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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Russian SS-18

The highest listed yield for the SS-18 is 25 megatons, enough to destroy any city on earth. 100 megatons is rumored but not verified.

Launch of giant nuclear missile(known as _Satan_).flv

 So Much for S.T.A.R.T

R-36M/SS-18 is the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) ever built.

Russian designation - R-36M "Voevoda" ("Warlord")
Designation of NATO - SS-18 "Satan"

Missiles of the R-36M/SS-18 family have never been deployed with more than ten warheads. But given their large throw-weight (8.8 tonnes is the official START number), it is easy to see that they can be made to car More..ry much more than that. That was something that the United States worried quite a bit in the 1970s. And, as it turns out, rightly so.
Among the projects that the Soviet Union considered in the mid-1970s was that of a 15A17 missile a follow-on to the R-36MUTTH (15A18). The missile would have had even larger throw-weight 9.5 tonnes and would be able to carry quite a few warheads. Five different versions of the missile were considered. Three of these would carry regular warheads 38 (yes, its thirty eight!) with the yield of 250kt each, 24 500kt warheads, or 15 to 17 1Mt ones. Two modifications were supposed to carry guided warheads (upravlyaemaya golovnaya chast) 28x250kt or 19x500kt.

Mod 3 of the R-36M is capable of carrying one 25 megaton "city buster" warhead, Making it more than enough to destroy any big megalopolis or any hardened base such as NORAD.

Mod 4 - The R-36M Mod 4 carries at least 10 MIRVs (750Kt) and a lot of dummy warheads.

The R-36 (SS-9) is a two-stage rocket powered by a liquid bipropellant, with UDMH as fuel and nitrogen tetroxide as an oxidizer.

The missile has a maximum flight range of 11,000 kilometers (6,840 miles) and a launch weight of 211 metric tons.

CEP: 500 meters

Pre-launch preparation time: less than 3 minutes Less..



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R-36M / SS-18 SATAN - Russian / Soviet Nuclear Forces


R-36M / SS-18 SATAN

The R-36m / SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile is a large, two-stage, tandem, storable liquid-propellant inertial guided missile developed to replace the SS-9 ICBM. Housed in hard silos, the highly accurate fourth generation SS-18 ICBM is larger than the Peacekeeper, the most modern deployed US ICBM. The SS-18 opened a "window of vulnerability" of Minuteman silos (at 300 psi) by 1975, so that some analysts aregued that few Minuteman could be expected to survive a Soviet attack by 1980. The "window of vulnerability" of U.S. land based strategic missiles opened on schedule, and became one of the major issues in U.S. strategic debates in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The R-36M (15A14) was a two-stage missile capable of carrying several different warheads. The basic design is similar to the R-36 missile modified to include advanced technologies and more powerful engines. This missile, using dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4) and heptyl (a UDMH [unsymmetrical dimethyl hydrazine] compound) has a first stage powered by a 460-ton-thrust motor with four combustion chambers, and the second by a single-chamber 77-ton-thrust motor. The first stage uses four closed-cycle single chambered rocket motors. The second stage was equipped with a closed-cycle single chambered sustainer motor and an open-cycle four chambered control motor. The second stage sustainer is built into the fuel tank's toroidal cavity. The flight control of the first stage was conducted through gimbaled sustainers. The sustainers used asymmetrical dimethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetraoxide. The missile was equipped with an autonomous inertial command structure and an onboard digital computer.

The R-36M used a gas-dynamic method for the first and second stages whereby special ports are opened through which the propellant tanks are pressurized. This obviated the need for the use of pressurant gases from tanks and the so-called chemical tanks pressurization (by injecting small amounts of fuel in the oxidizer tank and oxidizer into the fuel tank). The improved design and more effective engines allowed an increase in the total liftoff weight from 183 tons to 209.6 ton and the throw weight from 5.8 tons to 8.8 tons, while maintaining the overall dimensions of its predecessor missile.

The SS-18 was deployed in modified SS-9 silos, and employed a cold-launch technique with the missile being ejected from the silo prior to main engine ignition. The rocket was placed in a transport-launch canister made of fiberglass composites. The container was placed into an adapted R-36 silo. The specially hardened silo was 39 meters deep and had a diameter of 5.9 m. Prior to main engine ignition the missile was ejected from the container with the help of a solid-propellant gas generator located in the lower unit of the transport-launch canister. According to Western estimates, the SS-18 was deployed in a silo with a hardness of at least 4,000 psi (281 kg/sq. cm; 287 bar), and possibly as high as 6,000 psi (422 kg/sq. cm; 430 bar).

