How Soviet ICBMs eliminated American air defense systems

How Soviet ICBMs eliminated American air defense systems
How Soviet ICBMs eliminated American air defense systems
Anonim
Image

After the start of the Cold War, the United States tried to gain military superiority over the USSR. The Soviet ground forces were very numerous and equipped with modern military equipment and weapons by the standards of that time, and the Americans and their closest allies could not hope to defeat them in a ground operation. At the first stage of the global confrontation, the stake was placed on American and British strategic bombers, which were supposed to destroy the most important Soviet administrative, political and industrial centers. American plans for a war against the USSR envisaged that after atomic strikes on the most important administrative and political centers, large-scale bombings using conventional bombs would undermine the Soviet industrial potential, destroy the most important naval bases and airfields. It should be admitted that until the mid-1950s, American bombers had a fairly high chance of successfully bombing Moscow and other large Soviet cities. Nevertheless, the destruction of even 100% of the targets outlined by the American generals did not solve the problem of the USSR's superiority in conventional weapons in Europe and did not guarantee victory in the war.

At the same time, the capabilities of Soviet long-range bomber aviation in the 1950s were rather modest. The adoption in the Soviet Union of the Tu-4 bomber, which could carry an atomic bomb, did not provide "nuclear retaliation". The Tu-4 piston bombers did not have an intercontinental flight range, and in the event of an order to strike at North America for their crews, it was a one-way flight, with no chance of returning.

Nevertheless, the American military-political leadership, after the successful test of the first Soviet nuclear charge in 1949, was seriously concerned about defending US territory from Soviet bombers. Simultaneously with the deployment of radar control facilities, the development and production of jet fighter-interceptors, the creation of anti-aircraft missile systems was carried out. It was anti-aircraft missiles that were supposed to become the last line of defense, in the event that bombers with atomic bombs on board break through to protected objects through interceptor barriers.

The SAM-A-7 was the first American anti-aircraft missile system to enter service in 1953. This complex, created by Western Electric, was named NIKE I since July 1955, and in 1956 received the designation MIM-3 Nike Ajax.

How Soviet ICBMs eliminated American air defense systems

The main engine of the anti-aircraft missile ran on liquid fuel and an oxidizer. The launch took place using a detachable solid-propellant booster. Targeting - radio command. The data supplied by the target tracking radars and missile tracking about the position of the target and missile in the air were processed by a calculating device built on electrovacuum devices. The missile warhead was detonated by a radio signal from the ground at the calculated point of the trajectory.

The mass of the rocket prepared for use was 1120 kg. Length - 9, 96 m. Maximum diameter - 410 mm. Oblique range of defeat "Nike-Ajax" - up to 48 kilometers. The ceiling is about 21,000 m. The maximum flight speed is 750 m / s. Such characteristics made it possible, after entering the affected area, to intercept any long-range bomber that existed in the 1950s.

SAM "Nike-Ajax" was purely stationary and included capital structures. The anti-aircraft battery consisted of two parts: a central control center, where concreted bunkers for anti-aircraft calculations were located, detection and guidance radars, computing-decisive equipment, and a technical launch position, on which launchers, protected missile depots, tanks with fuel and oxidizer were located. …

Image

The initial version provided for 4-6 launchers, double SAM ammunition in the storage. Spare missiles were in protected shelters in a fueled state and could be fed to the launchers within 10 minutes.

Image

However, as the deployment proceeded, taking into account the rather long reloading time and the possibility of simultaneous attack of one object by several bombers, it was decided to increase the number of launchers at one position. In the immediate vicinity of strategically important objects: naval and air bases, large administrative-political and industrial centers, the number of missile launchers in positions reached 12-16 units.

