It will become the fourth document of this kind, which appears at the beginning of the next US President’s presidency: the previous ones were born in 1994, 2001 and 2010. The report is prepared on the basis of instructions from the President and the Minister of Defense with the participation of representatives of the presidential administration, working groups from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the types of armed forces and various departments, including the National Nuclear Security Agency.
The congressional wordings of the “Nuclear Review” objectives have changed, but their essence was to present the legislative body with a comprehensive assessment of the country's nuclear forces and a plan for their maintenance and modernization for the next 5 – 10 and more years. The reports determine the composition of the nuclear forces, the country's nuclear weapons and plans for their renewal; state of readiness of nuclear forces to use nuclear weaponstheir placement in the country and abroad, the conditions for the transition to the use of nuclear weapons; directions for improving the operational management of nuclear forces, communications, intelligence and computer support; development of infrastructure to maintain the viability of nuclear forces and ensure their replenishment. Although the texts of the Nuclear Review of 1994 and 2001 (we call them YAO-94 and YAO-01) were secret, the content of the reports was reported to the media in the form of samples with basic information. The plain text of the YAO-10 was distinguished by an abundance of general provisions and the paucity of digital calculations.
WEAPONS IN THE NAME OF PEACE
Consider the contents of the US nuclear policy, which became known from the published texts of the Nuclear Reviews and other documents of the US Department of Defense.
Nuclear policy is a policy and a set of government actions based on the possession of nuclear weapons to achieve the country's national goals in peacetime and wartime. Declarative course - achieving a world free of nuclear weapons. A set of actions is to increase security from the threat of the proliferation and use of nuclear weapons and the preservation of US nuclear weapons (as long as there are nuclear weapons in the world) to deter intimidating potential aggressors and protect the interests of the US, its allies and partners.
The objectives of nuclear policy are the permanent criteria for executive bodies in developing and implementing plans, in selecting forces, means and methods of action. These goals are declared: to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism; maintaining strategic deterrence and strategic stability at reduced levels of nuclear forces; strengthening regional deterrence by deterrence and ensuring the fulfillment of US commitments to its allies and partners; maintaining a safe, secure and efficient nuclear arsenal; achieving the goals of the United States and its allies in the event of deterrence deterrence. It is noteworthy that in the US-10, the United States indicated its intention to punish "the consequences" of those who do not comply with or withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, bearing in mind the DPRK and Iran. Obviously, the "consequences" implied measures of economic and military coercion.
Having completed the Cold War, the United States got rid of obsolete nuclear weapons, continues to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in service (YABZ), retain an excessive amount of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) on land and ballistic missiles of submarines (SLBM) on land and at sea and in the bases of nuclear missile submarines (SSBN). Here are some numbers. In September 1990, the US Armed Forces had more than 21 thousand YABZ; In the strategic offensive forces, there were about 13 thous. YABZ, 1050 silo launchers (silo launchers) for ICBMs, 37 SSBNs with 672 launchers (launchers) for SLBMs, and 574 heavy bomber (TB). In early February, the 2018 of the year in the US Armed Forces will be less than 4 th. YABZ; in the Combined Strategic Command (USC), approximately 3,5 thousand YABZ, 450 silo silos for ICBMs, 14 SSBNs with 280 PU and less than 160 TB (including 66 nuclear weapons carriers) will remain.
In accordance with the ideas of the first three “Nuclear Reviews”, the number of Minuteman-3 MSWS was reduced from 550 to 450 (400 active, 50 unopened), the number of deployed ICBMs was reduced from 550 to 400, the YABZ ammunition on the deployed ICBMs was reduced from XUME to 1650, the ammunition system of the IABZ on the deployed ICBMs was reduced from XUME to 400, the AMBM ammunition for deployed ICBMs was reduced from XUME to 570; before 3, at least the XNUMX of the Minuteman-XNUMX MBR was fully upgraded.
As of March 2017, the United States, according to the official notification, had 683 such missiles (405 deployed and 278 non-deployed). It was previously noted that in the past century, Americans sometimes secret the number of ICBMs and provided incorrect information about their number. In 2011, the US Department of Defense reported the availability of 2010-only Minuteman-2012 556 – 3 in years. Obviously, the named stock of missiles (more than 600 or less 600) will be sufficient up to the 2030 year to complete both the 400 operating and 50 non-deployed silos that make up the return potential of this component of the nuclear triad. It should be noted that the possibility of restarting the Minuteman-3 ICBMs from deployed silos to targets at landfills has not been worked out.
