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Contracts - Awards | Missiles - Anti-Armor | Other Corporation | Policy - Procurement | Russia

Reap the Whirlwind: Russia Buys Anti-Tank Missiles & Bails Out Kalashnikov

April 7/16: Kalashnikov Concern announced that it has completed delivery external link of the Vikhr-1 laser guided anti-tank missile to the Russian Armed Forces under the state defense procurement plan. The contract is estimated to be worth $191 million, and is part of a large-scale Russian rearmament program aimed at modernizing 70% of its military hardware by 2020. The company was created in 2013 as a merger between the debt ridden Kalashankov rifle manufacturer Izhmash and the nearby Izhmech company.

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Vikhrs & rocket pod(click to view full) Russia is looking to place another one of its iconic military firms back on a firm footing, handing a RUB 13 billion (about $402 million) contract for Vikhr-1 missiles to the financially-troubled Izhmash JSC. The 9K121/ AT-16 Vikhr (trans. “whirlwind”) is a laser beam-riding missile, with a fragmentation sleeve that contains dual High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warheads to defeat reactive armor. That’s combined with a proximity fuze to give the Vikhr area-effect, anti-tank, and anti-aircraft capabilities. Beam-riding guidance offers tactical disadvantages vs. semi-active laser guidance, including lack of handoff capability, less versatile terminal attack modes, and slower response vs. multiple targets. On the other hand, it’s considerably cheaper, and its backward-facing sensors are more resistant to countermeasures. SU-25SM up top(click to view full) The Vikhr is described as being significantly cheaper than the USA’s Hellfire, whose AGM-114R variant costs about $150,000 per missile. Even at that price, the Russian order would buy almost 2,900 missiles. At the lower end, American APKWS laser-guided rocket sections with simpler sensors cost about $28,300. This contract value would buy over 13,500 of those. The Vikhr equips Kamov’s Ka-52 Alligator scout/attack helicopter, and fixed-wing SU-25T/TM/SM close-support jets. Given the […]
AT-16/ 9K121 Vikhr & rocket pod

Vikhrs & rocket pod
(click to view full)

Russia is looking to place another one of its iconic military firms back on a firm footing, handing a RUB 13 billion (about $402 million) contract for Vikhr-1 missiles to the financially-troubled Izhmash JSC.

The 9K121/ AT-16 Vikhr (trans. “whirlwind”) is a laser beam-riding missile, with a fragmentation sleeve that contains dual High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warheads to defeat reactive armor. That’s combined with a proximity fuze to give the Vikhr area-effect, anti-tank, and anti-aircraft capabilities. Beam-riding guidance offers tactical disadvantages vs. semi-active laser guidance, including lack of handoff capability, less versatile terminal attack modes, and slower response vs. multiple targets. On the other hand, it’s considerably cheaper, and its backward-facing sensors are more resistant to countermeasures.

Su-25SM top & Su-25UB bottom

SU-25SM up top
(click to view full)

The Vikhr is described as being significantly cheaper than the USA’s Hellfire, whose AGM-114R variant costs about $150,000 per missile. Even at that price, the Russian order would buy almost 2,900 missiles. At the lower end, American APKWS laser-guided rocket sections with simpler sensors cost about $28,300. This contract value would buy over 13,500 of those.

The Vikhr equips Kamov’s Ka-52 Alligator scout/attack helicopter, and fixed-wing SU-25T/TM/SM close-support jets. Given the above cost parameters, and Russian pricing, a range of 6,000 – 10,000 missiles seems likely for this order. That’s a good stock of about 36 missiles per platform at the mean, based on the projected size of Russia’s Ka-52 (140) and SU-25SM (80) fleets by 2020.

Rostec subsidiary OJSC Izhmash in Izhevsk, Russia has been around since 1807. The Kalashnikov family of rifles remains their most famous weapon, and private American purchases account for 28% share of Izmash output, making them almost as important as Russian orders. Izmash produces a wide variety of weapons, from rifles, to guided artillery shells like the Krasnopol, to sportsman’s knives and cutlery. They have even been manufacturing motorcycles and cars.

That kind of scattergun focus hasn’t been enough to stop them piling up a debt load of RUB 3 billion (about $93 million). Izmash is about to be merged with the nearby Izhmekh company, whose iconic product is the Makharov pistol. They’ll be consolidated under the Kalashnikov brand.

Updates

April 7/16: Kalashnikov Concern announced that it has completed delivery of the Vikhr-1 laser guided anti-tank missile to the Russian Armed Forces under the state defense procurement plan. The contract is estimated to be worth $191 million, and is part of a large-scale Russian rearmament program aimed at modernizing 70% of its military hardware by 2020. The company was created in 2013 as a merger between the debt ridden Kalashankov rifle manufacturer Izhmash and the nearby Izhmech company.

Additional Readings

* Airwar.RU – 9?121 ????? (?) [in Russian]

* Wikipedia – 9K121 Vikhr

* ITAR-Tass (July 22/13) – Izhmash to manufacture Vikhr-1 guided missiles for Russian defence ministry

* RIA Novosti (July 22/13) – Kalashnikov Gun Maker Lands $400 Mln Missile Contract

* DID – Russia’s Military Spending is Jumping – But Can Its Industry?

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