Military Review

Tactical advantages of the "hypersonic drone" for "Tornado"

Self-propelled launcher MLRS 9K58 "Smerch" leaves the garage of one of the military units near the city of Tver. The system is one of the most powerful in its class, however, it needs to be upgraded as soon as possible in the missile part. The lack of adjustable or guided missiles creates significantly more risks in a difficult tactical situation in the theater: due to the decent spread of the NURS over the affected area, friendly military units may be affected, and at worst - civilians, as shown by the escalation in the Donbass Photo Fishki .net

Medium-range and long-range rocket launchers are becoming increasingly relevant today. Meanwhile, in the modifications used today by the modern MLRS, there is a huge technological contrast in the designs and methods of targeting unguided, corrected and cluster missiles: the standard systems BM-21 "Grad", BM-27 "Hurricane" do not differ by the introduction of something in common with high-precision rocket weaponsthat we saw during the use of these machines in the battles in Novorossia: the thoughtless use of systems by the Ukrainian side led to enormous destruction and casualties in the DPR and LPR, making the Kiev authorities a criminal formation.

Fighting vehicle MLRS 9K57 "Hurricane". It has a sufficiently long range, at the same time, low accuracy of combat (+/- 1,3 - 1,4 km), in comparison with the guided missiles of the “Polonaise” system, make unguided 9М27К cluster shells a real weapon of mass destruction Photo

At the same time, Russia, China and Belarus achieved significant success in the formation of a new image of rocket artillery as a whole. In China, in 2010, one of the most advanced long-range MLRS systems, AR3, was developed, in which 300-mm unguided and corrected missiles and 370-mm guided missiles boldly belonging to the class of operational-tactical ballistic missiles are used to accurately attack enemy strategic objects. , the range of the first confidently reaches 130 km, the last - 220 km. The projectiles have a satellite INS that controls small aerodynamic rudders, allowing you to implement a CEP (circular probable deviation) of no more than 50 m, which turns the previously most ruthless and deadly missile weaponry into a complex and quite humane, high-precision complex of “smart war”.

Quite recently, with the support of Chinese military corporations, Belarus was able to boast of the successful development of a promising MLRS system. High-precision MLRS “Polonez”, equipped with an analogue of the Chinese guided missile A-200 caliber 301 mm, is capable of 8-rocket salvo at the same time hit various fortifications and enemy strongholds at distances around 200 km. But it was the Celestial Empire that became the main “forge” of this kind of weapons, because with Chinese population density and such powerful and not very friendly neighbors like India, the accuracy of the MLRS is put in the first place, and foreign customers look at unmanaged projectiles of standard MRLs as “archaism ".

High-precision MLRS "Polonaise" Photo

In Russia, where a special focus of the defense industry is on more sophisticated and sophisticated weapons - the Iskander-E / M OTRK, the modernization of long-range MRL systems is carried out mainly in the key to reworking the warhead (rocket equipment). One of the firstborn of this direction is an unguided rocket projectile 9М55К1, equipped with self-targeting combat elements "Motive-3М", designed to effectively defeat heavy and light armored vehicles in the upper (most weakened) projection. The projectile was brought to the level of readiness by the middle of the 1993 year, and in 1996 entered the artillery units of the Russian army. But work continued in this difficult area, which ultimately led to the emergence of fundamentally new hybrid-type combat subsystems.

September 9 2015 became aware of the advancement of the most interesting project - a missile with a reconnaissance T-90 unmanned aerial vehicle on board an 300-mm NURS 9М534 of the BM-30 Smerch system, as reported by RIA "News»Deputy General Director of Tekhmash D. Rytenkov. From the Russian side, the enterprise NPO Splav is developing the promising projectile, but the Chinese side is also involved in the development of the product.

