On March 4, 1961, the first anti-missile defense system in the Soviet Union was successfully tested
An anti-missile V-1000 on a launcher, the city of Priozersk (Sary-Shagan training ground). Photo from the site
When the rocket heritage of Nazi Germany was "divided", the bulk of it, including most of the finished V-missiles of both types and a significant part of the designers and developers, went to the United States. But the primacy in the creation of a ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear charge to another continent remained with the Soviet Union. This is exactly what the famous launch of the first artificial Earth satellite on October 4, 1957 testified to. However, for the Soviet military, such evidence was the events that happened more than a year earlier: on February 2, 1956, from the Kapustin Yar test site in the direction of the Karakum Desert, they launched an R-5M missile with a nuclear warhead - for the first time in the world.
But the successes in the creation of ballistic missiles were accompanied by growing fears of the Soviet leadership that in the event of real hostilities, the country would have nothing to defend against the same enemy weapons. And therefore, almost simultaneously with the development of the attack system in 1953, the creation of a defense system - anti-missile defense - began. Eight years later, it ended with the successful launch of the world's first V-1000 anti-missile, which not only found its target in the sky - the R-12 ballistic missile, but also successfully hit it.
It is noteworthy that a little over a year later, in July 1962, the US military with fanfare announced the creation of an American missile defense system and the successful defeat of a ballistic missile. True, the details of this success today look somewhat depressing against the background of the achievement of the Soviet V-1000. An experienced anti-missile system "Nike-Zeus" detected a ballistic missile, gave the command to start the anti-missile - and that, not armed with anything (since this stage of testing was still ahead), passed two kilometers from the target. However, the US military found this to be a satisfactory result. Which, most likely, they would not have done if they had known that a year and a half earlier, the B-1000 warhead had fired 31.8 m to the left and 2.2 m above the target - the R-12 warhead. At the same time, the interception took place at an altitude of 25 km and at a distance of 150 km. But the Soviet Union preferred not to talk about such successes - for obvious reasons.
Letter from the seven marshals
The famous "letter of seven marshals" sent to the Central Committee of the KSPP in August 1953 should be considered the starting point in the history of Russian missile defense. a potential enemy of long-range ballistic missiles as the main means of delivering nuclear charges to strategically important facilities in our country. But the air defense systems that we have in service and are newly developed cannot fight ballistic missiles. We ask you to instruct the industrial ministries to start work on the creation of an anti-ballistic missile defense (means of combating ballistic missiles). " Below were the signatures of the Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces and First Deputy Defense Minister Vasily Sokolovsky, First Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Vasilevsky, First Deputy Defense Minister Georgy Zhukov, Chairman of the Military Council of the Ministry of Defense and Commander of the Carpathian Military District Ivan Konev, Commander of the Air Defense Forces Konstantin Vershinin and his first deputy Nikolai Yakovlev and also the commander of artillery Mitrofan Nedelin.
B-1000 before launch, 1958. Photo from the site
It was impossible to ignore this letter: most of its authors had just returned from Stalin's disgrace and were the main support of the new leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, and therefore were among the most influential military leaders of that time. Therefore, as Grigory Kisunko recalls, the future chief engineer of KB-1 (the current NPO Almaz, the leading Russian enterprise in the field of anti-aircraft missile systems and air defense systems) Fyodor Lukin suggested: “ABM work should be started. As soon as possible. But don't promise anything yet. It is difficult to say now what the result will be. But there is no risk here: missile defense will not work - you will get a good technical base for more advanced anti-aircraft systems. " And as a result, the participants in the meeting of scientists and designers, at which the "letter of the seven marshals" was discussed, attached to it the following resolution: "The problem is complex, we have given the task to start studying it."
Apparently, at the top, such a response was considered consent to start work, because on October 28, 1953, the USSR Council of Ministers issues an order "On the possibility of creating missile defense systems", and on December 2 - "On the development of methods to combat long-range missiles." And from that moment on, almost in all design bureaus, institutes and other organizations, at least somehow connected with the issues of air defense, radar, rocketry and guidance systems, the search for ways to build a domestic anti-missile defense begins.
