Please Note: Google images (used here) are taken by a Google owned satellite to provide images of the entire earth - FAS analyst Han's Kristensen has painstakingly examined these images and provided analysis and added context.
I1) Targeting Missile Defense Systems 2) Oppose NEW Nuclear Weapons 3) Social Networking 4) UPI Article on FAS
By Hans M. Kristensen
The now month-long clash between Russia and the West over U.S. plans to build a missile defense system in Europe should warn us that - despite important progress in some areas - Cold War thinking is alive and well.
The missile defense system, Moscow says, is but the latest step in a gradual military encroachment on Russian borders by NATO, and could well be used to shoot down Russian ballistic missiles. The head of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces and President Putin have suggested that Russia might target the defenses with nuclear weapons. The United States has rejected the complaints insisting that Russia has nothing to fear and that the defenses will only be used against Iranian ballistic missiles. European allies have complained that the Russian threats are unacceptable and have no place in today’s Europe.
That may be true, but the reactions have revealed a frightening degree of naiveté about strategic war planning in the post-Cold War era, a widespread belief that such planning has somehow stopped. It has certainly changed, but all the major nuclear weapon states insist that they must hedge against an uncertain future and continue to adjust their strike plans against potential adversaries that have weapons of mass destruction. Russia continues to plan against the West and the West continues to plan against Russia. The plans are not the same that existed during the Cold War, but they are strike plans nonetheless.
The argument made by some officials that missile defense systems are merely defensive and don’t threaten anyone is disingenuous because it glosses over a fact that all planners know very well: Even limited missile defenses become priority targets if they can disturb other important strike plans. The West concluded that very early on in its military relationship with Russia.
Cold War Targeting of Missile Defense Systems
In 2003, I received a declassified Strategic Air Command document that showed how the United States reacted when the Soviet Union built a limited missile defense system back in the late 1960s. The response was overwhelming: A nuclear strike plan that included more than 100 ICBMs plus an unknown number of SLBMs to overwhelm and destroy the Soviet interceptors and radars. Based on the declassified information, two colleagues and I estimated in an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that the total strike plan involved approximately 130 nuclear warheads with a total combined yield of some 115 megatons. Here is how the Strategic Air Command (SAC) historian described the plan:
Figure 1: The US 1968 Nuclear ABM Strike Plan
“To ensure the penetration of the ICBM force, the Soviet ABM system would be attacked first. Minuteman E and F and Polaris missiles would first hit the Hen House early warning radars, and their Tallin system defenses [SA-5 SAM, ed.]. Then the Dog House radar and the Triad system around Moscow would be attacked. More than 100 Minuteman would be involved in the ABM suppression.” Source: U.S. Strategic Air Command, History of U.S. Strategic Air Command January-June 1968, February 1969, p. 300. Excerpts (pp. 300-306) available here (pdf, 0.8 MB).
The Soviet ABM system back then consisted of about fifteen facilities, including eight launch sites around Moscow with a total of 64 nuclear-tipped interceptors, half a dozen SA-5 launch complexes (later found not to have much ABM capability) near Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and at least three large early warning radars. East of these surface facilities were highly vulnerable to the blast effect from a single nuclear warhead, so the large number of ICBMs was mainly needed to "suppress" (overwhelm) the interceptors.
In the late 1980s, the Soviets upgraded they system by moving 32 remaining interceptors at four sites into underground silos (see Figure 2) and adding 64 shorter-range nuclear-tipped interceptors at five new sites closer to Moscow. This hardened and dispersed the interceptors, requiring U.S. planners to upgrade their strike plan, which probably ballooned to more than 200 warheads (although with less total yield due to more accurate missiles with less powerful warheads).
Figure 2: Long-Range Gorgon Interceptor Site (E24) Near Poryadino
Four long-range Gorgon interceptor site crescent Moscow toward the northwest. The 217-mile (350-kilometer) range Gorgon carries a 1 Megaton warhead. The site shown here is near Poryadino southwest of Moscow. There are unconfirmed rumors that the interceptors have been removed and the system is in the process of decommissioning.
The 68 shorter-range (50 miles, 80 km) interceptors added to the system in the late 1980s were the nuclear-armed Gazelle. Each missile carried a 10-kiloton warhead. The five launch sites, which are still thought to be operational, are positioned in a circle around Moscow approximately 13 miles (23 kilometers) from the center of the city. The 68 interceptors are deployed in hardened silos, 16 at two sites (Northwest and Southeast), and 12 at each of the other three sites. Public uncertainty about the location of the fifth site was recently resolved by a satellite image showing the sites next to the Pill Box radar north of Moscow.
