Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS)

Joseph Lloyd filed this request with the National Reconnaissance Office of the United States of America.
Tracking #




From: Joseph Lloyd

To Whom It May Concern:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:

Any and all materials on the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS).

The Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) was a Soviet ICBM program in the 1960s that after launch would go into a low Earth orbit and would then de-orbit for an attack.

A weapon with this capability was first demonstrated by the Soviet SS-9 Scarp, which was capable of space-launch, in 1967.However, the accuracy of these FOBS missiles was unclear, because they only partially orbited earth and had lower re-entry angles.

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 banned nuclear weapons in Earth orbit. Even though the Outer Space Treaty was passed, the military and government leadership in the United States determined that a FOBS missile was technically not in orbit, because it did not make a complete cycle around the earth, and therefore decided not to officially ban it.

The Soviets developed three FOBS missiles, with only one entering service:

The orbital missile 8K69 (also known as R-36orb) was initially deployed in 1968, with the first regiment put on alert in 1969.
The Global Rocket 1, or GR-1, was cancelled in 1964 due to engine problems.
The R-46 planned in the 1960s, for which the development was never initiated.

The U.S. Defense Support Program early warning satellites, first launched in 1970, enabled the US to detect an FOBS launch.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.


Joseph Lloyd

From: National Reconnaissance Office

The request has been rejected by the agency.