This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Missile

ICBM-Derived LVs
ICBM-Derived LVs
The range of launch vehicles derived from decommissioned ballistic missiles offered for sale by Russia after the cold war.

Credit: Mark Wade. 41,348 bytes. 640 x 444 pixels.

Comments: Military missiles were the main impetus for the development of rocketry. Some missiles have never been adapted as space launchers.
Launch Vehicle: Dragon. RCA proposed to NDRC design and developoment of rocket-propelled, radio-controlled aerial torpedo with TV nose, which was given code name "Dragon." The National Bureau of Standards was assigned the task of developing a suitable airframe.

Launch Vehicle: Pelican. Navy Engineering Experiment Station Annapolis completed development of rocket engine for Pelican radio-controlled pilotless aircraft (never used operationally).

Launch Vehicle: Corporal. At request of Army Ordnance, Cal Tech's rocket laboratory developed the first US long-range missiles. Project ORDCIT resulted in development of the Private A and Corporal missiles.

Launch Vehicle: Private.

At request of Army Ordnance, Cal Tech's rocket laboratory developed the first US long-range missiles. Project ORDCIT resulted in development of the Private A and Corporal missiles. At Camp Irwin, Calif., 24 Private A rockets were launched by JPL, only 11 months after the start of Project ORDCIT. This rocket technology that led to later operational Corporal and Sergeant missiles.

Launch Vehicle: Matador. Glenn L. Martin Co. surface-to-surface cruise missile (Matador / Project MX-771).

Launch Vehicle: Rascal. Bell Aircraft Corp / AAF / Project MX-776 was for a 100-mile guided missile (later designated the Rascal).

Launch Vehicle: Honest John. US Army missile from Douglas Aircraft.

Launch Vehicle: Lark. Lark missile.

Launch Vehicle: Polaris. Navy Special Projects Office authorized Lockheed to proceed with Polaris SLBM development, having withdrawn from the Jupiter program earlier.

Launch Vehicle: Snark. USAF Northrop Snark intercontinental subsonic cruise missile.

Launch Vehicle: Bomarc. Bomarc Mach 3 ramjet surface to air missile later converted to target missiles and launched from Vandenberg AFB.

Launch Vehicle: 8K79.

From 1960 to 1961 Korolev's design bureau worked on this single stage military rocket. The 25 tonne missile could hurl an 800 kg warhead over a 2300 km range. It was powered by a single-chamber engine using AK-270/TM-185 storable propellants. The rocket featured automatic guidance, instantaneous launch capability, and was air-transportable. Both mobile and fixed versions were designed, and the small missile was easy to camouflage. Korolev completed work in September 1961. A competing missile was selected for the requirement.

Launch Vehicle: Pershing. US Army tactical missile.

Launch Vehicle: Polaris A-1.

Launch Vehicle: Polaris A-2. Advanced Polaris (A-2) SLBM.

Launch Vehicle: Al-Zahar.

United Arab Republic neither confirmed nor denied reports of November 8 that it had successfully launched its first rocket. Dr. Eugen Saenger of the Stuttgart Jet Propulsion Institute in Germany denied any connection with the United Arab Republic program as charged by Israel.

Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 1A. US ICBM.

Launch Vehicle: Nike-Zeus. First anti-ballistic missile tested by US. Protoypes were deployed operationally from the mid-Pacific test base as nuclear-tipped ASAT missiles.

Launch Vehicle: Poseidon C3.

Launch Vehicle: RT-1.

The RT-1 was an experimental solid propellant ballistic missile. A decree of 20 November 1959 authorised Korolev to begin development of the three stage rocket, which was to have a range of 800 to 2500 km and a lift-off mass of 35 tonnes. Soviet solid rocket motor technology of the time meant that each stage of the vehicle was composed of bundles of four 800 mm diameter solid rocket motors of varying lengths. The rocket was launched from a tube and arced over to a forty-five degree angle as soon as it cleared the launch tube. Air vanes provided steering for the second stage. First flight was on 28 April 1962. Work was completed at the end of 1965

Launch Vehicle: RT-2.

