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Crimson SEAD: An insider's view of supression-of-enemy-air-defense weapons and doctrine, soviet-style.

The armed forces of the Soviet Union had very different approaches to the suppression of enemy air defense (SEAD) mission than their Western adversaries. The Soviets and their Warsaw Pact allies did not treat SEAD as independent air operations and never fielded any dedicated SEAD aircraft. SEAD missions were flown as a support of air operations, on a tactical level by non-specialists. They also very much relied on their SIGINT and other reconnaissance assets, preferring pre-planned strikes on known enemy air-defense positions, rather than the "targets of opportunity" kind of operations typical of US operations in Vietnam and Iraq.

From the tactical point of view, the most important theater of war for the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact was Western Europe. Such a war was viewed with the Warsaw Pact on the offensive. The air phase of a European war would last three days before the launch of a land offensive if nuclear weapons were to be employed, or about a week when not. During the first phase of operations about 20 percent of the Warsaw Pact air forces were to be dedicated for reconnaissance, while the remainder would focus on strikes against vital targets in tactical and operational areas. The latter would be concentrated in belts according to the main directions of future ground operations. In cases of either nuclear or conventional-only operations. the primary air targets were the enemy's nuclear weapons delivery means -- in other words, it would always be a fight for nuclear superiority, since the final employment of such weapons was deemed unavoidable.

Radiation, Anti-Radiation

In the late 1950s and early '60s, Western SAM threats consisted of US Nike Ajax and Nike Hercules and UK Thunderbird and Bloodhound systems. The SAM systems represented a serious problem for the Soviet tactical bomber force, which at that time mostly consisted of the Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle, the primary tactical nuclear platform in the Soviet Air Force. The Il-28, designed in the 1940s as a WW2-style medium bomber, had a cruising speed of less than 500 mph and almost no low-level penetration capability, making these sitting ducks to any air-defense system. In the '60s the Beagles were replaced by supersonic Yakolev Yak-28 (Brewer) and Sukhoi Su-7 (Fitter-A) aircraft, which assumed the burden of nuclear strike missions. Their supersonic speed partially protected them against the NATO fighters, but not against SAMs.

Rather than develop a site-specific solution to the SAM problem, Soviet tactics at that time relied on mass nuclear weapons employment. In 1959 Soviet state authorities confirmed that the primary fire means of all forces would be missiles, including tactical and operational ballistic missiles used by ground forces. The Air Force was to engage any mobile targets that survived a mass missile attack. At the same time a series of nuclear airbursts would create widespread electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects, disabling most of the radar-based air-defense systems. The strike aircraft were to use corridors of nuclear strike destruction to penetrate the enemy airspace. Therefore, SEAD was not high on the Soviet's priority list.

Despite anticipating a comfortable situation on the nuclear battlefield, the Soviet Air Force began work on the first tactical anti-radiation missile in January 1963. Perhaps this was merely serendipitous, as NATO was only five years from announcing their doctrine of Flexible Response (see below) that eschewed nuclear weapons, or perhaps the Soviet unofficial comfort level with a nuclear battlefield was somewhat less than that of the official state authorities. In any event, the OKB-2-155 Design Bureau (MKB "Raduga" since 1967), led by I.S. Seleznev and General Designer A.J. Berezniak, was tasked to develop a missile, which was to be become the part of weapon complex K-28P ("P" from Russian word "protivradiolokatsyonny": anti-radar). The K-28P complex was to consist of the platform, a modernized version of Yak-28 tactical supersonic bomber, called Yak-28N; the Kh-28 (AS-9 Kyle) missile; and the radar-detection and target-acquisition system installed on the Yak-28N aircraft.

The biggest problems centered around the design of the APR-28 passive radar-guidance system optimized for the AN/MPQ-4 Nike Hercules radar. That project was undertaken by the CKB-111 Design Bureau (NPO "Avtomatika" since 1967) at Omsk, under A.S. Kirtshuk, EMP General Designer. The problems were so serious that the missile was not ready for state trials until the early '70s.

