[FPSPACE] UR-100 questions
Tue, 16 Jan 2001 15:57:40 +0100
The MR-UR-100 vs UR-100N was the famous case where two chief designers both
had so much clout with different portions of the Soviet leadership that
Brezhnev decided to put both competing missiles into production rather than
make a decision for one or the other..... The requirement was the same
(replacement of the UR-100 in existing siloes with a missile with 50% more
The other versions beyond the basic UR-100 reflected upgrades of the missile
introduced during the production run (adding pen-aids or MRV capability) or
replacement designs when its storage life had been exceeded (these missiles
were sealed units that had to be replaced after the rated storage life). It
is not clear to what extent these newer models were completely new or
partial rebuilds of the older ones (I would think that common detailed parts
would be inspected and reused).
The MR-UR-100 / UR-100N were the substantially different 'silo stuffer'
The reuse of the designation (which originated with Chelomei, it was not a
government requirement description) might also reflect the same wisdom
prevalent in the Pentagon - that a new weapon system is easier to sell to
the leadership if it is represented as an 'upgrade' to an existing system.
McNamara once said one of his big mistakes (at least in terms of
Congressional relations) was allowing the C-3 SLBM to be dubbed 'Poseidon'
instead of 'Polaris C-3'. As a fourth Polaris version, it would have been
much easier to sell than a 'new' missile. Good examples of the application
of this principle include Titan I vs Titan II, F/A-18A/C vs F/A-18E/F, R-36
vs R-36M. In each case a virtually new machine was represented as a
'modification' of existing hardware... with government approval being
obtained much more easily....