This история started exactly 30 years ago. In December, the first battery of medium-range strategic missiles MGM-1983C Pershing II was deployed in Germany 31.
A small deadly masterpiece, built by the specialists of the company Martin Marietta, was a mobile complex with a two-stage solid-fuel BR with a maximum range of 1770 km. In addition to a drastic reduction in flight time (the warhead only needed 10 minutes to fly to Moscow), the Pershing 2 prepared another surprise for the Soviet leadership - its circular deviation, which is traditionally low for American ballistic missiles, was reduced to incredible 30 meters!
The main secret of the "Pershing-2" was a maneuvering warhead equipped with the Radar Digital Area Guidance (RADAG) homing system.
Touching the stars at an altitude of 300 km, the warhead was rapidly returning to the Earth’s atmosphere. In the depths of the body, reliably protected from heat, cold and overloads, methodically ticked off the seconds on-board computer ... 428, 429, 430 - the Karman line was passed. It's time! Guided by the data of the gyroscopes of the INS, the combat unit "Pershing-2" was deployed in space perpendicular to the fall trajectory. Brakes! Brakes! Plasma streams shreds off the slippery surface of the hull and are carried away into the purple mist of the stratosphere. At first, weak and discharged, the atmosphere is already confidently whistling overboard, swaying in their streams the brave man who dared to defy the air of the ocean.
At an altitude of about 15 km, the Pershing-2 extinguished speed to 2-3 speeds of sound, the INS once again oriented the warhead properly - and the most interesting began. The radar of the RADAG system came to life under the ablative plastic fairing - the warhead received an annular image of the underlying relief by scanning around a vertical axis with an angular velocity of 2 rev / sec. Four reference images of the target area for different heights, recorded in the form of a matrix, each cell of which corresponded to the brightness of a given area in the selected radio wave range, were stored in the onboard computer's memory. Comparing the data obtained with the radar maps stored in the memory, the warhead determined its current position and the error of the ANN. Correction of the combat unit at trans-atmospheric altitudes was carried out with the help of a system of jet nozzles using a supply of compressed air; in the atmosphere - aerodynamic surfaces with hydraulic drive.
Having completed its task, the RADAG system was shut off at an altitude of about 1 km. Having received the last corrective impulse, the warhead swooped on the selected target along a ballistic trajectory, conducting a point-to-point destruction of protected command posts, communications centers, important military and civilian infrastructure on the territory of the enemy.
The nightmarish complex became one of the hot topics in the Soviet-American 80 negotiations. The Kremlin insisted on the immediate elimination of the "Damocles sword" hanging over the entire European part of the USSR: there was no way to defend against Pershing, a hundred missiles could disarm and decapitate the country in a few minutes. In connection with the restructuring policy that began and the sequence of mutual concessions, medium-range Pershing 2 medium-range missiles were removed from combat duty in 1988-89. under an international INF Treaty.
Two-stage solid-fuel rocket complex MGM-31C Pershing II in the context of: 1,2 - engines of the first and second stage; 3 - adapter; 4 - aerodynamic steering wheels; 5 - control system; 6 - warhead; 7 - radar and complex command devices on a stabilized platform; 8 - ballistic tip with contact fuse.
The length of the rocket in the initial position - 10,61 m. Starting weight - 6,8 tons. Head Weight - 1362 kg. The cost of a serial rocket - 1 million dollars in 80-s prices.
"Guns of the Island of Navarrone", or the Chinese equivalent of "Pershing 2"
It might have seemed to someone that we paid too much attention to the American Cold War rocket. But it is “Pershing 2” that is the best evidence that all our subsequent conversation lies outside the plane of theoretical speculation and assumptions. China is not bluffing. There are no fundamental prohibitions on the way of the realization of their daring plan: such systems appeared more than 30 years ago and proved their high potential in practice.
The idea of creating anti-ship ballistic missiles arose during the modernization of the medium-range missile system "Dongfeng 21" ("East Wind 21"). Really existing weaponadopted by the PLA in the 1996 year (modification DF-21А). All subsequent 15 years, "Dongfeng" has been continuously improved - the last modification of the DF-21C, which reached operational readiness in the 2010 year, demonstrated a QUO less than 40 meters. At about the same time, data literally exploded from the Pentagon came from China: the Chinese Communists plan to use the new modification DF-21D as an anti-ship weapon!
As it became known later, the creators of “Dongfeng” tried several combined guidance schemes (INS / GPS / ARGSN), after all, having opted for the scheme used in the American “Pershing-2”. The rest of the DF-21D is the next stage in the evolution of the tested Dongfans: a mobile launch platform with medium-range missiles, a missile length of about 10 meters, a starting weight within 15 tons, a conventional (non-nuclear) warhead, the calculated launch range 1450 km, max. flight speed 10 Mach.
