Victory in modern combat depends on combination of application of hi-tech weapons, outstanding professional skills and expertise of the personnel operating them, as well as on operational effectiveness of decision making throughout the chain of command.
Since the Russian Government has been taking series of steps towards rearmament of its military, there have been consistent growth of the share of cutting-edge equipment in the inventory.
Comprehensive target training system in travel order
Systems become more complex, versatile and responsive. These dictate that combat crews receive thorough training in layout and deployment of advanced platforms and maintain achieved expertise and skills.
“What is difficult in training will become easy in a battle,” used to say Alexander Suvorov, Russia’s outstanding military commander. This remains true even today in every sense. Even more so, since the ever-growing attention paid to training of every crew is now divided to encompass the need to set up a complex multi-level command and control system.
Under the circumstances, to provide the most advanced practice in military units, involved in training and combat operations, it is essential to set up conditions as close to those they are likely to face in combat as it gets. For example, in Air Defense every crew member has to stay on simulators until he starts making all the right moves without a second thought and then face complex (combined) training in combat target situations achieved through deployment of a diversity of targets simulating modern and future air threats with a great degree of immersion.
The modern target pool is made up of Saman-M and Strela-10M missile targets, few Pensne missile targets, and legacy Peniye, Kaban and Strizh targets of the Soviet era that have made it to these days. All of them are disposable and unreliable assets based on guided missiles of obsolete missile systems. Needless to say, they lack the required maneuverability. However, poor reliability of the targets is only half the problem with the other half being recovery and maintenance of the target systems (launchers), which have already logged over 30–35 years.
Naturally, the number of missiles remanufactured from old missiles will reduce in the coming years. On the other hand, given the increase in the number of advanced close-, mid-, and long-range AD systems, the troops will face the need in modern reusable targets growing exponentially year in, year out. Not least important is the fact that for tests of advanced and future military equipment just any target will no longer do. It will also have to simulate modern air threats, precision weapons in particular, very accurately. Essential features include high maneuverability and speed, small RCS, capability to merge into complex target groups, etc.
An analysis of these factors in 2015 prompted the decision of the Izhevsk-based “Kupol Electromechanical Plant”, approved by the “Almaz-Antey” Corp., to mount an R&D effort on its own dime. The goal was a versatile target and training system capable of creating a complex target environment by taking advantage of various air threat simulators to cater to the needs of modern and future AD systems. Dubbed 9F6021, the system resulted from R&D titled “Adjutant” (Russian for aide-de-camp), a rather relevant name by all means for a system, designed to “assist” commanders of all levels in training crews, testing production and development AD systems, and conducting fire missions in complex target environments.
“From day one the composition and design of the prospective system have been discussed with representatives of the Russian Ministry of Defense involved into training of AD troops. This shaped the system meeting most of the requirements, facing modern training and simulation assets, and saved us much time and effort, from getting into overheads if you will, in engineering its components. Over an extremely short time we came up with the design documentation and development models of the targets and system in general,” says Andrey Rusakov, the chief designer of the system.
“The 9F6021 incorporates a ground-based CP complete with stations for operators, three types of air targets, remote assets for displaying air situation, communications, and life-support systems. These come with a cargo module to stow and carry target launching, maintenance, and fueling equipment. Being reusable, all targets are launched from a mechanical catapult without powder boosters or compressed air and land by parachute.
- The first type is a FW drone of a standard design, propelled by a pusher propeller. Its major role is initial training of AD crews. Capable of making just 120 km/h, it nevertheless boasts with outstanding endurance of 4-plus hours. The target carries two remotely-triggered tracers.
- The second type is also a FW platform, but powered by a jet providing a much higher speed of up to 100 m/sec.
- The third type is designed to simulate cruise missiles and gliding bombs flying at 150–200 m/sec. Designed from scratch, it is equipped with a jet and capable of maneuvering in the same manner a UAV and cruise missile can, doing it in preset mode.
- The fourth type is a RW drone. It will be deployed to imitate a helicopter, hovering and performing a pop-up attack at a range of up to 10 km from its launching site.
The development model of the system has already passed preliminary tests and is expected to go into state trials later this year. These will provide grounds for settling the mass production kick-off date and date for the first system to enter the inventory of the MoD. A unique platform, it has everything to improve the quality of training of AD crews dramatically.”
©New defence order. Strategy | 01 | 2019