Loading into the mine of an intercontinental ballistic missile of the 5 generation of the RT-2PM2 Topol-M missile system
At first, participants in the event raised the topic of SDI, since it was this program that at one time greatly influenced the further development of anti-missile systems. According to A. Kokoshin, one of the prerequisites for the beginning of the unsuccessful project was the peculiarities of the personality and worldview of the then American President R. Reagan. Obviously, he didn’t feel very comfortable knowing that a lot of Soviet missiles were aimed at the United States. Kokoshin noted that previous US presidents had a normal attitude to the concept of deterrence based on the possible guaranteed mutual destruction. As for the Reagan administration, she decided to revise the existing principles. In addition, there were politicians and scientists who, one way or another, were interested in the beginning of the new program, who eventually convinced the country's leadership in the possibility of creating some kind of “multi-layer missile shield” and leveling the role of the enemy’s nuclear weapons.
At the same time, as the dean of the Faculty of World Politics recalled, a number of scientists and politicians spoke out against SDI, since in those conditions the project was simply unrealizable. However, the views of the president and his entourage, the desire to embroil the USSR in a new arms race, as well as the vested interests of some individuals, overwhelmed the view that the outcome of the project was impossible to succeed. Nevertheless, ultimately, the SOI program was quietly and quietly closed, since she gave almost no results. The vast majority of new technologies have not yet been used for military purposes. The total cost of the program costs, according to V. Esin, has reached the level of one hundred billion dollars. The most notable result of the SDI program was the rejection of the so-called. non-traditional means of interception in favor of the usual and spent rocket technology.
Despite the lack of noticeable successes of a technical or practical nature, the American Strategic Defense Initiative had some other kinds of consequences, primarily political ones. As an example of such consequences, A. Kokoshin cites the general deterioration of relations between the USSR and the USA as a whole and the aggravation of disputes over medium-range ballistic missiles deployed in Europe in particular. These historical facts can also be considered as an example of another trend noted by Kokoshin. According to him, the problem of missile defense and the development of offensive weapons are tightly connected with each other and should be considered only together.
The ex-chief of the General Staff, Y. Baluyevsky, noted that, despite all its failures, the SDI program did provide practical benefits. During the implementation of all ideas, American scientists have created many new technologies that are used and are developing so far. In this regard, the situation with the PIO resembles the Soviet project “Buran”: the spacecraft itself made only one flight into space, but left behind several thousand technologies, design solutions, etc.
Baluevsky also drew attention to the very concept of SDI and subsequent similar programs. According to him, the main reason for the emergence of these projects is the desire of Americans to isolate themselves from a possible nuclear threat and thereby significantly increase their defense capabilities. The PIO program itself has not yielded any tangible results in this aspect, but subsequent projects of anti-missile defense systems have been more successful. In the future, their development will continue, and the US command will not abandon the idea of an anti-missile shield.
When discussing the current situation with the American missile defense system, several questions were raised at once. First, V. Yesin touched on the subject of the proliferation of anti-missile systems. The system originally created to protect the continental territory of the United States is gradually expanding and now has to cover Europe and East Asia. At the same time, the Asian direction is developing slightly more actively than the European one, which is facilitated by the pace of development of China and the statements of the DPRK.
Speaking about the effectiveness of US missile defense systems, the former chief of staff of the rocket forces noted both the insufficient number and the low potential of the antimissile systems. According to him, only three dozen GBI-type interceptor missiles are currently deployed, all of which are concentrated on the west coast of the United States, Alaska and California. At the same time, with reference to the Director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General P. O'Reilly, Esin cited the following figures. In order to intercept a Russian Topol-M intercontinental missile, 5-7 GBI interceptors may be needed. It should be remembered that the Topol-M missile carries only one combat unit and a set of countermeasures. As Esinu O'Reilly said, these estimates are still of a calculated nature. GBI missiles have not yet been tested on real targets, so in practice, interceptors may be less expensive.
