In the course of the ongoing debate of candidates applying for a chair in the Oval Office of the White House, a wide range of problems of ensuring US national security is discussed, starting with the Chinese and terrorist threats to American citizens and ending with military spending. And most recently they began to touch on the issues of strengthening the country's nuclear arsenal. This, as some US media have noted, is a good signal. However, the press representatives call shocking the fact that future presidents know very little about the true state of affairs in this sphere and do not know what the initiative of the current head of the White House may have on the nuclear program and the annual increase in military spending on modernizing the Strategic Offensive Forces (SNS) and equipping them with new weapons. They also recall Barack Obama’s Prague speech in 2009, in which the president condemned those weapons. “For if we believe that the proliferation of nuclear weapons is inevitable, then we assume that the use of nuclear weapons is also inevitable,” the president said.
STRATEGIC NUCLEAR FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
At the present stage, the US SNA is armed with about 1900 nuclear warheads of various capacities. Nuclear weapons are equipped with the United States Air Force (Air Force) and the United States Navy.
Today, Air Force units operating the Minuteman-3 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) are on alert. These ICBMs have nuclear self-guiding individual warheads (WGCC). The Air Force also includes B-52N and B-2A heavy bombers carrying long-range nuclear-powered cruise missiles (ALCMs) and free-fall nuclear bombs. In addition, the Air Force includes tactical aircraft aviation F-15E, F-16C and F-16D with free-fall nuclear bombs.
The Navy is armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) of the Trident-2 with nuclear rgchin. They are installed on strategic nuclear submarines (SSBNs) of the Ohio class. Until the end of the 2012, the Navy had nuclear-based sea-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) "Tomahawk".
The organizational units of the Minibar-3 ICBM are part of the 20 Air Force, whose headquarters are located at the Warren airbase (AB), Wyoming. This air army is subordinated to the Global Strike Command (KSU) of the US Air Force. The decision to create this command was taken in 2008 year after incidents involving the possession of nuclear weapons in the Air Force that occurred in 2007 year. The new command was created with the aim of improving the management of land-based and air-based nuclear forces. It includes nuclear components from the composition of the Combat Aviation Command and the US Air Force Space Command. And in August, 2009, this command began to solve their problems. The United States Armed Forces Joint Strategic Command (USC) is responsible for the operational management of the ICBM on-alert forces.
The main organizational and staff unit of an ICBM is a wing consisting of three squadrons of an ICBM. These wings (90-e, 91-e and 341-e) are deployed at Warren air base (Wyoming), Minot (North Dakota) and Malstrom (Montana). Each squadron consists of five combat units, each of which serves 10 silo launchers of ICBMs.
The B-52H and B-2A bombers, designed to carry out nuclear strikes, are part of the 8 Air Force, headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base (Louisiana). This army is administratively subordinate to KSU Air Force. This air army includes three heavy bomber aviation wings (tbakr): 2-e (AB Barksdale, Louisiana), 5-e (AB Minot, North Dakota) and 509-e (AB Whiteman, Missouri). Each of these wings, which are the main tactical formation of US strategic aviation, includes two or three squadrons. The squadron includes X-NUMX bomber B-12Hs or eight B-52A bomber. In the second and fifth wings in service are the B-2H bombers. The X-Numx wing includes B-52A bombers. Operational tasks are constantly being solved by the 509 bomber of the B-2H and 44 bomber of the B-52.
The US Air Force also has advanced AB, which can provide a temporary basing of bomber aircraft. These bases include AB Falford (Great Britain), AB Anderson (Guam Island), AB El-Udeid (Qatar) and AB Garcia (Chagos Archipelago).
Tactical fighters - carriers of nuclear weapons F-15E, F-16C and F-16D are part of the Combat Aviation Command (BAC) of the US Air Force. To equip these aircraft, the US’s active nuclear arsenal contains up to 500 nuclear bombs B61-3, -4, -10, of which approximately 200 units are deployed on six US air bases in five NATO member countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey . At the same time, along with American aircraft, aircraft certified by the Allies of the US Allies, including Belgian, Dutch and Turkish F-16 aircraft, as well as German and Italian Tornado aircraft, can also be used as carriers of these nuclear bombs.
The SSBN forces are subordinated to the commanders of the submarine forces of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets of the US Navy. They include the 20-th (naval base Kings Bay) and the 17-th (naval base Bangor) squadron. 10 SSBNs can be served on each of these bases. They have equipment for receiving, storing and issuing ammunition, as well as for maintenance and current repair of SSBNs. At the naval base of the Kings Bay, 20 of the Trident 2 missiles of the SLBM are being assembled per month. The storage base is designed for 57 such missiles. The BMB Bangor is capable of assembling the 16 SLBM Trident 2 per month and has storage facilities on the 84 missiles.