Details of the development of the 9M534 missile with an unmanned drone on board began to clear up already in mid-2011. In particular, it became known that the T-90 UAV itself, installed in the warhead of the projectile, has a fairly compact size and low weight: its length is only about 1,5 m, the wingspan is up to 2,5 m, its weight is 40 kg . Some flight parameters of the 9M61 (T-90-11) prototype developed by the Kazan Enix CJSC are also given. It is known that after separation of the container with the UAV from the NURS at high supersonic speed, the braking parachute opens, the container opens and the drone. A small-sized pulsating WFD provides loitering flight of the device at a cruising speed of about 130 km / h for 20 - 30 minutes over enemy territory, while the flight altitude approaches 3 km. UAV fuselage diameter - 0,2. The T-90 can be assembled entirely from composite materials, and in the area where the PuVRD is attached, it is covered with an additional layer of radar absorbing materials to minimize the EPR (radar signature). The estimated RCS of the aircraft is about 0,05 m2, which makes it difficult to detect even powerful radar systems and radar systems of the Patriot air defense system of the AN / MPQ-53 type, especially if the drone is in low-altitude flight.

The T90 UAV has a double straight wing of a large area, which allows the device to be planned at altitudes up to 3000 meters. Despite its small size and low EPR, the drone is vulnerable to anti-aircraft artillery complexes optical-electronic guidance systems and for Stinger, Strela, Igla because of the work of the RRDD Photo


As you know, before carrying out artillery preparation or any other strike from artillery systems, short-range or long-range territorial reconnaissance must be promptly carried out. MLRS "Smerch", designed to defeat the enemy at a distance of 70 - 120 km (depending on the type of NURS), needs a faster aerial reconnaissance means, since during the approach of a conventional UAV of the "Orlan-10" type to the combat area to confirm the coordinates targets, the operational-tactical situation can change dramatically, since it will take him from 35 to 45 minutes (speed 150 km / h) for this. The T-9 drone installed in the NURS 534M90, immediately after leaving the launcher of the Smerch combat vehicle, gains hypersonic speeds of over 1200 m / s (about 4500 km / h), due to which the drone will be above the target in just 1,8 - 2,5, XNUMX minutes (taking into account the deceleration of the rocket on the trajectory). Such a flight time will allow you to most quickly and clearly identify the coordinates of the necessary targets, which definitely will not have time to leave the combat field of aiming of the Smerch MLRS. A high-resolution gyro-stabilized TV camera with a telemetric image transmission unit via a radio communication channel will do its job. The use of high-speed NURS as a carrier of a reconnaissance UAV solves another equally important problem.

General view of the T90 UAV in a transport and launch container with a parachute compartment. The container is installed at the site of the BSN NURS 9М534 Photo

Very often, for reconnaissance of ground targets located at a great operational depth of territory controlled by the enemy, operators of unmanned reconnaissance aviation complexes are forced to "blindly" guide the apparatus over enemy zones, which are "stuffed" with a huge number of highly effective short / medium-range air defense systems, including those with a passive guidance method (IKGSN), it is not so easy to calculate and identify the deployment sites of such complexes, even with the involvement of optical and radio-technical reconnaissance aircraft of the Tu-214R type. The use of the 4-fly projectile 9М534 allows you to solve this problem easily and efficiently. Firstly, its marching section of the trajectory passes at altitudes above 20 - 25 km (an unattainable ceiling for most medium air defense / missile defense systems), and the speed does not at all fit into the framework of "easy" interception of air defense systems such as Buk- М1 "," Spider ", etc. The drone will be able to reach the place of combat use without hindrance.