The development of the two stage heavy liquid-propellant ICBM R-36M intended to replace the R-36 SS-9 Scarp was accepted on 02 September 1969. The preliminary design was completed in December 1969 by the design bureau was KB Yuzhnoye. The system was designed by the M. K. Yangel OKB Yuzhnoye at Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine) during 1966-1972, with testing beginning in November 1972. It was deployed in January 1975, and integrated with the weapons arsenal in December 1975.

There are six variants that have been deployed, while others were tested but not deployed:
  • SS-18 Mod 1 - R-36M The SS-18 Mod 1 carried a single large reentry vehicle, with a warhead yield of 18 to 25 MT, a distance of about 6,000 nm. In January 1971 pop-up tests, began during which the mortar launch was perfected. The actual flight tests for the single-RV Mod-1 began on 21 February 1973, though some sources suggest that testing began in October 1972. The testing phase of the R-36M with various different types of warheads was finished in October 1975 and on 30 December 1975 deployment began [though some Western sources suggest that an initial operational capability was reached in early 1975]. A total of 56 were deployed by 1977, though all were replaced by Mod 3 or Mod 4 missiles by 1984. These high-yield weapons were assessed in the West as possibly developed to attack American Minuteman ICBM launch control centers.
  • SS-18 Mod 2 - R-36M The SS-18 Mod 2 included a post-boost vehicle and up to eight reentry vehicles, each with a warhead yield estimated at between 0.5 to 1.5 MT, with a range capability of about 5,500 nm. The MIRVs were placed in pairs, and a post boost vehicle with a command structure and a propulsion system were contained in the nose cone of the R-36M. The flight tests of the MIRVed Mod-2 began in September 1973 [though some Western sources suggest that the initial flight test of the Mod 2 MIRV version occurred in August 1973], with IOC in 1975. Approximately 132 were deployed by 1978, but the post-boost vehicle design was seriously flawed, and the Mod 2 missiles were all replaced by the Mod 4 variant by 1983.
  • SS-18 Mod 2x - R-36M Between July 1978 and August 1980 a MIRVed missile with an improved nose cone was tested but not deployed. The fact of the existence of this system is reported by Russian sources, but not attested by unclassified Western literature.
  • SS-18 Mod 3 - R-36UTTh The SS-18 Mod 3 carried a single large reentry vehicle that was an improved version of the SS-18 Mod-1. On 16 August 1976, a few months after the R-36M entered service, the development of an improved modification of the R-36M (15A14) and MR UR-100 (15A15) was approved. This missile subsequently received the designation R-36M UTTh (15A18) and was developed by KB Yuzhnoye (OKB-586) through December 1976. Its increasing accuracy made it possible to reduce the yield of the warheads. The R-36M UTTh was capable of carrying two different nose cones. The version with a divided nose cone [Mod-4] allowed an increase the numbers of warheads from 8 up to 10 and the single-RV version [Mod-3] had a maximum range of up to 16,000 km. The flight-design tests of the R-36M UTTh began on 31 October 1977. On 29 November 1979 deployment of the SS-18 Mod-3 with a single reentry vehicle carrying a warhead with a yield of 24-25 MT began. The P-36MUTTh was introduced into the inventory on 17 December 1979. A total of 24 were deployed in 1977, and all were replaced by the Mod 4 variant by 1984.
  • SS-18 Mod 4 - R-36UTTh The SS-18 Mod 4 carries at least 10 MIRVs and was probably designed to attack and destroy ICBMs and other hardened targets in the US. According to some Western estimates, evidence suggested that the Mod 4 may be capable of carrying as many as 14 RVs [this may reflect observation of the deployment of countermeasures intended to overcome a ballistic missile defense, or to confuse American attack characterization systems]. In November 1979 the flight tests of the MIRVed missile were completed. The first three regiments were put on alert on 18 September 1979. During 1980 a total of 120 SS-18 Mod 4 missiles were deployed, replacing the last remaining R-36 missiles. In 1982-1983 the remaining R-36M missiles were also replaced with the new R-36M UTTh and the total number of deployed missiles reached a maximum operational launcher reached 308, ceiling established in the SALT-1 treaty. The SS-18 Mod 4 force had the estimated capability to destroy 65 to 80 percent of US ICBM silos using two nuclear warheads against each. Even after this type of attack, it was estimated that more than 1,000 SS-18 warheads would be available for further strikes against targets in the US. After 1988 the SS-18 Mod 4s were partially replaced by the new R-36M2 "Voivode".
  • SS-18 Mod 5 - R-36M2 "Voivode" The newer, more accurate version (the SS-18 Mod 5) placed in converted silos allowed the SS-18 to remain the bulwark of the SRF's hard-target-kill capability. The Mod 5 carries 10 MIRVs, each having a higher yield than the Mod 4 warheads. The Mod-5 warheads have nearly twice the yield of the Mod-4 (approximately 750 kt to 1 megaton) according to Western estimates, though Russian sources suggest a yield of 550-750 Kt each. The increase in the Mod 5's warhead yield, along with improved accuracy, would, under the START treaty, help allow the Russians to maintain their hard-target-kill wartime requirements even with the 50 percent cut in heavy ICBMs the START agreement required. The technical proposals to build a modernized heavy ICBM were made in June 1979. The missile subsequently received the designation R-36M2 "Voivode" and the industrial index number 15A18M. The design of the R-36 M2 "Voivode" was completed in June 1982. The R-36M2 disposed of a series of new engineering features. The engine of the second stage is completely built in the fuel tank (earlier this was only used on SLBMs) and the design of the transport-launching canister was altered. Unlike the R-36M, the 10 warheads on the post-boost vehicle are located on a special frame in two circles. The flight tests of the R-36M2 equipped with 10 MIRVs began in March 1986 and were completed in March 1988. The first regiment with these missiles was put on alert on 30 July 1988 and was deployed on 11 August 1988.
  • SS-18 Mod 6 - R-36M2 "Voivode" The flight tests of a the R-36M2 missile (Mod-6) carrying a single warhead with a yield of 20 MT were completed in September 1989 and deployment began in August 1991.
The only deployed versions of the SS-18 are the R-36M UTTh and R-36M2. In 1997 there were 186 deployed launchers for of these missiles in Russia. The dismantling of 104 launchers located in Kazakhstan was completed in September 1996.

