Created: 8/30/2000

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of Transnational Issues


of Russian Development of New SubkOoton Nuclear Warheads



_ mbUc statements by Russian3 Indicate that the last nuclear warhead designed during the Soviet eraevice tailored for enhanced output ofaysotal yield ofons.

A Perceived Need For "Clean" Very-Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons

^public statements by Russian scientists anil officials3 indicate that the last nuclear warhead design of the Soviet eraailored for enhanced output ofaysotal yield of only SOO tons.

In the post-Soviet era, the need for subkiloton nuclear weapons with minimal long-term contamination has been argued in the media by senior Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom) officials, nuclear weapons scientists, and military academics since the. Advocates often claim to know that the United States is developing the next generation of nuclear weapons and argue that Russia must not lag behind. Somewhat inconsistently, they also cite clean, very-low-yield weapons as an "asymmetric response" to US superiority in conventional weapons. According to Sergei Rogachev, Deputy Director of theuclear weapons design laboratory: "Russia views the tactical use of nuclear weaponsiable alternative to advanced conventional weapons."

Senior Russian military officers have advocated the use of bighly-accurate. super-low-yield nuclear weapons in Russian military journals such as Military Thought and Armeysfdy Sbomik. Deputy Commander in Chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces Muravyev stated that to have an effective impact across the entire spectrum of targets, strategic missile systems should be capable of conducting surgical strikeside spectrum of ranges with nuhimal ecological consequences, which could be achieved with low-yield nuclear weapons


Soviet Era Development ofutput Nuclear Devices

Russian development of nuclear devices tailored to enhance certain types of radiation output began during the Soviet period when "clean" nuclearis with reduced contamination from fissionneeded for peaceful nuclear explosionsccording to statements by the developers. Clean PNE devices were in effect the first enhanced-radiation devices produced in Russia and likely precursors of tailored-output devices developed later for both effects testing and weapons development, which involved the same scientists (seeor detailed discussion).

Enhanced-radiation weapons are designed to increase the effective range of gamma,ay, or electromagnetic pulse effects beyond the range of the airblast and fireball effects. Clean PNE devices are designed to minimize contamination from fission products by maximing the fraction of the total yield produced by fusion. The two objectives are achieved by similar design approaches.

Having first developed tailored-output devices for PNE's, Russian scientists then began to investigate the possible weapons effects resulting from radiation enhancement, Russian scientists acknowlege that tests were conducted in theo simulate the effectsS neutron bomb on Soviet naval electronics

Alexandercientist from theuclear weapons design laboratory, told the Russian press in thesuclear testubkiloton device tailored for high output ofaysays) was planned0 and would have been the culminationyear effort

Effects ofays

According to tbe Kazakhstan!oviet effects device was tailored to produceay radiation" orayrobablyays That can propagate substantial distances through the atmosphere before being absorbed. I

The damage effects of such devices would vary depending on the target and the application, and depending on whether they are deployed in the atmosphere or in space (seeor detailed discussion).

Thermalays interacting with the atmosphere produce blast and thermal effects.ays travel farther before they are absorbed, as do gamma rays.

EMP effects on electronics: Tbe interaction ofays or gamma radiation with the atmosphereource-region electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can damage or upset electronics beyond the range of thermal and blast effects.

Effects in the atmosphere versus inay effects can be used directly against satellites or ICBMs in space because there is no atmosphere to absorb them. The effects are due to heating and memwmechanical failures caused by rapid energyfromays. I

Response from Ycl'lsin?

Yei'tsin had drafted an edict callingevelopment ofa ncw-gcneralion of nuclearccording to the Moscow newspaper Segodrtya. Fifteen months later, following Russia's9 Security Council meeting, Segodnytt* writer Pavel Fclgengauer speculated that the new weapons program probably was the next generation of tactical nuclear weapons long advocated by Minatom. The new program reportedly would give Russia the capability to carry out precision, low-yield "nonatrategic" nuclear strikes anywhere in the world. Fclgengauer also claimed that Minatom obtained official authorization to implement the program because of increased threat perceptions following NATO's strikes on Yugoslavia.

Nuclear Doctrine fort Ceotury

Coincident with the writings by Russian scientists and military academics, as well as Yei'tsin's edict on next-generation weapons, Moscow's military doctrine on the use of nuclear weapon* has been evolving and probably has served as the justification for the development of very-low-yield, high-precision nuclear weapons. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has increasingly relied on its nuclear forces to protect itself from external military aggression. Doctrinal formulations, public statements

Remonstrate lhat Moscow considers Russia's nuclearhe only means to

prevent Iurge-seale. conventional attacks on Russia.

