The R-36 (Russian: Р-36) to SS 18 Satan is a family of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and space launch vehicles designed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Some versions of the R-36M were deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile’s high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids.
Development of the R-36 was begun by OKB-586 (Yuzhnoye) in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine in 1962, and built upon the work of the R-16 program. The Chief Designer was Mikhail Yangel.
In March 2006 Russia made an agreement with Ukraine that will regulate cooperation between the two countries on maintaining the R-36M2 missiles. It was reported that the cooperation with Ukraine will allow Russia to extend the service life of the R-36M2 missiles by at least ten to 28 years.
Ukraine built the guidance and control systems for Russian ICBM’s carrying about 5000 nuclear bombs and they still have the service and maintenance agreement.
So two big Soviet era mistakes come back to bite Putin
1. Do not give up Crimea if you want to keep it
2. Do not have key military systems made in Ukraine if there is any chance that the USSR breaks up
The key information and people can leave and still hold Russia’s nuclear capability hostage even if Russia takes all of Ukraine. Like Von Bron being able to help the American rocket program. It also would be like the designer of the Enigma code machine spilling secrets. It is information and knowledge and not a factory.
Russia will begin deploying a new type of long-range missile in 2018 to replace a Cold War standby known in the West as “Satan”, a military commander said on Tuesday in a signal to the United States that Moscow is improving its nuclear arsenal.
A new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) called the Sarmat is being developed to supplant the RS-20B Voyevoda.
The commander of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, General Sergei Karakayev said “We are counting on being armed with this qualitatively new missile system … by 2018-2020.”
In a recent article, RFE/RL Russian Service’s military correspondent Vladimir Voronov argues that severing ties with Ukraine would have a far more dramatic impact on Russia’s defense program than any Western sanctions restricting sales of Western military hardware.
Voronov notes that the two countries’ military industrial complexes are so integrated that any end to cooperation with Ukraine would seriously jeopardize the Russian army’s ambitious modernization program.
Since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Moscow has sought to create its own entirely domestic military industry in a declared policy of self-reliance.
But Russia’s self-reliance program remains far from complete.
Moscow envisions spending at least 20 trillion rubles ($563 billion) from 2011 to 2020 on upgrading its military, including updating its strategic nuclear forces, expanding its navy, and modernizing its air and ground forces.
Yet the design bureaus and enterprises meant to do the work are so overwhelmed that Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said as recently as December that they were “overworked” and “do not have time to do what the Defense Ministry orders.”
In his article for RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Voronov notes that more than half of the components of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) can be traced back to Ukraine and that these rockets carry over 80 percent of Russia’s warheads.
The essential components include targeting and control systems, most importantly for Russia’s keystone ICBM, the RS-20B Voyevoda, known by NATO as the SS-18 Satan. The guidance system was produced in Kharkiv at a factory known as “Elektropribor” in the Soviet era and as “Khatron” today.
Such public discussion of the risks the Russian military runs is rare. But it is a sign that at least some in Moscow are weighing what further costs interference in Ukraine could bring Russia beyond Western sanctions.
So far, Moscow seems to be betting that even if relations with Kyiv sour further, cooperation between their military industries will be one of the last relationships to be abandoned.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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