On November 17, the TASS news agency, citing an unnamed source in the defense industry, provided some details of the work on the PC-28 Sarmat project. The source said that employees of the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant completed the construction of the first prototype of a promising ICBM. Already manufactured 100% of the necessary structural elements. Some components and assemblies are tested in the factory. Thus, a prototype of the Sarmat rocket can be transferred for testing in the very near future, but the timing of their start depends on the performance of other works.
According to the source, tests of the new missile system will be conducted at the Plesetsk test site. Especially for tests of the PC-28 rocket, one of the silo launchers must undergo refurbishment and receive a set of new equipment that will enable it to launch new ICBMs. Re-equipment of the launcher will continue for several months. The installation will be ready for testing only in March next year.
In the early spring of 2016, it is planned to complete the conversion of the silo launcher, which will allow for the first tests. The first launch of the prototype rocket "Sarmat" can occur in March. The source claims that it may be the only throwing tests. In case of successful execution of the first such launch, the subsequent ones will not be needed, which will allow to proceed to other tests.
A source from the TASS agency notes that when working on similar projects between throwing and flight design tests, it takes about three to four months. Thus, the first full-fledged launch of a new type of ICBM could take place in July or August of the following year. In the future, there will be several other launches that will allow you to check and modify the missile system before being put into service.
It is reported that plans for the timing of the tests of the new rocket have been adjusted. They were shifted to the right due to changes in the site on which test launches should take place. Initially, the Baikonur cosmodrome, which had the necessary equipment, was considered as a testing ground. Later it was decided to transfer the tests to the Plesetsk test site, which required some additional work. A TASS source said that the Sarmat’s tests will use a fairly old silo launcher, which was previously used to test the Voyevoda P-36М2 missiles.
The source said that not only the dates for the start of the tests have changed. For certain reasons, the manufacture of the first prototype of the rocket was also delayed. The assembly of this product was completed several months later than the date provided for by the original work schedule. However, it is argued that this fact will not affect the overall timing of the project. The new intercontinental ballistic missile, as planned earlier, will be adopted by the Strategic Missile Forces in the last months of 2018.
It should be noted that the postponement of the completion of the assembly of the first prototype of the PC-28 rocket is not news. So, at the end of February of this year, TASS reported that about 30% of the rocket design elements were manufactured. The unnamed source in the defense industry then claimed that it would take no more than two or three months to complete the assembly of the new product, so that in May or June the rocket would be handed over for tests, which were then stated to be held at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
In February, some details of the project were also clarified. In particular, it was argued that the first prototype would be a layout with a set of systems having the same dimensions and weight as a full-fledged rocket. The task of this prototype will be to exit the launcher using a powder pressure accumulator. The launch of the prototype engine is not planned. Instead, the warhead was supposed to install the corresponding cargo.
At the end of June, TASS again reported on the progress of work on assembling the first Sarmat. According to updated data, the construction of the prototype was delayed, because of which the work schedule was changed. By this time, 60% structural elements were manufactured, but further work required additional time. It was alleged that the rocket assembly will be completed in September or October. Deadline unnamed source marked the end of October. In June, it was again claimed that the throwing tests would be held at Baikonur.
After more than two weeks after the “red line” indicated at the end of June, new progress reports have appeared. As of mid-November, the prototype PC-28 rocket is allegedly ready for tests, which will be held only in the spring of next year. In addition, it has now become aware of the transfer of tests to another site. For unnamed reasons, the promising missile will be tested at the Plesetsk test site.
It is noteworthy that the change of the landfill also affected the timing of the start of the test. So, in February, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that the Sarmat missile tests will start before the end of this year. Now, their start dates have shifted by at least three months - until the spring of 2016. Thus, the military department and various organizations of the defense industry seemed to have to change the schedule twice in accordance with the current state of affairs and production problems.
It should be noted that shifts in the timing of the implementation of certain stages of the project are not something special or unexpected. The development of any new project is associated with serious difficulties, some of which are quite capable of delaying various works. Available data on the Sarmat project suggest that the developers and builders of the new rocket faced relatively minor problems, which affected the timing of the prototype assembly and the start date of the tests, but have not yet changed the plans for adopting the rocket. As before, it is planned that the corresponding document will appear at the end of 2018 of the year. By this time, should be completed all major work.
According to reports, the development of the project RS-28 "Sarmat" is engaged in the State Rocket Center. Makeeva (Miass) with the participation of some related organizations. The aim of the project is to create a new heavy-duty intercontinental ballistic missile, which will replace the obsolete UR-100N UTTH and P-36М in the army. Currently, strategic rocket forces have several dozen old types of ICBMs that can be operated no more than until the second half of the next decade.
With the creation and mass production of the new Sarmat missile, it is intended to provide the Strategic Missile Forces with the necessary number of new heavy-duty ICBMs, which will preserve or even increase the strike potential of the troops. According to the previously announced data, deliveries of serial "Sarmatians" will begin in 2018-20, which will allow the timely replacement of old missiles to begin.
The technical details of the Sarmat project are still a mystery. It was previously mentioned that the PC-28 product will have a starting weight of the order of 100 t and will receive liquid rocket engines. The drop weight, according to various data, will be at the level of 4,5-5 t, however, some estimates suggest twice the value of this parameter. The combat load will consist of several maneuvering warheads of individual guidance. The types and power of warheads were not specified. Flight range is estimated at 10-11 thousand. Km.
Through the efforts of specialists from several organizations, the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile project RS-28 reached the stage of assembling a prototype and preparing for the first tests. The first launch launch is scheduled for next spring. Flight design tests can start in the summer of the 2016. Thus, plans for launching a rocket into service until the end of 2018 look quite real. By the beginning of the next decade, the Strategic Missile Forces will definitely receive new missiles with enhanced characteristics.
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