Douglas Barrie/London

THE CONFIGURATION of Russia's canceled AS-X-19 Koala air-launched stand-off supersonic cruise missile has been revealed for the first time.

Although the design of the AS-X-19 has previously been attributed to Raduga, it is more probable that the missile was designed by NPO Mashinostroenia.

Images of the AS-X-19 obtained by Flight International reveal that the Koala was a large delta-wing cruise missile with a chin intake and cruciform rear fins. The image (right) is based on actual photographs of the AS-X-19. Although the AS-X-19 programme was cancelled in 1992, those who were involved in the project have been reluctant to discuss the weapon.

The AS-X-19 was almost certainly an air-launched variant of the SS-NX-24 Scorpion, which was also being developed by NPO Mashinostroenia. The Scorpion was a submarine-launched cruise missile which was also terminated in 1992.

The AS-X-19 appears to have been around 13m long with a 1.2m diameter, and has turbojet propulsion. The AS-X-19 was originally associated with the Tupolev Tu-95 Bear H and the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack. Given the dimensions of the weapon, carriage on the Tupolev Tu-160 seems improbable.

The missile was intended to climb to an altitude of more than 70,000ft (21,350m), before entering a terminal dive on to the target at around Mach 3. A strip antenna under the nose section may have provided terminal guidance.

Reasons for the project's cancellation are not clear, but there are indications that the missile's performance requirements were not being met. NPO Mashinostroenia's lack of familiarity with air-launched-weapons design may have contributed to the project's demise. Raduga unveiled the GELA ramjet-powered missile in 1995. It is possible that this could have been a follow-on design to the Koala when it became clear that the AS-X-19 was failing to meet performance targets. Raduga will only say that the GELA was an experimental ramjet testbed.

Source: Flight International