Encyclopedia Astronautica
R-36MU 15A18


Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. Improved version of the R-36M with a new ten warhead MIRV bus, better guidance system, increased throw-weight, and increased range.

The decree for an improved version of the R-36M with a new ten warhead MIRV bus, better guidance system, increased throw-weight, and increased range was issued on 16 August 1976. The draft project was completed in December 1976. A revised decree of 16 August 1977 may have included engine fixes urgently required for the deployed base of R-36M's. Flight trials began on 31 October 1977 and those with the new 15F183 warhead were completed in November 1979. On 18 September 1979 the first missiles were installed in replacement of R-36M's at Dombarovskiy, Uzhur, and Zhangiz-Tobe. On 17 December 1980 the first variant with the 15F183 bus was put into service. By 1983 all earlier R-36 and R-36M's had been replaced, and the R-36MUTTKh reached its peak deployment of 308 missiles. It seems a single-warhead version was never deployed. The R-36M was to have been replaced by a new missile in the 1990's, but the break-up of the Soviet Union resulted in severe financial constraints. Therefore, although the original rated storage life was ten years, evaluation of in-service rockets resulted in continual extension, to as much as 23 years. A test firing of an R-36MU that was 19 years 6 months old was made on 17 April 1997. On 21 April 1999 an R-36MU that had been stored for 20 years 9 months was successfully fired as a Dnepr space booster.

The 15F183 bus was 2.9 m in diameter and 8.1 m long and powered by a four-chamber liquid propellant engine.

Failures: 3. Success Rate: 94.12%. First Fail Date: 1978-06-30. Last Fail Date: 1987-01-16. Standard warhead: 7,570 kg (16,680 lb). Maximum range: 11,500 km (7,100 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 8. Standard RV: 15F183. Warhead yield: 500 KT. CEP: 0.26 km (0.16 mi). Boost Propulsion: Storable liquid rocket, N2O4/UDMH. Cruise Thrust: 755.000 kN (169,730 lbf). Cruise Thrust: 77,000 kgf. Cruise engine: RD-0228. Initial Operational Capability: 1979.

AKA: RS-20B; R-36MUTTKh; SS-18 Mod.4; 15A18; Satan.
Location: Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
Status: Active.
Gross mass: 211,100 kg (465,300 lb).
Payload: 7,570 kg (16,680 lb).
Height: 32.62 m (107.03 ft).
Diameter: 3.00 m (9.80 ft).
Span: 3.05 m (10.00 ft).
Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
First Launch: 1977.10.31.
Last Launch: 1997.04.17.
Number: 51 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • RD-264 Glushko N2O4/UDMH rocket engine. 4521 kN. R-36M / RS-20A (SS-18 Mod 1) stage 1. Consists of four RD-263 engines. Isp=318s. Used on Dnepr launch vehicle. First flight 1986. More...

See also
  • R-36M The super-heavy Ukrainian R-36M ICBM replaced the R-36 in 288 existing silos and was additionally installed in 20 new super-hardened silos. The fall of the Soviet Union ended production and the need for replacement. Nevertheless they remained in Russian service into the 21st Century, some being modified for use as space launchers. More...
  • missile Guided self-propelled military weapon (as opposed to rocket, an unguided self-propelled weapon). More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Yuzhnoye Ukrainian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Yangel Design Bureau, Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Associated Stages
  • R-36M2-1 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 161,520/13,620 kg. Thrust 4,523.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 318 seconds. Surplus ICBMs; failures based on ICBM tests through 1994. More...
  • R-36M2-2 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 41,114/4,374 kg. Thrust 760.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 340 seconds. Surplus ICBMs; failures based on ICBM tests through 1994. More...
  • R-36M2-3 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 4,266/2,356 kg. Thrust 18.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 317 seconds. Main engine could be throttled to 800 kgf. More...

R-36MU 15A18 Chronology


1977 October 31 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • SLI - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1978 June 30 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1978 September 29 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1979 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1980 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1980 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1980 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1980 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1981 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1981 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1981 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1981 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1981 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • DP operational test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1986 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1987 January 16 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18. FAILURE: Failure.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 0 km ( mi).

1987 October 2 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1990 May 17 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1990 June 12 - . 03:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1991 May 28 - . 12:05 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1991 September 12 - . 12:45 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Joint flight trials launch - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1997 April 17 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: R-36MU 15A18.
  • Operational missile test - . Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

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