On March 12, 1974, the D-9 sea-based missile system with the R-29 missile was adopted
The sixties of the last century marked the beginning of active work on equipping submarines with ballistic missiles (SLBMs). He was the first to launch such a rocket (R11-FM) in September 1955 from a B-67 submarine on the surface of the USSR. The Americans "responded exactly three years later in September 1958 by launching the Polaris SLBM from the George Washington nuclear submarine." This was the beginning of a race for submarine-based atomic weapons. Subsequently, both countries created a number of SSBN complexes comparable in their characteristics (nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles).
The reason for the creation of the R-29
In the 1970s, the United States created the powerful SOSUS submarine sonar detection system. She became a real threat to the Soviet strategic missile submarine cruisers (SSBN) of Project 667A "Navaga", which patrolled the shores of the American continent with R-27 missiles. To remove this threat and remove areas of combat patrol from the American coast, the USSR created a new D-9 missile system with the world's first sea-based intercontinental missile R-29. After being put into service (March 1974), the complex became a standard weapon of a series of 18 SSBNs of Project 667B "Murena", each of which carried 12 such missiles.
Our complex was opposed by American SLBMs of the "Polaris", "Poseidon" and "Trident-1" types, which were adopted in the period from 1960 to 1979. The first two were not intercontinental, and the more advanced Poseidon and Trident-1 with a range of 4600 and 7400 km, respectively, were inferior in this indicator to our P-29 (7800 km). The United States was able to eliminate this shortcoming only in 1990 with the adoption of the Trident-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile with a range of up to 11,000 kilometers.
Possibilities and features of R-29
The D-9 missile system with the R-29 SLBM (4K75, RSM-40; western designation SS-N-8, Sawfly, English "sawfly") was created in the late 1960s - early 1970s. The liquid-propellant two-stage rocket was developed in SKB-385 (chief designer V. P. Makeev) and was mass-produced at machine-building plants in Zlatoust and Krasnoyarsk.
The intercontinental range of the new complex made it possible to transfer the areas of combat patrolling of our SSBNs to the seas adjacent to the territory of the USSR (Barents, White, Kara, Norwegian, Okhotsk, Japanese) and the Arctic regions. If necessary, the R-29 could be launched from the surface position at the basing points or from the northern regions after pushing through the ice. Combined with measures to reduce visibility, it has made the naval nuclear forces the least vulnerable component of the Russian nuclear triad.
A two-stage liquid-propellant ballistic missile, the total (useful) mass of which was 33.3 (1, 1) tons, hit the target with a monoblock nuclear warhead (1 Mt) at a range of 7800-8000 kilometers with an accuracy of 900 meters. All missiles of the submarine could be launched alternately or in a salvo from a surface or underwater (up to 50 m) position in motion at speeds up to 5 knots and sea agitation up to 6 points.
The advanced technical solutions at that time ensured the new SLBM high efficiency and long "life". This is an all-welded body made of "wafer" elements, original propulsion systems inside fuel tanks ("recessed circuit") in the form of factory-made "ampoules",using the "gas bell" scheme at the start and much more. The cone-shaped warhead was located in the second stage fuel tank in an "inverted" position in motion.
The high accuracy of shooting and all-aspect launch of the rocket was ensured by the system of azimuthal astro-correction for the stars, which was used for the first time in the USSR. To overcome the enemy's missile defense, the missile carried false targets. Liquid rocket fuel provided high flight characteristics and the best (R-29M) energy efficiency among all ballistic missiles in the world. The combat effectiveness of 12 R-29 missiles of the D-9 complex was 2.5 times higher than that of 16 R-27 missiles (D-5 complex).
Ballistic missile R-29 of the 1974 model. Photo: war-arms.info
In March 1978, a modernized extended-range D-9D complex with R-29D SLBMs was created, the launch range of which was 9100 kilometers. It was installed on Project 667B and 667BD SSBNs (Murena-M), which each had 16 missile silos. In 1986, the upgraded R-29DU missile (D-9DU complex) with a warhead of increased weight and power was adopted. Of the 368 launches of R-29 and R-29DU missiles, 322 launches were recognized as successful.
Under the strategic arms reduction treaty, SSBNs of projects 667B and 667BD were withdrawn from the fleet and gradually decommissioned until 1999. This led to the decommissioning of all SLBMs of the R-29 type. However, the high combat and operational characteristics became the basis for the creation of a number of modernized versions on the basis of the R-29 missiles.
So, in 1986, the D-9RM complex with the R-29RM missile was adopted. The new SLBM differed from the R-29 and R-29R missiles (1977) by the increased number and power of warheads, range and accuracy of fire, as well as an expanded warhead separation zone.
The R-29RM ballistic missile was somewhat inferior to the American Trident-1 (500 m) and Trident-2 (120 m) SLBMs in terms of firing accuracy, which was 900 meters. However, our rocket significantly surpassed the “Americans” in terms of energy and mass perfection (the value of the throw weight referred to the launch weight of the carrier), which was 46 units against 33 and 37, 6 for the same “Trident-1” and “Trident-2”, respectively. For the technical characteristics of the R-29RM and R-29RMU missiles, the Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift magazine called them "a masterpiece of naval rocketry."
The salvo rate of these missiles has not been beaten to date, when in 1991 the submarine missile carrier K-407 "Novomoskovsk" carried out the world's first salvo launch of 12 R-29RM missiles from a submerged position. For comparison, the salvo of an American submarine with ammunition load of 16 Trident-2 SLBMs was only four missiles.
In subsequent years, on the basis of the R-29RM, the R-29RMU (D-9RMU, 1988) and R-29RMU1 (2002) missiles were created with a promising high-security warhead. Further development of this family of missiles were the R-29RMU2 "Sineva" (2007) and R-29RMU2.1 "Liner" SLBMs. The first of them was distinguished by increased resistance to the effects of an electromagnetic pulse, a new medium-power warhead (analogous to the W-88 unit of the Trident-2 missile), a complex to overcome the enemy's missile defense system and other features.
The Liner strategic missile with a range of 8300-11500 kilometers is a modernized version of the Sineva and was put into service in 2014. Along with a complex of means of overcoming missile defense, it carries a combined combat load. Today, the Liner SLBM surpasses all known solid-fuel strategic missiles of Great Britain, China, Russia, the USA and France in terms of energy and mass perfection, and in terms of combat equipment it is not inferior to the four-unit American Trident-2 missile. In the future, all strategic submarine cruisers of projects 667 BDRM "Dolphin" and 667 BDR "Kalmar" will be equipped with such missiles. This will extend the life of the Dolphin project nuclear submarine until 2025-2030.
As an alternative to the Bulava solid-propellant missile for Project 955 Borey missile carriers State Missile Center. Makeeva proposed a variant of the R-29RMU3 liquid-propellant rocket (code "Sineva-2") weighing 41 tons. It can carry 8 small-class warheads with anti-missile defense capabilities or 4 new middle-class warheads.
On the basis of the R-29RM rocket, light-class launch vehicles of the Shtil type were created. They are designed to launch spacecraft into a circular orbit with an altitude of 400 km and a mass of 80 kilograms. In the first launch (07.07.1998) from the K-407 Novomoskovsk nuclear submarine, two German satellites, Tubsat-N and Tubsat-N1, were launched into near-earth orbit. Subsequent versions of this rocket are designed to launch payloads weighing up to 200 and 500 kilograms into near-earth space, respectively.
Thus, the R-29 ballistic missile for submarines has become a landmark achievement of our defense-industrial complex and the basic element of Russia's missile shield.