Figure 3: Short-Range Gazelle Interceptor Sites
Five launch sites with Gazelle interceptors in hardened silos are located in a circle around Moscow as part of the A-135 ABM system. The sites have either 12 silos, like the Southwestern site (top) near Moscow Vnukovo airport, or 16. The fifth site (bottom) next to the Pill Box ABM radar north of Moscow has 12 silos, and is depicted in the Pentagon drawing (insert).
All of this happened during the Cold War and many things have changed, but the basic motivation for targeting a limited missile defense system then was the same as today: The Soviet ABM system was entirely defensive and couldn’t threaten anyone (to paraphrase a characterization frequently use by U.S. and NATO officials to justify their missile defense plans today), but it could disturb the main ICBM attack on Moscow and military facilities downrange. That made it a top-priority target. And even though U.S. planners suspected that the system was not very efficient, they committed about 10 percent of the entire ICBM force to destroy it. To the extent the Russia ABM is operational, U.S. nuclear strike plans probably still target it today.
Figure 4: The Russian A-135 ABM System
E05, six miles southwest of Karabanovo, at 56°14'39.51"N, 38°34'41.75"E
E24, four miles northwest of Poryadino, at 55°20'58.31"N, 36°28'50.28"E
E31, six miles north of Nudol Sharino, at 56° 9'0.18"N, 36°30'13.08"E
Operational status uncertain
E33, east of Klin, at 56°20'30.03"N, 36°47'35.21"E
Operational status uncertain
Gazelle (SH-08, ABM-3)
South of Ashcherino, at 55°34'40.06"N, 37°46'17.89"E
Three miles southeast of Kaliningrad, at 55°52'41.63"N, 37°53'37.51"E
One mile north of Kartmazovo, at 55°37'31.81"N, 37°23'19.99"E
Korostovo, at 55°54'6.00"N, 37°18'28.33"E
Six miles west of Sofrino, at 56°10'50.69"N, 37°47'12.01"E
Pill Box (Don-2N)
Seven miles west of Sofrino, at 56°10'23.48"N, 37°46'12.51"E
* There are unconfirmed rumors that the Gorgon interceptors have been removed from the system. ** Other forward-based early-warning radars are not included in this overview. Two older radars (Dog House and Cat House) are no longer operational.
Now history repeats itself, but the table has been turned. Today it is the United States building a limited missile defense system (more capable than the Soviet system, but focused on “rogue” state missiles), and it is the Russians who say they need to target it to maintain the effectiveness of their deterrent. The Cold War may be over, but military and policy planners in both countries still think in Cold War terms.
Russia’s Real Concerns Today
Most of the current debate has focused on whether the missile defense system could disrupt Russia’s deterrent against the United States. Although this may be a concern to Russian planners in the long run, their objections probably have more to do with the capability of the system to disrupt limited strikes against France or the United Kingdom. Russian nuclear strike plans against each of those smaller nuclear powers probably include only a few ICBMs, but their flight path would take them right over the planned interceptors (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Trajectories for Hypothetical Russian European Strikes
The Russian objections to the proposed US anti-ballistic missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic seem more linked to potential Russian strike plans against British and French nuclear forces than to strike plans against the United States. The trajectories for a hypothetical ICBM attack against French and British nuclear submarines bases pass over the proposed U.S. missile defense system in Europe.
Russian planners are probably also thinking ahead. By 2015, under current plans, Russia’s ICBM force is expected to have declined from about 480 missiles today to approximately 150. Significantly less than the 450 the United States plans to retain. This, of course, will have no real implications for Russia’s security, but for Russian planners it means that a European ballistic missile defense system with 10 interceptors (that could quickly be expanded) and 21 interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska (and silos already dug for more) suddenly doesn’t seem so limited anymore. Indeed, if Russia’s statements about targeting a future missile defense system in Europe are genuine, then the U.S. interceptors in Alaska are probably already targeted by Russian missiles.
There’s probably a fair amount of chest beating in the Russian statements, especially because Russia has little to gain from antagonistic relations with the West in the long run. Putin’s recent “offer” to include Russian radars in the Western defense plans suggests he is trying to find a way out of the stalemate, although not necessarily the way out that Western governments would like to see.
It would, of course, be much simpler if the Russians “just got over it” and accepted Western missile defenses as a fact of life. But they haven't, and there are clear signs that U.S. missile defense plans have already influenced Russian military planning. An eerie feeling is emerging in Washington that the Russian “experiment” may be over and that Russia, instead of becoming a full partner or a full enemy, is entering a new assertive period intent on acting as a counterbalance to current U.S. foreign policy. That may not necessarily be a bad thing, unless of course it plays out in the form of military posturing.
