Military Review

NATO air tankers on Bulgarian air bases and the resumption of the ATACMS "line" is a serious sign


The A330MRTT strategic refueling aircraft are multi-purpose long-range vehicles. In addition to the functions of an air tanker, they are capable of taking on board cargo weighing up to 45-50 tons (provisions, military equipment, tactical electronic systems and much more). The A330MRTT, developed by the European Airbus corporation on the basis of the A330-200 long-range passenger airliner, has parameters that are close to the similar American Extender KC-10A. When the aircraft is on duty for 2 hours at a distance of 1800 km from the base, up to 65 tons of fuel can be transferred to consumer aircraft. This is enough to fully refuel a link of 4 tactical strike fighters F-15E / SE "Strike Eagle" / "Silent Eagle" (with outboard fuel tanks) or 6, 7 fighter "Rafal" / "Typhoon". Even one A330MRTT can prolong 2–2,5 times the patrol of tactical fighter units above the theater of operations (without the need to return to the base), when the section requires long-term cover of several echelons of heavy military transport aircraft from enemy fighters and support the attack aviation, there are many options. The photo captures a rare moment of refueling by the Australian A330MRTT (in the Royal Air Force of Australia the aircraft was called KC-30A) of the French AWACS AWACS AWACS system. In relation to the small European theater of operations, this means continuous “total” observation of the aircraft and missile-dangerous strategic direction; so we are witnessing the progress of new places of basing of these types of vehicles on moderately remote frontiers from our state, for example, on the air bases of the Bulgarian Air Force - both the reach is good and the distance is safe

Rotations of squadrons and aircraft wings of the United Air Force of NATO between the air bases of Western and Eastern Europe are becoming deliberately regular today. The redeployment of mixed Air Force units is carried out solely for the purpose of preparing for a possible escalation of hostilities in the Eastern European theater of operations in the 21st century with the participation of the CSTO and NATO. For example, last year it was decided to transfer military transport aviation and NATO air tankers to German air bases, while strategic radio engineering and radio electronic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135V / W “Rivet Joint” was decided to deploy only at British air bases , at a relatively remote part of the European theater of military operations from Russia. This is explained by the fact that the military-technical cooperation and strategic tankers may be needed in the skies over Romania or the Black Sea much earlier and in greater numbers than the “Rivet Joint”, primarily to support the actions of tactical aviation. And RC-135V / W regularly patrols over the Baltic States and the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, collecting valuable tactical information about the actions of our forces in the border areas. The latest machines are of great value to NATO. The Rivet Joints series of 32 vehicles, which are capable of providing the friendly NATO forces with comprehensive information on the types and modes of operation of the enemy's radar located on land, sea and air carriers. The passive station DER and PTP AN / APR-46A (V) operating in the frequency range from 250 to 18000 MHz can any radiation source (radar or communication device) with an accuracy of 5 degrees, as well as determine the mode of operation (tracking the target or capture), so you can pre-determine the steps of the enemy. Therefore, these aircraft have decided to relocate further from our borders. But this is not the most interesting.

According to the TASS publication under the heading “International Panorama” of 4 in May 2016, the Bulgarian government ratified a bill that allows airborne tankers of NATO's air forces to be based on Bulgarian air bases, it also reports the development of ground-based technical support infrastructure. tankers in close proximity to the Black Sea basin and the Republic of Crimea. A little earlier, information appeared in foreign and later in our online media about the resumption of the production of the TACMS operational-tactical missile system (ATACMS) by Lockheed Martin in Arkansas (at the new facility in Camden) after a two-year hiatus. Previously, the complex was manufactured in Texas City Horizon. The transfer of production was carried out to concentrate all the "branches" on the assembly of NURS and SD in a single complex to facilitate and speed up the series. So, the number of TACMS moves up again.

