Talking about the air defense system of the United States and Canada, one cannot fail to mention a completely unique anti-aircraft system in its performance and even now inspiring respect for its characteristics. The CIM-10 Bomark complex appeared due to the fact that representatives of the Air Force and the Army had different views on the principles of building the air defense of the continental United States. Representatives of the ground forces defended the concept of object air defense, based on the long-range Nike-Hercules air defense systems. This concept assumed that every protected object - large cities, military bases, industrial centers - should be covered by their batteries of anti-aircraft missiles, tied to a centralized control and warning system.
Representatives of the Air Force, on the contrary, believed that in modern conditions the air defense facility does not provide reliable protection, and proposed an unmanned remotely controlled interceptor capable of carrying out "territorial defense" - preventing enemy bombers from even close to defended objects. Given the size of the United States, such a task was perceived as extremely important. An economic assessment of the project proposed by the Air Force showed that it is more expedient and will come out about 2.5 times cheaper with the same level of protection. The version offered by the Air Force required fewer personnel and covered a large area. Nevertheless, Congress, wanting to get the most powerful air defense, despite the huge costs, approved both options.
The uniqueness of the Bomark air defense system was that from the very beginning it relied on the SAGE interceptor guidance system. The complex was to be integrated with existing early warning radars and a system for semi-automatic coordination of interceptor actions by programming their autopilots by radio with computers on the ground. Thus, the Air Force needed to create a projectile aircraft integrated into the already existing guidance system. It was assumed that the unmanned interceptor immediately after the start and climb will turn on the autopilot and go to the target area, automatically coordinating the course on the SAGE control system. Homing was to be carried out when approaching the target.
Application diagram of the unmanned interceptor CIM-10 Bomark
At the initial design stage, an option was considered in which the unmanned vehicle should use air-to-air missiles against enemy aircraft, and then make a soft landing using a parachute rescue system. However, due to the excessive complexity and high cost, this option was abandoned. After analyzing all the possibilities, they decided to create a disposable interceptor with a powerful fragmentation or nuclear warhead. According to calculations, a nuclear explosion with a capacity of about 10 kt was enough to destroy an aircraft or cruise missile when the missile plane missed 1000 m. Later, to increase the probability of hitting a target, nuclear warheads with a capacity of 0.1-0.5 Mt were used.
The launch was carried out vertically, using a starting accelerator, which accelerated the interceptor to a speed of 2M, at which the ramjet engine could operate effectively. After that, at an altitude of about 10 km, two of their own Marquardt RJ43-MA-3 ramjets, running on low-octane gasoline, were used. Taking off vertically like a rocket, the projectile aircraft gained cruising altitude, then turned towards the target and went into horizontal flight. By this time, the radar for tracking the system using an on-board answering machine was taking the interceptor for auto-tracking. The SAGE air defense system processed the data of the locators and transmitted them through cables laid underground and radio relay lines to relay stations, near which the projectile was flying at that moment. Depending on the maneuvers of the target being fired, the flight trajectory of the interceptor in this area was corrected. The autopilot received data on changes in the enemy's course and coordinated its course in accordance with this. When approaching the target, on command from the ground, the homing head was turned on.
Test run CIM-10 Bomark
Flight tests began in 1952. The complex entered service in 1957. Serially "Bomarks" were built at the enterprises of the "Boeing" company from 1957 to 1961. A total of 269 aircraft-projectiles of modification "A" and 301 of modification "B" were manufactured. Most of the deployed interceptors were equipped with nuclear warheads. The interceptors were launched vertically from reinforced concrete block shelters located at well-defended bases, each of which was equipped with a large number of launchers.
In 1955, a plan for the deployment of the Bomark system was adopted. It was planned to deploy 52 bases with 160 launchers each. This was to completely protect the continental United States from any air attack. In addition to the United States, interceptor bases were being built in Canada. This was explained by the desire of the American military to move the line of interception as far as possible from their borders.
