KomissarBojanchev wrote:Whats so important about a routine launch of an obsolete cold war missile?
It shows the fleet of legacy missiles, which is still an important part of the Missile Forces, is still viable.
KomissarBojanchev wrote:Whats so important about a routine launch of an obsolete cold war missile?
Russian Strategic Missile Troops: at a Crossroads
Aleksandr Stukalin, Kommersant Publising House
Land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) have been at the core of the Soviet/Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces ever since they were first developed. In the early years the Soviet Union was lagging slightly behind its main adversary, the United States, in this type of weaponry, but that gap was soon closed. What is more, Moscow chose land-based ICBMs as the main component of its strategic military planning. In the 1960s it created large numbers of military units armed with the new long-range land-based missiles. The units were subordinated to the newly created Strategic Missile Troops Command (RVSN), a new armed service which had a very special place in the Armed Forces.
By the end of the 1960s RVSN had become the main threat to the United States in the nuclear stand-off between the two superpowers. In the early years of that decade ICBMs effectively spelt the end of Soviet long-range aviation programs. Some say that was because Nikita Khrushchev simp ly did not like planes; others argue that there were good financial reasons for such a move. It is only very recently that the Russian government declassified the financial and economic reasoning behind the decision to choose missiles over bombers.1 Be that as it may, unlike the U.S. Air Force, the Soviet Air Force became largely irrelevant as a strategic nuclear component, and for the rest of the 20th century its presence in the nuclear triad was purely notional. The subsequent development of strategic submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) did not change the situation, either. SLMBs had eventually reached the same level of sophistication as land-based missiles. But for various operational, technical and infrastructure reasons, SLBMs “have always played a secondary and not entirely predictable role” in Soviet military planning, according to many experts.2 Thirty years later, when the Soviet Union broke up, the RVSN service and the ICBMs were still playing a dominant role in the Soviet/Russian nuclear capability.
In September 1990, shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the RVSN service accounted for 56% of the Soviet strategic delivery systems (1,398 out of 2,500) and 64% of nuclear warheads (6,612 out of 10,271).3 The year 1990 was also the year when the number of deployed warheads reached its historical peak.4 The Soviet land-based ICBMs were operated by 36 missile divisions and brigades. There were seven main types of strategic missiles in service (SS-11, SS-13, SS-17, SS-19, SS-18, SS-24 SS-25), plus a large number of their various modifications.5 In terms of its power, structure, complexity and cost, the RVSN was a colossus. In later years many former Soviet and Communist Party leaders insisted that the service accounted for only 5-6% of current military spending in the last years before the Soviet collapse. The structure of Soviet military spending still remains classified - but even if those claims are true, such a low figure does not suggest that the RVSN service was cheap. It rather indicates how monstrously expensive the entire Soviet military machine was, and what a huge amount of money was being spent on other things, such as nuclear ammunition, military space programs, missile defense and air defense, the Navy, the Air Force, etc.
When the Soviet Union broke up, 334 ICBMs (about 24 per cent of the total deployed number) were left in the newly independent republics.6 One of the initial proposals for dividing the Soviet nuclear forces relied on a naive and patently unviable system under which those forces (including RVSN) would take their orders from the united military HQ of the newly-established Commonwealth of Independent States. The idea was that any actual use of nuclear weapons would require a collective authorization of all the CIS countries, and that the weapons themselves would be physically controlled by the MoDs of the newly independent states.
All such plans were far removed from reality. A “common” strategic nuclear force would necessarily require a common army. That was entirely out of the question - even the proponents of the idea recognized as much. For example, when the first deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, Col. Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov, was asked in 1992 about the mechanisms of cooperation with the Ukrainian General Staff, his response was honest and unambiguous: “For now, there is no cooperation”.7 Nor was there any such cooperation in later years. The best that could be expected under the circumstances was to find a civilized mechanism of eliminating the strategic nuclear capability of those newly independent states which had inherited Soviet nuclear weapons. After lengthy diplomatic horse-trading, such a mechanism was found. In 1992-1996 Ukraine dismantled its entire arsenal of 176 missiles, including the UR-100N UTTKh (SS-19) and R-23 UTTKh (SS-24) systems. Kazakhstan eliminated its 104 R-36 (SS-18) missiles, and the 54 mobile ground-based Topol missiles (SS-25) inherited by Belarus were removed to Russia and deployed there.
