The end of the nuclear triad. US decapitation weapon

The end of the nuclear triad. US decapitation weapon
The end of the nuclear triad. US decapitation weapon
The end of the nuclear triad. US decapitation weapon

Throughout the Cold War, the United States tried to achieve military superiority over the USSR with an obvious determination to enter the “hot” phase when it was achieved. Since the USSR quickly became a nuclear power, it became impossible to achieve victory over it without crushing the Soviet nuclear shield. As we discussed earlier, if the USSR had not created nuclear weapons in the shortest possible time, the United States would have implemented one of its plans: Chariotir, Fleetwood, SAK-EVP 1-4a or Dropshot, and would arrange our the country is a genocide, which has not been equal in the history of mankind. It is unlikely that it will be possible to cover all US attempts to break nuclear parity within the framework of one article, but one can try to highlight the most significant of them.

The period of the USSR. Caribbean crisis

The events, later named the Cuban Missile Crisis, are a clear example of an attempt by the United States to achieve the possibility of delivering a first decapitation strike against the USSR, even before the formation of an official concept of such.

US-deployed PGM-19 Jupiter medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs) in Turkey allowed the US to launch a surprise attack on the USSR. The flight range of the Jupiter MRBM was about 2400 km, the circular probable deviation (CEP) of the warhead was 1.5 kilometers with a thermonuclear warhead of 1.44 megatons.


The short preparation time for the launch, which was about 15 minutes at that time, and the short flight time due to its proximity to the USSR borders, allowed the United States, with the help of the Jupiter MRBM, to deliver the first decapitating strike capable of significantly undermining the military-industrial power of the USSR and providing US victory in the war.

Only the tough actions of the USSR, in the form of the deployment of the R-12 and R-14 MRBMs in Cuba, as well as the threat of an imminent nuclear war, forced the United States to sit down at the negotiating table, which resulted in both the withdrawal of Soviet missiles from Cuba and the American Jupiter MRBMs. from Turkey.


The period of the USSR. MRBM "Pershing-2" and CD "Tomahawk"

It is believed that the Pershing-2 IRBM was a response to the Soviet RSD-10 Pioneer missiles with a range of up to 4300-5500 km, capable of striking targets in Europe. Perhaps this was the official reason for the deployment of the Pershing-2 MRBM in Europe, but rather it is a response to the concept of a decapitation strike by US Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, mentioned at the beginning of the article. By the way, the development of the Pershing-2 IRBM and the Pioneer IRBM began in 1973 alone.


Unlike the Pioneer MRBM, which can be considered a classic deterrent, the Pershing-2 MRBM was originally developed to destroy highly protected objects, such as communications and control bunkers, highly protected missile silos, for which high requirements were put forward for it in terms of the CEP of the warhead …

The winning company, Martin-Marietta, has created a high-tech two-stage solid-propellant rocket with throttled engines allowing wide range changes. The maximum range was 1770 km. The Pershing-2 MRBM warhead was a maneuvering monoblock with a variable power of 0.3 / 2/10/80 kilotons. To destroy highly protected buried objects, a nuclear charge penetrating 50-70 m was developed. Another factor that ensures the destruction of protected point targets was the CEP of the warhead, which is about 30 meters (for comparison, the CEP of the RSD-10 "Pioneer" warheads was about 550 meters).High accuracy was ensured by an inertial control system and a guidance system at the final section of the trajectory according to the radar map of the terrain recorded in the memory of the on-board computer of the rocket.


The flight time of the Pershing-2 MRBM warhead to objects located in the center of the European part of the USSR was only 8-10 minutes, which made it a weapon of the first decapitation strike, to which the leadership and armed forces of the USSR simply could not react.

Another weapon deployed by the US in Europe is the Tomahawk cruise missile (CR). Unlike ballistic missiles, the Tomahawk CD could not boast of a short flight time. Their advantage was the secrecy of the launch, as a result of which they would not be detected by the missile attack warning system (EWS), a low-altitude flight trajectory with terrain enveloping, making it difficult to detect the Tomahawk missile defense system by means of the USSR air defense (AD), as well as a sufficiently high accuracy hits, with a KVO of the order of 80-200 meters, provided by an inertial navigation system (INS) with the TERCOM relief correction system.