Layout of CIM-10 Bomark in the USA and Canada
The first Beaumark Squadron was deployed to Canada on December 31, 1963. Aircraft-projectiles with nuclear warheads were formally listed in the arsenal of the Canadian Air Force, although at the same time they were considered the property of the United States and were on combat duty under the control of American officers. A total of 8 Bomark bases were deployed in the United States and 2 in Canada. Each base had 28 to 56 interceptors.
The deployment of American nuclear weapons in Canada sparked massive local protests, which led to the resignation of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's government in 1963. Canadians were not eager to admire the "nuclear fireworks" over their cities for the safety of the United States.
In 1961, an improved version of the CIM-10B with an improved guidance system and perfect aerodynamics was adopted. The AN / DPN-53 radar, which operated in continuous mode, was capable of engaging a fighter-type target at a distance of 20 km. The new RJ43-MA-11 engines made it possible to increase the flight range to 800 km at a speed of almost 3.2 M. All unmanned interceptors of this modification were equipped with nuclear warheads only. An improved version of the Bomark complex significantly increased the ability to intercept targets, but its age was short-lived. In the second half of the 60s, the main threat to the United States was represented not by the relatively small number of Soviet long-range bombers, but by ICBMs, which became more and more in the USSR every year.
The Bomark complex was absolutely useless against ballistic missiles. In addition, its performance directly depended on the SAGE global interceptor guidance system, which consisted of a single network of radars, communication lines and computers. It can be argued with full confidence that in the event of a full-scale nuclear war, it was ICBMs that would be the first to go into action, and the entire US global air defense alert network would cease to exist. Even a partial loss of operability of one link of the system, which includes: guidance radar, computer centers, communication lines and command transmission stations, inevitably led to the impossibility of withdrawing projectile aircraft to the target area.
Long-range anti-aircraft systems of the first generation could not deal with low-altitude targets. Powerful surveillance radars were not always able to detect aircraft and cruise missiles hiding behind the folds of the terrain. Therefore, in order to break through the air defense, not only tactical aircraft, but also heavy bombers began to practice low-altitude throws. To combat air attack at low altitudes in 1960, the US Army adopted the MIM-23 Hawk air defense system. Unlike the Nike family, the new complex was immediately developed in a mobile version.
In the first modification of the Hawk air defense missile system, a solid-propellant missile with a semi-active homing head was used, with the possibility of firing at air targets at a distance of 2-25 km and altitudes of 50-11000 m. The probability of hitting a target with one missile in the absence of interference was 50-55%. After detecting the target and determining its parameters, the launcher was deployed in the direction of the target and the target was taken to be accompanied by the illumination radar. The missile seeker could capture a target both before launch and in flight.
SAM MIM-23 Hawk
The anti-aircraft battery, consisting of three fire platoons, consisted of: 9 towed launchers with 3 missiles on each, a surveillance radar, three target illumination stations, a central battery control center, a portable console for remote control of the firing section, a platoon command post, and transport - charging machines and diesel generator power plants.
Station illumination of air targets AN / MPQ-46
Soon after it was put into service, the AN / MPQ-55 radar, specially designed for detecting low-altitude targets, was additionally introduced into the complex. The AN / MPQ-50 and AN / MPQ-55 radars were equipped with antenna rotation synchronization systems. Thanks to this, it was possible to eliminate the blind areas around the position of the air defense system.
Surveillance radar AN / MPQ-48
To guide the actions of several batteries of the air defense missile system, a mobile three-coordinate radar AN / TPS-43 was used. Its deliveries to the troops began in 1968. The station elements were transported by two M35 trucks. In favorable conditions, the station could detect high-altitude targets at a distance of more than 400 km.
