Created: 9/3/1986

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Toe Director of Central IwdJireBce

National Intelligence Council



Soviet Strategic Forces ino-SALT Envi roranent f

This Interagency Intelligence Assessment was prepared under the auspices of the National Intelligence Officer for Strategic Programs. The Agencies participating were The Oefense Intelligence Agency; the Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency; and the Intelligence Organizations of the Department of State, Department of the Navy, and Department the Air Force.


Ill' III T

II quantitative sublimits,orce of00 warheads without any SALT Units. Thus, there Bight well be little appreciable difference, in terns of total weapons, between the forces that the Soviets might deploy with and without SALT constraints.

It is difficult to predict precisely what the Soviets might do absent SALT constraints. Assuming future Soviet growth is essentially within the SALT constraints, the USSR's intercontinental strategic nuclear weapons are projected to increase to00 Moreover, this expansion will result in Soviet replacement of most of the weaponsheir strategic offensive forces with new or modernized weapons by the. They would not necessarily expand their forces significantly beyond the Increases shownare very large and would appear, in our Judgment, more than enough to meet reasonable military requirements.

eliberate effort were made by the Soviet Union to expand Its strategic forces beyond those we project as likely under SALT II levels, whether for military or political reasons, we estimate the Soviets have the potential to deploy00 strategic nuclear weapons If the Soviets were to expand beyond SALT II limits, they probably would, by the:

a'MlRVed missile of thelass, to replace some or all of the single-RV SS-2Ss.*

rather than dismantle, some older MIRVed ICBM andaunchers, as they produce and deploy new mobile MIRVed ICBMs and SSBKs. (In this case,s likely that7he Soviets would exceed SALT II MIRVed sublimits,esult of ongoing programs.)

LCH-capable heavy bombers. In our SALTweuch bombers.

II Host likely, the Soviets would want to be held accountable forheavy bombersALT II regime.

Another means for the Soviets to deploy more strategic warheads than we have projected, whether within SALT limits or beyond such limits, is to deploy new SLBMs withVs, rather than theVs projected for these new missiles. The deployment of more RVs on these missiles would be feasible, given the large throw weight of these missiles |

Such deployments could lead to an additional

warheads within SALT II sublimits, and as manyarheadso-SALI enviroiwaent.

The lower end of the0 warheads, assumes the latest reasonable dates of introduction and the lowest reasonable, deployment levels and production rates for new systems. The upper end of the0 warheads, assumes the earliest reasonable dates of introduction for new systems and the highest reasonable deployment levels and production rates.

We judge it likely that, in the aggregate, the actual Soviet deployments. If they chose to exceed SALT limits, would be somewhere00 warheads. For planning purposes where single-figure estimates are needed, numbers somewhere near the middle of this range would seem reasonable; it is unlikely the numbers would reach the higher end. We cannot judge, within this range, the precise level that the Soviets would achieve6 evenheyoncerted effort to achieve the higher end of that range, because of problems (unforeseen by us and probably the Soviets as well) In researched development or production of these weapon systems. Wencertain of the likely production rates for some new, more sophisticated systems. In their development of some recent systems, the Soviets experienced growing difficulties and delays that have postponed or interfered with intended serial production. On the other hand, it is also possible that some systems will be deployed at somewhat greater rates than projected, or that new prograns, not yet detected in development, will be deployed.

We judge that thereery low probability that the Soviets would

evel of0 intercontinental strategic nuclear warheads by

Soviet spending on strategic forces would Increase substantially in

order to carry out the extensive force modernization projected within SALT II

numerical sublimits; an expansion of several thousand warheads beyond that

would clearly require even higher expenditure levels. Further, we estimate

that to build enough new warheads to0 nuclear warheads for

Intercontinental forceshe Soviets would have to reduce warheads for

other nuclear forces below projected levels, electrical power output from

their nuclear plants, or both. We believe an effort to reach the upper end of

our expanded force" or beyond, would seriously affect their prospects for

achieving other high-priority objectives, such as the Industrial modernization

program, which the new Soviet leadership has made the centerpiece of its.

agenda for modernizing the Soviet economy. Moreover, the production and

resource demands resulting from such emphasis on, strategic growth during this

period would significantly hamper the modernization of other forces,*

especially their general purpose and theater nuclear forces which would seem

to be of high priority as well in an environmentore intense, strategic relationship.

