Friday, 16 June 2017

Iskander Tactical Ballistic Missile System

The Iskander (Nato: SS-26 Stone) is a tactical ballistic missile system being manufactured by the Federal State Unitary Enterprise, Design Bureau of Machine Building, for the Russian ground forces. Iskander missiles were first test fired in 1996. The Russian Army acquired the Iskander-M extended-range ballistic missile system in 2006.

The Iskander mobile missile system can engage ground targets such as command posts and communications nodes, troops in concentration areas, air and missile defence facilities, as well as fixed and rotary-wing aircraft at airfields.

The Iskander was developed in the 1990s to replace the decommissioned OTR-23 Oka (Nato: SS-23) missile system. Oka was retired from Russian service under the 1987 intermediate nuclear forces (INF) treaty.

Orders and deliveries of the Iskander ballistic missile system

Russia acquired six Iskander systems in 2010. The first system was deployed in the Western Military District.

The Russian Defence Ministry plans to buy up to 120 Iskander-M tactical missile systems to equip at least ten missile brigades of Iskander-M complexes by 2017.

Belarus, Iran and Libya have also expressed interest in procuring Iskander missiles.

Russia began development of the latest land base hypersonic X-47M2 medium-range missiles

Image: From the net

Each brigade set has 51 vehicles — 12 TELs, 12 reload vehicles, 11 command vehicles, 14 personnel support vehicles, one data preparation vehicle, and one service and repair vehicle.  So a brigade can load out 48 Iskander-M missiles.  Additional reloads may come out of the brigade’s missile storage facility.

A brigade has three battalions, each with two batteries of two launchers.

The first Iskander-M missiles deployed with the 630th Independent Missile Battalion between 2005 and 2007.  They were operationally tested with this unit which falls under the 60th Combat Employment Training Center for Missile Troops and Artillery of the Ground Troops at Kapustin Yar.

After some piecemeal deployments, Moscow got serious about Iskander-M production, investing in production capability at Votkinsk and its suppliers, and signing a contract to equip ten brigades before the end of 2017.  The MOD’s 2013 “Action Plan” through 2020 indicated that Iskander-M would be the only new weapon system to replace its predecessor completely during that time frame.

Iskander-M Deployments - Source:

The MOD may plan to go above ten brigades of Iskander-M given that the Ground Troops’ structure is expanding at the army level.  The existing 152nd Missile Brigade at Chernyakhovsk in Kaliningrad (part of Baltic Fleet forces) and the 448th Missile Brigade at Kursk (20th CAA) also remain to be upgraded to Iskander-M.

Iskander-M Brigades in Western Russia Source:

Even without leaving garrison, Iskander-M missiles in Western Russia can reach southern Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, northern Belarus, southeastern Ukraine, Crimea, northeastern Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan with their 500-km range. Iskander-M in Kaliningrad allows coverage of targets in southern Sweden, Poland, northwestern Ukraine, and most of Belarus.  Add a brigade at Kursk and Russian missiles cover most of Ukraine including Kyiv.

Iskander-M Brigades in Eastern Russia Source:

Iskander-M missiles in Russia’s Far East can reach targets in China’s new Northern Theater Command north of Beijing.

But the real reach of Iskander-M depends on the missile loaded on its launcher…is it the 9M723 ballistic missile with reported 500-km range or is it the 9M728 cruise missile also with reported (but more difficult to believe) 500-km range.  The latter has come to be known as Iskander-K.

ОТРК «Искандер» на боевом дежурстве на западе РФ. Декабрь 2013. Фото: Александр Пак, пресс-служба Западного военного округа. PTRC "Iskander" in the line of duty in the west of Russia. December 2013. Photo: Aleksandr Pak, the press service of the Western Military District. Source:

This missile is also known as the R-500 and it may be part of the Kalibr family.  If true, it may have 2,000-km or greater range — breaking the INF Treaty’s prohibition on ground-launched cruise missiles with ranges between 500- and 5,500-km.

Iskander-K is likely already present in the first four or five brigades armed with Iskander-M.

It’s a game-changer.  Fired from near Luga, this missile covers all of Western Europe, perhaps falling shy of Paris.  In the Far East, one from Birobidzhan covers all of northern China and easily reaches Beijing. Source:

The Iskander advanced and S400 integrated air defenses in Kaliningrad: Here

Responding to the threat posed by US cruise missiles, which could be launched from sites in Eastern Europe, Russia will be forced to deploy its own ballistic missiles in its westernmost region, the head of the Russian Senate Defense Committee warned.