Image

In the United States, significant funds have been allocated for the construction of stationary structures for anti-aircraft missile systems. As of 1958, more than 100 Nike-Ajax MIM-3 positions have been deployed. However, given the rapid development of combat aviation by the second half of the 1950s, it became clear that the Nike-Ajax air defense system was becoming obsolete and would not be able to meet modern requirements in the next decade. In addition, during operation, great difficulties were caused by refueling and servicing rockets with an engine running on explosive and toxic fuel and a caustic oxidizer. The American military was also not satisfied with the low noise immunity and the impossibility of centralized control of anti-aircraft batteries. In the late 1950s, the problem of automated control was solved by the introduction of the Martin AN / FSG-1 Missile Master system, which made it possible to exchange information between the controllers of individual batteries and coordinate the distribution of targets between several batteries from the regional air defense command post. However, the improvement in command control did not eliminate other disadvantages. After a series of serious incidents involving fuel and oxidizer leaks, the military demanded the early development and adoption of an anti-aircraft complex with solid-propellant missiles.

In 1958, Western Electric brought the anti-aircraft missile system originally known as the SAM-A-25 Nike B to the stage of mass production. After the mass deployment, the air defense system was given the final name MIM-14 Nike-Hercules.

Image

The first version of the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense system in a number of elements had a high degree of continuity with the MIM-3 Nike Ajax. The schematic diagram of the construction and combat operation of the complex remained the same. The detection and targeting system of the Nike-Hercules air defense missile system was originally based on a stationary detection radar from the Nike-Ajax air defense missile system, operating in the mode of continuous radiation of radio waves. However, more than doubling the firing range required the development of more powerful stations for detecting, tracking and guiding anti-aircraft missiles.

Image

SAM MIM-14 Nike-Hercules, like the MIM-3 Nike Ajax, was single-channel, which significantly limited the ability to repel a massive raid. This was partially offset by the fact that in some areas of the United States, anti-aircraft positions were located very tightly and there was the possibility of overlapping the affected area. In addition, Soviet long-range aviation was armed with not so many bombers with an intercontinental flight range.

Image

The solid-propellant missiles used in the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense system have become the largest and heavier in comparison with the MIM-3 Nike Ajax air defense systems. The mass of the fully equipped MIM-14 rocket was 4860 kg, the length was 12 m. The maximum diameter of the first stage was 800 mm, the second stage was 530 mm. Wingspan 2, 3 m.The defeat of the air target was carried out with a 502 kg fragmentation warhead. The maximum firing range of the first modification was 130 km, the ceiling was 30 km. In the later version, the firing range for large high-altitude targets was increased to 150 km. The maximum rocket speed is 1150 m / s. The minimum range and height of hitting a target flying at a speed of up to 800 m / s are 13 and 1.5 km, respectively.

In the 1950s-1960s, the American military leadership believed that a wide range of tasks could be solved with the help of nuclear warheads. To destroy group targets on the battlefield and against the enemy's defensive line, it was supposed to use nuclear artillery shells. Tactical and operational-tactical ballistic missiles were intended for solving missions at a distance from several tens to hundreds of kilometers from the line of contact. The nuclear bombs were supposed to create impassable blockages on the way of the offensive of the enemy troops. For use against surface and underwater targets, torpedoes and depth charges were equipped with atomic charges. Warheads of relatively low power were installed on aircraft and anti-aircraft missiles. The use of nuclear warheads against air targets made it possible not only to successfully deal with group targets, but also to compensate for errors in targeting. Anti-aircraft missiles of the Nike-Hercules complexes were equipped with nuclear warheads: W7 - with a yield of 2.5 kt and W31 with a yield of 2, 20 and 40 kt. An aerial explosion of a 40-kt nuclear warhead could destroy an aircraft within a radius of 2 km from the epicenter, which made it possible to effectively hit even complex, small-sized targets like supersonic cruise missiles. More than half of the MIM-14 missiles deployed in the United States were equipped with nuclear warheads. Anti-aircraft missiles carrying nuclear warheads were planned to be used against group targets or in a difficult jamming environment, when accurate targeting was impossible.

