The nuclear arsenal and nuclear weapons complex is like potatoes. If you don’t start fighting pests on time, they will devour the whole field. If you don’t sort the potatoes that started to rot, everything in the cellar will rot. Everything must be done continuously and thoughtfully, otherwise trouble will come. Only nuclear weapons and the nuclear weapons complex are much more complicated and dangerous.
Nuclear and thermonuclear (and now mostly thermonuclear) weapons have a very clear, and very difficult and very long production cycle. This cycle is continuous - this is a prerequisite. And it gives the opportunity to be very inflexible, but to regulate the volumes of output. And exactly the same clear cycle should be in its maintenance, storage, maintenance of combat readiness, repair and modernization and reassembly of ammunition. And most importantly - and this cycle is continuous, as the steel production cycle, say. And the ability to adjust the volume of work is also very limited. That is, the top and bottom bars are there, but they are not that far from each other, and the volumes cannot be drastically increased, as with the production of nuclear weapons.
And God forbid disrupt this rhythm and the integrity of the cycle. Failures in the production process, in the process of storage cycles, maintenance, modernization, reassembly of ammunition will first lead to the accumulation of problems with the degradation of the arsenal, and then the quantity goes into quality. And the degradation increases at a dramatically increased pace, including with the production itself. With the US nuclear complex and nuclear arsenal, this transition took place in the 2003-2004 area. This can be seen, by the way, from this picture (which was already given in the article “Nuclear Arsenal of the USA. Upward along the stairs leading down”), where, starting from this period, a quantitative collapse in the number of charges in the arsenal began. In general, the adjusted mechanism of the nuclear weapons complex failed, then failures began to intensify and crawl out in different places, resonant vibrations began and the destruction and inability to produce nuclear weapons from scratch began - only upgrades, and quite limited ones. And now many years of work, hard work are needed to restore, and not scribbling on Twitter and speeches from the podium and plans that do not fit either among themselves or with the real state of affairs.
As we see, after the initial mass reductions of the beginning of 90-x, the number of the arsenal changed little, and in the area of 2003-2005. "process went" much faster.
And what led to this result? After the collapse of the USSR, the USA decided that they caught God not only by the beard, but also because it does not allow him to become a goddess, and now they can reap the benefits for all eternity. And not only the average man was convinced of this by the vigorous little books about "Pax Americana" and "The End stories"but the ruling circles themselves believed in it. And they continue to believe that they" won the Cold War "(where, in fact, one of the participants simply did not go out for another fight), and everyone owes them now for this life, like the earth - a cropless collective farm. But Russia should be even more so. "Russia should (fit in it)." Recall the hysteria of Mrs. Samantha Power with the late Ambassador Churkin - it’s all expressed in it. The Americans believed in their exclusivity for a long time, and temporary successes after 1991 strengthened them in this faith, more precisely, in this heresy. In general, as comrade S said Alina, came "dizzy with success".
This affected not only the nuclear weapons complex, but it had a stronger impact than many others. In addition, just before the collapse of the Union, the START-1 Treaty was concluded, forcing the parties to reduce SNF by 50%, and "gentlemen's" agreements were concluded (because they did not include control procedures, as opposed to START) to reduce tactical nuclear weapons ( TNW) by half. Moreover, the Americans liked so much to cut TNW that they didn’t stop half, and two thirds couldn’t, and then there wasn’t even a chance to stop and grow to half a thousand B-61 bombs, which strongly resemble a broken trough. Russia, however, also did not stop half, but kept its arsenal of TNW at a decent level and continues to improve it. However, our arsenal was much more solid initially, and there are enough “friends” on the same continent with us.
The beginning of such a massive reduction in nuclear arsenals led to a sharp reduction in financial rations, stopping the production of new ammunition (where to make new ones, there would have time to dismantle and destroy everything). Again, in Russia it was the same, but the safety margin was much higher - thanks to the USSR. And one more circumstance played a role - we had an urgent need to create new ammunition, firstly because of the obsolescence of a part of the arsenal we needed in the future, secondly, the conclusion, in fact, of the enslaving START-2 Treaty (a typical example of Kozyrev’s “Atlantic diplomacy ") forced to invest in the development of ammunition that would be consistent with this contract. The fact that this Treaty was never ratified was a very nice bonus, which is to say.
