Military Review

List of questions. And not a single answer

"Mace", maybe, will fly ... but when?

This summer, tests of the Bulava sea-based ICBM will continue, although the 9 of December of last year, the next launch of this missile ended with the expected unsatisfactory result. And then the disinterested, sluggish reaction of experts, who had previously discussed the problems associated with the Bulava, was surprised. It seems that most specialists (as well as non-specialists) have finally become disillusioned with this project. Only a few of them believe in a happy outcome, repeating the long axiom learned that “there are no alternatives to the Bulava”, that they “think, believe, hope” and even are convinced: “The Mace will fly”.

The question arises: what grounds are there for such firm faith and similar hopes? Is there a conclusion of the examination carried out by leading specialized institutes and design organizations of the country about the correctness of the adopted theoretical design, circuit design and technological solutions, about the sufficiency of the ground-based experimental testing that ensures - with the observance of production and technological discipline - the normal functioning of all systems and rocket units in flight? As far as we know, there is still no such conclusion, despite the attempt of the governing structures to organize its preparation after the next unsuccessful test of the Bulava. It is much easier to run in the media information that the design of the rocket is perfect, and in emergency launches the factories that supply substandard components for this ICBM are to blame, so you just need to tighten control over the quality of products. In other words, as soon as defective parts and assemblies cease to arrive from enterprises, the Bulava flies, but for the time being it is necessary to continue to make the next serial batch of non-flying missiles and lay another submarine under them on the stocks.

The problems associated with the Bulava, in the worst case scenario of their development, can lead to disastrous consequences for the country's strategic nuclear forces and ultimately put the security of Russia at stake. Let us try to explain why, with high probability, we assume that the Bulava missile system will not be adopted in the coming years.


But first, a little stories. In our country, as a result of a long successful work, a school of sea rocket production arose, according to the laws and methodological installations of which virtually all domestic strategic sea-based rocket complexes were designed. Such outstanding designers and scientists as V.P. Makeev, N.A. Semikhatov, S.N. Kovalev, A.M. Isaev, V.P. Arefyev, L.N. Lavrov, took part in its formation and development. E. I. Zababakhin, Ya. F. Khetagurov, V. D. Protasov, V. N. Soloviev, and many others.

This school determined the process of developing sea-based strategic missile systems based primarily on an understanding of the following indisputable fact: the missile system (RK) is a complex, high-tech, multi-cost technical system that is of paramount national importance and requires the participation of almost all industries in the country.

Based on this understanding, a strategy was developed for designing and manufacturing the complex, which primarily involved monitoring industries and enterprises in the industry for the possibility of solving the set task. The monitoring was conducted by sectoral institutes and enterprises - system developers of the Republic of Kazakhstan. According to its results, “bottlenecks” were identified, measures were taken to eliminate them, after which a plan was drawn up for the Military-Industrial Commission under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, which gave tasks to all industries to ensure the creation of a missile system, as well as the necessary capital construction and supply mass-produced machines and mechanisms that ensure the solution of the planned task.

To coordinate the work and monitor their progress, the method of network planning was selected with a periodic miscalculation on the computer of the entire base of network schedules for the developed systems of the complex in order to detect critical paths in the creation of a particular system.

One of the main organizational documents was the network General Schedule for the creation of the complex, which includes all the stages and key events for the development and development of the complex:

- preparation of project and design documentation, production of equipment for the provision of ground-based experimental testing;

- issuing conclusions on the adequacy of ground-based experimental testing for entering the next stage of testing;

- production of missiles for field tests, their supply to the landfill and flight tests;

- preparation of design documentation for serial production of the Republic of Kazakhstan;

- The term of adoption of the complex for service.

The general schedule was drawn up on a real timeline and was used when reviewing progress at all levels. The document was signed by all general designers - developers of the main systems, heads of head factories and approved by the ministers of defense industries involved in the creation of the complex, or their first deputies. In addition, at the end of each stage of the creation of the complex, the estimated value of the financial costs for its implementation was indicated, which made it possible to constantly monitor the expenditure of allocated funds.

Control over the progress of work at the level of the head ministry was carried out by his board (once a quarter) and the interdepartmental coordinating council (ICC) formed by decision of the MIC, which included deputy ministers (heads of military academies) of ministries and departments. The ISS was going as needed, but no less than twice a quarter.

The main coordinating and controlling body of the complex was the Council of Chief Designers, which dealt with the most complex technical issues. Any chief (general) designer, if he considered it necessary, could offer the SGC to meet. Academician N. A. Semikhatov noted: “Thanks to V. P. Makeev, the Soviets of Chief Designers have become creative, the most effective and, I would even say, the favorite form of solving the most complex technical and organizational problems.” And here is how one of its members described the work of the FGC, headed by Y. Solomonov: “We are simply offered to sign a prepared draft decision of the council. At the same time, objections or disagreements, as a rule, are not accepted. ”


It is appropriate to ask one more question: why did V.P. Makeev and his associates have many problems in creating the next rocket complex, which require decision-making throughout its development and development? Yes, because Viktor Petrovich set the main task of his cooperation - to give the Navy a rocket, which is much higher than the previous technical level. And this, as a rule, attracted new problems in design and technological solutions.

