Friday, February 27, 2009

Raad ATGM

Raad Anti-Tank Guided Missile
***Updated: Friday, March 19th, 2011***
***The Following is a Modified Excerpt from "Iranian Military Capability 2011"***

The AT-3 gained notoriety as the first mass-produced man-portable ATGM. In Iranian service, it has received upgrades through the Raad and I-Raad program.

The AT-3 is a wire-guided MCLOS ATGM with a HEAT warhead. Unlike many other ATGM's, the missile is fired from a separate launch platform then the guidance unit. The AT-3 is largely ineffective against modern MBT's compared to other systems and its MCLOS guidance is particularly troublesome.

Iran has upgraded their models with the Raad and I-Raad programs. The Raad, is a straight copy of the AT-3 design, while the Raad-T features a tandem warhead. The I-Raad however is a marked improvement featuring a SACLOS guidance unit as well as the ability to fire-link 4 separate missiles to one guidance unit. The I-Raad-T is the I-Raad with a tandem warhead.

Iran ordered directly, or license produced at least 6,000 AT-3 / Raads, with the later models possibly being new builds or upgrades. The Raad remains a second-line asset.

Purportedly, the AT-3 can be mounted on the Safir tactical vehicle, though this would require a redesign of the launching platform in order to avoid the obvious difficulties in firing the AT-3/Raad from a vehicle.

Iran-Iraq War(Rasekhoon.net)
Specifications: AT-3/Raad
Weight: 10.9 kg
Length: 83 cm
Diameter: 12 cm
Warhead: 2.6 kg HEAT
Max Range: 3,000 m
Max Velocity: 120 m/s
Guidance: Wire-Guided MCLOS

Specifications: Raad-T

Length: 98 cm
Diameter: 12 cm
Warhead: HEAT + probe
Penetration: 400 mm RHA
Max Range: 3,000 m
Max Velocity: 120 m/s
Guidance: Wire-Guided MCLOS

SACLOS Guidance (military.ir)
Specifications: I-Raad

Weight: 10.9 kg
Length: 83 cm
Diameter: 12 cm
Warhead: HEAT
Penetration: 500 mm RHA
Max Range: 3,000 m
Max Velocity: 120 m/s
Guidance: Wire-Guided SACLOS







I-Raad-T (Modlex.ir)
Specifications: I-Raad-T

Weight:  NA
Length: 98 cm
Diameter: 12 cm
Warhead: HEAT + probe
Penetration: 400 mm RHA
Max Range: 3,000 m
Max Velocity: 120 m/s
Guidance: Wire-Guided SACLOS

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Panha 2091, HESA P4, and other AH-1 Upgrades

The information in the section is currently being reviewed and updated and should not be taken as being 100% accurate. - October 9th 2010

Panha 2091, HESA
P4, and other AH-1 Upgrades

Index

1) Panha 2091
2) HESA P4
3) Other Projects

The Bell AH-1J SeaCobra was delivered to the Shah's army aviation(Havinarooz) branch in the 1970's as part of the US's Foreign Military Assistance. The original model was armed with a 20 mm Gatling gun, Zuni and Hydra rockets and some models were TOW capable. They were NOT armed with the sidewinder missiles, despite wiki listing. They were valued assets in the Iran-Iraq war. Yet, despite having the 4th largest helicopter fleet in the world on paper, the reality on the ground was that the Havinarooz was stretched incredibly thin, flying infiltration missions to support Kurd's in the north, and tank-busting missions in the south, it is a wonder that Iran ended the war with any helicopters left. Since then they have worked to rebuild their fleet with a variety of Russian helicopters, but in the end, the Cobra is still the only dedicated attack heli in Iran's inventory, and as such there isn't much that can inspire as much courage as their narrow silhouettes swooping low over the battlefield. Now lets investigate the type of projects that Iran is undertaking to extend the life of the AH-1J SeaCobra.

