The unique missile system has incorporated the advanced achievements of world science and industry, but to an even greater extent - the enthusiasm and patriotism of manufacturers
The whirlpool of perestroika, the collapse of the national economy, the disaster of the military-industrial sector could put an end to the development of high-precision operational-tactical weapons. Its creators turned out to be stronger than "objective circumstances". They held out.
For the designers and developers of Iskander-M, trips to Kapustin Yar are ordinary everyday life. The tests take place both in the summer - under the scorching sun, and in the winter, when the Astrakhan steppe is covered with snow the size of a man, and in the fall - the water pouring from the sky obscures the eyes, but you have to shoot.
On November 18, everything turned out differently. There was a holiday. The cooperation of developers and manufacturers headed by OJSC NPK KBM (part of NPO High-Precision Complexes JSC) handed over to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation a set of the Iskander-M complex for equipping a missile brigade. The fourth in the last two years.
There were so many technical equipment that even against the background of endless expanses, its mass was overwhelming with its bulk. More than fifty cars - huge, with a chassis the size of a man. The roar of the turbines - the crews were lifting the rockets into a vertical position - made it impossible to talk.
The rocket brigade personnel were lined up along the long line of vehicles. A military band was playing. The brigade commander reported on the completion of the transfer.
Opposite - in the second rank - the military leadership lined up: the commander of the Central Military District, Colonel-General Vladimir Zarudnitsky, the Head of the Missile Forces and Artillery, Major-General Mikhail Matveevsky, the director and general designer of the complex developer - JSC NPK KBM Valery Kashin, the general director and the chief designer of the Central Research Institute of Automation and Hydraulics Anatoly Shapovalov, General Director and General Designer of the Central Design Bureau "Titan" Viktor Shurygin, heads of other related enterprises.
For industry, this is the culmination of decades of dedicated work. The avalanche of technology embodied sleepless nights of thinking, piling over drawings, debugging in assembly shops, launches at landfills and much more, which makes itself felt with gray hair on the temples and tingling in the heart.
For almost half a century, KBM has remained the only enterprise in the country that develops tactical and operational-tactical missile weapons for the Ground Forces.
The Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau began to develop its first tactical missile system in 1967. It was the world famous "Tochka" with a rocket range of 70 kilometers. High-precision, mobile, swimming over small water obstacles, working on solid fuel, she made a real sensation among the troops.
Tochka-U has come to replace the Tochka - the improved one. The missile's flight range was already 120 kilometers. At the same time, the same accuracy as that of "Tochka" has been preserved.
The following KBM development complexes operated already in the operational-tactical depth of the enemy troops. The Oka was put into service with a missile range of 400 kilometers. The Oka-U (range - more than 500 km) and Volga (range - 1000 km) were developed.
The team of many thousands was headed by the chief and general designer of KBM Sergey Pavlovich Invincible. A cooperation of hundreds of design bureaus, factories, research institutes was formed, in which KBM played the role of the parent organization.
In 1989, Oka was destroyed. Not saboteurs. The non-opposing army is the then leadership of the Soviet Union, having included the complex in the Soviet-American Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. It provided for the elimination of missiles operating at a distance of over 500 kilometers. The Oka's range was 400 kilometers. But Gorbachev, in modern terms, "passed" the complex, not sparing not only the feelings of its creators, many millions of rubles taken from the national economy of the Soviet Union, but even the safety of the citizens of the country he undertook to lead.
It is Sergey Pavlovich's great merit that the blow did not break this outstanding person. With his characteristic assertiveness, passion in everything related to work, and determination, Invincible achieved permission to develop a new OTRK with a missile range of 300 kilometers. The Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 1452-294 of December 21, 1988 on the beginning of experimental design work on the creation of the Iskander operational-tactical complex was issued.
There are a lot of legends and rumors about Iskander-M. He has many "authors", resting on laurels that do not belong to them. The Internet is full of false information.
Under Sergei Pavlovich, KBM managed to defend a draft design that provided for the placement of one rocket in the back of a car. This was in the first half of 1989.
At the end of the same year, S. P.
Nikolai Ivanovich Gushchin was elected as the head and chief designer at KBM (according to the proclaimed principles of democracy, the heads of enterprises were chosen by labor collectives for several troubled years), whose share was the years of the collapse of the national economy, which turned into a catastrophe for the country's military-industrial sector. Oleg Ivanovich Mamalyga was appointed chief designer of the thematic area where Iskander was developed.
Some "authoritative sources" claim that the beginning of the OTRK theme in KBM was laid by the preliminary design of the 9K711 "Uranus" complex, which was allegedly transferred from the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering.
