UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!



Deployment around the capital S-25, code-named "Golden Eagle", was completed until 1958. He became the first domestic model of anti-aircraft guided missile weapons, brought to mass production and adopted. The system was repeatedly improved, which allowed it to last until the mid-1980s.

In the late 1940s, a potential adversary already had strategic bombers in service. They were carriers of nuclear weapons, which they could transfer to the territory of the USSR and thereby get Moscow. In this regard, Comrade Stalin personally set the task of creating air defense of the capital as soon as possible. August 9, 1950 The Council of Ministers of the USSR Design Bureau number 1 (CB-1, now - Research and Production Association "Almaz" named after academician Raspletin ) has been tasked to develop a system of anti-aircraft guided missiles ( ZURO) "Golden eagle".

Under the management of A.A. Raspletin in the period of 1951-55, and under the conditions of the increasing intensity of the "Cold War" and the real atomic threat, the first domestic zenith rocket air defense system was created. Development of the S-25 started at the Lavochkin OKB in 1951, expressly indended to defend Moscow from bomber attack. The system developed quickly, and was ready for initial operation in 1954. The concept proposed by A.A. Raspletin and having no analogues in the world: a multi-channel radar guidance station that performs the functions of detecting air targets, tracking them, tracking anti-aircraft missiles and pointing them at targets. Each radar surveyed the space in the 60-degree sector by scanning with two shovel-shaped rays. He detected, captured and automatically escorted up to 20 targets and 20 missiles aimed at them. Then he issued control commands and transmitted them to the missiles. The construction of anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) based on sectoral radars determined the whole face of the future air defense system of Moscow, and Raspletin became its chief designer in 1953. The air defense system of the capital was built in such a way that all-round radars were extended to far lines to detect flying targets. Then two rings of sectorial multi-channel air defense systems, 50 km (24 complexes) and 90 km (32 complexes) from Moscow. They included guidance radars with anti-aircraft missiles. System management was provided by a central and four sectoral command posts. In front of each guidance radar, at a distance of 1.2 to 4 km, there were 60 launching sites. The missiles launched vertically, were automatically captured by radars for escort, and then the missile commands sent to the missiles were aimed at the targets.

The SA-1 Guild is the NATO reporting name for the S-25 Berkut surface-to-air guided missile, the first operational SAM deployed by the Soviet Union. Other names include the R-113 and V-300, S-25 is for Systema 25. The SA-1 was very large and expensive, but nevertheless had limited performance. It was used only to defend Moscow, while the more mobile SA-2 Guideline would be used in almost all other roles.

The S-25 SA-1 GUILD was the first surface-to-air strategic air defense system deployed by the Soviet Union. The S-25 was developed for the protection of the city of Moscow and Moscow industrial region.

It was intended for destruction of aerial targets at the heights to 35 km, which fly with speeds of up to 4300 km/h, at the distances to 58 km.

These R-113 missiles were deployed around Moscow in a dense complex of 56 sites arranged in two concentric rings. There were 22 sites in the inner ring at about 25 nm radius from the center of Moscow and 34 sites on the outer ring at about 45 nm radius. It simultaneously provided for the creation of the new infrastructure of the Moscow area - habitable towns, highways, lines of communications, power transmission, etc. A typical site had 60 launch positions joined by a road network.

According to the estimable Steve Zaloga, "Each launch site consisted of four distinct sections, a launch area, the guidance radar area, the administrative/housing/technical support area, and an electrical power transformer station. The launcher area was the largest and most distinctive area, covering some 360 acres, usually in forested regions around the city. Each launch area had a distinct herringbone appearance from its ten double rows of service roads, supporting a total of 60 missile launch pads per site. The launcher system itself was quite simple, consisting of a semi-trailer for transporting and erecting the missile, and a simple launch pad reminiscent of the German design used with the V-2 ballistic missile. About a mile from the launch area was the bunkered command center, located on about 50 acres of land and near the Moscow ring road. On the side of the bunker facing the launcher area was a pair of B-200 radar antennas, one providing azimuth coverage and one providing elevation coverage. The bunker contained the main BESM analog fire control computer, as well as twenty guidance consoles. Each regimental site was manned by about 30 officers and 450 enlisted men."

The V-301 missile, as originally designed for use with this system, was unboosted and employed a single liquid sustainer motor. Although its maximum speed was on the order of Mach 2.5, it had a low initial velocity which limited its engagement capability against supersonic targets. Its maximum intercept range varied depending upon the approach and type of target; for example, against a directly incoming, high-flying B-252 its range was on the order of 20 n.m. This missile ccould carry an HE or nuclear payload of 450-700 pounds and its CEP was estimated to be 65-120 feet. It was believed to be capable of interceptions from a minimum altitude of 3,000 feet up to 60,000 feet, with some additional capability up to about 80,000 feet, particularly if equipped with a nuclear warhead.

This system had the first in the world multichannel radar, which accomplishes work on the targets with timing separation. The B-200 guidance system at each site employed a track-while-scan radar (designated "Yo-Yo" by US intelligence) having about 54 coverage in both the vertical and horizontal planes. The system also incorporated fire control equipment which enabled each site to engage as many as 20 targets simultaneously. This capability, with the spacing of adjacent sites for mutual support and the inner ring of sites for backup, enables the system to direct an extremely high rate of fire against incoming targets.

The air defense system could shoot down aircraft and bombers flying at speeds up to 1,500 km / h at a maximum altitude of 20 km. In those days, it was a real technical breakthrough - a complex that could simultaneously solve tasks and tracking, and defeating a large number of air targets. At the same time, the designers realized the possibility of coordination and interaction between the individual batteries of the system. The highlight of the S-25 was the presence of multi-channel radar. Until the end of the 1960s, no other complex could boast of such opportunities.

Placed on stationary combat positions in the Moscow area system, the S-25 fulfilled its functions over the course of 30 years. The SA-1 system entered operational service in the late 1950s, and remained in service through the mid-1980s. Because of its' cost, immobility, and inflexibility, the SA-1 system was not deployed elsewhere in the Soviet Union apart from Moscow. After the modernization of 1966, the Golden Eagle was also able to hit cruise missiles flying at speeds of up to 4300 km / h in the altitude range from 0.5 to 35 km, while the maximum range of the complex was 58 km. In addition, there was the possibility of recognition on indicators of aircraft belonging.

S-25 also had flaws. The complex was not completely mobile, and the military units armed with it were large objects that were vulnerable to enemy nuclear attacks. There was also a relatively high cost and complexity of operation. Therefore, the USSR quickly abandoned the further construction of the S-25 in favor of creating simpler, but at the same time mobile, air defense systems (such subsequently became the S-75 and S-125).

Despite repeated modernization, by the beginning of the 1980s, the S-25 had already completed its existence - technical solutions had completely exhausted the possibilities for further improvement. In addition, in 1979 another new air defense system was adopted - the S-300P . With combat duty, the S-25 was removed in 1984.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:22:16 ZULU