Project "Cedar". Possible future of the Strategic Missile Forces
According to media reports, the development of a new strategic missile system has begun in our country. The project with the code "Kedr" is still in its earliest stages, and the appearance of ready-made missiles is expected only in the distant future. So far, very little is known about this project, and the press makes do with only the most general formulations. However, the published data are also of great interest.
The first message about the new project was published on March 1 by the TASS news agency. An unnamed source in the rocket and space industry said that defense industry enterprises have begun research work with the code "Kedr". The purpose of this research work is to create a new generation rocket complex.
So far, we are talking only about deep research work. In the future, research and development work can be transformed into experimental design work, which will make it possible to “speak substantively”. No technical details or timing information was provided at that time.
On April 2, TASS again raised the topic of research work "Cedar" and published new information from its source. It was reported that the new project is receiving funding under the current State Armaments Program, calculated until 2027. Already in 2023-24. the current research and development work will move to the R&D stage, the result of which in the future will be a finished missile system.
The source said that the Kedr project will continue the ideology of Topol and Yars. A new generation solid-propellant rocket will be created, suitable for use in a silo and on a mobile ground launcher. The process of replacing the existing complexes with the new "Kedrom" will be launched by the beginning of the next decade. The developer of the complex was not specified, but TASS unsuccessfully tried to get a comment from the corporation "Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering" (MIT).
Another interesting news the development of the Strategic Missile Forces was received on June 28 and was also published by TASS. It is alleged that in mid-June at the 1st State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defense (Plesetsk), a successful launch of the newest intercontinental ballistic missile took place. The type of product is not specified, but it is mentioned that it was developed at MIT. At the same time, the developer corporation again did not comment on the news.
Considering the earlier news, it can be assumed that the launch in mid-June had no direct relation to the Kedr research and development project. This project is in its earliest stages, and is still far from even bench tests, not to mention full-fledged flights. Probably, another product was tested at the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the type of which remains unknown.
Riddles and secrets
It is known from reports of recent months that the development of a new missile system for the Strategic Missile Forces has begun in our country. Some details have been disclosed, but other information has not been published and is unlikely to be released in the foreseeable future - both for reasons of secrecy and due to the fact that the project was in its early stages.
According to reports, the Cedar theme is currently in the R&D stage. This means that the exact shape of the future complex is not yet known even in the Ministry of Defense and in the development organization. Such issues will be resolved only in the foreseeable future - by the end of 2023. By this time, MIT and related organizations will have to determine the main ways to achieve the goals set by the customer. Only then will the design stage begin.
However, a few news allow us to imagine what the technical task of the customer might be. Apparently, the Kedr is going to include a solid-propellant ICBM with unknown flight and combat characteristics. It is proposed to be used on stationary mine and mobile soil launchers. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure effective replacement of existing complexes of a similar class.
Thus, the customer wants the Kedr to be similar in terms of its overall appearance to the previous developments of the MIT - the Topol, Topol-M and Yars systems, which are in service with the Strategic Missile Forces. This shows that the concept of a "universal" light-class ICBM with different basing options is still relevant and will even retain its potential in the distant future.
It is almost impossible to predict the details of the Kedr's technical appearance. The overall architecture of the two variants of the complex should not undergo major changes. At the same time, the question of the chassis remains open: it is possible to preserve Belarusian equipment or switch to a domestic platform with the necessary characteristics. Perhaps, due to new technologies, it will be possible to increase the flight range and improve the capabilities to overcome missile defense.
The issue of combat equipment remains open. You can assume the use of a "traditional" multiple warhead with individual guidance warheads or expect a promising hypersonic warhead. Our country has technologies for the implementation of both schemes - depending on the plans and wishes of the customer.
In 2023-24. the "Cedar" theme will move to a new stage, and in a few years the first flights of a promising rocket should be expected. Already in 2030, it will begin to replace Yars products of the early series, which by that time will face the problems of obsolescence and expiration of shelf life. Thus, in 10-12 years, "Kedr", while still at the stage of research and development, will begin to occupy one of the main places in the Strategic Missile Forces' weapons nomenclature.
It should be noted that simultaneously with the Kedr, several other promising models will be in operation, which at the moment remain at different stages of development. In the foreseeable or distant future, they will go into service and press the existing complexes, and then completely replace them.
The "Sarmat" complex with ICBMs of a heavy class, with the help of which the "Voevoda" will be replaced in the future, has already received the greatest fame. The first three test launches with full-fledged flights are planned for this year. By the middle of the decade, the deployment of such missiles in combat units may begin. According to various reports, "Sarmat" will be able to carry both "conventional" MIRVs, and hypersonic weapon.
In mid-June, information about another missile complex project appeared on specialized resources. With reference to the published documents on public procurement, it is reported that in 2019 the MIT corporation received an order to conduct the Osina-RV R&D project. The purpose of this work is to create a new modification of the Yars complex. The start of flight tests of the updated rocket was planned for 2021-22. It is quite possible that the launch in mid-June, mentioned in the press, was carried out within the framework of such a project.
However, the official statements and news of the OCD "Osina-RV" have not yet been mentioned. Probably, this project, its successes and prospects will be told only in the future, after receiving positive results or even at the stage of deploying mass production and rearmament.
The future of the Strategic Missile Forces
Currently in service are several strategic missile systems of different classes with different capabilities, due to which the Strategic Missile Forces are becoming a flexible and effective military-political instrument. Some of the existing designs are already outdated or approaching their limits - and new products are being created to replace them.
The process of developing a missile system with ICBMs is particularly complex and requires a lot of time. Therefore, work on the promising complex "Kedr", which is planned to be put into service by the end of the decade, begins now. What it will be and what success it will show is not yet known. However, it is clear that our industry has all the necessary competencies and is able to cope with the task at hand, creating a foundation for the development of the Strategic Missile Forces in the distant future.
- Ryabov Kirill
- Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
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