A Soviet-era, Russian anti-ballistic missile. First operational Soviet ABM system, going into limited operation around Moscow in 1972.
Specifications: Alternate names: A-350R;A-350Zh;A-350Zh, A-350R;ABM-1;Aldan.
Status: Retired 2000.
Background and development
On 8 April 1958 a decree was issued to proceed with the advanced project for the anti-ballistic missile system for the defense of Moscow. This was designated 'System A-35' and was to be developed under General Designer K B Kisunko. A 1960 resolution authorized the later TsNPO Vympel to proceed with further development of the A-35 anti-ballistic missile system, with the objective of defeating incoming Minuteman-2 and Titan-2 ICBM warheads aimed at Moscow. The A-35 system consisted of a command point, 8 sector radars, a single long-distance Duna-3 search radar (designed by V P Sosulnikov) a Duna-3U radar for 360 degree detection of enemy targets (chief designer A N Musatov), and 32 missile launchers with sealed transport-launch tubes containing the A-350 anti-ballistic missile (designed by Grushin).
The first draft project was defended in the fall of 1962, but the review board raised numerous objections. The second draft project was presented in 1964, this time featuring a nuclear warhead on the anti-ballistic missile as opposed to the high explosive warhead proposed in the first draft, and a reduction of the number of launch complexes from 32 to 16. The system was to be implemented in two phases. The phase 1 system would produce an anti-ballistic missile that would be launched to the position in time and space predicted for the incoming warhead by ground=based computers. The phase 2 system would use a new active radar homing system aboard the missile to intercept incoming re-entry vehicles.
Construction of the anti-ballistic missile sites around Moscow began in 1962, using the infrastructure and some of the equipment of the existing S-25 surface-to-air missile system. The A-35 system completed its trials successfully and Phase 1 was put into operation in June 1972. Phase 2 testing accomplished the first active radar homing intercept in 1974. Trials indicated the system had a kill probability of 93%.
The A-35 system's A-350 missile had a new thermonuclear warhead with a greater range of dynamic effects than that used on the V-1000 missile of System A. The warhead was developed at Chelyabinsk-70. The A-350 was the first solid propellant rocket in the USSR with gimbaled nozzles. The missile trials were also conducted in phases (confusing separate from the overall system test phases). Phase 1, using the A-350Zh missile, was completed in 1973. This was the missile with which the system around Moscow became operational. Phase 2, using the radiation-hardened A-350R, was completed in 1974.
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Maximum range: 350 km (210 mi).
Warhead yield: 1,000 KT.
Initial Operational Capability: 1972.
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