But in the US, the tendons of the legs were specifically cut off in the nuclear industry, so that the patient could walk only by himself. And one more blow was dealt by the insidious Russians - with their “HEU-LEU” deal, which in the USA was considered to be a successful embodiment of the principle “they cheated a fool on four fists”. And for so many years we have been attacking this deal, both patriot patriots and various colors, hysterics on permafrost and near-nuclear themes, they say, how can we be left without weapons-grade uranium (and not nearly left), how can it be so cheap (and what about if you don’t need it - salt it?), why help the enemy and so on. I think many people remember these publications and speeches. But when the transaction was terminated by the Russian Federation, it became clear that “HEU-LEU” became the classic addiction of a client for heroin (when first “friends” give free pricks, then “for inexpensive”, and then claw got stuck and the whole birdie is missing) . More precisely, cheap uranium. This was probably not so intended, but sometimes nonsense is a far more powerful weapon than cunning and deceit.
But it turned out that the American nuclear patient on a cheap uranium needle from Russia after the termination of the transaction was not something that was "breaking up", but almost dying. True, it was a blow to the US atomic peace, mainly, but it also affected the military component, in particular, because these components are interconnected. And, which is very important - in the scientific part. Fundamentally, funding has stopped for the development of new nuclear weapons (although some improvement and subcritical experiments are being conducted by the Americans), and on scientific issues related to this, as well as with nuclear power in general. Although not all - for example, the improvement of boat reactors is quite well underway.
The problems of the peaceful atom of the United States greatly please the French, who, in general, have a much better situation. And we, of course, too. Although there are problems with the French and in Rosatom there. And if you listen to the workers there - and even more so, the situation does not seem very healthy, but this is what matters - any structure strives to maintain a state of rest, therefore no one will ever be satisfied with the results of the system reform, being part of it. Only time will tell if there was any sense in reforming at all. This is how the reform of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation came about - in the end, albeit not immediately, it came out quite successfully. But about the medicine, say, the author has no such confidence, but we will see.
Again, based on the heretical belief in the “sole superpower,” “exclusive nation,” and other dregs, a new military doctrine was adopted, proclaiming the actual departure from nuclear weapons as one of the most important tools of superpower power. Instead, the thesis was proclaimed about "wars of a new generation", with a predominance of high-precision weapons, supposedly capable of replacing even nuclear as well as air operations. In fact, it was the “Douay Doctrine” in a new wrapper. Time has shown that this thesis works only against a relatively weak opponent, and how it works against a real enemy is shown by the recent attack on Syria and its brilliant failure.
Moreover, inflating the effectiveness and significance of the WTO (one cannot fail to notice that the WTO is really a good and necessary weapon, but solving strategic problems with it against a real strong enemy is possible either in combination with nuclear weapons, or on a limited scale), as in PR campaigns, as well as in evaluating the results of real military campaigns, went against both reality and those developments that took place both in the nuclear and non-nuclear fields in Russia, as well as China and other potential opponents. As for the gap between the real effectiveness and the desired - in "Desert Storm" the effectiveness of American actions aviation amounted to exactly four times less than the minimum required for the concepts of "Airborne Ground Operations (Battles) and" Fighting Second Echelons (Reserves), developed in attempts to come up with an antidote to the Soviet military machine in Europe. This is under almost greenhouse conditions of application and opposition. Instead, the Americans began to develop new concepts, such as "network-centric warfare" and others, based on no less unstable assumptions. However, we cannot say that these concepts do not make sense - not at all, a panacea, which they represent, they just are not.
The Americans, in addition, made foolish unrealistic predictions about the future of the strategic nuclear forces and the Russian nuclear weapons complex in general. According to these forecasts, written at the beginning of 2000-x, to 2015g. the RF could have about 150 charges placed on SNF carriers (charges, not carriers)! Some analysts have graciously allotted us one and a half charges, along with tactical ones. In general, the Americans willingly believed their own analysts and “killed” the financing of a previously sacred cow’s nuclear, and almost condemned it. Hence, the stubborn desire to withdraw from the ABM Treaty and hide behind a weak ABM system from even weaker Russian strategic nuclear forces - but what has this led now? In addition, there is no, in fact, no workable missile defense, but Russia will have missile defense, and there are systems that break through any unrealistic missile defense, and we also outdid the enemy too, although the United States started the race again. An inadequate assessment of the reality and capabilities of rivals and opponents is what it is.
