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Cuban missile crisis





The R-14, became the third Soviet medium-range ballistic missile, which used storable propellant, enabling Soviet missile troops keeping it fueled and ready to fire for extended periods of time.

The R-14 extended range and accuracy of its predecessors -- the R-11 and R-12 -- which both also used storable propellants. The rocket was developed at OKB-586 in Dnepropetrovsk, in present-day Ukraine, under direction of Chief Designer Mikhail Yangel.

The R-14 was under testing in Kapustin Yar from June 1960 to February 1961 and it was officially adopted in armaments on April 24, 1961.

In 1962, the first R-14 missiles, aimed at the Western Europe were deployed in the Soviet republics of Latvia and Ukraine.

On Sept. 5 and 8, 1962, a pair of R-14 missiles with live thermonuclear warheads were fired from the Baikal region to the Novaya Zemlya nuclear test site during the Tyulpan nuclear exercise.

In 1962, as a result of the Soviet decision to deploy missiles on the Island of Cuba, the R-14, along with the R-12 missile, became a source of nuclear standoff between the USSR and the US, known as the Cuban missile crisis. Unlike the R-12, which had been deployed on the island, the R-14 missiles were en-route to Cuba by the time the confrontation was resolved at the very brink of a nuclear war.

The R-14 missile became a base for a two-stage space launcher, known as Kosmos-3.



Technical specifications of the R-14 missile:

Number of stages
Flight range

4,500 kilometers

Length of the vehicle

24.4 meters

2.4 meters
Liftoff mass (fueled)
86 tons
First launch 1960 June 22
Test site Kapustin Yar
Oxidizer Nitrogen tetroxide

1 (one) RD-216 engine, consisting of 2 two-chamber RD-215 engines

Propulsion system thrust

138 tons

Warhead mass

Single 1.5-ton warhead

Warhead explosive equivalent

2 Megatons


R-14 development team:

Chief designer
Overall development
M. Yangel
Propulsion system
V. Glushko
Launch facility (surface)


V. Soloviev
Mass Production

PO Polyot (Plant No. 166)



Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: December 9, 2013

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The launch of the R-14 (8K65) ballistic missile. Credit: KB Yuzhnoe

The R-14 missiles (four vehicles in the foreground) during a parade at Moscow's Red Square circa 1965. Credit: KB Yuzhnoe