Russian Airforce News & Discussion

Austin

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The Russian Air Force's Special Aircraft
Aleksandr Stukalin, Kommersant Publishing House
http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/4-2013/

Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST)

Apart from combat and transport aircraft, the Russian Air Force operates a fleet of special aircraft. These aircraft are based on the design of mass-produced planes, and made in small batches. The Air Force uses them for radar patrol and targeting, command-and-control, communication and signal relay, radio-electronic jamming, reconnaissance, and various other purposes.

One of these special aircraft, the A-60 (1A2), being developed under the Sokol-Eshelon R&D project (the aircraft is equipped with a laser weapons system) was the subject of a separate article in MDB last year. The Russian Air Force aircraft procurement and repair program for 2013-2015, which was unveiled earlier this year, includes a whole range of other special planes and helicopters, such as the A-100, Zveno-3S, Yastreb, Foreytor-S, Mi-8VURT Forvard-M, Il-22PP Porubshchik, and Mi-8MTPR-1. Publicly available information about these aircraft is scant, but most of them have been mentioned, one way or another, in various open sources. The details gleaned from those sources can give a general idea of Russia's special aircraft programs.

The new Russian AWACS plane

The most high-profile program from the above list is probably the A-100 (sometimes also referred to as the Premier program). The program is led by the Vega radio-electronics concern (Moscow) and the Beriyev Aerospace Research Center (TANTK Beriyev) in Taganrog.Its objective is to develop a versatile airborne radar patrol and targeting system for the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy. The program was launched in 2005 in accordance with a presidential decree issued on April 28, 2004.The TANTK side of the project began under the leadership of the center's deputy chief Sergey Atayants.TANTK delivered the first set of early blueprints in 2006, receiving the customer's approval. In 2007 TANTK won the tender for the Premier-LA project. The Vega side of the project is currently being led by the company's chief designer Aleksandr Vasilyev.

In 2008 Vega designer-general Vladimir Verba published a book entitled "AWACS systems. Current State and Outlook", in which he outlined his vision of the future aircraft of that type. The book is freely available to any member of the public, but it is simply too large for this article to attempt even a brief summary. It has as many as seven pages devoted to the list of objectives the aircraft must be able to fulfill, in Prof. Verba's opinion. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that according to the Vega chief, the new Russian AWACS plane must perform the functions of reconnaissance, warning, and command-and-control in the air, on the ground and at sea. It must also be capable of detecting and tracking mobile and stationary objects.

The range of the specific strategic, operational and tactical tasks the new plane must be able to perform is very broad. In includes traditional air space monitoring and target designation; detection of the main groups of the enemy's forces and their direction of attack; tracking non-strategic ballistic missiles along their entire trajectory; fire control for over-the-horizon anti-aircraft missile systems; coordinating radio-electronic warfare measures; and participating in search-and-rescue operations to retrieve pilots whose aircraft have been shot down. It remains unclear, however, whether and to what extent the views expressed in the book by Prof. Verba have been incorporated into the specifications and requirements for the new AWACS plane drawn up by the Russian MoD. So far, the ministry has released very few details about the program.

The MoD unveiled the contract for the A-100 in September 2010 at a sitting of the Commission for the Modernization and Technological Development of the Russian Economy. A year later Col. Gen. Aleksandr Zelin, the then Commander Chief of the Russian Air Force, disclosed some of the details of the program. He said that the aircraft platform chosen for the A-100 was the Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) transport, which is entering mass production at the Aviastar-SP plant in Ulyanovsk. He also confirmed that the A-100 "will have capability against targets on the ground" (whereas the existing A-50 AWACS plane is only effective against targets in the air and at sea). Another major difference between the A-100 and its predecessor is the use of an active phased array antenna. According to Gen. Zelin, the development of that antenna had been completed by 2011, and the entire aircraft should be ready by 2016. "The chief of the General Staff has given his backing to the Air Force command on this matter," Zelin said. "The Air Force has received the funding necessary to complete this project."

In 2011-2012 the government disbursed all the moneys due under the new AWACS program. There have been reports in the media that about US$230 mln has been spent , but the figure has yet to be confirmed or denied officially. Early in 2013, however, questions arose about the schedule of the A-100 program. Aleksey Mitrofanov, a member of the Russian Duma, even submitted an official query to the government and the Audit Chamber, claiming that the deadline for the completion of the project "has been postponed yet again" from 2015 to 2017 at the contractor's request. Incidentally, only six months previously the developers of the A-100 insisted that the R&D phase would be completed in 2014. There were also doubts about the results of the program achieved so far, including its compliance with the customer's specifications, the danger of the A-100 becoming obsolete even before it has been completed, and allegations that too little has been delivered for the money already spent.

Representatives of the Vega concern were quick to reject any doubts about the company's performance under the A-100 program – but some of those doubts may not have been entirely groundless. Be that as it may, the MoD has set up a special commission to monitor the program's progress, lead by the new Air Force Commander Chief, Viktor Bondarev. In February 2013 Lt. Gen. Bondarev and a group of Vega specialists visited all the key companies involved in the program as subcontractors. According to Vega deputy chief Vartan Shakhgedanov, the subcontractors demonstrated to the commission almost all the key elements of the future AWACS plane, including the aircraft itself, the antenna cowlings, the automated workstations and racks of IT and control equipment, and the radio-electronic hardware components.

The Aviapriborostroenie concern is known to be leading the development of standardized platform-independent inertial navigation systems for the A-100. The onboard communication systems are being developed by the Moscow Communication Systems Research Institute (MNIIS) under the Premier-BKSS R&D project. Another subcontractor is the All-Russian Radio Equipment Research Institute (VNIIRA, St Petersburg), which leads the Premier-VRL and B5 projects. Engineers of the Rubin Research and Production Company (NPP Rubin, Penza), which is part of the Aviapriborostroenie concern, were involved in the development of technological systems for dynamic replay and rapid decoding of flight information. The same engineers are now involved in developing a data processing ground station.

It has been announced that using a combination of government financing and its own funds, Vega is approaching the completion of a project to develop a comprehensive test bench for various A-100 systems. In order to speed up the future joint state trials, the test bench will be used to replace parts of the flight tests with semi-realistic simulation for some of the software, ergonomics, and performance characteristics. As for long-range detection and identification of small targets and cruise missiles, these tests will be performed using the ERIK-1 standard radar measurement complex at the Air Defense Research Center in Tver, under the current proposals.

The MoD expects that a combination of the A-100 and the new PAK FA fifth-generation multirole fighter will give the Russian Air Force an unprecedented reconnaissance, strike and rapid response capability. Also, the new Russian AWACS system will work in tandem with the new automated control system currently being developed by the Peleng Special Design Bureau (Yekaterinburg).

Joint state trials of the A-100 were initially expected to commence in 2013-2014 , but it appears that they will have to be postponed as the whole program is taking longer to complete. Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force has commissioned TANTK and Vega to upgrade the existing fleet of the A-50s (which were built in the 1980s) to the A-50U specification (project Titan-U). The upgrade includes the replacement of the R-type radar system with the more advanced RM type. In December 2007 the first prototype of the A-50U entered joint state trials , which were signed off in November 2009 by the then Air Force commander, Gen. Zelin. The aircraft selected as the upgrade prototype was an A-50 with serial number 0083476298 and side number 37 Red. The new radar system (in which LCD displays have replaced the old cathode ray tubes) is lighter, providing for longer endurance of the whole aircraft, and has greatly improved automated workstations. The project to upgrade the workstations involved NPP Pubin. Also, the operators' cabin is now equipped with a small lounge and a buffet.

The first aircraft to be upgraded after the prototype was an A-50 with serial number 0043453577 and board number 47 Red. Its upgrade began in December 2008, and on October 31, 2011 the plane was delivered to the Air Force with a new state registration number, RF-92957. Another upgraded aircraft (board number 33 Red, serial number 0043454618, registration number RF-50602) was delivered in 2013.

Other special aircraft


A lot less information is available about other Russian special aircraft programs. One of these programs is the Zveno-3S, an airborne command-and-control and relay station that will be developed as part of the third stage of the Zveno system. [30] At present the government is selecting the main contractor for the Zveno-3S.

Development of the entire Zveno program began back in Soviet times at the Gorky Radio Communications Research Institute (now known as NPP Polet, Nizhniy Novgorod, led by Yevgeny Belousov). The purpose of the system is control of the Russian strategic nuclear arsenal in emergency situations. The increased survivability of the system is achieved by using mobile platforms (planes or helicopters) with senior commanding officers on board. A single airborne command-and-control station of the Russian General Staff can control the strategic nuclear weapons operated by the Strategic Missile Troops, the Air Force, and the Navy. The system's onboard communication station can maintain "simultaneous jamming-resistant exchange of information via radio relay, satellite, medium-wave, short-wave, VHF and UHF channels with stations on the ground, at sea, and in the air". In recent years the MoD has been upgrading four Il-80 Zveno airborne command-and-control planes (built on the Il-86 platform). Meanwhile, NPP Polet has been working on the Zveno-2 R&D project, which aims to "develop and manufacture the 83T120 onboard system". At some point in the future the Zveno program will probably be augmented by a new operational-strategic tier command-and-control and relay aircraft (codename Yastreb) , which is also mentioned in documents pertaining to the program.

Another program, codenamed Foreytor, is mentioned in the list of airborne satellite communication stations for mobile command-and-control applications that have been (or are being) developed by NPP Radiosvyaz (Krasnoyarsk). In a report filed by the St Petersburg-based Inteltekh, the Foreytor-3-Inteltekh R&D project is listed next to Zveno-3. Another source reports that as part of the Foreytor program, the contractor is developing an onboard computer system "for an information and control system of airborne objects". The system in question is probably a new set of radio equipment for relay aircraft, being developed to work in tandem or as part of the Zveno system. Previously, projects to upgrade the existing Il-82 relay planes (built on the Il-76 platform) were also led by NPP Polet.

The Forvard R&D project, which aims to develop a new C&C and relay helicopter on the Mi-8MTV-5 platform, is also being led by NPP Polet under a contract signed with the MoD on December 2, 2007. However, both sides have failed to meet various deadlines stipulated in that contract, so its implementation will probably continue under an adjusted set of requirements and specifications.

The Il-22PP Porubshchik, a jamming and aerial reconnaissance plane, is being developed under government contracts No 93032 of November 8, 2009, and No 459/ZA/2012/DRGZ of June 5, 2012. The contractor is the Myasishchev Experimental Machinery Plant (EMZ Myasishchev in Zhukovskiy, Moscow Region). As part of that program, EMZ is to upgrade three Il-22 aircraft in 2012-2013. Active jamming equipment was installed on the first of these aircraft back in 2011. Last year that plane, equipped with the L-415 complex, performed 18 flights as part of engineering flight tests. In 2011 EMZ received 210 million roubles in financing under this program; in 2012 the figure rose to US$14.5 mln.

Meanwhile, the Russian Air Force is already taking deliveries of the Mi-8MTPR-1 jamming helicopters. In April 2011the Moscow Mil Helicopter Plant delivered one such helicopter (side number 95357) to an MoD unit in Vyazma. In September 2011 several helicopters stationed in Vyazma took part in the joint Russian-Belarusian exercise Union Shield 2011, which was held at the Ashuluk range in Astrakhan Region. The helicopters were tasked with the suppression of the adversary's AA missile radars in the combat zone. Several Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopters are to be delivered in 2012-2014 to units of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Command (Southern Military District).
 
