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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 21, 1956

NOTE BY THE CC CPSU REGARDING THE ARMING OF R-7 ROCKETS WITH A HYDROGEN CHARGE ON THE BASIS OF THE PRINCIPLE OF RADIATION IMPLOSION

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    Proposal on the development of the R-7 rocket to carry a new RDS-6 type device between Soviet officials in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The updated R-7 rocket with RDS-6 device was approved to be designed lighter and given a bigger yield.
    "Note by the CC CPSU Regarding the Arming of R-7 Rockets with a Hydrogen Charge on the Basis of the Principle of Radiation Implosion," April 21, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive Rosatom, f. 24, op. 4, d. 203, l. 240-241. Document no. 205 in Atomnyi proekt SSSR. Dokumenty i materialy. [The atomic project of the USSR. Documents and materials.], vol. 3, book 2, p. 476. Translated for CWIHP by Ronen Plechnin. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118819
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A note by Deputy Chairman of CM [Council of Ministers] USSR M.V Khrunichev, USSR defense Minister G.K Zhukov, first deputy to the Minister of Medium Machine Building B.L Vannikov, and others in the CC [Central Committee] CPSU [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] presenting the project resolution of the CC CPSU and the CM USSR regarding the arming of R-7 rockets with a hydrogen [device] on the basis of the principles of atomic compression.

21 April 1956
Top Secret
[Of primary concern]

The Presidium of the Central Committee of the CPSU,

In accordance with the decision of the USSR Council of Ministers from 20 May 1954, the Ministry of Defense Industry (SRI [Scientific Research Institute]-88, chief instructor comrade S.P Korolev) is developing an R-7 ballistic rocket for the purpose of the carrying of a specialized RDS-6 Device over a distance of 8,000 kilometers.

According to the data, the said RDS-6 device has a yield of 1.5 million tons TNT and its weight together with the automation equipment was given at 3,400 kilograms.

The testing in November 1955 of a hydrogen weapon built on the basis of the new compression principle revealed the possibility of the arming of an R-7 rocket with a new hydrogen charge with a yield of 2.0 million tons TNT and with a weight equivalent to 2,900 kilograms.

In accordance with the decision of the CC CPSU from 5 January 1956, the question of placing the new hydrogen charge into the R-7 rocket was worked out by SRI-88 of the Ministry of Defense Industries, wherein the possibility of placing the new charge on the rocket’s warhead was established.  

The decrease in weight of the new charge as compared with the weight of the previous RDS-6, allows to increase the range of the R-7 rocket by 200–300 kilometers.

The use of the warhead in the R-7 rockets will not necessitate the rescheduling of the testing, the timing of which was set by the Government earlier.

We ask to review and confirm the project presented by the resolution of the CC CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers

M. Khrunichev
K. Zhukov
B. Vannikov
D. Ustinov
V. Riabikov
P. Zernov



Article number – 363/3
21 April 1956.

[Appendix]

Central Committee of the CPSU and USSR Council of Ministers Resolution No…

City of Moscow, Kremlin

…, …, 1956

For the purpose of arming the R-7 ballistic rocket with a new, more powerful warhead, the CPSU Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers, in partial modification of a USSR Council of Ministers Resolution from 20 May 1954 no 956-408SS DECIDES:

To accept the proposal made by comrades Khrunichev, Zhukov, Vannikov, Ustinov, Riabikov, and Zernov on the use in an R-7 rocket of a new hydrogen warhead with a yield of 2 million ton TNT that, in combination with special equipment (automation, fusing device, electronics), reaches a maximum weight of 2,900 kilograms, instead of the special warhead of the RDS-6 that has a yield of 1.5 million TNT and a weight of 3,400 kilograms, which was previously intended for application on this rocket.