While at YAO-01 there was an intention to explore the possibility of creating an ICBM of a new type with the introduction into service by 2018 year, then at NW-10 it was about the prospect of creating a new ICBM with new basing methods to increase survivability. But already in 2016, the Air Force Command abandoned the costly deployment of ICBMs on mobile launchers in favor of a cheaper option - using upgraded existing silos (upgrading the 450 silos is scheduled to be performed by 2037). First, it was planned to find new ICBMs in service from 2025 to 2075 a year, but now they expect the replacement of old ICBMs with new ones in 2030 – 2035. Designed for guaranteed 30 years of service, the new missile will be equipped with a warhead with an upgraded YaBZ W78. The media reported on plans to procure 642 new ICBMs to deploy such missiles into silo 400. It is hard not to conclude that retaining stationary bases in the ICBM nuclear triad is designed to divert the strategic forces of a potential enemy from its counter-critical strike in a nuclear war, and is not a security measure in the event of the loss of invulnerability of the SSBNs.
It is of interest to change the views of the military-political leadership on the number of SSBNs required for ensuring the security of the country, SLBM launchers, and SLBMs and YABZ.
At the end of the Cold War, the USAF rejected the construction of the Ohio-type 24 SSBNs, deciding that the 18 SSBNs would be enough. But already in the YAO-94, it was suggested to reduce the number of SSBNs from 18 to 14. A YAO-01 provided for reducing the number of SSBNs from 18 to 14 (completed in 2004 year); decrease in the number of YABZ on each SSBN (completed closer to the end of the first decade, bringing the standard ammunition of each SSBN to a level of about 100 YABZ); extending the life of each SSBN (setting the lifespan on 43 of the year meant that the last SSBN of the Ohio type would be removed from service in 2040 onwards); start of patrolling the first SSBN of the next generation from 2029 of the year (with President Barack Obama postponed to 2031 year).
YaO-10 contained a decision to begin development of a new SSBN (development began in 2010, it was later determined that it was necessary to have 12 Columbia SSBNs with 16 launchers on each SSBN), to consider the possibility of reduction in 2016–2020 the number of SSBNs from 14 to 12 without decreasing the number of nuclear submarines deployed on SSBNs (in 2014, the idea of having 12 SSBNs with 288 launchers was abandoned, starting in 2015 to reduce the number of launchers on each SSBN from 24 to 20 so that in 2018 14 SSBNs with 280 launchers), about the start of decommissioning fleet old SSBNs since 2027. All this meant that 14 Ohio SSBNs would be decommissioned in 2027–2040, the construction of a new SSBN series would begin in 2021, 12 new-generation SSBNs would begin patrolling in 2031–2042, and the Navy in 2030–2040 The USA will be only 10 old and new SSBNs. As you can see, from 18 SSBNs with 432 launchers in 2001, the Americans switched to 14 SSBNs with 336 launchers in 2004, go to 14 SSBNs with 280 launchers in 2018, and 12 SSBNs with 192 launchers in 2042. Obviously, the desire to have less SS and YBZ on each SSBN.
An aging SSBN causes an increase in the scope of work for all types of repairs, which, combined with personnel difficulties at shipyards, leads to disruption of the SSBN overhaul schedule, and indirectly to the “ragged” SSBN patrol schedule with a duration of several weeks to three and a half months.
Even in YAO-94, there was a need to preserve the existing scientific and technical base for the production of SLBMs, and YAO-01 - to extend the service life of SLBMs due to the increase in the duration of the SSBN operation period and the need to create a new SSBN for 2029. It is noteworthy that the nuclear weapons-01 contained a refusal to develop a unified intercontinental BR for the Air Force and Navy, but already in 2012 and 2015 the idea of maximum unification of components for the new ICBMs and SLBMs was sounded, and in 2016 a message flashed about the start of development of the new SLBMs .
In the 1987 – 2005 years, the US Navy bought the 425 SLBM Trident 2 for themselves; in the 2008 – 2012 years, they also bought 108, after which they began upgrading their missiles, which will end in about the 2026 year. Judging by the statement that the Trident-2 missiles will last until 2042 a year or longer, it is reasonable to assume that full-scale work on the creation of a new SLBM will begin no later than 2030 of the year. The US’s almost one-and-a-half-long SLBM ammunition for the coming decades (according to official notification, 2017 had 423 missiles at the beginning of March, including 220 deployed and 203 not deployed) is clearly redundant and provides the possibility of repeated launches of SLBMs in a nuclear war after the expenditure of the main missile ammunition. Surplus missiles - this is probably part of the return potential, which was mentioned in YAO-10.
