SOVIET GROSS CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACKS ON THE U.S. AND KEY OVERSEAS INSTALLATION

Created: 8/2/1955

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SP'yiET/GROSS CAPABILITIES.FOR ATTACKS ON THE US AND KEY OVERSEAS ; INSTALLATIONS5 "'

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SOVIET GROSS CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACKS ON THE US AND KEY OVERSEAS INSTALLATIONS AND FORCES IN5

THE PROBLEM

To estimate Soviet gross capabilities for attacks on the US and key overseasand forcesithout taking into account the eiTectiveness of allied defenses and countermeasures.

v INTRODUCTORY NOTE

Soviet plans for attack on the US and key US overseas installations and forces would be made in connection with an over-all strategy for general war. Accordingly, some Soviet forces and materiel, including mass destruction and latest deliverywould almost certainly be earmarked for use against US allies and for reserve. This estimate does not consider the problem of such allocation nor of over-all Sovietbut confines itself essentially to the gross capabilities for attack on the US and key US overseas installations and forces as indicated by the estimated state of USSRequipment, and facilities

In arriving at such an estimate5 it has been necessary to rely essentially upon our current knowledge of the Soviet military establishment and its shorter-range developmental programs, and to extrapolate this knowledgeguided byof military requirementseneral awareness of future US militaryInto the future. It has been assumed that the USSR: (a) will continue toiirge and probably increasing annual economic outlay for military purposes; (b) wilt continue to improve its military capabilities, including its ability to conduct offensive operations; and (c) will notechnological breakthrough in thc sense ol producing weapons systems other than those now foreseen or of greatlythe time required for development of anticipated weapons.

The following judgments with respect to the capabilities of the Soviet military forces5 are thus highly speculative. This is particularly true sinceeriod as long as ten years the above assumptions may be seriously undermined by political, economic, and technical developments, the nature and significance of which cannot be gauged at this time. For example, whereas we believe it unlikely that the USSR willecisive breakthrough on the technological level, such technologicalbeyond Western development or anticipationis certainly within reason and cannot be entirely excluded.

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CONCLUSIONS

In attacking the US and key USinstallations the major5 will probably be: (a) to destroy or neutralize as quickly asUS continental and overseaslor nuclear retaliation; (b) to deliver attacks on urban, industrial, political, and psychological targets in the US which would prevent, or at least hinder, theof US war potential; and (c) to inflict such destruction on US overseasas would hamper ot prevent the US from reinforcing or resupplying its forces.

hc Soviet leaders would probablythat in order to achieve theseinitial attacks would have to be accomplished with the maximum degree of surprise consistent with thc required scale of attack, and, therefore, would place chief reliance on nuclear attacks by bomber aircraft and guided missiles. They could also employ biological and chemical weapons In overt attacks. The USSR will also be capable of clandestinely introducing nuclear, BW, and CWand employing them against highly critical targets.)

c estimate that Soviet capability to produce fissionable materials will almost certainly be more than sufficient tofor the requirements of attack on the US and key overseas installations and forcesll sizes of nuclearincluding those of the largest yield, will be deliverable by thc aircraftto be then in use. Nuclear warheads could be available for theand thc air-to-surface guided missiles which could be used for ofTensivc action against the US. (Para. 7)

e estimate that it.would be within Soviet production capacity toarge inventory of surface-to-surface guided missiles of all ranges in stockpilencluding sufficient quantities of the two-stage ballistic0 nm) and the ICBM toajor andthreat to the US ami key overseas installations and forces.' ICBM attacks against the continental US could be launched from sites In the vicinity of widely dispersed assembly plants located in the interior of the USSR. Although there is no basis for estimating theof such launching sites which might be availablee believe ICBMs could be launched in an initial attack against many US targets. The entireheavy bomber force also could be launched from interior bases and, with inflight refueling where necessary, reach any target in the US on two-way missions. There would probablyeduction in the numbers of Soviet bomber aircraft, however, if reliable and accurate guided missiles became available in sufficient quantities. Guided missiles with nuclear warheads could be launched fromand conceivably also fromvessels against targets severalmiles inland. )

ttacks on US overseas installations

and forces could be carried out

SAF believe* lhat Because ol lhccon In Hied ins lo Uie dates or eptmllonal availabilitywo-stage medium-range ballistic missile and an ICBM. there win be ample time by IKS for Sovietcapacily to produce several thousand Ol the two-stage missiles bul not enough Ume to pioduce more Ihan several hundred lCUMi There appear to be no (actors which necessarily limit this production capacity except Ume.

taneously with intercontinental attacks. The aircraft available could consist of the heavy bombers not committed against the US, and the medium and light bomber forces. Virtually all of the targets in these areas could also be reached byor short-range guided missiles launched from within thc USSR orterritory. Sizeable Soviet ground and tactical air forces, airborne forces, and surface fleets will also befor such attacksarge number of Soviet submarines would probably be employed against naval striking lorces.

