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Yuri Barash*: Nuclear Arsenal of the Russian Federation: Situation in the Strategic Nuclear Force and its Tactical and Technical Characteristics


Articles

As indicated in the military doctrine of Russia, nuclear weapons remain a factor of preventing nuclear and conventional conflicts. The main contribution to the Russian deterrence potential is made by the Strategic Nuclear Force. This article will show the current state and prospects for the development of the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia.

 

    Current state of Strategic Nuclear Force

    The Strategic Nuclear Force includes Strategic Missile Force, Naval Strategic Nuclear Force (part of the Navy) and Air Strategic Nuclear Force (part of the Aerospace Force). The Strategic Nuclear Force also has support forces, and interacts with the Missile Attack Early Warning System, being part of the Aerospace Force.

As of January, 2016, the exchange of data under the START-III Treaty, included up to 525 deployed strategic carriers capable of carrying about 1,800 nuclear warheads in the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia, and as of 1 March, 2017, the Strategic Nuclear Force had 523 such carriers, which accounted for 1,765 nuclear warheads .

The Strategic Missile Force is a branch of the Russian Armed Forces, a ground component of its Strategic Nuclear Force. These are the troops of constant readiness, intended for nuclear deterrence and destruction of strategic targets by nuclear missile strikes, which are the basis of the military and military-economic potential of the enemy. The Strategic Missile Force is armed with all Russian ground-based missile systems of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) with nuclear warheads.

Due to its geographic and strategic position, the USSR, and later Russia, traditionally made the main emphasis in forming the structure of the Strategic Nuclear Force on their ground component - the Strategic Missile Force. The leading role of the Strategic Missile Force in the Strategic Nuclear Force is now determined not only by their prevalence in the number of deployed carriers (57%) and the number of nuclear warheads (50%), but also by their high readiness to perform combat missions, all-weather performance and stability of control under counteraction conditions.

In 1991, the Strategic Missile Force had 6 missile armies (MA) and 28 missile divisions (MD). The largest number of ICBMs on alert was in 1985 (2,500, of which 1,398 were intercontinental). At the same time, the highest number of nuclear warheads on duty was in 1986 – 10,300. But then the Strategic Missile Force was severely curtailed in accordance with the START-I / II / III treaties. At the beginning of 2017, there were already 3 armies and 12 divisions in the Strategic Missile Force (see Table 1).

Table 1

Missile armies, divisions, regiments

Number of complexes

Type of missile complex

 

27th Guards. Vitebsk MA  (Vladimir-21)

 

 

7th Guards Rezhitskaya MD  (Tver Province, Ozerny restricted administrative territorial unit)

18

Topol (SS-25 Sickle)

41st Missile Regiment (MR) (Оzerny)

9

Topol mobile

510th MR  (Оzerny)

9

Topol mobile

28th Guards MD  (Kozelsk-5, Kaluga Province)

10 + and 20 -

Yars-M and UT-100N UTTH (SS-19 mod.2 Stiletto)

74th MR  (Kozelsk)

10

Yars-M silo

168th MR  (Kozelsk)

 

10 - +

UT-100N UTTH silo, rearmament with Yars-M

373rd MR  (Kozelsk)

10

UT-100N UTTH silo

54th Guards MD (Teikovo-6, Ivanovo Province)

18 and 18

Yars (SS-27 Mod 2) and Topol-M

235th MR  (Teikovo)

9

Topol-M mobile (SS-27 Sickle B)

285th MR  (Теikovo)

9

Yars mobile

321st MR (Теikovo)

9

Topol-M mobile

773rd MR  (Теikovо)

9

Yars mobile

60th Taman MD  (Svetly, Tatischev district, Saratov Province)

60 and 30

Topol-M and UT-100N UTTH

31st MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

86th MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

104th MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

122nd MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

165th MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

271st MR  (Svetly)

10

Topol-M silo

626th MR  (Svetly)

10

UТ-100N UТТH silo

649th MR (Svetly)

10

UТ-100N UТТH silo

687th MR (Svetly)

10

UТ-100 UТТН  silo

14th Kiev-Zhitomir MD  (Yoshkar-Ola, Rep. Mari El)

9 + and 18 -

Yars and Topol

290th MR   (Yoshkar-Ola)

9

Yars mobile

697th MR  (Yoshkar-Ola)

9 - +

Topol mobile, rearmament with Yars

779th MR   (Yoshkar-Ola)

9

Topol mobile

31st MA (Orenburg-40)

 

 

13th Orenburg MD (town of Yasny, Komarovskaya settlement, Orenburg Province)

30?

Voevoda (SS-18 Satan)

175th MR   (Yasny)

6

Voevoda silo

206th  MR (Yasny)

6

Voevoda silo

368th MR  (Yasny)

6

Voevoda silo

494th MR  (Yasny)

6

Voevoda silo

767th MR   (Yasny)

6

Voevoda silo

42nd Tagil MD  (Sverdlovsk Province, Svobodny restricted administrative territorial unit)

27

 

Yars

42nd MR  (Svobodny)

9

Yars mobile

433th MR  (Svobodny)

9

Yars mobile

804th MR  (Svobodny)

9

Yars mobile

8th Melitopol MD  (Pervomaisky /Yurya-2, Kirov Province)

 

 

"Perimeter-RC"(Dead Hand)  Command missiles, Mobile Control Centres, Barrier-M and Granit

76th MR (Yurya-2)

 

Topol com. Mobile

304thMR  (Yurya-2)

 

Topol com. Mobile

776th MR  (Yurya-2)

 

Topol com. Mobile

33rd Guards Berislav-Khingan MA (Omsk-48)

 

 

35th MD (Sibirskiy restricted administrative territorial unit)

36

Topol

307th MR (Sibirskiy)

9

Topol mobile

479th MR (Sibirskiy)

9

Topol mobile

480th MR (Sibirskiy)

9

Topol mobile

867th MR (Sibirskiy)

9

Topol mobile

39th Guards Glukhov MD (Novosibirsk-95)

18 +and 6 -

Yars and Topol

357th MR (Novosibirsk)

9

Yars mobile

382nd MR (Novosibirsk)

9

Yars mobile

428th MR (Novosibirsk)

6 - +

Topol mobile, rearmament with "Yars"

The 29th Guards Vitebsk MD (Irkutsk, Zelyony)

9 + and 18-

Yars and Topol

92nd MR     (Irkutsk)

9

Yars mobile

344th MR (Irkutsk)

9 – +

Topol mobile, rearmament with Yars

586th MR (Irkutsk)

9

Topol mobile

62nd MD (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Uzhursk District, Solnechny restricted administrative territorial unit)

24?

Voevoda

229th MR (Solnechny)

6

Voevoda silo

269th MR (Solnechny)

6

Voevoda silo

302nd MR (Solnechny)

6

 Voevoda silo

735th MR (Solnechny)

6

Voevoda silo

 

A missile army includes 3-5 divisions, controlling units and support centre.

