Until a certain time, all ensuring nuclear deterrence was reduced to a banal increase in the number of weapons. However, this method of ensuring parity has two characteristic drawbacks. First, the production of large numbers of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles is a complex and expensive process. Secondly, a large number of missiles and bombers with nuclear warheads does not guarantee protection against enemy weapons. In other words, even if the entire nuclear potential of one country is fired at the territory of another, this will not protect it from a retaliatory strike of one or another power. In this case, the only way to somehow defend against a retaliatory strike is a massive attack of missile and aviation enemy bases, as well as the destruction of submarines with strategic missiles. Obviously, this approach to self-defense directly borders on the first problem of nuclear deterrence described above by increasing the number of nuclear weapons. In fact, the inevitability of a retaliatory strike became the very essence of the concept of containment. However, in this case, none of the countries with nuclear weapons can no longer use them as a universal political argument, which is a guarantee of the fulfillment of any ultimatum conditions. Naturally, any country wants to get such a serious argument.
Strategic missile defense was to be the means of providing protection against retaliation. The creation of such systems began soon after the appearance of the first intercontinental missiles. Quite quickly, anti-missile systems reached the level at which they began to threaten the international nuclear balance. As a result, without taking into account the relatively low level of perfection of the existing and future missile defense systems, in 1972, the USSR and the USA signed an agreement on the limitations of missile defense. Two years later, the additional protocol defined the final terms of the agreement. Both countries now had the right to only one region, covered from a nuclear missile strike. By the decision of the leaders of the countries, areas of missile defense were created around the Soviet capital and around the American military base Grand Forks. At the end of the last century, the US government initiated several research and design programs, the purpose of which was to build a large-scale strategic missile defense system. A little later, in December 2001, the United States announced its withdrawal from the treaty, after which work on the creation of a missile defense system was fully developed. This fact has caused long disputes and trials.
At the moment, besides strategic missile defense systems, only anti-submarine defense has certain chances to change the balance of nuclear weapons. The reasons for the high potential of anti-submarine defense lie in the structure of nuclear forces. For example, about half of the nuclear warheads deployed by the United States are based on strategic nuclear submarines. In the Russian nuclear triad, submarines also occupy an important position, but the main part of the combat units are "assigned" to strategic missile forces. Here we get a rather interesting situation: to reduce the combat potential of the US nuclear forces, anti-submarine weapons must be developed. For the same actions against Russia, in turn, anti-missile systems are required. In the context of the search and destruction of enemy submarines, it is worth remembering the recent news about the competition to create a new anti-submarine aircraft, which should replace the outdated IL-38 and Tu-142. At the same time, the fight against ballistic missiles based on submarines can be carried out by “standard” methods - land-based and sea-based antimissiles.
In this case, the development by the Americans of a certain unified missile defense system, which can be manufactured in the ground version, and installed on ships, looks like a logical decision. However, the further development of the US missile defense system is still incomprehensible. Thus, in early September, the National Research Council at the National Academy of Sciences of the United States presented to Congress a report on the prospects for an anti-missile defense. In this report, several general concepts of a prospective strategic missile defense system were considered. In particular, an analysis of various methods of attacking enemy missiles. As a result, it turned out that both the main ways of destroying enemy delivery systems and warheads have both advantages and disadvantages. The simplest, as it seems, interception of a ballistic missile in the initial part of the flight requires a short reaction time of anti-missile systems and is rather complicated due to the need for a relatively small distance between the launch point of the ballistic missile and the launch point of the interceptor missile. The defeat of the combat unit on the end sections of the trajectory, in turn, does not require such a rapid response, but needs a quick and accurate targeting of the anti-missile at the target. At the same time, the experts of the National Research Council did not give any recommendations. The final decision was left to the Pentagon, but he has not yet specified his plans.
Thus, while it is possible to speak precisely about only one direction of development of the American strategic missile defense system - the political one. In recent years, the United States administration has been constantly negotiating and signing agreements on cooperation in the field of missile defense with foreign countries, primarily European ones. In addition, since 2010, the Yokota command post, shared by the Japanese and the Americans, has been operating in Japan. Together with the command post, Japan has several over-the-horizon radars. The military leadership of the Land of the Rising Sun stresses the need for protection against North Korea’s missiles, but the facts suggest otherwise. Most of the stations are directed to Russia and China, and their range allows them to observe the space almost to the Barents Sea. Obviously, with such opportunities you can monitor not only North Korea. Japan also has a certain number of American SM-2 antimissiles and, under certain conditions, can produce attacks of a number of missiles, including successful ones.
