IEMP Kupol is Ready for the Chal­lenge To Make Land and Sea AD Sys­tems

SP's LandForces - - MARKETING FEATURE -

RUS­SIA’S MIL­I­TARY AU­THOR­I­TIES HAD al­ways rec­og­nized uni­fi­ca­tion of land- and sea-based weapons as one of the most im­por­tant chal­lenges for build­ing Armed Forces’ ef­fec­tive struc­ture. Back in the end of the XIX-th Cen­tury there was a pretty suc­cess­ful at­tempt made to cre­ate a 10-inch long-range gun uni­fied for ships and land fortresses. In the sec­ond half of the XX-th Cen­tury mis­siles and rock­ets be­came the main weapon of the Army and Navy, but even then there was an in­ten­tion to have them uni­fied. Es­pe­cially in ar­eas where weapons en­abled com­ple­tion of sim­i­lar tasks like in air de­fense. In fact, the first So­viet sea-based anti-air­craft missile sys­tems were based on land-based air de­fense sys­tems. Th­ese were Volkhov-M M-2 AD sys­tem based on C-75 AD sys­tem of AD land forces and Volna M-1 AD sys­tem – a sea-based ver­sion of C-125. But the Navy au­thor­i­ties were not quite sat­is­fied with “mariniza­tion” of land AD sys­tems. Next-gen­er­a­tion sys­tems – Osa-M ADS – were ini­tially de­signed and man­u­fac­tured to meet re­quire­ments of the Navy, but with a task to make them uni­fied with land-based Osa AD sys­tem. Sadly, the level of mil­i­tary and tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment didn’t make it pos­si­ble to com­plete this task at that time. Spe­cial fea­tures of sea-based AD sys­tems were sup­posed to en­sure fir­ing on the move – a de­stroyer or cruiser must not stop to counter an air at­tack. Any­way, such fea­tures re­quire sta­bi­liza­tion of all radar an­ten­nas in three di­men­sions and pow­er­ful com­puter sys­tems, com­par­ing to at-halt fir­ing. This would in­crease the sys­tem weight. Heavy weight of an AD sys­tem is not a prob­lem for heavy and medium dis­place­ment ships – their weapons’ weight of hun­dreds and thou­sands tons would be added only cou­ple tens of tons. Such in­crease in weight would turn out to be crit­i­cal for land AD sys­tems – Osa AD sys­tem had only tar­get ac­qui­si­tion radar an­ten­nas sta­bi­lized, mis­siles had to be guided at halt. As a re­sult, only 9M33 sur­face-to-air missile was uni­fied. The same hap­pened dur­ing devel­op­ment of next-gen­er­a­tion short-range AD sys­tem – land-based Tor and sea-based Kynzhal. Once again, us­ing the same missile the sys­tems were sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent in ar­range­ment and per­for­mance. To un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence in re­quire­ments to land and sea AD sys­tems th­ese sys­tems need to be com­pared. The Tor AD sys­tem had 1 tar­get chan­nel, and the Kynzhal AD sys­tem, ac­cepted for ser­vice in the same year, had al­ready 4 chan­nels. On the one hand, a com­bat ship is a much more at­trac­tive tar­get com­par­ing to a tank or a mul­ti­ple rocket launcher and must have more fea­tures to counter mass air at­tacks, on the other hand, cruis­ers and de­stroy­ers of the Navy could carry heav­ier sys­tems, com­par­ing to those in­stalled on land-based chas­sis: whereas to­tal weight of the Tor sys­tem was 32 tons, just the Kynzhal launcher took 42 tons of its car­rier’s dis­place­ment. The truth is that in the USSR Navy ef­fec­tive AD sys­tems were in­stalled on heavy and medium dis­place­ment ships only be­cause of the Kynzhal sys­tems heavy weight, and small-size forces of the Navy had to use just ar­tillery AD units or sea edi­tions of MANPADS.

