RSS-40 Kuryer - TEL Transport
Initially, it was planned to mount it on a three-axle chassis, then on a four-axle MAZ-7909 , but in the process of testing and modifications, the increased mass of the rocket forced it to switch to an even more lifting wheelbase.
According to the chief of the headquarters of the Strategic Missile Force in 1994-1996, Colonel-General VI Esin, the "Courier" was to be disguised as the transportation of bulky goods on the highway of general use. But on reflection it was decided that it was too dangerous. Whether there is a nuclear war or not, it is still unknown, and troubles can be made in peacetime in a lot of time. Therefore, it was suspended.
At the factory, the missile was to be loaded into a launching container, which was supposed to be installed on the lifting mechanisms of a self-propelled launcher. The launcher itself was supposed to be built on the basis of a special multi-axle chassis with the corresponding characteristics. During the development of the project, the image of the chassis was constantly changing. The chassis with three, four and five axles could be used in the Courier complex. According to one source, the first was to use a 6x6 chassis, but then, due to certain difficulties, it was necessary to develop and integrate a machine with a more complex chassis into the complex. According to other sources, the first appeared a six-axle (!) Chassis, after the design of which there was a proposal to reduce the base car to several wheel sets.
Since almost all the documentation for the Courier project is still classified, it is difficult to say which version corresponds to reality. Both versions seem plausible, since all the chassis mentioned in the context of the Courier project were indeed developed and tested. Thus, a six-axis mobile launcher was proposed to be made on the basis of the chassis MAZ-7916, five-axis - on the basis of MAZ-7929, the four-axle MAZ-7909.
In the sources telling about the sequential decrease in the number of axes, some details of this process are given. So, initially the aggregates of the "Courier" complex should have been mounted on the basis of MAZ-7916, but already at the beginning of 1985 it was suggested to use a perspective five-axle chassis, which did not yet exist. In the spring of the same year, they proposed to develop a chassis of 6x6 and 8x8, and in April of 86 decided to build a four-axle chassis. Nevertheless, such a machine did not fully meet the requirements of the military, which is why in early 1988 they decided to build a launcher based on the five-axis MAZ-7929. This car received the index 15U160M.
The fluctuations in the choice of the base chassis affected the timing of the development of the launcher. The project of the five-axle machine was completed only in 1991, after which the MAZ plant supplied the necessary equipment to the Volgograd software Barrikady, where a set of special equipment was to be installed on it.
Particular attention deserves a special version of the complex "Courier", intended for the hidden transfer of missiles to a given area. The light weight and size of the product allowed the rocket to be placed in a specially equipped standard cargo container or a car semitrailer. Such a self-propelled launcher could, without attracting attention, move around the entire territory of the country and, in the event of an order, launch.
The truck tractor MAZ-6422 and the semitrailer MAZ-9389 were chosen as the basis for the masked modification of the complex. It is interesting that the development of the "automotive" modification of the new missile complex began shortly after the start of the project and most of the work was carried out long before the final choice of the chassis for the mobile launcher of the "classical" type.
Already in September 1984, preliminary testing of the proposed tractor and trailer was carried out at the training ground in Bronnitsy (Moscow region). At the end of the first stage of the tests, the truck was driven to the Gomel region, where for a long time he traveled along local routes. The test range was Leningrad-Kiev-Odessa (with two bridges), Minsk-Gomel and Bryansk-Gomel-Kobrin.
During the tests, the specialists collected various information about the operation of the machine's aggregates, its characteristics, as well as the arising loads on the objects in the semitrailer, etc. Based on the test results, a list of requirements for the equipment was developed, which was supposed to be transported in a motor vehicle semitrailer. The collected data were actively used in the development of the 15Zh59 missile and other elements of the advanced missile system.
According to some sources, the modification of the missile system on the basis of a civil tractor with a semi-trailer remained at the stage of preliminary research. The creation of such a version of the Courier complex was associated with a number of specific problems. In particular, there were no communication and control systems with the necessary characteristics, which could be mounted on a civilian truck.
The "Courier" rocket, regardless of the type of the base landing gear, was to start from the transport-launch container fixed on the lifting mechanisms of the self-propelled launcher. As in the case of other domestic intercontinental missiles, it was proposed to use the so-called. cold start with a powder pressure accumulator. After leaving the container and climbing to a certain height, the rocket had to turn on the first-stage engine and go to the target.
The 35-tonne chassis of the MAZ-7929 (10x8) is due to the serious difficulties encountered in the development of the prospetive compact PGRK 15P159 Courier with an intercontinental missile 15Sh59. The original five-axle vehicle MAZ-7929, based on the 543M and 7909 units of machines, t received an additional axle and, unlike all its military predecessors of the MAZ brand, was first equipped with a single monoblock 3-seat cab with a welded frame and fiberglass cladding panels. Like the variant 7909, the MAZ-7929 was also equipped with a YaMZ-8424.10 diesel engine with a capacity of 420 hp, a 9-speed manual gearbox and a modified chassis from the 543 series. Its curb weight was 25.0 tons, the total weight was 60 tons, overall dimensions - 15 180x3400x3462 mm.
In 1989, four 7929 chassis were assembled. They simultaneously entered the Barricades factory and were put to acceptance tests at 21 research institutes. In Bronnitsy, the MAZ-7929 also did not receive a positive assessment due to its insufficient permeability peculiar to the five-axle scheme, but at the same time in Volgograd one chassis was reequipped for the prototype model of the SPU complex “Courier”. Together with the MAZ-7909 in 1989-1990, he took part in testing various prototype missiles at the Kapustin Yar launch site and was adopted as the basis for the final SPU with a modernized missile with a launch weight of 17 tons and a defeat range of 11,000 km.
In 1991, all the work on the Courier PGRK based on the MAZ-7929 was completed, and the production of prototype SPUs began at the Barricades plant. Their tests were scheduled for the summer of 1992, but in October of the previous year, M.S. Gorbachev signed the Treaty on the Reduction of Offensive Arms START-1 with the President of the United States, which led to the suspension of all work on the topic "Courier" until better times. So in Soviet times, the short history of another promising Soviet missile complex ended disgracefully. But the MAZ-7929 with its new cab became one of the predecessors of the next generation of four-axle tactical cars MZKT-7930.
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