Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Russia to use SS-19 ICBMs as carriers for Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles

The Russian Strategic Missile Forces have successfully launched an RS-18 (SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur space center. © Sergey Kazak / Sputnik

Russia to use SS-19 ICBMs as carriers for Avangard hypersonic glide vehicles — source

About 30 UR-100N UTTKh liquid-propellant missiles were delivered from Ukraine for the ‘gas debt, according to the source

MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Soviet-made UR-100N UTTKh (NATO reporting name: SS-19 Stiletto) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) will be the first carriers for hypersonic glide vehicles of Russia’s most advanced Avangard missile system, a source in the Russian defense industry told TASS on Tuesday.

"In the early 2000s, about 30 UR-100N UTTKh liquid-propellant missiles were delivered from Ukraine for the ‘gas debt.’ After the disintegration of the USSR, they were kept at warehouses in their unfueled condition, i.e. they were actually new and capable of going on combat duty to serve for several dozen years. A part of these missiles will become the carriers of the first series of hypersonic glide vehicles in the next few years," the source said.

"With the acceptance of heavy RS-28 Sarmat missiles for service, such vehicles will be mounted on them as well," the source added.

Speaking about the combat characteristics of the new hypersonic glide vehicle, the source noted that the yield of the nuclear warhead mounted on it - "over 2 megatonnes in TNT equivalent" - was quite enough to fully destroy "especially important targets."

Today the yield of the armament of strategic nuclear carriers in Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, China and other countries normally does not exceed 1 megatonne. The world’s most powerful weapon was tested in the Soviet Union in 1961: the AN-602 thermonuclear air bomb had a yield of 58 megatonnes.

TASS has not yet received an official confirmation of the information provided by the source.

Avangard and UR-100N UTTKh missiles
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said earlier that the Defense Ministry had signed a contract on the production of the Avangard hypersonic strategic system. The new weapon was mentioned for the first time by Russian President Vladimir Putin in his State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly on March 1.

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force Commander Sergei Karakayev later specified that the trials of the Avangard hypersonic missile system had been successfully completed.

The Avangard is a strategic ICBM system carrying a hypersonic glide vehicle. According to open sources, the complex was developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine-Building (the town of Reutov, the Moscow Region) and was tested from 2004. The glide vehicle is capable of flying in the dense layers of the atmosphere at hypersonic speed, maneuvering along its flight path and by its altitude and breaching any anti-missile defense.

The new complex is expected to go on combat duty no later than 2019, after its test launch is conducted successfully, another source in the defense industry told TASS earlier. As the source also said, the number of missile divisions within Russia’s Strategic Missile Force will not increase: the most advanced systems will arrive for the existing missile formations.

The UR-100N UTTKh (SS-19 Stiletto) missile is a heavy upgrade of the UR-100 missile complex developed in the Soviet Union in the 1960s by the Design Bureau-52 led by Vladimir Chelomei. It was accepted for service in 1980. Currently, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force operates 30 silo-based missiles of this type, according to open sources. The missile has a takeoff weight of about 100 tonnes and a throw weight of around 4.5 tonnes.

Original post:

SS-19 (Stiletto)

The SS-19 Stiletto (RS-18) is an intercontinental-range, silo-based, liquid propellant ballistic missile system deployed by the Soviet Union and now the Russian Federation. Designed concurrently with the SS-17, with which it shares many features. SS-17, SS-18, and SS-19 were the first Soviet missiles to be equipped with Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) warheads with separate guidance and targeting systems. The old MRV systems were not independent and simply saturated a single target area with warheads.1

There have been three models of the SS-19 (RS-18), the Mod 1, in service from 1975-1983, and the Mod 2, from 1977 to 1982, and the Mod 3, from 1980 to the present.

SS-19 Mod-1
The Stiletto Mod 1 could deliver up to six MIRV warheads a maximum of 10,000 km, each with a nuclear yield of 500 kilotons (kT). 2 A digital guidance and control system was used with an inertial guidance system, resulting in a reported accuracy of 550 m CEP. The missile had a length of 24.0 m, a width of 2.5 m and a launch weight of 92,700 kg, and used a two-stage liquid propellant engine.3

The SS-19 entered development in 1968 with the first flight test of the Mod 1 taking place in April 1973. The missile entered service in 1975 as the last of the fourth generation Soviet land-based missiles, and was initially deployed in heavily modified SS-11 silos.

SS-19 Mod 2
The Mod 2 was a single warhead version of the SS-19 which was briefly in service between 1977 to 1982. The USSR deployed a total of 60 of this variant, which were the first to be replaced with the MIRVed Mod 3.

SS-19 Mod 3
Due to a rushed deployment timeline, earlier versions of the SS-19 were found to have accuracy issues at long ranges. Only a year after the deployment of the SS-19 Mod 1, the Soviets began a redesign of the missile to correct the flaw, along with other operational improvements and overall resilience, which resulted in the Mod 3. 4

The USSR began deployment of the Mod 3 in 1980. By 1983 all deployed SS-19 Mod 1 and 2 missiles were of the Mod 3 variety. The Mod 2 had a throw weight of 4,350 kg made up of six MIRVed warheads, with a nuclear yield between 550 to 750 kT. Like the previous Mods, the Mod 3 had a maximum range of 10,000 km with a somewhat reduced, but more reliable accuracy 900 m CEP. 5

By the time the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, 300 SS-19 launchers were deployed. Of these, 130 were stationed in Ukraine. Ukraine claimed ownership of them and after its independence, subsequently dismantling the launchers. 6 

As of 2016, 20 SS-19 launchers remain in service. 7


SS-19 launches Condor

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