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Iskander-K

Cruise missile

Iskander-K

The Russian Iskander-K system carries nuclear-tipped R-500 cruise missiles

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 2013
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Number of missiles 2
Weight ~ 35 t
Length 13.07 m
Width 3.07 m
Height ~ 3.29 m
Missile
Missile length ~ 6.5 m
Missile diameter ?
Fin span ?
Missile weight ?
Warhead weight 500 kg
Warhead type conventional, nuclear
Range of fire 1 500 km (?)
CEP ~ 5 m
 Chassis Mobility
Engine YaMZ-846 diesel
Engine power 500 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 1 000 km
Chassis Maneuverability
Gradient 45%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 0.6 m
Trench 2 m
Fording 1.4 m

 

   The Iskander-M is a short-range ballistic missile system, used by the Russian Army. Normally it carries cruise missiles with a maximum range of 400 km. However it has a secondary capability to launch R-500 intermediate-range cruise missiles (Western designation SSC-8). These carry less payload but has a much longer range. Once cruise missiles are loaded, the system is referred as Iskander-K. The letter "K" in the designation stands for "Krylataja", or "cruise".

   Development of the land-based R-500 missile commenced in 1996. It is based on a Soviet RK-55 cruise missile, which was about to enter service in 1987, but was cancelled due to Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. At some point Russians resumed development of this missile. The R-500 was test fired in 2007. This missile was adopted in 2009 and production commenced during the same year. The R-500 missiles with conventional warheads were first deployed in 2011. A first batch of 12 Iskander systems, capable of launching both ballistic missiles and cruise missiles was deployed in 2013. In 2017 the Iskander-K was first deployed with nuclear-tipped R-500 missiles.

   The R-500 cruise missiles are carried and launched in the same manner as Iskander's ballistic missiles. Each road mobile launcher can be equipped with two R-500 cruise missiles. Each missile can be targeted independently.

   The R-500 reportedly has a range of 1 500 km. It is significantly more than 400 km range of the Iskander's  standard short-range ballistic missile. Though at a cost of much lower payload. The R-500 carries a conventional 500 kg warhead, or nuclear warhead with a yield of around 10-50 kT. It is likely that there are several different conventional warheads, including cluster, fuel-air explosive, and bunker-busting. For a number of years Pentagon was warning Russia, that development and fielding of a land-based missile with such range violates INF Treaty. Despite that it looks like the first Iskanders armed with R-500 cruise missiles were deployed operationally in 2017. The main role of the R-500 missiles is to strike the US ballistic missile shield components, as well as NATO air defense systems located in Europe.

   A booster propels the missile from its container. In flight the wings are deployed. This cruise missile has a flight altitude of up to 6 km and follows terrain. In terminal phased it descends to a low altitude (50-150 meters), and maneuvers in order to overcome air defense systems.

   The R-500 missile has an astro-inertial navigation, but can also receive Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system update. The missile has a CEP of just around 5 meters. Most likely that these missiles are capable of hitting moving targets, as target coordination can be adjusted while the missile is in-flight.

   The Transport-Erector-Launcher (TEL) vehicle can launch its missiles R-500 missiles within 16 minutes from traveling, or 4 minutes from the highest readiness. The second missile can be launched in less than a minute once the first missile is launched.

   The TEL vehicle is based on Belorussian MZKT-7930 Astrolog 8x8 high mobility chassis. It is powered by the YaMZ-846 diesel engine, developing 500 hp. Vehicle can be airlifted by the An-124 transport aircraft.

   The TEL is supported by a reloading vehicle, based on the same 8x8 chassis. It carries two reload missiles. These can be either short-range ballistic missiles, or the R-500 cruise missiles. A missile battalion consists of 4 launcher vehicles, 4 reloading vehicles, command post vehicle, information preparation vehicle, maintenance and repair vehicle, and life support vehicle. The last 4 mentioned vehicles are based on KamAZ 6x6 military trucks.

   There is also a similar 3M14 Kalibr cruise missile, used by the Russian Navy.

 
Iskander-K

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Iskander-K

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Iskander-K

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Iskander-K

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Iskander-K

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Iskander-K

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