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    Future gunships for Russian Air Force

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    T-47

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    Post  T-47 on Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:29 pm

    First of all we all know what I meant by gunship, yes AC-130 spooky. Proved itself in counter-terrorist operation. Not too excellent but also not too noob-ish to ignore the success. So I'm opening a new thread to discuss it as I didn't find any thread yet.

    At present guided shells are becoming available in greater numbers in Russia. So an aircraft with armored belly, long loiter time, low flying ability and enough defense to evade enemy MANPADs or AA guns would be very useful in low intensity conflict where the air superiority is confirmed ie. Syria.
    In my point of view a small number of gunships should come very handy in RuAF. Large number is not needed because they have their impacts mostly on low intensity conflicts. I'd at max 10 and minimum 5 should be enough. Because there are lots of cases where CAS aircraft are not enough.

    Now about the aircraft! I used to think An-70 or a 4 four engine version of An-140 is the best candidate for this mod but Antonov is dead so those are no longer any option. Jet powered aircraft would be too costly for long loiter and low-mid altitude (Correct me if I'm wrong!). So a Russian turboprop aircraft is needed. Russia currently has Il-112V only to offer as turboprop transport which is too light for gunship role.
    So my thoughts are a 4 engine bigger version Il-112V can be made. Or even Il-214 airframe can be modified for 4 turboprop instead of 2 PD-14! Il-214 is an MTA so it can do the job pretty well. Idk if jet powered can be useful in this role, if yes Il-214 can be directly used without any engine change. Or even the old Il-38s can do!

    Now defenses, first thing I'd put is an armored belly at least to carry on against 23mm gun (or 30?). A bunch load of flares and other defenses obviously needed. Defense systems to detect small projectile as well as missiles from ground. The system should be able to detect AA projectiles and move the aircraft from interception path. Using flares and other defenses as needed.

    Sensors, the focus is on Air to Ground operation so all the latest A2G systems Russia has in production should be considered here. I'm not expert in these so I'm asking you guys to come up with something.

    Weapons, I'd put at least 1x100mm gun of the BMPs. They have low recoil and good HE performance. Also I think their AP/APCR/HEAT can easily penetrate the roof any type of armors in service today or coming in near future. As secondary weapon I'd put at least 1x30mm gun depending on which aircraft we are using. If its big enough 57mm can be used instead of 30mm. Garry's 23mm can be also considered. So there can be 2x23mm gun as well. Where to put these gun I'm asking you guys to write because I'm noob about aircraft balance and space availability stuffs.
    NOTE: enough ammo also need to be carried.
    At wing hardpoints, I'd put 2 in total. For carrying external fuel tanks or ATGM racks like attack helos got.


    I know there are lots of correction needed in my article so please start commenting Smile
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    Post  ZoA on Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:29 pm

    AC-130 is only useful for slaughtering defenceless peasants in 3th world countries. In essence US conceived is as instant My Lai stile massacre delivery vehicle without need to send in foot soldiers. You need to shred some undefended mud hut village, or butcher bunch of people attending wedding, funeral or other public gathering AC-130 is thing to use. But it is completely useless against anyone even with most primitive of air defence. It would be extremely infective in Syria because of large numbers of track mounted AA guns and machine-guns in that theatre, and outright suicidal to use against any kind of regular army.

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    Post  GarryB on Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:20 pm

    The whole purpose of the AC-130 is low cost (cheap unguided ammo) delivered accurately by direct fire weapons at ground targets.

    To be honest I think a much better solution for Russia would be a Tu-214 (An-12) equivalent with a 20 ton bomb load of unguided FAB-50 bombs and the Gefest & T targeting system at 5,000m altitude or higher.

    Simpler and easier and cheaper and safer.

    With satellite guided bombs it could rapidly attack a variety of targets too.

    If you want to copy the AC-130 then the 100mm rifled gun of the BMP-3 would be a great substitute for the 105mm gun on the Spooky. A 57mm S-60 cannon would provide punch with the new 57mm guns with guided shells offering a future expansion path, and of course the 30mm gatling as fitted to the MiG-27 would be a useful addition too.

    But again, as I said a medium altitude flying four engine transport plane with lots of dumb bombs and accurate aiming system plus a few satellite guided bombs would be far more use and much safer from ground fire.

    Weapons up to the FAB-9000 could be carried for hard targets too.

    I remember reading about the AC-47 predecessor to the AC-130 in Vietnam where they talking about the great Laotian truck eater to explain the difference in numbers of vehicles claimed killed by the aircraft and the lack of wrecked trucks found after the attacks...

