Chapter III- Strategic Defense and Space Operations
Over the last 25 years, the Soviets have increased their active and
passive defenses in a clear and determined attempt to blunt the effect
of any attack on the Soviet Union. The USSR has major passive defense
programs, including civil defense and structural hardening, designed to
protect important assets from attack. It also has extensive active
defense systems which utilize weapons systems to protect national
territory, military forces, or key assets. Soviet developments in the
area of active defenses fall into three major categories: air defense;
ballistic missile defense based on current technologies; and research
and development on advanced defenses against ballistic missiles.
Important recent activities in the Soviet Strategic Defense Program (SSDP) include:
-upgrading and expanding the world's only operational ABM system around Moscow;
-construction of the Krasnoyarsk ballistic missile detection and tracking radar,which violates the 1972 ABM Treaty;
-extensive research into advanced technologies for defense against
ballistic missiles, including laser weapons, particle beam weapons, and
kinetic energy weapons;
- maintaining the world's only operational antisatellite (ASAT) system;
-modernizing their strategic air defense forces; and
-improving passive defenses by maintaining deep bunkers and
blast shelters for key personnel and enhancing the survivability of
some offensive systems through mobility and hardening.
Evidence of the importance the Soviets attach to defensive damage
limitation can be traced to the beginning of the nuclear age. The
National Air Defense Forces became an independent service in the late
1950s and since 1959 have generally ranked third in precedence within
the Soviet Armed Forces, following the Strategic Rocket Forces and the
By the mid-1960s, two new mission areas - ASAT operations and ABM
defense - were added to the National Air Defense mission. As a result,
Soviet strategic defense against ballistic missiles includes the
world's only operational ABM system and a large and expanding research
and development program. In addition, the Soviets have the world's only
operational antisatellite system, which has the capability to destroy
critical US and other satellites in low-earth orbit.
The Soviet emphasis on the necessity of research on ballistic missile
defense was demonstrated in 1972 by then-Minister of Defense Grechko
shortly after the signing of the ABM Treaty. Speaking to the Soviet
Presidium, he said that the Treaty "places no limitations whatsoever on
the conducting of research and experimental work directed towards
solving the problem of defending the country from nuclear missile
The Soviet emphasis on strategic defense is firmly grounded in Soviet
military doctrine and strategy. In the event of nuclear war, Soviet
offensive forces are to:
-destroy or disrupt enemy nuclear associated command, control, and communications; and
-destroy or neutralize as many of the enemy's nuclear weapons as possible on the ground or at sea before they are launched.
Soviet defensive forces, lending greater credibility to offensive forces, are to:
-intercept and destroy surviving weapons - aircraft and missiles - before they reach their targets; and
-protect the Party, the state, military
forces, industrial infrastructure, and the essential working population
with active and passive measures against those weapons that survive
attacks by Soviet offensive forces.
In pursuit of these goals, the USSR places considerable stress on the
need for effective strategic defenses as well as offensive forces. In
the Soviet view, the USSR could best achieve its aims in a nuclear war
if it attacks first, destroying much of the US and allied capability
for retaliation. Defensive measures, both active and passive, would in
turn prevent those enemy forces that survived a Soviet first strike
from destroying targets in the USSR.
In Military Strategy-originally published in 1962 - Marshal V.D.
Sokolovskiy defined the aim of Soviet strategic defenses in this
way:"They have the task of creating an invincible system for the
defense of the entire country....While, in the last war, it was
sufficient to destroy 15-20 percent of the attacking air operation, now
it is necessary to assure, essentially, 100 percent destruction of all
attacking airplanes and missiles." Soviet defensive force developments
over the past 25 years demonstrate that the strategy articulated by
Sokolovskiy still applies.
Ballistic Missile Defense
world's only operational ABM system is maintained around Moscow. In
1978, the Soviets began to upgrade and expand that system to the limit
allowed by the 1972 ABM Treaty. The original single-layer Moscow ABM
system included 64 reloadable above-ground launchers at 4 complexes and
DOG HOUSE and CATHOUSE battle management radars south of Moscow. Each
complex consisted of TRY ADD tracking and guidance radars and GALOSH
exoatmospheric interceptors (nuclear armed, ground-based missiles
designed to intercept warheads in space shortly before they reenter the
When completed, the modernized Moscow ABM system will be a
two-layer defense composed of silo-based, long-range, modified GALOSH
interceptors; silo-based GAZELLE high-acceleration endoatmospheric
interceptors designed to engage targets within the atmosphere;
associated engagement, guidance and battle management radar systems;
and a new large radar at Pushkino designed to control ABM engagements.
