Reincarnated russian S-80FP Aircraft Rocket Enters Production, 10 Years After the First Prototype Demonstration: Features and Specifications

S-80FP Broneboyshchik unguided aircraft rocket / Image from the manufacturer
S-80FP Broneboyshchik unguided aircraft rocket / Image from the manufacturer

S-80FP Broneboyshchik unguided rocket was first presented in 2013, and after all these years of development, it finally approaches the finishing line, although it lost its main feature in the process

Surrounded by traditional praise, the russian defense industry announced the start of mass production of their new weapon, the S-80FP Broneboyshchik unguided rocket designed for aircraft and attack helicopters. They noted that the new type of ammunition is already in service and has gotten its first customer.

State-owned media of russia started to go into details about this "one-of-its-kind" weapon, saying this rocket has "5 to 6 times more firepower than all its predecessors" with a firing range of 11 km. Being an 80mm caliber rocket, the S-80FP can fit into standard B8M-1 and B8V20-A launch pods.

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S-8 rockets fired from a russian Mi-8 helicopter
S-8 rockets fired from a russian Mi-8 helicopter / Open source illustrative photo

But if we dig deeper into the development of this "wunderwaffe," we'll discover some specifics too uncomfortable for the russian media to mention. The thing is, the first information about the S-80FP date back to 2013 when the new aircraft munition was first presented to the public.

The first presentation of the S-80FP rocket
The first presentation of the S-80FP rocket / Open source photo

Furthermore, at that time, there were much more details about the project revealed. For starters, the declared range of 11 km was later specified as its "ballistic range." In other words, it is the flight distance of this rocket launched when the carrier performs a climb, the figure is the same for the ordinary S-8 rocket currently used by the russian army, and the accuracy in that case is similar for both, too.

That's not all of it. Thanks to Rostec all these 10 years trying to sell this weapon to a foreign customer, we know all its performance specifications provided below.

Older data, in particular from 2013, gives us even more insight. Among the description lines, we find the following: "Having preserved the size and weight parameters of the predecessor (length about 1.5 meters, launch weight 17 kg), the development of weapon makers from Tula has a twice as big mass of explosive material than the early modifications of the S-8."

That is, somehow the warhead of S-80FP with double the weight of the first versions of S-8 (created in the 1960s) over these 10 years turned into a warhead with a "5 to 6 times increased'' explosive power. For reference, the very first version of the S-8 had a 3.6-kg warhead with a total rocket weight of 11.5 kg.

The S-80FP Broneboyshchik: warhead cross section, rifling inside the warhead, cross-section of the engine, the nozzle, and the general view
The S-80FP Broneboyshchik: warhead cross-section, rifling inside the warhead, the cross-section of the engine, the nozzle, and the general view / Open source photos

Nevertheless, the S-80FP rocket with its total weight of 17 kg and its warhead of 9.5 kg still has some unique features we should not forget. This rocket uses a new type of solid fuel, it reduces the share of the weight the fuel tank takes.

This change also enabled the engineers to equip the rocket with an electronic fuze. Initially, the idea was that the rocket will be capable of triggering either from impact, target proximity, or with a delay. However, due to the specs published by the manufacturer, only the impact and time delay options were preserved in the process of development.

The infographics below are a Defense Express' translated render of the infographics from a russian S-80FP booklet:

It means that the russians did not manage to integrate the most complex but also the most effective fuze mode and made a purely mechanical two-function fuze instead.

Let's sum things up. Is the S-80FP Broneboyshchik a conceptually new or a superior weapon? Definitely not. Does it pose an additional threat to the Ukrainian forces? It does, although making the mass-production gears run at full throttle will take a while. Also, the fact it took as much as 10 years to start launch production hints there were some issues slowing down the progress.

Mass usage of the S-80FP by the russian army is surely not a thing of the near future perspective. But in some limited quantities, they might be received by russian elite aviation units.

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