Prospects for Soviet Military Technology and Research and Development
National Intelligence Estinuitc
ummary and Key Judgment!
CIA HISiDRICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTEUIGENCE
WASHINGTON. OC JOSOS
MEMORANDUM FOR: Recipients ofrospects for Soviet Military Technology and Research and Development
Sheet for Volune I. Suawary and Key
: Insert boldface heading Delivery Technologies immediately above entry 'Guidance and Navigation."
: Italicize the first entry of those grouped with Strategic Defensive Systems, "Space-based system.for detection of bombers and airborne cruise missileo showignificant advance in technology is required before system development can begin (as describedootnote b,
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Lawrence K. Gershwin National Intelligence Officer for Strategic Purposes
PROSPECTS FOR SOVIET MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
VOLUMEAND KEY JUDGMENTS
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THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS.
Ihe following InloBioetKe orgoniiationi poelkipaled in Iho preparation ol Ihe Estimate!
The Centralhe Deleme loltUoentethe Haucttd Sewrity Agency, and thecr awoken ol rh,ol Stale,
The Auittoni Chief ol StoH tareportment ol the Arm, The Director ol Novol Intefcoeocr, Deportment ol lhe Navy The Asrittoot Chief of Sloll. Intelligence. Deportment ol the A* Force Ihe Director of In telli nonce, rleodrjuoiteri. /rtcnine Corp.
This Estimate supersedese have incorporated new information and refined or changed many of our previous judgments. Wcetter understanding today than wc had0 of the scale of the Soviet commitment to. and of therole the Soviets have assigned to the acquisition of Western technology in tlieir weapons development process.
Our principal focus in this Estimate is to identify and assess those technologies that are key to future Soviet military capabilities and tothc likely impact of those technologies on Soviet military systems of. To support the needs of the office of thc Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, we have made comparisons of the relative standing of those technologies in the United States and the Soviet Union.
There arc some gaps in our information and uncertainties in our analysis that impede our understanding of several important issues. We have an incomplete understanding of the relative standings now and of the rates of change in Soviet and Western technologies, of the interplay between technologies and systems performance, and of the full impact of technology transfer on Soviet science and technology.
Our understanding of specific Soviet technologies is not uniform. While we have been able to monitor Soviet progress fairly closely in some technologies, such as microelectronics, others have proved more elusive!
Our findings and analyses for this Estimate are in four volumes:
Volume I ummary and Key Judgments
Volumeummary of Annexes and Future Military System Projections
Soviet Military androcesses Sovietesources and Trends Key Soviet Military Technologies
Soviet political leaders recognize lhe role Ihat technology plays in determining the extent of the USSR's militaryprincipal foreign policy asset They are seeking to attain military-technical superiority over tlie West, and have given thisery high priority foi at least the past two decades.
Progross to Date
The Soviets' resource commitment lo military research and development is enormous by any measure. We estimate that, despite serious problems in the civilian economy, Sovietutlays have been about double those of the United Slates in recent years, and loday amountignificantly larger share of gross national product than in the United States. Leadership support foremains strong, facilities are still expanding, androgram effort seems not to have been affected by economic difficulties in the civilian sector. If conditions worsen in the civilian economic sector, pressures against military outlays will surely grow, but the Soviets will almost certainly maintain their high level of commitment to weapons research and development. Also, requirementsre increasing as thcof military threats facing the Soviets becomes greater.
The Soviets have narrowed the US lead in needy all key technologies. In general, their technology available for application to future militarys now about five years behind thcroughly comparable to that of the West in lhe. The relative Soviet position in the key military technologies ranges from world leadershipewsignificant fields, such as chemical warfare and some areas of directed-energyas much asears behind the United States in some vitally important areas of computing.
