Rockets make their way to the surface and are carried away towards the stars. Among the thousands of twinkling dots, they need one. Polaris. Alpha Ursa Major. Farewell star of humanity, to which are tied salvo points and warhead astro-correction systems.
Ours start smoothly like a candle, launching the first stage engines right in the missile silo aboard the submarine. Thick-sided American "Tridents" crawl to the surface crookedly, staggering as if drunk. Their stability on the underwater section of the trajectory is not ensured by anything other than the starting impulse of the pressure accumulator …
But first things first!
R-29RMU2 "Sineva" is a further development of the glorious R-29RM family.
Development began in 1999. Putting into service - 2007.
A three-stage liquid-propellant submarine ballistic missile with a launch weight of 40 tons. Max. throw weight - 2, 8 tons with a launch range of 8300 km. Combat load - 8 small-sized MIRVs for individual guidance (for modification RMU2.1 "Liner" - 4 medium-power warheads with advanced anti-missile defense systems). The circular probable deviation is 500 meters.
Achievements and records. R-29RMU2 has the highest energy and mass perfection among all existing domestic and foreign SLBMs (the ratio of the combat load to the launch weight reduced to the flight range is 46 units). For comparison: the energy and mass perfection of Trident-1 is only 33, and Trident-2 is 37.5.
The high thrust of the R-29RMU2 engines makes it possible to fly along a flat trajectory, which reduces the flight time and, according to a number of experts, radically increases the chances of overcoming missile defense (albeit at the cost of reducing the launch range).
On October 11, 2008, during the Stability-2008 exercise in the Barents Sea, a record-breaking Sineva rocket was launched from the Tula nuclear submarine. The prototype of the warhead fell in the equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean, the launch range was 11,547 km.
UGM-133A Trident-II D5. "Trident-2" has been developed since 1977 in parallel with the lighter "Trident-1". Introduced into service in 1990.
The launch weight is 59 tons. Max. throw weight - 2, 8 tons with a launch range of 7800 km. Max. flight range with a reduced number of warheads - 11,300 km. Combat load - 8 MIRVs of medium power (W88, 475 kT) or 14 MIRVs of low power (W76, 100 kT). The circular probable deviation is 90 … 120 meters.
The inexperienced reader is probably asking the question: why are American missiles so poor? They come out of the water at an angle, fly worse, weigh more, energy and mass perfection to hell …
The thing is that the designers of "Lockheed Martin" were initially in a more difficult situation in comparison with their Russian counterparts from the Design Bureau. Makeeva. For the sake of the traditions of the American fleet, they had to design an SLBM solid fuel.
By the value of the specific impulse, the solid propellant rocket engine is a priori inferior to the liquid propellant engine. The velocity of gas outflow from the nozzle of modern liquid-propellant rocket engines can reach 3500 and more m / s, while for solid propellants this parameter does not exceed 2500 m / s.
Achievements and records of "Trident-2":
1. The highest thrust of the first stage (91,170 kgf) among all solid-propellant SLBMs, and the second among ballistic missiles with solid propellants, after Minuteman-3.
2. The longest series of trouble-free launches (150 as of June 2014).
3. The longest service life: "Trident-2" will remain in service until 2042 (half a century in active service!). This testifies not only to the surprisingly large resource of the missile itself, but also to the correct choice of the concept, laid down in the midst of the Cold War.
At the same time, the "Trident" is difficult to modernize. Over the past quarter century since the introduction into service, progress in the field of electronics and computing systems has gone so far that any local integration of modern systems into the Trident-2 design is impossible either at the software or even at the hardware level!
When the resource of the Mk.6 inertial navigation systems runs out (the last batch was purchased in 2001), it will be necessary to completely replace the entire electronic “stuffing” of the Tridents for the requirements of the next generation INS Next Generation Guidance (NGG).
Warhead W76 / Mk-4
However, even in his current state, the old warrior remains unrivaled. A 40-year-old vintage masterpiece with a whole set of technical secrets, many of which could not be repeated even today.
A recessed solid propellant rocket nozzle swinging in 2 planes in each of the three stages of the rocket.
"Mysterious needle" in the bow of the SLBM (a sliding rod, consisting of seven parts), the use of which allows you to reduce aerodynamic drag (increase in range - 550 km).
The original scheme with the placement of warheads ("carrots") around the third stage propulsion engine (warheads Mk-4 and Mk-5).
100-kiloton W76 warhead with an unrivaled CEP to this day. In the original version, when using a dual correction system (ANN + astrocorrection), the circular probable deviation of the W-76 reaches 120 meters. When using triple correction (ANN + astrocorrection + GPS), the CEP of the warhead is reduced to 90 m.
In 2007, with the end of production of the Trident-2 SLBM, a multi-stage D5 LEP (Life Extention Program) modernization program was launched in order to extend the service life of existing missiles. In addition to re-equipping the "Tridents" of the new NGG navigation system, the Pentagon launched a research cycle with the aim of creating new, even more efficient rocket fuel compositions, creating radiation-resistant electronics, as well as a number of works aimed at developing new warheads.
Some intangible aspects:
Liquid propellant rocket engine includes turbopump units, complex mixing head and valves. Material - high-grade stainless steel. Each rocket with a liquid-propellant engine is a technical masterpiece, whose sophisticated design is directly proportional to its prohibitive cost.
In general, a solid-propellant SLBM is a fiberglass “barrel” (thermostable container) filled to the brim with compressed gunpowder. In the design of such a rocket there is not even a special combustion chamber - the "barrel" itself is the combustion chamber.
With serial production, the savings are enormous. But only if you know how to make such missiles correctly! The production of solid propellants requires the highest technical culture and quality control. The slightest fluctuations in humidity and temperature will critically affect the burning stability of fuel stoves.
The developed chemical industry in the United States suggested an obvious solution. As a result, all overseas SLBMs - from "Polaris" to "Trident" flew on solid fuel. Our situation was somewhat more complicated. The first attempt "came out lumpy": the solid-propellant SLBM R-31 (1980) was unable to confirm even half of the capabilities of the liquid-propellant missiles of the Design Bureau im. Makeeva. The second rocket R-39 turned out no better - with a warhead mass equivalent to the Trident-2 SLBM, the launch mass of the Soviet rocket reached an incredible 90 tons. I had to create a huge boat for the super-rocket (project 941 "Shark").
At the same time, the RT-2PM Topol land-based missile system (1988) turned out to be even very successful. Obviously, the main problems with the stability of fuel combustion were successfully overcome by that time.
In the design of the new "hybrid" "Bulava" engines are used, both on solid (first and second stages) and liquid fuel (last, third stage). However, the bulk of unsuccessful launches was associated not so much with the instability of fuel combustion, but with the sensors and the mechanical part of the rocket (the stage separation mechanism, the swinging nozzle, etc.).
The advantage of SLBMs with solid propellants, in addition to the lower cost of serial missiles, is the safety of their operation. The fears associated with the storage and preparation for launch of SLBMs with liquid fuel rocket engines are not in vain: a whole cycle of accidents occurred in the domestic submarine fleet associated with the leakage of toxic components of liquid fuel and even explosions that led to the loss of the ship (K-219).
In addition, the following facts speak in favor of the solid propellant rocket:
- shorter length (due to the absence of a separated combustion chamber). As a result, American submarines lack the characteristic "hump" over the missile compartment;
- less time of prelaunch preparation. In contrast to SLBMs with liquid propellant rocket engines, where first a long and dangerous procedure follows for pumping fuel components (FC) and filling them with pipelines and the combustion chamber. Plus, the very process of “liquid start”, which requires filling the mine with seawater, which is an undesirable factor that violates the submarine's stealth;
- until the start of the pressure accumulator, it remains possible to cancel the launch (due to a change in the situation and / or detection of any malfunctions in the SLBM systems). Our "Sineva" works according to a different principle: start - shoot. And nothing else. Otherwise, a dangerous process of draining the TC will be required, after which the incapacitated missile can only be carefully unloaded and sent to the manufacturer for refurbishment.
As for the launch technology itself, the American version has its drawback.
Will the pressure accumulator be able to provide the necessary conditions for "pushing" the 59-ton blank to the surface? Or will you have to go at a shallow depth at the time of launch, with a wheelhouse sticking out above the water?
The calculated pressure value for the start of "Trident-2" is 6 atm., The initial speed of movement in the vapor-gas cloud is 50 m / s. According to calculations, the launch impulse is sufficient to "lift" the rocket from a depth of at least 30 meters. As for the “unaesthetic” exit to the surface, at an angle to the normal, it does not matter from the technical point of view: the activated third-stage engine stabilizes the rocket flight in the first seconds.
At the same time, the "dry" start of the "Trident", in which the main engine is started 30 meters above the water, provides some safety for the submarine itself, in the event of an accident (explosion) of an SLBM in the first second of flight.
Unlike domestic high-energy SLBMs, whose creators are seriously discussing the possibility of flying along a flat trajectory, foreign experts do not even try to work in this direction. Motivation: the active segment of the SLBM trajectory lies in an area inaccessible to enemy missile defense systems (for example, the equatorial sector of the Pacific Ocean or the ice shell of the Arctic). As for the final section, it does not really matter for ABM systems whether the angle of entry into the atmosphere was 50 or 20 degrees. Moreover, the missile defense systems themselves, capable of repelling a massive missile attack, so far exist only in the fantasies of generals. Flying in dense layers of the atmosphere, in addition to reducing the range, creates a bright contrail, which in itself is a strong unmasking factor.
A galaxy of domestic underwater missiles against a single "Trident-2" … I must say, the "American" is doing well. Despite its considerable age and solid fuel engines, its throw weight is exactly equal to the throw weight of the liquid fuel “Sineva”. No less impressive launch range: according to this indicator, Trident-2 is not inferior to the Russian liquid-propellant missiles, brought to perfection, and surpasses any French or Chinese analogue by a head. Finally, a small KVO, which makes Trident-2 a real contender for first place in the ranking of naval strategic nuclear forces.
20 years is a considerable age, but the Yankees do not even discuss the possibility of replacing the "Trident" until the early 2030s. Obviously, a powerful and reliable missile fully satisfies their ambitions.
All disputes about the superiority of one or another type of nuclear weapons are not of particular importance. Nuclear weapons are like multiplying by zero. Regardless of other factors, the result is zero.
Lockheed Martin engineers created a cool solid-propellant SLBM that was twenty years ahead of its time. The merits of domestic specialists in the field of creating liquid-propellant missiles are also beyond doubt: over the past half century, Russian SLBMs with liquid-propellant rocket engines have been brought to true perfection.