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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


RT-15M SS-N-5 SERB

The solid-propellant RT-15M missile was the sea-based counterpart of the RT-15 land-based missile, known in the West as the SS-14 SCAMP. Both consisted of the second and third stage of the RT-2, a prototype solid-fueled ICBM eventually deployed as the SS-13 SAVAGE. The 667 Yankee submarine, originally designed to carry the liquid-fueled R-21 missiles with the D-4 launch system, was to carry the RT-15M using the D-7 launch systems.

An April 1962 ministerial council decision authorized the development of the system by SKB-385, under the industrial designation 4K22. However, SKB-385 was not particularly enthusiastic with the RT-15M missile, regarding liquid-propellant missiles as more promising The solid-propellant RT-15M missile, with a range of 2400 km, weighed three times more than the liquid propellant R-27 missile which had similar range capabilities.

Testing lagged substantially behind the initial schedule. Initially the missile underwent pop-up tests, with 5 launches conducted on "613" submarines. Beginning in late 1963 a series of 20 flight tests were conducted of the missile from Golf I submarines. The demonstration of underwater launch from a flooded platform was not completed until the middle of 1964. However, in July 1963 the initiation of integrated testing was postponed, pending successful results with tests of the solid-fuel RT-2 ICBM. Subsequently, development of the RT-15M missile and the D-7 launch system was halted due to the limited range and large weight and overall dimensions of the missile.

The first domestic attempt to create a solid-fuel ballistic missile for the armament of submarines did not lead to the expected results. After several years of work, the D-6 complex was considered to be unpromising, which led to the closure of the project. Nevertheless, work in the prospective direction was continued. Immediately after the closure of the D-6 project, the development of a similar system with the designation D-7 started. Now the new missile RT-15M was to be the weapon of the submarines.

The creation of the D-6 submarine missile system was terminated by a resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers of June 4, 1961. Having studied the achieved successes, the leadership of the armed forces and industry considered the new development to be unpromising. Project D-6 was closed. The same resolution asked the development of a new complex with ballistic missiles. Now it was required to create a D-7 system with a rocket RT-15M, to which the same requirements were applied as for the previous project. It was necessary to develop a two-stage solid-fueled rocket of comparatively small dimensions, which could be transported and launched by submarines. The range of fire was set at a level of 2400 km. Achieving it was required with the help of solid fuel engines. As a payload, the missile was to carry a special warhead.

The creation of the D-6 complex was carried out by TsKB-7 (now the Arsenal Design Bureau) in cooperation with several other organizations. By decision of the Council of Ministers all documentation on this project was transferred to SKB-385, which was to create a new missile system. The main designer of the D-7 system was appointed VP. Makeyev. Also, NII-592 (NPO Automation) was involved in the project, which was to make missile control systems. The submarines-carriers and some other means of the complex were to be created in TsKB-16 (SPMBM Malakhit) and TsKB-18 (Rubin Central Design Bureau).

In order to accelerate the work on the new project, it was decided to create a rocket RT-15M on the basis of one of the developed products. A new missile for submarines was to become a modified version of the "land" RT-15. In this case, the prototype rocket was also based on another project. The basis of the RT-15 rocket was the decisions taken within the framework of the RT-2 intercontinental ballistic missile project. In fact, the medium-range missile RT-15 was supposed to be RT-2 with the dismantled first stage and corresponding change in the main characteristics. You can also consider the "marine" RT-15M, created on the basis of RT-15.

When creating a new missile system for submarines, the existing design of the basic missile has undergone some changes. Other modifications to the dimensions of the product, as well as the need to launch the rocket from the mine installation of the submarine carrier, led to the finalization. Such requirements forced the missile to be reduced, as well as to supplement it with several new units. In particular, it was necessary to use new starting engines that complement the existing power plant.

The rocket RT-15M was to be built according to a two-stage scheme. At the same time, it was a modified version of the second and third stages of intercontinental RT-2, which, accordingly, became the first and second stage. Despite all the necessary improvements, the submarine missile retained the main features of the units that became the basis for it. The general ideas of layout and hull contours, as well as management principles, etc. were retained.

In assembled form, a new type of missile was to have a body of complex shape formed by several conical and cylindrical surfaces. The head fairing of the product was to consist of a rounded element and three truncated cones of different shapes and sizes. With the last cone, a cylindrical aggregate was connected, to the tail part of which another conical block was attached. The first stage was to have a cylindrical body, on the tail part of which were placed folding grating wheels. In addition, various projecting parts for various purposes were provided on the outer surface of the article.

After several studies and additional checks, the optimal version of the missile shell design was chosen. All the main units of the product were to be made of stainless steel, capable of withstanding design loads. At the same time, in order to facilitate the construction, the body of the stage was also the casing of its engine, which required corresponding requirements to the strength characteristics.

