An article from IDR
Russia is preparing a precision guidance revolution for its fast jet, strike, and bomber forces. Piotr Butowski reviews developments [/size]Russian defence minister Sergey Shoygu told a large Russian armed forces planning session in July 2013 that he intended to greatly bolster the services' stocks of 'smart' precision-guided weapons. He said that over the next three years "we will increase the number of guided missiles by five times, and by 2020 thirty times" over current stocks, and just over 12 months into that plan, Russia is making progress. Shoygu used the term "krylatyie rakety" (winged missiles), which in Russia usually means air-to-surface missiles, and non-ballistic naval and land missiles. It is not known exactly how many of those weapons are currently available, but the assessment is that it is a relatively low base number to make such a substantial increase possible. Certainly experience in Georgia in 2008 and then more recent conflicts highlighted a lack of precision capability. In April 2013, assistant defence minister - and former commander-in-chief of the Russian Air Force - Alexander Zelin appeared at a convention of aviation manufacturers in Moscow, where he said new versions of the K-74M, K-77-1 (AA-12 'Adder') and K-37M (AA-X-13) air-to-air missiles, tactical Kh-59MK2, Kh-31PM (AS-17 'Krypton'), Kh-35U (AS-20 'Kayak') and other air-to-surface missiles were beginning evaluation or production. They are being followed by K-74M2 and K-77M air-to-air and Kh-38 air-to-surface missiles - for internal carriage by the PAK FA; KAB-250L, KAB-500M and UPAB-1500 (izdeliye K-070) guided bombs; and the new Kh-ZRK anti-radiation missile. Zelin did not talk about strategic missiles, but did mention two large air-to-surface missiles with a range of more than 1,000 km; the subsonic Kh-SD-ON and hypersonic GZ UR. Kh-101/Kh-102Shortly afterwards, in October 2013, the commander of the state flight evaluation centre at Akhtubinsk (929th GLITs), Radik Bariyev, published a presentation on the centre's recent work in the Russian press. Three versions of the Kh-101/Kh-102 (izdeliye 111) subsonic cruise missiles appear in the GLITs testing paperwork - izdeliye 504B, 504A, and 504AP (in the order they were tested) - but scant details are known of how they differ. It may be that the A and B suffixes denote whether the warhead is conventional or nuclear, as both are known to be available. Documents from the 1990s revealed an izdeliye 504E, but that is considered an experimental or lead-in design. Various sources indicate that the Raduga Kh-101/102 was first launched from Tu-95MS and Tu-160 bombers in 2004. Then, in 2010 the NPO Saturn engine plant made and handed over to State Machine Building Design Bureau 'Raduga' (Raduga Design Bureau) the first production batch of the izdeliye 84 engines, suggesting that series production began in 2010-2011. Boris Obnosov, head of the Tactical Missiles Corporation (TM Corporation) announced in 2011 that the organisation had received a state award to deliver a "new product for strategic aviation". Only one such award is granted across the whole arms industry each year, so it must have concerned an exceptionally important type of weapon and the only known product that fits that description is the Kh-101/Kh-102 missile. In January 2014 the commander of Russian long-range aviation Lieutenant General Anatoly Zhikharev told the press that this year the service would perform the first launches of new missiles. The Kh-101/Kh-102 is about 7.5 m long and weighs 2,400 kg. It boasts a range understood to be in the order of 4,000 km in non-nuclear configuration, or 5,000 km in the nuclear version. Its guidance system combines a gimbal-free inertial navigation system (INS), satellite navigation receiver, radar altimeter terrain contour matching (TERCOM) system and an Otblesk-U optoelectronic digital scene-matching area correlation (DSMAC) package. Exact production numbers are hard to come by, but an indicator came in July 2013 when NPO Saturn announced it had signed two large contracts to provide engines for missiles made by Raduga Design Bureau by 2015. Together, those contracts are valued at more than RUB4 billion (USD110 million) to Raduga Design Bureau by 2015, and roughly valuing one engine to be circa RUB7 million means that the order can be assessed to be for around 550 engines. Tactical missilesRussia is currently working on three 'operational' level missiles with a range of 1,000-2,000 km - the subsonic Kh-SD, supersonic Kh-MTs and a hypersonic project. The Kh-SD (Sredney Dalnosti - medium-range) subsonic missile was believed to have been halted in circa 2011, but may have been revived as Zelin spoke of the Kh-SD-ON designation. Raduga Design Bureau is also currently launching production of a new missile known as izdeliye 715, which according to one source will arm the upgraded Tu-95MSM strategic bomber, although it is not yet known if the missile is for trials or series production. It may be that izdeliye 715 is actually the Kh-SD missile, for which design work began in the early 