Tula KBP is the leading design organization of the defense industry of Russia, the team of which has developed, mastered the serial production of more than 150 weapons and military equipment. The fact that it is possible to force rivers on the Metis, and to fire from not only the Kornet-EM anti-tank missile system tanks, but Oleg ODNOKOLENKO, representatives of the anti-tank development unit, also told about the air and surface targets, the deputy executive editor of the Independent Military Review, Oleg ODNOKOLENKO weapons, Mikhail ANDREYEV and Sergey MAST.
“Tank builders claim that after the appearance of new generation armored vehicles, including our“ Almaty ”, the standoff of armor and anti-tank weapons ended in favor of tanks. Do you agree?
Mikhail Andreev: For ethical and patriotic reasons, we cannot discuss our equipment. In addition, from our side it would be presumptuous to make any statements about the effectiveness of our complexes against "Almaty", because its development has not yet been completed and tank builders carefully hide their secrets. And in relation to existing foreign tanks, we can say that the rockets of the Kornet-E and Kornet-EM complexes penetrate more than a meter of armored steel, including behind dynamic protection. Not a single modern tank has such armor.
Sergey Mast: At one of the negotiations on the supply of ATGM "Cornet-E", the foreign customer, brigadier general of tank forces, expressed his decisive opinion: "If someone says that" Cornet-E "is not the best anti-tank complex in the world, I I will personally bite myself! ”And the translator clarified that this is a literal translation, not an interpretation. In general, the superiority of the "Cornet" is recognized by all. Even competitors. When we meet at exhibitions, they say: there is nothing better than our ATGM - the simplest, most reliable and at the same time very powerful and effective.
- And if the armor is combined?
MA.: Combined armor is an alternating set of plates of various metallic and non-metallic materials, which has a certain equivalent in terms of homogeneous steel, but it still turns out to be less than a meter. In addition, tanks, as a rule, only frontal projection is seriously defended, and along the sides and rear armor is much thinner ...
- And who owns the idea of firing anti-tank systems at air targets? Was it a technical assignment or was the idea born already during the operation?
MA: This is the idea of Arkady Georgievich Shipunov - in the context of the development of anti-tank missile systems to give them a new feature: the ability to hit air targets. All of our previously developed complexes - and the "Competition", and "Metis", and "Cornet-E" - are in principle capable of firing at air targets, for example, at hovering helicopters. Then another property was added: the possibility of hitting low-speed targets.
SM: The point is: the Kornet-EM guided missile, designed for firing at air targets, is equipped with the NDC - a non-contact target sensor that allows you to hit a target at a distance without a direct hit. This is fundamentally important, because the air target has high maneuverability, and at a long range a direct hit is quite problematic. But due to the use of the NDC in a guided missile, we can hit the target with an allowable miss of up to 3 meters due to the high-explosive action that occurs when the warhead is triggered. Thanks to which we are able to conduct effective fire not only at large air targets - at helicopters, attack planes aviation etc., but also to hit small targets - for example, unmanned aerial vehicles. So Kornet-EM is a modern multi-purpose complex, which, in addition to its main task - the defeat of heavily armored vehicles - can also perform air defense functions.
- Didn’t you try to use “Cornet” as a torpedo weapon?
MA.: Well, about torpedo weapons - this is too much, but we are working successfully on surface targets. The firing range of a guided missile with a thermobaric warhead — up to 10 kilometers, respectively, the Cornet-EM complex, located on the coast, can easily hit any surface target within reach. The TNT equivalent of a warhead charge is 7 kilograms, and undermining such a charge can cause very serious damage.
- Already shot from the board?
SM: For surface targets only from the shore. The carrier, which is afloat, is swinging in waves, and the laser beam control system used in the complex implies the need to stabilize the laser beam. Such a stabilized control system for the Kornet family of missiles was implemented in the Berezhok combat module developed by KBP, designed to equip infantry fighting vehicles. The BMP with such a module, being afloat, successfully firing at any targets - both on surface and on the shore.
Cornet-E is unpretentious and works equally well in any, even in the most severe conditions.
- Did you have to shoot at the "Merkava" or "Leopards"?
MA.: Let's just say, apart from the information available on the Internet for everyone, we do not have reliable information on the use of our Merkav and Leopard complexes. However, during the demonstration in one of the Arab countries in the Middle East, the foreign customer offered us an interesting task - to fire on a set of foreign-made armor plates that are used in the manufacture of tank armor. As a result of the shooting, the set of plates was punched through, the blade of the bulldozer who had dragged these plates, who had rashly left behind the target, also suffered. In general, the meter struck the armor and the vehicle to boot.
- Did you know that they were shooting at the Merkava?
SM: No, we were not told whose armor. But from conversations with the foreign customer, it became clear that these armor plates are used by their “likely adversary” for the manufacture of tanks.
MA: There was also an interesting case, but already when shooting with our own Metis-М1 complex. The foreign customer proposed a French post-war tank as a target. He was placed on a hill with a slope of the tower in the direction of our position. As a result of a rocket hit, a cumulative jet pierced the turret, the breech of the cannon, and already through the chassis went outside. The head of the polygon arrived and began to look for a point of impact. I did not believe that pierced through. Then our operator asked the head of the landfill to look into the hole in the tower, and from the opposite side - through the hole in the chassis he shone a flashlight. Considering that the inspection of the target was carried out at dusk, the beam of light that passed through the tank right through - right into the eye of the head of the test site - turned out to be very convincing evidence. All doubts were removed.
- What foreign anti-tank complex in combat properties can be compared with the "Cornet"?
SM: None. There is no analogue for Kornet-EM - it surpasses all modern foreign ATGMs in the aggregate of qualities.
- And how long does this excellence last?
SM: The Kornet-E complex of KBP has been serially producing and exporting 90's from the end. At present, deliveries of the Kornet-EM have begun - modernized, with increased range and armor penetration. So much time and there is our superiority.
- And Kornet-EM has a development perspective, or is it the final link, can't it be better?
MA: There is no final link, there is always competition. Tanks are developing - our goals, and we are developing.
- But tank builders say that the Armata is the limit of tank perfection ...
SM: As we have said, it is incorrect to discuss modern and promising Russian-made equipment, and even more so the possibility of its defeat. But a little excursion into history. For example, take the two early designs of the Tula KBP - ATGM "Fagot" and "Metis." The armor penetration of these missiles was at the level of 400 – 500 millimeters, and this was quite enough to fight the main battle tanks of that time. Then the tank builders increased the armor thickness of the tanks, well, and the ATGM developers modernized the rocket - they increased the caliber, thereby increasing the armor penetration. When the tanks were equipped with dynamic defense, the ATGM missiles began to be equipped with tandem combat units: the leading charge of the warhead removes dynamic protection, and the main charge of the warhead already penetrates, in essence, “bare” armor. Then, to protect the tanks from the ATGM systems, they developed optical jamming systems, in response, the ATGM developers began to increase the noise immunity of their systems. KBP, for example, developed a robust control system implemented in the Cornet-E complex. Current trends in the protection of tanks follow the path of installation of active protection systems, in response, the Kornet-EM provides for a tandem shooting regime - two missiles at the same target in one laser beam. The missiles are launched with a difference of less than a second, so that even in the case of “removal” by the active defense system of the first rocket, the second is guaranteed to hit the target. So the competition goes constantly.
- And tankers always play white?
MA: Of course, they are the same for us. A ATGM is a defensive weapon! Recently, in the light of numerous local conflicts, the KBP has positioned its anti-tank systems as a defensive assault weapon. Because foreign anti-tank complexes, the same American TOW, are not particularly fussy about yourself - it is overall and difficult to carry, you need a whole calculation. And "Kornet-E" is positioned as a portable complex. On any vehicle - a car, motorcycle, even on pack animals, it is easily delivered to the contact line, and only then the operator and the loader can easily transfer it to several hundred meters in any direction.
- On the contact line - is it like the calculation of the legendary 45-millimeter cannon called “Farewell, Motherland!”?
MA: Not exactly. During the years of the Great Patriotic War, the forty-fighters on the front line found themselves in the zone of effective enemy fire - and in response, tanks fired at the position of the cannon with direct fire. In the case of the Kornet-EM, the maximum range of anti-tank missiles is 8 kilometers, which far exceeds the effective response fire from tanks.
- How do you find tanks at such a distance?
