Find a Security Clearance Job!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

A-135 / ABM-3

Multi missile defense system of the Central Industrial Region and Moscow second-generation A-135 is an evolution of the first-generation A-35. Elaboration of the upgraded version of the missile defense system A-35 - A system-35M - was conducted NIO-4 OKB-30 under the direction of G.V.Kisunko until his dismissal in 1975.

The A-135 system attained "alert" (operational) status on 17 February 1995. It is currently operational although its 53T6 (NATO:SH-11) component is deactivated (as of February 2007). A newer missile is expected to replace it. There is an operational test version of the system at the test site in Sary Shagan , Kazakhstan.

The development of a missile defense system A-135 began in 1971. The structure of the new missile defense system, which was to replace the outdated A-35M, was supposed to include two types of missiles - 51T6 designed for extra-atmospheric intercept targets at altitudes of up to one hundred thousand meters and range to 600 kilometers, and 53T6. Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR to begin construction of the A-135 was signed in 1978; It also contained an order to start developing a modernized missile defense system.

It should be noted that the creation and construction of the A-135 was carried out in the framework of the Soviet-American indefinite "ABM Treaty" signed in 1972. According to the document, each party had the right to build a maximum of two missile defense systems, each equipped with no more than a hundred fixed launchers. In 1974 the terms of the agreement tightened - the parties are now allowed to have no more than one system. US agreement put the system on a military base in Grand Forks, but a year later it was dismantled. The Soviet Union decided to cover the Moscow missile defense system. "ABM Treaty" was not valid from June 2002, when the United States withdrew from the agreement and began to develop its own missile defense system in Europe.

By June 1975 it was already possible to clearly define the purpose and time periods of development and creation of the new Moscow ABM system. A.G. Basistov became the general designer. V.K. Sloka was the chief designer of the multifunctional Don-2NP [PILL BOX] radar. A.G. Basistov headed the Council of Chief Designers, who were working on a new effective ABM system. Construction of the A-135 mostly completed in mid 1980s. During the creation of a series of successful tests confirmed the ability to intercept missiles ballistic targets, including such complex as cloven independently targetable warheads. On the alert firing system A-135, has a total of one hundred interceptor missiles, stood up in 1995, after a lengthy testing and debugging.

In addition to the missile (51T6, according to unconfirmed reports, it was equipped with a nuclear warhead to improve the chance of destroying ballistic targets) in the A-135 and entered the radar "Don 2NP" placed not far from the Moscow region Sofrino. Radar is a truncated pyramid, the length and width of which is equal to one hundred meters, and height - 35 meters. This station is able to control the space at a distance of two thousand kilometers (according to other sources - 3.7 thousand kilometers) and at a height of up to 40 thousand kilometers. The radar provides supercomputer "Elbrus-2".

This system, the ABM-3, became operational at Moscow in 1989. Five new launcher sites were constructed, and two Galosh sites were converted for the new system. The Moscow Industrial Area ABM Defense System (A-135) was accepted on alert duty by presidential edict of 17 February 1995. The Moscow anti-ballistic missile system, known as A-135, includes the full complement of 100 interceptor missiles permitted by the treaty [though published reports provide conflicting accounts as to the exact number of missiles]. The system includes three dozen long-range SH-11 Gorgon missiles, as well as over five dozen short-range SH-08 Gazelle missiles, which are quick-reaction, high-acceleration interceptors. Both types of interceptors are silo-launched.

According to some reports, it is claimed that this system was taken off-line in December 1997 and remained inactive, although this does not appear to be confirmed by American statements on this subject. In February 1998 the commander in chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces -- Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev -- said that the system needed some minor modifications, After these were completed, however, the "nuclear umbrella" over Moscow would once again be opened, he said. A few days later, Col. Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, commander-in-chief of strategic missiles forces, said the ABM system with conventional warheads on the Galoshs and Gazelles, was combat ready and would shortly be placed on 24-hour alert status. This suggested that Russia had abandoned plans to employ nuclear warheads on SH-11 Galosh and SH-08 Gazelle missiles. Experts had warned of the potential damage to Moscow, saying the detonation of a single warhead could contaminate a 77 square mile area.

