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Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

Intercontinental ballistic missile

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

The Topol ICBM is road mobile and has high probability of survival



Entered service 1988
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight over 105 t
Length ?
Width ?
Height ?
Missile
Missile length 23 m
Missile diameter 1.8 m
Missile weight 45 t
Warhead weight 1 t
Warhead type nuclear, 550 kT
Range of fire 11 000 km
CEP 300 - 900 m
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power ?
Maximum road speed ~ 50 km/h
Range 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient ?
Side slope ?
Vertical step ?
Trench ?
Fording ?

 

   The RS-12M Topol (NATO designation SS-25 Sickle) is an intercontinental ballistic missile. It's development was approved in 1977. It is a further development of the RSD-10 Pioneer (SS-20 Sable) intermediate-range ballistic missile. Flight tests were conducted between 1983 and 1987. The Topol entered service with the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces in 1988. It was the first Soviet mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. Currently it is in service with Russia. Full deployment of 360 missiles was achieved in 1996. Some sources claim that a total of 450 missiles were built when production ceased. By 2012 Russian Strategic Rocket Forces had 162 operational Topol missiles.

   This missile has three stages. It uses solid fuel. This feature allowed to mount the missile on wheeled TEL vehicle. Though mobile missiles a more costly to maintain and operate, comparing with silo-based missiles, and require more personnel. The Topol missile has a range of 11 000 km. Warhead weights about 1 000 kg. It has a single warhead with 550 kiloton capacity. It is claimed that this missile has a CEP of 300 - 900 meters. It carries decoys and can overcome enemy air defense and missile defense systems.

   Road mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles are harder to detect and hit. It has a high probability of survival the first strike, once the country has been attacked. Once on high alert, the Topol can leave it's base and operate in remote forest areas to increase it's survivability.

   The Topol can launch it's missile from prepared site, special garage with a sliding roof, or from unprepared position during field deployment. The TEL vehicle can leave it's position once the missile is launched.

   During field deployment the Topol TEL launcher with ballistic missile is escorted by a support vehicle, control vehicle, signals vehicle and fuel tanker, as well as a host of other military vehicles with troops to ensure security of the missile. In case of emergency the TEL vehicle can operate autonomously without it's escort.

   The Topol TEL is based on MAZ-7917 14x12 heavy high-mobility chassis. This chassis was specially designed for this intercontinental missile. It is similar in design to the MAZ-547 which was used as a TEL for the RSD-10 Pioneer missile, but has seven axles in stead of six. This vehicle has some degree of cross-country mobility. First four axles are steered. The MAZ-7917 is powered by a diesel engine. It consumes 200 liters of fuel per 100 km of road. However this vehicle is very fuel efficient, considering it's weight of 105 t. The Topol mobile launcher has autonomy on roads in excess of 500 km. It allows the vehicle to operate undetected in an area of 125 000 km˛. This area is equivalent to a small European country. The TEL vehicle is operated by a crew of three.

   The support vehicle, control vehicle and signals vehicle are all based on MAZ-543 series high-mobility chassis with 8x8 configuration. A fuel tanker is based on a similar MAZ-7917 chassis with 14x12 configuration, but carries an enormous fuel tank in place of ballistic missile.

   The support vehicle supports the TEL's autonomous operation for over 72 hours. This vehicle carries 2 390 liters of fuel and can refuel the TEL vehicle. It generates electricity for the launcher vehicle as well. It also carries food supplies and is used as a field kitchen. The support vehicle has sleeping berths for the crew of the TEL vehicle. The support vehicle is fitted with roof-mounted machine gun for self-defense.

   The Topol was designed for a service life of 20 years. It is still in service despite that fact that the missiles have outlived their operational service lives. Number of Topol missiles are gradually reducing and it will be fully retired by around 2020. It's replacement is the new Topol-M with improved missile and based on new TEL vehicle.

 

 
Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

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