Chapter II- Forces for Global Warfare
Soviet leaders, since Khrushchev's time, have followed a consistent
policy for the development of their intercontinental forces. Their main
objective has been to capitalize, in peacetime, on the coercive
leverage inherent in powerful nuclear forces to induce paralysis in
weapons programs and create political disarray in the free societies.
In wartime, they would regard the threat or actual use of those forces
as the key to the successful prosecution of the conflict.
In a global conflict, Soviet strategic policy would seek the
destruction of Western nuclear forces on the ground and in flight to
their targets, the capability to ensure national survival should
nuclear weapons reach the Soviet homeland and the ability to support
and sustain combined arms combat in several theaters of military
operations. From these policy directives come several overarching
strategic wartime missions:
- protect the Soviet State,
- support the land war in Eurasia and
- eliminate the US capability to conduct or support warfare at home and beyond its own shores.
Protection of the Soviet State, the most difficult mission, would involve:
- disruption and destruction of the West's nuclear-associated command, control and communications,
destruction or neutralization of as many of the West's nuclear weapons
as possible on the ground or at sea before they could be launched,
- interception and destruction of surviving weapons - aircraft and missiles - before they reach targets and
- protection of the Party, the State and industrial
infrastructure and the essential working population against those
weapons that reach their targets. Theater and strategic forces and
programs in place or under active development designed to accomplish
these tasks include:
- hard-target-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
(ICBMs), Longer Range Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force (LRINF) missiles
and land-based cruise missiles,
-bombers and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) capable of penetrating US defensive systems,
- Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and cruise missiles on various platforms,
- antisubmarine warfare (ASW) forces capable of attacking US nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs),
- air and missile defenses, including early warning satellites
and radars, interceptor aircraft, surface-to-air missiles(SAMs),
antiballistic missile (ABM) radars and interceptors and some
- antisatellite weapons,
- passive defense forces,
including civil defense forces, and countermeasures troops and
equipment devoted to confusing incoming aircraft and
- hardened facilities numbering in the thousands, command
vehicles and evacuation plans designed to protect Party,military,
governmental and industrial staffs, essential workers and, to the
extent possible, the general population.
Supporting a land war in Eurasia and eliminating the US
capacity to fight and support conflict would require the capability to
employ theater and strategic forces over a variety of ranges and the
- other military-associated command and control,
- war-supporting industries, arsenals and major military facilities,
- ports and airfields in the United States and those along sea and air routes to European and Asian theaters of war and
- satellite surveillance sensors,
ground-based surveillance sensors,facilities and communications.
Offensive forces (ICBMs, LRINF, SLBMs, cruise missiles and bombers) and
antisatellite weapons would generally be assigned these tasks. In some
cases, special purpose forces could be used for these missions,
especially in Eurasia. These tasks would be generally less demanding
than those in the prime category.
Soviet nuclear forces are designed to fulfill their missions under the
best and worst of circumstances. In the context of a nuclear war, the
Soviets believe the most favorable circumstance would be a preemptive
strike; the least favorable would be a follow-on strike after nuclear
weapons hit the USSR. Between would be launch-under-attack; that is,
executing offensive operations after weapons aimed at the USSR had been
launched. The Soviets have wide-ranging programs intended to enable
nuclear forces to operate under each of these circumstances. Moreover,
the Soviets appear to believe that nuclear war might last for weeks or
even months and have factored this into their force development.
- In a preemptive strike, the essentials would be effective
coordination of the strike and sound intelligence on Western
intentions. Soviet nuclear forces routinely practice command and
control under various conditions. During wartime, the main mission of
Soviet intelligence would be to determine the West's courses of action.
- Launch-under-attack circumstances would place the greatest
stress on attack warning systems and launch coordination. To meet this
demand, the Soviets have established a satellite-based ICBM launch
detection system, built an over-the-horizon radar missile launch
detection system to back up the satellites and have large phased-array
radars ringing the USSR. These warning devices could give the Soviet
leadership time to launch their forces after an enemy strike had been
launched. To prepare for this possibility, the Soviets practice
launching weapons under stringent time constraints.
- Follow-on strikes would stress the survivability of the
command, control and communications systems as well as the weapons
themselves. The Soviets have invested heavily in providing this
survivability. The SS-17, SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs are housed in the
world's hardest silos. Silo deployment has been adopted for ABMs as
well. To increase survivability, the SS-20 LRINF missile is mobile.
Mobile ICBMs are under development, and a mobile strategic
surface-to-air missile is being tested. The launch control facilities
for offensive missiles are housed in very hard silos or on off-road
vehicles. Communications are redundant and hardened. Higher commands
have multiple vehicles and aircraft available for their use as
alternate command posts. Bombers have alert procedures and dispersal
airfields. Ballistic missile submarines could be placed in tunnels near
their home ports, submerged in deep fjords just off their piers,
dispersed or protected by Soviet surface and submarine forces.