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Austin

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Moscow Defense Brief

Air Defense Weaponry at the MAKS-2013 Airshow


Said Aminov, chief editor of the pvo.guns.ru website

The main Russian makers of air defense weaponry demonstrated a record number of new systems at the recent MAKS-2013 airshow in Moscow. Every single one of them had new products to show. There are only three key Russian players left in this market: Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern; Vysokotochnye Kompleksy (High-Precision Systems), a division of Russian Technologies; and the Korporatsiya Takticheskoe Raketnoe Vooruzhenie (Tactical Missiles Corporation - KTRV). Almaz-Antey is a near-monopoly in its market segment, while the Vysokotochnye Kompleksy took over the Konstruktorskoe Byuro Mashinostroeniya (Machinery Design Bureau - KBM) in Kolomna, a major rival specializing in man-portable SAM systems, in 2012.

This year each of the Big Three unveiled new products at the MAKS airshow; what is more, it appears that they made no effort to coordinate their product announcements (more on that later).

The most comprehensive product range was displayed by Almaz-Antey, the biggest Russian defense contractor according to the Defense News 2012 international ranking. At a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the opening day of the airshow, the company unveiled the S-350E Vityaz, the latest Russian medium-range SAM system. The Vityaz consists of a launcher carrying twelve 9M96E2 missiles, a versatile radar unit, and a command station. The system has yet to complete the trials program; it was demonstrated to President Vladimir Putin only two months ahead of the MAKS-2013 event. Nevertheless, the fact that Almaz-Antey has decided to show it to the general public at the exhibition in Moscow is very encouraging. This contrasts sharply with the first public demonstration of the S-400 Triumf (SA-21) SAM system at the MAKS-2007 event; back at the time, the S-400 was displayed on the sole day when President Putin attended; immediately afterwards it was removed back to its permanent deployment position.

According to the system's specifications unveiled at MAKS-2013, the S-350E Vityaz can engage all types of aerodynamic targets and some types of ballistic targets at a distance of up to 60 km and at an undisclosed altitude, protecting strategic facilities, military units, and other sensitive locations from air strikes. The general public and military specialists alike now have a clearer idea as to what kind of system will replace the early S-300P (SA-10) versions (S-300PT-1, S-300PS, and S-300PM) and augment the long-range S-400 system in the short and medium range. We believe that the range of the S-350E is actually much greater than the officially announced 60 km. The real figure is probably closer to 120km, which is the range demonstrated during the launches of the 9M96E2 missiles. We hope that the teething problems that dogged the early versions of the 9M96 missiles have now been ironed out, and that the Russian Armed Forces will receive a standard new AA missile for the S-350E point air defense system and for the new ship-based Redut and Poliment-Redut SAM systems.

Meanwhile, the Tikhomirov NIIP company advertised a possible competitor of the Vityaz, the Buk-M3 – even though the SAM system was shown merely as a picture on the wall of the company's booth. The Buk-M3 is a deep upgrade of the self-propelled Buk (SA-11/SA-17) system used by the Army. Equipped with new missiles, up until very recently this new system was known to the general public only from a few individual photos and pieces of video footage. Mock-ups of what appears to have been Buk-M3 elements were seen in TV news bulletins showing Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu visiting Almaz-Antey facilities, the Smolensk Air Defense Academy, and the Innovation Days event at the MoD. Pictures on the wall of the Tikhomirov NIIP booth at MAKS-2013 showed a tracked self-propelled chassis carrying six AA missiles in a transport and firing box (similar to the one used for ship-based 9M317ME AA missiles); a missile guidance station (similar to the flat phased-array radar used in the 9M317 self-propelled launcher of the Buk-M2); and an optical-electronic channel. Also, the self-propelled launcher was shown carrying an additional phased array antenna, the purpose of which remains unclear. Based on that picture we can assume that the 9M317ME missiles are designed for oblique launching, unlike their vertical-launch ship-based version. According to the Almaz-Antey 2012 Annual Report, last year the 9K317M SAM system successfully completed state trials; it will probably enter into service with the Army's air defense units in the near future.

The short-range SAM systems demonstrated at MAKS-2013 included a shelter version of the Tor-M2KM (SA-15) system mounted on a truck chassis made by India's Tata Motors. The system consists of: the 9A331MK-1 launch container module developed by NIEMI, a division of Almaz-Antey, and manufactured by IEMZ Kupol in Izhevsk; the 9S737MK Ranzhir-M1 battery command station made by OAO Radiozavod (Penza); and the 9T244 transporter-loader made by NPP Start (Yekaterinburg). All of these elements were demonstrated in an outdoor area at the exhibition. Russia is currently offering the container version of the Tor-M2E system to India. The launch customer for the Tor-M2E was Belarus, which also supplies the MZKT-6922 truck chassis for that system. Almaz-Antey is energetically promoting a modular version of the system that can be mounted on various truck chassis and on a range of ships (including civilian ones). The system can also be used as a fixed-position air defense installation to protect important facilities. The Tor system mounted on a Tata chassis is one of the two products Russia is offering in the Indian tender for 52 air defense systems, which are meant to replace obsolete short-range Soviet weaponry.1 The Indians always insist on some kind of offset arrangements when they place orders for foreign defense hardware. That is why Almaz-Antey is offering a version of its SAM system mounted on Indian-made chassis. A single Tor-M2E fighting vehicle and fighting module can engage up to four simultaneous targets at a distance of up to 10 km. The system's ammunition pack consists of eight launch-ready 9M331 AA missiles developed by MKB Fakel and manufactured by Aviatek. The same producer also demonstrated its 9M334 missile module consisting of four 9M331 AA missiles.

One of the most headline-grabbing systems demonstrated at the airshow in Moscow was the mock-up of a new short-range AA missile developed by Vympel. The missile is currently being marketed by the Tactical Missiles Corporation as the RZV-MD. According to the specifications unveiled at the exhibition, it has a range of at least 16 km, and a maximum altitude of at least 10 km. The missile travels at a maximum of 1,000 meters per second; it has an HE fragmentation warhead and a remote-control command guidance system. The mock-up of the RZV-MD missile was displayed at the Tactical Missiles Corporation booth along with the missile's transport and launch container, which bore the designation 9M338K. That designation refers to an AA missile that will be used in the entirely new Tor-M2 SAM system. That system, which will be supplied to the Russian armed forces, entered trials several years ago. According to the available information, Almaz-Antey, which is the main contractor in the Tor-M2 program, had not been informed that the latest missile for its system would be exhibited at MAKS-2013. Let us hope that the products demonstrated at the next MAKS event in 2015 will include the new Tor-M2 fighting vehicle, which has an increased ammunition complement consisting of RZV-MD missiles. According to Almaz-Antey, the 9K331M SAM system equipped with 9M338K missiles completed the state trials program in 2012.2

Speaking of the Indian tender for short-range air defense systems, Rosoboronexport is offering the Indians a choice of two products. One is the Tor-M2K container version. The other is the Pantsir-S1 (SA-22) gun-missile AA system, developed by the Konstruktorskoe Byuro Priborostroeniya (Instruments Design Bureau - KBP). The company is a Tula-based division of NPO High Precision Systems, which is part of the Russian Technologies corporation. Despite the economic crisis that gripped Russia in the 1990s and 2000s, KBP achieved a veritable breakthrough by designing a unique gun-missile system capable of engaging targets at a range of up to 20 km; this is a record that has yet to be beaten by any similar product anywhere in the world. The Pantsir vehicle demonstrated to the general public at MAKS was equipped with a new target-seeking radar developed by TsKBA (Tula), another division of NPO High Precision Systems. According to the available information, this version of the system is already being supplied to Algeria. The MAKS-2013 exhibits also included the Pantsir-S1 battery command station, which can coordinate the operation of up to six fighting vehicles while stationary or on the move; that is an important advantage of the system. The command station can be up to 10 km away from the fighting vehicle it controls, maintaining communication via radio, copper wire, or fiber optic cable.

Another new product demonstrated at the exhibition was the 95Ya6-2M target missile, which is based on the design of the 95Ya6 AA missile used in the Pantsir-S1 gun-missile system. This ground-launched target can be used for cost-effective target practice by combat crews. In the meantime, KBP designers continue to work on further improvements and upgrades of the Pantsir-S1. The modifications they are expected to release shortly include a tracked version of the Pantsir for the Army's air defense units; a lighter version of the system for airborne assault troops; and the ship-based Pantsir-M version. In another three of four years KBP will complete the development of an entirely new Pantsir version offering numerous improvements over the current system, according to Aleksandr Denisov, CEO of NPO High Precision Systems.3

This year's MAKS display included a very interesting range of new radars at the Almaz-Antey section of the exhibition. One of the leading Russian developers of radars, FNPTs NNIIRT (Nizhniy Novgorod), for the first time demonstrated the entire 55Zh6ME radar complex, which consists of the RLM-M module (meter band), the RLM-D (decimeter band), the RLM-S (centimeter band), and KU module (control station). Product 55Zh6ME is a mobile, versatile, and jamming-resistant radar complex which can detect aerodynamic and ballistic targets. The complex can work in a 360 degrees mode or monitor only the designated sector. Its maximum range, depending on the precise operating mode, ranges from 600 to 1,800 km, with a maximum altitude of 600 to 1,200 km.4 The complex is highly mobile, and can be deployed in a matter of just 15 minutes. All its elements are mounted on truck chassis made by the BAZ plant in Bryansk. Given the global proliferation of missile technologies, such a product is certain to attract customers. The FNPTs NNIIRT display also included the latest 55Zh6UME high and medium-altitude early warning radar.5 Another working system displayed at MAKS-2013 was the 1L122E compact radar, including the 1L122-1E and 1L122-2E versions.

NPO Strela, another Almaz-Antey division based in Tula, displayed the 1L260 Zoopark-1M, an updated version of its weapons-locating radar. The system consists of a single 1L261 radar mounted on a tracked chassis. It can simultaneously locate the firing positions of the adversary's missiles and artillery, provide targeting information, and monitor airspace to detect any weapons systems being deployed.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of the MAKS-2013 airshow was the Demonstrator, a new radar displayed by Almaz-Antey. No information was available about that radar prior to the exhibition in Moscow. The product displayed at MAKS-2013 was described as a "the Demonstrator, a new specialized civilian radar, 1:1 scale, transmitter and receiver stations". According to the information plate, the Demonstrator is a mobile specialized radar designed to monitor the launch of space carriers and the descent of reentry vehicles. The outward appearance of the Demonstrator is similar to the radars used in the US THAAD missile defense system and to the Israeli Elta Green Pine radar, which is used in the Arrow missile defense system. It appears that the product presented as a "civilian radar" at MAKS-2013 is actually a mobile early warning missile defense radar that will be used to detect missile launches and track missile trajectories in future Russian missile defense and space defense systems. The Demonstrator can detect targets at a distance of up to 1,500 km, and lock on targets with an RCS of 1 sq. m. at 600 km. The antennas used in the new radar are fully digital-receiver and transmitter-phased array setups.

New products displayed at the 9th International Arms Expo in Nizhny Tagil

Several interesting new weapons systems were displayed at the RAE-2013 International arms expo held in Nizhny Tagil in late September 2013.

One of the most discussed displays was the mock-up of the ATOM, a heavy wheeled infantry fighting vehicle developed as part of a joint Russian-French project. France's Renault Trucks Defence provided the chassis of the VBCI armored personnel carrier. Russia's Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) corporation makes the ATOM's turret, which is armed with a 57mm automatic cannon. The purpose of the product is to provide mobility to motor rifle units, engage various targets, and provide fire support to infantry fighting on foot. The turret and its 57mm automatic cannon were developed by TsNII Burevestnik. It can detect and engage targets (lightly armored and non-armored vehicles, infantry, and some types or air targets) day or night, while the ATOM is stationary or moving. Russia and France have agreed to market the product in third countries; the Russian MoD does not plan to place any orders.

