15P961 Battle Railway Missile System 15Zh61 (RT-23 UTTH)

Железнодорожная ПУ

Work on a mobile railway combat missile system (MRBM) with intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) began in the mid-1970s. Initially, the complex was developed with the RT-23 missile equipped with a monoblock head unit. After testing, the LCBMs with RT-23 ICBMs were taken into pilot operation.

The Decree of the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR CM dated August 9, 1983 set the development of a missile system with the RT-23UTTH Molodets missile (15Zh61) in three basing variants: combat railroad, mobile ground Tselina-2 and mine. The main developer is Yuzhnoye Design Office (General Designer V.F.Utkin). In November 1982, the conceptual design of RT-23UTTH and BZHRK missiles with advanced railway launchers (RT-23UTTH) was developed. In particular, for firing from any point of the route, including electrified railways, the LRBM was equipped with a high-precision navigation system, while the LRBM was equipped with special devices for shortening and diverting the contact network (ZOKS).

The complex was adopted for service on November 28, 1989.

In 1987-1991, 12 complexes were built.

In 1991, NPO Yuzhnoye proposed to use a rocket type RT-23UTTH to launch spacecraft into orbit from an altitude of 10 kilometers, after dropping the rocket on a special parachute system from a heavy transport aircraft AN-124-100. This project has not been further developed. At present, the complex has been decommissioned.

In the west, the rocket RT-23UTTH (15Zh61) received the designation SS-24 "Salerl" MoS 3 (RL-4).

The designation is RS-22B according to START-1; classification according to START-1 is an ICBM assembled in a launch container (Class A).


Стартовая позиция 15П961 "Молодец" с МБР 15Ж61 (РТ-23 УТТХ)

The structure of BZHRK includes a standard railway structure for the complex configuration:

  • three three-wagon launchers with RT-23UTTX ICBMs;
  • command module with 7 wagons;
  • a tank wagon with reserves of fuel and lubricants;
  • two DM-62 diesel locomotives.

Each of the locomotives has a separate locomotive crew on duty. During the preparation of the officer's locomotive brigades of the BZHRK, for detailed acquaintance with the route, they are periodically sent to the civilian trains of the MPS, following the same route.

BZHRK looks like an ordinary train consisting of refrigerated and passenger cars. The starting modules have eight wheel pairs each. The rest of the cars are supply cars and have four wheel pairs each.

The RT-23UTTH rocket (see the schematic) has three stages plus a warhead stage. The first, second and third stages have an all-wound cocoon-type housing made of composite material. The first stage is equipped with a solid propellant engine 15D206 (borrowed from 15Zh44 missile) with a central stationary, partially recessed nozzle operating on T9-BK-8E mixed fuel. The second and third stages also have solid propulsion systems, the nozzle - central stationary, sliding. The fuel of the second stage is "Start", the third stage is AP-65. The first stage is controlled by hot gas injection into the critical part of the nozzle of the engine unit, the second stage - the deviation of the head end and partly aerodynamic rudder mounted on the nose fairing.

The head part is a separable type of individual guidance with ten combat units (BUs) of 0.43Mt capacity placed in one tier. The combat stage (BS) was equipped with a multifunctional liquid-propellant rocket engine 15D264 (RD-866), operating on diazo tetraoxide and asymmetric dimethylhydrazine (NDMG + CAT). Multifunctional without afterburning generator gas engine 15D264 (RD-866) contains single-chamber high thrust LRD (LRD BT), sixteen small thrust LRD (LRD MT), as well as a centralized power supply, consisting of two turbo-pump units with gas generators and two feeders. RD-866 provides multiple switching and traction control of BT and MT LRD. The engine operates according to the combined scheme (displacement and pumping supply of fuel components) and provides fuel components supply to consumers in a wide range of changes in consumption and pressure. Maximum total operation time of BT LCD is 330s, MT LCD is 1200s. Maximum number of switching on of BT LCD is 14, MT LCD is 10000.

RD-866 engine is designed to perform the following tasks:

  • to create a control effort to heel in combat stage flight;
  • creation (in the breeding area) of thrust and control forces of different magnitude and direction with repeated switching on of the BT and MT WRD;
  • power supply to fuel-operated hydraulic rocking drives of the high thrust motor chamber in the breeding area.

