From Russia With Nukes
(Russian accent) "Russia has The Bomb. In fact, we have many bombs. We don't know where they all are, but we have them."
What the Reds with Rockets and Tricolours With Rusting Rockets have - lots and lots of nukes. Where evil Soviets or Russians go in fiction, their nuclear weapons platforms are likely to be close behind. They also look cool and sound cool, making them great vehicles for baddies.
In Real Life, the Russian Federation is still the world's largest nuclear power with 5,830 active nuclear warheads, although this is considerably down from the 1986 peak of over 40,000 and over 3,000 of these are in storage as per the 2002 SORT Treaty. The USSR exceeded the US in raw numbers of warheads in 1978, a major factor in the Reagan defence expenditure increases.
They were developed in response to the United States' policy of Peace Through Superior Firepower. The Soviets' (well, to be honest, mutual) institutional paranoia and fear that they were going to get sneak attacked, Khruschev's love for stuff high-tech and a view that having the things in service supplanted other considerations, meaning that platforms arrived before they were fully military effective (early Soviet missile subs had short-range missiles and were sitting ducks for Western subs), or safe.
We'll look at the different types of delivery systems (because warheads are just boring). We'll cite Soviet/Russian and NATO designations for both (we'll ignore those silly bilateral RS ones, which the USSR just made up, as well as largely ignore the hard-to-remember GRAU codes used in the Russian military).
These weapons have appeared a lot in fiction, in both a nuclear and conventional role.
Before we begin a few notes Soviet/Russian:
- During the Cold War, many submarines didn't have names, but rather alpha-numeric designations. They often had nicknames though. All Russian submarines now have names.
- High-falutin' ship names went out of fashion in the 1930s. Sorry, Tom Clancy and James Bond...
- Unlike a lot of other navies, ship classes weren't named after the first one built. Instead, ship classes were given two-to-four digit "Project" numbers, assigned randomly for counter-intelligence purposes.
- The Reporting Names system for the Navy varied over time. Sometimes they are one of the names of the first ship in the class. Where this is the case, the reporting name will be in italics.
- You read that right- names. Many a warship will change its name when it is passed on second-hand to another navy. In the case of the Russian Navy, however, this was often for a different reason. When the USSR collapsed, a lot of ship names became politically incorrect (as in names of places no longer under Moscow's control) and were changed. Sometimes twice. This can lead to confusion, like any discussion of a ship called Moskva (the helicopter carrier or the cruiser formerly called Slava?).
- There were two designators for missiles- the "secret" ones (which we're using) and the "public" GRAU codes (which we're generally not). Both, however, were state secrets during the Soviet time, thus the Reporting Names.
- Quoted statistics are unclassified estimates and may be subject to error.
See Atomic Hate for what we are including.
Welcome to a world of big missiles, embarrassing (sometimes fatal) incidents, political intrigue and Dire "Badgers".
Here we go. Due to the number of platforms, this is split into sub-entries.
- Missile Submarines
- Other Naval Nukes
- Tactical Delivery Systems
- Intercontinental Missiles
- Other Ballistic and Cruise Missiles
- Surface to Air Missiles
- Especially in the early 1980s with Pershing II and Gryphon missiles in Western Europe