R-12 (missile)

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R-12 (missile)

R-12 "Dwina"
R-12 "Dwina"

General Information
Type Medium-range missile
Local name R-12 Dwina, 8K63
NATO designation SS-4 sandal
Country of origin Soviet Union 1955Soviet Union Soviet Union
Manufacturer PA Juschmasch
development 1955
Commissioning 1959
Working time 1959-1987
Technical specifications
length 22.10 m
diameter 1,650 mm
Combat weight 47,100 kg
drive RD-214 liquid rocket engine
Range 2,080 km
steering INS
Warhead 1 nuclear warhead with 1.3 or 2.3 Mt
Weapon platforms Rocket silo or mobile on a semi-trailer
Lists on the subject

The R-12 , ( NATO code name SS-4 Sandal , GRAU index 8K63) was a Soviet medium-range missile from the Cold War era . The single-stage ballistic missile with liquid engine was a single nuclear warhead with an explosive force of 1.3 or 2.3 Mt and had a range km in 2000. The missile was deployed from the late 1950s to the late 1980s.


RD-214 rocket engine

The R-12 was designed by OKB-586 under the direction of Michail Jangel on the basis of the R-5 and equipped with the RD-214 rocket engine. This used a kerosene mixture as fuel and nitric acid as a storable oxidizer like the short-range missile R-11 . The four parallel combustion chambers were supplied by a turbo pump unit. The R-12 was initially ground-controlled, but received an autonomous flight control system after a revision in 1962. A connection to the control station only existed for any flight path corrections . Due to the storable fuel, the rocket could remain refueled and ready to fire for a long time, so that a launch could proceed quickly. Nevertheless, 20 soldiers and 12 vehicles were still needed to prepare for the launch.

Due to its high explosive power and moderate accuracy, the rocket was particularly suitable for area targets such as cities, so so-called "soft" or, according to the US diction, "countervalue" targets. An approach to bunkered targets was also impractical because of the scattering circle radius of 2,400 m.

The R-12 was developed for conventional launch sites. The test phase began in 1955, the flight tests took place from June 22, 1957 to December 1958 in Kapustin Jar . From 1960 a silo version R-12U was developed, which was tested from December 1961 to December 1963. The R-12U could be launched from both silos and conventional take-off sites and replaced the R-12 on the latter.

Stationing locations

Soviet Union

Both versions of the R-12 were deployed in the western Soviet Union (against NATO in western Europe) and in Siberia (against China ).


During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 , the Soviet Union stationed R-12 (and R-14 (SS-5)) in Cuba. This posed an imminent threat to the eastern and southern states of the United States , including Washington, DC

Of the completed and under construction launch sites near Santa Cruz de los Pinos, Candelaria, Cifuentes and Encrucujada, some of the storage bunkers for the nuclear warheads of the R-12 and other infrastructures have been preserved.


Gulbiniškiai missile base

GDR (planned)

In the vicinity of Vogelsang and Lychen , four launch sites each have been prepared for the R-12. The corresponding concrete foundations with the circular anchors for the launch tables of the rockets have largely been preserved to this day. There was also a storage bunker for the nuclear warheads of the R-12 on the edge of the Vogelsang barracks.

Due to the availability of the R-14 and its target coverage in Western Europe, the planned and prepared stationing of the R-12 in the GDR was canceled. The range of the R-14 in the Soviet Union superimposed that of the planned R-12 in the GDR.


In the last ten years of use, the R-12 has been replaced by the RSD-10 . As part of the INF contract , the last remaining R-12s were finally destroyed by May 1990.

See also

Web links and sources

Commons : R-12 “Dwina2”  - collection of images, videos and audio files