​'One-of-a-Kind' russian Guidance System of the 'Tornado-S' Missile is Based on Chips Acquired via AliExpress (Photo)

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9M544 guided missile for the Tornado-S MLRS / Archive photo
9M544 guided missile for the Tornado-S MLRS / Archive photo

Another "dismantling" of a genuine "one-of-a-kind" russian weapon, this time it’s the 9M544 precision missile for the "Tornado-S" system

Under the conditions of sanctions, which since 2014 have been blocking access to modern Western electronics, russian military industry has been repeatedly trying to find workarounds.

There was a lot of talk around import substitution – in particular, in missile guidance technologies. However, previously analyzed control units of Kh-555 and Kh-101 missiles showed that they were based on the 1960s and 1970s technologies.

Read more: ​Russians Try to Find Substitutes For Aircraft Components – Ukrainian Intel

And now it’s time to look into the 9M544 guided missile for the Tornado-S multiple rocket launcher. The photos featuring the guidance system unit of this missile were published recently by the Conflict Armament Research organization, which analyzes weapons. In particular, its experts have made an astronomical amount of work identifying components and the origin of russian forces’ weapons in Ukraine since 2014.

"Dismantled" 9M544 missile / Photo credit: Conflict Armament Research

The fact is that when the cluster ammunition type of this missile is used, the head unit usually doesn’t shatter into pieces as it falls to the ground.

The head of a cluster munition container usually remains almost in relatively good condition after the landing / Photo credit: National Police of Ukraine

Interestingly, a detailed analysis of the guidance unit of the 9М544 missile was already made on russian sources. Though in an extremely strange manner: instead of boasting about the "best russian electronics" that were used in there, russians wrote frankly that the "one-of-its-kind" missile consists of microcircuits that can easily be bought en masse on AliExpress.

In other words, the entire electronics is based on microcircuits of the "commercial" class, that is, as quoted from the russians themselves, "for use in civil, household appliances". They also say, precisely because of this, the russian federation "is in the winners" and not afraid of any sanctions. The following photos of the satellite navigation unit were also added.

Images of the mass market electronics used in the russian missiles

According to the explanation, there are two microcircuits in a TSOP66 case, three microcircuits in an LQFP64 case, tantalum SMD capacitors, DB15 and SMA connectors – and all this can be purchased easily through AliExpress. As for the available analogs to the imported parts, the russian federation has only LQFP64 - К1986ВЕ92QI from the "Milandr" circuit manufacturer.

Although there is no analysis of the microcircuits in the fiber optic gyroscope unit and the rudder drive unit yet, most likely that similar commercial chips can be seen there.

In any case, the use of such household microcircuits is not an advantage, but actually the main drawback of russian arsenal. The thing is, the electronics of this class have low reliability and fault tolerance. This thereby affects the accuracy of the flight correction system and can even turn the rocket into a "boomerang" at all.

But, it should be noted that such shortcomings are compensated by quantities. And since russian invaders do not target specific objects, but populated settlements in general in order to terrorize the civilian population, the precision of such systems might be deemed even excessive.

Read more: Investigators found US Technology in russian Weapons