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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Raduga Kh-22 Storm (AS-4 Kitchen)

During the Cold War, naval missile-carrying aviation was the main strike force of the Soviet Navy, and it was also its only mobile reserve that could be transferred from one theater of operations to another. For many years this was a real "sledgehammer" in the hands of the Navy, which could "straighten" anyone. Hundreds of missile carriers could carry a huge number of cruise missiles and launch them at a target from a distance of hundreds of kilometers. The Americans were afraid of this kind of naval forces even after the collapse of the USSR - and there were reasons for that.

Heavy anti-ship missiles (ASMs) have a number of important advantages that lighter and simpler missiles do not have. The balanced development of light and heavy anti-ship missiles will significantly increase the capabilities of our fleet in the fight against the most powerful formations of a potential enemy, primarily aircraft carriers.

The development of anti-ship missiles, especially long-range ones, was based on the idea of the possibility of destroying or incapacitating a large ship if even one missile hit. Accordingly, its warhead must be powerful enough - 500-700 kilograms or more. These were the differences between "Basalt", "Volcano", "Granite" and X-22 of the Soviet design. It is clear that it is impossible to place a large number of large missiles on a carrier. Consequently, they are required to have high selectivity and additional capabilities to overcome the air defense of a ship formation. And this means that they need to be equipped with sufficiently powerful radar homing heads, which allow detecting and tracking sea targets at a distance of 100 kilometers or more, highly efficient on-board recognition systems, to highlight the main object in the ship's order of the enemy.

The Soviet heavy anti-ship missiles Kh-22 became the "main caliber" of the Soviet long-range supersonic jet bombers Tu-22 and Tu-22M. In the Soviet Union, long-range bombers were one of the main means of fighting aircraft carrier strike groups (AUG) of a potential enemy and were carriers of heavy aircraft anti-ship cruise missiles (ASC). Most of the Soviet long-range bombers served in the missile-carrying regiments of the naval aviation.

The creation of the K-22 aviation missile system based on the Tu-22 supersonic bomber with the X-22 Storm supersonic long-range cruise missile began in 1958. Work on the Kh-22 cruise missile as part of the K-22 complex was started by Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 426-201 of June 17, 1958. The development of the complex was entrusted to the Dubna branch of OKB-155. The first prototypes were manufactured in 1962 by Plant No. 256 of the GKAT in Dubna (since 1966 - Dubna Machine-Building Plant).

The first regular launch of the Kh-22 missile took place on November 2, 1963. Due to the frequent failures of the equipment, the missile tests were delayed for several years, since in 1965 the Air Force had 105 Tu-22 aircraft of various modifications and not a single missile carrier. But they wanted to get a promising rocket at any cost.

In a technical sense, preparing a rocket for use is time-consuming and extremely dangerous due to the use of highly toxic rocket fuel components. The equipment of rocket technicians includes a special protective suit made of thick rubber and an insulating gas mask. During refueling, serious precautions are taken - an emergency team is on standby. Military units try to avoid refueling rockets even during exercises, if no real launches are expected . Therefore, the X-22 - I-098 missile simulator was developed and mass-produced for flight crew training. However, imitators were also critically lacking. Therefore, regiments practiced the use of war missiles with the keel removed. They were marked with the red inscription " Training " and were not used for real launches.

The first launch of the X-22 missile in normal mode took place on November 2, 1963. Due to frequent equipment failures, the missile tests were delayed for several years. In 1967 the first modification of this missile was adopted. The Kh-22 missile was used to arm the Tu-22 bombers' regiments. Around the same time, a heavy aviation anti-ship missile system KSR-5 was adopted for service for Tu-16 subsonic bombers.

Built by A. Berezhnyak's "Raduga" engineering group for Tu-22 and Tu-22M aircraft, the Kh-22 (AS-4 "Kitchen" by NATO classification) can also be deployed on modified Tu-95K-22 aircraft. Since 1974, after the death of Alexander Berezhnyak, the Raduga chief engineer became Igor Seleznyev. The Kh-22 missile came in three variants: 1. Kh-22N with a nuclear warhead and inertial guidance; 2. Kh-22M with a conventional load for use against ships and with an active-radar operating during the final flight stage; 3. Kh-22MP for breaking through enemy air defenses (overcoming enemy radar). These missiles have different modifications (X -22M, X-22MA, X -22N, X -22NA, etc.), i.e., rocket had many versions depending on the conditions for application (purpose), with the autonomous system for guidance ARLGSN or PRLGSN, etc.