Battle Stage Division (BS) was carried out according to the classical "pushing" scheme. After separation, the LRD of the BT would bring the combat stage to a specified point in space, the LRD of MT would turn the BC with a platform forward and turn the stage with a detachable combat unit (BC) down. After actuation of the mounting pyropatrons and disconnection of the main plug connector there was no impulse separation of the BC. After separation of the combat unit the LRBM was pushed aside and the stage was turned backwards by the platform to launch the LRBM, which led the BC to the point of separation of the next BC. The procedure was repeated for each combat unit. Thus, a complex combined dilution model was used, using both pulling and pushing circuits. Selection of the breeding points (presumably) was performed not according to a rigid program (1 through 10), but according to a probabilistic program so that the enemy could not calculate the breeding pattern.

The missile 15J61 retains the schematic and structural solutions for controlling the flight of the II and III stages of the head compartment deviation, mortar separation of the stages, separation of the combat stage and dilution of the combat equipment elements, worked out on 15J44 and 15J52 missiles. Mortar separation of the stages is provided by gas injection from the gunpowder pressure accumulator of the interstage volume and transverse division of the transition compartment by an elongated cumulative charge. This design guarantees shockless stage separation and ensures maximum density of the layout of the interstage section of the missile.

Железнодорожная ПУ для МБР РТ-23 УТТХ

The missile has an original head fairing with variable geometry. The metal corrugated insert was straightened in flight under the influence of internal pressure created by a special pressure accumulator, taking the form of a rotation cone. This solution is used to reduce the overall length of the missile and its placement in the car.

The control system - inertial with onboard digital computer (BCVM) was developed by NPO AP under the supervision of chief designer V.A.Lapygin.

The peculiarity of the control system is the solution of some new tasks:

  • Recovery of information in the computer after the impact of a nuclear explosion by overwriting it to an operative storage device from the information storage on a magnetic disk;
  • implementation of terminal guidance principles;
  • using an elementary base of enhanced resistance to nuclear explosion (level 1);
  • interfacing with the "Signal-A" combat control system.

Aiming is carried out with the help of ground gyrocompass and electron-optical means of azimuth transmission to onboard gyrostabilized platform.

The launcher (see diagram) 15P761 was developed at the Special Machine Building Design Bureau (SMDB) under the supervision of Chief Designer Utkin A.F. on the basis of a four-body eight-axle car with the capacity of 135 tons. The Transport and Launch Container (TLC) is equipped with a temperature control system and rocket launcher automation. The lifting of the TPK in a vertical position is carried out by pneumatic drive with the help of PAD'a. The car - starting unit is equipped with an opening roof with a hydraulic drive and a device for removal of the contact network. Even the reduction of the rocket weight by 1.5 tons compared to the mine version did not allow to meet the permissible axial load on the track. To solve this problem, special "unloading" devices were used, which redistribute part of the weight to the neighboring wagons.

The rockets can be launched from any point on the route. For this purpose the train is stopped with the help of ZOKS and the contact suspension is diverted to the side. The launch container is raised to an upright position. After that, the missile is mortarized. Already in the air the missile is inclined by a powder accelerator and only then the marching engine is started. The rocket's inclination allowed the jet of the marshal engine to be diverted from the launch complex and to ensure its stability.

Each of the three launchers included in the BZHRK can be launched either as a train or independently.

The missile has a guaranteed shelf life of 15 years.


