Home > Missiles > R-36M
modified: Nov 10, 2012
R-36M was a Soviet ICBM and a further improvement of the R-36. It was designed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau (OKB-586).

Development was authorized by a government decree, On the Development and Production of the R-36M (15A14) Missile System, issued on September 2, 1969. Preliminary design work was completed in December 1969. Single warhead and MIRV versions were planned.

The R-36M was a two stage missile. Although the R-36M was similar in design to the R-36, the airframe weight was decreased. The first stage had four single-chamber closed-cycle engines. The second stage had a single-chamber closed-cycle sustainer and a four-chamber open-cycle steering engine. The second-stage engine was situated in the cavity of the toroid shape of the propellant tank. Flight control for the first-stage burn-up was achieved by the use of gimbaled engines. The missile had an autonomous inertial guidance system that included an onboard computer.

The R-36M was the first missile with tanks pressurized by controlled fire. Fuel was injected into the oxidizer tank and oxidizer was injected into the fuel tank. After stage separation, the first stage was decelerated by venting the propellant tank. This method eliminated the need for special deceleration motors and simplified the tank pressurizing equipment. The missile's throw weight was increased from 5.8 to 8.8 tonnes due to a more efficient design and more effective closed-cycle engines.

The R-36M payload consisted of a post-boost vehicle with eight independently targetable warheads and an instrument section with a control and guidance system. The warheads were cone-shaped and situated in pairs along the outer surface of the instrument section.

The missile was stored and transported in a fiberglass launch container which was mounted in a converted R-36 silo launcher. The R-36M launcher was super-hardened. The launch tube was 39m deep and 5.9m in diameter. During launch, the missile was ejected from the canister by a solid-propellant charge placed in the bottom of the canister. The first-stage sustainers were ignited after the missile left the silo.

Cold launch tests of the R-36M began in January 1971. Flight tests were conducted starting on February 21, 1973. By October 1975, three different versions of the R-36M have been tested. The missile was accepted for service on December 30, 1975. The single warhead version was accepted on November 20, 1978.

The missile was equipped with the 15F143 MIRV warhead section or the 15B86 single-warhead section. Two modifications of the 15F678 reentry vehicle, which was equipped with a terminal homing guidance, were flight-tested between July 1978 and August 1980. However, this warhead was never deployed.

The first regiment equipped with the R-36M missile was put on combat duty on December 25, 1974. The missile had a service life of ten years. All R-36M missiles were replaced with R-36MUTTKh missiles between 1980 and 1983.

The R-36MUTTKh was a version of the R-36M with improved tactical performance. It was authorized by a government decree, On the Improvement of the Tactical Performance Characteristics of the R-36M (15A14) and MR-UR-100 (15A15) Missiles, issued on August 16, 1976. Preliminary design work on the R-36MUTTKh was completed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau in December 1976.

The missile's improved accuracy allowed for the warhead yield to be reduced. Therefore, the number of warheads on the MIRV version was increased from eight to ten without compromising the missile's effectiveness. The range of the single-warhead version was increased to 16,000km.

Flight tests of the RT-36MUTTKh began on October 31, 1977. Tests on the 15F183 MIRV version were completed in November 1979. The missile was accepted for service on December 17, 1980.

The first three regiments equipped with the R-36MUTTKh were put on combat duty on September 18, 1979. By 1980, 120 R-36MUTTKh missiles had been deployed replacing the remaining R-36 missiles. The R-36MUTTKh had a service life of ten years. All deployed R-36M missiles were replaced by R-36MUTTKh missiles in 1982-1983. The total number of R-36MUTTKh missiles deployed was 308. After 1988, some of the R-36MUTTKh missiles were replaced by R-36M2 missiles.

R-36M2 Voyevoda
R-36M2 was a modernized version developed starting on August 9, 1983. The second-stage engine was submerged in the propellant tank which was previously done only on SLBMs. The launch canister was also changed. The ten warheads were arranged in two tiers on a frame-type launcher mounted on the instrument section.

The R-36M2 equipped with the 15F173 MIRV warhead underwent flight tests from March 1986 to March 1988. The first regiment equipped with R-36M2 missiles was put on combat duty on July 30, 1988. The system with the 15F173 MIRV warhead section was accepted for service on August 11, 1988 and was put on combat duty in December 1988. Flight tests of the missile with the 15F175 warhead section were completed in September 1989 and accepted for service in August 1991. The single warhead version was accepted for service on August 23, 1990. The R-36M2 had a service life of 15 years.

As of January 2001, Russia had deployed 180 launchers of the R-36MUTTKh and R-36M2 missiles. The elimination of 104 R-36MUTTKh and R-36M2 launchers in Kazakhstan was completed in September 1996.

References: MI, RSNF