Elusive Avengers

Elusive Avengers
Elusive Avengers

Thirty years ago, the Utkin brothers created combat railway missile systems (BZHRK) - "cosmodromes on wheels", which, with their elusiveness and combat power, terrified the United States. The Americans did their best to destroy them. However, the Russians did not surrender, and in a few years a new generation of BZHRKs - Barguzin missile systems will be released into the vastness of our country.

There is one page in the history of the confrontation between the Soviet / Russian and American military engineering schools, which still evokes a feeling of the deepest respect for Russian engineers and the deepest shock by the actions of politicians of the 90s of the last century. We are talking about the creation in the Soviet Union of combat railway missile systems (BZHRK) - the most powerful weapon, equal to which has not yet been created in any country in the world.

Attempts to adapt railway platforms for launch sites for missiles were made by the engineers of Nazi Germany. In the Soviet Union at the end of the 1950s, this work was carried out at OKB-301 under the leadership of Semyon Lavochkin (the Tempest cruise missile) and OKB-586 under the leadership of Mikhail Yangel (creation of a specialized train for basing the R-12 medium-range ballistic missile). However, true success in this direction was only achieved by the Utkin brothers - General Designer of the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fedorovich Utkin (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine) and General Designer of the Design Bureau for Special Mechanical Engineering (St. Petersburg, Russia), Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Fedorovich Utkin. Under the leadership of his elder brother, the RT-23 intercontinental ballistic missile and its railway version - RT-23UTTKh (15Ж61, "Scalpel" according to NATO classification) were created, under the leadership of the younger brother - the "cosmodrome on wheels" itself, capable of carrying three "Scalpels" "And launch them from any point in the Soviet Union with which there is a railway connection.

The success of the Utkin brothers in the creation of the BZHRK is obviously due to at least two reasons. First, by the 70s of the last century in the USSR, an understandable and fully reflecting objective reality concept of the use of combat railway missile systems was formed. Soviet BZHRKs were "a weapon of retaliation" that was to be used after a likely enemy delivered a massive nuclear strike on the territory of the USSR. The extensive railway network of the country made it possible to hide rocket trains anywhere. Therefore, appearing practically out of nowhere, 12 Soviet BZHRK carrying 36 intercontinental ballistic missiles (each of which carried 10 nuclear fissionable charges), in response to a nuclear strike, could literally wipe out any European country entering to NATO, or several large US states. The second reason for the appearance of the BZHRK is the very high potential of Soviet military designers and engineers, and the availability of the necessary technologies for the serial production of such products. “The task set before us by the Soviet government was striking in its grandeur. In domestic and world practice, no one has ever faced so many problems. We had to place an ICBM in a railroad car, and a missile with a launcher weighs over 150 tons. How to do it? After all, a train with such a huge load must go along the national lines of the Ministry of Railways. How to transport a strategic missile with a nuclear warhead in general, how to ensure absolute safety on the way, because we were given the design speed of the train up to 120 km / h. Will the bridges withstand, will the track collapse, and the start itself, how to transfer the load to the railroad bed at the start of the rocket, will the train stand on the rails during the start, how can the rocket be lifted to a vertical position as quickly as possible after stopping the train? " - Vladimir Fedorovich Utkin, the general designer of the Yuzhnoye design bureau, recalled later about the questions that were tormenting him at that moment.

All these problems were successfully solved and the twelve Soviet rocket trains became a toothache for the Americans. The ramified railway network of the USSR (each train could move 1 thousand km per day), the presence of numerous natural and artificial shelters did not allow determining their location with a sufficient degree of confidence, including with the help of satellites.

American engineers and the military could not create anything of the kind, although they tried. Until 1992, the prototype of the American BZHRK was tested at the US railroad range and the Western Missile Range (Vandenberg Air Base, California). It consisted of two typical locomotives, two launch cars with MX ICBMs, a command post, support system cars and cars for personnel. At the same time, the Americans failed to create effective mechanisms for lowering the contact network and retracting the rocket during its launch away from the train and railway tracks, therefore, the launch of missiles by American BZHRKs was supposed to be from specially equipped launch sites, which, of course, significantly reduced the factor of stealth and surprise. In addition, unlike the USSR, the United States has a less developed rail network, and the railways are owned by private companies. And this created many problems, ranging from the fact that civilian personnel would have to be involved to control the locomotives of rocket trains, to problems with the creation of a centralized control system for combat patrolling of the BZHRK and the organization of their technical operation.

As a result, at first, at the insistence of Great Britain, since 1992, Russia put its BZHRK "on the hook" - in places of permanent deployment, then - in 1993, under the START-2 treaty, it pledged to destroy all RT-23UTTKh missiles within 10 years … And although this agreement, in fact, did not come into legal force, in 2003-2005, all Russian BZHRKs were removed from combat duty and disposed of. The external appearance of two of them can now be viewed only in the museum of railway equipment at the Varshavsky railway station in St. Petersburg and in the Technical Museum of AvtoVAZ.

Reference: The first BZHRK 15P961 "Molodets" with an intercontinental ballistic missile 15ZH61 (RT-23 UTTH, SS-24 "Scalrel") was adopted in the Soviet Union in 1987. By 1992, three missile divisions were deployed in our country, armed with BZHRK: the 10th missile division in the Kostroma region, the 52nd missile division stationed in the ZATO Zvezdny (Perm Territory), the 36th missile division, the ZATO Kedrovy (Krasnoyarsk Territory). Each of the divisions had four missile regiments (a total of 12 BZHRK trains, three launchers in each).

Well done”in appearance looked like an ordinary train consisting of several refrigerated and passenger cars. This structure consisted of three three-car launch modules with RT-23UTTKh ICBMs, a command module consisting of 7 cars, a tank car with supplies of fuel and lubricants and three DM-62 diesel locomotives. The train and the launcher were developed on the basis of a four-bogie eight-axle car with a carrying capacity of 135 tons by KBSM forces. The minimum launch module consisted of three cars: a launch facility control point, a launcher, and a support unit. Each of the three launchers included in the BZHRK could launch both as part of a train and autonomously. When moving along the country's railway network, the BZHRK made it possible to quickly change the deployment of the starting position up to 1000 kilometers per day. At the same time, it was possible to identify the train exactly as a BZHRK only by the presence of a third locomotive in the composition, or by drawing attention by means of ground surveillance to refrigerated cars with eight wheel pairs (a regular freight car has four wheel pairs). Even the decrease in the mass of the rocket by 1.5 tons in comparison with the mine version and the distribution of the load of the launcher along the eight axles of the car did not allow the designers to fully meet the permissible axle load on the track. To solve this problem, the BZHRK used special "unloading" devices that redistribute part of the weight of the car with the launcher to neighboring cars. To ensure the autonomous operation of the starting module, as well as devices for short-circuiting and tapping the contact network, the starting modules were equipped with four diesel generators with a capacity of 100 kW. The autonomy of the rocket train was 28 days.

The RT-23UTTKh missile itself had a multiple-type individual targeting warhead with ten warheads with a capacity of 0.43Mt and a complex of means of overcoming missile defense. The firing range is 10100 km. The missile length is 23 m. The launch weight of the missile is 104, 8 tons. The mass of the missile with the launch container is 126 tons. Having received the order to launch rockets, the train stopped at any point on its route.

A special device retracted a catenary to the side, opened the roof of one of the refrigerated cars, from where a launch container with a rocket rose to a vertical position. After that, a mortar missile launch was carried out. Coming out of the container, the rocket deflected away from the train with the help of a powder accelerator, and only after that the main engine was started on it.

And this technology made it possible to divert the jet of the rocket main engine from the launch complex and thereby ensure the stability of the rocket train, the safety of people and engineering structures, including railroad ones. It took no more than 3 minutes from the moment the launch order was received to the launch of the rocket.

Soviet BZHRK were officially removed from combat duty in May 2005. However, over the past 10 years, the potential threat to our country has not diminished. She just transformed. The current US administration adheres to the strategy of "global disarming strike", according to which a massive non-nuclear strike can suddenly be launched on the territory of a potential enemy. “The rearmament program, primarily of sea-based weapons, which the United States is pursuing, allows them to reach the total volume of possible delivery of about 6, 5-7 thousand cruise missiles to important facilities of the Russian Federation in the period 2015-2016, with about 5 thousand - from sea carriers, "Pavel Sozinov, general designer of the Almaz-Antey air defense concern, emphasized to journalists at the end of last year.

This “winged swarm” can only be deterred from attack if the United States knows that it will surely and accurately receive a retaliatory strike. Therefore, in 2012, work began in Russia to create a new generation of combat railway missile systems. Development work on this topic is being carried out by the main creator of Russian ICBMs, the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering (MIT). Unlike Molodets, the Barguzin (this will be the name of the new rocket train) will be armed not with Scalpels, but with Yars-type missiles entirely of Russian design and production. They are twice as light as the RT-23UTTH, although they contain not 10, but 4 (according to open sources) separable warheads. But they fly a thousand kilometers further. The first new rocket train is to be put into trial operation in 2018.

Judging by the available information, "Barguzin" in general - neither by cars, nor by diesel locomotives, nor by electromagnetic radiation, will not stand out from the total mass of freight trains, thousands of which are now daily scurrying along the Russian railways. For example, "Molodtsa" was hauled by three DM62 diesel locomotives (a special modification of the serial M62 diesel locomotive) with a total capacity of 6 thousand hp. And the capacity of one current mainline freight two-section diesel locomotive 2TE25A Vityaz, which is serially produced by Transmashholding, is 6,800 hp. And the mass of "Yars" does not require additional reinforcement of either the transport cars or the railway tracks themselves, along which the train passes. Therefore, soon our country will again have another weighty "argument" in the conversation about peace on our planet.

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