In the framework of the START-3 2010 Agreement, in February 2018, on 12 deployed SSBNs with 240 deployed launchers, there should be no more than 1090 deployed YABZs. As you can see, the nuclear charge on each SSBN decreases again.
In the 2018 year, most of the remaining W76 YABZs are being upgraded, with the first 2020 of the upgraded W400 YABZs expected from the 88 of the year. The transfer to the fleet of combined YABZ IW1 based on the YABZ W78 / W88-1 is still provided from the 2030 year. Completing the upgrade of most of the W76-0 YABZs and turning them into upgraded WBNUMX-76 YABZs will almost halve the number of YABZs (altogether, according to various media reports, 1-3190 YABZs of this type). Obviously, when returning to the assembly of each SLBM with eight YABZ on each SSBN, the total nuclear load of all SSBNs increases by more than one and a half.
In the "Nuclear Reviews", as a rule, announced the intention to reduce the number of nuclear bombers. In the period from September 2015 to January 2017, the B-41 X-aircraft (the 52 of them were suspended) was withdrawn from the composition of the bombers that carried nuclear weapons to the non-nuclear forces. Now with 11, the Global Strike Command will include 2018 bomber-carriers of nuclear weapons (66 deployed and six non-deployed) and three bomber to be tested. The number of deployed can enter 60-41 In-44 and 52-16 In-19, in the number of non-deployed - 2-2 In-5 and 52-1 In-4, testing will be including two in-2 and one B-52.
The nuclear functions of the B-52 and B-2 bomber are now demarcated. If earlier B-52 aircraft could carry both nuclear ALCMs and nuclear bombs, now they are considered carriers only of nuclear ALCMs. The only nuclear weapons of B-2 aircraft are nuclear bombs. I recall that in the 2012 year for both types of TB, there were about 540 "operational deployed YaBZ", that is, 25% of approximately 2150 then operational deployed YaBZ in the SNF. In 2006 – 2016, the 59% B-52 bomber and 38% B-2 bomber were fully technically sound. Decommissioning of B-52 aircraft is possible by the 2040 year, and of B-2 aircraft by the 2045 year. It is not excluded that soon the B-52 bombers will be equipped with new engines to increase the flight range by 40%. The launch of X-NUMX B-100 bombers is expected in 21 – 2025.
It is believed that the replacement of existing ALCMs with new ones will take place in 2026–2030, and the upgraded nuclear warhead W80-4 for the new ALCM will be created in 2025 and will arrive in 2032. The first modernized air bombs B61-12, the National Nuclear Safety Agency plans to transfer to the Air Force in 2020. So far, the plan for the transition of the Air Force after 2030 to a single nuclear warhead for the ALCM and to a single nuclear aerial bomb B61-12 remains valid. The transition to a single nuclear aerial bomb (according to media reports, there will be at least 400 of them) with the abandonment of B83-1 nuclear aerial bombs will mean a halving of the number of nuclear aerial bombs and the abandonment of megaton-class aerial bombs. Judging by the YaO-10 strategic aviation was in first place in terms of nuclear return potential, apparently due to the speed of building up its nuclear capabilities to the maximum.
Since 2001, all references to US “non-strategic nuclear forces” (NSNF) have disappeared from Nuclear Review. Later, “sub-strategic nuclear forces” disappeared into NATO and “nuclear forces” remained, the third component of which was “non-strategic nuclear weapons”.
US non-strategic nuclear weapons are located in the United States and Europe and are represented by B61-3 / 4 / 10 nuclear bombs, which are carried by dual-use airplanes (VOS) F-16 and F-15E fighter jets. The Tomahawk nuclear SLCM (the last YBZ for the last of the 10 nuclear SLCMs was dismantled in 367) was announced in the YNO-2012, the upcoming replacement of the SDN F-16 with the SDN F-35 US Air Force aviation in Europe and the possibility of strengthening in advanced areas with fighter jets and dual-purpose bombers. The timeline for replacing VOS F-16 to F-35A was transferred from 2021 to 2024 year, and the arrival time of the first B61-12 nuclear bombs was once again shifted, now to 2020 year. On land in Europe, the number of nuclear bombs of various types decreased from approximately 1700 during the Cold War and amounted to 480 nuclear bombs B61 of various modifications in 2000 and 180 in 2009. It is unlikely that this nuclear weapon has remained unchanged to date.
