Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Comparable in size and concept to the US Peacekeeper, the SS-24 is cold-launched ICBM capable of carrying 10 warheads. The missile is deployed both as rail-mobile and silo-based. The silo-based SS-24 was intended to replace the SS-19 Stilletto in the Russian strategic inventory. The SS-24 rail missile system is subject to elimination under the provisions of the START-II Treaty.

The RT-23UTTh is a 3-stage solid-propellant missile with a constant diameter body. The first stage of the silo-based missile uses a rotating nozzle, as compared to the fixed nozzle partially inserted in the motor combustion chamber of the railway-based version. The engines of the second and third stages deploy extendable nozzles during flight to increase the motor's specific impulse without increasing the overall dimensions of the missile. First stage flight control is attained through deflection of the sustainer nozzle, whereas the second and third stage by deflecting the combat stage and by fairing-mounted aerodynamic vanes.

Both silo-based and rail-mobile missiles use an onboard digital computer for autonomous inertial guidance system. The silo-based system uses a two-package block of control instruments made of radiation-resistant electronic elements. The railway-based missile has only one-package block of control instruments.

According to data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, the first missile regiment of the railway-based missile complex was placed on combat duty on October 20, 1987.

The combat missile train is a railway echelon consisting of two-three locomotives and special railway wagons resembling refrigerator and passenger rail cars, which accommodated transport and launch containers with intercontinental ballistic missiles, launch command posts, technological and technical systems, security means, personnel and life-support systems.

The works to develop the combat railway missile complex with the RS-22 (NATO reporting name: SS-24 Scalpel) missile began in the mid-1970s at the Yuzhnoye design bureau in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. These complexes were assembled in Ukraine as well. Overall, three missile divisions were deployed to include 12 train regiments. All of them were armed with 36 missiles, each of them carrying 10 powerful nuclear warheads.

The 10 warheads [with an individual yield of 550 KT], that a RT-23 is capable of carrying each contain a post-boost vehicle with a guidance/control system and a propulsion system are inside the nose cone. The guidance/control system provides a CEP of 500 meters according to unofficial Russian estimates, which designates the missile as hard-target-kill weapon. The missile is deployed in a transport-launching canister from which it is launched through the mortar start technique. To conduct a railway launch the sliding roof of the car opens, the container is erected and the missile is launched with the help of a solid propellant gas generator. The missile can be launched from any point of the route.

The lengths of the two versions of the missile were determined by the dimensions of the silo or the railway launcher. The silo-based missile must then use a nose cone tip flap that is activated when the launch is initiated while the railroad based missile has a folded nose cone that is extended when the launch is conducted.

The creation of the RT-23 UTTh was the culmination of a long-term effort to create a solid-propellant ICBM for multiple basing modes which was initiated on 13 January 1969.

  • 15Zh44 - SS-24 PL-4 The KB Yuzhnoye (OKB-586) was forced to confront numerous difficulties during the development of the railway-based SS-24. These difficulties eventually led to a redefinition original tasking order in July of 1976 where only a silo-launched version of the RT-23 was considered. The preliminary design was completed in March 1977 but deemed unsatisfactory. In December 1979 a second design with an improved propulsion system and a front end was finished. The new design incorporated using reentry vehicles that were identical to the R-36M / SS-18 missile. The suspended activities to build a rail-based RT-23 (15Zh52) missile were resumed, and the design was finished in June 1980. The flight-design tests of the silo-launched RT-23 (15Zh44) began on 26 October 1982. Following several failures during these flight-tests, this version was cancelled in February 1983 by the Soviet Defense Ministry.
  • 15Zh52 - SS-24 Mod-0 On 09 August 1983 a further effort to develop a silo, railway and road-mobile missile designated as RT-23UTTh was approved, but the road-mobile stationing mode was subsequently abandoned. The tests of the railway based RT-23 (15Zh52) were successfully completed in April 1985, and in November 1987 it was experimentally adopted.
  • 15Zh61 - SS-24 Mod-1 The RT-23UTTh tests of the railroad SS-24 Mod-1 version (15Zh61) (almost identical to the 15Zh52) began on 27 February 1985 and were completed in December 1987 and deployment of these missiles began in November 1989. The first regiment with railroad-based missiles was put on alert on 20 October 1987, with a total of36 railway-based RT-23UTTh missiles initially being deployed. They were deployed 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. The rail-mobile version could operate on any Soviet rail line that was unobstructed by overhead electrical power lines, a total of 145,000 km of track.
  • 15Zh60 - SS-24 Mod-2 The silo-based version (15Zh60) known as SS-24 Mod-2 was tested from 31 July 1986 through November 1988. The deployment of these missiles in silos formerly occupied by SS-17 Sego ICBMs, started on 28 November 1989, and the first silo-based missile regiment was activated on 19 August 1988. Altogether 56 silo-based RT-23UTTh missiles were initially deployed, with 10 at Tatishchevo in Russia and 46 at Pervomaysk in Ukraine.

