SOVIET CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACK ON THE U.S. THROUGH MID-1955 (SE 36)

Created: 3/5/1953

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-*ksi DIRECTOR. ONE

SPECIAL ESTIMATE

SOVIET CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACK ON THE US THROUGH

CiAEVIEW PROGRAMULL

This document has been approved for release through the HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM Of

the Central Intelligence Agency.

BBS

3

(This supersedes

The following member organizations of the Inlelligence Advisory Committee participated with the CentralAgency in thc preparation of this estimate: Thc intelligence organisations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff.

Alt members of the Intelligence Advisory Committeein this estimate

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

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SOVIET CAPABILITIES FOR ATTACK ON THE US THROUGH

THE PROBLEM

To estimate the capabilities of the USSR to attack the continental US by open or clandestine means, through

SCOPE

estimate is concerned solely with Soviet gross capabilities for attack on the continental US during the periodot does not attempt to assess whether thc USSR intends to attack the US during that period or what courses of action the USSR would adopt before, along with, or after such an attack. Furthermore, the paper estimates

Soviet gross capabilities for attack on the US without reference to any commitments of military forces which the USSR might make elsewhere and without reference to anywhich the USSR might gain for an attack on the US by previously occupying territory that Is not now within the Soviet

BIOC.

PART I

SOVIET GROSS CAPABILITIES

MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS Atomic Weapons

eneral: The Soviet atomic energyhas been given and almost certainly during the period of this estimate willto receive, one of the highest priorities in the allocation of resources available to the USSR. Thc emphasis of thc programto be on weapon development with the objective of reducing the relative advantage which the US has in atomic weaponsproduction, or stockpiles. The USSR has made substantial progress toward thisThe development of new sitesthat Its atomic energy program isto expand. Byhe USSR hadubstantial plutonium pro-

duction capacity,ajor increase in plutonium production probably becameduring the latter parthe USSR has achieved thc production of weapon graderanium reserves available to the USSR appear to be sufficient toarge program, but the rate of exploitation of these reserves will depend on the balanceupon between atomic energy and other Soviet activities. In fission weapons the USSR has reached thc point In technology at which the types of weapons stockpiled can be dictated by military requirements rather than by technical limitations.

tomic Weapons Stockpiles: Whileof Soviet plutonium production during the period up toreelatively large uncertainty

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exists with respect to installed or plannedroduction capacity.other than some evidence of theand efficiencies of the three bombs tested by the USSR, there is no specificconcerning the characteristics of weapons presently stockpiled or likely to be stockpiled. In converting fissionable material stockpiles to weapons stockpiles it has been asssumed that both compositend plutonium) and all-plutonium weapons will be fabricated. On tills basis, the estimate of the cumulative Soviet atomic weapon stockpile for the periodhroughs as follows:

of Bombs

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ariations and Uncertainty in StMkpiU Estimates: In view of the uncertainty in the evidence concerning the production ofmaterial, the stockpile for future dates may be as low as one-third less than the figure givenorr as high as twice that figureort also should be noted that byweapon components it is possible toor decrease thc number of weapons ln the stockpile substantially. Such changes would, however, alter the kilotonnagc yield according to the quantities of fissionableused in the individual weapons. It is estimated that the USSR is probably capable of producing fission weaponsllotons, but in so doing would reduce the number of weapons in stockpile. On the other hand, the USSR could also make smaller weapons (as lowT) than those used in calculating the stockpile estimates given above.

Thermonuclear Weaponst is believed that the USSR has notthermonuclear tests, and consequently is not stockpiling this type of weapon.which may be relevant has been noted, but there is no evidence of developmentaL the present time. There is no direct

evidence on which to base an estimate of the lead the US may have in this field;thererowing Soviet capability for quantity production of thermonuclearand therefore more advanced research and developmenl, and even field testing byrc possible. It would be unsafe to assume that the USSR will notorkable thermonuclear weapon by

Radiological Weapons

is most unlikely, for technologicalthat the USSR will have theproduce militarily significantradiological warfare agents duringof this cslimate. However, thehave available small quantities ofseparated fission products which mightas RW agents.

Biological Warfare

USSR has extensive knowledgeplague, tularemia, brucellosis,quick-acting Intestinal diseases, anddiseases. No information isthe production or theBW agents. The USSR couldsuch agents If it so desired.

Chemical Warfare

USSR can probably engage inwarfarearge scale We assumestockpile of standard agents andaccumulated during World War IImaintained and will be available forthe period of this estimate. Into these standard agents, the USSRbeen producing at least one of9 and may have developednerve gas through the pilottocks of nerve gases mayfor limited operational employment.

