A-135 anti-ballistic missile system

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51T6 (ABM-4 Gorgon)
ABM Pushkino.jpg
DIA drawing of an SH-08/ABM-3A GAZELLE 53T6 missile launching with Don-2 phased array radar in background
Type Anti-ballistic missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1995–present
Used by Russia
Production history
Designer NPO Novator Design Bureau
Designed 1978
Produced 1988
No. built 68
Mass 33,000-45,000kg (73,000-100,000lb)
Length 19.8 m[1]
Diameter 2.57m[2][1]
Blast yield Nuclear warhead equivalent to 10 kilotons of TNT

Engine 2-stage solid fuel
Flight ceiling 350-900km
Speed Mach 7 (8,575 km/h; 5,328 mph; 2.3820 km/s)
silo, launcher(?)[3][2]
A map of the Moscow A-135 ABM system. The operational missiles are close to the city and the non-operational ones are on the edge of the region.
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 anti-ballistic missile system
A-135 ABM system in Moscow Oblast. The black missiles are operational 53T6s, the unfilled missiles are non-operational 51T6s and the dish is the Don-2N radar in Sofrino, which also has a 53T6 complex co-located with it[4]

The A-135 (NATO: ABM-3 Gorgon) anti-ballistic missile system is a Russian military complex deployed around Moscow to counter enemy missiles targeting the city or its surrounding areas. It is a successor to the previous A-35, and complies with the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

The A-135 system attained "alert" (operational) status on February 17, 1995. It is operational although its 51T6 (NATO reporting name: SH-11) component was deactivated in February 2007. A newer missile (PRS-1M)[5] is expected to replace it. There is an operational test version of the system at the test site in Sary Shagan, Kazakhstan.

The system is operated by the 9th Division of Anti-Missile Defence, part of the Air Defence and Missile Defence Command of the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[6][7]


A-135 anti-ballistic missile system is located in Russia
A-135 Early Warning Radars
ABM missile silo under snow, transporter for 53Т6 missile in background
Transporter for 51Т6 missile
Don-2N ("Pill Box") ABM radar

A-135 consists of the Don-2N battle management radar and two types of ABM missiles. It gets its data from the wider Russian early warning system which is sent to the command centre which then forwards tracking data to the Don-2N radar.[4]

  • The Don-2N radar (NATO: "Pill Box") is a large battle-management phased array radar with 360° coverage.[8][9] Tests were undertaken at the prototype Don-2NP in Sary Shagan in 2007 to upgrade its software.[9][10]
  • 68 launchers of short-range 53T6 (NATO: SH-08 "Gazelle") endoatmospheric interceptor nuclear-tipped missiles at five launch sites with 12 or 16 missiles each. Designed by [[NPO Novator]. These are tested roughly annually at the Sary Shagan test site.[11]
Location[12] Coordinates [4] Number [4][12] Details
Sofrino 56°10′51.97″N 37°47′16.81″E / 56.1811028°N 37.7880028°E / 56.1811028; 37.7880028 12 Co-located with the Don-2N radar
Lytkarino 55°34′39.04″N 37°46′17.67″E / 55.5775111°N 37.7715750°E / 55.5775111; 37.7715750 16
Korolev 55°52′41.09″N 37°53′36.50″E / 55.8780806°N 37.8934722°E / 55.8780806; 37.8934722 12
Skhodnya 55°54′04.11″N 37°18′28.30″E / 55.9011417°N 37.3078611°E / 55.9011417; 37.3078611 16
Vnukovo 55°37′32.45″N 37°23′22.41″E / 55.6256806°N 37.3895583°E / 55.6256806; 37.3895583 12
  • Currently decommissioned 16 launchers of long-range 51T6 (NATO: SH-11 "Gorgon") exoatmospheric interceptor nuclear-tipped missiles at two launch sites with 8 missiles each.[4]
Location[12] Coordinates [4] Number [4][12] Details
Sergiyev Posad-15 56°14′33.01″N 38°34′27.29″E / 56.2425028°N 38.5742472°E / 56.2425028; 38.5742472 8 Site was also used in the A-35 system
Naro-Fominsk-10 55°21′01.16″N 36°28′59.60″E / 55.3503222°N 36.4832222°E / 55.3503222; 36.4832222 8 Site was also used in the A-35 system