    Not as effective as some like to claim it was... though very spectacular when firing all those guns... vulnerable to even MANPADS... let alone real air defence systems.
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    Post  T-47 on Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:12 pm

    ZoA wrote:AC-130 is only useful for slaughtering defenceless peasants in 3th world countries. In essence US conceived is as instant My Lai stile massacre delivery vehicle without need to send in foot soldiers. You need to shred some undefended mud hut village, or butcher bunch of people attending wedding, funeral or other public gathering AC-130 is thing to use. But it is completely useless against anyone even with most primitive of air defence. It would be extremely infective in Syria because of large numbers of track mounted AA guns and machine-guns in that theatre, and outright suicidal to use against any kind of regular army.

    Firstly just because US did something does not mean its completely useless.
    Secondly you clearly didn't read completely what I wrote. All of your accusations were already explained.


    GarryB wrote:
    To be honest I think a much better solution for Russia would be a Tu-214 (An-12) equivalent with a 20 ton bomb load of unguided FAB-50 bombs and the Gefest & T targeting system at 5,000m altitude or higher.

    Simpler and easier and cheaper and safer.

    Are you sure Jets will be better than turboprop?

    But again, as I said a medium altitude flying four engine transport plane with lots of dumb bombs and accurate aiming system plus a few satellite guided bombs would be far more use and much safer from ground fire.

    Tu-214 is two engine aircraft. And the 100mm can fire guided shells as well.

    Not as effective as some like to claim it was... though very spectacular when firing all those guns... vulnerable to even MANPADS... let alone real air defence systems.

    True that. That is I wrote about very small numbers. Because only certain scenarios it'll be effective. But in those scenarios it'll be helluva effective. For example during the IS attack for retaking Palmyra. 1 gunship was enough to stop the whole offensive. Its armored belly can block shots upto 30mm shells (Su-25 level armor). And from mid altitude it can evade IR guided MANPADs with flares. And with guided shells it can take out those technicals pretty easily and in large number at one sorty.
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    Post  GarryB on Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:08 pm

    Firstly just because US did something does not mean its completely useless.
    Secondly you clearly didn't read completely what I wrote. All of your accusations were already explained.

    It is more shock and awe than practical weapon system.
    Horribly vulnerable to any modern air defence system... as mentioned even MANPADS are a threat...

    Are you sure Jets will be better than turboprop?

    There is not need to fly very slow or very low... with modern optics and radar sensors flying above 5km altitude will be safe and at moderate speeds it should be effective enough.

    Tu-214 is two engine aircraft. And the 100mm can fire guided shells as well.

    You are not limited to C-130 sized aircraft... an already in service transport type like the Il-476 could carry 40 tons of light bombs with satellite guidance that are targeted in real time and released out the rear of the aircraft to hit targets as they are detected.

    You could even have a special crew deck with 20 crewmen with a bank of screens and externally 20 targeting pods... each with thermal optics and a laser target marker and each crewman could scan the airspace below the aircraft for targets and mark them manually with their own laser pod with a coded laser beam and have a laser homing bomb released from the rear ramp of the aircraft as the aircraft approaches the target...

    Precision hitting 20 targets at once with other targets of known positions being hit with sat guided bombs... or in the presence of smoke radar could detect target and generate coordinates which can be loaded into sat guided bombs to engage even through oil smoke or snow storms.

    40 tons give enormous combat persistence with bombs weighing from 20kg to 9000kgs... hand released out the rear to parachute dragged out, or ceiling crane released... from 10,000m to allow more manouver time for the guided bombs or a bomb release mechanism for the Gefest and T release of dumb bombs.

    The AC-130s are very expensive aircraft filled with ESM equipment and target detection and tracking equipment, not to mention all the guns it uses and the issues with recoil and noise etc...

    A couple of dozen Su-25s with Mi-28s could also have done some serious damage to a full on attack like that too.
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    Future gunships for Russian Air Force Empty The An-12 military transport aircraft with two 57-mm guns

    Post  dino00 on Wed Jun 26, 2019 10:33 am

    Source: analogue of the American flying AC-130 battery being developed in Russia

    The An-12 with two 57-mm guns will be used as a flying laboratory.


    KUBINKA / Moscow Region /, June 26. / Tass /. An analogue of an American aircraft directly supporting ground forces on the AC-130 battlefield is being developed in Russia; an advance design has already been developed on the basis of the An-12 transporter with 57-mm guns. This was reported to TASS on Wednesday by a source in the military-industrial complex at the Army-2019 forum.

