In 1987, the USSR and the United States signed the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles, which prohibited the development, construction and operation of complexes with a firing range of 500 to 5500 km. Fulfilling the terms of this agreement, our country was forced to abandon the continuation of the operation of several existing missile systems. In addition, the agreement resulted in the closure of several promising projects. One of the developments that were not brought into service due to the emergence of the INF Treaty was the project of the 9K716 Volga operational-tactical missile system.
According to reports, the creation of the project with the symbol "Volga" began no later than the mid-eighties. The head developer of the complex was the Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau (Kolomna), headed by S. P. Invincible, who previously created projects for the Oka and Oka-U complexes. The main task of the Volga project was the creation of a modern operational-tactical missile system designed to replace the existing 9K76 Temp-S system. When creating a new project, it was planned to use the existing experience and existing developments on the already existing complexes, primarily the systems of the Oka family.
Combat work of the "Volga" complex as presented by the artist
The first mentions of the 9K716 Volga project date back to 1980. Then the Kapustin Yar test site received an order to begin preparations for testing a promising missile system with the Volga code. The firing range of this complex, which had to be taken into account when preparing the test site, was 600 km. In preparation for future tests of the new complex, it was planned to prepare a new launch pad, the location of which made it possible to test missiles with firing at the maximum specified range.
Taking into account the existing experience, the Mechanical Engineering Design Bureau has formed the general appearance of the promising complex. It was planned to include several components for various purposes in the Volga system, designed to perform certain tasks. The main element of the complex was proposed to make a self-propelled launcher, built on the basis of a special wheeled chassis. A transport-loading vehicle and a number of other special equipment were supposed to accompany this technique and ensure its combat work. Finally, it was necessary to develop a guided missile with the required characteristics. According to some reports, the possibility of creating a whole family of missiles, consisting of 14 different products, was considered.
The firing range requirements led to the need to create a relatively large and heavy self-propelled launcher. For the construction of this vehicle, a self-propelled chassis with appropriate characteristics was required. The development of the required equipment was entrusted to the Bryansk Automobile Plant, which had solid experience in creating special chassis, including for missile systems. The project of a promising chassis for the "Volga" complex received the working designation "69481M". Also in some documents the name BAZ-6948 appeared.
The 69481M project involved the construction of a five-axle wheeled vehicle with a 10x8 wheel arrangement. Due to the large dimensions of the rocket being created, the chassis had to be distinguished by a large length, which was compensated for by an increase in the number of axles of the undercarriage. At the same time, the car had to have a layout traditional for such a chassis. In the front part of the hull, in the front overhang, the crew cabin was located, behind which was the engine compartment. All the volumes of the hull behind the engine compartment were given to accommodate the required payload in the form of a launcher, rocket or other special equipment.
Proposed rocket layout
The engine compartment of the car housed two KamAZ-740.3 diesel engines with a capacity of up to 260 hp. With the help of two mechanical gearboxes KamAZ-14 and other transmission equipment, the torque was distributed to the four driving wheels of each side. At the same time, each engine worked with a transmission and wheels on its side. The driving wheels were two front and two rear axles. The third axle did not receive communication with the transmission and was not a leading one. For control, it was proposed to use the mechanisms for turning the wheels of the two front axles.
The cabin of the machine "69481M" could accommodate four crew jobs. With its own curb weight of 21.5 tons, the chassis could take on board a load weighing 18.6 tons. The total mass of the launcher with a rocket was supposed to reach 40.5 tons. The maximum speed of the car on the highway is 74 km / h, the cruising range is 900 km …
When used as the basis for a self-propelled launcher, the promising chassis was supposed to receive a lifting boom with attachments for a rocket, outrigger jacks and other special equipment. In the transport position of the vehicle, the rocket should be placed inside the cargo compartment, under the protection of the sides and the sliding roof. In preparation for firing, the roof flaps should have diverged to the sides, allowing the hydraulically powered boom to raise the rocket to the launch position.
Also, the chassis "69481M" was supposed to become the basis for the transport-loading vehicle of the missile complex. In this case, in the cargo compartment of the chassis, it was necessary to mount fasteners for transporting missiles or missiles, as well as means for their maintenance and reloading onto the launcher. The use of a unified chassis made it possible to greatly simplify the operation of two types of machines that form the basis of a promising missile system.
Special chassis prototype
Some sources mention that other types of chassis could become the basis for the Volga missile system. Special equipment could be installed on machines such as MAZ-79111, BAZ-6941 or BAZ-6942. These chassis differed from the new development with the code "69481M" in the main design features, the use of different engines, as well as a different configuration of the chassis with four axles and all-wheel drive. However, there is no information on the development of such a version of the 9K716 Volga project.
Based on the results of preliminary studies of the project, the appearance of a promising rocket was formed, capable of ensuring the fulfillment of the terms of reference. To increase the firing range to the required level, it was necessary to use a two-stage rocket architecture, as well as control systems based on existing developments. According to reports, when creating a new rocket, it was proposed to use not only the existing developments, but also some finished products borrowed from previous projects.
