The Secret of the Kursk’s Weapons

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O​-​D​-​I​-​N​.org praes. Tickets from Russia, 12. august 2014.


Engelsk­spro­get arti­kel fra sitet Tick­ets of Rus­sia.

Gra­nit mis­si­les.
Foto: Tick­ets from Rus­sia


The Secret of the Kursk’s Weapons

Dmitry Safronov


The Kursk sub­ma­ri­ne still has 22 “Gra­nit” – SSN19 (NATO clas­si­fi­ca­tion – “Shipwreck”) secret, super­so­nic long-ran­ge cru­i­se mis­si­les for stri­kes against sur­face for­ces on board.

It is pre­ci­se­ly for this rea­son that Rus­si­an naval ships are on round-the-clo­ck patrol duty in the area of the stri­ck­en Kursk. The coor­di­na­tes for the cen­ter of patrol area are 37 degre­es 35 minu­tes E. lon­gi­tu­de, 69 degre­es 40 minu­tes N. lati­tu­de. The Kursk lies at this spot at a dep­th of about 100 meters.

Stra​na​.Ru has lear­ned from Navy Cen­tral Com­mand that the­re was a chan­ge of patrol ships at the site of the acci­dent a few days ago. The heavy cru­i­ser Pyo­tr Velikiy (Peter the Gre­at) has repla­ced the lar­ge anti-sub­ma­ri­ne ship Admiral Khar­lam­ov.

The Mas­hin­o­stroy­e­niye Com­pa­ny built the submarine’s main wea­pon – the “Shipwreck” long-ran­ge, super­so­nic mis­si­le. The mis­si­le is con­si­de­red a top-secret wea­pon.

Naval ships of the “Antei” class (pro­ject 949A) appea­red back in the times of the Sovi­et Navy, Mas­hin­o­stroy­e­niye Gene­ral Director Ger­bert Yefrem­ov explai­ned to our cor­re­spon­dent. Such ships were desig­ned to coun­ter­ba­lan­ce Ame­ri­can aircraft car­ri­er for­ces and all groups of striking ships at sea.

The idea of a so-cal­led “asym­me­tri­cal” respon­se mate­ri­a­lized at the begin­ning of the 1980s. Essen­ti­al­ly, the idea was based on cre­at­ing a power­ful group of nuclear-powe­red stri­ke sub­ma­ri­nes armed with long-ran­ge super­so­nic anti-ship cru­i­se mis­si­les. The Gra­nit mis­si­le was built at the end of the 1970s and begin­ning of the 1980s. The pro­ject was car­ri­ed out by the Reu­to­vo branch of Mas­hin­o­stroy­e­niye under Aca­de­mi­ci­an Vla­di­mir Che­lo­mey­ev.

The “Shipwreck” can be fired both from sur­face ves­sels and sub­ma­ri­nes. It has a ran­ge of over 500 kilo­me­ters. Its firing weight is 7 tons and it has a length of 10 meters. Its velo­ci­ty is 2.5 mach (2,800 km/hr). The Gra­nit is capab­le of car­rying dif­fe­rent types of war­he­ads.

Howe­ver, it is not only the excel­lent flight cha­ra­cte­ri­sti­cs of the mis­si­le and the hom­ing device’s coun­ter­mea­su­res that enab­le the “Shipwreck” to pre­ser­ve its unique com­bat capa­bi­li­ties, Yefrem­ov points out.

The missile’s chief merit is its unique gui­dan­ce system. It is based on “arti­fi­ci­al­ly intel­li­gent” electro­nic systems that enab­le the mis­si­le to stri­ke a sing­le ves­sel, accor­ding to the “one ship – one mis­si­le” prin­cip­le. The mis­si­le itself selects and clas­si­fies the tar­gets by their “importan­ce.” It choo­ses the tactic of atta­ck and plans how it is to be car­ri­ed out. The missile’s onbo­ard com­pu­ter is loa­ded with data on modern clas­ses of ships to exclu­de err­ors in choo­sing its mane­u­vers to hit the selected tar­get.

The missile’s com­pu­ter also holds pure­ly tacti­cal data, for instan­ce, on the type of ship for­ma­tion. This data enab­les it to iden­ti­fy what lies ahe­ad – a con­voy, an aircraft group or a lan­ding assault for­ce – and to atta­ck the main tar­gets. The onbo­ard com­pu­ter also holds data for coun­te­ring the enemy’s radio jam­m­ing sig­nals, as well as tacti­cal means for esca­ping air fire.

After the mis­si­les are laun­ched in a vol­ley, the desig­ners explain, they deci­de by them­sel­ves which one will atta­ck which tar­get, and what kind of mane­u­vers must be car­ri­ed out in accor­dan­ce with mat­he­ma­ti­cal algo­rit­hms in the behavi­or pro­gram.

The mis­si­le also has capa­bi­li­ties for outwit­ting atta­ck­ing mis­si­le-inter­cep­tors. After the main tar­get in the group of ships is kno­ck­ed out, the remai­ning mis­si­les atta­ck other ships in the for­ma­tion, exclu­ding the pos­si­bi­li­ty of one and the same tar­get being hit by two mis­si­les.

Last year (1999), the Kursk was on a patrol mis­sion in the Medi­ter­ra­ne­an. And as the story was told at Russia’s chief naval headquar­ters, the US 6th Fle­et Com­mand was com­pel­led to dis­patch eve­ryt­hing it could to tra­ck down the Kursk, but they came up with not­hing.

Final­ly, a huge circ­le 500 km. in dia­me­ter was drawn on the maps and US naval ships were stri­ct­ly for­bid­den to enter this circ­le. By its pre­sen­ce alo­ne, the Kursk para­lyzed the who­le US fle­et, and com­pel­led it to think about its securi­ty.

The­re is eve­ry rea­son to sup­po­se that the US Navy will not pass up a chan­ce to get its hands on any infor­ma­tion about our mis­si­le for cre­at­ing a defen­se system against it,” Yefrem­ov points out. “And here, the­re is no need to nur­se any illu­sions about various inter­na­tio­nal tre­a­ties, or laws of ethi­cs.”

But even if such a system appears, Gra­nit will still remain a most power­ful wea­pon against any well-defen­ded adver­s­ary. Even if a mis­si­le inter­cep­tor hits, Gra­nit will be able to retain its ini­ti­al velo­ci­ty becau­se of its huge mass and spe­ed. As a result, it can reach its tar­get. The impa­ct of such a stri­ke will be such that even wit­hout its war­he­ad, the mis­si­le will be able to snap a destroy­er-class ves­sel in half.

Today, Mas­hin­o­stroy­e­niye is wor­king on a pro­gram to sup­port Granit’s high com­bat effi­ci­en­cy throug­hout its enti­re ser­vi­ce life. This con­cerns both its flight cha­ra­cte­ri­sti­cs and its “intel­lectu­al” capa­bi­li­ties. All this work does not requi­re lar­ge inve­st­ments, and this means that the Rus­si­an Navy will still have deci­si­ve “argu­ments” in any sea batt­le.

The tech­ni­cal capa­bi­li­ties that have alre­a­dy been put into Gra­nit form the basis for the con­cept of buil­ding a new type of anti-ship mis­si­le, the “Yak­hont.”

Kil­de: Tick­ets of Rus­sia

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