To learn a little more about the Artillery Command of the Brazilian Army and its new facilities, inaugurated in 2020, and on the starsthe most modern and capable long-range system of the ground force, Infodefensa.com traveled to Forte Santa Bárbara, where he was received by Brigadier General Moises da Paixao Juniorhead of the Artillery of the Brazilian Army.
Paixão, born in Recife, Pernambuco, 52 years ago, is in charge of the most powerful ground-to-ground weapon on the South American continent, the cruise missile Avibras AV-MTC 300which can only be cast by the stars.
In this first part of the interview, Paixão pointed out that the CEP (Circular Error Probable) The misol is only nine meters and the operation of the acceleration/launch booster and the cruise turbine has been outstanding in recent tests. In addition, it already has a greater autonomy in the improved version with lower fuel consumption without performance degradation.
Likewise, the industrialization of the weapon is guaranteed, through Avibras, which keeps updated the acquired knowledge and the necessary manpower for the development of the AV-MTC 300.
Finally, the head of the Brazilian Artillery slipped the decision not to invest more in the Guided Rocket 40, beyond the conceptual research phase and the practical test of the terminal guidance technology, which was obtained and mastered.
Brigadier General Paixão during an interview with Infodefensa. Photo: Roberto Caiafa
The AV-MTC 300 cruise missile arrives with the mission of renewing the deterrent appeal of the astro system and its export potential. What can you clarify about the performance of the AV-MTC 300?
The program starsmanaged by the Army Project Office under the direct care of May Stater of the Force, is led by General Jose Julio Dias Breto, who already gave an important interview to Infodefensa in 2018when the program was still called Astros 2020. In March 2022 we did a launch campaign that was very successful. The missile met all performance requirements in the launch phase, including all navigation steps in its guided flight. waypoint and successfully impacted the target zone established in the Barreira do Inferno in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. All within the requirements. We rescheduled the firing planned for the second half of 2022 for the year 2023, but this unique campaign in March was a complete success, showing that the Brazilian Army has an effective weapon in its hands and Avibras an excellent product, with a very advanced.
AV-MTC 300. Image: Avibras
What was the CEP (Circular Error Probable) performance achieved by the AV-MTC 300 on this shot? And how many kilometers did the missile fly?
The missile prediction specified in the requirements is 300 km. What we can add new information is that as the turbine of the missile is improved we are able to achieve a greater range than previously recorded with the same amount of fuel. The missile reached 300 km while performing a waypoint navigation and then proceeded towards the impact/target zone. Remembering that single launch performance cannot make this figure definitive, it can improve with more launches, but the March shot hit the target with a CEP of nine meters, demonstrating the system’s navigation capability and the accuracy of the final blow against the specified target. In the event of a conflict, that target would have been completely destroyed.
Avibras filed for bankruptcy in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. What impact has or could this have on the Astros’ program?
We were recently at the Avibras headquarters, where we attended a conference given by the company’s management on these financial issues, which have their repercussions. From Avibras we received two very clear signals: the first, its commitment to resolve this matter of the suspension of payments as soon as possible; and the second, the maintenance of the staff, the jobs and the technical knowledge necessary for the program stars, albeit with adjustments and changes in the calendar. In fact, this explains why it was necessary to reschedule the layoffs from the second half of this year to 2023.
Is there already a breakdown of these activities?
With the resumption of testing, we must perform six launches, four of them instrumented to generate telemetry data for the mission, and at least the last two with warheads, to fully verify and qualify the system. In this way, we will enter the final phase of certification and will conclude the development of the cruise missile of the Brazilian Army, in its first version. Due to the dimension of these tests, they will be carried out in the Brigadeiro Velloso Test Field (Cachimbo) and now it is about verifying the availability of the Brazilian Air Force in relation to the means necessary to transport the material and equipment, the availability of technical personnel from Avibras and our staff to join forces in this final stage.
How many missiles does the Army intend to acquire?
The question of quantity is not fundamental now, but the mastery of the technology necessary to do it, and the maintenance of this industrial capacity through Avibras. The number of missiles depends on a number of factors. The Army General Staff has its guidelines and annual material allocation plans, which depend on budgetary factors and many others, drawn up together with the Ground Operations Command in matters related to the training of troops. We need the product to be ready, certified and available, only then the Logistics Commandthrough the Supply Management, will establish the budgetary resources and other issues necessary for the acquisition of this material. The deterrent factor here, to make it very clear, is not the question of quantity, but that all interested parties know that we can effectively produce a cruise missile with a range of more than 300 km.
EITHERmnisys, the provider of Strev, is the subsidiary of the Thales Group in Brazil. Image: EB
The Omnisys firm supplied the Transportable System of Flight Tracking Devices (Strev). What was your performance during the shooting campaign?
One of the great initiatives of the Astros program was the establishment of important component boxes, such as the TCM of Avibras, the guided rocket 40, the Fort of Santa Bárbara, the Integrated Astro Simulation System (Sis-Astros), the acquisition of new vehicles and the modernization of others, and the use of a new tracking system, a need that arose during the tests, either as redundancy for the Natal or Alcântara facilities, or as a new capacity improvement in telemetry, data management and flight tracking. Tracking optics also made a decisive contribution to the visual tracking of complex long-distance flights. The Strev was an important initiative and is, without a doubt, one of the great legacies of the program stars for the national defense industry, since it is based on the Army Assessment Center (CAEx) and is already being considered by other forces for their programs. The Strev it is a powerful tool for trajectography and other technologies focused on telemetry, and its presence in trials and tests provided more security, 100% availability of capacity at all stages and agility in the processing of recorded data.
Schematic section of the guided rocket 40. Photo: Avibras
And how is the development of the guided rocket 40?
Let’s start by clarifying the difference between a rocket and a missile, because they are important differences. The rocket is not controlled during its trajectory, it is ballistic and follows a predetermined trajectory when fired. The missile is controlled, follows a programmed waypoint navigation, changes direction in flight. In the case of the guided rocket, it is possible to interfere in the terminal phase of the flight, within the concept of saturation of the area. The development of this capability was achieved and it was possible to effectively improve the accuracy of the terminal phase, even opening the possibility of this being extended to the other rockets in the family. stars, which are larger. But we also detected that this capacity is not interesting at the moment as a product to be industrialized because it implies additions to the on-board electronics due to the number of submunitions/ogiva. We met the requirement, we developed terminal guidance, and the higher levels of my command determined that at this time the guided rocket 40 will not have priority in its industrialization, unlike the AV-MTC 300which has the highest priority in its acquisition.
Army and Avibras personnel pose with the AV-MTC 300 model during LAAD 2019. Photo: Roberto Caiafa