‘Penicillin’ against enemy guns: Russia completes trials of new counter-artillery system (VIDEO)

‘Penicillin’ against enemy guns: Russia completes trials of new counter-artillery system (VIDEO)
Russia has completed trials of its new system, which swiftly detects enemy mortar and artillery fire and provides targeting information for counter-fire. Unlike Western counterparts, it does not use radar to do the job.

The development of the 1B75 Penicillin was first revealed last year. It’s a counter-artillery system similar in purpose to the US AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder. The system detects enemy mortar and artillery fire and pinpoints origin of the shells, allowing troops to retaliate with deadly precision. What makes the Russian product stand out is that it does not use radar to track the projectiles and instead relies on other signals.

The Penicillin detection array includes four thermoacoustic sensors, which are deployed on the ground at some distance from the main vehicle. A block of six optical and six infrared cameras mounted on a foldable mast is also part of the system.

The sensors detect sound waves produced by the fire and impact while the cameras track them in flight. The data is analyzed automatically. It takes the system just five seconds after hearing a shot to determine origin coordinates and feed the data to friendly artillery to fire back, according to the producer.

Tracking of shells and rockets with radar, which is how similar foreign systems work, has two drawbacks. One is that smaller targets like mortar shells may be undetected. The other is that the system may be suppressed with electronic countermeasures or destroyed with a radar-killer weapon, if it uses active radar. The Russian 1B75 is much harder to pinpoint and reportedly can detect all sorts of fire, from mortar shells to traditional and rocket artillery. It can also detect anti-aircraft missile and tactical missile launches.

There is a cost for not using radar however – shorter effective range. The 1B75 has a reported range of 25km (15.5 miles), compared to 50km (31 miles) for the AN/TPQ-37 and 60km (37 miles) for Sweden’s ARTHUR system.

The developer of the 1B75 Penicillin, Ruselectronics, which is part of the Russian defense conglomerate Rostec, announced last week that the system has completed all necessary tests to enter service. The first two units are expected to be supplied to the Russian Defense Ministry in 2020, it said.

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