Not so long ago, an interesting new tradition was formed in the domestic armed forces. A few days before the holiday of this or that kind of troops, a press conference is held with the participation of the commander of these troops. At such events, military leaders talk about their accomplished deeds and plans for the future. On December 14, on the eve of the Day of the Strategic Missile Forces, the commander of this branch of the armed forces, Colonel-General S. Karakaev, talked to journalists. Since the Strategic Missile Forces is one of the elements of nuclear forces that contain potential adversaries, special importance is attached to this branch of troops, which in practice translates into a number of positive news about rearmament plans.
The words of General Karakaev fully confirm this conclusion: at the end of the current state program of rearmament of the army, the Strategic Missile Forces will have 98% of new equipment. In the coming years - until 2016 - the target of 60% of new weapons will be reached. The missile forces will be updated with the help of new promising weapons systems, including those that are just being developed. Around 2018-20, Russian missilemen will receive at least one new missile system capable of overcoming modern and promising missile defense systems. In addition, by the end of the decade, the Strategic Missile Forces are going to take some measures that will allow, if necessary, to quickly increase their strike capabilities, including in force majeure circumstances. The renewal of the forces of the Strategic Missile Forces will be carried out in the same directions as now: the troops will continue to receive both stationary silo and mobile ground launchers.
At present, the re-equipment of two divisions (the 60th Taman and 54th Guards divisions) is nearing completion. These units will be fully transferred to the Topol-M and Yars missile systems. The plans of the Strategic Missile Forces command for the next year include an even more large-scale re-equipment of units. According to Karakaev, next year, for the first time in the last twenty years, more than two divisions will be re-equipped at the same time. In 2013, three missile divisions will immediately receive new missiles and related equipment, and two more will begin preparations for such a re-equipment. Thus, next year, all work on the rearmament of the 39th Guards (Novosibirsk-95) and 28th Guards (Kozelsk) missile divisions will be completed. Also, new missile technology will begin to enter the 42nd Missile Division near Nizhny Tagil. The 29th Guards and 13th Missile Divisions, in turn, will begin preparations for the transition to new missiles, which will begin a little later.
Now the total number of launchers of the Topol-M and Yars complexes is approaching a hundred. Thus, the share of new weapons in the missile forces has reached 30% of the total. While maintaining the existing rates of rearmament, the plans of the command of the troops of 60% by the 16th year and 98% by the 2022th look quite realistic.
Until the number of new missiles reaches the declared 98 percent, the troops will have to operate the old weapons for some time. However, the command of the Strategic Missile Forces has its own opinion on this matter. Currently, the R-36M2 Voevoda missile remains in service with the missile forces. Its warranty periods have already been exceeded by one and a half times, but a further extension is possible, which can ensure the operability of these missiles until 2020. Colonel-General Karakaev noted that the timely implementation of the relevant work and the extension of the service life continue to be one of the most convenient tools for maintaining the combat potential of the strategic missile forces. At the moment, it is possible to extend the service life of Voevoda missiles from the current 24 years to 30. The extension of the terms pursues simple and understandable goals: firstly, to make the most of the available potential of equipment, and secondly, to ensure the greatest strike capabilities of units equipped with missile mine-based complexes. Extending the warranty period for the R-36M2 missiles will help to wait for the time when a sufficient number of new missiles will be produced and delivered to the troops.
It should be noted that the Strategic Missile Forces do not have the ability to endlessly build up their quantitative and qualitative potential. First of all, this is hindered by some international agreements. In addition to restrictions on the number of missiles and warheads on duty at the same time, countries participating in these treaties are also required to disclose some information. According to Karakaev, in September of this year, the last exchange of information on the number of strategic weapons, as well as on their locations, took place. In accordance with the current START III treaty, Russia and the United States regularly communicate this information to each other, which, among other things, includes the coordinates of the launchers. At the same time, all such information is closed and the parties to the contract do not have the right to transfer it to third parties. It should be noted that the terms of the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty do not interfere with the further development of Russian nuclear forces.
One of the tools for maintaining and increasing potential without violating the terms of international treaties, as General Karakaev said, is the automated command and control system (ASBU) that is currently being created. By 2020, the Strategic Missile Forces must completely switch to digital data transmission technologies and new versions of the ASBU will fully comply with this approach. Karakaev said that some elements of the new fourth generation ASBU are being introduced in the troops. In addition to the standard functions for such systems for transmitting orders and reports on their execution, the new hardware and software complex also provides centralized missile control. Thanks to the fourth generation ASBU, it is possible to change the application plans and retarget missiles in the shortest possible time. A characteristic feature of the new ASBU is a threefold redundancy of all systems and communication channels, which ensures high operational reliability. In addition, it is possible to carry out equipment diagnostics with an accuracy up to a typical architectural element. All new ASBU is based on unified technical means with the required indicators of reliability and information security.
Another aspect of updating the electronic equipment of the Strategic Missile Forces, as their commander said, concerns the issue of protecting missile units. In 2012, coming to the end, special attention was paid to this problem. In total, work on updating security systems this year affected six large objects. The re-equipment of security systems will continue next year. Among other things, it is planned to install video systems at several sites in 2013. While maintaining the current pace of updating security equipment by 2015, about 20% of the Strategic Missile Forces facilities will be equipped with the most modern automated tracking and security systems.
And yet, the main direction of development and improvement of the strategic missile forces is the creation of new missiles and the modernization of old ones. Currently, according to Karakaev, a new intercontinental ballistic missile with liquid engines and a launch weight of about one hundred tons is under development. It will have higher performance compared to the existing delivery systems for nuclear weapons. In addition, the new missile will be able to carry more than just a nuclear warhead. The project being created now provides for the possibility of installing non-nuclear warheads on the missile. Thus, the new intercontinental missile can also be used as a high-precision weapon to perform combat missions at a great distance from the launch point. Karakaev also noted that the energy capabilities of the promising missile, which are higher in comparison with current missiles, will make it possible to apply new developments in the field of overcoming enemy anti-missile weapons.
The new rocket should be a response to the work of foreign countries. Currently, the United States is developing space-based strategic missile defense systems. In connection with this fact, a promising liquid-propellant missile is initially created to counter such weapons. According to General Karakaev, the potential possessed by solid-propellant intercontinental missiles may be insufficient to break through the enemy's promising anti-missile systems. For this reason, great hopes are pinned on a hundred-ton liquid-propellant rocket. At the same time, it will have one specific feature: due to its large launch weight, it can only be used with silo launchers.
During a press conference, the commander of the Strategic Missile Forces confirmed the development and testing of another intercontinental missile, this time a solid-propellant one. Karakaev declined to disclose the details of the project or the technical characteristics of this ICBM. At the same time, he mentioned that the new solid-fuel rocket in the future will replace the ammunition of the Topol-M and Yars complexes, and it will also make the most of the existing developments on the previous projects of solid-propellant missiles. According to the commander of the missile forces, work on this topic is being carried out in the right direction.
One of the topics of conversation was the safety of missiles and their warheads. According to Karakaev, several experiments were carried out, during which it was found that in the event of an accident, fire, etc. spontaneous detonation of the warhead will not occur. The existing intercontinental missile warheads have a sufficient level of protection against external influences. Experiments were carried out to establish the safety level of both silo and mobile missile systems. As a result, it was found that both are sufficiently safe for people, technology and the environment. As for silo launchers, they provide an even greater level of protection for missiles and warheads, including from a nuclear explosion on the surface of the earth or in the air. Thus, various accidents can only entail long and complex work to eliminate the consequences of a technical and construction nature. The elimination of nuclear contamination is not required.
Finally, the Commander of the Strategic Missile Forces spoke about the supply of new missile and auxiliary equipment. As it turned out, the supplier enterprises have already fully fulfilled all contractual obligations concerning the production and supply of technology, weapons and equipment for the Strategic Missile Forces. There is every reason to believe that this pleasant trend will continue in the future. Last year, the Ministry of Defense signed several long-term contracts for the supply of strategic missiles. They stipulate the terms of delivery of silo-based missiles until 2015 and ammunition for mobile soil launchers until 2020. Interestingly applied in these contracts "separation of duties". So, the Ministry of Defense and the Federal Tariff Service deal with all financial issues, such as pricing or other similar things, while the RVS only accepts finished products.
The training activities of the missile forces, planned for next year, imply an increase in the number of test launches of various types of missiles. Over the past year, from December 2011 to the present, only five training launches have been carried out. For the next 2013, 11 such events are planned at once, the purpose of which will be to maintain the level of training of military personnel, test new missiles and test the performance of old ones in order to extend their service life.
As we can see, the Russian strategic missile forces are approaching the next anniversary of their formation with great experience and good prospects. After a long break, the renovation of the Strategic Missile Forces is again improving in quantitative and qualitative terms, and the designers of specialized enterprises are already creating new means of delivering nuclear weapons. All the announced achievements of the missile forces and plans for the future clearly show what priority this branch of troops has in the current rearmament program. This means that in ten years our country will still be protected by the most effective deterrent that has ever been invented by mankind.