The design work on the Yak-28N started in 1964-65. It was the sole attempt to build a dedicated SEAD aircraft in the Soviet Union (and later Russia). The basis for the Yak-28N was the Yak-28I tactical bomber, with the Initsyatyva targeting radar removed and replaced by a radar-detection and target-acquisition system for Kh-28 missiles. The aircraft was to carry two missiles under the wings, outside the engine nacelles. The K-28P system was flown and tested in 1971-1972, but was not accepted into service because by that time the platform was considered obsolete as a "shooter."

At the same time, the aircraft became an EW (jamming) platform, under the designation Yak-28PP Brewer-E. The jamming system was taken from the Tupolev Tu-16PP Badger-H EW aircraft and divided into three parts, each carried by a different Yak-28PP aircraft in the unit. Thus, the Yak-28PP was most effective when three aircraft, each with a different jammer component, operated in one formation, forming a jamming barrier" on each side of the corridor through which the tactical aircraft were to penetrate enemy airspace. As it turned out, the system became an integral part of Soviet SEAD doctrine.

No Nukes

In December 1967, NATO adopted new defense doctrine -- that of Flexible Response. The new philosophy emphasized a conventional battlefield, as long as the enemy refrained from using nuclear weapons. Soviet planners welcomed the new concept, being confident of Soviet conventional weapons dominance in the European theater. But for the Air Force, the change meant that it could no longer rely on the EMP effect created by nuclear blasts and had to be prepared for clearing the way through NATO air defenses using conventional weapons.

After cancellation of K-28P program as an integrated system, the Kh-28 missile became a standard tactical aircraft weapon. The new Su-24 Fencer-A tactical bomber carried two Kh-28 missiles under the wings and worked with the Film radar-detection and target-acquisition system. Almost simultaneously, the Kh-28 missile was introduced to arm the Su-17M Fitter-C aircraft. This tactical fighter-bomber carried a single Kh-28 missile under the fuselage and used the Myetyel radar-detection and targeting system, mounted in a pod carried under the right wing.

The Film targeting system was a more general-purpose system than the Kh-28 missile itself, which was initially suitable only for Nike Hercules/Thunderbird engagements. The Film covered a wider range of frequencies and was able to detect the HAWK SAM system, which was outside the capabilities of the missile's seeker. Eventually, the Kh-28M missile received a new seeker that was adjusted to deal with the HAWK AN/MPQ-33 and later AN/MPQ-39 target-illumination radars, and also with the AN/MPQ-34 low-level target-acquisition radar. Film became an integral part of the Su-24's Puma fire-control system. The Su-17M's Myetyel targeting system was less capable, but its replacement, the Vyuga system, could target the full range of Western SAM radars. The Vyuga was also used on later Su-17M variants (M3 Fitter-H and M4 Fitter-K) and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27 Flogger D and J.

SEAD Doctrine of the Golden Age

Most NATO air-defense-type targets were presumed to have been previously located and air strikes against them were to be of a pre-planned, mass character. Tactical (frontal, according to Soviet terminology) air forces were to operate up to 300-400 km deep into enemy territory. The operational zone between 400 and 800 km belonged to operational air forces, equipped with Tu-22K (Blinder-B) and later with Su-24M (Fencer-D) and Tu-22M (Backfire). Both frontal and operational aviation were to use the same corridors, navigating to preset orientation points, where subsequent routes proceeded to individual targets. The corridors were to be about 40-50 km wide, allowing two or three independent strike groups to proceed through them at low level in tandem, separated by about 10 km and by about two minutes (for squadrons from the same wings) or five minutes (for formations from different wings) along the routes. Careful planning was required to secure ingress and return time slots.