1990s. The Kh-SD shared the guidance system of the Kh-101, but has a smaller, low-observable airframe and was roughly analogous with the US AGM-158 JASSM. It measured about 6 m long, and weighed roughly 1,500 kg at launch, able to cover a range of up to 2,000 km. IHS Jane's understands that it may have two warhead options: a penetrating payload for use against deep, reinforced targets; or a cluster of submunitions to tackle area targets. Despite its size, the Kh-SD missile could be carried by Su-34 tactical bombers, as well as larger strategic aircraft. The latter are also expected to be armed with izdeliye 75, which is currently at the technical design stage with the TM Corporation team at Korolev near Moscow. Izdeliye 75 is likely to be a supersonic operational/tactical-level missile designated Kh-MTs. Like the Kh-SD, the supersonic Kh-MTs is also 6 m long (the maximum size accommodated by the Tu-95MS bomber's bomb bay) and weighs about 1,500 kg. It is to be powered by a ramjet, accelerated up to operating speed by a booster rocket, and be able to reach targets up to 1,000 km away when flying a high lofted profile. An active/passive radar known as Gran-75 is currently in development with Detal and is expected to be fitted to the Kh-MTs. The broadband passive-channel seeker is being made by TsKBA in Omsk. Another shadowy missile, known as the izdeliye 80 Grom (Thunder) is being created by TM Corporation, but virtually nothing is known about it beyond superlative claims from the developer. Hypersonic programmeAccording to Zelin's pronouncement, Russia has a very ambitious two-staged hypersonic missile development programme under way. He described how the first stage envisages development of a relatively small air-launched missile with a range of 1,500 km and a speed of about Mach 6 by 2020. This should be followed in the next decade by a Mach 12 weapon offering global coverage. Some analysts have connected research for Russia's GZ UR (Giper-Zvukovaya Upravleniya Raketa - Hyper-Sonic Guided Missile) with studies of the MBDA LEA hypersonic vehicle conducted in Russia and work with India on the putatively hypersonic Brahmos-2 programme, but there is no open source evidence confirming that. In October and November 2012, Russia and India made a preliminary agreement to work toward a Brahmos-2 and a model was shown at the Aero India 2013 exhibition. However, Russian exhibition participants asserted that the project has little in common with Russia's hypersonic missile and is only a demonstration of intent and possibilities. Nevertheless, there is significant Russian industrial co-operation with India, involving NPO Mashinostroeniya (the missile), TMKB Soyuz (powerplant), TsAGI (aerodynamic research) and TsIAM (engine tests). The primary aim of working together is to share and reduce the costs of any resulting technologies as it is very likely that the same contractors are working on GZ UR. The incorporation of NPO Mashinostroeniya into the TM Corporation in October 2012 formally noted one of the goals as "mastering hypersonic technologies". One of Russia's advantages in hypersonic testing is easy access to Tu-22M3s as a large, fast launch platform. Currently configured for the LEA project, testing typically involves mounting a hypersonic test vehicle on the forward section of a Kh-22 (AS-4 'Kitchen') missile, which is then launched at speeds of up to Mach 1.7 and altitudes of 14,000 m (46,000 ft). The Kh-22 boosts the test vehicle to a maximum speed of Mach 6.3 and lofts it to more than double the altitude before launching the test element. With sanctions breaking out and relations generally deteriorating between Russia and Western Europe over the conflict in Ukraine, this project may be imperilled, but France is managing to sustain closer ties than most of its neighbours not least because of its commitment to the Mistral amphibious assault ship deal. Meanwhile, Russia has been simultaneously using the Tu-22M3/Kh-22 combination to explore its own hypersonic vehicle research since 2012, when DMZ built four adapted Kh-22s for hypersonic trials.PAK FA strikeBack to topThe exact anti-surface weapons fit of the PAK FA is still closely guarded, but fragments of information point to the aircraft's internal bays hosting the Kh-58UShK (also known as the D7UShK) variant of the AS-11 'Kilter', and Kh-38M izdeliye 65 air-to-surface missiles, K047 (KAB-250L) laser-guided bombs and the izdeliye 180 (K-77M), izdeliye 270, and izdeliye 810 air-to-air missiles. The Kh-58UShK anti-radiation missile developed by the Raduga Design Bureau is a very thorough upgrade of the Kh-58U missile that has been in service since the 1980s, itself an upgrade of the earlier Kh-58 (izdeliye 112). The U in the suffix stems from Uluchshennaya (improved), the K from Kompaktnaya (compact), as the missile is only 4.19 m long rather than the earlier missile's 4.81 m and with folding wings and shortened empennage, the missile will fit into the fighter's internal weapons bay. The Sh element of the suffix indicates that it is fitted with a new broadband (Shirokodyapazonnaya) passive 