9K53 Tactical Rocket-Helicopter Complex
The development of these ideas in the Soviet Union first led to the emergence of a mobile technical base on the basis of a helicopter, and then launched the 9K53 Luna-MV missile complex project. In this project, several new and original ideas were implemented, which could significantly increase the potential of the complex.
In 1960, its first flight was made by the Mi-6PRTBV helicopter - "Helicopter-type mobile missile-technical base". A standard helicopter received a set of various equipment, through which it could transport and serve missiles of various types used by several complexes. Such a mobile base could transport missiles and warheads, as well as carry out certain operations to prepare them for use. Nevertheless, the rocket could be placed in the helicopter's cargo compartment only on a transport trolley, and the launcher should be moved separately: it was too large and heavy for the Mi-6. Due to this and some other reasons, Mi-6PRTBV helicopters did not go into series.
With all its advantages, the helicopter-type technical base had a characteristic drawback in the form of the impossibility of transporting the entire missile system as a whole. At the same time, the air transport complex was of great interest to the troops, since it could seriously increase their strike potential. As a result, a proposal was made to develop a promising tactical complex with the required shooting characteristics and the minimum possible dimensions that would allow it to be transported by helicopters.
As a basis for a prospective missile system, it was proposed to use the 9K52 Luna-M complex developed at the time. He planned to borrow a rocket, some units of a launcher, etc. The self-propelled launcher had to be developed from scratch, taking into account the requirements for dimensions and weight. From the point of view of the weapons used, the prospective missile system was to become the further development of the existing Luna-M system. As a result, the project received the designations 9K53 and "Luna-MV". The letter "V" in the title meant "helicopter".
To work together with advanced missile systems, it was necessary to create a new modification of the helicopter, which was called the Mi-6RVK - "Rocket-Helicopter Complex". The purpose of this machine was to transport self-propelled launchers with missiles and their maintenance in various conditions and at different stages of combat operations. Also, the possibility of creating a similar modification of the Mi-10 helicopter was under consideration.
The design of the launcher for the Luna-MV complex began in late March 1961. In February of the following year, a resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR on the commencement of a full-fledged development of a new project was issued. This document determined the final composition of the means of the missile and helicopter complex, and also introduced the designation of its new elements. In accordance with the decree, the main developer of the 9K53 system was NII-1 (now the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering), which has already developed several missile systems, the design of the launcher was entrusted to the Barrikady plant (Volgograd), and OKB-329 was to submit a draft revision of the existing helicopter.
The main element of the missile system was to be a new type of launcher. This product in terms of its dimensions and curb weight should be in accordance with the capabilities of the Mi-6 helicopter. We will remind, the helicopter of this type could transport in a cabin no more than 12 tons of cargo. The cargo compartment had a length of 12 m, a width of 2.5 m and a height of 2.65 m. Thus, the use of finished equipment was not possible, and it required the creation of a new self-propelled platform with a launcher. The project of the self-propelled launcher for the Luna-MV complex received the working designation Br-257. Later, he was assigned an additional index 9P114.
The restrictions imposed by the size of the cargo cabin of the Mi-6 helicopter forced the specialists of the Barrikady enterprise to develop a completely new design of a self-propelled machine carrying a missile launcher. It was proposed to create a special wheeled car with a biaxial chassis, which has a specific layout. To meet existing requirements, it was necessary to minimize the dimensions of the product, above all its height. At the same time, the chassis should be equipped with the whole set of necessary equipment.
According to available data, the original version of the Br-257 machine was initially created, outwardly and remotely resembling trucks. He had to have a relatively wide cargo platform and a biaxial chassis. In front of the machine, it was proposed to place a rotating installation with two wheels having the smallest possible gauge. This system was to be used as a leading and controlled axis. Such a prototype Br-257 / 9P114 had an onboard body and could be equipped with a tent.
The tests of the first experimental sample showed that the project needed serious processing. The result of the continuation of the design work was the appearance of the second version of Br-257, which was able to obtain the required units in the form of a launcher, etc. To do this, the designers had to use a new version of the overall layout of the machine, which further reduced the dimensions.
The basis of the 9P114 was a two-axle wheeled platform with a characteristic layout. In the front of the hull, behind the curved frontal part, there was a small cabin with crew places. To reduce the size of the self-propelled launcher had an open cabin, not equipped with even a windshield. The driver's seat was placed near the left side of the car, next to the launcher and rocket. Behind this control room was a compartment for the main equipment, including the power unit and the main hydraulics. In the back of the body there were provided fixings for the guide. A characteristic feature of Br-257 in the first version was a beveled shape of the rear part, which performed the functions of the wings.
In the stern of the machine 9P114 / Br-257 there were fastenings for the rocking launcher and some other special equipment. For example, jacks were placed there to stabilize the launcher during the shooting. The design of the guide with some modifications was borrowed from the previous project 9K52. For installation on a new chassis, the beam guide has been refined: first of all, its length has decreased. In addition, some of the fasteners and the lifting system were changed to the combat position. In the transport position, the guide was placed in the corresponding trough in the roof of the machine.
The launcher was offered to equip the M-407 gasoline engine with a capacity of 45 hp, borrowed from the serial machines of the Moskvich brand. With the help of such a power plant machine 9P114 could move at a speed of up to 8 km / h. In view of the small volume of fuel tanks, the power reserve did not exceed 45 km. Such characteristics allowed the transfer of the combat vehicle for short distances after unloading from a military transport helicopter. If necessary, the launcher could perform the functions of a towed transporter and be moved by a separate tractor. In this case, the towing speed with the rocket should not exceed 10 km/h.
