For only 2014, the 22 intercontinental ballistic missiles RS-24 "Yars" of mobile and silo-based missiles must be delivered to the troops.
Mikhail Ulyanov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s security and disarmament department, told 3 February 2014 that Russia could use the right to withdraw from the (Prague) Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START) if the United States continues to develop the global anti-missile defense system. In his opinion, “the United States continues to increase its missile defense potential without taking into account the interests and concerns of Russia. Such a policy is fraught with undermining strategic stability. ”
There is no doubt that this statement is a serious warning to the American side in the face of growing bilateral contradictions. The latter, of course, are not of a fundamental nature and do not indicate the beginning of a new cold war. But they reflect a growing misunderstanding of Moscow and Washington, not only with regard to missile defense, the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons, the withdrawal of European tactical nuclear weapons from Europe. weapons (TNW), the implementation by the US armed forces of the concept of “Fast global strike” or the placement of weapons in space. This is also observed with regard to ways of resolving armed conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis and restoring internal stability in Ukraine. As a result, Russian-American relations are now at the lowest point of their development since the 1990s.
As a result, for example, the US Congress adopted the so-called Magnitsky law, to which the Russian side responded in the same way - a number of working groups of the presidential commission, previously created by Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, were suspended, etc. Under these conditions, it is necessary to take a very balanced approach to any questions of the destruction of the existing legal framework, so as not to create additional problems for yourself in the future. Consider this on the example of a possible withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the new (Prague) Treaty on strategic offensive arms.
FEATURES OF PRAGUE AGREEMENT
At the expert level, the new START Treaty is often compared with the Moscow Treaty on the Reduction of Strategic Offensive Potentials (2002), according to which the levels of strategic nuclear warheads by 2012 should have been reduced to 1700 – 2200 units. In the Prague Treaty, the upper ceiling of the warheads was 1550, which indicates its formal reduction by 30%.
In fact, this level did not decline, as the offset rules were seriously changed: the number of nuclear warheads on sea and land carriers began to be counted after the fact, and on air carriers as follows - one nuclear warhead for each heavy (strategic) bomber. Although, for example, the Russian Tu-160 is capable of carrying 12 airborne cruise missiles. As a result, there was a discrepancy between the declared and actual number of deployed nuclear warheads and the return potential significantly increased due to the possibility of "reloading" of warheads. Taken together, this allows the United States to reach the level of 4,0 – 4,5 thousand strategic warheads on strategic carriers, and Russia - 2,5 – 3,0 thousand in a fairly short time.
Of course, in the Prague Treaty there are restrictions on the number of strategic carriers: no more than 700 “deployed” and 100 “non-deployed”, but this level needs to be reached only seven years after its ratification.
DIFFICULTY OF RATIFICATION
28 January 2011 President Dmitry Medvedev signed a federal law ratifying the new START Treaty, indicating that Russian-American cooperation continued in the area of nuclear arms reduction.
However, the process of ratification in the US Senate of the New START Treaty was quite difficult, which was due to both the intensification of the internal political struggle between Democrats and Republicans, and the reluctance of the American side to limit their capabilities in deploying a global missile defense system.
The treaty was submitted to the Senate in May 2010, and its ratification required the support of not only Democratic senators, but also eight Republican senators. This forced the Obama administration to make serious concessions: agree to allocate 85 billion dollars over ten years to modernize nuclear weapons and assure that the United States will not refuse to deploy a powerful and effective missile defense system in Europe. This was formalized in the form of two unilateral resolutions, which significantly increased the level of mistrust between Russia and the United States.
In the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation closely followed the process of ratification of the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive arms in the US Senate. As a result, the following was reflected in the Russian resolution on the treaty:
- the need to develop, test, produce and deploy new types of strategic offensive weapons capable of overcoming missile defense;
- the obligation to maintain the combat readiness of strategic nuclear forces (SNF) in any development of the international situation due to the preservation and development of the necessary research (development) base and the corresponding production capacity;
- the possibility of Russia withdrawing from the treaty in the event of such a substantial violation by the United States of America of its conditions that would pose a threat to the national security of the Russian Federation, as well as the deployment of the United States, another state or a group of missile defense systems capable of significantly reducing the effectiveness of the combat use of the Russian strategic nuclear forces.
