The Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, in cooperation with a number of enterprises, is actively working on the creation of a new Barguzin combat railroad missile complex (BZHRK). In this regard, it is worth remembering that we already had a BZHRK RT-23UTTH (“Good for you”), which caused serious concern to our military-political opponents.
For many years the existence of BZHRK in our country, and even more so the data on their appearance were strictly confidential information. Activities in this area were conducted in compliance with the strictest regime measures.
At the very beginning of the development of rocket and space systems, it became clear that it would not be possible to keep the location of strategic missile installations secret. Then different thoughts about character were voiced, different scenarios of future wars were considered. There were serious discussions involving the military and industry. As a result, the doctrine of guaranteed retaliation, that is, deterrence, was approved.
Accordingly, measures were required to increase the combat stability of ground-based RK. It was believed that mobile missile systems (PPK), or at least part of them, would survive and be able to participate in a retaliatory strike.
Sketches of the future complex
Work on PPH developed in two directions. The Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering was engaged in a mobile soil rocket complex (PGRK), and BZhRK was engaged in the USSR Ministry of General Engineering.
The development program of the RT-23 and RT-23UTTH complexes, including BZHRK, involved a unique cooperation of enterprises of industrial ministries and the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. A qualitatively new system required the solution of many problems in the field of technology, new materials, element base. Direct state regulation was carried out by the Commission on Military-Industrial Issues under the USSR Council of Ministers. The Ministry of Defense acted as a state customer, controlled the process, carried out certain types of work. Minobschemash was responsible for the task as a whole and the main components of the complexes.
The Dnepropetrovsk Yuzhnoye design bureau, led by general designer Vladimir Utkin, became the head organization involved in the creation of the BZHRK RT-23UTTH, as well as first-stage rockets and engines.
Yuzhnoye Design Bureau worked together with the Southern Machine-Building Plant Production Association; they were located on the same territory and formed a Dnepropetrovsk rocket cluster together with related enterprises. The Pavloradsky mechanical plant, which was part of the software, manufactured and tested solid fuel engines of Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, assembled and tested missiles of the RT-23 family, assembled, tested and handed over BZHRK.
The St. Petersburg Design Bureau for Special Engineering was responsible for the combat railway complex as a whole and the launcher (PU). Perm NPO Iskra - for the complex of the third stage. Moscow Research Institute of Automation and Instrumentation - for the control system. The Moscow-based Central Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering analyzed the prospects for the development of rocket technology, carried out the examination of design materials for the complexes, analyzed the course of experiments. In total, several hundreds of industrial enterprises participated in the program.
BZHRK was not born from scratch. The basis for it was the work carried out in the USSR in the 50 – 60-s in the various RoKs. On the other hand, in the USSR, for many years they were engaged in heavy artillery systems on railway transporters. A specific experience has been accumulated, which served as the starting point for the appearance (of course, on a different technical basis) of railway starting RK. However, this apparently attractive idea turned out to be extremely difficult to implement. The level of development of rocket production, solid-propelled engine building, materials, solid fuels, control systems was still insufficient. The military and industrialists did not form a unified view of the necessary characteristics. There were heated discussions, tactical and technical tasks changed many times. What was happening had a great influence on the seductive idea of saving time and money by creating unified missiles for various complexes or at least unifying their basic elements.
At the first stage in 1967, a draft design of RC RT-21 appeared, one of the variants of which was the railway complex. The weight of the RT-21 with the transport and launch container (TPK) was estimated at 42 tons, the length together with TPK is 17 meters. The rocket had three stages, all used solid fuel engines with a mixed fuel.
The project of a railway complex with the RT-21 showed the fundamental possibility of the emergence of mobile railway complexes of intercontinental range and served as a prototype for subsequent development of the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau.
However, all work on the PT-21 stopped at the stage of sketches. Numerous updates needed a new element base, fuels, materials. At the same time, the requirements of the customer in the person of the Ministry of Defense grew faster than the possibilities of their implementation.