    "The OCD [experimental design work] has been opened to develop a flying battery - an aircraft directly supporting troops on the battlefield, similar to the American AC-130 ganships." The An-12 military transport aircraft with two 57-mm guns will be used as a flying laboratory. ", - said the agency interlocutor, adding that the aircraft is also planned to equip with smaller caliber guns and automatic grenade launchers.

    At the Mileks-2019 exhibition, the general director of Uralvagonzavod, Alexander Potapov, reported that the corporation was working on the issue of using combat modules with 57-mm caliber guns not only in the ground forces, but also in the fleet and in the VKS, but he did not specify which 57-mm caliber will be used in this manner.

    More
    https://tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/6592791
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    Post  GarryB on Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:16 am

    Sounds like a bit of a waste of time to me... they would probably be better off going with a jet powered higher flying design and use the precision bombing capacity via new avionics to use cheap dumb bombs rolled off the rear ramp for fire support for ground forces... an Il-476 model could carry 62 tons of bombs this way... rather more potent fire power than any aircraft mounted gun, and much less flashy... and can easily be used to transport cargo or troops or fuel as a refuelling air tanker or indeed water in the fire fighting role...
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    Post  d_taddei2 on Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:58 pm

    quit agree with garryb here, although i would say a mix of weapons would be better, i dont see a use of a big gun like the 105mm in the spooky, Russia would have to use a 122mm or 100mm and to be honest with all the work needed to to reinforce the aircraft you would be better installing equipment already available to make dumb bombs fairly accurate and just as effective, add on to this a couple of 57mm guns as stated and and a few of the new Hermes for when pin point accuracy needed, and thats enough, you could even get away with a 23mm or 30mm gatling type weapon type of ammo is the key here. whatever they do they need to keep it simple and use existing weapons, and aircraft. An-12 or IL-76, using the gefest etc system off the Su-24, a handful of hermes missiles, a gun of some kind, possibly some Ataka/vikhr and add president S system and ur done, you could incorporate a EW suite for protection and for offense but that would raise costs massively. keep it simple and cheap, but such aircraft can be vulnerable, and cover very niche area.
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    Post  Rodion_Romanovic on Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:45 pm

    For counter insurgency operations and light attack for third world countries I would see more useful something similar to the brasilian super Tucano.

    Russia could propose a modified and enlarged Yak-152 for this scope.

    I understand that this is not an american style gunship, but in a real conflict I do not see the practical use of a similar aircraft to the AC-130 gunship, unless for bombing unarmed civilians.

    For Russia's own needs I would much prefer Russia to produce more Mil Mi-24/35 helicopters, ideally modernised to the same standard as the latest Mi-28NM.

    Even this normally antirussian site celebrates the characteristics of this helicopter.

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/12267/watch-this-russian-mi-35-hind-do-what-no-other-attack-helicopter-can

    (And of course I believe that Russia should keep a good amount of modernised Su-25, even restarting its production if necessary)
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    Post  d_taddei2 on Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:34 pm

    Rodion_Romanovic wrote:For counter insurgency operations and light attack for third world countries I would see more useful something similar to the brasilian super Tucano.

    Russia could propose a modified and enlarged Yak-152 for this scope.

    I understand that this is not an american style gunship, but in a real conflict I do not see the practical use of a similar aircraft to the AC-130 gunship, unless for bombing unarmed civilians.

    For Russia's own needs I would much prefer Russia to produce more Mil Mi-24/35 helicopters, ideally modernised to the same standard as the latest Mi-28NM.

    Even this normally antirussian site celebrates the characteristics of this helicopter.

    https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/12267/watch-this-russian-mi-35-hind-do-what-no-other-attack-helicopter-can

    (And of course I believe that Russia should keep a good amount of modernised Su-25, even restarting its production if necessary)

    I was following on from previous posts around the ac spooky. But I agree such aircraft isn't really needed an only acts as a big juicy target.

    I am a fan of the super tucano, mi-24/35, & su-25. Both all have there uses and unique abilities. And agree a mix of these is perfect another aircraft you could add which I see as another alternative (although it isn't CAS designed) the yak-130 this would rather fill a cheap light strike multi role still capable of supporting ground troops and use stand off weapons of course I wouldn't suggest one single of these aircraft but rather a mix as they all have their uses and all overlap each other in ability all are fairly cheap and the yak-130 & mi-24/35 have many multiple roles.

