9U218 launcher (rocket without a warhead)
R-11 Zemlya (8К11) next to the larger RT-20 and Tsyklon-3 on display in downtown Dnipro

The R-11 Zemlya (Russian: Р-11 Земля, lit.'Earth'),[1] GRAU index 8A61[2] was a Soviet tactical ballistic missile. It is also known by its NATO reporting name SS-1b Scud-A. It was the first of several similar Soviet missiles to be given the reporting name Scud. Variant R-11M was accepted into service, with GRAU index 9K51 (9К51).


The R-11 originated from a 1951 requirement for a ballistic missile with similar performance to the German V-2 rocket, but half its size. With the Wasserfall, an anti-aircraft version of the V-2, as a model the R-11 was developed by engineer Victor Makeev, who was then working in OKB-1, headed by Sergey Korolyov. The two men agreed on the use of RG-1 as the fuel, but disagreed over which oxidizer to use, with Korolev favouring the use of liquid oxygen, while Makeev advocated the use of a storable but toxic oxidizer. Makeev's version, that first flew on 18 April 1953, was fitted with an Isayev engine using RG-1 and nitric acid. On 13 December 1953, a production order was passed with SKB-385 in Zlatoust, a factory dedicated to producing long-range rockets. In June 1955, Makeev was appointed chief designer of the SKB-385 to oversee the programme and, in July, the R-11 was formally accepted into military service.[2] The definitive R-11M, designed to carry a nuclear warhead, was accepted officially into service on 1 April 1958. The launch system received the GRAU index 9K51, the rocket itself 8K11, and the launcher 8U218.[3]

Systems specification

Like the V-2, the R-11 relied on inertial guidance, and its flight was controlled by four graphite vanes in the engine exhaust, that were active only while the motor was burning. The R-11M had a maximum range of 270 km (170 mi), but when carrying a nuclear warhead, this was reduced to 170 km (110 mi), hence an alternative designation R-170.[3] At maximum range, it was found to have an average range error 1.19 km (0.74 mi) and an azimuth error of 660 m (0.41 mi).[4] It was used as a mobile nuclear strike vector[clarification needed], giving the Soviet Army the ability to hit European targets from forward areas. To give the system sufficient mobility on the battlefield, the R-11 was mounted on the chassis of an IS-2 tank, that became its first transporter erector launcher 8U218. Main payload was a nuclear warhead with an estimated yield of 10, 20 or 40 kilotons.[3] There was also HE-Frag warhead 9N33 with 535 kg (1,179 lb) of explosive.[3]

R-11FM in Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps

Naval variant

A naval variant, the R-11FM was first tested at Kapustin Yar in February 1955, and was first launched from a converted Project 611 (Zulu class) submarine in September of the same year.[5] While the initial design was done by Korolev's OKB-1, the programme was transferred to Makeyev's SKB-385 in August 1955.[2] It became operational in 1959 as the D-1 launch system, the world's first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM),[6] and was deployed onboard Project 611 and Project 629 (Golf Class) submarines, until its replacement by the R-13 in 1961 (SS-N-4) and the R-21 (SS-N-5) in 1963.[7] During its service, 77 launches were conducted, of which 59 were successful.[8] The success of the R-11FM established Makeev as the main designer of submarine-launched weapons for the Soviet Armed Forces, and the R-11FM served with the first generation SLBM submarine units of the Soviet Navy.

See also


  1. ^ Johnston's Archive – Soviet/Russian Missile Designations
  2. ^ a b c Wade, Mark. "R-11". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on March 9, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  3. ^ a b c d Rochowicz, Robert (2018) (in Polish). Rakiety operacyjne i taktyczne w Siłach Zbrojnych PRL. „Poligon” No. 1/2018(62), pp. 56–63, ISSN 1895-3344
  4. ^ Zaloga, p.4
  5. ^ "Rocket R-11". RSC "Energia". Retrieved 2021-01-01.
  6. ^ Zaloga, p.8
  7. ^ "SS-1 'Scud' (R-11/8K11, R-11FM (SS-N-1B) and R-17/8K14)". Jane's Information Group. 26 April 2001. Archived from the original on 2007-12-15. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  8. ^ "R-11FM / SS-1b Scud". Federation of American Scientists. July 13, 2000. Retrieved 2008-02-19.