Ballistic missile launch: photo, video
Ballistic missile launch: photo, video

Ballistic missile launch: photo, video

The intercontinental ballistic missile is an impressive human creation. As a rule, missiles of this class are equipped with nuclear warheads and are used to destroy strategic enemy targets located on remote continents and long distances.


In the case of long-range launch, the payload of an intercontinental ballistic missile goes into space altitude over a huge distance (hundreds of kilometers). The rocket rises into a layer of low-orbiting satellites, which is more than 1000 km above the Earth and is located among them for a long time, only slightly lagging behind their total run. Then, along an elliptical trajectory, the rocket begins to roll down.


Thermonuclear power, huge size, a pillar of flame, a terrible roar of start-up and the roar of engines. But all this exists only on the ground, and then in the first minutes of launch. Then the rocket ceases to exist. Further on, the flight and the execution of the task take only what remains of the rocket after acceleration, that is, its payload.

ballistic missile "Bulava"


What is this load?


The ballistic missile consists of 2 main parts - accelerating (the first) and the other, for which, in fact, acceleration was started. The second part consists of several large multi-ton steps, which are clogged with fuel and have an engine below (each has its own). They give the necessary direction and speed of the head of the rocket. Accelerating steps, constantly replacing each other, accelerate this head part in the direction of the area of ​​its future goal.


The head of the rocket is a complex cargo consisting of many elements. It contains a warhead (or several), a platform where these warheads are located together with other components (as the enemy’s antimissile systems and radar deception means), and a fairing. In addition, there are compressed gases and fuel in the head section. The whole head part will not fly to the target. It, like the ballistic missile itself, will be divided into many elements and will cease to exist as a whole. The fairing will be separated from it not far from the launch area, during the work of the second stage, and somewhere there will fall along the road. The platform will fall apart when entering the air in the area of ​​the fall. Only elements of the same type will reach the target through the atmosphere. Warheads. Up close, they look like an elongated cone, 1-1,5 meter in length, at the base of the human body. The nose of the cone is slightly blunt or pointed. This cone is a special aircraft, the main task - the delivery of weapons to the target. Later we will return to the warheads and talk about them in more detail.


Push or pull?


All warheads in the rocket are on the so-called stage of breeding or in the "bus". Freed from the fairing, and then getting rid of the last accelerating stage, the stage of breeding delivers warheads, as if to passengers at stops, along their own trajectories, along which the cones will disperse each to their goal.


The combat stage is also commonly called the “bus”, since it is responsible for the accuracy of pointing the warhead to the target point, that is, for combat effectiveness. Her job and level of breeding - one of the largest sectors in the rocket.


Step breeding can have different forms. Usually it is similar to a wide loaf of bread or a round stump, on which the warheads on spring pushers are set with the tips forward. They are located at exact angles of separation (manually, on a rocket base, using theodolites) and look in different directions, like needles on a hedgehog, like a bunch of carrots. The platform bristled with warheads occupies a gyro-stabilized, in-space position in flight. And at certain times, warheads are pushed out of it. They are pushed out immediately after acceleration and separated from the last acceleration stage. So far, this entire undiluted hive has not been shot down with an anti-missile weapon or something has not failed on board the breeding stage.

ballistic missile circuit

But it was so earlier, at the beginning of the separating warheads. Today, the separation is a different picture. If earlier the warheads were “sticking” forward, now the stage itself is in front, and the warheads are from the bottom, tops back, upturned. In some rockets, the “bus” itself also lies in an inverted state, in the upper stage of the rocket in a special notch. After separation, the breeding stage drags rather than pushes the warheads. And it drags, resting with four "paws", which are placed crosswise and deployed in front. At the ends of such paws are traction nozzles of the breeding stage, directed backwards. After separation from the acceleration stage, the “bus” precisely and precisely positions its movement in the beginning space through its own guidance system. He himself takes the path of the next warhead - its personalized path.

Then special inertial locks are opened, which hold the next detachable warhead. And not even separated, but now simply unrelated to the stage of the warhead, it hangs motionless right there, in complete weightlessness.