The silo-based launchers may be reloadable. The new system will have
the 100 ABM launchers permitted by the ABM Treaty and could be fully
operational by 1987.
The Soviet system for detection and tracking of ballistic
missile attack consists of a launch-detection satellite network,
over-the-horizon radars, and a series of large phased-array radars.
The current launch-detection satellite network can provide about 30
minutes warning after any US ICBM launch and can determine the general
origin of the missile. Two over-the-horizon radars directed at the US
ICBM fields also could give the same 30 minutes warning.
The next operational layer of ballistic missile detection consists of
11 large HEN HOUSE ballistic missile early warning radars at 6
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 target-tracking data in
support of antiballistic missile forces. The capability of these radars
has been improved since the signing of the ABM Treaty.
The Soviets are now constructing a network
of six new large phased-array radars that can track more ballistic
missiles with greater accuracy than the existing HEN HOUSE network.Five
of these radars duplicate or supplement the coverage of the HEN HOUSE
network,but with greatly enhanced capability. Thesixth, under
construction near Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, closes the final gap in the
Soviet early warning radar coverage against ballistic missile attack.
Together, the six new large phased array radars form an arc of coverage
from the Kola Peninsula in the northwest Soviet Union, around Siberia,
to the Caucasus in the southwest.
The United States is now constructing new ballistic missile early
warning radars, known as PAVE PAWS, that are located on the periphery
of our territory and oriented outward. These radars are much less
capable than Soviet large phased-array radars. Both the US and the
USSR, in signing the ABM Treaty, recognized the need for ballistic
missile early warning radars. At the same time, they recognized that
ballistic missile early warning radars can detect and track warheads at
great distances and therefore have a significant antiballistic missile
potential. Such an ABM capability would play an important role in a
nationwide ABM defense, which the treaty was designed to prevent. As a
result, the US and the Soviet Union agreed that future ballistic
missile early warning radars must be located on a nation's periphery
and be oriented outward. In that way, the desirable and legitimate goal
of early warning could be advanced while minimizing the danger that an
effective nationwide battle management network could result.
The Krasnoyarsk radar is designed for ballistic missile detection and
tracking, including ballistic missile early warning. It violates the
1972 ABM Treaty as it is not located within a 150-kilometer radius of
the national capital (Moscow) as required of ABM radars, nor is it
located on the periphery of the Soviet Union and pointed outward as
required for early warning radars. It is 3,700 kilometers from Moscow
and is situated some 750 kilometers from the nearest border - Mongolia.
Moreover, it is oriented not toward that border, but across
approximately 4,000 kilometers of Soviet territory to the northeast.
The Soviet Union has claimed that the Krasnoyarsk radar is designed for
space tracking, rather than ballistic missile early warning, and
therefore does not violate the ABM Treaty. Its design, however, is not
suited for a space tracking role, and the radar would, in any event,
contribute little to the existing Soviet space-tracking network.
Indeed, the design of the Krasnoyarsk radar is essentially identical to
that of other radars that are known - and acknowledged by the Soviets -
to be for ballistic missile detection and tracking, including ballistic
missile early warning.
The growing Soviet network of large phased array, ballistic missile
detection and tracking radars, of which the Krasnoyarsk radar is apart,
is of particular concern when linked with other Soviet ABM efforts.
Such radars take years to construct and their existence might allow the
Soviet Union to move rather quickly to construct a nationwide ABM
defense if it chooses to do so.
The Soviets also are developing components of a new ABM system that
would allow them to construct individual ABM sites in a matter of
months rather than the years that are required for more traditional ABM
systems. Soviet activities in this regard potentially violate the ABM
Treaty's prohibition on the development of a mobile land-based ABM
system or components. We estimate that by using these components the
Soviets could by the early 1990s quickly deploy an ABM system to
strengthen the defenses of Moscow and defend key targets in the western
USSR and east of the Urals.
In addition, the Soviets have probably violated the prohibition on
testing surface-to-air missile (SAM) components in an ABM mode by
conducting tests involving the use of SAM air defense radars in
ABM-related testing activities. Moreover, the SA-10 and SA-X-12
SAMsystems may have the potential to intercept some types of strategic
Taken together, all of the Soviet Union's ABM and ABM-related
activities are more significant - and more ominous - than any one
considered individually. Cumulatively, they suggest that the USSR may
be preparing to deploy rapidly an ABM defense of its national
territory, contrary to the provisions of the ABMTreaty.