The belief that war might be protracted has led to the USSR's emphasis
on survivability along with war reserves, protection for people and
equipment and the capacity to reload launchers. For their ICBM, LRINF
and air defense forces, the Soviets have stocked extra missiles,
propellants and warheads throughout the USSR. Some ICBM silo launchers
could be reloaded, and provision has been made for the decontamination
of those launchers. Plans for the survival of necessary equipment and
personnel have been developed and practiced. In addition, resupply
systems are available to reload
Soviet SSBNs in protected waters.
with these ambitious development and deployment programs over the
years, the Soviets are continuing to modernize all aspects of their
strategic forces. The Soviet leadership has also been directing a
campaign to support and amplify ongoing anti-nuclear movements in the
West, in order to influence, delay or frustrate Western nuclear program
development. Using this two-pronged approach, Moscow seeks new gains in
relative capability despite the drive of Western governments to redress
the imbalance that has developed over the past decade.
Because of the open nature of US society, and the fact that much US
technology is unclassified, the Soviets have been able to take
advantage of US research and development to accelerate their already
considerable technological effort. Information and hardware already
obtained have saved the USSR billions of dollars and resulted in the
achievement of some military capabilities years in advance of what
could have been achieved if they were solely dependent on their own
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
Current Systems and Force Levels. The
operational Soviet ICBM force is made up of 1,398 silo launchers. Some
818 of these launchers have been rebuilt since 1972. Nearly half of
these silos are new versions of the original designs and have been
reconstructed or modified in the past 5 years. All of these 818 silos
have been hardened, better to withstand attack by currently operational
US ICBMs, and house the world's most modern deployed ICBMs - the SS-17
Mod 3 (150 silos), the SS-18 Mod 4 (308) and the SS-19 Mod 3 (360).
Deployment of these ICBMs began only 5 years ago.
SS-18 and SS-19 ICBMs are at least as accurate and possibly more
accurate and carry more Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry
Vehicles (MIRVs) than the MINUTEMAN III, the most modern operational US
ICBM. The SS-18 Mod 4 carries 10 MIRVs, and the SS-19 Mod 3 carries six
whereas the MINUTEMAN III carries only three. The SS-18 Mod 4 was
specifically designed to attack and destroy ICBM silos and other
hardened targets in the United States. Each of its 10 warheads has more
than 20 times the destructive power of the nuclear devices developed
during World War II. The force of SS-18 Mod 4s currently deployed has
the capability to destroy more than 80 percent of the US ICBM silo
launchers using two nuclear warheads against each US silo. The SS-19
Mod 3 has nearly identical capabilities. In addition, the SS-19 Mod 3
could be used against targets in Eurasia. The SS-17 Mod 3 is somewhat
less-capable ICBM than the SS-19 but it has similar targeting
remaining 580 Soviet ICBM silos are fitted with the SS-11-420 SS-ll Mod
and 100 SS-ll Mod Is-and 60 SS-13 Mod 2s.These ICBMs are of older
vintage, 1966 and 1973 initial deployments respectively, are housed in
less-survivable silos and are considerably less capable. Nevertheless,
their destructive potential against softer area targets in the United
States and Eurasia is significant in terms of many of the Soviet
nuclear tasks outlined above.
The SS-16 is a three-stage, solid-propellant,single-RV ICBM that the
Soviets claim has not been deployed. The system was first tested in
1972; the last known test took place in 1976. The SS-20 LRINF missile
is closely related to the SS-16. The SS-16 probably was intended
originally for both silo and mobile deployment, using equipment and a
basing arrangement comparable to that used with the SS-20. The Soviet
Union agreed in SALT II not to produce, test, or deploy ICBMs of the
SS-16 type and, in particular, not to produce the SS-16 third stage,
the RV or the appropriate device for targeting the RV of that missile.
Available information does not allow a conclusive judgment on whether
the Soviets deployed the SS-16, but does indicate probable deployment.
programs for all of the currently operational Soviet ICBM systems are
virtually complete. The command, control and communications structure
for the Soviet ICBM force is modern and highly survivable, and the
reliability of the ICBMs themselves is regularly sampled by live
firings from operational complexes.
Those ICBMs in the current force that the Soviets decide not to replace
with modified or new ICBMs will be refurbished to increase their useful
lifetime. During this process,some system modifications could also be
made. Owing to this capacity for refurbishment, the Soviets can sustain
a higher level of confidence in system reliability over a longer term
than would otherwise be possible.
Force Developments. The completion of deployment programs now
under way probably marks the end of significant Soviet investment in
silo-launchers and in the development of wholly new liquid-propellant
ICBMs. At least one additional modified version of both the SS-18 and
SS-19, however, is likely to be produced and deployed in existing silos
in the future.
Despite these development programs, the Soviets appear to be planning
on new, solid propellant ICBMs to redress future mission shortfalls in
counterforce capability and survivability. Two new solid-propellant
ICBMs,the medium-sized SS-X-24 and the smaller SSX-25, are being tested
from the range head at Plesetsk in the Soviet north. Available evidence
suggests mobile as well as silo deployment for both systems.
The SS-X-24 will probably be silo-deployed at first. Mobile deployment
could follow several years after initial operational capability is
achieved in 1985. This ICBM is likely to be even more accurate than the
SS-18 Mod 4 and SS-19 Mod 3.
