"Satan": when there is nothing better to be
Of course, at one time we paid tribute to this masterpiece of rocketry from Soviet Ukraine, but alas, another article on Soviet rocketry was removed at the request of the court.
The Odintsovo City Court of the Moscow Region, by its decision of 11.08.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX, satisfied another claim of the Strategic Missile Forces press service against Voennoye Obozreniye. According to officers from the Strategic Missile Forces, our article "contains information, the dissemination of which is prohibited in the Russian Federation."
We express our bewilderment by the very fact that we are prohibited from posting materials about Soviet equipment that has long been removed from service. But if the Strategic Missile Forces usurps the right to place such materials ...
So, R-36M, R-36M UTTH, R-36M2. NATO classification - SS-18 "Satan" / "Satan", START code RS-20A, missile index 15A14. A ground-based silo-based missile system with a heavy ICBM. The rocket is two-stage, with a mortar launch from a launch container.
The missile control system is autonomous, inertial, based on its own computer complex.
The R-36M can be equipped with various warheads, both monoblock and split, with individual guidance of warheads.
A complex was developed within the walls of the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukrainian SSR. Engineers under the leadership of M.K.Yangel and V.F.Utkin created a truly masterpiece of rocketry at that time. In the design of the rocket, solutions were applied that created the world's most powerful combat missile system. All the best developments on the P-36 and new ingenious ideas of Soviet engineers.
The R-36M was not just a modification of the P-36, the new complex significantly surpasses its predecessor:
- in terms of shooting accuracy - 3 times.
- in terms of combat readiness - 4 times.
- in terms of the energy capabilities of the rocket - 1,4 times.
- according to the originally established warranty period of operation - 1,4 times.
- in terms of the security of the launcher - 15-30 times.
- by the degree of use of the volume of the launcher - 2,4 times.
The 15A14 two-stage rocket was made according to the "tandem" scheme with a sequential arrangement of stages. To optimize the volume utilization, the "dry" compartments were excluded from the rocket, with the exception of the adapter between the stages. Thanks to this, the fuel reserve was increased by 11% while maintaining the diameter and reducing the total length of the first two stages of the rocket by 400 mm in comparison with the 8K67 rocket.
At the first stage, the RD-264 propulsion system was used, consisting of four single-chamber 15D117 engines operating in a closed circuit developed by KBEM under the leadership of V.P. Glushko. The engines were fixed on hinges and their deflection according to the commands of the control system provided control of the rocket flight.
At the second stage, the propulsion system consisting of the main single-chamber 15D7E engine (RD-0229) operating in a closed circuit and the four-chamber steering engine 15D83 (RD-0230) operating according to the open circuit is applied.
The rocket engine rocket operated on a two-component self-igniting fuel. Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) was used as a fuel, and dinitrogen tetroxide (AT) was used as an oxidizing agent.
The separation of the first and second stages of gas-dynamic. It was provided by the triggering of explosive bolts and the expiration of pressurized gas from fuel tanks through special windows.
Improvements in pneumatic and hydraulic systems have resulted in significant advances in the tightness of the entire product. The duration of the rocket being in a fueled state in full combat readiness was estimated at 10-15 years with the possibility of operating up to 25 years.
The missile was controlled by an onboard digital computer complex (BTsVK). More precisely, two complexes, because each element of the BTsVK was duplicated. The use of the complex made it possible to achieve high firing accuracy - the circular probable deviation of the warheads was only 430 m.
The rocket could have one of three warheads:
- lightweight monoblock with a charge capacity of 8 Mt and a flight range of 16000 km;
- heavy monoblock with a 25 Mt charge with a flight range of 11200 km;
- multiple warhead (MIRV) of 8 warheads with a capacity of 1 Mt.
All missile warheads were equipped with an advanced set of missile defense weapons. For the complex of means for overcoming the missile defense missile 15А14, quasi-heavy false targets were created for the first time. Thanks to the use of a special solid-propellant overclocking engine, the progressively increasing thrust of which compensates for the force of aerodynamic braking of a false goal, it was possible to achieve imitation of the characteristics of warheads in almost all selective traits on the extra-atmospheric portion of the trajectory and a considerable part of the atmospheric one.
The number of decoys was enough to drive any modern ballistic computer crazy.
For the first time in world practice, a "mortar" scheme for a heavy liquid-propellant ICBM was developed and implemented. At the start, the pressure created by the powder pressure accumulators pushed the rocket out of the TPK and only after leaving the mine the rocket engine was started.
In the TPK, the transport and launch container, the rocket was placed at the manufacturing plant in an unfilled state. She could leave the container only in one case: in the event of a start. In a container, the rocket was lowered into a silo launcher (silo), after which it was refueled and the warhead was installed.
