55 years ago - October 10 1957 of the year passed the first tests of the national torpedo with a nuclear combat charging compartment (BSO) from a submarine. This date is of great importance for Russian submariners. Our submarines received a substantial argument at sea in a dispute over maritime dominion in front of a likely adversary.
The 53-58 torpedo, launched from the C-144 submarine (captain of the 1 rank GV Lazarev) of the 613 project, having traveled 10 kilometers, exploded at a depth of 35 meters. The result of its action was the sinking of two destroyers, two submarines and two minesweepers. There were no more ships in the bay, otherwise they would have been carried into the depths of the sea. Understanding the importance of new weaponswhich can determine the result not of a separate sea battle, but of an entire operation, already in 1958, the Navy accepts the 53-58 torpedo with the RDS-9 nuclear warhead.
How did the era of the arms race begin
But back to the backstory. In the second half of the 40-s, huge resources of the country are spent on the creation of domestic nuclear weapons. It was necessary to urgently catch up with America, which already possessed such a means, and even used this type of weapon in hostilities, attacking the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
In 1949, when the first Soviet atomic charge was tested, the study and study of the possibility of delivering torpedoes with nuclear warheads to coastal targets in the United States began. At the same time, similar work was carried out on the use of atomic bombs in the interests of other types and branches of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union, but bomber preference was given to the country's leadership aviation and rocket technology.
At the same time, the command of the Navy wanted first of all to have atomic weapons on submarines. However, technical difficulties and problems immediately faced here: the maximum diameter of the torpedo tubes of our submarines was only a 533 millimeter, and the wearable atomic bomb tested in 1951 had a diameter of 1,5 meters. What to do? Sailors proposed to reduce the charge to the required dimensions of torpedo tubes, and the atomic lobbyists - to increase the dimensions of the carrier - torpedoes. By that time, almost all the atomic bombs in development were larger than even the first of them RDS-3, the demands of the military for increasing the charge power grew.
Despite all these circumstances, without having come to a consensus, in 1951 – 1952, scientists and designers of KB-11 (Arzamas-16) began to develop nuclear charges for sea torpedoes in two versions: caliber 533 (T-5) and 1550 millimeters (T-15). Moreover, if a standard-caliber torpedo is perfectly acceptable submarine armament, the placement of a torpedo tube for a “monster” with a diameter over 1,5 meters was very heavy for existing types of submarines, a new submarine project was required.
This is probably why 9 of September 1952 was adopted by the USSR Council of Ministers resolution No. 4098-1616 on the design and construction of an “627 object” with a displacement of up to 3000 tons with a T-15 torpedo with atomic fighting charge compartment.
The deputy chief designer of KB-11, captain of the 1st rank V.I. Alferov, who created the circuit and devices of the nuclear charge detonation system for the first atomic bombs, quickly after the development of the first hydrogen bomb quickly organized the development of an ultra-large torpedo T-15 for a thermonuclear charge. For security reasons, as well as taking into account the existing personal relations, the T-15 torpedo was first developed without the participation of the Naval fleet. The 6th division of the Navy learned about it only through project 627 of the first nuclear submarine.
The Americans were ahead of us then. In June, the United States launched the 1952, the world's first nuclear submarine (NPS) with the romantic name Nautilus (project EB-251A). In September, a ground-based prototype of a naval nuclear installation was created by 1953, and in September, the Nautilus, the world's first SSN-1954 nuclear submarine, equipped with an experimental S-571W installation, was put into operation. In January, 2, the course was given under the AEU in a submerged position. A new era has begun in the naval race, and later on of strategic armaments ...
Underwater "627 object"
Initially, the main task of the experimental submarine of the 627 project with a giant T-15 electric torpedo caliber 1550 of millimeters using a thermonuclear charge was to strike the coastal areas of a potential enemy. For this purpose, the installation of one large torpedo T-15, carrying a charge of enormous power, was planned for the submarine; the torpedo tube length was more than 22 percent of the total length of the boat.
The nuclear torpedo T-15 was intended to strike naval bases, ports and other coastal objects, including cities where a powerful sea and shock wave, other factors of a nuclear explosion were supposed to cause irreparable damage to the military and civilian infrastructure of a potential enemy, that is, America.
On the new underwater "object 627" leadership made great bets. At that time, there were no atomic charges in dimensions acceptable for conventional torpedoes and intercontinental missiles capable of delivering atomic charges over long distances and keeping a potential enemy at bay.
Creating such a large torpedo and its control system was a particularly difficult problem. In addition to the one-and-a-half-meter torpedo, two torpedoes of 533 caliber of millimeter for self-defense were deployed on the submarine, located in the nose torpedo tubes (TA). Spare torpedoes are not supposed.