Usually a Soviet army group (front) attacking across a front 100-150 km wide selected two such corridors for its assigned aviation assets. Simply, the first formations penetrating the enemy airspace were tasked to engage and suppress the SAM positions, located by SIGINT conducted over friendly airspace. In earlier years, SIGINT was gathered by standoff Il-14E Crate and Il-28E aircraft, eventually replaced by Mil Mi-8 Hip SIGINT helicopters of various versions. In later years, MiG-25R Foxbat-B and Su-24MR Fencer-E aircraft were available for more aggressive reconnaissance duty. The concept was for frontal aviation to destroy all medium- and most long-range SAM position swithin the corridor. Nike Hercules sites were considered harmless along the routes, since their minimum engagement altitude was about 1,000-1,500 m. However, around target areas where aircraft were to climb for dive attacks, Nike Hercules battalions were also to be destroyed.

There was no special unit or aircraft type dedicated for SEAD missions. Every task group (usually of squadron strength) detached 2-4 aircraft armed with anti-radiation missiles and fragmentation/incendiary bombs for suppression of SAM positions along the corridors and around the target area. The SAM targets within the corridors were allocated to wings as a support task. For example, a wing tasked to engage an enemy army headquarters would detach flights from the reserve squadron to suppress SAM positions within the corridor a few minutes before the main strike force. Receiving such an order, the wing commander could also detach a pair of aircraft (optional) from every squadron to suppress the target air defenses and the SAM positions known to be deployed in depth around vital targets, such as airbases, second echelon areas, reserve force concentrations, high-level headquarters, industrial areas, etc. Usually most of the targets were outside predefined corridors, since these were drawn to avoid enemy air defen ses to the maximum extent.

The largest concentrations of NATO air defenses were expected along the ground engagement line, where HAWK systems, backed up by deeper NATO echelons, formed a continuous chain of engagement zones. The HAWK and Nike Hercules positions forming the front belt were to be located using standoff SIGINT platforms. The first task was to break the chain within the corridors, usually ending at orientation points just outside of them.

Just before the strike groups passed the ground engagement line, Soviet and Warsaw Pact artillery was to engage short-range air-defense positions, such as the Gepard, Roland, Rapier, and Vulcan batteries deployed along the front echelon of NATO ground forces. There were no anti-radiation missiles available to target these systems (although some were developed later, see below), so aircraft were to avoid them, unless they protected the designated target, in which case they might be attacked with bombs or other air-to-ground ordnance.

While the strike groups were to proceed at very low level to their targets (below 100 m), the SAM suppression groups (flights or pairs) preceding them were to climb before the outside boundary of the target SAM position's engagement zone, to about 500-4,000 m at 40-50 km in case of HAWK or to 2,000-6,000 m at about 120 km in case of Nike Hercules. As soon as the SAM system's fire-control radar illuminated the attacking group, the anti-radiation missile was to be launched against it.

Note that in Soviet and Warsaw Pact practice, the initial stage of a SEAD engagement was a standoff activity. The Kh-28 had a range of 110 km. Compare this with the US Shrike, which initially had a range of 16 km. Soviet SEAD was a methodical process where strikes were planned according to data collected through SIGINT. The more footloose and opportunistic SEAD techniques of the US "Wild Weasels" (even the name says it!), where free-roving hunters baited SAM sites at point-blank range, had no place in the Soviet system. It is interesting to note that the US conduct of its SEAD campaigns in Yugoslavia and Iraq of late seem progressively more methodical (dare we say, Soviet?) in the use of stand-off weapons against known targets. Contrary to the US armed forces, the Soviet Union and then Russia never had a real opportunity to test its SEAD concepts and weapons, except for the first Gulf War between Iraq and Iran, where the former's employment of Soviet-made Kh-25MP (AS-12 Kegler) was carefully observed, althoug h operations were nothing like what was expected of a general war in Europe.

In the case of a hit or when the radar was turned off, aircraft were to approach the SAM site at low level and attack it with bombs. The entire action was to be supported by Mi-8 jamming helicopters operating in friendly airspace. Effective jamming range was in excess of 100 km. When the continuous chain of NATO SAM engagement zones was broken even temporarily (expected within hours), the corridor could be used for deeper penetration of enemy airspace. Since that time the waves of strike groups were to be additionally covered from the corridors sides by teams of Yak-28PP aircraft, operating in barrier combat air patrol (BARCAP), on the corridor sides. The strike groups were to be also protected by fighters, sweeping the strike groups' operations areas.