How­ever, within 30-45 years from the date of put of the first Osa and Tor sys­tems into ser­vice, the sit­u­a­tion changed greatly. On the one side, amount of com­bat ships in the Navy be­came less, but their capabilities in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly. One can­not com­pare pa­trol ships of the 159A project and their tor­pedo-ar­tillery weapons to small mis­sile­launch­ing ships of the 21631 project, car­ry­ing the Cal­iber sys­tems, – that much is the dif­fer­ence of their at­tack capabilities, af­ter all, the lat­ter have two times less dis­place­ment. There­fore, the value of each spe­cific com­bat unit of the Navy has in­creased much. And leav­ing even small ships un­de­fended against air at­tacks wouldn’t be wise. On the other side, up-to-date in­dus­try is quite ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing the Navy with space-ef­fec­tive AD sys­tems suit­able not only for cruis­ers and de­stroy­ers but for low dis­place­ment ships as well.

Present-day Tor-fam­ily sys­tems, start­ing with Tor-M2U, have 4 tar­get chan­nels. New sur­face-to-air mis­siles 9M338K were adopted. The di­am­e­ter of them is 35% smaller than the di­am­e­ter of SAMs 9M330-2 used for Kynzhal AD sys­tem. That en­ables to in­crease am­mu­ni­tion load twice. Fi­nally, devel­op­ment of ra­dio-elec­tronic com­po­nents makes short-range AD sys­tems ca­pa­ble to fire on the move. Thus, in 2015 Tor-M2U AD sys­tem de­stroyed air­borne tar­gets while mov­ing at the speed of 25 km/h, and in 2016 the sys­tem per­formed suc­cess­ful train­ing fir­ings while mov­ing at the speed of 45 km/h. Let us re­mind about a nec­es­sary re­quire­ment to a sea AD sys­tem ca­pa­bil­ity to per­form fir­ing on the move.

To clear up per­for­mance of the Tor­fam­ily sys­tems in the Navy there were Tor-M2U fir­ing car­ried out in 2015 from a shore­line at tar­gets fly­ing over wa­ter. The Tors de­stroyed tar­gets prop­erly that sim­u­lated modern air at­tack means. In Septem­ber 2016 Tor-M2KM AD sys­tem car­ried out suc­cess­ful fir­ing from the Ad­mi­ral Grig­orovych frigate, mov­ing in the open sea at the speed of 8 knots, at tar­gets of dif­fer­ent type, in­clud­ing tar­gets sim­u­lated an anti-ship missile. Ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of the Tor-fam­ily sys­tem by the Navy has been proved.

Vic­tor Vis­ner, deputy gen­eral di­rec­tor for tech­ni­cal devel­op­ment of the Izhevsk Elec- trome­chan­i­cal Plant (IEMP) Kupol, points out that “mak­ing uni­fied weapons for op­er­a­tion in dif­fer­ent con­di­tions – im­por­tant task. The so­lu­tion would greatly de­crease cost of pro­duc­tion and op­er­a­tion due to batch pro­duc­tion en­large­ment, as well as to ma­nip­u­late pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties more ef­fec­tively. To­day we are al­ready ca­pa­ble to per­form ma­jor ef­forts in mak­ing sea and land short-range AD sys­tems uni­fied. Still, there will be some dif­fer­ences be­cause of dif­fer­ent op­er­at­ing con­di­tions, but great options pro­vided in the Tor sys­tem makes it pos­si­ble to man­u­fac­ture nearly all the equip­ment uni­fied, i.e. the dif­fer­ences would only be in match­ing the AD sys­tem with the ship and com­puter sys­tems al­go­rithms”.

So, it is fair to say that do­mes­tic in­dus­try to­day is a foot­step away to pro­vide the Navy with ef­fec­tive, space sav­ing and fairly low­cost air de­fense sys­tem. So­viet ad­mi­rals’ dream is close to be­come true.

(Top, L-R) Tor-M2KM on KAMAZ chas­sis; Tor-M2U; (Above, L-R) TorM2K; Tor-M2KM fire.

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