How Russia Intends To Develop The Sphere Of Hypersonic Weapons

Russian designers are working on new hypersonic weapons systems based on the already created complexes “Avangard”, “Zircon” and “Dagger”. This was announced by Aleksandr Leonov, general designer of the NPO Mashinostroyenia military-industrial complex. According to him, it is planned to create “a whole chain of systems” that will surpass the first generation hypersonic weapons in a number of parameters. Experts call the development and improvement of existing complexes an expected step. Analysts suggest that we can talk primarily about the creation of Russian medium-range ground-based systems.

In Russia, promising hypersonic systems are being developed, which will be a continuation of the Avangard, Zircon and Dagger systems. We are talking about the creation of a whole chain of weapons. Alexander Leonov, general director and general designer of the NPO Mashinostroyenia military-industrial complex, spoke about this on the sidelines of academic readings on astronautics.

“Today, what is heard -” Vanguards “,” Zircons “,” Daggers “, and then whole chain of systems worth, which will develop, “- quotes a specialist RIA Novosti.

According to him, today no one in the world can create a system that would surpass the Avangard complex in its speed characteristics. Nevertheless, existing weapons can be upgraded in other areas.

“Further, the parameters of the missile defense penetration system, the guidance system and so on can be improved. This is already an internal improvement, ”Leonov explained.

General Designer of NPO Mashinostroyenia Alexander Leonov

He added that the Russian army will receive another Avangard complex as early as 2021.

At the forefront of armaments

Let us remind you that Avangard is a cruise unit that is installed on intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). When the ICBM reaches the desired altitude, it detaches and heads towards the target at hypersonic speed. To date, the “Avangard” is equipped with ICBMs UR-100N UTTH, but in the future it is planned to use it on the newest heavy liquid-propellant ICBMs RS-28 “Sarmat”.

The complex is capable maneuver in dense layers of the atmosphere, developing a speed of Mach 28 (approximately 7.5 km / s). This practically excludes the possibility of its interception by the enemy, as previously reported by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Yuri Borisov.

Launch of a rocket complex “Avangard” from the positional area Dombarovskiy

In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in flight the warhead of the Avangard complex heats up to almost 2000 ° C, but this does not affect its controllability.

“The temperature on the surface of the Sun is about 6,000 ° C. And on the tip of our newest rocket system “Avangard” the temperature reaches almost 2 thousand. This is about materials science. The rocket flies and melts on the fly, the popsicle effect is created. But at the same time, a signal for control passes, and the product is controlled, ”the head of state explained at the end of March 2021, speaking at a meeting of the supervisory board of the ANO“ Russia – a country of opportunities ”.

From 2012 to December 2020, Russia spent a total of five successful test launches ICBM with Avangard. Serial production of complexes with a planning hypersonic unit started at the end of 2019, as reported by Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko.

The first regiment with the Avangard strategic complex took up combat duty also in December 2019 in the Yasnenskaya missile division, which is stationed in the Orenburg region. According to Aleksey Krivoruchko, in December 2020, two more missiles with Avangard hypersonic winged units took up combat duty.

Components of the hypersonic triad

In addition to Avangard, the Russian Armed Forces are already armed with the X-47M2 hypersonic aviation complex (Dagger). This complex is included in the arsenal of the MiG-31 fighter-interceptor. In some areas, the ammunition is capable of reaching speeds above Mach 5 and hitting targets at a distance of more than 2000 km.

In October 2020, the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, reported to President Vladimir Putin on the successful tests third type of hypersonic weapon – rockets “Zircon”. During the tests, the rocket launched from the frigate “Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov” developed a speed of more than Mach 8 and hit a target in the Barents Sea.

Cruiser project 1144.2 “Admiral Nakhimov”
RIA Novosti © Yuri Cover

According to the Russian defense department, the Zircon will enter the arsenal of nuclear submarines of projects 885, 885M, 949AM and surface ships of projects 22350, 23560, and will also be used in the rearmament of the cruiser of project 1144.2 Admiral Nakhimov and frigates of the Admiral Gorshkov class.

It is not excluded that in the future the corvettes of the project 20385 will also be equipped with Zircon, Vladimir Putin announced this in October during his visit to the corvette Thundering. In general, the Russian Navy will begin to receive “Zircons” in 2021-2022.

“New opportunities”

According to experts, the main advantage of hypersonic weapons is that such systems are capable of not burning in the atmosphere due to the use of special materials and technologies.

“Hypersonic weapons will not crowd out other types of weapons, since different equipment has different tasks. For example, the range of the Caliber missile is about 2000 km, which is more than the average range of hypersonic systems. Therefore, the Ministry of Defense will use both hypersonic and pre-hypersonic weapons, “Dmitry Litovkin, editor of the newspaper Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye, explained in a commentary to RT.

According to him, Russia has begun work on new hypersonic weapons, since it has such technological capabilities.

“Russia now has new opportunities for the implementation of such systems, including fuel, new materials, etc. Most likely, now strike hypersonic systems will be developed,” Litovkin believes.

The editor-in-chief of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland” Viktor Murakhovsky adheres to a similar point of view. In his opinion, the first Russian hypersonic systems, the creation of which was announced in 2018, will become the ancestors of a whole family of new weapons.

“On the first samples of hypersonic weapons, important technologies were tested, new materials, engines and guidance systems capable of operating at hypersonic speeds. These developments are among the critical military technologies, and they can be implemented and scaled to other products, ”said the expert.

According to Murakhovsky, work on a new line of hypersonic weapons, most likely, began long before the media became aware of this. The expert believes that now Russian designers are focused on the development of ground-based hypersonic systems that will complement the existing weapons of this type.

“Russia has the Zircon anti-ship complex, the Avangard strategic-range complex, and the Dagger air-based complex, so it is logical to assume that ground-based complexes, operational-tactical and medium-range, should appear,” the interlocutor of RT said.

“Earlier, at the initiative of the United States, the treaty on intermediate and shorter-range missiles ceased to exist, and now the Pentagon is developing medium-range missile systems, Russia should also develop this direction,” the expert added.

Author: Nadezhda Alekseeva, Alena Medvedeva
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