Deputy Chief Designer of the Ametist Design Bureau
As demonstrated by the experience of local conflicts, the role of naval gun armament increased considerably in recent years despite the intensive introduction of missile armament. Heightened attention to naval gun armament is attributable first and foremost to the wane in the euphoria of naval specialists after the first stage of adopting missile systems for service and its replacement by a steady realistic estimate of each type of armament in an optimally balanced ship armament system. Currently, naval specialists and shipbuilders have reached the unanimous decision that the ships may lack various armaments, but no ship can survive without artillery. Such an opinion is based first of all on comprehension of the role of shipboard artillery in the ship armament system and the significance of specific properties of these weapons, including:
1. Versatility of employment (engagement of air, sea and coastal targets).
2. Potential backup of missile systems with a limited ammunition load and relatively lower combat stability and operational reliability.
3. Short time of reaction and minimum possible time of target handling, which is very important for engaging surprise targets.
4. Possible selective engagement of coastal targets against clutter background and in a heavy jamming environment.
5. Sustained effect on targets.
6. Absence of dead zones.
7. Low dependence on weather conditions.
8. High survivability and jamming immunity owing to the use of radar, optronic and purely optical channels, as well as the enhanced reliability of artillery system components.
9. Relatively small dimensions and weight of artillery systems and their potential modular arrangement on virtually all types of surface ships.
10. Large number (expected value) of engaged high-speed low-flying antiship missiles approaching at short intervals owing to the implementation of a fire-and-forget principle and the short time of fire transfer.
The significance of shipboard artillery grows considerably owing to the development of guided projectiles for artillery systems, which makes it possible to:
- selectively engage pinpoint coastal targets;
- defeat sea and coastal targets with a high probability;
- considerably reduce the time of fire mission accomplishment and ammunition expenditure;
- ensure firing at maneuvering targets.
Basing on experience gained during many years of ordnance development, naval specialists and designers concluded in the late 1980s that the existing practice of developing separate components of gun armament (gun mount, control system, ammunition, etc.) is insufficiently effective because it does not allow for the creation of an artillery system with an optimum relationship of the characteristics of its components (errors in dispersion, determination of target coordinates, computation of initial data and meteoballistic preparation as well as ensuring of control channel backup, interchangeability, etc.).
herefore, in the late 1980s developers switched to the creation of artillery systems as a whole. This approach made it possible to considerably increase their effectiveness and life, decrease weight and dimensions and reduce the number of attending personnel.
| || In addition, such design practice made it possible to determine the most important factor-who is responsible for the effectiveness of the system as a whole, its commissioning and integration of the components. This factor boosted the interest of domestic and foreign customers for naval gun armament.|
This approach was adopted during the development and upgrading of such artillery systems as the AK-630M-MR-123-02, AK-176-MR-123-02/76, AK-100-MR-145, AK-130-MR-184 and the creation of new-generation shipboard artillery systems.
Each artillery system comprised gun mounts, electronic and optronic control systems, various types of ammunition as well as systems and equipment for the execution of specific missions (firing at coastal targets, reconnaissance, etc.).
The comprehensive design method stipulates the potential supply of artillery systems of different modifications, including complete sets, intermediate versions and even separate components, which significantly facilitates the selection of weapons by the customer, proceeding from cost and carrier potential.
Russian scientists have developed various firing modules, including the gun mount and computers to generate fire control data by information obtained from any radar or optronic target seeker aboard the ship. Such a module is provided with a digital computer which ensures the simultaneous fire of two different caliber gun mounts at two or more targets.
Extensive experience of the Russian school for the development of naval gun armament produced artillery systems that outperform foreign counterparts in such properties as:
- high rate of fire;
- large amount of ready to fire ammunition;
- high system survivability owing to autonomous use of gun mounts attributed to turret-mounted optronic control systems, control channel backup, availability of hand drives, etc.;
- combination in the control systems of channels for surveillance and precise tracking within a hemisphere;
- high jamming immunity, accuracy of target coordinate determination and high target kill probability;
- ease and safety of ammunition storage and operation of gun mounts.
