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Dlreclonle of Intelligence
Soviet Perceptions of US Naval Strategy
A Rcearch Paper
This paper was prepared by
Office of Soviei Analysis. Comments and queries are welcome and may be directed to
Soviet Percept ions o' US Na.al Strategy
The Soviets' open-source writings and the scenarios of their nujor naval eierciscs in thenduggest ,hev Perceive that USon sea power has markedly increased. They evidently see an increased threat from the sea, manifested in US plans tohip Navy and in what they describeore aggressive naval strategy. They perceive US naval strategy as havingtrategic nuclear aspect, which they refer to as "the oceanonvention'1 warfare aspect, which they often refer to as "the forward strategy."
The ocean strategy was described in Soviet open-source writings in thes an effort to enhance the survivability of the US nuclearby it>oving most US strategic warheads to sea. According to recent writings, this strategyote ominous turn inhen its emphasis shifted toea-based "superior counterforce"centered on:
- Ohio-class ballistic missile submarineshich will be quieter than previous SSBNs and. as the Soviets describe it, "imperceptible" lo enemy ASW forces.
ea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and Tomahawkncbed cruise missileshich the Soviets believe will be sufficiently accurate and powerful io destroy hardened largeM
Wartime strategic ASW operators against Soviet SSBNs.
The Soviets say that the. unlike any previous SI-BM. is designed toirst-strike weapon. According to their cpen-source writings, it williloton nuclear warheadircular error probable (CEP) ofeters, well withinneter accuracy they claim would be necessary to destroy hardened ICBM silos. The Soviets also say that the range of both thend theLBMs will substantially improve the survivability of (he US SSBNby allowing submarines armed with these missiles to conduct warti'"-patrols in waters off the east and west coasts of the United Slates.
The Soviets apparently view the Tomahawk SLCM primarilyart of the US strategic nuclear arsenal aimed at targets in the USSR, rather thanheater nuclear weapon Open-source writings describe the Tomahawkart of the US strategic reserve, with sufficient accuracy (ISOeters CEP)atge enough0ilotons) to destroy some hardened target*.
sov ts-iocmn Mr 11
The combination of hard-target SLBMs and SLCMs and strategicwarfare (ASW) capabilities, according to one prominent Soviet author, would give the US Navy the ability effectively to destroy Sovietballistic missiles (ICBMsj in their silos and Soviet SSBNs at sea. The USSR would be unable to retaliate in kind, according to this author, because most US strategic weapons would be deployed ininvulnerable" submarines..Numerous other Soviet articles seem to reflect similar concern about the counterforcr potential of US naval forces.
The forward strategy, according to Soviet writings, centers on US Navy plans to conduct intensive combat operations in the seas that border the USSR and to blockade the Soviet Navy in its home waters at the outsetATO-Warsaw Pact war-Soviet writings and naval exercises haveong time portrayed US plans to fight in these areas, but in recent years these sourcesapidly developing threat. According to Soviet authors, the US Navy will attempt to accomplish the aims of the forward strategy by establishing ASW barriers with attack submarines inchokeas the area between the North Cape of Norway, Bear Island, andby operatingaircraft carrier battle groups in Ihe Norwegian Sea and northwest Pacific. Soviet Northern and Pacific Fleet exercises regularly simulate these efforts, particularly carrier battle groups approaching the USSR.
Soviet open-source writings ir.onsistently describe aircraft carriers as the backbone of "US naval general purpose forces"highly prepared reserve of strategichese writings convey the clear impression that the Soviets view US aircraft carriers as increasingly capable and survivable systems. Writings that praise the "high combat stability" of American aircraftSoviet formulation thatthe capabilityilitary unit to fight and survive under wartimethai ihe Soviets believe the US Navy has improved its capability to pursue the forward strategy in high-intensity combat areas such as the Norwegian Sec.
Soviet authors frequently extol the ability of US aircraft carriers lo project power in disiant areas, but few articles discuss in any detail US naval operations in support of ground fcrce operations in the land theatersATO-Warsaw Pact conventional war. The combined evidence from
writings and naval exercises suggests, in fact, that the Soviets are most concerned about the US Navy's strategic nuclear capabilities. Recent writings place heavy emphasis on the increased number and accuracy of US sea-based warheads and US plans to attack Soviet SSBNs.
The Soviet propensity to view the US Navy primarilytrategic threat probably reflects an overall altitude that combat at sea would not be decisive to the outcomeATC-Warsaw- Pact war that remained purely cc-rrrentioiul. There is substantial evidence that Soviet military planners do not believe that the US Navy has sufficient offensive power, using conventionalnly, toecisive impact on the course of groend operations in Central Europe. The Soviets apparently regard Central Europe as the critical theaterar with NATO. They do not seem to view the outcome of combat on the maritime flanks with the same degree of gravity. On the other hand, their open-source writings provide ample evidence that they believe US sea-based strategic forces wouldey role in deciding the outcomeuclear war.