The SS-X-25 is approximately the same size as the US MINUTEMAN ICBM. It
will carry a single reentry vehicle. The SS-X-25 has apparently been
designed for mobile deployment, with a home base with launcher garages
equipped with sliding roofs; massive, off-road, wheeled
transporter-erector-launchers; and necessary mobile support equipment
for refires from the launcher.
Development programs for all of these missiles have been under way for many years.
Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles
Current Systems and Force Levels. The
Soviets maintain the world's largest ballistic missile submarine force
for strategic attack. As of March 1984, the force numbered 64
submarines fitted with some 936 nuclear-tipped missiles. Two of these
submarines do not count toward the 62 SSBN limit established by SALT I.
These totals also exclude 15 older submarines with 45 missiles assigned
theater missions. Sixteen SSBNs are fitted with 264 MIRV-capable
submarine-launched ballistic missiles. These 16 units have been built
and deployed within the past 7 years. Two-thirds of the ballistic
missile submarines, including those equipped with MIRV-capable
missiles, are fitted with long-range SLBMs that enable the submarines
to patrol in waters close to The Soviet Union. This affords protection
from NATO ASW operations. Moreover, the long range missiles allow the
Soviets to fire from home ports, if necessary, and still strike targets
in the United States.
units of the most modern Soviet ballistic missile submarine, the
TYPHOON, have already been built. One is operational and the other soon
will be. Each carries 20 SS-N-20 solid-propellant, MIRVed SLBMs. The
TYPHOON is the world's largest submarine, with a displacement of 25,000
tons, one-third greater than the US TRIDENT. The submarine can operate
under the Arctic Ocean icecap, adding further to the protection
afforded by the 8,300-kilometer range of the SS-N-20 SLBM. Three to
four additional TYPHOONs are probably now under construction, and, by
the early 1990s, the Soviets could have as many as eight of these
potent weapons systems in their operational force.
In accord with the SALT I Interim Agreement, the Soviets have, since
1978, removed 10 YANKEE I units from service as ballistic missile
submarines. These units had to be removed as newer submarines were
produced in order for the overall Soviet SSBN force to stay within the
62 modern SSBN limits established in 1972. These YANKEEs, however, have
not been scrapped and some may be returned to service as attack or
cruise missile submarines.
In a further development with the YANKEE
SSBN force, the Soviets may have begun to assign theater attack
missions to some of the 23 remaining YANKEE I submarines. However,
YANKEE patrols targeted against the United States continue.
Force Developments. The
Soviets have begun flight-tests of a new, liquid-propelled, long-range
SLBM - the SS-NX-23. This system is likely to be deployed as a
replacement for the SS-N-18 SLBM carried by the DELTA III SSBN. The
SS-NX-23 will have greater throwweight, carry more warheads and be more
accurate than the SS-N-18.
Based on past Soviet practice, by the end of the 1980s, they
may initiate testing of modified versions of the SS-NX-23 and the
SS-N-20. Both of these systems are likely to be more accurate than
The Soviets emphasize redundant and timely command and control for
their military forces, especially those for intercontinental attack.
The Soviets may deploy an extremely low frequency (ELF} communications
system that will enable them to contact the SSBNs under most operating
Current Systems and Force Levels. Soviet
strategic bombers and strike aircraft are controlled by the central
Soviet leadership using five air armies as intermediate commands. These
armies were established to place Soviet strategic aircraft on a footing
in peacetime that would facilitate the transition to wartime. These
armies are focused on potential conflict in Europe, Asia and the United
aviation assets include some 170 BEAR and BISON bombers, 235 BACKFIRE
bombers (including 105 BACKFIRE bombers in Soviet Naval Aviation). The
Soviets also have 455 medium-range BLINDER and BADGER bombers, 450
shorter-range FENCER strike aircraft and 530 tanker, reconnaissance and
electronic warfare aircraft. The Soviets have allocated these aircraft
among the five air armies to provide support for specific theaters of
military operations but also to assure the flexibility to reallocate
aircraft as necessary during wartime. The intercontinental BEAR and
BISON bombers are available for maritime and Eurasian missions, and the
BACKFIRE is clearly capable of use against the United States. This
flexibility allows the Soviets to focus their strategic air assets as
Soviets have taken recent steps that indicate greatly increased
interest in the long-range strategic bomber. An entirely new variant of
the BEAR bomber (BEAR H), probably designed to carry long-range cruise
missiles,is now in production-the first new production of a strike
version of the BEAR airframe in over 15 years. In addition, older BEAR
air to-surface missile (ASM) carrying aircraft are being reconfigured
to carry the newer, supersonic AS-4 ASM in place of subsonic AS-3s.
Several of these reconfigurations (BEAR G) have been completed. With
the new BEAR H in series production, the decline in the inventory of
BEAR and BISON aircraft characteristic of recent years has been
reversed. The Soviets today have more bombers operational than just a
few years ago.