Let's start with the last one. ATACMS OTRK, as well as a mobile multi-purpose MLRS HIMARS using operational-tactical ballistic missiles of the MGM-140 / 164 Block I / IA family, are of utmost importance to Washington: their deployment is fixed in most hot spots of the world (during ATURMS Desert Storm) actively used in Iraq to destroy the strategically important goals of the army of Saddam Hussein, today HIMARS is being transferred to the Turkish-Syrian border for fire control of ISIS facilities on the demarcation line), and the importers of the complex are all friendly to the States Eastern European and Western Asian states. This poses a certain threat to our interests both in the Baltic States and in the southern country.

The photo captures the launch of one of the newest versions of the operational-tactical ballistic missile of the ATACMS family - MGM-164B Block IIA from a mobile launcher M142 MLRS HIMARS. Like all “block” missiles with the ending “A”, this OTB has an increased target range increased to 300 km, but the “equipment” of this version is much more advanced. It is represented by an 268-kilogram warhead consisting of a cassette with 6 self-targeting P3I BAT combat elements. The SPBE data, developed by Northrop and Raytheon, is a rather complicated small-sized tool of high precision weapons, structurally similar to the tactical anti-tank guided projectile MGM-157 complex FOGM. The self-guided combat elements of the P3I BAT are designed in a normal aerodynamic configuration with a cylindrical body and a straight folding wing and tail stabilizers twisted relative to the roll of the rocket (similar to the NURS MRL). P3I have a unique combined homing system in the form of infrared and ultrasonic acoustic seeker. The sensors of the first in the standard scheme are in the nose of the ammunition, the last - in the tips of thin pins coming out of the wing tips of the folding wing. This principle makes it possible to achieve almost 100% noise immunity with the defeat of artillery and armored vehicles moving and operating on the battlefield. The use of GPD and infrared traps is not capable of deceiving the “smart” P3I, since the onboard computer contains a catalog of the acoustic sound of various military equipment in the ultrasonic range. Even the peculiarities of side sound noises created by the aerodynamic friction of sensor receivers on dense layers of the troposphere did not interfere with the introduction of an acoustic homing channel, since the modern high-performance on-board computer P3I contains the most complex program for processing such noises. The infrared-acoustic hc P3I BAT (“Brilliant Anti-Tank”) operates simultaneously in two channels of target sighting, which makes it possible to detect and hit moving targets even in the most difficult meteorological conditions (fog, snow, heavy wind). Meanwhile, nothing is said about the fact that SPBE P3I has enormous difficulties in detecting fixed ground units with previously turned off engines (“black bodies”): they do not emit sound waves and cannot be sighted with the help of IKHSN. In this case, the ARGSN of the millimeter range, which analogues are used in tactical missiles MBDA "Brimstone" and AGM-114L "Longbow Hellfire", could be the most effective acting homing head for "smart" ammunition; but these moments are not reported by American manufacturers. From the aerodynamic properties of this SPBE (direct wing), it can be assumed that a direct approach to the ground target occurs at transonic speeds (of the order of 0,9 - 0,95М), which greatly facilitates the interception of modern air defense systems ("Pantsir-C1", "Tor-M2E" ), as well as active protection complexes installed on the armored vehicle itself. The length of the P3I is 914 mm, and the diameter is 140 mm, the wingspan is on the order of or more than 1 m, which facilitates the detection by optical-electronic sighting complexes of the above-mentioned AFMS. The MGM-164B rocket itself is not so difficult to intercept: it is known from open sources that its flight speed in the middle segment of the trajectory does not exceed 1500 m / s (5400 km / h), which falls under the speed of destruction of the C-300PM1, C -400 and even C-300PS

For example, 1 on June 2012 of the Finnish Ministry of Defense notified the US Congress of their desire to purchase a large batch of OTBR MGM-70B 140 (ATACMS Block IA) to increase the level of technical unification with the armies of the United States and European participants in NATO. This contract was later canceled. But what could be in the case of its full implementation?

