Moscow: Russia is due to test fire its new cruise missile, Iskander- M, on Tuesday, according to first deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov. He made this announcement at a meeting of government members and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, on Monday.
The missiles will be tested at the Kapustin Yar range in the southern part of the Astrakhan region, he said.
According to Ivanov, the test firing will be of an advanced version of this tactical missile, which is meant for ground troops.
The base version has already been inducted with the divisions based in the North Caucasus Military District, he said.
The Kolomna Machine Building Design Office has designed the Iskander-M missile.
The Isknader M/E versions are solid fuel missiles, meant to take on small ground targets with pinpoint accuracy, up to a maximum range of 280 kilometers, in the case of the export version. It can carry a warhead of a maximum weight of 480-kilogrammes, and can be guided in flight through space-based assets as well as unmanned aircraft. While the 'M' version has a range of up to 400 km, and is meant for the Russian land forces, the 'E' version is meant for export.
The Iskander launcher is equipped with two missiles that can be fired at one-minute intervals. Its road mobile nature also allows for quick dispersal of the system, making it virtually immune to counterstrikes.
The Iskander is a modified version of the Soviet-built Oka missile (SS-23), which was scrapped under the terms of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Iskander E reduced range of 280 kilometers, like the Indo-Russian BrahMos, allows it to beat INF limitations and frees it from international controls. This factor also allows it to be exported, as the export of ballistic missiles is limited to a range of 300 kilometers.
According to its designers, KMBO, the Iskander-E missile system embodies the best scientific, technical and design achievements in the field of theatre missile systems. In terms of its design and high combat effectiveness, the Iskander is an absolutely new-generation weapon, which outperforms existing Scud-B, Tochka-U, Lance, ATACMS, Pluto and other missile systems.
The Iskander-E missile system is designed to engage:
- hostile SAM and missile batteries;
- fixed-and rotary-wing aircraft at parking areas;
- command posts and communications nodes;
- vital area targets;
- critical civilian facilities.
With the implementation of terminal control and guidance methods, control is maintained through the entire flight trajectory. It deploys a broad range of powerful warheads, and the integration of onboard control systems, with various correction and homing systems ensure a high probability of combat mission accomplishment.
It can achieve its mission profile even in heavy hostile jamming environments.
Iskander-E missile system's features ensure:
- highly precise and effective engagement of various types of targets;
- possibility of concealed preparation, combat duty and delivery of effective missile strikes;
- automatic computation and input of a missile flying mission by the launcher devices;
- high probability of combat mission accomplishment in heavy hostile jamming environments;
- high probability of trouble-free missile operation during launch preparation and in flight;
- high tactical maneuverability due to cross-country combat vehicles mounted on all-wheel drive, chassis, and strategic mobility owing to transportability of the missile system by all types of transport facilities, including transport aircraft;
- automation of missile unit battle management, immediate processing of intelligence data and their dissemination to appropriate command levels;
- long service life and ease of operation.
According to Russian defence experts, in terms of the effectiveness/cost ratio, the Iskander-E missile system outperforms its best foreign counterparts by a ratio of five to eight times.
The system structure, its control systems, automated battle management and information support make it possible to promptly meet to new requirements without substantial modification of combat assets and, as a result, to guarantee a long lifespan.
Its designers claim that in terms of results already obtained by the Iskander-E missile system, which is now at the final stage of flight tests, it is unrivaled in the world and is truly a 21st century weapon.