9B-7735K radar seeker which can encompass all current air-defence radars, according to the developers. The legacy weapon had to be fitted with one of three narrower band seekers matched to likely threats in theatre. The Kh-58UShKE (E for 'export') missile boasts a maximum range of 245 km when launched from 20,000 m at a speed of Mach 1.5, or 76 km from 200 m altitude, hitting a maximum speed of 4,200 km/h as it streaks towards its target. However, that performance envelope is based on underwing carriage and internal stowage may affect this. The Kh-58UShK has undergone tests on the Su-34 tactical bomber and has been in series production since 2012.China is understood to be currently negotiating a large order of Kh-58UShKE missiles, seeking to begin deliveries in 2015. The missile's suitability for internal carriage means it is probably destined for the J-20. The Kh-38M (izdeliye 65) is a universal new-generation air-to-surface missile set to replace the Kh-25M (AS-10 'Karen') and Kh-29 (AS-14 'Kedge'), the most popular current air-to-surface missiles originating in Russia. Initial launches of Kh-38M missiles (albeit with no seeker) were made from an AKU-58 launcher attached to an Su-34 in 2010. According to GLITs, the laser-guided 65ML missile (also known as the Kh-38ML, or MLE for export) completed state testing in 2013 and trials have now begun for a number of variants. However, the latest financial documents from the Azov-based AOMZ Company, which makes the semi-active 65SNL laser seeker for the Kh-38ML, note that the missile's state tests actually slipped through 2014. AOMZ is also designing an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker for another version of the missile Kh-38MT (or MTE for export). Other variants include the Kh-38MA (export MAE) version, fitted with an ARGS-38 active radar seeker and the Kh-38MK (export MKE, K for cluster) anti-tank variant, which delivers a number of independently targeted submunitions to take on multiple armoured vehicle targets. During the cruise stage, all versions of the missile are guided by the Ts-074MD INS with satellite navigation updates.The Kh-38ML is a heavy missile weighing up to 520 kg, up to 250 kg of which is warhead (BS-65F high-explosive/fragmentation or BS-65P penetrating, depending on type). The maximum range is 40 km, which is doubled in the Kh-38MK version. Lightweight missilesZelin asserted that Russian industry is also working on another anti-radiation missile, the Kh-ZRK (Zenitnyi Raketnyi Kompleks - anti-aircraft missile complex). It is still not confirmed exactly what missile this refers to, but Zelin also complained about the lack of funding for "anti-radiation missile for carrier self-defence, including for combat helicopters", which matches the Kh-36P missile, also mentioned within the PAK FA's weapons suite by Sokolovsky. The Kh-36P was a short-range anti-radiation missile with roughly the same footprint as the R-77 air-to-air missile. Zvezda-Strela began development in the early 1990s, before the collapse of the Soviet Union saw the project sequentially suspended and resumed. Its current status is unknown and the missile has not been displayed in public, but it may still be an open requirement. However, another project using elements of the Kh-36P, codenamed LMUR (Lyogkaya Mnogotselevaya Upravlaemaya Raketa - lightweight multi-target guided missile) but also known as izdeliye 70, seems to be faring better. The only known picture of the LMUR dates from 2013, when it was shown with the Mi-28MN attack helicopter, showing a system resembling the current Shturm and Ataka anti-tank missiles. New guided bombsState Scientific and Production Enterprise (GNPP) 'Region', the only company that currently makes guided bombs in Russia, is testing three new designs of 250, 500 and 1,500 kg weapons, the smaller two fitting inside the PAK FA weapons bay. Even smaller bombs are planned, but work has not yet begun and critics have lamented the lack of development of an equivalent to the US' guided small-diameter bomb families. GNPP Region was contracted to work on the KAB-250L (Korrektiruyemaya Aviatsyonnaya Bomba - corrected aerial bomb; L for laser), also known as K047, in April 2007. The KAB-250L features AOMZ's 27NM-G gyro-stabilised laser seeker and a satellite navigation receiver. Test drops were planned from an Su-34 in 2010, but the development deadlines have still not been met, with seeker and flight control system immaturity cited as the main issues causing the delay. A KAB-250 has been seen beneath the wing of an Su-34 at GLITs, but formal testing is only now expected this year or next. Various official documents state that another bomb, the electro-optic (EO)-guided KAB-500M (izdeliye K08), had been undergoing state testing as early as 2012, but it has never been shown publicly. The only open source image attributed to the KAB-500M bomb is a small model displayed at ILA 2000 in Berlin. The largest of the new guided bombs, the 1,500-kg UPAB-1500 can only be carried externally, for example attached to the APU-172-1 launcher on the Su-34 (it is also