In addition, I note that the use of such radically improved operational reconnaissance and strike techniques leads to a general progress in rocket artillery. As "equipment" for unguided rockets of the 9M55F family or more long-range 9M542 (export version of the missile for "Smerch" with a range of 120 km), not only a small T-90 drone can be used, but also more serious means of aerial reconnaissance and destruction: this can there may also be a special compact hypersonic aircraft with a large-swept delta wing, capable of carrying out optical and electronic reconnaissance at an altitude of 30-35 km at a speed of up to 5M, using a compact ramjet, and maybe a specialized combat stage with a small-sized warhead to destroy remote sea and ground targets, or a high-frequency microwave generator to damage the avionics equipment of enemy strategic and tactical aviation. Such combat stages can significantly increase the range of the Smerch known to us from 120 possible kilometers to 200-250 km, which will be quite commensurate with long-range tactical cruise missiles.

Image of the start NURS М26 with a small-sized GBU-39SDB aerial bomb in the head section. GLSDB project is under development Photo by

In the West, the well-known company Boeing and Swedish SAAB are engaged in similar programs for improving the MLRS of the MLRS family. The most recent ambitious project of the company is considered to be an upgraded version of the MLRS MLRS - GLSDB. The system is a standard M270 launcher with a M26 rocket, which is not equipped with a standard M26A2 warhead, but with a special container with a planning GBU-39SDB “Small Diameter Bomb” bombs. The launch stage accelerates the bomb to speeds in excess of 850 m / s and takes them to a height of more than 25 km, where the combat stage is separated and the SDB continues the controlled flight at a given course.

Our Tula NPO Splav together with the Chinese NORINCO and SCAIC are currently working on fine-tuning the already developed auxiliary tactical reconnaissance system for the 300-mm MLRS, which will give a different look at the use of this formidable weapon.

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  1. EGOrkka
    EGOrkka 23 October 2015 07: 36
    Very cool contraption. If everything works out, then this is undoubtedly a BREAKTHROUGH. And the war is completely different ...... drinks
    1. qwert
      qwert 23 October 2015 15: 07
      And then I thought the MLRS to hit area targets when the accuracy of hitting a single target is not needed. And to destroy point targets, tactical, operational, and guided missiles are needed.
      Well, it's like a fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, each has its own purpose and tactics of application. So, it’s not worth it to kick at the MLRS, that it will spend 20 missiles to destroy, say, the enemy’s fortifications, then we can say that Point-U is bad, because without a nuclear charge it will not be able to destroy the entire tank brigade on the march at once.
  2. abrakadabre
    abrakadabre 23 October 2015 07: 58
    I have a question.
    UAVs were delivered to the area of ​​interest, reconnaissance and target designation were carried out within 10-20 minutes.
    What then happens to the UAV? Self-blasting? Indeed, with the flight interval specified in the article of 20-30 minutes, the drone will not be able to return back for possible reuse.
    It would be great if such a drone at the end of the main mission could be able to ram an auxiliary target in a radius of the remaining flight resource with subsequent self-detonation.
    There is no need to place the corresponding AI on board the UAV itself (overweight). After all, he transmits telemetry to the MLRS. So at the command post it is possible to quickly quickly calculate the remaining flight resource and accordingly select available targets. At least every few seconds. Then issue the UAV appropriate target designation
    1. Vladimir73
      Vladimir73 23 October 2015 09: 47
      Most likely, only the electronic filling is destroyed, the dimensions show that there is no combat charge of high power (to destroy at least the enemy’s equipment). On the other hand, collapse from a height of 20 km is also not a gift .... request
      1. EGOrkka
        EGOrkka 23 October 2015 11: 52
        collapse from a height of 20 km is also not a gift ..

        .... especially if there is even a small charge ...
        1. Throw
          Throw 23 October 2015 17: 52
          It’s not clear where the 20 figure is from, but at least from the 40 kilometers to collapse, no difference. Speed ​​will not be infinitely gained due to air resistance. For a skydiver, for example, it quickly stabilizes at 50 m / s.
          Taking into account the small mass of the T-90, it can only confidently hit a target of the "toilet" type laughing
          Therefore, you should not make a bad bomb out of a good UAV.
          If there is a possibility of increasing the payload, it can be used on a laser backlight, for example, or simply for fuel- the benefits of intelligence will be incomparably greater.
    2. Kalmar
      Kalmar 23 October 2015 11: 50
      It would be great if such a drone at the end of the main mission could be able to ram an auxiliary target in a radius of the remaining flight resource with subsequent self-detonation.