For the deployment of the Nike-Hercules air defense system, the old Nike-Ajax positions were used and new ones were actively built. By 1963, the solid-propellant MIM-14 Nike-Hercules complexes finally ousted the MIM-3 Nike Ajax air defense systems with liquid-propellant missiles in the United States.

Image

In the early 1960s, the MIM-14V air defense missile system, also known as the Improved Hercules, was created and put into mass production. Unlike the first version, this modification had the ability to relocate within a reasonable time, and with some stretch it could be called mobile. Radar equipment "Advanced Hercules" could be transported on wheeled platforms, and the launchers were made collapsible.

Image

In general, the mobility of the MIM-14V air defense system was comparable to the Soviet S-200 long-range complex. In addition to the possibility of changing the firing position, new detection radars and improved tracking radars were introduced into the upgraded MIM-14V air defense system, which increased noise immunity and the ability to track high-speed targets. An additional radio range finder carried out a constant determination of the distance to the target and issued additional corrections for the calculating device. Some of the electronic units were transferred from electric vacuum devices to a solid-state element base, which reduced power consumption and increased reliability. In the mid-1960s, missiles with a firing range of up to 150 km were introduced for the MIM-14B and MIM-14C modifications, which at that time was a very high indicator for the complex in which a solid-propellant rocket was used.

Image

Serial production of the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules continued until 1965. A total of 393 ground-based anti-aircraft systems and about 25,000 anti-aircraft missiles were fired. In addition to the United States, licensed production of the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense system was carried out in Japan. In total, 145 Nike-Hercules anti-aircraft batteries were deployed in the United States by the mid-1960s (35 rebuilt and 110 converted from Nike-Ajax positions).This made it possible to effectively cover the main industrial areas, administrative centers, ports and aviation and naval bases from bombers. However, the Nike anti-aircraft missile systems have never been the main means of air defense, but were considered only as an addition to the numerous interceptor fighters.

At the start of the Cuban missile crisis, the United States significantly outnumbered the Soviet Union in terms of the number of nuclear warheads. Taking into account the carriers deployed at American bases in the immediate vicinity of the borders of the USSR, the Americans could use about 3,000 charges for strategic purposes. There were about 400 charges on Soviet carriers capable of reaching North America, deployed mainly on strategic bombers.

Image

More than 200 long-range Tu-95, 3M, M-4 bombers, as well as about 25 R-7 and R-16 intercontinental ballistic missiles, could have taken part in an attack on US territory. Taking into account the fact that the Soviet long-range aviation, unlike the American, did not practice carrying out combat duty in the air with nuclear bombs on board, and Soviet ICBMs required lengthy prelaunch preparation, bombers and missiles could with a high probability be destroyed by a sudden strike at the deployment sites. Soviet diesel ballistic missile submarines, project 629, while on combat patrols, mainly posed a threat to American bases in Western Europe and the Pacific Ocean. By October 1962, the USSR Navy had five atomic missile boats, project 658, but in terms of the number and range of missile launch they were significantly inferior to nine American SSBNs of the George Washington and Ethan Allen types.

An attempt to deploy medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba put the world on the brink of nuclear catastrophe, and although in exchange for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Liberty Island, the Americans eliminated the starting positions of the Jupiter MRBM in Turkey, our country in the 1960s was far behind the United States in strategic weapons … But even in this situation, the American top military-political leadership wanted to guarantee the protection of US territory from nuclear retaliation from the USSR. For this, with the acceleration of anti-missile defense work, further strengthening of the US and Canadian air defense systems continued.

Long-range anti-aircraft systems of the first generation could not deal with low-altitude targets, and their powerful surveillance radars were not always able to detect aircraft and cruise missiles hiding behind the folds of the terrain. There was a possibility that Soviet bombers or cruise missiles launched from them would be able to overcome the air defense lines at low altitude. Such fears were fully justified, according to information declassified in the 1990s, in the early 1960s, in order to develop new, more effective methods of breaking through air defense, specially trained crews of Tu-95 bombers flew at altitudes below the radar visibility zone of that period.