Obviously, the US CDF, while maintaining a significant return potential in the form of non-deployed YABZ, SLBM, ICBM, ALCM and nuclear bombs, intends to maintain the composition of the nuclear triad achieved after the reductions, and then carry out its almost complete update with the arrival of the first new ICBM, bombers, ALCM and SSBN in 2025 – 2030.
RUSSIA IS NOT AN OPPONENT MORE
Judging by the nuclear weapons 2001 and 2010, the likelihood of confrontation between the United States and the Russian Federation decreased from possible, but not expected, to sharply reduced, and Russia, being not an enemy of the United States, has ceased to be an enemy. However, already in the first half of 2017, the commander of the United Strategic Command of the US Armed Forces called the Russian Federation an adversary.
The United States continues to implement strategic deterrence while maintaining strategic stability. Judging by YAO-10, Washington retains the right to use nuclear weapons while deterring deterrence (and, as we know from YAO-01, it can be not only defensive, but also offensive) as a nuclear attack on the United States, its allies and partners, and (“in a narrow range of emergencies”) attacks with conventional weapons, chemical weapons and biological weapons against the United States or its allies and partners on the part of the countries possessing nuclear weapons and on the part of countries not complying with the commitments made nonproliferation. You can learn more about the proactive or reciprocal use of US nuclear weapons for the destruction of conventional forces and enemy weapons of mass destruction from the final draft of the Joint Nuclear Operations doctrine of the United States Joint Security Command March 15. The NW-2005 contained a clause that "the United States will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons on non-nuclear-weapon states that are parties to the non-proliferation treaty and respect non-proliferation commitments." At the same time, the Americans did not rule out the future use of their nuclear weapons when using biological weapons against the United States or its allies and partners, non-nuclear weapon countries and observing their commitments on nuclear non-proliferation.
In the open texts of Nuclear Surveys, there are no provisions that, besides reciprocal and retaliatory, there are sudden and pre-emptive options for nuclear strikes, that there seems to be a type of emergency response, types of selective and main nuclear strikes, types of nuclear strikes by order of the CPF or within adapted planning. Without relying on countercentential targeting, Americans are focusing on counter-force planning and are not the first to abandon the use of nuclear weapons. The mutual “oceanic” targeting of US and Russian ICBMs and SLBMs is designed to prevent the possibility of unauthorized use of nuclear weapons against a potential enemy and reduce the risk of an accidental start of a nuclear war. The composition of the on-duty nuclear triad forces is normally standard: almost all ICBMs and some SSBNs in the sea; there was no constant combat duty at the bases of nuclear bombers on board. The readiness of the VOS tactical aviation of the US Air Force in Europe to use nuclear weapons in the “Nuclear Reviews” is not accepted (after the end of the Cold War, the level of readiness was reduced from the number of hours to days).
Fueled "nuclear winter"
The United States Nuclear Weapons Research and Production Complex maintains, modernizes, extends service life, dismantles nuclear weapons and limited production of plutonium assemblies, ensuring the reliability, safety and effectiveness of a country’s nuclear ammunition without creating nuclear weapons types and conducting nuclear weapons tests at test sites. The safe operation of weapons-grade plutonium (125 years), the availability of backlog and the production of special nuclear materials (the Americans resumed tritium production in the 2003 year, and now increase its production) and the stocks of the stored plutonium nodes (10 000 in the 2008 year) provide the ability to recreate certain YABZ number.
Now in the United States they don’t recall the former projects to create a “consolidated nuclear weapons production center” for 2030 to accompany 2,2 thousand NGMs with annual production of 2022 new 125, 125 old 50, and full testing of existing 48 YABZ, as well as the requirements for the nuclear complex, to begin mass production of YABZs of a new type in 12 months after the decision is made on full-scale development and testing of nuclear weapons at the test site in 2030 months after the adoption of this has been resolved i. The National Nuclear Security Administration refused to create a single consolidated center for the production of nuclear weapons in favor of separated consolidated centers and is modernizing, building, moving and eliminating infrastructure facilities with the expectation of reaching the annual production of 50 – 80 plutonium nodes by the year of 2035. The CDF of the country is committed to the speedy modernization of the existing nuclear weapons complex, since after 2017, the time comes for the renewal of a significant part of the nuclear weapons attack due to the expiration of their service life. The dismantling of the YABZ is proceeding at a variable pace, the dismantling of the YABZ that had been previously decommissioned (there were 2,8 thousands of such YABZs in January XNUMX) will be completed in the third decade. Americans are clearly moving away from disposing of excess weapons-grade plutonium by converting it into MOX fuel, preferring to keep plutonium diluted with inhibitors.
