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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

R-29RMU / R-29RGU / RSM-54 Sineva / SS-N-23 SKIFF

The RSM-54 Sineva (Blue), which is also known as Scythian (NATO designation SS-N-23 Skiff) is a third-generation liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile that entered service with the Russian Navy in July 2007. R-29RM Sineva has been designed by Makeyev Design Bureau (Miass, Chelyabinsk region) and is said to be one of the most promising projects of Russia's military industry. These RSM-54 missiles will be able to stand on alert status until 2030.

The word Sineva evidently means "dark blue" in Russian. "Sineva" is the title of the un-official Russian Airborne troops [Blue Berets] anthem. Sineva is an abnormal blue coloration of sap and (rarely) sound wood caused by the activities of mold and the types of fungi that cause rot.

In contrast to the Americans, who always used only solid propellant SLBMs, the Russians have continued to use liquid-propelled missiles, perhaps on grounds of extensive experience and confidence in their safety, but surely because of consistent disappointment with the solid-propelled R-31 (SS-N-17) and R-39 (SS-N-20).

Unlike its predecessor, the Skif, the Sineva carries 10 independently targetable re-entry vehicles instead of four. The new missile has a longer range and a modern control system developed for Makeyev's Bark SLBM (SS-NX-28). It can carry four or 10 nuclear warheads, depending on the modification. The RSM-54 carries four, and the Sineva (with a service life of several decades) up to 10 individually targetable reentry vehicles, with a yield of 100Kt each. It is equipped with anti-missile defence countermeasures, and by some reports its course can be corrected with the aid of navigation satellites. It can be launched from a maximum depth below sea level of 55 meters (180 feet).

The launch of the missile can be carried out on the course of the submarine, in any direction relative to it, and from underwater position (from a depth of 55 m), at speeds of up to 6-7 knots (up to 13 km / h). Underwater cruiser is capable of giving a volley simultaneously with all 16 rockets. By the way, although each of them, according to international agreements, is equipped with only 4 warheads, in principle it is possible to increase this number to 10. Such a modification was successfully tested.

However, even with 4 warheads, a volley of each of these submarine missile cruisers sends an incredible blow to the enemy camp. These are 64 warheads, each with 100 kilotons of TNT equivalent, and each capable of destroying a large city.

According to the officially announced TTX, the maximum flight distance is 8.3 thousand km (with an accuracy of 500 m), but the tests demonstrated the possibility of firing and where further - up to 11.5 thousand km. This, by the way, even further than the most long-range American ICBMs Trident II (11 thousand km).

It turns out that equipped with "Sineva" submarines can strike, for example, in the central US states, without even leaving the pier. This power is not easy to imagine: the head part weighs 2.8 tons, and this, in fact, means that the missile for a minute throws a heavy SUV on the opposite side of the planet. According to this characteristic - the ratio of own weight to the mass of the cargo being thrown - "Sineva" is a world record holder.

The test launch of a prototype SS-NX-28 (RSM-52V) SLBM on 19 November 1998 resulted in a catastrophic failure of the SLBM's booster. The missile exploded roughly 200 meters after take-off from its ground based launch station. The SS-NX-28 then proceeded to fail its next two test firings, after which the project was abandoned.

Consequently, in late 1999 Russia announced plans to resume production of the SS-N-23. Since 1996 missile production RSM-54 was ended; however, in September 1999 the government of Russia made a decision about the renewal of the production of the modernized version RSM-54 Sineva at Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant. The state missile center design agency named after V.P.Makeev received a state order from the Russian government to resume the manufacture of naval missiles, including the most advanced RSM-54 system developed by the agency when Victor Makeev was its general designer. While deployed with four warheads for the START I treaty, it was originally tested with 10 warheads and might be deployed with that number in the absence of such arms control agreements. It had been suggested that some of these liquid-fuel missiles could be deployed on land in the absence of the START agreements.

A vital difference in this machine from its predecessor is in the fact that the sizes of stages are changed in it, 10 nuclear blocks of individual guidance are established, the protection of complex from the action of electromagnetic pulse is increased, overcoming ABM system of the enemy is established. This rocket absorbed into itself the unique system of the satellite navigation and computer complex "malachite -3", which were intended for MBR "Bark".

The ballistic missiles R-29RM of complex D-9RM armed the of 667BDRM Delta-4 submarines. In the West the complex obtained the designation SS-N-23 "Skiff". A last boat of this type K-407 entered the system on February 20, 1992. The entire Navy obtained seven rocket carriers of the project of 667BDRM. At present they are found in the fighting strength of Russian northern fleet. For each of them are placed 16 RSM-54 launchers with four nuclear warheads on each of the rockets. These ships compose the backbone of sea component. In contrast to the previous modifications of family 667, the boat of Project 667BDRM can produce the launch of rocket in any direction relative to the course of the motion of ship. Underwater launching can be achieved at the depths to 55 meters with speed 6-7 knots. All rockets can be fired in one volley.