The range of the rocket was up to 2500 kilometers, which made it possible to choose the route of its flight, taking into account the bypassing of the known air defense zones. The power of the thermonuclear warhead was 150 kilotons.


It can be assumed that in the course of a sudden decapitation strike, first of all, the Tomahawk missile carrier would have been struck from ground and submarine carriers. At that time, the USSR did not have over-the-horizon radars capable of detecting such small-sized targets. Thus, there was a possibility that the launch of the Tomahawk missile launcher would go unnoticed.

The launch of the Pershing-2 MRBM could be done so that the targets of the Tomahawk CD and the Pershing-2 MRBM warheads were hit almost simultaneously.

Like the influenza virus, which is not particularly dangerous for a healthy organism, but extremely dangerous for an organism with a weakened immune system, the Pershing-2 MRBM and the Tomahawk KR are not too dangerous for a power with powerful, efficiently functioning armed forces, but extremely dangerous in that case. if gaps appear in the defense of a potential victim of aggression: inoperative radar stations, an ineffective air defense system, disoriented and unsure leadership in their decisions.

In the late 80s of the XX century, the US leadership could not fail to note the weakness of the Soviet nomenklatura, readily signing disarmament treaties, and demoralized after the situation with the South Korean Boeing and the incident with Matthias Rust, the air defense forces.


Under such conditions, the United States could well have dared to launch a sudden preemptive strike in the hope that no one would dare or would have time to "press the button." Judging by the fact that the nuclear third world war did not start at that time, the USA believed that there would still be people in the USSR who could “push the button”.

RF period. Stealth aircraft and fast global strike

The collapse of the USSR led to a landslide decrease in the capabilities of the armed forces, including the strategic nuclear forces (SNF). Only a huge margin of safety, laid down in the Soviet period in people and technology, made it possible to maintain nuclear parity with the United States in the late nineties and early 2000s.

Nevertheless, the United States did not abandon the idea of ​​a nuclear strike on Russia. As in the period of the Cold War, plans were developed for delivering nuclear strikes: SIOP-92 with the defeat of nuclear weapons with 4000 targets, SIOP-97 - 2500 targets, SIOP-00 - 3000 targets, of which 2000 targets on the territory of the Russian Federation. Particularly touching is the SIOP-92 plan, which was being developed just at a time when the new leadership of Russia was kissing the gums with might and main with American "friends."

From a certain point, the “decapitating” strike actually changed to “disarming”.The reason for this was that in the modern world, even an insignificant part of the Soviet / Russian nuclear arsenal is capable of inflicting unacceptable damage to the United States, therefore, it is not enough to destroy the country's leadership and only part of the nuclear potential, it is necessary to strive for the almost complete destruction of the enemy's nuclear potential.

At the time of the collapse of the USSR, top-secret aircraft development programs were completed in the United States, carried out with the widespread use of technologies to reduce the visibility of combat vehicles in the radar and infrared ranges - the so-called stealth technology. Contrary to popular belief, so-called stealth aircraft are not completely invisible to enemy air defenses. The main task of stealth technology is only to reduce the detection range and reduce the likelihood of damage, which in itself is extremely important.

If we consider the situation in the context of the stagnation of Russia's air defense in the late 1990s and early 2000s, then the United States could well count on the use of B-2 strategic stealth bombers as one of the means to destroy the Russian strategic nuclear forces, which were also weakened by the restructuring.


It can be assumed that in the wake of the euphoria from the victory in the Cold War, the United States was too optimistic about the degradation of the Russian armed forces. Of course, in the conditions of the functioning of a developed and effective air defense system, even airplanes made using stealth technology are unsuitable as weapons for delivering a sudden disarming strike.