The missile division may have 2-9 missile regiments, control centre (mobile command post), communication centre, detached group or base for maintenance of control and communication facilities, technical missile base and operational and technical commandant's office, other units (security, combat, technical, and logistic support). All in all, there are 45 missile regiments in the Strategic Missile Force, which include the following missile complexes: Topol (11 regiments), Topol-M (8), Yars (8), Yars-M (1), UR-100N UTTH (5), Voevoda (9) and the command missile complex Perimeter-RC (3).

The missile regiment, depending on the type of missile complex and their basing (silo or mobile) can have at the regular mode: with Voevoda silo missile complexes - 6 launchers; with other silo missile complexes - 10 launchers; with mobile land-based missile complexes - 9 self-propelled launchers.

The Strategic Missile Force also includes the units of a central subordination: the Main Headquarters, the central and reserve command post, the central communication centre and communication control unit, the combat control centre (Perimeter retaliatory nuclear attack Automated Control Complex), the missile armament directorate general and the directorate for the control of its operation, 3 arsenals, engineering and logistics services, the 4th Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defence, the academy, the central shooting range.

In January, 2016, the Strategic Missile Force included 902 nuclear warheads for 299 ICBMs, and as of April, 2017 they could have had 1,078 nuclear warheads and up to 322 ICBMs: 154 silo missile complexes and 168 mobile land-based missile complexes (see Table 2).

Table 2

Type of missile complex

Type of basing

Number of complexes

Number of warheads

Dislocation

 

On the missile

Total

Voevoda

silo

46

10

460

Dombarovsky, Uzhur

UR-100N UTTH

silo

30

6

180

Tatishchevo, Kozelsk

Topol

mobile

72

1

72

Yoshkar-Ola, Barnaul, Vypolzovo

Topol-M

silo

60

1

60

Tatishchevo

Topol-M

mobile

18

1

18

Teikovo

Yars

mobile

78

3

234

Teikovo, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Tagil

Yars-M

silo

18

3

54

Kozelsk

Total

 

322

 

1,078

 

   

    Сharacteristics of missile complexes of  ICBM are given in Table. 3

Table 3

Designation

RT-2PM

RT-2PM2

 

UR-100N UTTH

 R-36M2

Title

Topol

Topol-M

Yars/ Yars-M

 

Voevoda

Index of complex

15P158

15P155/5P165

15P155M/15P165M

 

15P018M

 

Missile index 

15Ж58

15Ж55/15Ж65

15Ж55M/ 15Ж67

15A35

15A18M

START Сode

РС-12М

РС-12М2

РС-24

РС-18Б

РС-20В

Deployment, year

1985-1992

1997

from 2010/2014

1979-1984

1988-1992

 

On duty, up to, year

2021

2016/2030

2035/2040

2019

2022

 

Type of deployment

Mobile

mobile /silo

mobile /silo

silo

silo

Stages

3

3

3

3

2+ division

Length with warhead, m

22.7

22.7

23

27

34.3

 

Length without warhead, m

17.5

17.5

17

24

 

 

Diameter, m

1,8

1,86

1,81

2,5

3

Weight, t

45

47.1

49

105.6

211.4

Throw-weight, t

1

 

1.2

 

1.2

4.35

 

7.3

 

Type of propellant

solid

solid

solid

liquid

liquid

 

Range, km

10,000

11,000

11,000

10,000

11,000

Number of warhead combat blocs

1

1 and Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

3 and Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

6 and Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

10 and Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

Charge, Mt

0.55

0.55

0.15-0.3

0.55

0.75

Circular probable error, km

0.4

0.2

0.15

0.35

0.22

 

Heavy silo missile complex Voevoda (RS-20V) was developed by  "Yuzhnoye" design bureau and was manufactured at Yuzhmash plant (Dnipropetrovsk). The missile of the complex has two stages and liquid propellant, it can carry 10 warheads and a complex for overcoming anti-missile defence systems. The Voevoda missile complex may be in service until 2022. The Yuzhnoye Design Bureau refused to supervise it, and it was commissioned to Makeyev Centre.

Silo missile complex UT-100N UTTH (RS-18B) was developed by the R&D mechanical engineering production facility (Reutov, Moscow Province) and manufactured at the Khrunichev plant (Moscow). The missile of the complex is two-stage, liquid propellant, carrying 6 warheads. The complex will have been in service until 2019.

Mobile land-based missile complex Topol (RS-12M) was developed at the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, manufactured by Votkinsk mechanical engineering plant. The missile of the complex is a three-stage, solid propellant, carrying one warhead. The self-propelled launcher has a chassis of a 7-axle tractor 14x12 MAZ-7912 (later - MAZ-7917). Now the complex is being withdrawn from the armament in connection with the expiration of the service life of the missiles and its replacement by the mobile land-based missile complex Yars. All Topols will be withdrawn from the Strategic Missile Force in 2021.

Silo missile complex and mobile land-based missile complex Topol-M (RS-12M2) were developed at the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering, and missiles are manufactured by Votkinsk mechanical engineering plant. The missile of the complex is three-stage, solid propellant, carrying one warhead. Self-propelled launcher of the complex is mounted on the chassis of the 8-axle tractor 16x16 MZKT-79221 (MAZ-7922), with a load capacity of 80 tons. Its weight without a missile is 40 tons, the speed is 45 km / h, the range is 500 km. The complex has already been stopped producing. The silo complex will remain in service until 2030, while the mobile one has been almost replaced by mobile land-based complex Yars.

Silo missile complex Yars-M and mobile land-based missile complex Yars (RS-24) were developed at the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering on the basis of the silo missile complex and the mobile land-based missile complex Topol-M. The silo complexes Yars-M replace the obsolete silos of the UT-100N UTTH, and the mobile complexes Yars are replacing obsolete Topol and Topol-M. Versions of the anti-missile trajectory maneuvering are implemented in the missiles of Yars and Yars-M to evade the space-based ABM interceptors. The missile is a three-stage, solid fuel, with 3 warheads. It is more powerful than the ICBM Topol- M and is immune to the existing ground-based ABM of the enemy. The mobile land-based missile complex Yars has more opportunities to use the position area and can be launched from sites where "Topol" could only be on duty after reequipment. Communication means and chassis have also improved. It is planned to keep the mobile land-based missile complex Yars in service until 2035, and the silo Yars-M -until 2040. It was reported early in 2017 that the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering faced the problems of the implementation of the governmental order in terms of deliveries of the mobile launchers of Yars complexes (in 2016  the plan of their production was not fulfilled).

Analysis of the implementation of 2016 governmental order plans and the plans of the governmental order for 2017 show that the share of equipping the Strategic Missile Forces with modern weapons in 2016 amounted to 56% (62% according to plan), and not 50 ICBMs and SLBMs were delivered to the strategic nuclear forces, as planned, but 41, which indicates the failure of the governmental order of 2016. At the same time, four regiments equipped with ICBM Yars came on duty in the Strategic Missile Force instead of 5 according to the plan. In 2014, 35 ICBMs Yars were started to be made, in 2016 - 23, in 2017 it is planned to deliver 20 (for 6, 4 and 3 regiments). This indicates an annual decrease in the output of the Yars ICBM.

Naval Strategic Nuclear Force form a large part of the potential for a retaliatory strike by the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia, since they are characterized by increased survivability due to high secrecy of actions while at sea.

