Credit - © Mark Wade

Anti-ballistic missile. Year: 1972. IOC: 1972. Family: Russian SAMs and ABMs. Country: Russia. Department of Defence Designation: ABM-1. Launch System: Aldan. Complex: A-35. Missile: A-350Zh, A-350R.

First operational Soviet ABM system, going into limited operation around Moscow in 1972.

On 8 April 1958 a decree was issued to proceed with the advanced project for the anti-ballistic missile system for the defence of Moscow. This was designated 'System A-35' and was to be developed under General Designer K B Kisunko. A 1960 resolution authorised the later TsNPO Vympel to proceed with further development of the A-35 anti-ballistic missile system, with the objective of defeating incoming Minuteman-2 and Titan-2 ICBM warheads aimed at Moscow. The A-35 system consisted of a command point, 8 sector radars, a single long-distance Duna-3 search radar (designed by V P Sosulnikov) a Duna-3U radar for 360 degree detection of enemy targets (chief designer A N Musatov), and 32 missile launchers with sealed transport-launch tubes containing the A-350 anti-ballistic missile (designed by Grushin).

The first draft project was defended in the fall of 1962, but the review board raised numerous objections. The second draft project was presented in 1964, this time featuring a nuclear warhead on the anti-ballistic missile as opposed to the high explosive warhead proposed in the first draft, and a reduction of the number of launch complexes from 32 to 16. The system was to be implemented in two phases. The phase 1 system would produce an anti-ballistic missile that would be launched to the position in time and space predicted for the incoming warhead by ground=based computers. The phase 2 system would use a new active radar homing system aboard the missile to intercept incoming re-entry vehicles.

Construction of the anti-ballistic missile sites around Moscow began in 1962, using the infrastructure and some of the equipment of the existing S-25 surface-to-air missile system. The A-35 system completed its trials successfully and Phase 1 was put into operation in June 1972. Phase 2 testing accomplished the first active radar homing intercept in 1974. Trials indicated the system had a kill probability of 93%.

The A-35 system's A-350 missile had a new thermonuclear warhead with a greater range of dynamic effects than that used on the V-1000 missile of System A. The warhead was developed at Chelyabinsk-70. The A-350 was the first solid propellant rocket in the USSR with gimbled nozzles. The missile trials were also conducted in phases (confusing separate from the overall system test phases). Phase 1, using the A-350Zh missile, was completed in 1973. This was the missile with which the system around Moscow became operational. Phase 2, using the radiation-hardened A-350R, was completed in 1974.

Radars: Don-2N Pill Box early warning radar, band, range 6000 km. Hen House early warning radar, VHF band, range 6000 km. Dog House target acquisition radar, VHF band, range 2800 km. Cat House target acquisition radar, VHF

Manufacturer: Vympel. Launch data is: incomplete. Maximum range: 350 km (210 mi). Standard warhead yield: 1,000 KT. Guidance: Command.

Model: A-35M. Anti-ballistic missile. Year: 1978. Country: Russia. Department of Defence Designation: ABM-2. Complex: A-35. Missile: A-350R.

Improved version of the A-35 with radiation-hardened missiles and command centres, improved radars, and capability against tactical missiles fired from Europe against Moscow. Went into operation in 1978.

The modernised A-35M system began development in accordance with a resolution of May 1968, which designated Vympel as the Central Thematic Centre (NTTP) for future anti-ballistic missile development in the Soviet Union. In 1970 the enterprise was reorganised as TsNPO Vympel, and in 1992 as MAK Vympel, a public corporation, headed by V I Markov.

1000 engineers and technicians were assigned tot he project, headed by A G Basistov, who had previously completed the anti-ballistic missile work at KB-1 successfully. In total ten research institutes and ten factories participated in development and construction of the A-35M anti-ballistic missile system. The state trials began in May 1977, and the system was accepted for production in 1978. The A-35M's main command-computing centre would receive data from several separate Duna-3M radar positions, arranged several dozens of kilometres outside of Moscow. The firing complexes, located in a ring 100 km outside of Moscow, used Tobol and Yenisey equipment with the A-350R missile, which was equipped with a nuclear warhead. In response to US plans to base IRBMs in Western Europe, the modernised Duna-3U radar featured a dedicated sector search to watch for incoming missiles launched from the territory of West Germany. Phase 3 tests of the A-350 missile were conducted in connection with the new system elements in 1976-1977. They included 2 launches of the A-350R and 3 launches of the A-350Zh against R-12 IRBM targets, and 2 launches of the A-350Zh against faster R-16 IRBM targets.

Radars: Don-2N Pill Box early warning radar, range 6000 km. Hen House early warning radar, VHF band, range 6000 km. Dog House target acquisition radar, VHF band, range 2800 km. Cat House target acquisition radar, VHF band, range 2800 km.

Manufacturer: Grushin.

Bibliography and Further Reading
  • Parsch, Andreas, DesignationSystems.Net, . Outstanding, unique reference for aircraft, missiles, propulsion, and avionics systems. Accessed at: http://www.designation-systems.net/.

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