The Russian response to the US withdrawal from the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles (INF) should be asymmetric. It may consist in the creation of a ground grouping of strategic-range and super-weapon cruise missiles — missiles with combat units of the megaton class.
The US Congress approved the allocation of 58 millions of dollars to develop a medium-range missile. In effect, this means deciding to exit the INF.
The amount is small even by Russian standards, what can we say about the US, when allocations for the development of simpler weapons systems began with several hundred million, or even billions of dollars. This suggests that the new American RSD already has a solid scientific and technical reserve. In fact, we are talking about the transition immediately to the development stage. The cost of the first prototypes of a promising rocket can reach a dozen or more million dollars by the most modest estimates (for example, a serial Tomahawk, a product that is simple compared to a high-precision MRSD, costs a customer one and a half to two million dollars). So, using the allocated funds, the Americans will be able to build three to five models or carry out a relatively modest amount of other OCD. This suggests that the new rocket has already been developed and is about the final stage before launching into mass production. That is, on the sly, they have been working on it for a long time - probably from the moment when the United States suddenly discovered a "violation of Russia" by the INF Treaty.
Washington will try to achieve superiority by deploying groups of RSD near the borders of Russia. Our country will not be able to quickly provide an adequate response, and the Americans will receive an indisputable advantage for a sufficiently long military-political period. The idea is obvious - to make Europe (more precisely, its eastern part) the base of a nuclear attack. It becomes possible, without withdrawing from the treaty on reducing strategic offensive arms, to significantly increase the potential for the defeat of the territory of Russia relative to the retaliatory strike. On the other hand, to force us to re-target a part of the strategic nuclear forces with the United States to Europe. Moscow is deprived of the opportunity to place RSDs near American borders so that the area of shooting includes all the key elements of the military infrastructure and economy of the USA: there are no territories where to form such a group. The second operation "Anadyr" ("At the zenith of the Cold War") today is not feasible.
Pershing vs Pioneer
How serious is the reason that prompted the Soviet leadership to sign the INF Treaty? Let us return to the past and see what the situation was at our borders then. In 1982, the United States adopted the Pershing-2 MRBD. The plans provided for the deployment of groups of more than one hundred such missiles near the borders of the Department of Internal Affairs and about the 380 KRNB Tomahawk in nuclear equipment. To eliminate this threat, the Soviet leadership decided (with the full support of the military) to sign the INF Treaty. What is the point? Indeed, in exchange for 490 of the Pioneer complexes, we had to cut about the 680 of the American missiles, in terms of the firing range and power of the warhead, far exceeding the American Pershing-2. As for the Tomahawks, in the USSR they could easily create an equivalent grouping of the ground version of the Grenade.
Let us turn to the Pershing-2 TTX, today it is not a secret: the 7,5-ton rocket had a firing range of about 1800 kilometers. Its nuclear warhead is 8 – 80 kilotons of TNT equivalent. The mobile missile system: the launcher is mounted on a self-propelled chassis - to ensure its proactive destruction is problematic, since it is necessary to constantly monitor the location in real time with the appropriate correction of target designation of means of destruction, even if near the borders of ATS complicated. But this will not surprise us. After all, the “Pioneer”, which was put into service in the 1977, is also mounted on a self-propelled chassis of a six-axle MAZ-547B high-capacity conveyor. But unlike the “Pershing-2”, the “Pioneer” shot at 5500 kilometers, and its warhead weighing about 1500 kilograms made it possible to place a thermonuclear charge with a TNT equivalent of about megatons on it. That is, the Soviet missile system is much more powerful than the American one. Yes, and in service with them, we emphasize, about 680 units. So what made our leaders go for such disproportionate cuts? It's all about shooting accuracy and flight time. The American rocket hit the target with a standard deviation of about 30 meters! The high-precision munitions used today in Syria, the Russian and the US, are approximately the same. According to the experience of the war, it is enough that with one hit it is guaranteed to destroy even a well-protected object.
At that time (and today) the creation of specially protected underground (rock) command and control centers that could withstand explosions of nuclear weapons at a distance of several hundred meters was considered the main way to ensure the combat sustainability of the control system of the armed forces of all developed countries. But not like the Pershing-2 CU. With an accuracy of 30 meters of standard deviation, the probability of the warhead entering the 100 – 150 object on 100 – 150 meters (the typical size of the underground protected control point) is more than 0,95.
Another important indicator was the flight time of the “Pershing” to the designated targets, which, due to the flat trajectory and high speed, ranged from five to six to eight to ten minutes depending on the distance of the object of destruction. That is, the Americans were able to deliver a preemptive beheading strike and destroy all the main points of strategic control of our strategic nuclear forces. When introduced in accordance with the START-1 Treaty, the system for the prevention of unauthorized use of nuclear weaponsthat excludes the possibility of launching without receiving carriers of a special cipher-code unlocking the rocket, the aggressor could expect that no response would follow. After all, then the system "Perimeter", the notorious "Dead Hand", did not exist yet - it was created precisely as an opposition to a decapitating strike.
