The concept of a preemptive strike against the troops of the aggressor in the conditions of the inevitability of war with adequate material and political-diplomatic support will be the most important factor of strategic non-nuclear deterrence.
The threat of war against Russia is growing
Just a few years ago, the possibility of direct external aggression against Russia was very low. Recently, however, the risk of such has increased substantially. This is determined by several key factors.
Firstly, this is a general increase in military tension in the world, caused by the exacerbation of the crisis of Western civilization and the growing problems of the leading states of Southeast Asia.
Secondly, the growth of aggressiveness and unpredictability of Western elites, who are trying favorably for themselves to solve the crisis of Western society at the expense of other peoples. A series of political defeats that Western countries suffered at the beginning of the XXI century (in Iraq and Afghanistan, the outcome of the Arab spring and the war in Syria failed for the West, disrupting Ukraine’s association with the EU) left for their elites only the ability to solve problems at the expense of their peoples . And this is fraught with serious social consequences. Western elites see Russia as the main culprit of their defeats. They demonstrate a willingness to use military force in the post-Soviet space. Suffice it to recall the calls for NATO's military intervention in the Georgian-Ossetian conflict of 2008, the open and active intervention of the leaders of the West in the Ukrainian crisis.
Thirdly, the growth of domestic Russian problems, primarily of an economic nature, which, together with external destructive influences, can lead to the destabilization of our country, which will create favorable conditions for military aggression.
Obviously, the scale of the aggression will be such as not to provoke Russia into the use of nuclear potential. Therefore, its possible targets may be the rejection of a certain part of the territory of the Russian Federation that does not threaten the existence of our country, or a change of political regime against the background of fairly large-scale opposition speeches.
The goal of the actions of the Armed Forces of a possible opponent of Russia in such a conflict will be the routing of a group of Russian troops in the region with the destruction of tactical nuclear forces in it. weapons and its subsequent occupation.
The key role in such a conflict, as the experience of past wars shows, will play aviation aggressor. The hostilities will begin with the first air offensive operation (UPO), which aims to gain air supremacy and destroy the main nuclear weapons of Russia in the region. In the future, aviation will begin to solve the problem of suppressing ground forces and forces. fleet Russia in the region, as well as the isolation of the war zone. After solving these problems, the aggressor will go on to conduct land and airborne landing operations, during which the ultimate goals of aggression will be achieved.
In preparing for war, the aggressor will strive to achieve overwhelming superiority in forces, which will guarantee him success in the very first blows. Even in a limited military conflict, the number of Air Force groups in the event of preparation for an attack on Russia can reach one and a half to two thousand vehicles for various purposes. In addition, there will be five to seven aircraft carriers with 400 – 500 deck-based aircraft, at least 50 – 60 of other surface ships of various classes and up to 20 – 25 multi-purpose nuclear submarines, as well as a significant part of strategic aviation. With sea and air carriers can be used within the first two or three days to 1000 – 1500 strategic cruise missiles in the usual equipment. A group of US Army, NATO and their allies can reach 500 thousand people and more. Significant logistic and technical support systems will be deployed. The total number of groups of the Armed Forces of a potential aggressor can be up to a million people even in a local war.
Russia will be able to oppose a grouping of forces that is inferior to an aggressor three to five times or more, depending on the state of the country and its Armed Forces. In the conditions of the overwhelming numerical and qualitative superiority of the enemy, the outcome of the armed confrontation in the case of Russia's passive waiting for an attack is obvious - a guaranteed defeat of our armed forces.
However, the success of the aggressor is ensured only under the condition of clearly coordinated use of his troops. The high level of dependence of the effectiveness of actions of some forces on the results of others creates favorable conditions for disrupting the productive actions of the aggressor. So, without conquering air superiority, subsequent operations by ground forces, airborne landing operations are unlikely.
Therefore, by disrupting the VNO with the infliction of tangible casualties on the enemy’s aircraft, it is possible to prevent including a subsequent air campaign, as well as land and sea landing operations.
A warning strike is possible and valid.