The ABM-3 incorporated several improvements over the Galosh. Mechanically steered radars were replaced by much more capable phased-array radars. And two types of interceptor missiles were used, taking advantage of atmospheric bulk filtering to discriminate decoys from actual warheads. The interceptors were deployed in underground silos to reduce their vulnerability to direct attack. Nonetheless, the ABM-3 was the technological equivalent the U.S. Sentinel/Safeguard ABM, and clearly shared the major limitations and vulnerabilities of that system.

The components of the ABM-3 include:

* 32-36 of the SH-11 long-range exo-atmospheric interceptor missiles, which are somewhat smaller than the massive Galosh and is probably three-stage solid-fuel rocket with a range of 300-400 kilometers and a multi-megaton warhead.

* 64-68 of the SH-08 short-range endo-atmospheric interceptors, which are a two-stage solid-fuel with a range of about 100 kilometers and a low-yield nuclear warhead. It is similar in design and mission to the U.S. Sprint missile, although its maximum acceleration is reportedly significantly lower. In at least one test of the SH-08 short-range ABM interceptor, two interceptors were fired from a single launcher in an interval of two hours, although no reloading equipment was observed in the area. No other details on this incident have come to light. Given the short battle-time available to ABM systems, two hours does not seem to be particularly "rapid".

* The ABM-3 phased-array short-range battle management radar replaced Try Add radars at Moscow ABM sites to support SH-08 interceptors It is similar in function to American Missile Site Radar, although smaller and less capable.

* The Pushkino large battle-management phased-array radar constructed near Moscow provides 360 degree coverage and will supplement Dog House and Cat House radars in supporting SH-04 long range interceptors.

* The Pechora-type bi-static phased-array early warning radar supplemented the Hen House radars. Deployment began in the late 1970's at seven sites: Pechora, Lyaki, Mishelevka, Olenegorsk, Sary Shagan, Kamchatka and Abalakova.

Officially 51T6 missiles were removed from the set of A-135 in 2002-2003 due to the expiration of the service. However, according to unconfirmed reports, they are still in the silos and are on alert. In addition, it is believed that the modernized or 51T6 missiles, based on them, would be part of a modernized system A-235. The contract to build the latest was signed in 1991, with completion scheduled for 2015.

The Russian military conducted a test in December 2011 of an advanced missile short-range missile defense system at the Kazakhstan Sary-Shagan. The launch was a success; the missile hit a conditional goal in the set time. As announced Ministry of Defense of Russia,antimissile 53T6, which, judging by the index was in service since 1995, passed the test.

Launching missiles 53T6 held at 12:01 by Moscow time on the range Sary Shagan in Kazakhstan. The aim of the test was the confirmation of the tactical and technical characteristics of anti-missile missile defense system. Tools interception index 53T6 is currently included in the missile defense system A-135, put into service in 1995 and deployed around Moscow. Deputy Commander of the Aerospace Defense Sergei Lobov said that running anti-missile missile struck a conditional goal in the set time.

It is surprising that, although the new missile was said to be "a fundamentally new development", its index had not changed, as was done in the case of upgrading an existing or developing new weapons. In any case, many of the important details about the "new" missiles had not been announced, including belonging to a missile defense system, and technical specifications. The predecessor of the new 53T6 - the old 53T6 - with a length of ten meters, diameter of one meter and a mass of about ten tons capable of destroying ballistic objects at a distance of 80 kilometers and at an altitude of 30,000 meters.

The previous time antimissile 53T6 was launched in Kazakhstan was in October 2010. Presumably, the aim was to check the recent launches of various components improved as part of a large-scale program of modernization of the missile defense system to the A-235.

Moscow’s missile defense system will be able to effectively protect the Russian capital against any attack for many decades, a senior Aerospace Forces commander said in a radio interview on 28 November 2015. “The A-135 Amur system will stay ahead of the emerging threats for the next few decades…. We are constantly upgrading our pride and joy – the Don-2N radar — and deploying new missiles that will double the system’s combat characteristics,” Colonel Andrei Cheburin told Russian News Service radio on Saturday.

The missile defense system protecting Moscow and the Central Industrial Region consists of a number of silo-based antimissiles traveling at twice the speed of a bullet. “That’s why the Americans call them ‘gazelles’…Their state-of-the-art homing system ensures 100 percent acquisition and destruction on incoming ballistic targets. Righty now we are modernizing our antimissiles to further improve their combat characteristics,” Colonel Cheburin said.

Join the mailing list