As we see, the United States simultaneously with the creation of new detection systems and anti-missile systems are conducting political activities, the task of which is to expand the network of anti-missile weapons. In addition, a large number of anti-missile systems, distributed over a large area, allows to some extent compensate for the insufficient characteristics of existing missile defense systems. It is quite obvious that the existing US antimissiles will not be able to ensure the assured defeat of all enemy ballistic missiles. For this reason, it is necessary to find alternative ways to ensure the maximum likelihood of a successful attack, for example, dispersing antimissiles over a large area. Another obvious fact of the further development of American missile defense is the concept of the destruction of enemy missiles in the initial segments of the flight. First, a large number of destroyers scattered across the oceans with the appropriate equipment and weapons will be useful for this. Secondly, only this method of protection against missiles makes it relatively easy to avoid a strike on its territory. Moreover, in the event that an enemy uses maneuvering warheads, early interception is the only reliable way to protect its territory.
However, the scattering of anti-missile missiles by area has one unpleasant feature. Existing launch detection systems do not allow to record missile launches from submarines with proper quality. This requires the involvement of considerable satellite constellation, etc. Thus, in order to avoid a retaliatory strike by missiles mounted on submarines, the United States must also have in its missile defense system tracking systems for submarine rocket carriers. Recently, the Pentagon’s Advanced Development Agency, DARPA, announced the AAA program - Assured Arctic Awareness (Arctic Awareness Awareness), which aims to create a tracking network in the Arctic Ocean. Unlike previous tracking systems for submarines, AAA involves placing sensors and system equipment right in the Arctic ice. Already there are positive aspects of this approach to tracking systems. Due to the relatively simple installation, the magnetic and hydroacoustic sensors AAA will have a relatively simple design, and the transfer of the collected information will be greatly simplified due to the location of the equipment above the water surface. In addition, it is much cheaper and more convenient to produce and operate such automatic equipment, including in large quantities, than to regularly send submarines-hunters to the bases of a likely enemy.
Total, no one doubts the US intentions to complete the construction of its strategic missile defense system. One of the goals of this system, as already mentioned, is to reduce the likelihood of destruction by a likely opponent of objects in the territory of the States and their allies. However, a hypothetical ideal or near-perfect missile defense system, at least, severely hits strategic nuclear deterrence. Accordingly, some means are required to maintain the current state of affairs. The easiest way to maintain balance concerns disabling missile defense systems. A few years ago, the Russian leadership transparently hinted to European countries that if they agreed to host elements of the American missile defense system, Russia would have to send its missiles to their territory. As subsequent events showed, these hints did not find understanding in Eastern European countries. Nevertheless, the new operational-tactical missile systems "Iskander", which appeared in the statements about the re-targeting, first of all went to serve in the western regions of Russia. Coincidence? Hardly.
The second way to protect Russian nuclear forces from US missile defense systems can be called "active resistance". To this end, it is necessary to continue work on missile warheads with combat units for individual guidance. In addition, maneuvering warheads should be improved. All these measures will have two positive consequences. The first of these is the difficulty of countering a missile strike with a split head. The second relates to interception technology. Since the "catching" of warheads one by one is a very difficult task, a missile with a similar payload must be shot down during the first phases of the flight. However, in the case of Russian intercontinental missiles, this, among other things, requires long-range antimissiles, to be defeated before leaving the space above the country’s territory. As for the Arctic submarine search system, you still need to wait for its creation. Basing on drifting ice floes, and even in areas with a specific natural electromagnetic environment, will “provide” American engineers with a multitude of problems and tasks, the solution of which may eventually become even more costly than the usual covering of the bottom of the water area with tracking systems. But even if AAA is created, it will remain exposed to electronic countermeasures.
In general, now Russia, using and developing the existing developments, is fully capable, if not negated, then, at least, significantly reduce the real capabilities of the American anti-missile defense system. In addition, since the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, rumors about the plans of the Russian leadership to create a missile defense system throughout the country regularly appeared, which, however, have not yet received official confirmation. Perhaps promising anti-aircraft complexes C-500 and further representatives of this line will have the opportunity to work on high-speed ballistic targets. However, at the moment, Russian actions are talking about focusing on how to counter missile defense, based on its breakthrough. Of course, a defense breakthrough is the most logical and simplest way to ensure a guaranteed retaliatory strike. However, for this it is necessary to protect your objects from the first attack of the enemy. Anyway, the further development of nuclear forces and means of defense against them will entail a number of changes in the face of international politics and diplomacy, as well as an impact on nuclear deterrence. If the potential adversary has missile defense systems, in order to guarantee non-aggression, it will be necessary to develop its own nuclear forces, which in the end may lead to a new spiral of the arms race and the next tensions of the international situation.
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