Soviet Perceptions of US Naval Strategy
md Sources Soviet open-source writings ire by far our most abundant sosjree of infc*Trut>oo regarding Sovietof the US Navy over the pastean. Soviet journali. both military and nonmilitary. regularly contain detailed and fairly straightforward articles describing US naval equipment, exercises, and the viewi of US leaders on nival strategy and docirine. Some of these articles probably arc intended to prorrtote Soviet naval program! by extolling similar US systems. Articles praising US aircraft carriers, for example, may be intended, in pan, to support the construction of Soviet aircraft carriers. Most of these articles, however, piobably arc intended toomestic, professional military audience about new developments in Western navies and the officialof these developments While the Soviets engage regularly in disinformation practicestheir armed forces and also disscmiosic propaganda on US forces, such practices do not appeare used in professional journals published in Russian that are widely circulated within the Soviet military forpurposes on enemy forces
The degree to which open-source statements about the US Navy actually reflect 'eal Soviet views can be demonstrated by comparing them with moresources. We checked thoroughly for consistency with other source material, especially in those cases where it initially appeared Ihai an ossen-source article might have overstated US capabilities. We found no clear mi! tint ion in any of these cases, however, of significant differences between open-source staie-rr.eMf
Jasctual cicrciscs Even those Soviet articles thai, to Western observers, overstate the threat appear to reflect actual misper-ccplions rather than detibcrjte deception
There are additional ways io weigh theof observations on US naval policy foundSoviet writings. Many Soviet authorscontributors to military journals andreputations. For example.. P. V'yvincnko, and A. S. Pushkinregarded in the West asof official Soviet views. Moreover,journals piobably arc more
Morskoyovalhe official journal of the Soviet Navy, it alsoore reliable barometer of official Soviet naval views ilinnprestigious publications
Jthe observations on US naval strategy andfound in open-source writings. Moreover.on the US Navy in open-source navalsimilar to those in Soviet civilian and
consistency suggests that these writings present si Soviet, rather lhan strictly the Soviet Navy, view of the perceived threat from the tea. To avoid confusion
Both the volume and tone of open-source articles appearing iauggest lhat the Sovieubelieve tbat US emphasis on naval power hasincreased undet'-tHe Reagan administration. Two -common themes run through most recent Soviet writ* ings on US naval policy:
Doth military and nonmilitary authors stress tbat US leaders regard the Navy as the most important component of US armed forces, particularly stiate* gic forces, and that the current administration places more emphasis on naval power than any of its predecessors.
These articles invariably cite statements by US defense officials that the United Stales rejects (he concept of naval parity with the USSR, insisting instead on superiority at sea.
The buildupbiponarrier battle groups0 Obio-class SSBNs,uclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) armed with Tomahawk cruisefrequently cited by Soviet authorsisible manifestation of the US drive for naval4 article by C. Suvorov in Sovetskayd Rosslya (Sovietor etample, staled lhat:
ave been marked by particular Intensification of the activity of the OS Navy on the oceans, and ll Is for from accidental thai this hat coincided with ihe coming toof
US-naval strategy as siraf^icnuclear aspectooven-strategic aspect, whichnvolvesdramatically tbe nuclearf US sea-based weapons and to move inost US strategic warheads to sea. US wartime plans,Soviet authors, also call Tor conventional naval forces toforward strategy" ofthe Soviet Navy in its borne waters at the outsciar in Europe.
Tbc "Ocean Strategy"
Articles on the US "ocean strategy" began toSoviet military journals In Ihe. Atprominent naval Iheoreiiciins such asA. Stalbo, N. P. V'yunenko, and thein Chief of (he Sovietescribed the
ocean strategy as an efTort to enhance the deterrent value of US strategic forces by irsoving most of them to sea. particularly in nuclear-powered ballisticsubmarineshese authors appeared to share iht belief of US pnspooenu of (he ocean strategy that therama ge to SSBNs is their relative invulnerability, compared with land-based systems, to "disarming" nuclear strikes. According8 article in Zarubethnoyr Voyinnoye Oboiren-iye (Foreign Military Review) by Capt. Firstoniarenko, moving strategic weaponsea would have the additional advantage of helping solve the ami ball is tic missileM) dilemma. By reducing the number of land-based missiles, ihe United Slates could reduce the number of ABM systems needed ic protect (hem. Submarine-launched ballistic missile
hich (he SovieU say ate capable ofthe USSR from many directions, also wouldetter capability to penelrate Soviet ABM defenses than wouW intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and bombers, which enter Soviet airspace through known corridors..
Soviet authors writing in thenddvised their readers that, although the United States had not formally adopted the ocean strategy, many of its tenets were being implemented. These authors cited the US Navy's share of defenseand the Poseidon SUM program as evidence of movement toward adoption of tbe ocean strategy. Almost all Soviet articles on the US Navy from this period pointed out that, beginninghe Navyreater share of tbe US defense budget lhan the Army or Air Force. Rearming SSBNs with Poseidon missiles, according to numerous articles at tbe time, would resultecfoldin the number of US strategic warheadsby SLBMs. Several articles have since slated that,esult of the Poseidon program. SLBMs would carryercent of US strategic warheadss compared with onlyercent,
The Soviets have characteriKd the US ocean strategy asew. and more ominous, turn in the. US sea based strategic forces havebeen port raved not only as having deterrent value but also as key dement*ew "coontcrforcc" strategy. According2 article in SShA: Ekonomika. Potilika. Ideoiogiya (USA: Economics. Politics, and Ideology) by G. M. Sturua, the leading navalat the USSR Academy or Sciences" Institute for the United States and Canada, ongoing US SSBN and SLBM programs, "the mass-scale arming of Ihe US Navy with strategic cruisend efforts to improve antisubmarine warfare capabilities arc aimed at achievingsuperior counterforceturua asserts that US naval stralegJc forces will soon have two necessary characteristicsuccessful counterforce strategy: Ohio-class SSBNs will beto antisubmarine warfare (ASW) forces" and Trident II SLBMs andsea-launched cruise missilese sufficiently accurate to attack hard targets..
In addition loard-target kill capability, Sturua says, the United States is alsoigorous "strategic ASW" program aimed atthe capability to seek out and destroy Soviet SSBNs in the USSR's peripheral waters. Theof hard-target SLBMs and strategic ASW capabilities, Sturua implies, would allow US naval forces to destroy Soviet ICBMs In their silos and sink Soviet SSBNs in their bastion areas. The USSR would be unableetaliate in kind, according to Sturua. because most US strategic forces would be deployed in "invulnerable" SSBNs. Sturua'sthat improvements in US strategic weapon systems and ASW forcescounterforce" strategy seems to be shared by other Soviet authors writing about the Trident and Tomahawk systems. US nuclear lorpedo-atuek submarinesnd ocean surveillance systems.