Sensational footage from the rocket range in the Gobi Desert. The "usual" medium-range BR, which demonstrates fantastic accuracy
The ballistic anti-ship missile has a number of brilliant advantages over conventional anti-ship missiles:
Firstly, the enormous launch range is 2-3 times as large as the heaviest Soviet PCR of the П-500 / 700 / 1000 family.
Secondly, moving in near-Earth space, the ballistic missile develops speed, inconceivable for conventional RCC. Despite the increased firing range, the flight time is several times lower than that of cruise missiles: the strategic Pershing-2 BR only had enough 10 minutes to fly from the banks of the Rhine to the walls of the Moscow Kremlin!
Third, the main advantage: being on the march, the ballistic missile is completely invulnerable to enemy air defenses. Transatmospheric altitudes and hypersonic speed (however, in the airless space this concept loses its meaning) do not allow taking any action to intercept it.
I predict a stormy reaction of a highly respected public, associated with the appearance in the US Navy’s arsenal of the RIM-161 Standard-3 interceptor missile, which is capable of hitting targets in low near-earth orbits. No, gentlemen, comrades. "Stand-3" can not be a reliable shield against the Chinese ballistic anti-ship missiles. The reason is simple - the missile flying time is too short: even after finding the torch of the launching Dongfeng using advanced F-35 onboard systems (which is unlikely), the Yankee has eight minutes to spare. The Aegis ships' radars cannot control space at such a distance - at best, they will notice Dongfeng on the descending branch of the trajectory, at a distance of 300-400 km. This is too late. Calculate the trajectory of a speeding rocket in two minutes and launch a kinetic interceptor in response is an unrealistic task.
The Yankees demonstrated the capabilities of their Stender-3 by successfully intercepting a failed USA-193 space satellite moving at an altitude of 247 km at the first space velocity — but it was a goal with a predetermined trajectory. The turtle is able to catch up with Achilles - the main thing is to be at the right place on the track at the right time. The cruiser advanced in advance to the desired point of the oceans, took aim in advance and ... fired right on target. How long did the preparation of the entire operation last? A working group of 300 specialists from Raytheon, the Navy, and NASA prepared the necessary data and instructions for a month and a half! In the case of the DF-21D, the time will be on the side of the Chinese.
Having made a short suborbital throw, Dongfeng will return to the dense layers of the atmosphere. The last stage "Stand-3" is a space interceptor probe - it is effective only in airless space, but is constrained to maneuver at low altitudes.
Finally, a few curious facts for completeness: at the present time, the 37 ships in the world are capable of using the Stand-3 (among them, six Japanese destroyers). The fleets of other countries are in principle devoid of any means to intercept targets in the upper atmosphere. And the cost of one kinetic interceptor reaches 24 million dollars!
Missiles of the Dongfeng family
You can try to intercept the Chinese ballistic anti-ship missile on the final part of the trajectory when it reduces the speed to “adequate” 2-3М and starts searching for a target using on-board radar. The best of the existing American missiles - the RIM-156 Standard 2ER Block IV hits the 24 400 meters high (the maneuverability of the RIM-156 at the extreme height is not large - aerodynamic control surfaces are inefficient in discharged air).
However, in this case too, the victim (that’s the name of the target of the ballistic missile) is in a completely disadvantageous position:
1. The flight time from this point does not exceed 30 seconds.
2. Ballistic "Dongfeng" attacks the victim from the zenith. Outside the sector of the review of the radar of modern ships - after all, they were counting on threats in the Earth’s atmosphere with a more “flatter” trajectory.
How realistic is a ballistic missile to hit the ship? The ship is a moving target. But to what extent can this “mobility” affect the success of the Dongfeng mission?
Even the most high-speed AUGs in ideal weather conditions cannot move faster than 30 nodes (≈56 km / h, in practice, even lower). The speed of the ships is negligible compared to the speed of a ballistic missile. “Dongfeng” approaches its goal so quickly that in the reference system related to the surface of the Earth, its own motion of the AUG will not create any difficulties in developing corrective impulses of the GOS of the rocket. The computational capabilities of the homing head make it easy to solve such problems in the same way as all modern supersonic anti-ship missiles are aimed at.
The anti-ship "Dongfeng" to some extent should have an advantage over the "Pershing 2" - in contrast to the US medium-range BR, which needed to find a specific building / hangar / site among thousands of other relief features - buildings, forests, fields and hills dotted with a network of roads , power lines and embankments w / d.