A proactive defeat of the enemy aviation grouping and its basing system will significantly reduce the composition of forces in the first and subsequent strikes, significantly reduce the intensity of its actions, and increase the time intervals between impacts. As a result, the first and subsequent massed rocket and air strikes will be foiled or substantially weakened, which will not allow the aggressor to solve the problem of defeating the Air Force and destroying the main part of tactical nuclear weapons in the very first days of combat operations. This will translate the armed struggle in the air into a protracted phase and jeopardize the success of the whole operation, if only because the aggressor will face the danger of a reciprocal use of nuclear weapons from Russia. Understanding this, a potential aggressor will most likely refuse an invasion. The very fact that our country is capable of delivering a preemptive strike against the grouping of an aggressor under conditions when an attack is clearly inevitable can force a potential aggressor to abandon attempts to use military force against Russia.
Thus, we can talk about the implementation of strategic non-nuclear deterrence by the threat of preemptive strikes against groups of troops. It can be based on the fact that a potential aggressor, even if a decision is made to attack, will be difficult or impossible to create such attack groups that are capable of delivering a decisive blow to the Russian armed forces in a short time.
Reliable and timely opening of the fact of preparation and the moment of the actual beginning of the aggression against Russia today is not a problem. Signs of preparation of the invasion will be enough.
Creating a significant grouping of the aggressor and the deployment of its logistics system will require a long time and vigorous activity. It will be practically impossible to hide this from our intelligence (the example of the start of World War II is incorrect - then there was no such variety of technical means of intelligence, in particular space, which allows for detailed control of the territory of foreign states and the movement of their strategic groupings of troops).
To justify aggression, an information campaign will surely unfold, an active and powerful political and diplomatic pressure on the country's leadership, including through the UN. It is quite possible, given the status of Russia as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, steps will be taken to discredit and neutralize this organization.
A coalition of aggressor states will be formed. It is unlikely that any country will independently decide to invade the territory of Russia or its closest allies.
In such conditions, when the inevitability of the invasion becomes quite obvious in the near future, a preemptive strike on the prepared troops of the aggressor will be fully justified. Especially if this blow will have exclusively on the objects of the aggressor troops and its logistic and technical support systems.
The purpose of such a strike should be to disrupt the first VNO of the aggressor.
However, a preemptive strike must be such as to exclude the possibility of Russia being accused of aggression. This determines the very limited timeframe for its application: from the moment of the completion of the operational deployment of groups of forces and the adoption of a strategic decision at the beginning of hostilities by the invader until the moment of the start of the strike.
Accordingly, a preemptive preventive strike and a retaliatory preventive strike can be distinguished.
The first of them is applied from the moment when the inevitability of the beginning of aggression in the near future became apparent, and before the start of the mass take-off of enemy aircraft and the launch of cruise missiles and the actions to suppress our air defense system. That is, this strike is aimed at preventing the operational surprise of an aggressor's attack, when the strategic surprise of them has already been lost - the fact that the attack is inevitable is obvious. An analysis of the outbreak of wars unleashed by the United States and its allies in the 21st century, particularly in Iraq, shows that this situation can last from several hours to several days. In the course of such a preventive strike, it is possible to inflict the most severe defeat on the aggressor’s air force. From a strategic point of view, this is the most favorable course of action. However, it is politically difficult - there will be problems with justifying such steps.
The second variant of a preventive strike implies its application from the moment of the appearance of irreversible signs of the onset of aggression - a massive suppression of the air defense system's RES, launches of cruise missiles, the beginning of a mass take-off of aviation, up to the fall of the first missiles on the country, the destruction of our aircraft in the air. The duration of this period is very small - one and a half to two hours (the time required for the flight of cruise missiles, as well as the construction and flight to the targets of the first echelon of the MPAU, primarily fighters clearing the airspace and the air defense breakthrough groups). From a strategic point of view, this is a less favorable course of action, since it does not allow for a significant defeat of aviation at aerodromes, but it is more favorable from a political point of view.
In the course of a preemptive strike, it is of utmost importance to ensure the assured infliction of such a defeat on the enemy, which will make it possible to disrupt the effective conduct of the first VNO. This is achieved by the correct choice of objects and means of destruction used.