From these data, Colonel-General V. Yosin makes a simple and clear conclusion. If Russia launches all available missiles at the same time, the United States missile defense systems will not be able to significantly affect the impact results. It is easy to calculate that for effective interception thousands of antimissiles will be needed, and this is still an unattainable goal. The United States is limited not only technically, but also financially. In the course of a recent sequestration of the budget, including the military, the Pentagon was forced to curtail or reduce a number of programs. Therefore, as Yesin believes, at least until the 2025 of the year, the American missile defense system will not be able to tangibly change the situation with the potential of nuclear forces. Predict the events of the following years, the former chief of staff of the Strategic Missile Forces is not taken yet.
At the same time, Yesin recognized certain successes of the USA. Their missile defense system now allows them to deal with missiles of the types that North Korea has. Therefore, anti-missile batteries with Patriot complexes of the latest modifications are being deployed in Japan and South Korea; Korea By these forces, the United States and its allies are fully capable of holding back the nuclear potential of the DPRK. At the same time, the available capabilities are only enough to fight North Korean missiles. China currently does not have hundreds of intercontinental missiles, but at the same time even their existing number is enough for a confident breakthrough of all echelons of the US missile defense system.
Y. Baluevsky noted that all the conclusions of V. Esin are absolutely correct and are even recognized by the Americans. All this information is contained in the report of the Agency on missile defense, published in 2010 year. However, the greatest emphasis Baluevsky made on the information component of anti-missile systems. The flight of an intercontinental missile lasts less than half an hour, and there is still less time to respond to a threat. Therefore, in the current state of missile defense systems there are some risks. The ex-chief of the General Staff cited the incident as an example, when the American missile launch detection system recorded a torch fire on a gas field and mistakenly thought it was launching a rocket. From fatal consequences saved the actions of responsible persons. The question of the correct determination of the fact of launch, its interpretation and retaliatory strike remains difficult to solve and, as a result, will continue to be a source of danger over the next years.
Missile against missile defense
Also continues to be relevant topics of response to US projects. A. Kokoshin recalled that even at the time of the work on SDI in the Soviet Union, an analysis of the possibilities was carried out, according to the results of which the so-called asymmetric response. This means that Russian rocket engineers try to level out the importance of missile defense systems and enemy missiles, not by creating their own anti-missile systems, but using various means of breaking through enemy defenses. Along this path, all domestic strategic missiles are still developing. For example, work is underway to reduce the active part of the flight, in which a ballistic missile is most vulnerable to interceptors.
A characteristic feature of a nuclear missile strike is the fact that intercepting several missiles, even if they are of a relatively large number, still does not save the country from catastrophic consequences. Therefore, the means of breakthrough ABM are the most effective way to counter the cost. At the same time, the benefits of such an approach, as Kokoshin notes, manifest themselves not only at the first but also at a retaliatory strike. According to him, in case of successful completion of the PIO program, it is an asymmetric response that could preserve the country's defense capability. The fact is that if there are some alternative ways of intercepting, the United States could almost completely defend itself. According to this logic, it was possible to “knock out” the main part of the enemy’s strategic forces with the first strike and to protect oneself from a retaliatory strike with the help of the ABM system. However, as a result, the PIO program did not produce the expected results, and the Soviet idea of an asymmetric response still casts doubt on all new American projects.
V. Yesin agreed with the opinion of the high qualities of the asymmetric response in terms of the “cost-effectiveness” criterion. In addition, he recalled that in the current conditions Russia simply cannot afford to build an anti-missile system similar to the American one. The country simply does not have the financial capacity to do this. Therefore, the further development of missiles and means of breakthrough remains the most simple, convenient and real way to counter the US missile defense system under construction.
All participants in the discussion agreed on the “plane” into which the question of the American missile defense system has now moved. Now it is considered not so much in the military-technical aspect, as in the political. It is the politicians who lead the bulk of the disputes, while the military and engineers continue to work on the technical part. According to V. Esin, the prerequisites for this phenomenon are the same as in the case of the beginning of the SDI program. One side disagreeable actions of the other. Russia does not benefit from the creation of an anti-missile fence around it, despite all its flaws. At the same time, we should not forget that the United States will continue to build its missile defense, and Russia will not be able to influence them in any way. Signing a contract like an agreement from 1972, is simply impossible. The topic of international treaties was continued by Y. Baluevsky. According to him, the ABM treaty between the USA and the USSR from 1972 was due to the difference in the level of development of the systems. The Soviet Union’s missile defense program was more successful and therefore the United States tried to keep it in place by concluding a treaty.