Compared with the previously scheduled deadlines for reducing nuclear ammunition to the level of 4,6 thousand YABZ in 2012 year, 3,0 – 3,5 thousand by 2022 year, 2,0 – 2,2 thousand by 2030 year, its decrease was somewhat slower (in 2012 year in nuclear ammunition there was 4881 YABZ ). However, the overall picture is as follows: from the peak in 31255 YABZ in 1967, the United States switched to 23 ths. YABZ in the 80s, when understanding of the consequences of the “nuclear winter” and the senselessness of increasing nuclear ammunition began to arrive, and to 4 th. YABZ in January 2017 of the year; The total USAB capacity, which was more than 20 gigatons in 1960, has now dropped to less than one gigaton.
The United States intends to maintain a ratio of active and inactive nuclear ammunition, which, in the event of a YABZ failure of one deployed type (or a carrier / delivery vehicle of some deployed type), replaces all deployed YABZ of a failed type with other types of unused nuclear warheads each component of the triad, and between its components). The reserve of non-deployed YBZ, retained over 10 years as a return potential, will be maintained until the country's nuclear complex is modernized.
Gradually implement the decisions of the twentieth century to move to seven, and the solution of this century to move to five YABZ types (three interchangeable BR: IW1 based W78 / W88-1, IW2 based W87, IW3 based W76-1; two for Aircraft delivery systems: W80-4, B61-12). There is a tendency to the upcoming abandonment of YABZ with a capacity in excess of 500 kilotons. There is an interest in owning a certain number of low-powered nuclear weapons, which can lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Information on pure thermonuclear weapons remains closed.
The nuclear power plants of the ships of the submarine and aircraft carrier fleets of the United States are being improved. The nuclear power program of the Navy provides that the new reactors for third-generation SSBNs will operate without replacing the core for the entire service life of these ships.
UNIVERSAL WAR DOESN'T NEED ANYONE
Let's try in simple words to reveal the main background of US nuclear policy.
US nuclear weapons are designed to prevent a nuclear attack on the United States, its allies and partners, and to protect the vital interests of these countries. In fact, the United States intends to use nuclear weapons first, when and where it is beneficial for them, as well as forcedly in response to a nuclear attack.
Unrestricted (global, strategic, universal) nuclear war using counter-force and counter-targeting strategic nuclear forces against the Russian Federation or the People's Republic of China is irrational for the United States, because it leads either to automatic early transformation of the PRC into a superpower, or to an increase in the role of the Russian Federation when the United States loses its dominant position in the world. The option of simultaneous such a war against the Russian Federation and the PRC will also not bring Washington benefits due to the unacceptable consequences for the “arsenal of democracy”. It should be noted here that the United States refused to plan a global nuclear war, judging by the statement of the former USC commander, back in October 1989.
It would be more beneficial for the USA to conduct a limited nuclear war (with counter-force targeting) against one or two rivals, which would not lead to the destruction of the economy of the United States. It was this option that was covertly voiced in the Secretary of Defense’s document US Nuclear Strategy in 2013. It says that the US will retain significant counter-force capabilities, not relying on a counter-value strategy (in other words, this is a proposal of such “rules of the game” when opponents are limited to an exchange of counter-force strikes, leaving the possibility of counter-value strikes in case of an emergency). Judging by the statement of the Director of Strategic Systems Programs published in 1997, the new fuse for the Mk4 / W76 combat unit should have given it the ability to hit not only “urban industrial targets”, but also “protected objects”. The arrival on the SSBN of the Mk4A / W76-1 combat unit is tangible evidence of the US commitment to a limited nuclear war strategy (with counter-force targeting) against the Russian Federation and the PRC.
More realistic and safe for the United States is the use of its nuclear weapons against an enemy located far from the United States whose nuclear or other weapons do not reach the territory of this country. That is why for regional deterrence by intimidating such an adversary it is planned to use not only non-strategic nuclear weapons, but also strategic nuclear forces. It is no coincidence that the recent statement by the USC Commander that any nuclear weapon is strategic.
A nuclear war is possible, although it can be avoided if desired. But the United States cannot get away from the aging of its nuclear weapons, so updating the carriers and delivery vehicles first, and then the means of destruction in 2025 – 2045, is inevitable for the United States.