On the other hand, the situation was different, and B-2 bombers could well be used to search for and destroy the remnants of Russian strategic nuclear forces - Topol mobile ground-based missile systems (PGRK). How could it look like? New START-4 treaty on further reduction of the number of warheads to 700-800 units, carriers to 300-400 units, decommissioning of the UR-100N UTTKh Stilett and R-36M Voyevoda intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) (Satan ») Without extending their service life, decommissioning nuclear submarines with ballistic missiles (SSBN), without receiving new ones. In short, everything that can happen to the armed forces in the absence of political will and normal funding. And then, with a decrease in the capabilities of the Russian strategic nuclear forces below a certain threshold, the United States could well risk playing Russian roulette.

Realizing that even the weakened strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation cannot be finished off with stealth aircraft and sea-based cruise missiles in non-nuclear equipment, in 1996 the United States began to work out the concept of a rapid global strike (Prompt Global Strike), BSU. The weapons of the BSU were to be ICBMs and / or SLBMs (ballistic missiles of submarines) in non-nuclear (as stated) equipment, planning hypersonic warheads and hypersonic cruise missiles.


A modification of the Trident II SLBM with high-precision non-nuclear warheads was considered as a conventional ICBM.

The main candidate for the role of a planning hypersonic warhead was the DARPA Falcon HTV-2В project.


The Boeing X-51A Waverider, launched from B-52 bombers or other carriers, was considered as a hypersonic cruise missile.


From a technical point of view, the BSU concept hardly posed a significant threat to the domestic strategic nuclear forces. It is unlikely that a non-nuclear warhead, even a high-precision one, will be able to hit ICBMs in protected silo launchers (silos). And from the point of view of the implementation of the BSU, problems arose - non-nuclear SLBMs "Trident II" from the point of view of the missile attack warning system (EWS) look the same as in nuclear equipment, respectively, their launch may become a reason for a full-scale retaliatory nuclear strike. In the development of hypersonic gliding warheads and cruise missiles, serious difficulties arose, and therefore, at the moment, these complexes have not yet been implemented.

Nevertheless, the leadership of the Russian Federation paid close attention to plans to deploy weapons within the framework of the BGU concept and demanded that ICBMs and SLBMs in non-nuclear equipment be taken into account when calculating the number of carriers in accordance with the START-3 treaty, as well as carriers in nuclear equipment.

Give the Russian Federation slack on the BSU issue, the United States could well try to "accustom" the RF early warning system to the regular launches of non-nuclear ICBMs, and then use this to deliver a disarming strike against Russia, of course, not with conventional, but with nuclear warheads.

RF period. After the collapse of the INF Treaty

A new milestone in the preparation of the United States for a surprise disarming strike was the withdrawal from the treaty on the limitation of the deployment of short and medium-range missiles (INF Treaty). The reason was the alleged violation by Russia of the provisions of this treaty in terms of exceeding the maximum firing range of 500 km of one of the Iskander tactical missile complex (OTRK) missiles, in particular, the 9M729 land-based cruise missile. The remarks of the Russian Federation regarding the fact that the ground-based vertical launch units (UVP) mk.41 from the missile defense system (ABM), located in Poland and Romania, are suitable for launching the naval version of the Tomahawk missile launcher, the United States ignored.


The US development of ballistic target missiles, as well as ground test launches of the AGM-158B aviation cruise missile with a flight range of 1000 kilometers, do not fit well with the provisions of the INF Treaty. There are also contradictions between the United States and the Russian Federation over the classification of long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The secondary reason for the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty is that China is not a party to it. Most likely, this is really an attempt to kill two birds with one stone - to put pressure on the PRC and create conditions for the implementation of the scenario of a sudden disarming strike against both Russia and China.

Why is withdrawal from the INF Treaty beneficial for the United States? There are two main reasons:

1. Ensuring the minimum flight time of missiles, which is fully consistent with the concept of a decapitating (disarming) strike of August 17, 1973, US Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger.

2. Reducing the number of targets potentially hit by the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation and the PRC on the territory of the United States, by increasing the number of potential targets on the territory of the countries of Europe and Asia.

What weapons can be implemented as part of the implementation of the updated doctrine of a sudden disarming strike?

First of all, this is a new generation of medium-range ballistic missiles. Initially, they will be developed in a non-nuclear version and most likely deployed in Europe under the pretext of retaliatory actions against the deployment of Iskander OTRK by Russia. A promising MRBM will definitely be initially designed with the possibility of placing a nuclear charge on it.