The R-29RM rocket is three-stage, with the tandem staging, executed according to "condensed" layout. The sustainer engines at all steps are "embedded" into the rocket engine liquid propellant tanks with the high thrust characteristics. In the forward section of the rocket is placed the system of control instruments that includes celestial correction equipment for shaping the flight trajectory according to the results of measuring the coordinates of navigation stars, equipment of frequency control according to the results of the exchange of information with the navigation Earth satellites and combat blocks.

The missile body is made all-welded from aluminum-magnesium alloy. For joining of rocket with the launcher the tail section of the rocket is supplied with power supporting adapter. With the missile takeoff the adapter remains on the launching platform. The first-stage engine consists of two blocks: basic and autopilot (four-chamber). Control forces along the channels of pitch, hunting and bank are ensured by the turning of the combustion chambers of steering block.

The housing of the second step consists of the oxidizer tank, connected with the housing of first stage, and fuel tank, front bottom of which is executed in the form the conical niche, utilized for positioning of combat blocks and third-stage engine. The second-stage engine has a single chamber, with its basic aggregates placed in the oxidizer tank of first stage. Control forces along the channels of pitch and yaw are created by the turning of the combustion chamber, fixed on the gimbal suspension, and along the channel of bank.

Third-stage engine is single chamber. Control forces at the third step along all channels are created by the two-mode engine which works simultaneously with the third-stage engine. The engine installations of the third step and head part are united in the common assembling with the general tank system. The separation of first and second, second and third stages is accomplished by a system of the detonating elongated charges.

The high-precision system for control besides the equipment of celestial correction has a equipment for the trajectory correction of flight on the navigation satellites of system "hurricane" and ensures shooting to maximum range of approximately 500 m. possibly the use of different types of the flight trajectories to the minimum and intermediate distances.

The RSM-54 is the best ballistic missile in the world in terms of the energy-mass ratio. By this term the designers understand the index of the ratio of the mass of the payload of the ballistic missile relative to its starting mass, to a given flying range. For example, if machine covers one weight of warhead to the distance of 8 thousand kilometers, then for the solution of the same problem by the distance of 10 thousand kilometers it will be necessary to decrease the weight of combat load. Evaluatign the rocket according to this index, then RSM-54 has 46 units. This are better than in American ballistic underwater-launched missiles Trident-1 and Trident-2, which have energy-mass index 33 and 37.5 units respectively.

The Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant was to resume production of these missiles in 2000 according to the state's strategy for arms development until 2010. However, this program also had funding problems. While the Navy was supposed to take delivery of the missile in 2002, because the Sineva's R&D program was under-funded, the Navy had not received a single Sineva as of 2004.

Trials of the Sineva missile system were completed in 2004. During the strategic command exercise "Security-2004" held 10-18 February 2004 nuclear submarines Novomoskovsk and Karelia failed to do exercise launches of Sineva missiles. Mystery surrounded the huge military exercises in Arctic Russia attended by President Putin on 17 Febuary 2004, with some navy sources saying planned missile launches had failed. Top Navy brass denied any incident had occurred. Navy commander Vladimir Kuroyedov said there had been no plans to launch any missiles. In fact, the launch of two ballistic missiles from a submarine in the Barents Sea had failed. A Sineva missile blasted off from the Karelia, but it veered off course after 98 seconds of flight and was destroyed by its self-destruction system. The incident, which may have been caused by a military satellite blocking the launch signal, did not lead to any serious consequences for the K-407 Novomoskovsk 667BDRM Delta IV class nuclear submarine. President Vladimir Putin, who watched the exercises, ordered a commission to set up for carrying out a probe.

On 18 February 2004 Russia launched four missiles as part of its ongoing military exercise, but one of them was self-destructed after veering off course. A Molnia communication satellite and an intercontinental ballistic missile were launched from Plesetsk cosmodrome, a strategic RS-18 (Stiletto) missile was launched from Baikonur cosmodrome. However, the RSM-54 ballistic missile deviated from its plannedtrack shortly after the flight and was self-destructed. The missile began to veer off trajectory 98 seconds after it was launched by the Karelia nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea and the self-liquidation system triggered itself. On 01 March 2004 President Vladimir Putin instructed the acting defence minister to carry out an urgent investigation into the reasons for the failure of the launch of three RSM-54 ballistic missiles from the Karelia and Novomoskovsk SSBNs in mid-February 2004.

On 17 March 2004 Novomoskovsk nuclear submarine of the Russian Northern Fleet did a successful exercise launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile RSM-54 Sineva (NATO code Skiff). Reportedly the missile's two warheads hit the preset targets. After spending the night on a warship beyond the Polar Circle, President Vladimir Putin observed the successful launch of a ballistic missile from a submarine during naval maneuvers. On 17-18 August 2005 Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, watched the test-launch of a ballistic missile from the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine near the Kola Peninsula. In about half an hour after the launch, the warheads of the Sineva missile successfully hit the designated targets on the Kura test field in the Kamchatka peninsula.