Western technology has helped lhe Sotiiets consideraHy. They subsidize iheirrograms through significant open and clandestine acquisitions of Western technology, most of which Is of US origin Their well-organized national program for acquiring and assirai-
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latins Western technology hasajor factor in thc advances they have made since then significant areas, includinglectronics and computers, that arc essential to the development of modern military systems- Their strategy of large-scale Westernacquisition and use derives from their historic realization that it is to Iheir benefit lo take advantage of the advanced technology efforts of the West. IncorporatiriK Western technology into their militaryrather than relying on Soviet indigenous capabilities,ignificant savings in program costs, thereby freeing indigenousesources for efforts in other areas, and takes less development time, thereby producing more capable military systems at an earlier date.
The Soviels' weapons acquisition process helps them to overcome technological weaknesses and economic constraints. Relative to their US counterparts, Soviet military planners are better able to marshal, focus, and sustain the commitment and resources for developing weapon systems Politburo-level weapons decisions carry force of law in the economy, and are thc rough equivalent in US practice ofefense Department programresidential decision authorizing top priority, and multiyear Congressional funding. Strict schedules are enforced, resulting inechnology freexeecision toeapon is made. This reduces technological risk andigh probability of development success. The weapons decisionmaking process offsets inadequate performance and thefor technological stagnation in deployed weapons hy an almost routine approval of follow on improvement programs. The Soviets field new or significantly modernized weapons on the average of every five toears in each system area.
The USSR currently leads the United Slates in several key technologies, including chemical warfare agents and some aspects of millimeter-wave radar and sensor technology. These strengths, in conjunction with our Limited understanding of some Soviet efforts, give theotential for deploying military systems we do not fullyand hence the potential for future military advantages. Such systems could prove extremely difficult lo detect and to counter In combat. Soviet advanced research is also strong in directed-energy lechnologies, including that for development of high-energy laser weapons for possible application tond sea-based systems.
Soviet weaknesses are significant. Thc rate of return to the Soviets on decades of.in economicbeen low relative lo that in the Wesi. White the payoff in
military output in absoluteof new weapon systems, improved effectiveness, and tlie growth in overall militarybeen quite good, on balance, productivity in theector, both civilian and military, has been notably poor. We expect thb inefficiency to continue. The Soviet system doesprobably willstimulate advances in mult (disciplinary efforts such as microelectronics and computers. While the Soviets have madegains in recent years, serious shortcomings persist in some key areas of military technology, including the design, manufacture, and quality control of microelectronics Moreover, in computer technologies, tbe Soviets will continue to lag the United States by five toears; this lag will continue to hamper many programs, including those for ballistic missile defense, antisubmarine warfare, aircraft, and command and control systems. They also face major limitations in signal-processing technology and in automated production technologies and precision test equipment. In addition, their practice of heavily adopting Western ideas and designs will continue to reinforce their position ofinferiority to and dependence on the West.
However, the Soviets' persistent modernization efforts help them to compensate for these weaknesses For example, they have been able to move computer technology into deployed systems on the average of six years faster than the United States, enabling them to offset partially thc US technological lead in computers. Similarly, frequent modernization of fielded weapon systems also helps thc Soviets to offset the attendant technological lags that result from their reliance on Western technology for their military systems
Prospects for Soviet Technologies
We ihink the prospects are, in general, tow for an unanticipated major technological advance in the Soviet Union during the nextears that could leadevolutionary new capabilityignificant new threat lo the West. For those technologies where we have an adequate understanding of Soviet achievements to date, the Soviets lag the United States in several areas critical to the achievement of military advantage. Moreover, about nine toears are required toajor technological advanceew operational weapon. The Soviets almost certainly will not be able to incorporate into systems deployed5 advances much beyond their present technology levels
We do not completely discount the prospects for technological surprisearticularly in several areas where thc Soviet
efforts are already strong/-
^Jnonacoustic antisubmarine warfare, chemical weapons,energy, and optical processing are our greatest concern because of the strength and persistence ofn these areas. Tlie growth and maturity of thcector, in conjunction with the scale of their military programs, could result in some unexpected advances either in the speed with which they arc able to develop and field new weapon systems with higher levels of performance, or in the novel design of some of their systems.