In general, the new START Treaty is balanced and takes into account Russian national interests. However, in the process of ratification, each of the parties began to interpret the agreements reached in different ways, primarily regarding the relationship between strategic offensive and defensive weapons, which was reflected in the preamble of the treaty. In the United States, it was considered that this does not oblige them to anything, since this was not reflected in the main text of this treaty. Russia, on the contrary, began to consider such a relationship as a possible basis for withdrawing from the Prague Treaty.
THE PROBLEM OF CREATING A GLOBAL PRO SYSTEM
The most serious discrepancy between the positions of Russia and the United States is observed regarding the deployment of a forward-based missile defense system (elements of strategic missile defense) in Europe, that is, in relative proximity to the borders of the Russian Federation. The latter, according to Russian military analysts, has an impact on the effectiveness of the combat use of the strategic nuclear forces of our country.
It should be noted that within the framework of the “Phased Adaptive Approach”, the Obama administration refused to deploy on the military base in Poland two-stage analogues of mine-based anti-missiles Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI). Instead, the focus was on the SM-3 three-staged sea-based antimissiles.
Currently, US naval forces have 5 Ticonderoga type cruisers and 21 destroyers such as Arly Burke (at the beginning of 2014, their total number increased to 29 warships). All of them are equipped with the Aegis missile control system with SM-3 interceptor missiles designed for kinetic interception of ballistic missiles and their warheads. Of these warships, about 40% are in the area of responsibility of NATO.
In November 2011, an agreement was reached between Washington and Madrid on the use of the Spanish naval base Rota to station four US ships on a rotational basis with anti-missile complexes.
Now SM-3 interceptor missiles in Block 1A modification with a booster speed of 3,5 km / s (according to some sources - 3 km / s) are mass-produced. This anti-missile system is capable of carrying out a kinetic interception of a ballistic target at altitudes of 70 – 250 km and a distance of up to 700 – 750 km. By 2015, the modification will appear - Block 1B, and by 2018, the SM-3 Block 2А. The maximum flight speed of the anti-missile missiles of the last modification will be up to 5,5 km / s.
Europe’s anti-missile defense is enhanced by ground-based interceptors of short- and medium-range missiles. These include the Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile systems designed to protect small objects, the AN / TPY-2 radar of the three-centimeter range for detecting and tracking ballistic targets, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) to cover limited areas.
The development of the American missile defense system is hampered not only by the altitude and speed restrictions of interceptor missiles, but also by the insufficient range of their guidance systems. Thus, the above-mentioned mobile radar AN / TPY-2 has a maximum detection range of ballistic targets 1,5 thousand km (warheads - up to 1 thousand km). At longer ranges, external sources of targeting have to be used.
Nevertheless, in October 2013, the United States began to build in Deveselu, Romania, a base for deploying X-NUMX interceptors SM-24 Block-3 In the Aegis Ashor ground system. These antimissiles are designed to intercept only short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles (warheads). Three years later, the Americans are going to deploy an 1 interceptor of the following modification - SM-24 Block 3А at a military base near the town of Slupsk in Poland.
In Moscow, this caused confusion due to the apparent lack of a missile threat from Iran, and even more so from other states. This is somewhat different in Washington, where they say that the creation of a missile defense system takes a long time. This takes into account that Iran is preparing to adopt the Sajil-2 solid-fuel rocket. With a warhead weighing 750 kg its maximum firing range is 2,3 thousand. Km. In the case of replacing a number of missile materials with composite ones, the range of its flight with a similar warhead can be increased to 3,0 – 3,5 thousand km.
Russia's fears intensified even more when NATO warships with SM-3 antimissiles began to periodically enter the Black, North and Norwegian Seas. The latter is of fundamental importance for the Russian Federation, since it is technically possible for the US missile defense to intercept the launching Russian submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and their warheads on the ascending segment of the flight trajectory.
