The message about the first launch of the SM-3 block 2A anti-missile missile, which was delayed by half a year, the announcement of the Japanese Cabinet of Ministers on the refusal of the export ban policy that had been in effect for 40 years weapons and military technology, the commissioning of the Redstone testing facility and the expansion of the Tukson head-mounted anti-missile assembly plant, the first launch from the Hawaii-built Aegis Ashore test complex and, finally, the first successful GBI anti-missile test in the last six years - such a set of events that occurred only during March-June of 2014, suggests that the pace of work on the creation of a missile defense system in the United States has returned to the times of the “star wars” program.
Six years ago, after the US President’s visit to Moscow, the Americans, proceeding from arguments and protests voiced by the Russian side, refused to build a third missile defense system in Europe with two-stage GBI antimissiles. However, Russia did not remain in debt, ceasing to protest at the UN against sanctions against Iran, appointed by the Americans as the “bad guy,” and also refusing to sell the C-300 air defense system to this country. However, the formal refusal to deploy GBI antimissiles in Europe concealed only a tactical regrouping - 17 September 2009. Barack Obama put forward a plan for a phased adaptive approach to the creation of a European missile defense system, which was approved by the NATO summit in Lisbon in November.
Anti-missile SM-3 block 2A.
In accordance with this plan, the main emphasis was placed on the system deployed in the Mediterranean, Baltic and Black Seas, as well as on the territory of a number of European states. It includes anti-missile means with high rates of effectiveness / cost and a significant modernization potential, primarily SM-3 anti-missiles in ship-based and ground-based versions.
The draft budget for the US Department of Defense's missile defense agency for 2011 f. allocations for the development and testing of the ground-based SM-3 were first singled out on a separate line. Over the next five years, these projects, as well as the creation of the necessary infrastructure, envisaged spending about $ 1 billion. At the same time, the management of the missile defense agency constantly emphasized that the project of the ground version of the SM-3 assumed to interface the already existing and, in the opinion of American experts, efficiency during component testing.
The ground-based SM-3 flight tests were scheduled to take place at the Pacific Missile Range (Hawaiian Islands), where construction of a special launch pad began in 2011.
The implementation of the plans of the adaptive approach did not undergo any adjustment even after it was possible to reach an agreement on a nuclear program with Iran, which, according to experts, revealed "the discrepancy between the declared missile defense tasks and the real situation." Moreover, even 3 in May 2012, the US Special Representative for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense Helen Toscher acknowledged the US intention not to abandon the deployment of missile defense even if there is no threat from Iran.
Against this background, at the end of May 2012, NATO members agreed to unite the various means of the alliance into an intermediate missile defense system, announcing the implementation of the first stage of the missile defense system in Europe. At the same time, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Russia could not block this decision, because this defensive system "is not directed against Russia and will not undermine its strategic deterrent forces."
After a year and a half, 28 in October 2013 in the Romanian Deleselu, the construction of a ground-based missile defense base began - one of the central objects of the second stage. It should be noted that three days later, the Russian president abolished the working group on cooperation with NATO in the field of missile defense that had existed for several years — further negotiations could only confirm that all these years with Russia, in fact, no one and nothing was going to agree.
Thus, by the end of 2015, when the ground system Aegis Ashore takes over combat duty in Romania, the point of no return will be passed. At the same time, the long-term political work of Americans in all directions practically convinced NATO member countries of the nobility of the goals stated for the system being created.
What are the main elements make up Aegis Ashore? Since Raytheon has become the lead contractor for this project, it is not surprising that it has proposed using elements of the shipboard vertical launch unit McNUMX, created more than 41 years ago. Moreover, as one of the options for Raytheon was considered the deployment of missiles on ground mobile launchers.
In accordance with the decision made for implementation, the Aegis Ashore launcher will have eight launch containers (in two rows of four WPCs) in a single stationary module. These TPKs (length 6,7 m, base size 63,5х63,5 cm) are made of corrugated steel and are capable of withstanding internal pressure up to 0,275 mPa. They have upper and lower membrane covers, an irrigation valve system in the upper part for supplying water if necessary, plug connectors for power supply, electrical cables, stabilizing and fixing devices, etc. The upper membrane cover is made of rubber-impregnated fiberglass and protects the rocket from impact shock wave arising from the launch of a nearby rocket. The lower membrane cover is made in the form of four petals, which are opened up by the pressure created in TPC when the rocket engine is launched. The ablative coating of the inner surface of the TPC provides for up to eight rocket launches.
The structure of the missile launch system includes equipment for controlling the sequence of operations, the mechanism for opening and closing the covers, and the power supply unit. In the lower part of the PU there is a chamber for exhaust gases, which are discharged to the outside over the launcher. The chamber and the vapor channel have an ablative coating made of chloroprene rubber reinforced phenolic fiber tiles.
