Sunday, 3 November 2013
Nuclear shield: A change of priorities
Russia's strategic rocket forces (RSF) by 2021 will be re-armed with universal defense systems of the fifth generation by 98 percent. This is obviously not a sensation, because this date was stated before. But this time it is not just about replacing the missiles, but also the modernization of the existing and construction of new bases of the Strategic Rocket Forces. It is also about equipping the SRF infrastructure with the latest communication, security systems and other modern weapons and equipment to support the operation of the missile attack group. The media quoted the Defense Ministry noting that by 2016 the ratio of new missile systems in the Strategic Missile Forces will be approximately 60 percent. This will be parallel to the development of the relevant infrastructure. Only intercontinental ballistic missile RS-20V "Voevoda" (under the Western classification - SS -18 "Satan") will remain in the arsenal of strategic missile regiments until 2022, and then only in very limited quantities. Now the industry and military conduct work to prolong its service life to 30 years. Will Russia be able to re-arm the Strategic Missile Forces over a fairly short period of time? According to the majority of military experts, it is quite likely. In any case, there are no apparent reasons for the delay of such plans. So far there are only a few of SRF regiments fully equipped with intercontinental ballistic missile systems of the fifth generation, "Topol-M" and "Yars" in Russia. The first regiment, Teykovskoe missile regiment, emerged a couple of years ago in the Ivanovo region. Two of its missile regiments are equipped with "Topol -M," and another two the "Yars." The Ministry of Defense representatives noted then that in the course of re-armament of the regiments with the new types of missile complexes, the infrastructure in the positioning areas of missile regiments was improved. It involved construction of new barracks, headquarters, training facilities and kitchens, and expansion of modern training methods In 2013, the re-armament work in Novosibirsk and Kozelskii regiments will be completed. 100 units of military and special equipment for the new missile systems were delivered to these areas. The re-armament of the first missile regiment Tagilsky was started. In addition, before the end of this year preparatory work for the full re-armament in Irkutsk and Jasnensky rocket regiments will be conducted. Virtually all recent official reports on the latest missile systems use one word that has become nearly sacred - the infrastructure. It appears that the Defense Ministry is actively changing the concept of the Strategic Rocket Forces set up in the Soviet Union. During Soviet times, the concept of a strategic missile group was based on the primacy of the weapons and secondary nature of the supporting infrastructure. There have been cases, especially in the mid-1980s, during perestroika, when the infrastructure of newly opened rocket regiments was an afterthought. That is, silos were equipped, rockets were put into operation, and readiness tests were conducted literally in the open field or in the taiga or tundra. Only then they would think about food for rocket servicing staff on duty, their lodging, resources to conduct maintenance works, and so on. In the second half of the 1980s the American media published the latest pictures of a Soviet missile silo. There was a great deal of fuss about it, the Soviet special agents were trying to find out where the photos came from, and the Americans were openly laughing. It does not matter where the American journalists have procured the rare photos. The fact is that right at the perimeter of an ultra-modern missile silo there was a regular field kitchen circa 1939, working on wood and smoking away. It could be seen from space satellites. It seems that the current leadership of the Defense Ministry is aware of the importance of the latest missiles, and chose the most logical path: first take care of the rear and only then fighting positions. As for the distant future, Russia is developing a new solid fuel intercontinental missile that sometime in the future may replace the existing missile systems of the fifth generation like "Yars" and "Topol -M." In 2012 SRF conducted a few launches of a prototype of the missile from a mobile launcher at the state Central interspecific range "Kapustin Yar" in Astrakhan region. The launches were rather successful. The designers of military equipment with understandable caution do not call this development the sixth generation of intercontinental missiles. It is clear that in ten years (a full production cycle of commissioning of serial missile units) rocket technology will also be upgraded.