" BIKR. Thus, BIKRs on duty in the air will, to a certain extent, play the role of a kind of “surveillance radar”, practically invulnerable to the enemy's anti-radar missiles. They can fight with streams of cruise missiles of relatively low density.
In the case of diversion of airborne BIKR on the same direction from the airfield should be immediately raised additional vehicles, which should exclude the formation of naked areas in the area of responsibility of the unit.
During a period of danger, the organization of continuous combat duty of several BIKRs is possible. In the event of the need to transfer units to a new direction BIKR can fly to a new airfield "on their own". To ensure landing beforehand, a control cabin and calculation must be carried out on this airdrome, and the calculation ensures that the necessary operations are carried out (it may take more than one transport worker, but the problem of moving a long distance is potentially easier to solve than in the case of air defense systems, and in a much shorter time). At the stage of a flight to a new airfield, BIKR should be controlled by an “electronic pilot”. It is obvious that, in addition to the “combat” minimum of equipment for ensuring safety of flights in peacetime, BIKR automatic equipment should include a subsystem for avoiding collisions in the air with other aircraft.
Only flight experiments will be able to confirm or refute the possibility of destroying a CD or another enemy unmanned aerial vehicle with fire from a BIKR onboard cannon.
If the likelihood of the destruction of the Kyrgyz Republic by cannon fire turns out to be quite high, then by the criterion of "effectiveness - cost" this method of destroying enemy cruise missiles will be out of competition.
The central problem in creating BIKR is not so much the development of the actual aircraft with the corresponding flight data, equipment and weapons, but the creation of effective artificial intelligence (AI), which ensures the effective use of BIKR units.
It seems that the tasks of AI in this case can be divided into three groups:
- a group of tasks that ensures the rational management of single BIKR at all stages of the flight;
- a group of tasks that ensures the rational management of a BIKR group that covers the established boundary of the airspace;
- a group of tasks that ensures the rational management of the BIKR unit on the ground and in the air, taking into account the need for a periodic change of aircraft, building up forces, taking into account the scale of the enemy's raid, interaction with the reconnaissance and active means of the senior chief.
The problem, to a certain extent, is that the development of artificial intelligence for BIKR is not a profile either for the creators of the aircraft itself, or for the developers of the onboard ACS or radar. Without a perfect AI, an unmanned fighter turns into an inefficient and expensive toy that can discredit an idea. The creation of a BIKR with a sufficiently developed AI can be a necessary step towards a multifunctional unmanned fighter capable of fighting not only unmanned but also manned enemy aircraft.