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A-135

Anti-ballistic missile system

A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

The A-135 system uses 2 different missiles for long-range and short-range engagements

 
 
Missile A-925 (ABM-4 Gorgon) PRS-1 (AMB-3 Gazelle)
Country of origin Soviet Union Russia
Entered service 1990 1995
Missile
Missile length 19.8 m 10 m
Missile diameter 2.57 m 1 m
Missile weight 33 t 10 t
Warhead weight ? ?
Warhead type Nuclear Nuclear 10 kT
Range of fire 350 km 80 - 100 km
Altitude of fire 670 km 30 - 45 km
Guidance Radar-guided

 

   The A-135 Amur is a Soviet anti-ballistic missile system. It was a successor to the previous A-35. It uses two types of missiles, notably the PRS-1 (Western reporting name ABM-3 or Gazelle) for short-range interceptions and A-925 (ABM-4 Gorgon) missiles for long-range interceptions. Also the new system was silo-based. Basically it was similar in concept to the US Safeguard anti-ballistic missile system. Development of the A-135 commenced back in 1971. Construction of launch sites began in 1976. It reached initial operational capability in 1990.

   The A-135 was designed to intercept US intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as submarine-launched ballistic missiles. This anti-ballistic missile system has discrimination ability and can identify real re-entry vehicles from decoys and fake warheads.

   Initially the A-135 system used A-925 missiles. The A-925 was basically an improved and silo-based version of the A-350 missile, used on the previous A-35 anti-ballistic missile system.

   It was a 2-stage missile. The first stage used a solid-fuel engine, while the second stage used a liquid-fuel engine. It travels at a maximum speed of around Mach 8.74 (10 800 km/h).

   The A-925 carried a nuclear warhead. Some sources claim that had a blast yield is 10-20 kT, while others indicate that this missile carried a 2-3 MT warhead. So there was no need for direct hit.

   The missile was carried to its launch site in container. Transporter vehicle was based on a MAZ-547 special high mobility vehicle with 12x12 configuration.

   Deliveries of the A-925 missiles to launch sited began in 1990 and was completed in 1992. Production of these missiles ceased in 1993. Some previous A-35 sites were re-equipped with the new A-925 missiles.

   By 1997 a total of 16 silo-based launchers were operational with a total of 32 A-925 missiles.

   The A-925 missile was supplemented by a newer PRS-1 missile (Western reporting name AMB-3 Gazelle). This had a shorter range and was designed to defeat missiles that the A-925 missile failed to intercept.

   The PRS-1 is a hypersonic missile of new design. It has a maximum speed of Mach 15-16 (18 720-19 800 km/h). That's 5.2-5.5 km/s! It has a range of 80-100 km and can reach targets at an altitude of 30-45 km. It takes only up to 12 seconds for this missile to reach its target.

   The missile uses a 10 kT nuclear warhead.

   The PRS-1 missile is also carried and stored in container. Its transporter and reloading vehicles are based on the MAZ-543M special wheeled chassis with 8x8 configuration.

   Both A-925 and PRS-1 missiles were guided by radars.

   Despite improved performance of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system over the previous A-35 its effectiveness was questionable due to limited number of launchers. Furthermore these missiles were based only around Moscow, plus the test launch sites in Kazakhstan. The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty between Soviet Union and United Stated limited the use of anti-ballistic missile systems to 150 km radius around selected point. A maximum of 2 sites with a total of 100 launchers and 100 missiles were permitted by the treaty. The A-135 could protect only against limited ballistic missile attacks. A full scale US attack would easily overwhelm this anti-ballistic missile system.

   The A-925 missiles were retired in 2006 due to their age. By 2010 all A-925 missiles were destroyed. However the PRS-1 interceptor missile is still used. By 2016 the Russian military had a total of 68 of these interceptor missiles, located on 5 missile sites. Furthermore recently improved version of this interceptor missile was introduced.

   The PRS-1 missiles also approach the end of their service lives. Some sources report that planned operational service life of this missile ended in 2011 and it is already exceeding its planned operational life. Currently a new A-235 anti-ballistic missile system is being developed in Russia.

 

Variants

 

   A-235 Nudol' is a new Russian anti-ballistic missile system. It uses improved PRS-1M interceptor missiles, as well as new 14A042 missiles. It can also engage satellites. The new system is mobile. Its interceptor missiles can carry either nuclear or conventional warheads. Notably the PRS-1M is fitted with new engines and can hit targets at a range of 350 km and at an altitude of 50 km. First test launches were made in 2014. It was planned that mass production of new missiles will begin in 2018. However it is likely that production was postponed due to technical difficulties. Once in service the A-235 should replace the ageing A-135.

 

 

 
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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Missiles of the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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