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Uragan-5B / Smerch / Smerch-A Radars

overscan (PaulMM)

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Uragan-5B
Uragan-5B-80 RP-S /RP-28 Smerch [BIG NOSE]RP-SM Smerch-M
RP-25 / Smerch-A / Izdeliye 720 [FOX FIRE]

The MiG-25 used the RP-25 "Smerch-A" radar which has an interesting history. It goes back to 1954 and the Urugan-5 system, the first fully integrated and automated air defence system which was intended to counter new threats such as the B-58 Hustler. It combined multiple ground based radars and command datalinks with and an onboard radar able to detect bombers at least 25km away and capable of head-on engagements. NIIP's (Designer: F F Volkov) "Uragan-5B" radar was a major improvement on his earlier twin antenna Almaz design ("Uragan-1") and was intended to equip Mikoyan (I-75, Ye-150/152) and Sukhoi (T-37) heavy interceptors along with with K-6/K-7 (later, K-8/K-9-155/K-9-51) AAMs.

Uragan-5B was far in advance of contemporary Soviet radars, and implemented many advances in electronics and radar systems, including semi-conductors (116 vacuum tubes, 280 semi-conductor elements). It used a cassegrain antenna. It was designed as a monoblock, which slid into the nose of the aircraft and easily removed for maintenance. It was a real breakthrough in Soviet aircraft radar design. With smaller size and weight (220kg) than Almaz, it had greater jamming resistance and reliability, and detected bombers at 30km and reliably tracked them at 20km.

However slow progress with the heavy fighters, (both eventually cancelled), Uragan-5, and rapid advances in technology, meant new longer range missiles were now in development (K-80) which needed longer range radars.

NIIP by this time were redirected to SAM radar development so in 1958 Volkov was moved to OKB-339 (Phazotron) where he continued work on Uragan derivatives. Uragan-5B-80 was a major redesign for the K-80 missile, and added a new inverse cassegrain antenna with much improved characteristics (originally designed by NII-17). Detection range was increased to more than 50km and tracking range to 30-40km. This radar design was put into production for the Tu-128 as RP-S "Smerch" [BIG NOSE]

As soon as Smerch entered testing in the early 1960s Volkov embarked on another new version. RP-SA "Smerch-A" [FOX FIRE] increased detection range to 90-100km and tracking range to 50-70km. Initially intended for the Tu-128A which did not get built, it ended up equipping the MiG-25P interceptor and was retrofitted to the Tu-128 (as RP-SM) later on.

Smerch-A weighed about 500kg, was a low PRF pulse radar with inverse cassegrain antenna. It was the ultimate development of a family of radars started in 1954. A good comparison would be the F-4D's APQ-109 radar.

The Smerch-A1 as fitted to the MiG-25 prototypes introduced a second, secret operating wavelength of 2cm in addition to the standard 3cm to ensure the radar would function even in a heavy ECM environment. This was strictly prohibited from use in peacetime. By the time it entered production, improvements in jamming resistance and low-level clutter tolerance had been achieved. Smerch-A2 / Izdeliye 720M gave improved reliability, and was the standard production radar, and Smerch-A3 more improvements, which were fitted to later model MiG-25Ps as they rolled off the production line.

Around 1974 a developed "Smerch-A4" was proposed for the MiG-25-40M with lookdown-shootdown capability and R-40M missiles, but given that the MiG-31 prototype was close to first flight with the revolutionary Zaslon radar further MiG-25 developments were canned. Additionally the Sapfir-23 radar had a more promising method of clutter rejection.

N005 / Sapfir-25 / RP-25MN / S-500 [HIGH LARK]

Sapfir-25 was developed by a team under Kirpichev as a very high priority task after the defection of Viktor Belenko to Japan in 1976 compromised the MiG-25's radar making it highly vulnerable to western ECM. For speed of development, an existing radar had to be selected as the base, and the MiG-23ML's N003 radar, with its lookdown capability, was the obvious choice. Changes included the use of a larger antenna.

Detection range in lookup mode against a Tu-16 was 105-115km head-on. Tracking range against the same target was about 75-80km. Lookdown mode reduced these ranges to 27-30km and 22-25km respectively.

Detection range against a MiG-21 in lookup mode was 70km head-on, while tracking range was about 50-60km.

Weight was 337kg. It used an AVM-25 analog computer.

Compared to Smerch-A it could engage faster targets at higher altitudes, featured greater search and tracking range, provided lookdown/shootdown capability and close combat modes. It had 30° (±15deg) and 60° (±30 deg) azimuth search patterns, ±14° in elevation. It also had better anti-jamming protection. Azimuth scanning limits were slightly reduced to ±56° , elevation to +52/-42° , by the twist-cassegrain antenna design.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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RP-S Smerch
Detection range, Tu-16, 60% probability of detection : not less than 50km
Lock-on range, Tu-16, 90% probability: not less than 35-45km
Detection range: MiG-19, 30-45km
Lock-on range, MiG-19, 22-32km


Source: Tupolev Tu-128 "Fiddler" by Sergei Burdin, Nikolai Popov & Alan Dawes
 

bigron427

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I am closely reading the same book right now. I had no idea until seeing the photo posted above just how big the antenna was for the Smerch!

One question that I am unclear on (and at this point I am only halfway through the book): Was the Smerch-A retrofitted to modified Tu-128M aircraft in the late 1970s? The book seems to emphasize better cooling and upgraded missiles for low-altitude operation, but how did the upgraded Smerch unit itself differ? It's probably just something very obvious that I have missed, but figured that you are the guy to ask as I am genuinely curious.

On a side note, I am extremely impressed so far with the new Tu-128 book!
 

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