The Reagan and Bush administrations respected the SS-18 to such a degree that they made it the main focus of their arms control initiatives. The START II Treaty specifically banned land-based MIRV systems, in part, because of the threat the SS-18 posed to the balance of power. It was seen as a first-strike weapon and a very destabilizing presence in the bilateral relationship.

US negotiators allowed the Russian Federation to retain 90 of the SS-18 silos. After complying with the START II silo conversion protocol, the Russian Rocket Forces will be permitted to replace 90 of the SS-18s with a smaller, single-warhead missile. The protocol requires Russia to place a 2.9-meter restrictive ring near the top of the retained SS-18 silos and to fill the bottom five meters of the silos with concrete. These measures make the silos too small to hold an SS-18.

The Nunn-Lugar program is assisting in the reduction of the SS-18 missile threat to the United States. The Russian Federation must eliminate 100 SS-18s by December 2001 and an additional 154 SS-18s by January 2003. In recent years, Nunn-Lugar has played a role in SS-18 dismantlement. It provided the equipment necessary to help destroy the missiles. A total of 204 of these missiles were deployed on Russian territory and 104 in Kazakhstan. The elimination base at Surovatikha, near Nijny-Novgorod, destroyed 32 missiles in 1993 with the remaining 44 destroyed in 1994.

The SS-18 was manufactured in Ukraine, while Russian enterprises provide maintenance for SS-18s which are currently in inventory. Manufacturing of SS-18s in Russia would be expensive, and could require 5 to 7 years of design work to begin at least tests at a cost of 8-10 billion rubles.