BACKFIRE is the most modern operational Soviet bomber. The Soviets
continue to produce the aircraft at a rate of about 30 per year; this
production rate is likely to be maintained at least through the end of
the decade. The original design has been modified several times and
further modifications are likely to be made to upgrade aircraft
performance. The BACKFIRE is a long-range aircraft capable of
performing nuclear strike, conventional attack, anti-ship and
reconnaissance missions. Its low-level penetration features make it a
more survivable system than its predecessors. The
BACKFIRE has sufficient range/radius capabilities for it to be employed
effectively against the contiguous United States on high-altitude
subsonic missions. Its low-altitude supersonic dash capabilities make
it a formidable weapon in support of military operations in Europe and
Asia as well. The BACKFIRE can be equipped with a probe to permit
inflight refueling; this would further increase its range and radius
The Soviets have some FENCER strike aircraft assigned to strategic
aviation. The FENCER is a supersonic, variable-geometry,all-weather
fighter-bomber that first reached operational status in 1974. Three
variants have been developed, the most recent introduced in 1981. The
aircraft is still in production, and the number assigned to strategic
aviation is likely to increase by 50 percent over the next few years.
Force Developments. The new Soviet long range bomber - the
BLACKJACK - is still in the flight-test stage of development. The
BLACKJACK is larger than the US B1-B, probably will be somewhat faster
and may have about the same combat radius. This new bomber could reach
operational status in 1987. The BLACKJACK will be capable of carrying
cruise missiles, bombs or a combination of both. It probably will first
replace the much less capable BISON bomber and then BEAR A bomber. A
new aerial-refueling tanker aircraft, based on the Il-76/ CANDID, has
been under development for several years. When deployed in the near
future, the new tanker will support tactical and strategic aircraft and
significantly improve the ability of Soviet aircraft to conduct
Long-Range Cruise Missiles
Force Developments. The
Soviets are developing five new, long range cruise missile systems.
Three of these are variants of a small subsonic, low-altitude cruise
missile similar in design to the US TOMAHAWK. These variants have a
range of about 3,000 kilometers. The two others are variants of a
larger system probably designed for long-range operations. This system
has no US counterpart.
The three smaller cruise missiles are being developed for launch from
sea-, ground- and air-based platforms respectively. The sea-based
variant, the SS-NX-21, is small enough to be fired from standard Soviet
torpedo tubes. Candidate launch platforms for the SSNX-21 include: the
existing VICTOR III SSN, a new YANKEE-Class SSN, the new MIKE class SSN
(possibly a follow-on to the ALFA-Class high-speed, deep-diving SSN)
and the new SIERRA-Class SSN (possibly a follow-onto the VICTOR III).
The SS-NX-21 probably will become operational this year. SS-NX-21s
carried by submarines could be deployed near US coasts.
ground-based SSC-X-4 variant of the small cruise missile may not be
ready for operational deployment until about 1985. Its range and the
likelihood that the Soviets will not deploy the system outside the USSR
indicate that its mission will be in support of theater operations. The
system will be mobile and probably follow operational procedures like
those of the SS-20 LRINF missile.
The air-launched version of this cruise missile - the AS-X-15 - could
reach initial operational status this year on the new BEAR H ALCM
carrier aircraft. The system could also be deployed on BLACKJACK
bombers when that aircraft reaches operational status. The combination
of the AS-X-15 and the new BEAR H and BLACKJACK bombers will increase
Soviet strategic intercontinental air power in the late 1980s.
The larger cruise missile, which has not yet been designated, will have
sea- and ground-based variants. Both the sea- and ground-based versions
could be operational with in the next 2 years.
When first deployed, each of these five cruise missiles will be fitted
with nuclear warheads and capable of threatening hardened targets.
Depending on future munitions developments and the types of guidance
systems incorporated in their designs, they could eventually be
accurate enough to permit the use of conventional warheads. With such
warheads, highly accurate cruise missiles would pose a significant
non-nuclear threat to US and NATO airfields and nuclear weapons in a
US Strategic Forces
By mid-1984, US strategic deterrent forces will consist of:
- 1,000 MINUTEMAN ICBMs,
- 33 TITAN ICBMs,
- 241 B-52G/H model bombers, plus about 23 aircraft undergoing maintenance and modification,
- 56 FB-111 bombers, plus some five aircraft undergoing maintenance and modification,
- 496 POSEIDON (C-3 and C-4) fleet ballistic launchers, and
- 120 TRIDENT fleet ballistic launchers.
The historic and continuing objective of US strategic forces is
deterrence of nuclear and major conventional aggression against the
United States and its Allies. This policy has preserved nuclear peace
for over 38 years and, in sharp contrast to the Soviet priority
accorded nuclear warfighting, is based on the conviction of all postwar
American administrations that there could be no winners in a nuclear
conflict. Rather, US deterrence policy seeks to maintain the situation
where any potential aggressor sees little to gain and much to lose in
initiating hostilities against the United States or its Allies. In
turn, the maintenance of peace through nuclear deterrence provides the
vital opportunity to realize a complementary and constant US goal of
eliminating nuclear weapons from the arsenals of all states.
To realize these deterrence objectives requires the development,
deployment and maintenance of strategic forces whose size and
characteristics clearly indicate to an opponent that he cannot achieve
his politico-military objectives either through employment of nuclear
weapons or through political coercion based on nuclear advantages.
