That is why the Pentagon has been constantly modernizing the strategic nuclear weapons, or, as they are more often called, offensive forces of the United States of the Mintoman type III ballistic missiles III. The Americans replaced or upgraded on “minutemen” almost everything they could: they replaced the fuel used in the rocket stages with a more modern and efficient one; upgraded and improved the reliability of missile control and guidance systems, etc.
However, time takes its toll: a rocket put into service more than four decades ago (despite the fact that the initial service life of the missiles was determined only in 10 years) is no longer able to guarantee the solution of the tasks assigned to strategic nuclear forces in the medium or even short-term perspective. The youngest Minuteman III rocket currently in the mine was released in 1978 year! “Even the first-generation iPhone has more computing power than the Minuteman III airborne computer,” retired US Air Force Major General Roger Berg notes in his paper “America’s Nuclear Ridge: the importance of the grouping of intercontinental ballistic missiles and the new Ground Based Strategic program Deterrent, published in January 2017.
That is why, quite recently, after a lengthy discussion, the military-political leadership of the United States nevertheless decided to start implementing a program to create an intercontinental ballistic missile of a ground-based, namely, mine, home base of a new generation. This program received the designation of Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which can be translated from English as "System Creation Program weapons ground-based for strategic deterrence. "
The possibility of developing a new generation of ICBMs in the United States Air Force began to be studied from 2002 of the year, and in 2004, specialists began the “Analysis of Alternatives” procedure (Analysis of Alternatives - AOA). And initially, what is interesting, it was about the possible beginning of the gradual deployment of a new intercontinental ballistic missile - with the replacement of ICBMs of the “Minuteman” III type - already in the 2018 year. It later became clear that these plans were too optimistic, so the Space Command of the US Air Force, then responsible for the forces of intercontinental ballistic missiles, recommended that the command of its own type of aircraft and the military and political leadership of the United States apply the “evolutionary approach to the Minuteman III” .
According to this approach, the Pentagon was supposed to continue work on upgrading individual structural elements of intercontinental ballistic missiles of the Minuteman III family on combat duty with the intention of using them later on new-generation missiles, rather than starting from scratch to develop a completely new missile. This was announced in June 2006 by the deputy head of this command, Lieutenant General Frank Klotz, later, in 2009 – 2011, who served as head of the Global Air Force Command of the United States Air Force. According to the general, one of the motivations for this was financial savings.
Looking ahead, we note that the desire to save budget funds forced the US military almost for the first time to put forward a real proposal to ensure a “high degree of unification” between land-based and sea-based strategic ballistic missiles.
However, the pilots and the seamen could not find mutual understanding, so the Air Force commanders decided to analyze the possibility of upgrading the Minuteman III missiles in order to preserve their combat-capable grouping up to the 2030 milestone of the year when it was planned to put a new type of ICBM on duty. At the same time, the study of the potential appearance of the latter was begun. Then, in the 2011 year, the US Air Force specialists began exploring the possibility of preserving the combat potential of the ground-based grouping of national strategic nuclear forces based on an assessment of capabilities, and next year - a new "Alternative Analysis" regarding the intercontinental ballistic missile grouping that was successfully completed in 2014 year
Finally, in the request for funding under the US military budget for the 2013 fiscal year, an article appeared that proposed funding for the new program - “The program to create a land-based weapon system to provide strategic deterrence”. This milestone can rightfully be considered a point of reference. stories the creation of a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first tranche of this item was small, totaling $ 11,7 million (to finance the “Analysis of Alternatives” mentioned above), but, as they say, the first step is the hardest.
WON THE "HYBRID PLAN"
The following alternatives or scenarios were considered within the framework of the final “Analysis of Alternatives”:
- The baseline scenario implied a gradual extension of the service life of the Minuteman III missiles to 2075, provided that they completely abandoned the attempts to “close the gap that had arisen in the combat capabilities in the field of strategic missile weapons”;
- a phased approach - to increase the combat potential of a group of ICBMs of the “Minuteman” III type by introducing a number of improvements into this missile system;
- the “full replacement” option - the creation of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which should be replaced in the existing mine launchers of a separate launch of ICBM type “Minuteman” III;
- “Mobile option” - development of a new intercontinental ballistic missile as part of a mobile strategic missile system (ground or railway type based);
- “Tunnel option” is the most exotic option, which meant the creation of a strategic missile complex, based underground in specially constructed tunnels and moving along them.
According to the results of the first stage of the analysis of these options for the development of the ground grouping of American strategic nuclear forces, only three options have been allowed for further study: the base case (the cost of sales for the 2019 – 2075 period in 2014 prices of the fiscal year - 160 billion dollars); full replacement option (cost of implementation - 159 billion dollars) and the newly proposed "hybrid" option, according to which the silo-based ICBM group was preserved and a new mobile missile system was developed (cost of implementation - 242 billion dollars). A simple analysis of the value indicator prompted a number of experts even then to suggest which option would eventually win.