“They didn't give us anything. KBM had its own groundwork, accumulated during the creation of the Gnome solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile, the Tochka tactical missile system, - said OI Mamalyga. - These are unique works. Before KBM, no one in the world had created a solid-propellant ramjet engine for an intercontinental missile. And Boris Ivanovich Shavyrin, the founder of our company, created it. KBM has always had its own path, its own technical school and its own technical traditions. “Tochka”, “Oka”, “Iskander-M” are 100% Kolomna's offspring.”
It is Oleg Ivanovich who can be called the first head of the author's team of the complex. His "residence" for several years was the Kapustin Yar test site and other regions of the country, where bench, flight and climatic tests took place. A kind of voluntary link to the good of the country. These are the people, inconspicuous workers who do not shout from the high stands, do not beat themselves in the chest, but do a great deed.
OI Mamalyge and VA Shurygin, general director of the Central Design Bureau "Titan", "Iskander" owes its "two-hornedness" - two missiles in the back.
“The KBM was given the task: the Iskander must destroy both fixed and mobile targets,” recalls Oleg Ivanovich. - At one time the same task was faced by "Oka-U". The Oki-U prototypes were destroyed together with the Oka under the same INF Treaty.
The reconnaissance and strike complex, which the Iskander was supposed to include as a means of fire destruction, was named Equality. A special reconnaissance aircraft was being developed, he was also a gunner. The plane detects, for example, a tank column on the march. Transmits coordinates to the OTRK launcher. Further, it adjusts the missile's flight depending on the movement of the target.
The reconnaissance and strike complex was supposed to hit from 20 to 40 targets per hour. It took a lot of rockets. Then I suggested placing two missiles on the launch pad."
Each rocket weighs 3.8 tons. Doubling the ammunition made it necessary to reconsider the dimensions and carrying capacity of the launcher. Prior to this, the chassis for the Kolomna complexes "Tochka" and "Oka" was made by the Bryansk Automobile Plant. Now I had to turn to the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant, which designed the four-axle chassis.
There was still a requirement to ensure a high probability of overcoming the enemy's missile defense. But unlike the Oka, the new complex should not have a nuclear charge. The combat mission is to be performed at the expense of the highest accuracy.
Overcoming the missile defense system was based on several decisions.
Reduced the effective scattering surface of the rocket as much as possible. For this, its contour was made as smooth as possible, streamlined, without protrusions and sharp edges.
Oleg Mamalyga - chief
OTRK designer in 1989-2005
During operation, it is necessary to transport, load, charge, dock equipment, check the performance of the rocket. That is, you cannot do without connectors, fasteners and other technological devices.
We found a non-standard solution. Two clips with auxiliary elements were installed on the rocket. Each consisted of two half-rings connected by pyro-locks. When the rocket left the guides, the control system gave a signal, the clips were fired, special automatic covers were put forward, which closed the hatches and the places of the connectors, and the rocket became "smooth".
To prevent the missile from being detected by the radars, a special coating was applied to the outer surface that absorbs radio waves.
But the main thing is that the rocket was endowed with the ability to actively maneuver and made the trajectory completely unpredictable. It is very difficult to calculate the anticipated meeting point in this case, in contrast to the situation when the object moves along a ballistic trajectory, therefore, it is almost impossible to intercept the missile.
No other tactical and operational-tactical missile in the world has and does not possess such properties.
We carried out a completely unique work, which forced us to revise many things inherent in the draft design. In the process of working out, little remained of the appearance of the ground equipment. Iskander became a kind of intermediate link in the creation of a new generation complex.
On February 28, 1993, the President of the Russian Federation issued a decree on the development of experimental design work on the Iskander-M OTRK, for which a TTZ was issued, based on a new approach to building the complex and optimizing all solutions.
This complex was not a rework of the old one, not a modernization, but a new product made on the basis of other technologies, more perfect. It has incorporated the advanced achievements of not only domestic, but also world science and industry.
All this happened against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the country's national economy. The defense-industrial complex was one of the first to fly into the maelstrom of perestroika.
The work on Iskander-M was largely based on the enthusiasm and patriotism of the enterprises of the core of the cooperation: KBM, TsNIIAG, TsKB "Titan", GosNIIMash - and with the support of GRAU.
In the process of creating the TV and Radio Broadcasting Company and OTRK, a tradition was born in cooperation: to compose a hymn to the glory of each product. When it became completely unbearable, the engineers, hoarse in the Astrakhan winds, yelled at the tune of "Farewell to the Slav":
Don't cry, don't cry
Don't shed tears in vain
Create and build
Without government rubles!
