Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Leviathans stir

Leviathans stir from the depths...of the shipyard.

What purports to be Project 885 Severodvinsk K-329 gets underway from Sevmash for sea trials on 23 October 2011. More pics here

The day before, what purports to be Project 985 Borey-class Aleksandr Nevsky K-550 gets underway for the first time. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Way down in the hole.

The Strategic Rocket Forces must be on some sort of PR blitz, since one of the bloggers that visited the Strategic Rocket Forces HQ in Vlasikha (highlighted in the previous post) also visited the 28th Guards Missile Division in Kozelzk, armed with the SS-19 ICBM. Some highlights:
The SRF - Guaranteeing the peace and security of Russia!
Quick check of the barracks. Yup, being a conscript still kinda sucks.
Let's eat! "A satiated soldier is the Motherland's shield!"
Not the worst chow hall I've seen.
I wonder if that's a kosher dog.
Hope the bloggers brought gift bags for the lunch ladies!
So where in the 168th Missile Regiment are we going?
Time to get in the truck and go...somewhere.
Fortunately the truck has a combined GLONASS/GPS unit so we are TWICE as likely to find the right hole!
We're on a road to nowhere...
I see fence line...must be close.
This little building is connected to the guard shack by an underground passage.
The guard shack.
A close up of the device, described by the blogger as as a "firing point", on top of the guard shack.

Finally, the hole!

Good shot to get an idea just how big the silo cover is. 

I'm pretty sure there isn't any ICBM, or first stage of an ICBM, in this silo...

....but let's go down and find out.

Wait a second...THAT guy is going to hold ME if I slip and fall? Yeah, right!

Watch your step getting on the elevator.

What is the proper elevator etiquette in a lift this small?

"The launch canister containing the missile in the the silo launcher is secured with a highly effective mitigation system which provides additional protection to the missile against the destructive effects of a nuclear explosion."

Well, now I'm down here and I'm really, really sure there isn't a missile in here.

It's a long way up...'bout 30 meters

What do you mean we have to climb the ladder?!?
Let's look at some of the division's special vehicles. Standing in front of what one of the bloggers speculates to be two types of emplacement equipment, one for the missile and one for the front section.
One of the two emplacers that are in the garage. Although the escorts didn't say why there were two different types, one of the bloggers speculates that this emplacer is used to extract the front section of the missile containing the things that go "boom" and places it into the warhead transport vehicle.

Front view of the first emplacer.
One blogger speculates that the middle vehicle under canvas is a front section transport van. 
The front section and canister emplacers together.

Taken from here, here, and here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"But they'll see the big board!"

Apparently the Russian Ministry of Defense Press Club and Strategic Rocket Forces press secretary Vadim Anatolyevich Koval invited a bunch of Russian bloggers into the holiest of holies - the Strategic Rocket Forces Central Command Post and Strategic Rocket Forces Museum (Open 1000-1700 daily, appointments only) in Vlasikha (Odintsevo-10), just outside of Moscow. Let's take a look:

You see all sorts of strange playground equipment in Russia, but this is one of the strangest. 

SS-2 combustion chamber

SS-9 mod 3 ICBM instrumentation section

Instrument section of the SS-17 ICBM

Good view of the gyro mounted in the SS-17 instrument section.

SS-20 Pioneer warhead (15F542)

Interesting how it appears from the museum exhibit that the missile shelters were originally designed to look like a farm house, or how the missiles were designed to be hidden in ordinary tractor trailers.
"Honey? Did you leave the garage open again? You know those kids will get in and steal the truck again!"
You can hide a silo in your uncle's barn, too. 
Interesting re-entry vehicle configuration here. Four go up, four go down.

The very welcoming front gate to the command post.
"Time to make the doughnuts. Or blow up the Americans. One of the two."

The outer door of the command post.

And some sort of inner door. It's like Get Smart or something.

Six diesel generators provide back up power.

And those diesel generators and electrical power in general is controlled from here. 

Apparently, this is mural is the only item allowed to be photographed in the main hall of the Vlasikha command post. I am reliably informed that the main hall is big, and has lots of buttons and phones.

Taken from here, here, here, here, and here.