    S we have seen in Syria when fighting low tech enemies the more simple basic robust stuff is better and being cheaper you have effectively have more. The su-22, su-24, mig-29, mig-21, mig-23, L-39, and mi-24 have all be useful in Syria not one of them is new high tech equipment.

    Another point is you could use the same gefest etc upgrades that the su-24 got to turn dumb bombs into a cheap effective weapon being fairly accurate with the new target systems this system could be added onto yak-130, su-25, tucano and even mi-24/35 or many other aircraft
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    Post  GarryB on Wed Jul 24, 2019 5:54 am

    After some time to think about it, the post regarding fitting 57mm guns to an An-12 as a flying lab doesn't read to me the same as it did when I first read it here.

    When I first read it I thought they were making their own AC-130, but if they were then why use the An-12, which will likely start leaving Russian service in 5 years time and be completely replaced by another type that is sufficiently different to make experience gathered less useful.

    But now, reading it, I think more emphasis should be put on the fact that it is a flying lab.

    The An-12 actually had a version with a 360 degree rotatable cockpit mounted behind the tail, so it could be used to test ejection seats and a range of speeds and altitudes and simulate different angles of roll for the occupant of the seat... so for instance a test ejection at 100m altitude inverted meant the An-12 could fly level and safe at 100m altitude and the rear ejection seat could be rotated down to eject directly down to assess the performance of the seat and its parachutes and whether the dummy would survive.

    I rather suspect this flying lab could be used to measure accuracy and performance as well as gas generation and recoil effects on aircraft and how effective it might be against ground targets.

    I don't think this is a step to developing a gunship, I think this will be part of testing a new powerful anti armour anti material gun for an Su-25 upgrade or replacement...

    Those new EO guided missiles for the Mi-28NM with IIR seeker and a datalink with a 25+km range and ability to hit point targets accurately with a decent payload would be ideal for an Su-25 type aircraft, and a long barrel belly mounted 57mm gun would be a rather potent anti truck, anti APC/light vehicle weapon... with unguided rounds probably accurate enough to take out Toyotas and the odd building relatively cheaply.

    Perhaps even a scramjet powered kinetic shell for anti vehicle use on the cheap...
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    Post  George1 on Mon Jul 29, 2019 3:59 am

    This aircraft could be suitable for counter-insurgency operations in the Northern Caucasus, Central Asia, and Syria.
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    Post  GarryB on Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:13 am

    Yeah, I rather suspect they wont bother with a Russian equivalent of the Spooky... it really just does not make sense... some sort of HALE or MALE system with light precision guided armament is vastly more efficient and useful... you need a relatively small light platform that can spend days looking for targets with light armament so said targets can be attacked immediately and directly while the trail is hot... having to call up support aircraft or bombers or gunships just gives too much time for the targets to disperse or escape.

    Gunships would not have the endurance to hang around for very long periods looking for targets and would be more useful in a situation like in Syria when ISIS was trucking oil to generate revenue... but equally an Il-476 with thousands of 2.5kg HEAT cluster munitions rolling out the back would probably be more effective from 10km altitude...

    These gunships are horribly vulnerable to any reasonable air defences... the best resolution is altitude and so their precision bombing systems could be used from altitude and be fitted to much cheaper less compromised designs that could also be used for inflight refuelling and indeed cargo carrying...

    In terms of weapon options they have a much better range of weapons that would be more useful than the ones used on the US aircraft, but there is simply no real point to do so.

    An Su-25 with a 57mm gun could take out trucks with each shot but even a large capacity magazine is not going to carry more 57mm HE rounds than a wing full of 57mm rocket pods with laser guided rockets could manage.

    8 wing pylons with 8 x 32 57mm rocket pods is plenty if each hit a separate truck target... so with 8 x 32 tube 57mm rocket pods that is 256 rockets plus 200 odd cannon shells... that is over 200 toyota trucks per aircraft... that is one hell of a column it could stop in its tracks... per aircraft... you could follow it up with a Tu-22M3M with 12 tons of cluster munitions... who needs a slow low flying transport gunship?
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    Post  mnztr on Wed Jul 31, 2019 3:11 am

    Would probably be quite useful in Idlib, just circling at night for hours ready to attack any idiots that set up a mortar or rocket laucher.
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    Post  GarryB on Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:42 am

    But if you want a stable platform for optics and radar and IR systems that can operate for days or weeks or months then an airship could be the solution... together with artillery batteries firing guided shells out to decent ranges, or indeed munitions carried on the airship itself... a 57mm gun could cover an area below the airship with a radius of perhaps 12-16km and rather more if operating quite high up and using guided shells.

