We said above that "Angara" aims at least to "squeeze out" three classes of launch vehicles. This is already impressive. Moreover, the conquest of at least some niche in orbital space is already a "gold mine", Klondike.
Judge for yourself - only the United States has more than 400 military satellites in orbit, and how many "peaceful" and commercial satellites are incalculable. An orbiter is everything: reconnaissance, tracking, communications, telecommunications, navigation, space laboratories, observatories, all kinds of monitoring of the earth and water surfaces, tracking atmospheric processes … I'm not even trying to list half of all the capabilities of satellites, they are limitless. Moreover, there is practically no "terrestrial" alternative to satellites, and if there is, then it is prohibitively expensive.
It should not be forgotten that, in addition to sending payloads into orbit, rockets have their main "duty" - delivering a nuclear warhead to a potential enemy many thousands of kilometers away. The thought suggests itself: isn't Angara going to "squeeze out" some class of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)? Here the military has taken water into their mouths, they do not divulge the "Punchinel's secret". Everything is clear with them, they are servicemen, and they do not reveal military secrets. True, there is a possibility that this secret will never materialize, but that is another question.
But the silence of our valiant "spies from the fifth column" is alarming. Maybe they are silent because they know that defense is sacred for a Russian man? And they are also aware that the Russian people can forgive the authorities for everything (despotism, corruption, material deprivation), but if this government cannot protect the people, then they are quickly satisfied with the “Ipatiev House”. The image of the holy patron prince, albeit cruel, but just, has been in our code for centuries.
Then maybe it is worth opening the "veil of secrecy"? Moreover, we do not possess X-Files. Everything that needs and does not need to be classified is classified. We will use materials for housewives and ordinary human logic.
As we know, Russia is the only power (other than the United States) with a nuclear triad. That is, it is capable of delivering a nuclear strike anywhere in the world - from the ground, from water and from the air. Accordingly, from the ground, we strike with intercontinental ballistic missiles. But Russian ICBMs, in turn, make up their own triad, which even America does not have. These are ballistic missiles of light, medium and heavy class, simplified 50-ton, 100-and 200-ton.
Now we need to determine what class of missile we are having problems and what kind. I will say right away: the main issue for our state is the acquisition of production and technological sovereignty in the production of all types of missiles.
Let's start with a light class ICBM. We have them represented by such missiles as "Topol" and its "advanced" modification - "Yars". There are no questions about these missiles, they are produced at the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant. We “kicked off” the Ukrainian design bureau Yuzhnoye back in 1992. So the sovereignty is complete here, and the West will not be able to harm us, unless, of course, it continues to kill our missilemen further. I wrote above about the "terrorist attack" in Volgograd: these unfortunate guys were exactly the workers of the Votkinsk enterprise.
The middle class of ICBMs is occupied by the 105-ton RS-18 Stiletto. This missile recently "joked" cruelly at the Americans. Believing that the shelf life of the "hundred square meters" had expired, America unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 ABM Treaty, and we easily updated them. The only thing is that we forgave $ 50 million of the "gas" debt to Ukraine, and they gave us 30 brand new steps that they had left after the implementation of the START-1 Treaty. We even managed to earn extra money on this business.
Not quite believing in success, it was planned to use the power of the "commercial" versions of this rocket - "Rokot" and "Strela", but this did not have to be done. It was pleasant to watch the reaction of the Americans when we successfully launched the “rejuvenated hundred square meters”. Lately, it is not often necessary to cheat our "friends" in such a way.
The Russian "land triad" is the "sword of Damocles" for America. They have nothing to oppose to us. The American 35-ton Minuteman missile does not even reach the light class; moreover, it is not mobile, unlike our Topol and Yars, and therefore is vulnerable.
Not surprisingly, America is very fond of making "friends" near our borders and then "shoving" them with its medium-range missiles. There is no other way for them to reach us. The American fleet can only approach our Far East coast, where the Pacific Fleet, the largest in Russia, will try to resist it. The Arctic coast is also closed to them, especially since the second largest Northern Fleet is on duty there. The Baltic and Black Seas are simply “clogged”. The result is a paradox: the world's longest sea coast of Russia is practically closed to the world's largest (American) fleet.
The situation in the United States is no better with strategic aviation. America's air fleet cannot strike at Russia's vital targets without touching the air defense zone, and with what losses the "visible invisibles" will pass through this zone, it is not hard to guess.
Returning to the Stilettos, it must be said that the Americans were upset not only by the fact of the rapid "resuscitation" of middle-class missiles, but by the fact that the "hundreds", in large numbers, of course, are capable of being a force equivalent to heavy and middle-class missiles, together taken. They were counting on the elimination of ICBMs of the heavy class.
