Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN RF)

Discussion in 'The Russian Armed Forces' started by Reggie Kabaeva, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Since this is one area where the Russian Federation appears to be ahead of its rivals, I thought this would be a good thread to discuss the advances in Russian short-medium range ballistic and ICBM technology.

    I know that the current Russian deterrent consists of the Topol M, The Bulava, the Yars ss-24 and the older soviet era SS-18. The first three being the product of the Russian Federation and hence have modern capabilities that the 43 year old US Minuteman-3 appear to be lacking.

    We are frequently told by the likes of Fred Weir and other Russia observers ( especially those in the west) that Russia's nuclear forces are dilapidated, rusted and ineffective - obviously, a blatant lie since a few clicks over to Wikipedia will clearly lay the myth out to pasture and clearly show that Russia's nuclear forces are currently the most modern in the world.

    Anyway, Russia also has the short-medium range Iskander missile (used by the Russian ground Forces), and the forthcoming replacements for the S-300 air defense system, namely, the S-500 and the Vityaz.

    I know I'm probably missing a few, so let's have it! I would like to see discussion on capabilities, costs, setbacks, triumphs, etc.;

    (P.S. - I'm also a regular over at the Kremlin Stooge and would like to thank Anatoly for starting this forum & Patrick Armstrong for encouraging support for The Russia Debate)
  2. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    You are right, Russia has the most modern nuclear-armed missiles in the world, like ICBM (Topol-M, Yars), SLBM (Bulava) and Iskander (theater ballistic missile). They are also developing a new heavy ICBM to replace the R-36. The main reason for this is that the US now has complete superiority in conventional weapons, therefore US nuclear forces are relatively less important and serve only as a deterrent for Russia and China. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russian conventional forces have shrinked, almost all foreign military bases were closed, and Russia therefore can't compete with the US. The modernization of Russian nuclear forces, which continued even in the 90's, was therefore a relatively cheap way to keep a credible deterrence.
  3. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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  4. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    I just don't know if "anti-missile" radar is exact. It is an early warning radar, that can be connected to an anti-missile system, but on its own it cannot guide interceptors towards enemy missiles. The only operational anti-missile system Russia has is in Sofrino, near Moscow (Don-N2 radar, A-135 interceptors). Anyway, Russia at last is almost closing the gaps it had after the break-up of the Soviet Union in its system of early warning radar system.
  5. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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  6. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Here's a nice analysis of the background of ABM systems in Russia and some of its history. A few snooty purists make a hobby of ridiculing Air Power Australia - mostly because it does not toe the party line and allow that western technology is always superior because it's western - but I find their analysis interesting, thought provoking and usually very well-substantiated while the authors are well qualified in their fields of expertise.

    http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-ABM-Systems.html

    And a very interesting blog site that I picked up from the footnotes of the APA article:

    http://russianforces.org/blog/missile_defense/

    The most recent post, from April of this year, includes this fascinating tidbit; "US missile defense was never really an effective economic stressor on the Soviets -- according to their estimates, technical counter-measures to defeat missile defenses would have cost no more than five percent of their SDI-like program."

    This has been my advice all along to readers at my blog - it is almost always cheaper to engineer a countermeasure to a new system which will be effective against it, yet cost far less than the system cost your rival, and their advantage is often measure in months. This is the first time I have ever seen a price tag put on it, but I think you'll agree 5% is shocking.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
  7. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    This is exactly what the late USSR began doing in the 80's. The first missile designed to evade the SDI, the Topol-M which entered service in the 90's, is not really a ballistic missile, but has a reentry vehicle which maneuvers in the high atmosphere with an unpredictable path for interceptors. The same is valid for all Russian missiles developed since, like Iskander, Bulava and Yars.
    MarkPavelovich likes this.
  8. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Not to mention anti-ship missiles like the SS-N-22, which executes a terminal weave in the final phase to disorient hardkill systems. Gunnery radars base their aimpoint upon where the target will be when the fall of shot arrives at its location, based on course, speed and height. When the target's course is constantly changing it is impossible for an electronic prediction algorithm to gauge where the target is going to be at a future point in time. Antimissile acquisition and tracking systems use a similar process, although an interceptor is not like a bullet in that its course can be corrected after firing. But any maneuvering by the target immensely complicates the interception problem.
  9. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

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  10. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Yes, this brings back bad memories. But let's not forget that it is the first failure since 2009, after 6 successful launches in a row. So I guess the most serious issues with this missile (which were more related to production quality than design flaws) are resolved.
  11. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Yes, there was a lot of concern-trolling blather about this in the Anglospheric press, what's wrong with Russia and China, in hushed tones of shock.

    http://barentsobserver.com/en/secur...marine-trials-hold-after-bulava-failure-09-09

    Of course, there's the customary leap to make it seem even worse than it is; "Of the 19 or 20 test launches that have been done since 2004 eight have been officially declared unsuccessful. However, some analysts suggest that in reality the number of failures is considerably higher." Just like noted Russophobe Nicholas Eberstadt's trademark phrase: "Statistical data reports X percentage of Russian men are alcoholics, but the number is surely much higher". Some would say "the real number is surely much higher" even if the baseline figure was 100%. Unless it was something good, of course, in which case the probability of it ever happening again would be zero.

    Similarly, it has inspired a round of smug backslapping on the purported reliability of western weaponry. According to Strategy Page, the USN's frontline SLBM - the Trident D5 and follow-on variants - has never experienced a post-production failure.

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/hticbm/articles/20130724.aspx

    However, the Trident was in development for 6 years prior to its first submerged launch, and that launch was a failure based on a faulty first-stage engine nozzle. Trident experienced a total of 5 failures, for a very good overall success rate of 96% over a much larger pool of test-launches - 49. There was a stretch in 1988/89 when 3 of 7 test launches were failures, but to the best of my knowledge there were not a lot of concern-trolling articles in the press that described the system as having a "legacy of failure".

    http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/trientd5.htm
  12. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    Yes, the guy who started this absurd claim this was Pavel Felgenhauer, who many in the West still consider an expert in Russian military themes. Among other gems, first he claimed that the South Ossetian war would make the Russian economy collapse and, after Russia defeated the Georgian army in just 5 days, he sees this as a proof that this war was planned and started by Russia:
    http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=33888#.Ui-p9mJqEZY
  13. Reggie Kabaeva

    Reggie Kabaeva Office Registrar (13th class)

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    Well, whatever the problem might be this time around, I hope it gets resolved quickly. Naturally, if the next few launches are successful, you probably won't be reading about it at Strategy Page.
  14. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

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    Pavel Felgenhauer, the boob who announced the purchase of four LHA's by Russia from France was going to upset the strategic balance of the entire region? I should have known.
  15. José Moreira

    José Moreira High Commissar Staff Member

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    You are right, of course, but it is still a very bad sign. This will further delay the Bulava program with the new tests and then possibly there will be new manufacturing procedures to implement by Votkinsk and 3rd-party suppliers. It seems likely that the induction of the submarines will also be delayed as a result as new tests will have to be made after the Bulava program sorts its problems. All this costs money and resources, so it is not inconceivable that other shipbuilding projects will be impacted.

    What is more worrying for me is that this may be a symptom of the same illness affecting the space program, with so many problems and failures caused my poor quality and bad management.
  16. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

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    The third Borei class, Vladimir Monomakh, has left to the White Sea to start its first sea trials.
    http://www.interfax.ru/news.asp?id=328712
    Though perhaps this would be more related to the Russian Navy thread.

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