“One of the reasons why Russia opposed the deployment of the American ABM [anti-ballistic missile] system in Europe was the concern that this infrastructure may be quickly converted to deploy strike systems, in particular land-based cruise missiles. These concerns are being confirmed today,” Senator Viktor Ozerov, who chairs the upper house’s Defense and Security Committee, told Ria Novosi.

The Russian lawmaker was referring to interceptor missile launchers deployed in Poland and Romania, which Washington insists are needed to protect Europe from a rocket attack. The vertical-launch systems are the same used on American missile cruisers to fire Tomahawk missiles. Source: 

Iskander-M missile complexes in Kaliningrad range – Source:

Iskander-E export ballistic missile system

Image: From the net

The Iskander missile system is produced in three variants. Iskander-E is an export version designed to meet the guidelines of MTCR (missile technology control regime). It has a maximum firing range of 280km and circular error probable (CEP) of 30m to 70m. It is also equipped with an inertial guidance system.


Missile specification


Iskande-M extended-range missile system

Iskander-M is an extended range missile developed for the Russian Army. The missile has an expected range of more than 400km. It is equipped with inertial and optical guidance systems for improved firing accuracy, and an electro-optical seeker for self-homing capabilities.

Iskander-M is a variant of the Russian tactical missile system 9K720 Iskander (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) used by the Russian Armed  Forces. It can fire two types of missiles:
  • the quasi-ballistic 9M723;
  • the cruise 9M728.

Both types can maneuver quickly on their flight path to make more difficult interception by enemy anti-missile weapons. Source:


Nuclear warhead 9Н70 Iskander-M(9K720)

Iskander-K cruise missile system

Image: From the net

Iskander-K is the latest variant in the Iskander series of missiles. The missile system is equipped with R-500 cruise missile. It was first test fired from the mobile Iskander platform in May 2007. It attained a speed of approximately 250m a second at altitudes of 100m.

R-500 (9M728) cruise missile

Image: From the net

Development of the land-based R-500 missile commenced in 1996. It is based on a Soviet RK-55 cruise missile, which was about to enter service in 1987, but was cancelled due to Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. At some point Russians resumed development of this missile. The R-500 was test fired in 2007. This missile was adopted in 2009 and production commenced during the same year. The R-500 missiles with conventional warheads were first deployed in 2011. A first batch of 12 Iskander systems, capable of launching both ballistic missiles and cruise missiles was deployed in 2013. In 2017 the Iskander-K was first deployed with nuclear-tipped R-500 missiles.

   The R-500 cruise missiles are carried and launched in the same manner as Iskander's ballistic missiles. Each road mobile launcher can be equipped with two R-500 cruise missiles. Each missile can be targeted independently.

Image: From the net

   The R-500 reportedly has a range of 1 500 km. It is significantly more than 400 km range of the Iskander's  standard short-range ballistic missile. Though at a cost of much lower payload. The R-500 carries a conventional 500 kg warhead, or nuclear warhead with a yield of around 10-50 kT. It is likely that there are several different conventional warheads, including cluster, fuel-air explosive, and bunker-busting. For a number of years Pentagon was warning Russia, that development and fielding of a land-based missile with such range violates INF Treaty. Despite that it looks like the first Iskanders armed with R-500 cruise missiles were deployed operationally in 2017. The main role of the R-500 missiles is to strike the US ballistic missile shield components, as well as NATO air defense systems located in Europe.

Image: From the net

   A booster propels the missile from its container. In flight the wings are deployed. This cruise missile has a flight altitude of up to 6 km and follows terrain. In terminal phased it descends to a low altitude (50-150 meters), and maneuvers in order to overcome air defense systems.

Image: From the net

   The R-500 missile has an astro-inertial navigation, but can also receive Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system update. The missile has a CEP of just around 5 meters. Most likely that these missiles are capable of hitting moving targets, as target coordination can be adjusted while the missile is in-flight.

Image: From the net

   The Transport-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle can launch its missiles R-500 missiles within 16 minutes from traveling, or 4 minutes from the highest readiness. The second missile can be launched in less than a minute once the first missile is launched. Source:

Ceiling: 50 kilometer
CEP: 7 meter
Max Range: 2,000 kilometer (1,080 nautical mile)
Top Speed: 5 mach (5,978 kph)

Land attack Kalibr missile coverage of Europe

Image: From the net

Iskander missile system features

Image: From the net

The Iskander missile system is equipped with two independently targeted short-range ballistic missiles. Each missile has a length of 7.3m, body diameter of 0.92m and weight of 3,800kg. The missile can be re-targeted during flight to engage moving targets.

