Sturm-SM is a modification of the Soviet-era Shturm-S system, specifically developed in the mid-1970s at the Kolomensk Mechanical Design Bureau.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine announced that state tests and systemization of the Shturm-SM mobile anti-tank missile complex mounted on the chassis of one of the armored fighting vehicles have been completed, and is ready to be put into actual combat. Ukrainian missiles with different types of warheads were developed specifically for this anti-tank complex.

In fact, the Sturm-SM is a modification of the Soviet-era Shturm-S system, specifically developed in the mid-1970s at the Kolomensk Mechanical Design Bureau, and the upgraded Shturm-SM based on the MT-LB chassis. The Shturm-SM features substantial enhancements, including the OPSN-I optical sighting station and the RK-2P Barrier-P anti-tank missile. This project represents a concerted effort to adapt to the evolving needs of the Ukrainian armed forces, particularly in the context of diminishing military support from the United States.

Since the beginning of January 2024, state tests of the Shturm-SM self-propelled anti-tank missile system have been conducted by the Ukrainian defense industry. The Sturm-SM is a significant upgrade over its predecessor. It is essentially a complete overhaul, except for the chassis, incorporating major advancements such as a new missile, command and control system, and targeting/sighting apparatus.

The previous generation 9M114 Kokon missile lacks the power to defeat modern tanks with a single warhead design. In addition, the vehicle is only equipped with a daytime sighting system, was largely ineffective for night operations. In the Sturm-SM version, the 9M114 Kokon is replaced by the RK-2P of DKKB Luch, derived from the Barrier ATGM technology used in the Donbas conflict. The RK-2P, with an extended range of 7 km, stands out for its increased reliability and resistance to enemy jamming efforts. According to developers, this missile can penetrate the armor of any currently operational main battle tank. To accommodate the larger RK-2P, the vehicle’s missile loading system had to be completely redesigned, now featuring a 12-cell magazine.

The OPSN-I optronic sighting system, developed by the Izyum Instrument Factory and unveiled in 2019, is another major enhancement of the Shturm-SM. Integrating television technology, thermal imaging, and laser sensors, supported by 20X superior optics, it can detect targets over 11 kilometers away and engage them with its laser up to 7 kilometers.

The OPSN-1 is also notable for its use of a two-axis gyro-stabilized platform developed by DKKB Luch. Utilizing direct-drive torque motors, this technology ensures smooth, jerk-free movements, enabling precise and easy targeting.

It should note that the Shturm-SM project began long before russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The ongoing war against russia prompted the manufacturer to update the system according to the needs of the military and the acquired knowledge on how Ukrainian forces have utilized similar systems in the warzone.

The combination of these upgrades enables Shturm-SM to launch strikes regardless of the time of the day at a distance of up to 6 to 7 kilometers. The missiles can penetrate and destroy targets protected with up to 800 mm of homogeneous armor. For comparison, the old Shturm-S could fire up to 4 km far and only in daylight. This could significantly increase Ukraine’s capability to take down russian tanks.

The modernization of the Shturm-SM anti-tank missile system appears to align with the Ukrainian government’s intent to autonomously address the challenges of supplying its armed forces, while also encouraging the establishment of European defense industry subsidiaries on its own soil. This initiative comes amid a significant reduction in Western military aid and uncertainty about its timely renewal at the necessary scale. Over the past year, Ukrainian military and political leaders have repeatedly emphasized the need to revitalize their national defense industry. They even contemplate completely replacing imported munitions with domestic production, aiming to increase their defense independence and foster industrial collaboration with Europe.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here