Military Review

Option "Comet"

In 2014, it became known that Almaz-Antey Air Defense Concern was working on a long-range missile for air defense systems. In December 2015, the American Washington Post, wrote about test launches of a Russian anti-satellite missile. However, such messages are extremely controversial, since they include, among other things, missile defense systems, which is far from the same thing.
The secret project "Nudol" ("Hunters for satellites") has a rich background. Works on anti-satellite arms were conducted in Soviet times and quite successfully. It was our country that was the first in the fight against space attack, ahead of the United States on 17 years. It is useful to analyze that unique experience.

We were the first

The flight of the first artificial satellite of the Earth (AES) PS-1 (the simplest satellite) was the beginning of an active exploration of the nearest space not only for peaceful but also for military purposes. Everyone knows that the spacecraft (s) was Soviet, but very few people know about our leadership and in the creation of anti-satellite weapons.

We emphasize: our country was the first to take a step into near-Earth space, but it did not start its large-scale militarization. Even before this, the US planned to use space for strikes against the Soviet Union. Americans began to actively develop anti-satellite weapons in the late 50-x. In such a situation, the question of adequate response has become very acute.

17 June 1963, the fateful decision on the creation of an anti-space defense system (PKO). Its head element was the command post (KP) of the PKO IS complex (satellite fighter), which was designed to counter spacecraft hostile to us.

It took Soviet scientists and defense enterprises only five years to create the IS-M complex. Already 1 November 1968, he is the first in stories cosmonautics intercepted the target SV, and in 1972-m was taken into trial operation. Despite the primacy of the United States at the beginning of work on anti-satellite weapons, it took them 17 years to repeat a similar result. Looking ahead: only 13 of September The 1985 of the F-15 fighter with the ASM-135 ASAT rocket hit the inactive American scientific astrophysical target satellite Solwind P78-1.

Every year, fewer and fewer are those who made the complex and served in a separate building controlling space and the anti-space defense of the country's Air Defense Forces. Witnesses and participants of those historical events in the book We Were the First, which is being prepared for publication, tell about some secrets of the creation and use of these weapons.

Space without kamikaze

At the stage of creating an IP, there were several options for dealing with unwanted space guests. One of them, the most effective, is a megaton nuclear strike. But we, unlike the United States, immediately abandoned it because of its “harmfulness” for its funds. The United States conducted practical tests, but for the same reason did not begin to develop this area.

Option "Comet"

We did not go with the project (1961 – 1963) with an aircraft rocket, which was supposed to carry 50 kilograms of explosives. It was closed due to the inefficiency of the guidance system. The idea of ​​Sergei Korolev to create a manned interceptor ship "Soyuz-P" was rejected because of the technical complexity and danger for astronauts. The decision to equip such a ship with space mini-rockets did not pass for the same reasons. One of the last unrealized projects turned out to be a space mine project, which suggested the launch into orbit of a permanent group of interceptor satellites. They could be in sleep mode and at the right time when flying near the enemy to be activated by command. But the plan was too expensive. In the end, won the option "Comet", which was carried out in record time. What was he like?

Already in May, the United States launched 1958 with a B-47 Stratojet bomber with a nuclear warhead Bold Orion bomber to test the possibility of hitting spacecraft. Work on this and other projects forced the Soviet leadership in 1960, 1962 and 1963 to take response decisions. The first two became the basis for creating systems:

missile defense (missile defense);
rocket attack warnings (EWS);
space defense (PKO).

And the third solution gave impetus to the creation of an IP complex, which included a command post, eight radar sites, two launch positions for launch vehicles, spacecraft interceptors with a charge of ordinary explosive.

Thus, the IP complex has become a means of real impact on enemy satellites. But all this appeared not by magic.

In order to implement government decrees, a powerful cooperation of scientific institutes and enterprises was formed in a short time. In particular, the OKB-52 (under the leadership of Academician Vladimir Chelomey) developed an interceptor spacecraft, a target (target) spacecraft and a launch vehicle. The Kometa Central Scientific Research Institute (the chief designer is Academician Anatoly Savin, his deputy is Konstantin Vlasko-Vlasov, Doctor of Technical Sciences) created the IP system, its ground-based and airborne systems, software, and individual automation elements. Many other defense companies worked at full capacity.

Surprisingly, then, without any import substitution in a short time, a KA-interceptor was created under the name “Flight-1”, launched on November 1 1963 of the year. In parallel with it - KA-target. She, despite the musical name "Lyre", could withstand the shelling of three space "killer" type "Flight". Overall, from 19, the tested 11 interceptor KAs proved to be workable.

