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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

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    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
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  2. wsb05

    wsb05 Member

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    It certainly looks like the Russians are seriously working towards miniaturizing nuclear reactors and developing weapons and maybe other things around that unlimited power supply.
     
  3. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I guess I'll put this here, since I don't see another thread. Russia is testing a new missile for it's BMD. Currently Russia has two parallel BMD programs, one for upgrading it's existing A-135 system, one for the development of a follow-on system. It's not entirely clear which program this test is for, and it's likely the two programs will overlap with elements of the new system used to upgrade the existing one.

    Новая ракета для российской системы ПРО
     
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  4. barney41

    barney41 Member

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    What is Russia's BMD program intended to achieve? In an all out nuclear exchange, any BMD shield will be overwhelmed. So is it to protect against an accidental missile launch? An limited attack from a rogue country? If so, which countries might those be?
     
  5. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Is it? I wouldn't be so confident in claiming that. The possibility exists that a BMD shield could be successful in an all out nuclear exchange. However the probability that any given BMD shield will be overwhelmed in such an exchange is high. Semantics yes, but important because modern technology advances in leaps and bounds and we on the outside looking in are not aware of all those advances.
     
  6. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ngatimozart you have a point, but at the same time I think barney41 asks the right question; what's the purpose? I don't think Russia has a clear purpose doctrinally or strategically for their BMD. Rather I think they're developing it so they can say they have one, should a purpose for it emerge.
     
  7. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Agree, that it requires a purpose. So next question, is the article itself entirely factual or is it disinformation?
     
  8. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, what article? I linked to a brief blog post with an embedded video of the test launch, no actual article.

    I don't think Russian BMD development is entirely misinformation, some sort of development does appear to be taking place.
     
  9. Sandhi Yudha

    Sandhi Yudha Active Member

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    I saw this test a couple of days ago on the internet. The acceleration, the speed is so fast, the missile itself is just not visible...just insane!
    So, the S-300VM, the new S-400 and the upcoming S-500 have both a limited BMD-capability, but the A-135 and A-235 Nudol are specially made for BMD, am i right?
     
  10. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, its impressive.
    Feanor, any idea? Can you give some background? As I always struggle to understand the capabilities of Russian kit.
     
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  11. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry for the slow response, so it's like this; OKR Nudol' is clearly separate from the S-500. It's fuzzy on what exactly the relationship between the A-235 and OKR Nudol' is, since the OKR normally associate with A-235 is Samolyot-M. The A-235 is presumably, based on the index, a dedicated strategic ABM, the successor to the current A-135. The S-500 supposedly a theater SAM with some additional advanced capabilities, including potential BMD capabilities. On the subject of the S-400s BMD capabilities, it's unlikely to have much effect against ICBMs but something like an operational-tactical missile might be doable. Things are kind of fuzzy. In Syria they're using Pantsyr-1S against ballistic inbounds like single Grad missiles, not their S-400s, but that's likely due to cost-efficiency. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be able to intercept those kinds of targets.

    The biggest point of confusion is on what the relationship is between OKR Nudol and OKR Samolet-M. Some sources think that OKR Nudol merely succeeds the OKR Samolet-M, which would make the Nudol a full on strategic BMD with ASAT capabilities (planned). It's definitely looking like OKR Nudol is a mobile system. It's possible that Samolet-M refers to a stationary BMD while Nudol refers to a mobile one. Given that none of these systems are in service, and the related OKRs are fairly secretive, it's hard to be completely sure of anything.
     
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  12. cdxbow

    cdxbow Member

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    An explosion of a missile on Thursday at the test site in the Arkhangelsk region,may have been the nuclear powered cruise missile that Mr Putin was touting, as there was a radioactive spike detected. U.S.-based experts suspect Russia blast involved nuclear-powered missile - Reuters The explosion was said to be a liquid propellant rocket engine. Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom said that five of its staff members died. Would a nuclear powered cruise missile have a liquid fuelled booster to get it well away from the launch site before firing up the nuclear propulsion?
     
  13. cdxbow

    cdxbow Member

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  14. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The total death toll now stands at 7, with 2 MoD personnel, and 5 RosAtom employees. Also 6 were injured, 3 from each side. The incident took place 40 kms from Severodvinsk, a major city, and a brief though relatively mild radiation spike was reported in Severodvinsk despite previous claims that the radiation level was within background levels.

    It remains to be seen what this means for the program, but I suspect that this will be treated as a setback rather then a serious alarm bell.

    Взрыв на полигоне в Архангельской области произошел во время испытания ракеты с радиоизотопным источ

    EDIT: RosGidroMet reports that the radiation in Severodvinsk spiked 0.45 to 1.78 microsieverts per hour, 4-16 times over normal levels in the area, but allegedly less then an 8 hour plane flight.

    Росгидромет: уровень радиации в Архангельской области при взрыве был превышен в 4-16 раз

    And the Serebryanka nuclear fuel transport has returned to port in Murmansk.

    Танкер «Серебрянка» обслуживания «Росатомфлота» вернулся из районе полигона Ненокса в Мурманск
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
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  15. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The mystery deepens. It appears that the accident at Nenoksa might have been due to attempts to recover a previously lost nuclear-powered missile, and it's warhead may have detonated causing the accident and accompanying damage. There's also information that some of those killed in the accident died not from their injuries but from radiation sickness. Reportedly, they were badly injured but would have survived. There is also considerable indignation from the medical personnel of the hospital they were delivered to, stating that they were not warned about the radiation hazard for these patients. The medical staff was subsequently examined for radiation themselves, and at least one was found with cesium-137 in their body. It's also claimed that military personnel later conducted CBRN de-contamination procedures in and around the hospital where the casualties were treated.

    Тайна взрыва в Нёноксе: 7 человек погибли не из-за неудачи с ракетой "Буревестник", а при попытке поднять со дна такую же ракету, упавшую ранее
    Двое пострадавших в результате взрыва под Северодвинском умерли от последствий острой лучевой болезни
    Врачу, в организме которого нашли цезий-137 после контакта с пострадавшими при взрыве под Северодвинском, заявили, что он "привез" его из Таиланда
     
  16. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    So apparently the people in charge now aren’t any more open than their Soviet predecessors with respect to nuclear mishaps.
     
  17. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I think that charge could be laid against most of those in the nuclear industry, until found out that is.
     
  18. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    Old habits die hard and after all comrade Putin was KGB and FSB. Secondly by all appearances it was an accident involving nukes, so that will have been screwed down tight. The yanks have done the same when they've lost a nuke.
     
  19. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    Secrecy is understandable for incidents involving nuclear weapons but exposing medical personnel to contaminated patients without a
    warning is not. The officials in charge could have blamed the exposure on a waste spill or some other BS excuse to explain why the patients were radioactive.
     
  20. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It's Severodvinsk. They could have just taken them to a military hospital. You won't be able to convince me that this wasn't an option, in a town that's built around a bunch of nuke sub testing grounds and shipyards.