VT/Damascus: Russian contacts in Damascus have asked us to pass on to our very good friends (really) in Turkey that the armor seeker/killer missiles for the Smersh, range 90km, are deployed with all of Idlib and adjacent areas of Turkey as well in range.
One salvo will destroy a tank unit or an entire battalion of Patriot missiles and do it from beyond the range of any retaliation. Russia used these weapons in 2014 and 2015 to destroy the main formations of ISIS, done in days.
VT’s own observation, which we pass on, is simple. We know that Erdogan sent units he suspected were involved in the coup attempt against him into Idlib. We know they have 2nd rate equipment and 3rd rate leaders, Erdogan using this as an opportunity to eliminate his enemies in the Army and then settle it all with Putin.
Erdogan may be crazy…crazy like a fox.
It was all theatre.
The Smerch system is rated as the most powerful MLRS in the world. Its purpose is the defeat of manpower, military equipment, fortifications and command and control posts at ranges from 20 to 70 km.
The system was developed in the early 1980s by the State Research and Production Enterprise Splav in collaboration with more than 20 other enterprises of the USSR and in 1987 it was adopted by the Soviet Army.
Currently, the Smerch MLRS is in service with the armies of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Representatives of India and China showed interest in acquiring this system.
MLRS 9K58 “Tornado” – video
MLRS 9K58 “Smerch” includes a launcher 9A52-2,300 mm rockets, fire control system, transport and loading machine 9T234-2, training aids and a set of arsenal equipment. The launcher consists of an artillery unit and a four-axle chassis of an all-terrain vehicle MA3-543M. The layout is classic.
The artillery unit is mounted in the stern of the wheeled chassis, in front of the left are the driver’s cab, the engine-transmission compartment, and the crew cabin, in which radio communications and fire control equipment are mounted.
The artillery unit includes a package of 12 tubular guides, a rotary base, lifting, rotary and balancing mechanisms, sights, an electric drive, and auxiliary equipment. The guides are smooth-walled tubes equipped with a screw U-shaped groove for the promotion of shells.
Guiding mechanisms using power drives induce a package of guides in a vertical plane in the range of angles from 0 ° to + 55 °. The angle of horizontal fire is 60 ° (30 ° to the left and right of the axis of the machine). Between the wheels of the third and fourth bridges, hydraulic bearings are mounted on which the stern of the launcher is hung to increase its stability during firing.
The rockets developed by GNPP “Alloy” for the Smerch rocket launcher have a unique design that ensures hit accuracy that is 2-3 times higher than that of foreign systems. The shells are equipped with a flight control system that corrects the trajectory of the pitch and yaw. Correction is carried out by gas-dynamic rudders driven by high-pressure gas from an onboard gas generator.
In addition, the stabilization of the projectile in flight occurs due to its rotation around the longitudinal axis, which is provided by preliminary unwinding during extension along with the tubular guide and supported in flight by installing the expanding stabilizer blades at an angle to the longitudinal axis of the projectile. When firing in a volley, the dispersion of shells of this design does not exceed 0.21% of the firing range.
The 300-mm shells of the Smerch MLRS are equipped with a mixed-fuel solid-fuel jet engine, they have a length of 7.5 m and a weight of 800 kg. The weight of the head is 280 kg. It can be monoblock or cassette.
The following types of shells are available:
■ 9M55F high-explosive fragmentation shell with a single-unit warhead (explosive weight is 92.5 kg, the shell is used to destroy fortifications, command posts, missile launching sites, etc.);
■ 9M55K shell with a cluster warhead containing 72 fragmentation warheads weighing 2 kg each (the main purpose of the shell is to defeat the enemy’s manpower, 10-16 of these shells are enough to guarantee the destruction of a motorized infantry company);
■ 9M55K1 shell with a cluster head containing five Motiv high-performance self-aiming ammunition (a tank company in the area of concentration is hit by a volley of four vehicles firing such shells).
Recently, the Smerch-M complex was created with a 9A52-2 combat vehicle on the M A3-543-A1 chassis and a 9T234-2 transport and loading vehicle on a similar chassis. A family of rockets has been developed with a range increased to 90 km due to the implementation of a set of measures similar to those adopted when increasing the range of the modernized Grad system to 35–40 km. primarily related to the improvement of the engine.
