Encyclopedia Astronautica
R-3



r3.jpg
R-3 Cutaway
Russian intermediate range ballistic missile. Development of the long-range R-3 missile was authorised at the same time as the V-2-derived R-1 and R-2 rockets in April 1947. Supplemental authorisation was contained in a government decree of 14 April 1948.The specification was an order of magnitude leap from the other vehicles - to deliver a 3 tonne atomic bomb to any point in Europe from Soviet territory - a required range of 3000 km. To achieve this objective innovative technology was needed in every area of the missile design. Korolev was again in direct competition with the design to the same specification of the captured Germans (Groettrup's G-4).

In selecting a final R-3 design, Korolev examined and discarded several alternatives. An important consideration was the growth potential to achieve ICBM performance (8000 km range with a 5 tonne warhead). The alternatives were:

  • ILN - A winged rocket to extend the range, as on the German A4b. But compared to a ballistic missile this required solution of new technical problems in guidance, high-temperature materials, and hypersonic aerodynamics.
  • A winged separable warhead section. This would have less weight than the winged rocket approach, but required extensive research in the same technical areas.
  • KS - A two-stage high-speed cruise missile. Both rocket and ramjet propelled cruise stages were considered. Either would use the R-3A as the booster to achieve Mach 3 and ramjet ignition.
  • BN - A conventional missile - single stage for the R-3 3000 km range missile, and two stage or drop tanks for the follow-on 8000 km range missile. This was the best solution for the 3000 km range requirement, but would require extensive redesign to achieve 8000 km range.
  • A 'packet' scheme - parallel staging of similar or identical rocket stages. This was considered the best alternative for an ICBM. M K Tikhronravov in fact proposed an ICBM consisting of three R-3's - two lateral R-3's as the first stage, surrounding an R-3 second stage core vehicle.

Korolev's preferred approach was the BN conventional single-stage design. This was down-selected within the bureau in June 1949 and seems to have borrowed a lot from contemporary classified US orbital rocket designs. It required technical advances over the V-2 in every area:

  • Reduction in empty mass fraction by a factor of three from that of the R-2. This was to be achieved through use of integral propellant tanks; deletion of aerodynamic stabilisers (orientation of the statically unstable missile using a single gimballed engine); and a structure of a new lightweight aluminium alloy.
  • Improvement of engine specific impulse by 22%. The engine would use Lox/Kerosene propellants, and provide a lift-off thrust of 120 tonnes and a vacuum specific impulse of 288 seconds. Both Glushko (RD-110) and Polyarniy (D-2) engine designs were considered. The Glushko engine was an analogue to the V-2 engine - 19 of the seven-tonne thrust combustion chambers designed by the German engineers feeding a single large 'mixing' chamber. Polyarniy proposed an engine using unspecified 'new principles'. Korolev proposed use of the more conservative Glushko engine.
  • Use of a separable warhead for improved accuracy. This included Korolev's preferred 'high-speed tip' warhead shape. This was tested on the R-1A rocket series beginning on 4 May 1948.

Lift-off mass would be 71.72 tonnes, with a burnout mass of 8480 kg. The warhead would separate at a velocity of 4700 m/s in order to achieve the 3000 km range. An alternative heavy 12 tonne warhead could be boosted to a 1000 km range. Barmin's GKB Spetsmash would provide the V-2-like mobile launcher.

So much new technology was involved that it was deemed necessary to build an R-3A intermediate experimental rocket, based on the R-2. This would be flown to test new construction methods, guidance systems, and high energy propellants. The R-3A would have a 900 to 1000 km range with a payload of 1530 kg; an unfuelled mass of 4100 kg; 20,500 kg of propellants; and a lift-off thrust of 40 tonnes. The R-3A could also serve as a prototype for a more modest IRBM.

The draft project was completed by Korolev in June 1949. In November 1949 the project plan was submitted to the NTS (Scientific-Technical Soviet) of NII-88 for review. The NTS met in plenary session on 7 December 1949 and subjected the proposal to withering criticism.