9M133-1 rocket. Firing range - 100 – 5500 m. Tandem-cumulative warhead, armor penetration to 1100 mm for dynamic protection.
SM: In all modern complexes there are various means of detection - thermal and television cameras, scopes. In addition, you can receive and external target designation, including from UAVs. So there are no problems with the detection of the tank. The search and discovery process is basically the same - the tank is trying to detect the ATGM calculation, and the ATGM calculation is the tank, but there is a big difference in size: the tank is 2 meters high and 6 meters long is a big machine, and the calculation of ATGW, yes still nestled in the grass is not an easy target to detect. For targets located at long ranges, it is problematic for a tank to hit from the first shot. While the ATGM is a sniper weapon. Even at maximum range, we may well get into the window or into the embrasure of the bunker. In other words, a sniper or machine gun crew is destroyed at a distance greater than the range of their return fire. That's how much our ATGMs are also assault weapons.
- To hit from the ATGM at a distance of 8 kilometers of a sniper and a machine-gun crew ... Such shooting was carried out, is it not a theory?
SM: Repeatedly. For example, recently, for a delegation of a foreign customer, we demonstrated shooting at tanks and at a target of the “building” type, which is a two-story building made of reinforced concrete blocks. From the very first time they hit the window opening exactly - the rocket flew inside and exploded. If without details, the reinforced concrete structure developed like a house of cards and turned into a pile of stones, which caused indescribable delight among representatives of a foreign customer.
- Who is the author of the concept of universality of our modern anti-tank weapons?
MA: Of course, Arkady G. Shipunov, all the ideas implemented in our complexes were offered to them. The universality of the use of the complex for various purposes is ensured by the presence of two missiles in the ATGM - with a tandem-shaped cumulative warhead and with a thermobaric warhead. The presence of these two types of missiles allows you to hit almost all the targets that may appear on the battlefield. Cumulative - for hitting heavily armored targets, thermobaric - for cars, buildings, bunkers, manpower, and in the case of "Cornet-EM" - also various air targets.
S.M .: From the moment our first anti-tank missile system Fagot was created, nothing has changed conceptually. The rocket has a radiation source. The launcher receives the radiation, determines the position of the rocket in space, and forms commands to guide the rocket at the target. Guidance is carried out in semi-automatic mode, that is, the operator accompanies only the target, and the rocket is displayed on the line of sight by the control system. In the case of “Kornet”, the guidance system “turned” the other way round: the radiation source was placed on the starting one, and the receiver and control equipment, which determines the position in space, were installed in the rocket - that is, the rocket itself determines its position relative to the center of the laser beam and forms commands itself necessary to hit the target. Well, the function of the operator is the same - with the help of pointing drives to keep the aiming mark on the target.
MA: The next step is Cornet-EM. The automatic control of the target was introduced into the composition of its control system, with the help of which the tracking of targets and the targeting of missiles at them can be performed automatically - without operator participation, which made it possible to eliminate the influence of the human factor on the shooting results.
S.M .: With semi-automatic aiming, the operator’s function is to find a target through the scope, combine the crosshair and press the start - and that’s it, the rocket has gone ... It remains only to rotate the targeting actuators of the launcher until the rocket hits . In “Kornet-EM”, the operator sees the target on the monitor, throws a brand of automatic tracking on it, presses the “Start” button. There is a launch of the rocket and it is no longer involved in the guidance process - the control system itself will ensure that the rocket hits the target, including moving at high speed and maneuvering. The operator at this time may be engaged in the search for another goal.
- If the "Cornet" is so good, why are they still buying Metis?
MA: Each of our complex has its own unique features and advantages. For example, in the missiles of the Metis family, compared with other complexes, the onboard control equipment, which consists only of the steering gear, is significantly simplified - the control signal on the wire line of communication comes directly from the launcher. At the same time, Metis is much cheaper than analogs, simpler and more reliable. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Olegovich Rogozin could personally see for himself the high combat effectiveness of this complex. During his visit to 29 in April, 2013 of the year he took a course on a computer simulator for 15 minutes, and then in actual conditions of the range from the first shot hit from Metis-М1 to the target at a distance of 2 km.
- Did you get yourself or helped the boss? ..