These Soviet forces could use nuclear weapons.)

t Is clear thatven assuming no technological breakthrough, theof Soviet weapons will greatly enhance the USSR's gross capability to atiack thc US and US overseas forces and installations. Perhaps even morethe USSR's capability to attack with surprise will probably increase. It isto note, however, that we arethe USSR's gross capability, and have not taken into account the present or future elTectiveness of allied defenses, countermeasures, or intelligence.

AVAIIABIUTY OF SOVIET MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS

Nuclear Weapon**

here Is no evidence on the USSR's specific plans for developing its atomic, nor are there any specific parameters to which the growth of the program during this period can be tied.of the program and actual allocations of fissionable material to weapons and other uses will depend on Soviet planning decisions. We estimate that Soviet capability lo produce fissionable materials will almost certainly be more than sufficient lo provide for theof attack on the US and key overseas installations and forcesheproblems in connection with use of nuclear weapons will be Ihose of adaptation to various delivery systems.5 all sizes of nuclear weapons, including those of thc largest yield, will be deliverable by lhc aircraft estimated to be then In use. Nuclear warheads could be available for the surface-to-surface and the

'Sec NIKRestricted Data. "The Sovet Atomic Energyated

air-to-sui'tace guided missiles which could be used for offensive action against the US.

Biological Weapons

S.5 the USSR will probably have an unproved capability to produce antipersonnel, anticrop, and anuiivestock BW weaponsfor use against the US. Since it is not possible to stockpile large quantities of most BW agents in prolonged storage, mostrequirements would still have to be supplied directly from production facilities. BW agents would probably be disseminated by means known at present, including aerosol generators, insect vectors, bombs, and spore impregnated material Tlie choice of means would depend primarily upon the type ofand whether overt or coverlis used.

he Soviets will be capable of employing antipeisonncl BW agents singly, inor concurrently with CW agents. The BW agents which the Soviets can develop and are most likely to have for antipersonnel use5 arc the bacterial agents causingbrucellosis, glanders, and tularemia; thc stable vlrat and rickettsial agents causing

Q-fever, psittacosis and various forms ofthe toxins causing botulism and enteric disorders; and fungal toxins. Until antipersonnel BW weapons are usedass basis there will be only partial data from which to judge the efficacy of such weapons. Variations o( the numerous physical factors (effectiveness of delivery, climatic conditions. Immunological resistance,pon which the efficacy of BW attack depends would cause its effectiveness againsi the personnelto range (rom virtually sero toercent

Chemical Weapons

he USSR has available chemicalweapons ol World War II which arefor the dissemination of standard CW agents and are potentially adaptable to other agents. Wo estimate that the Soviets have the facilities and scientific knowledge totwo nerve gases (OA and GB).If chemical warfare were utilised, the USSR would almost certainly be able to cm-ploy these as well as the standard CW agents Soviet research in the biochemical sciences may also result in the development of toxic compounds of military significance, such as substances which would Incapacitate people without kUllng them or cause temporarydisorders. Such agents may be sufficiently developed for military use

Radiological Weapons

he USSR will possess nuclear weapons capable of producing wide radioactive fall-out, and which It could use primarily for thisOther than this, we believe it unlikely that the USSR will be able to developwarfare weapons5 that willoffensive military significance.

OF WEAPONSMissiles

guided missile piogiam whichmeet Soviet missilebe within Soviet scientific capabilitycould include the following:

wo-stage ballistic missile with arange otautical miles with

inertial guidanceEPautical miles;

n intercontinental ballistic missileaximum rangeautical milesEP possibly less than the five milesestimated for thc;

submarine-launched supersonicwouldange upand

air-to-surface missileautical miles.

We believe that the USSR will probably concentrate effort on the ballistic missileof its relallve immunity to counter-measures and its greater capability forThe number of missiles which might be available cannot be estimated withIt would depend on many factors now impossible lo determine. Including the Soviet estimate of requirements and allocation of resources for ihese weapons. However,successful development and adequate priority we estimate that it would be within Soviet production capacity toargeof surface-to-surface guided missiles of all ranges in stockpilencluding sufficient quantities of thc two-stage ballistic0 nm) and the ICBM toajor and unprecedented threat lo thc US and its key overseas installations and forces.1

he USSR may be able to develop an unmanned satellite vehicle. At that date, il would have psychological and researchand possibly military surveillance significance.