The US Defense Department stated in September 1991 that production had officially ceased with a total of approximately 90 missiles deployed. A total of 46 silo-based RT-23UTTh missiles located in Ukraine were phased out and dismantled in compliance with the provisions of the START-I treaty. They were denuclearised and their warheads have since been transferred to Russia. By 1994 most of the rail-mobile systems remained in garrison due to lack of funding. By April 1997 10 silo-based and 36 railway based RT23-UTTh missiles were still deployed on Russian territory. Following Russian ratification of the START-2 treaty in early 2000, all RT-23 UTTh missiles became subject to dismantling.

With the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, most design and production facilities for the SS-24 belonged to Ukraine. Ukraine had no interest in continuing to produce these ICBMs, and the production line was closed in 1995.

After the conclusion of international agreements on the reduction of strategic weapons, strategic complexes with missiles 15Zh60 and 15Zh61 of the design of the KBYU fell under the article on mutual reductions, and all were withdrawn from the arsenal. On the territory of Ukraine, 15Kh60 missiles were decommissioned and disposed of, and rocket launchers of rockets were blown up.

In August 2002 the Strategic Missile Forces chief, Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, announced that the military will keep one division of the train-mounted missiles. One division includes up to five trains, each carrying three missiles, and each missile carries 10 warheads. Russia was supposed to scrap all its RT-23 missiles under START II, but Russia withdrew from the treaty in June after the U.S. abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

As the warranty period for the operation of RS-22 missiles and the railway complexes expired, a decision was taken to liquidate them. On August 12, 2005, the last combat railway missile complex was withdrawn from combat duty.

It had been suggested that these rail-mobile land-based missiles, which have been parked in their garrisons, may be placed back on patrol in response to American missile defense and associated arms control initiatives though this has never been officially confirmed.

