From Lynx to Hawk. Domestic counter-battery radar

Self-propelled counter-battery radar 1RL239 “Lynx”. Photo

The artillery reconnaissance units of the Russian army are armed with several counter-battery radar systems. While on duty, they must detect flying projectiles and calculate the location of guns or launchers. The data on the location of the enemy are issued to the fire resources of their army, and they strike back.

The first “Lynx”

The development of radar technology and computing technology at the end of the sixties made it possible to start developing new counter-battery radar stations. The product 1RL239 / ARK-1 / “Lynx” was developed by the Tula Scientific Research Institute “Strela” (now NPO “Strela” as part of the Concern East Kazakhstan region “Almaz-Antey”). In 1975, the Arsenal plant manufactured a prototype of the station for carrying out the entire set of tests. After their completion, in 1977 “Lynx” was accepted for supply.

The ARK-1 complex was built on the MT-LBu chassis with the placement of most of the electronic equipment inside the armored body. Outside, a radiator was installed in a compact radio-transparent casing, a large receiving antenna and some other devices. Further modernization was carried out. The ARK-1M project provided for the installation of autonomous power supplies and a new communication system for transmitting data to artillery units.

Product 1L219 “Zoo-1” in working position. Photo of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation

The Lynx station could track the flight of projectiles in a sector 30 ° wide in azimuth. Provided the detection of firing positions of barreled artillery at distances of up to 9 km, mortars – up to 12 km, multiple launch rocket systems – up to 16 km. It took 30 seconds to calculate the enemy coordinates after the projectile was spotted. Product 1RL239 was also able to monitor the results of firing. Explosions of artillery shells were recorded at a distance of 11 km, MLRS missiles – up to 20 km.

According to reports, the ARK-1 radar remained in service until recently, after which it began to give way to newer models. “Lynx” was regularly used as part of the exercises, and in addition, used during the war in Afghanistan. There it was found that ARK-1 has some technical and operational shortcomings. In addition, specific problems related to mountainous terrain have emerged.

Two “Zoos”

Soon after the Lynx was accepted for supply, in 1981, the Strela Research Institute began work on the next counter-battery radar with improved characteristics. This product received the designations 1L219 and Zoo-1. By the end of the eighties, the station was brought to testing, but further measures were delayed. The finished product 1L219 was adopted only in 2008; then the re-equipment of artillery reconnaissance units began.

Deeply modernized complex 1L260 “Zoo-1M”. Photo

Like the Lynx, the Zoo-1 is built on a modified MT-LBu chassis. It houses a multifunctional three-coordinate radar 1L259 with a phased antenna array. With its help, monitoring of the air situation, spotting of flying projectiles and places and launching, as well as control of unmanned aerial vehicles is provided.

The 1L259 product operates in a sector with a width of 90 ° and detects the firing positions of howitzers at ranges up to 12 km, mortars – up to 17 km. MLRS are determined from 20-22 km, launch positions of tactical missile systems – from 45 km. The complex’s automation is capable of simultaneously tracking 12 air targets. Zoo-1 processes up to 70 shells per minute, calculates their launch points and transmits data to fire weapons.

In 2013, a deeply modernized version of the complex, 1L260 Zoo-1M, was presented. It was built on the GM-5971 chassis and received a new 1L261 radar equipped with an active phased array with increased characteristics. Due to this update, range characteristics, detection accuracy, noise immunity, etc. have been improved.

Station 1L271 “Aistenok” in position. Photo by Rosoboronexport

To date, the Zoo-1M station has been put into service, is being serially produced and is being supplied to the troops. As far as we know, two complexes of the Zoo line are produced and distributed between the parts in parallel.

Portable “Aistenok”

In 2008, NPO Strela presented a new development in the field of radar – a portable ground and artillery reconnaissance complex 1L271 Aistenok. Later, the complex passed all the necessary tests, after which it entered service. With the help of “Aistenok” scouts can monitor ground and air targets, detect enemy artillery positions and provide fire adjustment.

Radar 1L271 includes several compact means suitable for carrying by calculation or transportation by any means of transport. The main element of the complex is an antenna post with a phased array and a two-surface mirror. There is also a data processing unit with a control panel, a power supply system and communication facilities.

Model of the complex 1K148 “Yastreb-AV”. Photo

“Aistenok” can detect large ground objects from a distance of up to 20 km. Mortar positions are determined from a distance of 5 km. Adjustment of fire at ranges of up to 5 km is carried out by tracking the projectile along the trajectory. Tracking projectile explosions triples the observation range.

Promising “Hawk”

In the foreseeable future, the existing means of counter-battery warfare will be supplemented by a new 1K148 Yastreb-AV radar. The development of this project is again carried out at the Strela Scientific and Production Association, the work started in accordance with the state contract of 2011. Subsequently, photographs of the layout appeared in the public domain, and in October 2019 a snapshot of the Yastreb-AV experimental complex was published. It was reported that at that time the product was undergoing interdepartmental tests.

Yastreb-AV is being built on a four-axle special chassis BAZ-6910-025. The rear part of the chassis is given for the placement of an antenna post with a large-area canvas. AFAR is probably used. The performance characteristics of such a radar are unknown. It can be assumed that it surpasses the existing samples in terms of range and precision.

From Lynx to Hawk.  Domestic counter-battery radar

Experienced “Yastreb-AV” before testing, 2019 Photo

It is not known how soon the Yastreb-AV will go into production and enter the army. There is reason to believe that testing and fine-tuning of this complex is coming to an end, and soon it will go on supply. Obviously, the appearance of serial products 1K148 will expand the possibilities for counter-battery fight. In foreign countries, measures are being taken to create new artillery and missile systems with increased range indicators, and Yastreb-AV may be the answer to this.

In the process of development

The development of modern counter-battery radar stations began more than half a century ago, and by now this process has led to the emergence of a number of samples with different characteristics and capabilities. Recent developments of this kind are distinguished by high detection range and accuracy, improved performance, etc. Apparently, the products being developed now will surpass them in their parameters, thereby increasing the potential of artillery reconnaissance.

In foreign countries, the development of promising models of artillery and missile weapons with increased range and accuracy characteristics is underway. In response to such threats, counter-battery radars with appropriate capabilities must be created. It is obvious that the parallel development of these two directions will continue in the future, and new complexes will appear at the disposal of artillery reconnaissance units.

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