LMFS wrote:I don't know if this was posted already, a very good interview to Vladimir Evseev about Topol, Barguzin and balance of strategic forces in general:
Exactly 35 years ago, on July 23, 1985, the Topol mobile soil complex (PGRK) with the RT-2PM intercontinental ballistic missile first took up combat duty near Yoshkar-Ola. The technological know-how put into it by Soviet scientists has made it possible to create a whole family of mobile systems - the most modern of them, the RS-24 Yars, is now actively entering service with the Russian Strategic Missile Forces (Strategic Missile Forces).
Vladimir Evseev: PGRK Topol held back the United States when Russia was weak
An expert in the field of strategic weapons, candidate of technical sciences Vladimir Evseev , who served in the Yoshkar-Ola division of the Strategic Missile Forces (1986-1991) and worked at the head institute of the missile forces - the 4th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, told in an interview with RIA Novosti correspondent Ivan Suraev about the role of Topol. in the strategic containment of the United States in one of the most difficult periods in the history of Russia, the capabilities of the new generation PGRK and the prospects of the Barguzin railway missile complex project.
- Vladimir Valerievich, what were the prerequisites for the creation of "Topol", what tasks was this complex supposed to solve?
- Let's start with the fact that the structure of the strategic nuclear forces (SNF) of the Soviet Union and the United States was fundamentally different. The States have always relied on the first disarming strike, for which they intended to use submarine ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and later added non-nuclear precision weapons to this. The USSR, and then Russia, could not afford to have a similar number of strategic missile submarine cruisers (RPK SN).
Moreover, today the combat potential of American Ohio-class SSBNs is greater than that of the Russian Borei SNBMs, if we take the number of SLBMs on board (24 Trident-2 missiles versus 16 Bulava missiles). If you look at our warhead (BB) and the American warhead, then with the same nuclear explosion power, the American one is more compact.
Then we staked on a counter-counter strike, and if we talk about today, then on a deep counter strike. The latter presupposes a retaliatory strike after the defeat of the main number of silo launchers (silos), airfields of permanent base of strategic aviation and the locations of the PKK SN by American strategic nuclear forces and precision weapons. For its implementation, mobile carriers were needed - mobile-soil missile systems (PGRK) or combat railway missile systems (BZHRK).- Who is the author of the idea to place a strategic missile on a mobile chassis?
- This is the great merit of our designer Alexander Davidovich Nadiradze. Thanks to him, we were gradually able to develop a solid-propellant missile potential comparable to that of the United States. Back in 1957, his project to create a mobile ICBM won the competition of the USSR Ministry of Defense.
It was him and the team that he headed even before the establishment of the head developer of our strategic and tactical ballistic missiles - the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering (MIT) - that I would call the authors of this concept.- What is the uniqueness of these complexes, what was the fundamental difference from its predecessor PGRK "Temp-2S"?
- The biggest drawback of "Temp" was its low shooting accuracy. With a circular probable deviation (CEP) equal to one kilometer for Temp-2S missiles, it was possible to provide a retaliatory strike against cities and large military bases, but the defeat of well-fortified underground command posts was almost impossible.
The Topol had much less KVO - about 300 meters, maybe even 250. Thanks to the increased firing accuracy, the scientists managed to reduce the power of the rocket's nuclear charge, which is a big step forward. If earlier, to solve a combat mission, two or three warheads were required, now no more than one or two. This is very important in the context of strategic offensive arms reduction (START).
At the same time, the payload increased - 1.2 tons for the "Topol" versus 940 kilograms for the "Temp", which allowed us to place on the missile a complex of means of overcoming antimissile defense (KSP ABM). We are talking, for example, about various kinds of false targets, dipole reflectors, as well as active interference stations.
American strategic missile defense systems, located in Alaska and California, intercept BB missiles outside the atmosphere - the cover of the Topol is very well provided there; it is extremely difficult to intercept a warhead against the background of false targets. This degree of cover compensated for the problem that the Topol warhead, unlike the American Minuteman III ICBM, is a monoblock, and not a MIRV (MIRV).- The sighting system for "Topol" was produced by the Kiev Central Design Bureau "Arsenal", it was replaced by a Russian analogue during the upgrade to the level of "Topol-M": how difficult was it to replace this system, what are the advantages of the Russian sight?
- According to available data, thanks to the installation of the Russian system, the KVO indicator at Topol-M was reduced to 150 meters, and most importantly, we ceased to depend on Ukrainian suppliers for this sensitive nomenclature, as recent history has shown, this was critically important.