The Last Gasp of the Cold War

The Soviet SEAD concept did not change much in the 1980s, although emphasis was once again put on nuclear weapons employment. In the late 1970s and early '80s, NATO fielded new SAM systems, the most dangerous of which were considered to be the Improved HAWK and Patriot. The Soviets answered with new types of weapons and equipment, but these were built around the same concept outlined above. The biggest change was the equipping of all tactical aircraft with self-protection EW systems, such as the widely deployed SPS-141, -142, and -143 Siren pod family; the SPS-161 and -162 Geran on the Su-24M; the SPS-151 and -152 Lyutik on the MiG-25RB; the SPS-171 Sorbcja on Su-27 fighters; and the SPS-201 Geran on the MiG-29.

The other important element of SEAD tactics was the introduction in late '80s of a new tactical ballistic missile: the 9M714U Totshka-U (SS-21 Scarab) with an anti-radiation seeker warhead that had a 70-km range. Every Soviet division had its own battalion of standard Toshka rockets, and every launcher was able to fire the Totshka-U version. In the '80s new anti-radiation missiles were introduced. The first was the Kh-25MP, soon followed by the Kh-58 (AS-11 Kilter). Towards the end of the decade, improved versions of both types were introduced, including the Kh-58U with a range of 250 km and an improved seeker with late lock-on capability.

Initially, the primary carrier of the Kh-58U was the MiG-25BM Foxbat-F aircraft. The MiG-25BM was not a dedicated SEAD aircraft but was widely deployed in this role. The development of the aircraft started in 1976 as a fast nuclear strike bomber. From 1982-1985 about 40 were produced, while an additional 20 were re-built from early MiG-25RB reconnaissance versions, and provided with the laguar target-acquisition system. Some of these aircraft were based in Poland, with the 164th Reconnaissance Wing in Krzywa, from 1983 until 1992. The Kh-58U was also adopted for use with the Vyuga system, allowing it to be carried on Su-17M4 aircraft. The Su-17M4 -- and its Su-22M4 export version -- could carry two missiles under the fuselage.

The MiG-25BM became its primary carrier, since the aircraft was able to operate up to 21,000 m (68,900 ft.), above the Improved Hawk engagement zone. MiG-25BM pilots would use typical American tactics, flying in "search and destroy" groups and operating independently from the other aircraft. The other method of MiG-25BM attack was to use nuclear bombs to attack the SAM concentration areas from maximum speed and altitude. The accuracy of such bombing was not high, but it was not necessary in this case. Presently all the remaining MiG25BM aircraft (about 40) are concentrated at the 98th Reconnaissance Wing in Montshegorsk in the Kola region, together with some Su-24MR. If Russia ever fields a dedicated SEAD force, this will probably be its cradle.

Nuclear war is no longer an option, and Russia has adopted a much more defensive posture. This has dramatically reduced requirements for SEAD, which have always been seen as an extension of mass offensive operations. The financial resources Russia allocates to SEAD are shrinking, and we probably will have to wait a long time for any new anti-radiation missiles to be made in Russia. Among the greatest achievement of late was fielding the Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) missiles, though in small numbers. For the near future, modernization rather then new design is more likely. For example, the overhaul factory in Borisoglebsk conducts Kh-58 modernization to Kh-58U standard. Some Kh-25MP were also modernized to Kh-25MPU standard, with the seeker optimized for Roland and Crotale systems. This missile entered service in 1991 in limited numbers, to deal with short-range air defenses. It is a common enough sight at international arms shows, indicating that the future of Russian SEAD weapons might be found in the export marketplace.

RELATED ARTICLE: JED Welcomes Michal Fiszer

Michal Fiszer, a former Polish fighter pilot who flew with both the Warsaw Pact and NATO, is joining JED as European Editor. Michal has written many groundbreaking articles for JED in recent years, with a particular focus on little known Soviet and Russian systems, technology, and doctrine. Here is his first major article for JED, first published in the October 2001 issue. It is worth a second read, at least.

