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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

53T6 SH-08 Gazelle
Moscow System

The 53T6 [NATO reporting name GAZELLE] is a short-range ABM interceptor missile, which was first introduced in the mid-1980s, was designed to intercept ballistic missile reentry vehicles inside the atmosphere. The missile, which has not been displayed in public, is thought to be similar in design and mission to the US Sprint interceptor that was part of the Sentinel/Safeguard system. On 02 November 1999 Russia tested this short-range interceptor rocket for the Moscow anti-ballistic missile system, in what appeared to be a symbolic warning to the United States not to go ahead with an expanded ABM system.

This end-atmospheric high-speed anti-missile was the second echelon of the A-135. The development of the missile was OKB "Novator" under the direction of Lev Ljul'eva (later the main constructor Pavel Kamnev) since 1967 for the system of the PROS 225. After the ABM Treaty was concluded in 1972, the system was redesigned ITC Central Scientific Industrial Association "Vympel" (the main constructor of the bassist). The ABM system replaced the S-225 in the middle Echelon with missiles of the 5JA26 system C-225. Accordingly, the 5JA26 rocket was introduced into the "Amur" fire complex of the A-135. At the end of 1973, the project for A-135 missile with the PRS-1 / 53T6 (the new 5JA26 Index) was approved by the USSR MOD customer.

Prior to 1978, the 5Ja26 missile was established and, since 1973, tested as part of the experimental complex of S-225. The first launch of the missile as part of the tests for the "Azov" complex of the C-225 was carried out at Site No. 35 ("Ethylene", (c/h 03145) 10th State Scientific Research ground in Sara-Step on 27 November 1973. Factory tests of a missile on the "Azov" complex of the C-225 system began in 1978. In July 1979, the "Amur-e" complex of the "A-135" was the first launch of the near-interception of the SDA-1/53T6 (SH-08) missile. On June 18, 1982, two anti-missile missiles of the 53Zh60P "Amur-e" were intercepting ballistic missiles RCD-10/SS-20 (launched from the Kapustin Yar polygon) and SLBM R-29 (launched from the SSBN Northern Fleet). The experimental work and tests continued in 1983-1987 the state tests of the 53T6 anti-missile missile were completed in March 1984.

Factory tests of teh complex A-135 with first stage equipment commenced in November 1982 and completed in March 1984 (including 5 launches of the 53T6, including 4 in the closed loop of the control). In 1984 the Missile-1/53T6 was introduced into the A-135 ABM system. Since the mid-1980s (according to western data), 53T6 rockets had begun to replace the ABM-1 system of Moscow.

The tests of A-135 "Amur-E" with second stage equipment were carried out from March to October 1987 (including 5 launches of 53T6). After some refinement of the system, another phase of test testing of the polygonal specimen-January-July 1988 (including 3 launches of 53T6) was performed.

State testing of 53T6 serial missiles from the Amur-E complex as part of the tests of the Moscow system A-135 began in 1989 (4 launches 53T6). During the tests of the ABM system, considerable attention was paid to the evaluation of performance, design and some reliability characteristics, the assessment of jamming (a special static complex was used). Transport and resource tests of missiles, transport and installation machines have been carried out, and the impact of rocket launchers on the starting position and their reciprocal effects on launches at intervals of 1 second have been investigated. Two 53T6 missiles were tested in a horizontal position for a period of ten years.

Serial production at Plant No. 8 (Kalinin, D. Yekaterinburg, a member of the Diamond-Antei NPO and the launching of rockets into the starting position of the ABM system of A-135 commenced in 1990. System A-135 missiles were completed in 1992 and on 17 February 1995, the A-135 system was adopted for the armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

In the early 1990s, the Amur-E complex carried out experimental work to enhance the capabilities of the A-135 in reducing the lower and upper limits of the 53T6 zone, increasing manoeuvrability, and equipping the new (nonnuclear? warhead) (5 launches of 53T6) by Plane-M combat component.

The control of the missile at the initial stage of the flight is gas by injection into the main engine of combustion products from the solid chamber. At the final stage of the flight, gas with using impulse microengines directed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the rocket (probably located in the area of the center of mass of the detachable part of the missile).

On December 20, 2011 The first test of the 53T6 rocket with the newly produced engine was carried out. The launch was performed at the Saryshagan polygon by a somewhat revamped Strel'bovym complex with an improved computing center.

Some accounts claimed the 51T6 high altitude interceptors had been removed from active service, and if one or several missiles have been launched as a provocation, to intercept any warheads with unknown fuses or even the ones having no fuses the remaining 53T6 with nuclear warheads would create multiple nuclear explosions over the Russian territory which has long been unacceptable.

Russia's military has successfully launched a short-range interceptor missile, capable of delivering a nuclear warhead in a ballistic flight trajectory, to boost the country's defensive network, the Defense Ministry said 16 June 2017. The Russian Strategic Missile Troops and Aerospace Forces (VKS) jointly carried out the launch of a 53T6 (SH-08 Gazelle) endoatmospheric interceptor missile at the Sary Shagan test range in Kazakhstan, said Col. Andrey Prikhodko, a VKS deputy commander.

"During the test, the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) successfully accomplished its task and destroyed the designated target," he said, referring to the country's A-135 ABM system, which has been designed to protect the capital Moscow and its surroundings from a possible nuclear missile strike.

The A-135 ABM system includes phased-array radars, a command center and launchers, which fire two types of interceptor missiles, the long-range 51T6 and the short-range 53T6, both designed to be tipped with nuclear warheads to eliminate any incoming nuclear warheads with a nuclear blast in the air.

The 10-meter-long 53T6 missile is reportedly capable of carrying a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead to a range of 80 kilometers at a speed of three kilometers per second. The defensive system, operational since 1995, reportedly used 68 launchers for 53T6 interceptors at five launch sites with 12 or 16 missiles each. It also initially employed 16 launchers for 51T6 interceptors at two launch sites with eight missiles each.

The Russian military tests interceptor ballistic missiles roughly annually to confirm their combat readiness. A video of the launch was released by the Russian Defense Ministry 16 June 2017. The short-range missile launched did not deliver a nuclear warhead. Russia says the A-135 ABM defensive system is compliant with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, from which the United States unilaterally pulled out in 2002.

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