Encyclopedia Astronautica

Two-tier Russian anti-ballistic missile system for the defence of Moscow, with both endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric interceptor missiles. After protracted development, the system was said to have gone into operation in 1995.

At the end of 1968, a group of specialists under A G Basistov began studying a new-concept anti-ballistic missile, designed to handle provocative attacks by a single warhead on Moscow, limited group attacks from any of three countries equipped with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles (UK, France, China), or an attack launched by a single rogue ballistic missile submarine. By the end of 1969 an agreement had been reached with the leadership of the PVO for a two-echelon missile system, consisting of a long-range exo-atmospheric interceptor and a short-range, endo-atmospheric missile.

In the spring of 1970 development began of a variant of the existing tracking radar by the RAH Radio-Technical Institute. By 1971 development of a draft project for a new anti-ballistic missile system was completed. After a 1974 test series a decree was issued to convert the existing 'A' complex at Sary Shagan to a new configuration for test of a second generation anti-ballistic missile system. Construction at the site began in 1974 and in June 1975 the state committed to a schedule of implementing the new anti-ballistic missile system for the defence of Moscow. Chief Designer was A G Basistov, with V K Sloka being chief designer for the new Don multi-target radar. A decree in 1975 established the final development schedule. In 1984 launch complexes were completed at Test Area A at Sary Shagan and the system was ready for realistic firing trials. US plans for deployment of Pershing 2 missiles led the Soviet Ministers to order in 1984 that development be completed of an anti-ballistic missile capability against short flight-time ballistic missiles targeted at Moscow as soon as possible.

The Don radar was located near the city of Pushkin, and looked like an enormous truncated pyramid, 45 m tall. On the four faces of the pyramid were phased array radars 16 m in diameter. The radars themselves were developed at the A I Mintsa Radiotechnical Institute of the Academy of Science of the USSR (later RTI RAN). The overall system consisted of:

  • Tracking radar, which obtained the target coordinates for the anti-ballistic missile
  • KVP 5K80 Command-Computing Point, equipped with the Elbrus-2 computer, which could make billions of operations per second, and the electronic units of the guidance system and command generators. This facility was shielded against direct nuclear explosions in case the enemy attempted to destroy it, as well as the nuclear explosions generated by the anti-ballistic missiles themselves
  • Launch units for the anti-ballistic missiles, developed by V P Barmin
  • 51T6 long range anti-ballistic missile, designed to intercept targets outside the earth's atmosphere, developed by P D Grushin at MKB Fakel
  • 53T6 short-range, high-acceleration, endoatmospheric interceptor missile, capable against a range of target velocities, developed by L Lyulyev and N Kamenev at EMKB Novator
  • System for hand-off between systems
The new anti-ballistic missile system completed development in 1989 and in 1995 was approved for production with the designation A-135. The system was capable of intercepting any incoming rocket of whatever nature at altitudes of 5 to 30 km, using nuclear warheads for the kill. Basistov revealed that the trials had demonstrates substantial reserves in all parameters compared to the specification. The 53T6 demonstrated 2.5x greater range and triple the velocity capability required. The A-135 in principle could also destroy low earth orbit satellites.

Radars: Don-2N Pill Box early warning radar, range 6000 km. Hen House early warning radar, VHF band, range 6000 km. Daryal early warning radar, range 5000 km. Dunai early warning radar, VHF band. Try Add target tracking radar, range 750 km.

Launch data is: continuing. Initial Operational Capability: 1995.

Location: Dubna.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 33,000 kg (72,000 lb).
Height: 19.80 m (64.90 ft).
Diameter: 2.57 m (8.43 ft).
Apogee: 350 km (210 mi).
First Launch: 1979.03.01.
Last Launch: 2007.10.30.
Number: 9 .

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Associated Countries
See also
  • A-135 Two-tier Russian anti-ballistic missile system for the defence of Moscow, with both endoatmospheric and exoatmospheric interceptor missiles. After protracted development, the system was said to have gone into operation in 1995. More...
  • Russian SAMs and ABMs Perhaps no missiles ever produced had as much historical influence as the surface-to-air missiles of the Soviet Union. Originally conceived to provide a defence against the American bomber fleets of the early Cold War, they decisively affected the turn of events when they shot down American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft over Russia and Cuba. Soviet-provided missiles accounted for a hundred American aircraft over North Vietnam and set the terms of the air battle. A new generation of missiles presented a huge technological surprise and took an awful toll of Israeli aircraft in the 1973 war. To this day, Russian surface-to-air missiles provide the only defence available to most countries against American bombers, and Russian man-portable anti-aircraft missiles are a major part of the terrorist threat. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Lyulev Russian manufacturer of rockets. Lyulev Design Bureau, Ekaterinburg, Russia. More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Parsch, Andreas, DesignationSystems.Net, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Yeftifyev, M D, Iz istorii sozdaniya zenito-raketnovo shchita rossii, Vuzovskaya kniga, Moscow, 2000. Web Address when accessed: here.

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