UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Tactical Missile Industry - Introduction

During the Cold War, the Ministry of the Aviation Industry developed missiles for PVO (air defense) and PRO (missile defense) systems and for arming airplanes, and the customers were, respectively, the PVO and VVS Commanders-in-Chief. Each of the ministries had its own internal cooperative network for the development of missile guidance and control systems.

Short-range tactical missiles for land-based troops were developed in the Ministry of the Defense Industry (MOP) system. The main developer of these missiles was the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the chief designer of which was Aleksandr Nadiradze, and the main customer was the Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces.

In the prewar years, most of the work on missile issues was canceled for various reasons, and those that remained, subordinated to the interests of the military - in full accordance with the requirements of the moment. And not in vain: the legendary Guards "Katyusha" was the best proof of that.

Despite the fact that the conception of the winged missile design and mission was formulated before World War I, only military operations during World War II between 1939 and 1945 showed the necessity of jets and tactical winged missiles. USSR Council of Ministers Decree No. 1017-419, of 13 May 1946, designated as the head ministries for the development and production of reactive armaments:

  1. Ministry of Armaments — for missiles with liquid-propellant rocket engines;
  2. Ministry of Agricultural Machine Building — for missiles with solid-propellant rocket engines;
  3. Ministry of Aviation Industry — for cruise missiles.
The following scientific-research institutes, design bureaus, and test ranges for reactive technology were to be created:
  1. Ministry of Armaments — Scientific-Research Institute of Reactive Armaments and Design Bureau using the facilities of Factory No. 88, taking all its other programs and distributing them among the other Ministry of Armaments factories. This organization eventually became Scientific-Research Institute No. 88 (NII-88), which was the seed of the Soviet missile and space industry.
  2. Ministry of Agricultural Machine Building — Scientific-Research Institute of Solid-propellant Reactive Projectiles using the facilities of State Central Design Bureau No. 1 (GTsKB-1), a design bureau using the facilities of the Ministry of Aviation Industry NII-1 Branch No. 2, and the Scientific-Research Test Range for Reactive Projectiles using the facilities of the Sofrinsk Test Range. GTsKB—Gosudarstvennoye tsentralnoye konstruktorskoye byuro. GTsKB-1 later became NII-1, and finally the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, the developer of modern-day Russian mobile ICBMs such as the Topol. The NII-1 Branch No. 2 was later successively known as KB-2 and GSNII-642. Currently, it is known as GNIP OKB Vympel and develops ground and launch equipment for the Russian space program.
  3. Ministry of Chemical Industry — Scientific-Research Institute of Chemicals and Propellants for Rocket Engines;
  4. Ministry of Electrical Industry — Scientific-Research Institute with a design bureau for radio and electronic control instruments for long-range and surface-to-air missiles using the facilities of the NII-20 telemetry laboratory and Factory No. 1. Factory No. 1 of the Ministry of Armed Forces will be transferred to the Ministry of Electrical Industry so that the responsibility for this factory’s program will rest with the Ministry of the Electrical Industry;
  5. USSR Armed Forces Ministry—GAU Scientific-Research Reactive Institute and State Central Test Range for Reactive Technology for all of the ministries involved with reactive armaments.

Stalin, to whom Malenkov reported, read and signed the draft without comments. The long and comprehensive document was essentially a strategic decision. In terms of its historic significance, it was comparable to the decree on the nuclear problem that preceded it.


Tactical Missile Chief Designers

BisnovatMatus Ruvimovich
LyapinAndrei Leonidovich
Nepobedimy Sergei Pavlovich
ShavyrinBoris Ivanovich
TizyakovAlexander Ivanovich
Toropov Ivan Ivanovich
In 1955 Plant #455, later merged into Zvezda-Strela, one of the leading weaponry suppliers for the air force, received the government order on development of “air-to-air” missile systems. Specialists of the enterprise began development of the missiles.

One of the basic directions of missiles’ development was designing of a modular “air-to-surface” missile. The necessity of such a missile was connected with the world missile development. With the rapid growth of tactical weaponry market, the number of missile types also increased. In this context there was a need in constant production expansion and, correspondingly, sound investments.

