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What We Know About Russia’s New Generation “Tank-Killer” Hermes

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What We Know About Russia's New Generation "Tank-Killer" Hermes

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The Hermes high-precision guided missile system with over-the-horizon range of up to 100 km was presented by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau, at the Army-2020 forum in Moscow.

The guided weapon system is composed of a combat vehicle, command vehicle, load transporting vehicle, guided missiles and reconnaissance drones.

Hermes has an autonomous missile guidance system of the fire-and-forget type. Hermes guided missiles are capable of being fired from aerial (including drones), land-based and naval platforms.

The system features the salvo launch mode at several (up to six) scattered targets and automated synchronization of laser guidance for striking targets with a high-precision projectile with miss distance not exceeding 0.5 meters.

It is specifically designed to engage single and multiple targets of various types but mainly battle tanks, other armored vehicles, fortifications, naval surface targets and high-speed flying vehicles. It is a sort of precision one-size-fits-all weapon, that predominantly serves as an anti-tank guided missile.

ATGMs are the most significant tool of the Russian ground troops, as they can successfully counter an adversary’s main battle tanks, as well as other armored vehicles, as mentioned above.

A representative of the Tula Instrument Design Bureau said at the forum that the Hermes anti-tank guided missile is capable of almost 100% certain destruction of any Western tank.

Experts from the American magazine The National Interest said that this is the new Russian “tank killer”, compared to which the infamous American anti-tank missile FGM-148 Javelin looks outdated.

As mentioned above, a Hermes missile may deviate only by 50 cm from the target even when it is fired to a maximum range of 100 km, with the munition flying at four times the speed of sound (Mach 4).

What We Know About Russia's New Generation "Tank-Killer" Hermes

Click to see the full-size image

The Hermes anti-tank guided weapon system comprises several reconnaissance and guidance drones that help detect and illuminate the target, the company’s representative said.

The system features a compact combat module with launchers for six missiles.

This module can be mounted on any chassis, including armored vehicles.

The Hermes can deliver salvo fire against six targets at a time.

Apart from the enemy armor, the system’s missiles are effective against command or staff vehicles, communications centers and depots.

Each missile carries a high-explosive fragmentation warhead with 20 kg of TNT.

The entire Hermes weapons complex includes:

  • a stabilized day-night optoelectronic system with television and thermal imaging channels (information exchange standard MIL STD 1553);
  • an associated computer system with a two-channel laser designator and automatic target tracking;
  • additional equipment – multifunctional color liquid crystal display and control panel, display and documentation facilities.

The combat vehicle could be equipped with 6-12-24 missiles ready for launch.

It is not known which missiles will be used by Hermes during launches. Even its GRAU index is not disclosed. Two calibers of the accelerator are presumed, depending on the flight range – 170 or 210 mm.

The guidance system is combined, at the stage of reaching the target it is carried out using inertial or radio command guidance, and at the final stage using the seeker, including the laser one.

All of this, of course, makes the missile cost more, but at the same time, it is still nothing in comparison to how much a Western tank costs.

Even if more than one missile strikes a tank, if they destroy it, that is a sort of profit.

The cost, for example, of the new German Leopard 2A6 main battle tank is $6.79 million, and the American M1A2 SEP Abrams – at least $8.6 million. It is unlikely that an ATGM missile costs anywhere near that.

In addition to the accuracy and sufficient power of the Hermes ATGM missile (18–20 kg of explosive), the biggest plus in the effectiveness of this complex is the range of destruction. However, the question involuntarily arises, how will control be carried out at a distance of 100 km?

Especially when it comes to moving targets – tanks do not always stand in place, but they will be the main target. And one multifunctional radar can hardly be enough. More information is needed to come to a definite conclusion.

It could potentially be a game-changer in the anti-tank field, and is comparable if not better than the Israeli Spike missiles, and is clearly superior to the American Javelin missiles, as mentioned above.

According to the National Interest, Russian sent the weapon system to Syria.


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