In addition, in the 1990-e years and in the 2000-e Americans behave in the world as "forest nurses" (wolves), and we know that wolves usually attack only weak sick animals, the benefit of which is almost always enough. So why do they need the development of nuclear tools that are necessary for those who are not among the weak and the sick? Moreover, they seem to sit quietly and do not protrude?
In addition, we really were sick and weak for a long time, and it seemed to them that we did not get out. And then, when they were already recovering, they rather successfully concealed their progress in recovery and their real intentions and developments. And the "intelligence community" of the United States, in general, decently degraded over this quarter of a century, along with all the power structures, and so it could not recognize the real picture. The data probably was, but to collect the puzzle itself out of the pieces was correct, apparently, to no one. About the degradation of power structures - you remember the rhetoric, and the personalities who led the US in 80, at least for years, and compare with those that were recently or are sitting on the same posts now - ambassadors, permanent representatives, state secretaries, generals and other public. And compare the speeches and arguments of those and these - sometimes with the current feeling that this is not broadcast from Washington, but from Kiev, the level of “shizy” is already very similar.
Well, another aspect - a very limited number of corporations, as well as associated politicians, Pentagon generals, lobbyists and other riffraff, could “cut the budgets” on nuclear weapons and everything connected with them. This is a very narrow circle in comparison with the rest of the US military complex, and, besides, the nuclear piece of the total budget cake was relatively small at the best of times. For the rest of the cake, “mastering the funds” is much more profitable, more pleasant and more convenient. Especially, if you start, relying on the thesis of multiply increased combat effectiveness (overestimating it godlessly), begin to inflate prices for any military products.
Moreover, the whole of this "American massacre" of the nuclear weapons complex and everything connected with it occurred at a very difficult moment for America’s nuclear arsenal. It was just the change of generations of nuclear weapons, as well as the carriers. And it was postponed - and for a long time. And if it was possible to get out with the carriers more or less, where due to a really high modernization potential and excellent product performance characteristics (as in the Trident 2 SLBM), and where due to the outdated solutions that made it relatively easy to replace steps and some other components then with the focus trick failed. Savings on matches and candles led to an avalanche-like process of degradation and the decommissioning and disposal of charges. It is possible to modernize the charges, but not in all aspects, but much that was needed later - we have already forgotten how to do. You can learn anew - but this is time and money, and much more time and money than it used to be for the first time, because modern technologies are expensive and complex. The second "Manhattan project" with the current price tags and "budget masters" will come out extremely expensive, difficult and long. Therefore, the plans for the restoration of the ability to produce is only through 12-14 years, and there, maybe more will work. And it is unlikely that it will turn out faster than plans, although this should not reassure our military-political leadership — we must rearm ourselves at the same pace in all aspects!
Americans can also say a separate “thank you” to their designers, when developing a number of systems that made annoying miscalculations, which led to their rapid decommissioning as a number of carriers - the air-conditioned submarines of the AGM-129 were removed from service and disposed of with the charges, and the older AGM -86 serves and will continue to serve, the ICBM MX has also been removed from service much earlier than it could, and not only in the START-1 Treaty, and so on. A similar story happened with a number of charges - including problems with a number of very important alloys and materials, problems identified with the reliability of a number of types of warheads. Well, there’s also such a moment that the servicing capacities were limited, and the types of ammunition that already needed to get to the corresponding lines and to the corresponding workshops often turned out to be much more than places. What led to the cancellation of a number of types that I wanted to leave. In general, the same avalanche-like process of increasing problems.
This is how this somewhat paradoxical, at first glance, but logical situation arose, when the “only” and “exceptional” superpower lost the opportunity to reproduce one of the primary sexual signs of this very superpower. Even temporarily, but long enough.
Could this have happened to Russia in the 90s? Yes, it could. And even should have happened. But, fortunately, the safety margin turned out to be higher, and at first a number of needs kept the nuclear complex afloat, and then even in the then top of the government began to show an understanding that first of all the nuclear sword and nuclear shield are the factor that did not allow the RF years turn into a post-Ukraine, where Biden was sitting on the site of the head of state and handed out instructions to slaves. Or even in some Libya. And after the aggression against Yugoslavia, the country slowly but surely began to wake up and realize the full depth of our depths, and that from there we must somehow get out. Just about that time, the nuclear weapons complex of Russia did not stand idle.
Well, and, perhaps, God also helped us, but he helps only those who are able to help themselves. We - could. And what can the Americans - time will tell.