The new short-range air defense missile system Sosna (Pine) made its debut at the 5th International military technical forum Army-2019, which kicked off at the Patriot congress and exhibition center in the Moscow region on June 25, 2019.
In fairness, it must be said that in the first approximation, the tracked version of the system was presented at last year’s forum. However, this year, the debutant “changed shoes” – now it has the chassis of the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle and it is the serial version of the Sosna system, which is presented.
The promising air defense missile system was developed by the Nudelman precision engineering design bureau. The idea behind the project was first voiced back in 1990s and implied a heavy upgrade of the existing Strela-10 air defense missile system. As a result, the design bureau came up with a fundamentally new missile system with unique capabilities and performance characteristics. The engineers of the Nudelman design bureau successfully implemented their innovative solutions.
The Sosna air defense missile system has a record striking range among domestic and foreign combat vehicles with a laser-beam guidance system: it can destroy air targets at the maximum range of 10 km and at the maximum altitude of 5 km. Alongside with its hit precision, the Sosna boasts high survivability and fully automated combat work.
The system carries 12 two-stage radar and laser guided supersonic missiles 9M337, which develop the speed up to 900 m/s. The warhead of the missile weighs 7.2 kg and is divided into an armor-piercing block, which explodes when hitting the target and a fragmentation body, which detonates near the target. At night, the Sosna-P intercepts targets thanks to the infrared homing head.
One of the new advantages of the Sosna system is that it can be reloaded without using a transporter loader vehicle. Its missiles are relatively light and can be delivered to the launcher by the crew. It takes about 10 minutes to reload the system. Launchers are located on both sides of the block of optical-electronic equipment. The system is controlled via a digital computing system.
The offspring of the Moscow engineers is capable of conducting combat tasks at any time of the day and in adverse weather conditions. Missiles can be launched when the system moves at a speed of 25-30 km/h, which is a usual speed for a tank column.
When developing the Sosna, the engineers of the Nudelman design bureau decided not to use a radar station. Air environment is monitored with the help of a multichannel automatic all-weather, noise-free and all-around optical-electronic control system. It was tested in March and in the near future, the Defense Ministry will add it to the armory of the national armed forces. The installation of this unit at the Sosna air defense system will significantly improve its combat qualities.
The highly automated all-around scanning unit is intended for automatic and semi-automatic detection of targets (up to 50), determination of their coordinates, solving target indication and target assignment tasks.
According to the engineers, by abandoning the radar system they managed to double the range of the Sosna-R, to strengthen its warhead and also to reduce the weight and cost of the air defense system.
The laser is used as a rangefinder, while the optics determines the angular coordinates of the target. This enables the combat team of the air defense system to receive accurate data on the spaсe attitude of the target. This also significantly cuts the likelihood of detection of Sosna by enemy aircraft and zeroes the enemy’s capabilities for jamming.
The modular design is another advantage of the Sosna air defense system. The combat module can be used with different types of chassis capable of carrying a load of 3.5 tonnes.
It is planned that on the basis of the Sosna air defense system the Ptitselov (Fowler) air defense complex will be designed. It will enter service with batteries of surface-to-air missile regiments of airborne divisions. Supplies of the system to the airborne forces are scheduled for 2022.
Experts believe that the air defense system will be also popular abroad - India, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, East Asia and Latin America have already taken interest in it. Algeria and Egypt may become first exporters of the air defense system. The Russian armed forces will receive the Sosna system in the end of the current year.