The cruise missile is almost devoid of wings. At speed 900 km / h to create lift enough small folding “petals”. Unlike airplanes, the KR does not have take-off and landing modes; rockets fly and land at one speed. And the higher the speed at the time of "landing" - the worse for the enemy.
Appearing in the mid-twentieth century, tactical cruise missiles for a long time became synonymous with anti-ship weapons. The reason was the lack of guidance systems suitable for the destruction of ground objects.
Even the most primitive radar GOS confidently "captured" ships against the flat surface of the sea. But for finding point objectives in the folds of the relief the radars of that era were useless.
Progress began towards the end of the 1970's. with the development of relief correction systems (amer. TERCOM - Terrain Contour Matching). They led to the goals of the legendary “Tomahawk” and its Soviet rival C-10 “Pomegranate”.
TERCOM determined the current coordinates by checking the data of the radio altimeter with a digital elevation map along the flight route. The method had two important advantages:
a) low-altitude flight with rounding of the terrain. What provided the stealth missiles and hampered its interception by air defense. From the ground, low-flying CU can be seen only at the last moment, when it flashes overhead. It is not at all easier to detect it from above against the background of the earth: the range of detection of the KR by interceptor fighter MiG-31 was about 20 km;
b) sufficiently high accuracy and complete autonomy - you can only deceive “Tomahawk” by digging up the plains and leveling ridges with the help of the battalion of the construction battalion.
Now about the shortcomings. TERCOM required digital elevation maps for each particular region of the Earth. For obvious reasons, TERCOM was useless over the water (gyroscopes led to SLCM before the ascent) and not very reliable when flying over low-contrast terrain (tundra, steppe, desert). Finally, the circular probable deviation was about 80 meters. Such accuracy was enough for the delivery of nuclear warheads, but it was completely inadequate for conventional (conventional) combat units.
1986 was the year of birth of long-range tactical missiles. Adopted by the American fleet UGM / RGM-109C was adopted. The third modification is the Tomahawk ”, equipped with an optical target recognition system and a 450-kilogram charge of a powerful brisant. Overnight, the SLCM turned from a Doomsday weapon into a threat to all the “undemocratic regimes” of the planet.
Like a merciless killer from Cameron’s action movie, he went out into the attack zone, focusing on the height of the underlying terrain, then the electronic “eyes” of the DSMAC (Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation) system were turned on.
The murderer checked the received pictures with the “photo” of the victim in his memory. And flew right through the window, arranging a "surprise" to everyone in the room.
About the window, of course, bent. However, with a QUO about 10 meters, “Tomahawk” had the opportunity to hit any selected structure.
The little deadly robot quickly gained popularity.
Operation Desert Storm (1991) - 288 missiles launched. Operation Desert Fox (1998) - 415 missiles launched. Invasion of Iraq (2003) - 802 “Tomahawk” released!
Not counting the smaller episodes using SLCM (Yugoslavia - 218 launches, Afghanistan - 125, Libya - 283). The last time a flock of “Toporov” fell on ISIS (47 missiles launched in 2014).
The Philippine C cruiser shoots ISIS positions from the Red Sea
Winged “Tomahawks” cannot single-handedly win the war. But they are a great help in the dirty affairs of the Pentagon.
“Ax” is not subject to any international restrictions. It is placed in any secluded place (up to 122 launch cells on surface ships, up to 154 on submarines). Mercilessly thrashes backhand - swoops down on a chosen target, rams it in horizontal flight, or explodes when flying over it. Extremely versatile. It has several attack algorithms and various types of combat units (high-explosive / cluster / penetrating).
Even despite the possible failures of TERCOM (according to rumors, some “Tomahawks” flew into the territory of Turkey and Iran), as well as the inability to hit mobile objects, such missiles can cause enormous damage. “Knock out” fixed towers, buildings and hangars, leaving the enemy without warehouses, communications and electricity.
And, most importantly, Tomahawk launches are mere pennies compared to conducting air operations with the obligatory involvement of cover groups, suppressing air defense and jammers. Without the need to risk airplanes and the lives of pilots - when the cost of a single cruise missile approaches the cost of a laser-guided bomb.
Among the main drawbacks was the short range of the conventional Tomahawk. With the mass of conventional explosives 450 kg versus 120 kg in a thermonuclear warhead + installation of optical sensors, the range was reduced by more than two times - from 2500 to 1200 km.
The problem was partially solved by the year of 1993 with the advent of the modification “Block 3”. With a decrease in the mass of warheads (340 kg) and “upgrade” of equipment based on microelectronics of the new generation, the Tomahawk’s flight range has increased to 1600 km.
Having shot a couple of thousand rockets, the Pentagon came to the conclusion that the SLCM is not an exotic, but an expendable material. So, we must abandon the excesses and reduce the cost of production as much as possible. So, in 2004, a “cattle-tomahawk” appeared for brutal colonial clashes.
Where are his four keels? Enough and three. “Tactical Ax” (TacTom) received a new low-cost turbofan engine and a plastic case made of scrap materials (due to which it lost the ability to start from great depths). The cost of production of the rocket fell twice.
Despite all these "improvements", the new rocket has become more dangerous than before. Progress in electronics allowed to place on board a whole range of guidance tools, including an inertial navigation system, a relief TERCOM, an infrared DSMAC, as well as a GPS, a television camera and a two-way satellite communication system. Now "Axes" can patrol over the battlefield, in anticipation of the enemy. And their operators - to determine the state of the target and, if necessary, to quickly change the flight task already on arrival of the SLCM in the combat zone.
In November 2013, the company “Reyteon” gave the US Navy a three-thousand CD of this modification.
At the moment, overseas is developing the next generation of “Smarty” SLCM “Tomahawk 4 Block” capable of hitting moving sea and land targets. Instead of DSMAC sensors, the promising missile will receive a millimeter-wave radar.
