Russia Upgrades Missiles and Guided Bombs

 - September 20, 2013, 11:20 AM
Russia’s Tactical Missile Corp. displayed this 250-kg ‘smart’ bomb with thermal imaging guidance at the recent Moscow Air Show. (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)

A surface-to-air version of the Vympel R-77 AAM was displayed at the recent MAKS 2013 Moscow Air Show. The SAM system was developed jointly by Almaz-Antei and Tactical Missile Corp. (Russian acronym TRV). Housed in a container weighing 360 pounds, the weapon has a firing range greater than 10 miles and a ceiling of more than 30,000 feet. “A number of foreign customers have repeatedly asked us for this application of the missile,” said Boris Obnosov, TRV general director.

TRV specializes in cruise missiles with ranges up to 300 miles, and has a workforce of 40,000 serving in 25 different enterprises. The corporation’s rate of production will increase “by two to three times over the next five years” and “far more” by 2020, Obnosov said. The production increase is needed to support Russian armed forces’ modernization programs, with large Soviet stockpiles having been depleted by expiring lifetimes of legacy missile types.

Since MAKS 2011, TRV has completed state acceptance trials on “dozens” of new and modified missile types, Obnosov said. These have recently included the latest Kh-31XAD/PD version of the air-to-surface missile series. In addition, TRV has made “much progress” with new and reworked models of 250-kg, 500-kg and 1,500-kg guided bombs, Obnosov added. “These can come with thermal imagers, active radar heads and satellite [meaning Glonass/GPS] guidance….we have just completed work on the satellite weapon,” he said. TRV continues to use turbojet engines from Ukrainian supplier Motor-Sich, which Obnosov described as “a reliable partner.” However, TRV is increasingly using Russian-made engines from NPO Saturn, including the newest Item 64. One of its applications is the extended-range Kh-35U anti-ship missile.

Development of next-generation hypersonic flying vehicles is a priority for TRV. “We are talking about Mach number over 4.5, with incremental increase in future to 6 to 7 and then over to 10 to 12. I am for expansion of international cooperation in that area as it will be far more difficult for a single country to develop the new technology,” Obnosov said. He named France, India and China among those countries with which TRV cooperates in development of new weapons systems.