Kh-28 (AS-9 Kyle)

The first Soviet tactical anti-radiation missile, the Kh-28 was a supersonic winged missile with cylindrical fuselage and pointed nose, small delta wings with no control surfaces, and classic tail, with vertical and horizontal all-moving surfaces. Beneath the rear fuselage, a small stabilization fin was installed. The missile is powered by the R-253-300 liquid-fuel rocket motor designed at OKB-300 Design Bureau (designer of the MiG-21's R-11F engine), Initially the missile was intended to have a solid rocket motor, but this was considered unable to meet the long-range requirement of the missile -- exceeding 100 km -- to deal with Nike Hercules. The APR-28 seeker system was optimized for AN/MPQ-4 Nike Hercules radar and could also engage British Thunderbird sites. The missile entered production in 1973, and its series production was continued for a decade.

According to established Soviet SEAD doctrine, all tactical aircraft were to be armed with anti-radiation missiles. But at 715 kg, the Kh-28 was heavy and cumbersome, thus limiting its employment. Each Su-17M could carry just one missile, which limited its effectiveness, while the MiG-27 Flogger-D (attack version of the MiG-23 fighter) could not carry it at all: the missile was too big to be attached under the fuselage and too heavy to be carried under the wings.

A later version, the Kh-28M missile, received new seekers that were able to deal with HAWK AN/MPQ-33 and, later, the AN/MPQ-39 target-illumination radar, and also with AN/MPQ-34 low-level target-acquisition radar. The older warhead, suitable for Nike Hercules/Thunderbird engagements, could be swapped out for the new warhead. In early 1980s, Kh-28 missiles were produced mainly for export and delivered to some Arab countries -- among them Iraq -- and to Vietnam. The export version was called Kh-28E. In Iraq the missile was locally named Nisan-28 and used on Su-22s.


Because the weight of the Kh-28 missile limited its use, the Soviets soon set about designing successors. In 1972, two projects were launched almost simultaneously: the Kh-27 for the MiG-27 and the Kh-24 for the Su-24 (thus the numbers). Only the Kh-27 was fielded, and Kh-24 development was redesignated Kh-58 (see below). The Kh-27 was based on the earlier Kh-23 (AS-7 Kerry) radio-command-guided missile developed for the MiG-23. It was developed by OKB Zvezda, while the solid-state rocket motor was developed by OKB-81. The missile had a cylindrical fuselage, forward type stabilization surfaces at the missile's front guidance-system housing, and larger "X" type wings with control surfaces at the missile's rear. The engine nozzles were positioned between the wings.

The new seeker was developed with a highly sensitive receiver with five antennas in the PRGS-1-type guidance version and with six antennas in the PRGS-2 version. The missile could be used either against Nike Hercules or against HAWK, but not at the same time (it depended on the type of seeker installed). It was much lighter than the Kh-28, with a weight of 310 kg. Since the direction to the target radar was defined based on phase difference between the antennas, it was much more accurate than the Kh-28, which had single revolving conical antenna. After launch it climbed at about a 20-degree angle, defining the distance to the target by measuring the vertical angle and missile altitude. If an aircraft preparing to launch the missile flew over 5 km with the target locked on, the Vyuga system was able to measure the distance to the target based on depression angle and altitude. When at low altitude, the pilot had to make a "snake" type maneuver to measure the bearing angles while flying at the angle to the targe t. Precise information about bearing and distance to the target allowed the missile to hit the target area, even when the radar was turned off. The missile range was limited to 60 km when launched from 15,000 m and 40 km from 5,000 m.

The missile passed trials in 1975-76 and was introduced into service in 1977. Its production was limited, since it was soon replaced by the newer Kh-25MP missile. The Kh-27 was used on MiG-27K, MiG-27M and MiG-27D (all called Flogger-J) aircraft, and on Su-17M3 Fitter-H aircraft. All the aircraft carried up to two such missiles and the Vyuga pod for target designation. In the early '80s the Kh-27s were replaced by Kh-25MPs.

