Last week, the Ministry of Defense announced the beginning of deliveries to the troops of the latest 9K333 “Verba” MANPADS. The new complex uses several original technical solutions, thanks to which the soldiers of the ground forces will be able to more effectively attack enemy aircraft and carry out air defense units. As far as is known, in the Verba anti-aircraft complex, some ideas borrowed from previous domestic MANPADS are used, as well as new proposals designed to improve the characteristics of the system.
The first reports of the development of the Verba portable air defense missile system appeared in 2008. By this time, Kolomna engineering machinery design bureau, traditionally engaged in the development of such systems, had completed the main design work and conducted a number of preliminary tests. In the future, information about the new missile system was published infrequently and was extremely scarce. It was argued that the “Verba” MANPADS could be put into service in the 2008-2009 year, but later these terms were repeatedly shifted. So, in 2011, it became known about the conduct of military tests and the upcoming adoption of the system, as well as about the planned procurement of serial MANPADS. However, until the end of 2011, the army did not adopt the new complex. The Ministry of Defense announced the start of shipments of the Verba systems only at the end of May 2014.
The fragmentary information, announced in recent years, allows you to get a general idea of the new anti-aircraft missile system. It is known that the 9М336 rocket of the 9K333 complex is equipped with a new infrared homing head (GOS). To improve the performance of the rocket has a three-band homing. This means that the composition of the GOS has three separate photodetectors operating in different ranges. Comparison of information from them allows automation to determine the position of the enemy aircraft and weed out the heat signals of false targets. A similar algorithm of operation is used by the homing heads of the Igla MANPADS, but they have only two channels.
As follows from the available data, the use of a three-band homing head provides greater resistance to interference in comparison with existing missiles equipped with a dual-band homing. Due to this, the 9М336 rocket should be less exposed to various means of optical-electronic countermeasure or pyrotechnic false thermal targets.
According to some data, the 9М336 rocket received a new solid-fuel engine, which provides higher flight characteristics and combat capabilities in comparison with the ammunition of previous domestic portable anti-aircraft systems. According to some estimates of past years, the “Verba” MANPADS should have a greater range and height of target destruction than the existing systems of the Strela and Igla families. Thus, the firing range must exceed 6 km, and the maximum height of the target hit will be more than 3,5-4 kilometers.
Together with the new portable anti-aircraft complexes, the airborne unit received the equipment of the new automated control system (ACS). It is argued that the new ACS for anti-aircraft units allows up to ten times to reduce the time required to attack the target. The military department’s press service cites the words of A. Musienko, commander of an anti-aircraft missile regiment of the Ivanovo airborne unit, according to which until recently the anti-aircraft gunner could have passed the 3-5 minutes before the missile was launched. When using the new ACS, this period is reduced by almost ten times.
The new automated control system for anti-aircraft gunners allows detecting an air target, determining its speed, altitude and direction of flight, and then distributing the found targets between anti-aircraft gunners with regard to their location. Due to this, the work of the anti-aircraft unit is almost completely excluded incidents related to human factors, including the attack of a friendly aircraft or helicopter. In addition, the overall effectiveness of air defense is growing and, as a result, the consumption of ammunition decreases.
The newest portable anti-aircraft missile systems 9K333 "Verba" and automated control systems for the units armed with them, so far delivered only to anti-aircraft gunners of the Ivanovo airborne unit. In the future, new weapons and equipment will be supplied to other units of the armed forces.
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