The version of the missile (MGM-140B) prepared for adoption by the Finnish Defense Forces has a range of 300 km, an 160-kilogram fragmentation warhead M-74 (on 300 combat elements), and an advanced inertial guidance system based on ring laser gyros with GPS capability -correction. A small KVO (25 m) allows it to effectively hit clusters of armored vehicles, radar stations, launchers and an MRLS of single anti-aircraft missile divisions, weapons depots and fuels and lubricants.

Almost all the strategically important facilities of the Baltic and Northern fleets of the Russian Navy located in St. Petersburg, Kronstadt, Severomorsk and Murmansk, which endanger most of the north-western Russia, are in the radii of destruction of the ATACMS Block IA missiles. If we analyze it objectively, then at the BF and at the Federation Council, Finland would evenly distribute the ATNMS OTBR over 35. But the 6-I Leningrad Red Banner Army of the Air Force and Air Defense (2-division of the Air Defense) can repel the impact of such a number of missiles, since it has more than 15 anti-aircraft missile divisions of the C-300PS / PM1, C-300B, C-400S / PMNNXX, C-100B, and C-XNUMXPS / PMXNUMX, C-XNUMXB, and C-XNUMXPS / PMNNXX systems. covering them "armor"; their total target channel exceeds their XNUMX targets.

Rejecting 70 ATACMS in 2014, already in 2015, Finland requested from the US Congress, through DSCA, 240, more accurate GMLRS guided missiles with a range of 70 km and KVO of order 10 m. Despite the fact that the range of these missiles is much smaller ( record demonstrated with PU M142 HIMARS made 85 km) than the family ATACMS, their radar signature due to the small housing diameter (227 mm) shorter and one PU M270A1 may reside 12 correctable projectiles GMLRS, the mobile wheelset PU M142 - 6 rocket projectile That creates great difficulties for the interception of even modern air defense missile system S-type 300PM1, the benefit, the range does not give GMLRS reach for objects BF and SF using the depth of the Finnish territory.

The 240 high-precision guided missiles GMLRS for the 22 equipment of the M270 MLRS BM-PU purchased by the Finnish Armed Forces do not carry as great a threat as the ATACMS missiles modernized today, but at the beginning of the 70 of the year, the specially developed joint unit of Boeing and Saab companies began work on the “exotic” version of the MLRS multiple launch rocket system, called the GLSDB. The new system is a multipurpose long-range hybrid of the power plant - TRD of an unguided missile М2015А26 / А1 MLRS and a high-precision planning bomb GBU-2 SDB ("Small Diametr Bomb"). The bomb is placed in the head of the NURS under heat-resistant fairing (in place of a cassette warhead projectile). Solid rocket booster accelerates the GBU-39SDB up to speed 39-3,5M at a range of 4-50 km from PU warhead bomb is separated, and the last with folded wings continues to stratospheric flight to the goal in 60-centrifugal speed, decelerating slowly away 3-120 km ( with a speed of the order of 150M, the wing is opened), and GBU-1,2 SDB plans to target from a height of 39 — 17 km. In this flight mode, the bomb can travel up to 18 km, and when supplied with an additional accelerator, more than 250 km. The circular deviation of the GBU-300 SDB is no more than 39 m, so the promising GLSDB system can become the most dangerous MLRS in the world. GBU-7 SDB has many composite structural elements, which significantly reduces its EPR, and most of the flight takes place at high supersonic speeds. Unlike ATACMS OTRK, the number of M39А26 projectiles with high-precision bombing equipment did not decrease at all (2 rockets on the M12 MLRS and 270 rockets - on the M6 HIMARS), since the GBU-142 SDB caliber with a fairing is not much different from the standardNTN. M39A227

