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Submarine Launched Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

RSM - 40 "Vysota"

NATO Designation SS-N-8 "Sawfly"

The RSM-40 "Vysota" (SS-N-8 "Sawfly") submarine launched intercontinental ballistic missile

Model RSM-40 (R-29) RSM-40 (R-29-U)
Entered service in 1974 1978
Range 7 800 km 9 100 km
Weight 33 t 30 t
Weight of warhead 1 100 kg
Type of warhead nuclear, single 0.6 - 1.5 MT
Guidance inertial with astrocorrection
Number of stages 2
Length 13 m 14 m
Diameter 1.8 m 1.8 m
Carried by "Murena" ("Delta I") "Murena-M" ("Delta II)"
   The RSM-40 "Vysota" is a submarine launched intercontinental ballistic missile complex based around the R-29 missile. Development of this missile was approved on 28 September 1964. Missile is deployed on the "Murena" class submarines since 1973. It is also known as SS-N-8 "Sawfly" with NATO countries. 

   It is a double-stage missile powered by a liquid-propellant. The RSM-40 carries a single nuclear warhead. Missile also carries defense countermeasures. It was the first Soviet submarine launched intercontinental ballistic missile using a digital computer and inertial guidance with astrocorrection for improved accuracy.

   The first ground-based launch was made in 1969. The first sea launch - in 1971. The first "Murena" class submarine with the RSM-40 missiles onboard was detected by US intelligence in August 1972. Initial operational capability was reached in 1973 and in 1974 eighteen "Murena" class ("Delta I") submarines with the RSM-40 missiles were operational.

   Overall there were developed three modifications of the RSM-40 including the basic R-29 missile. It's improved variant with extended range is the R-29D. One more variant is the R-29U featuring very similar characteristics with the R-29D. The last mentioned R-29D became operational in 1978 and was intended for the "Murena-M" submarines, carrying 16 missiles instead of 12 missiles, carried by "Murena's". Later all "Murena" class submarines were reequipped with improved missiles.The "Murena" submarine, carrying 12 RSM-40 (SS-N-8 "Sawfly") intercontinental ballistic missiles

   Missiles long range of fire allowed submarine to avoid passing through the US sonar barriers as they could launch missiles from the distance close to their bases. The RSM-40 are launched from the submerged submarine with an interval in 7 seconds. Submarine's normal preparation to launch missiles time is 15 minutes, while under conditions of alert this time is only one minute. Missiles are fired from submerged or moored at it's base submarine.

  In 1991 Russia operated 4 "Murena-M" submarines with 64 RSM-40 missiles and 9 "Murena" submarines with 108 RSM-40 in the Northern fleet and 9 "Murena's" with 108 similar missiles in the Pacific fleet. These were operational submarines not including reserve units. Furthermore there are no data about RSM-40 missiles operational with the Baltic and Black See fleet.


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