Polish-Ukrainian air defense missile system project based on R-27

Polish-Ukrainian air defense missile system project based on R-27
Polish-Ukrainian air defense missile system project based on R-27

A number of foreign countries are armed with several ground-based anti-aircraft missile systems built using guided air-to-air missiles. This approach to the design of air defense systems has some advantages, and therefore is of limited popularity. In the foreseeable future, a new SAM project may appear in this category. The Polish and Ukrainian industries have recently revealed their current plans for the development of a promising air defense system based on the R-27 missile.

In early January, a regular scientific and practical conference was held in Poland, dedicated to the problems of building and developing the country's air defense. During this event, various statements were made, including one very interesting announcement. It was for the first time announced about the possibility of developing a new medium-range air defense system, using the maximum possible number of ready-made components.


The alleged appearance of the launcher of the new air defense system. Drawing by WB Electronics

The official representative of the Polish private company WB Electronics spoke about the project planned for development. The enterprise is going to work together with the Ukrainian state organization "Ukroboronprom". They will have to develop new elements of the complex, as well as adapt existing units.

It should be noted that WB Electronics and Ukroboronprom already have experience in working together, and some of their common developments have already been demonstrated at exhibitions. In addition, the very idea of ​​creating an air defense system based on an aircraft missile is not new. Back in 2017, the Ukrainian side proposed to Polish colleagues to join forces and create a similar system called R-27 ADS, but then the idea remained without development. Now the concept can be brought, at least, to the stage of technical design.

The proposal of WB Electronics and Ukroboronprom provides for the development and production of a mobile medium-range anti-aircraft missile system. The firepower of this system is seen as a promising guided missile based on the R-27 air-to-air product. It is argued that the use of developments and components of an old rocket, developed during the Soviet era, will give certain advantages. First of all, it becomes possible to use ready-made components that do not have to be developed from scratch.

It is curious that a promising project, while existing only at the level of a technical proposal, still does not have an official name. Nevertheless, its authors have already decided on the scope of the new technology. The medium-range air defense system is proposed to be used in object air defense, although its use in the field of military air defense is not excluded. The complex will be able to protect important objects from air attacks using aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and various aircraft weapons.

The Polish company announced some information about the future project, and also published an image showing the alleged appearance of a promising air defense system. It should be noted that only the self-propelled launcher and its ammunition were present in the figure. The appearance of other components of the anti-aircraft system, which must necessarily be present in its composition, remains unknown.However, in this context, one can make quite plausible predictions.

As a base for a self-propelled launcher (and, probably, for other means of the complex), an all-wheel drive three-axle automobile chassis Jelcz 662D of Polish production is considered. These machines are equipped with a 316 kW (425 hp) Iveco FPT Cursor 10 Euro III diesel engine at 2100 rpm. The curb weight of the chassis can reach 14 tons, the carrying capacity is 11 tons. On the highway, acceleration up to 85 km / h is provided. The chassis allows for off-road driving.

In the case of a self-propelled launcher on the base chassis, it is proposed to mount an appropriate set of special equipment. In a standard cab of a cabover configuration, control devices for other systems should be located. The cargo platform of the chassis is given for the installation of a lifting package with guides for missiles, which has hydraulic drives. As presented, the launcher has an ammunition load of 12 missiles. Interestingly, in the published image of the combat vehicle, there are no jacks for leveling during deployment.

There is still no information about the means of detection for the unnamed air defense system. However, it follows from the published information that it should include a separate vehicle with a radar station. She will have to provide monitoring of the air situation and target detection. In addition, the complex should include a radar station responsible for the operation of missiles with a semi-active radar homing head. The firing range of some missiles is declared at 110 km, which makes it possible to imagine the possible characteristics of the radar. It is not yet clear whether it will be possible to manage with one station, or the second air defense missile system will carry two such devices.

An anti-aircraft guided missile, created on the basis of the existing R-27 product or its modifications of Ukrainian production, will be used as a means of destruction as part of the Polish-Ukrainian air defense system. The R-27 missile was originally developed for fighters and provides for launch from under the wing of an aircraft. There are several main modifications of such a rocket, differing from each other in the composition of the equipment, capabilities and characteristics. In the new project, it is supposed to use all the basic developments on the basic project, as a result of which the unnamed air defense system will receive ample opportunities.


Ukrainian-made R-27 missiles. Photo Wikimedia Commons

The new complex will use missiles with three types of guidance systems, also differing from each other in the range. So, it is proposed to use a missile with a semi-active radar homing head, capable of hitting targets at ranges up to 25 km. Apparently, we are talking about a modified version of the R-27R product, and with a fairly reduced flight range. The complex will also receive a missile with an infrared seeker and a flight range of 30 km - an analog or a copy of the R-27T missile. It is also planned to offer customers a product with a passive radar seeker capable of hitting emitting objects at ranges of up to 110 km. In terms of capabilities and characteristics, such a rocket is similar to the serial R-27EP.