Two decades on, it is clear, however, that the main problems faced by RVSN in the early post-Soviet years had little to do with the loss - substantial though it was - of the weapons and infrastructure left in the newly independent states. The self-destruction of the Soviet Union had transformed, instantly and radically, the entire geopolitical landscape and left the Strategic Nuclear Forces without a reason for being, i.e. without their main “potential adversary”. There was a radical shift from global confrontation to global partnership with the United States. Unprecedented progress was being made in disarmament, including the complete elimination of intermediate and short-range missiles; large reductions of conventional forces and armaments in Europe had been agreed. In such a climate the obvious question was, does Russia still need the strategic nuclear forces? And if so, what should be their size and shape? How can the country pay for that size in peacetime? Civilian and military specialists alike were making radical proposals to cut the nuclear force to one-tenth of its former size, to liquidate the nuclear triad, and to put all the remaining nuclear weapons in storage.
Even the defense minister, Army Gen. Pavel Grachev, had this to say about RVSN at the time: “Some of the missiles which remain on Russian territory have been taken off combat duty. Others are still on duty, but they have no specific targets. The general directions for them have been set, but no specific targets. In Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine all the missiles have been taken off combat duty and moved into reserve. They can be used only with the consent of the presidents, and only for a retaliatory strike. But I do not believe that such strikes remain a real possibility. I just cannot imagine that a nuclear missile will ever be launched from one continent to another…”8.
While people were discussing whether the missiles should be targeted or not, the RVSN service was struggling with the fallout of the Russian social revolution in the early 1990s - including hunger strikes by military officers. Meanwhile, the remaining ICBM arsenal still remained very costly to maintain, and the Russian treasury simply could not afford that kind of spending.9 In 1994 the government disbursed less than 50 per cent of the severely reduced budget allocation for RVSN. The service was receiving nowhere near the aforementioned 5-6 per cent of total military spending, and its commanders were left begging the federal government “for at least a minimally sufficient level of funding”.10
No wonder, then, that the new strategic nuclear cuts agreed with the United States were met without any resistance - and perhaps even with some relief - among the military.11 The 1991 START-I treaty, which Russia inherited from the Soviet Union, had already entered into force. In January 1993 the two countries signed the START-II treaty, which mandated a serious restructuring of the Russian strategic nuclear forces. It substantially reduced the proportion of the RVSN service in the overall Russian nuclear count, and put severe restrictions on future development of land-based missiles.
No real choice
Nevertheless, the strategic missile troops still required a lot of attention, and there was very little time to waste. When the Soviet Union fell, most of the seven main ICBM types in service had already reached various degrees of obsolescence. Some of those missiles, especially the SS-11 and SS-13, were already being decommissioned. Only three ICBM types were still in production: the heavy silo-based R-36M2, the solid-fuel RT-23 UTTKh missile, which has a silo-based and a mobile version mounted on a rail platform; and the Topol, mounted on a wheeled chassis. The designer and manufacturer of the R-36M2 and the RT-23 UTTKh missiles, the Yuzhnoye Research and Production Company (NPO Yuzhnoye), is based Ukraine. Deliveries of the two missile types to the RVSN arsenals stopped almost immediately after Ukraine gained independence. The RT-2PM Topol ICBM was designed by the Moscow Thermal Technology Institute (MIT). It remained in production at the Votkinskiy Machinery Plant in Russia. In 1990 RVSN had 306 such missiles; the figure rose to 333 in 1991, 351 in 1992, and peaked at 369 in 1993. 12
Topol, however, was no longer entirely adequate to the RVSN command’s requirements in terms of its performance and specifications. The strategic missile troops wanted a missile with a greater throw weight, more capable of penetrating the adversary’s missile defenses, and suitable for launch from silos as well as mobile platforms. The need for a replacement for the Topol became obvious even before the break-up of the Soviet Union. That break-up came when the RVSN service was not only at the peak of its power, but also in the middle of another round of technology refresh. As a result, in addition to the world’s largest missile arsenal Russia inherited at least five new ICBM missile types at a fairly advanced stage of R&D.