15Zh61 - SS-24 Mod-1 - Rail Mobile

In the conditions of improving missile technology, combat missiles themselves became the primary target for the enemy. The accuracy of firing missiles increased, and already in the silo launchers they could not be sufficiently protected. The mobile (mobile) missile system could be protected due to the uncertainty of its location. Various versions of ground and rail mobile missile systems were considered. The idea of ??transporting and launching missiles from specially equipped trains was not only formulated, but also worked through experiments both in the US and in the USSR. Design works for the creation of a combat railway missile complex (BZHRK) were also conducted at the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau. In the 1960s. The project of the BZHRK with the rocket 15?41 (RT-21) was developed. The project of the railway complex with the 15Z41 missile showed the principal possibility of creating a mobile combat railway missile complex of intercontinental range and was a prototype of subsequent projects developed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau. In the mobile missile complex, only a solid-fuel rocket could be used. While working on the creation of a new missile, the specialists of the Yuzhnoye SDO planned to use it both for a stationary complex and for a rolling railway complex. Full-scale development of a stationary missile system with a solid-fueled light rocket of the class 15Zh44 was launched in 1976. On the basis of this rocket, it was planned to create a rocket 15Zh52 for a mobile combat railway complex. In 1989, a unique combat railway missile system was adopted, which became a unique technical and technological breakthrough in the world rocket engineering. US specialists, trying to create a railway complex for the Minuteman missile, refused further work, limiting themselves to making a prototype model. They encountered difficulties in transporting a heavy missile, and especially when launching a rocket from a platform. The best scientific developments of engineers, designers and scientists of the design bureau "Yuzhnoye" and other research organizations of the Soviet Union were implemented in BZHRK. ICBM 15Zh61, together with the transport-launch container, were placed in a car of standard sizes. This car had eight axles, and with the help of unloading devices two neighboring cars partially carried its load. The train consisted of three starting units. On the route the train developed a speed of up to 80 km / h. After receiving the preparation for the start command for several minutes, the train had to stop, take aside the traction electrical network, open the car roof and push the rocket out with a special powder battery. At an altitude of 20-30 meters above the TPK, the rocket was inclined, and only after that the first-stage engine was launched. The railway launcher was designed by the design bureau of special engineering, under the leadership of AF Utkin. Before the developers of the railway missile train there were new tasks. First of all, it was required to ensure the movement of the car, the mass of which together with the launcher and missile in the container was more than 200 tons. The load from the wheelset of the starting car was 1.5 times higher than the maximum permissible level established by the Ministry of Railways. As a result, an original solution was found: the axle of the launch car in which the missile was in the container was unloaded by transferring part of the load to adjacent front and rear cars using a special unloading device. At the launch of the rocket, there was one more problem: when the first stage engine was started, a powerful jet of gases from the operating engine of the first stage overturned the car. It was necessary to ensure its stability. The Yuzhnoye Design Bureau found an original solution to this problem. The impact of the operating march engine on the wagon and the transport-launch container (TPK) was excluded due to the forced slope of the missile after exiting the TPK before launching the engine. The rocket was launched using a powder pressure accumulator. The rocket was raised 20-30 meters above the TPK cutoff. Already in the air the missile was swept with a special powder engine, and only after that the first-stage march engine was launched. The jet of gas and fire, produced by the rocket, was moving away from the launcher, without damaging it, the rocket was rising upwards. The railway launcher 15P761 for the rocket 15?61 was developed on the basis of an eight-axle wagon. The designers considered variants of the combat use of the BMD with one and several launch modules. Optimal was the option with three launch modules. This option was the basis for further work. The composition of BZHRK included:
  1. three three-wave launch modules with ICBMs 15Zh61;
  2. a command module consisting of seven wagons; 3 tank-wagon with fuels and lubricants;
  3. three diesel locomotives.
The missile complex made it possible to carry out launches from any point of the route, including from electrified railways. To this end, BZHRK was equipped with a high-precision navigation system, and the wagon-launcher was equipped with an opening roof with a hydraulic drive and special devices for shorting and tapping the contact network. Each of the three launchers in the BZHRK could launch both as part of the train and autonomously. The transport and launch container of the 15Z61 missile was equipped with a thermostating system and automatic preparation and launching of a missile. The lifting of the TPK to a vertical position was carried out by pneumatic drive with the help of powder pressure accumulators. The increased survivability of the missile system was achieved not only due to its mobility, but also due to the use as a shelter of the composition of railway tunnels on the routes of combat patrolling. The high level of technical equipment allowed to apply BZHRK at any time of the year, in any conditions from the allowed parts of the route of combat patrolling. The unique solid-fuel rocket 15Zh61, which became the basis of BZHRK, had such high accuracy characteristics that the American military called it "Scalpel".

15Zh61 - SS-24 Mod-1 - Missile

The rocket 15Zh61 had three sustainer stagees and a stage of "breeding of combat blocks" [the MIRV bus]. The first, second and third stages consisted of a whole-body case of the "cocoon" type made of composite material. The first stage was equipped with a solid-propellant engine with a central fixed, partially recessed nozzle. Solid-fuel engines of the second and third stages had central stationary nozzles and sliding nozzle nozzles. This gave a significant increase in the specific impulse due to an increase in the degree of nozzle expansion with limited lengths of interstage compartments. The first stage was controlled by injection of hot gases into the supercritical part of the propulsion unit nozzle, the second by the deflection of the head and partly by aerodynamic rudders located on the nose fairing. The head part is of a dividing type, individual guidance, with ten warheads ["combat blocks"]. The stage of breeding blocks - "pushing" the scheme, the warheds are located in one tier. For the breeding stage, a unique propulsion unit (DU) 15D264 was created. It consisted of a high-energy multifunctional, high-thrust liquid engine with a combined fuel delivery system and multiple in-flight switching, as well as sixteen liquid-propellant low-thrust thrusters. The specific average integral impulse of thrust of such a propulsion system in the area of ??overloading and re-targeting of combat blocks was more than 300 s, which made it possible to ensure high efficiency of the breeding stage. Increase in the accuracy of delivery of combat units to the planned target of the defeat was decided at the expense of oriented entry into the dense layers of the atmosphere. Tests of railway ICBM 15Zh61 passed from 1985 to 1987. In total, 16 rockets were launched during the tests, one launch was emergency. There were 18 railway train exits for resource and transport tests, during which over 400 thousand kilometers were traversed by railways.

