Last fall, the media reported on the successful completion of tests of a new strategic missile for submarines R-29RMU2.1 "Liner". However, against the backdrop of yet another round of controversies about the Bulava missile, the Liner's success was somewhat lost. But the R-29RMU2.1 not only successfully passed the tests, but was also recommended for adoption.
"Liner", so to speak, appeared suddenly. For the first time, the general public was told about it after the Yekaterinburg submarine launched a new rocket on May 20, 2011. The Liner successfully hit conventional targets at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka. The second copy of the R-29RMU2.1 took off from the Tula submarine and also destroyed the assigned targets in Kamchatka in a training manner. After that, representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the State Regional Center named after Makeev announced the successful completion of the tests, and the missile itself was recommended for adoption.
Here a fair question may arise: two launches and that's it, are the tests completed? Why so little? The same Bulavs were launched several times more. The fact is that the R-30 Bulava rocket was created from scratch, and the Liner was an upgrade of the existing R-29RMU2 Sineva rocket, which, in turn, goes back to the early 80s, when the R rocket was created. -29RM. This “family tree” R-29RMU2.1 has very pragmatic and even sad reasons. The original R-29RM was put into production back in 1986, but ten years later, due to the difficult economic situation in the country and new views on strategic submarines, their production was curtailed. Soon after the termination of the production of the R-29RM, work had to begin on the creation of a new modification of this rocket. The reasons are simple: the existing R-39s have almost expired, and the development of the R-39UTTH Bark rocket went very hard (in the end, it did not give any results - the project was closed in favor of the R-30 Bulava). It was necessary to somehow close the "hole" in strategic weapons, because the existing R-29RMs would sooner or later have to be written off due to old age.
By the mid-2000s, tests began on a new modification of the R-29RM called R-29RMU2 "Sineva". It was distinguished from the original missile by slightly different dimensions, updated electronics and, as a result, great opportunities to overcome the enemy's anti-missile defense. In addition, the accuracy of targeting warheads has been improved. In July 2007, "Sineva" was put into service. Nevertheless, the new rocket no longer fully met the requirements for such weapons, and already in 2009 at the GRTs im. Makeev started work on updating Sineva. Project R-29RMU2.1 "Liner" meant the creation of the most unified with the "Blue" rocket, meeting modern and future requirements in the areas of payload and overcoming missile defense. In fact, Liner is Sineva with a new head part. It was thanks to this approach to modernization that it became possible to test a new rocket with just two launches.
It should be noted that the Liner warhead is not that much different from the R-29RMU2 head. Almost all of their differences are due to the fact that the Liner can carry different load options - from ten low-power warheads to four medium ones. At the same time, in all configurations of the throwing weight, there are several blocks of means of overcoming missile defense: electronic warfare systems and decoys. According to representatives of the SRC them. Makeev, all missiles of the R-29 family are intended for use on Project 667BDRM Dolphin submarines. In order for the submarine to use the new missile, no structural changes are required - all the re-equipment consists in the installation of the Arbat-U2.1 control complex.
The main goal that was pursued when creating the "Liner" is to provide boats of the 667BDRM project with modern weapons. These submarines will remain in service until at least 2020, and for some part of this period they will constitute the bulk of submarines carrying strategic missiles. Accordingly, when a sufficient number of nuclear submarines armed with R-30 Bulava missiles enter service, the Dolphins can either be upgraded, as far as possible, or gradually withdrawn from the fleet. Of course, in order to "plug" a period of several years, creating a completely new rocket would be too expensive and complicated undertaking. By the way, about the financial side of the matter. Conversion of "Sineva" into "Liner" will cost the military 40-60 million rubles, depending on the condition of the missile. There are also rumors that the State Missile Center has considerations for converting the old R-29RM into the Liner, but this information does not seem plausible enough. Firstly, R-29RM and R-29RMU2 have many serious design differences, and secondly, the service life of even the newest R-29RM is coming to an end and it is simply inappropriate to recycle them to the “RMU2.1” state.
As you can see, very soon a new missile will enter service with the Russian Navy, which, at reasonable financial costs, will be able to ensure the country's security. So far, she will do this only until 2020, but there is an opinion that the submarines of the 667BDRM project, regularly undergoing repairs and updating of various equipment, will be able to remain in service in the mid-twenties, if not further. By that time, the country's military-industrial complex will have to provide the fleet with a sufficient number of new Project 955 Borey submarines, and in the future a new missile superior to both the Sineva and Liner and Bulava.