Isayev found extensive problems with Glushko's engine design. The huge increase in thrust, performance, and use of new propellants seemed a leap too far. But Korolev insisted that Polyarniy's design, using older technology, could not meet the requirements. In general the Soviet preferred Groettrup's G-4/R-14 design to the same requirement. This assumed fewer technical advances in engine design but greater improvements in mass fraction reduction:

Parameter Korolev R-3 Groettrup G-4/R-14
Payload to 3000 km 3,000 kg 3,400 kg
Lift-off mass 71,000 kg 70,000 kg
Burn-out mass 8,480 kg 7,100 kg
Burn-out velocity 4,700 m/s 4,500 m/s
Specific impulse-vacuum 288 sec 249 sec
Specific impulse-sea level 240 sec 234 sec

After heated discussion, the Soviet approved further development of technology for the R-3, but not the missile itself. This work was to go forward on several fronts:

  • The R-3A technology demonstrator would be built and flown under Project N-1. An IRBM missile using a new, lighter nuclear warhead could be developed from this (the R-5).
  • Under Project N-2 both the RD-110 and D-2 engines would proceed into development test in order to prove Lox/Kerosene propellant technology.
  • Packet rocket and lightweight structure research for use in an ICBM would continue under project N-3 / T-1.
  • Winged intercontinental cruise missile studies would continue under project N-3 / T-2.
  • Guidance system development for long range systems would be undertaken by the Pilyugin and Ryazanskiy bureaux. Parallel work was done by Konoplev at NII-20. The system used gyroscopic guidance supplemented with radio-controlled engine cut-off to improve accuracy.
In the meantime the immediate R-3 military requirement for delivery of nuclear weapons anywhere in Europe would be met by:

  • Development of the R-5 IRBM (1425 kg warhead over a 1200 km range) using improved V-2 and R-3A technology.
  • Development of the R-11FM submarine-launched ballistic missile (970 kg payload over a 150 km range).

Work proceeded on the R-3 themes with significant German input, although they were not allowed to know how the work was going. Detailed technical questions were continued throughout 1950-1951, coming almost daily by March 1951. Meanwhile Glushko was unable to overcome mixing chamber instability in his 19-burner RD-110 engine concept. Further development of both the Glushko and Polyarniy engines was discontinued in 1951.

Work on the R-3A continued - another period of intense questioning of the Germans came in June 1952, when it seemed to them that a test flight of the R-3A was imminent. But in the end, the decision had actually been made to proceed directly to the R-7 ICBM. During development the range of the R-3A had settled on 935 km with only a 500 kg payload. It was cancelled in October 1951 without ever flying, with the technology being applied to further R-5 and R-11 development. The R-3 was completely cancelled, and a Soviet 3000-km IRBM did not appear until Yangel's R-14 entered service in 1962.

to a: 3000 km. Standard warhead: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).

Stage Data - R-3

  • Stage 1. 1 x R-3. Gross Mass: 69,000 kg (152,000 lb). Empty Mass: 5,480 kg (12,080 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,370.000 kN (307,980 lbf). Isp: 285 sec. Burn time: 150 sec. Isp(sl): 244 sec. Diameter: 2.80 m (9.10 ft). Span: 2.80 m (9.10 ft). Length: 27.10 m (88.90 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-110. Status: Development 1949. Comments: 3000 km range IRBM design to study problems of long-range rockets. Developed April 1947 to 1949 before cancellation.

AKA: 8A67.
Status: Cancelled 1949.
Gross mass: 65,000 kg (143,000 lb).
Payload: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).
Height: 33.00 m (108.00 ft).
Diameter: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Thrust: 1,650.00 kN (370,930 lbf).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • D-2 Polyarniy Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1373 kN. R-3. Out of Production. Competing engine for 3000 km range IRBM design to study problems of long-range rockets. Developed from April 1947 until cancellation. Isp=288s. More...