The situation with Tomahawks was a little better. The main type of Soviet DRLO Tu-126 aircraft available at that time was the Liana RCL, which was aimed at detecting high-altitude targets — B-52 bombers going through the North Pole to strike the USSR (almost all of the long-range radar aircraft were based in the northern regions of our country ). And Liana did not know how to identify small-sized low-flying targets of the type “Tomahawk” against the background of the underlying earth's surface: the lower boundary of the detection zone was about three thousand meters. Aircraft A-50 only entered service. Therefore, in the western directions, the airspace control system was built exclusively on ground-based radar and had a lower boundary of the observation area of up to several hundred meters. Tomahawks launched from mobile ground-based launchers could penetrate into these holes between posts at extremely low altitudes. Their range is about 2500 kilometers. And although the flight time to this distance would be about three hours, the extremely low altitude of movement outside the radar observation zone made the strike sudden. Both now and then, the accuracy of the hit is quite high - the standard deviation of no more than 20 – 30 meters, which, with the power of the 200 warhead kilotons of TNT, also guaranteed the destruction of any protected control point.
So the Americans, having deployed the Pershing-2 and Tomahawks in Europe, were given the opportunity to deliver a sudden preemptive strike at the strategic management points of the armed forces, getting a chance to win a nuclear war. In response, we could only go on decentralizing the use of strategic nuclear forces as the only way to guarantee retribution. It is for this reason that our leaders spoke of a sharp increase in the nuclear threat.
As for the “Pioneers”, they did not “reach out” to the control points of the American strategic nuclear forces located on American territory. And the use of Strategic Nuclear Forces with an 25 – 35 minute flight time and a developed US anti-missile surveillance system would not be sudden for the Yankees, they always had the opportunity to retaliate even under the most adverse conditions. Yes, and the accuracy of fire "Pioneers", which was 500 meters of standard deviation, did not provide, despite the powerful warhead, guaranteed destruction of highly targeted point targets such as an underground control center.
The destruction of Europe as compensation for the defeat of their own country was a bad consolation for the leadership of the USSR. Therefore, they went to the signing of the INF Treaty.
The main thing: the American ballistic and cruise missiles of medium-range ground-based allowed to cause a sudden guaranteed decapitating strike on our country and, of course, to increase the nuclear potential that could reach the territory of the USSR. Today, judging by the general direction of the US military-technical policy in the field of nuclear weapons, the course has been set for the same goals. It cannot be ruled out that in order to neutralize the Russian “Dead Hand”, effective EW facilities are being created or are already in place to ensure the disruption of the signaling of the command and control of the Russian strategic nuclear forces.
Obviously, a symmetrical response, consisting in the creation and deployment of our RSD, is unacceptable, because it means taking the lead of the enemy: if you deploy our complexes, as some experts suggest, in the Arctic, the nuclear threat potential of the American territory will increase minimally. The subpolar RSD will not reach the main control points of the military and political leadership of the United States. And Russia will be forced to divert to this a significant part of its financial and industrial, intellectual resources, which are so modest in comparison with the United States.
It is also impossible to increase the number of strategic-range ballistic missiles, this would mean withdrawal from the START treaties and we, who have a much smaller economic potential and destroyed nuclear warheads, while the Americans have stockpiled, we will not be able to participate in the race on equal terms. According to experts, the Yankees can increase the number of SNF due to the "return capacity" in 2 – 2,5 times within a year and a half.
However, in the system of legal regulation of relations between our countries in the field of nuclear weapons there are several aspects that allow creating an adequate threat to the United States if they withdraw from the INF Treaty. If its action ceases, the restrictions on strategic ground-based cruise missiles are also removed. Meanwhile, Russia has first-class aviation KR X-101. With a starting mass of two and a few tons, it delivers warheads weighing about 500 kilograms over a distance of up to 5500 kilometers. Moreover, the accuracy of hitting the target within 15-20 meters of standard deviation. And the X-101 has a nuclear double - X-102. It can be assumed, by analogy with the American Tomahawk, that our missile is capable of hitting targets for 8000-9000 kilometers or more. And this is the intercontinental range. The ground version based on the X-101 is created in a relatively short time. It is quite possible to establish and launch launchers.
Two to four missiles weigh 15 – 18 tons with the container. It can be placed on a heavy truck chassis with a semi-trailer along with a control system. That is, we have a fully autonomous mobile missile system. The grouping is growing in proportion to the increase in batteries of US RSD in Europe, thereby creating an adequate threat to the territory of the United States. It is important to note that the control system of these RCs may also provide for a decentralized mode in the event of the destruction of strategic elements. Indeed, cruise missiles, as well as nuclear weapons of operational-tactical and tactical range, are not subject to centralized blocking of launches. In order for a strike under any conditions to be unacceptable for an adversary, the size of the grouping should be at least 500 – 700 units (taking into account expected losses in the territory of Russia and anti-aircraft defense).
Another nuance of the START treaties is the absence of restrictions on the total "tonnage" of nuclear weapons. Only the number of warheads is limited. This allows you to go on the way to create mega-weapons - warhead with TNT equivalent of more than a hundred megatons and rockets to them. Such a munition, if used, can initiate catastrophic geophysical processes in the United States, in particular the eruption of Supervolcano Yellowstone. Today we are developing a heavy Sarmat ICBM. It is known that it has a global range, that is, it flies along non-optimal trajectories with the possibility of hitting any part of the planet. Moreover, its warhead can reach 10 tons. Dimensions are sufficient to fit a multimegaton class warhead.
The emergence of such weapons will force overseas "partners" to sit at the negotiating table and agree to destroy both their RSM and missile defense system. The precedent was created by the USSR when the P-36 series rockets prompted the most militant Americans to start a dialogue.