In early December last year, the head of the US Air Force Space Command, General John Heithen, stated that Russia and China are developing weapons systems capable of destroying satellites in near-earth orbit.
Some time after the statement of the high-ranking military, the American media, citing unnamed Pentagon employees who were familiar with the situation, reported that even 18 in November 2015 had successfully passed an anti-satellite missile developed in the framework of the ROC Nudol in Russia. Nudol OKR (experimental development project) - as indicated in the American editions.
For a long time, Nudol, the work of which is carried out by the VKO Almaz-Antey concern, remained the most closed topic and was hardly mentioned not only in the open press, but also in corporate publications of defense enterprises.
Let us try to understand whether the mysterious “Nudol” is really a unique anti-satellite rocket or this system is being created to solve completely different problems.
The first references to OCR Nudol can be found in the annual report of the Head System Design Bureau of the Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern (currently NPO Almaz) for 2011 a year. According to the document, GSKB has developed software and algorithmic software, and the funds have been fully utilized. Judging by the fact that in the text the abbreviation OCD is written with the addition of the MF, that is, an integral part, the “headache” according to “Nudol” is the Air Defense Concern itself. The customer of works, as indicated in the report of the State Specialized Design Bureau, is the Ministry of Defense.
In the same year, the mysterious Nudol appeared in the report of Avangard OJSC, a leading Russian manufacturer of large-sized fiberglass products and other plastics and rubber products. In the interests of the Ministry of Defense there began the implementation of the components of the development work (SCR R & D) on the creation of glass-reinforced plastic cups for transport and launch containers (TPK) of the product 14А042, the cipher "Nudol". And already in 2012, the company not only completed the R & D in glasses, but also released working design documentation for TPK prototypes. The presence in the product index of the letter A and the number 14 allows us to conclude that 14А042 is most likely a rocket related to space assets. Creating TPK, according to Avangard, required more than 42 million rubles.
In 2012, Nudol appeared in the annual report of the St. Petersburg Design Bureau of Special Engineering, which is part of the Almaz-Antey Concern, which develops and manufactures machines and mechanisms with hydraulic, pneumatic or electric drives while simultaneously combining high power. KBSM has prepared working documentation for the self-propelled launcher and transport-loading machine in the framework of the design and development work "Nudol". From the report for 2013, the year becomes known: the Nudol launcher carries the PNNUMX index, and the base for it is the products of the Minsk plant of wheeled tractors (MZKT). As in previous years, the work on the product and equipment was performed in full.
It is noteworthy that at the beginning of 2013, a letter from an employee of the Ekaterinburg machine-building plant named after M.I. Kalinin appeared on the Internet, where not only was the 14A042 product mentioned, but it was also confirmed that it was a rocket. If the case for a new product was manufactured at MZiK, then the final assembly was carried out at the production base of the Novator Design Bureau. The most amazing thing is that the release of the mysterious rocket was not without scandal. According to the author of the letter, he was required to install instead of special bolts on the product, as indicated in the text, “longer by five millimeters than in KD, from an unknown steel grade that does not comply with the KD coating, an unknown GOST or TU”.
31 March 2014 of the year Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant reported that the adapted modification of the hull-wheel chassis MZKT-69221 with the 032 index will be the basis for the transport vehicle of the new long-range interception system of the Russian anti-missile and anti-space defense developed in the framework of the Nudol design and development works. True now news from site MZKT removed.
At the end of 2015, a photo of the corporate calendar page of the VKO Almaz-Antey concern appeared on the Internet with the image of a certain self-propelled launcher based on a six-axle tractor MZKT-79291 with two unusually long TPCs.
Let's summarize. According to the available documents, “Nudol” is an experimental design work on the creation of a long-range interception system for antimissile and anti-space defense, the lead developer of which is Almaz-Antey. The complex should be hit by the 14А042 missiles, its development and pilot production is carried out by the Novator Design Bureau. "Nudol" is a mobile complex, part of the elements of which is installed on cars of the MZKT-69221 family, as well as, possibly, other products of the Minsk plant of wheeled tractors.
Some applied conspiracy
The complex for long-range interception of anti-missile and anti-space defense with the index 14Ц033 was mentioned in the tender, information about which is posted in July 2012 of the year on the public procurement portal. According to the requirements of the announced competition for the complex, it is planned to develop the product 14Ц031 - it is also the early warning radar. True, the document itself has already been deleted from the portal.
The product 14Ц033 can also be found in the annual report of the State Design Office Almaz-Antey for 2011, where the mention of “Nudol” also appeared for the first time. As indicated in the document, the design office developed the initial version of the software and algorithmic software (PJSC) KVP (product 14P078) of the product 14Ц033 and design documentation for the components of the 14ПХNUMX product as a body and hardware container, the program and testing procedure 078П14.
It can be assumed that the CWP is a command computing point, with a mobile one, since its components are located in the back of the container.
The authors of the article did not manage to find documentary evidence that 14Ц033 is Nudol, but this version is supported by the fact that it is unlikely that in Russia, especially in the same Almaz-Antey concern, two different complexes are being developed intercept missile and anti-space defense. But we can assume another option: "Nudol" is only part of a more advanced system 14Ц033, for example, its mobile component.