Iskander can carry 480kg of conventional warheads including HE fragmentation, submunition, penetration, fuel-air explosive and electro-magnetic pulse. The minimum firing range of the missile is 50km and the maximum is 280km. Iskander is powered by a single-stage solid-propellant engine.

The Iskander-M is equipped with a self-contained inertial navigation system (INS) and an optically guided warhead. The optical homing head can also be controlled from an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) or an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This feature provides a self-homing capability to the missile. Targets can be identified by satellite, aircraft, conventional intelligence centre or a soldier. After receiving the images of the target, the onboard computer of the missile locks onto the target with its sight and directs the warhead towards the target at supersonic speed.

The missile can overcome enemy air defence systems while offering high-probability of failure-free operation in countermeasures environments. It has a target accuracy of 5m to 7m and operates even in fog or low visibility.

Tactical missiles 9M723

Image: From the net

Single-stage solid propellant missile 9M723, controlled at all stages of the flight with the quasi-ballistic trajectory. Warhead cassette type missile 54 having a fragmentation member or noncontacting also undermine cassette type volumetric elements detonating action. Missiles produced by JSC "Votkinsk plant", the launcher is made on the software "Barricades".

Single-stage solid propellant missile 9M723 - Source:

Rocket - one-stage, has an engine with a nozzle neballisticheskaya and controlled throughout the flight path using aerodynamic and gasdynamic rudders. Most of the flight trajectory of the missile, made by technology "Stealth" and having a small surface scattering takes place at an altitude of 50 km, which significantly reduces the probability of its defeat the enemy. Effect "invisibility" is achieved by a combination of structural features in particular rockets processing special coatings, dropping the protruding portions after start et al ..

Schematic diagram of the controlled operational-tactical missiles 9M723 - Source:

The construction of a single-stage rocket with a non-detachable warhead. Much attention is paid to reducing ESR - no projecting parts, openings and noticeable joints, cable gargrot maximally minimized in embodiments of the first missile and configured as a thin plume on the surface of the rocket body at a series of modern aerodynamic control surfaces instead of the lattice are replaced by arrowhead. It uses a special thermal barrier coating enclosure that can probably serve as a coating reduces the ESR.

Start-driven tactical missiles 9M723 - Source:

The trajectory of "Iskander" is not only neballisticheskoy, but also difficult to predict. Immediately after the start, and immediately upon approaching the targets missile performs intensive maneuvering. Depending on the path overload range from 20 to 30 units. Correspondingly interceptor missile to withstand the overload in at least 2-3 times higher, which creates a system designers struggle with the "Iskander" additional difficulties.

9M723 missile - rear view - Source:

The task of creating a similar apparatus for the "Iskander-E" to the right CRI automation and hydraulics (TSNIIAG) - a leading developer of guidance and control systems for domestic tactical and operational-tactical missiles, having a 25-year backlog in the development of homing heads.

The main way to solve this problem was chosen by the union of the inertial system with optical guidance on environmental goal areas. Being created in the early 90-ies in the Moscow TSNIIAG and shown in the Eurosatory-2004 optical correlation seeker 9E436, can be used as a part of "Iskander-E", and the ballistic and cruise missiles of various classes and types (including intercontinental). GOS 9E436 already passed flight tests and showed the accuracy of the missile on target up to two meters. To date, prepared mass production of this head.

The operating principle of homing systems with the scientific name of the correlation-extreme is the fact that the optical apparatus forms an image of the terrain in the target area, which is compared to the on-board computer with a standard, and then are issued corrective signals to the missile controls.

Optical GOS 9E436 missiles 9M723 PTRC "Iskander" - Source:

  • Mass GOS - 20 kg
  • Input Time flight task - no more than 5 min
  • CWE - 20 m

Such a principle of management has its advantages and disadvantages. Let's start with the latter. Since the system does not recognize the target itself, and the area around it, it can not provide guidance on the movable object. For the formation of flight tasks must have a reconnaissance photograph. Job seeker can prevent fog or exhibited opponent aerosol cloud that hides the area. If the head is mounted on a ballistic missile, it can prevent the low clouds (for cruise missiles capable of flying at low altitudes, this problem does not exist).

However, these shortcomings are more than offset by the advantages. Optical GOS is universal and makes only one requirement for missile inertial control system: to bring the latest in a point at which the optics is beginning to see the goal. Powerless against this head there is an active means of electronic warfare, which very effectively antagonize radar homing system. GOS high sensitivity allows you to work even on a moonless night, which distinguishes the new system from the early prototypes. In addition, the optical system does not require signals from space navigation systems, such as the US NAVSTAR, which is in crisis cases, it may be turned off or disabled by radio interference. However, aggregation with an inertial control satellite navigation equipment and optical GOS allows a missile strikes a predetermined target almost any imaginable conditions.