R?-23UTTKh Celina-2 - Road Mobile

The government decree on the development of a single missile for mine, railroad and ground-based basing took place on August 9, 1983. The development of the project of a combat ground missile complex with a three-stage solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile with MIRVN was launched at the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau under the leadership of Vladimir Utkin. The project foresaw placing an ICBM launcher on a MAZ-7906 twelve-axle wheel tractor. The twelve-axle missile carrier was to consist of two articulated six-axle tractors. It was assumed that a three-stage ICBM articulated from two blocks would be placed on the launcher. The docking of the blocks was to be performed before launching the missile.

Work in the Soviet Union to create a mobile ground missile complex with solid-propellant ICBMs began in the late 1950s. By the late 1960s, light solid-propellant ICBMs with a starting mass of up to 50 tons were used for placement on ground mobile launchers. From the beginning of the 1970s, work continued on the creation of a complex with the RT-23 rocket with a mass of 80-90 tons, initially with monoblock combat equipment. Then with MIRV warheads, the mass of the rocket increased to 105 tons. It was decided in the complex to have several distributed stationary launchers for each missile and transport them to covertly missiles with ground conveyors.

In the first studies on the creation of a vehicle for the RT-23 rocket, a caterpillar articulated chassis was considered. In 1976 KB-3 of the Kirov plant under the leadership of the chief designer NS Popov created prototypes of the caterpillar articulated chassis "object 829", consisting of four sections, based on the support rollers and tracks of the T-80 tank. The weight of this chassis was about 200 tons. Because of the complexity of the operation of such a chassis, it was abandoned and work began to create wheeled vehicles.

As part of the rocket and space work in 1979, the Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR was issued for the development by the MAZ of a wheeled special conveyor with the carrying capacity of 220 tons. With the transition of the military railway missile and silo complexes to the upgraded rocket RT-23UTTX, RT-23UTTX (15Zh62) began to be deployed in the ground complex.

The Celina-2 rocket was similar to the RT-23UTTX rocket, because according to the Decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR of August 9, 1983, the development of missile systems with the unified R?-23UTTKh "Molodets" missile was in three types of basing: combat railway; movable ground and silo. The missile used the main technical solutions used on the rocket 15Zh52. The lead organization for the mobile ground missile "Celena-2" was the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering (MIT) headed by AD Nadiradze. The development of the missile for the Celena-2 complex remained the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, under general designer VF Utkin.

In 1983, the Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) produced a prototype wheeled special conveyor "7904", which in the same year was sent to NIIP-5 (Baikonur) for testing. The machine was intended for use in the Energia-Buran rocket and space system for delivery to the space center of the spent side rocket stages of the launch vehicle, and as a chassis for the missile complex. The chassis of the "7904", with a width of 6.8 meters, was installed engines with a capacity of 1500 hp, two in parallel coupled hydromechanical transmissions, 12 driving wheels with a diameter of 3 meters. Control was carried out by turning front and rear wheels.

The development of the project was terminated.

15Zh60 - SS-24 Mod-2

The main difference of the rocket 15Zh60 from the rocket 15Zh61 was its increased resistance to nuclear effects. The silo-based missile 15Zh60 had a second level of resistance to nucelar effects [FPVW]. The increased requirements for power-to-weight ratio and magnitude of control efforts, the degree of protection from PFNAV, which were shown for the first-stage and second-stage maritime solid-propellant rocket engines, led to the need for a fundamentally new first-stage propulsion system. The motor installation 15D305 was created. The new engine uses a higher-energy solid fuel based on an octogen with an internal channel of an improved star-shaped shape, a central rotary control nozzle on an elastic support hinge. Consumption-traction characteristics were boosted due to a significant increase in intra-chamber pressure. For the second stage, the modernized propulsion system 15D339 was used. A special multifunctional coating is applied to the case of the second stage stage. The remaining design and technological solutions of the remote control are analogous to the DM of the second stage of the rocket 15Zh61. The propulsion systems of the third stages of the rockets 15Zh61 and 15Zh60 are identical. The control system, the combat blocks of the rocket 15Zh60, had a second level of resistance to FPAW. The control system ensured the restoration of information in the calculator after the exposure of the FPAS by rewriting it to the random access memory from the custodian in the permanent memory. A "hot" mode of operation of the control system on alert was implemented with permanently activated command devices associated with the "Signal-A" combat control system. The combat equipment of the rocket 15Zh60 is a separating warhead with ten combat blocks of increased resistance to FPAW and tactical and technical characteristics close to the TTX of the combat blocks of the American MX missile. The launcher 15P760 of the 15ZH60 missile provided constant combat readiness and the duration of the silo's autonomy during the period specified by the Customer.

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