Intercontinental ballistic missile Topol (RS-12M)

Ракета Тополь

The development of a strategic mobile complex "Topol" 15Zh58 (RS-12M) with a three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile, suitable for placement on a self-propelled automobile chassis (based on the solid-fuel ICBM RT-2P) was started at the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering under the leadership of Alexander Nadiradze in 1975. The government decree on the development of the complex was issued on July 19, 1977. After A.Nadiradze's death, the work was continued under the leadership of Boris Lagutin. The mobile "Topol" was to be a response to increasing the accuracy of American ICBMs. It was required to create a complex with increased survivability, achieved not by the construction of reliable shelters, but by the creation of uncertain ideas about the location of the enemy missile.

By the end of autumn 1983, a pilot series of new missiles, designated RT-2PM, was built. December 23, 1983 at Plesetsk range began flight and design tests. For all the time of their implementation was unsuccessful only one launch. In general, the missile showed high reliability. There were also tests of combat units of the entire CDB. In December 1984, the main series of tests was completed. However, there was a delay in the development of some elements of the complex not directly related to the missile. The entire test programme was successfully completed in December 1988.

The decision to start mass production of the complexes was made in December 1984. Mass production was launched in 1985.

In 1984, the construction of stationary base facilities and equipment of combat patrol routes of mobile missile systems "Topol" began. The objects of construction were located in the position areas of the RT-2P and UR-100 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were taken off duty and placed in the OS SHU. Later, the construction of the Pioner medium range complexes, which were decommissioned under a contract with the DSMD, began.

In order to accumulate experience in operating the new complex in military units in 1985, it was decided to deploy the first missile regiment in Yoshkar-Ola, not waiting for the full completion of the program of joint tests. July 23, 1985 the first regiment of mobile "Topol" began combat duty at Yoshkar-Ola on the site of the deployment of missiles RT-2P. Later, "Topol" entered into service with a division deployed near Teikovo, which previously had UR-100 (8K84) ICBMs.

April 28, 1987 a missile regiment armed with Topol complexes with a mobile command post "Barrier" came on combat duty near Nizhny Tagil. PKP "Barrier" has a repeatedly protected duplicate radio command system. The mobile launcher of the PKP Barrier is equipped with a combat control missile. After the missile is launched, its transmitter gives the command to launch ICBMs.

December 1, 1988 the new missile system was officially adopted by the USSR Strategic Missile Forces. In the same year, the full-scale deployment of missile regiments with the Topol complex and simultaneous decommissioning of obsolete ICBMs began. On May 27, 1988, the first regiment of Topol ICBMs with advanced Granit ICP and automated control system began combat duty near Irkutsk.

By mid-1991, 288 missiles of this type had been deployed. In 1999, the Strategic Missile Forces had 360 Topol missile systems. They were on duty in ten position areas. In each area there were four to five regiments. Each regiment was equipped with nine autonomous launchers and a mobile command post.

The Topol missile divisions were deployed near the towns of Barnaul, Verkhnyaya Salda (Nizhny Tagil), Vypolzovo (Bologoye), Yoshkar-Ola, Teikovo, Yuria, Novosibirsk, Kansk and Irkutsk, as well as near the village of Drovyanaya in the Chita region. Nine regiments (81 launchers) were deployed in missile divisions in Belarus - near the towns of Lida, Mozyr and Postavy. After the collapse of the USSR, part of the "Topol" remained outside Russia, on the territory of Belarus. On August 13, 1993 the withdrawal of the "Topol" group from Belarus was started, and on November 27, 1996 it was completed.

In the west, the complex was designated SS-25 "Sickle".


Пуск Тополь

The RT-2PM rocket is designed with three marching and combat stages. To ensure high energy and mass perfection and increase the range of fire in all the marching stages, new fuel of increased density with specific impulse increased by several units in comparison with the fillers of the previously created engines was used, and the upper stage hulls were first made of continuous winding from organoplastic according to the "cocoon" scheme. The most difficult technical task was to place on the front bottom of the upper stage housing a thrust cut-off unit with eight reversible sockets and "windows", cut through the remote control (remote control - detonating elongated charge) in the organoplastic power structure.

The first stage of the rocket consists of an RDTT march and tail compartment, with aerodynamic rudders and stabilizers on the outer surface. The marching engine has one stationary nozzle. The second stage consists structurally of a connecting compartment and a marching RDTT. The third stage has almost the same design, but its structure additionally includes a transitional compartment, to which the head part is attached.

