Kurzeme: Vainode

Vainode formely home to 3000 Soviet troops and three R-16 R-14 intercontinental ballistic missile (SS-5). Each 30 meter long and with a range of 13,000 km. Launch could take place with 30 mins after a direct order by telephone from the Cremlin. The reported targets where Holland, Belgium and Luxemborg. In the event of a launch being required, the concrete dome would slide across from the slio on rails. The facility was built for a one time use; it was disposiable once the missiles were launched.

The R-16 was a true first-generation missile and a vast improvement over the largely experimental ‘zeroth’ generation R-7, but it was still inferior to contemporary American missiles. On normal duty the missiles were stored in hangars, and it took one to three hours to roll them out, fuel them, and reach launch readiness. The missiles could remain fueled for only a few days due to the corrosive nature of the nitric acid fuel oxidant. After this, the fuel would have to be removed and the missile sent back to the factory for rebuilding. Even when fueled and in an alert posture, the Soviet missiles still needed to wait up to twenty minutes to spin up the gyroscopes in their guidance systems before launch was possible. Despite these shortcomings, the R-16 was unquestionably the first truly credible rocket based strategic nuclear deterrent developed by the Soviet Union.

Top