Ceausescu Uranium Plans
Information about the export of US tactical nuclear weapons from the Turkish Incirlik base to Romania, officially refuted by Bucharest, is not out of the ordinary. This, presumably, is about the B61 hydrogen bombs with a 100 – 500 kilo ton capacity, which F-16 fighter-bomber pilots have been trained to use by the Turkish Air Force. The situation here seems to be too uncertain for Washington, and he does not need the risks associated with nuclear weapons. Something similar happened in 1974 during the Greek-Turkish conflict over northern Cyprus. At that time, the United States dismantled its nuclear warheads mounted on the Nike Hercules anti-aircraft missiles of the Greek army from harmlessness.
The roar of "Bison"
The socialist Republic of Romania occupied a special place in the Soviet bloc. President-dictator Nicolae Ceausescu not only defied Moscow in some ways, but also managed to get military technology simultaneously from the USSR, China and some NATO countries. And to the Kremlin, the “genius of the Carpathians,” as the then Romanian press called him obsequiously, was not at all inclined to trust.
In May 1976, a large-scale training battle took place in neighboring Bulgaria, in which both their own and Soviet units deployed here by sea took part. Self-propelled launchers of Redut cruise missiles from the Black Sea coastal missile regiment rushed south towards the border with Turkey and Greece fleet - from here they could hit targets in the Aegean. Such exercises were carried out according to a scenario such as “Mastering the Torrential Zone with amphibious assault in the conditions of using conventional weapons with the subsequent transition to the use of nuclear weapons”. In short, a completely symmetrical response to similar NATO exercises.
Meanwhile, the exercises in Bulgaria caused concern not only among the Alliance, but also in Romania, which they were pointedly not attracted to them. Bucharest, which had deployed a radio intercept service to monitor the maneuvers, was alarmed that the Bulgarian units near the border had been alerted. They conducted a mobilization deployment deployment. The Romanian leadership interpreted this as a rehearsal for the invasion. Such thoughts did not leave Ceausescu since 1968, when he refused to support the actions of the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia.
In response, Bucharest defiantly conducted the Zimbrul (“Bison”) exercise with the task of covering the borders with the USSR and Hungary. In addition to the army in Romania, under the control of the security service of the Securitate, a militia structure was created - the Patriotic Guard, which was a detachment of local self-defense, formed on a territorial-production basis. Guardsmen Ceausescu were preparing, in which case, to defend the country from the Soviet army and other allies belonging to the “brotherhood in arms”. Of course, this was not openly publicized.
With all this, the CPR army was equipped with Soviet-made military equipment. But not only.
Romania began to use Soviet weapons in the period of World War II, when its army, which participated in the aggression against the USSR, captured trophies on the Eastern Front. For example, the Romanians got more than 200 units of the Soviet and used Red Army Lend-Lease armored vehicles - from surrogate defending Odessa tanks “To Fright” (more details - http://vpk-news.ru/articles/31750) to single T-34s, KV-1s, IS-2s and ISU-152s. However, due to repair difficulties, more or less noticeable combat use (in insignificant amounts) was found in them only by light T-60s and semi-armored artillery tractors T-20 Komsomolets. The latter were adopted fully officially under the name enileta Ford Rusesc de Captura. And the TACAM T-60 cars were a T-60 chassis, in which instead of the removed tower a Soviet captured 76-mm F-22 gun was installed (the open cabin was assembled from armored plates cut from the BT-7). In addition, on the chassis of the Romanian light tanks R-2 (imported Czechoslovak Skoda S-II-a), anti-tank self-propelled TACAM R-2s were developed, armed with the captured Soviet 76-mm ZIS-3 gun (again using armored plates in the wheelhouse from captured BT-7 and T-26).
In 1944, Romania wisely broke up with Hitler Germany and declared war on its former ally. Even earlier, in 1943, on the territory of the USSR, the formation of the 1 Volunteer Infantry Division named after M. Gorkiy from the Romanian prisoners of war began. Tudor Vladimirrescu, and on the "elite" state of the Guards rifle division of the Red Army. She began her combat career in 1944. Another Romanian formation is the 2-I Volunteer Infantry Division. Horia, Closhki and Krishana were formed on the territory of the USSR in 1945, but did not have time to take part in the hostilities.
On May 9 Soviet victory, the Romanian troops handed 397 antitank rifles, machine guns 1238, 10 554 rifles and carbines, submachine guns 4935, 184 artillery pieces, mortars 320, a considerable amount of ammunition, vehicles 328, 130 630 radios and field telephones. The armament was both Soviet and trophy. The number of armored vehicles received by the Romanians included Soviet T-34-85, German medium Pz.Kpfw.IV and Pz.Kpfw.V “Panther”, assault guns StuG.III and some others.