The length of the T-15 torpedoes, developed at SRI-400 (chief designer N. N. Shamarin), was about 23 meters, weight - 40 tons, thermonuclear charge - 3,5 – 4 tons. The main weight load fell on a powerful battery that provides the speed of 29 torpedo knots with a range of up to 30 kilometers. Presumably for the T-15 torpedo it was proposed to use the RDS-37 thermonuclear bomb charge, which was installed on the first Soviet P-7 intercontinental ballistic missile (SPM) designed by S. P. Korolev. Initially, when designing a missile, the mass of the warhead was set at five tons, it was supposed to place a megaton warhead in the shape of a ball. As a result of design research by the developer, KB-11 and its affiliate, KB-25, the mass of the charge was reduced to 1,5 tons while maintaining the specified power.
The detonation of the charge was to occur from a shock or remote fuse (clockwork). For shooting T-15 developed a special torpedo tube caliber 1,55 meter and a length of up to 23,5 meter. The firing control of this torpedo was provided from the Tantalus torpedo firing control station (PUTS).
Coordination of torpedo and TA structures with ship-wide issues, development of torpedo storage systems on the ship, data entry into it, layout of the torpedo and numerous shipboard equipment, systems and devices in the nose compartment of the submarines were performed at SKB-143 by sector specialists I. I. Shalaeva. The office designers worked in close cooperation with the staff of the CBA TsKB-18 and, along with their own work, provided him with technical assistance, assigning their specialists for individual, most intense tasks.
In the course of work on the T-15 torpedo, specialists have begun to doubt the effectiveness of the use of such weapons. On the coast of the United States there were not very many facilities convenient for hitting a special torpedo, not to mention the probability of the approach of the submarine to the firing distance.
Tactical and technical elements of the ship approved 21 December 1953 of the year. In July, the 1954-th SKB-143 completed the development of the nuclear submarine's 627 technical design. October 18 1954, Minsredmash and Minsudprom presented a technical project to the Presidium of the CPSU Central Committee, after which the Ministry of Defense was asked to consider the project and send the opinion to the Council of Ministers. Minister of Defense N. A. Bulganin instructed Admiral P. G. Kotov, Assistant Minister for Naval Affairs, to deal with this task, who received some information on the 627 project from V. A. Malyshev, Minister of the Shipbuilding Industry. At the same time, the issue of admission with the heading "Special importance" to the project of nuclear submarines of the managers and specialists of the Navy was resolved.
To review the draft and prepare the conclusion by order of the Navy Commander Admiral of the USSR Navy N. G. Kuznetsov, in 1954, an expert commission was formed headed by Vice-Admiral A. E. Orel, Chief of the Directorate of the Main Staff of the Navy. The main objections from the Navy were on the composition of the armament of the submarine - NG Kuznetsov said that the fleet did not need a submarine with these weapons.
But only with the desire of the Navy such issues are not solved, the will of the leaders of the state is needed, and it followed. In 1954, on the instructions of N. S. Khrushchev, the project of the huge torpedo T-15 was closed.
Then, by order of the USSR SM from 11 March 1954, the K-20 aviation missile system was created with an intercontinental carrier Tu-95K and supersonic cruise missiles X-20 with thermonuclear warheads of the type RDS-6 with power up to 1 Mt to defeat , mobile, including sea targets with a launch from a distance of more than 600 kilometers, outside the enemy's air defense zone. And there is no need to talk about ballistic and cruise missiles of intercontinental range, they were created quite a lot, in parallel, the formation of the first missile brigades.
Against this background, based on the results of the examination of the Navy, a decision was made to adjust the technical design of the nuclear submarine 627. By the USSR Council of Ministers Decree of 26 March 1955, No. 588-364, the ship’s technical design was approved only with torpedo tubes of millimeter 533, and the work on the T-15 torpedo stopped. It ends up like this история nuclear supertorpedy, but not really.
In parallel with the work on the T-15 torpedo of the 1550 caliber of millimeters, the 9-mm vapor-vapor torpedo of the T-533, which the sailors "dreamed", was designed specifically for the atomic charge RDS-5. In 1955, the first underwater nuclear explosion was successfully carried out during the state tests of the T-5 torpedoes from the nuclear warhead. The 1958-m T-5 adopted by the Navy under the symbol 53-58. However, the production of these torpedoes was small-scale. Subsequently, a unified BSE with nuclear charge was developed for installation on 533-mm torpedoes, and then 650-mm nuclear torpedoes.