In the Russian Federation, there is considerable concern about the fact that the third stage of the “Phased Adaptive Approach” is planned to be implemented by the 2018 year, which coincides with the end of the cuts under the new START Treaty. The segment of the global missile defense system being created in Europe will pose a potential threat to our strategic nuclear forces, so Russia does not rule out an early withdrawal from the new START Treaty.
Trident II sea-based ballistic missiles will soon become or have already become the main component of the US nuclear potential
There are also the following problems that could push Russia to withdraw from the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive arms.
First, in one of the resolutions of the US Senate, adopted on the ratification of the Prague Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms, the highest executive authorities were instructed to begin negotiations with Russia on the reduction of tactical nuclear weapons. The need for such negotiations is due to the concerns of the American side that the Russian Federation has a significant superiority in tactical nuclear weapons. So, according to Western estimates, Russia has 11 thousand such nuclear warheads (including those to be disposed of), and the US has 8,5 thousand warheads.
However, in Moscow they consider that at first Washington should return nuclear warheads stationed in Europe to the national territory. The United States cannot do this in the near future due to previous commitments to its allies - members of NATO. Russia, seriously lagging behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the field of conventional weapons, having an extremely unstable situation in relative proximity to its southern borders and a large population in the neighboring state suffering from a lack of natural resources, is also not interested in holding talks on reducing TNW. Moreover, such weapons have dual-purpose carriers (can be used both in nuclear and conventional equipment) and are single with strategic storage facilities for nuclear warheads.
Secondly, the new START Treaty in no way limits the number of US high-precision sea-based cruise missiles (SLCMs), which under certain conditions can play the role of strategic weapons. Worse, the four Ohio-type SSBNs have already been converted into carriers of non-nuclear Tomahawk SLCMs. Similar retrofitting is carried out with respect to strategic bombers. As a result, the huge American potential of non-nuclear precision weapons increases significantly. Under the terms of the Prague Treaty, this process will continue, as the United States now has 792 deployed strategic carriers on which 1654 nuclear warheads are installed. This exceeds the maximum level for both carriers and warheads. And Americans do not plan to destroy such carriers.
Thirdly, under the terms of the Agreement, the provision of telemetric information becomes voluntary and reciprocal. But the mechanism of exchanging such information is unclear, since the United States has not produced new strategic missile systems for a long time and rarely launch ballistic missiles. Theoretically, the mutual exchange of telemetry data developed by Russian offensive and US defensive systems is possible. But Washington is not ready for this level of transparency.
But let us consider further the possible consequences of the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Prague Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms.
FUTURE POTENTIAL OF A SNF
There is no doubt that during the implementation of the Prague Treaty on START, Russia significantly reduced deployed nuclear warheads on strategic carriers. So, in the 2009, the RF had 608 such carriers with 2683 nuclear warheads. At the beginning of their 2013, 492 became their 1480 warheads. However, this largely happened due to the decommissioning of those carriers, to extend the period of use of which it has become technically impossible.
It should also be borne in mind that Russia and the United States have a different structure of strategic nuclear forces. The Americans are focusing on their naval component, which means that 2018 has deployed 12 naval forces and 2 naval ballistic missile submarines of the Ohio constantly in overhaul by 20. In addition, each of them will have 24 or 288 SLBMs. As a result, the total number will not exceed the 1138 Trident II SLBM with 4 warheads (of the order of 8 warheads on a rocket with a standard number of at least 73 warheads of increased power). In this case, the contribution of the naval component to the US nuclear warheads for nuclear warheads will be 10%. Another option is to reduce the Ohio-type SSBNs to 4 and retrofit the remaining XNUMXs to the SLCMs.
In addition, the Americans will leave the Minuteman III, 350 (400) strategic bomber B-44 and 42 bombers BNXX (52) monoblock intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in combat status. For this, about 18 strategic bombers will be re-equipped to solve non-nuclear tasks (from the Russian point of view, this process is reversible).