In July, 2014, senior representatives of the US military-industrial complex were informed about the main results of the "Analysis of Alternatives" regarding the future ground component of the strategic offensive forces and the related need to create a new intercontinental ballistic missile. A special report by the US Congressional Research Service, prepared by nuclear analyst Amy Wolfe, entitled “US Strategic Nuclear Forces: Basic Data, Developments and Issues,” published by 8 on August 2017 in August, indicated that , the now final “Analysis of Alternatives” concluded that it would be expedient to implement a “hybrid” plan for the creation of a new generation of ICBMs.
Its main features are as follows:
- the basic design of the new rocket, the current system of communication and command transmission, as well as the existing (combat-ready) mine launchers of a separate launch are maintained;
- the engines of the rocket stages, the guidance system, the breeding platform and nuclear warheads, as well as the corresponding supporting systems and additional equipment will be created anew;
- the priority option for placing a new generation of ICBMs is stationary basing in highly protected mine launchers of a separate launch, but the design of the rocket and the capabilities of the control system will make it possible in the long run to place a new intercontinental ballistic missile in a mobile version.
The report of the Congressional Research Service also provides funding for the “Ground-Based Weapon System Creation Program for Ensuring Strategic Deterrence,” which looks like this: 2016 fiscal year (FY) - 75 million, FNXX. - 2017 million dollars, 113 f.d. (request) - 2018 million dollars (originally planned to request 215,7 million dollars). In total, according to the information contained in the US Air Force request for funding in FN 294. in the period up to 2018 f.d. More than 2022 billion are planned for this program.
It should be mentioned that in 2015, representatives of the US Air Force Command estimated the total expenditures for the 30-year program for the creation, purchase and operation of a new generation intercontinental ballistic missile at a rate of about $ 62,3 billion (in 2015 prices), including: 642 missiles purchased - 48,5 billion dollars (400 plans to supply new intercontinental ballistic missiles for combat duty), expenditures on the command and control system - 6,9 billion dollars, and modernization of missile launch control points - 6,9 billion dollars.
However, information released by the Bloomberg agency in September 2016, citing representatives of the US Department of Analysis and Evaluation Office, stated that its specialists now evaluate this program for the same 30-year period already in 85 billion dollars, including: R & D - 22,6 billion dollars, missile purchases - 61,5 billion dollars necessary for the implementation of the program of military construction measures - 718 million dollars. The Air Force representatives, however, noted that the difference in 23 billion dollars is simply the result of applying different approaches and criteria to the pr Conducted an assessment, since the United States for the past several decades does not have a full-fledged experience in developing, launching and adopting intercontinental ballistic missiles.
According to the data published in the open American press, the US Air Force Command plans to begin production of the steps of a new intercontinental ballistic missile during FY 2026, begin to receive the first "assembled and ready-to-use products" in F X X NUMX, put on combat duty the first 2028 rockets - to 9 FG, and the entire grouping of 2029 combat missiles put on combat duty to the 400 FG. True, to fully equip all the existing 2036 mine launchers of a separate launch with new air force control and monitoring systems they plan only for the 450 year.
ON OPEN ARCHITECTURE
American experts point out that the intercontinental ballistic missile of the new generation will be built according to the so-called open architecture, which will make it possible to carry out its modernization and improvement, as well as implement various new developments, quite easily and quickly, throughout the planned 60-year service life. . According to representatives of the Boeing company, which is currently one of the two main contenders for the role of the general contractor for this program, the use of a modular approach to the design of a new missile will reduce the cost of its creation and subsequent upgrades.
According to Russian experts, “new missiles will be equipped with advanced rocket engines with enhanced energy characteristics and less susceptible to cracking during operation. Thrust vector control of main engines is supposed to be performed by deflecting nozzles with the help of electromechanical drives. It is planned to equip with a new system of aiming, with a modernized platform for the withdrawal of warheads with a complex of means for overcoming the enemy’s missile defense system. In the inertial missile control system, it is planned to use the modern element base, as well as the radiation-resistant electronic components of the new generation. The missile control system will ensure firing accuracy no worse than the QUO - 120 meters. It is planned to completely replace the ground test and start-up equipment at the launch control points and silo shafts. The promising ICBM will be equipped with new warheads, the creation of which is envisaged by the “three plus two” concept based on existing nuclear components. It is planned to develop a unified breeding platform with a liquid or solid fuel engine to accommodate several warheads "(M. Vildanov, N. Bashkirov, A. Kuznetsov." The Pentagon is preparing a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM. "Concern VKO" Almaz-Antey "No. 1, 2017 g .).