Weaknesses of the NSNF are considered to be the vulnerability of strategic missile submarine cruisers in the basing points, as well as low reliability of their getting orders from the centralized control in the submerged position. In addition, due to the significant weakening of the potential of the Russian Navy conventional forces in 1999-2010, the Russian SSBNs in the ocean have a much lower combat stability than the US submarines with ballistic missiles.

At the beginning of 2016, there were 12 SSBNs of 4 types in the Navy, but only 10 of them had missiles on board. 160 SLBMs are deployed at the SSBN launchers, which can carry 704 nuclear warheads (see Table 4).

Table 4

Types of SSBNs

Number of SSBNs

Number and type of SLBMs

Number of warheads on SLBMs

On the missile

Total

project 667BDR Kalmar 

2

32 R-29R

3

96

 

project 667BDRM Delphin 

6*

80 R-29RM

4

320

 

Pr. 941U Akula

1**

 

 

 

Pr. 955   Borey 

3

48 R-30 Bulava

6

288

Total

12(10 with SLBMs)

160

 

704

* One SSBN Pr. 667BDRM is currently under maintenance and its missiles are not counted.

** The SSBN was used to test the Bulava missiles.

 

The Naval Strategic Nuclear Force units are equipped with SSBNs with SLBMs and are part of two Navy fleets - Northern and Pacific ones.

Submarine units of the Northern Fleet (Gadzhiyevo, Murmansk Province) include:

The 31st submarine division (Gadzhiyevo, Yagelnaya Bay, Sayda Inlet):

6 SSBN pr. 667BDRM: K-18 "Karelia", K-51 Verkhoturye, K-84  Yekaterinburg, K-114 Tula (maintenance, to be put into operation at the end of 2017), K-117 Bryansk, K-407 Novomoskovsk.

1 SSBN project 955 K-535 Yuri Dolgoruky.

58th  security company, unit 10672 (Gadjievo).

269th Division. Anti-submarine sabotage forces and means of detachment, unit 30853 (Gadzhievo): 60 men strong.

The Northern Fleet also includes:

339th brigade of submarines under construction and maintenance, unit 95420 (Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Province): 1 SSBN pr. 941U. Former SSBN TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy, used for testing Bulava missiles).

The Pacific Fleet submarine forces HQ, unit 62695 (Vilyuchinsk, Kamchatka Territory) includes:

25th submarine division, unit 36030 (Rybachy, Kamchatka Territory, Krasheninnikov Bay):

2 SSBN pr. 667BDR: K-223 Podolsk; K-433 Sv. Georgiy Pobedonosets.

2 SSBN pr. 955: K-550 Alexandr Nevsky; K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (replacing the SSBN pr. 667BDR until 2018).

The tactical and technical characteristics of the strategic missile submarine cruisers are given in Table. 5.

Table 5

Project

667BDR

667BDRM

941U

955

Designation

Kalmar

Delphin

Akula

Borey

Deployment, years

1976-1982

1985-1991

1981-1989

 

2013

In service until

2018

2030

 

 

Displacement, t

Superstructure

Underwater

 

10600

13700

 

11740

18200

 

23200

30460

 

14720

24000

Dimensions, m

length

width

CWL draft

 

155

11.7

8.7

 

166.33

11.71

10.5

 

170-173

23.3

11.5

 

170

13.5

10

Speed, knots

Above-water

Underwater

 

14

24

 

15.35

24

 

13

27

 

15

29

Submergence depth

Operating

ultimate

 

 

320

400

 

 

320

400

 

 

380

500

 

 

400

480

Endurance, days

80

90

120

90

Crew, strength

130

135

163

107

SLBM

16 R-29R

16 R-29RM / RMU2

20 R-30

16 R-30 Bulava

Torpedo armament

4 533 mm TT

16 torpedoes,

(24 mines)

2 400 mm TT

6 torpedoes

4 533 mm TT

12 torpedoes,

Anti-submarine guided missiles 83R and 84R

(24 mines)

6 533 mm TT

22 torpedoes,

Anti-submarine guided missiles 81R, 83R and 84R

6 533mm TT

12 torpedoes,

Anti-submarine guided missiles 83R and 84R

Сruise missiles Calibr-PL, Onyx,

 6 324 mm SGALD

 

 

    All SSBNs were developed at the Rubin Central Design Bureau (St.Petersburg). They were constructed by the Northern Machine-Building Enterprise “Sevmash” (Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk Province).

The SSBNs pr. 667BDR were incorporated into the fleet in 1976-1982. A total of 14 submarines of the project were built. They are armed with a D-9R shipborne missile system with 16 SL-29R SLBMs. It is planned that all submarines of Project 667BDR will have been withdrawn from the fleet by 2018.

RRSCNs, pr. 667BDRM were introduced into the fleet in 1985-1991. In total, 7 submarines of the project were built, one of which (K-64 Vladimir) was converted into a special purpose submarine. The SSBNs were armed with the D-9RM shipborne missile system with 16 R-29RM SLBMs. It is assumed that 6 submarines of this project will be kept in the fleet until 2030. Currently, they are under maintenance. The submarines have been rearmed with missiles of the new modification R-29RMU2 Sineva.

Heavy SSBNs pr. 941 were introduced into the fleet in 1981-1989. A total of 6 submarines of the type were built. The SSBNs were equipped with D-19 shipborne missile system with 20 R-39 missiles. In connection with the expiration of the service life of the missiles, the submarines of Pr. 941 were withdrawn from the fleet. The only exception is the head submarine, TK-208 Dmitry Donskoy, which in the course of the renovation was converted to Pr. 941U for a new shipborne missile system with SLBM R-30 Bulava in order to test these missiles.

The RPSN project 955 began to be built in 1996. The main submarine, Yuri Dolgoruky, entered the Northern Fleet in 2013 and was equipped with the Bulava SLBM in 2014. By now, there are two other SSBNs pr. 955 in the fleet - Alexandr Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh.

Tactical and technical characteristics of shipborne missile systems with SLBMs are given in Table. 6.

Table 6

Designation

R-29R

R29RМ

R-29RМU2

R-30

Name

 

 

"Sineva"

"Bulava"

Index of the complex

D-9R

D-9RM

D-9RMU2

D-30

Index of the missile

3M40

3M37

 

3M30

START Code

РСМ-50

РСМ-54

РСМ-54

РСМ-56

In service since

1979

1986

1999

Produced since 2007

Stages

2

  3

3

3

Length with warhead, m

14.1

14.8

14.8

12.1

Length without warhead, m

 

 

 

11,5

 

Diameter, m

1,8

1,9

1,9

2

Weight, t

35.3

40.3

40.3

36.8

Throw-weight, t

1,65

2,8

2,8-2,3

1,15

Type of propellant

liquid

liquid

liquid

solid

Range, km

6,500

8,300

8,300-11,500

8,000-9,300

Number of combat blocs

3

4

4 with Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

6 with Complexes for overcoming antimissile defence

Load capacity, Mt

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.15

Circular probable error, km

0,9

0,5-0,55

0,25-0,5

0,35

 

All SLBMs in service were developed at the Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering (Miass, Chelyabinsk Province). At present it is the National Missile Centre of the Academician Makeev Design Bureau.