Kh-25MP (AS-12 Kegler)

A new missile family, called the Kh-25M, was designed according to a modular concept with interchangeable guidance systems in the nose and tail modules attached to a common missile core. Thus, both the aforementioned Kh-27 and Kh-24 missiles were redesigned to this modular concept. They formed the core of the Kh-25M family, and at the beginning three types of guidance systems were produced: Kh-25ML (laser guided), Kh-25MP (anti-radiation), and Kh-25MR (radio command guided). The guidance system could be changed at the firing-unit level (thus, Warsaw Pact technicians could confuse NATO code users, since the guidance module replacement turned AS-10 Karen into AS-12 Kegler or vice-versa!).

The whole family entered service in 1981, and many aircraft could carry them. The primary types were, Su-17M3 Fitter H and Su-17M4 Fitter-K, and their export versions: Su-22M3 and Su-22M4. Also MiG-27M, MiG-27K and MiG-27D Flogger J aircraft could carry them, two missiles per aircraft. Since the Kh-25MP had only slightly modernized guidance systems (interchangeable PRGS-IVP and PRGS2VP), it could engage the same radars as the Kh-27: AN/MPQ-4A or -4B for Nike Hercules; AN/MPQ-33, -39, or -34 for HAWK systems; or AN/MPQ-46 and AN/MPQ-48 for Improved HAWK systems. It also worked in conjunction with the Vyuga target detection and designation system. The pod is attached under the right wing pylon, regardless of aircraft type. At the same time SPS-141, -142, or -143 systems could be attached under the left wing pylon, providing the carrier with self-defense measures during the penetration of a missile-engagement zone. The missiles were always attached under the fuselage, on an APU-68 launcher, typical for the whole Kh-25M family and some other missiles.

The Kh-25MP was widely exported, though not with all types of seekers. Only those aimed at defeating the basic HAWK system were provided to the foreign customers. Poland received 75 Kh-25MP missiles together with Su-22M4 aircraft and some Vyuga pods. Also Czechoslovakia and the German Democratic Republic received the missiles. The Kh-25MP is still in use in the Russian Air Force, although in limited numbers, since the MiG-27 and Su-17M4 aircraft platforms are in service only in Asia-based units. Some of the missiles remained in Ukraine and Belarus, but both countries have withdrawn the Mig-27 and Su-24 from service.

Kh-58 (AS-11 Kitler)

This missile was based on the British/French Martel anti-radiation missile, although the Soviet missile is larger and heavier, It has large "X" type wings around the middle of and smaller "X" type control surfaces at the rear of its trapezoid shape. The missile received a new seeker to engage surveillance pulseradar systems, such as the AN/TPS-43 and AN/TPS-44 used for ground-controlled fighter intercept, and especially adjusted for the AN/MPQ-53 radar of the Patriot system.

The Kh-58 was designed to be carried by the Su-24M Fencer-D and using the L-086A "Fantasmagoria A" or L-086B "Fantasmagoria B" target acquisition/designation system mounted in a pod on the centerline pylon. The Su-24M can carry two such missiles under wing pylons. The missile is dropped before ignition from its AKU-58 launcher, also used with Kh-29 (AS-14 Kedge) missiles. When the missile is 2-4 m below the aircraft, its rocket motor is ignited. The Kh-58 entered service in 1982, and all the standard Su-24M Fencer-Ds could carry it. Due to its long range (36 km from low level, 120 km from 10,000 m, and 160 km when fired at 15,000 m), the Kh-58 allowed stand-off engagements of such systems as Improved HAWK or even Patriot. It also made a climb after launch to attack the target from a steep dive, overcoming the "dead" zone of AN/MPQ-53 radar.