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Inefense Minister Sergeyev, writing in the Defense Ministry newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, advocated the continued development of advanced military technologies, including weapons based on "new physicalergeyev slated that these new weapons would transform how armed conflict was conducted and would fundamentally change the perception of parity between military powers. He claimed that only modest resources were needed to acquire such weapons.

Former Atomic Energy Minister Mikhaylov, other nuclear scientists, military officers, and national security commentators have described these new weapons as blurring the boundaries between conventional and nuclear wan6 treatise, Mikhaylov advocatedew generation of nuclear battlefield arms with relatively low yields that would change the perception of nuclear arms as weapons of mass destruction.e claimed that these new-generation nuclear charges would sharply lower the psychological threshold of nuclear weapons use and would increase the likelihooduclear strikeocal conflict, according to an independent Russian military newspaper.

The development of low-yield warheads thai could be used on high-precision weapon systems would be consistent with Russia's Increasing reliance on nuclear weapons to deter conventional as well as nuclear attacks, especially given widespread perceptionseightened threat from NATO and the reduced capabilities of Russian conventional forces. Russia has no prospect of restoring its conventional military capabilities in the foreseeable future, nor of matching the West in the procurement and deployment of advanced weapon systems that can be brought to bear at the nonnuclear level.

Defense officials also would be interested in low-yield warheads because of fearsuture conflict could be waged on Russianetired Strategic Rocket Forces general has argued that the damage and casualty effects of Russia's current nuclear arsenal are too highuture battle occurred on Russian soil. The retired general has speculated that Russia's new warheads would inflict less collateral damage than West's counterpart precision weapons.

These new weapons would also satisfy conditions outlined by military officers to reduce the risk of escalation if Moscow employed limitedfirst strikes. Russian military officers have identified the need for dernorurtration strikesarning to an enemy about the country's readiness for foil-scale use of nuclear weapons and claimed that these limited strikes would "de-escalate" the conflict. Two colonels urged the employment of single, "nordethal" strikes against selective targets, which would reduce the risk that an enemy would respond by escalating: to an all-out nuclear war, according to an independent Russian military newspaper.


Russia^ Evolving Nuclear Doctrine

Since ihe dissolution ofSSRoscow's military doctrine hasajor shift with respect lo the possible use of nuclear weapons. The deterioration of Russia's conventional military capabilities led to the adoptionroadened concept of nuclear deterrence as early as the fallussia's nuclear arsenal was deter any large-scale conventional aggression in addition to nuclear attacks.

This concept in turnethinking of the old Sovietendorsed by PresidentMoscow would never be the first lo use nuclear3 statement of Baste Provisions of Ihe Mililary Doctrine of the Russian Federation clearly departed from the decade-old pledge never to be the first to use nuclear weapons androadened concept of nuclear deterrence covering large-scale, nonnuclear threuts to Russia.arning to potential adversaries, Moscow indicated it might use nuclear weapons first if an aggressor takes actions to destroy or disrupt operation of Russia's strategic nuclear forces, missile attack warning system, or nuclear and chemical industries.

Other documents, such as the evolving new military doctrine and the National Security Concept papers, outline key aspects of Russian nuclear doctrine andebate among the political and military elite regarding threats, threat responses, and overall defense resource allocations. These documentsardening of Russian views toward the United States and NATO and reflect Moscow's perception or its diminished iniemationaJ power, its inability to check an increasingly US-dominated unipolar world and anxiety over the reduced strength of Russian conventional forces:

Draft Military Doctrine: In the fall. the Russian Dcfcr.se Council reviewed Russian military doctrine as part of an effort to revive military reform. Sinceussian press reports have repeatedly characterized the new military doctrine as being more explicit about the circumstances under which Russia might Initiate the use of nuclear weapons, but also have indicated fundamental disagreements between the Defense Council and the Defense Ministry on nuclear deterrence and the potential use of nuclear weapons. Civilian leaders have been more inclined to stretch the concept of nuclear deterrence to cover conventional threats.

