Outer space is characterized by many aspects of use and military - is no exception. A single satellite image may contain overview information equal to one thousand images taken during aerial photography. Accordingly, space weapons can be used in the line of sight in a much larger area than terrestrial weapons. At the same time, even greater opportunities are opening up for space reconnaissance.
Greater visibility of near-Earth space (KP) allows global space monitoring of all areas of the earth’s surface, airspace, and outer space almost in real time. This makes it possible to instantly respond to any change in the situation in the world. Not by chance, according to American experts, in the preparatory period, space reconnaissance systems allow you to receive up to 90 percent of information about a potential enemy.
Geostationary radio transmitters located in space have half of the globe in the visible range. This property KP allows you to provide continuous communication between any receiving means on the hemisphere, both fixed and mobile.
Space grouping of radio transmitting stations covers the entire territory of the Earth. This KP feature allows you to control the movement of enemy objects and coordinate the actions of allied forces throughout the globe.
Visual and optical observations from space are characterized by the so-called supervisibility property: the bottom from the ship’s side is viewed to a depth of up to 70 meters, and in pictures from space up to 200 meters, with objects on the shelf visible. This allows you to control the availability and movement of enemy resources and makes useless means of masking, effective against aerial reconnaissance.
From observation to action
According to expert estimates, space impact systems can be moved from a stationary orbit to the point of striking objects on the Earth’s surface in 8 – 15 minutes. This is comparable to the flight time of submarine-launched ballistic missiles striking from the North Atlantic area of the Central region of Russia.
Today, the line between air and space warfare is blurring. So, for example, an unmanned aerospace plane Boing X37B (USA) can be used for different purposes: observation, launching satellites and striking.
From the standpoint of observation, near-Earth space creates the most favorable conditions for the collection and transmission of information. This makes it possible to effectively use information storage systems placed in space. The transfer of copies of terrestrial information resources to space increases their safety in comparison with storage on the earth's surface.
The extraterritoriality of the near-Earth space allows us to fly over the territory of various states in peacetime and during the conduct of hostilities. Virtually every space vehicle can be above the zone of any conflict and be used in it. In the presence of a group of spacecraft, they can monitor anywhere in the world constantly.
In near-Earth space (GST), it is impossible to use such a striking factor as usual weaponslike a shock wave. At the same time, the practical absence of the atmosphere at an altitude of 200 – 250 kilometers creates favorable conditions for using combat laser, beam, electromagnetic and other types of weapons in GFC.
Considering this, the United States, as early as the middle of the 90s of the last century, planned to deploy special space stations in near-Earth space around 10 equipped with chemical lasers up to 10 MW to solve a wide range of tasks, including the destruction of space objects of various purposes.
Spacecraft (SC) used for military purposes can be classified, like civil ones, according to the following criteria:
Special characteristics of combat spacecraft - a functional purpose. It allows to distinguish three groups of spacecraft:
Currently, the complex orbital constellation includes spacecraft of species and radio-electronic reconnaissance, communications, navigation, topogeodetic and meteorological support.
From SOI to PRO
At the turn of 50 – 60-ies of the United States and the USSR, improving their weapon systems, they conducted tests of nuclear weapons in all natural spheres, including space.
According to official, published in the open press lists of nuclear tests, five American nuclear tests conducted in 1958 – 1962 and four Soviet in 1961 – 1962 were classified as cosmic nuclear explosions.
In 1963, US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara announced the start of work on the Sentinel program (sentinel - sentinel), which was supposed to provide protection against rocket attacks on a large part of the continental United States. It was assumed that the missile defense system (PRO) will be a two-echelon, consisting of high-altitude interceptors LIM-49A Spartan and anti-missile intercept Sprint and associated PAR and MAR radar, as well as computing systems.
26 May 1972, the United States and the USSR signed the Treaty on the limitation of missile defense systems (3 came into force on October 1972). The sides pledged to limit their missile defense systems to two complexes (with a radius of no more than 150 kilometers with the number of missile launchers no more than 100): around the capital and in one area of the strategic nuclear missile mines. The agreement obliged not to create and not to deploy systems or components of space, air, sea or mobile-ground-based missile defense systems.
23 March 1983, US President Ronald Reagan announced the start of research work, which aimed to study additional measures against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) (Anti-Ballistic Missile - ABM). The implementation of these measures (deployment of interceptors in space, etc.) was to ensure the protection of the entire US territory from ICBMs. The program is called the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) (Strategic Defense Initiative - SDI). It envisaged the use of ground and space systems to protect the United States from ballistic missile attacks and formally meant a departure from the previously existing doctrine of "mutual assured destruction" (Mutual Assured Destruction - MAD).
In 1991, President George W. Bush put forward a new concept for a missile defense modernization program that would intercept a limited number of missiles. From this point on, attempts by the US began to create a national missile defense system (NMD), bypassing the ABM Treaty.
In 1993, the Bill Clinton administration changed the name of the program to the Missile Defense (NMD) territory system (National Missile Defense).
The US missile defense system being developed includes a control center, early warning stations and satellites tracking rocket launches, interceptor guidance stations, launch vehicles themselves for launching antimissiles to space to destroy enemy ballistic missiles.
In 2001, George W. Bush announced that the missile defense system would protect the territory not only of the United States, but also of the allies and friendly countries, not excluding the deployment of system elements on their territory. Among the first on this list was the United Kingdom. A number of Eastern European countries, primarily Poland, also officially expressed a desire to deploy elements of a missile defense system on their territory, including anti-missiles.