Why are we talking about this? Because there is nothing like this when creating the “Bulava”, as there are not many organizational and technical documents and events stipulated by the branch Regulation of the RC-98. This document accumulated all the accumulated experience in determining the stages of work, their main content at each stage, contained a list of documents produced and basic requirements ensuring the coordinated activities of the enterprise - developer, ordering the Defense Ministry’s offices, representative offices of the customer, manufacturers and leading industry institutes.

How could it happen that the Navy issued a tactical and technical task (TTZ) for a missile with tactical and technical characteristics worse (lower) than the set and implemented 40 years ago? Of course, the operation of a solid-fuel rocket is simpler and safer than a liquid rocket. Yes, and its placement on a nuclear submarine enhances some of the operational characteristics of the submarine and makes it possible to exclude some of the ship systems necessary to ensure the operation of a liquid MBR. All this was a long time and we all know. However, sacrificing the technical level of the rocket weapons, its effectiveness in favor of these goals, to put it mildly, is irresponsible.

What are the reasons why the full-scale development of a sea-based missile was reduced (in terms of approach and scope of experimental ground testing) as a matter of fact to the modernization of the ground Topol? It is known what condition the Russian industry was at the time of the decision to create the Bulava, so why was this decision made without prior monitoring of the ability to cope with such a complex technical challenge? The scale of the collapse of the defense industry, and in some cases the complete loss of production of the necessary components for the creation of the Bulava — all this was already known when developing the schedule of the Military Industrial Commission. Already then it became clear that the cost and terms of creating the Bulava declared by Y. Solomon were practically unfeasible. Perhaps, then the thought arose of reducing the cost and timing by minimizing the volume of ground-based experimental testing and combining the flight test phases.

Why in government agencies, seeing that the development of the Bulava missile system is conducted with complete disregard of the experience, methods and rules developed by the rocket and space industry, developed over decades of successful work on building sea-based strategic complexes, everything is normal? It is time to understand that the missiles that were not worked on the “ground” are far from flying, and the cost of working them off in the “summer” increases immeasurably.

One could assume that the General Designer of the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering (MIT), using the example of Bulava, decided to say a new word in the creation of sea-based strategic missiles, excluding a full-scale ground-based experimental development. But then it is not clear why the French, creating at the same time their solid-propellant ballistic missile for nuclear submarines (SLBM) M-51, conducted its testing in full accordance with the RC-98 and the recommendations of the Makeevsky school of sea rocket production. And the result is obvious - all launches from the ground stand and submarines were successful.


And now a little arithmetic. Statistics show that during the flight tests of the SLBM developed by the Design Bureau V.P. Makeyev, an average 18 of missiles from a ground stand and 12 missiles with submarines that had previously undergone full-scale experimental ground testing (a total of 30 missiles) was spent. Taking into account the possibility of carrying out the maximum amount of telemetry of parameters and processes during ground testing of aggregates, systems and the rocket as a whole, it can be assumed that ground testing amounts to 80% of the total missile development. Flight tests account for 20%. It is easy to calculate that in order to compensate for lost telemetry capabilities during ground testing, it will be necessary to launch more than 100 missiles. With reference to the “Bulava”, which passed the firing bench tests of engines and a certain amount of ground testing, to complete the tests, a full-scale start-up will be required before 60. The creation of such a price of a rocket, outdated by its technical characteristics even at the stage of issuing a technical task, is absurd.

But it seems that all of the above is not very worried about the governing bodies, as they are determined to carry out the following launches from the head SSBN of the 955 project and after the first successful test to take the Bulava into service, especially since the press recently announced the release of the book Yuri Solomonov, in which he said that the “launches confirmed the main design solutions”. However, the rocket does not fly or, as stated in the book, “it was not possible to achieve stability in obtaining positive results.”

And it’s quite strange that Yu. Solomonov’s statement that one of the important reasons for which the Bulava does not fly is “the lack of the necessary bench base for a full-scale experimental development in the country, which forced us to follow an unconventional way”.

But what about the unique poster base of the State Rocket Center in Miass, where all the missiles developed by the Design Bureau V.P. Makeyev, which had been reviewed before starting work on the Bulava, Y. Solomonov said: “We all this is not necessary. "

The stand base of the State Rocket Center has not gone away, it is ready to work at any moment and is waiting for its designer.

As for the unconventional path, Y. Solomonov, as the general designer of the rocket complex, really chose an unconventional path for domestic developers of rocket technology - the path of not making well-thought-out decisions, as a result of which huge budget funds were wasted, and the maritime component of the Russian strategic nuclear system was threatened with extinction. .

The complete superiority of the US over Russia in equipping its armed forces with modern high-precision non-nuclear weapons, the operation of which requires comparatively lower costs and which meets modern challenges, suggests that Americans will be able to come up with new initiatives to completely ban nuclear weapons in 2012. This will be another major problem for our country. After all, the rejection of this proposal will negatively perceive the world community, and there will be nothing to compensate for the loss of Russia's nuclear potential, for objective reasons. In the foreseeable future, we should not be left without nuclear weapons, so the slogan "Either" Bulava "- or nothing" (that is how it should be understood that persistence with which launches of non-flying rocket continue) must be resolutely rejected.
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  1. Honory
    Honory 27 June 2012 19: 21
    This is a failure
    1. kgbers
      kgbers 8 February 2015 01: 25
      A voice from the future: February 2015. "Bulava" - flies and very successfully bully
      1. mister-red
        mister-red 20 September 2019 20: 34
        From the even more distant future - 4 nuclear submarines with clubs in service)
        Gonoriy - respond, say something