Forhe Soviets will be workingtrong and sizable base of military technologies, but the pace of their advances will be uneven:
Developments in information acquisition technology willaccelerate and be stronger before the end of. The Soviets will increasingly emphasize advanced radar and electro-optical sensors in an effort to counter US Stealth technology.
Soviet inforniation-processing technologies, particularlyand computers, are not likely to keep up with Western developments; however, we expect the Soviets to adapt large-scale integrated circuitry for military applications by the end of.
Wc expect Soviet weapons delivery technologies, particularly in missile guidance and propulsion, to advance steadily andtotrong base for both tactical and strategic weapons development.
The Soviets' most significant advances may occur in the area of lethality/'damage. Their extensive efforts in chemical warfare and directed-energy technologies could result in some major advances. They are likely to keep up their large investment in conventional explosives technologies in order lo maintain the excellent technological capabilities they now have.
Soviet prospects for gaining vn the West in some military technologies, and keeping pace in others, will in large measure depend upon continued success in acquiring Western technology. Soviet dependence is especially important in computers, microeleclron.es, and automated production technologies.
Miliiary Implicaiions of Soviet Technologies
The decade ofill pose some new, maior technological challenges to Soviet miliiary planners. Western defense programs.
particularly US strategic force modernization, will lead to costly and technologically demanding Soviet efforts. The USSR's weaponsprograms will continue to be vigorous
The weapon systems that the Soviets toitl deploy through theill be based largely on the technology levelsobtained fromime frame. We estimate that the Soviels currently have under developmentew and major modernized weapon systems and support systems. We believe that the number of systems in development ins unlikely to decline.
In strategic offensive systems, Soviet emphasis will be on greater survivability through deployment of mobile systems, as well asaccuracy. The development of mobile land-based missilewill serve to offset thc increasing vulnerability of fixedballistic missiles to programed US strategic weapons
In strategic defense technologies, the Soviets must makeadvances in several critical technology areas well beyond those now available for military applications. They will probably continue to lag behind the changing threat posed by programed US bombers and cruise missiles, particularly those employing Stealth, and by US ballistic missile submarines. They will nevertheless make major improvements in their defensive systems.
In directed-energy technologies, we expect development and prototype testing of several types of Soviet laser weapons. Laser technologies are already available for development of ground-based weapons capable of damaging satellite sensors and antisensor weapons for use in air defense. Technology for the development of destructive laser air defense weapons is expected to be available within the next several years. The Soviets are likely to be able torototype space-based laser weapon for anlisatcllitc application by thc. But the technology for space-based laser weapons for ballistic missile defense is not yet sufficient to support developmentrototype weapon. Operational laser systems for destruction of ballistic missiles or their reentry vehicles, if they prove feasible, probably could not be fielded until after the turn of the century.
Command, control, and communications systems, althoughwill continue to be limited by deficiencies in computer technology and computer networking. Wcumber of advanced electronic warfare systems in, including highly capable jammingIn addition, we expect improvements in Soviet technicalcollection capabilities, including the deployment in theetwork of space-based near-real-time reconnaissance systems.
Advanced technologies will allow the Soviets to impiovc many aspects ol their naval forces. The deploymentew class ofarrier with accompanying combat and surveillance aircraft willtheir efforts to expand their areas of sea control and sea denial. In antisubmarine warfare, they will remain unable lo systematically detect and track Western ballistic missile submarines in broad ocean areas, but they may achieve improved capabilities against enemy attackattempting to penetrate bastions fur Soviet ballistic missile submarines.