Sturua's article is particularly significant because ilhe workivilian writtenrestigious political journal. His descripiion of Ihe US ocean strategy is fully consistent wilh articles written by Soviet Navy officers in naval and other military journals. This suggests that the Soviei leadership shares the Nevy'l concern over thr oerccived increase in US emphasis on sea power. _
Trident. Throughout, many Soviet authors panted to the US SSBN force as the "mainof America's strategic nuclear arsenal. Theythe TridentOhio-class SSBNthe culminationS effort, beguno concentrate its principal strategic nuclear punch in sea-based systems. In particular. Soviet writings stressed that ihe Trident program will improve the "combatSovi-ct formulation for measuring the capabilityilitary unit to fight and survive under wartimethe US SSBN force and will chord US SSBNs. for tbe first time. lufTicient accuracy and warhead yield to destroy hardened targets..
Soviet Comments on VS "Ocean Strategy'
the United Stales, Tor example, [theffensive capability of naval forces] has evokedof tbe so'callcd ocean strategy, which cs.y stales that alt future strategic systems should be naval, since this increases their mobility and invulnerability.
K. A. Stalbo, Voyennaya MysV (Military1
Tnc essence of the "ocean strategy" consists prirnt-rily of shifting the center of gravity of the (United States']
strategic nuclear forces from the land to tbe sea
In the opinion of the apologists of the "oceantransferring the strategic nuclear weapons from the land to the sea will, in the firstake it inexpedient to launch nuclear attacks directly at ihc United Stales and, in the second place, will reduce the vulnerability of these weapons.
N. P. V'yunenko,?
In recent years the United States has proceeded with practical implementation of another, so-called oceanic version of strategy, tbe substance of which consists in the maxin.um concentration of strategiche Navy.
S. G. Gonhkov. Voyennaya
he Americans are making persistent andefforts to transform the world's oceansridgeheadoncentration of the armed forces of the United States andt first their foundation consisted of strike formations of aircraftnd then the Polaris nuclear missile system was created and subsequently modified into Ihe Poseidon system. And now. to supplement these, yet another oceangoing strategic weapon
being created at an accelerated tempo.hole family of cruise missiles tc being created to transform numerous surface ships and multirole submarines and aircraft, including aircraft carried on the decks of ships, into carriers of strategic weapons designed primarily to destroy targets on the
S. G. Gorshkov, Kommunist Vooru-zhennykh Sil (Co.nmunisi of the Armed8
Thereew spirit of Interest in the "ocean strategy" in the United States at the beginning ol the
searchay out of the "nuclear
deadlock" in which the United States found itselfwith the USSR's ability to delivernuclear strike against the aggressor ledofficial approval of the notoriousof "counterforee" at the end of the
strategy completely justifiedwrity construction and modernizatioi: of one clement of tbe "strategicamelyodern SSBNs that arc imperceptible to antisubmarine forces will acquire another valuable feature that was absen'. in: the SLBMs insulted on them will be accurate enough to destroy well-protected smallIn other words, tbc strategic underwater weapon will combine Iwo characteristics necessary for the aims of tbc strategy of "superiorinvulnerability and high accuracy.
G. M. Sturua, SShA: Ekonomika, Pollttka, Ideologiya (USA Economics. Politics, and Idealowi.2
Several-Soviet articles published in thendredicted that tbe Trident program would substantially streiujlheti the^combat liability" of US
Trident submarine would generate "far less noise" than older SSBNs and therefore create ato any significant success in improving ASW weapons."
writtaga fromS ^United States began to employhat the Soviets are
existing Poseidon-Muipped SSBNsncreased offens.ve sinking power of new US SLBMs. aUow US sTl3Ns^conduct wartime patrols in Soviet authors point out that the currently deployedhe east and
uLw&teiM2 article byHal"SLBMs. Theyexpect the
umyantscv in ZantUrknoye VoywyeLBMjv^under evelopment. to have Obozreniye. conducting SSBN patrob in an area even greater cxninterforce capablUty
Involved In the cnemy'a use of antisubmarine forces in the area) and will simplify tbe control of nuclear missile6 article by Capt. Second Rank Ye. Rakitin In Morskoy Sbor-itik predicted that tbeissile would enhance the combat stability of US SSBNs by "overcoming the sbortcomlngs" of the Poseidon and Polaris systems. According to Rakitin, therange" of Poseidon and Polaris SIBMs forced US SSBNs to conduct wartime patroli in areas far removed from the United States. The "remoteness" of these patrol areas from the United States,to this author, placed US SSBNs equipped with Poseidon and Polaris missilespoor defensive posture" (see figure *
Soviet authors also say that new Ohio-class SSBNs will be significantly quieter and therefore far less vulnerable than previous US SSBNs. Nurnerous articles state that the "combat stability" of the Ohso-class will be substantially greater because of "reduced noise levels, imptxrred maiveuverability. and improved means ofhese articles claim that tbe Ohio SSBNs will have"ccrtidera-bly greater litem running speed on patrol" and will be able to make evasive maneuvers at "higher low-noistccording to the Soviets, thesewill provide greater survivability even in the face of future Soviet ASW improvements.mpk,almost five years before the commission'fig of the hrst Ohio-classredicted that the new
any previousesigned toirst-strike weapon. This assertion is r. standard feature ofpublished inn both military and nonmilitary0 Uleraiurnaya Caieta (literary Magatine) article, for example, said thatwill have tactical-technical parameters making it an intercontinental ballistic missile both in range of fire, yield of arrimunitioo. and accuracy on target, which can turn itirst-striket. Gen I. Perov,2 Zarubeihnoye Voyennoyt Obar-renlye article, said that tbeshould possess almost the same combat capability for bitting highly protected installations as the MX, thatint-strike5 article in Krasnaya Zvetda friedaily newspaper published by tbe Soviet Ministry of Defense, c'aims that the newly rommissioned USS Alabama, like other Ohio-class SSBNs. willf the latest Strategic nuclear rockets and is designed foruclear first strike.'