Despite these pressing military requirements, the 1970s saw the United
States exhibit restraint in modernizing its strategic forces. This was
done to promote what was hoped to be significant progress in SALT
negotiations. As a result, the United States did not introduce any new
ICBMs, SLBMs, SSBN classes or heavy strategic bombers in the 1972 to
1978 period. The United States did introduce the Short-Range Attack
Missile (SRAM) to assist strategic bombers in penetrating the extensive
and growing Soviet air defenses. A limited number, 66, of FB-111
shorter-range bombers were also deployed in the 1969-70 period. These
developments were required to maintain the effectiveness of our bomber
force in response to the Soviet air defense improvements.
The result of the asymmetry in US and Soviet modernization programs has
been to erode the perception of US deterrent capability, and its
continuation could weaken US ability to maintain peace. To preclude
such a possibility, to restore the real and perceived deterrent
capability of the United States and to resolve the problems associated
with aging US forces, the President has initiated and the Congress has
supported a comprehensive and integrated strategic modernization
program. This program includes:
- deployment of more survivable and effective command, control and communications systems,
- development of the new TRIDENTII submarine-launched ballistic missile and continued procurement of TRIDENT-Class submarines,
- procurement of 100 B-1B bombers in the near-term and deployment of the Advanced Technology Bomber for the l990s,
- modernization of selected B-52bombers and introduction of air launched cruise missiles into the force,
- deployment of 100 new PEACEKEEPER (MX) land-based missiles in MINUTEMAN silos beginning in 1986,and
- development of a new, small, single warhead ICBM.
Strategic defenses are vital to the overall Soviet strategy for nuclear
war. As noted above, the operations of Soviet defensive and attack
forces are closely coupled; attack strategies are geared in large part
to the reduction of the defensive burden. In the Soviet concept of a
layered defense, effectiveness is achieved through multiple types of
defensive capabilities compensating for shortcomings in individual
systems and for the likelihood that neither offensive strikes nor any
one layer of defense will stop all attacking weapons. The Soviets have
made major improvements in their deployed strategic defenses and have
invested heavily in ABM-related development.
Current Systems and Force Levels. The Soviets maintain the
world's most extensive early warning system for both ballistic missile
and air defense. Their operational ballistic missile early-warning
system includes a launch detection satellite network, over-the-horizon
radars and a series of large phased-array radars located primarily on
the periphery of the USSR. Their early-warning air surveillance system
is composed of an extensive network of ground-based radars linked
operationally with those of their Warsaw Pact Allies.
The current Soviet launch detection satellite network is capable of
providing about 30 minutes warning of any US ICBM launch, and of
determining the area from which it originated. The two over-the-horizon
radars The Soviets have directed at the US ICBM fields also could
provide them with 30 minutes warning of an ICBM strike launched from
the United States, but with somewhat less precision than the satellite
network. Working together, these two early-warning systems can provide
more reliable warning than either working alone.
The next layer of operational ballistic missile early warning consists
of 11 large HENHOUSE detection and tracking radars at six locations on
the periphery of the USSR. These radars can distinguish the size of an
attack, confirm the warning from the satellite and over-the-horizon
radar systems and provide some target-tracking data in support of ABM
Current Soviet air surveillance radar deployments include more than
7,000 radars of various types located at about 1,200 sites. These
deployments provide virtually complete coverage at medium to high
altitudes over the USSR and in some areas extends hundreds of
kilometers beyond the borders. Limited coverage against low-altitude
targets is concentrated in the western USSR and in high-priority areas
elsewhere. Since 1983, The Soviets have begun to deploy two new air
surveillance radars. These radars assist in the early warning of cruise
missile and bomber attacks and enhance air defense electronic warfare
Force Developments. Since last year, an additional new large
phased-array radar for ballistic missile early warning and target
tracking has been discovered under construction in Siberia. This brings
to six the number of such radars operational or under construction in
the USSR. This new radar closes the final gap in the combined HEN HOUSE
and new large-phased array radar early-warning and tracking network.
Together, this radar and the five others like it form an arc of
coverage from the Kola Peninsula in the northwest, around Siberia, to
the Caucasus in the southwest. HEN HOUSE coverage completes the circle.
The newly identified radar almost certainly violates the 1972 ABM
Treaty in that it is not located on the periphery of the Soviet Union
nor is it pointed outward as required by the Treaty. The complete
network of these radars, which could provide target tracking data for
ABM deployments beyond Moscow, probably will be operational by the late
The Soviets may establish a network of satellites in geostationary
orbit designed to provide timely indications of SLBM launches. Such a
network could be operational by the end of the decade.
The USSR has a strong research and development program to produce new
early warning and other air surveillance radars, as well as to improve
existing systems. More than 20 types of these radars are currently in
development. In addition, the Soviets are continuing to deploy improved
air surveillance data systems that can rapidly pass data from outlying
radars through the air surveillance network to ground-controlled
intercept sites and SAM command posts. These systems will continue to
be deployed until all areas are equipped with them.
Ballistic Missile Defense
Current Systems and Force Levels. The Soviets maintain around
Moscow the world's only operational ABM system. This system is intended
to afford a layer of defense for Soviet civil and military command
authorities in the Moscow environs during a nuclear war rather than
blanket protection for the city itself. Since 1980, the Soviets have
been upgrading and expanding this system within the limits of the 1972
The original single-layer Moscow ABM system included 64 reloadable
above-ground launchers at four complexes for the GALOSHABM-1B, six TRY
ADD guidance and engagement radars at each complex and the DOGHOUSE and
CAT HOUSE target-tracking radars south of Moscow. The Soviets are
upgrading this system to the 100 launchers permitted under the Treaty.
