TASS reported September 28 that Russia’s research and industrial enterprise, Techmash, is working on the concept for a new 152mm artillery shell that can correct its trajectory while in flight.
Russia’s research and industrial concern Techmash (an affiliate of Rostech) is working on the concept of a new 152-millimeter correctable trajectory shell for artillery pieces, the concern’s deputy CEO Alexander Kochkin said adding that the project had no name yet.
“Currently we are the drafting terms of reference and image of this new type of ammunition. I reckon we will get down to research and development in the near future. It will be a new 152-millimeter correctable trajectory shell for artillery pieces. The project has no name yet,” he said.
As follows from Kochkin’s explanations, once out of the artillery barrel the new shell will follow an ordinary ballistic flight path most of the time. Near the target the built-in control system will be activated to correct the trajectory.
Kochkin remarked that equipping artillery shells with such control systems would be a rather tricky task due to the high dynamic impacts the shell is subject to at the moment of firing, in the process of rotation inside the artillery barrel and in flight.
“At high rotation speeds, up to 30,000 rounds per minute, optical instruments are useless. The image is blurry. Solving this problem will be a rather tricky task,” he added.
Several means of correcting the flight path in the final phase were being considered, including flight control surfaces and miniaturized jet engines.
He speculated that the trajectory-correctable shells might take the medium price niche.
“They will be cheaper than guided shells of the Krasnopol type, but more expensive than ordinary shells,” he said. Research into the new type of ammunition is absent from the state program for armaments, so Techmash will push ahead with research at its own expense.
According to open sources, the V.V. Bakhirev Research and Machine-Building Institute created a correctable trajectory 152-millimeter artillery shell. It was certified and used by Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
The shell flew most of the distance to the target as an ordinary artillery ammunition piece. The homing system was activated 600 meters away from the target, spotted by the laser target finder. The shell’s trajectory was fine-tuned with impulse thrusters.
The Russian Federation has shown an extremely high level of innovation and technical acuity in its weapons programs over the last several years. Just this year alone, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the world that his nation developed hypersonic missiles capable of flight at speeds of Mach 10 to Mach 20. While the West initially greeted these claims with skepticism (because this has been a project the US in particular has not succeeded with yet), later evidence to confirm the existence of these weapons was met with some alarm.
While the US has committed to enormous defense outlays of funds (the defense budget is in the neighborhood of US $700 bn this year), the Russian approach has been to develop specialized weapons which are unstoppable by known defenses. The Russian military budget is about one-tenth that of the US, but they are getting excellent results from this level of investment – enough to show great success in the Syrian campaign, and enough to become extremely competitive in the world’s arms markets – including within NATO member countries, like Turkey.