The advent of ballistic missiles provided strategic nuclear forces (SNF) the ability to strike at the enemy in the shortest possible time. Depending on the type of missile - intercontinental (ICBM), medium-range (BRRS) or short-range (BRMD), this time can be from about five to thirty minutes. At the same time, the so-called threatened period may be absent, since the preparation of modern ballistic missiles for launch takes a minimum of time and is practically not determined by reconnaissance means until the moment the missiles are launched.
In the event of an enemy delivering a sudden disarming strike by the defender, either a retaliatory or retaliatory nuclear strike can be carried out. In the absence of information about the enemy delivering a sudden disarming strike, only a retaliatory strike is possible, which places increased demands on the survival of the components of the strategic nuclear forces.
Earlier we looked at sustainability air, ground и Maritime components of strategic nuclear forces. In the foreseeable future, a situation may well arise where none of the components of the strategic nuclear forces will have sufficient survivability to ensure guaranteed retaliatory strike against the enemy.
The air component is actually weapon first strike, unsuitable for retaliatory and even retaliatory strike. The marine component can be extremely effective in retaliating, but only if securing the deployment and patrolling of strategic missile submarine cruisers (SSBNs) is secured, which can be called into question due to the total superiority of the enemy naval forces (Navy). Worst of all, there is no reliable information about the stealth of our SSBNs: we can assume that their stealth is ensured, but in fact the enemy monitors all SSBNs on alert throughout the patrol route. The ground component is also vulnerable: stationary mines will not withstand the impact of modern high-precision nuclear warheads, and the issue of stealth of mobile ground missile systems (PGRK) is the same as with respect to the SSBN. It is not known whether the adversary “sees” our PGRK or not.
Thus, you can only rely on a retaliatory strike. A key element that enables a retaliatory strike is the missile attack warning system (SPRN). Modern SPRN leading powers include ground and space echelons.
Ground Tier SPRN
The development of the ground based SPRN component, radar stations in the USA and the USSR began in the 50s after the advent of ballistic missiles. In the late 60s and early 70s, the first SPRN radars came into service in both countries.
Radar AN / FPS-49 developed by D.K. Barton of the American SPRN
The first SPRN radars were huge, occupied one or several buildings, were extremely difficult to build and maintain, had huge energy consumption, and, accordingly, a significant cost of construction and operation. The detection range of the first SPRN radars was limited to two to three thousand kilometers, which corresponded to 10-15 minutes of flight time of ballistic missiles.
Radar 5N15 "Dniester" SPRN USSR
Subsequently, monstrous Daryal radars were created with the ability to detect a target the size of a soccer ball at a range of up to 6000 km, which corresponded to 20-30 minutes of the ICBM flight time. Two Daryal-type radars were built in the region of Pechora (Komi Republic) and near the city of Gabala (Azerbaijan SSR). Further deployment of this type of radar was discontinued due to the collapse of the USSR.
Receiving and transmitting antennas of the Daryal radar SPRN USSR
Scheme of the planned deployment and control zone of the Daryal radar
In the Byelorussian USSR, the Volga radar was built, capable of detecting and tracking ballistic missiles and space objects with an effective dispersion surface (EPR) of 0,1-0,2 square meters at a range of up to 2000 kilometers (maximum detection range of 4800 kilometers).
Radar "Volga" SPRN USSR
Also included in the SPRN is the Don-2N radar, the only one of its kind, created in the interests of the missile defense (ABM) of Moscow. The capabilities of the Don-2N radar make it possible to detect small objects at ranges up to 3700 km and at altitudes up to 40000 meters. During the 1996 Oderax international experiment to detect small-sized space objects and space debris, the Don-2N radar was able to detect and build a trajectory of small space objects with a diameter of 5 cm at a distance of up to 800 kilometers.
Radar "Don-2N" missile defense of Moscow
Control zone radar SPRN USSR
After the collapse of the USSR, a part of the radar station continued to work for some time in the Russian SPRN system, but gradually, as relations with the former republics of the USSR worsened and the material part became obsolete, a need arose for the construction of new facilities.
At present, the basis of the ground component of the RF SPRN are modular radars of high factory readiness, meter (Voronezh-M, Voronezh-VP), decimeter (Voronezh-DM) and centimeter (Voronezh-SM) wavelength ranges. Also developed a modification of "Voronezh-MSM", capable of working in the meter and centimeter ranges. Voronezh-type radars should replace all SPRN radars built in the USSR.
Radar type "Voronezh-M"
Placement of existing and under construction radar type "Voronezh"
To protect against low-flying cruise missiles, SPRNs are supplemented with over-the-horizon radars (ZRLS), such as over-the-horizon radars (ZGO) 29B6 “Container” with a detection range for low-flying targets of up to 3000 kilometers.
Radar ZGO "Container"
Control zones of the radar SPRN RF
On the whole, the ground level echelon of the Russian Special Forces is actively developing and it can be assumed that its effectiveness is quite high.
Space Tier SPRN
The space echelon of the USSR SPRN, the Oko system, was put into operation in 1979 and included four US-K spacecraft (SC) located in highly elliptical orbits. By 1987, a constellation of nine US-K satellites and one US-KS satellite, located in a geostationary orbit (GSO), was formed. The Eye system provided the ability to control missile-hazardous areas of the United States, and due to the highly elliptical orbit and some possible patrol sections of American nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).
