Russian multiple missile

March 19th, 2006  

Topic: Russian multiple missile

Hermes - the 40km-range tank killer
Piotr Butowski

Konstruktorskoye Byuro Priborostroyeniya (KBP) instrument design bureau of Tula, Russia, has completed tests of its new Hermes long-range anti-tank guided missile, which is now ready for series production, writes Piotr Butowski. It is being offered in variants with maximum ranges of 15km, 40km or 100km.

KBP, which is headed by Arkadiy Shipunow, first announced the Hermes system in early 1999. In summer 2003, the bureau reported that Hermes missiles would be used on the Ka-52 attack helicopter instead of the Vikhr missile system. It has now released the first data of the system, plus illustrations of the hardware.

The requirements for the Hermes system were:

a range exceeding that of the weapons defending a typical target;
the ability to penetrate 1,000mm of armour; and
round-the-clock and all-weather operation ability.
The missile guidance system is dual-mode. In the initial phase of flight, the missile is controlled by inertial navigation system (for version with range 15km) or by radio commands (for versions with range 40km and 100km).
A semi-active laser seeker is used for terminal homing in all versions. Laser designation of the target may be carried out by the launch vehicle, or by an external illuminator located near the target by ground forces, or aboard a reconnaissance helicopter or unmanned air vehicle. The fire unit has two channels, which allow the simultaneous launch and guidance of two missiles.

Two alternative patterns of terminal-homing head are already under test - a passive infrared seeker and active radar seeker. These will allow the creation of fire-and-forget variants, up to 12 of which could be launched in a single salvo.

The missile's high-explosive/fragmentation warhead has an explosive power equivalent to 15kg of TNT.

There are several versions of Hermes system; these have different ranges and are based on various platforms. Tests have already begun of a missile with a more powerful booster. This would have a range of 100km.

The ground-based system consists of a multi-round missile launcher installed on a cross-country vehicle. The vehicle also has a radar to track the missile in flight, and radio command transmitter to adjust the flight path. A separate command-surveillance vehicle has a retractable mast that carries electro-optical sensors used to search for, identify, track and designate the target. When shooting from positions which do not offer a direct line of sight, additional reconnaissance and target designation sensors are needed.

This version of Hermes has a maximum range of 40km or more, rather than the 3-8km of a typical anti-tank missile, so can be regarded as a tactical missile rather than a pure anti-tank weapon. It can also be used against stationary targets such a bunkers, small ships of 100-ton displacement, and slow- and low-flying air targets such as helicopters and unmanned air vehicles.

For coastal defence, the system can be vehicle-mounted, or deployed as a static installation.

Hermes-A (Aviatsionnyi = airborne) is intended to replace the Vikhr missile system for combat helicopters, which was only made in small numbers. It is currently being tested on the Kamov Ka-52, the only pattern of helicopter to have been armed with the system. The range of Hermes-A is 15-18km, which is well beyond that of typical anti-aircraft threats to which a helicopters is likely to face over the battlefield. The helicopter-mounted aiming system includes a millimetre radar, plus an electro-optical turret with thermal-imaging and television cameras, and a two-channel laser target designator combined with automatic target-tracking device.

Hermes-K (Korabelnyi = shipborne) is for use aboard small naval vessels. The version for use on patrol craft is designed for use against sea targets at ranges of up to 15km and relies on homing guidance. A longer-range version is available for use on landing craft and larger warships.
March 19th, 2006  
As impresive as this sounds, a 100km maxiumum range I just dont see how that is possibly useful.
March 20th, 2006  
Dear Member,

The system is an adoption of the missile for the Pantsir-S1 cannon/missile antiair system. Even with its great range it requires a line of sight to engage. A good comparison would be the US/Canadian/Swiss ADATS which uses laser beam riding instead of radio control as with the Panstir-S1. The Russians believe that with their weather conditions laser can not be relied on completely. And the radio link is turned on just for micro-seconds to command anyway because of the hyper speed.

Finally, unknown to many in the world's defense community the Russians before the collapse of the USSR spent a fortune (ie some compare it to the US spending in WW2 on the A-bomb) on developing a new solid fuel rocket propulsion which gave great energy and burned smokeless and did not give a tell tale flash on launch or smoke trail. There have been trials in the Russia of scientists who the US have tried to bribe on this new rocket propulsion.

Jack E. Hammond