Western claims that Russia has nothing to fear, although genuine, miss the point: They apparently fear something enough to publicly use it to underscore their own capability. East and West need to figure out what has gone wrong and how to get out of this mess before strategic antagonism becomes a prominent policy feature for the long haul. The fact that we're even having this debate nearly two decades after the Cold War ended shows that both countries have failed miserably to move beyond Cold War posturing and planning principles.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate agree that we should decide what kind of nuclear weapons we want before producing the new Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW). So why spend $66 million developing a new weapon now? The House had it right: vote against any funding until we have a clear strategy. Developing new nuclear weapons is not only a waste; it sends exactly the wrong signal to those countries around the world where the United States has advocated against building new bombs. Now it is imperative to write both your Congressman and your Senators to tell them that the RRW is a mistake.
FAS has created a social networking site on Gather.com to provide an opportunity for FAS members and others that care about public policy, specifically, science policy to discuss important issues of the day. You may both comment on articles or you are encouraged to publish articles of your own. Please visit: http://fas.gather.com/?ref=grp_fas
By MARTIN SIEFF UPI Senior News Analyst WASHINGTON, July 18 (UPI) -- The Federation of American Scientists scored a major journalistic scoop earlier this month. As previously reported by UPI, the venerable, Washington-based arms-control group claimed to have identified the very first commercial imagery of a new Chinese ballistic-missile-carrying nuclear submarine.
FAS analyst and blogger Hans Kristensen believes that Google Earth satellite imagery in late 2006 recorded the pride of China's navy, one of its new Jin-class Type 094 SSBN strategic missile-carrying nuclear submarines.
Kristensen said in his article on the FAS Strategic Studies Blog July 5 that the Jin is 35 feet longer than China's older and smaller Type 092 SSBN. The Jin also has a larger missile compartment, he said.
"Reports have circulated for several years that the sub had been launched (in 2004), that a test launch of its missile occurred in June 2005, and the (U.S. Department of Defense) reported in May that the sub and its missile system (Julang-2) might become operational in the time period 2007-2010. But no image has ever been made available until now," Kristensen told UPI in an article published July 6.
Kristensen said the sub's location at the Xiaopingdao submarine base suggested that at the time of this image the sub was being fitted out and was not fully operational. The image was photographed by a commercial Quickbird satellite, he wrote on his SSB blog.
"Once it becomes operational, it will likely move down to the main Northern Fleet base at Jianggezhuang near Qingdao. An earlier satellite image from the same base (Xiaopingdao) taken in 2005 shows the Golf-class diesel electric sub at the same location where the Jin-class now is," he told UPI.
UPI reported July 6 that FAS earlier this year obtained a document from the Office of Naval Intelligence that states the U.S. Navy expects China to build a fleet of five Jin-class submarines as a nuclear deterrent.
If the Jins can successfully test launch ICBMs while submerged, they will give Chain a profound new strategic nuclear deterrent capability it has never had before. As Kristensen has noted, only one 092, or Xia class missile sub was ever built a quarter of a century ago. The vessel did not prove successful and the experience was so traumatic and costly to China's naval shipbuilding and missile technology sectors that for the next two decades they did not attempt to replace it.
Kristensen wrote on the Strategic Security Blog of the FAS July 5 that the new Jin-class SSBN was photographed at Xiaopingdao Submarine Base south of Dalian, about 193 miles north of Qingdao. "The Jin-class appears to be approximately 35 feet (10 meters) longer than the Xia-class SSBN, primarily due to an extended mid-section of approximately 115 feet (35 meters) that houses the missile launch tubes and part of the reactor compartment," he wrote.
"The extended missile compartment of the Jin-class seems intended to accommodate the Julang-2 sea-launched ballistic missile, which is larger than the Julang-1 deployed on the Xia-class. Part of the extension may also be related to the size of the reactor compartment," Kristensen wrote.
"The U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence estimated in 2004 that the Jin-class, like the Xia-class, will have 12 missiles launch tubes. Other non-governmental sources frequently claim the submarine will have 16 tubes. The satellite image is not of high enough resolution to show the hatches to the missile launch tubes," he wrote.
Kristensen's impressive achievement demonstrates how the combination of universally available high-tech information on the Internet compiled by commercial satellites has revolutionized the field of intelligence-gathering on the most important and most secret strategic, missile and nuclear programs. He scooped not only the major players in the international media, but huge U.S. and other national intelligence services. The task of keeping secret major programs like building new generations of ICBMs or submarines or other state-of-the-art platforms to carry them is now a lot more difficult. Nations may be forced to invest far greater sums in security counter-measures to prevent being caught out that way. And they are also likely to boost their investment in Internet watchers who like Kristensen are skilled at hunting out the most remarkable and revealing data from obscure and apparently innocent sources.
But most important of all, Kristensen's find confirms that China's leaders are ambitiously seeking to diversify their strategic nuclear deterrent against the United States and, no doubt, other nations on a costly and ambitious scale. China still has an enormously long way to go catch up with the United States and Russia, and it may take Beijing decades to do so. Bu the evidence of the Quickbird photograph is that they are determined.