I believe - I do not believe
But the decisions and orders could not affect one very important circumstance: most of the leading Soviet missile and air defense specialists were more than skeptical about the idea of anti-missile weapons. It is enough to cite only some of the most characteristic statements in which they clothed their attitude. Academician Alexander Raspletin (creator of the first S-25 air defense missile system): "This is just nonsense!" Corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences Alexander Mints (an active participant in the development and construction of the S-25 system): "This is as stupid as firing a shell at a shell." Academician Sergei Korolev: "The missilemen have many potential technical capabilities to bypass the missile defense system, and I simply do not see the technical possibilities of creating an insurmountable missile defense system either now or in the foreseeable future."
And nevertheless, since the instructions from above unambiguously demanded the development and creation of a missile defense system, the military-industrial complex took it up - but did not instruct the first persons. And thus opened the road to glory for the future creators of the country's missile defense. One of them was Grigory Kisunko, at that time the head of the 31st department of KB-1. It was he who was instructed to take on the research work on missile defense, which no one particularly wanted to do.
An anti-missile V-1000 on a launcher at the Sary-Shagan training ground, 1958. Photo from the site
But Kisunko was so carried away by this task that it became the work of his whole life. The first calculations showed that with the radar systems available at that time, 8-10 interceptors would have to be used to destroy one ballistic missile. This was a clear waste, on the one hand, and on the other hand, even such a massive "shelling" did not guarantee the result, since the anti-missile forces could not be sure of the accuracy of determining the coordinates of the target. And Grigory Kisunko had to actually start all the work from scratch, creating a new system of "catching" attacking missiles - the so-called three-range method, which involved the use of three precision radars to determine the coordinates of a ballistic missile with an accuracy of five meters.
The principle of determining the coordinates of an attacking missile became clear - but now it was necessary to understand by what parameters of the reflection of the radio beam it was possible to detect a ballistic missile, and not, say, an airplane. To deal with the reflective features of missile warheads, I had to turn to Sergei Korolev for support.But then the missile defense developers faced, as they recall, with unexpected resistance: Korolyov flatly refused to share his secrets with anyone! I had to jump over my head and ask for the support of the Minister of Defense Industry Dmitry Ustinov (the future head of the USSR Ministry of Defense), and only after his orders, the anti-missile missiles got to the Kapustin Yar training ground. We got here to suddenly find out: the developers of ballistic missiles themselves do not know anything about their reflective properties. I had to start from scratch again …
The finest hour of Grigory Kisunko
Feeling that the work on the creation of missile defense was stalled, the patrons of this topic from the Council of Ministers lobbied for the next decree. On July 7, 1955, Minister of Defense Industry Dmitry Ustinov signed an order "On the creation of SKB-30 and R&D in the field of missile defense". This document was of particular importance in the history of domestic missile defense, since it was he who made the head of the 31st KB-1 department Grigory Kisunko the head of the new SKB - and thereby gave him freedom of action. After all, his former chief, Alexander Raspletin, while continuing to deal with anti-aircraft missile air defense systems, still considered missile defense to be an untenable invention.
And then an event occurred that determined the entire further course of history. In the summer of 1955, Dmitry Ustinov decided to invite another participant to a meeting on missile defense, where the chief speaker was the head of SKB-30, Grigory Kisunko, another participant. It was the chief designer of the "missile" OKB-2, Pyotr Grushin, the creator of the V-300 missile, the main combat force of the first domestic anti-aircraft missile system S-25. So two people met, whose cooperation made possible the emergence of "System" A "- the first domestic missile defense system.