MA: Of course, myself. And how can you help there: two handwheel drive drives and your own eye ... And this suggests that MTRTIS Metis-М1 is very easy to handle, which is especially appealing to many foreign customers. Indeed, in most armies, ordinary soldiers who have no higher education serve, so our foreign partners in military-technical cooperation always ask for something like a Kalashnikov machine gun - easy to use, but reliable and highly efficient weapons - so that checks and settings are smaller.
We have accumulated a large amount of statistics, confirming that both Metis-М1 and Cornet-E work equally well in any, even under the most severe conditions. Happened, you come to foreign customers, they lead you to the warehouse, where the launchers are piled up like firewood, but you start to check - everyone works, not a single failure! By the way, the rockets of our modern complexes do not require any checks during storage. Sometimes we jokingly tell our foreign customers: “The only test you have to do is open the drawer and see if there is a rocket ...”
- A automatic reloading "Cornet-EM" is not supposed to?
S.M .: By automatic reloading it is meant that everything is done without human intervention: I pressed the button and everything was charged by itself. In the Cornet-EM complex, the reloading is still semi-automatic: empty containers are fired, the launch is transferred to the loading position, then the operator uses a lever to send the missile from the ammunition to the launcher guide. All launcher to shoot ready. In principle, eight missiles mounted on guides and ready for launch are enough to cause significant damage to the enemy and thereby reduce his aggressive ardor.
- And who determined how much ammunition is enough?
MA: At one time, combat models were developed, in which it was assumed that when the enemy inflicted more than 30% damage, the combat mission was considered accomplished - the enemy was no longer able to attack. For example, when attacking a group of six tanks of one Kornet-EM complex with a full load of ammunition is enough to inflict much more damage to the enemy than 30%.
- This is if the enemy will not resist ...
MA: “Cornet-EM” shoots at 8 kilometers, and a tank at 2,5 – 3 kilometers. Before the tanks reach the line, which allows to conduct aimed fire at the combat vehicles of our complex, half of the tanks will definitely be destroyed. The enemy has no chance, because the technical rate of fire at our ATGM - 2,5 shot per minute, while the complex can fire at two targets at once with four missiles - that is, a tandem for each of the targets. In short: as long as there is no return fire, we can fire at any visible targets, and nothing will prevent us from destroying them one by one.
- And what is the wearable version of the "Cornet"?
MA: The launcher weighs 26 kilograms, the rocket - 30 kilograms. One person carries a launcher, another - a rocket. If you want to have three or four rockets on hand in combat, take as many people or, say, a beast of burden. For example, in the mountains without a "donkey fighting" just can not do. In general, if the ammunition assembly is at hand, one operator is enough for shooting: he loaded a rocket, found a target, made a launch, achieved a hit - charge the next one. The remaining members of the calculation are used only for the ammunition tray and loading assistance.
- How many countries are in service with the Kornet ATGM and what revision is required for export options?
MA: Currently, more than a dozen countries of the world already have in service the Kornet-E ATGM, which has proven itself well in service in various latitudes and climatic zones. The main requirement of the foreign customer, which differs from the requirements of the Russian army, is the temperature range of operation. Everything that is exported, and basically these are countries located to the south of Russia, should work reliably in a warmer and more humid climate. And so, no special modifications are required. As an additional option, the foreign customer often asks to place our complex on our vehicles, which we successfully implemented - we have a positive experience of installing Kornet-E ATGM systems on light Hummer carriers and on others.
- As you know, the most important thing in the complex is a rocket. What is she like?
SM: The design of our rocket is as simple and reliable as that of the Tula samovar: the engine, the warhead and the control equipment — as you can see, nothing superfluous. The remote launcher is no different: a sight, a tripod and a swivel with pointing drives. This is about the "Cornet". With Metis even easier. The concept is the same: the engine, the warhead, and the onboard control equipment is only the steering gear. And in general, the Metis-M1 complex is very compact and light, a complex with three rockets can be carried by two people.
- How much time did it take to create, say, “Cornet-EM”?
MA: The process of creating any system from idea to adoption entails certain stages. Based on the technical assignment (TZ), calculations are made and working design documentation (RCD) is developed. Then, according to RKD, prototypes are made and their preliminary (previously called factory) tests are carried out - to confirm that the specified requirements have been achieved by applying selected technical solutions. If everything is successful, there comes the turn of state tests, which are already conducted by a commission of the Ministry of Defense. During the tests, which is quite natural, some flaws, inconsistencies are found, operational revision of the design documentation and the samples themselves is carried out. Then, the state testing commission makes recommendations on the adoption of the complex into service with the Russian army.