DesignBureauOKB-586Acad. V. F. UtkinOKB-586 Acad. V. F. UtkinOKB-586Acad. V. F. UtkinOKB-586Acad. V. F. UtkinOKB-586 Acad. V. F. UtkinOKB-586 Acad. V. F. Utkin
Approved9/2/19699/2/19699/2/19698/16/19778/9/836/1979 ?12/17/
1980 ?
Years of R&D1969-19731969-197312/ 76 - 781983-19881979-1982
Engineering and Testing1973-19741973-19751978-19801977-19791986-881986-1990
First Flight Test1 / / 72 1St. failure2/21/1973 success 1 & another derivation 11-29-799/ /73,
08/ /73 & another derivation
07/ /78
7/ /19787/31/1977or 10-31-19773/21/86two failures in the flight test program1986
IOC12 /25 / 1974197519809/1979 ? 11-27-1979?12/19881990
Deployment Date12/30/197512/30/1975 or 11/20/7811/29/197912/17/1979, or 1980?12/19889/1991
Type ofWarheadSingleMIRVSingleMIRVMIRVSingle
Yield (Mt)
Russian sources
Yield (Mt)
Western sources
Payload (t)7.27.2 - 8.87.2 -
Total length (m)33.633.633.634.337.2536.3
Total length w/o warhead (m)28.528.528.528.5 -29.2529.2529.25
Missile Diameter (m)
Launch Weight (t)209.6 -210209.6 -210209.6 -210211.1211.1211.1
Fuel Weight (t)188188188188188188
Range (km)112009250-1020016.00016000115001100015,00016000
CEP (m)Russian Sources100010001000920500500
CEP (m) Western Sources400-550400-500350220-320250?250
Number of Stages2
Canister length (m)27.9
Canister diameter (m)3.5
Booster guidance systemInertial, autonomous

1st stage2nd stage
Length (m)22.37.0
Body diameter (m)3.03.0
Fueled weight (t)Total 161.5
Dry weight (t)Total 48.1 ? 48.5
Engine DesignationRD-263 x 4 = RD-264 (11D119) for theR-36MRD-0228 = RD-0229 one main engine and RD-0230 four verniers for the R-36M
Engine DesignationRD-273 / RD-274 for the R-36MURD-0230 verniers for the R-36M
Engine DesignationN/ARD-0255 = RD-0256 one main engine & RD-0257 four verniers for the R-36M2.
Design BureauAcad. V. P. Glushko (OKB-456)Acad. S. A. Kosberg(OKB-154)
ConfigurationFour RD-263?s Engines = RD-2641 Main Engine + 4 Verniers
Years Of R & D1969-1973 = RD-263 x 4=RD-2641967-1975 = RD-0228 / RD-0229
Years Of R & D1975-1980 = RD-2731967-1975 = RD-0230
Years Of R & D1983-1989 = RD-0255
1983-1987 = RD-0256
1983-1987 = RD-0257
PropellantsLiquid StorableLiquid Storable
OxidizerNitrogen TetraoxideNitrogen Tetraoxide
Burn Time (sec.)
Main Engines Thrust Sea Level/Vacuum (Tonnes)424 / 450-46177
Verniers Engine Thrust Sea Level/Vacuum (Tonnes)N/A?
Main Engines Specific Impulse Sea Level/ Vacuum (sec.)293 / 312-318
MIRV Bus Third Stage Engine Designation for the R-36M2RD-869
Design Bureau (Bus)Yuzhnoy SKB
Years Of R & D (Bus)1983-1985
Propellants (Bus)Liquid Storable
Fuel (Bus)UDMH
Oxidizer (Bus)Nitrogen Tetraoxide
Thrust Vacuum (Tonnes)2.087- 0.875
Engines Specific Impulse (sec.)313 ? 302.3
Burn Time (sec.)700

Basing ModeSilo
Launching TechniqueCold and Solid motor
Deployed boosters
Test Boosters
Warheads Deployed
Training Launchers
Space Booster VariantYes- SL-21?/Dnipr SS-18 derivation

Deployment Sites
STARTLocale US-Designation
Aleysk in Altai (30)Aleysk
Derzhavinsk near Akmolinsk (52)Imeni Gastello
Dombarovsky-3 near Orenbourg (64)Dombarovskiy
Kartaly-6 near Chelyabinsk (46)Kartaly
Uzhur-4 near Krasnoyarsk (64)Uzhur
Zhangiz-Tobe near Seminpalatinsk (52)Zhangiz Tobe


SS-18/RS-20 in Launch Canister

SS-18/RS-20, Stage 1

SS-18/RS-20 Missile


Sources and Resources

  • Russian Strategic Nuclear Weapons, Pavel Podvig, ed., IzdAT, Moscow, 1998, 492 pp. (in Russian). Authors: Oleg Bukharin, Timur Kadyshev, Eugene Miasnikov, Pavel Podvig, Igor Sutiagin, Maxim Tarasenko, Boris Zhelesov
  • SS-18 Satan @ US Naval Institute Military Database
  • "A History of Strategic Arms Competition 1945-1972" (U), Volume 3, A Handbook Of Selected Soviet Weapon and Space Systems, United States Air Force, June 1976. pgs 244-249
  • Soviet Military Power 1989. The Defense Intelligence Agency. 1989
  • The Formidable SS-18s Being Scrapped, Christian Lardier, AIR & COSMOS/AVIATION INTERNATIONAL, 9/2/1994 -- Profile of one of the missiles slated for destruction under the START regime.