Historically, in Russia, the ground-based component of the SNF was the main one. According to reports, the following types of ICBMs are currently in service with the Strategic Missile Forces: 50 P-36М UTTH / P-36М2 (SS-18 Satan) of mine bases with 500 nuclear warheads; 68 UR-100НТТХ (SS-19 Stiletto) silo-based with 408 warheads; 153 monoblock RT-2PM Topol (SS-25 Sickle) mobile home; 78 monoblock RT-2PM2 Topol-M (SS-27 Sickle B), including 18 mobile-based complexes; and 36 PC-24 “Yars” of mobile and silo-based 108 warheads. Collectively, this will be 385 carriers with 1247 warheads.
The marine component of Russia's SNF includes 7 ballistic missile submarine (RPK SN), including five submarines 667 BDRM "Delfin" project RSM-29RMU2 (P-29RMU2.1) and two submarines 955 "Borey" project with SLBMs "Bulava- 30. In total, they carry 112 SLBMs with 512 nuclear warheads (they are supposed to be deployed on the R-29RMU2 4 warhead SLBMs, and on the Bulava-30 SLBM - 6 warheads).
The air component of the Russian strategic nuclear forces consists of strategic bombers: 32 turboprop Tu-95MS and 13 supersonic Tu-160. According to the rules of offset, adopted in the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive weapons, they include the total of 45 nuclear warheads (in the US it is believed that Russia has 63 turboprop Tu-95MS bomber).
According to estimates, SNFs now include 542 deployed strategic carriers with 1804 nuclear warheads. At the same time, there is an excess of the limit of the new START Treaty on Warheads. In 2013, the SNF potential increased due to the adoption of two Borei 955 project and modern YBR ICBM RS-24 Yars mine and mobile basing.
According to US data, to 2018 year Russia will remain in service 20 ICBM R-36M2 with 200 warheads, 87 monoblock PT 2PM2 "Topol-M", including 27 mobile home complexes, and 85 RS-24 "yars" mobile and silo based on 255 warheads. Collectively, this would be the 192 carrier with 542 warheads.
In addition, Russia may have 8 RPK SN, including four submarines of the 667 BDRM Dolphin submarine with an SLBM R-29RMU2.1 and four submarines of the 955 (955A) project Borey with an SLBM Bulava-30 (128 BRPLA with a chart and a line with a chart . In this case, along the warheads, the main component of the Russian Federation Strategic Nuclear Forces will transfer to the naval component.
Assuming that the air component of the domestic strategic nuclear forces remains unchanged, in general, the Russian Federation will have 365 deployed strategic carriers with 1227 nuclear warheads. Undoubtedly, in this case, Moscow will have a nuclear potential much lower than that established by the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive arms.
In reality, with the help of Ukrainian specialists, based on the analysis of the launches and special studies, Russia can extend the life of the P-36М2 MBR to 35 years. Then by the year 2018 it will keep about 30 MBR of this type, which will increase the number of warheads on the deployed carriers to 1327. Most likely, with a similar extension of service life, the 20 MBR UR-100N UTTH with 120 warheads will remain in service. But even in this case we will not go beyond the limits established by the Treaty.
For the rest of the missile systems, the following can be noticed. It will be practically impossible to maintain the monoblock RT-2PM Topol as part of the SNF due to their mobile basing. Deliveries to the monoblock troops RT-2PM2 Topol-M will soon cease, instead they will receive only PC-24 Yars mobile and mine-based. The rate of their purchases for the 2014 year will be approximately the 22 MBR. If it is saved by the end of 2018, the Armed Forces of the country will have 146 of such missile systems with 438 warheads (it is assumed that three warheads with a set of missile defense weapons will be installed on one rocket). With such assumptions, which will be extremely difficult to implement due to the low economic development of the country, by the time the conditions of the Prague Treaty on the Start are fulfilled, our country will have 456 deployed strategic carriers with 1630 warheads. At the same time, the limit on the number of warheads is quite simple to solve. To do this, you only need to “unload” to 4 the number of warheads on the Bulava-30 SLBM. Then the total number will be 1502 warheads, which is fully consistent with the terms of the new START Treaty. Therefore, it makes no sense for Russia to withdraw from this treaty.