V-1000 in the version for throw tests (below) and in the standard version. Photo from the site
Grigory Kisunko and Pyotr Grushin immediately appreciated each other's capabilities and abilities, and most importantly, they realized that their combined efforts were turning purely theoretical research into the basis for practical work. It boiled with increased intensity, and quite soon the initiator of the meeting, Minister Ustinov, was able to lobby for another decree in the government, which finally brought anti-missile defense work from the "gray" research zone to the "white" zone of creating an experimental missile defense system. On February 3, 1956, the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU adopted a joint resolution "On missile defense", which was entrusted with KB-1 to develop a project for an experimental missile defense system, and the Ministry of Defense - to choose the location of the missile defense ground. Grigory Kisunko was appointed chief designer of the system, and Pyotr Grushin was appointed chief designer of the anti-missile. Sergei Lebedev was appointed the chief designer of the central computing station, without which it was impossible to integrate the data coming from the radars and control of the anti-missiles, Vladimir Sosulnikov and Alexander Mints were the chief designers of the early warning radar, and Frol Lipsman was the chief designer of the data transmission system. This is how the main composition of the team responsible for the emergence of the world's first anti-missile defense system was determined.
Further work on the creation of "System" A "- this is the code received by the first Soviet missile defense system - consisted of several stages, which at first went independently of each other. First, it was necessary to carefully study the radar characteristics of ballistic missiles throughout the entire flight path, and separately - their separating warheads in the final phase. For this, an experimental radar station RE-1 was developed and built, the location of which was a new training ground. It became known where it will be located on March 1, when the General Staff decided to organize a new test site in the Betpak-Dala desert near Lake Balkhash, near the Saryshagan railway station.Under this name - Sary-Shagan - a new landfill and later became known both in our country and abroad. And then it still had to be built: the first builders arrived on site only on July 13, 1956.
Radar station RE-1. Photo from the site
While military builders were building the foundations for new radars and housing for those who would work on them, Grigory Kisunko and his colleagues worked hard to develop the RE-1, which was supposed to first of all give an answer on how to detect missiles and their warheads. In March 1957, the installation of the station began, and on June 7 it was put into operation. A year later, a second, more powerful radar station RE-2 was commissioned, the development of which took into account the operating experience of the first. The main task that faced these stations was the most important for the development of the "A" system: tracking the launches of the R-1, R-2, R-5 and R-12 missiles, they made it possible to systematize and classify their radar properties - so to speak, “draw a portrait "of the attacking missile and its warhead.
By the same time, that is, by the fall of 1958, the Danube-2 long-range radar detection radar was also commissioned. It was she who was supposed to detect the start and movement of enemy ballistic missiles and transmit information about them and their coordinates to precision guidance radars (RTN), which were responsible for guiding the V-1000 to the target. The structure turned out to be gigantic: the transmitting and receiving antennas of "Danube-2" were separated by a kilometer, each one being 150 meters long and 8 (transmitting) and 15 (receiving) meters high!
Receiving antenna of the Danube-2 ballistic missile early warning radar. Photo from the site
But such a station was able to detect a ballistic missile of the R-12 type at a distance of 1200-1500 kilometers, that is, sufficiently in advance. For the first time, the Danube-2 early warning radar detected a ballistic missile at a distance of 1000 kilometers on August 6, 1958, and three months later for the first time transmitted target designation to precision-guided radars - one of the most important components of the "A" system.
At a speed of a kilometer per second
While SKB-30 was developing, and the military was building radars of various types necessary for detection, identification and guidance, OKB-2 was in full swing work on the creation of the first anti-missile. Even with a casual glance at it, it becomes clear that Pyotr Grushin and his colleagues took as a basis the well-known B-750 of the S-75 anti-aircraft missile system, which was being created practically at the same time. But the new missile, dubbed the V-1000, was significantly thinner in the second-stage region - and much longer: 15 meters versus 12. The reason for this is the much higher speed at which the V-1000 was supposed to fly. By the way, this indicator was encrypted in its index: 1000 is the speed in meters per second with which it flew. Moreover, it was supposed to be the average speed, and the maximum one and a half times exceeded it.
