Posted 22 декабря 2022, 08:24

Published 22 декабря 2022, 08:24

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:38

Air defense on a pickup truck: London sent Kiev a new system to combat air targets

22 декабря 2022, 08:24
Judging by the post in social networks of the adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko, the UK managed to deliver an unnamed number of Martlet (“Swallow”) universal light missiles to Ukraine.

Alexander Sychev

“Besides Ukraine, only two armies of the world, Great Britain and Indonesia, have them,” the adviser happily said, accompanying this message with an unrealistic assumption about the formation of a “heaven defense in depth”.

However, it is known that layered air defense is created by years of a well-thought-out industrial policy or at least systematic purchases of foreign samples, indispensable, rather lengthy training of personnel and building an interconnected system of air defense systems. None of this has been done in Ukraine yet. Western installations, which in principle are capable of interacting, will not work smoothly by themselves.

However, it would, of course, be unreasonable to deny the danger of even the uncoordinated use of motley complexes, far from all of which are new. It is possible to get into a separate drone, helicopter or plane, but this is not a sign of a developed air defense system that Ukrainian functionaries dream of.

The light multi-purpose guided missile Martlet, although the British turned out to be quite effective, will not create a system and, most likely, will be used for other purposes. The missile is universal and suitable for destroying both air and ground and surface targets.

Thales Air Defense Corporation began creating the Lastochka in 2008. Then the British Ministry of Defense launched the Future Light Guided Air-to-Surface Weapon (FASGW L) program. It was supposed to equip naval aviation helicopters with new missiles. It was based on the company's previous projects - Starburst and Starstreak portable systems.

In 2011, even before testing of air-launched missiles began, the Ministry of Defense issued a preliminary contract to the contractor for the mass production of thousands of ammunition for AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat helicopters. Then he suddenly changed his mind and suggested that the designers expand the role of the new rocket. Make it universal. Moreover, the progenitor was the American Javelin anti-tank missile. The program was immediately renamed. Since then, it has been called the "Lightweight Multipurpose Missile" (LMM). Only in 2020 was it possible to start mass production of Martlet.

But the first complex nevertheless appeared not even on helicopters, but on ships. The DS30M Mk 2 artillery mount was adapted for launch. Next, the serial Starstreak MANPADS were redone for the ground forces. In this version, the British use the Stormer tracked vehicle as a carrier, on the turret of which they placed a launcher for eight missiles, and inside the vehicle they organized an arsenal for another 12 pieces.

Ukraine, apparently, was given a lightweight version - tripods that can be installed on pickups and other trucks. This variant uses a standard guidance and control system and a three-missile launcher.

The LMM Martlet rocket, which is 1.3 meters long and 76 millimeters in diameter, is made in the form of a uniform cylinder with a pointed head. Not folding rudders are located near the head fairing, and folding stabilizers are located in the tail section. The weight of the rocket is 13 kilograms.

The Lastochka is powered by a dual-mode solid-fuel engine, which accelerates it to a speed of Mach 1.5 and provides a flight of eight kilometers. The Starstreak rocket was faster. She accelerated to Mach 4. High speed was sacrificed for controllability and targeting accuracy.

The combined guidance system includes laser radiation receivers and an infrared homing head under a transparent head fairing.

For most of the trajectory, the rocket flies along the laser beam. This is the main weakness of the system. Without a constant illumination of the target, it is not able to reach the switching distance of the infrared homing head.

Among other shortcomings, the lack of a "fire-and-forget" function. This forces the shooter not to leave the position almost until the moment the target is hit and endanger his life. Bad weather conditions or heavy smoke adversely affect the operation of the laser guidance system. And the infrared head can be deceived by setting false thermal targets.

The universal control unit, placed on a tripod or any other carrier, consists of an infrared scanner that detects targets and an ADAD processor that allows you to identify an object and transfers the weapon's sight to it.

The cumulative fragmentation warhead, which is detonated by a laser proximity fuse, weighs three kilograms. The resulting cumulative jet allows you to burn through light armor.