Delicate movements


The next task of the stage is to crawl away from the warhead as gently as possible without disturbing its targeted (exposed) movement by gas jets of nozzles. In the event that the supersonic jet of the nozzle falls on the separated warhead, it will make its own corrections to the indicators of its movement. During the subsequent flight time (30-50 minutes, depending on the target range), the warhead drifts from this exhaust “slap” of the jet to the 500 m - 1 km sideways from the target. It drifts without any obstacles. But is 1 km sideways accurate in our time?

ballistic missile flight pattern

To eliminate such defects, the upper legs with engines, divorced to the 4 sides, are required. The step seems to be pulling forward on them, so that the streams of exhausts would go to the sides and would not be able to hook the warhead discharged by the abdomen. The entire thrust is divided between the 4 nozzles, which reduces the power of all the individual jets. There are some other features. For example, if, at the bagel-shaped stage of breeding the Trident II D5 rocket, the control system determines that the separated warhead falls under the exhaust of one of the nozzles, then it disables this nozzle.

The stage quietly moves in the 3 space of the remaining nozzles in the low thrust mode, while the warhead remains on the sighting trajectory. Further, the “bagel” of the step with the crosspiece of the traction nozzles is turned around the axis, so that the warhead would come out from under the zone of the torch of the nozzle off. Then the stage departs from the retained warhead already on the 4 nozzles, but also carefully on a small thrust. Having reached a sufficient distance, the main thrust is activated, and the stage quickly moves to the target trajectory area of ​​the next warhead. Then, having reached, it is inhibited and again sets the parameters of its movement, after which it separates the next warhead from itself. And this happens until all the warheads are dropped on its trajectory. This process is very fast. For example, a dozen warheads combat level dilutes for 1,5-2 minutes.


Abysses of mathematics


Above, we looked at how the warhead’s own path begins. However, if we consider this process in more detail and delve into the topic, we can understand that today a reversal in space of a carrying warhead, the stage of breeding, is the scope of quaternion calculus, where the onboard orientation system processes its movement indicators with continuous orientation onboard the quaternion. A quaternion is a complex number, but not with the usual 2 parts, imaginary and real, but with three imaginary and one real. Total for the Quaternion 4 part, which is what the Latin root quatro says.

The breeding stage performs its work low enough immediately after the acceleration stages are turned off (at an altitude of 100-150 km). It is worth noting that there is still the effect of gravitational anomalies on the surface of the Earth, heterogeneity in the even field of the environment that surrounds the Earth. They came from uneven terrain, bedding porosities of varying density, mountain systems, and oceanic depressions. Moreover, the gravitational anomalies either slightly release the step with an additional attraction or, conversely, attract it to themselves.


In these inhomogeneities, complex ripples of the gravitational field, the step of breeding must place the warheads with maximum accuracy. For this, we had to develop a more detailed map of the gravitational field of the Earth. It is better to study the features of the relief field in systems of differential equations that describe the exact ballistic motion. These are capacious, large (for including details) systems consisting of several thousand differential equations with several tens of thousands of constant numbers. At the same time, the gravitational field itself at low altitudes in the near-Earth region is considered as a joint attraction of several hundred point masses of different weights, located in a certain order near the center of the Earth. Thus, on the flight path of the rocket, a more accurate simulation of the real field of the Earth is achieved. The flight control system works more accurately with it.


Flying without warheads


The step of breeding, which was dispersed by a rocket in the direction of the same geographical area where the warheads should fall, continues to fly along with them. She can not keep up, and what's the point? After dilution of warheads, the stage deals with other matters, namely, it moves away from the warheads, because it knows that its flight will be different from the warheads, and it cannot be disturbed by them. All subsequent actions stage breeding also devotes to warheads.