WB Electronics directly indicates its desire to use modernized versions of R-27 missiles as part of a promising anti-aircraft complex. At the same time, it does not disclose the most important and interesting details related to their application. In particular, it is not specified how exactly the modernization of existing missiles will be carried out. The representative of the Polish company mentioned that some of the components for the required missiles - such as three GOS, an engine and fuel for it - have already been created, and this simplifies further work. Such information raises certain questions.

So far, the project of an unnamed air defense system remains in its early stages, but the development organizations can name the approximate dates for the appearance of finished samples. If there is an order for the completion of the design and the subsequent deployment of production, it will take about three years. After that, potential customers can count on receiving serial equipment.

The official announcement of a new project of an anti-aircraft system of Polish-Ukrainian development took place just a few days ago, and therefore there is no information about the interest from potential buyers so far. However, information of this kind may appear in the very near future. Some countries may be interested in an interesting proposal from WB Electronics and Ukroboronprom, which will result in the emergence of a contract. However, another scenario looks no less probable, in which the greatest achievement of the project will be screenings at exhibitions.


The proposal of the Polish and Ukrainian industry to create a new air defense system looks interesting, but it is still difficult to assess its real prospects. However, already in the current early stages of design, it is clear that the proposed product has both strengths and weaknesses, and we are talking about factors of various kinds. At the same time, the real ratio of pros and cons can be far from what is desired and, because of this, interfere with the commercial success of the project.

The advantage of the project can be considered the use of ready-made components and serial products. So, the basis of the new technology will be Polish chassis, and missiles assembled from Ukrainian products will be placed on the launchers. Only individual elements of the complex will have to be developed from scratch. This allows developers to count on obtaining sufficiently high tactical and technical characteristics at a reasonable cost. Certain advantages can be provided by the unification of the armament of anti-aircraft units and front-line aviation.

Acceptable combat characteristics are declared, in a number of situations they are quite sufficient to combat air targets of different classes. This provides for the possibility of using three missiles with different guidance principles and differing flight data. However, against the background of other modern medium-range air defense systems, the unnamed Polish-Ukrainian project may not look the best.

However, the proposal also has serious drawbacks. First of all, it is necessary to note the specificity of the "landing" of airborne guided missiles. At the moment of launch from under the wing of the aircraft, the air-to-air missile is at a certain height and receives an initial speed, which reduces the requirements for its engine, which provides acceleration to the required speed and entering the trajectory. In the case of a ground-based launcher, the rocket must independently accelerate and gain altitude.

Such tasks can be solved with the help of separate starting engines, however, apparently, WB Electronics and Ukroboronprom do not want to work in this direction. Probably, the R-27 missiles in the role of ground weapons will have to independently take off and enter the required trajectory. This will lead to unnecessary fuel energy consumption and, as a result, reduce flight data. It is for this reason that the anti-aircraft version of the R-27R missile will be able to fly only 25 km instead of 60 km for the basic aviation version. The only exception is the proposed modification of the R-27P product with a passive radar seeker, which, like the base rocket, can fly 110 km. However, the declared parameters may seriously differ from the real ones.


Jelcz S662D. 43. Photo by JELCZ Sp. / jelcz.com.pl

Also worth noting is another problem directly related to the selected missiles. In the past, enterprises of the Ukrainian SSR were involved in the serial production of R-27 missiles, for which they received the necessary documentation.Later, independent Ukraine was able to master the independent production of such missiles and even brought them to the international market. As far as is known, over the past decades, Ukrainian enterprises have not carried out a significant modernization of the missiles produced.

As a result, modern R-27 products manufactured by Artem AHK in their characteristics and capabilities almost do not differ from missiles of basic modifications developed in the early eighties. Whether such weapons will be able to cope with the solution of combat missions in modern conditions is a big question.

A promising project of a Polish-Ukrainian air defense missile system at first glance looks quite interesting and attracts attention. However, its problems and weaknesses are already visible, which can negatively affect both real opportunities and commercial potential. In general, the unnamed air defense system does not look like the most successful development and is not devoid of significant disadvantages. It is unlikely that its creators should expect to receive many large orders from different countries as soon as possible.

However, WB Electronics and the Ukroboronprom organization should not immediately abandon the new project. They should wait for the reaction of potential buyers and draw conclusions. It may also be necessary to bring the project to the stage of construction of prototypes or prototypes, suitable, at least, for demonstration at exhibitions and product promotion on the market. Thanks to this, it will be possible to understand and evaluate the real commercial potential, as well as - with the best development of events - to find customers. That being said, developers should not overestimate their project and expect too much from it.

In general, the proposed project of an anti-aircraft missile system based on the R-27 guided missile is of certain interest from the point of view of technology, but its commercial prospects are still not clear. The specific ratio of positive and negative features does not allow us to unambiguously assess the future of this development, and, rather, is a reason for negative predictions. The development companies promise to establish the production of a promising air defense system within three years. Time will tell whether this promise will be fulfilled and what its results will be.

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