At the end of September at the jubilee exhibition “Arms and Security”, which was held in Kiev, the widest exposition was presented by the STATE ENTERPRISE “IZUMY INSTRUMENT-MAKING PLANT” (SE IPP). Defense Express did not miss the opportunity to talk substantively with the deputy director for development, chief designer of the plant, Valery Kovalenko. About this - in the following interview.
- Valery Vladimirovich, among the Ukrainian players at the exhibition your enterprise is independently represented most powerfully. Tell us briefly about the plant as a whole, and its products, produced both for the Ukrainian army and in the interests of foreign customers.
- Our company with a long and very rich history. The first industrial optical glass on it was welded in 1923 year. At first it was an optical factory that produced only optical glass. Later, from 1940, he developed into an optical-electronic instrument making enterprise. Izyum Instrument-Making Plant is the only enterprise in Ukraine for the production of optical glass. Currently, the plant is one of the world's flagships for the production of optical colored and colorless glass. The plant has the technology and equipment for the production of unique brands of optical glass. Today, we are the technology developers of more than 240 brands of optical glass, whose consumers are countries on all continents. In addition to optical glass, the plant creates and produces high-precision optical, optical-mechanical and optical-electronic devices. The main directions of our enterprise in optoelectronic instrument making, which we have preserved and in every way possible are the guidance systems and their elements for anti-tank complexes, sea-based observation stations, sighting systems of fire control systems, night vision devices of the driver for all types of armored vehicles, anti-aircraft guns sights, plus the entire range of viewing devices of armored vehicles, anti-missile systems, missile detection and guidance systems. Moscow today left a number of our systems focused on the Russian market, in particular, from the 3Ц85 Kortik product, which was part of the Kashtan complex, which was installed at one time on powerful ships. At the same time, we have retained our main directions, developing them in accordance with modern requirements, offering products both for export and to the domestic Ministry of Defense. It is important that today our plant has a complete, closed technological production cycle. We ourselves cook optical glass, we process it ourselves, and we make optoelectronic devices ourselves.
Smaller, cheaper, more efficient
- Let's go through the product segments. Separately, as we understand, is the direction of anti-tank complexes ...
- This is true. First of all, it is worth noting cooperation with the Russian Federation on the topic of "Metis". We have signed relevant contracts with the Russians, who are actively and successfully exporting this complex. Recently, an international contract was signed for a significant new batch. We must not let our partners down. Metis complexes are in demand abroad, including due to the modernization carried out by our company to increase the range. Thus, the complexes have become high-precision and with an increased range of fire from 1,2 to 2 km. In the complex, the rocket and the hardware unit remain Russian, and the 9C816М guidance device, in particular, the sighting channel, the coordinate extraction and data transfer channel to the equipment unit is our production. This complex is used by the Russian Armed Forces.
- Does the control circuit go over the laser beam?
- No, still on the wire. Its main advantage is low cost and high precision guidance characteristics. A rocket with a small number of control signals is very cheap, but with a fairly high accuracy. Similar equipment, as for "Metis", we are releasing for the "Competition" ATGM - 9Ш119М1. There is already a range of 4 km. She, however, does not enjoy such demand, deliveries are in small quantities. As for Metis, even 20 years ago they thought that no one else would buy it. But it turned out that he is in demand today.
- Are the works on the new Ukrainian Korsar ATGM operating?
- For the "Corsair" we have already developed a new pointing device. Development, in fact, is completed, the production of a prototype has begun. In the meantime, as you know, there is a Belarusian instrument on the Korsar. NSh counterpart - and less in size, and easier on 2,5 kg. And this is important for ATGM of this class. There is no TV channel, we use a regular sighting device. In the interests of the Luch design bureau, we also developed a very compact device for a grenade launcher, where there is a laser range finder up to two kilometers (compact, weighing just 100 g), a projection system for outputting service information to the target channel. The grenade launcher system uses the calculation of the speed of the target, the calculation of the anticipating point, and the output of the aiming mark on the screen of the sighting channel.
- TV channel is not there?
- Television is not. Here the target channel with the projection of information on a translucent mirror. The device is designed for a new system that is being developed by Luch Design Bureau.
- "Metis" and "Corsair" - competitors in the market?
- In principle, yes, although they have fundamental differences. In the "Corsair" is controlled by a laser beam, not by wire, plus it was originally intended for shooting from the shoulder. In “Corsare”, I believe, there is still a number of changes to be made in the structure for ease of use from the shoulder, protection of the guidance device during operation, and so on. Plus, the Corsair complex is quite cheap and, in my opinion, will occupy its niche in the market. From the exhibition we presented at the exhibition, I would also single out missile guidance devices of various configurations. In particular, the device PN-K, designed to control a rocket fired from a cannon caliber 100 mm. Previously, it was the system 9Sh135 "Fasteners", it had a weight of 35 kg, three times larger dimensions, plus somewhere kilograms of 150 batteries. Now we have a device weighing only 8 kg and a significantly reduced battery. With this device we passed all the tests.