Advanced ABM Technologies
the late 1960s, in line with its longstanding emphasis on strategic
defense, the Soviet Union initiated a substantial research program into
advanced technologies, some of which are applicable for defense against
ballistic missiles. That program covers many of the same technologies
involved in the US Strategic Defense Initiative but represents a far
greater investment of plant space, capital, and manpower.
The USSR's laser program is much larger than US efforts and involves
over 10,000 scientists and engineers and more than a half dozen major
research and development facilities and test ranges. Much of this
research takes place at the Sary Shagan Missile Test Center where the
Soviets also conduct traditional ABM research. Facilities there are
estimated to have several lasers for air defense, lasers capable of
damaging some components of satellites in orbit, and a laser that could
be used in feasibility testing for ballistic missile defense
applications. A laser weapons program of the magnitude of the Soviet
Union's effort would cost roughly $1 billion per year in the United
The Soviets are conducting research on three types of gas lasers
considered promising for weapons applications - the gas-dynamic laser,
the electric discharge laser, and the chemical laser. Soviet
achievements in this area, in terms of output power, have been
impressive. The Soviets also are aware of the military potential of
visible and very shortwave-length lasers. They are investigating
excimer, free-electron, and x-ray lasers and have been developing
argon-ion lasers for over a decade.
The Soviets appear generally capable of supplying the prime power,
energy storage, and auxiliary components needed for most laser and
other directed-energy weapons. They have developed a rocket-driven
magnetohydro-dynamic generator which produces over 15 megawatts of
electrical power - a device that has no counterpart in the West. The
Soviets may also have the capability to develop the optical systems
necessary for laser weapons to track and attack their targets. They
produced a 1.2-meter segmented mirror for an astrophysical telescope in
1978 and claimed that this was a prototype for a 25-meter mirror. A
large mirror is considered necessary for a space-based laser weapon.
Unlike the US, the USSR has now progressed in some cases beyond
technology research. It already has ground-based lasers that have a
limited capability to attack US satellites and could have prototype
space-based antisatellite laser weapons by the end of the decade. The
Soviets could have prototypes for ground-based lasers for defense
against ballistic missiles by the late 1980s and could begin testing
components for a large-scale deployment system in the early 1990s.
The remaining difficulties in fielding an operational system will
require more development time. An operational ground-based laser for
defense against ballistic missiles probably could not be deployed until
the late 1990s or after the year 2000. If technology developments prove
successful, the Soviets may deploy operational space-based
antisatellite lasers in the mid-to late 1990s and might be able to
deploy space based laser systems for defense against ballistic missiles
after the year 2000. The Soviets' efforts to develop high-energy air
defense laser weapons are likely to lead to ground-based deployments in
the early 1990s and naval deployments in the mid-199Os.
Particle Beam Weapons
Since the late 1960s, the Soviets have been involved in research to
explore the feasibility of space-based weapons that would use particle
beams. We estimate that they may be able to test a prototype particle
beam weapon intended to disrupt the electronics of satellites in the
1990s. A weapon designed to destroy satellites could follow later. A
weapon capable of physically destroying missile boosters or warheads
probably would require several additional years of research and
Soviet efforts in particle beams, and particularly ion sources and
radio frequency quadrapole accelerators for particle beams, are very
impressive. In fact, much of the US understanding of how particle beams
could be made into practical defensive weapons is based on Soviet work
conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Radio Frequency Weapons
The USSR has conducted research in the use of strong radio frequency
signals that have the potential to interfere with or destroy critical
electronic components of ballistic missile warheads or satellites. The
Soviets could test a ground-based radio frequency weapon capable of
damaging satellites in the 1990s.
Kinetic Energy Weapons
The Soviets also have a variety of research programs underway in the
area of kinetic energy weapons, using the high-speed collision of a
small mass with the target as the kill mechanism. In the 1960s, the
USSR developed an experimental "gun" that could shoot streams of
particles of a heavy metal such as tungsten or molybdenum at speeds of
nearly 25 kilometers per second in air and over 60 kilometers per
second in a vacuum.
Long-range, space-based kinetic energy systems for defense against
ballistic missiles probably could not be developed until the mid 1990s
or even later. The USSR could, however, deploy in the near-term a
short-range, space based system useful for satellite or space station
defense or for close-in attack by a maneuvering satellite. Soviet
capabilities in guidance and control systems probably are adequate for
effective kinetic energy weapons for use against some objects in space.