Currently, the Trident 2 SLBMs are equipped with Ohio-type 14 SSBNs (336 launchers). The 20 squadron consists of six boats, and the 17 squadron, eight.
Usually 12 of 14 boats can perform combat duty. On their board are 288 SLBMs. Each of these missiles, on average, carries four nuclear warheads, i.e. in total they can deliver 1152 warheads to targets. The remaining two boats with unloaded ammunition are under planned overhaul.
On average, eight to nine SSBNs are on combat patrols at any current time. Each of the combat-ready boats usually goes on duty three times a year on 70 – 100 days. All SSBNs on combat duty are under the operational control of USC.
OBAMA NUCLEAR PROGRAM
In recent years, the Obama administration has repeatedly voiced its SNA modernization plan. Over the next 30 years, the White House intends to build 12 new nuclear submarines, 100 strategic bombers, 400 land-based ICBMs and cruise missiles to the 1100, and also to deploy a large number of modernized nuclear warheads and bombs to the troops, which will be delivered to the targets by all these means .
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office (BUK) published a report that provided estimates of spending on US strategic nuclear forces. Management experts estimate that in 20015 – 2024 fiscal years 348 billion will be spent on developing the SNA and equipping them with the latest nuclear weapons. Several independent experts estimated the cost of maintaining US nuclear potential in 1 trillion dollars.
In the middle of last year, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Wark, speaking at hearings in the Supreme Council's House of Representatives Committee, said that 2021 billion dollars would have to be spent annually on upgrading and maintaining the required level of the SNA during the 2035 – 18 period. The Pentagon spends about 3% of its budget on SNS. And during the specified period, according to the deputy minister, they should increase to 7%, that is, more than twice.
The SNA development program envisages the improvement of existing and new systems and means of delivering nuclear warheads to targets. At present, the complete modernization of the ICBM "Minutemen-3" and SLBM "Trident-2". It is planned to spend 7 billion dollars to upgrade and replace the “Minutemen” that have served their time. They will be in service until the 30s of the current century, and maybe for a longer period. During the modernization of these ICBMs, it is intended to improve flight control and target guidance systems, improve the quality and increase the service life of the engines and fuel efficiency, as well as improve the performance characteristics of divided warheads.
3 billion will be spent on the development and procurement of new ICBMs that will replace the Minuteman-2015 and the corresponding systems for checking the technical condition and flight control during the fiscal year 2044 – 62 of the financial years. 48,5 billion will be spent on systems of technical control and management, as well as the creation of flight control centers and launchers. These missiles will be on combat duty until the 6,9s of the current century.
The Trident-2 SLBM is being upgraded to extend its life cycle and increase its performance. Data on the costs of these works in open sources is not given. However, it is known that according to the plans of the Pentagon, this rocket will be operated until the 2042 year.
The relatively new B-2 bomber in 2000 – 2014 has also been upgraded. In the course of its modifications, the on-board radar and the equipment of the high-frequency satellite communications and control system were improved, through which the commands to use nuclear weapons are received. The 2 billion was spent on upgrading B-9,5. This bomber will be in service until the 2050s.
The B-52 bomber, which has been in service with the Air Force for many years, is also being modernized. Work is underway on the introduction of new navigation systems, the improvement of on-board computers, means of protection against attacks of a potential enemy, and some others. They want to exploit this bomber until the 40s of this century.
The Air Force is planning to create a new long-range bomber and a long-range cruise missile LRSO, which will replace the air-to-ground AGM-86 cruise missiles. The creation of this bomber, which will be in service with the SNA before the 2080-s, in 2015 – 2024 will be spent 41,7 billion dollars. The Air Force plans to buy 1000 – 1100 LRSO missiles. The cost of developing and purchasing these missiles, which will remain in service until the 60-s, will be 25 billion dollars.
The US Navy is implementing a program to create a new SSBN, which should replace the Ohio submarine. The Pentagon does not report accurate data on the performance of the future SSBNS and their quantity. It is only known that, according to experts of the military department, about 139 billion will be spent on the creation of a new nuclear submarine. These boats will start coming into service in the 2031 year and will be on combat duty until the 80s of the current century.
It has been repeatedly verified that "Minuteman-3" shoots exactly. Photo from www.dodmedia.osd.mil
Constant modernization of nuclear warheads and bombs is carried out as part of the Life Cycle Increase Program (LEP), implemented by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSAB). More than six years ago, a report by an independent group of scientists, called JASON, convincingly showed that the life span of nuclear warheads and bombs can be safely extended by several decades. At the present, NNSNL employees are working to reduce the range of nuclear charges from 10 to 5 types. The total cost of these works is estimated at 65 billion.