      What's the point? You cannot squeeze a large charge into such a drone, i.e. his goal - well, the truck is some kind of maximum. Given the scale of the destruction that will be caused by the flying full-weighted warheads, the contribution of a self-blowing drone to the total bedlam is not significant.

      It’s better to stick a camera in it or a transmitter is more powerful and reliable, so that it is difficult to clog the interference.
    3. alex86
      alex86 31 October 2015 22: 49
      the t-90 is a very "frivolous" aircraft, made of fiberglass, there are no reserves for placing any additional loads (warhead), all this was developed a long time ago, when I was building a plant for "ENIX", it was already developed, then everything died. And today, as I understand it, the UAV for Smerch is more of an engineering and technological reality (ie, it is developed) than an organizational one (not ordered, not produced). On the one hand, the applicability is obvious - he estimated the target area, specified the coordinates, on the other hand, it is not entirely clear - in modern conditions, the "Smerch" should fire at reconnoitered targets (like, we know what is in this area, but are not sure?), And his reconnaissance task is not included - the launch of even one RS will be detected, it is necessary to change the position - therefore, apparently, he did not join the troops. That is, the idea is outwardly good - the MLRS is scouting targets for itself, but at the same time it "lights up" itself.
  3. istoler
    istoler 23 October 2015 09: 22
    It is interesting, but how the coordinates of the target will be referenced by video from a drone, this apparently should be exact maps (pictures) of the entire area of ​​the enemy’s concentration. A weather factor appears with poor visibility, night time.
    Very interesting, it is a pity in our time this was not!
  4. i80186
    i80186 23 October 2015 11: 00
    Fighting vehicle MLRS 9K57 "Hurricane". It has a sufficiently long range, at the same time, low accuracy of combat (+/- 1,3 - 1,4 km), in comparison with the guided missiles of the “Polonaise” system, make unguided 9М27К cluster shells a real weapon of mass destruction Photo

    So, something is wrong here.
    The maximum firing range of shells with a high-explosive warhead is 34 km., With a cluster warhead - 35 km .;
    accuracy of fire:
    high-explosive shell: in range Vd / X = 1/197, in the direction of Wb / X = 1/174.
    a shell with a cluster warhead: in range Vd / X = 1/261, in the direction of Wb / X = 1/152.

