The Russian Air Force has put the advanced X-38 air-to-surface missile into service. Although the short-range missile was developed for the T-50 fifth generation fighter jet, the existing bombers and fighter jets, including Su-34 and MiG-29 CMT will be equipped with these missiles.
The missile was tested in great secrecy in 2012, and was commissioned in late December. The delivery of missiles will be started shortly. The new missile will be equipped with independently guided warheads. This solves various tasks and increases the striking power of T-50 multipurpose fighter jets. The missiles will be placed inside the jet that is being developed using stealth technology, says editor-in-chief of the “Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie” magazine Victor Litovkin.
“A fighter jet may have special characteristics, including non-visibility to radar and other detecting equipment, but it is just an aircraft. But when it is equipped with high-precision guided missiles, this is a high-precision aviation complex. That can be considered a fifth generation fighter jet. The fact, that the missile on board the jet increases its low visibility,” Victor Litovkin said.
The missile will not reflect on the radar screen. It has another advanced feature. It can orient itself during the flight using the GLONASS space navigation system. The recent armed conflicts, including in Afghanistan and the Middle East have shown that it is difficult to discover targets from air even with the guidance from the ground because advanced camouflaging systems have been developed. These missiles will be guided to the target by a GLONASS satellite, says Victor Litovkin.
“The missile’s accuracy increases owing to the GLONASS satellite that sees the target and missile and combines these two points. When taking into account the fact that this is a supersonic missile, a complicated task is solved, a missile that is flying at a high speed is guided to a target. In short, this is a great achievement of Russian missile designers,” Victor Litovkin added.
The X-38 missile is capable of hitting manoeuvering armoured vehicles and hideouts at a distance from 3 to 40 kilometers. These missiles will upgrade the combat capacity of the Russian Air Force.