Created: 1/1/1987

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Special Naliotul InteUigencc Fjtfimaie Memorandum to Holders

Soviet Submarine Warfare TrendsP

Key Judgments

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The Deputy Dneclor of Central Intdllgcnce


HEKORAHIHIH FOB: Recipients of Key Judgnents

of Meaorandun to Holders


Soviet Submarine Warfare Trends

1. There are certain key findings In this updated Estlnate on Soviet aiibnarines that are highly relevant to ongoing policydvances the Soviets have nade in their subaarlne warfare capabilities, noted in the HenoranduB, need to be taken into account In US war planning, acquisition of new neapon system, and fornulatlon of aras control negotiation policy. '

want to emphasize certain key findings:

-Technology transfer hasignificant factor In Soviet iaproveaents, especially in subnarlne quieting and torpedo design, and In soae cases such transfers have beenhat is, not eabargoed technology.



The following intettigcnce organizations participated in the preparation of tho Estimate:

The Centre! Inte*aence Agency, Ihe Defeme Intelligent* Agency, ihe Nolionol Security Agency, ond ihe intelligence crgonUul-on ol the Deportment ol Siq'c.

Also Participating:

Tho Atatlonl Chief ol Staff for Intelligence, Deportment of the Army Ihe Director of Naval Intelligence, Department of the Navy The Assistant Chief of Staff. IrrleAgence, Department of the Air Force The Director of Intelligence. Heodquortecs, Marine Corps

Warning Notice Intelligence Sources or Methods Involved (WNINTEl)

NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION Unauthorized Disclosure Subject to Criminal Sanctions


Relecnable to Foreign Notionols

NOC ON TRACT- Noto Contract ce. or

CantrInformation Involved

and Extraction of Information

Controlled by OriginalInformation Hai Seen Aothoriied for

Release to

ci 8yI ReVIEW ON 6AM OEItrVEO FROM Multiple


Memorandum to Holders of4 SOVIET SUBMARINE WARFARE TRENDS] |


The luP ten ol tha Memoutnluro ia Holden. ii bclcw publntxrl tccaotely with tecvUr ditiribution

scope note

this memorandum updates and supplementsoviel Submarine Warfare Trends, but does not replace it many of thr? basic judgments in the snie remain valid. this memorandum,highlights significant new developments in soviet ability to conduct undersea warfare that have taken place since the snie's information date oft also introduces changes to the key judgments of the original study based on new information. neither this memorandum to holders nor the snieet assessment of us versus soviet submarine capabilities.

key judgments

Sinceoviel Submarine Warfare Trends, was approved for publication inew information and analysis have developed that indicate significant changes in some of the judgments are required. In some areas of submarineSoviets are advancing more quickly than we predicted and in otherproduction ofthey are not proceeding as quickly. On balance, we are more concerned about Soviet capabilities to conduct submarine warfare over the nextears than we were

Tbe potentially most serious developments include:

Quieting and Acoustic Advantage, Since the SN1Ewe have determined that one new submarineAkula. hasuieting levelwe

predicted the Soviets would not achieve until the. These quieting improvements will seriously reduce theof all current Western ASW systems, but we cannot evaluate effects on programed US system improvements. Such quieting improvement will make detection of newer classes of Soviet submarines more difficult.

Although the Soviets have made impressive

progress in narrowing the acoustic advantage of US submarines. they still have quieting and sonar problems.

Also, the United States

willignificant advantage in numbers of quiel


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submarines through at least the. significant acoustic advantage usually provides the telling margin of superiority in submarine encounters.

Accuracy. the soviets achieved better accuracy with their newest submarine-launched ballistic missilehencluding the possibility ofard-target kill capability, sooner than we predicted in the snie.i

Operations. soviet operations and testing indicate moreon deployment of strategic and attack submarines in the arctic than was noted in the snie. some of these actions suggest the ussr intends to conduct some under-ice operations beyond the traditional bastioninto the deep arctic. this could improve ssbn survivability and affect how the united states conducts its asw operations.

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Technology Transfer. Further evidence shows thai technology transfer of both design and manufacturing technology has had more of an impact on improving the Soviet submarine force than we estimated iu ihe SNIE.

Important changes in submarine warfare trends that lessen our previous concerns arc:

ommitment to building substantially improvedai about the same pace as the last"

the Soviets expanded their shipbuilding capacity during, they have reduced the pace of submarine production since the. The construction rates of theay not be achieved again until at least the. We are, therefore, now projecting the production of someewer units (from6 of their newest classes of SSNs than we projected in the SNIE.

"Maximum speeds inknot range for some of the newest

now appears the newest SSNs do not have the high-speed capabilities of the Alfa-class. The Soviets mayew high-speed SSN in, bul the latest generation ofthe Mike, Sierra, and Akulahas maximum speeds inknot range. The Soviets apparently are emphasizing quieting over speed improvements

"Introduction of long-range, land-attack cruise"

see slow progress toward the deployment of long-range submarine-launched cruise missilese judge thecould begin deploying the subsonicf they chose to do so. The supersonicowever, is little closer to deployment today than we had estimated1 Since the SNIE the Sovietsonverted Yankee,AA. that we judge will likelyedicated platform for thee are uncertain, however, about Soviet plans for deployment and operation of both ihend theLCMs

Important enigmas have developed since (he SNIE. These mayajor impacl on the Soviet submarine force ihat we cannot predict at present:

Tlie Soviets have underubstantial and continuous effort to improve their capability to conduct submarine warfare. We judge the greatest benefit from the developments we have observed will be in enhanced protection of their SSBNs,arked improvement in their submarines' abilities lo strike carrier battle groups and other surface ships armed with land-attack cruise missiles. New analysis reinforces our judgment that the newest Soviet submarines may make some current Western ASW weapons obsolete, and may require apotentiallyresponse We now judge production rates of Soviet SSBNs will probably not increase to any extent, and that by therhe Soviets are likely to have fewer thanSBNs. We continue to hold that Soviet submarines will not be capable of attacking; any moreew US SSBNs, and possibly none, because of continued inability to reliably detect and track these units in tbe open ocean. We are now somewhat more concerned about our ability to detectimely manner Soviet breakthroughs in submarine warfare that mighl add significantly to Soviet capabilities.!

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