The V-1000 was a two-stage rocket with a normal aerodynamic configuration, that is, the second stage rudders were located in its tail section. The first stage is a solid-propellant booster, which worked for a very short time - from 3, 2 to 4, 5 seconds, but during this time it managed to accelerate a rocket with a starting mass of 8, 7 tons, up to 630 m / s. After that, the accelerator was separated, and the second stage, a marching one, equipped with a liquid jet engine, entered into action. It was he, who worked ten times longer than the accelerator (36, 5-42 seconds), and accelerated the rocket to a cruising speed of 1000 m / s.
Filming of the test launch of the V-1000 anti-missile. Photo from the site
At this speed, the rocket flew up to the target - the ballistic missile warhead. In the immediate vicinity of it, the B-1000 warhead, weighing half a ton, was supposed to explode. She could carry "special ammunition", that is, a nuclear charge, which was supposed to guarantee the complete destruction of the enemy warhead without a threat to the ground.But at the same time, the creators of the rocket also developed a high-explosive fragmentation warhead, which had no analogues in the world. It was a charge of 16,000 balls of explosives, each with a diameter of 24 millimeters, inside which were hidden tungsten carbide balls of a centimeter in diameter. When the fuse was triggered, all this filling, which the participants in the tests called "cherry in chocolate", scattered, forming a seventy-meter striking cloud along the course of the B-1000. Taking into account the five-meter error in determining the coordinates of the target and pointing the anti-missile, such a field of destruction was sufficient with a guarantee. The missile's flight range was 60 kilometers, while it could destroy targets at an altitude of 28 kilometers.
The development of the rocket began in the summer of 1955, in December 1956, its preliminary design was ready, and in October 1957, throw tests of the first prototype - 1BA, that is, an autonomous throw, began at Sary-Shagan. Rockets of this type made 8 launches, which took more than a year - until October 1958, after which the standard versions of the V-1000 went into action. They began on October 16, 1958 with the launch of a V-1000 rocket in standard equipment at an altitude of 15 kilometers.
"Annushka" is published
In the middle of autumn 1958, when all parts of the "A" system were more or less ready for general tests, it was time to test the missile defense system in action. By this time, the architecture and composition of the system were fully determined. It consisted of a radar for early detection of ballistic missiles "Danube-2", three radars for precise guidance of anti-missiles to a target (each included a target coordinate determination station and an anti-missile coordinate determination station), an anti-missile launching and sighting radar (RSVPR) and a station combined with it the transmission of control commands of the anti-missile missile and the detonation of its warhead, the main command and control center of the system, the central computer station with the M-40 computer and the radio relay system for transmitting data between all the means of the system. In addition, the "A" system, or, as its developers and test participants called it, "Annushki", included a technical position for the preparation of antimissiles and a launching position on which launchers were located, and the B-1000 antimissiles themselves with onboard radio equipment and fragmentation warhead.
Test launch of V-1000. In the foreground is the anti-missile launching and sighting radar. Photo from the site
The first launches of the V-1000 missiles in the so-called closed loop, that is, without approaching the target, or even for a conditional target, took place in early 1960. Until May, only ten such launches were made, and 23 more - from May to November, working out the interaction of all elements of the "A" system. Among these launches was the launch on May 12, 1960 - the first launch to intercept a ballistic missile. Unfortunately, it was unsuccessful: the anti-missile missile missed. After that, almost all launches were carried out against real targets, with varying degrees of success. In total, from September 1960 to March 1961, 38 launches of ballistic missiles R-5 and R-12 took place, during which 12 missiles flew, equipped with a real high-explosive fragmentation warhead.