January 2015, the completion of the construction of a ground-based missile defense base in Deveselu.
As Raytheon experts noted, it takes from three months to one year to prepare a ground launch position based on the 41.
For information and reconnaissance support for the use of the ground version of the SM-3, it is planned to use multifunctional radars: shipborne AN / SPY-1 and mobile AN / TPY-2, intended for detecting, recognizing and tracking ballistic targets in the middle and end sections of the flight path, targeting anti-missiles, evaluation of the results of their shooting, as well as for the issuance of target designation to other information and intelligence ABM equipment.
The AN / SPY-1 S-band radar used in the Aegis shipboard system has a maximum range of up to 650 km and a ballistic target detection range with the magnitude of the image intensifier of the order 0,03 м2, according to various estimates, from 310 to 370 km.
Radar AN / SPY-2 X-band, used in the composition of the anti-missile complex of ground forces THAAD, has a maximum range of up to 1500 km. The detection and recognition range of this radar of ballistic targets with the magnitude of the image intensifier of the order of 0,01 m 2 is estimated to be, respectively, 870 km and 580 km.
As fire control points, the Aegis Ashore developers are planning to use the THAAD system's gearbox, which includes multi-purpose off-road multipurpose vehicles located on the chassis of the combat control and launch control systems.
The main objectives of the third stage of the deployment of the missile defense system, the implementation of which is scheduled for 2018, is the construction of the ground base Aegis Ashore in Poland, as well as the improvement of the tools deployed during the implementation of the second stage in Romania. In addition, it is planned to launch the PTSS (Precision Tracking Space System) orbital ABIR (Airborne Infrared) infrared detection system by 2018. In particular, it is planned to have three combat aircraft with four medium-height multi-purpose unmanned aerial vehicles MQ-9, equipped with such equipment, which, according to estimates, will be able to simultaneously track up to several hundreds of missiles.
Scheme of building a ground defense base in Deveselu.
By this time, the SM-3 block 2А anti-missile missiles, the development of which with the US 2006 by the United States and Japan, are planned to be adapted to the ground-based basing method. As noted, they will be able to intercept ballistic missiles at the ascending (before the beginning of the breeding of warheads) and descending sections of the trajectory, at distances up to 1000 km and altitudes 70-500 km.
The main role in this work, the cost of which can reach $ 1,5 billion (and the cost of the first samples of missiles - $ 37 million) is played by the American company Raytheon and the Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The latter develops a nasal fairing flap, second and third stage propulsion systems, an improved homing system and a homing combat stage design. Raytheon manufactures the combat stage, and another American company, Aerojet, manufactures the first stage of the rocket, the basis for which is the solid-fuel Mc72 engine used in all versions of the SM-3.
The main external difference of the SM-3 Block 2A is the diameter that is constant along the entire length of the rocket - 533 mm, the maximum allowed for its placement in the CIP of the Mk.41.
At the end of October, 2013 successfully defended the anti-missile project. A significant role in this success was played by the fact that the 24 of October 2013 on the White Sands test site was completed the first SM-3 Block 2A test run. Interestingly, it was reported only in early April 2014, after the Japanese Cabinet announced its rejection of the policy of banning the export of weapons and military technology, which had been in effect for about 40 years. Such a statement saved Mitsubishi from possible political scandals.
What are the results of the first launch of the SM-3 Block 2A? As the program director Mitch Stevison said, “the test showed that a noticeably heavier rocket could be safely launched using the existing launch engine Mk72 from the vertical launcher Mk41, which will be used to launch the rocket from the ship and on the coast.”
After analyzing the results, 13 in March 2014, Raytheon representatives reported that the company is preparing to submit to the Pro Agency for Proposal a proposal to start production of the first 22 series of SM-3 Block 2A missiles before the first full-scale flight test.
The cabin with the radar information and intelligence support of the ground base of missile defense is a kind of superstructure of the UIC type cruiser with the AEGIS system.
At the same time, supporting this proposal, Raytheon distributed information about the commissioning of a new automated test complex with an area of 6,5 thousand m XXNX, located near Redstone Arsenal, where the production of SM-2 Block 3В and SM-1 rockets began a year earlier at Raytheon. As noted, the creation of this center will allow "to increase the capacity of the plant by 6%."
