Missiles Systems

Rocket R-11

Principal characteristics

Maximum firing range, km

Launch mass, kg

Warhead mass, kg

Propellants mass
(nitric acid AK-20I, kerosene T-1,
mix of TG-02 and gas), kg

Engine ground thrust, kgf






Rocket R-11

Comparing to R-1, the new rocket launch mass was 2.5 times as less with the same flight range.
The first cycle of flight tests was undertaken from April 18 to June 2, 1953. 10 launches were planned. The first launch of rocket R-11 took place on May 21, 1953.
Relying on the flight test results, a number modifications have been made to the rocket design - intake devices were installed in tanks to ensure their complete depletion. Considerable modifications were made to the engine design to provide its overall pressurization.
The second cycle of flight tests was run from April 20 to May 13, 1954. Nine of ten rockets R-11 reached a range of 270 km with a possible ranging error of 1.19 km and cross range error of 0.66 km.
From December 1954 to January 1955, five successful adjustment tests have been performed. Upon completion of 10 qualification tests in January - February 1955, on June 13, 1955 rocket R-11 entered service.
Small dimensions and high performance, capability of long storage in a fueled state gave the ability to use the rocket being moved on different transportation means (wheeled and caterpillar vehicles, dedicated railway cars, ships and submarines equipped with application specific silos) and carrying a common or nuclear charge.
Under the Government Decree of August 26, 1954 a new rocket R-11M has been designed for the ground forces. Once five qualification tests have been run in 1958, rocket R-11M, by the Government Decree of April 1, 1958, entered service in the ground forces in the capacity of an operational-tactical rocket carrying a nuclear warhead.
For routine employment of rocket R-11M a movable ground support complex have been developed at OKB-1 including a road-transported launch pad deployed directly on ground. Further, under performance specifications of OKB-1, a self-propelled launch system have been derived from a heavy tank for rocket R-11M at the Kirov's plant at Leningrad. Such a launch system could deliver a fueled rocket to a specified area, launch it and return to a base to take a new rocket and launch it in other area.

Rocket R-11 Rocket R-11)

Transportation and installation of rocket R-11 to a launch pad

Based on rocket R-11, geophysical rocket R-11A has been designed and launched on the Novaya Zemlya (New Land) under the International Geophysics Year program in 1958.

Geophysical rocket R-11A

Operational features of rocket R-11 allowed to expand its applications for research. Of a particular interest was its application for geophysical observations in the Earth's areas to which, e. g. to the polar regions of the USSR, the delivery of previously designed rockets was impossible.
Rocket R-11A was provided with a special payload fairing protecting the container from heat exposure and aerodynamic loads in flight and a special transfer compartment to attach the container, accommodate a pneumatic separation system, switching equipment, and an attenuation system. Rocket R-11A has been designed to take measurements of atmospheric pressure at different altitudes from 60 to 160 km, define optical properties of upper atmospheric layers, measure concentration of positive ions, record a number of the container collisions with micrometeorites.
Rocket P-11A was first launched from the Novaya Zemlya in October 1958. The rocket reached an altitude of 103 km.

Rocket R-11FM

It was decided to introduce far-range ballistic rockets in the capacity of the navy armament starting from a diesel submarine. The Chief Designer was N. N. Isanin. It was necessary to redesign the selected submarine to accommodate the R-11 family rocket modified at OKB-1 for this purpose. The rocket was designated as R-11FM and became the first operations rocket adapted for launching from submarines.
As a main launch option of rocket R-11FM, a launch from an above-water submarine surface was approved. For this, it was necessary to lift the launch pad with the completely fueled rocket from the submarine silo to a level of a conning tower and keep it vertical till a launch.

Principal characteristics

Maximum firing range, km

Launch mass, kg

Payload unit mass, kg

Mass of fuel components
(nitric acid AK-20I, kerosene T-1,
mix of TG-02 and gas), kg

Engine ground thrust, kgf






 Rocket R-11FM, ready for a launch

The accepted option allowed to avoid radical modifications of the submarine design and to redesign only those sites at the shipyard that were associated with the rocket accommodation on the submarine. Radical modifications were also required to the rocket flight control system (to receive initial launch data from the submarine navigation system).
The ground tests assumed launches from a stationary and then from application specific swinging launch pad. The test primary goal was to verify the R-11FM attachment system with movable claws.
Relying on the ground test results the feasibility of integrated sea tests of rocket R-11FM and the submarine was concluded.

 Launching of rocket R-11FM  Rocket R-11FM launched from submarine

The first successful launch of rocket R-11FM from submarine B-67 commanded by the 2nd rank captain F. I. Kozlov took place in the White Sea on September 16, 1955 at 17:32 .
Then, operational tests of complex "Submarine-Rocket R-11FM" have been carried out in August-October 1956 at the North Navy base. Submarine B-67 was commanded by I. I. Gulyaev. The sea tests were witnessed by S. P. Korolev from boards of submarines.
The program assumed firing of rockets of different storage life. After durable testing three successful launches have been performed of which the first launch took place on September 12, 1956 after a 37-day period of storage of rocket R-11FM on the submarine and two launches took place on October 1956, after 82-day and 47-day storage periods.
The final testing cycle has been carried out in March-May 1958. To witness the rocket final launch from the submarine, the Navy Commander-in-Chief, admiral P. E. Vladimirsky, chief marshal of artillery M. I. Nedelin, as well as commanders of fleets and flotillas were invited to witness the rocket launch from a board of a ship going in parallel with the submarine.
Rocket R-11FM entered service in the Navy on February 20, 1959.
From the year 1955, studies on a rocket under-water launch were initiated. OKB-10 NII-88 (Chief Designer E. V. Charnko) was obligated to implement this work. In October 1956 experiments were started in the Black Sea. The first under-water launch of rocket R-11FM in which a solid-propellant engine instead of a liquid-propellant engine and which was installed in a launch silo of an immersed platform took place on December 26, 1956 from the depth of 30 m.
In 1955 technical documentation on rocket R-11FM was passed on to SKB-385 and its tooling and hardware - to plant 385 for mass production of the rocket. On the initiative of S. P. Korolev, on March 11, 1955 V. M. Makeev previously working in the capacity of the lead designer of rocket R-11 was appointed the Chief Designer of OKB-385.

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