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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ground Troops Missile Protection:
Forty Years of Efforts Permitted Creating the S-300V, the World"s Only General-Purpose Air and ABM Defense Complex

Moscow Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye 15-21 May 98 No 18, p 6
by Aleksandr Shirokorad

The work of creating an Army ABM defense began in NII-3 of the Main Artillery Directorate back in 1958 (topic "Shar [Sphere]"). Designing of the Army ABM defense was slowed somewhat due to the fact that in 1960 the General Staff demanded a study of the possibility of using the S-75 SAM air defense complex in it. Successful firings were carried out against 8A11 ballistic missiles at Balkhash Range in 1960 in the course of work to adapt the S-75 SAM complex for use as an Army ABM defense. By the way, these were the world"s first SAM firings against ballistic missiles.

After the Balkhash firings, NII-3 was assigned the task of using developmental Ground Troops air defense complexes (Krug, Kub, Osa, Shilka) in the tactical ABM defense system. NII-3 performed this task in the course of work under the topic "Zashchita [Protection]." In particular, radar characteristics (radar cross-section and so on) of U.S. and domestic Army missiles were determined for the first time. Calculations showed that of all the Soviet Army SAM complexes, only Krug could destroy ballistic missiles with a range of 50-150 km, i.e., to the depth of army defense. The decision was made to create an experimental general-purpose SAM complex based on the Krug complex and intended for combating both aircraft as well as Honest John, Lance, Corporal and Sergeant ballistic missiles. Such an experimental complex appeared in the late 1960"s. The 3M8 missile of the Krug complex was fitted with the homing head from the 3M9 missile of the Kub complex and with a directional-effect warhead (on detonation the majority of fragments were directed toward the target). The experimental SAM complex was tested at Emba Range. During the firings the 3M8 missiles destroyed 8K11 ballistic missiles (known in the West by the name Scud), but the general-purpose complex based on the Krug SAM complex was not placed in series production inasmuch as it had limited capabilities for intercepting missiles.

In 1968 the National Air Defense Troops, Navy, Ministry of the Radio Industry and Ministry of the Shipbuilding Industry came out with a joint initiative to create the S-500U multichannel antiaircraft system unified for the National Air Defense Troops, Navy and Ground Troops. Missiles of the S-500U complex were supposed to engage enemy aircraft at a range up to 100 km.

The S-500U SAM complex project encountered vigorous resistance from the Ground Troops command element, which believed that the modification of the S-500U missile offered to the Ground Troops had to engage not only enemy aircraft, but also ballistic missiles. National Air Defense and the Navy did not need a SAM complex to combat ballistic missiles. After long debates and coordination of clients and developers, it was decided to create the unified S-300 SAM complex in three versions: S-300P for Air Defense Troops, S-300F (Fort) for the Navy and S-300V for the Ground Troops. S-300P and S-300F were being created as antiaircraft systems and the S-300V as a general-purpose antiaircraft and antimissile system. Of course, here and further by "antimissile" we do not mean Minuteman or Poseidon missiles, but only U.S. Army division and corps ballistic missiles. It should be noted right off that no great standardization managed to be achieved in the S-300P, S-300F and S-300V complexes; essentially these were different SAM complexes.

Development of the Army S-300V SAM complex began by Council of Ministers Decree of 25 May 1969. The new SAM complex was intended to combat aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and all U.S. Army ballistic missiles of that time, from Honest John to Pershing I.

The S-300V system (identification code 9K81) included the 9S457 command post for controlling the complex; Obzor-3 surveillance radar (9S15M) for detecting aerodynamic targets and missiles of the Honest John/Sergeant type; Imbir programmed-scan radar [RLS programmnogo obzora] (9S19M2) for detecting the reentry vehicles of Pershing I missiles; four SAM complexes, each of which consisted of a multichannel missile guidance radar (9S32), two types of launchers—9A83 (with four 9M83 missiles) and 9A82 (with two 9M82 missiles), two types of launcher/loaders, and two types of missiles—9M83 (for engaging aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles such as Sergeant and Lance) and 9M82 (for engaging the reentry vehicle of missiles such as Pershing IA and Pershing IB).

The S-300V system was being created in two stages. In the first stage was the version for combating aerodynamic targets and Honest John/Sergeant missiles. The first version of the S-300V complex had the 3M83 missile, 9A83 launcher and 9A85 launcher/loader. The first version underwent joint (state) tests at Emba Range during 1980-1981 and the first version of the system, designated S-300V1, was placed in service with the Ground Troops in 1983.

The second version of the S-300V system, which included means of combating Pershing I missiles, underwent joint tests at the very same range during 1985-1986. In 1988 the S-300V system was placed in service to the full extent (with the 9M82 missile, 9A82 launcher and 9A84 launcher/loader).

All of the system"s main combat equipment is accommodated on self-propelled tracked chassis created on the basis of the GM-830 standardized chassis.

The 9S457 command post is intended for controlling actions of a SAM battalion of S-300V systems both in a self-contained mode as well as with control from a superior command post (brigade). The 9S457 can track the paths of up to 70 targets and it distributes up to 24 of them in an automatic mode among four missile guidance radars.

The 9S15M surveillance radar is a 3-D coherent-pulse, centimeter-band acquisition radar with instantaneous frequency retuning, programmed electronic beam control in elevation, electrohydraulic antenna rotation in azimuth and a high target handling capacity. The 9S15M radar can acquire fighter-type targets at a distance up to 330 km, 8K11 ballistic missiles up to 115 km and Lance ballistic missiles up to 95 km. The 9S15M radar underwent several modernizations in the 1990"s (9S15MT, 9S15MV3 and 9S15MT3).

The 9S19M2 programmed-scan radar was intended for acquisition and recognition of ballistic missiles and aerodynamic targets and for output of radar data on them over a radio link to the S-300V system command post. The 9S19M2 radar is a 3-D coherent-pulse, centimeter-band radar with high energy potential, electronic beam control in two planes (in azimuth and elevation) and a high target handling capacity. In the course of a regular scan the electronic beam scanning in two planes permitted providing a rapid analysis of sectors of target designation from the system command post or cyclical referral to detected radar returns at a high rate (1-2 sec) in order to tie them in to [target] paths and to track high-speed targets. The radar could detect the reentry vehicles of Pershing I missiles at a range up to 175 km. The maximum number of ballistic missile paths that could be tracked simultaneously was 16.

The 9S32 multichannel missile guidance radar was intended for searching for, acquiring, intercepting and automatically tracking aerodynamic targets and ballistic missiles based on target designation data from the system (battalion) command post and independently; for producing and transmitting coordinates and derivative coordinates of targets to the launchers for training the target illumination station located on these launchers and for guiding missiles launched from launchers and launcher/loaders to targets being brought under fire; and for controlling SAM complex weapons (launchers and launcher/loaders with missiles) centrally (from the system command post and independently.

The 9S32 radar could simultaneously perform a sector search for targets (based on target designation data or in a self-contained mode) and track up to 12 targets, control the operation of all SAM complex (battery) launchers and launcher/loaders, and transmit to them the data necessary for launching and guiding 12 missiles against six targets. Along with this, the radar would systematically scan the area near the surface of the ground [prosmotr prizemnoy kromki] in which low-flying targets might appear. The 9S32 multichannel missile guidance radar was a 3-D coherent-pulse, centimeter-band radar that was multichannel against targets and missiles and that had a high energy potential and electronic beam scanning in two planes, provided by using in the radar a phased array and a beam control system based on a special computer. The 9S32 radar operated in two modes: based on target designation data from the 9S457 command post and in a self-contained mode. In the target designation mode the radar could acquire a fighter at an altitude above 5 km from a distance of 150 km, a Lance missile from 60 km and the reentry vehicle of a Pershing I from 140 km. When operating in a self-contained mode the 9S32 radar acquired a fighter-type target at ranges up to 140 km at an altitude above 5 km, at 40 km at an altitude from 50 to 100 m and up to 30 km at an altitude of 30-50 m.

The 9A83 SP launcher supported the preparation for launch of 1-2 of the four 9M83 missiles accommodated directly on the launcher or on the adjacent 9A85 launcher/loader, launched the missiles, transmitted radio correction data and illuminated the target. The launcher was equipped with a radar hoisted on a special mast device which performed target illumination and transmitted radio correction commands independently of target azimuth relative to the launcher. There were up to six launchers of the two types overall in the complex.

The 9A82 launcher performed the very same functions as the 9A83, the only difference was in the type of missiles (9M82) and their number (2). The 9M82 and 9M83 SAMs were two-stage, solid-propellant, vertical-launch missiles designed in a "supporting-cone" ["nesushchiy konus"] aerodynamic configuration. Their propulsion stages were standardized for many assemblies and machine units and were practically identical. The missiles were accommodated in the 9Ya238 and 9Ya240 transport/launch canisters.

The missiles were guided in the mid-course and coasting phases by one of two methods: inertial guidance with transition to homing in the terminal phase (around 10 seconds of flight); command-inertial guidance with transition to homing in the last 3 seconds of flight.

The missile computer issues a command to roll [dovorot po krenu] the missile 0.5-2 seconds before impacting the target to ensure that the direction of maximum density of the warhead fragment dispersion field coincides with the direction to the target at the moment of missile warhead detonation. A fragmentation-HE warhead weighs 150 kg. The warhead is detonated based on the type of target: in the vicinity of the reentry vehicle when firing against a ballistic missile (the target is destroyed with detonation of its warhead or it is deflected from the planned trajectory) and in the vicinity of the airframe center when firing against aircraft. Up to two missiles from one launcher or up to four missiles from two launchers can be guided simultaneously to each target.

In a centralized control mode the S-300V system operates based on commands, on target distribution and on target designation from the command post (Polyana-D4 ASU [automated control system]) of the SAM brigade, in which SAM battalions equipped with the S-300V system are organizationally placed. SAM brigades with the S-300V system were transferred to front subordination and gradually replaced missile brigades with the Krug SAM complex.

According to foreign press data, 60 S-300V complexes were deployed at positions in 1986 and up to 30 were in production.


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