On the eve of the Day of Strategic Missile Forces, which is celebrated in Russia on December 17, it became known that the ground-based strategic deterrent forces, which form the basis of the Russian "nuclear shield", may receive a serious update. According to the general director of the Rosobschemash Corporation, former deputy minister of the USSR rocket and space industry, Artur Usenkov, work has been underway in Russia over the past year to create a new heavy liquid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile designed to replace the Voevoda silo-based ICBM on alert. As expected, the new ICBM will be able to “ignore” the anti-missile “cordons” that the US and NATO are actively building along the perimeter of Russia's borders, breaking through any existing and future missile defense systems. Moreover, according to experts' estimates, the "safety margin" of this technology will last at least until the 50s of this century.
As you know, Artur Uchenkov was the deputy chairman of the state commissions for testing the RS-20 "Voyevoda" ICBM (according to the US and NATO classification - "Satan"). However, he did not actually confirm the forecast made in December last year by the then still acting commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Andrei Shvaichenko, who said that a new ballistic missile could be created by the end of 2016. “In 2009, an assignment was received to develop a new silo-based heavy liquid-propellant ICBM to replace Voevoda. Since then, work has been underway to create it. In the days of the USSR, it took 8 years from receiving the TTZ to create a rocket until it was put on combat duty. Now it takes 10-15 years to solve such a problem, however, subject to acceleration of work and proper funding, as well as with the creation of a modern electronic base, the rocket may end up in the mine also in 8 years, "- specified the time parameters for the implementation of this most important from the point of view of the country's defense capability. project Artur Usenkov.
“The new ICBM, like the Voevoda, will have a multiple warhead of 10 warheads with individual guidance of each. It will not be a problem for it to overcome any existing and future missile defense systems, at least until the mid-50s of this century. This fully applies to both the US global missile defense system and the European NATO missile defense system,”recalled the general director of the Rosobschemash Corporation. It should be noted that the new START treaty does not prohibit the modernization and replacement of strategic offensive weapons, which should be an effective response to the long-term plans of the Pentagon and the NATO military to deploy missile defense systems in Europe.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of the National Defense magazine, comments on the plans to develop a new strategic deterrent:
- I believe that the main contribution to ensuring the defense capability of Russia would be the earliest launch into serial production of the new RS-24 Yars solid-propellant ballistic missile, which is completely technologically advanced, and the design does not raise any doubts in terms of its operational reliability. This missile is equipped with MIRVs and has real capabilities to overcome both existing and future missile defense systems. In conditions when Russia has rather limited budgetary possibilities, there is a need to concentrate on the real priorities of defense construction. Serial production of Yars ICBMs belongs to such priorities.
Their specificity lies in the fact that there is both a mine version and a mobile one. That is, the rocket is completely unified for two types of basing. In the context of budgetary constraints, it is hardly advisable to set research and development work (R&D) on a new heavy liquid-propellant rocket. First of all, according to economic criteria. In addition, it should be borne in mind that after the ratification of the new START treaty, Russia will have a limited number of deployed delivery vehicles. Therefore, the existing grouping of the Strategic Missile Forces, planned to be rearmed with the new Yars ballistic missiles, will ensure a reasonable sufficiency of Russia in the field of strategic nuclear forces. In addition, it should be borne in mind that within the framework of the production of the Topol-M, RS-24 Yars and Bulava ballistic missiles, a stable working cooperation of industrial enterprises has already been created, headed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering. Moreover, Topol-M is being mass-produced, while RS-24 Yars and Bulava will actually also be ready for mass production in the coming months.
Of course, within the framework of a hypothetical development of the international situation, we can imagine that Russia will withdraw from the START Treaty. However, such a scenario still seems unlikely. In these conditions, the new heavy liquid-propellant ballistic missile may simply not find real use. In addition, it will take at least 10-15 years before it is put into serial production. During this time, many different events can occur, as a result of which this type of weapon, which is being prepared to replace the "Voevoda", will simply become meaningless.
We need now not to engage in launching projects with an unclear perspective in 10-15 years, but to focus on the serial production of already spent missiles. Otherwise, we will not put into series what has already been created, and in 8-10 years the group will simply decline at a landslide rate - due to the fact that the Soviet missiles that are on alert today will have already been decommissioned by that time. That is why we first need to saturate the Strategic Missile Forces with RS-24 Yars missiles, on which the main stake is being made today. And only after the planned re-equipment has passed, then it is already possible to look at the situation - whether we need a heavy rocket or not.
Of course, R&D on a new missile can be planned, but the lion's share of efforts in the field of strategic nuclear forces in terms of rearmament of the ground group of the Strategic Missile Forces should be concentrated on the serial production of mine-based and mobile-based RS-24 Yars missiles. It is clear that in conditions when, according to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, 20 trillion rubles are allocated for the state rearmament program, a lot of lobbyists in the military-industrial complex would like to use these funds. In such a situation, the correct choice of military-technical priorities is very important. Because, of course, we can now begin to develop anything - and flying lasers, like those of the Americans, and heavy ballistic missiles, and electromagnetic guns. As a result, it turns out that our army did not have the most necessary things, and does not have it.