When completed, the new system will be a two-layer defense composed of
silo-based long-range modified GALOSH interceptors designed to engage
targets outside the atmosphere; silo-based high acceleration
interceptors designed to engage targets within the atmosphere;
associated engagement and guidance radars; and a new large radar at
Pushkino designed to control ABM engagements. The silo-based launchers
may be reloadable. The new Moscow defenses are likely to reach fully
operational status in the late 1980s.
Force Developments. The
USSR has an improving potential for large-scale deployment of
modernized ABM defenses well beyond the 100-launcher ABM Treaty limits.
Widespread ABM deployment to protect important target areas in the USSR
could be accomplished within the next 10 years. The Soviets have
developed a rapidly deployable ABM system for which sites could be
built in months instead of years. A typical site would consist of
engagement radars, guidance radars, above-ground launchers and the
high-acceleration interceptor. The new, large phased-array radars under
construction in the USSR along with the HENHOUSE, DOG HOUSE, CAT HOUSE
and possibly the Pushkino radars appear to be designed to provide
support for such a widespread ABM defense system. The Soviets seem to
have placed themselves in a position to field relatively quickly a
nationwide ABM system should they decide to do so.
addition, the Soviets are deploying one surface-to-air missile system,
the SA-10, and are flight-testing another, the mobile SA-X-12.The
SA-X-12 is both a tactical SAM and antitactical ballistic missile. Both
the SA-10 and SA-X-12 may have the potential to intercept some types of
US strategic ballistic missiles as well. These systems could, if
properly supported, add significant point-target coverage to a
wide-spread ABM deployment.
energy development programs involve future ABM as well as antisatellite
and air-defense weapons concepts. By the late 1980s, the Soviets could
have prototypes for ground-based lasers for ballistic missile defense.
The many difficulties in fielding an operational system will require
much development time, and initial operational deployment is not likely
in this century.
Ground- and space-based particle beam weapons for ballistic missile
defense will be more difficult to develop than lasers. Nevertheless,
the Soviets have a vigorous program underway for particle beam
development and could have a prototype space-based system ready for
testing in the late 1990s.
Current Systems and Force Levels. Sincerely
1971, the Soviets have had the capability to attack satellites in
near-earth orbit with a ground-based orbital interceptor. Using a radar
sensor and a pellet-type warhead, the interceptor can attack a target
in various orbits during its first two revolutions. An intercept during
the first orbit would reduce the time available for a target satellite
to take evasive action. The interceptor can reach targets orbiting at
more than 5,000 kilometers, but it probably is intended for high
priority satellites at lower altitudes. The antisatellite interceptor
is launched from Tyuratam where two launch pads and storage space for
additional interceptors and launch vehicles are available. Several
interceptors could be launched each day from each of the pads. In
addition to the orbital interceptor, the Soviets have two ground-based
test lasers that could be used against satellites. The Soviets also
have the technological capability to conduct electronic warfare against
Force Developments. Emerging
directed energy technologies are seen by the Soviets as offering
greater promise for future antisatellite application than further
development of orbital interceptors equipped with conventional
warheads. The Soviets could deploy antisatellite lasers to several
ground sites in the next 10 years or they could deploy laser equipped
satellites either available for launch on command or maintained in
orbit, or could deploy both. Such systems would have significant
advantages over a conventional orbital interceptor. These include
longer-range, multishot capabilities and a greater capacity to overcome
the target's defensive measures.
The Soviets could test a prototype laser antisatellite weapon as soon
as the late 1980s. Initial operational capability could be achieved
between the early- and mid-1990s.
Since the early 1970s, the Soviets have had a research program to
explore the technical feasibility of a particle beam weapon in space. A
prototype space-based particle beam weapon intended only to disrupt
satellite electronic equipment could be tested in the early 1990s. One
designed to destroy the satellites could be tested in space in the
Current Systems and Force Levels. The Soviets have deployed
massive strategic air defense forces that currently have excellent
capabilities against aircraft flying at medium and high altitudes but
much less capability against low-flying aircraft and cruise missiles.
Soviet air defenses, however, are in the initial stages of a major
overhaul geared entirely to fielding an integrated air defense system
much more capable of low-altitude operations. This overhaul includes
the partial integration of strategic and tactical air defenses; the
upgrading of early-warning and air surveillance capabilities; the
deployment of more efficient data transmission systems; and the
development and initial deployment of new aircraft, associated
air-to-air missiles, surface-to-air missiles and an airborne warning
and control system (AWACS).
Currently, the Soviets have some 1,200 air defense interceptors and
nearly 10,000 SAM launchers at over 900 sites dedicated to strategic
territorial air defense. An additional 2,000 interceptors and some
1,800 tactical SAMs are deployed within the USSR's borders and could be
made available for territorial defense.
FOXBAT aircraft are being upgraded to the FOXBAT E configuration giving
them somewhat better look-down radar capabilities. More importantly,
however, the new MiG-31/FOXHOUND interceptor, the first true
look-down/shoot-down-capable aircraft in the Soviet inventory, is being
introduced.The FOXHOUND aircraft is comparable in size to the US F-14.
