NATO Designation SS-N-8 "Sawfly"
|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
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.
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.