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Russia's New Strategic Arsenal

Discussion in 'Missiles & WMDs' started by Feanor, Mar 4, 2018.

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  1. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 3, 2008
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    Under your bed. No seriously, take a look.
    Since this isn't being discussed anywhere else, I thought I would post it here. In his recent address Putin has unveiled a whole slew of new weapons that had prior to this remained secret to varying degrees. This declaration comes as BMD technology advances, and deployment of actual missile defense systems continues, clearly with the purpose of changing the basis for deterrence. It's no secret that Russia's elites view strategic deterrence as key to national survival. So, without further ado, here are the newly declared assets.

    The RS-74M Kinzhal (Dagger) appears to be an air-launched version of the Iskander missile, with a declared range of 2000 kms (exceeding the Iskanders 500 kms four-fold), Mach 10 speed, and the ability to maneuver actively at high speeds along the entire flight path. This system is allegedly already deployed in South MD, and it's carrier appears to be a MiG-31BM. This explains the continued use of the MiG-31 in Russian service and fits with well with a hypersonic weapon as it's the fastest Russian fighter jet. The size of the munition and it's commonality with the Iskander suggests that it is at least in principle nuclear-capable. A Russian military source claimed the missile had been in experimental exploitation since December 1st 2017.

    Análisis Militares: Sistema hipersónico 'Kinzhal' (actualizado)
    Главком ВКС России раскрыл секрет гиперзвуковой ракеты "Кинжал"

    A ground-based laser cannon. This is a little murky. On the one hand the USSR and Russia had designed not one, not two, but three iterations of a laser tank on various chassis (Stilet, Sangvin, and Szhatie) on various chassis. On the other hand this system is much larger then any of those and is mounted on a vulnerable but huge truck chassis suggesting a much more powerful system with either anti-aircraft, anti-missile or possibly (though unlikely) ASAT employment in mind. A Russian expert suggests that the laser may be nuclear powered and it's important to keep in mind that there was an OKR for a small scale nuclear power plant on a heavy truck chassis that was publicly mentioned a few years back. Given Russian work on minituarizing nuclear reactors for unmanned submersiles, and spacecraft, this is not impossible in principle but requires some serious evidence to accept as fact.

    Análisis Militares: Desde Rusia ... un LASER terrestre móvil

    A nuclear powered and nuclear armed cruise missile with functionally unlimited range. This reads like science fiction and is the most farfetched of all the claimed systems. On the other hand it was only allegedly "tested" last year without mention of state trials or experimental exploitation suggesting that the system is still in development and far from any operational readiness. The concept isn't new, it was explored in the 60s and cast aside. It's not clear how they resolved the then unsurmountable issue of contamination. There's also a good question as to why this would be practical. As is next generation cruise missiles have longer and longer ranges within similar dimensions, raising questions about the practicality of such an expensive and complicated solutions. Such a weapon would of course be a doomsday device, having no application in non-nuclear conflicts due to the onboard reactor. Even with a conventional warhead this would be a dirty weapon.

    Análisis Militares: ¡ Misil de crucero de propulsión nuclear !

    A hypersonic glider for ICBMs. This is not new at all. Soviet OKR Holod, and recent experiments with Izdeliye 4202 were all aimed at this, and it's not clear from Putin's statement that the weapon is actually in service. Allegedly this is a high-altitude attack element that can maneuver during its flight path. It's highly likely that this project is real and nearing completion but it only reinforces traditional strategic deterrence.

    Análisis Militares: El glider hipersónico ruso

    A nuclear powered and nuclear armed unmanned submersile. This is the same as the nuclear powered cruise missile but submersile. It's hard to intercept, likely fairly slow (compared to an ICBM) but capable of delivering a lot of destruction to coastal targets with low changes of interception. Information about this system has been leaked or "leaked" before under the name Status-6 and it fits with current Russian projects for special purpose nuclear subs under GUGI auspices.

    The final element Putin discussed was the Sarmat heavy ICBM. This is simply a bigger faster stronger version of the SS-20 Satan (Voevoda in Russian-Soviet services). Russia views it as necessary to maintaining credible deterrence though in view of some of the other developments, I'd question that stance. It's certainly an expensive project whose future was at one point uncertain.

    Президент о новом секретном оружии
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    John Fedup, t68 and ngatimozart like this.