A number of organizations were involved in developing the main air-to-air missile systems. Solid-propellant engines for almost all aircraft missiles were created in KB-2 of Plant No. 81 under the leadership of I.I. Kartukova (now - Design Bureau Iskra). Thermal (infrared) homing heads for air-to-air missiles were developed mainly at TsKB-589 (now NPO Geofizika) by the team of D.M. Khorola, as well as at the Kiev plant "Arsenal" of the Ministry of Defense Industry.

The formation of organizations - developers of radar homing heads for air-to-air missiles has gone through several stages. In accordance with the Decree of the Council of Ministers No. LOZ-419 of May 43, 1946, in the Ministry of Electrical Industry, on the basis of the telemechanics laboratory of NII-20 and plant No. 1, the "Research Institute with a Design Bureau for Radio and Electrical Devices for Control of Long-Range and Anti-Aircraft Missiles" , designated NII-885.

At the initial stage of the development of domestic rocketry, it was developing control systems for practically all classes of cruise and ballistic missiles. In the mid-fifties, NII-648 (now NII "Kulon") emerged from it, in which a team headed by N.A. Viktorov developed most of the GOS created before the mid-sixties.

In the post-war decade, most aircraft radars were created at NII-17 of the Minaviaprom. In the mid-fifties, the teams of the NII-339 (OKI5-339), which continued to work on aircraft radars, and OKB-15, which focused on the creation of the Kub anti-aircraft missile system, emerged from NII-17. From the beginning of the next decade, NII-339 (now NPO Phazotron-NIIR) joined the development of the GOS for air-to-air missiles, where the team of E.N. Genishty. At the end of the sixties, the development of the homing head for the K-33 rocket was entrusted to the team of A.K. Akopyan in OKB-15 (now - NPO "Fazotron-NII GG). Since 1986, the developers of the GOS from" Fazatron - NIIR "and from" Fazatron-NIIP "have been merged into a single independent organization - NPO Agat, headed by E. Genishtoi, and then the Agat Research Institute headed by A.K. Hakobyan.

Many domestic air-to-air missiles were produced in two versions - with thermal and radar (so-called "radio") homing heads. Semi-active radar seeker, providing missile guidance on the signal reflected from the target radiation of the aircraft radar, are more tied to the onboard radio electronics of the carrier aircraft than passive thermal homing heads operating on infrared radiation from the heated surfaces of the target or the gas jet flowing from the nozzle of its engine. Therefore, with rare exceptions, the creation of the "thermal" version of the rocket was completed much earlier than the "radio" version, the development of which required the involvement of a model of a new aircraft radar, which was brought to an operational state.

At the close of 1978, after the Government decree issue, Kaliningrad production association accomplished works on development of this missile. The main principles, inherent in the "ideology" of its development were replacement of the three manufacturing missile Kh-23M, Kh-25 and Kh-27 by one type with changeable guidance systems and tahe possibility to upgrade this type of tactical weaponry, equipping it with new types of warheads and guidance systems.

The development of a modular missile Kh-25M had to make it possible to decrease the number of “air-to-surface” missile types, reduce expenses and the time, taken for the development of new missile models, raise their reliability and make missiles’ operation easier.

As a result, three variants of Kh-25M modular missile were developed:

  1. Kh-25MP - anti-radar missile with two modules of passive radar homing head, operating in various ranges;
  2. Kh-25ML – multi-purpose missile with laser seeker;
  3. Kh-25MR – multi-purpose missile with radar guidance system.

On May 9, 2004 the President of the Russian Federation signed a decree #591 on development Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC. As a result the Corporation totally comprised 14 enterprises of the Russian Defense Industry. Besides, the decree defined the key directions of the Corporation’s activities. The latter include manufacturing and testing, post-sale servicing and license production of aircraft high-precision “air-to-surface” and “air-to-air” weaponry as well as standardized naval weaponry, equipped with them.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:24:06 ZULU