Strategic Weapons: The TEL That Hides Its Tracks

Archives

June 5, 2012: Russia announced that it had developed a new device that covered the tracks (from wheels) of its TELs (Transporter Elector Launchers) that carry ballistic missiles about the countryside, to make them more difficult to destroy (before they can be launched at an enemy). Russia is aware that the United States, and other nations, can use spy satellites (that pass over the operating area for the TELs every 90 minutes) to track these TELs and their missiles. The new device can also create false tire tracks to deceive satellite reconnaissance. The 17.4 meter (54 foot) long TEL for the 46 ton Russian RS-12/24 missiles is a 16 wheel vehicle, using a 710 horsepower diesel engine.

No details of this new deception device were released, which is to be expected. What is unusual is that the existence of the device was revealed. Usually, when the Russians come up with something like this, they keep its very existence secret. This was made quite obvious during the 1990s, when many Russian weapons and items of military equipment that had been kept secret during the Cold War (1947-91) were revealed. In the case of the new TEL device, it's possible that the announcement is itself a deception, to force the Americans to waste a lot of time and effort investigating a device that doesn't exist. The Russians have used that trick before.

The original Topol (RS-12M) was the first mobile ICBM and entered service in the late 1980s. It was also Russia's first solid fuel ICBM. Two years ago Russia announced that the latest version of the Topol series, the RS-24 (Yars), had entered service. The RS-24 appears to be a slightly heavier version of the 46 ton Topol-M (or RS-12M1/M2). The RS-24 will be deployed in silos as well as on wheeled vehicles. The RS-24 carried more warheads (up to ten) than the Topol-M. The Russians developed the RS-24 to enable them to use all the additional warheads to penetrate American missile defenses.

 

 


Article Archive

Strategic Weapons: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close