|A-235 PL-19 Nudol|
|Place of origin||Russian Federation|
|Used by||See Users|
A-235 PL-19 Nudol (Russian: Система А-235 / РТЦ-181М RTTs-181M / Нудоль) is a Russian anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weapon system in development. It is designed to deflect a nuclear attack on Moscow and important industrial regions. The main developer of the system is JSC Concern VKO Almaz-Antey. The new system should replace the current one — A-135. The two main differences will be that the A-235 will use conventional warheads and it will be mobile.
Missile defense system A-235 will be using the Don-2N radar and the range radar Don 2NP / 5N20P with updated software and hardware; the guidance system of the A-235 complex will be similar to the existing system A-135. The A-235, when deployed, could be equipped with a nuclear warhead which would greatly increase its ability to kill incoming warheads. The yield on which it would be deployed is not yet known. According to reports in early 2018, the system will not be equipped with nuclear warheads. According to Russian sources, the system will be deployed at points surrounding Moscow by the end of 2018.
The anti-ballistic missile systems are located at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, at the ex-launch site of the Tsyklon-2 rocket. The new PRS-1M (45T6) is a modernized variant of the PRS-1 (53T6 Gazelle) and can use nuclear or conventional warheads. It can hit targets at ranges of 350 km and altitudes of 50 km.
The A-235 will have missiles capable of operating at three different ranges: long-range, based on the 51T6 and capable of destroying targets at distances up to 1500 km (930 miles), at altitudes up to 800,000 m; medium-range, an update of the 58R6, designed to hit targets at distances up to 1000 km (620 miles), at altitudes up to 120,000 m; and short-range (the 53T6M or 45T6 (based on the 53T6)), with an operating range of 350 km (215 miles) and a flight ceiling of 40,000-50,000 m. The long-range missiles will most likely be equipped with nuclear warheads, while the others will have kinetic energy warheads. Testing of new missiles for the A-235 Samolyot-M system began in August 2014.
Initially, the A-235 missile defense system was planned to have three-echelons: long-range echelon with the A-925 missile, the middle echelon was the 58R6 firing complex, and the short-range flight was the PRS-1M missiles (the result of the upgrade of the PRS-1 missiles). In the modified A-235 anti-missile and anti-space defense system, it is planned to use two-stage anti-missiles with high-explosive and nuclear warheads, providing it with the ability to shoot down hypersonic attack weapons, hypersonic orbital platforms, ballistic missiles, and their combat units, as well as satellites in near space.
On 4 June 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense posted a video showing the successful interception of the test target which was a test of a new anti-ballistic missile system in the form of a long-range surface to air missile. Though the nature of the air defense system which was being tested was not mentioned it has been widely speculated to have been a test of the S-500 Prometheus long-range surface to air missile system which entered early production earlier in the year. However, it also could have been the test of the A-235 anti-ballistic missile system which tests have been conducted on since 2014.
The task of developing a modernized version of the A-135 missile defense system was set out in Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 585-119 dated 7 June 1978: "On the construction of the A-135 system." The system was designed by the Research Institute of Radio Instrument Engineering (NIIRP) of the Vimpel Central Scientific Industrial Association from 1986. Its general designer was A. G. Bassist (until 1998); its chief designer was B. P. Vinogradov (after the death of A. G. Basistov in 1998, B. P. Vinogradov replaced him as the general designer of the NIIRP).
By the Decree of the Council of Ministers of the USSR No. 661-202 15 July 1985, NIIRP, as a subdivision of Vympel, became the leading enterprise of Russia in the multi-echelon ABM system as a whole, in the ground ABM system and the information system for the ABM system. The first draft design of the ABM A-235 system was probably protected in 1985–1986. The Soviet government signed the state contract No. 406/1591 31 January 1991 with the NIIRP to modernize the missile defense system, work to expand the combat capabilities of the A-135 system in terms of increasing the distant border of the affected area, increasing the maneuverability of the missile, and equipping new missiles to the combat unit (all together known as the OCD "Samolet-M").
The name of the technical rocket complex of the modernized missile defense system of Moscow was RTTs-181M. Under the state contract, the readiness period of the upgraded version was set for 2015. According to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin No. 163 dated 17 February 1995, the NIIRP was determined as the head enterprise for the modernization and improvement of the Moscow PRO system - the RTC-181 system - and the creation of the RTC-181M system. In 2011, the concern Almaz-Antey developed the working design documentation for the shooting complex 14TS033, the working design documentation for the first stage of the complex 14LS031 radar and the design of functional software.
In 2012, the concern Almaz-Antey held an autonomous preliminary test of the components of the complex 14TS033. Experimental and combat training tests of the A-235 were planned to be held in 2013. At that time, experts did not point out any fundamental differences between the A-235 and the A-135 missile defense system. According to foreign media reports, on 18 November 2015, the first successful launch of the Nudol missile and the third launch in the missile test program took place. Presumably, the deployment site of the A-235 missile defense system will be the former base area of the A-135 missile defense system near Moscow. According to the plan, the complex will have the capabilities to intercept the warheads of ballistic missiles, as well as spacecraft. In May 2016, system elements were tested as part of the exercises of the Military Space Forces of the Russian Federation.
As the military expert, reserve colonel M. Hodarenok notes: "The A-235 will be a classic version of the missile defense system. A very well-informed source in the MIC [Military-Industrial Complex of Russia] personally told me about the system: 'The work is being done, and very successfully.'" Also, according to the expert, due to the secrecy of the project, accurate information on the A-235 system is currently not available, but it can be hypothetically assumed that the following three principles are taken into account in the tactical and technical task: first, the system must be capable of non-nuclear interception, since the earlier anti-missile projects were equipped with a nuclear warhead, which significantly narrowed the scope of their possible use, moreover, the use of anti-missiles with special charges Eski meant the beginning of nuclear war and eliminates the use within the limited armed conflict and other situations of this kind; secondly, the system must be mobile, without a rigid binding to any object or center; thirdly, it must provide interception at an altitude of at least 500–750 km, that is, at Low Earth orbit.
Russia has repeatedly flight-tested a so-called direct ascent weapon, the PL-19 Nudol ballistic missile, which could strike objects in orbit, although it hasn’t conducted a live attack on an orbiting satellite.