The first topic of the appearance of a new Russian hypersonic aircraft was touched upon by the US online publication The Washington Free Beacon. 25 June published an article Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February (“Russia tested a hypersonic gliding aircraft in February”) by Bill Gertz. The author of this material tried to collect all available information about the new Russian project and similar works in other countries. At the moment, the article B. Bertz is the most complete collection of facts and opinions on this topic.
At the beginning of the article, the author, citing military analysts, reports that Russia is developing a new high-speed shock weaponssimilar to similar systems created in China. A characteristic feature of the new strategic weapons project is the general atmosphere of secrecy. The development of other components of strategic forces, such as nuclear weapons or long-range aviation, constantly highlighted in the news, while the hypersonic program is classified.
Referring to the Jane's Intelligence Review, the author of Free Beacon writes that over the past few years, Russian engineers have been working on the U-71 project. This project has already reached the stage of testing. The most recent test launch took place in February. B. Hertz tried to get a comment from the Pentagon press secretary, but the official refused to speak on this topic.
According to reports, the test launch of the U-71 unit ended in an accident. Jane's Intelligence Review writes that the Dombarovsk strategic rocket force was involved in the tests. The intercontinental ballistic missile SS-19 (UR-100H) was used to bring the experimental apparatus to the desired trajectory. Also, "Janes" reports that the development of a hypersonic device is carried out in the framework of the program with the code designation "4202".
The author of the publication The Washington Free Beacon mentions the opinion of Jane's analysts. Those believe that the work on the program «4202» conducted in the past five years. The goal of this program is to create new strategic weapons, which in the future will be a response to the missile defense of a potential enemy. In particular, the emphasis can be placed on ensuring maneuverability so that promising devices cannot be intercepted by missile defense systems designed to destroy ballistic targets.
B. Hertz recalls that, in theory, hypersonic aircraft are very complex targets for air defense or missile defense. The trajectory of the ballistic target is predictable, which to some extent facilitates interception. The hypersonic device, in turn, can maneuver, which does not allow timely prediction of changes in the flight path. In combination with flight speeds up to 7000 miles per hour (more than 11000 km / h), maneuverability makes this technique a formidable weapon that is extremely difficult to intercept.
The author of Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February quotes Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon official who believes that the Russian program for creating hypersonic impact aircraft should have high priority. Also of great importance is the development of maneuvering warheads.
Schneider also notes that Russia, unlike China, does not hide the fact of work in the field of hypersonic technology. For example, the existence of the Chinese project Wu-14 has become known from unofficial sources. The existence of Russian projects, in turn, was revealed by officials. Russian officials have repeatedly referred to the creation of hypersonic technology, including military equipment, although they did not disclose details of such projects.
M. Schneider notes that at the moment the Chinese project Wu-14 looks more successful than the Russian 4202. The reason for this opinion are the reports of Jane's Intelligence Review about the unsuccessful trials of the U-71 apparatus, which took place in February of this year.
The Russian project “4202”, according to a former employee of the US Department of Defense, may have specific strategic implications. M. Schneider recalls that the development of the U-71 apparatus is being carried out in order to create a new strategic weapon. Meanwhile, the administration of US President Barack Obama is constantly talking about the Chinese threat, paying much less attention to problems with Russia. Because of this, in particular, specialists have to rely only on messages from the Russian media.
Referring again to Jane's, B. Gertz writes that the result of the current project "4202" may be the appearance of a certain number of serial warheads built on the basis of hypersonic aircraft. Such weapons can be made by the end of this decade.
Jane's Intelligence Review, analyzing data on a test launch in February, suggests that the project’s ultimate goal is to create a hypersonic planning device that will be able to increase the combat potential of strategic missile forces in the future. It is understood that hypersonic maneuvering warheads will increase the range of intercontinental missiles.
However, there is another opinion. One of the authors of the publication “Janes”, Pavel Podvig, still doubts and can not name the exact purpose of the program “4202” and the unit Yu-71. He believes that the Russian hypersonic program is still in the process of finding a scope. At the same time, if current projects give a result (the analyst emphasizes the word "if"), then Russia is unlikely to get some unique new opportunities.
P. Feat reminds that the hypersonic program of Russia can be created taking into account the need to counter the US missile defense system being under construction and its allies. Nevertheless, in his opinion, official Moscow pays too much attention to foreign missile defense. In addition, the specialist fears that the appearance of hypersonic armaments may harm the existing weapons control system.
Information about Russian hypersonic projects appeared soon after the publication of information about similar Chinese developments. A few weeks ago, Chinese experts conducted the fourth tests of the Wu-14 apparatus. According to US intelligence, 7 June this unit was launched from one of the landfills in western China.
B. Hertz recalls that the development of hypersonic aircraft also involved specialists from the United States. It is expected that such equipment will be used in the so-called promising system. rapid global strike, which should increase the shock capabilities of the American armed forces. The purpose of the current project is to create rocket technology capable of hitting enemy targets anywhere in the world within an hour after receiving an order.
According to analysts Jane's, the Russian military and political leadership considers the program «4202» one of the main projects created with the reserve for the future. It is suggested about the possible place of deployment of advanced weapons. Missiles with hypersonic warheads can be deployed at the Yasny test site in the Orenburg region, near the border with Kazakhstan.
The author of the publication Free Beacon recalls that the first tests of the Soviet hypersonic devices took place in the eighties of the last century. Projects of the time were a response to the so-called. Strategic defense initiative of the Ronald Reagan administration. In the future, conducted new tests. In particular, it is known about the launch of the experimental unit Yu-70 in 2001 year. The SS-19 rocket was then used to disperse the prototype.
Another test unit Yu-70 could take place in the 2004 year. The reason for this assumption is some statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin. At that time, he was talking about the development of hypersonic high-precision weapons with intercontinental range. According to B. Gertz and foreign experts, such words could indirectly confirm the continuation of tests as part of a hypersonic program.
The new project Yu-71, according to foreign sources, was developed at the end of the last decade. Tests of this device started in 2011 year. The first test launch of Yu-71, according to some data, took place in December 2011 of the year, the second - in September of 2013. There is also information about a single launch in 2014 and 26 February tests on 2015. The most likely launch point is the position area of the Dombarovsky unit of the Strategic Missile Forces. The basis for such assumptions were some documents relating to the construction of new military facilities.
According to Jane's Intelligence Review experts, the main goal of the 4202 project is to create impact weapons capable of breaking through existing and prospective anti-missile systems. In addition, there is a difference in the expected types of combat load of the Russian and American hypersonic devices. Thus, it is planned to equip weapons in the rapid global strike system with conventional combat units. Russian hypersonic devices, allegedly, will be able to carry both conventional and nuclear charges.
This feature of the project may provide certain advantages. Thus, the use of non-nuclear charges will make it possible to quickly attack any target, and equipping the vehicles with nuclear warheads will allow, if necessary, to perform a full-fledged nuclear missile strike.
In 2020-25, according to various estimates, the Dombarovsky Strategic Rocket Forces can receive up to 24 hypersonic devices that will be used as combat equipment for intercontinental ballistic missiles. Such estimated terms become a reason for curious assumptions. It was at the beginning of the next decade that the Russian rocket forces should start operating new Sarmat type ICBMs. It cannot be excluded that the new missiles will be able to carry Yu-71 vehicles with the corresponding combat load.
B. Gertz mentions the existing assumption that the new Russian hypersonic weapon will become a lever in the arms control negotiations. Over the past few years, the United States has been developing various elements of the so-called. rapid global strike systems that are not subject to existing international agreements. The appearance of a symmetrical response to the American systems will allow Moscow to have a trump card in the new negotiations.
In view of the secrecy of the projects, foreign specialists have to study only the reports of the Russian press and try to draw up a general picture of them. Conducting a similar analysis, analysts "Jaynes" note that work in the field of hypersonic technology has become a topic of discussion over the past few years.
So, in July last year, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin spoke about the need to create high-precision hypersonic weapons. The official called on the defense industry to make every effort to create such weapons systems.
In May last year, the theme of creating hypersonic weapons was touched by Boris Obnosov, general director of the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation. According to him, the prototype of the hypersonic rocket will be built by 2020 year. The corporation and a number of related organizations have developed a program for the development of hypersonic technology, which is planned to be implemented over the next few years.
Curious information was announced in 2011 year by an unnamed representative of the defense industry. Commenting on the unsuccessful testing of the HTV-2, he noted the difference in the approaches to the creation of such a technique. According to him, Russia is not creating an independent hypersonic weapon, but special warheads for intercontinental ballistic missiles.
In addition, there were reports of plans to build hypersonic air-based missiles. Such products can enter the armament complex of the promising long-range bomber PAK DA. In August, 2013 reported on the cooperation of Russian organizations involved in hypersonic technology with their Chinese, French and Indian counterparts.
B. Hertz also cites some information about the list of Russian organizations involved in the hypersonic program. These are the Tactical Missile Weapons Corporation, the NPO Mashinostroyenia, and the Central Institute of Aviation Motors. The latter, according to some data, conducted tests of a promising engine for a new technology.
Finally, the article Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February presents the opinion of Russian military expert Alexander Shirokorad. Back in 2013, he wrote that hypersonic gliding devices could be one of the reasons for withdrawing from the Treaty on Medium and Small-Range Missiles. It is possible to create systems in which the main features of ballistic missiles and hypersonic aircraft will be combined. Such weapons can be used not only to attack ground targets, but also to destroy enemy ships, from aircraft carriers to cruisers. It is also impossible to exclude the possibility of the appearance of anti-submarine weapons of a similar class.
It is easy to notice that the journalist of The Washington Free Beacon does not have complete and detailed information about Russian projects in the field of hypersonic technology. However, previously published information allows us to make certain assumptions and draw some conclusions. If the information of the Jane's Intelligence Review is true, then Russia not only took up a promising direction, but also achieved some success.
According to foreign sources, which have not yet been confirmed or disproved by Russian officials, tests of promising hypersonic U-71 type aircraft are currently underway in Russia. Any details of the 4202 program and the U-71 project are not yet known. Moreover, even their very existence has not yet been confirmed. However, in this case, there is reason for optimism. The appearance of rumors about new Russian projects may indicate that our country is a member of a small club of states capable of developing and building hypersonic aircraft, even if experimental ones. Probably in the future, the Russian defense industry will reveal some details of the current hypersonic program, but for now one can only guess when this will happen.
Article Russia Tested Hypersonic Glide Vehicle in February: