Category Archives: Missiles and Bombs

Strategic Missile Forces

Russian Strategic Missile Forces

The Strategic Missile Troops or Strategic Rocket Forces of the Russian Federation or RVSN RF are a military branch of the Russian Armed Forces that controls Russia’s land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The RVSN was first formed in the Soviet Armed Forces, and when the USSR collapsed in December 1991, it effectively changed its name from the Soviet to the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces or Strategic Missile Troops. They are designed for nuclear deterrence of a possible aggression and, for defeat of strategic objects located in one or more strategic air-space areas and forming the basis of the enemy’s military and military-economic potential by means of large-scale, group or single nuclear missile attacks.

Russian Strategic Missile Forces RT-2PM2 Topol-M TEL

Russian Strategic Missile Forces RT-2PM2 Topol-M TEL

The Strategic Rocket Forces were created on December 17, 1959 as the main force used for attacking an enemy’s offensive nuclear weapons, military facilities, and industrial infrastructure. They operated all Soviet nuclear ground-based intercontinental, intermediate-range ballistic missile, and medium-range ballistic missile with ranges over 1,000 kilometers. Complementary strategic forces within Russia are the Long Range Aviation and the Russian Navy’s ballistic missile submarines.
Russian Strategic Missile Forces R36M2 Voivode

Russian Strategic Missile Forces R36M2 Voivode

The composition of missiles and warheads of the Strategic Rocket Forces previously had to be revealed as part of the START I treaty data exchange. The current (January 2017) order of battle of the forces is as follows:

  • 27th Guards Rocket Army (HQ: Vladimir)
    98th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron
    7th Guards Rocket Division at Vypolzovo
    14th Rocket Division at Yoshkar-Ola with 6 mobile RS-24 Yars
    54th Guards Rocket Division at Teykovo with 18 mobile RT-2UTTH Topol-M and 18 (December 2011)[33] mobile RS-24
    28th Guards Rocket Division at Kozelsk with 12 silo-based RS-24
    60th Rocket Division at Tatischevo with 30 silo-based UR-100NUTTH and 60 silo-based RT-2UTTH Topol-M
  • 31st Missile Army (HQ: Rostoshi)
    102nd Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron
    13th Red Banner Rocket Division at Dombarovskiy with 18 silo-based R-36M2 and presumed experimental variants of the UR-100NUTTH with final hypersonic velocity warheads (Project 4202).[34] The R-36s will be replaced with the new RS-28 Sarmat when operational.[35]
    42nd Rocket Division at Nizhniy Tagil with 27 mobile RS-24 Yars
  • 33rd Guards Rocket Army (HQ: Omsk)
    105th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron
    35th Rocket Division at Barnaul with 36 mobile RT-2PM Topol
    39th Guards Rocket Division at Novosibirsk with 27 mobile RS-24 Yars
    62nd Rocket Division at Uzhur with 28 silo-based R-36M2, which will also replaced with the new RS-28 Sarmat when operational.
Russian Strategic Missile Forces

Russian Strategic Missile Forces

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Scaling Up Effort to Develop Hypersonics

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Scaling Up Effort to Develop Hypersonics

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is looking to step up its development of hypersonic weapons — missiles that travel more than five times faster than the speed of sound — DOD leaders said at the National Defense Industrial Association-sponsored “Hypersonics Senior Executive Series” here today. In the last year, China has tested more hypersonics weapons than we have in a decade. Russia also is involved in hypersonics. “Hypersonics is a game changer,” said Michael Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering. If Russia were to invade Estonia or China were to attack Taiwan tomorrow, it would be difficult to defend against their strike assets.

DOD is looking at air-breathing boost-glide hypersonics systems, the latter being used by China, Griffin said. The United States has the boost-glide system competency to get these developed today. On the flip side, the U.S. needs to develop systems to counter adversary hypersonics. Space-based sensors, along with tracking and fire-control solutions, are needed in the effort to counter adversaries’ hypersonics, Griffin said, pointing out that hypersonics targets are 10 to 20 times dimmer than what the U.S. normally tracks by satellites in geostationary orbit. “We can’t separate hypersonics defense from the space layer,” he said.

 X-51A Waverider under the wing of a B-52 Stratobomber,

X-51A Waverider under the wing of a B-52 Stratobomber,

Congress has given DOD the funding and authorities to move ahead with hypersonics development, Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan said, and the department wants competing approaches from industry. Tough decisions lay ahead, he said in the development and engineering phase, operationalizing the technology and then in acquisition. Those decisions include how much to invest and how many hypersonics to produce. “Should it be tens of thousands or thousands?” he said.

Industry will respond, Shanahan said, but government needs to clear a path and help fuel the investments up front, as with the effort field intercontinental ballistic missiles decades ago. DOD is not risk-averse, the deputy secretary said. “Break it,” he added. “Learn from the mistake. Move on. Break it again and move on, but don’t make the same mistake.” It’s much more expensive to do the analytics to prevent it from breaking than it is to break it, he said.