Submarines - Israel and Britain

Submarines - Israel



Three 1,925 ton Type 800 Dolphin class submarines have been built in German shipyards for the Israel Navy. Modern submarines with the most advanced sailing and combat systems in the world, they combine extensive sophistication with very easy operation. The purpose of these submarines is to enable the Israel Navy to meet all the tasks faced in the Mediterranean Sea in the 21st century. The submarines cost $320 million each, and are twice as big as the aging Gal-class submarines that the Israeli navy has relied on to date.

It is generally agreed that these submarines are outfitted with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes suitable for the 21-inch torpedoes that are normally used on most submarines, including those of the United States. Some reports suggest that the submarines have a total of ten torpedo tubes -- six 533-millimeter and four 650-millimeter. Uniquely, the Soviet navy deployed the Type 65 heavy-weight torpedo using a 650-millimeter tube. The four larger 25.5 inch diameter torpedo tubes could be used to launch a long-range nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). According to some reports the submarines may be capable of carrying nuclear-armed Popeye Turbo cruise missiles, with a goal of deterring an enemy from trying to take out its nuclear weapons with a surprise attack. Under a system of rotation, two of the vessels would remain at sea: one in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, the other in the Mediterranean. A third would remain on standby.

The project initially was structured to include an industrial team consisting of HDW and Thyssen Nordseewerke, lead by Ingalls Shipbuilding. The project, under which the boats would be built in the United States by Ingalls using US FMS funds, was cancelled in 1990. The crews of the submarines started training in 1994, and participated in the building process as well as in the acceptance procedures for weapon systems. Germany donated two of these submarines to Israel, which were delivered in 1997. Israel bought a third Dolphin submarine from Germany. The project to build the Israeli Navy's third submarine, named "Tekumah ," was launched in Germany on 09 July 1998 with the participation of Defense Ministry Director General Ilan Biran and other naval officers. Tekumah [T'kuma] is the Hebrew word for "revival." The third submarine arrived in Israel during mid-1999.

A major role for hunter, killer and patrol submarines is the destruction of enemy submarines and shipping. In order to achieve this, the submarine must load, store and launch a range of stores. The submarine must also detect its target while attempting to remain covert. The Israel Navy has three Gal submarines. They were built in the 1970s at the Vickers shipyard in Britain, based on German blueprints. The Gal submarines are an important part of the main combat force of the Israel Navy. The German Type 209 diesel electric submarine is the most popular export-sales submarine in the world, and sales continue as smaller nations modernize their aging fleets. Greece was the first country to order this type of submarine from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) of Kiel, Germany, and the first batch of these submarines entered service in 1971. The 1,200-ton Type 209 submarine is a hunter killer submarine that India purchased from HDW, Germany. The initial contract was for 2 submarines to be sold and for 4 more to be constructed at the Mazagaon docks in Mumbai. The deal however went sour when it was hit by a bribery scandal, after the first four ships were delivered to the Indian Navy.

 Advances in electric drive and power conditioning were introduced into the German Type 212. This German submarine has low and balanced signatures including acoustic signatures, longer submerged mission capability and a modern combat system with sophisticated sensors and state of the art torpedoes. The technologies inherent in this design include a fuel cell air independent propulsion (AIP) system with a back up single diesel generator, highly modular arrangements of critical areas and the frame carrying the diesel generator and auxiliary equipment such as the hydraulic pumps, compressors, etc.- is enclosed in a sound absorbent capsule and isolated from the pressure hull. The AIP system utilized is more commonly called 'MESMA'. Translated it means Autonomous Submarine Energy Module and was developed for submarines.The 1,720-ton Dolphin class is evidently somewhat larger than the 1,500-ton Type 212 submarines, and incorporates a conventional diesel-electric propulsion system rather than the AIP system.