Another new product unveiled at the Nizhny Tagil arms expo is the BMPT-72 Terminator 2 tank support vehicle, which was demonstrated to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his first deputy, Dmitry Rogozin. Developed by UKBTV, the vehicle is based on the T-72 main battle tank design, and draws on the positive lessons learned from the first version of the Terminator. Unfortunately, the Terminator 2 was not demonstrated to the general public. The first Terminator, however, took part in demonstration firing exercises, during which it successfully used its artillery and missile weapons. Just like its earlier version, the Terminator 2 can provide effective fire support to tanks and infantry in any type of combat situation, in difficult terrain, day or night, and against any type of adversary. It has an improved fire-control system and a better protected turret. The main advantage of the BMPT-72 is that it can be made by converting the existing T-72 main battle tanks. That provides an excellent opportunity to extend the life cycle of the existing hardware that is currently operated by more than 40 countries.6

Another interesting product displayed by UVZ in Nizhny Tagil was a modification of its popular T-72 tank tailored specifically for urban warfare. Having learned valuable lessons from recent local conflicts, the corporation has developed an upgrade option for the T-72 that increases the survivability of the tank and its crew in urban fighting, when the risks posed by anti-tank weaponry are especially high.

Two new products were displayed by the Tractor Plants Concern, which includes such companies as the Kurganmashzavod and the Volgograd Tractor Plant. The first product is the BTR-MDM upgraded multirole airborne APC, also known as the Rakushka-M. The vehicle was designed by Kurganmashzavod for service with airborne assault troops (VDV) and the Navy's marines; it can transport personnel, ammunition, spare parts, and fuel. It can also be equipped with a range of interchangeable components, allowing airborne troops to use it as a basic chassis for various combat vehicles. In particular, it can be used as a command-staff, communication, C&C, medical, and rear support vehicle.

The Almaz-Antey display at the Nizhny Tagil expo included an upgraded version of the ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons system. The famous Shilka has been given a new lease of life by the Ulyanovsky Mechanics Plant; the new ZSU-23-4M4 version has already secured export contracts. In addition to its four-barrel automatic AA gun, the vehicle is now equipped with a twin-barrel Igla (SA-18 or SA-24) MANPAD launcher, which has made it a significantly more formidable weapon. Nevertheless, the potential market for this system is fairly limited. To the more demanding customers the Ulyanovsky Mechanics Plant offers the upgraded Tunguska-M1 (SA-19) gun-missile AA system, which is equipped with a new optical-electronic channel.

1. Voice of Russia. Russia to offer India unique weaponry // Россия предложит Индии уникальное оружие - Новости - Экономика - Голос России.

2. Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern 2012 Annual Report, p. 49.

3. Aleksey Ramm. Pantsir: the road to success. VPK, No 36, September 18, 2013 // «Панцирь» – путь к успеху | Еженедельник «Военно-промышленный курьер».

4. 55Zh6ME radar advertizing brochure // http://www.nniirt.ru/sites/default/files/docs/prod/55zh6me_0.pdf.

5. NNIIRT sums up the results of the MAKS-2013 aerospace exhibition // ННИИРТ подводит итоги работы на Международном авиакосмическом салоне МАКС-2013 |.

6. The Terminator's world premier // УралВагонЗавод.

Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST)
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phone/fax: (+7-495) 775-0418. Moscow Defense Brief
 

Austin

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Messages
852
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Moscow Defense Brief

Air Defense Weaponry at the MAKS-2013 Airshow


Said Aminov, chief editor of the pvo.guns.ru website

The main Russian makers of air defense weaponry demonstrated a record number of new systems at the recent MAKS-2013 airshow in Moscow. Every single one of them had new products to show. There are only three key Russian players left in this market: Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern; Vysokotochnye Kompleksy (High-Precision Systems), a division of Russian Technologies; and the Korporatsiya Takticheskoe Raketnoe Vooruzhenie (Tactical Missiles Corporation - KTRV). Almaz-Antey is a near-monopoly in its market segment, while the Vysokotochnye Kompleksy took over the Konstruktorskoe Byuro Mashinostroeniya (Machinery Design Bureau - KBM) in Kolomna, a major rival specializing in man-portable SAM systems, in 2012.

This year each of the Big Three unveiled new products at the MAKS airshow; what is more, it appears that they made no effort to coordinate their product announcements (more on that later).

The most comprehensive product range was displayed by Almaz-Antey, the biggest Russian defense contractor according to the Defense News 2012 international ranking. At a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the opening day of the airshow, the company unveiled the S-350E Vityaz, the latest Russian medium-range SAM system. The Vityaz consists of a launcher carrying twelve 9M96E2 missiles, a versatile radar unit, and a command station. The system has yet to complete the trials program; it was demonstrated to President Vladimir Putin only two months ahead of the MAKS-2013 event. Nevertheless, the fact that Almaz-Antey has decided to show it to the general public at the exhibition in Moscow is very encouraging. This contrasts sharply with the first public demonstration of the S-400 Triumf (SA-21) SAM system at the MAKS-2007 event; back at the time, the S-400 was displayed on the sole day when President Putin attended; immediately afterwards it was removed back to its permanent deployment position.

According to the system's specifications unveiled at MAKS-2013, the S-350E Vityaz can engage all types of aerodynamic targets and some types of ballistic targets at a distance of up to 60 km and at an undisclosed altitude, protecting strategic facilities, military units, and other sensitive locations from air strikes. The general public and military specialists alike now have a clearer idea as to what kind of system will replace the early S-300P (SA-10) versions (S-300PT-1, S-300PS, and S-300PM) and augment the long-range S-400 system in the short and medium range. We believe that the range of the S-350E is actually much greater than the officially announced 60 km. The real figure is probably closer to 120km, which is the range demonstrated during the launches of the 9M96E2 missiles. We hope that the teething problems that dogged the early versions of the 9M96 missiles have now been ironed out, and that the Russian Armed Forces will receive a standard new AA missile for the S-350E point air defense system and for the new ship-based Redut and Poliment-Redut SAM systems.

Meanwhile, the Tikhomirov NIIP company advertised a possible competitor of the Vityaz, the Buk-M3 – even though the SAM system was shown merely as a picture on the wall of the company's booth. The Buk-M3 is a deep upgrade of the self-propelled Buk (SA-11/SA-17) system used by the Army. Equipped with new missiles, up until very recently this new system was known to the general public only from a few individual photos and pieces of video footage. Mock-ups of what appears to have been Buk-M3 elements were seen in TV news bulletins showing Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu visiting Almaz-Antey facilities, the Smolensk Air Defense Academy, and the Innovation Days event at the MoD. Pictures on the wall of the Tikhomirov NIIP booth at MAKS-2013 showed a tracked self-propelled chassis carrying six AA missiles in a transport and firing box (similar to the one used for ship-based 9M317ME AA missiles); a missile guidance station (similar to the flat phased-array radar used in the 9M317 self-propelled launcher of the Buk-M2); and an optical-electronic channel. Also, the self-propelled launcher was shown carrying an additional phased array antenna, the purpose of which remains unclear. Based on that picture we can assume that the 9M317ME missiles are designed for oblique launching, unlike their vertical-launch ship-based version. According to the Almaz-Antey 2012 Annual Report, last year the 9K317M SAM system successfully completed state trials; it will probably enter into service with the Army's air defense units in the near future.

The short-range SAM systems demonstrated at MAKS-2013 included a shelter version of the Tor-M2KM (SA-15) system mounted on a truck chassis made by India's Tata Motors. The system consists of: the 9A331MK-1 launch container module developed by NIEMI, a division of Almaz-Antey, and manufactured by IEMZ Kupol in Izhevsk; the 9S737MK Ranzhir-M1 battery command station made by OAO Radiozavod (Penza); and the 9T244 transporter-loader made by NPP Start (Yekaterinburg). All of these elements were demonstrated in an outdoor area at the exhibition. Russia is currently offering the container version of the Tor-M2E system to India. The launch customer for the Tor-M2E was Belarus, which also supplies the MZKT-6922 truck chassis for that system. Almaz-Antey is energetically promoting a modular version of the system that can be mounted on various truck chassis and on a range of ships (including civilian ones). The system can also be used as a fixed-position air defense installation to protect important facilities. The Tor system mounted on a Tata chassis is one of the two products Russia is offering in the Indian tender for 52 air defense systems, which are meant to replace obsolete short-range Soviet weaponry.1 The Indians always insist on some kind of offset arrangements when they place orders for foreign defense hardware. That is why Almaz-Antey is offering a version of its SAM system mounted on Indian-made chassis. A single Tor-M2E fighting vehicle and fighting module can engage up to four simultaneous targets at a distance of up to 10 km. The system's ammunition pack consists of eight launch-ready 9M331 AA missiles developed by MKB Fakel and manufactured by Aviatek. The same producer also demonstrated its 9M334 missile module consisting of four 9M331 AA missiles.

One of the most headline-grabbing systems demonstrated at the airshow in Moscow was the mock-up of a new short-range AA missile developed by Vympel. The missile is currently being marketed by the Tactical Missiles Corporation as the RZV-MD. According to the specifications unveiled at the exhibition, it has a range of at least 16 km, and a maximum altitude of at least 10 km. The missile travels at a maximum of 1,000 meters per second; it has an HE fragmentation warhead and a remote-control command guidance system. The mock-up of the RZV-MD missile was displayed at the Tactical Missiles Corporation booth along with the missile's transport and launch container, which bore the designation 9M338K. That designation refers to an AA missile that will be used in the entirely new Tor-M2 SAM system. That system, which will be supplied to the Russian armed forces, entered trials several years ago. According to the available information, Almaz-Antey, which is the main contractor in the Tor-M2 program, had not been informed that the latest missile for its system would be exhibited at MAKS-2013. Let us hope that the products demonstrated at the next MAKS event in 2015 will include the new Tor-M2 fighting vehicle, which has an increased ammunition complement consisting of RZV-MD missiles. According to Almaz-Antey, the 9K331M SAM system equipped with 9M338K missiles completed the state trials program in 2012.2

Speaking of the Indian tender for short-range air defense systems, Rosoboronexport is offering the Indians a choice of two products. One is the Tor-M2K container version. The other is the Pantsir-S1 (SA-22) gun-missile AA system, developed by the Konstruktorskoe Byuro Priborostroeniya (Instruments Design Bureau - KBP). The company is a Tula-based division of NPO High Precision Systems, which is part of the Russian Technologies corporation. Despite the economic crisis that gripped Russia in the 1990s and 2000s, KBP achieved a veritable breakthrough by designing a unique gun-missile system capable of engaging targets at a range of up to 20 km; this is a record that has yet to be beaten by any similar product anywhere in the world. The Pantsir vehicle demonstrated to the general public at MAKS was equipped with a new target-seeking radar developed by TsKBA (Tula), another division of NPO High Precision Systems. According to the available information, this version of the system is already being supplied to Algeria. The MAKS-2013 exhibits also included the Pantsir-S1 battery command station, which can coordinate the operation of up to six fighting vehicles while stationary or on the move; that is an important advantage of the system. The command station can be up to 10 km away from the fighting vehicle it controls, maintaining communication via radio, copper wire, or fiber optic cable.

