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Russia uses newest satellite guided 9M54 series missile in Ukraine

By Boyko Nikolov on Jun 23, 2022

KYIV ($1=29.25 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — The use in Ukraine of one of the newest Russian missiles launched by a 300-mm multiple rocket launcher – a 9M54 series missile has been documented. Evidence from photographs appears for the second time, the first use of this missile was documented in March 2022 in Pokrovsk — located in Donbas Oblast, eastern Ukraine, and only a day ago [June 22] a second piece of evidence through photography shows that the missile fell in the Donetsk region in Donbas.

Photo credit: Twitter

The 9M54 series missiles are satellite-guided warheads loaded with HE-Fragmentation charge. They are mainly used by the 300-mm multiple rocket launcher 9A52-4 Tornado, which is also one of the latest developments in Russian ground artillery. 9M54 series missiles, such as the 9M542 missile, are also used as weapons in older missile systems, such as the 9K58 Smerch, a design from the late 1980s. One of the last versions of the missile was tested in 2020, equipped with a cumulative-fragmentation warhead – this is the 9M544 rocket.

The 9M54 series missiles have similar characteristics or complementary characteristics. The 9M54 series missiles weigh approximately 820 kg and their warhead alone weighs about 250 kg. The minimum range is 40 km and the maximum is 120 km, although the 9M544 missile tested in 2020 reached a range of 200 km.

The 9M54 series missiles are a surface-to-surface type. The missile is designed to destroy manpower, unarmored and lightly armored vehicles, destroy command posts, communication centers, and sites of the military-industrial structure.

Despite the generally available information on the characteristics of the 9M54 series missiles, some of them have an increased range, which contradicts the technical and tactical data. Increasing the range of this type of missile can be achieved by reducing the weight of the warhead and increasing the length of the missile. At the same time, the total length for all projectiles is preserved – 7600 mm, but the weight of the warhead is increased by 5-10 kg.

It can also be argued that the engine was extended by equipping the parachute compartment structure with a powder charge, and the main part was borrowed from the RS 9M55F or 9M528, or their variants. It is possible to further increase the range due to the sub-planning provided as a result of the operation of the aerodynamic rudders.

The 9A52-4 Tornado mobile rocket launcher [MRL] from which the two 9M54 series missiles documented so far were launched was designed in 2000 and has been in service since 2014. 9A52-4 Tornado is powered by one KamAZ-740.50.360 diesel engine providing power to the entire installation of 360 horsepower. Its suspension is 8 × 8 wheeled, its top speed is 90 km/h, and the distance you can travel while refueling is 1,000 km.

Photo: Flickr

9A52-4 Tornado can launch missiles of different calibers depending on the version used: 122m, 220mm, and 300mm. Version 9A53-G Tornado launches 122mm missiles and mounted on chassis of Kamaz Truck or on a Ural-4320, Version 9A53-U Tornado launches 220mm missiles and mounted on chassis MZKT-79306 and Version 9A53-S Tornado launches 300mm missiles and mounted missiles MZKT-79306.

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