DELIVERY OF CONVENTIONAL AND MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS BY AIRCRAFT

Strength of Long RangeRange Aviation, consisting essentiallyAir Armies, one in the Far East andlhc western USSR, constitutes theforce of thc USSR. Thehich

was copied Irom thes the only Soviet bomber, known lo be inuse. capable of carrying atomic weapons to distant targets. AsotalU-4's was estimated to be available for operational use. (Table of Equipment strength of Soviet air regiments known to be equipped with or ln the process of being equipped withircraftircraft, but theegimentsare estimated to be at onlyoercents3U-4's (sevenwith antrength) were located in the Far East. It isthat deliveries of TU-4'a to the Far East arc continuing.

uture Strength and Composition of Long Range Aviation: The future strength and composition of the Soviet long-range bomber force is difficult to estimate. There ls very little Information on Soviet development work on new types of medium or heavy bombers. No prototype jet medium bomber is known torototype heavy bomber has been observed and was probably powered by piston engines. It may ultimately be powered by turboprop engines. This type of aircraft is not known to be in series production. It seems only safe to assume, however, that the USSR is planning to replace the obsolescentith aircraft of higher performance characteristics. The following table of tlic estimated actual strength and composition of the Soviet long-range bomber force5 is based, therefore, on thc assumption that the USSR has begun productioneavy bomber and that It will Initiate such production of other advanced types of long-range bombers during the period of thisIt should be noted, however, that there is no positive evidence that thishas actually begun or is planned.

ESTIMATED ACTUAL STRKNOT1I

Medium Dumber

Piston

Heavy nombcr

TOUt

ircraftnder normal operating conditions, istoombat radiusautical milesombat rangeautical miles0 pound bomb load. Under cruise control conditions necessary to reach distant target areas, its speed would benots at an altitude of0 feet. However, it is capable ofaximum speednots at0 feet for short intervals.there is no intelligence to indicate that it has done so, the USSR is considered capable of modifying theo increase Its range in the same manner that thcas stripped to produce. This modification Involves removal of defensive armament, except for the tall turret, andin the fuel capacity,et weight reductionounds Ln take-off weight. Soould have markedly reduced defensive capabilities againstattack, but its combat radius would be increasedautical miles and itsrangeiles0 pound bomb load. 7

With moderate technical advances, It Is possible that byhe USSR may be able to improve performance characteristics of theo some degree, but there is no current evidence of Soviet development or production of the more powerful pistonwhich would be essential to majorWe consider it more likely that the USSR would devote its efforts toan aerial refueling capability for TU-4's and to thc creationeavy bomber force.

No Intelligence is available concerning Soviet inflight refueling capabilities.Inflight refueling techniques do notserious technical problems, and the USSR has had access to the techniques andemployed by the US in this field. With one refuelingtripped-downts combat radius could be increasedautical miles toautical miles, and Its rangeautical miles.

Future Heavy Bomber Characteristics: The prototype heavy bomber, assuming it is

put In scries production and equippedurboprop power plant, couldombat radiusautical milesombat rangeautical milesomb load0 pounds. Byodifications and improvements oneavy bomber mightombat radiusautical milesombat rangeautical milesomb load0 pounds.

ase Areas for Direct Air Attack on the United States: Three base areas, thePeninsula in Northeast Siberia, the Kola Pertinsula in Northwest USSR and Soviet and Soviet-controlled territory along the Baltic and In Eastern Germany, are the closest to the United States. From any of these base areas tho stripped-downn ft one-way mission with one Inflight refueling could reach any target in the United States. TU-4'sin this manner, havingmile range, could also operate from bases in the interior of the Soviet Union for strikes against the US.

f thc three base areas mentioned, the Chukotski Peninsula is nearest to tlie United States. The standardwith no inflight refueling)wo-way mission could not reach the United States. ne-wayit could reach targets within an arc drawn from San Diego to Lake Superior. Thc stripped-downwo-way mission coulci; reach Seattle without inflight With outbound inflight refuelingwo-way mission, this type of aircrafteach targets within an arc San Diego-Lakene-way mission, withoutrefueling, would permit the stripped-downo reach targets in all parts of the United Stales except Florida from thc Chukotski base area. Soviet heavy bombers. If actually produced, could operate from Northeast Siberiawo-way basis with one refueling against targets anywhere in the United States, and even without refueling, against targets located north and west of an arc drawn generally from central Texas through central New York

ogistics problems arc difficult In the Chukotski Peninsula, but these could be mini-

mised by advance stockpiling and use of the area for staging bases only. Bombersthe United States from Northeast Siberia would have favorable tail winds most of the year. There are now no known first-class airfields which could be used for sustained operations, and airfield Information is not sufficient to enable positiveof any specific installation as asite or staging base for medium bombers.) and Anadyr/Mys) could possibly support staging operations by TU-4's, at least during nine months of the year, if adequate advance preparations took place. Olher similar possibilities are Velkal, Tanyurcr, Magadan, and Petropavlovsk. It is possible that new airfields have been built without detection. The USSR has emphasized use of frozen surfaces in The Arctic, which makes possible thc wintertime use of airfieldsinimum of preparatory effort.

ircraft sortied from the Kolaand Baltic-East German areas could not reach the United States and return to their bases, even with one outboundThe principalhreat to the United States from these base areas would stem from one-way missions flown byombat rangemiles. From the Murmansk area,ange would permit Soviet bombers to reach targets roughly north and eastine from Charleston. South Carolina, to southern Oregon. From thc Baltic area,ange would enable TU-4's to attack targets north and eastine drawn generally from Charleston, South Carolina, through All of the northeastern industrialof the United States could be reached from either area. The estimatedof heavy bombers should enable them to reach thc New York-New England area on two-way missions from either the Kola Peninsula or the Baltic area With onerefueling they could attack any target in the industrial northeast and return to home base.

here ore now no known airfields in the Kola Peninsula area capable of sorUe-ing

'POP CEC1IK T

However, AlakurlU, at the base of thc peninsula, and Murmansk-Vayenga, ninealf miles northeast of Murmansk, could readily be adapted to accommodate TU-4's. Eight other airfields5 offered runways or lake-ofTeet or more in length. It is possible that some or all of these bases could have been Improved to accommodate medium bombers. As elsewhere in the Soviet Arctic, virtually all of these airfields areand all will bear the weight of TU-4's during the six or more months of the year the ground is frozen. During the spring thaws and summer months, permanent all-weather runways of suitable length would beBoth Alakurtti and Murmansk-Vayenga arc favorably situated logistically, and great circle routes from this area would avoid initial overflight of nations friendly to the United States. The Baltic-East German area has adequate bases to support large numbers of medium bombers. These bases are favorably situated with respect to communications and weather and arc adequately served by existing transportation facilities. ajoris that great circle routes to the United States pass over portions of Western Europe or Scandinavia, and any attempted air strike might be detected early enough to provide warning.

Crew Proficiency: Achievementigh-level of combat effectiveness has been retarded by lack of combat experience and byupon flying. Intensive training has been underway for five years, but there ls no evidence of extensive training ln long-distance flying and navigation. It ls probable,that byome of thesewill be removed. It is also probable that evenimited number of crews has been given sufficient training to undertake anagainst the US.

Targeting and Bombing Accuracy: The USSR is able to obtain the data necessary for identification of most targets in the US under visual and blind-bombing conditions. The USSR possesses optical bombsights equivalent lo US world-War-II-type models. Sovietcould therefore be expected to execute satisfactory bomb placement under visual

conditions. Thc USSR has produced, and Is equipping Itsndlight jet) bombers with blind-bombing and navigation type radars of the USand AN/ariety. It ls estimated that aquantity of this equipment is available for use in aircraft employed In attacks on the continental US. The accuracy of the Soviet blind-bombing system is estimated ateetut wc have Insufficientto estimate the degree of accuracy which Soviet crews would actually achieve.

vailability. Abort Rate, Replacement Factor:ariety of circumstantialIncluding US experience, it is estimated that the USSR could have aboutercent of itstrength operationally available for an Initial, deliberately-prepared surpriseHowever, the number actually sorticd would dependultiplicity of otherIn view of thc fact that most US target areas could be reached only by one-way aerially-refueled missions, the attrition rate would be extremely high. The abort rate on those staged against US targets is estimatedercent without consideration forand poor navigation, and with variations in cither direction according toweather, extent of preparation, and other factors. No appreciable reserves of TU-4's arc believed available. (The same would apply to any new types of aircraft introducedthist present.ls estimated at aboutlanes perigure which could probably beslightly In the short run.

eather: Thc USSR has consistentlyconsiderable emphasis to both short and long period meteorological forecasting.techniques for upper air research and im-

"Thc Director of Naval Intelligence believes lhat in view ot the Inherent limitations of either of the above blind bombing equipments, and.the "system" to include the aircraft crew, there appears to be no Justification for concluding that even selected Soviet crews can achieve less thaneet CKP against acomplex under training condlUons.stimated that wartime degradation factors will reduce this training CEPombat CKPeel.