But the danger is this: ATACMS complexes, which Finland has not purchased, can be safely acquired by Romania and Poland. The latter also develops the MLRS system with a range of 300 km WR-300 "Homar", which is an analogue of HIMARS. This makes its own adjustments to the need to increase the defense capacity of the Kaliningrad region and the Republic of Crimea. In addition, 120 OTBR ATACMS is in service with the Turkish army: the entire southern coast of the Crimea and Armenia are within reach. Considering the full-size 12 salvo from ATACMS launchers with simultaneous use of high-precision tactical long-range cruise missiles of the JASSM-ER or Taurus type, the existing air defense force on the peninsula and in Armenia is not quite ready to repel the attack, and should be strengthened though a pair of additional C-300 / 400 anti-aircraft missile regiments. It’s no secret that US ATACMS can be deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia by the US military transport aircraft in just 10 hours. We always have the answer in the form of additional “Triumphs” for defense and “Iskander”, but such a scenario should be carefully considered, since the alignment of forces can quickly change.

Now regarding the basing of NATO tanker aircraft at Bulgarian air bases. Why did Bulgaria have a burning desire to see the alliance air tankers on its territory?

Like Romania, Bulgaria is considered in Washington and Brussels as a strategically important territorial appendage of the North Atlantic Alliance for the implementation of all known concepts of Russian confrontation: these are European missile defense and Third Offset and BSU expressed in building elements of Aegis Ashor, calling to the Bulgarian and Romanian ports of the American Aegis-destroyers and URO cruisers, the recent transfer of the low-profile F-22A Raptor fighters to Romania.

Bulgarian air bases that are ready to receive NATO aviation, and in particular Avz Bezmer, are out of reach of the Russian Iskander-M and Iskander-K stations deployed in the Crimea. And the location at a great distance from the shores of the Black Sea makes it possible to cover the air base with the help of numerous anti-aircraft missile systems of a different class from absolutely all flying directions. In addition, Bulgaria, unlike Romania, has a single operational airway with Turkey, which facilitates the interaction of NATO air forces deployed at Turkish and Bulgarian air bases, as well as at Avb Akrotiri (Cyprus) and Suda (Crete). Naturally, it will not be easy to protect the Bulgarian air bases from the Caliber missile attacks, but the tactical advantage is evident. The central and western parts of Bulgaria represent the NATO back zone in Eastern Europe, which has the ability to defend itself at the expense of American aircraft based on Italian air bases, as well as deck aircraft operating from American aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean. Bulgaria is a very profitable and "a hundred times calculated" command of NATO.

The transfer of air tankers to Bulgaria solves two important tasks for NATO at once:

- the possibility of actions of the US and NATO tactical fighter aircraft within the Middle East and Central Asia without using airfields on the Arabian Peninsula in the event that a large-scale Iran-Arab conflict breaks out and the Saudi air bases are destroyed by Iranian ballistic missiles;

- quick access and long-term duty of the fighter aviation of the NATO SARS in the skies of the South Caucasus, which at any time may become an armed conflict zone between the territorial and geostrategic interests of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia, which is part of the CSTO. Here it is worth noting immediately that the Georgian Marneuli airbase will immediately turn into a place unsuitable for NATO air bases (the entire territory of Georgia is “covered” not only by Iskander, but also by the old Dots-U, Smerches and tactical missiles X-59MK2 "Gadfly").

Any strategic air tankers (from KC-135 to KC-10A Extender and A330 MRTT) can be used from Bulgarian airfields, and within a radius of 1800 — 2000 km a couple of such aircraft are able to replenish the whole Strike Needle regiment of 24 -XX-1X once in a few kilometers. , allowing them to perform the task in non-stop mode and in the very vast spaces of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Airplanes will be able to operate even in the most critical situation, when most of the ground infrastructure of NATO air bases will be destroyed by our cruise missiles. And all these “horizons” open up before the alliance precisely thanks to the use of Bulgarian air bases. The choice of NATO and the proximity of the NATO member of Greece, “unreliable” for the Western world - Greece, will not be affected, since even in the case of an escalation model of confrontation between the Russian Federation and NATO, Greece will be forced to remain neutral, since friendly Russia is not so close, and rights ”of their geopolitical predilections are unlikely to succeed when the South-West is under the control of the NATO and US-controlled Mediterranean Sea, and from the east is very aggressively tuned and pumped up by modern armament Turkey.