The Soviets support their assessment of theissileirst-strike weapon with USabout its planned accuracy and warhead yield. Ye.0 Morskoy Sbornik article, citing the missile's producer. Lockheed Corporation,that theouldircular error probable (CEP)eters. C. M.2 SShA article gives thefeters, well withinetcr accuracy
Sovietwould be isecessaryICBM4 article by Capt. ThirdA.'Sm-roov andminWv in
bilities tother'with.mirnov arid Smirnov also say.that thean carry up.'toilotcn nuclear, warheads,i tiiv.et the yield of thecarried by the'indimes ib'at of the/
t; ** J.'w1.
Theirexpectationissiles will be accurate enough to attack hardened tarectsled the Soviets to reevaluate their assessment of ihe likely wartime missions of US SSBNs. Soviet authors writing inenerally listed "adntinistrative and industrialilitary bases, ports,and troop groupings as the primary wartime targets for US SLBMs. In recent years Soviet authors usually have begun any listing of US Navy missions or likely wartime targets for SLBMseference to their participationneutralizing strike" against Soviet strategic1 two-part article in Morskoy Sbornlk entitled "The US Navy by theist of US Navy4 US article by Adm. Stansfield Turner) that included "readiness touclear 'countersirike' as part of assured destruclion" as the primary US Navy mission. The article goes on to say that Turner's list of missions is still good fornd beyond, except that there hasi.-Jige in the "sequence of theirhe article says lhat "as the accuracy of missile firings by SSBNs has increased, it has been proposed to make them part of the forces intended not only for the firstut alsoneutralizingimilarly. Rear Adm. A.2 article in Zaru-beihnoye Voycnnoye Oboireniye listed US SLBM
' To determine the bails for Sonetbat theill have the capability to destroy hardened tercets.applied So,iet performance data for this SLBMoviet ciTecli><nett model that recamrcs the abilityarhead Utifociint on the ground toissile silo This ;ialytiithat the, in the Savin view, would beercent more effective thin the improved Minutcmzn III ICBM. bated on Sor-.slur bothiloton vinrheadO meter CliP lor Mimii'min,iloton uarhcsdrncterlorit placed "annihilating enemyfirst, ahead of "destr'oying'ihdustrial
Tomahawk* Numerous Soviet open-sourcendoint to US plans topurpose submarines and surfaceTomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles as aof the "oceanhesereport that betSand SSNs will eventually carrynuclcar-warheads.substflhlially increasingof strategic platforitis in the US Navycomplicating tbe SovietNavy's defense ofmission. Describing US plans loin
Adm. N. P. V'yunenko wrote:
In connection with this, the composition of strategic nuclear forces will be significantly broadened. Ezientially, each of the currently existinguclear-powered torpedo-firingwillotentially new strategic weapons launch platform. The advantage of Ihe sea-launched cruise missiles, for example. It viewed In ihe fact thai when ihey becomeil will become impossible lo determine the number of potential firings from subma- rines. and il will be necessary IO figure In all torpedo launchers aboard submarines andunits
The Soviets apparently view the Tomahawk primarily as an integral part of the US strategic arsenal aimed at targets in ihe USSR, rather thanheater nuclear weapon. Open-source writings from thendescribe the Tomahawkart of the US strategic reserve that has considerable capability to destroy hardened targets. For example. Capt. First Rank V. Strelkov3 article in Morskoy Sbornlk said thai the deployment ofSLCMs "will signify the appearance in the US Navy ofonc more, in addition to carrier forces.
reserve oT strategic offensive forces capable ofdevastating strikes against targets on the coast and deep within the interior of the Soviet Union."
Open-source writings also suggct that the Soviets believe that the United States intends lo use some Tomahawk SLCMs in an initial nuclear exchange. Tomahawk SLCMs, accordant to Soviet open-touroe writings, wiDarge enough0itotons) and sefficsest accuracy to destroy some hardened urgctsounterforee9 artklc in Vcryenno-lslotieJuskiy Zhurnal (Ullltoryournal} by I. Chistyakov. for example, stated thai US cruise missiles "thanks to their greater accuracy and their nuclear warheads will have greater strike probability than the existing intercontinental Minulcman and Polaris3 Mors-koy Sbornlk article, Maj. M. Boystov givesEPeters and says it canercent of the strategic targets" in (he USSR. This attributes to the Tomahawkother open-source articles Hate l> necessary for attacking hardened targets. Moroover, in2 SShA article, G. M. Sturua supports his contention thai Tomahawkeunterforce weapon by quoting Secretary of Defense Weinberger's stale-.nenl that the missile "will ensure some potential lo destroy fortified targets" (see figure 2)
The Soviets aba do not accept US statements that Tomahawk SLCM; are too slow to be first-strike weapons. For2 article in SShA by V. V. Zhutkin stated that;
Tht counterforee capabilities of cruise missiles sttm from their exceptionally high degrte of accuracy, powerful warheads, and concialid
In dtirrmina ibeor Soviet sutcnenu thai the Tomahawk SLCM will b* more efteetW* aiairat hardened laieeu than r, Mrfitikmaa III ICBMs. we applied Soviet pceforrnariee data for these misiitaovieimodel batedrstcr-kill of hiih-clatt missile tool. The results of ihli anal.ni show thai Tomahawk doesigher protaHhiy ofrrdrned inert than the Soviet raiimatehtuteanan III IC1IM eeraippedayload and lindane* welaie IV* aaalvUi alio showiapafcliK -Mid b> rrwibly eauwalent to that of ihr Soviet estlmaie ofroved Mi..le*aa III. Aeeorr&rai tox. i- Ihe Soviri new. eariy ihend the MX ICBM would he mot erlectrr* than Tomahawkhardened taitett
approach. This makes ihe relatively low speed of cruise missiles an Insignificant factor,It Is cited by American experts who call them "retaliatory weapons."
