Marine component of strategic nuclear forces
The marine component appeared later aviation and ground component of strategic nuclear forces. In principle, the United States planned to launch nuclear attacks on the USSR, including aircraft taking off from aircraft carriers, but still submarines with ballistic and cruise missiles (CR) with nuclear warheads are considered to be the sea component of strategic nuclear forces.
The first nuclear submarines weapons had limited capabilities: the launch had to be carried out from the surface, which allowed the enemy to quickly detect a pop-up submarine and destroy it before launching the missiles. This was facilitated by the short range of the missiles, due to which the submarine was forced to approach the territory controlled by the anti-submarine forces of the enemy.
Milestones in stories Underwater strategic missile carriers were the emergence of nuclear submarines (nuclear submarines) and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of launching from under water.
Ballistic missiles starting from under water
Thus, a new class of weapons appeared - SSBN (nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles), in Russia called the SSBN (strategic missile submarine cruiser) with ballistic missile submarines (SLBMs) deployed on it and strategic cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead (currently KR time for submarines with nuclear warheads removed from service).
Like other components of the strategic nuclear forces (air and ground), the marine component has its advantages and disadvantages. To some extent, it can be said that the marine component combines the advantages and disadvantages of the aviation and ground components of the strategic nuclear forces. For example, as in the case of bombers at airfields, SSBNs at the pier are practically defenseless against a sudden disarming strike by both nuclear and conventional weapons, although, unlike an aircraft, it can launch SLBMs directly from the pier.
Russian SSBNs of project 667BDRM "Dolphin" and 941 "Shark" at the pier. With one special charge, the enemy can destroy about 250-300 nuclear warheads, i.e. approximately 1/6 of the Russian strategic nuclear arsenal
On the other hand, after entering the sea it is much more difficult to detect and destroy SSBNs, which is somewhat related to this type of weaponry with mobile ground missile systems (PGRK). Accordingly, if it was possible to ensure the secrecy of SSBNs when an adversary inflicts a sudden disarming strike, then it can strike a retaliation of tremendous power. Theoretically unacceptable losses to the enemy can cause even one SSBN.
Given that the survival of SSBNs is its secrecy, it is necessary to ensure a minimum time of its stay at the pier, that is, a high coefficient of operational voltage (KOH). This is ensured by improving the efficiency of logistics and maintenance of SSBNs, as well as the presence of two interchangeable crews for each SSBN, similar to how it is done in the USA.
It is much more difficult to ensure the secrecy of SSBNs when leaving the basing area to the patrol area. For a long time, the Soviet SSBNs were significantly lagging behind the American ones. Because of this, the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces of the USSR has always been in second place with respect to the ground component of strategic nuclear forces - strategic missile forces (Strategic Missile Forces). The latest Russian SSBNs in terms of noise characteristics are supposedly comparable to the US SSBN. But since it is impossible to achieve absolute invisibility, this only affects the detection range of the SSBNs by the antisubmarine forces of the enemy. Do not forget that the means of detecting submarines are also rapidly improving.
The newest Russian SSBN project 955 (A)
The most important factor enhancing the survivability of the marine component of the strategic nuclear forces is the presence of a strong fleetcapable of protecting SSBNs from submarines and anti-submarine aircraft of the enemy. And with this we have serious problems. It is possible that due to the construction of new ships it will be possible to ensure the SSBN exit from the base, but it will be much more difficult for the Russian Navy to provide high-quality cover for patrol areas in the near future.
American SSBN assassins - Virginia submarine and P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft
The biggest drawback of the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces is that on combat duty SSBNs are in international waters, where there is no way to limit enemy activity. In other words, the enemy can carry out unlimited deployment of their ships, submarines, aircraft, autonomous sensors and promising submarine and surface unmanned systems.
SOSUS and FOSS
During the Cold War, the United States deployed the SOSUS (SOund SUrveillance System, sound surveillance system) in the ocean to detect Soviet submarines. The SOSUS system was a giant field of acoustic antennas in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In the Middle North, SOSUS sensors were located throughout the Lofoten Basin, from the shores of Norway to the island of Jan Mine. After the deployment of the system, the hidden passage of Soviet submarines into the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean proved to be very difficult, since submarines were found at a distance of several hundred kilometers.
The marked anti-submarine lines were based on the stations of the stationary SOSUS long-range sonar monitoring system for underwater conditions in the Atlantic (above) and Pacific (below) military theaters. The stationary system was supplemented by basic anti-submarine aircraft, anti-submarine ships and submarines, acoustic reconnaissance ships that searched for Soviet submarines in areas and at the borders
Currently, the SOSUS system is mothballed, the emphasis is on promising rapidly deployable multi-element regional underwater lighting systems (FOSS) consisting of emitters towed by surface ships, and numerous receivers: towed antennas of surface ships, sonar complexes (HAC) of submarines, sonar buoys and sonar buoys and on the ground of linear antennas.
