A few days ago, a new wave of discussions of the Russian hypersonic project, known as “4202”, began in the domestic and then in the foreign media. Official information about this development is extremely small, but fragmentary information and some assessments have already led to the appearance of a fairly plausible - although not confirmed - picture. The reason for the new publications on the project "4202" was the official announcement of the Ministry of Defense.
October 18, Chief of the 4-th State Central Interspecific Test Site (Kapustin Yar), Major-General Oleg Kislov spoke about recent events. According to him, strategic rocket forces are now engaged in testing a new silo-based missile system. In these tests, the Yasny-Kura highway is used, connecting the Dombarovsky missile area and the Kamchatka test site. What kind of complex in question - the general did not specify.
A few days after the statements of the range commander, a curious version appeared linking tests in the interests of the Strategic Missile Forces with a hypersonic weapon design. October 23 edition of the "Free Press" published an article by Vladimir Tuchkov "Product 4202" becomes a real nightmare for America. " The author of this publication tried to establish which weapon was discussed and which tests were carried out at the Kapustin Yar test site. Simple reasoning gave him the idea of checking the system «4202».
As V. Tuchkov rightly noted, the length of the Yasny-Kura route clearly indicates an intercontinental ballistic missile test. In this case, at the moment in our country is not developed a large number of new projects of such weapons. So far, there is only one rocket to be tested, the Sarmat RS-28. All other ICBMs are no different. In addition, the words of General Kislov about a promising rocket may exclude the possibility of checking a new modification of an existing product.
Considering the possible versions explaining the statements of the head of the 4-th State Central Computing Center, the author of the Free Press makes a very interesting assumption. He suggests that at the Kapustin Yar and Yasny test sites, a promising rocket as a whole, but new warheads for it, could be tested. In view of the absence of a ready-made Sarmat missile, ICBM of a different type, from the available ones, could be involved in such tests. The combat load of this rocket, respectively, could be a new product "4202".
For obvious reasons, this assumption has remained without official comments. Observing secrecy, the Russian military and defense industry organizations do not disclose data on the progress of current projects that are distinguished by high priority. Assumptions, voiced in the media, also remain without comment. Nevertheless, in such conditions, experts continue to make their assessments and build versions.
According to the available data, a product known as “4202”, 15Ü71 and AGGBO (“Aeroballistic hypersonic military equipment”) is being created as a new payload for promising intercontinental missiles. The development of this project began no later than the end of the last decade. The lead developer is the NPO Mashinostroyenia (Reutov). Also some other scientific and industrial organizations of Russia were involved in the work.
Previously, in open sources, there was some information about the technical appearance of the product "4202", but they did not differ much detail. From the available data it can be concluded that the combat equipment for missiles must have a complex form of external units, providing optimal aerodynamic characteristics in the entire range of flight speeds. Resistance to mechanical and thermal loads must be ensured by a mixed construction consisting of metallic and non-metallic parts.
As a combat equipment of an ICBM, the 15Ü71 product must have guidance equipment and a warhead. Apparently, to determine its own position, such a product will use an inertial navigation system that is not subject to external factors. Course correction can be carried out using aerodynamic or gas rudders.
It is not known whether AGGBO will be equipped with its own marching power plant. According to various estimates, the acceleration provided by the launch vehicle is enough for the flight to the target. The optimal flight profile outside the dense layers of the atmosphere will allow the device to keep its maximum speed as it approaches the target. The possibility of maneuvering on the course and pitch will additionally reduce the already low probability of interception by anti-missile means.
There are interesting assessments concerning the warhead of the 4202. Perhaps it will carry a special low or medium power warhead, the effectiveness of which will be quite high due to the accuracy of hitting a given target. At the same time, the use of a kinetic method of hitting a target cannot be ruled out - only at the expense of the product energy.
