Russia Declassified Partial Specs of Space Program Weapons from Soviet Era

  • The Soviets were developing a defense system in space during the Cold War.
  • The system was tested in 1975.
  • The future trajectory of war is in space.

Russia declassified additional information about weapons in space the Soviets who had a keen interest in defense projects in space.  The Cold War and the arms race were projected to take place in the space. Hence, the development of the weapons for such war. In the early 1970s, the Soviets launched a space station for defense purposes– Almaz, which contained the artillery system Chit-1. The system was one of a kind. The Almaz program was a highly secret Soviet military space station program begun in the early 1960s. Three crewed military reconnaissance stations were launched between 1973 and 1976: Salyut 2, Salyut 3 and Salyut 5.

The project was highly secretive and the new declassified details were released recently, including the prototype of the artillery system. The system was developed by the Nudelman Precision Engineering Design Bureau, a missile design bureau located in Moscow. It was founded in 1934 under the designation OKB-16.

Furthermore, the reason for the space defense system was the perceived threat of the US destroying one of the Soviet sputniks. The system was supposed to offset such an attack using automatic rockets for defense.

The information provided says the system was equipped with 23mm caliber weapons and the use of the NR-23 and R-23. The Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 is a Soviet autocannon widely used in military aircraft from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries. It was designed by A. E. Nudelman and A.A. Rikhter to replace the wartime Nudelman-Suranov NS-23 and Volkov-Yartsev VYa-23, entering service in 1949.

The Rikhter R-23 is an aircraft autocannon developed for the Soviet Air Force starting in the late 1950s. It was designed to be as short as possible to avoid problems found on high-speed aircraft when the guns were pointed into the airstream. The R-23 was a gas operated revolver cannon that used gas bled from holes in the barrel to provide the motive force. Firing up to 2,600 rpm, the R-23 was the fastest firing single-barrel cannon ever introduced into service.

Previous to this document release there had been speculations pertaining to the specifications. Some of the sources in Russia were claiming the system had 14.5 mm caliber weapons, but it would not be in line with R-23 characteristics.

The last testing of the Chit-1 system was completed in 1975. Additionally, a Chit-2 system was developed for defense but testing was never completed.

Currently, there are no weapons in space developed by Russia. However, the project still remains partially classified.

It would be interesting to know if Russia plans to renew any type of weapons development for space. It has been predicted there will be space wars in the future. At this time it remains far fetched, but it is still a plausible prediction.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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