It is well known that the current regime of the Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev fully supports Kiev in its criminal activities against the Russian population of the LDNR and the Kherson and Odessa regions not only politically but also in material and technical terms. So, in February 2016, it became known that a large batch of light armored vehicles in the form of several dozen BMP, MT-LB, MLRS and other equipment, which was later overloaded at the Splitka railway station, were loaded onto the Leader Canakkale Turkish vessel and delivered to the port of Odessa. on the platform and sent to the Kherson region. This once again confirmed that Bulgaria is turning into one of the main reserve outposts of NATO in Eastern Europe, which in the near future will be involved in many anti-Russian actions of the alliance.
21 comment
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  1. bars1
    bars1 11 May 2016 07: 23
    I didn't expect anything else from the "brothers".
  2. Dayan Murzin
    Dayan Murzin 11 May 2016 08: 19
    Quote: bars1
    I didn't expect anything else from the "brothers".

    Not from the "brothers", but from their government, more precisely.
    1. Homo
      Homo 11 May 2016 08: 42
      Quote: Dayan Murzin
      Not from the "brothers", but from their government, more precisely.

      Enough of tales about the "Slavic brothers"! The people vote for the government that is against Russia, so the people are against Russia. In "beloved" Serbia, at the last elections, the people voted for the ruling party, which stands up for the European Union and NATO. More proof of "love" of "brothers" to Russia is needed! am
      1. Dayan Murzin
        Dayan Murzin 11 May 2016 09: 08
        Did I really talk about the "Slavic brothers"? I don’t need to attribute your thoughts to me.
        Our people also vote, but the government does nothing for the people, but does, for some reason, for the "Chinese brothers" and for the same NATO. And yes, they continue to sell gas to the Turks.
      2. Starover_Z
        Starover_Z 11 May 2016 09: 57
        Quote: Homo
        Enough of tales about the "Slavic brothers"! The people vote for the government that is against Russia, so the people are against Russia.

        Gennady, how do they hang up "noodles" before the elections, I hope it is not necessary to tell?
        And the size and "taste" of "noodles" depends on the candidates' wallet!
        For example, in Moldova, parties that break into the parliament first pick up an acceptable government!
        And they do not choose according to their professional qualities, but according to the need of a person for the position.
        For example, search for "Anatol Salaru, Moldova" and read for this versatile "professional"!
        The people, in the hope of the best, are led by "sweet" promises, for which there are no mechanisms to ask for in the future!
      3. In100gram
        In100gram 11 May 2016 10: 54
        Quote: Homo
        People vote for the government

        People do not always choose. As a rule, this is just an illusion of choice. An example is a referendum for the preservation of the USSR, a drunken Borya (vote or lose), Ukraine, and many more examples.
      4. Lens
        Lens 12 May 2016 18: 15
        Very good thought. Friendship is friendship, but tobacco ...
    2. In100gram
      In100gram 11 May 2016 10: 48
      I totally agree
  3. cap
    cap 11 May 2016 08: 36
    It seems that NATO has a great desire to play a game with Russia, "who will blink first," and the States are quietly pushing their products in the hope of making money selling radioactive souvenirs from the Eiffel Tower to Reistag.
    And they do it openly and brazenly.
    What can you say "D..B .." (c).
    And the whole of Europe is like this beautiful animal (when on a skewer).
  4. Kibl
    Kibl 11 May 2016 08: 46
    A rebellious thought creeps in. Maybe the janissaries cut these "brothers" correctly. With Turkey, everything is clear, it is the eternal enemy of Russia, and Bulgaria is where either ingratitude and betrayal are in their blood.
  5. Dayan Murzin
    Dayan Murzin 11 May 2016 09: 32
    But if the gas crane in Russia had been shut off a little, then no European government would have hosted their bases. It is surprising why this has not been done so far.
    1. The stranger
      The stranger 12 May 2016 05: 29
      But because gas is already not particularly needed. In southern Europe, at least.
      There are no colds, and are not expected, for the next 20 years. Like industry, for the same period. The real consumption is provided by the Chinese, luring with lighters.
      And so, the collapse of the South Stream, let’s say, in fact turned out to be advantageous for Russia. Although this is a separate conversation.
    2. Lens
      Lens 12 May 2016 18: 18
      Ukraine blocked. Has she abandoned her entry plans?
  6. 31rus2
    31rus2 11 May 2016 09: 41
    Dear, one small and serious argument, the new military doctrine of Russia, that is, the use of nuclear weapons, this argument will cool any hothead, moreover, the deployment or presence of such systems makes adjustments to our response, we do not need to consider us suckers
    1. PSih2097
      PSih2097 11 May 2016 13: 47
      Quote: 31rus2
      Russia's new military doctrine, i.e., the use of nuclear weapons, this argument will cool any hothead