To combat low-altitude air attack weapons, the MIM-23 Hawk air defense system was adopted by the US Army in 1960. Unlike the Nike family, the new complex was immediately developed in a mobile version.

Image

The anti-aircraft battery, consisting of three fire platoons, consisted of: 9 towed launchers with 3 missiles on each, a surveillance radar, three target illumination stations, a central battery control center, a portable console for remote control of the firing section, a platoon command post, and transport - charging machines and diesel generator power plants. Soon after it was put into service, a radar was additionally introduced into the complex, specifically designed to detect low-altitude targets. In the first modification of the Hawk air defense missile system, a solid-propellant missile with a semi-active homing head was used, with the possibility of firing at air targets at a distance of 2-25 km and altitudes of 50-11000 m.The probability of hitting a target with one missile in the absence of interference was 0.55.

It was assumed that the Hawk air defense system would cover the gaps between the long-range Nike-Hercules air defense systems and exclude the possibility of bombers breaking through to protected objects. But by the time the low-altitude complex reached the required level of combat readiness, it became clear that the main threat to facilities on US soil was not bombers. Nevertheless, several Hawk batteries were deployed on the coast, as American intelligence received information about the introduction of submarines with cruise missiles into the USSR Navy. In the 1960s, the likelihood of nuclear strikes against US coastal areas was high. Basically, the "Hawks" were deployed at the forward American bases in Western Europe and Asia, in those areas where the combat aircraft of the Soviet front-line aviation could fly.

In the mid-1950s, American military analysts predicted the appearance in the USSR of long-range cruise missiles launched from submarines and strategic bombers. I must say that the American experts were not mistaken. In 1959, the P-5 cruise missile with a nuclear warhead with a capacity of 200-650 kt was adopted. The cruise missile launch range was 500 km, the maximum flight speed was about 1300 km / h. The P-5 missiles were used to arm diesel-electric submarines of Project 644, Project 665, Project 651, as well as atomic Project 659 and Project 675.

A much greater threat to facilities in North America was posed by Tu-95K strategic missile-carrying aircraft equipped with Kh-20 cruise missiles. This missile, with a launch range of up to 600 km, developed a speed of more than 2300 km / h and carried a thermonuclear warhead with a capacity of 0.8-3 Mt.

Image

Like the naval P-5, the Kh-20 aviation cruise missile was intended to destroy large area targets, and could be launched from a carrier aircraft before it entered the enemy's air defense zone. By 1965, 73 Tu-95K and Tu-95KM aircraft were built in the USSR.

Intercepting the missile carrier before the cruise missile launch line was a very difficult task. After the detection of the carrier of the CD by radars, it took time to bring the interceptor fighter to the interception line, and he could simply not have time to take an advantageous position for this. In addition, the flight of a fighter at supersonic speed required the use of afterburner, which in turn led to increased fuel consumption and limited the flight range. Theoretically, the Nike-Hercules air defense systems were able to successfully fight high-altitude supersonic targets, but the positions of the complexes were often located in close proximity to the covered objects, and in the event of a miss or failure of the missile defense system, there might not be enough time to fire the target again.

Wanting to play it safe, the US Air Force initiated the development of a supersonic unmanned interceptor, which was supposed to meet enemy bombers at distant approaches. It must be said that the command of the ground forces in charge of the air defense systems of the Nike family and the leadership of the air force adhered to different concepts of building the air defense of the country's territory. According to the ground generals, important objects: cities, military bases, industry, each had to be covered with their own batteries of anti-aircraft missiles, linked into a common control system. Air Force officials insisted that "on-site air defense" was not reliable in the age of atomic weapons, and suggested a long-range unmanned interceptor capable of "territorial defense" - keeping enemy aircraft close to defended targets. The economic assessment of the project proposed by the Air Force showed that it is more expedient and will come out about 2.5 times cheaper with the same probability of defeat. At the same time, fewer personnel were required, and a large territory was defended. However, both options were approved at congressional hearings.Manned and unmanned interceptors were supposed to meet bombers with nuclear free-fall bombs and cruise missiles at distant approaches, and air defense systems were supposed to finish off targets that broke through to protected objects.