The R-29R SLBM equipped with the SSBN 667BR was adopted in 1979. The R-29R missile is a two-stage, liquid, capable of carrying 3 nuclear warheads. The missiles were made at the Krasnoyarsk machine-building plant.

The R-29RM SLBM, equipped with SSBN 667 BR, was adopted in 1986. The R-29RM missile is a three-stage (the third stage performs the functions of a post-boost vehicle), liquid, capable of carrying 4 nuclear warheads. Russia resumed the production of the R-29RM SLBM in the Sineva R-29RMU2 version in 1999, in order to replace the R-29RM missiles that had reached their end in the course of the ongoing maintenance of the SSBN 667BDRM. The missiles are made by the Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant. Modification of the Liner R-29RMU2.1 missile, capable of carrying up to 10 small warheads (or 4 medium with the ABM defence system), was adopted in January, 2014.

At present, the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering is completing the development of a new shipborne missile complex with the Bulava R-30 SLBM. They are equipped with SSBN project 955.

The Air Strategic Nuclear Force is considered to be a flexible means of both global and regional nuclear deterrence. Any other components of the Strategic Nuclear Force possess such capabilities. The weak side of the Russian Aviation Strategic Nuclear Force is a small number of heavy bombers and tanker aircraft, as well as the limited network of basing airfields.

The Air Strategic Nuclear Force is part of the long-range aviation command of the Aerospace Force. As of January 2016, there were up to 66 heavy bombers of two types in the long-range air command, where 462 cruise missiles with nuclear warheads could be deployed (see Table 7). However, according to START III rules, only 66 warheads are counted. In addition, there are 84 long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 in the long-range air command intended for regional deterrence.

Table 7

Type of bomber

Number of heavy bombers

Number of cruise missiles

On board

Total

Tupolev-95MS

55

6

330 (55 according to START III)

Tupolev-160

11

12

132 (11 according to START III)

Total

66

462

(66 according to START III)

 

Long-range aviation units. The Long-Range Air Command includes a communication centre, a control centre, two heavy bomber divisions with four wings equipped with Tupolev-160 / 160M, Tupolev-95MS/MSM and Tupolev-22M3 aircraft. The divisions have 4 airfields-commandant's offices for deployment in various regions. There is also a wing of Ilyushin-78/78M tankers, a combat centre and two mixed air wings.

 Long-Range Air Command, unit 44402 (Moscow) is a formation of the Russian Air Force under the high command of the Air Force. The command of the Long-Range Aviation includes:

• 63rd Division. ACS Communication Centre, unit 83069 (Smolensk, Smolensk Province, Smolensk-Severny airfield).

• 676th control centre of long-range aviation, unit 23449 (Kostino, Vladimir Province).

• 22nd guards heavy bomber division (Engels, Saratov Province):

Guards heavy bomber air wing, unit 85927 (Engels, Saratov region, Engels airfield):

6 Tupolev-160M, 5 Tupolev-160, 11 Tupolev-95MSM, 5 Tupolev-95MS.

    52nd guards heavy bomber air wing, unit 33310 (Shaikovka, Kaluga Province, Shaikovka airfield):

4 Tupolev-22M3 SVP-24-22 Hephaestus, 15 Tupolev-22M3.

Aviation Commandant's Office, unit 33310-A (Soltsy, Novgorod Province , Solstsy airfield).

326th heavy bomber division (Ukrainka village, Amur Province, Seryshevo-2):

Heavy bomber air wing, unit 75715 (Ukrainka village, Amur Province, Seryshevo-2, Ukrainka airfield):

2 Tupolev-95MSM, 26 Tupolev-95MS.

Aviation Commandant's Office, Unit 75715-A (Anadyr, Chukotka Autonomous District, Ugolny airfield).

Aviation commandant's office (Kotelny Island, Novosibirsk Islands, Temp Airfield).

Heavy bomber air wing, military unit 35020 (Sredny, Irkutsk Province, Belaya airfield):

2 Tupolev-22M3 SVP-24-22 Hephaestus, 1 Tupolev-22MR, 22 Tupolev-22M3, 2 Antonov-12, 4 Antonov-30, 1 Antonov-26.

Aviation Commandant's Office, unit 35020-A (Tiksi, Rep. Sakha-Yakutia, Bulun ulus, Tiksi airfield): 3 Mil-8.

40th mixed aviation wing, unit 36097 (Olenegorsk-8, Vysokiy, Murmansk Province, Olenya airfield):

1 Tupolev-22M3 SVP-24-22 Hephaestus, 1 Tupolev-22M3, 2 Antonov-12, 3 Mil-26, 1 Mil-8.

Aviation Commandant's Office, unit 36097-A (Vorkuta, Republic Komi, Sovietsky airfield).

• 203rd  guards air wing of tanker aircraft (Ryazan, Dyagilevo airfield): 13 Ilyushin-78M, 5 Ilyushin-78, 1 Mil-26

The 43rd guards centre of operation and retraining of flight personnel of long-range aviation, unit 41521 (Ryazan, Dyagilevo airfield):

3 Tupolev-22M3 SVP-24-22 Hephaestus, 6 Tupolev-22M3, 6 Tupolev-95MS, 1 Mil-8MT.

27th mixed air wing, unit 77977 (Tambov, Tambov airfield):

20 Tupolev-134UBL (UBS), 7 Antonov-26, 1 Antonov-12.

 

Tactico-technical characteristics of bombers are given in Table. 8. All of them were made at the A.N. Tupolev Design Bureau.

    Table 8

Designation

Tupolev-22M3 (Tupolev-22M3M)

Tupolev-95MS-6 (Tupolev-95MSM)

Tupolev-160 (Tupolev-160M)

Deployment

1979-1993

1979-1991 (since 2015)

1984-1992, since 1999 (since 2016)

Crew

4

7

4

Engines, type

Thrust without afterburner, t

Thrust with afterburner, t

2 NК-25

2x14.5

 

2х25

4 NК-12МP

4х12 (4х15000 hp)

4 NК-32

4х18

 

4x25

 

Speed, km / h

maximum

cruising

 

2,300

930

 

830

700

 

2,230

917

Roof, km

13.3

10.5

21

Flight range, km

ferry

coverage

 

6,000

1,500/2,500

 

15,400

5,000

 

12,300

6,000

Distance, km

Take-off run

Distance of run

 

2-2.1

1.2-1.3

 

2.54

 

 

0.9

2

Dimensions, m

wingspan

length

height

 

23.3 / 34.2

42.6

11.6

 

50.04

49.09

13

 

35.6 / 50.7 / 55.7

54.1

13.1

Weight, t

Empty

Take-off

 fuel

War load

 

68

112-126

53.55

12-24

 

98.5

185

87

7.8-20.8

 

110

267.6-275

148

45

Missiles with nuclear warheads

2-3 X-22N, 10 X-15

(3 X-32, 4 X-102)

6 X-55; X-55SM

(8 X-102)

12 X-55; X-55SM;

(12 X-102

Guns

GSh-23M

2 GSH-23

-

 

    Heavy bomber Tupolev-95MS-6 was serially produced in 1979-1991 at the aircraft plant in Kuibyshev (now - Aviakor Aviation Plant, Samara). The bomber is equipped with turboprop engines and carries 6 cruise missiles H-55 in the bomb compartment at the multi-position catapult installation. The variant of the Tupolev-95MS-16 bomber can additionally carry up to 10 cruise missiles placed on the pylons under the wings, but the range of the bomber's flight is significantly reduced in such a case (from 10,500 to 6,500 km without refueling in the air). Now heavy bombers Tupolev-95MS-16 carry 6 cruise missiles.

