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Space


Tsyklon-2, "F", Series

OVERVIEW, SUPPORTING FACILITIES AND LAUNCH VEHICLES OF THE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM

By Dr. Charles S. Sheldon II*

1971-1975

THE MILITARY COMBAT SPACE VEHICLE ("F")
Tsyklon 2/SL-10(FOBS), SL-11, Tsyklon 3/SL-11 Series

The cumbersome SS-6 Sapwood ICBM represented a beginning for the Soviet continental missile stockpile, but its use of cryogenics and awkward shape for potential silo use must have indicated fairly early that despite its continuing usefulness for space, it was not especially good for missile purposes, unless these were first strike. In a 1967 article in Red Star, General Tolubko stated that these surface launches of the [Sapwood] took a long time to prepare and that later version rockets were smaller and placed in silos. (19)
As Soviet missile capabilities improved, they conducted more and more tests at the principal test site of Tyuratam which extended to the Kamchatka target areas, and then beyond to the mid-Pacific. These flights were often protested by the Japanese when target area closures were announced by the Russians. Photographs released by the United Sates Government of Soviet missile tracking ships in mid-Pacific and even of splashes of reentry bodies suggested that the United States was monitoring Soviet tests in the same way that

Soviet ships monitor U.S. missile tests. The Russians have always described these Pacific tests as further tests of carrier rockets, often signaling through variation in the language that new models were coming into the test program, rather than just continuation of earlier series. The observations made of the flights suggest they have definitely been tests of military missiles, not space carrier rockets as such. Every so often in the past, Soviet military leaders made specific reference to the high accuracy with which these tests delivered the "penultimate" stage of the carrier rockets to the assigned area.

As Table 1-11 summarizes, the Western powers have assigned SS designators up through the SS-20 so far, and there are NATO code names for most but not all of these, depending on whether they have been available on display or pictured in clear photographs. Of the longer range missiles, the SS-4, SS-5, and SS-6 have already been discussed in the context of their adaptation to space flight. At one time the SS-7 Saddler made up a large part of the Soviet missile inventory, but it was never put into a Moscow parade, and so far as can be judged was not adapted for space use. It was apparently a fairly modest capacity ICBM, which may have been the missile once shown in a rather blurred film clip from a Soviet movie and pictured on the cover of Missiles and Rockets magazine, in the United States. The SS-8 Sasin (now known as the R-26 never deployed, not the real SS-8 Sasin, R-9) was paraded in Moscow for a number of years, as the first Soviet ICBM ever given such public exposure. It seems never to have played a very prominent part in the inventory, but did become operational. According to U.S. Department of Defense testimony before Congress, the SS-11 replaced the SS-7 as the principal part of the Soviet ICBM inventory. Despite its extensive use, it has not been paraded in Moscow until after 1975, and it does not seem to have come into space use. Having been hidden so carefully, it lacked any publicly known NATO code name until quite recently, but it is now called Sego. It was also of relatively modest capacity.

Three other ICBM class missiles have been paraded in Moscow. These are the SS-9, SS-10, and SS-13. Taking them in reverse order, the SS-13 Savage is the technological equivalent of a Minuteman. But the Russians seem not to have favored solid propellant missiles for long range missile or space launch use. Some observers have said this is because their chemistry has not kept up with the same state of the art attained in the United States. In general, the Russians have moved from the early cryogenic systems to storable liquid propellants. The SS-10 Scrag was first paraded in May 1965 and has not been seen since1971. Scrag the GR-1 as we now know it was never fully flight tested or deployed and became a cancelled program. It was a long, cigar shaped three-stage rocket described by the Russians as "akin" to the Vostok launcher (which was then still two years away from its first public unveiling). The stages were joined by open truss sections. The Russians also hinted that this vehicle was capable of putting a bomb in orbit for delivery to any place on Earth. In November 1965, when it was paraded again, the Russians were a little defensive in their comments stressing it did not violate any treaty restrictions on use of space weapons because such agreements prohibited their use, not their production. Further, they said in a sense, every ICBM is a space weapon, anyway, as all such missiles fly through space and their use is permitted under the terms of the space treaty.

Reference

1. SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS, 1971-75, OVERVIEW, FACILITIES AND HARDWARE MANNED AND UNMANNED FLIGHT PROGRAMS, BIOASTRONAUTICS CIVIL AND MILITARY APPLICATIONS PROJECTIONS OF FUTURE PLANS, STAFF REPORT , THE COMMITTEE ON AERONAUTICAL AND SPACE .SCIENCES, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY THE SCIENCE POLICY RESEARCH DIVISION CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE, THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, VOLUME – I, AUGUST 30, 1976, GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON : 1976,

19. Tolubko, V. F. Strategic Intercontinental. . . Kragnaya Zvezda, Moscow. November 18, 1967, P.1A.

20. TASS, Moscow, 0710 GMT, November 7 1967

21. Dankevich, P. E., Interview on Moscow Radio, 1430 GMT, November 18,1966

22. Laird, Melvin R., Fiscal year 1971 Defense Program and Budget, February 20 1970p. 103.



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