Following this, Raytheon announced the start of expanding its plant in Tucson, where, with 2002, the SM-3 and GBI anti-missile systems are being manufactured. At the same time, it is planned to increase the sizes of especially clean rooms, where the most important assembly operations are carried out, by almost 600 м2. Giving an interview about this, Wickner Wagner, head of the Raytheon branch dealing with promising means of kinetic destruction, noted that “cleanliness is the key to success, because the optics and sensors of self-guided combat stages must be absolutely clean. We have to solve a much more complicated task than chip manufacturers - they protect flat plates from dust, and we should ensure the purity of three-dimensional objects. The plant has a unique infrastructure, there are rooms of three levels of cleanliness, in which there are sensors that measure air pressure, humidity and the amount of dust particles in it. The condition of the premises is constantly monitored, they are cleaned by various means, including alcohol wipes, and in some laboratories there are pumps that replace air every 27 seconds. Each tool that is being assembled is processed accordingly. However, not only the equipment and the levels of cleanliness are unique, but also the people working here who have been engaged in improving the technology of creating such devices for several decades. No other company in the world has such specialists. ”
In accordance with the plans outlined to date, the first attempt to intercept a ballistic target using the SM-3 Block 2A is planned to be carried out by September 2016, two years later than expected in the initial stages of the rocket creation. In general, before 2018, before making a decision to begin its deployment, four such tests are planned. By the same time, a decision is also expected on the scale of deployment of these missiles. Thus, the Czech Republic and Turkey are also considered along with Romania and Poland as places of their likely deployment as part of the launch positions of ground-based Aegis Ashore systems, the possibility of including them in their national missile defense system is being studied in Israel. There is no doubt that a large part of the most powerful SM-3 will go to the US Navy.
Currently on the payroll of american fleet There are 22 Tikonderoga cruisers and 62 Arleigh Burke destroyers equipped with the Aegis system, about 30 of which are modernized to solve missile defense problems. According to plans, the number of U.S. Navy ships capable of solving missile defense tasks should reach 30 units by September 2015, 33, and by mid-2019 - 43.
However, the new SM-3 anti-missiles can be placed not only on American ships. Back in July, 2004, the United States signed a memorandum on missile defense cooperation with Australia for 25 years, which resulted in equipping the three Australian naval destroyers with Aegis systems. In the Japanese Navy with 2005, a program is being implemented to equip four URO destroyers of the Kongo type upgraded to solve the PRO problems with the Aegis system (versions 3.6.1 and 4.0.1) and the SM-3 block 1А and 2А. In the Navy of the Republic of Korea, three destroyers of the KDX-III project are equipped with the Aegis system.
As for European fleets, Wes Kramer, vice president of Raytheon, in an interview with Aviation Week magazine, said that British and French ships would be excluded from these plans due to the incompatibility of their launch vehicles with the American missile and, on the contrary, SM -3 can be placed on Danish, Dutch and German ships.
At the same time, practically nowhere and no one touches upon the topic of implementing other capabilities of the missile defense system deployed on the basis of the SM-3 missile defense system.
It should be noted that as early as 1998, on the basis of the SM-2 Block II / III rocket (in fact, it became the basis for the future SM-3), the development of the SM-4 (RGM-165) rocket began. ground targets (Land Attack Standard Missile - LASM) with a view to adopting it for 2004.
SM-4 equipped with inertial guidance system, corrected by the signals of the satellite navigation system GPS. In addition to the standard high-explosive fragmentation warhead, the missile could also be equipped with a penetrating warhead. According to the plan of the developers from Raytheon, such a rocket at launch from a ship could play a large role in strikes from the sea to a depth of 370 km, providing flexible point fire support for US marines.
The SM-4 tests fully confirmed its ability to perform these tasks and the US Navy expected to receive up to 1200 of such missiles and achieve initial operational readiness by 2003. However, in 2003, the program was stopped under the pretext of lack of funding. However, it was in this year that Raytheon first announced the start of work on the ground-based version of the SM-3 rocket, and in 2010 a message appeared that it was planned to build the long-range ArcLight strike system based on the SM-3 Block IIA.
As noted, the marching steps of this rocket will accelerate to a hypersonic velocity the planning apparatus, which can fly up to 600 km and deliver the 50-100 kg warhead to the target. The total range of the entire system can be 3800 km, and at the stage of independent flight, the hypersonic glider will not fly along a ballistic trajectory, having the opportunity to maneuver for high-precision targeting.
Due to the unification with the SM-3, the ArcLight system can be placed in vertical launchers of the McNUMX, both on ships and on land. Moreover, launchers can be mounted, for example, in standard sea containers transported by merchant ships, trucks, can be placed in any transport terminal or simply in a warehouse.
However, for several years, past since the appearance of information about the project ArcLight, no additional information or analysis of the possibility of its implementation has not appeared. Therefore, it remains an open question whether this US plan is a way to quietly withdraw de facto from the Treaty on Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, or the traditional “hot” information stuffing for the times of the cold war.