Such a large number of new missiles in the pipeline was the result of a new bout of tensions between Moscow and Washington in the late 1970s - early 1980s. There was a series of crises over intermediate-range missiles in Europe; over Afghanistan; over several “strategic offensive initiatives” (the MX and Midgetman ICBMs, the Trident-II SLBM, and the B-1 bomber); and finally over Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. With hindsight, the Soviet leadership had clearly overestimated the threat posed by the SDI program. Meanwhile, the government in Washington had a similar over-reaction to some of the Soviet steps. All of this had resulted in a new bout of the arms race.13 The Soviet countermeasures against the SDI program took a while to develop; it takes quite a long time to finalize a list of requirements for new weapons systems. As a result, it was not until the late 1980s that all those systems had entered the final stages of R&D. By the early 1990s there were five new missiles nearing production:
Ikar (R-36M3), a major upgrade of the R-36M2v heavy liquid-fuel missile, with a much greater anti-missile defense capability and more resilient to the effects of a nuclear explosion. The missile was designed by NPO Yuzhnoye (Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine);
Yermak (RT-23M), a major upgrade of the RT-23 UTTKh solid-fuel missile, also more capable against missile defenses and more resilient to nuclear explosions; designed by NPO Yuzhnoye;
Kuryer, a new compact solid-fuel ICBM mounted on a wheeled chassis, designed by MIT (Moscow). The missile had already entered flight development tests;14
Albatros, a new solid-fuel ICBM, with a silo-based and mobile version, equipped with a gliding winged warhead; designed by NPO Machine-building (a company based in Reutov)
Universal, a new solid-fuel ICBM, with a silo-based and mobile version, designed by NPO Yuzhnoye (the silo-based version) and MIT (the mobile version). The missile was ready for flight development tests.15
The Russian military leadership therefore appeared to have a wealth of new missile types to choose from -but appearances were deceptive. The Ikar and Yermak projects had been officially suspended even before the break-up of the Soviet Union, and there was no chance of them being resumed after the basic models, the R-36M2 and R-23 UTTKh, were discontinued. The Albatros project was struggling with major problems at the design stage, and its chances looked slim even before 1991. The compact Kuryer seemed very promising back at the time when RVSN could afford to operate the entire range of missile types, from extra-compact to super-heavy. But in the new circumstances it could not be a candidate for a core ICBM type. But now it could not be considered as a candidate for a main ICBM type; its energy and mass characteristics were insufficient to carry the kind of warheads the military required, or to make it resilient enough to missile defenses.
Universal -a light ICBM. The list of requirements for it was drawn up (before the break-up of the Soviet Union) to reflect the limitations of the START-I treaty. The wording of the treaty left sufficient wiggle room to pass off an entirely new missile as an upgrade of an existing one.
It was therefore the only real choice left to the Russian MoD. The missile was eventually brought to the mass production stage, albeit not without problems. Universal was originally a joint design of MIT and NPO Yuzhnoye. The Ukrainian company was responsible not only for the silo-based version of the missile; its part of the project also included the first-stage engines, the missile defense countermeasures, the payload fairing, and the assembly of the first prototypes for flight development tests. In theory, continuing cooperation with Ukraine in order to bring the Universal to completion was not entirely unthinkable, and the issue was seriously discussed at some point.
The Russian and Ukrainian accounts of why such cooperation never took place are very different. The Ukrainian side of the story was given by NPO Yuzhnoye in an official history of the company published in 2004.16 The Russian side can be found in the unofficial memoirs published by Col. Gen. Aleksandr Ryazhskikh (deputy RVSN commander for armament in 1984-1993) that same year.17 According to the Russian general, working with the Ukrainian co-developer and its subcontractors became entirely impossible after Ukraine’s independence, and for a whole host of very good reasons. For its part, Yuzhnoye says it did everything it possibly could -and was prepared to do even more -to keep working with the Russians on the Universal project. The company’s lead designer, Stanislav Konyukhov, even asked Russian President Boris Yeltsin to intervene -but to no avail. The only thing the two countries eventually agreed on was that the Ukrainian co-developer would hand over to its former Russian partner the parts of the project which had already been completed.