Radar AN / TPS-43
It was assumed that the Hawk air defense system would cover the gaps between the long-range Nike-Hercules air defense systems and exclude the possibility of bombers breaking through to protected objects. But by the time the low-altitude complex reached the required level of combat readiness, it became clear that the main threat to facilities on US territory was not bombers, but ICBMs. Nevertheless, several Hawk batteries were deployed on the coast, as American intelligence received information about the introduction of submarines with cruise missiles into the USSR Navy. In the 1960s, the likelihood of nuclear strikes on the coastal areas of the United States was high. Basically, the Hawks were deployed at the forward American bases in Western Europe and Asia, in those areas where Soviet front-line bombers could reach. In order to increase mobility, some of the modernized low-altitude air defense systems were transferred to self-propelled chassis.
Almost immediately after the creation of the Hawk air defense system, research was conducted to improve its reliability and combat characteristics. Already in 1964, work began on the Improved Hawk or I-Hawk ("Improved Hawk") project. After the adoption of the MIM-23B modification with a new missile and a digital radar information processing system, the range of destruction of air targets increased to 40 km, the altitude range of fired targets was 0.03-18 km. The first Improved Hawk entered the army in the early 70s. At the same time, most of the American air defense systems MIM-23A have been brought to the level of MIM-23B. In the future, the "Hawk" complexes were repeatedly modernized in order to increase the reliability, noise immunity and increase the likelihood of hitting targets. In the US military, the Hawks outlasted the long-range Nike Hercules by far. The last MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense systems were decommissioned in the late 80s. and the use of the MIM-23 Improved Hawk anti-aircraft systems continued until the 2002 year.
In the US armed forces, the fight against enemy tactical (front-line) aircraft has traditionally been mainly assigned to fighters. Nevertheless, work on the creation of anti-aircraft systems for direct cover from air strikes of their own forward units was carried out. From 1943 to the mid-60s, the basis of the air defense of army units from the battalion and above was very successful 12.7-mm quad machine gun mounts with electric Maxson Mount guidance drives and 40-mm Bofors L60 anti-aircraft guns. In the post-war period, the anti-aircraft units of the tank divisions were armed with ZSU M19 and M42, armed with 40-mm sparks.
To protect objects in the rear and places of concentration of troops in 1953, anti-aircraft battalions instead of 40-mm towed Bofors L60 began to receive a 75-mm anti-aircraft gun with radar guidance M51 Skysweeper.
75-mm anti-aircraft gun М51
At the time of adoption, the M51 was unmatched in terms of range, rate of fire and firing accuracy. At the same time, it was very expensive and required highly qualified calculations. In the late 50s, anti-aircraft guns pushed the air defense system, and the service of the 75-mm anti-aircraft guns in the American army was not long. Already in 1959, all battalions armed with 75-mm guns were disbanded or re-equipped with anti-aircraft missiles. As usual, the weapons not needed by the American army were handed over to the allies.
In the 60s and 80s, the US Army has repeatedly announced competitions for the creation of anti-aircraft artillery and anti-aircraft missile systems designed to protect units on the march and on the battlefield. However, only the towed 20-mm M167 anti-aircraft gun, the M163 ZSU and the MIM-72 Chaparral near-zone air defense system were brought to the stage of mass production in the second half of the 60s.
The ZU M167 and ZSU M163 use the same 20-mm gun mount with an electric drive, created on the basis of the M61 Vulcan aircraft cannon. The M113 tracked armored personnel carrier serves as a chassis for the ZSU.
The Chaparrel mobile air defense system used the MIM-72 missile, created on the basis of the AIM-9 Sidewinder airborne melee missile system. Four anti-aircraft missiles with TGS were installed on a rotating launcher mounted on a tracked chassis. Eight spare missiles were part of the spare ammunition.
SAM MIM-72 Chaparral
Chaparrel did not have its own radar detection systems and received target designation over the radio network from AN / MPQ-32 or AN / MPQ-49 radars with a target detection range of about 20 km, or from observers. The complex was guided manually by an operator visually tracking the target. The launch range in conditions of good visibility on a target flying at a moderate subsonic speed could reach 8000 meters, the height of destruction is 50-3000 meters. The disadvantage of the Chaparrel air defense system was that it could mainly fire on jet planes in pursuit.
