Drone swarm can exchange information and distribute targets

TASS Russian News Agency | Sep 22, 2022 at 5:18 PM

MOSCOW, September 22. /TASS-DEFENSE/. Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV) is a major Russian designer and producer of airborne, seaborne and ground-based missiles, as well as space equipment. Its products are engaged in the Russian operation in Ukraine. Corporation CEO Boris Obnosov told TASS about the capabilities of available missiles and new designs.

Drone weapons

The KTRV has been long designing small guided weapons for unmanned aerial vehicles and frontline aircraft. Obnosov cited Kh-MD-E short-range homing missile as an example. The R&D is at the stage of the technical project, which is to be completed shortly. Several prototypes have been produced and the missile was successfully test fired by drones.

Army-2022 forum featured a 110-kg munition for drones and frontline aircraft. Obnosov said the corporation created it by the fire-and-forget principle and focuses on 50-100-kg caliber.

Smart missiles

The KTRV is designing smart third-generation missiles. Obnosov said it is suffice to put in target coordinates and location area before the launch, as well as target image and terrain relief.

Kh-38MLE, Kh-38MTE, Kh-59MK2, Kh-35UE missiles belong to third-generation guided weapons and can independently search for and detect targets. The corporation will develop missiles with artificial intelligence that can make prudent decisions in a complicated situation, Obnosov said.

"If our missile flies several thousand kilometers and hits a circle with a 10-meter radius, it makes it clear that it has high-tech onboard controls and final guidance to say nothing about the engine and aerodynamics. The intellectual missile has to hit the target at the assigned distance," he said.

All KTRV products are intellectual. Smart air bombs, air-to-air, air-to-surface and air-to warship missiles can defend themselves against hostile weapons, bypass obstacles, hide in terrain folds, make loops and continue flight to the target. Obnosov said missiles can attack in a swarm and exchange information and distribute targets. The KTRV and its competitors are doing the design.

Missile defense is constantly upgraded and smart missiles of the end of the last century can no longer cope with it.

"There is no necessity to develop if a missile successfully breaks through the air defense and target protection weapons. However, both are upgraded and we also develop. The KTRV closely cooperates with Almaz-Antey Concern, which deals with missile defense. The interaction is complementary for both," Obnosov said.

Modern trends

The KTRV uses modular design for modern tactical and operational missiles. Obnosov cited Kh-25M missile as an example, which was created in 1980s. It is divided into functionally separate modules in the form of compartments. The united modules are common for all missile options and are called the basic module. If a replaceable module complements it, an option of the family of modular missiles appears.

The design of modular Kh-38ME missile family was completed in 2010s. Three modules create the basic module while the homing warhead and payload are replaceable. Kh-MD-E missile also has the modular design. It is converted into a guided air bomb by the replacement of the engine module with additional combat payload.

Another trend is miniature size. "An air or sea carrier can have more small and light missiles. At the same time, one such missile fulfils the mission of the predecessor, which is five times heavier. It is a breakthrough in the sphere, which became possible due to progress in all directions of missile construction," Obnosov said.

The KTRV is also increasing the range of missiles, which needs better aerodynamics and new fuel- efficient engines.

New generation

Obnosov said Kh-69 missile was for the first time displayed at Army-2022 forum and enjoys a major export potential. It is a new-generation airborne multirole low-signature precision cruise missile. It is the first missile that is carried in internal compartments and has maximum allowable characteristics for export.

Kh-69 keeps the low signature of the carrier that accommodates more missiles. It is precise, jam-resistant and carries an effective 310-kg warhead. The compact missile has a low signature due to new materials. Kh-69 has a range of 290 km. The missile has a parallelepided shape, which helps transport it and load the maximum number into internal compartments.

Kh-38ME multirole missiles fully meet the requirements of fifth-generation jets. They can be carried inside the fuselage and on outside suspension. They enjoy third-generation intelligence and can lock on the target in flight.

"The comparative analysis with foreign multirole tactical air-to-surface missiles shows that Kh-38ME missiles are very efficient," Obnosov said.

Antiradar missiles

In modern warfare, the whole range of weapons can be engaged only after the hostile air defense is suppressed. Antiradar missiles play a decisive role in that, Obnosov said.

He cited Kh-31P missile as an example. It excellently performed during the 2008 war in Georgia. However, it needed to know the frequency of hostile air defense. Upgraded Kh-31PD has the titanium body identical to Kh-31P, but is armed with a homing warhead that detects the frequencies of all existing and prospective radars. The new missile has a range of 250 km, which is twice as much as the predecessor has. "Kh-31PD is unprecedented in speed and distance characteristics," Obnosov said.

Kh-58UShKE missile fulfils similar missions. It has a shorter body, foldable wing consoles and fins, a broadband passive radar homing warhead, platformless inertial navigation and guidance system. Kh-58UShKE can be carried in internal compartments of operational and tactical aircraft.