Soviet authors are impressed with the ability of Tomahawk SLCMs to survive and peneiratc Warsaw Pact air defenses, Tbe Chistyakov article, as well0 article in Morskoyy Capt. First Rank B. RcdJrMOv andEngineer N.tates that Soviet air defenses will be hard pressed to count er Tomahawk because of its smaid radar cross section and its ability lo By al extremely Vow altitudes. Chistyakov goes onsay that Tomahawk SLCMs can "oversatorate" Soviet airreat many" to reach targets "in the deep rear" of the Soviet Union
trategic ASW. Soviet writings frequentlythe United Stales has been planningo conduct "strategic ASW"against Soviet SSBNs. Articles onor ASW capabilities invariably placeon Soviet SSBNs high mi any list of8 article
by Capts. Firs; Rank V. A. Artamonov and Yu. A. Bystrov. for example, stated that "almost all US and British submarines" are assigned the mission ofSoviet SSBNs. Articles since ihctress that the US Navy's two most important mis-siis are strategic nuclear strikes against the USSR and sinking Soviet SSBNs. Vice. Sulbo wrote, in Moeikey Sbornikhat "American naval doctrine considers antisubmarine warfare, which it must be ready to wage in the interest of antimissile defense of thes the next mission of ihe Navy in importance" after strategic strike;
The Soviets apparently expect lhat NATO will focus its efforts lo sink Soviet SSBNs in forward rones such as tbe northern Norwegian and Barents Seas. They believe that NATO attack submarines, primarily US and British SSNs. will maintain continuous patrols in "the near approaches" to Soviet SSBN bases. Open-source articles throughouttate
tomnriawk SLCM0 km)
US SICM- armed submarine icbm compte< National'level command and relocation bunkers
NAT0 will establish ASW barriers inrestricted areas througn which Soviet SSBNs must pass to reach their wartime patrol areas. The rrvost impertant of these, in the Soviets' view, are the area between the North Cape of Norway. Bear Island and Svalbard-Spilzbergcn and thegap (see
The Soviets believe that the United States i* planning to conduct ASW operations against their SSBNs, even if war were to begin at the conventional level Open-source writings inassert that US political and military leaders rio not see the destruction of an enemy SSBN during
conventional hostilities as an esealatory act. These ritings tend .to discount the relevance of warnings by Western academicians that sinking an enemy SSBN before nuclear weapons have been introduced wouldangerous, desubjuaog act. After citing such arguments. G. M. Sturua.airly5 article on strategic ASW in SShA. says that acJtber the US military commantl oor any US administration has ever supported the Idea of limiting wartime ASW operations against Soviet SSBNs.
V5JK<vi iB '
In the same article, Sturua lays out his view of the .US '
rationale for conducting strategic ASW duringcntionnl hostilities, Sturua states that the US naval* authorities said that during conventional hostilities US forces would conduct intensive ASW operations against "nonstrategicowever, beQuotes statements of two US Navy admirals before the US Congi ess thatombat situation the Navy "would be unable to distinguish betweensubmarines and tbe SSBNs" and that "in coiwfntlon.il warfare all submarines are justSturua concludes that the United States hopes to portray destruction of SSBNs as theresult of ASW in the sea lanes and thereby restrain lhc enemy from escalating lhc militaryf the Soviets did not accept US claims of unprcmeditation. Sturua says thai the United Stales would still calculate that the USSR would notthe conflict but instead would "lake additional measures to defend its own SSBNs and sun its own strategic ASW."
Many Soviet authors writing about US wartimeASW apparently share this alleged US perccp-lion that sinking SSBNs is not necessnrily an cscala-lory act. Soviet authors generally ireat wartime destruction of SSBNs rather matter of faclly,nbscntlear admonishmentuch an act could lead to escalation. ForjRcar. V'yunenko reports that tSetJnited States routinely attempts lo locale andrack Soviei SSBNs in peacetime Vyuncnko then says that if war breaks out "these actions will culminate in use of various ASWo Vyuncnko. US wartime ASW operations against Soviei submarines, including SSBNs. is but the "continuation and culmination of
submarine search operations in peacetime."FirstjSank V. G.ay
that NATu will traCK an ricicAca Soviet submarines "with the intent of destroying as much of the enemy's strategic naval forces as possible at the outbreak of war."
tVS SSN.'. The Soviets' open-source writings identify US SSNs as the principal threat lo (heir SSBNs. Rear Adm. A.2 article inoytrnmoyt Oboireniye. praise* US SSNs for their "highlow rtoiscnd "sophisticated sonar observationuyrian'-sev says these characteristics "tignifieaniiy hinder their detection by ASW lorecs and make themweapon* iaea.*
s Angeles elasi. in particular, ha' beenut h' Irish2 articleudeorskoy Sbornik. for etatnple. ca'leds AftfhV les "ihe firsthird gcnct.ilion" of SSNs with
"mi.nil.'i capabilities substantially increased inwilt) boats of the previousudas says that the Los Angeles, despite its much larger size, will be as quiet as tbe previous Sturgeon class and will have more powerful sonars, lowed-array sonars, and improved maneuverability.