See also
  • Early Russian Ballistic Missiles The true configuration of the world's first ICBM, the R-7, was revealed only in 1967, ten years after its first test. The Soviet N1 moon rocket was only revealed in 1990, 21 years after its first launch. At the same time, other Russian ballistic missiles were routinely paraded before the cameras of the world press even before they went into service. The extraordinary sensitivity of the Soviet leadership over these Korolev designs may be traced to the fact that they derived from the work of the Groettrup German rocket engineering team. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Bibliography
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.
  • Michels, Juergen and Przybilski, Olaf, Peenemuende und seine Erben in Ost und West, Bernard & Graefe, Bonn, 1997.
  • Pervov, Mikhail, Raketnoye Oruzhiye RVSN, Violanta, Moscow, 1999..
  • Karpenko, A V, Utkin, A F and Popov,A D, Otechestvenniye strategischeskiye raketnoye kompleks, Sankt-Peterburg: Nevskii bastion; Gangut 1999..

Associated Stages
  • R-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 69,000/5,480 kg. Thrust 1,370.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 285 seconds. 3000 km range IRBM design to study problems of long-range rockets. Developed April 1947 to 1949 before cancellation. More...

R-3 Chronology


1946 October 23 - . LV Family: R-1; R-2; R-5. Launch Vehicle: G-1; G-2; G-3; G-4; R-3.
  • Groettrup team transported to Soviet Union. - . Nation: USSR. Summary: In overnight roundup, 20,000 Germans transported to USSR to transfer technology on aerospace and other technical fields..

1948 April 14 - . LV Family: R-1; R-2. Launch Vehicle: R-3.
  • Decree for production of R-1 and R-2 missiles, design of R-3. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Glushko. Decree 'On work on the R-1 and R-2 missiles' was issued. To accomplish putting the R-1 into production the resources of 13 research institutes and 35 factories were tapped. Glushko was tasked with producing the RD-100 copy of the V-2 engine. R-1 stand tests began the same day the decree was issued (Prototypes had already begun factory tests at the end of 1947). The decree also set forth design goals for the R-3.The specification was an order of magnitude leap from the other vehicles - to deliver a 3 tonne atomic bomb to any point in Europe from Soviet territory - a required range of 3000 km.

1949 June - . Launch Vehicle: R-3.
  • R-3 draft project completed - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Summary: In selecting a final R-3 design, Korolev's preferred approach was a conventional single-stage design. This was down-selected within the bureau and seems to have borrowed a lot from contemporary classified US orbital rocket designs..

1949 December 7 - . LV Family: R-11; R-7. Launch Vehicle: Buran; Burya; G-4; R-3; R-3A; R-5.
  • Groettrup G-4 IRBM evaluated against Korolev's R-3. R-3 project reformulated - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Program: Navaho. The NTS (Scientific-Technical Soviet) of NII-88 met in plenary session and subjected Korolev's proposal to withering criticism. The G-4 was found to be superior. After heated discussion, the Soviet approved further development of technology for the R-3, but not the missile itself. The decisions were: an R-3A technology demonstrator would be built and flown under Project N-1 (probably to prove G-4 concepts). Under Project N-2 both the RD-110 and D-2 engines would proceed into development test in order to prove Lox/Kerosene propellant technology. Packet rocket and lightweight structure research for use in an ICBM would continue under project N-3 / T-1. Winged intercontinental cruise missile studies would continue under project N-3 / T-2. Neither the G-4 or R-3 ended up in production, but the design concepts of the G-4 led directly to Korolev's R-7 ICBM (essentially a cluster of G-4's or R-3A's) and the N1 superbooster. Work on the G-4 continued through 1952.

1951 October 20 - . LV Family: R-11; R-5. Launch Vehicle: R-3; R-3A.
  • MOP decree authorised work to start on the R-5 and R-11. - . Nation: USSR. The R-3 3000 km range missile and R-3A subscale technology demonstrator were cancelled. As a replacement work was to start on the R-5 and R-11. The missiles originated as Theme N-2 of the R-3 project. This was an alternate approach to delivering nuclear warheads on West European targets - road-mobile or sub-launched missiles of shorter range with lighter warheads that could be launched from forward areas and reach enemy targets.

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