The independent, inertial control system is developed in NPO automatics and instrument making under the direction of Vladimir Lapygin. The sighting system was developed under the guidance of Serafim Parnyakov, Chief Designer of Kyiv Arsenal Plant. The inertial control system has its own BCVM, which allowed to achieve high accuracy of firing. According to the domestic sources the circular probable deviation (RVO) at firing on the maximum range makes 400m, on the western sources - 150-200m. The control system provides control of the missile flight, carrying out routine work on the missile and the launcher, prelaunch preparation and launch of the missile without turning the launcher. All prelaunch preparation and launch operations are fully automated.

"Topol" is equipped with a complex of means to overcome missile defense. Missile flight control is provided by rotary gas-jet and lattice aerodynamic rudders. New nozzle devices of solid fuel engines are created. Camouflage, false complexes and means of camouflage have been developed to ensure secrecy. Like the previous mobile complexes of the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, "Topol" can start both from the route of combat patrols, and during parking in garage shelters with a sliding roof. For this purpose, the launcher is hanged on jacks. Standby has been brought to two minutes from the time the order was received until the missile was launched. Mobile and stationary command posts have been developed for the new complexes. The mobile command post of the Topol ICBM combat control is based on the four-axle MAZ-543M vehicle. Mobile command posts "Barrier" and "Granite" equipped with a missile were also used for fire control, with a transmitter instead of a combat load, which after the launch of the missile duplicated the command to start for the PU located in the position areas.

During operation, the missile is in a transport and launch container mounted on a mobile launcher. It is mounted on a seven-axle chassis of a heavy-duty MAZ vehicle. The missile is launched from a vertical position using a gunpowder pressure accumulator mounted in a transport and launch container.

Передвижение ракет Тополь

The launcher (see diagram) was developed in Volgograd Central Design Bureau "Titan" under the leadership of Valerian Sobolev and Viktor Shurygin. The launcher is mounted on the chassis of the seven-axle tractor MAZ-7912 (later - MAZ-7917 wheel configuration 14x12. This machine of 80s is equipped with a 710 hp diesel engine. ) Minsk Automobile Plant with an engine of Yaroslavl Motor Plant. Chief Designer of the rocket carrier Vladimir Tsvyalev. Solid fuel charges of the engines were developed in Luberets NPO "Soyuz" under the leadership of Boris Zhukov (later the association was headed by Zinoviy Pak). Composite materials and containers were developed and manufactured at the Central Research Institute of Special Machine Building under the leadership of Viktor Protasov. The rocket steering hydraulic drives and hydraulic drives of the self-propelled launch unit were developed at the Moscow Central Research Institute of Automation and Hydraulics. The nuclear warhead was developed at the All-Union Research Institute of Experimental Physics under the supervision of Chief Designer Samvel Kocharyants.

Initially, the warranty period for the missile was set at 10 years. Later the warranty period was extended to 15 years. The mobile command post of the Topol ICBM combat control was located on the chassis of the MAZ-543M four-axle vehicle. Mobile command posts "Barrier" and "Granite" equipped with a missile were also used for fire control, with a transmitter instead of a combat load, which after the launch of the missile duplicated the command to start for the PU located in the position areas.


Maximum range of fire, km 10 000
The length of the rocket, m 21,5
Start mass, t 45
Weight of the head part, t 1
The mass of the first stage rocket, t. 27,8
The length of the first step, m 8,1
Second step length, m 4,6
Length of the third step, m 3,9
Length of the head end, m 2,1
Diameter of the first stage, m 1,8
Second stage housing diameter, m 1,55
Third stage housing diameter, m 1,34
Diameter of the transport and discharge container, m 2
The area of the combat patrol of the complex, km2 125 000


МБР Тополь

PGRE "Topol" went on trial in February 1983. The first launch took place on February 8 at Plesetsk range. This and two subsequent launches were made from converted shafts stationary missiles RT-2P. One launch ended unsuccessfully.

One test launch of the "Topol" rocket from the Plesetsk test site is made every year. The high reliability of the complex is evidenced by the fact that during its testing and operation, about fifty control and test launches of missiles were made. All of them passed without fail.

On November 29, 2005 the RS-12M "Topol" mobile ICBM was launched from the Plesetsk launch site in the direction of the Kura test site in Kamchatka. The training combat unit of the missile hit a conventional target at the Kamchatka Peninsula test site with the specified accuracy. The main purpose of the launch is to check the reliability of equipment. The rocket stood on combat duty for 20 years. This is the first case in the practice not only of domestic but also of the world rocket-building - the launch of the solid fuel rocket that had been in operation for so many years was successfully carried out.

On the basis of the Topol ICBM, a conversion space launch vehicle, the Start rocket, has been developed. The Start rocket is launched from the Plesetsk and Svobodny cosmodromes.

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Control sys.:
10500 km.