R-11M with 8U218 TEL (SS-1b Scud-A) Ballistic Missile System


Place in history: As with the other Allied victors in World War II, the Soviet Union utilized German V-2 technology to develop their own ballistic missiles. The R-11M was the second generation of Russian tactical missile design and featured a much improved engine versus those based on the V-2. Sergei Korolev of OKB-1 (Special Design Bureau-1) led the original rocket design while Viktor Makeyev of Experimental Plant No. 385 in Zlatoust took over for the modification of the rocket to be able to deliver tactical nuclear weapons.

Flight trials took place during the mid-1950s for the nuclear capable version, and the missile system, known as 8K11, went into operational service with the Army on 1 April 1958.

In order to improve mobility and speed-to-launch, the Army requested a self-contained system. The Kirov plant adapted the ISU-152K assault gun carriage to take the missile system. This tracked vehicle acted as the Transporter, Erector, Launcher (TEL) and received the designation 8U218.

The R-11M was fielded with both conventional and nuclear warheads. The destructive power of the latter gave the Scud-A the promise of being a more effective weapons system. With a CEP (circular error probable) of 4 km, it would take a lot of destructive power to compensate for the fact that only 50 percent of the warheads would land within that distance of the target.

Fact: Very few kinds of ballistic missiles have been fired in combat, but the German V-2 and the Soviet-designed Scud are among them.