Encyclopedia Astronautica
RT-23U 15Zh60


Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. Design began of the silo-based version of the RT-23UTTKh on 9 August 1983.

The draft project was completed in September 1984. Stand trials of the modified 15D305 engine with a single gimballed nozzle began in November 1984. This would replace the gas-injection thrust vectoring system of the original RT-23. Performance of the second stage would be improved by use of a filament-wound case and deployable nozzle extension. All stages would have more energetic solid propellants with higher specific impulse than their train-based versions. The ten-warhead MIRV dispenser was covered by a fairing during ascent.

Eight silos were built at Plesetsk for flight trials, which were conducted from 31 July 1986 to 23 September 1988. These included 28 launches, including 20 instrumented test flights. Series production of the missile was conducted at the Pavlograd Mechanical Factory from 1983 to 1991. In May 1986 it was decided for security reasons to move responsibility for the countermeasures system from Yuzhnoye to a Russian contractor.

The RT-23UTTKh was fitted in existing UR-100NUTTKh silos that had been super-hardened during the 1980's according to a design by Oleg Baskalakov at GNIP OKB Vympel. The first regiment becoming operational at Permovaisk on 19 August 1988. Further missiles were installed at Tatischevo the following year. The system was formally accepted by the military for service on 28 November 1989. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, 46 missiles had been deployed in Pervomaisk, in the Ukraine, and ten in Tatishchevo, in Russia. Those in Ukraine were removed and the silos destroyed by 1997. The ten remaining missiles in Tatishchevo were to be destroyed by the end of 2003 under the terms of the START-2 Treaty.

Standard warhead: 4,050 kg (8,920 lb). Maximum range: 10,110 km (6,280 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 10. Warhead yield: 300 KT. Boost Propulsion: Solid rocket. Initial Operational Capability: 1988.

AKA: RS-22A; SS-24 Mod 1; 15Zh60; Molodets; Scalpel.
Location: Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
Gross mass: 104,500 kg (230,300 lb).
Payload: 4,050 kg (8,920 lb).
Height: 23.40 m (76.70 ft).
Diameter: 2.40 m (7.80 ft).
Span: 2.40 m (7.80 ft).
Thrust: 2,060.00 kN (463,100 lbf).
Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).
First Launch: 1982.10.26.
Last Launch: 1988.09.26.
Number: 13 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • RT-23 The only rail-based ICBM ever deployed. Developed by Yuzhnoye in the Ukraine was protracted, but understandable given the huge technical challenges. Twelve years of design and testing was followed by deployment from 1988. All were retired by 2003. 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
  • Plesetsk Plesetsk was the Soviet Union's northern cosmodrome, used for polar orbit launches of mainly military satellites, and was at one time the busiest launch centre in the world. The collapse of the Soviet Union put the main launch site of Baikonur in Kazakh territory. It now seems that once the Proton rocket is retired, Baikonur will be abandoned and Plesetsk will be Russia's primary launch centre. Upgrades to existing launch facilities will allow advanced versions of the Soyuz rocket and the new Angara launch vehicle to be launched from Plesetsk. Plesetsk's major drawback was the lower net payload in geosynchronous orbit from a northern latitude launch site. However Russia is planning to remove the disadvantage by looping geosynchronous satellites around the moon, using lunar gravity to make the necessary orbital plane change. More...

Associated Stages
  • 15D339 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 25,000 kg. Thrust 1,050.00 kN. More...
  • R-39-1 Solid propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 53,700 kg. Thrust 2,060.00 kN. More...
  • RT-23-3 N2O4/UDMH propellant rocket stage. Loaded mass 15,000 kg. Thrust 206.00 kN. More...

RT-23U 15Zh60 Chronology


1982 October 26 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. Launch Complex: Plesetsk LC163. Launch Pad: LC163 ShPU-2. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • silo - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 November 1 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 November 1 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1982 December 5 - . 01:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 May 1 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 September 4 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1983 November 22 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1986 July 31 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60. LV Configuration: RT-23U 15Zh60 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

1988 September 26 - . Launch Site: Plesetsk. LV Family: RT-23. Launch Vehicle: RT-23U 15Zh60. LV Configuration: RT-23U 15Zh60 15Zh60.
  • Test mission - . Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Apogee: 1,000 km (600 mi).

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