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Weapons of Ukrainian victory: The military praise the Piorun MPADS

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There are messages on social media about the high efficiency of the Polish Piorun missile systems. We decided to find out more about this weapon.

The Russian invasion became a difficult test for the Ukrainian army, which, despite of being weaker in terms of armament than the army of the aggressor, effectively resists and protects cities and villages from the invaders. Of course, this is due to the high motivation of our soldiers who are defending their land from invaders. But modernization of armament available to the Armed Forces of Ukraine is of great importance, as well as the purchase of new modern equipment from our partners. We have already described many types of these weapons in our articles, and today we are going to take a closer look on the Polish Piorun anti-aircraft systems, so highly appraised by Ukrainian fighters.

Piorun

These MPADS have proven themselves effective in combat conditions. Ukraine also uses the American FIM-92 Stinger MPADS, which we wrote about in more detail in our article, as well as other weapons of this type, which you can read about in one of our latest articles. The Piorun MPADS differs from other similar systems by utilizing additional warheads, thanks to which the missile can  detect a heat source more effectively, such as an engine of an enemy aircraft.

Let’s take a closer look at the effective Piorun man-portable air defense systems.

Read also: Weapons of Ukrainian victory: FIM-92 Stinger MPADS

History of development of Grom-1 MPADS

The history of the development of Piorun MPADS originates from the old Grom MPADS. The need to develop such weapons emerged after the collapse of the USSR and closing of production of the post-Soviet Igla-1 complexes. These man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems were supposed to increase the defense capability of the Polish Army. But the number of kits purchased turned out to be insufficient, and the Polish defense industry faced the problem of a shortage of components, so production stopped.

In this regard, in the early 90s of the last century, development of a completely Polish MPADS was initiated. The Mesko company, which was already related to this type of weapon and had considerable experience in such developments, took up this business. The fact is that it was responsible for the production of the post-Soviet Strela-2M MPADS in the 70s and was supposed to put the Igla-1 complexes on the conveyor. The company used its decades of experience to develop weapons of an entirely new level.

PIORUN

Interestingly, the development of Polish MPADS did not last long and was completed at the end of 1992, which was facilitated by participation of several national research institutes in this project. They cooperated together under the program ‘Modern technologies of the Grom air defense system’, and the result of this work was the first version of Grom-1 complex, which was launched into production at Mesko’s factories in 1995.

PIORUN

Of course, this complex was far from perfect, but Grom-1 MPADS was adopted by the Polish Army already in 1996. It must be understood that this was not a completely Polish project, since it used, for example, a modified guidance system from the post-Soviet complex. Until the beginning of the 21st century, engineers worked to make the Grom-1 an entirely Polish military equipment. Fortunately, they succeeded, because in 2000 Telesystem-Mesko began production of new homing warheads for the Grom complex, which were received by the Polish Army 2 years later.

Read also: Invasion of Ukraine: Bayraktar TB2 strike UAV review

Features of Grom-1 MPADS

PIORUN

The Grom-1 MPADS consists of a disposable tube-shaped launcher and a single-stage missile, equipped with an infrared guidance system. Therefore, it utilizes the same principle of operation as the FIM-92 Stinger MPADS. A man-portable air defense system detects a heat source, that is, in fact, the engine and exhaust ports of an aircraft or helicopter, after which the warhead destroys them. The complex supports the possibility of mounting a thermal imaging sight, and the launch can be carried out ‘from the shoulder’ or from an anti-aircraft unit. Very similar to the FIM-92 Stinger MPADS, but with its own features.

Read also: Switchblade: American kamikaze drones to protect Ukraine

If we talk about the technical specifications of the Grom-1 MPADS, then they are as follows:

  • Crew: 1 person
  • Total weight: 16,5 kg
  • Projectile weight: 10,5 kg
  • Warhead weight: 1,35 kg
  • Projectile length: 1686 mm
  • Target speed:
    – in pursuit: > 400 m/s
    – on approach: 360 m/s
  • Probability of destroying the target (jet fighter) by a single rocket from rear hemisphere:
    – with no obstacles: >0,6
    – with obstacles: 0,5
  • Operational range: 500-5500 m
  • Altitude cap: 10-3500 m
  • Deployment time: max 15 s
  • Warhead self-destruction time: 14-17,5 s
  • Targeting system: infrared

Piorun MPADS, aka GROM-M

You may ask why I paid so much attention to the GROM-1 anti-aircraft missile system? The fact is that the Piorun portable anti-aircraft missile system is an upgraded version of the GROM-1 complex, which is also known as GROM-M.

Weapons of Ukrainian victory: The military praise the Piorun MPADSAfter developing a completely Polish version of the GROM MPADS, Mesko did not leave this complex without modernization. Hence the many years of work on the further development of its capabilities, which in 2010-2015 ended in such profound changes that Mesko introduced a new version of this MPADS called Piorun, the second name of which is GROM-M.