Range of fire, km 10100
Firing accuracy (limit deviation), km 0.2-0.5
Start weight, t 104.50
Flight Reliability 0.98
Energy perfection coefficient of the rocket Spg/Go, kgf/ts 31
The length of the rocket, m
            - full
            - headless
            - at the TIC
First step
            - length,m
            - diameter,m
            - weight,t
            - remote control thrust (on the ground/in the void), tc
Second step
            - length,m
            - diameter,m
            - remote control thrust, shh
Third step
            - length,m
            - diameter,m
            - remote control thrust, shh
Weight of payload, kg 4050
Charge power, Mt. 10 х 0.43
Liquid rocket engine RD-866 (combat stage)
Engine traction in the void, kgs. between -94.4 and +513.5
Specific Average Integral Traction Impulse of the LPD BT in the Empty, kgc/kg 305.5
Specific traction pulse in the void, kgc/kg
            - BT LCD cameras
            - MT WRD in continuous mode
            - MT LCD in pulse mode with a frequency of 10 Hz
- engine weight, kg 125.4
Absolute gas pressure in the combustion chamber, kgf/cm2:
            - BT LCD
            - MT WRD
Absolute gas pressure at the chamber nozzle cut, kgf/cm2:
            - BT LCD
            - MT WRD
Mass average integrated ratio of fuel components at work:
            - BT WRD
            - BT LCD cameras
            - MT WRD
Traction deviation from the nominal value, kgf
            - for the BT WRD
            - for WRD MT when working in continuous mode
Minimum absolute pressure of fuel components at engine inlet, kgf/cm2:
            - oxidant (at 45°C)
            - combustible (at 65°C)
Minimum absolute pressure of fuel components at engine inlet at +35°C, kgf/cm2:
            - oxidizer
            - fuel
Maximum total operating time, s:
            - BT WRD
            - MT WRD
Maximum number of turns on:
            - BT LCD
            - MT WRD
Dimensions, m:
            - length
            - width
            - altitude
Speed of movement, km/hour 80
Shock-wave resistance of FLIR, kg/cm2
            - longitudinally
            - crosswise


Старт ракеты РТ-23УТТХ (15Ж61)

Flight tests of the rocket RT-23UTTH (15Zh61 ) were conducted from February 27, 1985 to December 22, 1987 in NIIP-53 (Mirny), a total of 32 launches were made. There were 18 launches of the train for resource and transport tests, during which more than 400 thousand kilometres were covered by the country's railways. The tests were conducted in various climatic zones from Salekhard in the north to Chardzhou in the south, from Cherepovets in the west to Chita in the east.

In 1988 at the Semipalatinsk test site special tests of BZHRK on exposure to electromagnetic radiation ("Shining") and lightning protection ("Thunderstorm") were successfully conducted. In 1991 on NIIP-53 there was carried out an inspection on the impact of a shock wave ("Shift"). Two launchers and a command post were tested. The objects of testing were located: one (PP with the loaded in it electromagnetic missile, as well as the control room) - at a distance of 850m from the center of the explosion, the other (second PP) - at a distance of 450m face to the center of the explosion. The impact wave with a TNT equivalent of 1000 t did not affect the performance of the missile and the boost-phase control.

The first missile regiment with RT-23UTTH rocket went on duty on October 20, 1987 (Kostroma, commander V.Yu. Spiridonov). By mid-1988, 6-7 regiments had been deployed (a total of about 20 PU, all under Kostroma). By 1999, deployed three missile divisions, armed with BZHRK and RT-23UTTH ICBMs (near Kostroma, Zvezdny village near Perm and Kedrovy village in the Krasnoyarsk Territory), each of which has four missile regiments. The compositions were at a distance of about four kilometers from each other in stationary structures. As the compositions began to take up combat duty, they were dispersed (see photo).

When moving along the country's railway network, the BZHRK made it possible to quickly change the location of the starting position to 1000 kilometres per day.


  1. Карпенко А.В., Уткин А.Ф., Попов А.Д. "Отечественные стратегические ракетные комплексы", -СПб.: Невский бастион-Гангут, 1999.-288с.
  2. Бюллетень "Ядерная Безопасность", No 20/21, 1999
  3. Стратегическое ядерное вооружение России / под ред. П.Л.Подвига. - М.: ИздАТ, 1998
  4. Советская военная мощь от Сталина до Горбачева / под ред. А.В.Минаева. - М.: Военный парад, 1999
  5. Жидкостный ракетный двигатель РД-866
  6. Недоукомплектованный образец боевого железнодорожного ракетного комплекса (БЖРК) 15П961 "Молодец" с макетом межконтинентальной баллистической ракетой 15Ж61 (РТ-23 УТТХ) в экспозиции Центрального музея Октябрьской железной дороги (г. Санкт-Петербург).

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Control sys.:
11000 km.

Similar in definition and basing: