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俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验  

2015-06-19 11:10:49|  分类: 高超声速 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Russia tests hypersonic glide vehicle
The development of advanced missile re-entry vehicles by key nuclear states could negate traditional defence systems. Pavel Podvig and Alexander Stukalin examine Russia's pursuit of a hypersonic glide vehicle and the implications for arms control.

Key Points
  • Since 2010, under 'Project 4202', Russia has stepped up its programme to develop a hypersonic glide vehicle that could eventually be capable of penetrating existing missile defences.
  • If successful, the project could result in the deployment of a small number of glide-equipped and potentially nuclear-capable missiles by the end the decade, although significant technical challenges remain unsolved.
  • Given the potential for such systems to circumvent existing arms control treaties, this programme has the potential to affect relations with the United States even while it is in the development phase.

A test launch from the Dombarovskiy missile division site in February 2015 suggests that Russia is actively pursuing the development of a hypersonic glide vehicle that could potentially expand the long-range strike capabilities of its Strategic Rocket Forces.
The term 'hypersonic glide vehicle' usually refers to a vehicle that is launched by a missile into the upper atmosphere, where it can fly over extended distances at hypersonic speed (generally defined as Mach 5 - íapproximately 6, 126 km/h - and above), using aerodynamic forces to maintain its trajectory and steer towards its target. Proponents of the technology - which is currently under development in China, Russia, and the United States at least - argue that it offers a number of advantages over ballistic missiles, such as an ability to deliver heavier payloads with greater accuracy. A hypersonic glide vehicle would also be difficult to detect using existing early-warning systems, and would present a serious challenge to missile defence systems due to its trajectory profile and manoeuvrability.
The Russian hypersonic system is unofficially known by its code name, Project 4202, and has been under development since work began on the vehicle in the 1980s (Soviet projects in this field date back as far as the 1960s). Judging from official statements, the development of a hypersonic vehicle appears to be a high priority for Russian military and political leaders, not least because of its alleged anti-missile-defence capabilities. The pace of work has accelerated since 2010, even though the project has encountered a number of technical problems, as indicated by the apparent failure of the most recent flight test carried out on 26 February 2015. Despite some setbacks, the development programme continues and the hypersonic system could potentially reach initial operational capability by the end of the decade.

俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验 - kktt - 长缨在手  敢缚苍龙
DigitalGlobe imagery shows 13th Missile Division facilities around Yasny in Orenburg, Russia. The silo identified is among the possible sites that have been modified since 2010 to support the larger size of the Yu-71 glide vehicle. (? 2015 Google/DigitalGlobe/IHS)

Programme origins

As of July 2015, Russia had not released any details about Project 4202 or publicly acknowledged the development effort. However, there is enough information available in open sources to reconstruct the key elements of the development programme, spanning several decades.
The origins of Project 4202 can be traced back to the Soviet era, when the development of a Russian hypersonic vehicle was first undertaken - probably in response to the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), a missile defence system proposed in 1983 and intended to protect the US from strategic intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Soviet archival documents indicate that a massive development effort was initiated in 1985, which included a range of its own SDI-like programmes, as well as countermeasures such as the modernisation of existing Soviet ballistic missiles to enable the penetration of missile defences. As part of this effort, one of the key Soviet missile design bureaux, NPO Mashinostroyeniya (NPOMash), also known as the Chelomey Design Bureau, proposed the development of a new solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that would carry what was called a "gliding winged re-entry vehicle", according to historical accounts of the Soviet defence industry (the official history of the Yuzhmash Design Bureau). This programme, known as Albatross, was approved in 1987, although work on the re-entry vehicle may have started earlier. In 1989, the missile aspect of the project was cancelled (in favour of another project that would eventually produce the SS-27 Topol-M), but NPOMash continued to work on the glide re-entry vehicle.
The first experimental glide vehicle was known as the 102E (the system was also referred to as the 15Yu70 or Yu-70). To carry the new payload, NPOMash relied on the UR-100NUTTH (SS-19) ICBM developed by the design bureau in the 1970s and deployed in large numbers in the early 1980s. The converted missile was later used as the Strela space launcher to deliver small satellites into orbit.
Although little information is publicly known about the Albatross project, it appears that the payload to be deployed on ICBMs consisted of a vehicle with a booster stage that helps insert the glide vehicle into the atmosphere, where it continues its flight at an altitude of about 70-80 kilometres (km). At the time, this was supposed to shield the vehicle from the SDI-type missile defence systems that would be deployed in orbit. The vehicle was probably designed to have some manoeuvrability throughout the flight, which would make it a difficult target for any US missile defence platform.
An account of the first tests of the programme can be found in the documents of the Soviet military-industrial commission, (known as the Katayev archive after Vitaly Katayev, a high-level official in the Soviet defence-industrial complex), which was acquired in 2002 by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. It shows that the Albatross vehicle was ready for its first flight in early 1989, but that the political approval to begin the test programme was not granted until 1990. The archival documents also indicate that two test flights were conducted in short succession in 1990 - one on 28 February and another on 5 March. In both tests, the missile launcher delivered the Albatross vehicle to the test site in Kamchatka, although the flights did not involve separation of the glide vehicle from the booster stage. At least one more launch was planned that year to test the glide vehicle in an autonomous flight, but no information has been released regarding the outcome or whether the test actually took place.
As was the case with most Soviet defence programmes, work on the Albatross system was suspended or significantly scaled back following the break-up of the Soviet Union, largely due to a lack of funding. However, NPOMash preserved the Albatross project, indicating that the design bureau considered it to be one of its key development programmes. The flight tests may have continued, although no reliable information is available regarding the programme in the 1990s.

Renewed efforts

In the early 2000s, as missile defence became a renewed issue of contention in US-Russian relations - marked by US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 - the alleged anti-missile-defence capabilities of the system helped NPOMash to draw additional attention to its work. The test of a UR-100NUTTH (SS-19) missile on 26 June 2001 may have involved the 102E/Yu-70 glide vehicle, and in 2004 the vehicle was demonstrated to Russian political leaders in a high-profile flight test conducted during a large exercise of the strategic forces.
As part of the exercise, which took place on 18 February 2004 and included multiple launches of ballistic and cruise missiles, a UR-100NUTTH (SS-19) missile was launched from one of the silos at Baikonur, allegedly delivering the Yu-70 vehicle to Kamchatka. The demonstration was deemed a success by the Russian leadership, allowing President Vladimir Putin to announce that Russia "will receive new hypersound-speed, high-precision new weapons systems that can hit targets at intercontinental distance and can adjust their altitude and course as they travel". The new system was presented as a response to US missile defence deployment plans.
However, information about the success of the 2004 test is somewhat contradictory. In 2005, the director of a competing missile design bureau - Yury Solomonov of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology - stated at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences that the glide vehicle was lost during the flight and did not reach the target in Kamchatka, according to a local media report.
Even if the test was only a partial success, the project clearly received the support of the Russian political and military leadership. Still, it took NPOMash several years to convert that support into a formal decision to proceed with the programme, which may have been made around 2007. Thereafter, NPOMash publications and most governmental documents describing glide vehicle-related activities refer to the programme as 'Project 4202'.
As part of the programme, the glide vehicle and some of its systems appear to have undergone some modernisation; accordingly, the new glide vehicle became known as Yu-71. In addition, NPOMash restructured the project to eliminate contractors from former Soviet republics, in particular the Ukrainian company Khartron JSC, which developed the guidance system for the original 102E/Yu-70 programme.

 

Known and suspected tests of Soviet/Russian glide vehicles

 

 

Date

Launch site

Notes

28-Feb-90

Baikonur

First flight test of the Yu-70/102E vehicle of the Albatross programme. No separation of the glide vehicle from the boost stage.

5-Mar-90

Baikonur

Yu-70/102E glide vehicle; no separation of the glide vehicle from the boost stage.

6-Jun-01

Baikonur

UR-100NUTTH launch that may have involved a test of the glide vehicle.

18-Feb-04

Baikonur

Yu-70/102E glide vehicle; reportedly unsuccessful.

27-Dec-11

Baikonur

First test of the Yu-71 glide vehicle of Project 4202.

Sep-13

Dombarovskiy

Yu-71 glide vehicle of Project 4202: unsuccessful.

2014 (exact date unknown)

Dombarovskiy

Suspected Project 4202 test.

26-Feb-15

Dombarovskiy

Project 4202 test: unsuccessful.


Silo modification


Preparations for the deployment of the new hypersonic system began after 2010 with a large construction project at a site designated as Object 370, located at the Dombarovskiy missile division near Yasny township in the Orenburg region of Russia. According to a government tender for construction at the site, alterations included the "construction of facilities of the A35-71 launcher with a space head section". A number of public documents, such as acquisition requests and court decisions, clearly identify this work as part of Project 4202.
The 13th missile division in Dombarovskiy is one of the operational units of the Strategic Rocket Forces that operate heavy ICBMs of the SS-18 family. The Soviet Union built a total of 64 missile silos at the site, but most accounts of Russia's current nuclear forces estimate that only 18 of the silos contain operational R-36M2 (RS-20V, SS-18) ICBMs, as of 2015.
Notably, one of the Dombarovskiy division regiments was converted to the Yasny space launch site during the early 2000s, with its first launch conducted in 2006. Operated by ISC Kosmotras, the site supported the launches of R-36MUTTH (RS-20B, SS-18) missiles converted into space launchers, and it appears that none of the 10 silos of the converted regiment are to be used for missile deployment.
An additional 12 silos at the Dombarovskiy site were eliminated in the 1990s, leaving 42 silos available for ICBM deployment. As only 18 silos at the site are believed to contain operational ICBMs, the remaining 24 silos are likely to have been preserved for future use.
According to construction tender documents, the modifications related to Project 4202 at Dombarovskiy involve the conversion of at least one of the preserved silos. IHS Jane's assesses one potential candidate to be the silo located about 7 km east of Yasny, because tender documents mention 7 km communication links and it is the only silo at the site over which airspace is closed. Nevertheless, construction activity has been detected at other silos of the division that could be either a part of Project 4202 or unrelated upgrades. Overall, the Object 370 site includes a large number of support facilities, and it is likely that additional silos will be converted as the project proceeds.
The silo conversion appears to be necessitated by the relatively large size of the new Yu-71 glide vehicle. The newly converted silo will be able to hold the A35-71 launcher, which is a modification of the UR-100NUTTH (SS-19, also known as 15A35) missile that carries the Yu-71 glide vehicle - the "space head section" mentioned in construction tender documentation. Assuming the fairing that covers the glide is similar to the one used in Strela space launcher configurations, it will be more than 5 metres tall - almost twice the height of the standard warhead section of the missile. These dimensions can be accommodated by the SS-18 silo, which can hold a missile that is considerably larger than the UR-100NUTTH. In all likelihood, the conversion will also include other modifications of the silo and its equipment.
 
俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验 - kktt - 长缨在手  敢缚苍龙
Старт РН "Стрела", космодром Байконур, 05.12.2003

俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验 - kktt - 长缨在手  敢缚苍龙俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验 - kktt - 长缨在手  敢缚苍龙

 俄罗斯高超声速滑翔飞行器试验 - kktt - 长缨在手  敢缚苍龙

Tests since 2011

The first test of the Project 4202 glide vehicle was carried out on 27 December 2011 as part of the flight test of a UR-100NUTTH missile from Baikonur. According to the official Strategic Rocket Forces report on the test, the missile carried "new combat equipment developed to counter missile defence", and the presence of NPOMash representatives at the test suggested the flight involved the space head section. The Strategic Rocket Forces reported that the test was successful, but since the test was also used to extend the service life of the missile, the report may have referred to the performance of the missile itself, rather than its glide payload.
It appears that the test launches of the Yu-71 glide vehicle were moved from Baikonur to Dombarovskiy after silo conversion work was completed at the Object 370 site shortly after 2011 - at which point Russia stopped releasing official information about the tests.
Based on what is known in open sources, the first test from the new facility at Dombarovskiy took place in late September 2013. Although there was no official report on the test, an analysis of the official account of launches conducted by the Strategic Rocket Forces in 2013 shows that one unannounced launch took place that year, suggesting a failed test. Similarly, an unannounced launch in 2014 suggests that the new glide vehicle was tested in that year as well, and IHS Jane's assesses that it was probably also in September. A survey of social media posts, defence industry sources, and official documents conducted by IHS Jane's indicates that the most recent Project 4202 test took place on 26 February 2015 and was likewise unsuccessful. In each of these test flights, a missile launched from the Dombarovskiy site was supposed to deliver the re-entry vehicle to Kamchatka.
The locations of the impact zones that receive the payload fairing and the second stage of the missile indicate that the Project 4202-related flights from Baikonur or Dombarovskiy to Kamchatka follow a trajectory that is different from the one typically used for ICBM tests along these flight paths. The second-stage impact zones are located relatively close to the launch point - at about 1,400 km and 1,700 km downrange from Dombarovskiy and Baikonur, respectively. This suggests a shortened boost phase or a lofted trajectory that is used to simulate the re-entry conditions of an operational hypersonic flight.
This flight profile appears to be different from the one adopted for the glide vehicles developed in the US, such as the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2). In the US tests conducted in 2010 and 2011, the launcher used a depressed trajectory to insert the glide vehicle into the atmosphere at a shallow angle shortly after the boost phase of the flight. However, the trajectory of the Russian Project 4202 vehicle suggests that the re-entry takes place farther from the launch point or at a steeper angle.
It is possible that for a portion of the flight the Yu-71 glide vehicle is powered by the booster stage, which could provide it with some in-flight manoeuvring capability. In order to increase accuracy, the glide vehicle may also be designed to manoeuvre during the autonomous flight, potentially having the ability to correct its trajectory as it approaches the target. However, there are no indications that the vehicle has yet demonstrated its ability to successfully manoeuvre in flight.
Use and deployment
The origins of Project 4202 and the way it has been referred to in statements by Russian officials, albeit indirectly, suggest that its primary purpose is the development of a missile system that can effectively penetrate existing missile defence systems. Expectations that the Russian hypersonic system will be able to achieve high accuracy are probably fuelled by Moscow's desire to possess a capability similar to that of the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) systems developed in the US.
Yet in the context of its potential use, the primary mission of the Russian hypersonic system may be different from that of the US-developed equivalent. Notably, whereas the US PGS system is designed to deliver conventional payloads against time-urgent high-value targets, Russia appears to be considering the option of deploying its hypersonic system in a nuclear, as well as conventional, configuration. This would give Russia the ability to deliver a guaranteed small-scale strike against a target of choice; if coupled with an ability to penetrate missile defences, Moscow would also retain the option of launching a successful single-missile attack.
The projected scale of deployment for the Project 4202 system appears consistent with this type of mission. Initially, the system is to be deployed on UR-100NUTTH missiles in converted silos of the missile division in Dombarovskiy. In theory, Russia has enough silos and stored missiles of this type to deploy as many as 24 with new hypersonic payloads, although the number actually deployed is likely to be less.