Topol-M instead of Universal
Be that as it may, the sole remaining developer of the Universal, the Moscow Thermal Technology Institute (MIT), was tasked with making the half-Ukrainian missile as Russian as it possibly could - and MIT delivered. The first regiment armed with 10 new silo-based ICBMs began combat duty as part of the missile division based in Tatishchevo, near Saratov, on December 30, 1998. To comply with the terms of the START-I treaty, the missile was designated as Topol-M, an upgrade of the existing Topol (RS-12M VARIANT 2, using the wording of the treaty). The mobile version of the Topol-M took a lot longer to bring to production; the first regiment armed with it began combat duty as part of a missile division in Teykxovo (Ivanovo Region) only in 2006. By the end of 2012, fourteen years after the first Topol-M missiles were deployed, the number of silo-based units in service was expected to reach 60.18 There are currently only 36 mobile missiles in service, including 18 Yars units, which are a MIRV-ed modification of the Topol-M.
The deployment of Yars, also known as the Topol-MR, was made possible by the expiry of the START-I treaty and by the Russian and American withdrawal from START-II. For the next few years Yars will remain the only ICBM in mass production in Russia. In terms of its design and components Yars has a lot in common with the Bulava, a new SLBM also designed by MIT. 19
Russia has officially announced that another three of the existing missile divisions will be rearmed with the Yars. More specifically, mobile Yars missiles will replace the old Topols currently in service with the Irkutsk and Novosibirsk divisions. In Kozelsk, silo-based Yars missiles will replace the UR-100N UTTKh. 20 For now, it is not clear how long that rearmament program will take. Judging from the already cited figures for the Topol-M deployment, only about six or seven new missiles were deployed in an average year. Let us recall that in 1985-1993, 369 mobile Topol missiles were deployed in the Soviet Union / Russia, which translates into an average rate of 41 ICBMs per year. The old Topols are now being retired at a similar rate. According to information exchanges between Russia and the United States under the START-I treaty, over the four-year period between mid-2005 and mid-2009 the number of the deployed SS-25 ICBMs fell from 294 to 176.
Plans for the rearmament of the RVSN service with new strategic missiles are still facing a number of old problems. These include frequent interruptions in financing, managerial and administrative issues (including disputes over price formation), and technology-related difficulties. 21 Much of the production machinery at the Votkinskiy plant has long needed replacing, but it is only now that the company is beginning to roll out a technology refresh program. 22 The government has considered the possibility of building an entirely new plant to make the new missiles, but left the final decision to the MoD. For now, the ministry does not seem very keen on the idea. 23
The Topol-M, which used to be half-Ukrainian, may have become as Russian as it possibly could - but its manufacturer is still dependent on foreign suppliers of technology, components and materials. The list of imports includes elements of the missile’s frame (such as non-metallic fibers), fuel, electronics, parts of the launchers, etc. The chief designer of MIT, Academician Yuriy Solomonov, fears that such dependence on imports will continue to grow. 24 The RVSN service as a whole also remains dependent on some areas of cooperation with the Ukrainians. The Ukrainian government releases annual reports listing the hardware and technologies being supplied to Russia “as part of cooperation in space exploration and the development and operation of space and missile equipment”. Judging from those reports, imports from Ukraine of various components and materials for the Russian strategic missiles remain very substantial. These imports are crucial for keeping in service all the remaining liquid-fuel ICBMs (R-36M UTTKh, R-36M2, and UR-100N UTTKh, which are getting regular extensions of their service life) and the Topol missiles which are still on combat duty. What is more, the Ukrainian government’s reports indicate that Ukraine is also involved in the production of another new strategic missile, the Sineva SLBM (3M37U2).25
Meanwhile, the 20-year monopoly of the Topol-M has come to an end. The restrictions on the types of ICBMs previously imposed by the old START and SALT treaties no longer exist; neither do the old limitations on the number of warheads each missile is allowed to carry.
This has opened up new opportunities; the Russian MoD is energetically looking for the best alternatives to the remaining liquid-fuel ICBMs, which have long reached obsolescence and are well beyond their intended service life. These Russian efforts are being spurred by the Americans’ newly found enthusiasm for a global missile defense system. There has not exactly been a glut of new ideas in Russia as to how to counter the American missile defenses. Many experts who know a thing or two about the RVSN service and the strategic nuclear forces are proposing a resurrection of some old Soviet projects. These include the compact Kuryer ICBM, as well as the intermediate-range Skorost missile, which could potentially neutralize the European segment of the American missile defenses.