And then there was a streak of failures, occasionally interrupted by more or less successful launches. So, on November 5, 1960, the V-1000, perhaps, would have hit the target - if the target, the R-5 ballistic missile, flew to the test site, and did not fall halfway to it. After 19 days, a successful launch took place, which, however, did not lead to hitting the target: the anti-missile missile passed at a distance of 21 meters (after four years in the United States, where the discrepancy is 2 km, such a result would be called a success!), But if only the warhead worked, the result would be as it should be. But then - miss after miss and refusal after refusal, for various reasons. As the leading designer of the Fakel design bureau (former OKB-2) Vitold Sloboda recalls, “the launches continued with varying success. One of them turned out to be unsuccessful: in flight, the end switch did not turn on, from which the transponder began to work.We read the telemetry and found out that the responder nevertheless turned on, but at the 40th second of the flight, when it was already too late. Pyotr Grushin flew to the training ground. Having gathered everyone in a technical position, I discussed the options for fixing the defect. They were wise for a long time, and the "chest" was opened quite simply. During the launches, the weather was unstable at the test site: it was either warm or cold. It turned out that before starting, a crust of ice formed on the end switch, which did not allow it to turn on. During the flight, the ice melted, and the transponder turned on, but not at the right time. That's all. However, just in case, they decided to duplicate the contactor”.
Day of triumph
On March 2, 1961, the seventy-ninth launch of the V-1000 took place, which could be considered almost successful. The ballistic missile target was detected on time, the transmission of information and target designations passed without problems, the anti-missile launched - but due to an operator error, it hit not the warhead, but the body of the R-12 flying towards it. Nevertheless, this launch confirmed that all ground equipment is working flawlessly, which means that there is only one step left to success.
Launch area of V-1000 anti-missile missiles at the Sary-Shagan training ground. Photo from the site
This step took only two days. On March 4, 1961, the Danube-2 early warning radar of the A system detected a target - an R-12 ballistic missile launched from the Kapustin Yar range - at a distance of 975 km from the prolonged point of its fall, when the missile was at an altitude of over 450 km. and took aim for auto tracking. The M-40 computer, on the basis of the data received from the Danube-2, calculated the parameters of the P-12 trajectory and issued target designations for the precision guidance radar and launchers. The command "Start!" Was received from the command-computing center, and the V-1000 set off on a flight along a trajectory, the parameters of which were determined by the predicted trajectory of the target. At a distance of 26, 1 km from the conventional point of impact of the ballistic missile warhead, the V-1000 received the command "Detonate!" At the same time, the B-1000 flew, as it was supposed to, at a speed of 1000 m / s, and the R-12 warhead - two and a half times faster.
This success marked the birth of the first domestic missile defense system. The most difficult work, which began literally from scratch and took eight years, was completed - so that a new one would immediately begin. "System" A "remained experimental, which, among other things, was determined from the very beginning. In fact, it was a test of strength for the creators of an anti-missile shield, an opportunity to propose and test solutions on the basis of which a real combat missile defense system will be built. And she appeared very soon. On April 8, 1958, the Council of Ministers of the USSR adopted a resolution "Issues of Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense", which set the Annushka developers the task, taking into account the results of the work already done, to take up the development of the A-35 combat system capable of protecting a specific administrative-industrial region and intercepting targets for outside the atmosphere using interceptor missiles with a nuclear warhead. Following were the resolutions of the Council of Ministers of December 10, 1959 "On the A-35 system" and of January 7, 1960 - "On the creation of a missile defense system of the Moscow industrial region."
One of the anti-missile precision targeting radars at the Sary-Shagan training ground. Photo from the site
On November 7, 1964, at a parade in Moscow, they first showed mock-ups of the A-350Zh missiles, on June 10, 1971, the A-35 missile defense system was put into service, and in June 1972, it was put into trial operation. And "System" A "remained in the history of the national anti-missile defense as a fundamental principle, a huge range, which made it possible to create all the following missile defense systems of the Soviet Union and Russia. But it was she who laid the foundation for them, and it was she who forced the American military to hastily take up the development of their own missile defense - which, as we remember, was significantly late.