The Soviets would likely respond to any perceived substantial expansion of US offensive or defensive strategic forces beyond arms control limitationseassessment of their strategic force posture that could lead to decisions to reposture their forces, initiate new weapon programs, and increase force size. It is unlikely, however, that such actions would have much effect on their force size over the next ten years, but it is possible

that after theheir forces would begin to growate somewhat faster than we expect. By thend beyond, the Soviets could beginignificantly different force than we project for the next ten years.

Soviet Capabilities Against US Forces

r ^ud9ments about Soviet capabilities to locate and target effectively US SSBNs at sea and mobile missiles in theo not differ for Soviet forces with or without the current SALT constraints. 1

ssue is unaffected by the presence or absence of SALT limitations.

For Soviet potential to attack US mobile ICBMs

o-SALT environment, the Soviets would likely desire to increase the number of warheads they could use against mobile-based ICBMs, and this mightactor in any attempt on their part to increase their intercontinental strategic warheads toward0 level. Nevertheless, even if they did0 weapons by the, the above Judgments would remain valid,obust US mobileeployment occurs. Inase, the Soviets would likely attempt toore efficient approach to locating and targeting, rather than simply dependingarrage approach.

Soviet Accuracy and Reliability

He judge that the accuracy and reliability that we project for Soviet missiles and aircraft6 is essentially independent of SALT constraints. (Me note that neitheror II in any way affects either accuracy or reliability).

Soviets will strive for an across-the-board improvement in the reliability of their misslies and will do so regardless of the status of SALT constraints.

Soviets will achieve accuracyfor systems designated to strikeegardless of the statu:

Mobile and Hardened Strategic Targets in the USSR

The nunber of Soviet strategic force assets that would be mobile in the absence of the current SALT constraints does not differ significantly from the number we project6 assuming the current SALT constraints. The difference in deployment levels of thendetween SALT and no SALT force levels would provide the primary difference in the mobile target base. The remainder of the mobile strategic nuclear assets, primarily intelligence, command, control, communications, and would be basically the sane inALTo-SALT environment. It is conceivable thato-SALT environment, the number of mobile ICBH launchers might actually be fewer than the number we projectALT environment (becauseo-SALT environment manylass launchers would be MIRVed). Conversely, the number could increase. Indeed in the low end of our "expanded force'1hereeclinemobile launchers '

over the SALT force" projection. At the high end of the "expanded force*an increase ofobile launchersover

the "SALT force".

eeduction in the number of hard targets In the Soviet strategic attack forces target set due to the reduction in the number ofilos, as the Soviets replace most light and some medium silo-based ICBMs with mobile ICBMs. We project this reduction for both the SALT-constrained force and the expanded force. However, weiightly higher number of deployed silo-based ICBMs without SALT constraints.

it mil f


ercent soft

ith or without SALT constraints we estimate that,ercentstrategic attack forces will be softandercent will

I Thisn contrast to the) ratio of

andercent hard

Soviet Strategic Defensive Forces

Given the assumption that the ABM Treaty remains in effect for the next ten years, we judge that the Soviets will Improve their deployed ABM capability with the current upgrade of the Moscow system and will enhance their capability to break out of the ABM Treaty with conventional ABM systems. Furthermore, they will likely make substantial progress in development and testing of on advanced technologies such as groundbased lasers and probably space-based lasers with applicability to ASAT and BMO. Moreover, we judge the Soviets will enhance the capabilities of their SAM systems inay as to leadurther blurring of distinctions between antiaircraft and ABM capabilities. orf differing views on Soviet ABMS and SAM upgrade capabilities).

It Is difficult toignificant difference in effort along these lines,esult of no limitations on offensive forces. Furthermore, it would be difficult to attribute any increased Soviet efforts in BMD as resultingo-SALT environment.

We project force levels

[for Soviet air defense systems

(SAMs and fighters) thateasonable range for likely future force sire for the next ten years. Theyteady modernization of Soviet defenses with increases In firepower by more capable systems, but with somewhat fewer total numbers of systems deployed. With either constrained or unconstrained offensive forces, we anticipate the Soviets would produce essentially the same range of new air defense systems In the next ten years as we have been projecting. It Is possible that toward the end of the ten-year period, the Soviets would have some more fighter aircraft and possibly-Hainstay AMACS than we project if the US significantly Increases Its bomber force beyond current Soviet anticipation. We note that any Soviet effort to significantly Increase their offensive force nay well affect Soviet capabilities to simultaneously produce additional new air defense systems. Further, in the faceignificantly larger US bomber* force the Soviets may slow significantly the romovaPof older air defense systems from their forces, particularly those that they judge might have some value In an Intense ECM environment.

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