US-K 73D6 satellite of the Eye system
US-KS 74X6 satellite located on GSO
In 1991, the deployment of the new generation of US-KMO satellites of the Oko-1 system began. The Oko-1 system was supposed to include seven satellites in geostationary orbits, and four satellites in high elliptical orbits. In fact, eight US-KMO satellites were launched, but by 2015 all of them were out of order. The US-KMO satellites were equipped with solar shields and special filters that made it possible to observe the surface of the earth and the sea at an almost vertical angle, which made it possible to detect sea launches of ballistic missiles of submarines against reflections from the sea surface and clouds. Also, the US-KMO satellite equipment made it possible to detect infrared radiation from working rocket engines even with relatively dense cloud cover.
US-KMO 71X6 satellite of the Eye-1 system
In 2015, the deployment of the new Unified Space System (CEN) Tundra began. It was assumed that ten satellites of the CSC “Tundra” will be deployed by 2020, but the creation of the system was delayed. It can be assumed that the most important obstacle to the creation of the Tundra CSC, as in the case of satellites of the Russian global navigation satellite system (GLONASS), was the lack of domestic space-based electronics, while imposing sanctions on foreign components of this type. This problem is complex, but quite solvable, moreover, it’s just suitable for space electronics that seem to be optimally suitable, like the existing technological processes in the Russian Federation of 28 and more (65, 90, 130) nanometers. However, this is a topic for another discussion.
It is assumed that satellites 14F112 CEN "Tundra" will not only be able to track the launches of ballistic missiles from the ground and water surface, but also calculate the flight path, as well as the area of impact of the enemy’s ICBMs. Also, according to some reports, they should give preliminary target designation to the missile defense system and ensure the transfer of commands for a retaliatory or retaliatory counter-nuclear strike.
The exact characteristics of the KA 14F112 CEN Tundra are unknown, as is the current state of the system. Presumably satellites of the CSC “Tundra” operate in test mode or are mothballed, the final terms for the deployment of the system are unknown. Most likely, the space echelon of the SPRN of the Russian Federation is currently practically not operational.
The country's leadership pays considerable attention to the development of the Russian Federation of Socialist Development. The ground level SPRN is actively developing, radars of various types are being built. Almost circular control of missile-hazardous directions was provided in the part of detecting high-altitude objects (ballistic missiles) at a range of up to 6000 km, ZGRLS detections of low-flying targets (cruise missiles) at a distance of up to 3000 km were built.
At the same time, the space echelon of the SPRN does not seem to be functioning or is operating in a limited mode. How critical is the absence of an SPRN space echelon?
The first most important criterion for an SPRN is the time during which an enemy strike is detected. The second criterion is the reliability of the information provided to the country's leadership for deciding whether to retaliate.
Nuclear case of the Kazbek system
It is unlikely that the enemy will decide on a sudden disarming strike on any one component, for example, a control and decision-making system. Most likely, the task will be to destroy all components of the strategic nuclear forces with multiple overlapping - the stakes are too high. By the way, the Perimeter system, also called the Dead Hand, is not considered in the article for this reason: there will be no one to give the command if all carriers are destroyed during the attack.
Command missile 15А11 of the Perimeter system
Regarding the first criterion, the time during which an enemy strike will be detected, the space echelon is an essential element of the SPRN, since the rocket engine will be seen from space much earlier than the missiles enter the coverage area of ground-based radars, especially when providing a global view of the space echelon of the SPRN .
Regarding the second criterion, the reliability of the information provided, the space echelon of the SPRN is also critically important. In the event that primary information is received from satellites, the country's leadership will have time to prepare for striking and delivering / canceling it if the fact of striking is confirmed / refuted by the ground level SPRN.
The practice of "do not put all the eggs in one basket" is quite applicable to SPRN. The combination of satellites and ground-based radars allows you to receive information from sensors operating in fundamentally different wavelength ranges - optical (thermal) and radar, which virtually eliminates the possibility of their simultaneous failure. At the moment, there is no information about whether the enemy can affect the operation of the SPRN radar, but such work may well be conducted. For example, offhand it can be assumed that the HAARP project, one of the invariable objects of conspiracy theory enthusiasts, or its analogues, may well be used not only to study the ionosphere, but also be considered as a means of reducing the effectiveness (read: detection range) of the SARS radar, first of all turn ZGRLS, the principle of operation of which is based on the reflection of radio waves from the ionosphere. Or used to explore the possibility of creating systems that can do this.
Thus, the space echelon of the SPRN is extremely important, it provides both a margin in time for making a decision and increases the likelihood of the country's leadership making the right decision to launch or cancel a retaliatory nuclear strike against the enemy. Also, the space echelon significantly increases the stability and survivability of the SPRN in general.
It must be understood that the situation with strategic nuclear forces and missile defense systems is not “static”. On the one hand, we increase the survivability, security and effectiveness of strategic nuclear forces and missile defense systems, on the other hand, the enemy is looking for ways to deliver an irresistible first strike. We will talk about what means the United States previously planned and can plan in the future to crack the SPRN and the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation in the following article.