Heavy bomber Tupolev-160 was serially produced in 1984-1992, and again since 1999 at the aircraft factory in Kazan (now - the Kazan S.P. Gorbunov Aviation Production Association). The bomber carries 12 cruise missiles H-55СМ / H-102 in the bomb compartment at two multi-position catapult installations.

Long-range bomber Tupolev-22M3, which does not have a system of refueling in the air, does not reach the territory of the United States and is regional (intended for use against European countries of NATO, China, etc.). The aircraft had its batch production in 1978-1993 at the aircraft plant in Kuibyshev. The bomber carries 2-3 H-22NA missiles (2 under the wings and 1 in the semi-sunk position under the fuselage), or 10 H-15 (6 in the bomb bay at the multi-position catapult installation and 4 under the wings).

Tactical and technical characteristics of cruise missiles with nuclear warheads are given in Table. 9. They were developed at the Raduga design bureau (Dubna, Moscow Province) and produced at the Dubna machine-building plant.

Table 9

Designation

H-22NA

H-15

H-55

H-55SM

H-102

START Code

 

RKV-15

RKV-500A

RKV-500B

 

Deployment since

1976

1980

1983

1987

2013

Length, m

11.67

4.78

5.88

6.04

7.45

Diameter, m

0.92

0.455

0.514

0.77

0.742

Wingspan, m

3.2

0.8

3.1

3.1

3

Weight, kg

5,900-6,000

1,100

1,185

1,465

2,200

Warhead capacity, Mt

0.35-1

0.35

0.2

0.2

0.2

Propellant weight, kg

1015+3049 appr.

 

173

433

1250

Flight range, km

460-600

50-280

2500

3500

5500

Engine

R201-300

RDTT-160

R-95-300

R-95-300

R-95TM-300

Flight speed, km/hour

Up to 4,000

6,000

720-930

720-830

720-970

Launch altitude, m

10,000-13,300

300-22,000

20-12,000

20-12,000

30-10,000

Flight altitude, m

22,500-25,000

Up to 40,000

40-110

40-110

30-6,000

Circular probable error, m

 

 

100

100

100

 RCS, sq. m

0.64

0.16

0.1

0.2

0.01

 

Air launched long-range cruise missile H-55 has been produced since 1983. A version of the H-55SM missile has been also made, which has an even greater range due to additional fuel tanks.

The supersonic cruise missile H-22NA was adopted in 1976, and the hypersonic aeroballistic cruise missile H-15 - in 1980. It was reported that the H-15 cruise missile service life had expired.

The missile attack early warning system is part of the 15th Army of the Aerospace Special Force (Moscow) and includes ground and space echelons.

820th Principal centre of the unified space system for detection and combat control (early warning of missile attack), unit 26302 (Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Province):

1127th Detached radio communication unit / Eastern Command Post of the Unified Space Detection and Combat Control System,  unit 20117 (Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Pivan-1, Khabarovsk Territory): reception of data from the 14F142 "Tundra" spacecraft detecting missile launches and individual radio engineering units (above-the-horizon radars).

916 th Detached radio control unit / Western Command Post of the Unified Space Detection and Combat Control System,  unit 03340 (Kurilovo, Sernukhov-15, Kaluga Province): data reception from the 14F142 Tundra spacecraft for detecting the launches of missiles and detached radio engineering units (above-the-horizon radars) .

1383th reserve command post, unit 17204 (Lukhvitsy, Moscow Province).

514th command post, unit 12556 (Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Province).

487th communication and information transmission centre, unit 13626 (Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Province).

57th  Detached radio engineering unit RO-1, unit 16605 (Olenegorsk, Murmansk Province): radar 5N86M Dnepr-M and radar 90N6 Daryal, they will be replaced by radar 77Ya6-VP "Voronezh-VP", construction will begin in 2017 .

49th Detached radio engineering unit OS-2, unit 16601 (Gulshad, Kazakhstan): 5N86M Dnepr-M radar.

378 th Detached radio engineering unit RO-30, unit 96876 (Pechora, Rep. Komi,): Radar 5N79 "Daryal", it is being replaced by radar 77Ya6-VP "Voronezh-VP". It will be in service in 2018.

474 th  Detached radio engineering unit, unit 03522 (Baranovichi, Kletsk-2, Gancevichy, Belarus): radar 70M6 "Volga".

571st Detached radio engineering unit,  unit 73845 (Lehtusi, Leningrad Province): radar 77Ya6 Voronezh-M.

818 th Detached radio engineering unit, unit 41003 (Armavir, Krasnodar Territory): radar 77Ya6-DM "Voronezh-DM".

Detached radio engineering unit, unit 84686 (Barnaul, Koeyukhi): radar 77Ya6-DM "Voronezh-DM".

 Detached radio engineering unit, unit 84194 (Kumak, Orenburg Province): radar 77Ya6 Voronezh-M.

Detached radio engineering unit, military unit 84197 (Komi, Vorkuta, Vargashor settlement): radar 77Y6 Voronezh-M.

Detached radio engineering unit, unit 42988 (Pionersky, Kaliningrad Province): radar 77Ya6-DM "Voronezh-DM".

36th Detached radio engineering unit, unit 03908 (Usolye-Sibirskoe, Irkutsk Province): radar 77Ya6-VP "Voronezh-VP".

Detached radio engineering unit, unit 84685 (Yeniseisk, Krasnoyarsk Territory): radar 77Ya6-DM "Voronezh-DM".

Detached radio-technical unit RO-4 (Sevastopol, Kazachya Bay): 5N86 "Dnepr" radar, modernization and restoration has been under way since 2015.

In addition, the radar "Don-2N" of the Moscow missile defence system and the "Dunay-3U" radar near Chekhov are being used to solve the missile attack early warning and space control problems.

 

Prospects for the development of Strategic Nuclear Force

 

Further development of the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia will be determined by the National Arms Programme for 2018-2025 (NAP-2025), taking into account its adjustments, being in conformity with the terms of the agreement between the Russian Federation and the United States on measures of further reducing and limiting strategic offensive arms of START III of 2010, which became valid on 5 February, 2011 (unless Russia will have quitted it before 5 February, 2021, or renews after that date).

According to the current NAP-2020, it was planned to spend on the re-equipment of Strategic Nuclear Force 20% (3.9 trillion rubles) from 19.6 trillion rubles allocated for the national programme. These funds were planned to update the Strategic Nuclear Force by 70%. However, in September, 2014, Deputy Prime Minister D. Rogozin said that the Strategic Nuclear Force will have to be fully updated in 2020. This shows that the Strategic Nuclear Force, which was previously a priority force of the troops, has now become the highest priority. The main directions of the Strategic Nuclear Force construction for 2020 included:

• Creation and deployment of new land and sea based missile complexes, modernization of existing heavy bombers, which should ensure bringing the share of advanced and modern weapons in the Strategic Nuclear Force to 90-95%, and as for some of them - up to 100%;

• development and creation of advanced materiel with specialized combat blocs and efficient means of overcoming missile defence for the strategic carriers;

• Improvement of the system of centralized Strategic Nuclear Force control, ensuring guaranteed delivery of orders to strategic carriers in any situation.

