Anti-aircraft missile 9M333. The future for the Strela-10 air defense system

Rocket and TPK at the exhibition

The military air defense arsenals will soon be replenished with new ammunition. The tests of the promising 9M333 anti-aircraft guided missile for the Strela-10 series of complexes have been successfully completed. In addition, serial production of such products has already been established in the interests of the Russian army.

Last news

The completion of the main work on the 9M333 missile defense system is reported by the Kalashnikov Concern, which developed this product. On December 24, he published a video with a test launch of a new anti-aircraft missile, and also accompanied it with a short report on the progress made. Full-scale tests of missiles were carried out at the Donguz test site in the Orenburg region. They have been successfully completed and the project is moving on to the next stage.

The published video shows the firing of the Strela-10MN air defense missile system with a new rocket at night. At dusk, the complex with one missile entered a firing position and prepared for launch. After dark, the air defense missile system attacked the training target using the 9M333 product. The preparation and launch were shown from several angles with spectacular cinematic editing.


Preparing to shoot

All the main stages of launching and hitting a target are demonstrated. You can see the guidance of the launcher and the opening of the container, hear the characteristic whistle of the spinning gyroscope, and also watch the launch and flight of the rocket, followed by hitting the target.

Concern “Kalashnikov” announces the successful completion of the tests. It is also noted that the 9M333 SAM has already entered mass production for supplies to the Russian army.

Promising sample

The 9M333 anti-aircraft missile is designed for all modifications of the Strela-10 complex. This missile is intended to replace the standard 9M37 missile, which was put into service several decades ago along with the basic version of the air defense system. Such modernization should seriously affect the characteristics and capabilities of the complex.

The development of the first version of the 9M333 rocket was carried out back in the eighties, but it was not possible to complete this project and solve all the assigned tasks. In 2018, the Ministry of Defense decided to resume the project and create an improved version of the missile defense system based on modern components. The contractor, represented by Kalashnikov, solved this problem in the shortest possible time and presented the finished rocket for testing.

Product 9M333 outwardly almost does not differ from its predecessor rocket. It is built according to the “weft” scheme in a cylindrical body of high elongation. Several sets of planes are installed on the outside of the case. As before, the planes do not fold for transportation, which is why the missile defense system needs a TPK of a larger section. Due to the use of new components with improved characteristics, the length of the rocket had to be increased to 2.23 m. The caliber remained the same, 120 mm. The weight has grown to 41 kg.

The 9M333 project uses a new seeker and autopilot. GOS is made three-mode. Photocontrast and infrared targeting has been retained and improved. A new jamming mode has also been added, which increases the overall combat characteristics and capabilities. The new autopilot is made on a modern element base and ensures reliable operation of the seeker and controls. It is noted that the 9M333 SAM with this composition of equipment implements the “fire-and-forget” principle.

A new solid propellant engine with improved performance has been developed. With its help, the rocket develops an average speed of 550 m / s. Slant range – 5 km, height reach – 3.5 km. A new warhead weighing 5 kg with a proximity fuse is used to hit targets. For comparison, the 9M37 SAM is equipped with a warhead weighing only 3 kg.

As part of the complex

The new 9M333 SAM is intended to replace the obsolete 9M37 product with lower performance. Like the old rocket, the new one is fully compatible with all modifications of the Strela-10 complex, from the earliest to the latest. The new transport and launch container and missile electronics do not require modifying the combat vehicle.

With the introduction of the new SAM, the combat characteristics of the complex as a whole change markedly. Range and altitude remain the same and fully meet the requirements for short-range air defense systems. At the same time, the new seeker and autopilot increase the reliability of capture and tracking. Weighted and improved warhead inflicts heavier damage on targets. All this increases the likelihood of hitting the target with the first missile.

Together with the 9M333 missile, the Strela-10 complex is able to effectively deal with various air targets. First of all, these are planes and helicopters of tactical and army aviation. In addition, the defeat of high-precision weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles is ensured. First of all, such opportunities are provided by a three-mode seeker.

For military air defense

According to open data, now the Russian armed forces have about 480-500 Strela-10 air defense systems of all major modifications. The largest fleet of such equipment, approx. 400 units, belongs to the ground forces. 50 air defense systems are available from the coastal forces of the Navy. In recent years, more than 30 Strela-10MN complexes have entered service with the Airborne Forces.

All these air defense systems generally meet the requirements and are involved in providing military air defense. However, so far all Strelam-10s have to use the old 9M37 missiles. This, to some extent, limits the combat characteristics and effectiveness of the complexes, and also does not allow to fully realize the potential of the air defense missile system of the latest modification.


The missile hits the target

As reported, the serial production of 9M333 missiles has already begun, and their tests have also been carried out. This means that in the near future, deliveries of serial missiles to the armed forces may begin. Soon after that, the new missiles will be included in the ammunition load of combat systems and will positively affect their combat capabilities.

Modernization issues

In general, the appearance of a new anti-aircraft guided missile for the Strela-10 family of air defense systems is of great importance for the development of military air defense. Over the course of several decades, the ground-based facilities of this complex have been constantly evolving with the receipt of certain capabilities; the last modification went into production just a few years ago. At the same time, the development of missiles actually stopped for many years, and the updated air defense systems still have to use old ammunition.

The first attempt to replace the outdated 9M37 missile defense system was made back in the eighties, but did not give the desired results for several reasons. The second launch of the 9M333 project is successfully completed by passing tests and putting it into series, and soon the missile will be put into service.

It should be recalled that in parallel with the 9M333 missile, other products of this class are being created and even full-fledged anti-aircraft systems. They will be accepted into service only in the future, but for now the army will have to continue to operate the available samples, incl. family “Strela-10”. And thanks to the emergence of a new guided missile, such an operation will not face limitations in performance and combat capabilities.

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