R-2 (missile)

The R-2 Short-range ballistic missile (NATO reporting name SS-2 Sibling, GRAU index 8Zh38) was developed based on the R-1 design. This was an improved version of the German V-2 rocket manufactured by the Soviet Union.

R-2
R-2 missile at Korolev City of Moscow region
TypeTheatre ballistic missile
Short-range ballistic missile
Place of originUSSR
Service history
Used bySoviet Union
Production history
ManufacturerYuzhmash and OKB-1
Specifications
Mass19,632 kg
Length17.70 m
Diameter1.65 m

EngineRD-101
Wingspan3.60 m
PropellantLOX / Alcohol
Operational
range
600–1,200 km (370–750 mi)[1]
Speed2175 m/s
Accuracy1.25 km

The R-1 was quickly followed by an evolutionary improvement, the R-2 (SS-2), which had a longer range and at least four major differences in design. The weight was increased by 50%, but the range was more than doubled, to 600 km (370 mi). R-2 had the following major differences from the R-1's (and hence from the V-2's) design:[2]

  • The warhead separated from the rocket prior to atmospheric reentry, eliminating the hull strength problem, one of the V-2/R-1's biggest weaknesses.
  • The propellant tank became the main load-bearing structure for the rocket, in contrast to the R-1's load-bearing hull. This reduced the overall weight of the spaceframe.
  • The control module was moved from above the propellant tank to below the LOx tank. This made pre-launch preparations easier. As the control module was now placed directly over the engine, vibrations were reduced by using steel instead of aluminium for the tailcone.
  • Radio command guidance was introduced to improve accuracy, giving the R-2 accuracy comparable to the R-1, in spite of its doubled range.

The first test flight of the R-2 took place in September 1949, and it was accepted for service in November 1951, actually entering service in large numbers around 1953. A grand total of 1,545 R-1 and R-2 missiles were produced.

The R-2 missile was the last Soviet missile based on German designs. While some German influences would clearly remain, Soviet missiles after the R-2 would be based on original designs by the OKB-1 group.

The R-2A geophysical rocket was developed for vertical sounding flights. It carried dogs, monkeys, hamsters, and various high-altitude physics experiments in its nose cone. Two pods performed atmospheric analysis and were ejected from the missile's side to avoid contamination by engine exhaust.

The R-2 design was exported to China, where it was built as the Dongfeng 1.

Operators

 Soviet Union

See also

References

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