Initially, it was assumed that the complex will be integrated with the existing early detection radar of the joint American-Canadian air defense command of the North American continent NORAD - (North American Air Defense Command), and the SAGE system - a system for semi-automatic coordination of interceptor actions by programming their autopilots by radio with computers on the ground. The SAGE system, which worked according to NORAD radars, provided the interceptor to the target area without the participation of the pilot. Thus, the Air Force only needed to develop a missile integrated into the already existing interceptor guidance system. In the mid-1960s, more than 370 ground-based radars operated as part of NORAD, supplying information to 14 regional air defense command centers, dozens of AWACS aircraft and radar patrol ships were on duty every day, and the American-Canadian fleet of interceptor fighters exceeded 2,000 units.

From the very beginning, the XF-99 unmanned interceptor was designed for reusable use. It was assumed that immediately after the launch and climb, automatic coordination of the course and flight altitude will be carried out according to the commands of the SAGE control system. Active radar homing was turned on only when approaching the target. The unmanned vehicle was supposed to use air-to-air missiles against the attacked aircraft, and then make a soft landing using a parachute rescue system. However, later, in order to save time and reduce costs, it was decided to build a disposable interceptor, equipping it with a fragmentation or nuclear warhead with a capacity of about 10 kt. A nuclear charge of such power was enough to destroy an aircraft or cruise missile when an interceptor missed 1000 m. Later, to increase the probability of hitting a target, warheads with a power of 40 to 100 kt were used. Initially, the complex had the designation XF-99, then IM-99, and only after the adoption of the CIM-10A Bomars.

Flight tests of the complex began in 1952; it entered service in 1957. Serially, the projectile aircraft were produced by Boeing from 1957 to 1961. A total of 269 interceptors of modification "A" and 301 of modification "B" were manufactured. Most of the deployed Bomarks were equipped with nuclear warheads.

Image

The unmanned disposable interceptor CIM-10 Bomars was a projectile (cruise missile) of a normal aerodynamic configuration, with the placement of steering surfaces in the tail section. The launch was carried out vertically, using a liquid launch accelerator, which accelerated the aircraft to a speed of 2M. The launching accelerator for the rocket of modification "A" was a liquid-propellant rocket engine operating on kerosene with the addition of asymmetric dimethylhydrazine, an oxidizing agent was dehydrated nitric acid. The running time of the starting engine is about 45 seconds. It made it possible to reach an altitude of 10 km and accelerate the rocket to a speed at which two sustainer ramjets, running on 80 octane gasoline, were turned on.

Image

After launch, the projectile climbed vertically to cruise flight altitude, then turns towards the target. The SAGE guidance system processed the radar data and transmitted it via cables (laid underground) to relay stations, near which the interceptor was flying at that moment. Depending on the maneuvers of the intercepted target, the flight trajectory in this area could be adjusted. The autopilot received data on changes in the course of the enemy, and coordinated its course in accordance with this. When approaching the target, on command from the ground, the seeker was turned on, operating in a pulsed mode in the centimeter frequency range.

The interceptor of the CIM-10A modification had a length of 14.2 m, a wingspan of 5.54 m. The launch weight was 7020 kg. The flight speed is about 3400 km / h. Flight altitude - 20,000 m. Combat radius - up to 450 km. In 1961, an improved version of the CIM-10B was adopted. Unlike modification "A", the projectile aircraft of modification "B" had a solid-propellant launch booster, improved aerodynamics and a more advanced airborne homing radar, which operated in a continuous mode. The radar installed on the CIM-10B interceptor could capture a fighter-type target flying against the background of the earth at a distance of 20 km. Thanks to the new ramjet engines, the flight speed increased to 3600 km / h, the combat radius - up to 700 km. Interception altitude - up to 30,000 m. Compared to the CIM-10A, the CIM-10B interceptor was heavier by about 250 kg. In addition to the increased speed, range and flight altitude, the improved model has become much safer to operate and easier to maintain. The use of solid propellant boosters made it possible to abandon the toxic, corrosive and explosive components used in the first stage CIM-10A liquid-propellant rocket engine.