In addition to sonar, the search for submarines by the FOSS system is also carried out in other ways - by changing the hydrostatic pressure, the readings of seismic sensors of the seabed, the illumination of the underwater bottom, the magnetic field, changes in the Earth's gravitational field, and the wave trail of the boat.
The principle of the system of FOSS
Imagine for a moment that reconnaissance and signaling devices, deployed mobile units on armored vehicles would be deployed on the PGRK movement routes, and enemy aircraft would patrol the sky. How sustainable would such a component of the strategic nuclear forces be?
It can be assumed that in the short term the number of autonomous sensors, underwater, surface and unmanned aerial vehicles capable of searching for submarines will only increase. The characteristics of sensors will also increase, and high-performance computing tools, including those based on neural networks, will help to effectively monitor almost all large objects in the oceans in real time.
Under these conditions, only a fleet comparable to the enemy’s fleet, capable of creating an A2 / AD zone (anti-access and area denial - restricting and denying access and maneuver) at least in a limited area can ensure an acceptable degree of survival of the marine component of the strategic nuclear forces.
In case this is not possible, SSBNs can be monitored by the enemy throughout the route. If the enemy decides on a sudden disarming strike, all SSBNs will be destroyed, and information on this can be obtained with a significant delay. Given the number of nuclear warheads on one SSBN, the destruction of at least one of them will cause significant damage to Russian nuclear potential.
In this context, nothing will change the adoption of the Poseidon unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), since the carriers are destroyed even before the launch of the UAV. And the invulnerability of the Poseidon BPA itself remains a big question.
How can survival of SSBNs be increased? Building a powerful and efficient fleet is the obvious answer. The only question is whether we can create such a fleet and how long it will take.
Can reduce the likelihood of tracking SSBNs due to construction PLARK - nuclear-powered submarines with cruise missiles on the basis of one project with SSBNs. As it appears, the construction of the SSBN project 955K is considered by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. In case of simultaneous exit from the SSBN and SSBN base on the basis of one project, it will be difficult for the enemy to understand which one needs to be tracked, and the probability of being lost in the open spaces of the SSBN will be higher. But not much, since it’s not possible to build many SSGNs, and our enemy has too many anti-submarine weapons, which will allow him to track all carriers. On the other hand themselves SSGNs can also be effective weapons of conventional warfare.
The survival of the marine component of the strategic nuclear forces can be enhanced by the “toothing” of SSBNs themselves. First of all, it is equipping SSBNs with modern torpedoes and anti-torpedoes.
Universal deep-sea homing torpedo (UGST) caliber 533 mm
Antitorpeda M-15 complex "Package-NK" for surface ships
Increase the security of SSBNs against anti-submarine aircraft can underwater anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM). On the latest French nuclear submarine (nuclear submarine) "Suffren" class "Barracuda SNA" installed SAMS submarine-based self defense A3SMDeveloped by a joint division of MBDA and DCNS, and capable of launching from under the water a modified MICA-IR medium-range air-combat missile with a dual-band infrared homing head. The launch capsule with an anti-aircraft missile is launched from torpedo tubes of a caliber of 533 mm.
MICA-IR air defense missile launch capsule A3SM
Given that Russia is a leader in the creation of air defense systems of various classes, it can be assumed that we are fully capable of equipping our submarines with air defense systems, for example, on the basis of the Vityaz air defense system, with missiles with an active homing radar (ARLGSN) or an infrared homing head (IR GOS).
9M100 short-range anti-aircraft guided missiles (SAMs) with infrared seeker and medium-range 9M96 / 9M96E with ARLGS
Or, following the example of the French, create air defense systems based on air-to-air missiles RVV-BD and RVV-MD.
Air-to-air missiles RVV-BD and RVV-MD
An even more radical solution could be the creation of SSBNs and a multipurpose nuclear submarine (ICAPL) on the basis of one project. According to unconfirmed reports, such a decision has already been considered by domestic developers, however, at present, the creation of SSBNs based on this project is not mentioned. Obviously, the implementation of such a solution has objective difficulties due to the significant dimensions of SLBMs, but most likely they can be overcome when creating promising missiles.
In this case, a universal platform can be created that can carry both cruise and ballistic missiles. The number of SLBMs on board such a nuclear submarine will be limited, for example, to four missiles. The main advantage will be that during the construction of a large series of nuclear submarines on the basis of a universal platform, it will be practically impossible to distinguish SSBNs from ICAPLs. Accordingly, with proper organization of the entry of nuclear submarines and SSBNs into the sea, the enemy will never be able to understand whether he is chasing SSBNs or ICBMs.
It should be noted that for the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces a missile attack warning system (missile warning system) is of minimal importance, it is only important that the possibility of obtaining an order to launch a nuclear strike remains. If the SSBN is not detected, then the launch can be carried out after the destruction of other components of the strategic nuclear forces, and if the SSBN is detected, it will be destroyed even before the SPRN detects the launch of enemy missiles.