Accurate information about the tests of "Aeroballistic hypersonic military equipment" is not currently available, although there are regular reports on this matter. However, not always available information allowed us to uniquely identify the tests of these weapons and to separate them from other programs. Thus, in connection with individual statements by high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defense, a version about the first launch of a hypersonic aircraft designed for installation on an ICBM appeared in 2004 year.
The following newsattributable to the project AGBO / "4202" / 15Ü71, appeared only at the turn of the decades. It was reported that in 2010, successful tests of some improved combat equipment for strategic missiles took place. At the end of 2011, the PC-18 rocket, launched from the Baikonur test site, sent an unnamed combat equipment to the target at the Kura test site, capable of overcoming current and future anti-missile defenses.
From 2013 to 2016, the military, together with industry, conducted three more test launches, during which, allegedly, the 4202 product was tested. The last of them, as far as is known, took place on 19 last April and was carried out at the Dombarovsky training ground. In July last year, the Interfax news agency, citing an unnamed source familiar with the hypersonic program, announced plans for the near future. Before the end of the year, another launch of the RS-18 rocket was to take place with combat equipment of the AGGBO type on board.
It also followed from the words of the source that the test launches of the hypersonic aircraft will be carried out in the future. In addition, he noted that now inspections of the 4202 product will be conducted in parallel with the flight design tests of the promising intercontinental ballistic missile RS-28 Sarmat. It should be noted that by that time it was already known about the direct link between the projects of the State Security Council and the Sarmat.
According to the assumption of the Free Press, the recent launch from the Dombarovsky site could be part of the 15Ü71 test program. However, according to unconfirmed data, now new checks of this combat equipment must be carried out together with the Sarmat missiles, which are just preparing for flight tests.
As repeatedly reported earlier, the carrier of the 4202 product will have to be a new Sarmat-type ICBM, which is currently being prepared for testing. A few days ago there were new information about the progress of this project and the plans of the military department for the near future. According to the Kommersant publication, in the very near future several tests of the PC-28 rocket should take place. Two similar events are planned to be held before the end of this year.
Unnamed sources told Kommersant about two planned Sarmat launch launches, the platform for which will be the Plesetsk cosmodrome. The purpose of the first throwing launch will be to check the operation of the onboard systems of the rocket, including the power unit of the first stage. The latter will have to work for five seconds. In case of successful completion of the first test, a second test launch may take place before the end of the year. Curiously, previous reports of future tests indicated less ambitious plans. In particular, only one launch was planned for 2017 of the year, and checks with the engine start could start only in 2018.
It should be noted that the testing of the ICBM "Sarmat" could begin earlier. A few years ago it was claimed that the first launch would take place in 2015. For a number of technical and organizational reasons, the authors of new projects had to revise their plans. The start of the test was postponed several times. According to recent reports, the first trial launch of the PC-28 should take place as soon as possible, and a second one may follow.
After completing several throwing tests and checking the work of a part of the systems, the military and industry will be able to proceed to full-fledged test flights. Already at this stage, experienced products "Sarmat" can be equipped with prototype AGGB. When such checks begin, it is difficult to say. Even in case of successful completion of the first stage of the PC-28 flight test design, such flights can be completed no earlier than 2018-19.
Last fall, it became known that the Sarmat RS-28 rocket could go into the series no later than 2019. Over the next few years, the Strategic Missile Forces will be able to obtain a noticeable number of such complexes and replace outdated weapons with them. It is not known when the rockets will be supplemented with promising hypersonic military equipment. A significant number of tests carried out "4202" suggests that this product is already close to completing the necessary checks and in the foreseeable future can be taken into service.
Due to the clear level of secrecy about the PC-28 “Sarmat” and “4202” / 15Ü71 / AGGB projects, not much is known. At the same time, certain information was still made public. The available information does not reveal all the details, but it shows that at least part of the testing and refinement process has already passed for new missile equipment for missiles. Recent work in this direction can be carried out in parallel with the testing of promising ICBMs. Thus, despite the lack of official information, it can be expected that over the next few years not only new missiles will be put into service with the Strategic Missile Forces, but also special warheads for them.
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