- And were there any cases when non-military gave technical assignments, and you yourself offered them something new?
Self-propelled version of the Kornet-EM ATGM on the Tiger chassis. Photo courtesy of Tula KBP
MA: The main directions for the development of military equipment, of course, are determined by the Ministry of Defense, which is a consumer for us, defense companies, and it also defines the basic requirements for armaments. However, in 90-x there was a period when, due to a lack of funding, most of the defense-industrial complex enterprises did not have government orders and there were practically no R & D commissioned by the Ministry of Defense. Businesses had to spin; someone leased space, others broke up into small firms. It was then that Arkady G. to ensure the survival of the enterprise and preserve the scientific school and decided to work for export. And our specialists, on the basis of the analysis of world trends in the development of weapons and military equipment themselves, but, naturally, not without the participation of the military, began to formulate tactical and technical requirements for a new set of weapons, which should surpass foreign analogues and be in demand on the world market.
- And so appeared "Cornet-E"?
MA: It is all simple in words. As you know, back in the 90s, the Tula KBP developed for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation Kornet anti-tank systems based on combat vehicles. And already on this basis, but taking into account the requirements of foreign customers, an export version of the Kornet-E ATGM was created - with a remote launcher, a turret on four guides and the possibility of placement on light carriers. This complex really came into being at the initiative of the enterprise. But, thank God, those times are gone. Today, the state defense order is well funded, and the KBP performs a significant amount of development work on the tactical and technical tasks of our law enforcement agencies.
- Why did you choose the name “Cornet”, but, for example, not “Ensign”?
MA: There are many versions and legends on this score, but this is not at all about that cornet, which you can think about. This is not a military rank, but the name of a wind musical instrument - please do not confuse it with the clarinet. As far as we know, this name was invented by Arkadiy G. Shipunov. According to Soviet rules, each OCD had its own code, which was issued by the Ministry of Defense. For example, the well-known flower series for artillery systems: “Acacia”, “Hyacinth”, “Tulip”, “Peony”, etc. For the ATGM, perhaps because of the external similarity of containers of rockets with wind instruments, the military chose the musical names: “Bassoon”, “Oboe” ... It was on the initiative of academician Shipunov that another “Cornet” was added to this “brass band” . Although many support the legend associated with the military rank, it is easier to explain to foreign customers.
- "Cornet" has a clear relationship to military affairs. But why Metis?
SM: Unfortunately, most of the witnesses of that old story are no longer with us, so few details have been preserved. One of the explanations: because the Metis ATGM is a hybrid — it seems to be controlled weaponry, but the rocket is so simple that the complex is inherently close to a grenade launcher. The rocket consists of a warhead, an engine and a steering gear - with the exception of the steering gear, the same component parts of the grenade launcher. Here you have the explanation of the name "Metis." It should be noted that the complex is very compact and lightweight: the weight of the 9,5 launcher kilogram, and the weight of the rocket itself - 13,8 kilogram. Therefore, "Metis" can be delivered to any point where a person will pass, even if you have to overcome water obstacles. All components of the complex - and the missiles, and the launcher, and the thermal imager - have positive buoyancy, so that it is quite problematic to drown with the loads of the Metis-М1 ATGM behind its back.
- Did your complexes fall into the hands of competitors, is there such information?
MA.: Again, we don’t have official information, but on the Internet you can’t see anything ...
SM: I will not say about competitors. But the foreign military, who had the opportunity to use both our complexes and foreign-made complexes, when meeting at international exhibitions usually speak about the combat effectiveness of our ATGMs enthusiastically. More than once I had to hear: “Your equipment is for real war, and the western one is for parades.” By the way, many representatives of foreign armies lament that, because of the imposed sanctions, it is precisely our complexes that cannot be acquired, although there is a great desire and considerable financial resources. It should be noted here that the Internet makes a good advertisement: there are many videos on the Web that demonstrate the effectiveness of our complexes, both modern and developed in Soviet times.
“If the Cornet is so simple, why can't the Americans do the same ATGM?”