In pursuit of the wishes of the customer
At the next stage, Yuzhnoye Design Bureau is entrusted with the preparation of the RT-22 complex with the solid fuel 15ХХNNXX rocket, the starting mass of which was to be determined on the basis of the dimensions of the mine launchers that are in service with the RT-43 and SD-2, and also considering the possibility of the appearance of a mobile complex rail-based. That is, it was about unification. Based on this, the starting weight 100Ж15 with intercontinental range was already 43 tons.
In 1969, the principle of approval was obtained. But the transition from active design to the next stage failed: the customer was not satisfied with the effectiveness of the rocket, as well as the high cost and duration of the creation of the complex. In 1973, the program was frozen. Nevertheless, the possibility of a significant increase in the energy of the rocket through the use of new fuels has been proven. The provision of power for the production of the engines themselves and their testing turned out to be extremely important. A fundamental shift in the solid-fuel direction occurred at the stage of work on the PT-22 complex, when a large-size solid-fuel 15D122 appeared.
This was followed by the birth of a family of unified large-sized engines for the first stages of rockets. It was necessary to ensure the general design of the first-stage engines for the PT-23 and the D-19 naval rocket. Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and Machine Building Design Bureau jointly engaged in determining mutually acceptable characteristics. By May, 1973-th managed to choose the parameters for the first stages of both.
It was not possible to achieve complete unification, but most of the constructive solutions for ЗД65 were used when creating 15Д206 for 15Ж44.
3D65 generally went very hard. The main problems were related to ensuring the efficiency of the thrust vector control system, which was carried out by blowing “hot” gas into the supercritical part of the nozzle. Many tests ended in accidents, each of them was perceived as a disaster. Due to the heroic efforts of the developers and leading industry institutions, the marine complex was nevertheless put into operation.
Against this background, in 1973, the construction of the RT-23 complex with a stationary mine start was started.
A permanent increase by the customer of the performance requirements, on the one hand, required the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau to constantly search for ways to implement them, and in some cases this led to original conclusions, and on the other, it certainly increased the creation time of the complex.
As a result of the heated debate on the dimension of the rocket, a decision was made about the launch mass of about 100 tons. Subsequently, the following mass-dimensional characteristics were clarified: the starting mass ~ 106 tons (subject to the limitations under the SALT-2 Agreement) and the length in the transport position — the 21,9 meter (to ensure the planned placement in the BZHRK PU). The rocket was originally supposed with monoblock combat equipment and was intended for installation in stationary mine PU. However, in 1979, the requirements changed again: they considered it appropriate to replace the monoblock warhead with a split, capable of carrying up to 10 warheads and a set of means to overcome missile defense. There was also an order to create not only a stationary complex with 15Ж44, but also a combat railway complex with 15Ж52 (based on 15Ж44).
Caution, the roof opens
In parallel with the birth of the rocket, work was under way on a combat railway launch complex (BZHSK). A very large amount of ground-based experimental refinement of rocket elements and the launch complex, their systems was required. For carrying out several cycles of transport tests prepared three special trains.
15Ж61 BZHRK RT-23 in the final form in the TLC had a length of 21,9 meters, in flight with a nadduty tip it increased to 23 meters. Diameter - 2,4 meter. Starting weight - 104,5 tons. Serious equipment included, in particular, up to 10 warheads.
The rocket in the car was in TPK. During operation, it was not removed from it. The opening roof of the car was used not only during start-up, but also during technological operations.
During the launch, BZHRK stopped if it was in motion. Then, the special contact system was set aside with a special system, additional side supports of the starting car and elements of the aiming system were exposed. After that, the roof was opened and, using a pneumatic drive with a powder accumulator of pressure, the TPC with a rocket was raised to a vertical position. Then a mortar launch was made.
One of the main tasks in creating the BZhSK is the need to reduce the load on the axles of the starting carriage to acceptable values. The mass of PU together with the missile in TPC exceeded 200 tons, which, with a reasonable number of axles, contributed to an unacceptable load on each. The problem was solved by transferring part of the load to adjacent, front and rear cars using special devices and using an increased number of axles - two four-axle carts instead of the usual two-axle ones. This method of reducing the load on the axle with its decomposition into adjacent cars was previously used in heavy artillery rail installations. The power elements of the three-car trailer were hidden in the inter-car junctions.
A three-car coupler was a starting module that was not divided during normal operation. In BZHRK there were three such modules. If necessary, each of them could go on patrol routes on their own (it was enough to attach one of the locomotives available in the BZHRK).
To provide start-ups on electrified sections of roads, they designed a rather complicated system of shorting and retraction of the contact network. This was necessary to ensure the launch from any point of the patrol route. BZHRK was equipped with equipment not only conventional communication systems, but also a special combat control system.
The duration of the stay of personnel in a confined space, working conditions and habitability BZHRK was similar to a missile submarine. In the cars BZHRK personnel placed in the compartment. There were warehouses of food and consumables, kitchens, canteens. Places of combat duty in their design resembled workplaces of personnel of stationary RK.
Flight tests BZHRK RT-23, then RT-23UTTH were conducted at the Plesetsk range under the direction of the state commission. The first launch of 15Ж44 for a stationary start took place in October 1982 of the year. Testing of 15Ж52 from BZHRK began in January of 1984.
Immediately, the need to further improve the characteristics of the rocket, retrofitting the launch complex became obvious. A special plan of measures was developed for the complex with improved tactical and technical characteristics (UTTH). BZHRK with UTTH received the name "Well done".
The first launch of the RT-23UTTH (15Ж61) from BZHRK took place in April 1985 of the year, even before the completion of the RT-23 start (15Ж52) from the railway start. Flight tests BZHRK RT-XNUMHUTTH ended in December 23-th. Later, in 1987 and 1998, two more test runs were carried out.
Combat duty with and without departure
The development of BZHRK began in the Kostroma missile division. The first regiment was formed in advance, back in 1983 year. The command of the division and the regiment had to practically develop the new railway equipment from scratch, create a training material base, equip posts for duty and BZHRK parking places.
The first missile regiment with the RT-23UTTH was up on experimental combat duty in October of the 1987. In total, three missile divisions were deployed, armed with BZHRK with RT-23UTTH. They operated 12 BZHRK, each of which was a regiment. He was armed with one train with three PU.
Contrary to popular belief BZHRK not "worn" throughout the country, although they could. Their operation was carried out in the positional areas allocated for each division. In each there was a point of permanent deployment in which the trains were serviced. The compositions were located at a distance of several kilometers from each other in stationary structures. With increasing levels of alert, they could disperse on combat patrol routes. When moving along the country's railway network, the BZhRK made it possible to quickly change the starting positions up to a thousand kilometers a day.
After the decision was made to deploy BZhRK, the Ministry of Railways of the USSR carried out extensive work to prepare future combat patrol routes. Modernized several thousand kilometers of ways.
A feature of the BZHRK was that before it could arrive at the point of permanent dislocation, it was moved from the factory in Pavlograd to a nearby station. It was kept for seven days, showing all the partners of the START Treaty to all the space reconnaissance equipment. And only after that they were sent to the point of permanent deployment. Formally, this flowed from the Soviet-American strategic arms control treaties. Another and more weighty reason is the demonstration to a potential aggressor of real-life systems capable of striking back.
As for the identification of the enemy BZHRK on the patrol route, it was not completely invisible train. An experienced specialist could see that this is an unusual train. But where and when he will proceed further is not reliably determined.
Practice has shown that with a well-developed warning system of an enemy attack and a BZHRK movement control system, providing for emergency exit from a parking lot, it was not possible to hit it or disable it. BZHRK during this time could retire to a distance, ensuring its survival. In the threatened period with bringing the troops to the highest levels of combat readiness, the intensity of the movement of BZhRK on patrol routes could be seriously increased.