Shortly after the original Kh-58 became operational, its Kh-58U variant entered service. The Kh-58U was adapted to operate with other target-designation systems, but its primary difference was that its maximum range was increased from 160 to 250 km. The missile also has an improved seeker, allowing lock-on after launch mode. Initially the primary carrier of the Kh-58U was the MiG-25BM Foxbat-F aircraft. The export version of the Kh-58 is designated Kh-58E. It is more or less a downgraded Kh-58U, with the range of a Kh-58 and an improved Kh-58U seeker, but without the lock-on-after-launch mode.

Presently the Kh-58 and Kh58U remain the primary Russian anti-radiation missiles, deployed with Su-24M and MiG-25BM aircraft. They were also exported to the GDR and Czechoslovakia, and are probably still in use with Czech and Slovak Su-22M4 Fitter-Ks.

Kh-31 P (AS-17 Krypton)

In the early 1980s, after the American HARM entered service, Soviet military analysts recognized missile speed as an important feature for engaging radar systems effectively. Cutting the time from launch to impact left less time for a SAM position to react, or even to turn off its radar. Fast missiles are also more difficult to shoot down by the defending SAM, which Patriot could do to older-generation anti-radiation missiles. Thus, OKB Zvezda started to design two versions of a long-range, high-speed missile at once: the Kh-31A (anti-ship) and the Kh-31P (anti-radiation), the "swan song" of Soviet SEAD. The missile has a booster rocket motor and four solid-fuel ramjets attached around cylindrical body, giving the missile excellent speed, exceeding Mach 3.6. At 600 kg, the missile is lighter than the Kh-58. It has the same warhead seeker bands, but its excellent target-location system allows it to hit the target with a circular error of probability of 5-7 m and 20-30 m when the radar is shut down while missil e is in mid-flight. Its maximum range is 110 km. slightly lower than the Kh-58 but much higher than the HARM.

The Kh-31P passed state trials in 1988-1990 and entered service with Su-24M aircraft in 1991. It uses the same "Fantasmagoria" targeting system as the Kh-58. Although it was integrated with several MiG-29, Su-25, Su-34, Su-35, and Yak-141 variants, none of these entered service. The Su-24M remains the sole platform for the missile, carrying up to four in AKU-58 launchers. Rather low number of these missiles were produced due to financial restrictions, and probably just one unit of Su-24M aircraft has the missile in hand. In the mid-'90s an improved version, the Kh-31PD, was developed and tested. Its range was increased to 150 km, while the other parameters remained unchanged. The Kh-31PD never entered regular service.

Maj Michal Fiszer, Polish Air Force (ret.), was born in 1962 and graduated from the Polish Air Force Academy in 1985. He served eight years with the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing as a pilot, flight leader, deputy squadron commander, and chief air-reconnaissance officer. In 1994, Michal joined the Polish Air Force Intelligence Division as a senior analysis officer. In 1997 he moved to the Wojskowe Sluzby Informacyjne (WSI), the national intelligence service of Poland, as a senior analysis officer, and also served as chief of the NATO section at the Military Attache Liaison Office. He has served with NATO and UN missions to the Former Yugoslavia, Iraq, and Kuwait. Retiring in 2000, Michal presently works as an editor in the Polish Air Force magazine, Przeglad Wojsk Loniczych i Obrony Powietrznej, and is a regular contributor to JED.

Maj Jerzy Gruszczynski, Polish Air Force, was born in 1961 and graduated from the Polish Air Force Academy in 1985. He flew for a year with the 45th Fighter Bomber Wing, and then served six years as a pilot, flight leader, and chief aerial reconnaissance officer in a squadron of 7th Bomber-Reconnaissance Wing. He was injured ejecting from a crippled Su-20MK (Fitter D) in 1991 but went on to become chief of staff of the 7th FBW. Jerzy subsequently joined the National Defense Academy as a teacher of air tactics, and presently continues his research on air tactics development. He is a regular contributor to JED.
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Title Annotation:suppression of enemy air defense for Soviets
Author:Fiszer, Michal; Gruszczynski, Jerzy
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jan 1, 2003
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