In the control missiles involved and active radar homing 9B918, which is designed and manufactured NPP "Radar MMS".

Engine - SRM, engine compartment 9H820 (9M723 rocket), the charge is made of a composite solid fuel with a high specific impulse. Rockets "Iskander" / "Iskander-E" and "Iskander-M" used various types of fuel. Solid propellant rocket complex does not involve special heat during storage or operation at low temperatures (on the STC and TZM no missiles heating system).

Remains of a rocket motor compartment 9M723 found on the territory of Georgia during Georgian-Ossetian conflict in August 2008 - Source:

The missile can be equipped with different warheads (total 10 types) including .:

  • high-explosive (all modifications) may be used with optical or radar seeker correlation;
  • high-explosive incendiary use with optical or radar correlation GOS unlikely
  • penetration (all modifications) may be used with optical or radar seeker korrelitsionnoy
  • nuclear, power 5-50 kilotons ( "Iskander-M") can theoretically be used with optical or radar korrelitsionnoy GOS. The use of nuclear warhead, probably now is not expected because open a photo and video materials on the STC and TPM are no nuclear weapons of the heating system (but on the basis of modular systems, such systems can be installed at any time).

9M723 missile - front view - Source:

Cassette warhead 9N722K5

Option 1 (possibly 9N722K1 - KB Votkinsk Machine Building Plant.

  • Weight - 480 kg
  • The number of submunitions - 54 pcs.
  • Height CU disclosure - 900-1400 m
  • The height of the pickup combat elements - 6-10 m

Types of submunitions:

  • shrapnel noncontact
  • cumulative fragmentation
  • homing
  • volume-detonating

Option 2 (possibly 9N722K1 or other) - GosNIIMash (Dzerzhinsk)

  • Weight - 480 kg
  • The number of submunitions - 45 pcs.
  • Type of submunitions - 9N730 with central bursting charge (RPC) 9N731
  • Type of proximity fuze - 9E156 "Umbrella" SRI developed electronic devices (Novosibirsk)

Contactless fuse 9E156 "Umbrella" bomblets from cluster warhead - Source:

missile modifications

  • Rocket 9M723K1 / 9M723K5 - missiles with cluster warheads.
  • Rocket 9M723K-E - export variant missiles with cluster warheads
  • 9M723-1 rocket - an improved version of the missile, developed as of 2007-2009
  • Rocket 9M723-1F / 9M723-1FE - a missile with radar seeker 9B918
  • Rocket 9M723-1F2 / 9M723-1F2Tl - mass-produced, with the letters "T" - version of the missile telemetry
  • Rocket 9M723-1K5 / 9M723-1K5Tl - produced in series, with the letters "T" - version of the missile telemetry.
  • 9M723 missile with a new type of military equipment - launch missiles with combat equipment of the new type were made at Kapustin Yar, October 11, 2011 Start was successful.
  • 9M723 missile with optical correlation seeker - 14/11/2911, the missile with a seeker of this type has been successfully tested at Kapustin Yar.

The performance characteristics of the missile 9M723

  • Guaranteed minimum firing range, km: - 50
  • Guaranteed maximum firing range, km: - 400 280 (E)
  • Starting weight, kg - 3800
  • Payload weight, kg - 480
  • Mass launcher with paketami - 42300
  • Length mm - 7200
  • The maximum diameter of a rope clip, mm - 950
  • The maximum diameter of the engine, mm - 920
  • Circular error probable, m - 1 - 30
  • velocity of the rocket after the initial part of the trajectory, m / c - 2100
  • Operating temperature range from -50 ° C to 50 ° C
Translated by google - Source:

Launch vehicle for the tactical ballistic missile system

The transport-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicle based on the MZKT-7930 Astrolog 8x8 chassis carries two Iskander missiles.

The TEL is powered by a YaMZ-846 diesel engine delivering a power output of 500hp. The vehicle is equipped with full nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection systems. Four hydraulic jack supports on the vehicle enable the positioning of the TEL on uneven land within a short time. Missiles are raised to an angle of 85°, which takes around 20 seconds. The vehicle can be transported by an Antonov An-124 transport aircraft.

The Iskander TEL is supported by a transporter and loader vehicle built on the same 8x8 chassis. The vehicle can carry two reload missiles and a crane. The full Iskander missile system also comprises a command and control post vehicle, mission planning vehicle, maintenance and repair vehicle and a life support vehicle. These vehicles are based on KamAZ 43101 6x6 cargo truck chassis.

Command and control post vehicle

Operators: Here

Main material source:

No comments:

Post a comment