National Security Concept:0 National Security concept places more emphasis on external threats than7 predecessor, which identified internal unrest and the economic situation as the primary threats to the Russian Federation. Acting President Putin publicly endorsed the principle of using "all forces and assets, including nuclearo repel armed aggression, if all other measures forrisis are exhausted or prove ineffective,

The possible diverse applications for subkilolon nuclear weapons devices range from tactical battlefield weapons to antlsatellite weapons. Media reports have noted that current modernization plans will affect Russia's entire stockpile, from tactical to strategic

weapons. According to the9 issue of the Army Journal Armeyskiy Sbornik;

"For an effective impact across the entire spectrum of targets, strategic missile systems should be capable of conducting 'surgical' strikeside spectrum of ranges in the shortest period of time with minimal ecological consequences. This is achieved by using highly accurate, super-low-yield nuclear weapons, as well as conventional ones, and requires the highest accuracy."

The range of applications will ultimately be determined by Russia's evolving nuclear doctrine, and could include artillery, air-to-air missiles, ABM weapons, anti-satellite weapons, or multiple rocket launchers against tanks or massed troops.

Appendix C: Tailored Output and Effects

uclear device explodes, the energy is emitted in several different forms.ure-fission weapon, aboutercent loercent of the energy is emitted in the form ofays (thai is, at ihe lower end ofay frequencyut immediately converted to air blast and heat (the fireball) by interaction with the atmosphere. The remaining energy is released as various forms of nuclearprompt (gammas and neutrons within the first minute of the detonation) and residual radiation emittederiod of lime.

The objective of tailored output devices is to increase the effective range of gamma, neutron,ay effects beyond the range of the airblast and fireball effects.

Effects on personnel: Personnel exposeduclear explosion may be killed or suffer injuries in various ways, but casualties are primarily caused indirectly by airblast, thermal radiation (both caused by theaynd nuclear radiation (the gamma and neutronather than by the effects producedailored-output device. Tbe frequency and severity of the effects on personnel depend on the weapon yield, height of burst, atmospheric conditions, the protection afforded by any shelter, and the general nature of the terrain. Although casualties may be producedingle effect, such as nuclear radiation, it is likely that they will resultombination of effects.

EMP effects on electronics: The interaction of prompt gamma oray radiationuclear detonation with the atmosphereource region electromagnetic pulse (SREMP)etonation is on or near the surface of the earth or an airburst. The SREMP environmenturface burst can extend outadius of several kilometers from the burstadiated environment can extend for larger distances.igh-yield airburst, the SREMP environment can extend fromm depending on altitude and yield. Electronic circuits and systems may be damaged or upset by an electromagnetic pulsehich occurs because an electromagnetic field interacts with metallic conductors, inducing electric currents on and in them. EMP energy coupled to the interior ofa susceptible system can cause adverse effects ranging from transient, resectable, or permanent upset of digital logic circuits to peirnanent damage lo electronic components. Electronics can be hardened to the effects of EMP in general, however, the protection approach for SREMP will depend on the overall hardness of the system io other nuclearas blast, thermal and transient radiation effects on electronicsthe system's mission.1


Effects in the atmosphere versus inuclear device detonated outside of the atmosphere (exoatmospheric burst) canirect threat to satellites and ICBMs/SLBMs.ays produced by nuclear weapons arc strongly absorbed in air which is not the case in the exoatrnosphere.pace system within Une-of-sight of an exoatmospheric detonation will be directly exposed toay, gamma, and neutron radiation emitted by the weapon. The space systems exterior is exposed directly to the incident radiation without any atteraiation. In fact, the damage doneayspace system is likely to be significantly more than the damage done by the neutrons or gammas. The principal effectsays in aerospace systems can be divided into structural effects TREE, and system generated electromagnetic pulses (SGEMP))

is usuallyay driven phenomenon and is generally of importance only for exoatmospheric systems. SGEMP effects can occur throughout the system at progressively deeper levels within it external to the structure of individual component packages. Conventionally, it is divided into subcategories which include external SGEMP, internal EMP (TEMP) and so forth. External EMP are the fields and surface currents, produced by the impinging radiation, that couple to the interior J

systems may encounter nuclear radiation environments from several different sources. Space systems must withstand the effects of natural radiation environments consisting of electrons and protons. Military systems designed for useuclear attack must withstand the environments generateduclear weapon detonation. The primary effects of all these environments on electronic serniconductors arc frequently referred to as Transient Radiation Effects on Electronics, or TREE. Even if the environment thai ishe effect may be permanent. I-

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