In the summer of 1964, the station for determining the coordinates and transmitting commands (SOC and PC) to the control system KP system began operating. And in 1965, the country began to create a full-fledged rocket and space complex with a 11K69 PH.

Four years later, the state tests of the space control center (CSCP), more precisely, its first stage and informational interface with the OS-1 and OS-2 satellites detecting systems of the missile attack warning system and the control system of the IS PKO complex, passed. As a result, the GACC received the task of providing IP target designation. In December, the 1972 complex was put into trial operation.

All stages were bound by strict deadlines and control execution of government orders. There was no theft and corruption in the system, which these days accompanied, for example, the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome. That is, that control system, at least in the defense industry, was much more efficient than the current “vertical”. And the planned economy allowed strictly to ask negligent managers of enterprises and business executives for disrupting tasks.

In the "top ten" in the second round

After a series of interceptor launches in 1978, the upgraded IS-M complex with a radar homing head (GOS) is being adopted. It is handed over to the Troops of the rocket-space defense and is placed on combat duty.

We emphasize once again: we were not the initiators of the militarization of outer space. We were systematically pulled into it.

After the United States refused the proposal not to create or test anti-satellite weapons, the USSR, nevertheless, imposed a one-sided moratorium on testing. The last successful interception took place on 18 on June 1982. The target satellite (Cosmos-1375) was hit by an interceptor KA (Cosmos-1379). And in 1993, Russia, as a gesture of goodwill, removed the IS-M PKO complex from service. All documentation about him is archived. As the first commander of the separate corps of the SCC and PKO (1988 – 1992) Lieutenant General Alexander Suslov notes, such is the heroic and dramatic fate of the IS-M PKO complex. During its operation, the 41 spacecraft was actually used, including two experimental Flight, 19 KA targets and 20 KA interceptors.

What was this weapon?

Some of the possibilities of the interceptor, which are open today, can be judged by the memoirs of Vlasko-Vlasov. According to him, the IP designed to destroy space targets at altitudes up to a thousand kilometers could hit them in the range from 100 to 1350 kilometers. The radar homing head (RLGSN), which replaced the original thermal one, captured an object at a distance of about 20 kilometers, and the radio fuse ensured a reliable detonation of the warhead at a distance of up to 18 meters from the target. These characteristics allowed attacking an uninvited guest from any angle.

The complex included a ground command and computing point in the Moscow region, a special launching pad at the Baikonur test site, a launch vehicle and the KA interceptor itself. The most important elements of the complex were the radar satellite detection units OS-1 (Irkutsk) and OS-2 (Balkhash) with powerful Dnepr radar.

Savin and Vlasko-Vlasov designed the original, compact radar station for determining the coordinates and transmitting commands to the interceptor, as well as remote receiving posts. The combat program was debugged at the computer complex.

The principle of operation was both simple and unique. After the detection of an enemy satellite in outer space, a launch was made. At the first turn of the flight, the target parameters were refined. The results of their processing in the form of commands were transmitted onboard the IC, which was already on the second turn, carried out a combat maneuver, the GOS detected the satellite, there was a rapprochement with it on the catch-up or head-on course, after which, in the homing mode, the charge was detonated and the target was destroyed with probability 0,9 – 0,95.

A special role in the serif of space targets and the issuance of primary coordinates was played by the space control system (UCSS), which was based on the OS-1 and OS-2 nodes. The SSS recorded all known space objects and revealed new ones, giving out information about the most dangerous ones.

High quality and reliability of products of those years deserves attention. There is undoubted merit of the bodies of military acceptance, which was, according to the memoirs of veterans, iron. Even at that level of technology, final products often served much longer than the established deadlines. Thus, the equipment of the IP system with the warranty period of 12 years worked 40 years, and it could have lasted longer.

The main achievement of the developers of the world's first satellite fighter is that the foundation of modern anti-space defense of Russia was created. Thanks to her, we got not only a good start, but also a durable umbrella to protect against an attack from orbit. Although it may be full of holes if you do not continue to develop.

Killers in orbit

It is clear that the United States conducted work in the same direction. Through trial and error, they made several anti-missile options, most of which, however, suffered a fiasco, despite significant financial spending. Over the ocean could afford it. But the mentioned launch of the ASM-135 rocket was the only successful one. In 1988, the program has been closed.

Today there are no officially deployed anti-satellite weapons systems. But there are no restrictions on its creation. The facts show that several states are actively working on this topic. Space intelligence and communications are the basis for modern concepts of warfare in general and the use of precision weapons in particular. Disabling the former inevitably leads to the loss of the latter.