Displacement: 1,720 tons submerged
Dimensions: 57 x 6.8 x 6.2 meters (187 x 22.5 x 20.5 feet)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 3 diesels, 1 shaft, 4,243 shp, 20 knots
Crew: 35
Sonar: ???
Armament: 6 21 inch torpedo tubes (14 torpedoes & Harpoon SSM)

Number  Name                   Year     Homeport   
??     Dolphin                 5/1998 
??     Leviathan               1999   
??     Tekumah                 1999

Sources and Resources


SSN Astute Class Nuclear Submarine, United Kingdom

Astute class nuclear submarine
The Royal Navy's Astute Class submarine is a nuclear-powered attack submarine which will replace the five Swiftsure Class submarines, launched between 1973 and 1977 and approaching the end of their operational life.
The initial order quantity was three, but the UK MoD has ordered an additional four, meaning seven submarines will be built under the Astute class. The performance specification of the Astute is an extension of the performance of the Trafalgar Class batch 1 fleet of the Royal Navy's Second Submarine Squadron, based at Devonport. The Trafalgar batch 1 submarines are to be decommissioned by 2022, beginning with HMS Trafalgar which was decommissioned in December 2009.
The Astute Class submarines will be based at Faslane in Scotland.

Astute Class submarine development

BAE Systems Astute Class is the prime contractor for the project and the submarines are being built at the BAE Systems Marine Barrow shipyard. The first three Astute ships were named HMS Astute (S119), HMS Ambush (S120) and HMS Artful (S121).
The fourth submarine was named HMS Audacious (S122). The fifth Astute class submarine was named HMS Anson (S123) in September 2011. The sixth and seventh will be named as HMS Agamemnon (S124) and HMS Ajax (S125) respectively.
"The Astute combat management system (ACMS) is being supplied by BAE Systems Insyte (formerly Alenia Marconi Systems)."
The keel for the first-of-class HMS Astute was laid in January 2001 and it was launched on 8 June 2007. In October 2007, HMS Astute made her first dive, for an underwater systems test, at the 'dive hole' in Devonshire Dock, Barrow. Also in October the vessel successfully carried out first firing trials from its torpedo tubes. HMS Astute was commissioned in August 2010.
The keel of HMS Ambush was laid in October 2003. It was launched in December 2010. Ambush made its first voyage in January 2011 and is currently undergoing testing and commissioning at the shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbaria. The initial dive test of the Ambush was completed in September 2011. The Ambush is expected to be commissioned by 2013.
The keel of HMS Artful was laid in March 2005 and is expected to be commissioned by 2015.
In May 2007, the UK MoD awarded BAE Systems a contract to build a fourth Astute Class submarine, HMS Audacious (S122), to enter service in 2018. The keel of Audacious was laid in March 2009.
The fifth and sixth Astute class submarines, HMS Anson (S123) and HMS Agamemnon (S124), were ordered in March 2010 and are expected to be commissioned in 2020 and 2022 respectively.
The seventh, HMS Ajax (S125) has been confirmed but the order is yet to be placed.

Command and control systems on the SSN Astute Class subs

The Astute combat management system (ACMS) is being supplied by BAE Systems Insyte (formerly Alenia Marconi Systems) and
is a development of the submarine command system (SMCS) currently in service in all classes of UK submarines.
ACMS receives data from the sonars and other sensors and, through advanced algorithms and data handling, displays real time images on the command consoles. Factory acceptance of the operational software was received from the Astute Prime Contract Office in July 2002.
EADS Defence & Security Systems and EADS Hagenuk Marinekommunikation were awarded the contract to provide the external communications systems for the Astute in August 2005.
Strachan and Henshaw are to provide the weapon handling and launch system (WHLS).
Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine was selected in March 2008 to provide the platform management system for the fourth of class, HMS Audacious.

Astute Class Tomahawk missiles

The Astute is equipped with the Tomahawk Block IV (tactical tomahawk) cruise missile from Raytheon, fired from the 533mm torpedo tubes.
Tomahawk is equipped with the TERCOM terrain contour mapping-assisted inertial navigation system. The terrain contour mapping for use over land combines onboard radar altimeter measurements with terrain mapping data installed in the missile. Block II added digital scene matching area correlation (DSMAC) guidance.
Block III improvements include an improved propulsion system and Navstar global positioning system (GPS) guidance capability. The GPS provides location and velocity data of the missile for precision targeting.
Tomahawk has a range of up to 1,000 miles and a maximum velocity of 550mph. Block IV includes a two-way satellite link that allows reprogramming of the missile in flight and transmission of battle damage indication (BDI) imagery.
Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) Block IV entered service with the UK Royal Navy in April 2008, onboard Trafalgar batch I submarine, HMS Torbay.