Computer and Sensor Technology
Advanced technology weapons programs - including potential advanced
defenses against ballistic missiles and ASATs - are dependent on remote
sensor and computer technologies, areas in which the West currently
leads the Soviet Union. The Soviets, therefore, are devoting
considerable resources to acquiring Western know-how and improving
their abilities and expertise in these technologies. An important part
of that effort involves the increasing exploitation of open and
clandestine access to Western technology. For example, the Soviets have
long been engaged in a well funded effort to purchase illegally US high
technology computers, test and calibration equipment, and sensors
through third parties.
USSR has had for more than a dozen years the world's only operational
antisatellite system, which is launched into the same orbit as its
target satellite and, when it gets close enough, destroys the satellite
by exploding a conventional warhead. Given the complexity of launch,
target tracking, and radar-guided intercept, the Soviet ASAT system is
far from primitive. Soviet ASAT tests have been largely successful,
indicating an operational system fully capable of performing its
mission. In addition, the nuclear-armed GALOSH ABM interceptor deployed
around Moscow has an inherent ASAT capability, and Soviet ground-based
lasers may be able to damage some components of satellites.
Furthermore, as noted previously, the Soviets are engaged in research
and, in some cases, development of weapons which ultimately may serve
as ballistic missile defense systems but probably will first provide
Operations in Space
Soviets operate several space systems that support both military and
civil users. These include manned spacecraft, reconnaissance and
surveillance vehicles, new space boosters, and a variety of other
support systems. The Soviets have made progress in their space plane
and space shuttle programs, with the first flight of a Soviet shuttle
expected in late 1986 or 1987.
primary focus of Soviet space operations is military, as evidenced by
the fact that at least 70 percent of Soviet space launches are purely
military in nature and support both offensive and defensive operations.
The USSR attempts to mask the true nature of most of its space programs
by declaring that launches are"scientific," usually without providing
details on what kind of "scientific" mission is being conducted. The
results of these "scientific"missions are rarely published or even
Military Support from Space
The Soviets are increasing their efforts to develop and deploy space
systems to support military operations. They now operate several
space-based reconnaissance and surveillance systems, two of which have
no US counterpart. The latter are the nuclear powered Radar Ocean
Reconnaissance Satellite (RORSAT) and the Electronic Intelligence Ocean
Reconnaissance Satellite (EORSAT), both of which are used to locate and
target naval forces. Two RORSATs were launched in August 1985 in time
to support a Soviet naval exercise in September. This was not the first
time RORSAT launchings have taken place prior to military exercises.
The Soviet satellite reconnaissance program has matured and has
incorporated significant enhancements. The Soviets have improved their
satellite imagery reconnaissance capability and are gradually improving
their space based electronic intelligence assets as well. They have
demonstrated great versatility and flexibility in launching and
maintaining several surveillance systems in orbit and are capable of
redirecting them for worldwide missions as situations dictate.
The Soviets continue to operate an extensive network of satellites for
missile launch detection and attack warning missions. For a number of
years, the USSR has had the capability to monitor US ICBM fields.
The Soviets have also pressed ahead with the development and deployment
of a global navigation satellite system known as GLONASS. When fully
developed, this system will provide three-dimensional (latitude,
longitude, and altitude) positioning data.
New Launch Systems
Soviet Military Power 1985 reported two new space launch
vehicles under development, a heavy-lift system and a medium-lift
system. Launch pad compatibility testing has continued on the
heavy-lift vehicle, a Saturn V-Classbooster, and the Soviets have
flight-tested the Titan III-Class medium-lift vehicle.
The heavy-lift booster system apparently will be used to launch the
Soviet shuttle orbiter, a craft similar to the US space shuttle
orbiter. This launch system will also be able to carry very heavy
payloads of about 100,000 kilograms, enabling the Soviets to assemble
very large modular space stations in orbit. This type of system could
also be instrumental in the launch of other heavy payloads, such as
directed-energy ASAT and ballistic missile defense weapons.
The medium-lift booster may be used to launch the Soviet space plane,
which is a different program from the space shuttle. This small, manned
craft could be used for real-time reconnaissance missions, satellite
repair and maintenance, crew transport, space station defense, and
enemy satellite inspection or destruction.