Participation in the Warsaw Treaty Organization (1955 – 1991) did not prevent the country from actively developing relations with China and even with NATO members. Maneuvering between Moscow, Beijing and the West, Bucharest received tangible military assistance not only from the USSR, but also from the PRC, as well as from France and the United Kingdom. The most notable acquisitions were the Huchuan-type hydrofoil torpedo boats and the Shanghai-II guard patrols (about fifty units in general), initially imported, and then built in-house, light-weight, multi-purpose SA.316B helicopters manufactured under French license “Aluett-III” (Romanian designation IAR-316B) and medium landing-transport SA.330 “Puma” (IAR-330), in English - BTS BN-2 “Islander” and short-haul passenger airliners BAC 1-11 (RCB) 111). In China, Bucharest acquired the front bombers "Hun-5" (a copy of the Soviet Il-28).
In partnership with Yugoslavia, Romania assembled joint development aircraft IAR-93 (J-22 Orao) with Viper Mk turbojet engines manufactured under an English license. 632-41 and Mk. 633-47. French and Swedish avionics found use on the plane. The attack aircraft is armed with two Soviet 23-mm GSh-23L double-barreled guns and can carry 57-, 122- and 240-mm unguided missiles of the Soviet standard (it is interesting that the Yugoslavs equipped it also with Grom air-to-ground missiles, representing a copy of the American AGM-65B "Maverick", which were delivered to the SFRY from the United States in the first half of the 80s). However, the basis of the air power of the CPP was aviationmade in the USSR - at the time of the abolition of the ATS, these were MiG-21, MiG-23 and MiG-29 fighters.
Quite a powerful defense industry of the country provided the needs of the army in armored vehicles and artillery. Until the middle of the 70, the Romanians were content with tanks received from the allies (T-34-85 of the Czechoslovak assembly and Soviet T-55), but already in 1977 began production at their own factories. At first they were TR-55 tanks corresponding to the original (T-580), and in the export version - TR-77, supplied to Egypt and Iraq. They were replaced by TR-85 - a combination of Soviet (general layout), Chinese (a licensed copy of the 100-mm Chinese gun "Type 69-II", in turn created on the basis of the Soviet D-10Т2С, and a laser rangefinder "Yangzhou") and West German ( diesel 8VS-A2T2M) technology. Romania also received a license from the USSR for the production of the T-72, but it didn’t go further than releasing several prototypes of the TR-1989 main tank with a German diesel engine based on the German prototype model.
In the class of light reconnaissance armored vehicles, Romania launched a TAB-79 combat vehicle in the series, reminiscent of the BRDM-2 (besides, the TAB-79 based own version of the Strela-1 self-propelled air defense system was produced). Romanian modifications of the Soviet BMP-1 were the MLI-84 and MLVM infantry fighting vehicles, and TAB-71 (analogous to the BTR-60PB, but with a more powerful propulsion system) and TAB-77 (diesel version of the BTR-70) are known from the armored personnel carriers. The artillery industry has mastered the production of 130-mm М1982 (advanced Soviet М-46), 152-mm М1985 (similar to our 2А65 "Msta-B") and modifications of the howitzer-gun D-20 (under the designation М1981 and М1985). As an original sample of an unusual caliber, you can recall the Romanian 98-mm M93 Mining Machine. 122-mm M1989 self-propelled howitzers were also produced - Romanian copies of the Soviet 2C1 “Gvozdika” (towers with weapons were supplied by Bulgaria). In addition, under the Soviet-style ammunition, Romania produced the 100-mm anti-tank gun АNNXX (the initial modification - М407, advanced - М1975), created on the basis of the Chinese tank ("Type 1977-II").
In the 80-s, the Romanians began the production of their own clone 122-mm 40-barrel rocket system “Grad”. This is the APR-40 on the DAC665T chassis. A lightweight version of this system was also produced - the 21-barrel APR-21 (on the chassis of the Bucegi SR-114). For special purpose units, their own version of the 122-mm portable single-barrel rocket launcher was created, resembling the Soviet Grad-P 9P132.
Significant assistance from the USSR came the CPF Navy. Romanians received marine equipment (including submarines, rocket boats) and built ships with Soviet weapons at their shipyards. This, for example, missile destroyer "Muntenia" (later "Marasheshti") patrol type "Amiran Peter Barbuneanu" and "Kontraamiral Eustatiu Sebastian" torpedo "Epitrop" cutters, river monitors VB-76 and "Brutar" mine layer "Vitseamiral Ioan Murgescu ”, Lokotenent Remus Lepri sea-sweepers and others.