Reputable sources have reported that serious R&D projects (such as the Neizbezhnost and Molodets) have been commissioned and conducted “to study the feasibility of developing new types of fixed-position and mobile (railway-based) missile systems”. As far as the railway-based systems are concerned, common sense has prevailed; it has been decided that there is no point resurrecting that technology. (The Soviet Union was the only country to deploy such systems, which relied on the R-23 UTTKh missile).26
As for the fixed-position systems, the government has given the go-ahead to the Sarmat R&D project, which aims to develop a future liquid-fuel ICBM.27 At this point very little is known about the Sarmat. The project is led by the Makeyev State Rocket Center.28 The Chemical Automation Design Bureau in Voronezh (the designer of the UR-100N UTTKh and R-36M2 liquid-fuel ICBMs) has been tasked with modernizing the liquid-fuel rocket engines.29 OAO Avangard, based in Safonovo, Smolensk Region, is developing the transport and launch container.30
The idea of returning to a liquid-fuel ICBM design is not new. Six years ago the lead designer of NPO Machine-building, Gerbert Yefremov, spoke of the “urgent need to deploy, starting from 2015-2016, a new powerful liquid-fuel missile with a gross launching mass of about 100 tonnes”.31 Since then proponents of the liquid-fuel missile technology have scored some notable points; work on the new liquid-fuel ICBM is now part of the State Armament Program to 2020. Their arguments in favor of the technology, however, remain largely the same.
The main argument is the cost. Indeed, there is no denying that liquid-fuel missiles are cheaper to mass-produce than solid-fuel designs. (To illustrate, in 1983-1985 the purchase price of a UR-100N UTTKh missile was 809,000 roubles, whereas a T-80U main battle tank cost 824,000 roubles in the 1980s.32) But the running costs are an entirely different matter. It is hard to express in roubles the much greater complexity of operating and maintaining a liquid-fuel ICBM, or the dangers of handling the toxic fuel components - especially heptyl. Meanwhile, in his comparison of the liquid-fuel rockets made by NPO Yuzhnoye and NPO Machine-building versus the four solid-fuel rockets designed by MIT, Gen Aleksandr Ryazhskikh emphasizes the simplicity and reliability of the solid-fuel technology. He also speaks of “the very high price paid by the missile troops servicemen who operated missiles <…> working on heptyl and nitrogen tetroxide”.33
Another argument regularly employed in this debate is that liquid-fuel missiles can achieve the kind of performance that solid-fuel technology can never hope to match. “The Topol can carry a maximum of three warheads, whereas a heavy missile can carry 10,” Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said, commenting on the new project.34 “That alone demonstrates the effectiveness of heavy missiles.” But if the objective is to develop a new 100-tonne ICBM, then let us establish, first, that such a missile is in a different class from the light Topol, so it is unfair to make direct comparisons between the two. And second, let us recall that the RVSN has already operated a solid-fuel ICBM with a launch weight of about 100 tonnes and capable of carrying the required 10 warheads. The missile in question is the R-23 UTTKh, which entered service in the 1980s. In terms of its key specifications - i.e. mass, size and throw weight - the R-23 UTTKh matched the liquid-fuel UR-100N UTTKh. The former actually began to replace the latter in the silos - and would have completely replaced it, were it not for the fall of the Soviet Union. So it is not exactly clear why the government has chosen to upgrade the liquid-fuel UR-100 rather than the solid-fuel R-23.
For some reason, however, the R-23 seldom figures in these debates. Another argument employed by proponents of the solid-fuel technology is that the Americans have long chosen it over the rival liquid-fuel technology (for reasons which include reluctance to work with heptyl). The staple response of the liquid-fuel lobby is that the Americans have long discovered the secret of a cheap solid fuel, while Russia has not, and therefore has no choice (and apparently never will) but to use liquid-fuel ICBMs. It is true that the Soviet Union had lagged behind the United States in solid fuel technology since the 1960s - hence its preference for liquid-fuel rockets. It must be said, however, that for 30 years the Soviet political and military leadership (as well as the actual operator of the ICBMs, the RVSN service) demanded that the Soviet industry close that technology gap with the Americans.