 

It has already been clear that the NAP-2020 will not be implemented in time. Economic sanctions of the West caused the fall in the price of oil and the depreciation of the ruble in 2014-2015, which led to a decrease in the GDP of Russia. Taking into account the costs of the war with Ukraine in the Donbass and the operation in Syria, it caused a reduction in the military budget, including rearmament expenses. But the growth of the world prices for oil in 2016 (from US$ 30 per barrel to US$ 55) contributed to the stabilization of the finances of the Russian Federation. In early 2016, the US dollar was worth 83.6 rubles, and by the end of the year - 60 rubles. That improved the state of the budget of the Russian Federation. The forecast for the Russian economy for 2 years at the current level of oil prices (US$ 50-55) looks optimistic: 1% growth, 4-5% inflation, budget deficit reduction, stable ruble exchange rate.

But the backwardness of the defence industry production capacities, lack of qualified personnel and the absence of important foreign components (especially the element base) due to the embargo of the West, will not allow the release of the planned number of the Strategic Nuclear Force weapons. NAP-2020 will be disrupted in this respect as well. The plans are being adjusted even now, e.g., the number of Yars ICBMs planned to have been delivered by 2020 was reduced from 270-280 to 170, and the Borey SSBNs - from 8 to 7. It is also known about the delay in the modernization of bombers (for instance, 4 pieces were modernized in 2016 instead of 9 according to the plan), and 5 pieces are planned for 2017.

 According to NAP-2025 and up to 2030, such purchases can be forecasted:

• up to 230 complexes of ICBMs (30 Sarmat, 100 Yars-M, 10 Yars, 60 Rubezh, 30 Barguzin);

• 5 strategic missile-carrying submarines, project 955A (2021) and 80 Bulava SLBMs;

 • 10 Tupolev-160M heavy bombers, 35 Tupolev-95MSM and 30-50 Tupolev-160M2 (till 2025) and cruise missiles H-102.

The development of the Strategic Missile Force will be associated with the commissioning of modern missile systems. The introduction of 4 regiments re-armed with Yars missile complexes into 4 missile divisions in 2016, allowed to increase the share of modern missile complexes in the Strategic Missile Force to 56%. And in 2017 the ICBMs Yars will continue to arrive to 3 more regiments. There have been already 4 modifications of the ICBM Yars (2 in service, 2 tested). Further, the pace of rearmament at the missile complex Yars of those divisions that are now armed with Topol and UT-100N UTTH is planned to be increased, completing the rearmament by the end of 2022, and by 2021 it is planned to have 17 regiments with the missile complex Yars (up to 170 ballistic missiles ).

Further qualitative development of the Strategic Missile Force is connected with the creation of promising missile complexes. Three types of R&D are conducted for them: as for the silos of the missile complexes Sarmat,  Rubezh and Barguzin.

As for Sarmat (RS-28) V. Makeev Centre and Mechanical Engineering Enterprise (Reutov) are working out a silo missile complex with a heavy liquid propellant ICBM. Manufacturer of it is planned to be Krasnoyarsk Machine-Building Plant JSC. It should be a qualitatively new complex, superior to the Voevoda missile complex, and its 15A28 missile will have a higher energy. This will allow it, with a guarantee, to overcome the missile defence system established in the USA, including the possibility of hitting targets not only along energy-optimized trajectories with predicted azimuths of approach, but also from various directions, including the delivery of warheads via the South Pole. The firing range of the two versions of the missile is 10/16 thousand km. The Sarmat ICBM is lighter (100-120 / 150-200 tons) than the Voevoda ICBM, its throw weight is 10/5 tons and it can carry up to 8-15 warheads (10 to 750 kt) and ABM evading system. As an option, there can be up to 3 hypersonic maneuvering non-nuclear 15Yu-71 warheads weighting 1 ton each on the ICBM that can change the trajectory of the flight along the course and height, and circumvent the terrain.

The silo launchers of the complex are planned to be protected by a complex of active protection of the Mozyr type.

 The prototype of the new Sarmat ICBM was ready in the autumn of 2015, but the tests did not begin because of the unavailability of the silo launcher. The throw tests were due to pass in 2016, they were postponed to 2017. The timing of the creation of the missile complex is constantly postponed (the lag was 7 months). The Russian Defence Ministry intends to monitor the creation of the Sarmat missile complex on a weekly basis. According to the plan, the Sarmat ICBM will be delivered to the Strategic Missile Force in 2019-2020 (and it was planned that it would replace missile complex Voevoda by 2017 in two missile divisions).

Development of the Rubezh mobile land-based missile complex (RS-26) with a small ICBM is being completed. This solid propellant missile was developed by the Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering on the basis of the ICBM of the Yars missile complex. The range of its launch is 2-6 thousand km and it is assumed that these missiles can also be used for targets in Europe. The missile has 4 nuclear 300 kt warheads. Breakthrough design solutions, used while making the ICBMs, together with the use of nanotechnologies and high-energy propellant, reduced their size and weight (up to 32-40 tons). This has allowed to reduce the size and weight (80-90 tons) of the equipped self-propelled launcher, thanks to which the Rubezh mobile land-based missile complex got good maneuverability and cross-country ability. It is likely that the MZKT-79291 chassis from Belarus will be used for the launcher. Rubezh complex was created to replace Topol-M. It had been planned to deploy the Rubezh in one division since 2016, but it was postponed to 2017.

The Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering develops a railway-based missile complex on the basis of Barguzin R&D. This mobile missile complex will embody the experience of the operation of the Molodets railway-based complex, made in the USSR and decommissioned in 2005. The Barguzin railway-based complex should exceed it. It is believed that the ICBM of this missile complex will be created on the basis of the Yars ICBM. The dimensions and weight (up to 50 tons) of these missiles will allow them to fit into a standard refrigerator car. It is planned that the railway-based missile complex will carry 6 ICBMs. Successful ballistic missile tests have already been carried out. The complex was to be put into operation in 2019-2020. A division of such railway-based missile complexes must have 5 regiments (trains) of 6 ICBMs. The Strategic Missile Force expects that these complexes will remain in service until 2040.

Thus, by 2021, the Strategic Missile Force grouping must contain only modern and prospective complexes: silo (Topol-M, Yars-M and possibly Sarmat), and mobile (Topol-M mobile land-based complex, Yars, Rubezh and possibly - Barguzin railway-based complex). At the same time, all ICBMs of the Topol-M, Yars, Rubezh and Barguzin complexes belong to the 1st family of solid-propellant missiles (the 1st became ICBM of the Topol missile complex). Only the ICBM of the Sarmat missile complex will be a liquid-propellant missile.

