R-11 Zemlya

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The R-11 Zemlya,[1] GRAU index 8A61[2] was a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. It is also known by its NATO reporting name SS-1 Scud-A, it was the first of several similar Soviet missiles to be given the reporting name Scud.

The R-11 originated from a 1951 requirement for a ballistic missile with similar performance to the German V-2 rocket, but half its size, with the Wasserfall, an anti-aircraft version of the V-2, as a model the R-11 was developed by engineer Victor Makeev, who was then working in OKB-1, headed by Sergey Korolyov. The two men agreed on the use of RP-1 as the fuel, but disagreed over which oxidizer to use, with Korolev favouring the use of liquid oxygen, while Makeev advocated the use of a storable but toxic oxidizer. Makeev's version, that first flew on 18 April 1953, was fitted with an Isayev engine using RP-1 and nitric acid, on 13 December 1953, a production order was passed with SKB-385 in Zlatoust, a factory dedicated to producing long-range rockets. In June 1955, Makeev was appointed chief designer of the SKB-385 to oversee the programme and, in July, the R-11 was formally accepted into military service,[2] the definitive R-11M, designed to carry a nuclear warhead, was accepted officially into service on 1 April 1958. The launch system received the GRAU index 8K11.[3]

Like the V-2, the R-11 relied on inertial guidance, and its flight was controlled by four graphite vanes in the engine exhaust, that were active only while the motor was burning, the R-11M had a maximum range of 270 kilometres, but when carrying a nuclear warhead, this was reduced to 150 kilometres. At maximum range, it was found to have an average range error 1.19 kilometres and an azimuth error of 0.66 kilometres.[4] It was used as a mobile nuclear strike vector[clarification needed], giving the Soviet Army the ability to hit European targets from forward areas. To give the system sufficient mobility on the battlefield, the R-11 was mounted on the chassis of an IS-2 tank, that became its first transporter erector launcher, the only payload was a nuclear warhead with an estimated yield of 50 kilotons.[5]

A naval variant, the R-11FM (SS-N-1 Scud-A) was first tested at Kapustin Yar in February 1955, and was first launched from a converted Project 611 (Zulu class) submarine in September of the same year. While the initial design was done by Korolev's OKB-1, the programme was transferred to Makeev's SKB-385 in August 1955,[2] it became operational in 1959 as the D-1 launch system, the world's first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM),[6] and was deployed onboard Project 611 and Project 629 (Golf Class) submarines, until its replacement by the R-13 in 1961 (SS-N-4) and the R-21 (SS-N-5) in 1963.[5] During its service, 77 launches were conducted, of which 59 were successful,[7] the success of the R-11FM established Makeev as the main designer of submarine-launched weapons for the Soviet military.

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  2. ^ a b c Wade, Mark. "R-11". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  3. ^ Zaloga, p.7
  4. ^ Zaloga, p.4
  5. ^ a b "SS-1 `Scud' (R-11/8K11, R-11FM (SS-N-1B) and R-17/8K14)". Jane's Information Group. 26 April 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  6. ^ Zaloga, p.8
  7. ^ "R-11FM / SS-1b Scud". Federation of American Scientists. July 13, 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 

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