    Of course simple cheap command guided missiles could also be used from high altitude as well as various bombs including glide bombs...

    A stationary observation position with very high resolution cameras on fixed arcs could use computer systems to look for movement that attracts the attention of operators who can zoom in an observe activity, whether it is a town market or some men setting up some rockets to launch or whatever...

    Perhaps even fit it with a 120mm very long barrel gun/mortar to engage targets at extended ranges too.
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    Post  Azi on Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:01 am

    GarryB wrote:But if you want a stable platform for optics and radar and IR systems that can operate for days or weeks or months then an airship could be the solution... together with artillery batteries firing guided shells out to decent ranges, or indeed munitions carried on the airship itself... a 57mm gun could cover an area below the airship with a radius of perhaps 12-16km and rather more if operating quite high up and using guided shells.
    Airships failed in every conflict they were used (1. and 2. WW)! They are easy to hit with machine cannons. A gunship (small flying target, with ~ 400 km/h) is not soo easy to hit from ground.

    mnztr wrote:Would probably be quite useful in Idlib, just circling at night for hours ready to attack any idiots that set up a mortar or rocket laucher.
    That's exactly the point!!! A gunship can hamper and terminate for hours terrorist scum. And the real advantage is precision! Of course a Su-25 or a Su-34 can do the job, but it will do it with a bit more "booooom", with the risk of more collateral damage. Of course a helicopter can do the job of a gunship, but I will bet the gunship is cheaper in flying cost, have a greater loiter time and can carry more ammunition Wink The psychological effect of a gunship circling for hours must be devastating for the enemy.

    A gunship is no weapon for a great conflict, but for operations like in Syria it's perfect.
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    Post  GarryB on Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:26 am

    Airships failed in every conflict they were used (1. and 2. WW)! They are easy to hit with machine cannons.

    Actually German airships were the first successful strategic bomber... and they were certainly easy to hit with machine guns, but only from aircraft... not from the ground.

    Modern airships could be made from composite materials that are not flammable and could even be bullet resistent.

    More importantly they could operate at 25,000m or above where many fighter aircraft can't reach.

    With fabrics that are not flammable and filled with hydrogen bags but fill the spaces between the hydrogen bags with nitrogen and even if you climbed inside and lit a road flare nothing would happen... hydrogen needs oxygen to burn... hydrogen and nitrogen are cheap and abundant on earth... the heat from that burning road flare (that uses its own O2 generating material so it would continue to burn but the hydrogen wouldn't burn with it) would heat up the hydrogen and nitrogen and you would actually get more lift...

    The average airship has thousands of internal bags holding hydrogen lifting gas... even a direct hit by an AMRAAM would only burst a few hundred bags and would not start a fire so even the worst case scenario would be the airship slowly descends...

    Of course an AMRAAM would obliterate any gunship too so that is not really a drawback.

    A gunship (small flying target, with ~ 400 km/h) is not soo easy to hit from ground.

    Such gunships are transport planes and are horribly vulnerable to SAMs... even MANPADS have brought them down in the past.

    Of course a helicopter can do the job of a gunship, but I will bet the gunship is cheaper in flying cost, have a greater loiter time and can carry more ammunition Wink The psychological effect of a gunship circling for hours must be devastating for the enemy.

    A gunship is no weapon for a great conflict, but for operations like in Syria it's perfect.

    But that is the problem... big heavy transport planes circling for hours looking for targets burns a lot of fuel and actually becomes rather expensive... that is why the US and Israel and a lot of other countries developed UAVs and satellites for that job.

    An airship can loiter for months watching and waiting... and with ATGMs like the command guided Ataka or Shturm, they could hit targets at enormous distances, but they could also use simple command guided bombs with glide kits to engage targets if needed too... from 25km up you could have a grenade launcher or gun mortar system with terminally guided shells to hit targets too.

    The airship is the much more efficient and elegant solution... it could be wing shaped and able to move at reasonable speeds... you could put a small nuclear power plant on board... in fact the combination of water ballast and hydrogen lifting gas using fuel cells would be ideal... solar panels on top to generate electricity and batteries to store and if you need to go up or down the fuel cell can be used to create water ballast or hydrogen lifting gas as needed, while generating or using electricity in the process...

    A small gas turbine APU that runs on hydrogen or one of the compact nuke power supplies that might produce a few megawatts of power if needed... it would be like a nuke sub and could operate as long as the food supply lasts... with most things automated you might not even need a crew at all.

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