When these new launch systems become operational, the Soviets
will have ten different types of expendable launch vehicles and two
reusable manned space vehicles. These systems will give the Soviets a
versatile and redundant capability to conduct and augment military
operations in space. In addition, the Soviets would have a distinct
advantage during times of crises or hostilities because of the launch
surge capability provided by their large number of launch vehicles.
early 1985, the Soviets experienced trouble with their SALYUT-7 space
station that resulted in failure of its electrical system. They
announced in March it had fulfilled its mission and was being
"mothballed." In June, however, two cosmonauts were launched from
Tyuratam aboard SOYUZ T-13. Using manual rendezvous procedures, the
cosmonauts succeeded in docking with the inactive station. Efforts to
revive the space station commenced, and within two weeks the crew was
operating the station normally and was probably conducting
military-related experiments. This repair mission provided valuable
experience in space station maintenance that will contribute greatly to
Soviet efforts to achieve a significant, permanent manned presence in
Last September, the Soviets conducted the first space station crew
rotation in the history of manned space flight when SOYUZ T-14
delivered three additional cosmonauts to SALYUT-7. One T-13 cosmonaut
and one T-14 cosmonaut subsequently deorbited on SOYUZ T-13. Crew
rotation will become common place when the Soviets deploy their first
large modular space station, which is likely to be launched in the late
1980s. The Soviets took a major step toward this capability with the
launch of an advanced SALYUT station with six docking ports in early
Further progress toward a deployment of a new station was demonstrated
by COSMOS-1686, which docked with SALYUT-7 in early October 1985. Such
modules have a high capacity cargo transport capability and could be
outfitted as reconnaissance platforms, nuclear power "substations," or
laboratories for various types of research and experimentation.
These modules will serve as interchangeable components of future large
modular space stations, and each, is capable of autonomous operation.
Once deployed, this space station will provide the Soviets with a
manned space based military capability for missions such as
reconnaissance, command and control, ASAT, and ballistic missile
defense support operations as well as satellite maintenance and repair.
Such space stations will probably be serviced and supported by the
Soviet shuttle and space plane.
The Soviets have realized that men in space can significantly
contribute to military operations. Soviet cosmonauts aboard a space
station in low-earth orbit can observe large areas of the Earth's
surface and transmit real-time information to military forces below.
From the altitude at which SALYUT operates, much of the Earth's surface
can be seen with great clarity. If supported with optics, a cosmonaut
could make out details such as airfields, port facilities, major
transportation routes, and ships at sea.
In the more traditional areas of strategic defense, Soviet military
doctrine calls for passive and active defenses to act in conjunction to
ensure wartime survival. Physical hardening of military assets to make
them more resistant to attack is an important passive defense
technique. The USSR has hardened its ICBM silos, launch facilities, and
key command and control centers to an unprecedented degree. Much of the
current US retaliatory force would be ineffective against these
Soviet leaders and managers at all levels of the government and
Communist Party are provided hardened alternate command posts located
well away from urban centers - in addition to many deep bunkers and
blast shelters in Soviet cities. This comprehensive and redundant
system, patterned after a similar system designed for the Soviet Armed
Forces, provides more than 1,500 hardened alternate facilities for more
than 175,000 key Party and government personnel throughout the USSR. In
contrast, the US passive defense effort is far smaller and more
limited; it is in no way comparable to the comprehensive Soviet
Elaborate plans also have been made for the full mobilization of the
national economy in support of the war effort. Reserves of vital
materials are maintained, many in hardened underground structures.
Redundant industrial facilities are in active production. Industrial
and other economic facilities have been equipped with blast shelters
for the work force, and detailed procedures have been developed for the
relocation of selected production capabilities. By planning for the
survival of the essential work force, the Soviets hope to reconstitute
vital production programs using those industrial components that could
be redirected or salvaged after an attack.
In addition, the USSR has greatly emphasized mobility as a means of
enhancing the survivability of military assets. The SS-20 and SS-25
missiles, for example, are mobile. Rail mobile deployment of the
SS-X-24 is expected soon. The Soviets are also developing an extensive
network of mobile command, control, and communications facilities.
Soviet Union has since the 1950s invested enormous resources in a wide
array of strategic air defense weapons systems. Taken together, the
Soviet strategic air defense network is a potent and increasingly
capable force which would attempt to limit the retaliatory capability
of our strategic bombers and cruise missiles. With the emergence of the
Soviet cruise missile and the enhanced bomber threat to the United
States, the US has undertaken measures to improve its air defense
The Soviets have deployed numerous strategic air defense systems with
capabilities against aircraft flying at medium and high altitudes. They
are now in the midst of a major program to improve their capabilities
against aircraft and cruise missiles flying at low altitudes. That
effort includes partial integration of strategic and tactical air
defense assets, the upgrading of early warning and 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 (SAMs), and
airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft.
the Soviets have more than 9,000 strategic SAM launchers, over 4,600
tactical SAM launchers, and some 10,000 air defense radars. More than
1,200 Air Defense Forces interceptor aircraft are dedicated to
strategic defense. An additional 2,800 interceptors assigned to Soviet
Air Forces (SAF) will be drawn upon for strategic defense missions.
