We are back at the Museum of the strategic missile forces near Pervomaisk. In the Soviet times it was a super-secret rocket base. Here used to stand missiles with nuclear warheads aiming at the USA. Today there is a museum in this place. One can see, touch everything and even push that very “red button”.
It says: “Attention! Do not stand at the door.”
There are few museums like this in the whole world. But this one is the only created on the basis of the real rocket military unit. After the collapse of the USSR Ukraine had only 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Nearly half of them were located near Pervomaisk.
No stranger can enter the territory of the base. Around there are lots of seismic sensors, a radio ray detection system, an electrical grid and even a minefield.
Models of the former military unit, standard exhibits of WWII, some documents and other stuff.
This is a model of a command post.
And it’s the model of the underground command post. In fact it’s the metal twelve-level container hung in the standard missile silos. The lowest level is thirty three meters deep (108 ft).
The main exhibit of the museum – RS-20 “Voevoda”. In the classification of NATO it is called SS-18 “Satan”.
The missile weighs 211 tons, it is 34 meters long (111 ft) and three meters in the diameter (9 ft). Maximum shooting range is 15 000 km (9320 miles). Inside it has ten warheads with an explosive equivalent of 750 kilotons each. Three missiles like this are enough to destroy Ukraine, for example.
To tell the truth there have never been missiles like this on the territory of Ukraine. This one was brought only after the official rejection of nuclear weapons as a museum exhibit. There were other missiles near Pervomaisk as well, like RS-22 (SS-24 “Scalpel”) for example. Its shooting range is 10000 km (6213 miles). Smaller missiles were also available.
It writes: “filling with nitrogen”, “squib”…
The missile bases started to be destroyed in 1994. It was partially exploded, another part was piled with construction garbage and concreted. The last silo-launcher was exploded in 2001. This is the only silo-launcher that has been preserved. The cover weighs about 120 tons. It fully folds for 8 seconds.
These transporters were used only twice – in 1985 when a new missile was brought and in 1994 when it was taken away.
These tanks were brought some years ago, for the entourage only.
This is how the command post looks from above. It withstands a direct hit of a nuclear warhead.
This is an entrance to the old command post. It had been used till the end of the 70s, now it’s boarded up and abandoned.
People used to move only underground.
It resembles some subway.
Cooling centre provides necessary temperature. All systems are in a working condition. The ventilation system is turned on for tourists – it is so noisy!
We are on the upper floor of the command post.
On the combimation lock is the sign that says “allowed to pass”.
Ten missiles can be launched from here.
The command post itself can withstand the direct hit of a nuclear warhead. These chairs were used by men on duty – in order they are not flattened against the walls they were fastened with belts.
The sign says “to launch”.
This is that very red button. It is grey and plain in fact. To launch the missile one has to simultaneously push the buttons and turn the keys.
They also have some missile engines here.
R-12 missile doesn’t look scary though it’s because of them the Caribbean crisis began.
Such missiles could easily become the main weapon of WWIII.