A memo from the archives of Vitalii Leonidovich Kataev, written around 1985, had envisaged that the system "will be completed in 1987 to provide protection from a strike of 1–2 modern and prospective ICBMs and up to 35 Pershing 2-type intermediate-range missiles".[13]

2017 successful tests of the interceptor 53T6. Target speed 7 kilometers per second (53T6 speed 3[14]), acceleration overload – 100 G, preload maneuvering – 210 G.[15]

Russian Early Warning System

The wider early warning system consists of:[12]


The successor system, dubbed 'Samolet-M' (and more recently A-235) supposedly will employ a new, conventional, variant of the 53T6 missile to be deployed in the former 51T6 silos.[16][17][18] The new PRS-1M is a modernized variant of the PRS-1 (53T6) and can use nuclear or conventional warheads. It can hit targets at ranges of 350 km and altitudes of 50 km.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Encyclopedia Astronautica Index: 1". www.astronautix.com. Archived from the original on 2015-09-16. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  2. ^ a b c "Система А-135 ракета 51Т6 - ABM-4 GORGON - MilitaryRussia.Ru — отечественная военная техника (после 1945г.)". militaryrussia.ru. Archived from the original on 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2015-11-10.
  3. ^ Sean, O'Connor, (12 December 2009). "Russian/Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems". Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g O'Connor, Sean (2012). "Russian/Soviet Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems". Air Power Australia. Archived from the original on 2016-09-23. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  5. ^ "Russia tests anti-ballistic missile meant to protect Moscow from nukes (VIDEO)". Archived from the original on 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  6. ^ "Air space defence troops". BE: Warfare. Archived from the original on 31 March 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2012.
  7. ^ Stukalin, Alexander (May 2012). "Russian Air and Space Defense Troops: Gaping Holes". Moscow Defense Brief. Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (2). Archived from the original on 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
  8. ^ "Don-2NP Pill Box". Global Security. Archived from the original on 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-06-12.
  9. ^ a b "Russia is modernizing the Don-2N radar". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. 2007-12-29. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2012-02-01.
  10. ^ Bukharin, Oleg; Kadyshev, Timur; Miasnikov, Eugene; Podvig, Pavel; Sutyagin, Igor; Tarashenko, Maxim; Zhelezov, Boris (2001). Podvig, Pavel (ed.). Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-16202-4.
  11. ^ "Test of a missile defense interceptor". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. 2011-12-20. Archived from the original on 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  12. ^ a b c d e Podvig, Pavel (2012-01-30). "Early Warning". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Archived from the original on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  13. ^ Podvig, Pavel (23 October 2012). "Very modest expectations: Performance of Moscow missile defense". Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Эксперты рассказали о возможностях новой российской ракеты ПРО". 24 November 2017. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Обнародовано видео испытаний новой российской противоракеты". 24 November 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  16. ^ Honkova, Jana (April 2013). "Current Developments in Russia's Ballistic Missile Defense" (PDF). George C. Marshall Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  17. ^ "A-235 Samolet-M". George C. Marshall Institute. n.d. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  18. ^ Russia Revamps Missile Defenses Around Moscow Archived 2014-07-24 at the Wayback Machine MOSCOW, September 17, 2012 (RIA Novosti)
  19. ^ @DFRLab (1 December 2017). "#PutinAtWar: New Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile". Archived from the original on 5 March 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.

External links

  • "Test launch", Function (video) (in Russian), RU, 2011.
  • "DON-2N photos", Military legacy of the USSR, English Russia, 2012-12-29.
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