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synoptic methods are being developed (or use in weather forecasting for periods longer than one month, although we cannot estimate the degree of success which will be achieved during the period of tills estimate.5 it is believed that thc USSR will havehort period prediction capability in at least the European USSR ofercent reliability as compared with thc presentofercent This predictionplus extensive experience lnresearch in the extreme northern latitudes, good weather reporting facilities in Siberia, availability of records of weatherwhich have prevailed throughout North America for many years, and constant access to current North American weather conditions and forecasts should enable the USSR to predict both route and target weather with reasonable accuracy.

Countermeasures: Thehad accesside variety of USradar and to US jammingUSSR ls apparently well aware of theadvantage to be gained by Jammingradar and other communications.that today the USSR canlong-range radio communicationsthe continental US and itsWc further believe that theincrease the effectiveness of itsas well as the proficiency andof its trained personnel throughoutof this estimate. It is believedthat the USSR lias producedcountermeasures devicesircraft It ls not knownTU-4's have In fact been equippedjamming equipment, or what wouldeffectiveness of those devices againstradar. Use of effectivemight require the employmentaircraft equipped specifically for

DELIVERY OF CONVENTIONAL AND MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPONS BY OTHER MEANS

Guided Missiles

There is no positivethe USSR now has any guided missiles

in an operational status. It is known that the USSR has been conducting an Intensive research and development program.ype weapons, which were used operationally by the Germans during World War II, arc estimated to be the only missiles presently available. These types probably have been Improved, and may be available ln limited numbers. Neither Is known to be in series production.

haracteristics: The USSR hasdevelopment oningle pulse-jet version couldound warheadangeautical milespeedwinversion has been developed which could,arhead upounds for shorter distances. Launching anubmarine Is considered currently feasible and within Soviet capabilities. However, to date, no launching equipment, stowageor missiles have actually been sighted on Soviet submarines.ew intelligence reports are available indicating that the USSR has launched guided missiles fromthese reports are of low orreliability and have not been confirmed. It is conceivable thatype could be fitted with an atomic warhead, although there is no indication lhat the USSR hasarhead type or incorporated ituided missile. It is estimated that thc USSR would not attempt to improve this missile type ln regard to range or speed, but would accent the factors of reliability, load-carrying characteristics, accuracy, and the techniques of rapid preparation and firing from the launching crafL

he USSR has carried forward thc development of theype ballistic missile, however, this missile could nota threat against the continental USthe period of this estimate.

Clandoslino Delivery

Weapons: The USSR is capableatomic weapons which couldinto the US, either as completeor as component parts or lhc assembled devices could range

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small yield weaponsT or less)ew hundred pounds to larger yield weaponsT) weighing several thousand pounds. The size could rangeackage small enough to fit the luggage compartment of an automobileackage large enough to contain an automobile. The smaller weapons could be broken downumber of relatively simple and readilycomponents which would not require great technical skill to assemble. mall weapon wouldelatively lowand kilolonnagc yield. Weaponsa higher yield would require more skill to assemble and would involve more difficulties in transporting to the point of detonation. It ts conceivable that only the fissionable(in small kilogram amounts) need beinto thc US, the other components being procurableommercial basis.lan, however, would require highly skilled personnel and subject the wholeto very great security hazards.

ariety of forms of clandestine delivery suggest themselves. Atomic weapons could be delivered by disguisedype aircraft, could be detonated in the holderchant ship or sown as underwater mines. Either components or assembled weapons could be smuggled in under diplomatic immunity, put ashore by submarines, smuggled across land borders, introduced through normalchannels, or even introduced as bonded merchandise awaiting transshipment. The selection of the method of introduction, and of methods of assembly and transport to point of detonation, presumably would be madeto the objective desired and the risk of detection which the Soviets were willing to assume. It is not considered possible that the USSK could surmount the security andproblems involved Inarge number of atomic weapons against the US by clandestine means. We have no evidence to indicate whether or not the USSR has taken steps toward planning any methods ofdelivery.

iological Weapons:gents are peculiarly adaptable to clandestine Thc introduction of small amounts of

BW agents would be difficult to detect oras to source, but Soviet operatives would be required for theirarge number of people would be required fordissemination of BW agents, andsecurity considerations would be afactor in the scale and timing of such an attack.

hemical Weapons: CW agents are not easily adaptable to clandestine use. Into the limitations noted above asto BW attack, CW agents are easily identifiable by their immediate effects and It probably would not be feasible to build up sufficient supplies or lo procure thc means clandestinely for their dissemination against large population centers. Thc mostuse would be against personnel in key installations, but even this would be difficult. Wc have no evidence to indicate whether or not the USSR Is developing thc means for the clandestine delivery of chemical weapons.

