HISTORY

Photo: author’s archive

The first actual Kh101 missile combat

deployment took place

on November 17, 2015,

in Syria. The Russian

strategic bombers

Tu-160 fired 12 of these

missiles on the Islamic

State terrorist group

positions. Main targets

became the ammunition

depots, the military

camps and command

bases in Idlib and

Aleppo.

Kh-101 (AS-23 Kodiak) is a long range, air-to-ground guided cruise missile designed to destroy the well protected ground targets and can be carried by

Tu-95MS/MSM and Tu-160 strategic bombers. In comparison to its predecessor, Kh-55 the Kh-101 missiles je larger, it’s 7450 mm long and its diameter

is 742 mm. There are folded wings under the fuselage which extend after the launch and their wingspan is 4.4 m. The power is provided by the

RD-95TM-300 two-stage jet engine with the maximum thrust of 3.6 kN. The missile carries 1250 kg of fuel in the internal tank and its total weight is

220-2400 kg. According to the Russian sources Kh-101 range is 5000-5500 km with the 5-20m circular accuracy within the target. This missile gave

the Russian strategic bombers the advantage of executing the strikes against the key military targets from the zone where they are not threatened by

the opponent’s air defenses. Kh-101 is difficult to be detected by radar, its effective reflection area is only 0.01m. The missile’s flight profile is variable, it

can vary within 30 to 10 000 m. The cruising speed is 680-720 kph but the maximum speed can reach 900-970 kph. The missile is guided to the target

by electro-optical flight correction system Sprut, global satellite positioning system Glonass and in the final flight stage utilizes the television camera system. It is manufactured in two variants: Kh-101 with conventional 400 kg warhead and Kh-102 with 250 kt nuclear warhead. Kh-101 features two

separate 150 kg warheads, one fixed and one removable. This removable part can be released at a certain stage of flight and descend on the parachute

on the desired target. The missile with a fixed warhead continues on its course and therefore one rocket can simultaneously attack two targets up to 100

km apart. Tu-95MS/MSM bomber features four hard points under its wings and each of them can carry a pair of Kh-101 missiles. In total the aircraft can

deliver during a single mission up to eight of these winged rockets to the various targets. As opposed to its Kh-55 predecessor Kh-101 will not fit into the

Tu-95MS/MSM internal bomb bay due to its length. In the more modern strategic bomber Tu-160 however up to 12 pieces of Kh-101 can be hoisted.

Photo: author’s archive

The Kh-555 type missile

was from the beginning

intended as a stop-gap solution until the

development of the new

high quality air anti-ground guided cruise

missile Kh-101/Kh-102

(AS-23 Kodiak) can be

completed. Thanks to

its smaller effective

reflecting area this

missile features stealth

characteristics.

Kh-555 (AS-22 Kluge) emerged from the modernization program of the strategic air anti-ground guided cruise missile Kh-55/55SM (AS-15A/B Kent)

which was the main weapon of the strategic missile carrying bomber aircraft Tu-95MS-6 and Tu-160. Kh-555 design originates in model Kh-55SM (

AS-15B Kent) which features the droppable conforming additional fuel tanks installed on the sides of the missile body. Unlike its predecessor the Kh-555

type missile is equipped with the conventional warhead rather than nuclear one. The guidance system was modified as well. While the missile type

Kh-55SM guidance was provided by the inertial system (autopilot) with correction system TERCOM, Kh-555 received the inertial system with electro-optical correction system and passive TV self-guided assembly which provides the guidance in the final flight stage. The new feature was also the introduction of the small trapezoid horizontal stabilizing surfaces installed on the sides of the rocket nose.

The firing tests of the Kh-555 type missile started in 2002. In 2004 the weapon passed the government tests. On November 17, 2015, Kh-555 type missile

was, together with the more advanced missile Kh-101, deployed for the first time in combat in support of Bashar al- Assad in Syria.

According to the Russian sources Kh-555 is capable of striking the target in 1,500 – 2,000 km distance depending on the auxiliary fuel tanks application.

Similar to Kh-101 the flight profile is variable and varies within the range of 50 to 5000m at the 720-830 kph airspeed. The missile is guided to the target

by electro-optical flight correction system, global satellite positioning system Glonass and during the final flight stage it utilizes the TV camera. Kh-555 is

6040 mm long and its diameter is 514 – 770 mm. There are folded wings under the fuselage which deploy after the launch and their wingspan is 3.1 m. The

power plant is an R-95-300 two stage jet engine with 3.5 kN maximum thrust. Kh-555 total weight varies based on the carried fuel quantity between 1280

and 1500 kg while the warhead weighs 400 kg. Tu-95MS/MSM bomber can carry six pieces of these winged rockets and Tu-160 is capable of carrying up to

12 pieces of Kh-555 in its internal bomb bay.

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INFO Eduard

June 2022