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The R-15 missile, which was supposed to have a range of about 1,000 km, was developed by OKB-586 at Dnepropetrovsk. Unlike the D-1 and D-2 launch systems, with the D-3 launch system the R-15 missile would be fired directly out of the missile tube without previous elevation of the missile.

In 1955 chief designer V.P. Funikov of SKB-143 [now MBM Malakite] undertook the design of a nuclear powered submarine [designated Project 639] with a displacement of 6000 tons that was intended to carry three R-15 missiles. The development of the D-3 launch system was officially authorized on 20 March 1958. During 1958 OKB-16 developed a design for a diesel-engine electric submarine able to carry one R-15 missile. Because of the large overall dimensions and weight of the missile, these systems had poor technical and tactical characteristics. Consequently, the development of the R-15 missile, the D-3 launch system and the submarines was canceled in December 1958 while they were still on the drawing board.

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