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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

5745'N 4055'E

Of the many historic towns along the Volga, Kostroma rivals its neighbor Yaroslavl for the beauty of its churches and for the important role it has played in Russian history. Capital of the Kostroma Oblast in the Russian SFSR, it was a favorite spot of Russian photographer and chemist Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, who made two trips to Kostroma, in 1910 and 1911. Among the historic monuments that he photographed was the Epiphany-St. Anastasia Convent, whose turbulent history reflects that of Kostroma itself over a period of several centuries. The city,situated on the high, east bank of the Volga river at the mouth of the Ko-stroma river, is an important industrial center about 165 nm northeast ofMoskva. Founded in the 12th century on the low, west bank of the Volga, itwas destroyed by Tatars and transferred to its present site in 1238 AD.

The city of Kostroma is at an elevation of about 500 feet. Terrain to theeast and northeast is gently rolling, with a total difference in relative elevation of approximately 200 feet. Numerous small drains flow generally south tothe Volga or west to the Kostroma. Much of the land is heavily interspersed with cleared areas devoted to agriculture or cattle raising. Most of the region in and around the cicty was, by Soviet standards, well populated for a rural region. Numerous small towns and villages are present along the roads.

It is about the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. The characteristic weather is gloomy. Winters are cold, with frequent snowfall. Stable snow cover usuallyexists from mid-October to mid-April. Temperatures during the winter months of November through February range from -14 to -39 F. Summers are moderately warm, with light breezes, recurring cold spells, and frequent fogs. The average temperatures during the 4 warmest months vary between 45 and 68F. Roughly twice as much precipitation falls in summer as in winter, and springis drier than autumn. In general, precipitation falls every second or third day in all seasons of the year. Minimum cloudiness generally exists from May toAugust, when approximately two-thirds of the days are clear. Maximum cloudiness occurs from November through January, when approximately one-fourth of the days are clear. Weather in this region varies considerably from year to year and sudden intrusions of Arctic air may cause drastic temperature drops at any time. Below-freezing temperatures may be experienced even in thesummer months.

Transportation facilities into the complex are much better, relatively, than those found at most other ICBM complexes, especially those east of the Urals. A single-track rail line runs from Yaroslavl, through Kostroma, to Galich whereit joins one of the main east-west rail lines. Yaroslavl is on a north-south rail line that runs direct to Moskva. Several industrial sidings serve the complex support facility, and 9.0 nm east of the complex support facility a rail spur branches from the Kostroma-Galich line and runs about 2.5 nm north to the transfer point. The road network connecting Kostroma with the surrounding towns and villages includes many all-weather roads which afford good motor transport routes between most of the large cities in European Russia.

The Kostroma ICBM complex was identified by KEY-HOLE photography of July 1961 and was covered bysubsequent missions. There was no evidence of a complex in August 1960. A possible ICBM launch site, not evident on Mission August 1960, was observed under construction on Mission; July 1961. The site is located at 58-00-40N 41-19-20E in a forested area 19 nautical miles (nm) northeast of Kostroma. Although the possible launch site at Kostroma is partially covered by clouds, four elongated clearings interconnected by a system of straight roads are visible. The road pattern and the arrangement and orientation of the elongated clearings are similar to Launch Areas B and D at Yur'ya, the Launch Area at Yoshkar-Ola, and Launch Area C at Tyura Tam. The only security measure discernible is a possible guard building located on the service road at the entrance to the site.

The Kostroma ICBM Complex was initially deployed northeast of the city of Kostroma. The complex support facility is in the industrial outskirts on the east sideof the city. The rail-to-road transfer point is about 10 nm to the northeast. Completed launch sites deployed here include 4 Type IIB, 2 Type IID, and 1Type IIIA. There are also 3 groups of Type IIID sites under construction, eachgroup containing 10 sites. A possible launch site had been identified near the transfer point. The SS-7 sites and 2 of the Type IIID launch groups were deployed on both sides of the Kostroma-Buy highway northeast of Kostroma;the third group is southeast of Kostroma on the east bank of the Volga river. The furthest site is about 22 nm from the transfer point.

The SS-17 was deployed at Kostroma and Vypolzovo [Yedrovo] prior to being withdrawn from service following the end of the Cold War.

Kostroma Kostroma

Deployment of the railroad-based SS-24 Mod-1 (15Zh61) started on 28 November 1989, and the first regiment with railroad-based missiles was put on alert on 20 October 1987. Altogether 36 railway-based RT-23UTTh missiles were in three garrison areas: 12 launchers at Kostroma (400 km east of Moscow), 9 launchers at Bershet (1,250 km east of Moscow), and 12 launchers at Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. The Military Railroad Missile Complex (Boyevoy Zheleznyy Raketnyy Kompleks BZhRK) consists of three launch cars [each with a single missile], a command and control car, cars for personnel, and several diesel locomotives. By 1994 most of the rail-mobile systems remained in garrison due to lack of funding.

On 01 April 2005 the Strategic Missile Force of Russia, acting on the defense minister's orders, started liquidating two divisions in Kartaly, the Chelyabinsk region, and Kostroma. The number of missile divisions will be slashed from 15 to 10 by 2010 and the number of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on combat duty will fall from 496 to 313. The number of warheads on the ICBMs will be reduced from 1,770 to 923.

The main reason for the ICBM cuts was old age, as some of the missiles were produced in Ukraine in the Soviet era. The collapse of the Soviet Union put an end to their production and the missile group's renewal process. Those missiles produced in Russia are growing old too. According to Lieutenant General Vitaly Linnik, deputy commander of the Strategic Missile Force for armaments, "the removal of ICBMs whose service life has expired from combat duty is proceeding according to plan and will not affect the combat readiness of the Force." By June 2005, all railway mobile SS-24 missile units were retired. In 2007, three railway mobile bases were demolished.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:29:05 ZULU