In 2001 the last Ukrainian launcher of the intercontinental ballistic missile, RS-22, was destroyed and the central military command post of the 46 th Missile Division was transformed into a museum. The USA has the similar museum which is called Ronald Reagan Minuteman.
The Ukraine inherited the third world’s largest nuclear arsenal from the USSR: 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each of which contained 6-10 nuclear warheads (the power of each of them was many times greater than the power of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945).
But all this wealth was destroyed. With some difficulties, we should say.
Exploder. Cooling systems
The greatest difficulty arose when the Ukrainian blasters started to destroy the missile silos. Ironically, they didn’t succeed. Then they added more explosives – no results. Then added some more – all was useless.
And only when some angry men and women from the neighbouring villages came and said that their icons had fallen on the floor, and the water from the wells had gone, it was decided to take some other measures.
“Don’t open without permission”
So the high-tech Germans were hired for doing this work. They used abrasive waterjets to cut thick high-alloy steel and did their job quite well. But their service cost so high that very soon the Ukrainians had to refuse it. So the Germans managed to cut only one installation. After that some simple Ukrainian lads with crowbars, sledgehammers and blowtorches were hired and it was them who destroyed the rest of the economy.
Now lots of former strategic assets and gifts are exhibited in the museum.
Parts of a missile.
The exposition begins with missile engines, propellant accelerators, etc.
All employees of the museum are former missile officers. Therefore, they don’t yet have that proper, aloof and boring voice of a guide. They tell extremely vividly and interestingly.
Containers for missiles and their parts.
R-36 (NATO reporting name SS-18 Satan) is one of the most powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles in the world. This is one of the latest modifications adopted on combat duty in 1988. One of the main features of this missile is the concept of assured retaliation. It was designed to be able to destroy the target no matter any opposition.
The silo of the SS-18 has ultra protection from a nuclear explosion. The missile can fly out of the silo even after the latter was hit by another missile. It is also protected from gamma radiation and electromagnetic pulses. Nuclear warheads are protected as well. They can only be destroyed by a direct hit of a pretty powerful missile.
The missile can fly up to 15.000 km. The takeoff weight is over 200 tons. Now it is adapted for peaceful purposes and serves for putting the satellites into space.
Move on to the once guarded closure.
The guide demonstrates the radio beam emitter that clearly captured all movements. For Rambo and ninjas able crawling deftly and jumping high there was another capacitive sensor that just couldn’t be outsmarted by a human.
You’ve crossed the first two barriers and rush further to barbecue on the cover of a missile silo? Then get ready for recharging your Ipad and mobile phone from the first warning 800 volts and the second control ones in 3600. Those who are in rubber suits will have to deal with a mine strip.
If you were lucky enough to overcome all the barriers you are welcomed by the gun on an armored turret. This building, by the way, has no any doors. The entrance is underground and it’s protected by the detail on duty.
The parking area of the trucks for missiles.
In this way the truck came to the silo and unloaded the missile.
The cover of a missile silo. Its weight is hundreds of tons. Opening time – few seconds. It was made of solid steel armor, a thick layer of wax (radiation protection) and tons of concrete. After firing a missile the lid was closed again so that the enemy could not figure out what silo had already shot and what hadn’t yet.
The cover of a command silo.
A secret room with air-conditioners.
There are installations for making many tons of ice in each silo.
The model of the command silo. It is similar to the missile silo but instead of the missile there is a 33-meter capsule with 12 compartments hanging on shock absorbers.
After a nuclear explosion on the surface various radiation sensors come into action, and the command post automatically starts using an autonomous ventilation system (like in a submarine). This air is enough for 45 days.
As the heat from all the working equipment is too high, a 35-ton reserve of ice frozen in the peaceful time is used by the military.
To get into the silo you should walk down such long underground tunnels. And to get into the tunnel you must pass the checkpoint with no less serious protection.
Good steel doors helped the security.
The access was provided by coded locks. Codes were constantly changing. If you were wrong 3 times, you will be locked between the two doors until the evil patrol with dogs arrives.
Next is an absolutely children’s pressure door, rather thin, through which you can get into the silo.
Descending on the elevator. Doors are closed manually.
As a mobile phone doesn’t work here, a call is only possible with the help of the local phone.
Finally, the 11th compartment – the mission control center. From here you could easily launch all the 86 missiles of the whole division.