Long-range Tu-22M supersonic bombers with variable wing geometry were created in the late 1970s and were armed with Kh-22 cruise missiles. Aircraft were in service not only with the Air Force, but also with naval missile-carrying aviation (MPA) of the Navy. The main task of the MRA was to fight aircraft carrier strike groups (AUG), landing formations, groups of surface ships. Modification M3 is a further development of the Tu-22M. The X-22 had two advantages. First, the missiles exchanged information with each other during the flight, it was enough to launch them, indicating the minimum set of target parameters. The second is high survivability in front of air defense systems. According to calculations, one Kh-22 with constructive protection withstood the burst of the 20-mm Vulcan-Phalanx anti-aircraft artillery system, the hit of one AIM-7 Sparrow missile or two or three AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles.

After the collapse of the USSR, naval aviation, having survived several collapses, turned into just a set of formations and units with aircraft and helicopters, behind which there is no sane idea of combat use. After the abolition of naval aviation schools, pilots for it are taught in the same place as for the Air Force. They have combined arms ranks, other traditions, slang, humor than sailors. This is a separate caste. And with limited career prospects. And this gives rise to mutual alienation between sailors and pilots, and most importantly, a lack of understanding of the importance of aviation in principle, often demonstrated by seafarer commanders. When in the 90s and early 2000s there was a question of what to “kill” in the first place due to lack of money, it was aviation that went “under the knife” ahead of everyone - from fuel for flights to the air units themselves. After the transfer of naval missile-carrying regiments to its structure, the Air Force remained the only owners of the Tu-22M fleet.

In the 1970s, a new version of the missile, the Kh-22MA, was created, intended for the new Tu-22M bombers, and in 1976, the Kh-22N and Kh-22NA missiles, designed for the most advanced version of the Tu-22M - Tu- 22M3. The flight speed of the Kh-22N was brought to 4 thousand kilometers per hour - more than a kilometer per second! The noise immunity of the homing head has significantly improved - now it was made on a semiconductor element base. However, the noise immunity still remained low, since provided by switching to several fixed frequencies.

In view of the numerous shortcomings of the X-22 family of missiles, in the late 1980s, work began on a deep modernization of this missile and the improvement of the X-22 continued almost until the end of the Cold War. The active seeker was supplemented with an inertial navigation system (INS), which made it possible to launch a rocket into the area where the enemy's AUG was located, and most of the way to the target, the rocket flew "autonomously" and only in the final phase of the flight was the GOS turned on, the search for the target and the aiming at it. Such innovations have significantly increased the likelihood of hitting an enemy aircraft carrier in the event of intense electronic countermeasures. The Kh-22NA missile had only an inertial guidance system with route correction in accordance with a digital terrain map.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the crisis of the 1990s did not allow the implementation of the modernization program for this missile. Work on the creation of a new rocket based on the Kh-22 - the Kh-32 - was continued only at the beginning of the new millennium.

In total, according to indicative data, 60 aircraft Tu-22K, 370 Tu-22M, and re-equipped 45 Tu-95K-22 were built, and at least a thousand missiles X-22 of all options were produced. X-22 missile for a long time remained the main weapon of medium-range aircraft. Currently, the missile families D-2 and D-2M removed from service, nuclear charges from the remaining D-2N were withdrawn. Tu-95K-22 aircraft are decommissioned, and part of the Tu-22M began re-equipping for X-15 anti-radar missiles. However, the X-22N remains the main weapons Tu-22M3 aircraft in the aviation of Russia and Ukraine. In the year 2000, the Tu-22M3 was still the main armament of the Russian and Ukrainian aircraft. Ukraine transferred 386 X-22 missiles to Russia on account of debt repayment and declared its intention to rearm its Tu-22Ms with high-precision new generation weapons capable of hitting point targets in the front line (this would be in line with the adopted nuclear-free status and the new military doctrine).

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