Photo 4

After separating the warheads on the queue other wards. To the side of the step, many metal pieces fly apart, which in their appearance resemble open scissors and objects of various shapes. Strong balloons beautifully and brightly sparkle with the mercury shine of a metallized surface. They are quite large, some of them resemble warheads. They are covered with aluminum coating. The surface reflects the radar signal from afar almost as much as the body of the warhead. The enemy’s ground-based radars will perceive these inflatable warheads as real as well. Of course, at the first entry into the atmosphere, these balls are lagging behind and instantly burst. But before that, they distract the computing power of the radar - and the target detection range and missile defense guidance. That is, they complicate the current ballistic environment. Well, all celestial weapons moving to the area of ​​incidence, including warheads, are false and real, inflatable balls, corner and dipole reflectors, this whole flock is called “multiple ballistic targets in a complicated ballistic environment”.


Further, the metal scissors open up and become additional electric reflectors - there are many of them, and they perfectly reflect the radio signal of the radar beam for long-range anti-missile detection. In other words, instead of 10 of the required fat ducks, he sees a huge blurry flock of sparrows, in which it is difficult to make out something. The device of all sizes and shapes reflect different wavelengths.


In addition to this tinsel, the stage can theoretically emit radio signals on its own which prevent the enemy’s antimissiles from being induced. Or divert their attention to themselves.


Last leg


But in terms of aerodynamics, the stage is not a warhead. If this is a heavy and small narrow carrot, then the step is rather an empty large bucket with empty fuel tanks, a generic, non-streamlined body and a lack of orientation in the stream starting to run. The step with its wide body responds much earlier to the first whiffs of the oncoming flow. In addition, the warheads unfold along the stream, punching the atmosphere with the least aerodynamic drag. The stage, with its vast bottoms and sides, is piling on the air. It can not fight with the inhibiting force of the flow. Its ballistic coefficient — a combination of compactness and massiveness — is much worse than a warhead. It begins to slow sharply and gradually fall behind the warheads. However, the flow force inexorably increases, at the same time the temperature warms the unprotected thin metal, depriving it of strength. In the hot-burning tanks, leftover fuel boils merrily. Finally, the loss of stability of the body under the influence of aerodynamic loads. This overload helps break the bulkheads inside. The crumpled body quickly covers hypersonic shock waves, breaking the stage into parts and scattering them. Pieces, flying a little in the thickening air, break again into even smaller fragments. Fuel residues react instantly. Scattering fragments of structural components from magnesium alloys are ignited and instantly burned with a bright flash, reminiscent of a camera - it was not in vain that it was magnesium that was set on fire in the first photo flashes!

Photo 5

Now everything is burning with fire, everything is covered with red-hot plasma and shines brightly around with orange color. More sailing and lighter parts are blown into the tail, which stretch along it, and denser ones go to brake forward. All burning elements give tight smoke plumes, although at such high speeds these dense plumes cannot be due to monstrous dilution by the flow. But from afar they are perfectly visible. The emitted particles of smoke stretch in the wake of the flight of a caravan of pieces and pieces, as a result of which a white trace is seen in the atmosphere. Impact ionization affects the greenish night glow from this plume. Due to the irregular shape of the fragments, their inhibition is very rapid: everything that has not burned loses speed and at the same time the burning effect of the air. The strongest brake is supersonic. Having become in the sky, and having cooled by a high-rise frosty subsound, the strip of fragments is not visible, it loses its shape and structure, and also goes into a long (chaotic and quiet dispersion in the air) 20. So there is no breeding step.


The proliferation of ballistic missiles


The world's first ballistic intercontinental missile under the name of P-7 passed successful tests 21 August 1957 of the year in the USSR and in 1960 successfully entered service. The first American ballistic missile SM-65 Atlas was successfully tested in the 1958 year and entered service in the 1959 year. To date, such missiles are in service with the United States, Russia, France, Britain and China.

model of intercontinental rocket P-7 (1957, United States)

Israel has the same position on the issue of whether it has armed ballistic intercontinental missiles as the possession of nuclear weapons - does not deny and does not confirm the presence of these missiles in service. Thus, Israel receives a double benefit from the situation: it does not join the international treaty, which implies controlling the proliferation of rocket technologies and at the same time keeps the countries of the world in suspense, since they do not know its real possibilities. But be that as it may, considering the fact that Israel has a spent three-stage solid-fuel Shavit carrier rocket, countries do not doubt the country's ability to build an ICBM.