      I'm sorry, but this is not an argument, but a big club, and no one will use strategic nuclear forces in local conflicts, only if they grow from local to global and then not a fact (where are the children of our political and economic elite studying and living?).
    2. shtanko.49
      shtanko.49 11 May 2016 17: 06
      As soon as "Rubezh" goes to our borders, so will they.
  7. ivanovbg
    ivanovbg 11 May 2016 11: 20
    To the great regret of all normal Bulgarians, everything is correct in this article. My great-grandfather was an underground fighter and fought against the Nazis in WWII, my grandfather was a military explosives fighter and fought against the bandit gangs of the forest "brothers" (goryne) in our country, now the point is that I will have to fight too, and I would only want peace. ..
    1. 31rus2
      31rus2 11 May 2016 11: 23
      Dear, I understand you, you should not be afraid, you need to prepare, if destined, we should be ready to fight
  8. alatanas
    alatanas 11 May 2016 11: 28
    "It is well known that the current regime of the Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev fully supports Kiev in its criminal activities against the Russian population of the LPR and the Kherson and Odessa regions, not only politically, but also in material and technical terms."
    Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. Not Rosen Plevnaliev, but Boyko Borisov with his government. Although both are dancers, to the tune of the American embassy!
    1. pytar
      pytar 11 May 2016 14: 29
      Yes, the entire clique that is in power submits directly to Washington. She is the whole "Bulgarian" party democracy so venal! Without a revolution, they themselves will not get away from power! Unfortunately, the Americans are so good at the situation that they themselves can organize a "revolution" and ... continue to rule! It is not the Bulgarian who are to blame for you, but the Center from where all the activities to subjugate the peoples of the world are held! Anyone here has at least one "Topol-M" to bang on them ??? soldier I'll give the coordinates ...

      Latitude: 38 ° 52'15.49 "
      Length: 77 ° 03'20.82 "
      1. stoqn477
        stoqn477 12 May 2016 10: 11
        Revolution?! Why?! Long live communism or what?! Do you need a civil war?
  9. Aleksander
    Aleksander 11 May 2016 12: 05
    a batch of light armored vehicles in the form of several dozen BMP, MT-LB, MLRS and other equipment, which was later reloaded at the Razdelnoye railway station onto platforms and sent to Kherson region

    Kherson region is already directly against RUSSIA in the Crimea. Bulgaria is already quite gone mad..
  10. The stranger
    The stranger 12 May 2016 04: 59
    the author of the article is unprintable, and those who supported him are illiterate idiots.

    Man, you won’t tell me where, today, NATO is refueling in those parts? In Burgas, right? Why would that be? Because there is fuel, right?
    Where from? The refinery is close, and the quality is excellent, no?
    I agree?
    But the factory, the property of Lukoil, since the beginning of the 90s.
    So, Damantsev, will you apologize to me, or should I roll a cart on you? For it is not the Bulgarians who are to blame for the fact that your government is pumping money from the Americans into Bulgarian territory.
    I wait, sir.