Soviel ground forces and particularly supporting air and air defense forces will incorporate some weapons with advancedWestern advances in armor protection and antiarmor weapons will reduce some of thc present Soviet numerical advantages in the land-warfare area, and we expect the Soviets to have difficulties countering these advances. We anticipate advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors and imaging radars to be based on aircraft, remotelyvehicles, and drones. Introduction of small, guided, fire-and-forget weapons on helicopters is expected by the
The Soviets have committedesources to support their space programs, with large increases in theor themanned space program and communications systems. Theof new systems, including the shuttle, space plane, heavy-lift launch vehicles, and near-real-time imagery relay systems, will offer the Soviets new military opportunities in space
Soviel military research and development organisations have probably become more capable in developing high-technology weapon systems than Soviet industry has become in producingcombination ofmultipurpose weapons, higher costs, problems in production engineering and quality control, and more difficult and costly maintenancelikely to cause the Soviets to produce, in some areas, new and more technically advanced systems in smaller quantities than they have in thc past. Thus, they arc lending to rely somewhat more on technology, and somewhat less on quantity, to achieve their future military goals.
lieve that the Soviets will experience difficulties inmany of the sophisticated weapons projected for. The Soviets are currently experiencing production rate limitations and technical problems that are disrupting the manufacture of several2 tank, theircraft, the zDackliic bomber, and thc Typhoon ballistic missile submarine. The Soviets may partially overcome such difficulties through their present
cflorts lo expand ihcir elect ronics-related industry, to press for advances in precision machining and other fabrication technologies, and to maintain their aggressive exploitation of Western technology
Con the Soviets Catch Up in Miliiary Technologies?
he United Statestrong program of military research and development, we believe tluxt tke Soviet Union will not be BW to match or overtake the United States In overall military technologies by. In addition to lhe institutional impediments inherent in their system, the Soviets must also contend withabout their future successes in technology acquisitions. Nonetheless, we expect continued advancements in all Soviet military technologies, and thai the present overall gap between the United States and the USSR of about five years will be further narrowed Thc size of this gap. however, will depend also on US progress in militaryarger number of the Soviet military technologies will be lagging by no more than two to ihreeenough to make the levels of technology nearly comparable for those military systems incorporating such technologies that will be introduced in thend beyond. Moreover, the Soviet systems development process incorporatesadvances more frequently into deployed systems than docs the US process.
The current and prospective upswing in US military ROD commitments, if sustained, willa/or challenge to Soviet militory ROD and make it more difficult for the USSR to close existing technology gaps. In certain areas of prospective USsuch as directed-energy technologies applicable to ballistic missile defense, existing Soviet strengths could be overshadowed, in these and other areas, however. Sovietill continue for some years to benefit from the increases inthe larger total investment relative to that of the Unitedhavethe past decade.
We caution, however, that there are numerous uncertainties associated with our assessments of the overall relative standing of US and Soviet military technologies by- Our uncertainties stem from an incomplete understanding of the relative standings now and of the rates of change in Soviet and Western technologies, and from the difficulty in forecasting the contribution of technology transfer In addition, while wctrong US. systematic comparisons of the luture stales of US and Sovietcapabilities must also account for arlunl advances in US technol-
we have noi studied here, and which have yet to be realized, but which could significantly influence any projections.
We protect that the Soviets will remain generally behind tlve Wesl. However. their major commitment to technological advances will persevere into the next decade,nd economic reform efforts may yield incremental but useful payoffs, and theirill continue in any case to benefit for years to come from past investments.
will Iho Soviel commitment toe characterizea1 over tho nextean?
Th* Soviet weapon* acquisitions program in ihc ncit decade will be characterizedontinued pertinence ol effort and targe resource allocation! to military res* irch and development. (Seehe motivation behind this program it to achieve military capabilities that are at least equal, if not superior, to those of lbc USSR's potential adversaries These elements will sustain the current momentum ol military technolofiica! progress into.
Despite serious problems in the civilian economy, lhe Soviel leadership continues to favor the military with generous funding and priority access to resources and foreign technology. Military research andnow account for approximately half the USSR'se and manpower. Thc scope and magnitude of these programs, the Soviets'to exact sacrifices from the civilian sector, their indigenous technological capabilities, and especiallyxtensive exploitation of Western technology will largely compensate for sysiemic inefficiencies, and permit them to narrow the US lead in military technologies and to develop increasingly complex weapon systems
How oi^ei- present Soviel military technology generally compare with thai of the West?
