Encyclopedia Astronautica
Topol M



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Topol-M
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Topol-M topolmlau.jpg
All-Russian solid propellant ICBM set to replace all older models in the first decade of the 21st Century. Designed for mobile deployment on 8-axis transport-launcher RT-2M2/SS-X-29), or placement in existing UR-100N and R-36M silos (RT-2M1/SS-X-27).

In March 1992 the decision was taken to authorise development of the RT-2PM Topol-M as the all-Russian replacement for the cancelled Ukrainian Universal ICBM. The two completed Universal missiles were handed over to Chief Designer B N Lapygin and Yu S Solomonov at MIT for study. A Russian Federation decree of 27 February 1993 ordered full-scale development. A mock-up of the planned design was delivered to Plesetsk in 1994. The system was to include a new manoeuvrable MIRV dispenser bus to defeat American anti-ballistic missile defences. In order to thwart and American boost-phase intercept, the Topol-M went through its main stage burns and dispensed its warheads in only a fraction of the ten minutes required for an R-36M liquid propellant rocket to accomplish the same task.

VNIIEF was responsible for design of the warheads and NPO Soyuz for the three single-nozzle solid rocket motors, using ammonium perchlorate oxidiser and synthetic rubber binder. A total of 142.8 billion roubles was budgeted to cover costs through the first test flight. The graphite composite details of the rocket and the container-launcher were designed by TsNII Spetsmash. The mobile transporter included a new microprocessor-controlled control system. The system was designed for a 15 year storage life, ready to launch in the silo.

Trials of the silo-based version began from the old Yuzhnoye test complex at Plesetsk on 20 December 1994. Only three more launches were made (in September 1995, July 1996, and 8 July 1987) when the system was declared operational in December 1997. Series production was begun at GPO Votkinsk Factory. A fifth launch on 22 October 1998 was intended to test the new Svetlaya launch silo equipment. The missile went off-course and had to be destroyed. Subsequent launches on 8 December 1998 and 3 June 1999 were more successful.

The first division, with only two silos and a training unit, was declared operational at Tatischevo on 24 December 1997. By 30 December 1998 ten UR-100NUTTKh silos there had been fitted out with the Topol-M and constituted the 104th Rocket Regiment. Conversion was relatively easy since both the command point and missiles were containerised. The old units could be pulled out of the silos and the replacements popped in. The new command points were said to have improved shielding and EMI protection, and to be 'environmentally friendly'.

Development of an all-Russian strategic weapon was a huge task -- 75% of the components for previous missiles had been scattered around the Ukraine and Belorus. Despite the budget limitations the Russian government's intention was to deploy 350-400 Topol-M ICBM's as replacements for the UR-100NUTTKh and R-36M/R-36M2 in the first decade of the 21st Century. Cost was expected to be 18.5 million roubles per silo, and a total of 3.38 billion roubles over several years. It was planned to ramp up to delivery of 40 to 50 launchers after 2005. Although the Topol-M was only to be deployed in a single-warhead version according to the START-2 agreement, there was nothing in the treaty preventing development of a multiple-warhead version. This was considered by the Russians to be only a matter of time and money, when and if needed.

A prototype mobile version of the Topol-M used the MZKT-79221 from the Minsk Heavy Wheeled Vehicle Factory. An all-Russian production version was designed by Viktor Shyrygin at TsKB Titan, Volgograd, with Viktor Solunin at TsNII AG responsible for the gyro package. Series production of the launcher would be by PO Barrikada.

Failures: 1. First Fail Date: 1998-10-22. Last Fail Date: 1998-10-22. Standard warhead: 1,200 kg (2,600 lb). Maximum range: 10,110 km (6,280 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 1. Warhead yield: 1,000 KT. Boost Propulsion: Solid rocket.

AKA: RS-12M1 / RS-12M2; Topol'-M; RT-2PM2; SS-X-27 / SS-X-29; RT-2M2.
Location: Moscow, Russian Federation.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 47,200 kg (104,000 lb).
Payload: 1,200 kg (2,600 lb).
Height: 22.71 m (74.52 ft).
Diameter: 1.85 m (6.06 ft).
Span: 1.85 m (6.06 ft).
Thrust: 890.00 kN (200,070 lbf).
Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
First Launch: 1994.12.20.
Last Launch: 2008.11.26.
Number: 20 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Topol Containerised all-solid propellant Nadiradze ICBM designed for launch from mobile and silo launchers. Replaced UR-100/UR-100NU in silos. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Nadiradze Russian manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Nadiradze, Russia. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Kapustin Yar Russia's first missile test range and used for satellite launches of smaller Kosmos vehicles. V-2's launched from here in 1946 were the first ballistic missiles fired on Soviet territory. It was greatly expanded as the test site for innumerable Soviet intermediate and short range missile projects in the 1950's.. Kapustin Year was also headquarters of the first operational R-1/R-2 units, 1950-1953, and later a base for 12 operational R-14 missile launchers. Kapustin Yar was known to have been used for over 3519 major launches from 1946 to 2007. More...
  • Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch centre in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch centre. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change. More...

Associated Stages
  • Topol'-M-3 Solid rocket stage. 245.00 kN (55,078 lbf) thrust. Mass 6,000 kg (13,228 lb). More...
  • Topol'-M-1 Solid rocket stage. 980.00 kN (220,313 lbf) thrust. Mass 26,000 kg (57,320 lb). More...
  • Topol'-M-2 Solid rocket stage. 490.00 kN (110,156 lbf) thrust. Mass 13,000 kg (28,660 lb). More...

Topol M Chronology


1994 December 20 - . 08:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk Yu-1. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 1.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1995 September 5 - . 07:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 2.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1996 July 25 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 3.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1997 July 8 - . 12:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 4.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1998 October 22 - . 12:53 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 5. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1998 December 8 - . 11:25 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 6.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1999 June 3 - . 14:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 7.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1999 September 3 - . 11:44 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 8.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1999 December 14 - . 08:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 9.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2000 February 9 - . 09:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 10.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2000 September 26 - . 11:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 11.
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2000 September 27 - . 09:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC167. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M 12 (1M).
  • Test mission - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2001 November 1 - . 15:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
  • MRV Test Kura - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Summary: Topol ICBM test launched from Plesetsk to Kamchatka..

2002 June 6 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
  • Operational test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2004 April 20 - . 17:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
  • Pacific operational test launch - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2004 December 24 - . 09:39 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
  • Kura (at 1003) - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2005 November 1 - . 17:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Kapustin Yar. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
  • Topol M test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). Evasive Warhead ICBM Test. The missile was said to have entered a lower suborbital trajectory than was standard, and the warhead to have made evasive maneuvers both in space and during re-entry. This was said to give the system an 87% chance of penetrating planned American ballistic missile defence systems.

2007 May 29 - . 10:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M RS-24 Yars.
  • ICBM Test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi). First test of a new Russian heavyweight, mobile, solid propellant ICBM. The multiple test warheads were said to have impacted on target 5,500 km down range in the Kura Test Range in the Kamchatka Peninsula. Although development must have been underway for some time, the launch was touted as a reply to American plans to install ABM system elements in the Czech Republic and Poland.

2007 December 25 - . 13:10 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M. LV Configuration: Topol-M RS-24.
  • Kura? - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

2008 November 26 - . 13:20 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: Topol. Launch Vehicle: Topol M.
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