29 July 2016 The Department for Control of the Land Based Weapon System Creation Program for Strategic Deterrence of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Department of the US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center issued a request to interested companies for proposals for a new generation of ICBMs. Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman showed interest in this program, but as a result of reviewing the documents received, the US Air Force issued 21 on August 2017 of the year to only two of them: Boeing received a contract worth $ 349,2 million. , and Northrop Grumman Company - worth 328,6 million dollars. Contracts were issued as part of the implementation of the technology refinement and risk reduction phase (Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction - TMRR) and stipulate the need to develop over three years - in the period before 20 August 2020 of the year - project promising that the US intercontinental ballistic missile. Based on the results of the study of the variants proposed by the companies, the last customer in 2020 will decide on the choice of the general contractor for the program.
Taking into account the fact that recently the Pentagon also issued the first contracts for a new generation air-based cruise missile, and the fleet is actively working on an atomic underwater strategic missile carrier of the new generation, it can be concluded that the US military-political leadership is seriously and for a long time decided to link the national program of military construction with a radical modernization of the strategic offensive forces. The question is - towards whom will they advance?
FROM THE FILES
Strategic Missile Army
Strategic offensive (nuclear) forces of the United States, based on the current doctrinal guidelines of the country's military-political leadership, are intended for nuclear deterrence of the enemy’s aggression and solving the task of defeating the strategic targets of the latter in preemptive or retaliatory (retaliatory) actions (operations, strikes).
The US strategic offensive forces now include three components organizationally:
- ground-based strategic missile forces or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) forces;
- sea-based strategic missile forces;
- strategic bomber Aviation.
The strategic ground-based missile forces or, as they are often called by specialists, the ICBM forces are organizationally part of the United States Armed Forces 20 Air Force (BA) of the US Armed Forces, which is headquartered at the AF base. . Warren Moreover, in the case of the transfer of US strategic forces to the highest levels of combat readiness on the basis of the 20 th VA, the 214 th operational connection (Task Force 214 - TF 214) is created within the USC.
In turn, the 20-VA includes three rocket wings, or, as they are sometimes called, “ICBM wings”:
- 90-e rocket wing, place of deployment - Avb named after F.E. Warren, Wyoming (319-i, 320-i and 321-i rocket squadrons);
- 91-rocket wing, location - Avb Minot, North Dakota (740-i, 741-i and 742-i rocket squadrons);
- 341-e missile wing, place of deployment - Avb Malmstrom, Montana (10-i, 12-i and 490-i rocket squadrons).
Each rocket wing of the 20-nd IA organizationally includes three rocket squadrons, each of which, in turn, is subdivided into five groups. At the disposal of each of these units - 10 mine launchers separate start (silo OS). Thus, one rocket squadron is responsible for the operation of the 50 MSP OS, and each missile wing is the 150 MSP OS. The development plans of the strategic offensive forces of the US Armed Forces provide for the reduction of combat-ready missiles to 400 located in the silo, the rest are disassembled and stored in the arsenal, and partly used during rocket firing. At the same time, the number of combat-ready FSS OS remains unchanged, 450 units, which allows, if necessary, to place in them additional or new ICBMs.
It should also be noted that these units, squadrons and wings, in addition to the ICBMs and silos, in which they are stationed, also include command and control units, as well as units and units of operational and logistical support. In addition, the following separate military units, operational and material-technical support units of the central subordination (to the army commander) are also included in the 20-VA:
- 377-e wing maintenance of the air base (aerodrome service wing), location - Avb Kirtland, New Mexico. The military personnel of this wing are responsible for all types of maintenance (operation) of the air bases, including those on which the rocket wings of the 20 Air Army of the KSU US Air Force are deployed, and also provide for the activities of the US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center;
- 498-e wing maintenance of nuclear systems, location - Avb Kirtland. This wing was officially commissioned on 1 on April 2009 of the year, and is responsible for the operation (maintenance) of nuclear weapons and 20 Air Force systems of the Global Strike Command (KSU) US Air Force, which wing members must transfer to combat units "in combat readiness";
- 582-I helicopter group, place of deployment - Avb named after F.E. Warren, Wyoming. The group formed in 2015 year, is composed of three helicopter squadrons, equipped with helicopters UH-1N «Huey" and involved for safety tasks: 37-I and 40-I helicopter squadrons assigned to AVB Malmstrom and 54-Squadron - to Minot base. The group also has an 582 squadron of operational support;
- 625-I strategic operations squadron, location - Avb Offut, Nebraska.
All US strategic offensive forces are operatively controlled by USC, the headquarters of which is located on Avb Offut, Nebraska. In peacetime, only those forces that are currently in combat duty are subordinated to this command, and during the period of danger and in time of war, all the available combat-ready ICBMs, SSBNs and strategic bombers are transferred, as well as the forces and means of supporting strategic operations. US offensive forces.
The US Air Force's global strike command, in turn, administers the strategic ground-based missile forces and strategic bombing aircraft (B-1B and B-2A bombers), while KSU-US Air Force and the Command Air Force of the US Air Force jointly manage strategic B-type bombers. -52H, which are designed to solve problems using both nuclear and conventional weapons.