"Product 305" will change the principle of warfare, by Alexander Timokhin for VZGLYAD. 03.03.2023.
The Izdeliye 305 rocket will open up new opportunities for the Russian Aerospace Forces in the NVO zone.
The latest development of the Russian military-industrial complex is able to turn the situation that has developed in the air of the special operation zone. Russian aviation is acting extremely carefully to protect pilots and vehicles from enemy fire. However, the Product 305 - if used correctly - creates new rules for the game on the battlefield. In what way?
The fighting in Ukraine was not easy for the Russian Aerospace Forces. On the one hand, Ukrainian aviation has no chance against Russian aircraft, and the statistics of downed Ukrainian aircraft is quite impressive. On the other hand, it has not yet been possible to completely suppress Ukrainian air defense. This is especially noticeable from the point of view of the work of aviation along the front line of the enemy.
The result of this state of affairs was the method by which the front-line aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces operates today. These are launches of unguided missiles from a pitch-up. Cabrating is a special maneuver, a kind of jump that a pilot makes to strike at a target. It provides greater security from enemy air defenses.
However, this method has problems. Firstly, it still does not guarantee complete security from air defense. And secondly, such launches, to put it mildly, are inaccurate. There are too many factors to consider in order to put such a volley exactly on the target.
But in a curious way, the same Russian Aerospace Forces have already tested weapons during the NWO, which can become our future means of working along the front line, and very accurate and powerful, with which you can safely work on the enemy on the line of contact (LBS). The problem of working on point targets on the battlefield completely solves. What is it about?
"Product 305" and air support
Let's formulate the task: you need to hit the target on the battlefield, but without flying up to the line of contact. Is there a weapon in the arsenal of the RF Armed Forces that can be used against targets moving across the battlefield, seeing their progress, controlling the means of destruction to prevent a miss, and at the same time keeping the weapon carrier at a safe distance from the front line? Yes, there are such weapons.
"Product 305", known as LMUR, is a light multi-purpose guided missile. A product that (if its price is kept within acceptable limits) can become a real hit on the battlefield.
LMUR - a rocket weighing 105 kg, carrying a fairly heavy warhead - 25 kg. Being retrofitted with special suspension units, it can be used by Ka-52 and Mi-28 helicopters. Also, several Mi-8 special-purpose helicopters were built for the FSB, capable of using an early version of this weapon.
The missile’s range of 14.5 kilometers, as well as a very small loss of altitude when launched from a carrier, makes it possible to use it from a distance at which portable anti-aircraft missile systems, machine guns and small-caliber anti-aircraft artillery cannot reach it in range, and full-fledged anti-aircraft missile systems will be very it is difficult to detect an aircraft flying at an ultra-low altitude.
The combat use of this missile since 2022 in Ukraine confirms this. The use of LMUR (at least, as far as can be judged from open sources) was safe for carriers - our helicopters.
Was it effective? Yes, it is quite. The combat unit of the LMUR was quite enough to destroy any armored vehicle up to the tank and to destroy small buildings. Several missiles were used to destroy large objects. Some of the shortcomings of this rocket completely cover its main advantage - it can be controlled by the operator from the carrier in flight, like a drone, just a disposable one. And this gives our troops new opportunities.
All helicopter anti-tank guided missiles and many aircraft air-to-surface guided missiles require the aircraft crew to first locate the target. And for this you need to be in line of sight with her. This allows enemy air defense systems to at least detect the carrier, as a maximum - if the range allows - to open fire on it.
For a long time, the only missile that could be launched from an aircraft from outside the air defense zone, and then manually guided from its side, was the Kh-59 guided missile and a number of its modifications. But these are large and expensive missiles carried by the Su-24M front-line bomber and a number of other heavy aircraft. You can't use such a missile against a tank. It can only be spent on a serious purpose that justifies its cost.
LMUR is a missile that can be used against a tank, but at the same time it gives the carrier the opportunity not to be in the line of sight with the target, remaining invisible behind the terrain at low altitude. If the position of the target, even a moving one, is approximately known, then the operator will find it through the missile lens and accurately point it, without even approaching the enemy.
And this raises an interesting question. Why are our combat helicopters so "cool"? The same Ka-52 has powerful armor, ejection seats, and many more complex systems that it needs. What is this all for?
For survival. Everything that is possible will shoot at the helicopter. Anti-aircraft missiles will be launched at him, anti-aircraft shells will burst in the air next to him ... if he works with his usual weapons - anti-tank and unguided rockets and guns. And LMUR takes him out from under fire. With this missile, he will operate from a relatively safe distance from fire from the ground.
And this, in turn, means a sharp decrease in the requirements for the carrier - now the Mi-8 also has sufficient security, or even some hypothetical, now defunct light aircraft. What difference does it make if you have armor or not if they don't shoot at you?
This should not be understood as a call to abandon full-fledged attack helicopters in favor of something else. But LMUR as a weapon gives Russia the opportunity to dramatically increase the number of strike units in aviation. And they will not risk under the fire of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, they simply have nothing else to do under this fire.
You can put the control post directly in the cargo compartment of the Mi-8 and use these missiles from it. You can use them even with the An-2, if pressed. Again, this is not a recommendation, but simply a demonstration of the versatility of the weapon created. But one issue must be resolved, which, to tell the truth, has long been overripe.
UAV for strike aircraft
As mentioned above, if the operator knows approximately where the target is, then he will find it through the "head" of the rocket after launch. But if the accuracy of information about the target is insufficient? Then it simply will not fall into the field of view of a missile moving along the course, and it cannot maneuver like a winged drone.
Since we are arming the aircraft with a missile that allows us to strike from afar, then we will have to share the strike weapon with the reconnaissance one. This means moving the “eyes” of an attack helicopter or aircraft forward, towards the enemy, to a place where our attack vehicle not only does not exist, but will never exist. Today, this can only be done with the help of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Moreover, the expensive, heavy and complex "Orion" is not at all necessary, something like "Orlan-10" is enough.
"Orlan-10" cannot perform a joint flight with a helicopter or aircraft. But this is not necessary. Where there is enemy activity, forward air controllers (PAN) should operate. The latter may well, on command from an attack helicopter or aircraft, lift something like the Orlan into the air.
And here we need that technical possibility, which is not difficult to implement, but which has not yet been implemented. The control of the UAV after takeoff must be transferred to the attack manned aircraft, from which the LMUR is launched.
Then everything is simple. The pilots themselves conduct additional reconnaissance, starting from what they managed to find from the drone, use LMUR, record the results of the strike, and then return control of the drone to the ground group. All without approaching the line of contact. Almost no risk. And hitting targets with their missiles is extremely accurate.
These things should be started right away. All the equipment for this is not only at the disposal of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, but has already been tested in battles, and there are weapons and aircraft. You just have to bring these things together. And then it turns out that no matter how much our country can produce expensive attack helicopters, the number of attacking units in the air can be increased many times over in a matter of months. For very little money. And losses, on the contrary, to reduce. If only there were enough of these missiles, which are not simple in design, the production of which must be increased as quickly as possible.
The only task that such a missile cannot solve near the LBS is the defeat of dispersed infantry. But for this there are other solutions that are quite effective. But everything that can be attributed to point targets, including mobile units such as tanks and self-propelled guns, can be destroyed very effectively in this way. It's time to take advantage of these opportunities.