 

The development of the Naval Strategic Nuclear Force is connected with the entry into the combat composition of the Northern Fleet and the Pacific Fleet of modern SSBN pr.955 with the new Bulava missile complex of SLBMs. 6 pieces will remain of the existing SSBNs pr. 667BDRM possessing a reserve of operational resource after 2020, and the SSBN pr. 667BDR will be withdrawn from the Pacific Fleet.

Now the Manufacturing Association "Severnoye Mashinostroitelnoye Predpriyatiye" is constructing three SSBNs of the modernized Pr. 955A: Knyaz Vladimir (laid in July, 2012), Knyaz Oleg (July, 2014), Generalissimus Suvorov (December, 2014). These SSBNs differ from the first three SSBNs in the pr.955 by hull configuration and submarine deck, as well as better acoustics and lesser noise. In total, according to the plan for the development of the NSNF, there are plans to build eight SSBNs of the Borey type. The last two submarines, project 955A, were laid at the end of 2015 and 2016. It is planned to put them into operation by 2020 and 2021, thus initiating already that NAP 2020 is not to be fulfilled, for all 8 submarines were to be put into operation before 2021.

 For the first time since 1989, the Russian SSBNs embarked on an overseas global patrolling. That was announced on 18 March, 2015. Local patrolling of the sea zone was resumed in 2006, but the ocean zone lacked submarines and special communication facilities. Now the patrolling is carried out already in all sectors of the ocean.

 

Development of Air Strategic Nuclear Force of the Aerospace Force. Reorganization of Air Strategic Nuclear Force is planned to be carried out by reorganizing the command of long-range aviation back into the 37th Air Force Army.

The development of the Air Force strategic nuclear materiel is planned by upgrading the entire Tupolev-160 heavy bombers fleet to the Tupolev-160M level, 35 Tupolev-95MS - to the Tupolev-95MSM level, 30-50 new upgraded Tupolev-160M2 and 40 Ilyushin-78M2-90A tanker aircraft, as well as the development of a promising long-range aviation complex and airborne weapons of the new generation, including H-102 cruise missiles with a nuclear warhead. It is also planned to upgrade 30 long-range bombers Tupolev-22M3 (to the level of Tupolev-22M3M) by 2020.

Modernization of heavy bomber Tupolev-160 to the level of Tupolev-160M is carried out by the Gorbunov Aviation Production Association (Kazan), and heavy bomber Tupolev-95MS - to the level of Tupolev-95MSM – by aviation plant Aviakor. All modernized aircraft are equipped with new engines, aiming and navigation systems and weapons systems (cruise missiles H-102/101), which will increase the service life of aircraft and improve their combat capabilities. Up to 2017, 19 modernized heavy bombers (6 Tupolev-160M and 13 Tupolev-95MSM) have already been introduced into the combat composition of long-range aviation. These aircraft were involved in Russia's military operation in Syria in 2015-2016, where they successfully struck at IS objects with H-555 and H-101 missiles with conventional warheads.

Now the Air Force has 15-16 Tupolev-160 (11 combat and 4-5 training), of which only 5 are combat-ready. Such a number of aircraft was considered insufficient to conduct combat duty Soviet style - to keep 3-4 planes on the most important strategic directions. At first it was considered necessary to have up to 30 Tupolev-160M and the possibility of making 15 new Tupolev-160M was being worked out. However, it was decided in February, 2017 to produce 30-50 new highly modernized Tupolev-160M2. However, the restoration of their output will be difficult to implement and will require solving a number of complex problems: money (only the cost of aircraft 450-1,000 billion rubles with the price of 15-20 billion rubles per piece, plus investments in production to expand and upgrade 40 % of equipment), personnel, restoration of experience and components (60% of new, including import substitution - there were many suppliers from Ukraine before). Serial production of Tupolev-160M2 is scheduled to begin no later than 2023 and produce 3 aircraft per year (it will last for 10-17 years). Tupolev-160M2 will have new electronic equipment (radar, board computer, navigation system, electronic countermeasures station, avionics), new engines will increase the range by 1,000 km and practical roof up to 18.3 km. Its efficiency will increase 2.5 times (new cruise missiles and guided bombs will be used).

Tanker aircraft Ilyushin-78M are undergoing restoration maintenance. In the short term, it was planned to begin deliveries of 40 modernized Ilyushin-78M2-90A to long-range aviation, which will increase the range of bombers. It was planned to produce a new tanker on the basis of Ilyushin-96-400T after 2016, but that project was abandoned.

The development of the prospective complex of long-range aviation began in August, 2009 with the contract of the Defence Ministry of Russia with the Tupolev Design Bureau. on research as for the development of the advance design, which was defended in 2012. In March 2013, a draft project was approved envisaging the creation of an aircraft using "the flying wing" scheme. It will be subsonic, unobtrusive, of the American B-2A class, with a range of flight without refueling in the air up to 15 thousand kilometers and a wide range of weapons. Prospective complex of long-range aviation will come to replace not only heavy bombers Tupolev-95MS and Tupolev-160, but also Tupolev-22M3. The presence of one type of strike aircraft in the long-range aviation will reduce operational costs. At the end of 2013, a contract was signed for R & D for the establishment of the prospective complex of long-range aviation with “Obyedinyonnaya Aviastroitelnaya Korporatsiya” public corporation. The cooperation of the enterprises belonging to the Corporation, headed by the Tupolev Design Bureau was formed. It was expected that the prospective complex of long-range aviation would be put into service in 2025, but this was postponed to 2028-2029 in connection with the production of Tupolev-160M2.

The development of armament for bombers. Now a new long-range air-based cruise missile H-102 (5,500 km) with a nuclear warhead, designed to replace H-55 and H-55SM on heavy bombers, has been created in Raduga design bureau. The missile is equipped with an optoelectronic correlation system and a GLONASS receiver. This provides a possibility of flying at extremely low altitudes (30-70 m) with doubling the relief, which, together with the use of low-visibility technology, makes it difficult to be detected by radar on the background of the underlying terrain. Equipping heavy bombers Tupolev-95MSM and Tupolev-160M with these missiles will significantly increase their combat capabilities and give them the ability to hit targets at distances that allow aircraft not to enter the enemy's air defence zone.

To replace the cruise missile H-22NA at long-range bomber Tupolev-22M3M, the cruise missile H-32 is created on its base. The range of H -32 is 600-1,000 km, the speed is up to 5,400 km / h. The missile is planned to be made operational after 2020.

Development of the Strategic Nuclear Force control system. Increasing the combat power of strategic nuclear force depends on the quality of their control as well. Therefore, the task of creating a promising system for centralized combat control of strategic nuclear force for the Russian Defence Ministry is a priority. The first step was the setting the National Centre for Defence Control of the Russian Federation for combat duty on 1 December, 2014. In its structure, the Strategic Nuclear Force Control Centre has been allocated, intended for the use of nuclear weapons by the president's decision. The centre allows to reduce the time for taking and implementing decisions in emergency conditions. Another task is the establishment of a Single space system for early warning and combat command and control. It is planned to have 10 new Tundra-type satellites and command posts as part of it, which provide control, reception, processing and transmission of information to consumers in automatic mode. The new satellites will be able not only to determine the fact of the launch of ICBMs and SLBMs, to trace their trajectories, but also make up the space segment of the Automated Control System of the Strategic Nuclear Force. You can transfer through them the president's order to the actions of the strategic nuclear force within seconds. The first satellite of the Tundra type was launched in 2015, and the Single Space System orbital group should begin operating in 2018 according to the plan. But the launch of the second satellite of the Tundra type was postponed from 2016 to 2017 (it was launched on 25 May), which indicates the delay in the execution of the programme.