The variety of forces and means involved in the VNO, the developed infrastructure does not allow to ensure its complete defeat in the framework of one strike. However, it is possible to identify a certain set of objects, the defeat of which most effectively reduces the effectiveness of the entire strike force and the organization of the strike on which is the most simple. These are mainly stationary objects, determining the effective use of aviation groups. Their defeat can be clearly planned in advance on the basis of detailed intelligence information, which will be enough time to collect. The areas of location of these objects must be accessible to Russian means of destruction, allow them to strike in a short time, without requiring a complex organization of the strike and attraction during the strike itself of a significant amount of support forces. Accordingly, in the course of a preventive strike, it is advisable to concentrate the main efforts on the defeat:
main airfields based tactical aviation in areas where it can participate in VNO. With blows on them, on the one hand, it is possible to destroy a significant part of aircraft based, on the other hand, to prevent the takeoff of those who survived due to the destruction of the runway, to reduce the available resource due to the disruption of the technical support system. Modern combat aircraft can effectively operate only from well-equipped large air bases. The use of relatively small aerodromes dispersed, with no developed rear infrastructure, significantly reduces the disposable aviation resource. Therefore, the main part of the aggressor’s aviation will probably be based on large airfield hubs, the number of which can be estimated at no more than two or three dozen;
ground command and control points of the operational and tactical level, which play an important role in the management of the aggressor’s aviation forces during the first air operation. The total number of such objects, according to the experience of wars of the 21st century, can be estimated in 15 – 20;
the largest land depots and depots of ammunition and fuel and lubricants operational and strategic rear. The total number of such objects can be up to 20 – 30.
Defeating other targets of the aggressor’s attack force will be either difficult to accomplish (for example, submarines, aircraft carrier formations and groups of surface ships with SLCM constantly maneuvering and having a powerful defense system), or their defeat will not significantly reduce the combat capabilities of the enemy group as a whole.
Another important factor is the choice of means of destruction. The logic of a preemptive strike on highly protected ground targets under conditions of complete control of the airspace by enemy enemy aircraft and in the presence of a powerful grouping of its fighter aviation uniquely identifies long-range cruise missiles, X-555 and X-101, as the primary means of destruction.
The volume of fire missions of a preventive strike determines the required number of these weapons - around 1000 – 1200 units.
The existing composition of strategic and long-range aviation, provided that the fleet is modernized, giving it the possibility of using strategic non-nuclear missiles is able to use cruise missiles in an attack up to 800. The rest can be launched from submarines and surface ships. The open source data on the shipbuilding program of Russia allows a rough estimate of the maximum possible salvo of sea-based cruise missiles in 250 – 300 units.
Of exceptional importance for a successful preventive strike is the reconnaissance and surveillance system, which should ensure the timely opening of the enemy's strike aviation basing system and real-time tracking of changes in the deployment of its aviation, as well as the identification of operational masking measures applied by it.
Political and diplomatic support
In order for the potential aggressors to work non-nuclear strategic deterrence by the threat of preemptive strikes against groups of troops, proper political and diplomatic support is necessary.
First, it is necessary to make appropriate changes to the governing documents governing the organization of the country's defense, in which the procedure and conditions for the application of preventive strikes should be determined.
Secondly, to make a political statement, declare in it the determination of Russia to deliver a preemptive strike if it is established that military aggression is inevitable. At the same time, clearly formulate the signs and criteria on the basis of which the Russian leadership can decide on a preemptive strike.
Thirdly, to achieve the adoption of international legal acts legalizing preventive strikes as a legitimate tool for protection against imminent aggression. At the same time, a clear system of signs and criteria for the inevitability of aggression and the conditions for the legality of a preemptive strike should be fixed at the international level.
Fourth, to conduct a series of demonstrative exercises with the development of the application of preventive strikes.
On the whole, it can be stated that the creation of a high-quality material base for a preventive strike, with appropriate political and diplomatic support, will be an important factor in strategic non-nuclear deterrence, which can significantly reduce the level of military threats to Russia.