On-board systems checks, preparation for launch and missile launch were carried out automatically after the control system received the appropriate commands from a remote command post.
To exclude unauthorized start-up, the control system accepted only commands with a specific code key for execution. The use of such an algorithm became possible thanks to the introduction of a new centralized control system at all command posts of the Strategic Missile Forces.
Tests of the R-36M began in January 1970 and lasted until February 1973. During this time, 43 launches were carried out. 36 passed successfully and 7 failed.
The monoblock version of the R-36M rocket was put into service on November 20, 1978.
The variant with a multiple warhead was put into service on November 29, 1979.
The first missile regiment with R-36M ICBMs took up combat duty on December 25, 1974.
In 1980, the 15А14 missiles, which were on alert, were re-equipped without removal from the silo with advanced HST designed for the 15А18 missile. The missiles continued combat duty under the designation 15А18-1.
The X-NUMX of the ICBM R-1982M was removed from combat duty and replaced with the P-36M UTTH (36A15) missiles.
Р-36М УТТХ (index 15А18, code СНВ PC-20Б)
Development of the third-generation strategic missile system 15P018 (Р-36М УТТХ) with the 15A18 rocket equipped with the 10-block split head began on August 16 of the year 1976.
This was the next step in the development of the P-36 family. The complex ensures the defeat of up to 10 targets with one missile, in conditions of effective counteraction of the enemy's anti-missile defense systems.
The rocket again surpassed its predecessor in terms of efficiency thanks to:
- increasing the accuracy of shooting by 3 times;
- increasing the number of warheads (BB) and the power of their charges;
- increasing the area of BB breeding;
- the use of highly protected silo launcher and command post;
- increasing the likelihood of bringing launch commands to silos.
The layout of the 15A18 rocket is similar to that of the 15A14. It is a two-stage rocket with tandem staging. The first and second stages of the 15A14 rocket were used as part of the new rocket without modifications. The engine of the first stage is a closed circuit four-chamber LPRE RD-264. At the second stage, a single-chamber sustainer LPRE RD-0229 of a closed circuit is used, and a four-chamber steering LPRE RD-0257 of an open circuit. The separation of the stages and the separation of the combat stage are gas-dynamic.
The main difference between the new rocket was the newly developed breeding stage and the MIRV with ten new high-speed blocks and high-power charges.
The engine of the breeding stage is a four-chamber, two-mode (thrust 2000 kgf and 800 kgf) with multiple (up to 25 times) switching between modes. This allows you to create the most optimal conditions when breeding all warheads.
Another design feature of this engine is the two fixed positions of the combustion chambers. In flight, they are located inside the disengagement stage, but after separating the stage from the rocket, special mechanisms bring the combustion chambers beyond the outer contour of the compartment and deploy them to implement a "pulling" disengagement scheme for warheads.
In addition, the on-board computer memory capacity was significantly increased and the control system was modernized. At the same time, the firing accuracy was improved 2,5 times, and the readiness time for launch was reduced to 62 seconds.
The flight tests of the Р-36М УТТХ rocket began on October 31 1977 at the Baikonur test site. The flight test program conducted 19 launches, of which 2 failed. The reasons for these failures were clarified and eliminated, the effectiveness of the measures taken was confirmed by subsequent launches. A total of 62 launches were conducted, of which 56 were successful.
18 September 1979. Three missile regiments began to carry out combat duty on the new missile system. As of 1987, the X-NUMX of the Р-308М УТТХ was deployed as part of five missile divisions. As of May 36, the Strategic Missile Forces include 2006 mine launchers with ICBM P-74М UTTH and P-36М36, each equipped with 2 warheads.
The reliability of the complex was confirmed by 159 successful launches as of September 2000, of which only four were unsuccessful. These failures during start-ups of serial products are due to manufacturing defects.
After the collapse of the USSR and the economic crisis of the early 1990s, the question arose of extending the service life of the R-36M UTTH before replacing them with new Russian-developed complexes. For this, on April 17, 1997, the R-36M UTTH rocket, manufactured 19,5 years ago, was successfully launched.
NPO Yuzhnoye and the 4th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense have carried out work to increase the guaranteed service life of missiles from 10 years sequentially to 15, 18 and 20 years. On April 15, 1998, a training launch of the R-36M UTTH rocket was carried out from the Baikonur cosmodrome, in which ten training warheads hit all training targets at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka.
A Russian-Ukrainian joint venture was also established for the development and further commercial use of the Dnepr light class launch vehicle based on the Р-36М УТТХ and Р-36М2 missiles.