According to some information, modern anti-satellite systems are being created in Iran, China, North Korea, the USA and Russia. Beijing conducted the first tests back in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007, he shot down his own meteo-satellite Fengyun-1С. In the same years, the Pentagon reported on the facts of exposure of American spacecraft to ground-based lasers from China.

But the leader of such works was and remains the United States. A missile-based Aegis missile defense system with the RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) missile has been adopted. It was such an 2008 in February that the failed US military satellite USA-193 was shot down.

There is reason to believe that the United States has also created systems that force enemy's spacecraft not to carry out work commands or send false ones. And in 90, stealth satellites were tested (the MISTY program), which cannot be detected by existing means. The head of the international network of amateur astronomers Canadian Ted Molzhan confirms the presence of such satellites.

All this suggests that the militarization of space is in full swing. The one who will be there first with a perfect anti-satellite weapon, and will own a space that can not be divided into borders and zones of influence, like the Earth. In this regard, the answer to the question of whether Russia needs to create a super-heavy launch vehicle that will be able to put combat platforms with laser and anti-satellite weapons into orbit is more than obvious.

But apparently, we have not yet formed a clear concept for either the super-heavy rocket, or the creation of the latest anti-satellite systems as a whole.
21 comment
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  1. 34 region
    34 region 10 July 2016 06: 40
    And how after this article is not sarcastic? How without private business, Western investment and technology were able to create such a technique?
    1. 11 black
      11 black 10 July 2016 07: 38
      Quote: Region 34
      And how after this article is not sarcastic? How without private business, Western investment and technology were able to create such a technique?

      Excuse me, but what is the connection between private business and the creation of "such technology"?
      And when did the West give us "such technologies"? Any important defense technology anyway? - private business and military space are not connected in any way.
      1. 34 region
        34 region 10 July 2016 08: 16
        11 black! 07.38. So I think too. What is the connection here? But since the 90s, they constantly tryndy about our backwardness. They constantly ask uncle to help us. Well, without him, we simply can’t do it. But the article says the opposite. They could even do better and faster uncles. And what is the connection between private business and the creation of various industries?
        1. 11 black
          11 black 10 July 2016 09: 30
          Quote: Region 34
          They constantly ask uncle to help us.

          In the 90’s they asked, yes, but what’s the matter - the former pioneers and Komsomol members asked ... I can’t understand - was the USSR so far behind the West as a people’s life that its own citizens were happy about its collapse?
          I myself did not have much time to live in the Union, but I remember how everyone rushed to vote for Yeltsin, I remember how tens of millions and people voted for him, that he got twice as many votes as the Communists - that’s the question, WHY?
          And since the mid-2000s, especially closer to 2010, no one will "help" us, except that they can help with all their might ... and no one, except for "liberoids", is waiting for help, and so no longer asks.
          Quote: Region 34
          But with the 90's we are constantly trying to learn about our backwardness.