destined for the Tu-22M3 and Tu-160). It was shown at a closed exhibition at Akhtubinsk in September 2005, fitted with four folding wings, which apparently enable it to reach 70 km when dropped from altitude, in contrast with 20 km for the wingless KAB-1500. UPAB-1500 can be fitted with various seekers, including active radar, to aid accuracy. Upgrading the legacyIn addition to these new systems, Russia is also upgrading the Kh-31, Kh-35 and Kh-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt') large tactical missiles.The Kh-31PM (izdeliye 06), known as the Kh-31PD in its export variant, is a supersonic anti-radiation missile, which entered production in 2012. It has a stretched body measuring 5.34 m (up from the Kh-31P's 4.7 m) to accommodate more propellant in the launch booster and fuel for the cruise motor, increasing range from 110 km to 180-250 km at a speed of Mach 1.5. The missile also features a new digital engine control module and a new broadband passive seeker (in place of the legacy configuration of three interchangeable seekers), and a 110 kg warhead, 23 kg heavier than on the original variant. TM Corporation is also developing the Kh-31AM (Kh-31AD in export form), an anti-shipping spin-off of the Kh-31PM. This missile is fitted with an upgraded U505M active seeker developed by St Petersburg-based Radar MMS. TM Corporation's Obnosov announced the completion of tests of the Kh-31AD earlier this year. Meanwhile, TM Corporation's subsonic Kh-35U missile (izdeliye 07), known as the Kh-35UE in its export version, was launched for the first time in November 2010, using an Su-34 as the host aircraft. Initial tests of the missile were completed in November 2012 and state acceptance tests followed in 2013. Kh-35U retains the external dimensions of the Kh-35, but has a new, much smaller izdeliye 64M turbofan engine enabling it to carry more fuel and doubling the range to 260 km. Performance is enhanced with Radar MMS' new U-502U seeker (although the Gran-K seeker made by Detal is also being tested). It also features a Ts-074U INS and satellite navigation receiver. A final variant, known as the Kh-35UL (Kh-35EUL for export) is a lightweight version developed for carriage by MiG-29K.Raduga Design Bureau's Kh-59M (AS-18 'Kazoo') - also known as izdeliye D9M or 106M - has been in production for three decades and has spawned three new variants that are currently in development.The Kh-59M2 (D9M2, 106M2), being offered for export as Kh-59M2E, has basically the same flight characteristics as the older missiles - a range of 115 km and maximum speed of Mach 0.88 - but introduces an improved seeker (the M has a TV seeker and the M2 a low-light TV package) and adds satellite navigation. This increases launch weight by 30 kg to 960 kg. The Kh-59M2A (export designation Kh-59MK), is an anti-ship variant fitted with Radar MMS' ARGS-59 active radar seeker in lieu of the TV camera. The Kh-59M2A also shuns the legacy launch rocket booster - needed in the Kh-59M/M2 missile due to the limitations of the TV guidance system. The Kh-59M/M2 has a TV seeker, the picture from which is transmitted to the fighter aircraft and used by the second crew member to guide the missile to the target through the command line. To use the Kh-59M missile, the APK-9 video and command transmission pod has to be suspended on the aircraft. To establish a connection for the video transmission just after the launch, the missile is quickly put ahead of the aircraft using a rocket booster. It works for several seconds and "delivers" the missile 1,000 m in front of the aircraft, at the same altitude. Once the video connection is established, the aircraft turns back; the connection is then automatically switched from the front to the rear antenna of the APK-9 control pod. By not using the launch rocket booster space is freed up and weight reduced, enabling larger fuel reserves to be carried for the turbofan cruise engine. This more than doubles the missile's range to 285 km in the export variant. The Kh-59M2A was launched for the first time by an Su-30MK2 in 2004, but state testing was not completed until 2013. Production of both missiles is commencing at the SmAZ plant at Smolensk. An export version Kh-59MK2 fitted with an Otblesk DSMAC system - previously developed for the Kh-555 and Kh-101 strategic cruise missiles - instead of the radar seeker was presented for the first time in 2009. However, the status of that project is unclear and it is known only in the export version, with no apparent domestic market equivalent. Air-to-air missilesNew air-to-air missiles, all developed by Moscow's Vympel, are also being developed under a two-stage programme.Firstly, legacy missile types - the R-74M, R-77-1 and K-37M - are being modernised, while new designs such as the K-74M2, K-77M, izdeliye 270 and izdeliye 810 are being worked on. Only the four new designs are thought to be intended for internal carriage in the PAK FA. The K-74M (izdeliye 750, RVV-MD for export) short-range air-to-air missile finished state acceptance tests on 3 October 2012 and in June the following