On August 9, 1983, by a decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau was tasked with modifying the R-36M UTTH missile so that it could penetrate the promising American missile defense system. In addition, it was necessary to increase the protection of the missile and the entire complex from the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion.
Missile system of the fourth-generation F-36M2 "Voivod" (15P018M) with a multi-purpose ICBM heavy class 15A18M designed to defeat all kinds of purposes, protected by modern missile defense means, in any combat employment conditions, including at multiple nuclear impact on the positioning area. Its use allows you to implement a strategy of guaranteed retaliation.
As a result of the application of the latest technical solutions, the energy capabilities of the 15A18M rocket have been increased by 12% compared to the 15A18 rocket. At the same time, all conditions of restrictions on dimensions and launch weight imposed by the SALT-2 agreement are fulfilled.
The 15A18M missile is the most powerful of all intercontinental missiles. In terms of the technological level, the complex is also the most advanced in the world. The missile system uses active protection of the silo launcher from nuclear warheads and high-precision non-nuclear weaponsand for the first time in the country low-altitude non-nuclear interception of high-speed ballistic targets was carried out.
Compared with the prototype, the new complex was able to improve many characteristics:
- increasing the accuracy by 1,3 times;
- increase in 3 times the duration of autonomy;
- halving the combat readiness time.
- increasing the area of the warheads' breeding zone by 2,3 times;
- the use of charges of increased power (10 separable warheads of individual guidance with a capacity of 550 to 750 kt each; total throw weight - 8800 kg;
- the possibility of launching from the constant combat readiness mode on one of the planned target designations, as well as operational re-aiming and launching on any unplanned target designation transferred from the top command level;
But the main advantage of the complex over its counterparts is the ability to provide missile launches in a retaliatory strike under the influence of ground and air nuclear explosions. The designers were able to achieve this by increasing the resistance of the rocket in flight to the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion. The rocket body had a multifunctional coating, received protection of the electronics of the control system from gamma radiation, the speed of the actuators of the automatic stabilization of the control system was 2 times increased, the separation of the head fairing is carried out after passing the zone of high-altitude blocking nuclear explosions, the engines of the first and second stages of the rocket are boosted in thrust.
As a result, the radius of the missile strike zone with a blocking nuclear explosion, compared with the 15А18 rocket, is reduced by 20, the resistance to X-ray radiation is increased by 10 times, gamma-neutron radiation - by 100. The rocket is resistant to the effects of dust formations and large soil particles present in the cloud during a ground-based nuclear explosion.
In addition, new silo installations with the highest degree of protection against the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion were developed to protect the missile while in the silo.
A new nose fairing was also developed, providing reliable protection of the warhead from the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion.
The rocket was equipped with four warheads:
- monoblock part with a heavy charge of 20 Mt;
- monoblock part with a lightweight charge of 8 Mt;
- multiple warhead with 10 unguided warheads of 0,8 Mt each;
- a multiple warhead of 6 unguided blocks of 0,8 Mt each and 4 controlled blocks of 0,15 Mt each with homing according to the terrain maps laid down in the BB.
The set of carried components for overcoming the missile defense system has been increased: two types of false targets and dipole reflectors.
Tests of the R-36M2 complex began at Baikonur in 1986.
The first missile regiment with R-36M2 ICBMs went on alert on July 30, 1988.
Flight design tests of the new fourth-generation intercontinental missile R-36M2 (15A18M Voyevoda) with all types of combat equipment were completed in September 1989.
In May 2006 of the year, the Strategic Missile Forces include 74 mine launchers with ICBM P-36M UTTH and P-36М2, each equipped with 10 warheads.
On December 21, 2006, the R-36M2 combat training launch was carried out. The missile warheads launched from the Orenburg region hit the conventional targets at the Kura training ground. The launch gave an affirmative answer to the question about the possibility of operating the R-36M2 complex for 20 years.
An outstanding rocket built on an outstanding base in a great country. This year, 30 years have passed since the USSR died, and the missile systems created in this country are still on alert and are still the best in the world.
In the end, I would especially like to emphasize that the means of overcoming the enemy's missile defense, which was used for the variant with multiple warheads, are so diverse and progressive that any attempts by our potential adversaries to create at least some line of defense against the R-36M2 product turned out to be a failure. And while such complexes are in service with the country, we can sleep peacefully for a very long time.
And I would very much like to hope that despite the loss (huge, from my point of view) of Yuzhmash and Yuzhnoye design bureau, in the future we will be able to create weapons no worse than Satan and Voyevoda, which will still stand on guard for our safety.
- Roman Skomorokhov