Torpedoes used on the nuclear-powered attack submarine

Astute has six 533mm torpedo tubes, and is equipped with Spearfish torpedoes and mines. There is capacity for a total of 36 torpedoes and missiles.
The Spearfish torpedo from BAE Systems is wire-guided with an active / passive homing head. The range is 65km at 60kt. Spearfish is fitted with a directed-energy warhead.

Countermeasure technology

The countermeasures suite includes decoys and electronic support measures (ESM). The ESM system is the Thales Sensors Outfit UAP(4). Outfit UAP(4) has two multifunction antenna arrays which are mounted on the two non-hull penetrating optronics masts from Thales (formerly Pilkington) Optronics and McTaggart Scott.
Astute Class submarines are fitted with the Royal Navy's new Eddystone Communications band Electronic Support Measures (CESM) system, also fitted to the Trafalgar Class submarines. The Eddystone system was developed by DML of Devonport UK, with Argon ST of the USA.
It provides advanced communications, signal intercept, recognition, direction-finding and monitoring capability. Sea trials of the system were completed in December 2007.


Astute is fitted with I-band navigation radars. The sonar is the Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) 2076 integrated passive / active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays. Sonar 2076 has so far been fitted to Trafalgar Class submarines Torbay, Trenchant and Talent, entering service in February 2003. Astute is fitted with the latest version of the Thales S2076 integrated sonar suite.
Atlas Hydrographic provided the DESO 25 high-precision echosounder, which are fitted on the Astute. DESO 25 is capable of precise depth measurements down to 10,000m.
Astute has two non-hull-penetrating CM010 optronic masts developed by Thales Optronics. McTaggart Scott supplied the masts. The CM010 mast includes thermal imaging, low light TV and colour CCD TV sensors.
Raytheon Systems was contracted to provide the Successor IFF (identification friend or foe) naval transponder system for the Astute class.

Propulsion, power and speed

The nuclear power is provided by the Rolls-Royce PWR 2 pressurised water reactor.
"The Royal Navy's Astute Class submarine is a nuclear-powered attack submarine which will replace five Swiftsure Class submarines."
The long-life core fitted on the PWR 2 means that refuelling will not be necessary in the service life of the submarine.
The other main items of machinery are two Alstom turbines and a single shaft with a Rolls-Royce pump jet propulsor, consisting of moving rotor blades within a fixed duct.
There are two diesel alternators, one emergency drive motor and one auxiliary retractable propeller. CAE Electronics provided the digital, integrated controls and instrumentation system for steering, diving, depth control and platform management.
The PWR 2 second-generation nuclear reactor was developed for the Vanguard Class Trident submarines. Current generations of PWR would allow submarines to circumnavigate the world about 20 times, whereas the latest development of PWR would allow circumnavigation 40 times without refuelling.
The major equipment components in the development of PWR 2 were the reactor pressure vessels from Babcock Energy, main coolant pumps from GEC and from Weir, and protection and control instrumentation from Siemens Plessey and Thorn Automation.


Operation SamsonIsrael's Deployment of Nuclear Missiles on Subs from Germany

Photo Gallery: Germany Supplies Israel with Nuclear-Capable Subs

Part 3: First Submarines Are Secretly Assembled in England

A country that has the bomb is also likely to search for a safe place to store it and a safe launching platform -- a submarine, for example.

In the 1970s, Brandt and Schmidt were the first German chancellors to be confronted with the Israelis' determination to obtain submarines. Three vessels were to be built in Great Britain, using plans drawn up by the German company Industriekontor Lübeck (IKL).

But an export permit was needed to send the documents out of the country. To get around this, IKL agreed with the German Defense Ministry that the drawings would be completed on the letterhead of a British shipyard and flown on a British plane to the British town of Barrow-in-Furness, where the submarines were assembled.

Assuring Israel's security was no longer the only objective of the German-Israeli arms cooperation, which had since become a lucrative business for West German industry. In 1977, the last of the first three submarines arrived in Haifa. At the time, nobody was thinking about nuclear second-strike capability. It was not until the early 1980s, when more and more Israeli officers were returning from US military academies and raving about American submarines, that a discussion began about modernizing the Israeli navy -- and about the nuclear option.