The superiority of solid-fuel rockets over the liquid-fuel technology, on a balance of characteristics, has never been in doubt. As soon as the Soviet chemical industry achieved the required performance of solid fuel, the government began to prioritize the development of solid-fuel missiles. This is borne out by figures cited earlier in this article: out of the seven missile types in service with RVSN in 1990, three were solid-fuel missiles. But out of the five new ICBMs in development, four were solid-fuel missiles, and only one relied on liquid-fuel technology. The Soviet leadership had very nearly got what it always wanted: by the 1990s the RVSN was in a position to start replacing the existing arsenals with new solid-fuel ICBMs (including the already mentioned 100-tonne missiles). But that opportunity was missed.
Twenty years on, the RVSN service remains the key component of the Russian strategic nuclear forces, both in terms of the delivery vehicles and the nuclear warheads. The future of the Russian nuclear capability depends on choosing the right path for the development of that service. The Americans discovered the secret of cheap solid fuel half a century ago. It is not exactly clear why the government in Moscow cannot get the Russian industry to achieve this long-overdue objective. There are too many gaping holes in the explanations which have been given thus far.
1. A state goal of extreme importance. History of the creation of nuclear-missile weapons and the RVSN service (1945-1959): collection of documents / compiled by V.I. Ivkin, G.A. Sukhina - Moscow, ROSSPEN, 2010.
2. Arbatov A. Russia's strategic dilemmas // Nezavisimaya gazeta, August 29, 1992.
3. Russian strategic nuclear armaments / Ed. By P.L. Podvig - Moscow: IzdAT, 1998.
4. Strategic ground-based missile systems - Moscow: Voyennyy parad, 2007.
5. Report by RVSN commander Lt Gen A.A. Shvaychenko at a military history conference at the RVSN Military Academy on December 8, 2009.
6. Pikayev A., Savelyev A. Soviet nuclear power: on the ground, in the seas and in the skies // Nezavisimaya gazeta, November 2, 1991.
7. Gen Kolesnikov: Armed Forces are merely a government instrument // Nezavisimaya gazeta, November 2, 1991.
8. Pavel Grachev: I do not believe in the possibility of retaliatory strikes // Rossiyskaya gazeta, October 21, 1992.
9. PostFactum agency, April 3, 1992.
10. Russian nuclear missiles are not targeted at anything // Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 15, 1994.
11. Felgengauer P. The Russian General Staff supports START-II // Nezavisimaya gazeta, January 11, 1993.
12. Fatherland's missile shield / Ed. By V.N. Yakovlev - Moscow: TsIPK RVSN, 1999.
13. Hoffman D. "A Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy" - Moscow: Astrel: CORPUS, 2011.
14. Ryazhskikh A.A. Turn around and look ahead. Diary of a military engineer. In 2 volumes - Moscow: Vagrius, 2004.
15. Call of time. From confrontation to international cooperation / Ed. by S.N. Konyukhov - Dnipropetrovsk: Art-Press, 2004.
17. Ryazhskikh A.A. Op. cit.
18. The sixth Topol regiment in Tatishchevo to be completely rearmed by end of 2012 - commander // RIA Novosti, May 5, 2012.
19. Improving the legislation and regulation of the Russian defense industry amid the financial and economic crisis. Compilation of materials. - Moscow: Russian Council of the Federation, 2009.
20. Teykovo RVSN division to be rearmed with new Yars missiles by end of summer - Russian MoD // Interfax-AVN, July 5, 2012.
21. "The 2011 State Procurement Program will miss targets" - Interview with MIT chief designer Y.S. Solomonov // Kommersant, July 6, 2011.
22. Votkinskiy weapons plant rolls out massive retooling program and launches new production facilities // ITAR-TASS, February 7, 2012.
23. Putin leaves to the MoD the decision on building a new plant to make strategic missiles // Interfax, February 24, 2012.
24. Improving the legislation and regulation of the Russian defense industry amid the financial and economic crisis. Compilation of materials. ??“ Moscow: Russian Council of the Federation, 2009.
25. Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Resolution No 53 of January 30, 2012 "On approving the list of items and quantities of goods imported and exported in accordance with the Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and the Government of the Russian Federation on the transportation of goods as part of cooperation in space exploration and creation and operation of space-missile and missile technology".
26. Cost efficiency the only unbiased criterion of assessing the options for the future of the strategic nuclear forces // Voyenno-promyshlennyy kuryer, March 2, 2011.
27. Milkovskiy A. Reaching the space heights // Sputnik, November 26, 2011.
28. "The 2011 State Procurement Program will miss targets" - Interview with MIT chief designer Y.S. Solomonov // Kommersant, July 6, 2011; Explanatory note to the annual balance as of December 31, 2011 for OAO NII Germes.
29. 2011 Annual Report by OAO Chemical Automation Design Bureau.
30. 2011 Annual Report by OAO Avangard.
31. Yefremov G. Replacing old missiles with the Topol-M is anachronistic // Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozrenie, May 26, 2006.
32. Agreement of June 4, 1996 between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Ukraine on the transfer for subsequent use of arms and military equipment of strategic missile systems.
33. Ryzhskikh A.A. Op. cit.
34. Russia to develop a new heavy liquid-fuel ICBM - Defense Ministry // Interfax-AVN, February 24, 2011.
It looks like the Russian military and the military-industrial complex have decided to prepare seriously for overcoming the American missile defense system. Work is underway simultaneously on two strategic missiles of different classes.
According to Sergei Karakaev, the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces, these is a heavy, 100-ton, liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that should outperform the world’s most powerful R-36M2 Voevoda (NATO reporting name: SS-18 Satan), and a solid-fuel ICBM scheduled to replace the fifth-generation Yars systems (the RS-24 and the Topol-M).
“Since the potential of solid-fuel ICBMs could become insufficient for overcoming the American missile defense system going forward, a heavy liquid-propellant ICBM is needed to perform this task. Such an ICBM will allow the creation of a non-nuclear, high-precision, strategic weapon with a practically global range, unless the United States abandons its program,” Karakaev said.
This is the first time Russia has spoken about creating a new solid-fuel missile. According to Gen. Karakaev, several launches of a prototype of this missile took place in 2012 – most recently on Oct. 24.
This puts an end to the debate on whether Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces need a heavyweight liquid-propellant missile.
Russia undertook a large-scale modernization of the Topol family in the 1990s and adopted the Topol-M silos (NATO reporting name: SS-27) in 2000, followed by the mobile Topol-M2 several years ago. It is the new Topol and the newly adopted RS-24 Yars that will be gradually replacing the decommissioned, first-generation, solid-fuel missiles.
But liquid-propellant missiles still form the backbone of the strategic deterrence forces: the UR-100N (NATO reporting name: SS-19 Stiletto) and the Р-36M (U.S. Department of Defense and NATO reporting name: SS-18 Satan). These, however, are obsolete and will have to be retired over the next few years.
New missiles have been slow in arriving to the Russia’s armed forces. According to an estimate by Leonid Kalashnikov, deputy chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, Russia could receive 100-105 new ICBMs by 2015. If the bet remains on, the single-warhead Topol-M and the three-warhead Yars-24 would be able to carry a total of 110-115 warheads. At the same time, the United States is planning to deploy 900 ballistic missile interceptors worldwide by 2015.
The United States withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2001 and is no longer limited by any restrictions on building up the quantity and quality of such means. According to Karakaev, it is possible that America could deploy anti-missile defenses in space.
Russia’s military and political leadership was counting on successful negotiations with the United States on missile defense. However, the negotiations have ended in a deadlock; Washington’s persistent deployment of surface- and sea-based anti-missile defenses, coupled with a general deterioration of bilateral relations, have forced the Russian leadership to consider more decisive actions.
This is where the idea of a missile capable of carrying a dividing warhead with a large number of individually targeted blocks (which would also have a long range) originated. Russia already has such missiles – the above-mentioned liquid-propellant UR-100N and R-36M. However, these missiles have been on combat duty since the late 1980s, and their service life is nearing an end.
Development of new missiles was suspended in the 1990s, when the Strategic Missile Forces were expected to be fully converted to lightweight, solid-fuel missile complexes. However, lightweight missiles have not been able to become a full-fledged replacement for liquid-propellant giants.