Another new product demonstrated at the exhibition was the 95Ya6-2M target missile, which is based on the design of the 95Ya6 AA missile used in the Pantsir-S1 gun-missile system. This ground-launched target can be used for cost-effective target practice by combat crews. In the meantime, KBP designers continue to work on further improvements and upgrades of the Pantsir-S1. The modifications they are expected to release shortly include a tracked version of the Pantsir for the Army's air defense units; a lighter version of the system for airborne assault troops; and the ship-based Pantsir-M version. In another three of four years KBP will complete the development of an entirely new Pantsir version offering numerous improvements over the current system, according to Aleksandr Denisov, CEO of NPO High Precision Systems.3

This year's MAKS display included a very interesting range of new radars at the Almaz-Antey section of the exhibition. One of the leading Russian developers of radars, FNPTs NNIIRT (Nizhniy Novgorod), for the first time demonstrated the entire 55Zh6ME radar complex, which consists of the RLM-M module (meter band), the RLM-D (decimeter band), the RLM-S (centimeter band), and KU module (control station). Product 55Zh6ME is a mobile, versatile, and jamming-resistant radar complex which can detect aerodynamic and ballistic targets. The complex can work in a 360 degrees mode or monitor only the designated sector. Its maximum range, depending on the precise operating mode, ranges from 600 to 1,800 km, with a maximum altitude of 600 to 1,200 km.4 The complex is highly mobile, and can be deployed in a matter of just 15 minutes. All its elements are mounted on truck chassis made by the BAZ plant in Bryansk. Given the global proliferation of missile technologies, such a product is certain to attract customers. The FNPTs NNIIRT display also included the latest 55Zh6UME high and medium-altitude early warning radar.5 Another working system displayed at MAKS-2013 was the 1L122E compact radar, including the 1L122-1E and 1L122-2E versions.

NPO Strela, another Almaz-Antey division based in Tula, displayed the 1L260 Zoopark-1M, an updated version of its weapons-locating radar. The system consists of a single 1L261 radar mounted on a tracked chassis. It can simultaneously locate the firing positions of the adversary's missiles and artillery, provide targeting information, and monitor airspace to detect any weapons systems being deployed.

Perhaps the greatest surprise of the MAKS-2013 airshow was the Demonstrator, a new radar displayed by Almaz-Antey. No information was available about that radar prior to the exhibition in Moscow. The product displayed at MAKS-2013 was described as a "the Demonstrator, a new specialized civilian radar, 1:1 scale, transmitter and receiver stations". According to the information plate, the Demonstrator is a mobile specialized radar designed to monitor the launch of space carriers and the descent of reentry vehicles. The outward appearance of the Demonstrator is similar to the radars used in the US THAAD missile defense system and to the Israeli Elta Green Pine radar, which is used in the Arrow missile defense system. It appears that the product presented as a "civilian radar" at MAKS-2013 is actually a mobile early warning missile defense radar that will be used to detect missile launches and track missile trajectories in future Russian missile defense and space defense systems. The Demonstrator can detect targets at a distance of up to 1,500 km, and lock on targets with an RCS of 1 sq. m. at 600 km. The antennas used in the new radar are fully digital-receiver and transmitter-phased array setups.

New products displayed at the 9th International Arms Expo in Nizhny Tagil

Several interesting new weapons systems were displayed at the RAE-2013 International arms expo held in Nizhny Tagil in late September 2013.

One of the most discussed displays was the mock-up of the ATOM, a heavy wheeled infantry fighting vehicle developed as part of a joint Russian-French project. France's Renault Trucks Defence provided the chassis of the VBCI armored personnel carrier. Russia's Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) corporation makes the ATOM's turret, which is armed with a 57mm automatic cannon. The purpose of the product is to provide mobility to motor rifle units, engage various targets, and provide fire support to infantry fighting on foot. The turret and its 57mm automatic cannon were developed by TsNII Burevestnik. It can detect and engage targets (lightly armored and non-armored vehicles, infantry, and some types or air targets) day or night, while the ATOM is stationary or moving. Russia and France have agreed to market the product in third countries; the Russian MoD does not plan to place any orders.

Another new product unveiled at the Nizhny Tagil arms expo is the BMPT-72 Terminator 2 tank support vehicle, which was demonstrated to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his first deputy, Dmitry Rogozin. Developed by UKBTV, the vehicle is based on the T-72 main battle tank design, and draws on the positive lessons learned from the first version of the Terminator. Unfortunately, the Terminator 2 was not demonstrated to the general public. The first Terminator, however, took part in demonstration firing exercises, during which it successfully used its artillery and missile weapons. Just like its earlier version, the Terminator 2 can provide effective fire support to tanks and infantry in any type of combat situation, in difficult terrain, day or night, and against any type of adversary. It has an improved fire-control system and a better protected turret. The main advantage of the BMPT-72 is that it can be made by converting the existing T-72 main battle tanks. That provides an excellent opportunity to extend the life cycle of the existing hardware that is currently operated by more than 40 countries.6

Another interesting product displayed by UVZ in Nizhny Tagil was a modification of its popular T-72 tank tailored specifically for urban warfare. Having learned valuable lessons from recent local conflicts, the corporation has developed an upgrade option for the T-72 that increases the survivability of the tank and its crew in urban fighting, when the risks posed by anti-tank weaponry are especially high.

Two new products were displayed by the Tractor Plants Concern, which includes such companies as the Kurganmashzavod and the Volgograd Tractor Plant. The first product is the BTR-MDM upgraded multirole airborne APC, also known as the Rakushka-M. The vehicle was designed by Kurganmashzavod for service with airborne assault troops (VDV) and the Navy's marines; it can transport personnel, ammunition, spare parts, and fuel. It can also be equipped with a range of interchangeable components, allowing airborne troops to use it as a basic chassis for various combat vehicles. In particular, it can be used as a command-staff, communication, C&C, medical, and rear support vehicle.

The Almaz-Antey display at the Nizhny Tagil expo included an upgraded version of the ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft weapons system. The famous Shilka has been given a new lease of life by the Ulyanovsky Mechanics Plant; the new ZSU-23-4M4 version has already secured export contracts. In addition to its four-barrel automatic AA gun, the vehicle is now equipped with a twin-barrel Igla (SA-18 or SA-24) MANPAD launcher, which has made it a significantly more formidable weapon. Nevertheless, the potential market for this system is fairly limited. To the more demanding customers the Ulyanovsky Mechanics Plant offers the upgraded Tunguska-M1 (SA-19) gun-missile AA system, which is equipped with a new optical-electronic channel.

1. Voice of Russia. Russia to offer India unique weaponry // Россия предложит Индии уникальное оружие - Новости - Экономика - Голос России.

2. Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern 2012 Annual Report, p. 49.

3. Aleksey Ramm. Pantsir: the road to success. VPK, No 36, September 18, 2013 // «Панцирь» – путь к успеху | Еженедельник «Военно-промышленный курьер».

4. 55Zh6ME radar advertizing brochure // http://www.nniirt.ru/sites/default/files/docs/prod/55zh6me_0.pdf.

5. NNIIRT sums up the results of the MAKS-2013 aerospace exhibition // ННИИРТ подводит итоги работы на Международном авиакосмическом салоне МАКС-2013 |.

6. The Terminator's world premier // УралВагонЗавод.

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Sokol-Eshelon and Dueliant: New Space Defense Laser

Aleksandr Stukalin, Kommersant publishing house

Last year the MoD unexpectedly unveiled one of Russia's most secret military programs. Writing in the Voyennyy Parad journal, the head of the MoD's Armaments Department, Anatoliy Gulyaev, officially confirmed that "Russia's air defense troops will receive a future weapons system equipped with an air-based laser capable of disabling (suppressing) optical-electronic systems of satellites serving as part of America's future missile defense system. The name of the system is Sokol-Eshelon".1

During an Open Doors Day at the Taganrog Beriev Aviation Science and Technology Complex (TANTK Beriev) held on May 21, 2011, the company surprised everyone by openly demonstrating an A-60 aircraft (the 1A2 flying laboratory) with an interesting design on its side showing an eagle striking at an enemy satellite. The sign under the design read "Sokol-Eshelon". 2

The Soviet and Russian air-based laser program has a long history3. But the documents and materials officially unveiled in recent months call for a complete reassessment of the current state of that program.

Technical details revealed


In October 2011 the MoD's official newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda, published a special article about the future laser weapons. Below is an excerpt from that article:

"In the late 1980s specialists concluded that the adversary's fighting ability can be significantly compromised by using lasers against its optical-electronic systems. The main advantage of lasers is instantaneous delivery of energy, which is why they can achieve objectives that cannot be achieved even theoretically by any other means due to time limitations. It was recognized that aircraft are the best platform for such laser systems. Because optical-electronic systems focus and amplify the signal they receive, by the same token they amplify by several orders of magnitude the energy of the laser that reaches their sensors and optical filters. All other conditions being equal, a laser ray can suppress optical-electronic systems (i.e. stop them functioning properly) at a distance several hundred or thousand times greater than the maximum distance of thermal impact."

"Studies conducted by NPO Almaz and other defense industry companies have demonstrated that airborne laser systems have a great potential, and that the level of our science and technology is sufficient to develop a system of suppressing (disabling) optical-electronic systems within the required time frame, and with a minimum of technological risks."

"Developing such an airborne laser system had become entirely feasible in the early 1990s. In recent years substantial progress has been made in this area thanks to new financing under the defense procurement program and the support provided by GSKB Almaz-Antey to the team working on laser systems. Work has been resumed on the hardware front. During a complex experiment, the first of its kind, held on August 28, 2009, a laser ray generated by a flying laboratory was bounced off a spacecraft orbiting at an altitude of 1,500 km, and the reflection picked up by detectors. As part of the preparations for that experiment, a whole cycle of operations was performed in mid-air to detect and track dozens of various spacecraft. The success rate for the detection and angle-tracking of spacecraft during these operations was 100 per cent..."

"A laser weapons system includes the following components: a powerful laser; a system of transportation and formation of a powerful ray; an information and targeting system; a system for keeping a powerful ray on target; and an automated control system."

"A typical laser weapons system operates in the following way... The information and targeting system detects the target. The information is sent to the operational elements of the targeting system, which automatically track the target and align the system's optical axis with the target. At the appropriate time a powerful laser starts generating the radiation. Through a system of mirrors the radiation is fed to a telescope with a large reflector which forms a narrow beam directed along the system's optical axis. A tracking system stabilizes the resulting laser ray and keeps it on the target for the entire duration of energy delivery. The targeting system can change the direction of the powerful ray very quickly, so the target cannot avoid being hit by means of defensive maneuvering."4

Background and participants of the project

The very first mention of the Sokol-Eshelon R&D project was made in the 2005 Annual Report of Chemistry Automation Systems Design Bureau (Khimavtomatika)5. The report listed NPO Almaz as a subcontractor. The R&D project was also mentioned in the 2006 report of Almaz itself6. Writing in the corporate newspaper Strela in 2007, Almaz deputy director-general and chief economist, Vitaliy Neskorodov, said that "work continued ...on the Sokol-Eshelon design project and the Dueliant R&D project" 7. It turns out that the two projects are part of the same whole, as will be explained later on in this article.

According to its quarterly report, the Radiofizika company confirmed its participation in the program at about the same time. In its funding request for 2008 the company requested 45m roubles as a subcontractor 9. More details were revealed in Radiofizika's 2009 report: "At the request of GSKB Almaz-Antey the company is working on a subproject 'Developing millimeter-band radar instruments for a laser system, codename <...> Sokol-Eshelon-RF'. In 2009 the company drafted a memo to the technical project (Stage 1); it is now drawing up preliminary designs of an airborne radar and working on mock-ups of individual elements of the radar (Stage 2, to be completed in 2010). The work performed in 2009 as part of Stage 1 cost 5.916 million roubles, in agreed prices (5.916 roubles received). Work on Stage 2 will be completed in 2010. An advance payment of 20.24 million roubles was received in 2009." 10

Several other well-known Russian defense companies have also announced their participation in the project, including Granit, which is Russia's main provider of maintenance services for air defense and missile defense systems 11, and the Moscow-based NPO Nauka company, a designer of life support systems for aircraft 12. The project also involves leading Russian technology universities, including the Moscow Bauman State University of Technology (MGTU Bauman) 13 and the Moscow Institute of Radio-Electronic and Automatic Systems 14.

At least another two participants of the program are revealed in the summary of a PhD thesis by one E.Kharitonova: "The digital image processing block includes a high-speed, high-resolution television system made by Omega Special Design and Technology Bureau in Velikiy Novgorod. The system was designed to sort, track and classify celestial objects against the background of twilight or night-time sky in real time. Bench-testing of the TV system was conducted at the Omega laboratories and at the Vavilov State Institute of Optics in St. Petersburg. Field tests were conducted at GSKB Almaz-Antey testing range in Moscow. It was concluded that the algorithms used in the digital image processing block, including correction of geometric distortions produced by optical-electronic systems, performed well... The scientific and technical findings of the PhD thesis have been used by Omega in the Dueliant and Sokol-Eshelon projects (the general contractor of both projects is GSKB Almaz-Antey). Validity of their use has been confirmed by a certificate of technology implementation."

New details from unexpected sources

Additional details of the project to develop an airborne laser system have emerged from two court cases. It has been established during two arbitration cases than on June 1, 2006, TANTK Beriev, acting as the supplier, and NPO Almaz (which later became GSKB Almaz-Antey), acting as the customer, signed Contract No 176/LL-06 for "Testing and analysis of an upgraded 1A2 flying laboratory carrying experimental components of an airborne laser system (codename Dueliant-T)".

The contract was signed as part of a larger state contract, No 5933, of September 2, 2006, signed between GSKB Almaz-Antey and Military Unit No 21055. It is clear from the case documents that the project is supervised by the MoD's 27th Military Representative Office. Paragraph 1.2 of the contract makes it clear that the work to be carried out is part of the Dueliant project. The document mentions Stages 3 and 4 of the project, which have already been completed and paid for to the agreed amount of 18,299,781 roubles. Some of the results were mentioned in annual reports of TANTK itself. For example, the 2006 annual report said that the company's Scientific and Technical Council "has, under the A-60 program, considered the progress being made by the R&D projects under way, the results achieved so far, the data received during tests and flight results". 16 In 2007, also under the A-60 program, TANTK "continued to work on the project to develop a specialized airborne complex, in accordance with the Defense Procurement Program and the State Armament Program". That work included "complex ground and flight testing of the 1A2 flying laboratory equipped with special experimental hardware as part of a project to design and conduct electronic modeling of components of a future carrier aircraft, as well as aerodynamic tests". 17

The reason for the court case involving TANTK and GSKB Almaz-Antey was a dispute between the two over who should pay for the services of yet another subcontractor, the Ukrainian (!) Motor-Sich aircraft engine maker. In accordance with contracts No 4009/08-K (ERO) of July 9, 2008 and No 3639/09-K (ERO) of July 3, 2009, the Ukrainian company was subcontracted by TANTK; it worked on extending the lifespan of the AI-24UBEAI power plant (Serial No 708280) of the 1A2 flying laboratory. 18,19. Thanks to the publication of these court documents it has become clear that Ukraine is also involved in the Russian laser project. Another detail that has emerged from the case is that the Dueliant project and the Sokol-Eshelon project are tightly intertwined and are essentially part of the same future product. One other major Russian defense company whose involvement in the program has come to light is Tulamashzavod. Its corporate report for the third quarter of 2008 mentions that the company had "developed an optical-mechanical device (Product Dueliant-S)", and that "the product has been delivered to the customer for acceptance tests at NPO Almaz, after which it will be operated by the customer". 20

Latest information

Judging from the latest corporate reports the project is now gaining momentum. Radiofizika's 2010 report mentions that the company "has been developing millimeter-band radar systems for a laser complex commissioned by GSKB Almaz-Antey, codename Sokol-Eshelon-RF, to be completed in 2011. <...> It has also developed conceptual and technical designs for an on-board radar and produced mock-ups of individual elements of that radar. The cost of the work conducted in 2010 is 44.883 million roubles, in agreed prices." Also as part of the contract with GSKB Almaz-Antey the company worked on the second stage of the project, described as "developing a centimeter-band onboard radar, codename Sokol-RF-sm, to be completed in 2011. In 2010, as part of the first stage of the project, it produced engineering designs for a centimeter-band onboard radar and worked on integrating the radar with other on-board information systems. The cost of the work performed in 2010 was 8.98 million roubles, in agreed prices."21

GSKB Almaz-Antey 2010 corporate report mentions "the development of an airborne laser system of countermeasures against the space component of the American national missile defense system", describing the project as "one of the company's key priorities". The aforementioned two projects to develop a millimeter-band and a centimeter-band airborne radar have now been designated as a single R&D project, 1LK222. The report says that the company "has developed an addition to the technical project concerning the millimeter-band and the centimeter-band radars and an automated control system, which expands the functionality of the experimental unit... It has also conducted experiments with the prototype of the main product, and tested an experimental airborne astronavigation system for that prototype". 22 The designation 1LK222 has been mentioned in the reports of another Russian defense company. In its 2009 annual report, NPO Nauka said that it had "adjusted the set-up of the liquid cooling system and thermal stabilization of mirrors in Product 1LK222; calculated their characteristics based on more precise data; developed the BUK logical and structural scheme [BUK apparently stands for 'bortovoy kompleks upravleniya', the onboard control system — MDB]; assessed the mass and energy parameters and estimated the cost of the cooling system, developed a reliability assurance program, etc." 23

The information gleaned from all these separate reports leaves little doubt that the individual projects mentioned in them are part of a single big weapons project which is already close to delivering the final product. We may well see some important new announcements later this year about the testing of that product. Finally, another detail worth mentioning is that as part of the secrecy arrangements for weapons programs, very few names of the people working on these programs have ever come to light. It is not clear at all who leads all the Russian military research and development. In the field of laser systems there is only one relevant published article, headlined "Rays against missiles" 24. Its authors are Dr. Aleksandr Ignatyev, deputy designer-in-chief and lead designer of GSKB Almaz-Antey, and Dr. Anatoliy Sumin, an advisor to the designer-in-chief of GSKB Almaz-Antey.

But the list of the recent winners of the Russian Engineer of the Year Prize includes Dr. Petr Drozdov, head of the science and research department of GSKB Almaz-Antey. His biography includes the following information: "Petr Drozdov is a leading specialist in powerful gas lasers with ultrasonic pumping of the active medium, used in special-purpose laser systems. He now leads a team of researchers developing sources of powerful laser radiation and formation systems for the Sokol-Eshelon R&D project. His efforts helped to save from scrapping some of the crucial hardware that was used in the 1990s to develop the M-100 system. Since 2005 this hardware has been used in the development of a new-generation laser system. He led the project to build a full-size mock-up of an ultrasonic laser; tests conducted in 2009 have confirmed that the engineering solutions used for that project are sound. He has led more than 70 research projects and has four certificates of authorship and four invention patents".25.It may well be that greater openness will add completely new names to the list of leading Russian scientists.

1 Gulyaev A. Modern weapons are the basis of the modernization of the Russian armed forces. Voennyy Parad. No 2, 2011.
2 Archive of photos of the A-60 RA-86879 aircraft (s/n 0013430893) of May 21, 2011. ✈ russianplanes.net ✈ наша авиация.
3 A-60 experimental airborne laser complex up close. bmpd - Экспериментальный боевой лазерный комплекс воздушного базирования А-60 вблизи.
4 Garavskiy A. The future is hours. Krasnaya Zvezda. October 7, 2011. http://www.redstar.ru/2011/10/07_10/4_01.html.
5 Chemistry Automation Systems Design Bureau 2005 Annual Report. СПАРК - Система профессионального анализа рынков и компаний.
6 NPO Almaz 2006 Annual Report. missiles.ru :: îáçîðû íîâîñòåé ðàêåòíîé òåõíèêè.
7 Neskorodov V. Triumf SAM system — main product of 2007. Strela newspaper, No 11 (59), December 2007.
8 Radiofizika Q1 2007 Quarterly Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=8089&type=file.
9 Radiofizika Q3 2008 Quarterly Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14569&type=file.
10 Radiofizika 2009 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14569&type=file.
11 Granit 2009 Annual Report. http://www.gcso-granit.ru/%EE%F2%F7%E5%F2%202009.htm.
12 NPO Nauka 2010 Annual Report. http://www.npo-nauka.ru/upload/iblock/af8/af8041a6a04e92cda5ef5da2d701c3e5.doc.
13 List of MGTU Bauman R&D projects. www.bmstu.ru/content/documents/32spravki.xlsx.
14 Ministry of Education and Science information and communications platform. Шифр «Сокол-Эшелон-МИРЭА».
15 Kharitonova E.N. Methods of correction of geometric distortions of video signal from cameras using matrix photo-detection technology. Author's summary of a PhD in Technical Sciences thesis. Radio systems department of the Novgorod Yaroslav Mudryy State University. 2010. http://www.novsu.ru/file/image/page/545062.
16 TANTK Beriyev 2006 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14288&type=file.
17 TANTK Beriyev 2007 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14289&type=file.
18 Ruling of the Moscow District Federal Court of Arbitration of June 30, 2011 No KG-A40/6284-11 on case No A40-73876/10-133-645. Документ не найден - ООО Профессионал.
19 Moscow City Court of Arbitration. Ruling of November 25, 2010. Case No A40-73876/2010. Дело А40-73876/2010, Решение Арбитражного суда города Москвы от 25 ноября 2010 года №А40-73876/2010.
20 Tulamashzavod Q3, 2008 Quarterly Report. http://www.tulamash.ru/2/2008_3.rtf.
21 Radiofizika 2010 Annual Report. http://www.radiofizika.ru/files/shareholder/god_otch_2010.pdf.
22 GSKB Almaz-Antey 2010 Annual Report. http://www.raspletin.ru/files/110630/god.pdf.
23 NPO Nauka 2009 Annual Report. http://www.npo-nauka.ru/upload/iblock/5c4/5c44ae5be54e07e81b3ab002b3a693ce.pdf.
24 Ignatyev A., Sumin A. Rays against missiles. Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, No 12 (278), April 1, 2009. Лучом по ракете | Еженедельник «Военно-промышленный курьер».
25 Winners and participants of the 2009 Russian Engineer of the Year Prize. Laser technology. Petr Alekseevich Drozdov. Russian Union of Scientific and Engineering NGOs website. Российский союз научных и инженерных общественных организаций.
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Austin

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Sokol-Eshelon and Dueliant: New Space Defense Laser

Aleksandr Stukalin, Kommersant publishing house

Last year the MoD unexpectedly unveiled one of Russia's most secret military programs. Writing in the Voyennyy Parad journal, the head of the MoD's Armaments Department, Anatoliy Gulyaev, officially confirmed that "Russia's air defense troops will receive a future weapons system equipped with an air-based laser capable of disabling (suppressing) optical-electronic systems of satellites serving as part of America's future missile defense system. The name of the system is Sokol-Eshelon".1

During an Open Doors Day at the Taganrog Beriev Aviation Science and Technology Complex (TANTK Beriev) held on May 21, 2011, the company surprised everyone by openly demonstrating an A-60 aircraft (the 1A2 flying laboratory) with an interesting design on its side showing an eagle striking at an enemy satellite. The sign under the design read "Sokol-Eshelon". 2

The Soviet and Russian air-based laser program has a long history3. But the documents and materials officially unveiled in recent months call for a complete reassessment of the current state of that program.