SAM "Chaparrel" in the US Army was organizationally reduced together with the ZSU "Vulcan". Anti-aircraft battalion "Chaparrel-Vulcan" consisted of four batteries, two batteries with "Chaparrel" (12 vehicles each), and two others - with ZSU M163 (12 vehicles). The towed version of the M167 was mainly used by the airmobile, air assault divisions and the USMC. Each anti-aircraft battery had up to three radars for detecting low-flying air targets. Usually, a set of radar equipment was transported in trailers by jeeps. But if necessary, all the equipment of the station could be carried by seven servicemen. Deployment time - 30 minutes.
The general command of the air defense forces of the division was carried out on the basis of data received from AN / TPS-50 mobile radars with a range of 90-100 km. In the early 70s, the troops received an improved version of this station - AN / TPS-54, on the chassis of an all-terrain truck. The AN / TPS-54 radar had a range of 180 km and "friend or foe" identification equipment.
To provide air defense of battalion units in 1968, the FIM-43 Redeye MANPADS entered service. The rocket of this portable complex was equipped with a TGS and, like the MIM-72 SAM, could fire at air targets mainly in pursuit. The maximum range of destruction of MANPADS "Red Eye" was 4500 meters. The probability of defeat according to the experience of real combat operations is 0, 1 … 0, 2.
The air defense of the ground forces of the US Army has always been built on a leftover principle. As in the past, it is now decorative. It is extremely doubtful that anti-aircraft units armed with FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS and M1097 Avenger mobile air defense systems of the near zone will be able to prevent the strikes of modern air attack weapons.
MANPADS "Stinger" was adopted in 1981. Currently, the FIM-92G rocket uses a deep-cooled dual-band anti-jamming socket seeker that operates in the UV and IR ranges. The complex in the firing position weighs 15.7 kg, the launch mass of the rocket is 10.1 kg. According to American data, the slant range of destruction of the most modern version of the "Stinger" reaches 5500 meters, and 3800 meters in height. Unlike the first generation MANPADS, the Stinger can hit targets on a collision course and in pursuit.
SAM M1097 Avenger
Stinger missiles are used in the M1097 Avenger air defense system. The base for the Avenger is the HMMWV universal army chassis. The Hummer is equipped with two TPKs with 4 FIM-92 missiles each, an optoelectronic sight, a search thermal imager, a laser rangefinder, a friend or foe identification device, communications with a negotiation secrecy unit and a 12.7 mm anti-aircraft machine gun. In the center of the platform, there is an operator's cabin with a transparent protective screen through which observation and search for targets is carried out. The aiming point marker is projected onto this screen. The position of the marker corresponds to the direction of rotation of the missile seeker, and its appearance informs the operator about the capture of the target selected for firing. Combat work is possible from a remote control and in motion at speeds up to 35 km / h. In addition to the eight combat-ready missiles in the TPK, there are eight missiles in the ammunition rack.
Of course, the placement of eight FIM-92 combat-ready missiles on an all-terrain chassis and the presence of optoelectronic sighting systems and communications equipment significantly increased the combat capabilities in comparison with MANPADS. However, the range and height of hitting targets remained the same. By modern standards, the launch range of 5500 meters is not enough even to effectively counter modern attack helicopters with long-range ATGMs.
The American armed forces, with the largest, and probably the most advanced fleet of fighters, traditionally rely on air superiority. However, this approach, which works when defending its territory, and in the face of a much weaker enemy in the future, can be very costly. In the event of a collision with a strong enemy with a modern air force, in the absence of the ability for one or another reason to cover their troops with fighter aircraft, the small number of anti-aircraft systems in ground units and the short launch range will inevitably lead to large losses.