In terms of the development of the land-based Missile Attack Early Warning System, outdated detached radio-technical centres and radars are replaced by new high-availability readiness radars of the Voronezh-M / DM type. However, putting 3 Voronezh-M / DM type radars into operation was also postponed from 2016 to 2017. Nevertheless, the programme, albeit with a delay, is being implemented. It has already been announced that a continuous radar field of the Missile Attack Early Warning System has been established in 2017.

 

The implementation of these programmes for the development of Strategic Nuclear Force will require serious efforts by the Russian government not only in terms of resource (including financial and personnel) support, but also modernization of the defence industry, which is lagging behind. A gap has formed between the advanced engineering solutions that are laid in the developed weapons, and the production capabilities of the defence industry. If this gap is not promptly liquidated, all intentions to equip Strategic Nuclear Force with prospective weapons will not be a success. And with the account of the negative situation in the Russian economy, it cannot be ruled out that the plans for the development of strategic nuclear force may be adjusted. Financing of 2017 governmental defence order has already been reduced by 22% compared to that of 2016 (from 1.8 trillion rubles to 1.4 trillion rubles).

Russian experts believe that it would be important to maintain the required amounts of funding for R & D to create advanced strategic nuclear weapons by sacrificing volumes of batch production. It is believed that they can easily be increased after the economy has emerged from the crisis, but the slowing or freezing of R & D would adversely affect the prospects of the strategic nuclear force.

START III Treaty and the future of the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia. It was assumed that all those changes in the strategic nuclear force would be part of the START III Treaty signed with the USA in 2010 and ratified on 5 February, 2011. According to it, on 5 February, 2018, Russia and the United States should have up to 700 deployed carriers (ICBMs , SLBMs and heavy bombers, all in all 800 with stored ones), and up to 1,550 nuclear warheads on them. The treaty was meant for 10 years with a possible extension by mutual agreement of the parties for 5 years, i.e., it is valid until 5 February, 2021 (unless the parties extend it).

However, there is a certain probability that the Russian leadership will not renew the Treaty. So far this is only an assumption, but it is dangerous to neglect it. There are opposite proposals on this matter - from the extension of the Treaty to the withdrawal from it in the State Duma of Russia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the expert environment.

Although the existing number of Russian warheads in the Strategic Nuclear Force (1765 pieces), which has been constantly increasing since 2013, it is not clear that Russia is acting in the direction of fulfilling the limitations of the START III Treaty. And there is little time left till 5 February, 2018, when their number should decrease to 1550.

The plans and forecasts for the deployment of new and promising Russian multi-charge missiles also do not show it. The forecast of Strategic Nuclear Force of the Russian Federation for 2027-2030, taking into account the plans for the deployment of new missiles and the removal of obsolete weapons, is given in Table 10. At the same time, the Strategic Nuclear Force structure is preserved approximately in the existing form, and the number of missiles, according to the treaty, will grow to a level of no more than 700 pieces.

Table 10

Type of missile complex

Type of basing

Number of complexes

Number of warheads

Notes

On the misile

Total

Missile complex, ICBM Sarmat

silo

30

10

300

Heavy

Missile complex, ICBM Yars-M

silo

120

3

360

Light

Missile complex, ICBM Topol-M

silo

60

1

60

Light

Mobile land-based complex Yars and Rubezh, Railway-based complex Barguzin

mobile

180

3

540

Light 

(Rubezh – small-sized)

Total, Strategic Missile Force

 

390

 

1260

 

SLBM Liner

submarine

96

4

384

at 6 SSBN Delphin

SLBM Bulava

submarine

128

6

768

At 8 SSBN Borey

Total Navy Strategic Nuclear Force

 

224

 

1152

 

Tupolev-160M, Tupolev-160m2, Tupolev-95MSM

bombers

50

 

50

 

Total,  Air Strategic Nuclear Force

 

50

 

50

 

Total SNF

 

664

 

2462

 

 

    It can be seen from the data in Table 10, that the number of deployed carriers can grow from 523 to 664, which is permitted by the treaty, but the number of nuclear warheads will increase from 1,765 to 2,462, which is more than 1,550 authorized by the Treaty by 912 pieces.

However, Russia can fit into the limitations of the treaty as for the warheads if it reduces the number of warheads on missiles (e.g., on the Yars ICBM - from 3 to 1, on the SLBM Liner - from 4 to 1, on the SLBM Bulava - from 6 to 3) . A variant of such a forecast is given in Table 11.

Table 11

Type of missile complex

Type of basing

Number of complexes

Number of warheads

Notes

 

On the missile

Total

ICBM Sarmat missile complex

silo

30

10

300

Heavy

ICBM Yars-M missile complex

silo

120

1

120

Light

ICBM Topol-M missile complex

silo

60

1

60

Light

 

Land-based complex Yars and Rubezh, Railway-based complex Barguzin

mobile

180

3

540

Light (Rubezh - small-sized)

 

Total,  Strategic Missile Forces

 

390

 

1020

 

 

SLBM Liner

submarine

96

1

96

at 6 SSBN Delphin

SLBM Bulava

submarine

128

3

384

At 8 SSBN Borey

Total, Naval Strategic Nuclear Force

 

224

 

480

 

Tupolev-160M, Tupolev-160M2, Tupolev-95MSM

bombers

50

 

50

 

Total, Аir Strategic Nuclear Force

 

50

 

50

 

 

Total, Strategic Nuclear Force

 

664

 

1550

 

 

 

In this version, the Strategic Nuclear Force of Russia fit into the terms of the treaty, but they will have to reduce the number of warheads on the Yars-M and SLBM missiles (instead, additional false targets can be set in the ABM evading system).

The Strategic Missile Force is expected to have 48 missile regiments with 390 ICBMs (5 silo missile complexes with 30 Sarmat ICBMs, 12 - with 120 Yars-M, 6 - with 60 Topol-M, 10 - with 90 mobile land-based missile complexes Yars, 10 - with 60 Rubezh, 5 - with 30 railway-based complexes Barguzin), Naval Strategic Nuclear Force - 14 SSBNs with 224 SLBMs (6 Delphin with 96 Liner and 8 Borey with 128 SLBMs Bulava), Air Strategic Nuclear Force - 2 wings with 50 bombers Tupolev-160M / M2 and Tupolev-95MSM.

If the Russian leadership withdraws from the START III Treaty, or does not extend it (which fits in with its geopolitical ambitions and the current aggressive military political course), this threatens with at least a new round of the arms race and the cold war with all its consequences.

_______

* Information about the Author:

Yury Barash –  Expert Council, Centre for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies

The article is based on the presentation at the International Conference «Russia’s nuclear arsenal: myths, real threats and counteraction»

08.07.2017 18:00:00