Outlook

The life-extension work currently under way will enable Russia to keep UR-100NUTTH missiles in service until 2020-25. By that time, Russia expects to begin deployment of a new ICBM, known as Sarmat, which should be capable of carrying a Project 4202 glide vehicle or its modification. Current plans call for the deployment of 46 Sarmat missiles, but most of them will probably carry standard nuclear warheads without the use of hypersonic glide vehicles. It is reasonable to expect that the number of glide-carrying Sarmat missiles - if they are ever deployed in that configuration - would be at the level of 12 to 24 missiles, essentially supplementing Russia's regular multiple-warhead ICBMs rather than replacing them.
Nevertheless, as of mid-2015, the future of Russia's hypersonic vehicle development was uncertain at best. The hypersonic development programmes in Russia, as well as countries such as China and the US, have yet to demonstrate that they could meet performance and reliability expectations or provide significant advantages over established strategic delivery systems such as ballistic or cruise missiles. Furthermore, it is debatable whether the military missions of these states could justify the development and deployment of new strategic weapons systems.
However, even if the development of a hypersonic missile system is not fully realised, these undertakings are likely to have important implications for arms control negotiations - particularly between Russia and the US - and the pace of nuclear disarmament.
Russia could feasibly use its hypersonic development programme to gain leverage in arms control discussions with the US on the establishment of limits to missile defence and conventional strike capabilities. The US administration of President Barack Obama has argued that because its PGS-type vehicles do not fly along ballistic trajectories, they are not covered by the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) agreement, which places limits on the strategic nuclear arsenals of both countries. This suggests that Russia's hypersonic system would also be excluded from the treaty, even if Moscow were to deploy it with nuclear warheads.
Such a loophole could necessitate the discussion of hypersonic weaponry in the scope of future bilateral arms control negotiations. However, given the present state of US-Russian relations, the prospect for an agreement of this kind appears remote - an outlook that could potentially lead both countries to view the advantages offered by these long-range strike systems as outweighing the financial and other benefits of establishing limits to their development and deployment.

HYPERSONIC DEVELOPMENT IN KEY COUNTRIES
China and the US have also undertaken the development of hypersonic glide vehicles. The US has been working on these systems as part of its conventional PGS programme, which aims to establish the ability to capture high-value targets with rapidly executed high-precision attacks.
One of the vehicles developed as part of this effort, the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle-2 (HTV-2), was designed to have a range of more than 17,000 km. However, the project was cancelled after two unsuccessful flight tests in April 2010 and August 2011. Another vehicle, known as the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), is believed to have a range of approximately 8,000 km. The AHW was tested successfully in November 2011; a second test conducted in August 2014 was unsuccessful due to booster problems.
China also appears to have a hypersonic development programme, although its glide vehicle is believed to have a shorter range than the prototype vehicles of Russia and the US. China conducted the first test of its glide vehicle in January 2014; the second test, conducted in August 2014, was also unsuccessful, due to an apparent booster problem.
  
Authors
Pavel Podvig is an independent researcher based in Geneva, where he directs the Russian Nuclear Forces research project. Alexander Stukalin is the deputy editor-in-chief of Russian daily newspaper Kommersant.

Jane's Intelligence Review, July 2015
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