Aircraft

would piobablyeduction inof Soviel bomber aircraft ifaccurate guided missiles became available

SAF believes Uiat because of Ihccontained In NIEs to the dates of operational availability ofwo-slagc medium-range ballisUc missile and an ICUM. there will be Ainnlc Ume by IMS tor Sovietcapacity to produce several thousand of the two-stage mi Ml Irs bul not enough time to produce more than several hundred ICBMs Thereto be no factors which necessarily limit this production capacity except lime

in sufficient quantities. However, if such missiles do not become available in sufficient quantity, thc Soviet long-range bomber force will probably be maintained atircraft, composed of roughly equal numbers of medium and heavy bombers. Versions of existing heavy bombers, the BISON and BEAR, and the medium bomber, thc BADGER, with slightly improved performancewill probably still be operationale believeedium-range jet bomber with supersonic dash capabilities, andong-range jet bomber withdash capabilities, will also be availableI is also possible that thc USSR couldew nuclear-powered heavy bombers which would have, for all practical purposes, unlimited range, but only subsonic speed. In addition, the USSR will probablyight bomber force ofconsisting of aircraft with performance superior to that of the current BEAGLE and including some light bombersighcruise and supersonic dash capability.

oviet bombers will be ableall parts of the US on two-wayinflight refueling wheredesirable. We also estimate that thedevelop increasingly advancedossibly includingcapable ot seriously degrading theof conventional early warningradars. Moreover.5 will probably utilizeequipment giving an accuracy offeet CEP visuallyby radar.

Naval Forces

surface vessels could employweapons such as mines andcould be modified for launchingwith nuclear warheads. Thecharacteristics of Sovietaie comparable lo those5 nuclear powered vesselspossibility, and could include aircraftand guided missile ships. However,it unlikely lhat5 the Soviet sur-

face fleet willerious IhrcaL to the continental US.

The naval vessel most likely to be selected by the USSR for attack on the US or its bases and forces is the submarine. We estimate that5 the USSR willubmarine fleet ofery large proportion will be modern long-range boats, snorkelimited number could be nuclearumber of long-range submarines could be deslgnedror or converted to guided missile work, and as such couldup to six turbojet-powered guided missiles. Conventional submarines could carryoines oroorpedoes, or combinations of the two.

The long-range Submarines will have an operating radius under-combat conditionsautical milesype)autical milesubmarines equipped with auxiliary propulsion for high underwaterboutnots, willhorter range, and will be sharply limited in the length of time they can operate at such speeds. Nuclear-powered submarines will probablysubmerged speeds approachingnots, and will probablyubmerged endurance limited only by personnel capabilities.

Ground Forces

uring this period the Soviet Army will probably continue to modernize its ground force systems, and5 will probably have considerable numbers of improved weapons including lanks. self-propelled guns, surface-to-surface guided missiles and artillerywith nuclear warheads, and an anti-lank guidedhese new weapons,with improved support and relatedincluding equipment for airborne forces, will probably greatly increase Soviet Army capabihlies to conduct highly mobile opera-lions under conditons of either nuclear or conventional warfare.

III. PROBABLE GROSS SOYIET CAPABILIUES

TOR ATTACKoviet capability to attack thc US and overseas forces5 will derive primarily irom lis ability to deliver nuclear weapons by

bomber aircraft or guided missiles. TheIn which the USSR would combine orguided missiles and bomber aircraft in carrying out itttacks In this period cannot be estimated with either confidence orThc USSR would probably use both aircraft and missiles In suchbecause of their relative invulnerability to air defenses and aircraft because of their greater accuracy of weapons delivery.would also be required for

Attacks Against tho Continental US

Because of the range of the ICBMto be availablehese missiles could be launched from sites In the vicinity of widely dispersed assembly plants located In the interior of thc USSR. This would greatly simplify logistic problems while providing for an optimum degree of security. Although there is no basis for estimating the number of such launching sites which might be availablee believe that ICBMs could be launched in an initial attack against many US targets.

Intercontinental attacks by aircraft5 will probably be conducted by heavy bombersizeable force of upeavy bomber aircraft could be launched from interior bases and. with inflight refueling where necessary, reach any target in thc US on two-way missions. Alr-to-surface missiles with nuclear warheads will probably greatly increase Uie capability o! these aircraft for attacking heavily defended targets.

Guided missiles with nuclear warheads could be launched from submarines against targets several hundred miles inland;this could also be done Irom surfaceTorpedoes rould he used touclear attack on some major seaports and naval bases. Such torpedoes might be modi-

fied to sinkredetermined length of run and explodeime delay.

USSR willcapable ofemploying nuclear. BW, and CWagainst the US. The scale of attackmethods would be small asthe primary delivery methodsHowever, this capability could beagainst highly critical targets.

Attacks on US Forces and Installations Overseas

Attacks on targets in thc European,and Asiatic areas could be carried out simultaneously with intercontinental attacks. The number of aircraft available couldof the heavy bombers not committed against the US, and the medium and light bomber forces. Virtually all of the targets in these areas could also be reached byor short-range guided missiles launched Irom within thc USSR or Soviet-dominated territory.

Many key US installations and forceswill continue to be vulnerable to attack by Soviet ground and tactical air forces.5 thc combined Soviet airborne andforces could alsoerious threat lo certain overseas installations which might not be vulnerable to other forms of ground or air atiack,'or which thc USSR might want to seize intact.

Soviet naval forcesaircraft, surface vessels, and submarinescould be used lo suppori the primary air and groundIn overseas areas and wouldajor effort to Interdict seaA large number of Soviet submarines would piobably be employedombinedand attack role against naval striking forces.

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