It's time to get to know these giants. This is the legendary RS-20 "Satan" and its modernized brother "Voevoda". We are in a really dire situation with these heavy missiles. The fact is that they were produced at the Ukrainian Yuzhmash. Modernization, maintenance - also for Ukrainian specialists. This is where America is showing its Jesuit politics in all its glory. The meaning of such a policy does not differ in originality and is extremely clear - to use Ukraine as much as possible in order to harm the military space potential of Russia. Only Kiev must learn one simple truth: its space industry exists only because Russia needs it, because of the ties that we once inherited from a single country. As soon as these connections cease (to this everything is in full swing), the Ukrainian space will collapse like the Tower of Babel. Including the Americans will not need Ukrkosmos, because no one needs a dead kamikaze.
The situation with the Ukrainian Dnepr missile looks very indicative. This is exactly the civilian modification of "Satan". In connection with the signing of the START-1 treaty, which assumed the destruction of 50% of the RS-20, the question arose about methods for reducing the arsenal of these missiles. The most effective from a commercial point of view was the method of converting the rocket for orbital launches. This is what the Russian-Ukrainian enterprise Kosmotras has done. It was then that the "overseas comrades" began to rub their hands in anticipation of intrigues and intrigues. Now the Americans, with the help of their Ukrainian "friends", who provide technical support for our "Tsar-missiles" at the combat post, can control literally everything - from the control system to the supply of spare parts from Ukraine. Moreover, with Kiev's help, the United States took control of missile disposal and commercial launches of the "peaceful" version of Satan. And so that in commercial launches Kosmotras did not stick "any horrible" satellites into the rocket, America taught us a lesson that we later learned.
First, it must be said that the "Tsar Rocket", in addition to its power (which was included in the Guinness Book), had phenomenal reliability, this was confirmed by more than 160 launches, so Kosmotras had no doubts about commercial launches. Indeed, 20 launches have been made to date. More than 100 satellites have been launched into orbit. All launches were successful, except for one, the seventh.
On July 26, 2006, it was on this day that the Russian satellite was supposed to enter orbit, but this is not so bad. The worst thing is that the Belarusian space first-born - the BelKA satellite - suffered a catastrophe. I must say that "satellite" is an elastic concept. It can be a kilogram "beeping" ball or an antenna with a solar-powered amplifier, or it can be an unmanned spacecraft maneuvering in orbit in three axes with a powerful power plant, "stuffed" with all kinds of devices with excellent resolution and a large swath. This is exactly what the Belarusian satellite was. He was supposed to be part of the constellation of satellites used in the space programs of the union state. It will not be an exaggeration if I say that Belarus has put its soul and prestige into its creation. Alexander Lukashenko, who came to Baikonur to launch the "Belka", would not be ashamed of such a satellite. He probably felt ashamed of some Ukrainian "prostitutes" later. I in no way accuse all Ukrainian specialists, there were no more than two or three people in the "topic", and, as you saw, we have plenty of "prostitutes". A table was laid dedicated to the acceptance of Belarus into the bosom of the space powers, there were many Italians, Americans … Everyone was in anticipation of the celebration, but such a disgusting story turned out.
Let's ask ourselves a question: the RS-20 in various modifications successfully launched about 200 times, and in one case there was a catastrophe - so can there be an element of chance here? Any mathematician will tell you "may," but the probability is extremely low. With the same probability, some hamadryl will knock on the keyboard and "accidentally compose" a love note to his female. The point is not even that 1: 200 is a low probability, but that this “probability” was realized precisely with the Russian-Belarusian satellites, which were not included in this “mathematical problem” either before or after.
As always, it's amazing how these "boys" work dirty. The question is, why did they not initiate a breakdown, say, in the upper stage? Then one could blame the civilian modification of "Satan". But the rocket "broke" in the 74th second of the flight, that is, the "breakdown" occurred in the proto-rocket itself! Such abnormal situations are eliminated even during the bench test period. It could be made even more rude by tying a grenade to the rocket. It is known that any special service tries not to substitute its agent, if of course it appreciates him, and when you start to understand the Moscow-Washington-Kiev “love triangle”, it is striking how cheaply the Ukrainian side is sold, and even stupidly compromising itself.
Moscow and Minsk drew the right conclusions from this whole story. After 6 years, Belarus still launched its satellite, although it was more modest than the first one, and the Soyuz carrier rocket put it into orbit, while Dnepr continued to safely launch satellites of other countries into orbit.
We also need to draw several conclusions. First, the Belka story clearly shows that this is the maximum that Ukraine can do to harm us. It's no secret that the United States is putting pressure on Ukraine in order to stop servicing Satan missiles, but Kiev will not do this for the reason that they are also on our hook. For example, we can safely close the Dnepr project, because all 150 Kosmotras missiles are in Russia. It was written about Zenit above, I will not repeat myself. The situation is similar with Cyclones, for which a significant proportion of components are manufactured in Russia, including engines. The Russian and Ukrainian space industries, for well-known reasons, are linked symbiotically, so the "hook" is a double-edged one.
Secondly, Russia has a hole in the class of heavy ICBMs. Considering that at the time of the Belka crash, the situation with the Stilettes was unimportant, it turns out that even middle-class missiles were “stuck” in our country. The situation turned out to be depressing: America knocks out two components from the Russian land nuclear triad with the dexterity of a billiard player.
The reader may reasonably ask the question: is it not "fat" to have a triad of ICBMs if the United States does not have one? The fact is that America does not need this triad, because they can deliver medium-range missiles anywhere. Norway, the Baltic countries, the former Warsaw Pact countries, Turkey, Ukraine is next in line … Why create a missile with a range of 11,000 km when you can do it with a range of 1,500 km, because they will cost an order of magnitude less! Unfortunately, we cannot place rockets in Canada or Mexico. True, you can use missile cruisers and submarines, but we have few of them, and it is expensive to build them.
I wrote above about the disposal of 300 nuclear submarines. Conversely, the United States can afford such a luxury as a large navy.
Then, perhaps, Russia will compensate for the "shortage" with a large number of light-class missiles? It's impossible. First, it's expensive. "Satan" and "Poplar" are completely different doctrines. The mobile, fast "on the rise" "Topol" strikes when the enemy's missiles have not yet reached the target. The Tsar Rocket, on the other hand, can wait out a nuclear strike in a mine, like in a bomb shelter, then launch, overcome the enemy's missile defense zone, split into 10 warheads, independently working on targets, and create hell for the enemy, equivalent to 500 Hiroshima. You can, of course, build a lot of mines for Topol, which we partially do, but what to do with mines for Satan? A silo launcher is a complex and expensive engineering structure, and it is unprofitable to place a light-class missile there.
Secondly, the solid-propellant "Topol", due to the specifics of the engine, cannot maneuver in flight, as the "Satan", which has liquid-propellant jet engines (LPRE), can do it. It is clear that the Topol's flight path is more predictable, so the enemy's missile defense actions will be more effective.
In general, our triad of ICBMs makes optimal use of the strengths and weaknesses of missile technology. The design of a solid-propellant rocket engine (solid propellant rocket engine) is quite simple, the fuel tank is practically a nozzle, which is made thick-walled, which entails an increase in the "useless" mass. The larger the rocket, the worse the indicator of the ratio of the mass of the payload to the mass of the rocket. But on small rockets, this disadvantage comes to naught due to the lack of a turbopump unit. And vice versa - the larger the solid-propellant rocket, the less the absence of the unit “saves the day”. It is not surprising that solid-propellant missiles have rightfully "occupied" the light class: simplicity and cheapness, mobility and the ability to quickly put them on alert make them indispensable in their segment. "Tsar-rocket" with liquid propellant engines justifies its name, because the greater the mass of the liquid-propellant rocket, the better the payload / mass of the rocket.
It is easy to guess that this figure for a 211-ton missile is the highest among ICBMs.
Thus, the light "Yars" and the heavy "Voevoda", like a destroyer and a battleship, are perfectly combined, covering each other's weaknesses. Conversely, each missile enhances the dignity of its “colleague”.
As for the average Stilettos, one could do without them in principle. A 105-ton missile is very difficult to make mobile, and it is not entirely cost-effective to hide it in a silo, so there were relatively few such missiles. The stiletto was calculated as a fallback option, which, as you know, worked.
Let's summarize. From the above, it follows an unambiguous conclusion that "Satan the Governor" needs to look for a replacement. All other measures are palliative. We will last until 2030, and then there are no prospects.
It is not surprising that in 2009 the Sarmat project was launched, a worthy replacement for Voevoda, as our Ministry of Defense assures. There is very little information about the Sarmat ICBM project, but it is known that the missile will use liquid jet engines and weigh about 100 tons. As you can see, only Stiletto can get a "worthy replacement", which is already quite good. However, the seat of heavy ICBMs is still vacant.
It is interesting to ask the question: was there a "safety" rocket for "Satan" in the Soviet Union? Yes, it was. This is the R-36orb "Scarp". She not only insured, but also complemented it perfectly. Externally similar to the "Satan" "Scarp" was distinguished by the method of delivering a warhead. The launch vehicle launched a charge with a capacity of 2.3 Mt, equipped with engines, directly into space. The result was a kamikaze ship maneuvering in orbit, stuffed with 150 Hiroshimami. The distance to the target for this "satellite" did not matter; the direction of the attack was also unimportant. True, for America all this was, oh, how important, because an attack on an object from any direction made its defense almost impossible. At least, the Americans would not be delighted with this because of the prohibitively expensive missile defense system. If "Satan" caused an insoluble headache for American strategists, then his "space" version infuriated them. This is the real embodiment of "Star Wars", and not the cartoons that his overseas friends showed Gorbachev.
Unfortunately, the R-36orb will not help us in any way - not because we removed it from combat duty, according to the SALT-2 Treaty (no one is looking at these "agreements" now). The fact is that the "peaceful" version of this missile, prudently left in the series by the Soviet Union, was produced in Ukraine. This is the aforementioned "Cyclone".
You involuntarily ask yourself a global question: why did the USSR have two types of missiles in the class of heavy ICBMs, and Russia does not "want" to have one ?! Before that, we were fools-spenders, and now have grown wiser? Maybe then our defenses were bad, but now everything is fine? The answer is obvious: the opposite is true. It is necessary to understand without illusion that without a triad of ICBMs balanced in terms of quantity and quality, it will be impossible for Russia to exist within its colossal borders. Let me remind you that Russia is at least twice as large in area as any other state, and this is not counting the vast territories of the Arctic shelf, to which we unilaterally declared our right. We wish we had such indicators for GDP or at least for the population, but this is far from the case. In terms of GDP, we are in 6th place, and in terms of population, Russia is in 10th place, "gallantly" letting ahead even such countries as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria.
It is no secret to anyone that there is a struggle going on in the world for control over natural, water and energy resources. How and with what we will defend all this is a question of our existence in the coming decades. Stalin's words that “if we do not strengthen, then we will be crushed” are as topical today as ever. In the format of this article, we will think about how Russia can strengthen itself, at least in terms of nuclear forces.
Angara instead of Satan?
Now that we have a brief idea of our missile shield, we have the right to ask ourselves the question: maybe "Angara" will help us in some way? Let me remind you that we do not have a heavy class ICBM in the future. This is where a series of interesting coincidences and oddities begins.
The first thing that catches your eye is the comments of the "fifth column". Directly about whether the "Angara" can be an intercontinental ballistic missile, no one says, but indirectly they voice many remarks, which we will refute.
Their most common statement is that it is difficult (even impossible) to adapt the Angara to launch from a silo launcher, and, as always, no arguments are put forward, and if they do, it is for the information background. This is one of the favorite "their" methods, to speak out indirectly, if you know that you will lose the information battle.
Let's start with the fact that let's pay attention to an amazing "coincidence": the dimensions of the "Satan" are very similar to the dimensions of the "Angara 1.1 and 1.2". Only unification with ICBMs of the heavy class can explain the diameter of the "Angara". Agree that the diameter of 2.9 m is suspiciously small for a rocket, variants of which are going to deliver cargo weighing 50 tons into orbit. Let me remind you that the diameter of the Folken module is 3, 7 m, the “Zenith” - 3, 9 m, and here there is such a “mysterious” minimalism. Obviously, the "Angara" was planned to be lowered into the mine.
Now let's figure out how "Angara" can start from silos. There are three ways to launch a rocket from a silo - gas dynamic, mortar and mixed launch. The technical problems of launching a rocket from a mine in a gas-dynamic way are solved by equipping it with gas vent channels. This is the simplest type of start and is practiced all over the world. Much more difficult, especially for a 200-ton rocket, is a mortar ("cold") start. With this method, the rocket is ejected from the silo due to the pressure created in a closed volume by an external source, for example, a powder pressure accumulator (PAD) or a steam and gas generator. In this case, the rocket engine starts up after the rocket leaves the mine. Here it is only necessary to adapt the "Angara" to the already worked out "cold" start for the "Satan". There are no fundamental technical difficulties here. True, there may be a problem with the reliability of starting the Angara engine. As you know, to start the engine "Angara" need three components - kerosene, oxygen and ignition, and for "Satan" only two - heptyl and amyl. There is nothing terrible in this, firstly, the problem is technically solvable, and secondly, you can use a mixed type of start, when the engine is started directly in the transport and launch container.
As you can see, there are no fundamental difficulties in turning the Angara into a "silo" ICBM of a heavy class. True, “these people” often express one more “argument”: a “heptyl” rocket can be fueled for a long time, and a “kerosene” one needs to be refueled only before launch, “vaguely” hinting, as they say, to refuel the rocket in the mine? The fact is that the "Satan-Voevoda" is also refueled directly in the silo launcher, there is nothing terrible here. The more terrible thing is to fill the rocket with highly toxic components - heptyl and amyl, not to mention the fact that they must be safely delivered to the silo. We do not even take into account that the cost of heptyl vapor is higher than that of kerosene, and significantly. We can say that it is better to refuel the Angara ten times than once the Satan.
As a result, all their "negative arguments" about refueling can be combined into one: at the start of a nuclear war, "Satan" will be in a refueled state, but "Angara" will not.
This argument from the entire "galaxy" of statements is more or less significant. We will analyze it in more detail.
Imagine that our potential enemy launched their missiles, and in 20 minutes they will reach their targets on the territory of our country. Here the "experts" begin to make an elephant out of a fly: they say, Russia is covered with nuclear "mushrooms", like a forest after rains, and our soldiers in a hurry cannot fill the Angara with kerosene.
To begin with, as soon as the enemy's missiles take off, our Topol and Yars will fly towards them almost immediately with a “return visit”. Further, in pursuit of "Topols", "Stilettos" will rush. But whether Angara needs to "hurry" is a question.
We have already said that silo-based missiles are weapons of guaranteed retaliation, that is, they are launched after a nuclear strike. So there will be enough time to pour kerosene and oxygen into the rocket, especially since refueling technologies do not stand still.
Now let us ask ourselves one more question: why should we keep the Angara with empty tanks, and not refuel it in advance? Will a nuclear war fall on us like snow on our heads, or will some events precede it?
Aviation has varying degrees of combat readiness. Readiness # 1 - when the aircraft is fully ready for flight, it stands in the parking lot with the engine on, and the pilot is sitting in its cockpit, completely ready to fly. Readiness # 2 - when the aircraft is fully ready for flight, it stands in the parking lot with the engine off, and the pilot is near the aircraft. Etc. The question is: why can't our heavy-class ICBM units also be divided according to the degree of readiness? There is only one principle: the lower the security class of silos, the higher the readiness level of heavy ICBMs and, accordingly, vice versa. It is possible, depending on the degree of international tension, to increase or decrease the level of combat readiness of all divisions of heavy ICBMs, that is, they both fueled the missile and drained the fuel back. As you can see, there is nothing complicated, all the more dangerous, there.
Concluding the topic of gas stations, it must be said that when you start to deal with the RS-20 control system and, accordingly, with the rocket launch algorithm, it becomes clear that the Kiev and Kharkov instrument-makers treated their duties quite professionally. "Protection from fools" on "Satan" is made at a high level, and jokes about a jar of pickle on the red button are inappropriate here.
In this matter, we are interested in the real time of preparation of the rocket for launch. Only a few are aware of this topic, and no one can write about it at all. It is not surprising that the idea that there are Americans among these "units" drives our military to despair, and the "catastrophe" of the civilian version of the Belka missile reinforces this despair. We can definitely say that the preparation time of the RS-20 for launch is considerable, not like in the films (a ten-second countdown, and the rocket flew).
With regard to the "Angara", let us say that the preparation of the rocket for launch will necessarily be combined with refueling, unless, of course, it is already refueled. And now, in order to finally knock out the only flimsy visor at the "fifth column", I will say that even the Korolev R-7 ICBM in the 50s was fueled in Plesetsk for up to a month, and how long it can "hold on" without refueling the "Angara" God knows.
I hope that the reader has dispelled the last doubts about the suitability of "Angara" for the class of heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles. As for the civilian versions of this rocket, everything was said above. Do not forget that the manned space flight on the Angara from the Vostochny cosmodrome in 2017 has not yet been canceled.
Angara is a guarantee of our peaceful sleep and a confident future for our descendants. In the next decade, this rocket may become an absolute record holder in terms of mass production and its effectiveness. Or the opposite may happen: in three years it will turn into an "obsolete dead-end branch of the space industry."
As we have seen, even a constructively and technologically perfect project (which even exists in real implementation) can be canceled by an unreasonable political decision. We, who love our Fatherland, need to do everything possible and impossible for the Angara to take place. Otherwise, we will be insolvent.