Collectively, these assets present a formidable defense barrier against
most capable Soviet air defense interceptor aircraft, the
MiG-31/FOXHOUND, has a look-down/shoot-down and multiple-target
engagement capability. More than 100 FOXHOUNDs are now operationally
deployed at several locations from the Arkhangelsk area in the
northwestern USSR to the Far East Military District. Two new fighter
interceptors, the SU-27/FLANKER and the MiG-29/FULCRUM, also have
look-down/shoot-down capabilities and are designed to be highly
maneuverable in air-to-air combat. The look-down/shoot-down capability
was acquired from the US through espionage. The Soviets have deployed
over 100 MiG-29/FULCRUM aircraft to operational units and have recently
begun to deploy the Su27/FLANKER. These three aircraft are equipped
with two new air-to-air missiles - the long-range AA-9 (for the
the medium-range AA-10 (for the FULCRUMand FLANKER - that can be used
against low flying targets.
The USSR is also deploying the MAINSTAYAWACS aircraft, which will
improve substantially Soviet capabilities for early warning and air
combat command and control, especially against low-flying aircraft. The
MIDAS, a tanker variant of the Il-76/CANDID which should be operational
soon, will significantly increase the endurance of the new air defense
aircraft, particularly the MAINSTAY and some of the new fighters - if
an air refueling capability for them is incorporated.
Soviets maintain the world's most extensive early warning system for
air defense. It is composed of a widespread network of ground-based
radars linked operationally with those of their Warsaw Pact allies. As
previously noted, more than 10,000 air surveillance radars of various
types provide virtually complete coverage at medium-to-high altitudes
over the USSR and, in some areas, well beyond the Soviet Union's
borders. Three over-the-horizon radars for ballistic missile detection
could provide additional warning of the approach of high-flying
USSR also has an active research and development program to improve its
air surveillance network. In 1983, it began to deploy two new types of
air surveillance radars which will enhance Soviet capabilities for air
defense, electronic warfare, and early warning of cruise missile and
bomber attacks. The Soviets are also continuing to deploy improved air
surveillance data systems that can rapidly pass data from outlying
radars through the air surveillance network to ground-controlled
interceptor sites and SAM command posts.
strategic surface-to-air missiles provide low-to-high-altitude barrier,
area, and terminal defenses under all weather condition. Five systems
are now operational: the SA-1, SA-2, and SA-3, and the more capable
SA-5 and SA-10. The recent Soviet air defense reorganization permits
more efficient integration of strategic and tactical SAM systems.
Although most tactical SAMs have a shorter range the their strategic
counterparts, many have better capabilities against targets flying at
Over the years the Soviets have continued to deploy the
long-range SA-5 and have repeatedly modified this system. Further
deployment and upgrading are probable to enhance the SA-5's capability
to work in conjunction with low-altitude systems like the SA-10.
SA-10 has some capability against low altitude targets with small radar
cross-sections,such as cruise missiles. The first SA-10 site was,
operation in 1980. Over 60 sites are now operational, and work is
progressing on at least another 30. More than half of these sites are
located near Moscow; this emphasis on Moscow and the patterns noted for
the other SA-10 sites suggest a first priority on terminal defense of
command and control, military, and key industrial complexes.
In keeping with their drive toward mobility as a means of weapons
survival, the Soviets are in the process of deploying a mobile version
of the SA-10. This mobile version could be used to support Soviet
theater forces and to permit periodic changes in the location of SA-10
sites within the USSR to counter US retaliatory forces more
Soviets are also flight-testing another important mobile SAM system,
the SA-X-12, which is capable of intercepting aircraft at all altitudes
as well as cruise missiles and short range ballistic missiles. As
previously noted, the SA-10 and SA-X-12 may have the potential to
intercept some types of strategic ballistic missiles as well. This is a
serious development because these systems are expected to be deployed
widely throughout the Soviet Union in the 1980s. They could, if
properly supported, add significant point-target defense coverage
to a nationwide Soviet ABM deployment.