Their chorus was joined by the military, who were painfully worried about what was happening in the OPK. However, the army was no better.
Development has moved mostly into the theoretical and computational sphere. The scope of tests involved 20 launches. But in 1993 only five Iskander-M missiles were fired, the next year - two, and then, over the course of three years - one each. But the correspondence with the ministries has intensified. The replies that KBM received were like a carbon copy: no funds.
The experience of the development of "Tochka", "Tochka-U", "Oka", "Oki-U", "Volga" helped. All calculations were checked many times. Bench testing of the elements was carried out in the most thorough way.
Both at KBM and at other enterprises of the defense industry, people did not receive their salaries for six months. Those who had a “lifebuoy” in the form of civilian products somehow kept afloat. A number of factories carried out only military orders. They had a very hard time. As, for example, the Morozov Plant in the city of Vsevolozhsk, Leningrad Region, where the charges for the engine were poured.
To continue the development work, another test launch was required. The rocket was made at KBM. Launcher - at the Volgograd plant "Barricades". We needed a propulsion charge. Only one. Poorly!
The director of the Vsevolozhsk plant asked for an advance. His workers had been penniless for several months. But KBM had no money.
Then the head of the GRAU department, Lieutenant-General Velichko, his assistant, Colonel Kuksa, and several people from KBM went to a meeting with the activists of the labor collective.
The military put on full dress uniforms. Orders and medals glittered on the chest. Velichko got up, straightened his shoulders, looked around the audience with an attentive gaze and said in a low voice: “Comrades! Troubled times have come. The Oka missile system was destroyed. The Armed Forces found themselves without operational-tactical weapons. You are people who have devoted all their lives to the defense of the country. Who, besides us, will protect the Motherland ?!
The Morozovites filled in two charges.
The first four launches confirmed the correctness of the technical solutions.
At first, the fifth launch was also running normally. The testers fled into the bunker. To the launcher, which was at the starting position, there were black conductors of cables, through which control commands were given. Instead of a warhead, telemetry equipment was installed in the "head" of the rocket. You need to understand what happens to the rocket in flight. Sensors installed in the compartments continuously transmit readings to the ground. Temperature and pressure, voltage in electrical circuits and much more. Hundreds of options. Dozens of people are watching the flight. The bunker is cluttered with monitors. On the trajectory there is a network of measuring points - IPs, where information is also received.
The Start command has passed. The earth trembled. The multi-ton colossus released a cloud of flame, broke away from the launcher and went vertically into the sky.
The graph of the pressure measurement in the engine looked almost like a horizontal line. But suddenly … in the last seconds of work, the line sharply rushed down. This meant that the engine stopped performing its task. The gases, which, according to the reactive principle, should push the rocket forward, went somewhere to the side. The rocket became uncontrollable and was guided by her alone.
Let's go look for the wreckage. Parts of the rocket, traveling at a speed of two kilometers per second, scattered a decent distance from each other. They were looking for them for several days. The tail compartment with the engine was crumpled. The steering wheels came off. The heat shield has crumbled. It was impossible to determine the cause of the depressurization in these parts.
We analyzed the data obtained during the flight of the rocket - there is also nothing to catch on to.
During the next launch, the rocket fell again.
When the engine was found, someone noticed that the paint had darkened slightly in one place. This could be due to the high temperature. When flying in the atmosphere, the surface of the rocket heats up to 150 degrees. If the paint has darkened, the body is heated up to three hundred degrees, no less.
While the engineers were looking for the cause of the accident, in the highest military circles they decided to close the topic. Two unsuccessful launches were considered sufficient reason to dismiss Iskander-M from the accounts. And only the position of the chief of armaments of the RF Armed Forces, Colonel General A. P. Sitnov, the Main Missile and Artillery Directorate, its leaders - Colonel General N. A. Baranov, Lieutenant General G. P. Velichko, Colonel General N. I. Karaulov, Colonel General N. I. Svertilov - saved the topic. These people defended Iskander-M.
Involved TsNIIMash and Research Institute of Thermal Processes. We made a mock-up of the engine and tested it on a bench installation. It turned out that the method of missile flight control, which assumed large transverse, almost like anti-aircraft missiles, overloads, led to the formation in the combustion chamber of a "bundle" of a solid phase of combustion products, the so-called K-phase, which destroyed the heat-shielding coating and the engine body. Found the cause - eliminated the consequence.
The complex turned out to be simply unique. It was made completely autonomous, that is, they provided the ability to perform a combat mission with one combat vehicle. Equipped with a satellite navigation system. But the autonomous topographic reference system was also left.