ATTACK ON THE US WITH CONVENTIONAL NAVAL AND AIRBORNE FORCES

Conventional Naval Attack

oviet capabilities for attacking" the US with naval forces employing conventional armament are low. The Soviet surface fleet is geographically divided, lacks advance bases, has limited operational experience, and does nothipborne air arm. Its minor combatant vessels, including amphibious types, are entirely unsuited for transoceanic attack. The Soviet merchant marine, which would be called upon to provide the lift, could not be developed into an efficient auxiliary element to amphibious operations on anyscale. The only substantial naval threat to the US which the USSR couldwould be that of Its submarine force. In addition to its potential in connection wllh the delivery of mass destruction weapons, the submarine force could, at least ln the initial phasesonflict, inflict serious damage on US overseas communications and carry out offensive mining in the shipping approaches to principal US harbors. It is expected that during the period of this estimate theforce will be enlarged and Improved by

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the introduction of additional numbers ofocean patrol types, by the progressive modernization of existing types, and by the possible adaptation of submarines to missile launching.

Airborne Attack

oviet capabilities for airborne attack upon the continental US (except Alaska) are

also very limited. TU-4's could be adapted for troop-carrying service and operate within the same limits and under the same conditions as theomber. We have no evidence to indicate whether or not the USSR has made any plans for the dropping of airborne forces in the US, but the USSR could, if it chose, drop specially trained assault and sabotage forces for attack upon important but difficult bombing targets.

PART II

CERTAIN FACTORS AFFECTING SOVIET EMPLOYMENT OF THE FOREGOING CAPABILITIESOVIET DECISION TO ATTACK.

Soviet rulers wouldirect attack on the United States to precipitate general war. Inar the Soviet rulers would expect to have an initial preponderance of military power on the Eurasian continent, but in their attack upon the continental US would be concerned to prevent; <a) USair attack on the Soviet Union with weapons of mass destruction; (b) mobilization of the superior war potential of the Western allies, particularly that of the United States; and (c) US reinforcement of anti-Soviet forces in Eurasia.

Thc Soviet rulers have demonstrated their sensitivity to the danger of US air attack with weapons of mass destruction by the highwhich they havo given to theof defenses against such an attack. Despite thc substantial progress already achieved in building up their defenses, it isthat they would regard their defensive capabilities as adequate to prevent substantial numbers of attacking aircraft from reaching strategic targets in the USSR. It is likely, therefore, that in initiating atomic warfare the USSR would be concerned: (a) swiftly to destroy or cripple US capabilities forin kind, with particular reference to SAC continental and overseas bases; (b) to deliver such an attack on industrial and psychological targets in the United States as would prevent,

or at least hinder, the mobilization of the US war potential; and (c) to retain the means to counter any US reinforcement of Eurasia.

among the available forces andfor attacking the continental US,highest capability lies in openattack with atomic bombs deliveredtype aircraft, for the following reasons;

a. The low capabilities of conventional naval forces and airborne forces,

o. The security and technical difficultiesin the delivery of large numbers of atomic weapons by clandestine means,in inland areas.

methods of delivery ofare insufficiently developed foruse.

mass destruction weapons aredeveloped or subject to otherin their large-scale use.

Soviet rulers might, however,methods of attacking the USwith or immediately following andirect atomic attack. In the casesmissiles, airborne attack,and biological warfare,at best appear to beTheyreater capabilityattack in connection with, orto, atomic bombing.

arge-scale clandestine attack, because of tbe security dlfTicultics inherent in such action and because of the obstacles to coordinating its tirning with that of overt attack from the outside, is unlikely to bo used Immediately preceding or concurrent with an overt attack. Clandestine attackmall scale, in thc form of sabotage or biological warfare, might occur at any time, and even without an overt

attack ever being launched. Subsequent to an overt attack, clandestine attack in any form could be expected to the maximumextent.

e believe that the considerationsSoviet employment of their capabilities will remain throughout this period essentially the same as those outlined above.

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