- Is the product export or is there a purchase by the domestic Ministry of Defense?
- So far it is exclusively export oriented. Another one of our PNT guidance devices is under the Skif anti-tank missile system developed by the Luch design bureau. He was assigned the letter O1, it is already being mass-produced. Sales, however, so far, no. We put the Hawk thermal imager on it in a reduced configuration with a focus of 150 mm. It is installed as standard from above, we refined the mount for it, although it is possible to install any other imager to provide the necessary range.
“But products are being exported with Belarusian instruments ...”
- One game was really staged with Belarusian counterparts. However, in my opinion, according to its characteristics (accuracy and other), the Izum instrument is better. In the Belarusian device before each shooting it is necessary to do the reconciliation, which takes considerable time. We guarantee the stability of aiming marks for ten years of operation! In the event of any failure, when the monitor is switched on from the control panel, the aiming mark (if it is lost) is combined with the mark that is projected into the television channel. This is a significant competitive advantage. It is fundamentally important when installed on light armored vehicles, where our PPB device is used - there is also reconciliation - exclusively internal (there is no need to go out and do separate body movements). That is, when you turn on the “reconciliation” mode, we get an alignment alignment mark with which aiming mark. The whole process takes about ten seconds.
- Regarding the installation of a thermal imager on light armored vehicles. Your sighting systems can be used for this, or need others?
- We have an aiming complex 9Sh350 and 1. This is an electronic module, where there is a narrow and wide television field, a laser rangefinder, plus a thermal imager. Moreover, the imager can be installed any - French, Chinese, mentioned Hawk from Selex Galileo - constructively, they all fit there.
- And what are you inclined to?
- Honestly, from all that I have seen, I note the Hawlex thermal imagers of the company Slelex ES and the thermal imagers of the French company Thales.
- Turning to the helicopter segment, we cannot but ask about your cooperation with the British in modernizing the Mi-8 in the interests of Algeria, in particular, in integrating your laser channel into the Titan 410 gyro-stabilized platform?
- Not just Titan 410. Or rather, not so much, for we have not yet seen the “living” four hundred and tenth. They have a serial system, the so-called "ball", Titan 385. It is precisely under him that our laser channel to control the rocket is adapted. It is also adapted to the Titan 410 (as soon as it appears), as well as to the Chinese "ball" (abbreviation LKU).
- Does your laser channel also go under our modernization of the Mi-24 for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine?
- Yes, "LKK-V" is called. Modernization, as is known, goes together with the French firm Sagem. We adapted our laser channel at HOSP410L1 in France. Today, tests have been conducted in France, the French side will soon have to deliver it to Ukraine, where they will be tested on the Mi-24.
- I have heard that your equipment for the French "ball" is too big, and there is not enough stabilization, energy ...
- It is not true. The weight of our channel is 4,5 kg, which corresponds to the specification. In total there is enough, which was confirmed by the system test cycle with our internal module in France. I think that already this year the first sample of the system will go to Ukraine. A contract, I agree, was delayed. We sent three sets to France.
- Do you think that the version of the “ball” (whether Titan 8 or Titan 385) tested on the Mi-410 in Algeria is more acceptable to us?
- The question is not for us. The English-Italian version has excellent stabilization characteristics, in particular the 410, but, I repeat, so far only on paper. We, in cooperation with KB “Luch”, are ready to integrate into any of the options under consideration. Under the Titan 385, the Izyum device is structurally improved, which is shorter on the 20 mm than on the LKK-V. Now it fits easily there. We had work with South Africa for Azerbaijan. Helicopters are already flying and firing rockets. And when the representatives of Azerbaijan say “why do you have such a large module?” (And there is “510”), I answer that it was the representatives of South Africa who made such a big “ball”. They just have such a construct, that's all.
- And even less than "385" can be done?
- For launching 7,5 km missiles is unlikely. Lost in range. Here is a very high-precision mechanics, not everyone can reproduce it. This is our main trump card. After all, once South Africans and the French did not believe that we could, in principle, create such a system. Until we saw that we have missiles of the Luch design bureau flying. Today, we have worked out a version of a guidance device that can fly a missile with a range of 10 km.
- In the same mass and dimensional characteristics of your module?
- Not. Here and dimensions, and weight a little more. You see, nature can not be fooled. There are optics, mechanics - therefore there is an envelope. It is very difficult to change it (especially with accuracy so that the rocket goes plus or minus 0,5 m). Today we have achieved
Precision control of the anti-tank missile at a range of 5500 m near 250 mm - our mechanics and optics ensure this stability, it is a very high-precision system.
- 10 km on the laser channel?
“Moreover, we also worked on 12 km. At one time, the Chinese asked us about this. We tried and answered “yes, we can, if there is a carrier that can fly on
12 km - we will make such a channel. ”
- The Chinese, it turns out, have their own "ball", and your module will be implemented in it?
