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Russian combat helicopters to receive new S-13DF unguided rockets


Russian Ka-52 and Mi-28N helicopter gunships will be able to destroy the adversary in fortified shelters - pillboxes and concrete buildings. The Russian Aerospace command decided to arm the helicopters with S-13DF rockets that break through the walls and destroy the target by fuel and air explosion.


Russian combat helicopters to receive new S 13DF unguided rockets 001 A S-13DF unguided rocket showcased at MAKS 2013 air show
(Credit: Vitaly V. Kuzmin)


The new weapon was created according to the Syrian experience. S-13 appeared yet in Soviet times, but was fully upgraded and remade, the Izvestia daily writes.

The Defense Ministry said the decision to buy upgraded S-13DF was made this year. The missiles will become an important weapon for helicopter gunships.

The ministry is to receive the first batch of upgraded S-13DF by the end of the year. The Aerospace Forces plan to procure 3 thousand missiles by 2020. The modernization of a missile costs from 240 to 360 thousand rubles depending on its state. Initially Russian helicopters fired standard 80mm S-8 unguided missiles, but they had insufficient power to destroy fortified targets. Upgraded S-13DF received a new gunpowder engine and an upgraded warhead with fuel and air explosive mixture of a high capacity. The main innovation is a special cap. It breaks through concrete walls up to one meter thick and the thermobaric warhead explodes inside the erection and destroys everything there by fuel and air blast. A thermobaric munition disperses the explosive substance and detonates it. The substance is kept around an ordinary gunpowder charge and is dispersed in a closed space when it explodes.

122mm unguided S-13 air missile was designed in 1970s. It had fragmentation high-explosive and armor-piercing modifications. S-13DF missile was mentioned in the list of armaments in the 1990s, but it was not supplied to the troops.

The new missile has been considerably upgraded although it retained the same index. "The missiles have been tested in combat and displayed high effectiveness. The Defense Ministry ordered them," former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said.

"The warhead breaks through concrete constructions. Only air bombs could do that before. The lack of power of unguided air missiles was considerable," he said.

S-13DF is most efficient when the helicopter noses up. In this case the missile flies along a ballistic trajectory to a maximum range of up to 7 km. The helicopter can thus refrain from entering the zone of manpad or small arms fire. If target coordinates are known, the onboard system automatically calculates the fire zone and nose-up angle. If not, the aiming sight with a laser ranger calculates the angle and distance to the target. The pilot has to fly the craft along the assigned trajectory, launch the missile at the proper moment and escape.

The Defense Ministry earlier ordered a large-scale upgrade of tactical antiradar air missiles Kh-25MP. They will be able to destroy both radars and armor, aircraft at airfields, bridges and river crossings, surface warships, etc. The missile will be also able to destroy fortified command posts and pillboxes, the Izvestia writes.


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