For the first time, it became possible to enter the necessary data for the formation of a flight task remotely. The rocket can be launched by the brigade commander or even higher army ranks. If the launcher falls into the hands of terrorists (which is theoretically possible), they will not be able to use it. An electronic cipher key is required to unlock the starting circuits.
State tests began. In the context of insufficient funding, they took six years to complete.
The complex was handed over with the only type of missiles - with a cluster warhead. There was neither time nor money to achieve the high accuracy that Iskander-M has now. The cassette warhead solved the problem due to the fact that the combat elements covered a large area.
But even in the basic configuration, Iskander-M impressed the military with its effectiveness. His missile skillfully overcame the enemy's anti-missile defenses and performed the combat mission without fail.
By government decree No. 172-12 of 31.3.2006, Iskander-M was put into service in the basic configuration.
The question arose about production. The gyro platform was supposed to be made at NPO Electromechanics in Miass. But there they answered that they would not be able to make the required number of gyro platforms.
At other serial factories, things were no better. People were confused - the main resource for the production of complex, science-intensive products.
What was left to do in this situation? KBM made a very difficult decision: as the head organization to take over the serial production of the complex.
None of the military believed that KBM would be able to do something. Many gave up: they say, there will be no Iskander. The press was connected. “The industry is unable to ensure the release of Iskander-M” - the leitmotif of the then publications.
The Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army N. Ye. Makarov, wrote a letter to SV Chemezov, General Director of the Russian Technologies State Corporation, in which he raised the issue from a different angle. KBM is not getting involved in its own business. The task of the design bureau is to design. And let someone else be engaged in the release.
In the situation at the time, this meant nobody.
In the absence of a base for mass production and powerful psychological pressure, one had to have a very great will, fortitude and courage to say: "Let's do it!" KBM said exactly that.
Then the General Director and General Designer of FSUE "KBM" V. M. Kashin and General Director of OJSC "TsNIIAG" V. L. Solunin proposed to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to conclude a long-term contract with the Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering as the head enterprise of the cooperation.
VM Kashin raised this issue at all levels of the country's leadership, the defense complex, and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
We must pay tribute to the leaders of TsNIIAG: V. L. Solunin, then B. G. Gursky, A. V. Zimin, who also did not back down, accepted the challenge and showed persistence. However, there was nothing else left for them.
Serial production was launched. The gyro platform was replaced by an inertial measuring unit based on laser gyroscopes. It was very difficult. Again, no one believed that KBM would do this job in a very short time. The measuring unit was developed by the Polyus Research Institute. TsNIIAG had to create a new control system.
Immediately after the first applications of the complex, the army received persistent requests to develop new types of missiles. A missile with a cluster warhead did not allow solving a number of combat missions.
KBM and its subcontractors also did this work. In just eight years, the complex received five types of missiles, including cruise missiles.
By the way, there is no Iskander-K OTRK, which journalists often write about. There is the Iskander-M complex, which can use both cruise and aeroballistic missiles.
The cruise missiles were developed by the Novator Design Bureau from Yekaterinburg. Under the "lionfish" it was necessary to make changes in the launcher, and in the command and staff, and in all other OTRK machines. But the capabilities of the complex, equipped with aeroballistic and cruise missiles, have significantly expanded. It is almost impossible to predict what type of missiles will be used and to take countermeasures.
Since 2006, Iskander-M OTRK has undergone significant changes in almost all components. First of all, the complex of means of the automated brigade control system was modernized. The complex is developing, becoming even more powerful.
Difficulties with serial production and financing continued. The delivery of the Iskander-M OTRK to the troops was progressing slowly. The Ministry of Defense signed a separate contract with each enterprise of cooperation. Accordingly, the elements of the complex were supplied separately. This did not provide the required rates of rearmament, a unified approach to pricing and reduced the combat effectiveness of the army, since there were no specialists in the troops who could conduct combat coordination.
Finally, in 2011, the initiative of the head of KBM was crowned with success. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation signed a long-term contract with KBM as the sole contractor for the production of Iskander-M OTRK. Economists from the Ministry of Defense have scoured both KBM and more than 150 cooperative enterprises from top to bottom. God forbid they put an extra penny into the contract! The price issue has been settled for over a year.
By the decision of the Military-Industrial Commission under the Government of the Russian Federation, V. M. Kashin was appointed General Designer for operational-tactical missile weapons.
For two years now, KBM and its subcontractors have been handing over two sets of the complex to the Ministry of Defense. Each set is 51 units of automotive equipment, means of regulation and maintenance, training aids, a set of missiles.
Such a price went to the complex, which Russia is defending itself and is proud of.