The modern Iskander-M and the MGM-31C Pershing II mobile missile system that has risen from the ashes. At first glance, they have nothing in common: the latest OTRK with a conventional warhead and a medium-range strategic missile created during the Cold War era.
But this is only at first glance …
Both "toys" caused a lot of problems, terrifying opponents on both "sides of the barricades". Both were created in difficult times with the hope of changing the traditional view of database management. Both have a dark reputation - the deployment of Iskander and Pershing is associated with a flurry of international scandals.
Despite the difference in age and purpose, both missiles are very similar in size (length / max. Hull diameter: Iskander-M - 7, 2/0, 92 m, Pershing-2 - 10, 6/1, 0 m), and the twofold difference in their starting mass (3, 8 versus 7, 4 tons) does not really matter from the point of view of their basing. Both complexes have the proper degree of mobility on the ground (Iskander-M is a self-propelled launcher with an 8x8 wheel arrangement, Pershing-2 is a semi-trailer, a truck tractor). And are equally transportable by rail, sea and air.
Despite the threefold difference in flight range (1770 versus 500 km), the radius of destruction of both ballistic missiles is quite large on the scale of compact Europe.
In the development of both systems, accuracy was at the forefront.
By virtue of its conventional equipment "Iskander-M" has the ability to directly hit the target (a deviation of 5 … 7 meters is compensated by the power of the warhead).
"Pershing-2" was intended for a surgically precise "decapitation" strike on the most important objects of the military infrastructure of the USSR: headquarters, bunkers, protected command posts, communication centers, etc. Hence - a furious desire to radically reduce the CEP.
As a result, both missile systems were equipped with a maneuvering warhead, and due to their extremely high performance characteristics, they were recognized as masterpieces in the field of rocketry.
And here are two irreconcilable superheroes suddenly got a chance to meet in battle:
“It is important to force Russia to return to the implementation of the INF Treaty. To do this, the United States has not only diplomatic, but economic and even military options for an answer."
- Deputy Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemeller, December 10, 2014
“You can, of course, go back to the 80s, deploy cruise missiles or Pershing in Europe. Now the Americans do not have them, but apparently this is precisely what is being discussed. Only the deployment of medium-range missiles in Europe can be regarded as the "military methods" of the response."
- From an interview with Lieutenant General of the Reserve Yevgeny Buzhinsky, former head of the international treaty department of the RF Ministry of Defense.
Great warrior Iskander Two-horned
It will fly from Kaliningrad to Warsaw in 2 minutes 22 seconds. During this time, the NATO Marine will not even have time to brush his teeth …
Most of the Iskander-M flight path lies in the unstable layers of the atmosphere at altitudes from 20 to 50 km (apogee). In the most poorly studied areas of atmospheric space, inaccessible to most modern air defense systems.
The speed of the warhead at the moment the propulsion engine is turned off exceeds six times the speed of sound.
The warhead is made using stealth technology. Smooth, streamlined ammunition with small dimensions, without large aerodynamic surfaces. According to Western sources, the outer side of the warhead is additionally coated with radio-absorbing ferromagnetic paint. All this creates additional difficulties for its detection and interception by enemy air defense / missile defense systems.
Seven types of warheads for solving a wide range of tasks: cluster, high-explosive fragmentation, penetrating - weighing from 480 to 700 kg.
Maneuvering warhead with correction in all flight phases. A system of gas rudders in the rarefied layers of the atmosphere and deflected rudders in the final section of the trajectory. Intensive maneuvering with G-forces of 20-30g is used at the terminal stage of the flight. There is the possibility of a vertical dive at the target at an angle close to 90 ° at a speed of 700-800 m / s. KVO warhead "Iskander-M" reaches 5 … 7 meters.
Mixed guidance system based on the data of the inertial navigation system (INS) at the initial and middle flight segment and optical sensors (DSMAC type) at the terminal stage. The issue of equipping warheads with a guidance system based on GPS / GLONASS is being considered.
There is a project to equip warheads with their own electronic warfare system for setting up active jamming of enemy air defense radar systems.
Its flight characteristics are on the verge of the capabilities of Western air defense / missile defense systems. High accuracy, coupled with a powerful missile warhead (1, 5-2 times heavier than the Tomahawk warhead), allow Iskander-M to change the “conditions of the game”, changing the situation in the theater of operations. Enemy command posts and bases, hangars, fuel storage, accumulations of armored and aviation equipment, air defense missile systems, artillery batteries, bridges and power plants: all of this will undergo total destruction in the first minutes of the war.
Seven minutes flight to Moscow …
… Having touched the stars at an altitude of 300 km, the warhead swiftly returned to the atmosphere. In the depths of the hull, reliably protected from heat, cold and overloads, the on-board computer methodically counted the seconds … 428, 429, 430 - the Karman line was passed. It's time! Guided by the data of the accelerometer and gyroscopes, the warhead of the Pershing-2 was deployed in space perpendicular to the trajectory of the fall. Brake! Brake! Plasma streams break away from the slippery surface of the hull and are carried away into the violet haze of the stratosphere. At first weak and discharged, the atmosphere is already confidently whistling overboard, swinging in its streams the “shuttle”, which has risked challenging the air ocean.
At an altitude of 15 km, "Pershing-2" extinguished the speed up to 2-3 speeds of sound, the INS once again oriented the warhead properly - and an exciting action began. The radar of the RADAG system came to life under an ablative plastic fairing. The warhead received an annular image of the underlying relief by scanning around the vertical axis with an angular speed of 2 rev / s. In the memory of the on-board computer, four reference images of the target area for different heights were stored, recorded in the form of a matrix, each cell of which corresponded to the brightness of a given area of the terrain in a selected range of radio waves. Comparing the received data with the stored radar maps, the warhead determined its current position and the INS error. Correction of the warhead at transatmospheric heights was carried out using jet engines using compressed air; in the atmosphere - hydraulically driven aerodynamic surfaces.
Having completed its task, the RADAG system was turned off at an altitude of about 1 km. Having received the last corrective impulse, the warhead dived along a ballistic trajectory, conducting pinpoint destruction of the intended target.
The small deadly masterpiece of the Martin Marietta firm threw the entire Soviet generals and the party elite of the USSR into disarray. In the event of the outbreak of war, the Pershing-2 MRBM in a few minutes “knocked out” all the most important objects of military and civil infrastructure on the territory of the European part of the USSR. There was no way to defend against the terrible threat. Nuclear parity has been violated.
Flight trajectory "Pershing-2"
By December 1985, 108 MGM-31C Pershing II launchers were deployed on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. The effect of this was comparable to the current deployment of the Iskander-M OTRK in the Kaliningrad region. An international scandal erupted, which further cooled relations between the USSR and the United States.
For the next several years, the countries were looking for a way out of this situation. Neither side was willing to compromise. Unable to compete in the accuracy of its missiles with the Pershing-2, the Soviet Union, in retaliation, continued to deploy the RSM-10 Pioneer medium-range missiles (circular deviation from the target ± 550 meters versus 30 m for Pershing-2) with the intention to disperse the NATO force grouping with continuous thermonuclear fire. Each "Pioneer" carried three MIRVs with a capacity of 150 kt against a monoblock warhead "Pershing-2" of low power (from 5 to 80 kt).
SS-20 Saber (RSD-10 "Pioneer") at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. To his right is the baby "Pershing-2"
It all ended in 1987 with the signing of the Treaty on the Elimination of Short-Range and Medium-Range Missiles (INF). By the summer of 1989, all Pershing-2 missiles were removed from combat duty in Europe. Disposal took several more years, by burning solid fuel engines of both stages at the stand. Thus, the last Pershing-2 was burned in 1991.
Of particular interest in this story are the technical aspects of the American rocket. Such as the warhead guidance system: primitive retro electronics made it possible to realize an incredibly small (even by today's standards) value of the CEP. Or a radio-transparent plastic radar for the radar antenna, which withstands heating in hundreds of degrees when the warhead enters the dense atmosphere at eight speeds of sound.
"Pershing-2" has sunk into oblivion, taking its well-deserved place in the ranking of the most terrible inventions in history. And it was extremely unpleasant to hear about the possibility of his reincarnation using modern technologies.