Considering the common Soviet past, when the enterprises of our countries were integral parts of a single military-industrial complex, the replacement of any Ukrainian components is an extremely difficult issue.
Here I cannot fail to note the role of MIT General Designer Yuri Semenovich Solomonov, whose lobbying potential helped to establish cooperation between Russian defense enterprises and reach the state in times of troubles when our defense industry was barely surviving.
If it were not for him, then I have little idea how we would have been able to keep the cooperation inherited from the USSR of almost 500 defense enterprises, which ended up in various forms of ownership with often unprofitable production. It was especially difficult for enterprises specializing in the production of strategic missile weapons, the export of which is prohibited by law, and the domestic order was extremely limited.- Today the number of Topol PGRK is decreasing, it is being replaced by RS-24 Yars complexes: do the remaining Topol have a future in the structure of the Strategic Missile Forces? Does it make sense, in your opinion, to extend its service life?
- Despite the fact that we have only about 36 such missile systems (RK) in service, they still have a combat potential. To extend the service life, missiles are fired from the existing ammunition load, which reduces the stock of existing missiles.
At the same time, it seems to me that Topol has already reached its limit, after all, 35 years in service is a significant period, there is a factor of moral and technical obsolescence.
Nevertheless, he did his job: in the conditions of the most difficult economic situation, the collapse of industrial cooperation, including with Ukraine, and a certain political dependence on Washington, in which the Russian Federation found itself in the 90s, it was "Topol" that provided the possibility of a guaranteed response missile strike.
Of course, at that time the United States tried to push us through - there were some agreements on the non-deployment of the Topol missile by staying in places of permanent deployment and so on, but the fact remains that Topol was a significant factor in the strategic containment of the United States. Secondly, the appearance of the Topol served as the basis for the creation of a line of strategic missiles of this class.
The head of the FSMTC of Russia Dmitry Shugaev estimated the portfolio of defense orders with Turkey at $ 1 billion. Boris Rozhin, an expert at the Center for Military-Political Journalism, on the air of Sputnik radio, listed the types of Russian weapons that are in greatest demand in the world.
In addition, this complex has become a serious factor in countering the US missile defense: liquid-propellant and solid-propellant missiles have active sections of different duration. For liquid-propellant rockets, it is at least five minutes, while for solid-propellant rockets it is already three minutes. The reduced active phase of the missile made it extremely difficult to intercept it, since it is easiest to shoot it down on the active phase of the flight, until the BB separated.
The very factor of uncertainty about the location of missile systems is extremely unnerving for the Americans. No matter how they declare their superiority, they are well aware that McNamara's criteria (Robert Strange McNamara, US Secretary of Defense 1961-1968 - Ed.), According to which irreparable damage to the enemy is the destruction of 60% of the economic potential and half population of the country, are no longer applicable to the present. Today, the destruction of one major city like Los Angeles would be such a shock for the country that it would be almost impossible to survive.
This means that now, for a retaliatory strike, it is no longer required to deliver thousands of charges to the territory of the United States, several dozen high-powered weapons will be enough. According to American experts themselves, the US missile defense system will be able to intercept a single launch, in the future - a group launch (up to one regiment), but now it is impossible to repulse a massive strike.- It is known that a launch vehicle was created on the basis of Topol, which launches commercial satellites into orbit: how successful was the experience of such a conversion, is there a potential for using new Russian long-range missiles for peaceful purposes?
- When a missile system is removed from service due to falling under international treaties or the development of a service life, it must be disposed of. Disposal of solid-fuel missiles is a very difficult and costly process, so it would be advisable to dispose of some of the missiles by launching them.
As a rule, Topol and Yars rockets can be easily adapted to launch low-orbit satellites to an altitude of up to a thousand kilometers. I believe that such an application is a good idea, since it solves several problems at once, these launches could be carried out from Plesetsk and Vostochny.- Initially, it was assumed that, in addition to the wheeled chassis, the Topol would be placed on a railway platform, then this idea was revised in favor of another project - the Molodets railway missile system, but it has also been removed from service today. Do you think the Russian Strategic Missile Forces need a new BZHRK, will the Barguzin project be resumed?
- I believe that the deployment of the Barguzin would be the most effective response to the strategic threat posed by the growth of NATO military bases near the Russian borders.- Why, in this case, this project was paused?