Technical details revealed


In October 2011 the MoD's official newspaper, Krasnaya Zvezda, published a special article about the future laser weapons. Below is an excerpt from that article:

"In the late 1980s specialists concluded that the adversary's fighting ability can be significantly compromised by using lasers against its optical-electronic systems. The main advantage of lasers is instantaneous delivery of energy, which is why they can achieve objectives that cannot be achieved even theoretically by any other means due to time limitations. It was recognized that aircraft are the best platform for such laser systems. Because optical-electronic systems focus and amplify the signal they receive, by the same token they amplify by several orders of magnitude the energy of the laser that reaches their sensors and optical filters. All other conditions being equal, a laser ray can suppress optical-electronic systems (i.e. stop them functioning properly) at a distance several hundred or thousand times greater than the maximum distance of thermal impact."

"Studies conducted by NPO Almaz and other defense industry companies have demonstrated that airborne laser systems have a great potential, and that the level of our science and technology is sufficient to develop a system of suppressing (disabling) optical-electronic systems within the required time frame, and with a minimum of technological risks."

"Developing such an airborne laser system had become entirely feasible in the early 1990s. In recent years substantial progress has been made in this area thanks to new financing under the defense procurement program and the support provided by GSKB Almaz-Antey to the team working on laser systems. Work has been resumed on the hardware front. During a complex experiment, the first of its kind, held on August 28, 2009, a laser ray generated by a flying laboratory was bounced off a spacecraft orbiting at an altitude of 1,500 km, and the reflection picked up by detectors. As part of the preparations for that experiment, a whole cycle of operations was performed in mid-air to detect and track dozens of various spacecraft. The success rate for the detection and angle-tracking of spacecraft during these operations was 100 per cent..."

"A laser weapons system includes the following components: a powerful laser; a system of transportation and formation of a powerful ray; an information and targeting system; a system for keeping a powerful ray on target; and an automated control system."

"A typical laser weapons system operates in the following way... The information and targeting system detects the target. The information is sent to the operational elements of the targeting system, which automatically track the target and align the system's optical axis with the target. At the appropriate time a powerful laser starts generating the radiation. Through a system of mirrors the radiation is fed to a telescope with a large reflector which forms a narrow beam directed along the system's optical axis. A tracking system stabilizes the resulting laser ray and keeps it on the target for the entire duration of energy delivery. The targeting system can change the direction of the powerful ray very quickly, so the target cannot avoid being hit by means of defensive maneuvering."4

Background and participants of the project

The very first mention of the Sokol-Eshelon R&D project was made in the 2005 Annual Report of Chemistry Automation Systems Design Bureau (Khimavtomatika)5. The report listed NPO Almaz as a subcontractor. The R&D project was also mentioned in the 2006 report of Almaz itself6. Writing in the corporate newspaper Strela in 2007, Almaz deputy director-general and chief economist, Vitaliy Neskorodov, said that "work continued ...on the Sokol-Eshelon design project and the Dueliant R&D project" 7. It turns out that the two projects are part of the same whole, as will be explained later on in this article.

According to its quarterly report, the Radiofizika company confirmed its participation in the program at about the same time. In its funding request for 2008 the company requested 45m roubles as a subcontractor 9. More details were revealed in Radiofizika's 2009 report: "At the request of GSKB Almaz-Antey the company is working on a subproject 'Developing millimeter-band radar instruments for a laser system, codename <...> Sokol-Eshelon-RF'. In 2009 the company drafted a memo to the technical project (Stage 1); it is now drawing up preliminary designs of an airborne radar and working on mock-ups of individual elements of the radar (Stage 2, to be completed in 2010). The work performed in 2009 as part of Stage 1 cost 5.916 million roubles, in agreed prices (5.916 roubles received). Work on Stage 2 will be completed in 2010. An advance payment of 20.24 million roubles was received in 2009." 10

Several other well-known Russian defense companies have also announced their participation in the project, including Granit, which is Russia's main provider of maintenance services for air defense and missile defense systems 11, and the Moscow-based NPO Nauka company, a designer of life support systems for aircraft 12. The project also involves leading Russian technology universities, including the Moscow Bauman State University of Technology (MGTU Bauman) 13 and the Moscow Institute of Radio-Electronic and Automatic Systems 14.

At least another two participants of the program are revealed in the summary of a PhD thesis by one E.Kharitonova: "The digital image processing block includes a high-speed, high-resolution television system made by Omega Special Design and Technology Bureau in Velikiy Novgorod. The system was designed to sort, track and classify celestial objects against the background of twilight or night-time sky in real time. Bench-testing of the TV system was conducted at the Omega laboratories and at the Vavilov State Institute of Optics in St. Petersburg. Field tests were conducted at GSKB Almaz-Antey testing range in Moscow. It was concluded that the algorithms used in the digital image processing block, including correction of geometric distortions produced by optical-electronic systems, performed well... The scientific and technical findings of the PhD thesis have been used by Omega in the Dueliant and Sokol-Eshelon projects (the general contractor of both projects is GSKB Almaz-Antey). Validity of their use has been confirmed by a certificate of technology implementation."

New details from unexpected sources

Additional details of the project to develop an airborne laser system have emerged from two court cases. It has been established during two arbitration cases than on June 1, 2006, TANTK Beriev, acting as the supplier, and NPO Almaz (which later became GSKB Almaz-Antey), acting as the customer, signed Contract No 176/LL-06 for "Testing and analysis of an upgraded 1A2 flying laboratory carrying experimental components of an airborne laser system (codename Dueliant-T)".

The contract was signed as part of a larger state contract, No 5933, of September 2, 2006, signed between GSKB Almaz-Antey and Military Unit No 21055. It is clear from the case documents that the project is supervised by the MoD's 27th Military Representative Office. Paragraph 1.2 of the contract makes it clear that the work to be carried out is part of the Dueliant project. The document mentions Stages 3 and 4 of the project, which have already been completed and paid for to the agreed amount of 18,299,781 roubles. Some of the results were mentioned in annual reports of TANTK itself. For example, the 2006 annual report said that the company's Scientific and Technical Council "has, under the A-60 program, considered the progress being made by the R&D projects under way, the results achieved so far, the data received during tests and flight results". 16 In 2007, also under the A-60 program, TANTK "continued to work on the project to develop a specialized airborne complex, in accordance with the Defense Procurement Program and the State Armament Program". That work included "complex ground and flight testing of the 1A2 flying laboratory equipped with special experimental hardware as part of a project to design and conduct electronic modeling of components of a future carrier aircraft, as well as aerodynamic tests". 17

The reason for the court case involving TANTK and GSKB Almaz-Antey was a dispute between the two over who should pay for the services of yet another subcontractor, the Ukrainian (!) Motor-Sich aircraft engine maker. In accordance with contracts No 4009/08-K (ERO) of July 9, 2008 and No 3639/09-K (ERO) of July 3, 2009, the Ukrainian company was subcontracted by TANTK; it worked on extending the lifespan of the AI-24UBEAI power plant (Serial No 708280) of the 1A2 flying laboratory. 18,19. Thanks to the publication of these court documents it has become clear that Ukraine is also involved in the Russian laser project. Another detail that has emerged from the case is that the Dueliant project and the Sokol-Eshelon project are tightly intertwined and are essentially part of the same future product. One other major Russian defense company whose involvement in the program has come to light is Tulamashzavod. Its corporate report for the third quarter of 2008 mentions that the company had "developed an optical-mechanical device (Product Dueliant-S)", and that "the product has been delivered to the customer for acceptance tests at NPO Almaz, after which it will be operated by the customer". 20

Latest information

Judging from the latest corporate reports the project is now gaining momentum. Radiofizika's 2010 report mentions that the company "has been developing millimeter-band radar systems for a laser complex commissioned by GSKB Almaz-Antey, codename Sokol-Eshelon-RF, to be completed in 2011. <...> It has also developed conceptual and technical designs for an on-board radar and produced mock-ups of individual elements of that radar. The cost of the work conducted in 2010 is 44.883 million roubles, in agreed prices." Also as part of the contract with GSKB Almaz-Antey the company worked on the second stage of the project, described as "developing a centimeter-band onboard radar, codename Sokol-RF-sm, to be completed in 2011. In 2010, as part of the first stage of the project, it produced engineering designs for a centimeter-band onboard radar and worked on integrating the radar with other on-board information systems. The cost of the work performed in 2010 was 8.98 million roubles, in agreed prices."21

GSKB Almaz-Antey 2010 corporate report mentions "the development of an airborne laser system of countermeasures against the space component of the American national missile defense system", describing the project as "one of the company's key priorities". The aforementioned two projects to develop a millimeter-band and a centimeter-band airborne radar have now been designated as a single R&D project, 1LK222. The report says that the company "has developed an addition to the technical project concerning the millimeter-band and the centimeter-band radars and an automated control system, which expands the functionality of the experimental unit... It has also conducted experiments with the prototype of the main product, and tested an experimental airborne astronavigation system for that prototype". 22 The designation 1LK222 has been mentioned in the reports of another Russian defense company. In its 2009 annual report, NPO Nauka said that it had "adjusted the set-up of the liquid cooling system and thermal stabilization of mirrors in Product 1LK222; calculated their characteristics based on more precise data; developed the BUK logical and structural scheme [BUK apparently stands for 'bortovoy kompleks upravleniya', the onboard control system — MDB]; assessed the mass and energy parameters and estimated the cost of the cooling system, developed a reliability assurance program, etc." 23

The information gleaned from all these separate reports leaves little doubt that the individual projects mentioned in them are part of a single big weapons project which is already close to delivering the final product. We may well see some important new announcements later this year about the testing of that product. Finally, another detail worth mentioning is that as part of the secrecy arrangements for weapons programs, very few names of the people working on these programs have ever come to light. It is not clear at all who leads all the Russian military research and development. In the field of laser systems there is only one relevant published article, headlined "Rays against missiles" 24. Its authors are Dr. Aleksandr Ignatyev, deputy designer-in-chief and lead designer of GSKB Almaz-Antey, and Dr. Anatoliy Sumin, an advisor to the designer-in-chief of GSKB Almaz-Antey.

But the list of the recent winners of the Russian Engineer of the Year Prize includes Dr. Petr Drozdov, head of the science and research department of GSKB Almaz-Antey. His biography includes the following information: "Petr Drozdov is a leading specialist in powerful gas lasers with ultrasonic pumping of the active medium, used in special-purpose laser systems. He now leads a team of researchers developing sources of powerful laser radiation and formation systems for the Sokol-Eshelon R&D project. His efforts helped to save from scrapping some of the crucial hardware that was used in the 1990s to develop the M-100 system. Since 2005 this hardware has been used in the development of a new-generation laser system. He led the project to build a full-size mock-up of an ultrasonic laser; tests conducted in 2009 have confirmed that the engineering solutions used for that project are sound. He has led more than 70 research projects and has four certificates of authorship and four invention patents".25.It may well be that greater openness will add completely new names to the list of leading Russian scientists.

