A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
The A-135 (NATO: ABM-3 Gorgon) is a Russian anti-ballistic missile system deployed around Moscow to intercept incoming warheads targeting the city or its surrounding areas. The system was designed in the Soviet Union and entered service in 1995. It is a successor to the previous A-35, and complies with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
|51T6 (ABM-4 Gorgon)|
DIA drawing of an SH-08/ABM-3A GAZELLE 53T6 missile launching with Don-2 phased array radar in background
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Designer||NPO Novator Design Bureau|
|Blast yield||Nuclear warhead equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT|
|Engine||2-stage solid fuel|
|Speed||Mach 7 (8,575 km/h; 5,328 mph; 2.3820 km/s)|
A memo from the archives of Vitalii Leonidovich Kataev, written around 1985, had envisaged that the system "will be completed in 1987 to provide protection from a strike of 1–2 modern and prospective ICBMs and up to 35 Pershing 2-type intermediate-range missiles".
The A-135 system attained "alert" (operational) status on February 17, 1995. It is operational although its 51T6 component was deactivated in February 2007. A newer missile (PRS-1M) is expected to replace it. There is an operational test version of the system at the Sary Shagan test site in Kazakhstan.
A-135 consists of the Don-2N battle management radar and two types of ABM missiles. It gets its data from the wider Russian early-warning radar network, that are sent to the command centre which then forwards tracking data to the Don-2N radar. The Don-2N radar is a large battle-management phased array radar with 360° coverage. Tests were undertaken at the prototype Don-2NP in Sary Shagan in 2007 to upgrade its software.
Russian early-warning radar network consists of:
- Daryal bistatic active phased array early-warning radars
- Dnepr/Dnestr space surveillance early-warning radars
- Voronezh phased array early-warning radars
- US-KMO, US-K and EKS early-warning satellites
- Command, control, communications and intelligence services
There is at least 68 active launchers of short-range 53T6 endoatmospheric interceptor nuclear-tipped missiles, 12 or 16 missiles each, deployed at five launch sites. These are tested roughly annually at the Sary Shagan test site. In addition, 16 retired launchers of long-range 51T6 exoatmospheric interceptor nuclear-tipped missiles, 8 missiles each, are located at two launch sites.
|Location||Coordinates ||Number ||Details|
|Sofrino||12||Co-located with the Don-2N radar|
|Sergiyev Posad-15||8||Site was also used in the A-35 system|
|Naro-Fominsk-10||8||Site was also used in the A-35 system|
The successor system, dubbed 'Samolet-M' (and more recently A-235) will employ a new, conventional, variant of the 53T6 missile to be deployed in the former 51T6 silos. The new PRS-1M is a modernized variant of the PRS-1 (53T6) and can use nuclear or conventional warheads. It can hit targets at ranges of 350 km and altitudes of 50 km.
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