The total length of the self-propelled launcher, taking into account the guide, was 8.95 m. The width was 2.43 m, its own height was 1.535 m. The curb weight of the product was 4.5 tons. The mass with the rocket was up to 7.5 tons. Thanks to such overall and weight characteristics, the 9P114 / Br-257 could be transported by the existing Mi-6 helicopters inside the cargo cabin.
The project 9K53 Luna-MV did not foresee the development of a new ballistic missile. As a weapon, the new complex was to use the products of the existing 9M21 model with all available types of head parts. 9M21 was an uncontrolled single-stage ballistic missile with stabilization in flight due to rotation around the longitudinal axis. The range of fire could vary from 12 to 68 km.
The 9M21 missile had a fairly simple design. In the assembled combat-ready form it consisted of a head unit with combat equipment, a rotation motor for preliminary propulsion and a marching engine. The main units were placed inside a cylindrical body with a diameter of 544 mm. The length of the early modifications of the rocket was 8.96 m. The tail of the X-shaped structure had a span of 1.7 m.
Behind the head part, the solid rocket engine was placed in the rocket body with nozzles installed at an angle to the axis of the product. His task was to promote the missile around the longitudinal axis immediately after the descent from the guide. The central and tail sections of the hull were given under the propulsion engine. Both engines used solid fuel. Its total stock was 1080 kg. During the flight, the propulsion engine allowed the rocket to develop a speed of up to 1200 m/s.
The 9M21 missile could carry combat units of several types. Two variants of special head parts with a charge of up to 250 kt were proposed. Also, high explosive-cumulative, high-explosive fragmentation, cassette and other variants of combat units were developed. The type of the used warhead was determined in accordance with the assigned combat mission.
The design of the launcher was continued until the beginning of the autumn of 1964. After completion of these works, the Barricade plant assembled the first prototype, known as Br-257-1. Until early October, the prototype was tested at the plant, after which it was sent to the test site. A new stage of inspections made it possible to identify the main pros and cons of a prospective machine, which allowed to continue the work on the project. According to the test results, it was decided to refine some of the design elements of the existing machine.
Soon there was a second prototype of the launcher 9P114, differing from the first body design, running gear and other features. In the updated project, they abandoned the relatively complex shape of the hull with curved details. The front sheet of the hull was now flat, but it was still positioned at an angle to the vertical, and the rear part was box-shaped with a horizontal roof. Behind this unit appeared more pronounced parts of the launcher. It was also decided to refine the design of the chassis. The rear axle retained the wheels of small diameter, and on the front set larger, equipped with developed tractors. In other respects, the 9P114 / Br-257 launcher of the second version did not differ much from the base sample.
In 1964, the second prototype was tested, yielding certain results. The results of these tests confirmed the principal possibility of the operation of the 9K53 Luna-MV missile systems in the troops. In the future it was decided to try out new equipment not only at the landfills, but also in parts of the ground forces.
The proposed use of the missile-helicopter complex was as follows. With the help of a winch installed in the cargo compartment, the launcher with the rocket had to be loaded into the helicopter. Mi-6RVK could transport the 9P114 launcher with the crew to the desired area, after which they landed landing. Having landed in the given area, the crew of the Luna-MV complex could begin to fulfill the combat mission.
The self-propelled launcher could reach the firing position, determine its location and calculate the angles of the launcher of the launcher. After that, it was necessary to prepare weapons for shooting and launch a rocket. Then the combat vehicle could leave the firing position, returning to the helicopter or leaving for another area.
Such a missile-helicopter complex in theory had great advantages over existing at that time similar systems. The ability to transfer missile launchers with missiles to the desired area greatly increased the mobility of the complexes, and also made it possible to choose the most convenient launch area, which made it possible to achieve the best results of firing. Moreover, with a certain approach, the complex 9K53 "Luna-MV" could be landed even in the rear of the enemy, increasing the depth of the strike. Existing systems, including the Luna-M complex, which also used 9M21 missiles, did not have such capabilities, as it could only travel on the ground.
To conduct tests in 1964, the Barrikady plant built two self-propelled Br-257 / 9P114 launchers, which differed in some design features. This technique was tested without serious claims and could be used further. In 1965 two new prototypes were found. They were handed over to the troops for trial operation. The latter lasted for some time and allowed to establish the pros and cons of new technology, as well as certain features of its operation.
After several months of pilot operation, during which the military mastered new self-propelled launchers and means of their transportation, it was decided to abandon such missile systems. Both machines were removed from the Luna-M complex. The further fate of this technique is unknown. Probably, it was disposed of as useless.
It should be noted that the abandonment of the 9K53 Luna-M tactical missile and helicopter complex was not due to the technical drawbacks of this system, but to the characteristic problems at the level of the concept itself. The combination of helicopters and missile complexes in one complex had certain positive consequences in the form of expanding the range of tasks to be solved and increasing the depth of strikes. Nevertheless, the joint operation of this technique turned out to be quite a difficult task, and some shortcomings simply could not be corrected with the level of technology development of that time. For example, a light wheeled chassis could not carry a rather complex set of navigational aids needed for topography, which could have a negative effect on the accuracy of the shooting, which, even without this, left much to be desired.
In 1965, the 9K53 missile and helicopter complex Luna-MV was accepted for short-term pilot operation. In addition, at that time, several other versions of similar systems were being developed, using other types of missiles. In the course of additional checks it was found that an interesting and, as it seemed at first, promising proposal had a number of characteristic disadvantages. As a consequence, the full operation of such missile systems was deemed inexpedient. By the end of the sixties, the idea of ??rocket-and-helicopter complexes was completely abandoned.
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