The key requirement for the new MRBM is likely to be the provision of a minimum flight time. This can be implemented in one of two ways (or in two versions at once) - the most gentle trajectory of the rocket flight or the use of gliding hypersonic warheads, similar to that created under the Russian Avangard program.

In particular, a promising MRBM with a range of about 2000-2250 kilometers is being created as part of the Strategic Fires Missile program. Presumably, the new MRBM will be equipped with a gliding hypersonic warhead. By the way, the image of the missile under the Strategic Fires Missile program resembles the Pershing-2 MRBM, perhaps it will be the reincarnation of the Pershing-3 at a new technological level?


As part of the BSU program, a promising hypersonic weapon is being developed, literally - Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW). Work on the AHW overlaps with the DARPA and US Air Force program to develop the aforementioned HTV-2 planning warhead. Tests under the AHW program have been going on since 2011, and the program itself is considered more realistic than HTV-2.


It can be assumed that on the basis of the IRBM, medium-range SLBMs with characteristics similar to ground-based systems can be created. The fundamental difference between the RF Armed Forces and the USSR Armed Forces in this matter is that the USSR Navy could well have prevented the US Navy from striking medium-range SLBMs from a distance of 2000-3000 km, and for the Russian Navy this task is most likely overwhelming.

It is highly likely that the project of the Boeing X-51A Waverider hypersonic missile, also being developed as part of the BGU program, will be implemented.

An additional element of a sudden disarming strike can be the stealthy cruise missiles AGM-158 JASSM / AGM-158B JASSM ER. The range under development of the JASSM XR can exceed 1,500 kilometers. As mentioned earlier, AGM-158 JASSM missiles can be launched from ground-based launchers. Missiles of the JASSM family are not only actively purchased by the United States themselves, but also armed with them by their allies. Almost all US combat aircraft, including F-15E, F-16, F / A-18, F-35 fighters and B-1B, B-2 and B-52 bombers, should be carriers of the AGM-158 JASSM family of missiles.

Low visibility of missiles of the AGM-158 JASSM family can significantly reduce the range and likelihood of their detection by over-the-horizon radars of the RF SPRN.


A more exotic solution could be orbital maneuvering strike platforms, the possibility and conditions for the creation of which we considered in the article “Space Militarization - The Next Step of the United States. SpaceX and lasers in orbit. " Technologies of active maneuvering in orbit in the United States are actively tested using the Boeing X-37 orbital test vehicle capable of promptly changing the orbital altitude in the range of 200-750 km.


However, even without orbital strike platforms in the next 5-10 years, the United States will most likely be armed with a number of the products listed above, which will make it possible to deliver a sudden disarming strike with a flight time of less than ten minutes, and possibly less than five minutes, which is a significant a threat to strategic stability.

From the organizational methods can be applied "swing" - the creation of a series of threatened situations that can be considered by the Russian Federation as preparation for a strike, but their termination at a certain stage. The challenge is to make such situations familiar and to raise the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. In the sense, it's like giving a false alarm every other day at a military base, and after a month no one will pay attention to it.

It is necessary to understand that the appearance of weapons for the implementation of a sudden disarming strike will not mean its guaranteed use, just as the Pershing-2 missiles were not used. It is obvious that the United States is creating for itself possibility to deliver such a blow, and then they will wait for a comfortable the situation for its application, which may not occur.

It should also be noted that the appearance of similar weapons (hypersonic missiles and MRBMs) from the Russian Federation does not bring any significant additional advantages in terms of nuclear deterrence, since the systems considered are a first strike weapon and are ineffective as a deterrent weapon.

Worst of all is that it seems like there is possibility a sudden disarming strike can turn the head of American politicians (an illusion is more dangerous than reality), who will begin to act more aggressively, which, in turn, can lead to an uncontrolled development of the situation and an escalation of the conflict up to a full-scale nuclear war.

The role played by the missile defense system (ABM) in preparation for a surprise disarming strike will be discussed in the next article.

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