Development of the RT-2 ICBM was authorised by a decree of 4 April 1961 in parallel with the RT-1. Korolev completed the draft project in March 1963. The modular design had three stages, each with three nozzles. The first stage had a thrust of 88 tonnes; the second 33 tonnes; and the third 14 tonnes. Three missiles could be derived from these stages, using a common guidance system. The 8K96 IRBM used stages 2 and 3; it was not put into production. The 8K97 IRBM used stages 1 and 3; this went into service in 1968. The 8K98 ICBM used all three stages and was deployed in limited numbers for over twenty years.

Launch Vehicle: SS-14.

Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 2. US ICBM.

Launch Vehicle: Poseidon C4.

Launch Vehicle: R-13.

Launch Vehicle: R-29R.

Launch Vehicle: Minuteman 3. US ICBM.

Launch Vehicle: Poseidon D5.

Launch Vehicle: Alfa.

Italy briefly flirted with the creation of an independent nuclear deterrent in the late 1960's. The Alfa project for an indigenous Italian submarine- and ship-launched ballistic missile was begun in 1971. Three Alfa test missiles with inert second stages were successfully launched in 1975-1976 from Salto di Quirra in Sardinia. The programme was abandoned at this stage, when Italy and its neighbours ratified the nuclear proliferation treaty.

Launch Vehicle: SS-20.

Launch Vehicle: SS-25.

Launch Vehicle: Trident.

Launch Vehicle: MR-UR-100.

The Yangel MR-UR-100 was designed as a replacement for Chelomei's UR-100 at the end of its 10 year storage life. Although it could be installed in the same silos, it was 50% heavier. The competing design of Chelomei, the UR-100N, was also put into production when the Soviet hierarchy deadlocked and could not pick one design over the other.

Launch Vehicle: Burlak.

Burlak air-launched satellite launcher was proposed in 1992 and studied by Germany in 1992-1994. Evidently based on secret anti-satellite missile. Air launched from Tu-160 bomber, released at 13,500 m altitude and Mach 1.7. Development estimated to cost only DM 50 million, but not proceeded with. Burlak/Diana variant would have been launched from Concorde.

Launch Vehicle: Start. Launch vehicle based on decommissioned SS-25 ICBM's (differs from ICBM/basic Start-1 in having second stage used twice, in tandem, for increased payload). Launched from mobile transporter. Liftoff mass 60 tonnes.

Launch Vehicle: Start-1. Launch vehicle based on decommissioned ICBM's. Launched from mobile transporter. Liftoff mass 47 tonnes.

Launch Vehicle: Shahab 4.

It has been claimed by Ali Shamkharni, the Iranian Minister of Defence, that the Iranian Shahab-4 missile will be used as a satellite launcher. Demonstrating missile prowess by orbiting a satellite has been a traditional method for states to announce their entry into the nuclear-capable club.

The Shahab 4, according to Israeli sources, will consist of two storable propellant liquid propellant stages. The first stage will be based on 1950's-era Russian R-12 IRBM technology. The second stage will be based on R-17 (Scud) technology acquired by Iran via North Korea. Such a launch vehicle would require a small solid rocket motor kick stage to orbit a minimum (under 100 kg) satellite.

In February 1997 Israel provided US intelligence agencies with a copy of a $7 million contract between NPO Trud and the Iran for equipment related to the R-12. Other Russian contributions included wind tunnel, software, and mathematical modelling services from TsAGI, Polyus for laser gyro systems, and development of a solid-fuel capability. Chinese Great Wall Industries is providing Iran with telemetry equipment.

In August 1998, Iranian television showed what appeared to be a mock-up of a clam-shell nosecone with a small satellite inside and a model of a space launch vehicle with a bulbous payload section, apparently based upon the Shahab 3 joint North Korean/Iranian IRBM.

As of January 2000, the Shahab-4, if still an active project, had not entered flight test stage.

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Last update 3 May 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .