A-135 (system)

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A terminal phase ballistic missile defense system rather than a missile or other component of it, the Russian A-135 is a two-layer anti-ballistic missile defense for the Moscow area.[1] It uses the 51T6 for intercepts above the atmosphere,[2] and the 53t6 short-range missile inside the atmosphere.[3] These missiles are known, in the West, as the ABM-4 GORGON and ABM-3 GAZELLE.

This layering is similar to the earlier U.S. system consisting of the exoatmospheric Sentinel (missile) and short-range Sprint (missile).

Officially, the A-135 system remains operational, but it is really obsolete and could easily be overwhelmed by a U.S. strike. Under the ABM Treaty, a nation could protect its command center or a missile field; the USSR chose to protect Moscow. There may be matters of prestige and internal politics involved in not decommissioning the system.

Electronics

  • Don-2N Pill Box early warning radar, range 6000 km.
  • Hen House early warning radar, VHF band, range 6000 km.
  • Daryal early warning radar, range 5000 km.
  • Dunai early warning radar, VHF band.
  • Try Add target tracking radar, range 750 km.

Missiles

The GORGON uses nuclear warheads; the GAZELLE may use nuclear or conventional. The GORGON is, in principle, also a anti-satellite missile.

References

  1. , A-135, Encyclopedia Astronautica
  2. "Gorgon (SH-11/ABM-4)", Misslethreat.com from the Claremont Institute
  3. "Gazelle (SH-08/ABM-3)", Misslethreat.com from the Claremont Institute