The Chinese anti-ship missile has a simpler task: to isolate a huge 330-meter steel structure against the background of an absolutely identical sea surface. However, the 150-meter destroyer is also difficult to call imperceptible - when viewed from the zenith, all his stealth techniques lose their effectiveness.
The only possible problem is EW funds. The last, saving chance for those who are in the affected area is to try to “hammer” the terrible rocket’s radar with all sorts of interferences, take it off course with the use of dipole clouds, etc. “false targets”. Will the giant aircraft carrier be hidden from the Dongfeng gaze? And will the existing EW facilities and anti-missile anti-missile systems with such an unusual trajectory be effective? In any case, this is the only real chance to try to avoid a catastrophe - to use other interception systems is useless.
The most important stage, without which any weapon with a trans-horizon shooting range becomes useless. Who will determine the approximate coordinates and location of the target at a distance of 1500 km? How to detect the approaching AUG, which is able to move 1000 km in 24 hours?
The Chinese shrug - as usual. Using radio interception stations, over-the-horizon radars and reconnaissance space satellites. If possible, ships, submarines and Aviation. The main role is given to space reconnaissance equipment: according to open data, since April 2006, China launched 18 satellites of the Yaogan Weissin series, electronic, and radar reconnaissance into orbit. In addition to conventional optical-electronic means and radio interception systems, some of the satellites (for example, Yaogan-5, launched on December 15, 2008) were equipped with active side-scan radars with a synthesized aperture. Nowadays, the operation of satellites with radar does not require extremely low orbits and nuclear energy sources (hello ICRC “Legend”!), Which significantly reduces the cost of the spacecraft and increases its service life by an order of magnitude.
The wake trail is much larger than the size of the ship itself.
The main unmasking factor when detected from space
The main unmasking factor when detected from space
Space reconnaissance systems are capable of transmitting images of moving naval targets and their giant wake tracks stretching for tens of miles, detecting the thermal radiation of ships and locating radio sources on board them.
Radar satellites are able to independently detect a target at any time of day under any weather conditions, using active radar.
A definite role is assigned to terrestrial over-the-horizon radars, which use in their work the effect of diffractive surface propagation of radio waves (the so-called ground wave). Such systems have been used in different countries for decades - to control the marine economic zone and coastal waters.
Over-the-horizon "Wave" radar, which uses the effect of surface waves in operation. Located on the coast, in the district of Nakhodka. The estimated detection range of marine targets (large ships and ships) reaches 3000 km
Finally, coastal stations, airplanes and electronic reconnaissance ships, submarine barriers - all of them are capable of giving an approximate position of the enemy's AUG and KUG.
A lot of ways. The main problem is the rapid obsolescence of data. After an hour, the area of the probable location of the AUG will turn into a circle with a radius of 50 kilometers. The exact characteristics of the Dunfeng 21D rocket are not known at this time: the height of the firing, the sensitivity, the viewing sector ... can the warhead detect the target located at a distance of 50 ... 100 km? In any case, the Chinese should hurry. Multi-square salvo shooting increases the chances of success. At the same time, one hit of the DF-21D rocket is enough to disable any modern ship.
"They play the role of a stick, which you can drive away a dog that ran into your yard, but no one will attack with a stick on the house where this dog lives",
- say the Chinese military about the defensive nature of the system DF-21D
Please flip your keyboard and see what is written there. Made in China. What a surprise!
A country that clothes the whole world and supplies it with everything you need - from irons to the most complex personal computers, is not like someone who throws words to the wind. The Chinese are launching giant supertankers (Xin Buyan), building the largest and most modern ports in the world (Shanghai), laying railways in high-altitude Tibet, setting up high-speed train lines, building skyscrapers and other fantastic engineering structures throughout the country. They copied the American destroyer "Berk", the C-300 SAM and the Su-33 fighter, completed the Soviet aircraft carrier, created their own nuclear submarine fleet. Launch spacecraft and moon rovers. They have at their disposal the entire technological potential of the USA and Europe. It is in China that such giants as Apple and IBM translate their production. Smartphones, rockets, helicopters, cars and road-building equipment - they copy everything, constantly moving forward and creating their own samples based on copies, surpassing the original in terms of price / quality ratio.
Doubts that China will not be able to copy the ancient "Pershing-2" - at least not grounded and naive. The same applies to the development of the homing head on a modern elemental base - the Chinese are not afraid of hard work and are used to overcoming difficulties.
The DF-21D system will reach operational readiness, giving rise to the creation of new impressive models of naval weapons.
Mobile missile system of the Dongfeng family
The flight path of the Pershing-2 BR. Of particular interest is the final plot with correction on four radar maps of the terrain.