          There is something else - in the USSR there was very strict censorship, but now - now there is Internet, mobile communication, forums, chats, social networks - every smartphone has a 20MP video camera that can upload a snapshot to the network instantly and from any inhabited point on the planet. And this picture will fly across the continents in days or even hours - that is, it is impossible to organize censorship, and moreover, you can make informational stuffings of unprecedented proportions.
          And to conduct propaganda of a new level to conduct - which they use.
          1. 34 region
            34 region 10 July 2016 12: 26
            11 black! 09.30. As for censorship today, the issue is quite controversial. It seems that everything is true about the connection, the Internet. But censorship is fierce today. The main media belong to a narrow circle of people. Through the media there is a manipulation of consciousness. And very effective. It’s amazing how articles about Soviet achievements are held at VO. It is nice of course that we wiped our nose with our modern partners more than once.
          2. Izotovp
            Izotovp 10 July 2016 23: 20
            One of the imbalances of life in the late 80s: we wanted to live as we compared ourselves only with the USA, less often with Germany, but we lived at the level of Italy, which in general was also a good achievement given our isolation from the West and recovery from the Second World War . If the people understood this, then .. even though in 91 there was a coup and a betrayal of the country by the elite and the people were powerless.
      2. fzr1000
        fzr1000 10 July 2016 10: 11
        Boeing, Nootropus and Lockheid deuro are private companies, but they are all related to the Cosmos, if you did not know.
  2. Svoy_tovarish
    Svoy_tovarish 10 July 2016 07: 58
    The USSR was good. Oh, how good. From scratch to create such complex systems, even in 5 years ... It remains to be believed and hoped that in the near future, Russia, on its own, on the basis of only domestic production and technology, will be able to create new, promising space systems.
    1. Gvas1174
      Gvas1174 10 July 2016 09: 31
      All the misfortune in the profits that has been elevated everywhere to the rank of a deity, in pursuit of it, a lot is being done of such that it further carries on.
      Capitalism in the form in which it is with us is contraindicated to us. And the demand under the USSR was right, and now all the thieves feel calm and there is no answer for anything.
      Sad but fixable
  3. You Vlad
    You Vlad 10 July 2016 08: 27
    I am confident in our scientists, they have a great school, they won’t let them down! Give them money, time and everything will be there! There were times they shouted all was lost, but no saved, much is just enthusiastic. Russian)) Preserving the school is a separate sore subject.
    1. VALERIK_097
      VALERIK_097 10 July 2016 11: 10
      And I’m sure of our people. There have always been enough nuggets in Russia (Moscow does not believe in tears). I, like that Gosh, made so many rational suggestions over the year)))). All the laurels were given to young people from the engineering center — they put the words on paper, they understood the most important thing essence, and waited for confirmation of design institutes. Now they have at least candidates.
      And for some reason I’m very sure that a new generation of us (already old people) will not let us down. Before retirement, 1,5 years.
  4. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 10 July 2016 09: 37
    Americans seem to have gone "the other way"
    Their X-37V dangles in incomprehensible uncountable orbits for half a year.
    Shoot down (or even smarter - quietly damage) satellites for him - the most suitable task.
    1. solohan
      solohan 10 July 2016 11: 06
      not to be unfounded
  5. evge-malyshev
    evge-malyshev 10 July 2016 11: 22
    The tasks are daunting, but they must be solved. This is more complex and more necessary than, for example, creating - not creating an aircraft carrier fleet.
  6. Atigay
    Atigay 10 July 2016 12: 16
    And it seems to me that the systems of non-contact inertialess destruction - neutron beams, lasers of all ranges, including nuclear-pumped lasers - devices, the development of which apparently took place decades ago, showed the vulnerability of satellites. And to shoot "slingshots" at them is difficult and expensive.
    1. An64
      An64 11 July 2016 09: 36
      If you do a little physics and calculate according to simple formulas - what power the laser must bring to an object in space in order to destroy it, then it will not be so obvious: the radiation power will be such that no one will be able to achieve this and in the near future it is unlikely will reach.
  7. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 10 July 2016 13: 40
    Laser and electromagnetic weapons against satellites in a vacuum are very effective. Blinding, stunning, not allowing information to be transmitted at the right time is much more effective than launching a bunch of expensive missiles at a time when, in general, it is too late. I would use something in the form of contact mines with a radio command fuse. Tiny maneuvering satellites, weighing several kilograms, quietly approach and "cling" to the desired objects. And then, on signal ... boom! And no eyes, no ears, no coordinates, no connection. All high-tech superstructure that gives an advantage seems to disappear. Strong? Dreams Dreams.
    1. Ryabtsev Grigory Evgenievich
      Ryabtsev Grigory Evgenievich 11 July 2016 02: 32
      Unfortunately, all these "sticks" are easily detected by object sensors. And developing and installing a countermeasures system at an object is not the most difficult task.
  8. kugelblitz
    kugelblitz 11 July 2016 08: 31
    And what kind of spacecraft in the photo? The antenna shows that this is clearly a radar survey.
  9. An64
    An64 11 July 2016 09: 29
    The article is good, respect for Anatoly Vasilievich !!!
    And it is called "Option" Kometa "because only one" option "of our anti-satellite weapon was considered -" Kometovsky. " ...
    All the same, IS and anti-satellite missile systems such as "SM-3" or "Nudol" are strongly limited in range, i.e. by the heights of the target orbits.
    It seems to me that we have something more powerful than "Nudol" - "Cosmos-2499" or, as they say in the West, "object 2014-28E". It is not for nothing that all overseas space experts screamed when they assessed his maneuvering capabilities.
  10. Romin
    Romin 11 July 2016 17: 07
    And in 1993, Russia, as a gesture of goodwill, removed the IS-M PKO complex from operation. All documentation about it has been archived.

    Here we have "goodwill gestures" in vogue! First, we'll add billions to the landfill!
    And today there is no quick reaction to innovations of a potential adversary.
    Americans and NATO, when Yugoslavia was bombed, even then drones used. And we still have nothing of the kind! Israeli copies under our name do not count!
    The Boeing X-37 orbiter has been flying for 5 years already, but we haven’t even sat down for development!
    Yes, how low we fell into the military-industrial complex! We are not investing in rebuilding our industry and machine-tool industry, they scored electronics, forever.
    Thanks to the USSR that nuclear weapons left, and we are holding on to that.