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World Defense & Security News - Russia
 
 
Russian Tu-22M3 to get new "product 715" long-range cruise missile
 
Long-range cruise missiles will in the near future supplement the arsenal of Russian long-range supersonic Tu-22M3 bombers. The missiles are in a high technical readiness state and prepare for test trials. The weapon with the 9A5150 index is called "product 715". It can hit targets with high precision in a range of several thousand kilometers. 
     
Russian Tu 22M3 to get ne product 715 long range cruise missile 640 001Two RusAF Tu-22M3 strategic bombers
(Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense)
     
At present the Tu-22M3 is armed with supersonic cruise missiles of the Kh-22/32 family with a range not exceeding a thousand kilometers, the Izvestia daily reported.

Experts believe new cruise missiles will turn the Tu-22M3 into a multirole attack vehicle which will independently suppress adversary air defense at a long range and destroy important strategic facilities and fight terrorists.

The #715 product was first mentioned early this year. In particular, the government procurement website posted a contract for R&D to engage product 715 within 45.03M object. The customer was the Berezyak Machine-Building Design Bureau Raduga.

It is noteworthy to pay attention to the digital index in the contract: 45.03M. It is a Tupolev object upgraded in the framework of Adaptation, Sonetka and Potential projects. Tupolev said the Potential is an R&D project to arm supersonic Tu-22M3 bombers with new missiles. Work is ongoing to modernize the fleet of the bombers and the 45.03M index means modernized Tu-22M3M. Previously Kh-32 missiles were integrated into Tu-22M3M.

The Omsk Engine Design Bureau published its 2016 statement in July. Its line of products includes product 37-01 for Russian seaborne cruise missiles 3M-14. The new engine for the Raduga product got its own index 37-04. The annual statement shows the design bureau did not stop the research, which has to result in a certain product 37M.

"The Russian military-defense complex has a strict system of index provision," expert Dmitry Boltenkov said. "The 37 figure means a general number for a family of products, in this case of TRDD-50 engines. Digits 01, 02, 03 stand for specific modifications. Letter M means a completely new product created in the framework of the family. Thus, the upgraded TRDD-50 is using the 715 product at present, but will get a completely new engine in future," he explained.

In July, the Raduga announced another tender on the government procurement website. The designers needed to engage telemetry complexes within 9-A-5015 product.

"The defense ministry has the so-called "ordering department indices". This is a set of digits and letters for weapons and military hardware, which is assigned by the defense ministry. It is a very confusing and complicated system. Even the military sometimes get confused in it," expert Dmitry Kornev told the Izvestia.

"9A is an index for missile complexes, including airborne ones. It is clear that any missile has dozens of units with their own indices. I can definitely say that 9-A-5015 is a missile complex with #715 product missile. Besides the missile, the complex has servicing systems and units, launchers and other equipment. Air carriers are quite often included into the complex composition," he said.

Thus, an air cruise missile has been designed for modernized Tu-22M3M bomber. As the #715 product uses the TRDD-50 family engine, its capabilities and characteristics are close to existing Russian long-range high-precision arms.

Kornev believes the 9-A-5015 is in a high state of readiness and will soon begin flight tests onboard Tu-22M3M. "The contract mentioned BSU-715 which is well-known abbreviation. It means onboard control system. The announcement of such a tender means that the missile and all its systems are ready and have been tested. Now the most important stage will begin - the integration of all control systems of the carrier aircraft and product 715."

A logical question arises. What is the new cruise missile for? Kh-101 missiles properly preformed in Syria. They became the main armament both of strategic supersonic Tu-160 bombers and turboprop Tu-95MSM.

"Cruise missiles should be engaged massively against a high-tech adversary with strong air defense. The more missiles are fired in a salvo, the more of them will break through and hit the target. The problem is that Tu-22M3 can carry cruise missiles only under the wing or fuselage. It creates major air resistance. The more missiles are under the wing, the bigger is the resistance and the range of the aircraft considerably decreases. It is specifically important for Tu-22M3 as the START-2 treaty stripped them of the air refueling systems yet in the 1980s. Such a suspension denies Tu-22M3 a possibility to jump with supersonic speed, which is important for self-protection from fighter jets," he said.

The supersonic speed problem for strategic Tu-160 bomber was resolved in the following way time ago. A special multi-positional revolving launcher was made which Tupolev designers hid in the internal compartment of the aircraft. When compartment doors open the weapon turns and fires.

At present both Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95MS and US B-52H and B-1B carry similar launchers. However Tu-22M3 design does not allow installing a multi-positional revolving launcher with Kh-101 missiles. The Tu-22M3 compartment cannot accommodate launchers of such a size.

In the 1980s, the Soviet air force received several dozen Tu-22M3 equipped with revolving launchers for aero-ballistic Kh-15 missiles. They were designed according to the Tu-22M3 compartment space. At present Kh-15 missiles have been decommissioned.

"9-A-5015 is a principally new cruise missile with a smaller size. It can be supposed that in characteristics it will be slightly inferior to heavier Kh-101," Kornev believes.

"The #715 product will be carried in Tu-22M3 fuselage on revolving launchers. A new engine had to be created by Raduga and OMBK to keep the flight range and the weight of armaments. On the one hand, it is to be slightly more powerful than TRDD-50 modifications for Kh-101, but on the other hand, it is more cost effective," he said.

Boltenkov believes new cruise missiles will develop Tu-22M3M into a unique multirole attack weapon, the Izvestia writes.
     
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