In 1961, the idea of a super-charged super-charged charge was reanimated at the suggestion of A.D. Sakharov, a new torpedo was supposed to be used as a means of delivering particularly powerful 100- and more megaton thermonuclear charges to the shores of a potential enemy.
Here it is worth referring to the “Memories” of Academician Sakharov, where he wrote: “After testing the“ big ”product, I was worried that there was no good carrier for him (the bombers didn’t count, they were easily knocked down) - that is, in the military sense we worked in vain . I decided that such a carrier could be a large torpedo launched from a submarine. I fantasized that it was possible to develop a direct-flow water vapor atomic jet engine for such a torpedo. The enemy’s ports should be the target of an attack from a distance of several hundred kilometers. The war at sea is lost, if the ports are destroyed - we are assured by the sailors. The hull of such a torpedo can be made very durable; it will not be afraid of mines and barrage networks. Of course, the destruction of the ports, both with a surface explosion of a torpedo with a 100 megaton charge that jumped out of the water, and an underwater explosion, is inevitably associated with very large human casualties. ”
The “big” product that A.D. Sakharov speaks of is referring to the 30 October 1961, successfully tested by the 58 superbomb of the MT (received the cipher 202 product), no other country exploded more powerful thermonuclear charges on the ground. According to scientists, the Americans did nothing of the kind, because they understood the military futility of a bomb of such power: there are no goals for it.
However, Academician Sakharov thought about the means of delivering such charges to the target, if they have already been created. It became clear that the bulky and awkward "monster" - a superbomb with a length of eight meters, a diameter of two meters and a weight of 27 tons is beyond the power of either a heavy bomber or a heavy-class intercontinental missile. Projected in the OKB-586 chief designer MK Yangel, the heavy rocket P-36 with a starting weight of 184 could deliver tons of six tons of warheads with an output of nuclear charge up to 20 MT to an intercontinental range.
There were also exotic projects. S. P. Korolev, chief designer of the OKB-1, proposed using the H-1 launch vehicle designed for the lunar program as a combat intercontinental missile for delivering super-power thermonuclear charges to the US territory. However, this idea was not supported, and as a result, the work was continued only on an extra-heavy space booster.
Here the competition of Soviet rocket engineers also left its mark, two other rocket design teams tried to keep up with the leader. So, in the first half of the 60-ies, in Dnepropetrovsk OKB-586, a project of an inter-continental super-heavy rocket P-46 was developed. The ICBM was supposed to place 100-megaton nuclear charge, in the future it became the prototype of the super-heavy space launch vehicle P-56, actually a competitor of the royal H-1.
And another OKB-52 with its MBR UR-500 with a starting weight of 600 tons reached a technical embodiment. The missile had tactical and technical characteristics (TTH), significantly exceeding the performance characteristics of all the existing missiles at that time both in the USSR and abroad. It was supposed to be created as a means of retaliation in the event of an attack on the USSR of a possible enemy. As a battle charge, it was planned to use the most powerful domestic charge tested in October on Novaya Zemlya on Earth 1961 MT. But fortunately, due to the development of strategic nuclear forces, the need for such means disappeared and the UR-50 became only a space launch vehicle.
It is difficult to say whether the above ideas of A.D. Sakharov could be put into practical implementation. It is impossible to exclude such a thing to the end - there was too much authority that he then enjoyed from the leadership of the country.
But even in the case of the implementation of the super-torpedo as a means of delivering a hugely powerful nuclear weapon, it did not have any advantages, but it had many drawbacks over other types of weapons that in the 60 began to develop with unprecedented speed.
Then many nuclear projects were a tool of politics. After the 30 test of October 1961, the superbomb newspaper Pravda said its word to the world: “50 megatons is the atomic weapon yesterday. Now even more powerful charges have been created. ” They were not there, but the 150 megaton bomb really was in the project. It was under the frightening effect of the explosion that Khrushchev ordered the delivery of missiles to Cuba, which caused the most serious Caribbean crisis in all the millennia of civilization. The world was on the verge of a third world thermonuclear war.
The fate of the superbomb is sad, at first an attempt was made to use the Tu-95 turbojet heavy bomber as a means of delivering it, but nothing came of it. As a result, the bomb lay peacefully in a warehouse in Arzamas-16, and the Tu-242В bomber (Tu-95-95) bomber adapted for its delivery on the "202 theme" was retired as unnecessary and stood at the back of the airfield in the city of Engels, awaiting disposal ...
A supertorpeda caliber 1550 millimeters? Her model was kept for a long time at the Sevmash plant in Severodvinsk, then it was also disposed of.