Existing nuclear weapons manufacturing enterprises are undergoing significant reconstruction and new production facilities are being created. So, for example, in 2016, 430 million dollars were included in the NNWSA budget for the modernization of the uranium processing plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In general, 6,5 – 7,5 billion dollars will be spent on the development of this enterprise. However, according to specialists of the US Army engineering troops, the cost of this work could be 11 billion dollars.
The Pentagon attaches paramount importance to the quality, efficiency and maintenance of the required level of combat readiness of the SNA control systems, including early warning systems for nuclear missile early warning systems. According to the CBA estimates, 2015 billion will be spent on improving the management systems of the SNA in the 2024 – 52 fiscal years.
After identifying numerous facts of inadequate training, inadequate performance of their functional duties, breaches of discipline and moral standards, as well as other violations committed by SNA soldiers in November 2014, the Minister of Defense ordered SNA leadership to carry out a number of measures to eliminate these shortcomings. This list includes measures to change the rules for checking the functional load of military personnel in order to optimize it, eliminate unnecessary levels of administration and a number of other measures aimed at improving the combat effectiveness of the SNA. In addition, the Minister announced that over the course of five years the expenses for the implementation of these tasks will increase annually by 10%. In 2016, 1,1 billion is planned to be spent on improving the structure and forms of personnel management of the nuclear forces and increasing the professional training of military personnel. In general, over the next five years, about 8 billion will be spent for these purposes.
PRO ET CONTRA
A few years ago, the head of the US Department of Defense, Robert Gates, said that America would increase its nuclear arsenals. In one of his speeches, he expressed concerns about improving Russia's nuclear potential. “It is clear that in the future the Russians will concentrate their efforts on increasing nuclear power. And the fact that Russia is increasingly relying on its nuclear force, and not on conventional weapons, confirms the importance of expanding our nuclear arsenal as a modern force and deterrent, ”the head of the Pentagon said.
Since then, nothing has changed. The White House continues to strengthen the nuclear component of its Armed Forces, directing enormous efforts to develop nuclear attack tools, and is creating new atomic weapons. Many American politicians and military argue that nuclear missiles and bombs are necessary for the White House to protect against hostile countries that have or are creating atomic weapons. In such statements, although between the lines, Russia is read first of all.
More recently, the Chief of Staff of the US Army, General Mark Milli, once again shared his thoughts on the threats to America’s national security from other countries. The General once again repeated his repeated statements that Russia is the main enemy of the United States. He declared that only Russia could destroy America. According to Milli, the nuclear arsenal of the Russian Federation is “literally an existential threat,” that is, an always-present and unchanging threat to the existence of an overseas “democratic paradise”.
At the end of last year, during a conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on the Prevention of Nuclear Threat, former US Secretary of Defense, a member of the Supervisory Board of this organization, 88-year-old William Perry said that Russia and America are on the verge of a new nuclear arms race, comparable to that was conducted during the Cold War. He noted that today both Moscow and Washington are already "at an early stage of this process." The former minister also said that the US budget 2016 of the fiscal year has already made large allocations to strengthen the US nuclear arsenal. “Over the next 20 – 30 years, billions of dollars will be spent on this. Therefore, I believe that this is a crisis, and this fact is unlikely to be questioned in both Russia and the United States, ”said Perry.
From 1977 to 1981, he served as deputy minister of defense for research and development and played a key role in the development of nuclear weapons. At the very active participation of Perry, the Doomsday Atomic Weapon was created, including the submarines with the Trident SLBMs, the B-2 and KR bombers with nuclear warheads. Today, he warns Washington about the real threat to the existence of America and the whole world and is in favor of stopping the nuclear arms race. The former head of the Pentagon argues that the resumption of the nuclear arms race will require huge financial investments, but, worst of all, not only will not provide greater security for the United States and its allies, but also lead to increased tensions between states and make their interaction highly unstable. .
In the American media, there are claims that the United States and Russia are increasingly belligerent towards each other and continue to actively develop and produce more advanced nuclear weapons. Experts say that the deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington did not begin at all today and that the United States is largely to blame for this. It all began with the intensified expansion of NATO to the east, despite promises to the Kremlin not to do this and not to encroach on its sphere of influence. According to Perry, who actively contributed to bringing the bloc troops closer to the borders of the Russian Federation and subsequently recognizing the destructiveness of such a policy, "this was the first step along the slippery slope down." He also stated that "both we and the Russians were to blame for this, at least at first."
Some journalists believe that growing tensions between the US and Russia can have dire global consequences, even if neither side resorts to the use of nuclear missiles.
Many presidential candidates do not support Obama’s nuclear initiatives and believe that spending such huge money on atomic weapons, which is necessary to deter aggressors, simply makes no sense today. They believe that in modern conditions, an already existing barrel with nuclear powder is enough for everyone who wants to blow up America to refrain from inciting atomic fire.