S.M .: I suppose, obviously not for financial reasons - the military budget of the Americans is big, there is a lot of money to be mastered ... But the simplicity of the “Cornet” is due to the large amount of know-how that can not be repeated in the West.
MA.: I don’t know about Americans, but there is information that foreign customers, who at one time bought Metis from us, still conduct development work on the development of their analogues of our complexes. On a business trip, the representatives of the host country heard the following question: “We do not understand how your rocket flies to such a range with a weight of just 13 kilograms? We have a lighter 20 kilograms does not work ... "
MA.: I replied to them: “This is our know-how!” But seriously, when developing any system, a competent developer lays in her modernization potential and reserve. But not excessive! And often modernization comes at the expense of sampling this very stock. Example. In the 1992 year, we put into service the Metis, whose missiles flew 1,5 kilometers. Later, due to the available reserves and the use of know-how, the range was increased to 2 kilometers. Now we are working on a variant to further increase the range of the rocket, new technologies, new materials are emerging, and we are actively introducing them into our developments. For example, before the control equipment was developed on discrete elements - transistors, capacitors, resistors - and, naturally, it took up a lot of space in the rocket, now everything comes down to integrated circuits or is implemented on microprocessors. As a result, the rocket frees up space, which can be used to increase the fuel charge or charge of the warhead and increase, respectively, the range or power.
SM: As a confirming example, you can refer to the Kornet-EM. With dimensions identical to the missiles of this complex, and a slight increase in mass, a doubled flight range was achieved and armor penetration was significantly increased.
- Tula instrument design bureau - is it production or is it a science?
SM: Currently, KBP is also a metis - a unique enterprise in which both production and science are combined. In Soviet times, there was a fairly clear division of labor between organizations: there were research institutes (SRI), there were design offices (KB), there were production plants. Scientific research institutes basically carried out research and search work. In the design bureau, the emphasis was on experimental design work, the design bureau also developed and manufactured prototypes of products, carried out their tests. Further, usually at the stage of state tests, the Ministry of Defense determined which plant would develop and produce this product in series. In 90, the system collapsed, and Arkady G. Shipunov decided to turn the KBP into a full-cycle enterprise, starting from research, development, testing, and ending with mass production. We started with small arms, which helped the company survive at that time. Today, on our production base, weapons and military equipment are manufactured for practically all types and types of troops - small arms and grenade launchers, anti-tank and multi-purpose missile systems, combat modules for infantry fighting vehicles, BMD and air defense systems.
- In other words, started with the simplest?
SM: I would not say that the development and production of small arms is the simplest. For many decades of competition between developers to come up with something new in the same gun is quite difficult. However, for example, Vasily Petrovich Gryazev succeeded. Under his command, the designers developed the GSH-18 pistol, the lightest in its class, always ready for firing, while the standard grip holds the holder on 18 cartridges instead of 9.
- The GSH-18 is somewhat similar to the Glock, except for a little, in my opinion, inferior in elegance.
MA: Foreigners love and know how to do beautiful things, but sometimes elegance comes at the expense of functionality. A weapon is not a TV, it is not a car, a weapon is what saves your life. Therefore, the main thing in weapons is functionality. You should be able to use it suddenly and in any situation. Here, for example, already discussed MTC-NXNX ATGM, After overcoming the water barrier, the calculation of the complex is ready to fire in 1 seconds. Reloading - 20 seconds, and the rate of fire when shooting at a maximum range - three to four shots per minute. Not a single foreign “elegant” complex can provide such combat capability.
- Weapon designers are superstitious people?
MA: Of course. Every profession has its own rituals and signs that are strictly followed. Recall, at least, a ritual astronauts viewing of the legendary “White Sun of the Desert” before the start. We also have our own "conventions". For example, a rocket for testing should be brought only as it flies - in no case can not be carried tail forward. It is necessary to shoot rockets only in ascending numbers. Be sure to stroke the rocket before firing. However, these, at first glance, "strange rituals" often have a purely physical explanation: for example, when you run your hand over a container, you remove static electricity.
- And after the shooting what ritual?
SM: Thank you all ...
- A ritual prearchan?
MA: Required. Completion of important tests, especially state ones, the commission usually marks in a restaurant. But this is a completely different story, not about the design work days.