According to Yuri Zaitsev, an expert at the Academy of Engineering Sciences, “It’s unlikely that the lightweight Topol-M and the Bulava [a new sea-based solid-fuel Topol-M based missile] could serve as a worthy substitute for the decommissioned missiles.”
Nonetheless, Russia is not planning to abandon its solid-fuel missiles either. Solid-fuel missiles are the best match for mobile complexes. This means that Russia will continue developing a replacement for both types of its active-duty missiles.
TR1 wrote:Any way to modernize Topol-M to the RS-24 warhead capacity?
Only the warhead bus is different AFAIK, and it would turn 18 mobile launchers from 18 warheads to over 100.
The SMF will also deploy in the near future a new automated battle management system (ASBU), which will allow rapid retargeting of ICBMs.
The SMF will also deploy in the near future a new automated battle management system (ASBU),
which will allow rapid retargeting of ICBMs.
GarryB wrote:Codename for the ASBU is Skynet...
Russia Tests New Ballistic Missile
U.S. missile defense shields will not be able to stop Russia's new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which was test launched successfully on June 6, from reaching its target, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in his lecture as part of the Civil University project.
"We closely watched last night's events. They were successful. We tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, which I call "a missile defense killer". Neither modern nor future American missile defense means will be able to stop this missile from hitting its target directly," he said.Russia will continue enhancing its potential "that will allow us to ensure our absolute freedom of action, should our country encounter any aggression," Rogozin said.
"The Russian Federation's state weapons procurement program will set such parameters of weapons and military hardware that will only be linked with responding to the threat of sixth-generation wars," the deputy premier said. Russia will develop appropriate aerospace systems and techniques that will be able to defeat any missile defense systems and will help maintain peace and balance in the world, he said.
The new ICBM prototype was successfully test launched from the Kapustin Yar site in Russia's southern Astrakhan region on Thursday.
Viktor wrote:Any possibility about MARV deployment?
State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of science and technology this year was given for the creation of strategic missile systems "Yars". Winners were Yefim Mezhiritsky, Sergey Nikulin and Victor Shurigin.
All of them are in charge of major engineering and scientific research centers for the development of various elements of the tactical and strategic weapons. Joint efforts of teams of various companies managed in a timely manner and to provide a statement on the arms of a new missile system, which in the future should be the basis for grouping of Strategic Missile Forces.
Active creation of solid Russian "Yarsa" began in the new millennium. The basis took a well-spent, "Topol-M".
The new missile hits target at a distance of 12,000 km, with a deviation of only 150 meters. It is able to start through the cloud of a nuclear explosion, to overcome all existing and future missile defense system. Carries either a monoblock warhead high power or six multiple warheads of 150 kilotons of TNT. One mobile division "yars" consists of three mobile launchers similar to "Topol-M" and a command post at the base of the wheel chassis MKZT.
The first successful test launch of "yars" was held in May 2007, the second in December of the same year, the third in November 2008. After that, the rocket had adopted. Complexes "yars" already are on combat duty. At the moment, "Yarsami" fully rearmed Teykovskogo Missile Division Strategic Missile Forces, previously equipped with the "Topol". Equipment goes these missiles divisions with silos.
"Yars" - the latest of the existing worldwide strategic missiles, besides having great potential for modernization. The creation of this weapon - a definite breakthrough, confirming the high potential of the Russian military-industrial complex.
“The combat capability of silo-based and mobile Topol-M ICBMs is several times higher than that of Topol missiles. They can pierce any of the existing and future missile defence systems. RS-24 missiles have even better performance,” Karakayev said.
Now RS-24 carries 3 Manouvering Warhead a
Arrow wrote:Now RS-24 carries 3 Manouvering Warhead a
RS-24 carries MIRV warhead no Manouvering Warhead
“The capabilities of such combat means were demonstrated to U.S. technical control means during the trials of the Yars ground-based mobile missile system and the Bulava sea-based missile system. It also concerns hypersonic warheads capable of performing altitude and trajectory maneuvers,” he told journalists.
“The new missiles have characteristics that allow them to stay invulnerable at all sections of their flight,” Karakayev said.