MAKS International Air Show, held annually in the town of Zhukovsky, has frequently been the site for demonstration of unusual aircraft weapons systems. There was an exception and the air show MAKS-2007. Its main exhibit was a winged supersonic aircraft missile (TFR) "meteorite-A." The missile, which was developed under the symbol 3M-25 engineering NGOs under the leadership of V. Chelomeya more than 25 years ago, today received a new life. "Meteorite-A", despite the complete technical readiness, and was not put into production, but, according to some military experts, to meet the increasing progress in the field of electronics, the project should be resuscitated.
Rocket "meteorite-A" is conceptually different from many other strategic cruise missiles that were created in the 70-80s., Flying to the target at extremely low altitudes at subsonic cruise speed. The rocket weighing more than 6 tons had to overcome enemy air defense systems to the limit height of 22-25 kilometers at a speed of 2700-3240 km / h Designers unusual rocket pawned the possibility of defeat that purpose at the distance of 3.5 thousand kilometers from the launch point. It was also intended that the special equipment will form a loop for TFR significantly ionized air, which prevents the precise moving her ground anti-aircraft missiles.
The history of the next rocket. In response to the U.S. deployment of cruise missiles, the fourth generation to NGOs Engineering was given the task — to develop a long-range TFR as a major means of maintaining the balance available at the time of the strategic nuclear forces. Equipped unique "intelligence", which allows you to make all sorts of maneuvers on a trajectory with very precise access to the specified target, the missile would be virtually invulnerable to enemy air defenses.
Faced with new technical issues for themselves, including the stated requirement of a long flight in the atmosphere at supersonic speed, experts NGOs have found new solutions when choosing an aerodynamic design, the power situation, structural materials, thermal control. To participate in the design of the controls to a whole new principles involved leading scientific and engineering groups of the country. The complex was created under the close supervision of the Council of Chief Engineers under the chairmanship of Prof. VN Chelomeya. Protection of first-draft design of the complex sea-based took place in mid-December 1978, and air-based — a month later, in January 1979.
A huge amount of ground stand tests failed in the shortest possible time. During these tests, it was experimentally proved that all the technical solutions have been correct. 20 May 1980 conducted the first test launch of the TFR with ground stand, and at the end of January 1982 — the first launch from the submerged launch pad from a submerged position. As a submerged platform was chosen a converted submarine project 667A. Running from the site was carried out with air-based special carrier aircraft Tu-95MA.
During the flight tests, "Meteorite-A" was held 70 starts — 50 from the ground stand, submarines and the PUK and 20 Tu-95MA. The first tests of ultra-long rocket to the technical manual supplied a number of new challenges. First of all, as it turned out, the combat-range routes to the Kapustin Yar missile test this range was not enough. In order to compensate for the lack of distance on the flight path from Lake Balkhash to the Volga had to conduct unique to rockets flying at a speed maneuver a turn through 180 °. Launches were made also in the interest of the vulnerability assessment of missile defense systems, which consisted of two modern anti-aircraft missile complex. But, despite the fact that the trajectory of the flight and the launch were known, with off-board protection systems and programs issued by maneuvering aircraft missiles could destroy the TFR only the second start-up.
According to its tactical and technical characteristics and combat missile "meteorite-A" far exceeded all the while strategic cruise missiles, sea and air-based. When creating complex has developed a number of unique systems. However, "Meteorites-A" was not to be taken into service. The reason for this was taken in the early 80s to equip the existing strategic bombers another missile of this type — was created in 1982 in the "Raduga" Kh-55, which was at the end of 1983 put into service for the installation of strategic aviation complexes Tu-95MS, and later modernized Tu-160. Grozny "meteorite" has remained at the level of a prototype, but perhaps in the near future the situation will change.