The first stage of the rocket was to be equipped with a solid-propellant engine, which was the development of the 15D27 product of the basic RT-15. Because of the limitation on the dimensions of the first stage, the authors of the project had to redesign the body and the engine for it. The engine body during the manufacture of the rocket was to be filled with molten mixed fuel of the PAL-17/7 type. With this engine design, a solid contact of the solid fuel charge with the body was ensured. The volume of the charge allowed the engine to run for 60 seconds, creating a thrust of up to 42 tons. There were four split-type nozzles in the tail section of the engine, with which help in-flight control was to be performed.

The second stage of the RT-15M was to be equipped with a 15D28 engine borrowed from the RT-15. From the point of view of the basic design features, this product was almost identical to the engine of the first stage, but had different parameters. The maximum thrust of this engine was only 22 tons, and the operating time did not exceed 45 seconds.

To escape from the launcher and rise to the surface, the rocket had to use a special starter motor. It was a block of several interconnected chambers with solid ballistic fuel. The starting engine received a set of deflectable deflectors, with the help of which it was planned to control the missile before exiting the water in order to compensate for possible demolition.

In the head fairing of the missile it was proposed to place the control systems and the warhead. Like other ballistic missiles of the time, the RT-15M was to be equipped with an autonomous inertial guidance system. According to reports, a characteristic feature of the new missile's control systems was the installation of sensitive elements on the gyrostabilized platform, which made it possible to increase the accuracy of guidance on this target. By the time the work on the D-7 / RT-15M project began, such technologies had not yet been fully developed and mastered, but their use significantly increased the characteristics of the weapon.

As part of control systems, cut-off nozzles designed to change the thrust vector were used. The lower part of the nozzle could swing in the vertical plane and change the direction of the release of the reactive gases. In addition, the first stage was equipped with latticed tail controls that made it possible to correct the trajectory in the initial part of the flight in the atmosphere. With the help of nozzles and rudders, the control system had to maintain the required flight path necessary for the withdrawal of the combat unit to the target.

Destruction of the target was to be carried out using a 1-megaton monoblock special combat unit. This power of the warhead made it possible, to some extent, to compensate for the insufficient perfection of the guidance systems and to cover the deviation from the given goal. The design of the rocket provided for separation systems. After the development of the charge of the first stage, the emptied housing should be emptied. At the time of completion of the engine of the second stage, the automatics had to separate the head part, which continued the flight along the predetermined trajectory until it hit the target.

According to the customer's requirements, the rocket RT-15M of the D-7 complex should have a length of not more than 10.5 m and a diameter of 1.5 m. The starting weight did not exceed 16 tons. Using a two-stage architecture with solid-fuel engines allowed to reach the required range of fire to 2400 km. The estimated CEP at the maximum range did not exceed 1 km.

The D-7 complex was to include a new type of silo launcher, which should be mounted on a submarine-carrier. It was a metal cylinder with curved covers, capable of withstanding pressure at all depths of the submarine and protecting the missile from external influences. The top cover had to be opened for loading the product or starting. Inside the launcher a starter table was provided, guides to hold the rocket in the correct position during transportation and launch, and a set of necessary connectors.

Start was proposed using a starting engine from a water-filled tube. The possibility of starting from a dry installation with a breakthrough of a watertight cover was considered, however, at the time of the D-7 / RT-15M project development there were no technologies and materials that allowed the complex to be equipped with such a cover. Because of this, the designers had to apply a "wet" way of starting with pre-filling the launch tube with seawater. Upon command from the control panel, the rocket had to start the starting engine. Its task was to create a gas bell behind the tail part of the product with increasing pressure to the required values and the withdrawal of the rocket from the tube. After leaving the launcher and producing the fuel of the starting engine, the engine of the first stage would be activated.

In accordance with the original schedule of the D-7 project, the tests of the new complex were to be carried out in three stages. The purpose of the first was to conduct several launch launches from the flooded stand of PSD-7. In the second stage, it was planned to use an experimental submarine, and the third stage of the tests was to use the standard carriers of the missile complex. As an experienced carrier, a properly tuned submarine of Project 613 was considered, and in the third stage of the checks, the 629B submarines intended to be used.

The CCB-16 and shipbuilding enterprises were to provide training for the test submarines. By the end of 1962, a diesel-electric submarine "613D7" project was developed. Soon the re-equipment of the experimental submarine S-229 began. At the same time, a project for the installation of the D-7 complex for the project 629B boats was being developed. Nevertheless, the project 629D7 was never completed. In August 1962, the fleet decided to conduct the third stage of tests on a submarine of the project AV-611, equipped with new systems. After such a decision, the development of the 629D7 project ceased, and the specialists of the TsKB-16 engaged in the project AV-611D7.

In July 1963, the S-229 submarine of project 613 was completed. This submarine already had time to participate in several tests of advanced missile systems and therefore had an unconventional set of equipment. During the next modernization, she lost the unnecessary old equipment, instead of which she received elements of the D-7 complex. So, instead of the existing silo behind the fencing enclosure, a new installation was assembled. Also, the boat received the necessary fire control equipment.