According to Jane’s reference book, the newly developed products include the following:
■ 9M525 missile with a cluster head equipped with 72 warheads weighing 1.75 kg each;
■ 9M526 missile with a cluster head equipped with five combat self-aiming elements with dual-band infrared coordinators;
■ 9M527 missile with a cluster head equipped with 25 anti-tank mines weighing 4.8 kg each;
■ 9M528 rocket with a mass of 815 kg with a single-shell high-explosive warhead equipped with a charge of 95 kg;
■ 9M529 rocket with a monoblock thermobaric warhead containing 100 kg of volume-detonating filler;
■ 9M530 missile with a penetrating HE shell;
■ 9M531 missile with a cluster warhead with 646 warheads with 120 mm armor-piercing.
Along with the use of rockets of the Smerch and Smerch-M systems as weapons for hitting targets, they can be used in the corresponding modification as a means of delivery to the reconnaissance object of R-90 disposable unmanned aerial vehicles developed at the Kazan Research Center ENIKO and repeatedly exhibited at air shows, starting with MAKS-93.
The unmanned reconnaissance vehicle is equipped with television equipment, a satellite navigation system, and means for transmitting television information to a range of up to 70 km. The unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with a pulsating jet engine and tandem wings of large elongation, which are opened after separation. The unmanned vehicle is capable of carrying out software reconnaissance flight lasting up to half an hour at a speed of up to 145 km / h.
MLRS “Smerch” can fire single shells or in one gulp. A full salvo of a combat vehicle is made in 38 seconds. The launch of shells is provided from the cockpit of a combat vehicle or using external remote control. The volley power of the three Smerch MLRS systems is equal in its effectiveness to the “work” of two brigades armed with 9K79 Tochka-U missile systems.
A salvo of one machine covers an area of 672,000 m2. The high efficiency of the combat use of the Smerch MLRS is ensured through the use of the Vivarium automated fire control system developed and manufactured by the Tomsk Production Association Kontur.
The following principles are implemented in this system:
■ simplicity, compactness and high reliability of equipment;
■ autonomy and mobility of system elements;
■ hardware and software compatibility with existing and developed ACS field artillery fire;
■ the possibility of operation in any environmental conditions and in a wide temperature range (from – 50 ° С to + 40 ° С).
The Vivarium control system was adopted in the early 90s and became widespread. It is intended for the automated and non-automated control of an MLRS brigade armed with the 9K58 Smerch complex, as well as 9K57 Hurricane.
Its technical means provide information exchange with higher, subordinate and interacting governing bodies, solve the tasks of planning concentrated fire and column fire, prepare data for firing, collect and analyze information about the state of artillery units.
The Vivarium control system is based on command and staff vehicles (KSHM), which are at the disposal of the commander and chief of staff of the brigade, as well as subordinate commanders of divisions (up to three) and batteries (up to eighteen). The KShM equipment is located in a K1 box body. 4310 mounted on the chassis of the KamAZ-4310 car.
It includes communications, classified data communications equipment, a digital computer, displays, and printers. The main technical tool for solving computational problems is the onboard digital computer E-715-1.1. Its speed for combined mode is 500,000 short operations, for uncombined – 250,000. The amount of RAM is 96, the permanent memory is 288 KB.
In ShKM of all control points of the brigade, special mathematical and software is implemented that provides:
■ reception, processing, storage, display and generation of messages in a formalized and non-formalized form;
■ transmitting to higher levels of management messages about the location and combat readiness of each unit, bringing subordinate units and units of teams for preparing strikes;
■ protection of stored and processed information from unauthorized access of service personnel and officials, as well as from unauthorized use of input-output means.
All calculation tasks are called up for solution by a command entered by the operator into a specialized digital computer using the ADC control panel. An exception is a task of calculating control data for a target, which is solved automatically when messages are received to strike with an indication of the contractor involved in the launch of the volley.
To control the process of solving problems at the workplace of the commander and operators of the KShM installed television display devices. Communication facilities are represented by a set of VHF and HF radio stations that allow you to confidently conduct radio traffic in traffic up to 50 km, and in the parking lot – 350 km.
