By Rohit Srrivastava
‘Battlefield tested’ is one of most important criteria for selection of any weapon system by any military. Weapons and systems that have performed in any intense conflict are desired by all militaries. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has not only battled hardened Russian military but all its weapon systems. The lessons of the war, first, begun to reflect in the rapid improvement in Russia war fighting tactics and now also begin to show up in its weapon systems.
At the Belarus’ defence expo Milex 2023, speaking to the Russian news agency TASS, Russian manufacturers informed about the various improved versions of weapons entering into mass production.
Speaking to TASS, High-precision Systems holding company informed “Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile and gun system has been modified taking into account operating experience in the course of combat operation. All the necessary improvements have been implemented." The holding company said while answering a question about improvements to the system for intercepting modern missiles and shells that are supplied to Ukraine, for example, HIMARS MLRS shells.
Pantsir-S is at the forefront of the Russian layered air-defence umbrella defending Russian ground assets from variety of aerial threats including, rockets, helicopters, shells, missiles, drones (as small as 30 cm) and other unmanned aerial systems. One can assume that the Russians forces who are facing a air borne munitions of various kinds for over a year must have realized what needs to be improved to make Pantsir more effective against new and emerging aerial threats.
sides air defence systems, TASS also reports improvement in Russian ammunitions like Krasnopol and Kitolov guided shells and Gran mines. According to reports, the improved version has entered into mass production by High-Precision System.
“Modifications, taking into account the experience of combat use of guided munitions, are carried out promptly and are being introduced into mass production. They are aimed at increasing the efficiency of the use of products," the company said while discussing Krasnopol and Kitolov high-precision projectiles and Gran guided mines with TASS.
Kitolov, precision guided shells with high-explosive fragmentation projectile with a semi-active laser guided, comes in 120 mm and 122 mm calibers.
Krasnopol, 152mm semi-automatic, fin-stabilized, laser-guided universal artillery rounds for all variety of Russian artillery systems including the modern Msta-S, Msta-SM and Koalitsiya-SV self-propelled howitzers. With the latest modification, the Krasnopol-M2, 155mm caliber shells can hit small targets at the range of 26 km at any time of day under strong cross winds. The Krasnopol target designator is capable of simultaneously capturing up to three targets.
KM-8 Gran, developed by Tula Instrument Design Bureau, part of the High-Precision Systems, 120 mm mortar round with a range of 1500m-9000m, is designed as universal shell for both smooth and rifled mortar systems. It employs high-explosive fragmentation warhead with a laser designated homing device and range finder. The system also includes a laser target designator-rangefinder.
Moving further from artillery shells, High-Precision Systems has also incorporated lessons of the conflicts into the Tablet-A artillery fire control which are now claimed to be more quicker in executing operations through a simplified algorithm. "The system is now used in the (conflict) zone, the software is being modified based on the combat experience gained. Namely, the list of ammunition that the system can control the firing of has been expanded, the algorithm of the operator's work has been significantly simplified, the number of actions required to open fire after receiving the task has been reduced, the range of objects with which the system can interact within the framework of reconnaissance and firing contours, the time for its software and hardware integration into them has been reduced. The system has become faster, more maneuverable and more reliable," the holding company said.
Tablet-A is the first Russian tablet designed to control artillery fire. It was developed by VNII Signal and was presented at the Army-2020expo.
Besides these systems and weapons, one can anticipate emergence of Russian weapon systems with increased lethality for the new kind of warfare that is emerging in the plains of Ukraine. Whole world is analyzing the conflict and drawing lessons for next –generation of weapons. Russia has a pole position in this race of designing superior weapon systems.