SS-27 "Sickle B"
A Topol-M mobile launcher during rehearsals for the 2012 Moscow Victory Day Parade.
|Type||Intercontinental ballistic missile|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|In service||December 1997 – present|
|Used by||Russian Strategic Missile Troops|
|Designer||Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology|
|Manufacturer||Votkinsk Machine Building Plant|
|Produced||December 20, 1994 – 2010|
|Weight||47,200 kg (104,000 lb)|
|Length||22.7 m (74.47 ft)|
|Diameter||1.9 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Warhead||Single 800 kt warhead or MIRV – 4 or 7 x 150–250 kt |
|Engine||Three-stage solid propellant|
|11,000 km (6,800 mi)|
|Inertial with GLONASS|
|Accuracy||200 m CEP|
|Silo, road-mobile TEL|
The RT-2UTTKh «Topol-M» (Russian: РТ-2УТТХ «Тополь-М», NATO reporting name: SS-27 "Sickle B", other designations: RS-12M1, RS-12M2, RT-2PM2) is one of the most recent intercontinental ballistic missiles to be deployed by Russia (see RS-24), and the first to be developed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In its Russian designation РТ stands for "ракета твердотопливная," Raketa Tverdotoplivnaya ("solid fuel rocket"), while УТТХ – for "улучшенные тактико-технические характеристики," uluchshenniye taktiko-tekhnicheskie kharakteristiki ("improved tactical and technical characteristics"). "Topol" (тополь) in Russian means "white poplar". It is designed and produced exclusively by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology, and built at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant.
The Topol-M is a cold-launched, three-stage, solid-propellant, silo-based or road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile. The missile's length is 22.7 m and the first stage has a body diameter of 1.9 m. The mass at launch is 47,200 kg, including the 1200 kilogram payload. Topol-M carries a single warhead with a 800 kt yield  but the design is compatible with MIRV warheads. According to chief designer Yury Solomonov, the missile can carry four to six warheads along with decoys. Its minimum range is estimated to be 2,000 km and the maximum range 10,500 km. It has three solid rocket stages with inertial, autonomous flight control utilizing an onboard GLONASS receiver. It is reputed to have the highest accuracy of any Russian ICBM with a CEP of 200m. The body of the rocket is made by winding carbon fiber.
The Topol-M may be deployed either inside a reinforced missile silo, which is reported to be able to withstand a direct nuclear hit or from an APU 15U168 launcher mounted on the MZKT-79221 "Universal" 16-wheeled transporter-erector-launcher. This mobile launcher is capable of moving through roadless terrain, and launching a missile from any point along its route. The designation for the silo-based Topol-M missile is believed to be RS-12M2, while the mobile version is RS-12M1.
The first stage has three rocket motors developed by the Soyuz Federal Center for Dual-Use Technologies. This gives the missile a much higher acceleration than other ICBM types. It enables the missile to accelerate to the speed of 7,320 m/s and to travel a flatter trajectory to distances of up to 10,000 km.
As a solid propellant design, the missile can be maintained on alert for prolonged periods of time and can launch within minutes of being given the order.
Development and deployment
The development of the missile began in the late 1980s as an evolutionary upgrade of the RS-12M Topol (SS-25 'Sickle'), and the missile was redesigned in 1992. The first flight test took place on December 20, 1994. Experimental combat duty with 2 missiles in December 1997, the first regiment with 10 missiles in 30 December 1998, second in 1999. Silo launcher Topol-M entered service by presidential decree in 13 July 2000, the third, fourth and fifth regiments entered service in 2000, 2003 and 2005. The last regiment will arrive in 2012.
By the end of 2010 the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces operated 70 Topol-M missile systems including 52 silo-based and 18 mobile systems. A further 8 missiles were to join the Forces by 2011–2012. In 2020 the RVSN are likely to be equipped with 177 Topol-M (mobile and silo-based), as well as 30 UR-100NUTTKh (SS-19) and 108 RS-24 "Yars" (SS-29), in nine divisions.
- 27th Guards Missile Army (HQ: Vladimir)
- 60th Missile Division at Tatishchevo with 52 silo-based Topol-M
- 54th Guards Missile Division at Teykovo with 18 mobile Topol-M
The Topol-M missiles have a lifetime between 15 to 20 years.
Missile defense evasion capabilities
According to Russia the missile is designed to be immune to any current or planned U.S. missile defense system. It is claimed to be capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid a kill by terminal phase interceptors, and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys. It is shielded against radiation, EMP, nuclear explosions at distances over 500 meters, and is designed to survive a hit from any laser technology.
One of the Topol-M's most notable features is its short engine burn time following take-off, intended to minimize satellite detection of launches and thereby complicate both early warning and interception by missile defense systems during boost phase. The missile also has a relatively flat ballistic trajectory, complicating defense acquisition and interception.
According to The Washington Times, Russia has conducted a successful test of the evasive payload delivery system. The missile was launched on November 1, 2005 from the Kapustin Yar facility. The warhead changed course after separating from the launcher, making it difficult to predict a re-entry trajectory.
Equipment of Topol-M with MIRV
A new missile loosely based on Topol-M and equipped with multiple re-entry vehicles (MIRV) is called RS-24. In January 2009 Russian sources hinted that the production of the mobile Topol-M missile would be shutting down in 2009 and that the new MIRVed RS-24 version would replace it.
- As of 2012[update], the only operator of the Topol-M is Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces, with 78 missiles deployed.
Since 2010 no more Topol-M missiles have been purchased and they are being replaced by the RS-24.
- "Topol-M: Missile Defense Penetrator by Michal Fiszer". Mputtre.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "SS-27 Sickle B". Deagel.com. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- RS-12M1/2 Topol-M (SS-27/RT-2PM2) (Russian Federation), Offensive weapons[dead link]
- "RT-2PMU? – Topol-M SS-27 – Russian / Soviet Nuclear Forces". Fas.org. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- Land-Based Ballistic Missiles[dead link]
- SS-27 (TOPOL-M, RS-12M1/-12M2)[dead link]
- "SS-27". MissileThreat. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "Russia to re-equip its new mobile ICBMs with multiple warheads". RIA Novosti. 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- [dead link]
- "Russia". Nti.org. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "Topol-M / RS-12M2, RT-2PM2, SS-27 Sickle B, SS-X-27". Deagel.com. 2011-03-10. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- [dead link]
- Strategic Missile Forces spokesman Col. Alexander Vovk, quoted by ITAR TASS.
- "Russia adds 2 Topol-M ballistic missiles to nuclear deterrent". RIA Novosti. 2010-12-17. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- Sergei Kherkherov in Military Parade #2, 2010, page 22.
- Strategic Rocket Forces. "Strategic Rocket Forces – Russian strategic nuclear forces". Russianforces.org. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "General says Russia will counter U.S. missile defense plans". Usatoday.com. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "SS-27". Missilethreat.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- "Russia Approves Topol-M; Warns Missile Could Defeat U.S. Defense". Armscontrol.org. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- Washington, The (2005-11-20). "Russian warhead alters course midflight in test – Washington Times". Washtimes.com. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
- Армс-Тасс (2009-01-22). "Армс-Тасс" (in (Russian)). Arms-tass.su. Retrieved 2011-05-23.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RT-2PM2 Topol-M.|
- Federation of American Scientists
- Missile Threat page
- GlobalSecurity.org on the RT-2UTTH Topol-M (SS-27)
- Representation video of a mobile Topol-M on Youtube