The Piorun man-portable anti-aircraft missile system demonstrated its capabilities especially successfully in the Russian-Georgian conflict, during which nine Russian vehicles were hit with it. Piorun MPADS are designed to deal with helicopters, aircraft and small targets such as unmanned aerial vehicles at altitudes from 10 m to about 4 km and at distances from 400 m to more than 6 km.

PIORUN

What else has changed in the Piorun MPADS compared to the GROM MPADS? Of course, the most important thing is the range and altitude of the projectile, as well as its effectiveness in destroying the target. The new missile is shorter, and although its original weight of 10.5 kg was retained, it was possible to increase the weight of the warhead itself to 1.82 kg (an increase of 0.47 kg), and a combination of aluminum powder and HMX was used in the explosive mixture.

PIORUN

Although the missiles have the same weight, the capabilities of the new Piorun MPADS missile have improved significantly. The sensitivity of the targeting system to the heat source has been increased thanks to a four times more sensitive photodiode, the developers also improved the interference immunity. In addition, a non-contact fuse has been added, thanks to which Piorun can deal better with smaller targets (for example, UAVs).

PIORUN

That is, in comparison with the GROM-1 MPADS, the latest weapon has a longer range and better noise immunity, and is also adapted to work at night. In addition, the Piorun MPADS received an improved sight, which makes it possible to detect a target twice as efficiently.

Talking about counteracting interference, the developers took care of optimizing the detection ranges, using a new infrared spectral range, kinematic selection and increasing the efficiency of systems responsible for the signal. In addition, argon has been used to cool the seeker’s detector, and flight stability has been improved with a laser gyroscope.

PIORUN

Subsequent improvements were made to the launcher, crosshairs and subsystems, aimed at improving the efficiency of the complex at night. Mesko engineers also added a rail for easy mounting of scopes and an authorization system. All this made the Piorun MPADS better in every way compared to the GROM MPADS.

PIORUN

Many of the advantages and effectiveness of the Piorun MPADS were highly appreciated by the Ukrainian military during combat use against the Russian occupants. In February of this year, an agreement was signed for the supply of Polish Piorun MANPADS with the US Department of Defense.

Read also: Weapons of Ukrainian victory: ATGM Javelin FGM-148 – ruthless to enemy tanks

Piorun MPADS means higher efficiency

When modernizing the complex, the focus, among other things, was to increase the effectiveness of hitting small targets, such as drones. This problem was solved by using a non-contact fuse along with a delayed impact fuse and a warhead with an explosive in the form of a mixture of HMX and aluminum powder.

According to the Military Technology University, a greater detection range was achieved thanks to a new homing head stabilized by a laser gyroscope. In addition, it was made reprogrammable and  a modern detection system with greater sensitivity was used. The parameters of preamplifiers were also optimized and digital trigger algorithms were developed. On the other hand, the modifications applied in the area of the main modules had made it possible to increase the resistance to interference.

PIORUN

Piorun automatically aims at the source of thermal radiation, at the engine of a helicopter or aircraft. A modified propulsion engine with more efficient fuel provides longer range and better maneuverability.

Read also: Weapons of Ukrainian Victory: Review of Starstreak MPADS

Specifications of  Piorun MPADS

  • Crew: 1 person
  • Total weight: 16.5 kg
  • Missile weight: 10.25 kg
  • Warhead weight: 1.82 kg
  • Missile length: 1596 mm
  • Missile diameter: 72 mm
  • Maximum projectile speed: 660 mps
  • Minimal range: 500 m
  • Maximum range: 6500 m
  • Minimal altitude: 10 m
  • Maximum altitude: 4000 m
  • Maximum target speed on approach: 400 mps
  • Maximum target speed in pursuit: 320 mps
  • Targeting system: infrared

Weapons of Ukrainian victory: The military praise the Piorun MPADSThe deliveries of Piorun MPADS play a very important role in strengthening the potential of the Ukrainian military. They proved to be excellent during the fighting against the Russian invaders. The fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the National Guard are very pleased with them!

Mobile, easy-to-handle Piorun MPADS destroy enemy targets perfectly. Therefore, we are all grateful to the Polish people for their support in the fight against the troops of the Russian bandits. Ukraine will win!

Read also: Weapons of Ukrainian victory: ATGM Stugna-P – Russian tanks are in trouble

You can also help Ukraine fight with Russian occupants via Savelife or via an official page of the National Bank of Ukraine.

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Yuri Svitlyk
Yuri Svitlyk
Son of the Carpathian Mountains, unrecognized genius of mathematics, Microsoft "lawyer", practical altruist, levopravosek

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