In a message to the Federal Assembly, Putin said that Russia, through a breakthrough in the development of revolutionary weapons, has provided the country’s defense for decades.
– We do not threaten anyone and do not seek to impose our will. At the same time, I can assure everyone: our steps to strengthen national security have been taken in a timely and sufficient manner … For the first time in the history of the existence of nuclear missile weapons – including the Soviet period and recent history – we are not catching up with anyone, – the president said.
Of course, at such ceremonial events, which include the Address to the Federal Assembly, exclusively “ceremonial” words are heard. But at the same time, they, of course, are based on the real state of things.
If you recall the history, the period of the second half of the 40s of the last century was especially dramatic, when the USA had to be caught up in conditions of the existence of a significant risk of a nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. And there was nothing to answer.
The first nuclear strike plan, dubbed the Pincher, was ready in March 1946. He intended to use in attack almost the entire arsenal accumulated by American industry over the year. The plan was based on the directive of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, adopted in December 1945. It wrote in black and white: “The most effective weapons that the US can use to strike at the Soviet Union are the available atomic bombs.”
With the accumulation of nuclear potential, more ambitious plans were adopted – Bushweeker, Crankshaft, Hafmun, Cogwill, Offtek. In 1948, the Americans developed the Chariotir plan, which included the dropping of 200 atomic bombs to 70 Soviet cities.
And finally, in December 1949, when the Soviet Union had already tested the bomb, the DropShot plan was adopted. Already 300 bombs were supposed to be dropped on the Soviet Union. And when the army and industry are in ruins, to finish off the country 250 thousand tons of conventional bombs. After which it was planned to divide the Union into four parts, control over each of which would pass to the corresponding groups of the occupying forces.
Then began the equalization of the nuclear potentials of the two superpowers.
Now, indeed, thanks to the undoubted merits of Russian scientists and engineers, Russia is ahead of its closest competitors in the quality of weapons that forms the country’s nuclear missile shield. Here Putin is absolutely right. But right, I must admit, by and large. Nevertheless, there are some points that violate the parade of the statement, about which a little lower. And now about real achievements that allow us to talk about a significant lag in foreign developments. First of all, American. In temporary terms, the lag is calculated in a period of 5-10 years.
In the ground segment of the nuclear triad, Russia has long been ahead. If only because the United States stopped in this type of armament back in the 70s, when 400 Minutmen-3 ICBMs were installed in the mines. Russia possesses much more advanced missiles of both mine-based (Voevoda) and mobile ground-based missile systems (Yars). Now the test is underway and in the foreseeable future a unique Sarmat ICBM will be adopted. Its record-breaking energy-mass perfection allows for a “space attack” of the enemy, that is, using a suborbital trajectory, to bypass the enemy’s missile defense zone.
And the Avangard warheads for the Sarmat ICBMs are not only ready, but also put into service, and have begun to be mass-produced. They perform a maneuvering hypersonic flight at a speed exceeding 20 M; not a single missile defense system, both existing and perspective, is able to intercept them.
Avangard blocks do not wait for Sarmat to be ready; they are installed on the UR-100N UTTKh ICBM.
Another hypersonic missile – X-47M2 “Kinzhal” (that means the Dagger) – reaches a speed of 10 M. Its carrier is an upgraded fighter-interceptor MiG-31K. Currently, work is underway to equip the fifth-generation fighter Su-57 and the strategic missile carrier Tu-22M3M with a “Dagger”. The flight range of a rocket having both conventional and nuclear combat equipment exceeds 1,000 km. The total range, taking into account the combat radius of the carrier, for the MiG-31K – 2000 km, for the Tu-22M3M – 3000 km.
A unique marine component of the nuclear triad is the Poseidon submarine drone with a nuclear power plant. It is equipped with a nuclear charge of such power that can devastate the vast expanses of the enemy’s coast – a rectangle with sides 1,500 km per 300 km. “Poseidon” has a record-breaking noiselessness, which allows it to overcome anti-submarine defense zones, as well as the speed of “flight” in a cavitation vapor bubble, reaching 300 km / h.
There is a unique non-strategic weapon, which Western designers need to get closer to creating for several years. It includes the Zircon hypersonic anti-ship missile (speeds up to 9 M), the Peresvet combat laser, and the Petrel nuclear-powered cruise missile.
But against the backdrop of this magnificence, there are also some local lags behind the United States. And one of them is quite significant – in missiles used on submarine strategic missile carriers. There is a significant lag in accuracy. The probable circular deviation of the Russian Bulava is 350 meters. The Trident-2 rocket has 90 to 120 meters. The difference in cast weight is also significant – 1150 kg versus 2800 kg. It is a little better with a maximum flight range of 9300 km versus 11300 km.
It would seem that this is just a quantitative loss, which can be partially offset by increasing the number of launches. But in fact, a quality loss. And quite serious, given the power of the warheads. At Trident, each of the 8 blocks weighs 475 ct. At the “Bulava” (that means the Mace) – 6 to 150 ct. The main point of both a preventive and retaliatory strike is the destruction of rockets and command posts that are especially protected in engineering terms. That is, the combat unit should deviate slightly from the attacked object and at the same time have enough power to destroy it.
So, the probability of success for Trident 2 is 4 times higher than for Bulava. That is, it turns out that the Russian missile is intended mainly for firing “in the areas”. Therefore, all hope for Russian ground-based missiles, which are more powerful and more accurate than American. However, the “marine” backlog must be made up, which is now the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, which developed the “Mace”.
Does the country have a chance to continue the business of Sergey Korolev and Yuri Gagarin?
An important element of a nuclear missile shield is the Missile Attack Warning System (ASN). It includes the ground component (a network of long-range radars) and the space component (a group of specialized satellites). Everything is normal with the ground component, an inextricable radar field has been formed by both over-horizon and over-horizon radar stations.
But with the space grouping “Dome”, which is formed by the satellites “Tundra”, it is not too good. The new satellites, which replaced the obsolete Oko-1 group, significantly exceed the capabilities of the vehicles that have exhausted their resources. They are capable of not only detecting rocket launch points from the torch of running engines, but also calculating the flight path and the target the rocket is aimed at. For normal operation of the “Dome” in space, 10 satellites must be in different orbits. Now there are only three of them, the last was launched in September last year.
According to the initial plans, the whole ten should have worked in 2020. After adjusting the plan, the deadline was shifted to 2022. However, it is absolutely unrealistic. Because three satellites were launched with a two-year interval between them. Even if the frequency is brought to a year, it will turn out to be 2027.
And here is the main ambush. Our designers create unique equipment, but the state of the industry is such that the plants are not able to quickly and rhythmically produce it in the required quantities. In which, of course, there is an economic moment. All forces are thrown into strategic weapons, to containment technology. However, there are significant problems with “which is simpler”. You can list here for a long time. But we confine ourselves to mentioning a tank on the Armata platform, a Su-57 fighter, and Coalition-SV self-propelled guns … As for the construction of surface ships, there is simply a disaster.