The Poliment-Redut: Russian Ships Get a Formidable and Unique Air-Defense Shield – By Arkady SAVITSKY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

The Poliment-Redut: Russian Ships Get a Formidable and Unique Air-Defense Shield

The updates to Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier are scheduled to begin this month, and the ship will be put back into active service in 2021. Vice Admiral Viktor Bursuk, the Russian navy’s deputy commander-in-chief in charge of procurement, has stated that the revamp will include arming the flat top with the brand-new Poliment-Redut shipborne air-defense system, which is generally comparable to the US AEGIS.

The system boasts four or eight vertical launch systems. It can fire three types of surface-to-air (SAM) interceptors: the short-range 9M100, medium-range 9M96M, and long-range 9M96 missiles.

The 9M100 is a solid-propellant weapon with a range of 10–15 km. and an inertial guidance system with active infrared (IR). The 9M96M is an IR-guided missile with an active radar terminal homing guidance system. Its FRAG-HE 26 kg. warhead travels at a speed of 900m/s and it has a maximum range of 40-50 km.

The 9M96 is a new missile that is resistant to jamming and can intercept targets at a speed of Mach 15 (4,800-5,000 m/s) and at an altitude of 35 km. It can hit incoming threats at a range of 150 km. An active radar homing head and inertial navigation system are used for midcourse guidance. The thrust vectoring control system offers impressive maneuverability at any altitude or range.

The SAM is equipped with a directed explosion warhead to improve the chances of fully destroying fast moving and agile targets upon direct impact. The hit probability is 0.9 against aircraft, 0.8 against drones, and 0.7 against missiles. Thrust vectoring makes it possible to achieve high Gs and angular rate capability.

A datalink from the MFMTR X-band radar blast is used for midcourse guidance. Its 24 kg. fragmentation warhead produces a controlled pattern. A radar fuse controls the warhead’s timing.

The 9M96 missile was initially developed for the S-400 Triumf ground-based air-defense system that has already been delivered to China. It will soon be sent to Turkey. India, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are also quite interested in this system.

The three vertical-launched, solid-fuel, one-stage missiles have a variable range of 1-150 km. at an altitude of 5 m. to 30 km. At a speed of 2,100 m/s they can hit targets traveling at 1000 m/s. A Poliment-Redut-equipped frigate can carry 32 medium/long-range or 128 short-range missiles. Any combination is possible — one launcher can house either one medium- or long-range weapon or four short-range SAMs. The four-faced phased array antenna can track 16 targets at once. The detection range is 200 km. Russian sources report that the system can engage surface targets as well.

The combination of various-range missiles makes it possible for one Poliment-Redut to carry out the missions of three air-defense systems. It provides multi-tier defense, reducing reaction time. It can fire at a rate of one launch per second. The vertical start is an important advantage, enabling the system to counter a target approaching from any direction. These highly agile missiles can use an optimal trajectory to kill highly maneuverable threats.

The lead ship of the Russian navy’s Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates has been equipped with this system, along with the Steregushchiy-class (Project 20380) and the Gremyaschiy-class (Project 20385) corvettes. The combination of the Poliment-Redut and the close-in weapon systems keep these ships well protected against any kind of air threat. For instance, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will also receive the naval version of the Pantsir cutting-edge close-in weapon. Because of the Poliment-Redut, these vessels can provide area defense, which is crucially important for a navy destined for a wide variety of peacetime and wartime missions all over the world.