Recently, attention has focussed on the creation of small, relatively cheap fire control systems to arm different types of ships. In response to requests from a number of foreign states, Russian specialists are nearing the completion of a small-size surveillance and weapon control radar system, codenamed Laska and differing from other systems in terms of simplicity, higher reliability and relatively low cost.
The Laska radar control system ensures:
- fire control of 30 and 76mm shipboard guns;
- surveillance as well as target designation reception and output;
- high level of protection from natural interference and jamming via the use of complex radar signals and digital space-time processing.
At the customer’s request, the radar system can also be provided with a TV optical sight or night vision IR channel.
The Ametist Design Bureau together with the Tula Engineering Plant has developed and offers for export the 30mm artillery system comprising the AK-630M1-2 gun mount, Laska radar system and SP-521 (Rakurs) optronic system.
The AK-630M1-2 gun mount increases the antiship missile hit probability to 0.7-0.8 with a target engagement interval of 4-5 s. In view of the advanced nature of the AK-630M1-2-Laska system, the production cooperative society is ready to offer for export a revamped small-size air defense gun-missile system for small displacement ships, with the launcher of Igla-S IR homing SAMs arranged at the antenna post.
These design approaches will considerably increase the combat capabilities of shipboard gun armament, including the engagement of maneuvering air targets.
Basic Characteristics f Laska Radar Control System
Number of tracking channels 4
range, km over 21
elevation, deg 40
relative bearing, deg ±180
Reaction time, s 2-3
Number of simultaneously controlled gun mounts 2
Consumed power, kW 10
Weight, t 1
including antenna post, t 0.5
Number of components
| Control console of Rakurs|
Currently, work is underway to create a lightened 100mm system, with the weight and dimensions of the 76mm AK-176M-MR-123-02 artillery system, which will ensure a considerable increase in firepower of small displacement ships.
To increase the effectiveness of operational coastal artillery systems, both under development and obsolete, Russian scientists developed the Podacha universal system for coastal artillery fire control. It is now in series production and features a radar and a TV-laser channel. It uses the method of polarized tuning-out for effective protection from artificial active selective and barrage jamming.
The system ensures:
- automatic tracking of up to four targets, generation of their movement parameters and simultaneous control of fire at two targets;
- delivery of fire by six guns concurrently;
- into-action time of 3 min;
- time from tracking initiation to fire opening 30 s;
- antenna rotation rate 24 rev/min.
Today, the scientific and technical potential and production capabilities of Russian developers and producers of naval gun armament can meet the requirements of domestic and foreign customers in modern series-produced artillery systems and their components and also combine the elements of different types of ordnance for desired versions of shipboard and coastal gun armament.
| Basic Characteristics of Shipboard Artillery Systems|
|Gun mount|| AK-130|| AK-100|| AK-176||Ak-630M ||AK-630M 1-2 |
|Control system||MR-184 || MR-145|| MR-123-02/76|| MR-123-02|| MR-123-02|
|Number of barrels || 2||1 ||1 || 1 cluster|| 2 cluster|
|Caliber, mm || 130|| 100|| 76|| 30|| 30|
|Rate of fire, rds/min || 20-86|| 60|| 120|| 5,000|| 1,000|
|Firing range, km ||over 20 || 21.5|| 12*|| 5|| 5|
|Muzzle velocity, m/s || 850|| 880|| 890|| 880|| 880|
|Elevation, deg || -10 to +85|| -10 to +85|| -10 to +85|| -25 to +90|| -25 to +90|
|Traverse, deg ||±180 || ±180|| ±180|| ±180|| ±180|
|Target tracking range, km ||40 || 40|| 25-36|| 25-30|| 25-30|
|Min tracking altitude f air target with ERS of 0.01 m2, m || -|| -|| 3-5|| 3-5|| 3-5|
|Weight of system, t || 102|| 45.5|| 16.8|| || |
|Number of ready to fire rounds || 180|| 320|| 152|| 2,000|| 4,000|