Until 1991, the BZhRK of three divisions of the Strategic Missile Forces carried out military service on the USSR railways. This was a problem for the US military-political establishment. America constantly put pressure on the leadership of the USSR so that it would eliminate this threat. And achieved success in this. In 1991, the decision is made to maintain combat duty of the BZHRK at bases without leaving the country’s railway network. This almost completely deprived any sense of the existence of BZHRK. More than 10 years BZHRK stood, as they say, laid up.
In the next START-2 Treaty, signed in January 1993, the key provision was the elimination of all “heavy class” ICBMs and mobile missile systems. In response to the initiative of the United States about the alleged cessation of the development of the “MX” ICBM railroad-based, the leadership of our country hastened to announce the refusal of further deployment and modernization of the RS-23UTH ICBM.
King of the land ocean
The warranty period of the BZHRK 15P961 complex was initially relatively short. Then it was extended to 15 years. Accordingly, the use of the very first complexes put on duty became impossible in 2001. The service life of all 15Ж61 was naturally limited to the middle of the 2000-x.
Unlike domestic rocket engines with LRE, which remain operational in a filled state for three decades, rockets with solid propellant rocket motors by the specificity of the fuels used have a shorter service life.
In the United States, the elimination of solid-fuel charges from the engine housings and the subsequent filling them with new fuel was used to extend the lifespan of the Minuteman family of missiles. However, in the context of a rupture of political and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine, a shortage of funds, the unstable functioning of financial systems, the catastrophic degradation of governing bodies, the washing out of them of qualified and experienced specialists, such a program with respect to RT-23UTTH (15Х61) turned out to be unrealistic.
So the decommissioning and subsequent liquidation of 15Ж61 in 2002 – 2006 had not only political, but also technical, as well as organizational reasons. In September, the last rocket division of BZhRK was removed from combat duty by 2005. By the beginning of 2007, all 15Ж61 were disposed of (with American funds), and PUs were eliminated.
History BZhRK could have continued, because simultaneously with the adoption of the railway complex with RT-XNUMHUTTH, Yuzhnoye Design Bureau began the design work on the prospective Yermak solid-fuel complex (RT-XNUMHUTHM). All the experience gained was taken into account, new materials and fuels were applied. The program was frozen for political reasons.
In modern conditions, the presence in Russia of a capable army, including SNF effective in any conditions, remains a powerful factor of international stability, a guarantee of national sovereignty. They must survive in the event of a strike on Russia and inflict unacceptable damage to a potential aggressor, blocking his undesirable actions. There is no doubt that if Russia at the turn of the century did not keep the reduced but capable potential of strategic nuclear forces, history would have gone a completely different way.
PKK is one of the effective means of strategic nuclear forces. No wonder the United States achieved their elimination by Russia. BZHRK in a sense is the equivalent of nuclear submarines with SLBMs, the biggest plus of which remained the difficulty of detection and, accordingly, damage. But submarines operating in the oceans outside the territorial waters of the country are difficult to control and can be affected by a variety of reconnaissance and strike means. Moreover, these funds are developing rapidly. Boats need constant protection and support with very expensive and complex means. fleet.
At the same time, Russia has a unique resource - a huge sovereign territory, and in this land ocean BZHRK is difficult not only to be discovered, but also to hit. And the use of existing natural and man-made shelters makes this task even more difficult. In addition, it is much easier and cheaper to operate simple railway facilities, as well as points of permanent deployment on its territory, than submarines with SLBMs.
Of particular interest are mobile railway complexes as an effective means of countering the new US approach to deploying a missile defense system with a sea-based priority, whose funds can be transferred to any area of the ocean. But even faster can be transferred across the territory of Russia BZHRK. Because of this, the deployment today of the creation of the Barguzin BZHRK is a major strategic task.