Separate consideration is the question of creating a heavy ICBM in the Russian Federation to replace the P-36М2. It is planned to adopt it by the 2018 year, but Russian practice shows that it is more realistic to talk about the 2020 year. The new heavy ICBM will gradually replace the remaining P-36М2, and the UR-100Н УТТХ will already be decommissioned. Therefore, the emergence of a heavy ICBM, as well as the continued production of the PC-24 Yars for quite a long time (at least until the 2025 year) will not require Russia to withdraw from the treaty in question. The same will happen for the naval component of the SNF, where as the PKK SN of the 955 (955A) Borey project is commissioned (their number is planned to be increased to eight), the RPK SN of the 667 BDRM Dolphin project will be decommissioned.
The situation will not fundamentally change even if a new combat railway complex (BZHRK) is put into service in the Russian Federation, since for financial reasons the start of production of BZHRK will lead to a reduction in the rate of purchases of the new heavy ICBM and RS-24 Yars. In addition, this type of missile complex, as a rule, has a small number of missiles in one train, which serves as an analogue of a missile regiment. It is hard to believe that the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation will have more than one division of such complexes in, for example, six regiments. Therefore, this will not be an imperative for Moscow to withdraw from the new START Treaty.
CONSEQUENCES OF WITHDRAWAL FROM AGREEMENT
The above estimates show that from a military point of view, even in the medium term, Russia has no clear need to withdraw from the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive arms. Given the current trends in the development of national strategic nuclear forces, Moscow may well remain within the established limits. At the same time, no one restricts it in deploying intercontinental range ballistic missiles with various types of combat equipment, reorienting, if necessary, strategic bombers to solve exclusively non-nuclear missions, using previously built mine launchers to deploy the RS-24 "Yars" (advanced missile complexes) or "unloading" of ballistic missiles. In fact, this agreement does little to restrict Russia in modernizing its own “triad”. So why do we need to get out of it, if the United States in any case will deploy the European segment of the global missile defense system? Thus, we will not stop Americans, but at the same time we will get serious negative consequences.
First, the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the treaty will deal a powerful blow to Russian-American and Russian-Western relations as a whole. They are already limited due to the many areas of non-cooperation, and rivalry. We cannot even agree on Afghanistan, which is creating an increasingly real threat to the strategically important region of Central Asia. Is it really necessary to create additional problems in the political and economic spheres?
Secondly, Russian positions in the international arena will weaken as a state advocating the preservation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and the relevant regimes. At the same time, Moscow, which does not want to continue the process of reducing nuclear armaments, will find itself under heavy fire from non-aligned states. At the nearest NPT review conference, she will be accused of not wanting to fulfill her obligations as an official nuclear state.
Third, the work of the UN Security Council in resolving the Iranian and North Korean nuclear crises will be seriously hindered. If Russia can withdraw from the New START Treaty, then why, for example, Iran or some other state cannot withdraw from the NPT, which threatens to destroy the entire global nuclear non-proliferation regime? Referring to the relevant American experience here will not work, as the United States is still perceived by many as the only superpower.
Fourthly, the elements of the global missile defense system being created in Europe by the US and other NATO member states are easily copied by methods already implemented or planned for implementation in the Russian Armed Forces: by deploying missile defense systems on missiles, reducing the active part of the missile flight, the creation of a powerful new ICBM, the development of BZHRK, etc. This is quite enough for the entire foreseeable future due to the technical impossibility of the United States in such conditions to protect itself even from a group launch of Russian strategic carriers.
Thus, Russia's withdrawal from the new START Treaty will not bring it obvious advantages, but will create additional problems. Of course, it is not necessary to negotiate with the American side on the further reduction of nuclear weapons, for example, up to 1000 – 1200 deployed warheads on strategic carriers. But why in the conditions of a negligible probability of mutual exchange of nuclear strikes to rush to exit from the said agreement before the 2020 year? It is much more reasonable to sustain a pause and objectively assess the prospects of the Prague Treaty on strategic offensive arms, based on Russian national interests.