A power struggle was raging in the Israeli military at the time. Two planning teams were developing different strategies for the country's navy. One group advocated new, larger Sa'ar 4 missile boats, while the other group wanted Israel to buy submarines instead. Israel was "a small island, where 97 percent of all goods arrive via water," said Ami Ayalon, the deputy commander of the navy at the time, who would later become head of the Israeli domestic intelligence agency, Shin Bet.

Strategic Depth

Even then it was becoming apparent, according to Ayalon, "that in the Middle East things were heading toward nuclear weapons," especially in Iraq. The fact that the Arab states were seriously interested in building the bomb changed Israel's defense doctrine, he says. "A submarine can be used as a tactical weapon for various missions, but at the center of our discussions in the 1980s was the question of whether the navy was to receive an additional task known as strategic depth," says Ayalon. "Purchasing the submarines was the country's most important strategic decision."

Strategic depth. Or nuclear second-strike capability.

At the end of the debate, the navy specified as its requirement nine corvettes and three submarines. It was "a megalomaniacal demand," as Ayalon, who would later rise to become commander-in-chief of the navy, admits today. But the navy's strategists had hopes of a budgetary miracle.
Alternatively, they were hoping for a rich beneficiary who would be willing to give Israel a few submarines.


The two men who finally catapulted Israel into the circle of modern submarine powers were Helmut Kohl and Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin's father had fought in World War II as a volunteer in the Jewish Legion of the British army, and Rabin himself led the Israeli army to victory, as its chief of staff, in the 1967 Six-Day War. In 1984, having served one term as prime minister in the mid-1960s, he moved to the cabinet, becoming the defense minister.

Rabin knew that the German government in Bonn had introduced new "political principles" for arms exports in 1982. According to the new policy, arms shipments could "not contribute to an increase in existing tensions." This malleable wording made possible the delivery of submarines to Israel, especially in combination with a famous remark once made by former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher: "Anything that floats is OK" -- because governments generally do not use boats to oppress demonstrators or opposition forces.

After World War II, the Allies had initially forbidden Germany from building large submarines. As a result, the chief supplier to the German navy, Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW), located in the northern port city of Kiel, had shifted its focus to small, maneuverable boats that could also operate in the Baltic and North Seas. The Israelis were interested in ships that could navigate in similarly shallow waters, such as those along the Lebanese coast, where they have to be able to lie at periscope depth, listen in on radio communications and compare the sounds of ship's propellers with an onboard database. The Israelis obtained bids from the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, but "the German boats were the best," says an Israeli who was involved in the decision.
A few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the German government, practically unnoticed by the general public, gave the green light for the construction of two "Dolphin"-class submarines, with an option for a third vessel.

But the strategic deal of the century almost fell through. Although the Germans had agreed to pay part of the costs, this explicitly excluded the weapons systems -- the Americans were supposed to also pay a share. But in the meantime, the Israelis had voted a new government into office that was bitterly divided over the investments.

'An Inconceivable Scenario'

In particular Moshe Arens, who was appointed defense minister in 1990, fought to stop the agreement -- with success. On Nov. 30, 1990, the Israelis notified the shipyard in Kiel that it wished to withdraw from the contract.

Was the dream of nuclear second-strike capability lost? By no means.

In January 1991, the US air force attacked Iraq, and then Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein reacted by firing modified Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa. The bombardment lasted almost six weeks. Gas masks, some of which came from Germany, were distributed to households. "It was an inconceivable scenario," recalls Ehud Barak, the current Israeli defense minister. During those days, Jewish immigrants from Russia arrived, "and we had to hand them gas masks at the airport to protect them against rockets that the Iraqis had built with the help of the Russians and the Germans."

A few days after the Scud missile bombardment began, a German military official requested a meeting at the Chancellery, presented a secret report and emptied the contents of a bag onto a table. He spread out dozens of electronic parts, components of a control system and the percussion fuse of the modified Scud missiles. They had one thing in common: They were made in Germany. Without German technology there would have been no Scuds, and without Scuds no dead Israelis.

Once again, Germany bore some of the responsibility, and that was also the message that Hanan Alon, a senior Israeli Defense Ministry official, brought to Kohl during a visit to Bonn shortly after the war began. "It would be unpleasant if it came out, through the media, that Germany helped Iraq to make poison gas, and then supplied us with the equipment against it, Mr. Chancellor," Alon said. According to Israeli officials, Alon also issued an open threat, saying: "You are certainly aware that the words gas and Germany don't sound very good together."