Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pechora Air-Defence Missile Systems of Burma Army

(This Post is partly from the Myanmar Military on 12 August 2012.)

The modern Pechora 2M Air-Defence Missile Systems now protecting the air space directly above Burma is the commercial version of Soviet S-125 SAM (Surface-to-air-missile) Systems initially introduced by the now-defunct Soviet Union in 1964.

The S-125 missile systems were first deployed around Moscow, augmenting the S-25 and S-75 sites already ringing the city, as well as in other parts of the USSR.

Since Russia replaced the old S-125 missiles guarding Soviet air space with more sophisticated SA-10 and SA-12 systems the old S-125 missiles were being upgraded with new radar guidance systems and exported to foreign countries aligned with Russia’s strategic interest.

These refurbished S-125 missile systems are rebadged as Pechora 1M and sold primarily to the Yugoslavia and Egypt. The Pechora 1M was basically a stationary air-defence missile system and during the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, despite their initial success in dropping a few NATO planes off the sky, almost every missile system was destroyed by NATO since they gave away their exact position once a missile was fired.

Pechora 2M was the improvement of Pechora 1M as both missiles and the radar-guidance system were now truck-mounted and all the interconnecting cable system between the fire-control and the targeting antennas and guidance radar were replaced with electro-magnetic wave system.

Technical Details of Pechora 2M Missile System

In Pechora 2M the missiles are typically deployed on fixed turrets containing two or four but  carried ready-to-fire on ZIL trucks in pairs. Reloading the fixed launchers takes a few minutes.

The Missile

The Pechora 2M uses 2 different missile versions namely,

-        The V-600 (or 5V24) had the smallest warhead with only 60 kg of High-Explosive. It had a range of about    15 km.

-     The later version named V-601 (or 5V27). It has a length of 6.09 m, a wing span of 2.2 m and a body diameter of 0.375 m. This missile weighs 953 kg at launch, and has a 70 kg warhead containing 33 kg of HE and 4,500 fragments. The minimum range is 3.5 km, and the maximum is 35 km. The intercept altitudes are between 100 m and 18 km.

The Radars

The launchers are accompanied by a command truck and three primary radar systems namely,

-         P-15 "Flat Face" or P-15M(2) "Squat Eye" 380 kW C-band target acquisition radar (also used by the SA-6 and SA-8, range 250 km/155 miles),
-         SNR-125 "Low Blow" 250 kW I/D-band tracking, fire control and guidance radar (range 40 km/25 miles, second mode 80 km/50 miles), and
-         PRV-11 "Side Net" E-band height finder (also used by SA-2, SA-4 and SA-5, range 28 km/17 miles, max height 32 km/105,000 ft)

"Flat Face"/"Squat Eye" is mounted on a van ("Squat Eye" on a taller mast for better performance against low-altitude targets also an IFF [Identifies Friend or Foe]), "Low Blow" on a trailer and "Side Net" on a box-bodied trailer.

The main SNR target-finder radar system has three separate radar antennas namely,

-          Target distance finder antenna,
-          Target height relative to North Pole finder antenna, and
-    The antenna catching the radio signal sent back  from the Missile in flight so that the missile position is accurately located.

Mobile Missile battalions of Burma Army

Each Mobile Missile Battalion of Burma army is known to be equipped with four Pechora 2M SAM systems with at least 64 missiles. Each missile battalion has its own secret radio wave length different from other battalion’s so that the missile systems will not interfere with each other. Once that wavelength is leaked or expired a new wave length is to be re-assigned.

Burma Military’s Bureau of Air Defense

The Air Defense Command was formed during the late 1990s but was not fully operational until late 1999. It was renamed Bureau of Air Defense in the early 2000s.

Also In early 2000, Burma military established Myanmar Integrated Air Defense System (MIADS) with help from Russia, Ukraine and China. It is a tri-service bureau with units from all three branches of Myanmar Armed Forces.

All Air Defense assets except Anti-Aircraft-Artillery within army arsenal are integrated into MIADS. (AAA guns are mostly unguided and deployed to use in barrage-style firing against attacking aircraft.) MIADS is directly answerable to Bureau of Air Defense under Ministry of Defense.

In 2010, Myanmar Air Defense Command has completed installation of fibre optic communication network throughout the country. Those network are to be used for Air defense operations between Central Command HQ from capital & several air bases, early warning radar stations & mobile anti air craft missile & artillery units.

After completion of fibre optic project & radar stations, MIADS (Myanmar Integrated Air Defense System) becomes the most advance AD system in the region.

Sector Operations Commands

Under MIADS, the country was divided into six Air Defense Sectors, each controlled by a Sector Operations Centre (SOC) and reporting directly to the National Air Defense Operations Centre (ADOC) in Yangon.

Sector Operation Centres and their Headquarters locations are:

- Northern SOC (Myitkyina),
- Southern SOC (Myeik),       
- Western SOC (Sittwe),        
- Eastern SOC (Tachilek),     
- South Eastern SOC  (Yay), and      
- Central SOC (Meikhtila).    

Each SOC transmitted data back to Intercept Operations Centre (IOC), which in turn controlled SAM batteries and fighter/interceptor squadrons at various Air Bases.

Tor 1M Integrated Mobile Missile System.
Each IOC was optimized to direct either SAMs or fighter/interceptor aircraft against incoming enemy aircraft or missile. Each IOC was connected to observer and early warning area reporting posts (RP) via military owned underground fibre optic cable network.

There are more than 100 radar stations located at approximately 40 sites throughout the country. New Air Defence radars such as 1L117 radars, Galaxy Early Warning Radar and P series radars are installed in all radar stations.

Each Sector Operation Centre (SOC) is commanded by a Major General and it consists of one air defence division from Myanmar Army and one fighter-interceptor wing from Myanmar Air Force. Sometimes Air Defence Frigates from Myanmar Navy also operates under the direct command of respective SOC.

Each Air Defence Division is commanded by a Brigadier General and consists of three Air Defense Tactical Operations Command (TOC) and support units.

-    One Medium Range Surface to Air Missile Tactical Operations Command (MRSAM-TOC), with three battalions equipped with Buk M-1 or Kub missile system is deployed in an Area Defence Belt role.
-   One Short Range Air Defence Tactical Operations Command (SHORAD-TOC), with three battalions equipped with Pechora 2M and/or more-modern Tor M-1 missile systems is deployed in a Point Defence role for critical areas such as radar stations, fighter bases and SOC headquarters.
-   One Electronic Reconnaissance Tactical Operations Command (EIR-TOC) with 6 to 8 radar and communication companies for early warnings and interdiction detection.

Each fighter-interceptor wing commanded by a Brigadier General is composed of three Fighter squadrons of either MiG-29 or F-7M Airguard Interceptors (ten aircraft per squadron) and their ground base support units.
A Burma Airforce MIG-29 at Rangoon Airport (2007).
                                           (S-125 Pechora-2M SAM Defense System - Part 1)
                                           (S-125 Pechora-2M SAM Defense System - Part 2)