The US military doctrine is specific and ambiguous. Among other things, Baluevsky recalled, it provides for preventive strikes against enemy targets, including with the use of nuclear weapons. Thus, the Americans reserve the right to strike the first blow. The goal, first of all, can be Russia and China. In this case, under ideal conditions, the Americans will be able to reduce the scale of the retaliatory strike several times and intercept the remaining enemy missiles with available means. It is unwillingness to undergo a massive blow and makes the United States leadership annually invest in the development of missile defense systems of the order of 10 billions of dollars.
The third player
During the discussion, the presenter of the round table raised the topic of Chinese opportunities. He noted that he had not met the official Beijing’s statements regarding the American missile defense system and reminiscent of the words of Moscow. A. Kokoshin corrected him, noting that even the public statements of the Chinese leadership are quite bold and hard. According to the dean of the faculty of international politics, China’s capabilities are not great yet, so for him the American missile defense system presents a certain danger. Fortunately for Beijing, it is still possible to develop its nuclear forces without getting involved in international processes. In the near future, the current order of things will remain, in which the main processes of deterrence and negotiations on nuclear weapons go between Russia and the United States. China, in turn, will not yet participate in them and will use the time available to develop its missiles.
Nevertheless, China sees the current situation and understands what steps need to be taken to ensure their security. As an example of such activities, V. Esin cited the latest DF-31 ballistic missiles. Previously, all Chinese missiles of this class had a monoblock warhead. Such a payload is a relatively simple target for antimissiles. The newest DF-31, in turn, will be equipped with a split head with blocks of individual guidance. Thus, the missile capabilities for the breakthrough of the missile defense system are significantly increased. Also developed new mobile ground launchers. Finally, Chinese designers create new nuclear submarines and ballistic missiles for them.
Y. Baluevsky recalled the 2007 incident of the year when China hit a failed meteorological satellite with a special rocket. The ex-chief of the General Staff described this operation and everything connected with it with the phrase: "China does not shout loudly, but does its job." The case of a successful satellite attack clearly shows that Chinese science and industry is engaged not only in missiles, but also in intercept equipment.
With regard to the possible release of China to the "foreground", this country, in the opinion of the participants of the round table, is doing everything possible to increase its military power. Ultimately, this will make China one of the leading countries in the world. According to Yu. Baluevsky, the Soviet experience helps him in this. The Chinese take Soviet achievements, shift them to their own conditions and get good results, allowing them to develop the armed forces. The general also spoke about his visit to particularly important objects of the Chinese armed forces: the command post of the People’s Liberation Army of China and the Mission Control Center of the space department. These objects seemed to him familiar and reminiscent of domestic. At the same time, they were equipped with new equipment. This is the manifestation of the Chinese approach using the experience of others.
The final topic of discussion was the hypothetical refusal of the United States to build its missile defense system. According to A. Kokoshin, the Americans are already able to protect themselves or their allies from North Korean missiles. Existing missile defense systems, despite a lot of flaws, look promising and profitable politically. Therefore, their development will continue, although fluctuations in the course of development are possible. For example, in the event of a victory in the presidential elections of M. Romney, one would expect a call for a return to the ideas of the Reagan times.
Y. Baluevsky advised to recall not only the Russian and American experience, but also the developments of other countries. Israel and Japan already have some missile systems with limited capabilities. Baluyevsky referred to the 2010 report of the year and recalled that the US plans to build not only its missile defense system, but also similar regional ones. Then they should all be collected into a single network of global scale. The main goals of this global system are Russian and, in the long term, Chinese strategic missiles. Therefore, the construction of the US missile defense will continue, since its goal is to ensure the military, political and economic security of the United States.
V. Yesin, in turn, recalled the old concept of the sword and shield, which stimulate the development of each other. Therefore, as long as swords exist, shields will remain in the world. Accordingly, as long as strategic nuclear forces exist, no one will abandon the means of countering them. According to the apt remark of Yu. Baluevsky, the “sword” is always cheaper than the “shield”. It was probably a direct hint at the further development of events around the American missile defense system and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
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