A Project 667BDRM/Dela IV strategic submarine of the Northern Fleet conducted a successful launch of a Sineva/SS-N-23 missile. The missile was launched from a submerged submarine at 10:25 MSK (06:25 UTC) on 30 June 2006. The Yekaterinburg, a strategic submarine of the Project 667BDRM/Dela IV class of the Northern Fleet conducted the successful launch of a Sineva/SS-N-23 missile on 08/09 September 2006. The missile was launched from an ice-covered polar region toward the Chizha test site at the Kanin Peninsula. The three warheads that the missile was reported to carry successfully reached their targets.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which the missile system “Sineva” was to be added to the list of armaments of the Russian Navy, the press office of the Federal Space Agency reported on 24 July 2007. The missile was accepted for service on July 9 2007 and is produced on a serial basis by Makeyev Design Bureau. The seven submarines of the project 667BRDM Dolphin Delta-4 are being upgraded and equipped with the Sineva liquid-propellant ballistic missiles

Russia successfully test fired a ballistic missile from a strategic nuclear missile submarine in the Pacific Ocean on August 7, 2007. The strategic nuclear missile submarine Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky successfully fired a ballistic missile as part of military exercises at a testing range in northern Russia.

On 17 December 2007 Nuclear submarine Tula of Russia's Northern Navy test-fired a ballistic missile. According to the official, the submarine fired the missile from under the water surface with a view to check the battling capacity of the nation's strategic nuclear forces. Nuclear cruiser Tula is a submarine of 667BDRM class. These submarines are equipped with Sineva RSM-54 ballistic missiles.

RSM-54, and its latest version Sineva R-29RMU (Skiff SSN-23) once more successfully tested on 25 December 2007. The Tula submarine, built in 1987, has been modernized at the Zvyozdochka (Starlet) Engineering Plant in Severodvinsk in the Arkhangelsk Region. The submarine is equipped with 16 intercontinental PSM-54 missiles and torpedoes. Tula submarines constitute the mainstay of the strategic nuclear fleet. Seven of the series were built between 1984 and 1992.

On 11 October 2008 Russia's northern fleet held military exercises in the Murmansk region. Russia's President Dimitry Medvedev praised the maneuvers paying special attention to the launch of the intercontinental missile 'Sineva', which he watched from Russia's only aircraft carrier. The ministry of defence says the rocket, which was fired from the fleet's nuclear submarine 'Tula', reached its longest distance yet - 11,547 kilometers. An aide to the Russian navy commander said it was the first time a submarine had launched the Sineva ballistic missile to its maximum range.

"For the first time in Navy history, the launch was not to the Kura test range in Kamchatka [Russian Far East], but to the area of an equatorial part of the Pacific," Captain 1st rank Igor Dygalo said, adding that the launch was made to check the preparedness of naval strategic nuclear forces. The Sineva launch was made as part of the Dvina tactical exercises of the Russian Northern Fleet, which are also part of larger-scale Stability-2008 exercises conducted with Belarus that started in September and ran until October 21.

Russia on Thursday 04 March 2010 successfully test-launched a Sineva intercontinental ballistic missile from a submarine. The missile was launched at 07:50 a.m. Moscow time (0450 GMT) from the Tula submarine in the Barents Sea. The Sineva, which is already in service is a liquid-propellant submarine-launched ballistic missile designed for Delta IV-class submarines. The Sineva is a rival to the troubled Bulava, a three-stage liquid and solid-propellant ballistic missile intended for deployment on the new Borei-class submarines. By now, seven of the 12 test-launches of the Bulava missile had been reported as unsuccessful.

A Russian Northern Fleet nuclear submarine on 05 November 2014 fired a test intercontinental missile from the Barents Sea to the country's far eastern Kura Range on the Kamchatka Peninsula. The RSM-54 intercontinental ballistic missile Sineva (NATO code name SS-N-23 Skiff) is part of the D-9RM launch system. The D-9RM launch system equipped with RSM-54 missiles was put into service in 1986. The production of the RSM-54 was halted in 1996 but after three years, the Russian government resumed the production of a modernized version of the missile. Flight tests of Sineva were completed in 2004, and in 2007 the Russian Navy put the missile into service.

In Russia, the largest post-Soviet strategic nuclear force exercises, Thunder 2019, took place on 15–16 October 2019. As part of these maneuvers, four ballistic and 16 cruise missiles were launched. Two out of four are obsolete R-29RKUs from the Pacific Ocean, which should be removed from service with carrier boats in the near future. Perhaps they will be used to test the missile attack warning system. An indirect confirmation of these words is the fact that the east and north-east directions, where the flight path of missiles launched from the Far Eastern seas along the Chizh training ground lie, are covered by two newest missile attack warning systems (SPRN) - decimetric Voronezh-DM ( Ust-Kem village near Yeniseisk) and centimeter "Voronezh-SM" (Vorgashor village near Vorkuta). Testing both new radars could well be one of the objectives of the exercises.

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Page last modified: 31-10-2019 16:54:19 ZULU