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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

A-350 5V61 / ABM-1 Galosh - Moscow System

The Galosh missile was paraded in Red Square in 1964, and characterized as an ABM interceptor. The missile has never been seen in public except in its launch container. Galosh three-stage solid-fueled interceptor missile, which is about 20 meters long with a range of over 300 kilometers and a warhead with a yield of several megatons. This interceptor is no longer operational. A "galosh" is an overshoe made of a weatherproof material to protect a more vulnerable indoor footwear underneath. The word comes through French (galoche) and Latin from Greek and originally meant a shoemaker's last; literally "wood" + "foot". By the 14th century it had been transferred to English style clogs, that is those with a wooden sole and fabric (e.g. leather) upper. By 1572 the term also applied to "a Gallage or Patten"; that is, an overshoe with a shaped wooden base to raise the wearer's good shoes off the ground. The Russian idiom "to sit into a galosh", which means "to embarrass oneself" or "to screw up".

In the late 1960's construction started on eight launch sites for this system in the vicinity of Moscow, with four of these sites actually becoming operational. In the late 1970's two of these sites were de-activated, in anticipation of subsequent upgrades. Each site has 16 launchers with associated radars and battle-management computers. On the whole the performance of the Galosh would seem to be similar to that of the American Nike-Zeus.

The A-35 was the first Russian dedicated ABM system, which was built around Moscow, in order to protect the Soviet (now Russian) capital from a potential ballistic missile attack from the USA. It is was a single-layer ABM system with 64 launchers at four complexes and battle management radars. After initial tests with the V-1000 missile in the Sary Shagan test range in Kazahstan, which have proved the "missile-to-missile" theory of the Russian scientists, headed by G. V. Kisunko, it was decided that a multichannel ABM system should be constructed around the capital of the USSR, Moscow.

In the process of the creation of the AMD system, a number of design bureaus were involved:

  • G. V. Kisunko's design bureau (SKB-30, now NIIRP) was in charge of this project and was the coordinator of the other OKBs involved in it. It solved general problems and also developed the ABM control system, the precise guidance radar, the command transmission station and other components.
  • P. D. Grushin's design bureau (OKB-2, now MKB Fakel) developed the ABMs.
  • I. I. Ivanov's design bureau developed the launchers.
  • A. A. Lebedev's institute (Applied Physics Research Institute, known as NII-801, now the State Research, Development & Production Center ORION) designed the central computer system.
  • S. P. Rabinovich's design bureau developed the ABM guidance radar.
  • F. P. Lipsman's design bureau developed the data transmission system.

The development on the A-350 ABM started in 1960 and it was first characterized by the west as a SAM. It received the DIA designation SA-7 (this was later given to the lightweight man-portable 9K32 "Strela-2" SAM system, NATO reporting name "Grail") and later the NATO reporting name "Galosh" was assigned to it. When it was discovered that the A-350 is an ABM, it was given the DIA designation ABM-1.

The A-350 ABM was first seen in the public on 07 November 1964 when it was paraded on the Red Square. Soviet anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs) were a top priority of U.S. intelligence. U.S. and allied personnel apparently saw several GALOSH ABMs for the first time at the November 1964 parade. Although housed in canisters, the aft end of the booster was visible and the photography enabled analysts to make some measurements. Each missile was towed by a diesel powered, truck tractor.

The aft end of the booster was exposed at the end near the prime mover. Visible components include 4 exhaust nozzles, 4 booster fins, and 4 rails. The exhaust nozzles were recessed approximately 1.40 feet from the edge of the canister, measure 2.50 feet in diameter, and had a diagonal separation of 4.90 feet from center to center; the booster fins are 2.60 feet long.

A detachable dome-shaped guard, shrouded with an undetermined type of fabric, enclosed the opposite end of the canister. The dome is 4.35 feet in depth and 9.80 feet in diameter. The canister measures 9.55 feet in diameter. It is intricate in design, having numerous openings and appendages with numbered compartment openings of various sizes noted along the sides and under the canister. Located 20.85 feet from the booster end are 8 unidentified tubular appendages, 4.70 feet long.

It is the first Russian dedicated ABM, which was developed as a part of the A-35 ABM system. It was never seen in public, except in its launch container. The construction of eight launch sites in the vicinity of Moscow started in the late 1960, but eventually only four of them became operational. Two of these were deactivated in the late 1970's in anticipation of the newer silo-launched ABMs. Later, after the new A-135 ABM system became operational, these sites were also deactivated. A launch site for the ABM-1 Galosh missiles consists of 16 above-ground reloadable launchers and associated battle-engagement radars and computers.

The initial version, the ABM-1a, was a three-stage, solid-fueled interceptor missile with a nuclear warhead of 2 - 3 megatons. It is placed in a plastic launch container. The back side of the launch container is open while the front one is closed with a convex plastic lid. Four jets of the missile's first stage can be seen trough the open side of the container. In the container, the four guidance fins of the missile are folded. They unfold after the missile is launched.

In 1972 the A-35 ballistic missile defense system passed the state tests and entered service with the Soviet Space Missile Defense Forces (SMD). Later that year, on the 26.05.1972, a treaty was signed between the USSR and USA (The Soviet-American AMD Restriction Treaty) in Moscow. It restricted each party to deploy an AMD system in only one region (originally it was restricted to two regions, but was later reduced to only one) of 150 km in radius, with no more than 100 AMD missiles in the launch sites, leaving the Moscow ABM system the only operational AMD system in the world. It is no longer operational.

Because the A-350 was a single tier (exoatmospheric) interception system, it was replaced in the mid 1980's by the more capable A-135 ABM system which has two tiers of interception: the lower (endoatmospheric) tier and upper (exoatmospheric) tier, silo-launched ABMs (thus making them less vulnerable to direct attacks than the older ABMs mounted on above-ground launchers) and phased-array battle management and missile guidance radars which replaced the obsolete and less capable mechanically steered missile guidance radars.

During the mid 1970's it was replaced with the improved ABM-1b version which had a restartable liquid-fueled third stage for an improved re-targeting after it is being launched. They were radar guided and designed for exoatmospheric interceptions of the ballistic missiles, just before they reenter the Earth's atmosphere. Now, they are replaced by the new ABM-4 silo-launched missile and are no longer operational.

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Page last modified: 25-08-2021 17:17:34 ZULU