R-36 (missile)

The R-36 (Russian: Р-36) is a family of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and space launch vehicles (Tsyklon) designed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The original R-36 was deployed under the GRAU index 8K67 and was given the NATO reporting name SS-9 Scarp. It was able to carry three warheads and was the first Soviet MRV(multiple reentry vehicle) missile.[1] The later version, the R-36M was produced under the GRAU designations 15A14 and 15A18 and was given the NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan. This missile was viewed by certain United States analysts as giving the Soviet Union first strike advantage over the U.S., particularly because of its rapid silo-reload ability, very heavy throw weight and extremely large number of re-entry vehicles. Some versions of the R-36M were deployed with 10 warheads and up to 40 penetration aids and the missile's high throw-weight made it theoretically capable of carrying more warheads or penetration aids. Contemporary U.S. missiles, such as the Minuteman III, carried up to three warheads at most.

TypeIntercontinental ballistic missile
Place of originSoviet Union (Ukraine)
Service history
In service1966–1979 (original variant)
1988–present (R-36M2 Voevoda variant)
Used byRussian Strategic Missile Troops
Production history
DesignedFrom 1962
ManufacturerFactory: Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant Developer: Yuzhnoye Design Office Ukraine
Mass209,600 kg (462,100 lb)
Length32.2 m (106 ft)
Diameter3.05 m (10.0 ft)
WarheadDepending on variant (see variants); the current one (R-36M2 Mod. 5), 10 × 550–750 kiloton MIRV warheads with a large amount of decoys and other penetration aids. Originally (Mod. 1), 1 × 18–25 megaton warhead.

EngineRD-250 Two-stage liquid propellant
10,200–16,000 km
Inertial, autonomous
Accuracy220–1,300 m CEP

The R-36 became the base for the Tsyklon launch vehicles family. As of early 2021, Cyclone-4M, the last Tsyklon variant in development, is planned for launch in 2023 from Canso, Nova Scotia.[2]

Russia intends to replace the R-36M with a new heavy ICBM, the RS-28 Sarmat.

Some R-36 missiles have been converted into Dnepr medium-lift launch vehicles, capable of putting up to 4,500 kg into orbit.

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