1 Gulyaev A. Modern weapons are the basis of the modernization of the Russian armed forces. Voennyy Parad. No 2, 2011.
2 Archive of photos of the A-60 RA-86879 aircraft (s/n 0013430893) of May 21, 2011. ✈ russianplanes.net ✈ наша авиация.
3 A-60 experimental airborne laser complex up close. bmpd - Экспериментальный боевой лазерный комплекс воздушного базирования А-60 вблизи.
4 Garavskiy A. The future is hours. Krasnaya Zvezda. October 7, 2011. http://www.redstar.ru/2011/10/07_10/4_01.html.
5 Chemistry Automation Systems Design Bureau 2005 Annual Report. СПАРК - Система профессионального анализа рынков и компаний.
6 NPO Almaz 2006 Annual Report. missiles.ru :: îáçîðû íîâîñòåé ðàêåòíîé òåõíèêè.
7 Neskorodov V. Triumf SAM system — main product of 2007. Strela newspaper, No 11 (59), December 2007.
8 Radiofizika Q1 2007 Quarterly Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=8089&type=file.
9 Radiofizika Q3 2008 Quarterly Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14569&type=file.
10 Radiofizika 2009 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14569&type=file.
11 Granit 2009 Annual Report. http://www.gcso-granit.ru/%EE%F2%F7%E5%F2%202009.htm.
12 NPO Nauka 2010 Annual Report. http://www.npo-nauka.ru/upload/iblock/af8/af8041a6a04e92cda5ef5da2d701c3e5.doc.
13 List of MGTU Bauman R&D projects. www.bmstu.ru/content/documents/32spravki.xlsx.
14 Ministry of Education and Science information and communications platform. Шифр «Сокол-Эшелон-МИРЭА».
15 Kharitonova E.N. Methods of correction of geometric distortions of video signal from cameras using matrix photo-detection technology. Author's summary of a PhD in Technical Sciences thesis. Radio systems department of the Novgorod Yaroslav Mudryy State University. 2010. http://www.novsu.ru/file/image/page/545062.
16 TANTK Beriyev 2006 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14288&type=file.
17 TANTK Beriyev 2007 Annual Report. www.e-disclosure.ru/portal/FileLoad.aspx?Fileid=14289&type=file.
18 Ruling of the Moscow District Federal Court of Arbitration of June 30, 2011 No KG-A40/6284-11 on case No A40-73876/10-133-645. Документ не найден - ООО Профессионал.
19 Moscow City Court of Arbitration. Ruling of November 25, 2010. Case No A40-73876/2010. Дело А40-73876/2010, Решение Арбитражного суда города Москвы от 25 ноября 2010 года №А40-73876/2010.
20 Tulamashzavod Q3, 2008 Quarterly Report. http://www.tulamash.ru/2/2008_3.rtf.
21 Radiofizika 2010 Annual Report. http://www.radiofizika.ru/files/shareholder/god_otch_2010.pdf.
22 GSKB Almaz-Antey 2010 Annual Report. http://www.raspletin.ru/files/110630/god.pdf.
23 NPO Nauka 2009 Annual Report. http://www.npo-nauka.ru/upload/iblock/5c4/5c44ae5be54e07e81b3ab002b3a693ce.pdf.
24 Ignatyev A., Sumin A. Rays against missiles. Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, No 12 (278), April 1, 2009. Лучом по ракете | Еженедельник «Военно-промышленный курьер».
25 Winners and participants of the 2009 Russian Engineer of the Year Prize. Laser technology. Petr Alekseevich Drozdov. Russian Union of Scientific and Engineering NGOs website. Российский союз научных и инженерных общественных организаций.
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Austin

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In book - "Russian Strategic Aviation Today - Yefim Gordon & Dmitriy Komissarov" quoting the Kh-32 part below

#####

The principal weapon of modernised Tu-22M3 will be the Kh-32 supersonic air-to-surface missile developed by NPO Raduga as an upgrade of the familiar Kh-22. It features an improved rocket motor and a new seeker head.

The old Kh-22 anti-shipping missile was severely handicapped by its shortrange - a few hundered kilometers, that is, within visual range for a high flying aircraft. Over-the-horizon attackes were all but impossible: the Kh-22's seeker head could not find the target. In a real-life attack scenario against a carrier task force, the Tu-22M3 would have to break through fightercover , inevitably suffering loss.

Raguda new Kh-32 is the solution. While Kh-22 climbs to 22000m and acclerates to about 3600 km/h on the way to target, the Kh-32 at first soars up almost to the outer space an altitude of some 44 km/27.3 miles then "looks beyond the horizon", detecting the target at 600 km or even 1000 km range. The warhead/seeker of the new missile is much smarter - it can classify the targets and select the priority target an aircraft carrier or cruiser.

Also the Kh-32 closes on the target at much higher speed, which makes it impossible to intercept. In Russia that this missile and the Tu-22M3 modernisation to carry it are considered a serious military detterent and an effective weapon against the most powerful carrier task force. Test of the Kh-32 were successfuly conpleted back in late 1990 in so doing the long range aviation worked in close co-operation with the Navy,which willing supplied decommisioned warships as target.

#####
 

TrueSpirit

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In book - "Russian Strategic Aviation Today - Yefim Gordon & Dmitriy Komissarov" quoting the Kh-32 part below

#####

The principal weapon of modernised Tu-22M3 will be the Kh-32 supersonic air-to-surface missile developed by NPO Raduga as an upgrade of the familiar Kh-22. It features an improved rocket motor and a new seeker head.

The old Kh-22 anti-shipping missile was severely handicapped by its shortrange - a few hundered kilometers, that is, within visual range for a high flying aircraft. Over-the-horizon attackes were all but impossible: the Kh-22's seeker head could not find the target. In a real-life attack scenario against a carrier task force, the Tu-22M3 would have to break through fightercover , inevitably suffering loss.

Raguda new Kh-32 is the solution. While Kh-22 climbs to 22000m and acclerates to about 3600 km/h on the way to target, the Kh-32 at first soars up almost to the outer space an altitude of some 44 km/27.3 miles then "looks beyond the horizon", detecting the target at 600 km or even 1000 km range. The warhead/seeker of the new missile is much smarter - it can classify the targets and select the priority target an aircraft carrier or cruiser.

Also the Kh-32 closes on the target at much higher speed, which makes it impossible to intercept. In Russia that this missile and the Tu-22M3 modernisation to carry it are considered a serious military detterent and an effective weapon against the most powerful carrier task force. Test of the Kh-32 were successfuly conpleted back in late 1990 in so doing the long range aviation worked in close co-operation with the Navy,which willing supplied decommisioned warships as target.

#####
Simply amazing...does the West have a counterpart for Kh-32 with comparable capabilities ?
 

Austin

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To make story short West relied on Aircraft Carrier and Fighter Aircraft for Sea Control Capability and Russia relied on different classes of Anti-Ship Missile for Sea Denial Capability ..... just different strategy and approaches.
 

gadeshi

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Russians rely on Antey class submarines with Granit and Bazalt missiles to deny and destroy western CAGs.
 

Austin

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MODERN ARMAMENTS - BACKBONE FOR MODERNIZATION OF RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES

Author: Anatoly Gulyaev

Anatoly Gulyaev - Chief of Armaments Department, RF Ministry of Defense
The past two decades saw the emergence of new warfare assets, primarily precision guided weapons. Their use in conjunction with advanced IT-based intelligence, command & control and targeting systems has drastically changed the forms and methods of warfare. A new type of wars has appeared where there are no fronts, continuous lines of contact of the parties. Combat actions are conducted through the entire depth of the country's territory. In fact, the notion of "rear" no longer exists.

In these wars, precision guided weapons and information management systems that ensure rapid detection of the most vulnerable elements of enemy forces and the immediate employment of weapons against them are keys to winning victory over the enemy. In other words, it is not the quantity but the quality of weaponry that shapes the "look" of future armaments systems.

With regard to clarifying the look of the Armed Forces and the trends in the evolution of armaments in leading foreign countries, the Russian Ministry of Defense has studied the necessary measures that involve re-equipping the services and arms of the Armed Forces with modern weaponry at an accelerated pace, including systems and complexes capable of providing an adequate response to a high-tech enemy.

According to the new national security strategy, the strategic nuclear forces continue to play a major role in ensuring security of the Russian Federation and its allies. They can deter a wide range of possible threats - from the enemy's use of weapons of mass destruction to full-scale employment of large conventional forces.

To achieve military-strategic and political goals and counter current and emerging threats to national security of Russia, the various options for using nuclear and conventional offensive weapons are considered by the leaders of the country as necessary.

The major direction of Russia's military-technical policy is to preserve its strategic triad consisting of ground-, sea- or air-based striking weapons.

In the Strategic Missile Forces, the existing ICBM systems are being re-equipped with fifth-generation fixed and mobile missile systems. To preserve missile systems with heavy-class missiles in the SMF grouping, a new missile is being developed to replace the existing Voevoda (SS-18 Satan) missiles, which have demonstrated high deterrence capabilities over the whole period of their service. All future ICBM systems will be able to penetrate the future US BMD system and remain in service through 2030-2040.

The naval strategic nuclear forces are undergoing another upgrade through re-equipment with fourth-generation SSBN submarines armed with the new SS-NX-30 Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). Compared to existing SSBNs of the previous generations like Dolphin (Delta-IV) and Akula (Typhoon), new submarines have higher operational and fighting performance, a high degree of automation of the engagement processes, which will enable them to accomplish missions in any military-strategic situations.

In general, air-based missile systems operational with the air component of the strategic nuclear forces meet the requirements placed for this class of weapons. However, for better efficiency of mission accomplishment, the existing fleet of Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95MS Bear strategic bombers is undergoing upgrade and is being re-equipped with new missile and bomb models.

In addition, continuous improvement of aids for penetrating the potential adversary's BMD and the development of new warheads for strategic missile systems of all basing types are under way.

The command and control system for strategic nuclear forces is a key support element of the strategic armaments system. In the period through 2020 it is planned for undertake a number of key efforts to improve the reliability of its functioning and resistance to enemy countermeasures.

As regards space weaponry, it is planned to develop advanced space systems and complexes before 2020 that will qualitatively improve information support of the Russian Armed Forces.

As to space communications, there are plans to develop an integrated satellite communications system with new generation spacecraft launched into geostationary and highly elliptical orbits. The deployment of this system will provide reliable communications and command and control of the RF Armed Forces at all levels of control, from strategic to tactical.

The evolution of space reconnaissance assets through the development and deployment of spaceborne imagery, radar and electronic intelligence systems and complexes in space will significantly
page 10

improve the quality of intelligence data and promptness of its delivery to users.

To date, most of the aircraft fleet is above 20 years old and consists of models, whose design and capabilities were laid back in the 1970s. Until the mid-1990s, they had still been able to maintain parity with foreign counterparts. Today, most of in-service domestic aircraft cannot provide parity with weapon systems operational with the armies of developed countries.

In the near to medium term, a fundamental change in the situation is expected (planned). Modernization of the Air Force fleet will be provided through the joint efforts of the RF Ministry of Defense and the domestic aircraft industry through the development of advanced aviation equipment and armament and their supplies to troops.

In the near term it is planned to complete the development of a future frontline aircraft system (PAK FA) and an inter-service airborne early warning and guidance system (A-100).

Procurement of the An-70 medium military transport aircraft offering unique takeoff/landing performance and a spacious cargo cabin, as well as the adoption of the II-76MD-90A and An-124 versions, being superior to their foreign counterparts, will help the Armed Forces enhance their troop mobility capabilities.

Besides, the troops have begun taking deliveries of such new high-performance air materiel models as the Su-35S multi-role fighter, Su-34 frontline bomber, Mi-28N and Ka-52 attack helicopters, as well as new air weapons, primarily precision guided missiles. The procured aviation equipment represents the state-of-the-art in terms of technology and performance levels and is superior to its foreign counterparts on some indicators.

Prospects for the development of air defense weapons and equipment are associated with inter-service commonality efforts undertaken as part a unified air defense missile weapon system (ADMWS), further expansion of the target classes engaged, and increase in combat sustainability. Development of new ADMWS models has been organized within a comprehensive target program linking the development efforts on new generation SAM systems, new circuit components, new materials and technologies envisaged by SAP 2020 with a draft federal target program "Development of Russia's Defense Industrial Complex in 2011-2020."