Megatons of justice
The CPR Army was the only organization in the Warsaw Pact that was armed with military equipment of the Soviet, Chinese and NATO types at the same time, which undoubtedly irritated the Soviet leadership. However, in general, this did not particularly affect the military support of Bucharest by Moscow, which included the transfer of nuclear weapons delivery vehicles. They were tactical missile systems 2K6 "Luna" (six self-propelled launchers 2P16 in 1963 – 1964-m) and 9K52 "Luna-M" (nine SPU 9P113 in 1977-NNUMX-m and I a). 1978XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXC0405 m, 8 11М8). The use of this missile weapon in conventional equipment was ineffective, and in the nuclear could only be ensured by the USSR and under its control (for more details, the “Nuclear Brotherhood”).
But such a control Ceausescu did not suit. He wanted his own atomic bomb.
As a remark, it should be mentioned that Bucharest was not the only Balkan country that had nuclear weapons. Similar plans were hatched by Belgrade, which was not part of the Warsaw Pact and adhered to even more independent positions on the world arena from the USSR. It suffices to say that the SFRY at one time was one of the largest recipients of American military aid. In 1974, Tito held a meeting with the supreme command of the Yugoslav Peoples Army and academics, at which he declared the need to possess his own atomic bomb, the path to which should be masked by research on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Three years later, the chief of the military-industrial complex, General Kukoc, stated unequivocally: SFRY, of course, for nuclear disarmament, but the question of whether or not to have an appropriate arsenal is the national prerogative of Yugoslavia, which is ready to repel "any aggression." The SFRY ambitions, of course, were also taken into account in the CPF that cooperated with it in the military sphere, but rather as a motivating example, rather than a hypothetical threat.
Back in 1948, representatives of the Romanian authorities tried to acquire radioactive cobalt in the US, allegedly for medical research, but without success. Joint venture with the USSR, Sovromkvarts was engaged in the extraction of uranium ore. The Soviet Union assisted Romania in training and transferred the WWR-C two-megawatt research nuclear reactor installed in 1957 in a suburb of Bucharest. And in 1979, the United States helped Bucharest acquire two more TRIGA type research reactors. They earned at the site of the Atomic Energy Institute in Pitesti.
Such a scientific and technical groundwork in principle allowed Romanian scientists and engineers to acquire the necessary experience for creating nuclear weapons. The chemical plant in Pitesti, in secrecy, mastered the radiochemical technology for producing weapons-grade plutonium (about one kilogram per year) from SNF from the TRIGA 14 megawatt reactor. In addition, Romania received some enriched uranium from the United States.
With the help of Canada, the Romanians managed to produce heavy water and nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants. The chemical plant in Pitesti produced 1990 tons of nuclear fuel for the 585 year. It is noteworthy that the first Romanian nuclear power plant in Cernavoda became operational in the post-socialist era, although the decision to build it was made under Ceausescu. The station uses two Canadian 700-megawatt CANDU reactors (the possibility of using Soviet WWER-440 was considered). Chernavoda NPP power units were taken into commercial operation in 1996 and 2007.
National successes in the field of atomic research allowed Ceausescu 14 April 1989 to make a loud statement: “We can produce any weapon. But there is an area in which we don’t want to do anything - this concerns nuclear weapons. Yes, we have the technical capabilities of its production, but we are not going to go this way, as we strongly oppose weapons that can destroy life on the planet. We demand the elimination of nuclear weapons in all countries that possess them, and in general stand for a world without wars and disarmament. ”
This statement received great international response. In fact, it was not a statement of peacefulness at all, but a warning to nuclear powers (including the USSR). Moreover, Ceausescu has once said that the situation in which non-nuclear countries can only rely on the geopolitical condescension of superpowers is unfair and that Bucharest reserves the right to have an arsenal of chemical weapons. According to some estimates, based on an analysis of the industrial potential of Romania, it could acquire nuclear weapons by the 2000 year, placing them on existing ballistic missiles and aircraft.
However, Ceausescu's plans went to his grave with him. The revolution also swept away Romanian socialism, and the dictator himself, who was barbarously shot along with his wife Elena by the sentence of a hastily knit tribunal. Apparently, the former comrades had personal reasons to rush into physical elimination of the “genius of the Carpathians”.
Final point in this stories has agreed to Bucharest to recognize the IAEA’s control over its nuclear facilities. The agency’s inspectors found some kind of evidence, in particular, almost a pound of plutonium at the Atomic Energy Institute, and in 1992, Bucharest was presented with a strict demand to completely curtail the military nuclear program. Romania has fulfilled an ultimatum, and it is generally accepted that its current research in this area is exclusively peaceful. However, the deployment (if this is the case) of American nuclear weapons (as well as ABM components) on the territory of this country makes it necessary to take a fresh look at its status.
Subscribe and stay up to date with the latest news and the most important events of the day.