According to the reports of the corporation for 2012 and 2013, the design of the design documentation was completed and the installation batches of the main 14Ц031 radar stations with a digital adaptive phased antenna array were made, tests of the 14C033 complex components began.
The 14Ц031 radar is often referred to in connection with the recently begun work on the modernization of the A-3 anti-missile defense system of the anti-ballistic missile defense radar system located in Moscow region. Currently, the "Danube" is working on dismantling old equipment in order to prepare for the creation of the product 35Ц14. There are photos on the Internet which clearly show that the equipment on the radar is being actively dismantled.
This information is consistent with the Almaz-Antey reporting documents, which state that the first elements of 14Ц031 were not only ready for 2012 – 2013, but most likely were already installed and tested according to the list of works on the 14Ц033 complex.
According to reports, testing of 14А042 missiles began as early as 2014. 25 last April, when launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome, an experimental rocket crashed. According to the initial Russian media reports, the weight of the fallen product was 9,6 tons, and the payload was an empty blank with instrumentation.
However, after some time, official representatives of the VKO concern made a statement that the upgraded Antey-2500 missile was launched in Plesetsk, but due to the deviation of the velocity vector in the initial part of the trajectory from the specified restrictions on the security sector, regular self-destruction occurred.
This version of events causes objective doubts. Thus, the weight of the Antey-2500 standard missiles (the export version of the C-300ВМ AAMS) is slightly more than four tons, and the 9М83 is even less - about 2,2 tons. Although we are talking about some kind of experimental rocket, it is very doubtful that its mass has grown in comparison with those already commissioned by two to four times.
Plesetsk is not a training ground in Kapustin Yar or Sary-Shagan. This is the spaceport. Its capabilities as sites for testing anti-aircraft guided missiles are very limited.
It is possible that in April 2015, the launch of the 14А042 product of the Nudol complex took place, which, unfortunately, ended in failure. It can be assumed that the rocket itself is quite dimensional, and its weight is more than nine tons, which is very close to the characteristics of the 53Т6 anti-missile, which is part of the A-125 complex.
One to one
Summarize. In Russia, a complex of long-range interception of the anti-missile and anti-space defense 14Ц033, which with high probability is the “Nudol”, is being actively created. It includes the command and computing point 14P078, the 14Ц031 early warning radar, as well as self-propelled launchers equipped with 14X042 missiles.
Taking into account the location of the 14Ц031 radar in the Chekhov region near Moscow, it can be assumed that Nudol is initially included or partially integrated into the larger-scale anti-missile defense system A-235, also known as Samolet-M. It is noteworthy that in many documents these systems are indicated with a comma.
Separately, it is worthwhile to dwell on automobile chassis, which can be used for mounting SPU and TZM of the 14Ц033 complex. So far, it is reliably known only about MZKT-69221, which, according to the statement of the Minsk wheel tractor plant, will become the base for the transport vehicles of the new complex.
69221 is a rather popular product in the Almaz-Antey concern. On its base, in particular, launchers of the Buk anti-aircraft missile system are already being mounted. One such car was presented at the corporation’s exposition at last year’s Moscow Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky.
If the version that 2015А14 was launched from Plesetsk in April 042, is true, then the MZKT-69221 tractor is hardly suitable for the base role for the self-propelled launcher. As a SPU and TZM, it should rather be considered a heavier and more dimensional MZKT-79291, the launcher on the basis of which hit the picture in the corporate calendar of the VKO Almaz-Antey concern.
It can be assumed that elements of the command-computing point 69221P14 or other components of the complex that provide communication and transmission of information will most likely be placed on more compact MZKT-078 units.
But can the “Nudol” intercept satellites, as the representatives of the Pentagon claim? The indices of all the products that make up the complex, where the 14 figure is present, are in favor of this version, which means they belong to space assets. We must not forget that in the name of the system there is the phrase “anti-space defense”.
Again, if the version that last year in the Arkhangelsk region failed precisely for 14А042 is correct, it is likely that the anti-satellite capabilities of Nudol by Almaz-Antey specialists are at least practiced. It is worth recalling that the Russian anti-missile tests are not being carried out in Plesetsk, but in Kazakhstan’s Sary-Shagan, it’s the 10 State Test Site of the Russian Defense Ministry.
Against the anti-satellite version weapons says the fact that the weight of the latest missile is just over 9,6 tons, this makes 14A042 more likely a short-range interceptor missile with the caveat about the possibility of hitting targets outside the atmosphere. Suffice it to say that the long-range 51T6 long-range interceptor missile, which had already been taken out of service, weighed a little more than 30 tons, which is an order of magnitude more than the Nudol.
But even without having the ability to shoot down enemy satellites, 14Ц033 provides the Russian Aerospace forces with truly unique capabilities, at times increasing their combat potential. Currently, the anti-missile launchers that make up the ABM A-135 and the new A-235 missile systems are located in the mines, which are known to our likely opponents for a long time. “Nudol” is a maneuverable complex, which makes it possible to unfold and hit targets secretly from enemy intelligence assets.
It begs the analogy with the mine launchers of ICBMs and mobile ground-based missile complexes. After all, it is impossible to deny the fact that the presence in service of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation the PGRK Topol, Topol-M and Yars-M serves as the most important deterrent factor for our likely adversary.