Over 50 of these aircraft are now operational.
The new multiple altitude SA-10 SAM, first
deployed in 1980, is now operational at some 40 sites with nearly 350
launchers and four SA-10s per launcher. In addition, SA-5 deployment
continues at a very slow pace within the USSR. The most significant
SA-5 deployments have occurred outside the USSR in Eastern Europe,
Mongolia and Syria.
Force Developments. Virtually
all of the Soviet air defense development programs now underway are
geared to overcoming a longstanding vulnerability to low-altitude air
attack. Two new fighter interceptors - the Su-27/FLANKER and the
MiG-29/FULCRUM - have true look-down/shoot-down capabilities. The
FULCRUM is a single-seat, twin engine fighter similar in size to the US
F-16. It was first deployed earlier this year. The FLANKER is larger
than the FULCRUM and is about the same size as the US F-15. It, too, is
a single-seat, twin-engine fighter, and it could be operationally
deployed this year or next. Both have been designed to be highly
maneuverable, air-to-air combat aircraft.
two aircraft and the FOXHOUND are likely to operate under certain
circumstances with the new Il-76/MAINSTAY Airborne Warning and Control
Systems (AWACS) aircraft. The MAINSTAY will substantially improve
Soviet capabilities for early warning and air combat command and
control. It will provide the Soviets with the capability over land and
water to detect aircraft and cruise missile targets flying at low
altitudes. The MAINSTAY could be used to help direct fighter operations
over European and Asian battlefields and to enhance air surveillance
and defense of the USSR. Four of these aircraft have been built. The
MAINSTAY should be operational this year; an annual production rate of
about five aircraft is likely.
three new Soviet fighter-interceptors are equipped with two new
air-to-air missiles - the AA-9 designed for the FOXHOUND and the
AA-X-10 designed for the FULCRUM and the FLANKER. The AA-9 is a
long-range missile that can be used against low-flying aircraft; the
AA-X-10 is a medium-range missile with similar capabilities.
In keeping with their drive toward mobility as a means of weapons
survival, the Soviets are developing a mobile version of the SA-10 SAM.
This mobile version could be used to support Soviet theater forces,
but, perhaps more importantly, if deployed with the territorial defense
forces, it would allow the Soviets to change the location of those
SA-10s in the USSR. The mobile SA-10 could be operational by 1985.
The Soviets have efforts underway to develop at least three types of
high-energy laser weapons for air defense. These include lasers
intended for defense of high-value strategic targets in the USSR, those
for point defense of ships at sea and theater-forces air
defense.Following past practice, the Soviets are likely to deploy
air-defense lasers to complement rather than replace interceptors and
SAMs.The territorial-defense laser is probably in at least the
prototype stage of development and could be operational between the
mid- to-late 1980s. It most likely will be deployed in conjunction with
SAMs in a point defense role. Since the two systems would have
different attributes and vulnerabilities, they would provide mutual
support. The shipborne lasers probably will not be operational until
after the end of the decade. The theater-force lasers may be
operational sometime sooner and are likely to be capable of
structurally damaging aircraft at close ranges and producing
electro-optical and eye damage at greater distances.
In addition, the Soviets have underway a development program for an
airborne laser. Assuming a successful development effort, limited
initial deployment could begin in the early 1990s. Such a laser
platform could have missions including antisatellite defense,
protection of high-value airborne assets and cruise-missile defense.
Soviet passive defense preparations have been underway in earnest for
some 30 years, and have, over time, expanded from the protection of
such vital entities as the national Party and government leadership and
Armed Forces, to embrace the territorial leadership, national economy
and general population. The Soviets regard passive defense as an
essential ingredient of their overall military posture and their war
planning. In conjunction with active forces, the Soviets plan for their
passive defense program to ensure the survival and wartime continuity
- Soviet leadership,
- military command and control,
- war-supporting industrial production and services, and
- the essential workforce and protection of as much of the general population as possible.
As this program has expanded, elements of it have been designated by
the Soviets as "civil defense." Use of this term in its normal Western
context does not convey the full scope of Soviet Civil Defense.
Extensive planning for the transition of the entire State and economy
to a wartime posture has been fundamental to Soviet passive defense
preparations. The Soviet General Staff and Civil Defense officials have
supervised the development of special organizations and procedures to
implement quickly the transition to war and have emphasized the
mobilization and protection of all national resources essential to the
successful prosecution of war and recovery.
The senior Soviet military establishment has also supervised the
30-year program to construct hardened command posts and survivable
communications for key military commanders and civilian managers at all
levels of the Party and government. Likewise, protective hardening,
dispersal and wartime production plans for Soviet industry have all
been coordinated with the wartime requirements of the military and
supervised by Civil Defense personnel. The protection of the general
population through evacuation procedures and extensive sheltering in or
near urban areas is the most visible aspect of the passive defense
Soviet Civil Defense Management. These passive defense programs
reflect the Soviet concept of the system in its wartime mode. The
wartime management system would be a militarized system of national
administration in which peacetime government bodies become Civil
Defense components under direct military subordination. This would
extend to Soviet territorial administration at all levels and to
specialized functional components such as industrial, transport, power
and communications ministries. Soviet authorities at all levels would
serve as uniformed chiefs of civil Defense and command their respective
organizations in a military capacity. Soviet Civil Defense thus serves
both as a vehicle to administer peacetime preparations and training and
as the infrastructure that would knit together civil and military
bodies in their unified wartime management systems.