SOSUS. Soviet authors also seem to be impressed by the long-range detection capabilities of the US sound surveillance system (SOSUS) and believe itajor role in US plans to destroy Soviet SSBNS before they can launch their missiles.3 article in Zarubezhnoye Voyeiuioye Obozreniye, Rear Adm. A. S. Pushkin and N. Naskanov credit SOSUS with the ability toubmarine by the noise it emits on the background of ocean noises and the noises of other ships in the area" and locate itsquarc-mile area, when two or three receivers areccording9 article in iMorikoy Sbor-nik byuimin, SOSUS can accomplish all but the last of ihe four classic ASWclassification (identifying the contactubmarine and establishing itsocation, and attach. Unlike other ASW surveillance means. SOSUS docs its submarine tracking, according to Kuimin.and not at severely restricted ranges, which is very Irnmrunt in providing guidance for attack forces."
Many Soviet articles discussing SOSUS also note the shortcomings in the system and US efforts tothem. In9 article, I. Kuzroin notes that SOSUS does not provide operational coverage of all possible SSBN deployment routes and patrol areas and that SOSUS's zone of coverage is "insular" rathersolid zone of effectiveuzmin poin's out. however, thai tbe United States is working on eliminating these weaknesses byihc system, deploying new sonar arrays, and improving data-processing equipment andther authors have mentioned that SOSUS cables arc fragile and vulnerable during com bat.
Other US programs to upgrade strategic ASWas noted by Soviet authors, include:Maneuverable hydrcacocstic systems to supplement SOSUS such as SURTASSens-ed-array system for surface ships) and RDSS (buoys that can be tapidly deployed by aircraft or submarines).
Electromagnetic equipment to locale submarines by the local deviation they cause in the Earth'sfield.
Infrared equipment to deteel submarines by their heal patterns.
Systems to detect submarines by their surfaceand turbulence patterns.
Various nonacoustic ASW systems for installation in satellites
In the past, articles in Sovicl open-source journals have quoted predictions by Western naval offkets. pc litkii its, and scientists thai the United Stales, using one or more of these systems, would soon achieve an "ASWturn Ihe ocean transparent" or "completely solve the problem of combating enemy. M.5 SShA article notes. however, that US naval authorities now tend toward "eiiremely onnservative estimates" of future US ASW capabilities. Sturua says that tbe United Slates probably encountered difficulties in itss "also possible" that US leaders arc trying to avoid "premature disclosure of si: the cards in Ihcirturua also says US naval leaders may be concerned that talk of ASW breakthroughs could alarm the US Congress and cause it toeitions about the Trident program
TV "Forward Strategy"
The Soviets'open-source writings inuggest thai they are also concerned about what they perceive tourn in US policyarkedly more aggressive approach lo conventional naval warfare The Sovieu generally refer to Ibis new policy as the "forwardhe US Navy, according to these articles, plans to conduct offensive operations against Soviet naval forces in the USSR's territorial waters at the outsetATO-Warsaw Pact war. Theaim of this strategy, as perceived by the Soviets, is to blockade their Navy in its home waters by controlling the seas and air space along key areas of the maritime periphery of the USSR.
Much of the forward strategy, as depicted in Soviet writings, overlaps the US ocean strategy. The Soviets apparently believe that Ihc establishment of ASW
by US SSNs in geographic choke poind such as the area between the North Cape of Norway, Bear Island, and Svalbard-Spitzbcrgcn willeyof the US Navy's plan to blockade the Soviet Navy. Such ASW harriers, according to other Soviet articles, willey role in strategic ASW against Sovietof the ocean strategy.
The Soviets see US aircraft carrier battle groups as the other key element of the forward strategy. Recent open-source writings indicate that the Soviets expect that the United Stales will move aircraft carrier battle groups into the Norwegian and North Seas and the northwest Paciric Ocean off tbe Kuril Islands and Kamchatka Peninsula earlyATO-Warsaw Pact war. In2 article in Zarubeihnoye Voyen-noye Oboireniye. Rear Adm, A. Rumyanlsev stated that NATO will attempt to control the Norwegian Sea bystrikeon four or five aircraftlthough open-source writings and Soviet naval exercise scenarios sinceave consistentlyhreat in these waters (torn US aircraft carriers and SSNs. recent writinis seem to place more emphasisapidly developing threat.1 article entitled "The US Navy by then Morskoy Sbornik. for ciample. described US planspreemptive" attack to be made by carriers and SSNs on the Soviei Navy in its home waters and bases. Capt. V. Strelkov. writing in Morskoy Sbornikchoed this point. Sirelkov suggested that tbe United States would try to conduct "surprise" attacks on the Soviei Navy before it completed ils4 article by Capt. Third Rank A. Biryusov in Zarubeihnoye Vayennoye Oboireniye described how US plans to defendshipping in the North Atlantic now include using aircraft carrier battle groups to attack Soviet forces at their bases and airfields and on deployment routes "during the first daysiryusov contrasts these new "offensive" tactics to the previous emphasis of passive defensive measures rtirecily on the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) control Ihe Norwegian and North Seas.0 article In Zarubeihnoye Voytnnoye Oboireniye. Capt. Third Rank A. Orlov observed that "the main areas for maaeuverina; carrier groups (from tbeof the "Ocean Safari' and Teamwill be the Norwegian and Northore recently, articles have begun lo describe US exercise activity in the northwest Pacific as part of (he forward3 article in Zarubetnoye Vayennoye Oboirtniye by Cape First Rank F, Gavrilov, for example, says (hat recent operations by US carrier2 and three inthe vicinity of the Kamchatka Peninsula were intended to practice wartime sea control in this area. These operations, accordion to Gavrilov. were the firstby US aircraft carriers in Hut. region since World War II..