It is known that the first two stages of the Shavit launch vehicle are of “combat origin”; in their role they use the steps of the medium-range ballistic missile Jericho-2. Unfortunately, there is no accurate data on the performance of the Jericho 3 rocket. But experts consider it an intercontinental combat modification of the Shavit launch vehicle.


Pakistan, the DPRK and India are developing their own ICBMs, and the last one, in April 2012, conducted a successful first flight test of an Agni-V type ICBM. It was assumed that it will go into service in the 2014 year. It is also worth noting that the characteristics of non-combat Indian space rocket launchers (for example, GSLV) have long exceeded the mass-energy characteristics required for ICBMs.


According to the experts, the North Korean ICBM “Tepkhodon-2”, which they began to work on in the 1987 year, is considered to be tested under the guise of a PH of the “Unha” series.

launch of the Yhna nuclear missile (DPRK)

Some observers believe that Iran using the space exploration program creates technologies that allow you to develop your own ICBM. For example, the Iranian space launch vehicle Safir-2, when launched along a suborbital trajectory, is capable of delivering a combat charge to a distance of 4-4,5 thousand kilometers.


In the 1980s of South Africa, with the aim of confronting the countries of the USSR and the West, with the assistance of Israel, she worked on the creation of RSA-3 ICBMs, but after the collapse of the apartheid regime they abandoned the idea of ​​adopting it.


Classification of intercontinental ballistic missiles

According to the method of basing they are divided into:

  • launched from mobile units, located on the basis of the wheel chassis: "Midzhitmen" and "Topol";
  • launched from the bottom of the oceans and seas with pop-up capsules: "Skiff";
  • launched from ground-based stationary launchers: Atlas, P-7;
  • launched from mine PU: PC-20, PC-18, "Minutem";
  • launched from railway PU: RT-23UTTH;
  • submarine-launched ballistic missiles: the Trident, the Bulava.

Photo 6 

The launch from ground-based stationary launchers ceased to be used at the beginning of the 1960-s, because it did not meet the requirements of secrecy and security. Modern silos guaranteed a high level of protection against the damaging factors of a nuclear explosion and allowed to reliably hide the level of combat readiness of the launch complex. The remaining options listed above are considered mobile, and accordingly, they are difficult to detect, but at the same time they impose serious restrictions on the mass and size of the missiles.


Often, other methods of deploying ICBMs were also supposed to ensure the security of launch complexes and concealment of deployment, for example:

  • in ultradeep mines in rock formations, from which TPK (transport and launch containers) with missiles must be lifted to the surface before launch;
  • on specialized aircraft and airships with the launch of an ICBM in flight;
  • at the bottom of the continental shelf in special pop-up capsules;
  • in the network of underground galleries, which move mobile PU (but similar projects have not been implemented).




The most important characteristic is the accuracy of shooting an ICBM. And this is not surprising, since increasing the accuracy by two times makes it possible to use five times less powerful battle charge. Accuracy is limited only by the accuracy of the navigation system, as well as available geophysical data. Many government programs, such as GLONASS, GPS, and Earth remote sensing satellites, are also used to increase the accuracy of navigation information. The most accurate ballistic missiles have a CER less than 100 m even at intercontinental range.


The maximum flight range is 16 000 km, providing an almost global reach for a missile attack, regardless of the location of the PU. The payload is up to 10 t, the starting weight is 16-200 t, the apogee of the trajectory is up to 1000 km.


The descent to the goal is carried out at a speed greater than 6 km per second. Ground-based flight time from the Russian Federation to the United States varies in the range of 25-30 minutes. The flight time for submarine-launched missiles can be substantially less and amount to up to 12 minutes.


Orbital rockets have an unlimited range, but under the SALT-2 contract were removed from service.

Peaceful use


In the USA and the USSR, the ICBMs that have served their life are used as launch vehicles for launching space objects into low circular orbits. For example, with the help of American ICBMs Titan and Atlas launch spacecraft Gemini and Mercury. And the Soviet 20 PCB-18 ICBM and the sea P-29M were the main for the development of Strela, Dnepr, Stihl and Rokot launch vehicles.

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