The possibility of hitting sea targets was first implemented in the modification BGM-109B Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missle (TASM), adopted by 1984 year. The anti-ship version of the “Ax”, in which instead of TERCOM there was a radar homing missile from the “Harpoon” rocket.
The flight range of the BGM-109B TASM was only 500 km (2,5 times less than other variants of the CD with conventional warhead). Shooting at long range was pointless.
Unlike a fixed military base, the enemy ship could crawl away from the calculated point to 30-50 kilometers in just one hour. At that time, there were no communication systems with a missile and the possibility of correcting the flight mission. RCC flew to a given area using an inertial system, where its compact RLGSN was then activated. To increase the likelihood of “capturing” targets, various algorithms were implemented, including search for "snake". But this could not drastically affect the situation. RCC flight range should not exceed 30 - 40 minutes, otherwise, by the time the rocket arrived in a given area, the target could go out of sight of the homing head. Due to the lack of need for large reserves of fuel, TASM was lighter than the conventional conventional “Tomahawk ”Almost 300 kg.
Currently, the task is becoming even more complex and confusing. The emergence of two-way communication systems with a missile and the possibility of its re-targeting in flight, opens up almost unlimited prospects for RCC developers. But it is now, and at that time ... It seemed there was no point in shooting at long distances.
However, even 500 km is a huge distance. Only the most exotic samples of Soviet anti-ship missiles (for example, Granit) were able to surpass TASM in launch range, and only with a high-altitude flight profile through discharged layers of the stratosphere.
Unlike the Granites, TASM flew the entire distance from the water, invisible to enemy radar. Subsonic speed was compensated by massive salvo application. Compact, simple, massive and omnipresent rocket was able to launch from hundreds of carriers. And the power of its heavy 450 kg warhead was enough to destroy the target with one hit.
Due to the lack of an equal rival at sea, the Tomahawk anti-shipping variant was retired in the middle of the 1990s.
BGM-109A with nuclear warheads were cut even earlier, as part of the START-I treaty. Since then, only tactical SLCMs with conventional warheads to defeat ground targets remain in service. Tomahawks carriers are 85 surface ships and 59 nuclear submarines of the US Navy, along with seven submarines of the British fleet.
The initiation of interest in the topic of cruise missiles is the result of the recent “fireworks”, whose flashes were visible from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the hills of ancient Judea. And their crimson glow reflected in the quivering windows of the Pentagon.
26 fire-tailed ghosts melted into the night. Death coming on schedule. Fear, horror and confusion in the offices of the Pentagon.
All of this is the Caliber missile system (NATO designation SS-N-27 Sizzler,. "Ashbringer"). Modification of NK (for launching from surface ships).
The type of missile used is ZM-14, a subsonic long-range SLCM for hitting ground targets. In addition to it, the ZM-54 anti-ship missile (has both a conventional and “unusual” version with a three-strike combat stage) and an 91P anti-ship missile with a warhead in the form of a self-guided torpedo are included in the nomenclature of the Unified Caliber family.
The carriers are three small rocket ships of the Caspian Flotilla (Uglich, Grad Sviyazhsk and Velikiy Ustyug), as well as the guard ship Dagestan, equipped with a universal ship firing complex (USK).
No, the power of “fireworks” was not strong. 26 missiles from four ships - the equivalent of half of the US destroyer volley. But the effect produced was similar to Armageddon. Magnificent demonstration of the achievements of the MIC. The Russians had their own analogue “Tomahawk”. More accurate and more powerful than his overseas rival! 26 shots without a single error. 11 successfully destroyed targets.
IRA "Grad Sviyazhsk". On the roof of the superstructure, the covers of the UKSK launchers
The small rocket ship possesses considerable shock potential. Missiles of the Caliber family bring the Russian IRAs to the level of the American missile destroyer (on the bottom photo)
Currently, “Caliber” missiles can carry and use 10 warships of the Russian Navy, incl. three boats “Varshavyanka” and multi-purpose submarine K-560 “Severodvinsk” (32 launch mines). And this is just the beginning! By the middle of the next decade, the number of carriers should increase to several dozen. Missiles will be installed on ships under construction and upgraded, incl. on the heavy nuclear cruiser “Admiral Nakhimov”. And in the future, they will rearm all multipurpose nuclear submarines of the Russian Navy.
Due to the lack of reliable data on open sources in Russian SLCMs, most of the article was taken up by the story about “Tomahawk”. Secrets and features of various guidance systems, designs and combat units of cruise missiles. It is on the basis of these data that we can draw certain conclusions about how domestic missiles operate. What are their real characteristics and capabilities.
The overall dimensions of the “Caliber” (ЗМ-14) are similar to the “Tomahawk 3 block”. With an equal length (6,2 m) and the same diameter (slightly less than 533 mm - dictated by the restrictions of the torpedo tube), the Russian 250-300 kg rocket is heavier than the “American”. Subsonic mode for both SLCMs is absent. The difference in mass is explained by a combination of one or several of the listed factors: a more powerful warhead (~ 450 kg versus 340 kg), increased flight range (up to 2000 km in conventional equipment) and the use of radar homing missiles for targeting missiles at point targets (because we do not have a domestic analogue of the DSMAC optical recognition system). The last point imposes additional conditions on the power system of the rocket.
Instead of the classic TERCOM, the domestic ZM-14 “Caliber” is equipped with a combined control system on the march segment, including a GLONASS receiver and a radio altimeter, which allows you to accurately maintain the height in the rounding mode of the terrain. Of course, there is an inertial navigation system based on accelerometers and gyroscopes on board.
Finally, the question that worries the public the most: can ISCs from the Caspian Sea “get” an American aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf?
Let's talk about this another time.