of the Seas. Soviet military journals have long described recurring NATO exercises such as "NorthernTeamnd "Ocean Safari" as practice runs for US wartime plans Io
Aircraft Carriert. Open-source writings0 suggest thai ihc Soviets greatly admire US aircraft carriers. Articles praising ihe operational neaibflity. endurance, and offensive striking power of UScarrier battle groups are now common in Soviet military journals. This seemingly solid front ofis relatively new. As lateorskoy Sbornikebate between Adms. K. A. Stalbo and A. S. Pushkin on ihe relative merits of the aircraft carrier in ihc age of nuclear missiles.the admirers, represented by Stalbo, seem to have won; criticism in Soviet inurnals of ihe carrier's usefulness ii now rare
Soviet authors generally describe aircraft carriers as the "backbone of US general purpose naval forces"highly prepared reserve of strategiclthough they recognize tbat US aircraft carriers relinqu ished their roleedicated part of the US strategic nuclear arsenal when Polaris SLDMs were mlroduced in the. Soviet authorsclaim lhat as many as half of the aircraftodern carrier arc capable of delivering nuclearypical Soviet list of missions assigned to US aiicraft carriers usually includes;
Winning and maintaining sea and air supremacyiven area by annihilating Soviet naval forces at sea aad in their bases.
Delivering air strikes (withr nuclear munitions) against Soviet land targets.
Providing air jupport to amphibious forces or ground forces operatingaritime area.
Protcctina shipping on ihe sea lines of.
Soviet authors do not always list the inissions in the same order, but winning sea and air supremacy and conducting air strikes against the USSR almostare listed first or second. The sea supremacy
Soviet Comment! on the US "Forward Strategy "
he US Navy's main mission will now beto carry out preventive offensive operations against tbe Soviet Navy in its basing and deployment areas. In particular, the Secretary of Ibe Navy an-nounccd that Anserican naval forces must "return" to the Green land-Iceland area in order to threatenbases in the Kola Peninsula.
"The US Navy by the" Morskoy Sbornik,1 '
The United States openly dreams of the possibility of shutting off all outlets to the seas and oceans for Soviet ships and naval aviation. They would like to "turn tbe Sovieu into an isolatedhe so-called new strategy gives the American Navy the mission of delivering surprise strikes against thefleet even before the hypothetical completion of its deploymenl at sea.
V. Strelkov. Mortkoy Sborntk.3
The Pentagon is developing concepu for employment of the Navy to win supremacy in the ocean, lu latest version, stemming from the Reagan strategys the so-ca'ted new US navalenvisaging creation of "forward sea lines" for the purpose of isolating countries of Ihe socialistfrom Ihe rest of the world and assuring its "own free hand" for delivering attacks from ocean axes against important targeU on ihc territory of ihe USSR and iu allies. In fact, as Lehman declares frankly, ituestion of total blockade of the Soviet Navy in its bases and internal seas.
K. A. Stalbo. Morskoy Sborntk,3
task, moreover, is often describedeeprecursor io attacking land targels. According to an1 Morskoy Sbornli article entillcd "Operating Tactics of US Navy Aircraftihe principal mission of carrier sinking groups is to participate in establishing seain their operating area, after which they arc reoriented for operations against shore targets."'
Some open-source articles imply that US aircraft carriers also have an ASW mission to seek out and destroy Sovietrticle by Reara.or example, described how, inack carriers were "refitted" as mnltirole carriers. Vasyukov saysullirole carrier is "becoming capable of conducting effective combat actions both against submarines and surface4 Morskoy Sbornlk article by A.d N. Naskanov staled that "the most effective means of fighting submarines in remote regions of the world ocean outside the operating range of land-based aircrafteck-basedoth of these articles discuss ASW by carrier-based aircraft in tm? context of "hunter-killer" operations rather than as part of the effort to defend the carrier battle group from enemy submarines. This suggests, therefore, that lhc Soviets believe that US aircraft carriers have an offensive ASW mission, which probably includes at la eking Soviet SSBNs
The Soviets' open-source writings over the past five or six years clearly convey their view of US aircraft carriers as increasingly capable and survivkblesystems. They think modern US aircraft carriers have greatly improved offensive punch, endurance, and scakecping ability. Arming carrier-based aircraft with Harpoon and Tomahawk air-to-surface missiles, according to several articles, greatiy enhances their ability to attack enemy surface ships and shore-based targets. Several authors point out that the nuclear-powered Nimitx class can carryercent more aircraft munitionsore metric tons of aviation fuel then earlier Forrestal-class carriers. These capabilitiesimilz-class carrier,lo these articles, to sustain combat operations at the rale of two daily sorties per aircraft forays,rrcstal-class carrier could sustain this oner-il tonal tempo for only eight days
The Soviets seem to be even more impressedIbey see as tbe recent significant increase instability" of US
in thend continuing with increased frequency since then, Soviet authors have described "high combat stability"rincipal strength of US aircraft carrier forces. This is an unportant judgment, because it implies that the Soviets believe that US naval forces would have an increased capability to pursue the forward strategy goal of gaining control of tbe USSR's peripheral waters. Increased combatfor US carrier battle groups also implies that the Soviet Navy would have to apply considerably more force than previously planned to thwart the US forward strategy (see figure
The increased combat stability of US carrier battle groups, according lo the Scrricts, is the result of improvements in both Ihe design of Ihe aircraft carrier Itself and the defensive weapons and tactics of the entire battle3 article by Capt. Pint Rank A. Ivanitsky in Zarubezhnoye Voyennoye Oboireniye. (or wanspir, claimed (bat the eksign of the Nimitz ctus and, particularly, the location of iu nuclear reactor "assure its rather high resistance to3 article in (hat same journal by Vice Adm. A. S. Pushkin and N. Naskanov slates that the "security forces"odern carrier battle group can monitor aa areaadiusautical miles and provide the carrier withdefense against strike by heterogeneous enemyhese battle group "security forces."to Pushkin and Naskanov, include several SSNs stationedoautical miles ahead of Ihe carrier that "can effectively hunt and kill enemy submarines" that threaten it. Other articles point to the introduc-tion of the Aegis surface-to-air missile system on ihe Ticonderoga-class cruisersignificantin battle group air and antimissile defense capabilities.4 article in Zarubezhnoye Voyennoye Oboireniye. Capt. First Rank Yu. Petrov described the Aegis phascd-array radar system as capable of providing "an all-around scan andand Hacking of morealse targets by ihe nature of the reflected
other^urfacxjjbjrrj in the, battle group.
outmit carriers axe "vulnerable to cruise missiles just as are all surfaceithout carriers and their aircraft, other surface ships would be even more vulnerable.'* Another
by Reara. Vasyakov said Tnxt tbe presence in an areaS aircraft carrier would "substantially increase the combat stability of other surface ships."