The body of the van is equipped with antenna devices that ensure the reliable operation of radio stations. Radiotelephone communication is carried out both from the driver’s cab and from the operational compartment through the T-240D equipment. If necessary, it is possible to automatically switch to a backup communication channel in a few seconds, which virtually eliminates the loss of information during transmission. The exchange of data in motion is not provided.
The complex communication facilities provides pairing and access to the following channel-forming facilities: satellite, tropospheric and radio-relay communication stations, medium and high voltage VHF and VHF stations, hardware communication nodes, and wired communication lines.
The power supply of all equipment both on the spot and in motion is carried out from the portable diesel power station ED2x8-T400-18PS. To ensure normal working conditions of the commander and operators, air conditioners, FVUA-10OP-24 filter-ventilation units, and OV-65G heating units were installed in the KShM.
The machine set includes primary degassing equipment DK-4D, chemical, and radiation reconnaissance devices, as well as spare parts. It should be noted that all command and staff vehicles that are part of the Vivarium control system, have the same type of equipment and if one of them fails, its functions can be assigned to any other. This significantly increases the survivability of the system in the conduct of hostilities.
The operating procedure can be graphically presented using an example of a combat application. At the command post of the brigade commander, data on the enemy are received from combat reconnaissance vehicles, as well as from higher command and control bodies. Computing tools of the commander and chief of staff of the brigade solve the problem of planning fire.
At the same time, the capabilities of the fire units, the presence of ammunition are evaluated, the method of hitting targets is selected, the density of fire is determined, various options for solving the task are developed. Then, automatically through the communication channels, the necessary data and orders are transmitted to the command post of one of the divisions selected to solve the fire problem.
At the command post of the division commander, information about the enemy (character, type and coordinates of targets) is specified, topographic location tasks are solved, meteorological bulletins are compiled based on data from automated meteorological reconnaissance systems. After that, based on operational information about the location and combat readiness of subordinates to the division commander, the necessary information is transmitted to their command posts through communication channels.
The computing tools of the battery CABM process the received information and form a flight mission for six Smerch MLRS combat vehicles. According to Russian military experts, the Vivarium automated control system significantly increases the combat readiness of units equipped with Smerch systems, and the accuracy and efficiency of firing. It is not inferior to the similar American automated control system “Takfire”,
For loading the launcher, the 9K58 Smerch MLRS includes a transport and loading vehicle 9T234-2, developed on the chassis of the MA3-543A. This machine has crane equipment and carries twelve shells. The loading process of the launcher is mechanized and takes about 35 minutes.
The chassis used to create the launcher and the transport-loading machine have almost the same design and are equipped with a V-shaped twelve-cylinder diesel engine D12A-525A with a capacity of 525 hp. (at 2000 rpm). The transmission is hydromechanical, with a torque converter and a planetary three-speed gearbox with automatic switching. The chassis is made according to the wheel formula 8×8. Managed are two front pairs of wheels.
The suspension of all wheels is independent, torsion bar. Wide-profile tires are installed on the wheels, the air pressure in which is regulated by a centralized system (with air supply through the pins and hubs). When driving on a highway, cars develop a maximum speed of 60 km / h, they can move on roads of all categories and outside them, overcoming steep slopes of up to 30 ° and fords 1 meter deep.
The cruising range of fuel is 850 km. In general, 9K58 Smerch MLRS has very high combat effectiveness. One volley of this MLRS provides target destruction on an area of 67 hectares (670,000 square meters!).
The performance characteristics of the MLRS 9K58 “Smerch”
The number of guides ………………………………. 12
Calculation, people ……. …………………………………….. 4
Mass in combat position, t …………………………….. 43,7
Overall dimensions, mm:
length ….. ………………………………………….. 12400
width ………………………………………… ……. 3100
height in the stowed position ………………. 3100
Projectile weight, kg ………….. ………………………… 800
Firing range, km:
maximum …………. ……………………………. 70
minimum …………………………………………. 20
Area of destruction, m² …………………………………. 672 thousand.
Duration of a volley , s ……………………………….. 38
Time of reloading, min ….. ……………………………… 36
Engine power. hp ……………………………………. 525
Maximum speed , km / h ……………… 60
Cruising range, km ………………….. ……………………….. 850
Photo shooting MLRS 9K58 “Tornado”
Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades.
Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.
Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.