Continuity of Leadership Functions. Soviet commanders and
managers at all levels of the Party and government are provided
hardened alternate command posts located well away from urban centers.
This comprehensive and redundant system, composed of more than 1,500
hardened facilities with special communications, is patterned after
similar capabilities afforded the Armed Forces. More than 175,000 key
personnel throughout the system are believed to be equipped with such
alternate facilities in addition to the many deep bunkers and blast
shelters in Soviet cities.
Stability of the Wartime Economy. Soviet passive defense efforts
include measures to maintain essential production and service seven
during a nuclear war. Elaborate plans have been set for the full
mobilization of the national economy in support of the war effort and
the conversion to wartime production. Reserves of vital materials are
maintained, many in hardened underground structures. Redundant
industrial facilities have been built and are in active production.
Industrial and other economic facilities have been equipped with blast
shelters for the workforce, and detailed procedures have been developed
for the relocation of selected plants and equipment. By ensuring the
survival of essential workers, the Soviets intend to reconstitute vital
production programs using those industrial components that can be
redirected or salvaged after attack.
North American Defense Forces
US and Canadian interceptor forces assigned to the North American
Aerospace Defense(NORAD) Command maintain continuous ground alert at
sites around the periphery of the United States and Canada. Alert
aircraft intercept and identify unknown intruders. In a crisis, the Air
Force, Navy and Marine Corps would provide additional interceptors.
Supported by AWACS aircraft, these forces could provide a limited
defense against bomber attacks.
To meet the increasing Soviet bomber and ALCM threats, US interceptor
squadrons assigned to NORAD are being equipped with newer, more
advanced F-15 and F-16 aircraft. These modern fighters will provide a
look down/shoot-down capability to detect and engage enemy bombers
penetrating at low altitudes. The Canadians are upgrading their air
defense forces with the CF-18. Joint US and Canadian programmed
improvements to long-range surveillance include modern microwave radars
for the Distant Early Warning line and over-the-horizon back-scatter
radars looking east, west and south.
Soviet space-oriented military systems pose an unacceptable threat to
the land, sea and air forces of the United States. Soviet satellites
probably have the capability to support targeting of Soviet anti-ship
cruise missiles launched against US surface ships. The US
anti-satellite (ASAT) program, centering on the Air-Launched Miniature
Vehicle, is part of our response to this and similar threats. At the
same time, we are continuing to examine the potential basis for
negotiating ASAT arms control agreements.
Finally, the United States has called for a research program to explore
the possibility of strengthening deterrence by taking advantage of
recent advances in technology that could, in the long term, provide an
effective defense against ballistic missiles. The effort focuses on
existing research programs in five technology areas that offer the
greatest promise. Given the extensive Soviet efforts in this area, the
US program is a prudent and necessary hedge against the possibility of
unilateral Soviet deployment of an advanced system capable of
effectively countering Western ballistic missiles. Such a unilateral
Soviet deployment - added to the USSR's impressive air and passive
defense capabilities - would jeopardize deterrence because the US would
no longer be able to pose a credible threat of retaliation to a Soviet
Since the first Soviet nuclear explosion on August 29, 1949, the Soviet
stockpile of nuclear warheads has grown steadily, primarily in the area
of offensive weapons. In contrast, the US stockpile was one-third
higher in 1967 than it is today. In addition, as a result of two
landmark NATO decisions in 1979 and 1983, the nuclear stockpile in
Europe will decline by one-third from its 1979 level.
The USSR's nuclear weapons program has shown diversity and
sophistication. Today, Soviet nuclear warheads include a full spectrum
of fission and thermonuclear designs using uranium, plutonium and
tritium, with weapons yields up to multimegaton. The preponderance of
these weapons is assigned to strategic offensive forces. Because of
MIRVing, the megatonnage in the Soviet arsenal leveled in the early
seventies, and then began to drop. However, with the deployment of new
nuclear weapons systems their stockpile megatonnage has again started
The Soviet nuclear energy and weapons development program and its
associated industrial base are characterized by a highly centralized
control structure. The ministry controlling nuclear weapons development
and production is in charge of all nuclear materials, reactors and
weapons research and development (R&D) as well as production. Since
the ministry controls virtually all facilities related to the nuclear
industry, reactor utilization can be unilaterally altered to satisfy
military requirements, regardless of the-military or commercial nature
of the particular reactor facility.
Finally, during the past two decades, the number of workers and the
amount of floor space of the Soviet nuclear weapons research and
development facilities have exhibited constant growth. Manpower devoted
to nuclear R&D probably exceeds 30,000 employees and is comprised
of the best scientists,mathematicians, engineers and technicians Soviet
academia can produce. Their R&D efforts are supported by an active
nuclear test program conducted at the Novaya Zemlya and Semipalitinsk
nuclear test sites.