Ukraine Tests Extended Range Surface to Air Missiles
Ukraine has successfully carried out a test of modernized S-125M “Pechora” missile. The upgraded effector significantly extends the range and capabilities of the aforementioned SAM system, within the scope of acting against high velocity maneuvering targets. The enhanced performance has been obtained thanks to application of a new semi-active radar seeker and modernized propulsion. Ukroboronprom announced that works are in progress, the goal of which is to modernize the Ukrainian 5V27D missiles, so that they are compliant with the 5V27D-M2 standard.
Modernization of the 5V27D missiles used in case of the S-125M “Pechora” SAM (SA-3 “Goa”), is carried out by the state-owned “Luch” design bureau, working together with the privately owned “Radionics” company. The first test launch took place in September last year. The recent reports suggest that performance and capabilities of the new seeker have also been improved.
Thanks to the changes implemented in case of the first stage of the missile and flight-programme, the range has been extended from 25 up to 40 kilometres, also allowing the effector to attack targets flying at altitudes of up to 25 thousand metres (extension from 18 thousand metres). When intercepting targets at ranges close to the limits of the missile envelope, so called “aeroballistic” trajectory is used to provide energy for the rocket motors utilized during the last phase of flight, when trajectory changes in a way that would allow the missile to intercept high-speed maneuvering threats.
The changes and modifications made to the guidance system include a new semi-active radar seeker and modernized FCR-125 radar, utilizing new electronic components. Tracking range for such radars is around 130 kilometres for the aerodynamic threats. Further upgrades include increase of the number of missiles that may be guided by a single radar, from 2 to 8. They may be guided towards 4 separate targets simultaneously, provided that all targets are placed within the radar’s field of view (60 degrees horizontally and 47 degrees vertically).
Ukroboronprom announced that as significant improvement of performance figures has been achieved, thanks to the new missiles, works began in order to implement upgrades for the Ukrainian 5V27D missile arsenal.
Ukraine still operates the S-125M Newa SAM solution manufactured in the Soviet Union and introduced into the arsenal back in 1970. In case of Poland we’re dealing with a situation which is somewhat similar. The Polish systems, however, have been upgraded up to the Newa-SC standard through digitalization of components of the missile and improved mobility. The launchers have been based on the T-55 tank chassis. Meanwhile, the main goal of the Ukrainian upgrade effort is to extend the ranges of the missile and to add capability to act against multiple threats.