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R-29RKU2

Intercontinental ballistic missile

R-29RKU2 missile

The R-29RKU2 missiles will be retired in the near future alongside with ageing Delta III class boats

 
 
Country of origin Russia
Entered service 2006
Basing Submarine-launched
Missile
Missile length ~ 15 m
Missile diameter ~ 2 m
Launch weight ~ 35.5 t
Throw weight ~ 1.65 t
Number of MIRVs 3 x 100 ~ 200 kT
Range (full load) 6 300 ~ 6 500 km
Range (reduced load) ~ 9 000 km
CEP ~ 350 m

 

   The R-29RKU2, or R-29RKU-02, is a Russian submarine-launched ballistic missile. It is known in the West as the SS-N-18 or Stingray. It is an upgraded version of the previous R-29RKU-01, fitted with new warhead. The new warhead was more efficient and more safe. Otherwise modifications were minimal. This upgrade allowed to extend operational service of the R-29RKU-01 missiles, that were adopted back in 1990. Flight test of the R-29RKU-02 were made in 2005. This intercontinental missile was adopted by the Russian Navy in 2006. It is carried by Delta III class submarines.

   The R-29RKU2 has a range of around 9 000 km. It can reach all areas of China, Europe and the United States. The previous R-29R was the first Soviet sea-based missile with multiple warheads. Its successor, the R-29RKU, was a Soviet attempt to design a warhead, similar to the US W76, carried by Polaris I missile. Soviets actually managed to design warhead that was slightly more powerful than the US W76. It was used on the R-29RKU missile. The R-29RKU2 carries 3 thermonuclear low-yield reentry vehicles. Each of them has a blast yield capacity of 100-200 kT, depending on the source.

   Most likely that this Russian missile has Astro-inertial guidance with Russian GLONASS satellite navigation system update. Also it it likely that it can overcome enemy air defense systems.

   Submarines with these missiles can remain undetected on their ocean patrols. Even though the Delta III class boats are not as stealthy as the Western ballistic missile boats, the submarine-based missiles have a high chances of surviving the first strike than stationary silo based missiles. Furthermore the missiles have sufficient range and can be launched directly from the pier, without the need for the submarines to leave their well protected bases.

   By of 2017 only three Delta III class ballistic missile submarines were in service with the Russian Navy. Each carried 16 missiles. So at the time a total of 48 R-29RKU2 ICBMs were deployed by the Russian Navy. Though both the R-29RKU2 missiles and the Delta III class submarines were very old and were already exceeding their planned service lives. In 2018 two more operational boats were removed from active service.

   In 2019 only a single Delta III class ballistic missile boat remained in service with the Russian Navy. In the near future it will be decommissioned and replaced in service with a new Russian Borei class submarine, armed with new-generation R-30 Bulava ballistic missiles.

 

 
R-29RKU2 missile

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R-29RKU2 missile

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R-29RKU2 missile

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R-29RKU2 missile

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