Russia has started the serial production of its newest high-power missile, known as the “armor-piercer,” to deploy it against Ukraine this year, as confirmed by Alexander Kochkin, the deputy general director of Tecmash.
Tecmash is affiliated with the state corporation Rostec, a renowned conglomerate in Russia specializing in developing and producing cutting-edge military equipment.
Kochkin shared this development with state-run RIA Novosti, revealing that the country has commenced the mass production phase for this missile.
The international exhibition of arms and military equipment, MILEX-2023, is underway in Minsk from May 17 to May 20. This exhibition serves as a platform to showcase a wide range of defense industry products, including those from Russian enterprises.
During the MILEX-2023, Kochkin announced that the armor-piercer missile was now in active service with the Russian military.
The missile has received its initial orders, and production has begun. Kochkin further mentioned that this year, the armor-piercer missile would be utilized in the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
The update indicates that the missile is rapidly progressing toward operational implementation.
The armor-piercer is designed to be compatible with aircraft such as the Su-25, military helicopters of the Mi-8 series, and other aircraft equipped with unguided missile launchers.
The new missile complements the existing S-8 family of 80mm caliber shells. The armor-piercer aims to enhance the aircraft’s capabilities by effectively engaging its targets.
The warhead of the armor-piercer missile is reported to possess five to six times greater power than previous iterations. This enhanced capability enables the missile to effectively penetrate substantial obstacles and target enemy fortifications.
Although the RIA Novosti report did not mention the missile’s name explicitly, another Russian state media outlet has provided further details.
According to the state-directed media outlet RT, the missile is identified as the S-8OFP, which has earned the nickname ‘Broneboyshchik’ or ‘armor-piercer.’
What’s New About S-8OFP Air-Launched Projectile?
The newly developed missile belongs to the S-8 family of unguided projectiles, designed specifically for deployment on aerial platforms like close air support planes and helicopters.
The key highlight of this weapon, as stated by Tecmash, is its new engine, which incorporates a more potent propellant. This upgraded engine enhances the missile’s performance, resulting in improved capabilities and increased effectiveness during missions.
By optimizing the missile’s propulsion system, engineers have reduced its size, thereby creating additional space for payload allocation.
It is also equipped with a novel warhead specifically engineered to penetrate various barriers, including walls and other obstacles, if required, before triggering its detonation.
In contrast to earlier iterations that featured diverse payload options such as conventional high explosives or flechette antipersonnel projectiles, this new variant emphasizes enhanced penetrative capabilities, expanding the range of potential targets it can effectively engage.
With a maximum range of six kilometers, the S-8OFP missile can deliver its nine-kilogram warhead to its intended target.
Maintaining the standard 80mm caliber, this projectile is fully compatible with the commonly used 20-tube and seven-tube launchers on various Russian military aircraft.
In 2018, the Russian Defense Ministry reportedly released footage showcasing the deployment of S-8OFP missiles from a helicopter during trials. The subsequent year, Tecmash announced that the weapon had successfully completed testing and received clearance for operational service.
During an interview, Kochkin provided further updates. He also revealed that his company had significantly increased the production of projectiles for multiple rocket launch systems, achieving a 20-fold boost compared to the previous year.
Kochkin emphasized that the company’s current focus is on the mass production of well-established weapons, underscoring the priority placed on meeting the demand for these tried and tested armaments.
Meanwhile, Rosoboronexport, the state arms seller of Russia and a subsidiary of the state tech corporation Rostec, has announced that Russia will showcase more than 150 types of armament and military hardware at the MILEX 2023 international arms show in Minsk.
Notably, some of these weapons will be publicly displayed for the first time, highlighting Russia’s willingness to present cutting-edge technologies and advancements in the defense industry despite the ongoing war in Russia.