THE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM, KEY JUDGEMENTS (NIE 11-1-85W)

Created: 12/1/1985

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Soviet Space Programs

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED

THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.

THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS.

The following inletVgence organizations participated in the preparation of the Estimate:

The Central Intelligence Agency, the Defame Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, ond lhe intefcgence MgontialHtn ol the Deportment of Stoic.

Also Participating:

The Assistant Chief of Stall lor Imefrgenco, Deportment of Ihe Army The Director of Navoi Intelligence, Depcwlment ol the Novyhic' ol Stolf, InieEioeixe. Deportment of the Air Force The Director ol Intelligence.arine Corps

W SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS

KEY JUDGMENTS

KEY JUDGMENTS

A continuing trend toward the increasing use of space assets by Soviet military forces is clearly foreshadowed by the large investments in spacef the past few years. Wc can expect to sec the payoff by then terms of expanded access to space for performanceariety of missions. In the long term, space systems would probably be an integral part of any advanced-technology strategic defense system the Soviets might develop and deploy, and we expect antisatelliteritical aspect of Soviet efforts to counter any space-based elementsotential future US strategic defense.

Ultimately, it is the sheer size and breadth of the Soviets' spacethat gives them their greatest potential in lhe competition for leadership in space. The magnitude of the effort compensates for much of lhe inefficiency and technological deficiency that characterizes many individual Soviet programs. Furthermore, we cannot clearly account for all of the Soviet space support facilities in existence and underbureaus, production facilities, launchpads. and controlknown programs. Although some or even all of this additional capacity may be designated for relatively "benign" programs that we have not been able to detect, the possibility remains that developmentsore ominous nature await us, such as the eventual deployment of weapons in space. Another possibility is that more of the older facilities and launch vehicles will be phased out than we have projected. Finally, it appears that the Soviets are providing themselves with the necessary support structure to ensure lhat they will be well positioned to make timely deployments of space systems based on any major breakthrough in one or more areas in which we know ihey arewarfareSAT, or ballistic missile defense (BMD) technologies, for example.

We estimate that5 the costs of Soviet space programs areillion.0pace costs nearly doubled, largely because of the casts associated with lhe development of the heavy-lift launch vehicle. Since then, space programs have continued to expandate of nearlyercent annually isechis level of investment is equivalent toercent of the Soviet gross national product. The costs of military space activities alone are about the same as those for strategic offensive forces.anned space programs have accounted for the bulk u( increased expenditures and now amount to about one-fourth of the total costs of Soviet space efforts.

JWe expect the largest increases to be noted in manned activities and communications programs over the neat five years

The Soviets currentlyedicated antisatellite intciceploi and several other potential means to conduct ASAT operations. The orbital interceptor systemignificant threat to all low-altitude US intelligence and military support saTrllites hut its effectiveness is limited by operational considerations and reliability The Soviets' overall ASAT capabilities arc somewhat limited, especially against satellites at higher altitudes. We expect the Soviets to make significant improvements in their ASAT capabilities, particularly in the area of directed energy technologies.

The Soviets use their space assets today principally to perform traditional military support missions oi communications, targeting, reconnaissance and surveillance, navigation, meteorology, and geodesy; militarily, ihese functions will remain the most important spacein the near term, and most of the future developments we project are extensions of ihese basic military support missions In addition, the Soviet space effort supports civilian-oriented functions, such asremote sensing foi agricultural and resource development, and scientific research.

The military importance of Soviet space assets has increased greatly in the pastears, and the Soviets increasingly value ihesefor support of military operationsrisis or conflict, especially for reconnaissance and targeting, communications, and navigation. Wc judge that, although the USSR is nol at present overly dependent on space systems for the effective conduct of military operations, satellites become more important to tlvc Soviets as lhe level of conflict increases In addition, as more near-teal time monitoring capabilities are(including mannede expect that Soviet space systems will become increasingly important in providing information on rapidly developing situations to both national-level decisionmakers and military commanders

Soviet efforts to acquire space technology will increase in the face of intensified military-technological competition with the United States. The proliferation of commercial space capabilities among the Western allies and the establishment of cooperative space programs will widen the available targets for Soviet access. Through suchasl amount of valuable space-relaled technology already has been and continues to be obtained directly ftom US sources and US allies in Western Europe and Japan. Critically sought-after missile and space technologies include those related to development of space-based laser and other directed-energy weapons and antimissile defense systems

Opcn source publications, particularly NASA documents and NASA-funded contiaclor studies, constitute tbe largest and most important source of US space technology

The seoisc and direction of the Soviet space effort, the extensiveto acquire Western space lechnology. and the military nature of Soviet manned space experiments are ultimately disquieting. Although we judge that overall the .Soviets remainignificant technological disadvantage relative to the United Slates in space, we are concerned about the possibility that they may be headingajor military advance. Our concern stems primarily from the considerablewe face in several key areas, the Soviel efforts in advanced weapon technologies, the purpose of lhe Soviet use of man in space, and the great increase in the infrastructure lhe Soviets are providing for space system operations. Their efforts in these areas could lead to important military advantages

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