R-17 Elbrus

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R-17 Elbrus
Rakieta wz8K-14 SCUD RB.jpg
An R-17 missile at the Muzeum Uzbrojenia (Museum of Armament), Poznań, Poland (2004)
Type Short-range ballistic missile
Place of origin USSR
Service history
In service1964–present
Wars Iran–Iraq War, Yom Kippur War, [1] Soviet–Afghan War, Libyan Civil War, Gulf War, 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Production history
Designer Viktor Makeyev
Designed1956–1958
Produced1960-1987
Specifications
Mass5,800 kg (12,800 lb)
Length11.2 m (37 ft)
Diameter0.88 m (2.9 ft)

PropellantUDMH/HNO3

The R-17 Elbrus, [2] GRAU index 9K72 is a tactical ballistic missile, initially developed by the Soviet Union. It is also known by its NATO reporting name SS-1C Scud-B. It is one of several Soviet missiles to carry the reporting name Scud; the most prolifically launched of the series, with a production run estimated at 7,000 (1960–1987). Also designated R-300 during the 1970s, the R-17 was derived from the R-11 Zemlya. It has been operated by 32 countries and manufactured in four countries outside the Soviet Union. It is still in service with some. It's been called the Hwasong-5 in North Korea. [3]

Contents

History

The first mock-up was designed and built by Makeyev in 1958–1959, before the programme was transferred to the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant in 1959 for mass production. The first launch was conducted in 1961, and it entered service in 1964. [4]

The rear section of an 8K14 missile, showing the fixed fins and the graphite vanes that control the missile's path. Wz8K14 RB3.jpg
The rear section of an 8K14 missile, showing the fixed fins and the graphite vanes that control the missile's path.
R-17 on reload transport trailer with ZIL-131 tractor 2TZM-5306.JPG
R-17 on reload transport trailer with ZIL-131 tractor

Design

The R-17 featured important improvements over the R-11. The Isayev RD-21 engine used a combination of inhibited red fuming nitric acid (IRFNA) oxidiser and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) fuel, fed into the combustion chamber by fuel pumps that ensured a more consistent thrust. The guidance system, active only during the boosted phase, uses three gyroscopes, that give it a Circular error probable (CEP) of 450 m [5] (900 m according to western sources. [6] ) A nuclear warhead was designed for the R-17, with a selectable yield, from 5 to 70 kilotons. However it could also carry a chemical warhead, containing 555 kg of viscous VX; a conventional weapon, with a single high explosive warhead; or a series of fragmentation payloads, using either high explosive, anti-tank or anti-runway munitions. [5]

MAZ-543 Uragan carrying SS-1s Scud B (9K72 Elbrus) SS-1C Scud B missiles on TEL.JPEG
MAZ-543 Uragan carrying SS-1с Scud B (9K72 Elbrus)

At first, the R-17 was carried on a tracked TEL similar to that of the R-11, designated 2P19, but this was not very successful, as the vibration of the tracks had a tendency to interfere with the launch electronics. Production of this model was halted after Khrushchev cancelled the production of heavy tanks in 1962, and a wheeled launcher was designed by the Titan Central Design Bureau, becoming operational in 1967. [7] The new MAZ-543 vehicle was officially designated 9P117 Uragan, and its Russian crews nicknamed it Kashalot (sperm whale), because of its size. [8] The eight-wheeled MAZ-543 has a loaded weight of 37,400 kg, a road speed of 55 km/h and a range of 650 km. It can carry out the launch sequence autonomously, but this is usually directed from a separate command vehicle. The missile is raised to a vertical position by means of hydraulically powered cranes, which usually takes four minutes, while the total sequence lasts about one hour. [5]

Constitution

The units of the R-17 theater ballistic missile were organized with the following vehicles:

Combat use

Libya – It has been rumoured that Scud-Bs were fired by Gaddafi forces against rebels in the 2011 Libyan civil war during the first phase of the war. [9] On 14 August 2011 a confirmed Scud-B launch was detected by a US Aegis destroyer, with the missile fired from Sirte and heading toward rebel positions in Ajdabiya. The missile fell 80 km off target in the middle of the desert, inflicting no damage. [10] Eight days later, on August 22, three more Scud-B launches were detected by NATO. [11]

Specifications

See also

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References

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  7. Zaloga, pp. 14–15
  8. Zaloga, p. 17
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