S-13 AIRCRAFT WEAPON SYSTEM: CURRENT STATUS AND PROSPECTS FOR GROWTH
The weapon system had been built to help tackle a major task facing front-line and army-level aviation, that of destroying hostile aircraft kept in a variety of concrete shelters, as well as destroy runways, command posts, communications nodes and other fortified facilities.
In the mid-1980s the S-13 airbcraft rocket pod system (NARV), designed to include the B-13L five-tube launcher and a complement of 122mm S-13T, S-13OF and S-13D rockets, entered service with the Soviet Air Force. The weapon system had been built to help tackle a major task facing fron-line and army-level aviation, that of destroying hostile aircraft kept in a variety of concrete shelters, as well as destroy runways, command posts, communications centers and other fortified facilities. The S-13T baseline rocket was developed for that purpose. It featured an extended high-power, solid-propellant rocket engine and a double-module enetrator-type warhead. Later the product was expanded to produce the S-13OF and S-13D rockets, carrying high-explosive warheads designed to neutralize light-armored and vulnerable materiel and personnel.
Given the ingenious engineering solutions employed in
developing the munition (an optimized TNT charge design boasting no armor shielding, the
S-13T warhead's self-contained modules in a tandem configuration, casting technology for
producing S-13OF warhead casings that uses a diamond-shaped pattern to achieve the desired
fragmentation effect, etc.), we have managed to build highly-lethal weapons and maintain
the most affordable per-unit costs (the latter traditionally being a crucial requirement
for unguided aircraft weapons). For example, the fire power of a Su-25 attack aircraft,
armed with high-explosive rockets magnified by its inherent agility in the air, is equal
to salvo firings of several Grad MLRS systems. The warhead's principal characteristics are
given in the Table below.
Later the S-13 system's modernization should be focused on the B-13L launcher in order
to secure aircraft-to-rocket interface, in order to:
These affordable improvements would allow S-13 aircraft rocket pods to keep their proven strengths while radically boosting lethality.