MOSCOW – Russia is to test-fire the latest Hermes extreme-range anti-tank guided missiles for the first time in Syria in the battle with Islamic State, the daily newspaper Izvestiya reported.
Ka-52K attack helicopters deployed on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier will test-fire the missiles.
“Tests in a combat environment will help finalize the missile system, which should become a standard weapon for Russia’s Alligator military helicopters,” the newspaper said, citing a source in the Russian military-industrial complex.
“It was decided to test the Hermes in more difficult, ship-borne air operations.”
According to Izvestiya, owing to the new weapon, the Ka-52K will be able to destroy enemy tanks, fortifications and manpower at a distance of 20 miles. The range of similar Russian and foreign systems (Ataka, Vikhr, Hellfire, and others) is less than 6 miles.
The missile’s key feature is the ability to track and destroy over-the-horizon targets. Due to its infrared homing and laser guidance capabilities, it can hit enemy armored vehicles autonomously, even if they are out of sight of the helicopter crew.
“Similar tactical tasks can be performed by Israel’s Spike-NLOS system, which is mounted on a wheeled chassis. However, Russia’s Hermes can be deployed on ground tracked vehicles as well as on helicopters and ships. Ours is more universal,” a source in the Russian Defense Ministry said in an interview with RBTH.
According to the source, the official data on the missile will be provided after its adoption.
“Now we can only say that its range is much greater than that of foreign anti-tank systems, the farthest of which hits targets 10 km away,” or about 6 miles, said the RBTH source.
He added that the missile can be equipped with either a cumulative or high-explosive warhead.
The Ka-52 Katran attack helicopters were created for the French Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.
The helicopters can use P-73 and Igla-V air-to-air missiles, unguided air-to-surface missiles and Hermes anti-tank guided missiles.
This article originally appeared at Russia Beyond the Headlines.