Image

The interceptors were launched from blocky reinforced concrete shelters located at well-defended bases, each of which was equipped with a large number of installations.

Image

The original plan, adopted in 1955, called for the deployment of 52 missile bases with 160 interceptors each. This was supposed to completely cover the territory of the United States from an air attack by Soviet long-range bombers and cruise missiles.

By 1960, 10 positions were deployed: 8 in the United States and 2 in Canada. The deployment of launchers in Canada is associated with the desire of the US Air Force command to move the interception line as far as possible from its borders, which was especially important in connection with the use of powerful thermonuclear warheads on unmanned interceptors.

Image

The first Beaumark Squadron was deployed to Canada on December 31, 1963. "Bomarcs" were formally listed in the arsenal of the Canadian Air Force, although they were considered the property of the United States and were on alert under the supervision of American officers. This contradicted Canada's nuclear-free status and provoked protests from local residents.

The air defense system of North America reached its peak in the mid-1960s, and it seemed that it could guarantee the protection of the United States from Soviet long-range bombers. However, further events showed that many billions of dollars in costs were actually thrown down the drain. The massive deployment in the USSR of intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of guaranteed delivery of megaton-class warheads to US territory devalued the American air defense. In this case, it can be stated that billions of dollars spent on the development, production and deployment of expensive anti-aircraft systems were wasted.

The first Soviet ICBM was the two-stage R-7, equipped with a thermonuclear charge with a capacity of about 3 Mt. The first launch complex was put on alert in December 1959. In September 1960, the R-7A ICBM was put into service. She had a more powerful second stage, which made it possible to increase the firing range and a new warhead. There were six launch sites in the USSR. The engines of the R-7 and R-7A missiles ran on kerosene and liquid oxygen. Maximum firing range: 8000-9500 km. KVO - more than 3 km. Throw weight: up to 5400 kg. The starting weight is more than 265 tons.

Image

The prelaunch preparation process lasted about 2 hours, and the ground launch complex itself was very cumbersome, vulnerable and difficult to operate. In addition, the package layout of the first stage engines made it impossible to place the rocket in a buried shaft, and a radio correction system was used to control the rocket. In connection with the creation of more advanced ICBMs, the R-7 and R-7A missiles were removed from service in 1968.

The two-stage R-16 ICBM on high-boiling propellants with an autonomous control system has become much more adapted to long-term combat duty. The launch mass of the rocket exceeded 140 tons. The firing range, depending on the combat equipment, was 10,500-13,000 km. Monoblock warhead power: 2, 3-5 Mt. KVO when firing at a distance of 12,000 km - about 3 km. Preparation time for launch: from several hours to several tens of minutes, depending on the degree of readiness. The rocket could be fueled for 30 days.

Image

The "unified" R-16U missile could be placed on an open launch pad and in a silo launcher for a group launch. The launching position united three launching "cups", a fuel storage and an underground command post. In 1963, the first regiments of domestic mine ICBMs were put on alert. In total, more than 200 R-16U ICBMs were delivered to the Strategic Missile Forces. The last missile of this type was removed from combat duty in 1976.

In July 1965, the R-9A ICBMs were officially adopted. This rocket, like the R-7, had kerosene and oxygen engines. The R-9A was significantly smaller and lighter than the R-7, but at the same time it had better operational properties. On the R-9A, for the first time in the domestic practice of rocketry, supercooled liquid oxygen was used, which made it possible to reduce the refueling time to 20 minutes, and made an oxygen rocket competitive with the R-16 ICBM in terms of its main operational characteristics.