Panha 2091

Certainly the most well-known of all the projects, initiated in 1998 by Panha as a restoration, upgrade and overhaul of Army AH-1 helicopters.(1)

The HESA P4 / Panha 2091 Connection
Verifying a picture of the 2091 is extremely hard, this might be suprising considering the internet is chock full of images when one does an image search for "Panha 2091" on any search engine or forum. However nearly every pic produced is either of the HESA P4 or a gunship that could be either the 2091 or the P4. I myself am guilty of confusing the two, up until this edit, this post confused to the two, I just thought they were different names for the same project.
However we can do some deduction. It appears like the gunships in IRGC service are the P4's due to external features such as cockpit, TOW sight, hardpoints, etc as well as color. Also, the P4 was introduced in 2002, and it had fairly high quality photos taken of it at the demonstration. The Panha 2091 was introduced earlier, at the earliest 1998, though I cannot say if that was when it was announced, or when it was unveiled. There are two photos of a gunship from some ceremony that is fairly old, and of poor quality, indicating age. These are the gunships shown. After some review, I have concluded that these are in fact, the Panha 2091 gunship.


The Canopy
The most noticeable feature that differentiates the Iranian version from the plain vanilla AH-J is the flat-paneled canopy glass, the advantage being that it reduces glare on the glass making it harder to spot from the ground.(2) The cockpit has been up-armored, presumably through the use of bullet-resistant glass, though no concrete details are available.(3) One interesting note i read was from an ex-Iranian Cobra pilot, though unfortunately i cannot find the article anymore, it asserted that the flat panel's actually provided better ballistics protection because of the angles between the glass and the rest of the cockpit.

Avionics and Sensors
The 2091 incorporates two major improvements over the AH-1J. The first are new radio systems, though, as with the armored canopy, no more information is available. The second improvement is the addition of GPS systems for navigation. It is also possible that the existing models have been retroactively fitted with other systems such as the Hasib radar (more on that later)(4)

Weapons System
The 2091 is not TOW capable, this is one of the identifying features versus the P4. As for other weaponry, it remains the same as on the original AH-1, 20 mm cannon, rocket pods capable of carrying 70 mm rockets, either 52 in two 19-round M261 and two 7-round M260 pods, or a lighter load of 28 in four 7-round M260 pods(5)

HESA P4

While the 2091 might be the most well-known by name, it is definitely the P4 itself that is the most well-known. Developed by the 'Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company' (HESA) and unveiled in 2002, the P4 is further development of the Cobra and 2091 platform. As of 2002 there were at least 5 different models of the P4 in service, in both the IRGC as well as regular army. (6)



Canopy
It bears the same canopy as the earlier Panha 2091, it can be safely assumed it includes the same, if not better armor package

Avionics and Sensors
This is where the P4 really shines when compared to its predecessor the 2091. Both cockpits were completely redone into a glass cockpit. The gunners panel has been replaced with a full-sized LCD MFD with soft-touch buttons as well as with several older style gauges to the right. In 2002, it was demonstrated showing navigational information as well as basic engine readouts such as temperature and torque. Also, due to the absence of the traditional TOW targeting system we can assume it is integrated into the MFD. Less information is available about the pilot's cockpit, though we can see it has been revamped with the same style MFD. Internal avionics have been revamped including the addition of a GPS and receiver in the nose. A rear warning radar has also been attached with four antennae providing 360 degrees coverage.(7) These integrated electronics systems, according to a newspaper report about the overhaul program, "allows target locking with remarkable precision and duration for helicopters that are constantly under vibration and experience sudden movements."(8) Another recent addition that we can most likely assume to be included is the Hasib radar, inducted in 2005, which, as i mentioned before, I will detail later. In addition to the basic navigational radar of the Hasib, it is near certain that a basic tracking radar has been equipped as the addition of the AIM-9 (read below) necessitates it. This is not beyond any realm of possibility as it is known that at the very least, Iran produces the APQ-153 for the F-5E.(9)
The only pictures of the cockpits are extremely tiny



Weapons Systems
As with the 2091, most weapons systems remain the same, the 20 mm cannon, and the rocket pods, there are some key differences that mark the upgrades from the 2091 and original AH-1J. First is the TOW, while a number of models were delivered TOW-capable they were only equipped with daylight sights, the P4 is equipped with thermals slaved to the TOW through the MFD mentioned. Now, this has generated a considerable amount of debate, personally i've swung both ways on the debate, though recently i've concluded that Iran has access to thermals, the first piece of evidence is their use on the Mohajer and Ababil UAV's. (10) The second piece of evidence is in the claims during the 2002 expo of the P4, the commanders detailed thermal sights connected to the weapons systems (11)
The second weapon development is the possible addition of AIM-9 Sidewinders. They were observed on television at an unspecified time, most likely in early 2005 or late 2004. It was labeled as a 2091, however the fact that the rest of the article uses the name '2091' for what was obviously the P4, I'm led to believe its the latter that's A2A capable.(12)

Other Projects...
There a number of other possible smaller upgrade programs going on to supplement the major programs, often just stand-alone improvements rather then entire projects. I'll do my best to detail them. I'll also mention that as so often happens with this blog, the naming conventions are my personnel inventions as best I can figure them rather then the official government designation.


Aquatic Survivability: Seen during the "Army Day 2009", consists of a giant inflatable bladder that will keep the helicopter afloat in event of a water landing. The same system has also been seen onboard IRIN Bell 205's.



Maverick Missile: Fitted during the Iran-Iraq war, AGM-65's were fitted to wingtip stores, two on either wing, success rate is unknown. At any rate, it seems no to be common these days.



Hasib Radar: The Hasib radar was unveiled in 2005 as a radar for rotary wing attack aircraft. The radar has a range of 4 km and detection height up to 15,000 meters. This is a modular system and could be applied to either the 2091 or the P4.

Basic Sensor Package: This upgrade was first seen at Army Day 2009. Thankfully there are a great deal of photographs available on it. The package was applied to a non-TOW capable AH-1 and is externally composed of a single electro-optical sensor ball mounted on the belly in-between the skids. Actual capabilities are unclear, FLIR or just camera's, we can't tell. Inside the cockpit we see several MFD's, though they are obviously 'after-market' rather then the fully integrated MFD's on the P4. There is one MFD located right-hand side of the gunner and one located directly above the console of the pilot. It is worthy to mention that it is also the same external sensor ball used on the Shahed 285.





HUD Camera: Little is known about this, but it is a camera slaved to a HUD in the pilot or gunners helmet. Unclear as to whether it can be connected to a gun, if so it could potentially solve the aiming problem of the Shahed 285.



AIM-9 Capable: Separate from the AIM-9 capable HESA P4, this upgrade was seen in an undated, though obviously aged photo. Similar to the AGM-65 equipped versions, that is, seen once but no doubt a developed project.



Footnotes
Panha 2091
(1) "Panha 2091 Iranian Helicopter" Uskowi on Iran http://uskowioniran.blogspot.com/2008/05/panha-2091-iranian-helicopter.html
(2) "Low Glint Helicopter Canopies" Free Patents Online http://www.freepatentsonline.com/3897033.html
(3) "Panha Hovers Between Repair and Manufacturing" Jane's Intelligence Auguest 21st 2001 http://www.janes.com/defence/air_forces/news/jdw/jdw010827_1_n.shtml
(4)ibd Janes Intelligence
(5) "AH-1 Cobra" Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AH-1_Cobra

HESA P4
(6)This is an 'odd' source, all that is available is a scanned page from a magazine with nothing more then an authors name. Robert Heirson http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/4122/pahna20913.jpg
(7) ibd Heirson
(8) Again, not much information is available about this source, the original url is from iraninternational.irtp.com, the link is now dead but the article can be viewed here: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showpost.php?p=1546839&postcount=37
(9)IRIAF Locally Made Subsystems. Iran Military Forum. http://www.iranmilitaryforum.net/index.php?topic=887.msg4136#msg4136
(10) "UAV's of Iran" The Arkenstone, by Ayyash September 26th 2009. http://thearkenstone.blogspot.com/2009/09/uavs-of-iran.html
(11) ibd Heirson
(12) Combat Aircraft. May 2005 P. 20 Available Here: http://img261.imageshack.us/img261/6790/imfhesacobra7xk.jpg