The Volga missile complex could be a two-stage system equipped with solid-propellant engines. As the first stage of this product, the missile unit of the 9M714 missile of the Oka complex could be used. The second stage with its own engine, warhead and control systems had to be developed anew, albeit with a fairly wide use of existing developments or units.
The result of such a project was to be a rocket with a cylindrical body of the first stage and a second stage with a complex-shaped body with a long conical head fairing. X-shaped stabilizers were to be placed in the tail section of the fairing. It was also planned to equip both stages with lattice rudders for control in the active phase of the flight. It was necessary to use the layout, traditional for such missiles, with the head placement of the warhead and the instrument compartment. The engine of the first stage was supposed to occupy almost the entire volume of the hull, the second - only its tail section.
Machine "69481M" on tests
To control the rocket in the active phase of the flight, it was planned to use an autonomous inertial system. With the help of a set of gyroscopes, she had to monitor the movements of the rocket in flight, determine deviations from the pre-calculated trajectory, and then issue commands to the steering machines. Apparently, both existing and new devices could be used as part of such a guidance system.
Some sources mention that in the eighties, several domestic research organizations studied the issue of equipping ballistic missiles with radar homing heads. In this case, the GOS of the correlation type should have been applied using a digital terrain map. The flight control of the detachable warhead in the final section of the trajectory was to be carried out using a set of aerodynamic control surfaces. Such equipment, in theory, made it possible to increase the guidance accuracy in the final phase of the flight, as well as change the target after launch. As far as is known, the development of such guidance systems has not been completed for a number of reasons.
It was planned to equip the missile of the Volga complex with warheads of various types. First of all, the possibility of using a nuclear warhead was considered. In addition, a special warhead could be replaced with a high-explosive or other required type. According to reports, at a certain stage in the development of the project, it was proposed to create a whole family of 14 missiles for various purposes with different combat equipment.
The use of ready-made components, such as the missile compartment from the 9M714 product, in combination with new units and a two-stage architecture, made it possible to achieve a significant increase in the characteristics of the firing range. In accordance with the original plans, the range of the new missile was supposed to reach 600 km. According to other sources, the development of the project made it possible to raise the maximum range to 1000 km. The estimated parameters of the shooting accuracy are unknown.
According to the test results, the chassis design was changed
After being put into service, the promising 9K716 Volga tactical missile system was supposed to replace the Temp-S systems available in the troops. In this case, the attack of targets at ranges of up to 400 km could be carried out by Oka complexes, and firing at a range of 400-1000 km was to be the task of the new Volga systems. At the same time, in both cases, delivery to the target of warheads of various types, including special ones, was ensured.
In 1987, the Bryansk Automobile Plant completed the design of a special chassis "69481M", after which it began assembling a prototype of such a machine. The finished prototype of the car was sent to Kolomna for re-equipment according to a new project. For certain reasons, it was proposed to test the chassis in the configuration of a transport-loading vehicle. During its construction, the chassis received an updated hull of increased height and, possibly, some internal equipment. In this form, the prototype went to the test site.
After the first tests on polygon tracks, the transport-loading vehicle on the 69481M chassis underwent some modifications. The surviving photographs show that different parts of the car body have undergone one or another change. So, an additional ventilation grill appeared on the engine compartment, an enlarged casing was installed between the second and third axles for additional equipment, and several additional hatches were mounted in different parts of the sides. Apparently, these changes were associated with the rearrangement of special equipment and some other units in connection with the results of the first tests.
By the time the tests of the experimental transport-loading vehicle began, other elements of the promising Volga complex were at the design stage. The preliminary design was completed, after which the next stage of preparation of design documentation began. Probably, some units of various elements of the rocket complex in the form of prototypes reached testing, but the full-fledged construction of prototypes suitable for field tests did not begin.
Self-propelled launcher layout
The development of the 9K716 Volga operational-tactical missile system continued until the end of 1987, when all work was stopped. In early December, the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles was signed in Washington. The Volga system with a firing range of up to 1000 km, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, was classified as a medium-range missile system. Accordingly, further development of the project was impossible.
Fulfilling the obligations assumed under the INF Treaty, the Soviet Union removed from service and disposed of several types of missile systems. In the sphere of short-range systems, reductions were manifested in the decommissioning of 9K76 Temp-S complexes. In addition, the international agreement did not allow the further development of the complex, which was considered as a replacement for the decommissioned system. Project 9K716 "Volga" remained in its early stages, without reaching the construction and testing of the main elements of the complex.
The emergence of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles did not allow the continued operation of certain complexes, and also led to the closure of a number of promising projects intended for the rearmament of missile forces in the future. The Volga project turned out to be one of the latest domestic developments in the field of short-range missile systems. The use of existing developments and new ideas made it possible to count on obtaining high characteristics and achieving a certain increase in combat effectiveness in comparison with existing systems, but all these plans were not implemented. The INF Treaty put an end to the development of an important area of missile technology, forcing the Soviet and then the Russian defense industry to apply new ideas in other areas.