The future armaments system for the Air Defense Forces will comprise the following main types of armaments and equipment:

Mobile multichannel long-range SAM system (S-400);

Mobile multichannel versatile long-range SAM system capable of intercepting ballistic targets at high altitudes (S-500);

Inter-service medium-range SAM system (Vityaz PVO) with a circular engagement area;

Common shipborne air defense missile/gun system for air defense of surface ships of various classes from future air threats;

Air-based laser system for soft kill (suppression) of electro-optical systems of spacecraft to be used in a future US BMD (Sokol-Eshelon).

Prospects for military radars are associated with the development of a unified automated radar system as the information and technical backbone of Russia's Federal Airspace Intelligence and Control System, reduction in the range of radar types due to standardization of radars used in the services of the Russian Armed Forces, development of inter-service modular radars, automation equipment sets (AES), repair and maintenance facilities, as well as the creation of high-performance secondary radars and facilities.

Reduction in the number of radar types will supposedly be done through equipping ELINT units mainly with two basic types of radar systems: medium- and high-altitude duty-combat mode radar system (Nebo-M) and low altitude radar system (Podlyot). In addition, to enhance the capabilities of radar groupings, the SAP 2020 provides for the following development efforts:

Inter-service mobile 3D programmed-scan multiband early warning radar system for solving the air defense and national missile defense tasks;

Inter-service mobile solid 3D low-altitude surveillance duty radar operating in the UHF band.

Automation of AD and ELINT command posts and control posts is currently being implemented in the following areas:

Development of advanced standardized AES as part of a future Air Force C2 system;

Re-equipping the troops with the Fundament series AES aimed at establishing a common automated radar system that will allow ELINT command posts (control posts) to get information on the air situation from the radars operational with ELINT units of the Air Force and other combatant arms, as well as from radars of Russia's Air Navigation System;

Modernization of the existing Krym series AES for establishing interaction with zonal (enlarged) centers of a common air traffic control (ATC) system, with regard to setting up the Federal Air Navigation Service.

Armaments Program's measures will help re-equip AD Forces with current and advanced weapons with the required number of SAMs and equip AD groupings with combat sustainment capabilities by 2020.

Currently, Russia still has a quantitatively large naval fleet, whose performance level does not meet present-day requirements. The current ship strength is characterized as follows:

Quantitatively, the submarine and surface ship fleets have approached the minimum level required to accomplish their missions;

Qualitatively, the naval equipment and armaments of general-purpose naval forces (GPNF), except for a number of systems, are inferior to their counterparts that are in service with the leading world powers;

Technical condition of GPNF's naval equipment and armaments is characterized by a low serviceability rating, the ships are operated with various limitations mainly due to the expiration of ship machinery life.

On this basis, two main strategic areas for Navy development have been identified to increase its combat capabilities.

The first area encompasses an in-depth upgrade of ocean-going surface combatants like the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov that will ensure its staying in service with the Russian Navy through 2030, cruising and big nuclear-powered submarines with equipping them with precision guided missile systems, and the construction of multimission surface combatants operating in the off-shore maritime zone - Project 22350 frigates and Project 11356 destroyers, surface combatants operating in the inner maritime zone - Project 20380 and 20380M corvettes and water area patrol ships - a new-project corvette combining the functions of mine countermeasures and small antisubmarine ships, as well as the completion of small artillery ships (Project 21630) and missile ships (Project 21631) before 2020.

The second area includes:

Development and construction of Project 885M attack nuclear-powered submarines and the development of a new-project nuclear submarine;

Development of an advanced nonnuclear submarine with a new powerplant;

Development of a new-project advanced multimission destroyer for operations in the off-shore maritime zone;

Construction of new-project diesel submarines;

Construction of four large landing/helicopter dock ships, and completion of a Project 11711 large landing ship.

To qualitatively upgrade and build a modern fleet, it is necessary to apply advanced system solutions and state-of-the-art naval shipbuilding technologies like:

Precision guided weapon technologies;

Unconventional weapon technologies, use of robotic systems and unmanned aerial vehicles;

Signature reduction technologies (stealth technologies), use of special coatings made using nanotechnology, and selecting special forms of ship hull lines;

Intersystem standardization technologies;

Technologies for developing new types of powerplants;

Technologies for creating new materials;

Information technology.

Through the qualitative upgrading and re-equipment of the Navy, it is expected that the share of newly-built ships in the Navy will exceed 50% by 2020, and at least 85% by 2030.

As to missile armament of the Land Forces, in 2011 it is planned to adopt a missile with longer range and better firing accuracy for the Iskander-M theater missile systems. By 2016, the development of the Udarnik advanced tactical precision guided missile system will be completed.

In the area of tube artillery, work is underway to increase the range and accuracy of fire of artillery shells of all calibers and systems, as well as automation of artillery guns and MRUs launch vehicles has been conducted. A promising inter-service 152mm self-propelled artillery system as well as 120mm and 152mm self-propelled artillery guns for the Airborne Troops are undergoing tests.

In the field of anti-tank missile systems, work on a homing system realizing the "fire-and-defeat" principle is proceeding. Its results will be implemented in self-propelled antitank missile systems like the Kornet-D and Khrizantema-S and will provide round-the-clock and all-weather capabilities. Also, by 2020, it is planned to adopt the Baikal type ATGW.

As for the armored vehicles, the existing fleet includes more than 20,000 tanks, while their requirement for 2020 is much lower. However, only T-90 tanks and a portion of T-72 tanks have the required upgrading potential. The rest tank versions will have to be decommissioned from the Armed Forces. To replenish the armored vehicle fleet, by 2015 it is planned to develop:

Common inter-service tracked platform for a combat vehicle and a support vehicle on its basis;

Common inter-service wheeled platform for a combat vehicle and a support vehicle on its basis;

Medium tracked platform for a combat vehicle and a support vehicle on its basis;

New-generation medium- and heavy-capacity automotive platform for a family of multipurpose tactical protected automotive vehicles and modular mobile workshops on its basis.

In the field of soldier equipment, by 2020, the troops will receive close combat weapons and individual soldier gear comparable to their foreign counterparts in their characteristics and surpassing them in weapons.

In today's conditions, the accomplishment of tasks facing tactical units and the most effective use of strike weapons are impossible without a well-functioning information management system. The Unified Tactical Command and Control System (YeSU TZ), which is being developed, belongs to such systems.

Under the State Armaments Program, the supplies of the YeSU TZ kits are scheduled for 2011.

It should be noted that creating a unified tactical command and control system meeting current requirements in the transition of the Russian Armed Forces to a new look is a critical scientific and technical problem.

The unified tactical control and control system is part of the lower-level of the automated troop control system for the Russian Armed Forces. It is a set of interconnected tactical-level automated control systems and communications facilities of the Russian Armed Forces' groupings.

The main goal of creating the YeSU TZ is to increase the effectiveness of tactical units through the development of advanced software / hardware systems, which will enable control of subordinate the subunits to a platoon, a squad, a crew, and to an individual soldier inclusive, both as part of a grouping of troops (forces) and in cooperation with units of other military formations.

Development and adoption of the YeSU TZ will ensure the integration and combined use of weapon systems, information support, electronic warfare, control, communications and data exchange, while their field practice may clarify the requirements for further improvement and development of such systems.

In addition, equipping the troops with advanced equipment models and support facilities will ensure the mission accomplishment by troop groupings in different climatic conditions, at any time of year and day.

Thus, the implementation of measures aimed at establishing a modern armaments system, as well as the complete delivery of new armament and military equipment models (complexes, systems) to troops will provide the required and sufficient level of equipment of the RF Armed Forces.
 

SajeevJino

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Colombian President Says Russian Bombers Violated Airspace

Colombian officials will issue a note of protest to Moscow after two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers entered the country's airspace without permission last week, the Latin American nation's president has said.

The aircraft entered Colombian airspace from Venezuela last Friday while heading for Nicaragua, President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday, according to a report on Colombia's NTN24 television station.

Russia failed to ask for authorization for the bombers to fly over Venezuela to Nicaragua and back over Colombian airspace last week, he said.

On their way back, the aircraft were intercepted by two Colombian Kfir fighter jets while flying in Colombia's airspace.

Colombia will make "a respective notification" to the Russian government following the incident, Santos said.

Russian officials said previously that the two bombers had flown over the international waters of the Caribbean Sea and arrived in Nicaragua last week after taking off from an airbase in Venezuela.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that the mission was carried out "in line with the combat training program" and was in line with all international norms.

Colombian President Says Russian Bombers Violated Airspace | Defense | RIA Novosti
 

SajeevJino

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Colombian Kfirs intercept Russian bombers enrout to Venezuela



Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 (NATO Reporting Name: Blackjack) strategic bombers triggered a diplomatic raw last week, violating Colombian airspace two times on a mission flown from Caracas, Venezuela to Managua, Nicaragua. The two bombers entered Columbian airspace as they were flying over an Colombian island in the Caribbean sea, without propper request. The aircraft were detected about 11:00 am by the air surveillance radar of San Andrés. According to Colombian records, the two aircraft carried registration numbers XM94115 XM94104.

The Russian bombers were intercepted by two Colombian KFIR fighters approximately 80 miles of Barranquilla. The Colombian fighters were scramblled from this base where they were stationed on high readiness alert. Barranquilla, a civil airport also supports some of the Colombian Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations with aircraft such as the T-37 and A-29B, operating on counter drug traficking.

The Kfirs followed the Russian bombers for about five minutes, until the intruders left Colombian airspace. "Barranquilla Control reports to the Command and Control Center of the Air Force, the aircraft transferred from Curacao Control, had no diplomatic clearance for overflying respective Colombian airspace" the military announcement said. The Russian bombers were not allowed to continue on their planned route and avoid the 12 nautical miles zone from the island. Finally, they crossed to the south of the archipelago and lost contact with them when they were on Honduran territory.


Colombian Kfirs intercept Russian bombers enrout to Venezuela - Defense Update - Military Technology & Defense News
 

SajeevJino

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[Targeting Pod Footage] Colombian Kfir fighter jets intercept Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers

The two Tu-160 strategic bombers that visited Venezuela (and later Nicaragua) last week returned to the Engels base on Nov. 5.

The Blackjack bombers took off from the Maiquetia airport in Venezuela and landed at their homebase about 15 hours later; the return trip included aerial refueling by Il-78 tankers over the Norwegian Sea.




However, as the aircraft returned to Russia, details about the alleged violation of the Colombian airspace by the two Tu-160 supersonic bombers on their way to Nicaragua emerged.

According to Webinfomil.com website, on Nov. 1, at about 11:00 am, the two aircraft, registration and XM94115 XM94104, entered Colombian airspace and were detected by the radar of San Andrés.

Lacking the diplomatic clearance to cross Colombia's airspace, the two Tu-160s were intercepted by two Colombian Air Force Kfir fighter planes approximately 80 miles from Barranquilla.

According to the FAC the interceptors escorted the Russian bombers for about 5 minutes until they left the Colombian airspace.

Incursión de aviones rusos TU-160 en Colombia - YouTube


The Aviationist » [Targeting Pod Footage] Colombian Kfir fighter jets intercept Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers
 

p2prada

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So the Russians did what they wanted and left.
 

Austin

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The patrol of these bombers are notified in advanced to countries that these bombers would pass through so as not to get into any misunderstaning , It similar to the notification one provided to ships at sea when a missile is tested.

Reason you find many NATO fighters that accompany them during patrol flights.

I remember a year back there was report of Tu-160 intruding into UK airspace and was then escorted by Eurofighter.
 

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