Soviet naval authors have also cited the Royal Navy's experiences in2 Falklands conflict as proof of the value of aircraft earners. Adm. I. Kapitanets in the3 edition of Morikoy Sbornlk. for example, said that the two small British carriers participating in the operation "served as the basis of the grouping's combat might and on the whole gave it tacticalther Soviet authors also have implied that the Royal Navy could have lost fewer ShipsS or similar carrier with early warning aircraft had been available.2 Uonkoy Sbornlk article. Rear Adm.skovsaid that the "lack of aircraft earners with long-range radarand control aircraft in the English formations was the reason for large losses of ships andhe Soviets frequently cite tbe presence of such aircraft on US carriers as one of the major factors giving US carrier battle groups high combat stability.
Aa ktserrased Strategic Threat
Soviei open-source writings on the US Navy'sand Soviet naval exercises since thendicate that the Sovietsreatly increased threat from the sea. Despite the Soviet Navy'sgains in the last ISSLBMs. quieter submarines. Ihe introduction of fixed-wing aircraft aboard Kiev-class aircraft carriers, and the commissioning of Ihe USSR's first
nuclear-powered surfacesources give the overall impression that the Soviets believe they have not appreciably improved their capability to protect tbe USSR from US SSBNs, SLCMi. aod aircraft carrier battle groups.
With tbe exception of the Tcenahawk SLCM, the composition of tbe perceivedstrikesthe USSR by US SSBNs'and aircraft cerri-ert remains basically unchanged from the onein Soviet cper.-sourcc writings innd, but the tone of the recent writings Indicates growing concern over what the Soviets sec as increased US emphasis on naval power. Discussions of US SSBNs, ASW forces, and aircraft carrier battle groups still dominate Soviet articles on the maritime threat, but new US naval systems almost invariably are described as more capable and more difficult to counter than their predecessors.LBMs and Tomahawk SLCMs. according to these writings, are Iransforming US sea-based strategic weapon systems fromsecond-strike forces into counterforce. first-strike weapons. US Trident SSBNs and Nimitr-class carriers are described as hoving increased combal stability |
Soviet writings also suggest that the Soviets view the US Navy astratcgic nuclear threat. Recent articles on US naval strategy place heavy emphatis on the increased number or strategicstationed at sea, ihe enhanced accuracy and deslniciivencss of US SLBMs. and the new US emphasis on ASW operations against Soviet SSBNs. Even discussions of aircraft carrier battle groups, which are described as the backbone of US general purpose naval forces, stress the ability of carrier aircraft to deliver nuclear weipons and the carriers' roletrategic reserve
Soviet Comment* on US Aircraft Carriert
second importinl component of Ihe nival forces ofUnited Suies and iu allies is the general purpose forces, the nucleus of which consists of attack earners, which are being converted to mallirolehese carriers are capable of carryingircraftorresponding quantity of nuclear warheads and arc viewed as Ihe principal force for gaining ocean supremacy and an effective strategic forces reserve and naval striking power in local wars.
The fleet has been equipped with new aircraft,antiaircraft, and antisubmarine compteies. which are capable of adequately prelecting theModifications in the design of aircraft carriers ir. the lastears have made them more viable and unsinkable. The viability of this kind ofttested to by on accident on the carrier Enterprisehen nine bombs exploded on its dick.to experts, it could have resumed flight operationsew hours after the incident.
because they carry nuclear and conventional weapons and airplanes and hdieopters of different purposes and because they possess strong antisubmarine and antiaircraft defenses.
A.arvbeihnoye Voyen-noye Oboirerjye.2
The role and significance of aircraft carriersfirst of all by their mobility, broadlire capacities, raiber high combat stability,are the onlyweapons system at sea capable of operatingai any point of Ihe world ocean and.or nuclear weapons, destroyingor underwater targets and launching strikes
against shoreearners are the
main strike force at sea in conventional warsell-prepared reserve of strategic forces in nuclear war.
N. Naskanov, Zarvbeihnoye Voyen-noye Oboirerjye,?
M. Sturoa. SShA: Ekonomika. i'olmka. /deologiya.0
A very important role in the "new naval strategy" or President Reagan's administration is given tosurface forces, and above all aircraft carriers, whose numbers ihe government intends lo increase. From the standpoint of the American command, this type of ship, with broad combat capabilities and relatively high combat stability, will retain ihc importance of the backbone orrsoscorces in the fulore-
'riytv and N.onkey Sbormk.'.
(The surface fkd'sl main striking power isarriers, which canroad range of mis :ions
Multipurpose aircraft carriers continue to beackboce" of tbe general purpose forces. Because they have nuclear and conventional weapons, more sophisticate airrjafi and helicopters for various pur-poses, high mobility, and improved antisub and air defense. American military specialisu consider them
the main striking force in navalnew
US naval strategyurther increase in Ihc number of aircraft carriers so that by the begin-ning ofhere willombat-rody ctrrier groups.
V. Strdkov. hi ors key Sborntk.3