Participate in the program
In 2009, the budget of the United States military-space program was 26,5 billion dollars (the entire budget of Russia is only 21,5 billion dollars). The following organizations are currently participating in this program.
The US Armed Forces Strategic Command (United States Strategic Command - USSTRATCOM) is a single combat command within the US Department of Defense, founded in 1992 to replace the abolished strategic command of the Air Force. Combines strategic nuclear forces, missile defense forces and space forces.
The strategic command was formed to strengthen the centralization of the management of the planning and combat use of strategic offensive arms, increase the flexibility of managing them in various conditions of the military-strategic situation in the world, and improve the interaction between the components of the strategic triad.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), headquartered in Springfield, Va., Is the combat support agency of the Department of Defense and a member of the intelligence community. The NGA uses imagery from national space information intelligence systems, as well as commercial satellites and other sources. Within this organization, they develop spatial models and maps to support decision making. Its main purpose is a spatial analysis of global world events, natural disasters and military actions.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controls policies, rules, procedures and standards for licensing and regulating orbital missions for DoD satellites.
The National Intelligence Agency (National Reconnaissance Office - NRO) designs, builds and operates intelligence satellites in the United States. The mission of the NRO is to develop and operate unique innovative systems for reconnaissance and intelligence activities. In 2010, the NRO celebrated its 50 anniversary.
The space and missile defense forces (Army Space and Missile Defense Command - SMDC) are based on the concept of global spatial warfare and defense.
Missile Defense Agency (MDA) develops and tests integrated multi-level anti-missile defense systems to protect the United States, its deployed forces and allies in all enemy ballistic missile ranges during all phases of flight. MDA uses satellites and ground tracking stations to provide global coverage of the Earth’s surface and near-Earth space.
In the desert and not only
An analysis of wars and armed conflicts at the end of the 20th century shows the growing role of space technology in solving military confrontation tasks. In particular, such operations as “Shield in the Desert” and “Desert Storm” in 1990 – 1991, “Fox in the Desert” in 1998, “Allied Force” in Yugoslavia, “Freedom to Iraq” in 2003, demonstrate the leading role in the combat support of the actions of the space information media forces.
In the course of military operations, military space information systems (intelligence, communications, navigation, topogeodesic and meteorological support) were used in a comprehensive and effective manner.
In particular, in the Gulf zone in the 1991 year, the orbital grouping of 86 spacecraft was involved by the coalition forces (29 - intelligence, 2 - missile warning, 36 - navigation, 17 - communication and 2 - meteorological support). By the way, the US Department of Defense acted then under the slogan “Power to the periphery” - thus, that the Allied forces used in World War II to fight in North Africa against Germany.
A significant role in 1991 was played by the US space reconnaissance assets. The information obtained was used at all stages of operations. According to American experts, during the preparatory period, space systems provided up to 90 percent of information about a potential enemy. In the combat zone, along with the regional complex for receiving and processing data, consumer receiving terminals equipped with computers were deployed. They compared the received information with that already available and within a few minutes presented the updated data on the screen.
Space communication systems were used by all units of control to the battalion (battalion) inclusive, a separate strategic bomber, a reconnaissance plane, an Airborne Warning End Control System (AWACS), and a warship. The channels of the international satellite communications system Intelsat (Intelsat) were also used. In total, more than 500 receiving stations were deployed in the war zone.
An important place in the combat support system was occupied by the space meteorological system. It made it possible to obtain images of the earth's surface with a resolution of about 600 meters and made it possible to study the state of the atmosphere for short-term and medium-term forecasts for the area of military conflict. According to weather reports, planned flight tables were compiled and adjusted aviation. In addition, it was planned to use data from meteorological satellites to quickly determine the affected areas on the ground in the event that Iraq might use chemical and biological weapons.
The multinational force widely used the navigation field created by the NAVSTAR space system. With the help of its signals, the accuracy of the aircraft’s approach to targets at night was increased, the flight path of aviation and cruise missiles was corrected. Combined use with an inertial navigation system made it possible to carry out a maneuver when approaching the target, both in height and course. The missiles went out to a given point with errors in the coordinates at the level of 15 meters, after which precise targeting was carried out using the homing head.
Cosmos for one hundred percent
During the operation “Allied Force” in the Balkans in 1999, the United States for the first time fully utilized almost all of its military space systems to ensure operational preparation and conduct of hostilities. They were used in solving both strategic and tactical tasks and played a significant role in the success of the operation. Commercial space vehicles were also actively used for reconnaissance of the ground situation, additional reconnaissance of targets after air strikes, assessment of their accuracy, issuance of target designation to weapons systems, and provision of troops with satellite communications and navigation information.
In total, NATO used 120 satellites for various purposes in the campaign against Yugoslavia, including 36 communications satellites, 35 reconnaissance, 27 navigation and 19 meteorological, which was almost twice as large as the use in the Desert Storm and Desert Fox "In the Middle East.
In general, according to foreign sources, the contribution of US space forces to increasing the effectiveness of military operations (in armed conflicts and local wars in Iraq, Bosnia and Yugoslavia) is: intelligence - 60 percent, communications - 65 percent, navigation - 40 percent, and In the future, it is integrally estimated at 70 – 90 percent.
Thus, an analysis of the experience of combat operations by the US and NATO forces in armed conflicts at the end of the 20th century leads to the following conclusions:
Victor Savinykh, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academician of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics. E. K. Tsiolkovsky, President of MIIGAiK
Victor Tsvetkov, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics named after E. K. Tsiolkovsky, Advisor to the Rector of MIIGAiK
Victor Shirt, leading specialist of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics. E. K. Tsiolkovsky