- And it has already been implemented. The rocket, respectively, Luch. In this "ball" is not only our laser channel, but also the entire television system. That is, the cameras of narrow, wide fields in the Chinese system are ours. Their own only thermal imager and range finder, everything else is ours.
Is your ball in Ukraine possible?
- Is it possible to create in Ukraine own thermal imager, range finder and make a fully gyro-stabilized platform?
- Can. We have repeatedly come out with these proposals to guide the Ukroboronprom group of companies. Range finders in Ukraine, we can do ourselves. Thermal imager in any case, you have to buy, do not be shy. You can take ready, or you can arrange their assembly with us under a foreign license - partners from abroad are ready to supply us with ready electronic boards, ready receivers, and so on. Corresponding proposals have already been received, including to our plant and Cherkasy “Photodevice”. But it would be profitable with a large market.
- Modernization of our Mi-24 (and this, at least, 30 machines) is slow. It may turn out that your “ball” will appear before the work with the French is completed?
- For your "ball" need money for development. Today, we have developed the design documentation for the so-called "ball" for armored vehicles at the expense of GP IPZ. Now it is necessary to confirm its stabilization characteristics. After all the work on the stabilization system, you can safely take up the helicopter "ball", where you would already have a laser control channel and the rest of the rigging. But this requires significant funds.
- Tens of millions, hundreds of millions of dollars? What is the order of numbers?
- According to our calculations, it is somewhere around one million euros.
- The amount is insignificant, given the value of the entire contract ...
- Unfortunately, the plant currently does not have such working capital. When entering the series, the Ukrainian version of the “ball” with a foreign thermal imager would definitely be cheaper than its foreign counterparts.
- Is it possible to integrate such a system, conditionally speaking, into shock unmanned systems?
- Of course available. We are already working on this. Today it is necessary to develop a line of "balls". There is no sense in making one universal “ball”. For different tasks and media will be different configurations. For a drone, for example, you may need only one television channel, a laser range finder and a thermal imager. This is one system. For percussion systems, a laser channel is necessarily needed, plus, possibly, a frequency rangefinder-highlighter. This is another option, and so on.
- What would you allocate from your work in the marine unit?
- This is, first of all, the development of a guidance device and an aiming complex for a shipborne rocket-artillery combat module produced by Luch Design Bureau. There are our devices "PN-VK" and "PN-AK". The first device has a television channel with a narrow field of view, and a laser control channel for a rocket with a range of 7,5 km. The second device, PN-AK, which is part of a short-range anti-aircraft missile system, has two television channels - a narrow and wide field of view. These are modern modules of Izium plant for marine systems. Although, from my point of view, the best option for maritime use would be a version of a single “ball” in which everything would be combined — a range finder, a rocket laser control channel, a television and thermal imaging channels. Again, everything goes to the fact that in Ukraine it is necessary to create this “ball”, otherwise any other system turns out to be very cumbersome: spaced blocks, plus the issue of converting the same thermal imager with all channels, and here at different temperatures there is a discrepancy that for shooting on 7 km just not valid. Only in a single integral module can we ensure mechanical and temperature stability, and this is not an easy task. It is mechanical and temperature stability that is the main advantage of our devices against the background of competitors. The same Belarusian analogs, where, for example, initially in the instruments for the Skif complex there was a constant discrepancy between the rangefinder and the television channel due to temperature leads.
- What else of the new products of your company have we missed?
- New items concern tank subjects. Today, we have modernized the night channels of the TKN-1SM, TPN-1M and TKN-3VM, TVNE-4BM devices by installing modern 2+ generation electron-optical converters (EOPs). Our modernization also allows the installation of a 3rd and 4th generation image intensifier there, depending on the desire and financial capabilities of the customer. We also upgraded the device of the driver-driver TVN-5M. It is equipped with an electronic optical converter generation 2+. TVN-5M is an upgraded version of the standard, basic device TVN-5 but with new options, significantly improved optical resolution and image quality. The device "sees" four times further at night. The serial model has a range of only 160 m, in the new version this figure is increased to 600 meters. We sent proposals for the modernization of devices to the Russian Ministry of Defense. It is a financially affordable upgrade. We take the instruments, carry out refinement with new options and deliver the upgraded instruments back to the troops. It is much cheaper than buying new appliances.
- We also have the problem of upgrading Shilka complexes ...
- We know about it. Balakleysky plant is going to modernize them. Unfortunately, no one is turning to us in our part of modernization. Although in Soviet times we produced a serial device under the "Shilka" and this topic is familiar to us. We can improve its performance, depending on the refinement of the system. At one time, we carried out a joint R & D project, where germanium optics were used in the device for removing coordinates, prototypes were manufactured and tested. After the collapse of the USSR, all this was suspended. A new proposals on this topic has not yet been reported.