What makes combat aviation allmighty and unvulnarable? For the answers we’ll go to the factory making military equipment. This place is in Moscow, and it’s quite unusual, photographers are normally never allowed to be there. It’s such a luck to take some shots of a secret production like this!
They have a lot of screens, cables, wires, strange devices there. And all people are wearing white coats. It’s hard to believe this place was founded back in 1917 in Tsarist Russia! It became the first aviation instrument making factory in the country.
On the photo above is a stand of a radar complex “Arbalet” (“Crossbow”) which is mounted on such helicopters as Ka-52 “Alligator”. The main functions of “Arbalet” are detection of attacking aircrafts and missiles of an enemy, navigation system update, support of a low-altitude flight and mapping.
This is “Alligator” itself. Ka-52 is the further development of a helicopter Ka-50 “Black shark”. “Alligator” is a new vehicle made since 2008.
Maybe the design of the system is not too impressive but they do not care much about how it looks. It’s not for gloating. Much more important that “Arbalet” has better technical characteristics than the analogous American complex TADS.
For example, “Arbalet” can detect enemy aircrafts at the distance of fifteen kilometres in any weather at night. At that the viewing angle is a full circle – 360 degrees. The device simply has no “blind” zones. So no object can reach “Alligator” unnoticed.
Everything had been going on rather well for the company before 1991: they had been building new aircrafts and helicopters and mounting modern equipment on them. But in the 90s they ran out of orders from the state. Only in ten years something started to change for the better – Chinese and Indian armies began ordering radar locators “Kopyo” (“Spear”) and airborne radars “Zhuk” (“Beetle”).
This is that very “Beetle” – to the right on the photo above. “Zhuk-ME” FGM129 is going to be mounted on a carrier fighter MiG-29K/KUB which will fly to the Indian customer.
MiG-29K is a multipurpose fighter of the fourth generation which is the further development of MiG-29.
Airborne radar “Zhuk” is used for detection and tracking of targets, mapping, airspace control and rocket fire.
Today this company which is called “Phazotron-NIIR” is one of the leaders which make airborne radar systems for military aircrafts. In the nearest future they plan to set up production of integrated systems of airborne equipment.
Assembly of aradar system transmitter of “Zhuk”-ME” is a very elaborate work.
Adjustment of such comlicated equipment is also a labor-intensive and responsible process but young engineers do their job consistently and confidently.
Aseembly of another “Zhuk” – “Zhuk-AE”. They are mounting it on a light front-line fighter of «4++» generation – MiG-35. The yellow thing is not comb but an active phased antenna array. It allows to increase the detection range, detect and classify group and single objects, simultaneously attack a number of targets with high-precision weapons and also to provide electronic countermeasures.
MiG-35 is a Russian multipurpose fighter of «4++» generation created on the basis of MiG-29M. It was firstly presented at the international air show “Aero India – 2007”. The “Zhuk” is in the nose part of the aircraft.
One curious fact: former chief engineer of the company Adolf Tolkachev was a real American spy: in the period from 1979 to 1985 he was passing secret information about the company projects to the CIA.
Assembly and adjustment of the radar station which is going to be mounted on MiG-29UPG. The distinctive feature of the “Zhuk” that it has a modular construction – it can cheaply and easily be adjusted for new modifications of aircrafts.