year, Moscow-based Duks secured an order from the Ministry of Defence for series production of the missile, which transitioned from the 'K' development designation to the R-74M. This is being built in two versions, the R-74MK with a radar proximity fuze and R-74ML with a laser fuze. R-73 (AA-11 'Archer') and R-74 - with both fuze options - are difficult to tell apart, as the redesign that created the R-74M has not altered the external appearance from that of the R-73. The R-74M variants were originally fitted with a dual-band Impuls IIR seeker made by Arsenal in Ukraine, the same company behind the Mayak seeker in the R-73. Arsenal's Impuls is more sensitive than the Mayak and has higher off-boresight visibility of +/-60° rather than the +/-45° offered by the R-73. However, the current disquiet between the countries has rendered this situation more complicated and it is unclear exactly what impact this has had, and what contingencies Russia has in place. As of mid-2014, the Karfagen seeker from Russia's AOMZ company was not yet ready for production. Stepping up to the beyond-visual range domain, the R-77-1 (izdeliye 170-1 or RVV-SD for export) medium-range missile has refined aerodynamics over the legacy R-77 version, with a more streamlined nose cone and hidden control fin fittings. Beneath the skin, the missile's software control system has been updated and the 9B-1348-1 (izdeliye 50-1) radar seeker has a more powerful transmitter and more sensitive receiver. The designers claim that taken together, these performance and kinematic improvements have extended the missile's range by 30 km to 110 km and increased its g -loading by about one third. The K-77-1 missile - which is manufactured by Vympel - was launched for the first time from an Su-27SM(3) fighter in September 2010. Next up the scale is the heavy, long-range K-37M (izdeliye 610M), also known as the RVV-BD, which passed its Russian acceptance evaluations in early 2014. This has been a long time coming, as it is nearly 21 years since the original version K-37 was first launched from a MiG-31M, knocking down an aerial target 228 km away in August 1993. Development resumed in the beginning of the new millennium with the improved K-37M. This was specifically developed for the enhanced MiG-31BM interceptor, but Vympel asserts that it is a universal missile for the full range of Russian fighters - current marketing data shows the missile being launched by a MiG-35 lightweight fighter. The RVV-BD export version reportedly has the internal designation izdeliye 620 and is a variant of the K-37M missile, albeit using a different warhead and software (the Russian K-37M can be armed with a nuclear warhead). Vympel claims a 200 km maximum range in head-on engagements against "some types of targets", which is rather nebulous but is understood to mean against large aircraft. The K-37M (now entering production as the R-73M) is powered by a dual-mode solid-propellant rocket motor and features an MFBU-610MSh Shayba dual-band ( X- and Ku-band) active radar seeker developed by Agat and built by Detal. Turning back to the PAK FA, progress is being made on the compact new short-range K-74M2 (izdeliye 760) missile intended for the aircraft's small outer weapons bays, in a system reminiscent of the long-abandoned K-30 (izdeliye 300) missile. The K-74M2 is expected to be fitted with Azov AOMZ's new Karfagen-760 (Carthage) seeker, backed up by an inertial flight-control system and course-correction datalink, and powered by an improved rocket motor. The missile has yet to be seen in public and its exact development status is unclear, with some sources saying that the Karfagen-760 seeker is still being built and that the missile is being tested with a provisional seeker fit. A little more detail is known of the K-77M (izdeliye 180) medium-range AAM. Visually, it differs from the R-77-1 because it swaps that missile's unusual folding lattice tail fins for more conventional solid control surfaces. Its active radar seeker is made by Istok and, together with a new double-impulse, solid-propellant motor (in place of the R-77's single-impulse motor) helps extend the missile's operating envelope from the R-77's 16 km out to 25 km. The new motor contains more propellant and has an adjustable time interval between the two burns. K-77M also features a new course-correction datalink with a much shorter relay time and what the developer describes as a more precise inertial control system, along with more powerful batteries. Vympel has also been working for several years on a new izdeliye 270 medium-range AAM as a K-77M follow-on, but virtually no details have been confirmed beyond that. Russia also remains wedded to the concept of very long range interceptions and the izdeliye 610M missile forms the basis for the new izdeliye 810. The airframe has been revised for internal carriage and fitted with a dual-impulse motor, which the developers claim should enable the missile to reach targets out to extremely long ranges - circa 300 km. Guidance is provided by a new MFBU-810 broadband passive/active radar seeker.