Image

With a firing range of up to 12,500 km, the R-9A rocket was significantly lighter than the R-16. This was due to the fact that liquid oxygen made it possible to obtain better characteristics than nitric acid oxidants. In the combat position, the R-9A weighed 80.4 tons. The throw weight was 1. 6-2 tons. The missile was equipped with a thermonuclear warhead with a capacity of 1. 65-2.5 Mt. A combined control system was installed on the rocket, which had an inertial system and a radio correction channel.

As in the case of the R-16 ICBMs, ground launch sites and silo launchers were built for the R-9A missiles. The underground complex consisted of three mines located in one line, not far from each other, a command post, storage of fuel components and compressed gases, a radio control point and technological equipment necessary to maintain a supply of liquid oxygen. All structures were interconnected by communication lines. The maximum number of missiles simultaneously on alert (1966-1967) was 29 units. The operation of the R-9A ICBM ended in 1976.

Although the Soviet first generation ICBMs were very imperfect and had a lot of flaws, they posed a real threat to the territory of the United States. Possessing low accuracy, the missiles carried megaton-class warheads and, in addition to destroying cities, could strike at areal targets: large naval and air bases. According to information published in the literature on the history of the Strategic Missile Forces in 1965, there were 234 ICBMs in the USSR, after 5 years there were already 1421 units. In 1966, the deployment of the UR-100 light ICBM of the second generation began, and in 1967 the R-36 heavy ICBM.

The massive construction of missile positions in the USSR in the mid-1960s did not go unnoticed by American intelligence. American naval analysts also predicted the possible imminent appearance of submarine nuclear missile carriers with underwater launch ballistic missiles in the Soviet fleet. Already in the second half of the 1960s, the American leadership realized that in the event of a full-scale armed conflict with the USSR, not only military bases in Europe and Asia, but also the continental part of the United States would be within the reach of Soviet strategic missiles. Although the American strategic potential was significantly larger than the Soviet one, the United States could no longer count on victory in a nuclear war.

Subsequently, this became the reason that the leadership of the US Defense Ministry was forced to revise a number of key provisions of defense construction, and a number of programs that were previously considered a priority were subjected to reduction or elimination. In particular, at the end of the 1960s, the landslide liquidation of the positions of Nike-Hercules and Bomark began. By 1974, all long-range MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense systems, with the exception of positions in Florida and Alaska, were removed from combat duty. The last position in the United States was deactivated in 1979. The stationary complexes of the early release were scrapped, and the mobile versions, after refurbishment, were transferred to overseas American bases or transferred to the allies.

In fairness, it should be said that the MIM-14 SAM with nuclear warheads had some anti-missile potential. According to the calculation, the probability of hitting an attacking ICBM warhead was 0, 1. Theoretically, by launching 10 missiles at one target, it was possible to achieve an acceptable probability of intercepting it. However, it was impossible to implement this in practice. The point was not even that the hardware of the Nike-Hercules air defense system could not simultaneously aim so many missiles. If desired, this problem could be solved, but after a nuclear explosion, a vast area was formed inaccessible to radar viewing, which made it impossible to target other interceptor missiles.

If the late modifications of the MIM-14 Nike-Hercules air defense system continued to serve outside the United States, and the last complexes of this type were removed in Italy and South Korea at the beginning of the 21st century, and in Turkey they are still formally in service, then the career of CIM unmanned interceptors -10 Bomars was not long. Simulation of conflict scenarios in the context of strikes against the United States by Soviet ICBMs and SLBMs demonstrated that the combat stability of the SAGE automated guidance system will be very low. Partial or complete loss of performance of even one link of this system, which included guidance radars, computing centers, communication lines and command transmission stations, inevitably led to the impossibility of withdrawing interceptors to the target area.

Decontamination of the Bomark launch complexes began in 1968, and in 1972 they were all closed. Removed from combat duty CIM-10B after dismantling warheads from them and installing a remote control system using radio commands, were operated in the 4571 squadron of unmanned targets until 1979. Unmanned interceptors converted into radio-controlled targets simulated Soviet supersonic cruise missiles during the exercises.

Popular by topic