Yevgeny PIGIN, Vladimir KAPUSTIN, Leonid BASHKIROV
The Tikhomirov Instrument-Making Research Institute (Russian acronym NI1P), a joint-stock company based in Zhukovsky near Moscow, is Russia's leading developer of stores management systems for fighters and medium-range air defense (AD) missile systems for army air defense. NIIP's
shareholders are the Almaz-Antey AD Concern (51 percent of shares) and the Rostekhnologii State Corporation (49 percent).
NIIP stores management systems for Su-27, Su-33, MiG-31, Su-30 fighters and all their versions, as well as Kub- and Buk-series AD missile systems are well known
worldwide. The Kub (NATO reporting name SA-6) mobile medium-range AD missile system adopted in 1967, was the institute's first weapon system designed to protect ground troops from air attacks. It
comprised two combat assets: an acquisition and guidance vehicle (AGV), and four SP launchers. Its export version, dubbed Kvadrat, was successfully used in many local conflicts throughout the 1970s-1990s. As regards Kvadrat's lethality, it will suffice to recall that its unique record set in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War remains unbroken to date: 75 enemy warplanes downed with a total of 95 missiles. The Kub was an open architecture system facilitating its further upgrades. In 1966-1981, its seven modifications were developed and put into service. Despite its venerable age, the Kvadrat is still operational in many countries worldwide, and NI1P is currently upgrading the system upon several orders.
In the mid-1960s, NIIP began developing a new-generation Buk-series medium-range air defense (MEDRAD) system. The Buk series production was launched in 1980, and its improved version, the Buk-Ml (NATO reporting name SA-11), in 1985. The primary manufacturer of NIIP AD missile systems was the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant (Russian acronym UMZ), and the primary developer and manufacturer of surface-to-air missiles (SAM) was the Dolgoprudny Research and Production Enterprise JSC, which are part of the Almaz-Antey AD Concern. Unlike the single-channel Kub comprising two combat assets (AGV and launchers), the Buk incorporates a command & control post (CCP), a target acquisition radar (TAR), up to six self-propelled firing vehicles (SPFVs), and the same number of launcher/loaders (LLs) allowing simultaneous engagement of up to six targets flying from various directions and at different altitudes. A new version of this second-generation AD missile system, the Buk-Ml-2 able to engage a wider range of targets including tactical ballistic missiles, surface and ground radar-contrast targets, entered service in 1998.
The architecture of air defense missile systems is governed by several factors, largely by the requirements for their fighting and tactical characteristics. At the same time, fighting characteristics of MEDRAD systems always dictate the characteristics of their assets but do not determine their configuration. The configuration of army air defense
weapons depends on a country's military-geographic position, general state of its technology and armament, extent of automated control systems' branching in the air defense system, and theater-level air defense system organization.
Therefore, the organization and architecture of MEDRAD systems can be confined to the following types:
Type I consisting of:
• own target acquisition sensors linked to a higher ACS;
• CCP (command & control post);
• missile guidance radars comprising target tracking and illumination functions in semiactive homing;
• launchers with a load of SAMs. This type qf AD missile systems
includes the Advanced Hawk (US),
Norway), Bloodhound ( UK), Kub and Buk ( ), etc. Russia
Type II is identical in configuration to Type I, but its AD missile systems generally lack own surveillance sensors, whilst air target data comes on-line from a higher ACS. Such AD missile systems primarily include the Patriot, especially its first version.
Type III includes AD missile systems of the following configuration:
• multifunction radars (MFR) handling target detection and tracking, missile guidance at the initial phase of flight (inertial guidance with radio updating);
• CCP providing communications between the MFR and launchers;
• launchers with a load of active homing SAMs.
Such AD missile systems include the EUROSAM, TLVS, NOSAMS, etc.
In our view, the structure of Type I AD missile systems is relevant and promising. It is this structure that has also been selected for a third-generation MEDRAD system, the Buk-M2E, capable of engaging strategic and tactical aircraft, tactical
ballistic missiles, cruise and air-launched missiles, helicopters, including hovering ones, in heavy ECM and enemy fire environments.
A phased-array radar used in the Buk-M2E has allowed the SPFV to simultaneously engage four targets, while the whole AD missile system can handle 24 targets. An original design of the system's illumination and guidance radar with its antenna raised to a height of
21 m has extended the acquisition range of targets flying at extremely low altitudes.
The Buk-M2E provides:
• reliable air defense of troops in various conditions and kinds of warfare as well as that of vital administrative and industrial assets, with simultaneous engagement of up to 24 targets flying from any directions;
• high immunity in heavy ECM environments;
• high adaptability to integration into various groupings;
• effective protection from precision-guided weapons;
• all-weather capability, high mobility, high cross-country capacity, short deployment/closure time;
• operability in diverse climates;
• autonomous operation capability;
• maintenance-free missile operation within 10 years.
The Buk-M2E AD missile system comprises combat assets and support & repair facilities.
• a multimode adaptive radar/optical armament control system operating in radar, infrared and
visible bands that ensures high immunity and survivability in heavy ECM and enemy fire environments, involving ECM equipment and HARM type antiradar missiles, as well as reliable operational use of the AD missile system;
• high firing rate due to short reaction time and availability of a multichannel control system operating in a wide sector;
• tail-chase engagement capabili-
ty expanding the impact depth and fighting capabilities of the AD missile system against piloted aircraft and cruise missiles by 1.5 times;
• autonomous operation capability due to its SPFV carrying both target detection and tracking aids and weapons;
• modular configuration allowing the development of its various versions around the baseline AD missile system.
The SPFV is intended to engage a wide spectrum of various air targets, as well as surface and ground radar-contrast targets.
The SPFV's basic features include autonomous operational use; an immune multiband radar/optical control system; all-weather capability; automated mode of operations; simultaneous engagement of four targets; coordination of actions within the AD missile system; crew protection against bullets and splinters.
The AD missile system can be mounted on soft-skin vehicles and used as a powerful mobile air defense weapon with the Airborne Troops and also on wheeled and tracked chassis in the Air Force and Land Forces' air defense formations.
The Buk-M2E is comparable to its foreign counterparts in terms of basic performance and surpasses them in some characteristics.
Its constant combat readiness is ensured by a branched functional checkout system allowing fault location to a replacement unit (plug-in module) and repair, including in combat conditions.
Forecasting warfare scenarios involving air defense missile groupings in possible conflicts suggests that developed countries will use recent-generation perfect stealthy air-launched and missile strike weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles, precision-guided low-signature weapons to deliver massive missile and air strikes, while the air strikes will be covered by heavy active jamming. In this context, it can be expected that further upgrades of MEDRAD systems - and the Buk-M2E open architecture offers such an opportunity -will proceed in the following areas:
• introduction of an active seeker surface-to-air missile into the Type II MEDRAD system;
• use of passive target acquisition and tracking systems (infrared radar, passive radar, TV optical sight with a night vision device) in combat assets of MEDRAD systems;
• integration of passive individual protection systems against precision-guided weapons into the combat assets of MEDRAD systems;
• use of recent computer technology achievements including an AI system;• integration of MEDRAD systems' combat assets with those of SHORAD and LORAD systems.
-> Yevgeny PIGIN - Chief Designer of the AD
-> Vladimir KAPUSTIN - Deputy Director General
of the Tikhomirov Instrument-Making Research