- I believe that the Russian leadership was counting on the extension of the Prague (2010) START Treaty (START-3. - Ed.), But now such a prospect is becoming less and less likely. Another reason for the project being frozen is the financial issue. In terms of its characteristics, the Barguzin significantly surpasses the Molodets - it had a too heavy rocket that did not fit into a regular carriage, which was a serious unmasking factor. In addition, the launch of such a rocket caused a serious deformation of the railway track - it was necessary to make special ramps with reinforced coatings, otherwise the rails went underground by 1.5 meters, the car could simply tip over.
All this greatly reduced the effectiveness of the old BZHRK, the main advantage of which was to be stealth. It was relatively easy to figure out where the Molodets took off from the fortified sections of the railroad tracks.
Barguzin, on the other hand, thanks to a lightweight rocket that is included in a regular carriage, can launch on any section of the railway. If it is necessary to retaliate, this complex will be more effective than the Topol and Yars type PGRKs, because in order to launch them, they will have to go into the field area and deploy there, becoming vulnerable to the enemy for some time. The positional area of their deployment is also relatively limited. Barguzin has practically no unmasking signs.
The new BZHRK is the trump card that we can use in case of aggravation of the situation, and the Americans are well aware of this.
- How long will it take to put it into operation?
- In my estimation, it will take about 3-5 years to create a prototype rocket, flight tests and development of various systems, for a rocket complex this is a very short time.- The US leadership announces the creation of missiles with a speed of Mach 17. Does this mean that the Russian Yars and Topol missiles are becoming obsolete and it will be easy to shoot them down with new interceptor missiles?
- The United States is in the position of catching up on this issue. Their development is still at the testing stage, while we are in service with production samples and have even created an ICBM that allows you to fire a hypersonic aircraft at a speed of 27 mach. We are talking about the Avangard missile system, which the Americans do not even plan to create analogues - they simply do not have such a scientific and technical reserve in this area.
Indeed, an airborne hypersonic complex is being created in the United States today. I very much doubt that the rocket speed of Mach 17 declared by President Donald Trump is true. Most likely, we are talking about 10 swings, like our "Dagger". The American potential makes it possible to create such a weapon, but it will take a lot of time - we are talking about three years, we will not sit idly by at this time either.
The statements of the American leadership in this case are designed for an internal audience, which they want to calm down by sending a signal: everything is in order, we have hypersound. Good, but even the DPRK has hypersonic weapons!
As for the American missile defense system, I have studied this issue in sufficient detail and I can say that its effectiveness is also greatly exaggerated. This is confirmed by Japan's recent refusal to deploy Aegis Ashore systems. According to some reports, the Japanese argued their decision by the fact that during the shooting of these interceptor missiles, their units fell into the country.
It would not be a strong exaggeration to say that the main function of the American missile defense system is to counter information and create a favorable image of the President of the United States of America. It is difficult for her to intercept the Topol missile equipped with a concealment complex; this is not a training ground, where the calculations know the launch site, trajectory and characteristics of the target in advance.
It was possible to increase its effectiveness by deploying an anti-missile defense space echelon, but for this it is necessary to deploy a very large constellation of low-orbit satellites, which even Washington cannot afford to maintain.- What system will replace the outgoing Topols and the Yars being deployed today? What will be the focus in creating a new generation of ICBMs?
- I believe that we should continue to rely on a guaranteed retaliatory strike, not even a retaliatory strike. Here we must understand that the time for a US strike against Russia with ballistic missiles with SSBNs is 10-12 minutes - under current conditions we simply will not have time to deliver a retaliatory strike, we need to prepare for a deep retaliatory strike. For this we need missile systems, whose deployment is unknown, which is extremely problematic, given the growing capabilities of American satellite reconnaissance.
So far, we do not know whether the Prague START Treaty will definitely terminate, besides, it is possible that this document may be terminated if the obligations are actually preserved. If the parties really stop fulfilling any obligations, we will need to create a new PGRK.
It should be a multiple warhead complex like the Yars, possibly with even more warheads. At the same time, the designers will be faced with the task of increasing the accuracy of shooting and payload while maintaining the existing mass and dimensional characteristics of the complex, while 1, 2 tons remain the limit for us. It would also be necessary to increase the firing range from 12,000 kilometers, like the Yars, to 16,000.
The entire cycle of creating a missile complex would take about 10 years, which would be required to develop it, create samples, build the appropriate infrastructure and establish production.