9K714M / 9K716 "Volga"According to reports, the creation of the project with the symbol "Volga" began no later than the mid-1980s. The Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering (Kolomna), which previously created projects of the Oka and Oka-U complexes, was headed by Sergey Pavelovich Nepobedimy. Sergey Pavlovich said of the origin of his surname: “It comes from a nickname. My father - Pavel Fedorovich - a native of the Kursk region, bordering on Ukraine; there are nicknames in use. Even before the revolution, our family was nicknamed the Unbeaten for great strength. When my father left for Petrograd, the Ukrainian Unbeaten was transformed into the Russian Invincible.”
The first mention of the project 9K716 "Volga" refers to 1980. Then the Kapustin Yar test site received an order to begin preparations for the testing of a prospective missile system with the code "Volga". The firing range of this complex, which was required to take into account when preparing the test site, was 600 km. In preparation for the future testing of the new complex, it was planned to prepare a new launch pad, the location of which allowed the missiles with firing to be tested for the maximum specified range.
The main objective of the Volga project was the creation of a modern operational-tactical missile system designed to replace the existing 9K76 Temp-S system. When creating a new project, it was planned to use the existing experience and existing developments on the already existing complexes, primarily the Oka family of systems.
To increase the firing range to the required level, it was necessary to use a two-stage rocket architecture, as well as control systems based on existing developments. According to the available data, when creating a new rocket, it was proposed to use not only the available developments, but also some finished products borrowed from previous projects. The missile complex "Volga" could be a two-stage system equipped with solid fuel engines. The rocket unit of the 9M714 rocket of the Oka complex could be used as the first stage of this product. The second stage with its own engine, warhead and control systems had to be developed anew, albeit with a fairly wide use of the available groundwork or aggregates.
The outcome of such a project was to become a rocket having a cylindrical body of the first stage and a second stage with a complex-shaped body having a long conical head fairing. In the tail section of the fairing X-shaped stabilizers should have been placed. Also, both stages were planned to be equipped with lattice control surfaces to control the active part of the flight. It was necessary to use the traditional for such missiles layout with the head placement of the warhead and instrument compartment. The engine of the first stage had to occupy almost the entire volume of the body, the second - only its tail part.
Some sources mention that in the 1980s, several research organizations studied the issue of equipping ballistic missiles with radar homing heads. In this case, guidance of the correlation type would be applied using a digital map of the terrain. Flight control of the detachable warhead in the final segment of the trajectory was to be carried out using a set of aerodynamic rudders. Such equipment, in theory, made it possible to improve the pointing accuracy on the final flight segment, as well as to change the target after launch. As far as is known, the development of such guidance systems had not been completed for a number of reasons.
It was planned to equip the missile of the Volga complex with warheads ["combat units"] of various types. First of all, the possibility of using a nuclear warhead was considered. In addition, a special warhead could be replaced with a high-explosive or other type of required. According to the available data, at a certain stage of the project development it was proposed to create a whole family of 14 missiles of various purpose with different combat equipment.
The use of ready-made components, such as the missile compartment from the 9M714 product, in combination with the new units and the two-stage architecture made it possible to achieve a significant increase in firing range characteristics. In accordance with the original plans, the range of the new rocket was to reach 600 km. According to others, the development of the project allowed a maximum range of 1000 km. Calculated shooting accuracy parameters are unknown.
After adopting the promising operational-tactical missile system 9K716, the Volga was to replace the Temp-S systems available to the troops. In this case, the attack of targets at ranges up to 400 km could be carried out with the Oka complexes, and shooting at a range of 400-1000 km should have become the task of the new Volga systems.
Project 9K716 Volga remained in its early stages, not reaching the construction and testing of the main elements of the complex. The development of the operational-tactical missile complex 9K716 Volga continued until the end of 1987, when all work was stopped. In early December, the Treaty on the Elimination of Medium and Small-Range Missiles was signed in Washington. The Volga system with a range of up to 1000 km, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, was classified as a medium-range missile system. In 1989, after the Oka complexes were destroyed under the agreement with the United States on the reduction of medium-range and shorter-range missiles, which formally should not be subject to the treaty, S.P.Nepobedimy resigned as General designer and left the KBM. Since 1990, he worked at the Central Research Institute of Automation and Hydraulics in Moscow.
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