    We have, respectively, for high explosive:
    34000/197 = 172 m in range, 34000/174 = 195 m in direction
    for cassette:
    34000/261 = 130 m in range, 34000/152 = 223 m in direction
    This means that 25% of the shells are guaranteed to fall into these areas.
    That is, by firing 10 shells at a target, we get that 5 shells will explode with a spread of 446 m, the other 5 with a spread of also 446 m. ​​In other words, very roughly, the total spread of shells will be 892 m. By the way, this is comparable to cannon artillery. For example, for MSTA-S at the same range, this indicator is 363 m. Well, if she could shoot there. smile
  5. forumow
    forumow 23 October 2015 12: 15
    Why didn’t they highlight the prospect of using missiles created on the basis of MLRS shells and launched from regular missiles for the latest launchers?
    It is not a secret that anti-aircraft missiles of such complexes as: "Tunguska", "Pantsir", "Sosna" are equipped with missiles operating on the "impulse" principle. The accelerating stage of the ZUR 57E6 SAM "Pantsir" is the largest of them, it burns out in just 2.4 seconds, similar to the shells of the MLRS. Further, the arrow-shaped warhead flies by inertia, controlled by only aerodynamic control surfaces. Nevertheless, such a system is considered to be quite effective. Therefore, I think it would not be too much courage to assume the possibility of equipping standard MLRS shells or those created on their basis with similar warheads. The production of the latter is incomparably larger than any SD, which will undoubtedly affect the price of the final product.
    Guidance can be carried out using a variety of air defense systems adapted for this, together with MLRS included in the forces of the SV grouping. Anti-aircraft "shells" MLRS thereby serve to expand the ammunition of the first. And in the case of short-range air defense systems, such as "Pantsir", this will even allow to abandon the placement of a set of missiles on the complex itself, freeing up space for other / more powerful equipment or to place the existing one on a lighter chassis.
    1. 31rus
      31rus 23 October 2015 13: 15
      Here, here I have the same for a long time "tormented" by similar thoughts, only I would have added the possibility of "quick" replacement
    2. The comment was deleted.
    3. Lekov L
      Lekov L 28 October 2015 10: 46
      As a former PVOshnik, I dare to draw your attention that any air defense system is primarily a complex of systems for detecting, recognizing, determining membership, tracking and capturing the GOS, and only then deciding to destroy by launching the required amount of missiles.
      That is, to implement your concept, you need a combat command and control machine with a synchronization system with the MLRS machine (also requiring synchronization and, accordingly, modernization) a new rocket with expensive folding (!) Aerodynamic control wheels, etc.
      How do you complex problems?
      There are well-tested systems "Tunguska", "Pantsir", "Pine", "Buk", their new modifications are being developed - this in itself is expensive, but here is a change in the ideology of anti-aircraft countermeasures.
      Although the idea itself is entertaining.
  6. ermak.sidorov
    ermak.sidorov 23 October 2015 12: 19
    I thought this thing would fly over the "friends" and illuminate them with a laser for the guided warheads until they ("friends") run out ... but it turns out that the video camera will only promptly prompt "there is something, or no" where the uncontrolled ones fly and non-guided "goodies" ...
    1. 31rus
      31rus 23 October 2015 13: 09
      What you described and will be, the drone reconnoitered, the projectiles corrected and distributed targets, "made a decision which of the destruction methods to use, this is how the Tornado, or Tornado-S system is seen."
      1. ermak.sidorov
        ermak.sidorov 26 October 2015 05: 26
        Thanks for the comment, otherwise after the article I was even slightly overwhelmed by the "inefficiency" of using such a high-tech and good idea.
  7. Olezhek
    Olezhek 23 October 2015 20: 22
    Something too cool described ...
    Something very innovative ..
  8. Gunther
    Gunther 23 October 2015 21: 01
    The role of UAVs is growing, the combination with MLRS increases the accuracy and, as the author said, "humanity".
    I liked the article, except for the sonorous "hypersound", because the lower limit is 5 Max.
  9. Ze Kot
    Ze Kot 24 October 2015 20: 15
    Quote: qwert
    And then I thought the MLRS to hit area targets when the accuracy of hitting a single target is not needed.

    So it is smile For this and developed. And now they start to bother how to make "high-precision" weapons out of this. Only it seems to me that rockets will be worth their weight in gold and will no longer be used in one gulp.
  10. Filxnumx
    Filxnumx 24 October 2015 21: 27
    the T-90 drone immediately after leaving the Smerch combat vehicle launcher with a hypersonic speed of over 1200 m / s (about 4500 km / h),
    The author's math is not entirely accurate. What does over 1200 m / s mean? 1201 m / s is also over. If we start from the value of 4500 km / h, then in m / s it will be 1250. But what is an increment of 50 units per 1200 of the same units? Less than 5%, that is, within the technical error in engineering calculations. T. about. more precisely to say "about 1200 (or 1250) m / s". And one more remark. It is known that the speed of sound decreases with increasing altitude. At an altitude of 20-25 km, it is about 295 m / s. Therefore, the speed "about 4500 km / h" is somewhere around 4,2M. And as Gunther correctly noted, the lower limit of hypersound is still very far away.