In 1963, specialists SKB-385 together with related organizations and the fleet began the first launch tests of the RT-15M model of the submersible stand. At this stage, the authors of the project had to face significant problems. The first tests were delayed, because of which the completion of all necessary ideas and decisions was completed only in the first half of 1964. After this, it became possible to start the launches from the experimental boat S-229, but the beginning of this stage of testing was postponed.

The thing is that RT-2, RT-15 and RT-15M projects faced a lot of technical and technological difficulties. For example, the RT-2 project was completed in 1963, but the first launch of the new missile was only possible in February 1966. During the first preliminary checks of the intercontinental missile, shortcomings that needed corrections were identified, which prevented the work from continuing.

Calculations showed that without correcting the newly discovered shortcomings of the RT-2 rocket, all new weapons projects on its base were under threat. So, because of the existing imperfection of solid-fuel engines, there was a risk of reducing the range of firing the RT-15M by 30%. In other words, without correction of the RT-2 basic project, further development of all other systems could not lead to the expected results.

In connection with the failures of the main project, the USSR Council of Ministers was forced to render a not very pleasant decision. By decision of July 16, 1963, the beginning of flight tests of the rocket RT-15M of the D-7 complex was postponed for an indefinite period. Continue testing of a new missile for submarines should only after receiving positive results from the RT-2 project. All the works were actually stopped due to the lack of a real opportunity for their continuation.

For several months SKB-385 employees and related enterprises, as well as the leadership of the defense industry and the command of the Navy, followed the news of the RT-2 project and were waiting for the possibility of continuing work on the D-7 / RT-15M. Nevertheless, this did not happen. The strategic situation did not allow long wait and postpone the rearmament of submarines, and such considerations soon led to the closure of the prospective project.

March 24, 1964, an order was signed to stop work on the suspended project D-7 complex with a ballistic missile RT-15M. Difficulties with related projects did not allow continuing its development, and plans for the development of submarine forces did not leave time for waiting. All the work on the D-7 was ordered to stop and switch to other missile systems that had real prospects.

Complex D-7 was supposed to give Soviet submarines a new medium-range ballistic missile. After the closure of this project, the fleet's attention was shifted to a similar design for the D-5 / R-27, which was launched in 1962. The rocket of the new complex was to receive liquid engines, which allowed us to count on the speedy and successful completion of all work with subsequent arming of the system.

In mid-1963, a few months before the closure of the D-7 project, the upgrading of the S-229 submarine for the new project 613D7 was completed. The tests of the RT-15M rocket with the participation of this boat never began. Nevertheless, in the future she again managed to take part in the inspections of prospective weapons. After the decision to close the D-7 project and concentrate efforts on the D-5 system, a new submarine upgrade was launched. By the end of 1966, the C-229 lost the launcher for the RT-15M rocket, instead of which the D-5 / R-27 complex was assembled. January 18, 1967, the first launch took place.

The main problems of the RT-2 rocket were solved in the middle of the decade. In 1966, it first flew into the air, and two years later it was adopted. The successful completion of these works allowed the further development of solid-propellant ballistic missiles of various classes. In particular, it became possible to continue the development of armaments for the submarine fleet. Using the available developments on several previous projects in 1970, the development of the D-11 complex with the R-31 missile began. This system, unlike its predecessors, managed to reach the arsenal and small-scale construction.

Western Views

the Soviets displayed a new ballistic missile -- SARK in 1962, which was described as both a shipboard and a field weapon. Two years later in the November Anniversary Parade, the SERB, a second generation solid fueled inertially guided Sub-Launched Ballistic missile (SLBM) was displayed.

The Photographic Interpretation Report "SERB MISSILE, MOSCOW PARADE 7 NOVEMBER 1964" of 01 April 1965 was prepared in response to CIA requirement C-Sl4-82,021 requesting mensuration and line drawings of the SERB missile. The Mosow parade of 07 November 1964 revealed two ballistic missiles which were believed to be SS-N-5 naval missiles. These missiles had not been previously observed by the West.

The missile was long and has 3 different body diameters; an upper body diameter, a lower body diameter, and a base diameter. The nosecone extended from the tip to the beginning of the upper body section, and consisted of a sphere-cone-flare-shaped re- entry vehicle, and a possible guidance section. The were cable trays on the missile: one running from the aft end of the nosecone to the transition section between the upper and lower body sections; and the other running from the beginning of the lower body section to the forward end of the base of the missile.

There was a cover at the rear of the missile concealing engine details. Two sets of rectangular blocks protrude from the upper body and base of the missile, and possibly served as guide shoes. Four hatches were evident on the base section of the missile and a possible connector was visible on the right side of the nosecone.

The missile was transported on a 3-axle, 12-wheeled, flat-bed trailer. The trailer was towed by an AT-T heavy tracked artillery tractor.




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Page last modified: 03-05-2018 18:25:32 ZULU