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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


UR-200 / SS-X-10 SCRAG

Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers released an initiative that called for the creation of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) capable of sending a nuclear warhead into a 150 km high orbit around the Earth. The purpose in requesting such a system was to develop a warhead that could approach the enemy from any direction and below missile tracking radar. The enemy would not only be uncertain where the warhead was going to fall but, it would also have little or no warning as to when it was going to fall.

In response several proposed FOBS designs were submitted for consideration. Yangel offered the R-36. Korolev proposed the 8K713, and Chelomei proposed the UR-200. The development of the GR-1 missile was officially authorized by the Ministerial Council in September of 1962. Following repeated engine production delays, the GR-1 program was halted in favor of the R-36 missile (8K69). The 8K713, which was cancelled in 1964 prior to flight testing due to engine delays. The UR-200 was cancelled following the October 1964 ouster of downfall of Khrushchev, who had been Chelomey's political patron.

The UR-200 ICBM was a two-stage, tandem, cryogenic liquid-propellant missile with a standard nominal payload of approximately 7000 lb. The UR-200 was designed with approximately the same launching weight as the R-16 missile (138.0 T). In addition, it was designed to carry a very large payloadS (3.3 T or 2.7 T depending on the nose cone]. The UR-200 was unique in that it was the first and only Soviet ICBM for which attitude control during first-stage flight was provided by hinged/gimbaled engines. The missile could be either ground or silo launched from former R-16U silos.

Development of the UR-200 was approved on to simultaneously serve as an ICBM as well as a space launch vehicle. The UR-200 missile was the first missile to be developed by the NPO Mashinostroyeniya (OKB-52) under designer V. N. Chelomey. Flight-design tests began at the Baikonur cosmodrome, in November 1963. A total of nine launches were conducted, following which the program was terminated. The last flight test in October 1964, was the only one to reach the 6,500 nm Pacific test range, and was apparently considered successful.

The UR-200 was never deployed operationally. The UR-200 was initiated as a technologically conservative alternative to the SS-9 SCARP, and used cryogenic liquid fuel (Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene), which posed a number of storage difficulties. The successful development of the storable hypergolic propellants on the SS-9 rendered this lox-kerosene systems obsolete, and in 1965 the development of the UR-200 missile was cancelled. The exact reasons for terminating the SS-10 weapon system program are unknown, but are they were likely related to the UR-200's use of a cryogenic propellant combination and the successful development of the SS-9's storable propellant.

The UR-200 flight tests were associated with the designation SS-X-10, although Western intelligence mistakenly assumed these flights where for the GR-1 missile that was displayed in parades in Red Square. GR-1 missile had not been flight tested, it was paraded in Red Square and did receive the US-designation SS-X-10 SCRAG. Since both the GR-1 and the UR-200 where FOBS configured missiles it was assumed they were the same system. It is unclear at what point intelligence sources discovered that they were in fact two completely separate systems.




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