The current level of Soviet military technology available lor application lo military systems generally is roughly comparable to Ihat of lhe West in Ihe. The Soviets have dearly made progress in recent years In micioelectronics. for example, lbc Soviets probaU* lagged the West byoears in theoday, we indue this lag to be much smaller, perhaps only three lo five years. The relative Soviet posilion in the key technologies of military significance ranges from world leadershipew significant fields, such a> chemical warfaresnd some areas of directed-energy reieardi. to as much us'hs'ycafs behind Ibe Uniled Stales In some
vitally important areas of computing.on pagesllustrates lhe relative standing of tbe USSR and tbe Uniled States in the mafar technology fields (bat wc believe will significantly influence future military capabilities
How important is Western technology to Soviet?
Competition with and acquisition of Westernhas been essential to many ol thc Soviets" military gains. They have successfully pursued someaths such as in storable liquid missile fuels and some nuclear weapon designs, but in roost areas have followed Western technologicalIn the overall technological compeUlion, thc United Slates sels the pace. The Soviets regardsystem characteristics as yardsticks against which their own teehmcal capabilities are lodged
Tbe Soviet" well-organ tied rational program for the overt and clandesHnc acquistion and assimilation ofhasajor factor in the technological advances they have made since thehrough technology transfer, the Soviets have significantly strengthened Iheir technology capabilities in many areas. Including microelectronics and computers, that arc basic to the devefopmenl of many modern military systems. Their strategy of large-scale Western technology acquisition and use derives from their historic realoation that it isheir benefit to take advantage of the advanced technology efforts of the Weal incorporating Western technology into their military programs, rather than relying wholly on Soviet indigenous capabilities,ignificant ravings in program costs, thereby freeingesources for otber military areas, and reduce* development lime, thereby producing more capable military systems al an earlier dale
The Soviet Milirary-Indusirial Commission (VPK) colleen and prioritizes requirements for Westernfrom lhe drirme-industrial ministries. The Soviel irgelligence services and their East European surioeairs are the prnnarv collectors of Western dassi-
fictl and eiport-controlled lechnology. is well ajHill lechnokcv- We believe thu theKcii significant mi hury-related wquoiImk ate rcitipWd of eirxwltwt rolled technolcigaes and equip-meot. and technical literature in the partake rlomam The materials lhal can be acquired from lhe West arc in turn led tn the requesting ministries, whereupon lite VPKollow-up program of monitoring their assimilation
Soviet technology acquisition efforts have not been directed only al thc United States bul have been conductedlobal basis. The USSR hai turned incieaiiiigly to other world technology leaders such as Japan. Technology acquired from the Japanese In critical areas such as microciectrooics and eornpuleri could give the Soviets thc potential lo make important gains on the United States inof ihese technologies, through their more frequent mod-etmution ptogiamt
Despite some dramatic gains from technologySoviet dependence on thc Wcslisk lhat Western technolocy may be curtailed, andontinued lag in many key technologies The Soviets appear to recognize the disadvantages of Ihii dependence and wish to reduce it, but they have not slowed their attempts to acquire embargoed Western technology Their effoits continue to beand toority. We believe lhal Soviet pros peels for gaining on the Westroad front in miLtai* technology wilt in Urge measure depend on continuedcq airing Western technology There will almost certainlyontinuedon Western technology for direction and leader-ship in many aieas
In what arooi of key military technology is the Soviet Union cither superior to lhe United Slates or particularly strong?
The USSn currently is Judged to be superiorhe Umted States in several key technologies, including chemical warfareents and some aspects of millimeter-wave (MM W)hese strengths.
lhe Soviets Ihe potent j! for future weapons piogiarm
that could result in deployment of systems we do not uiiderstand or recognize, and hence result in military
Technological strengths in several otherat conventional explosives, ramjet engines, titanium alloy fabrication, and liquid-metaI-cooled nuclear pro pulsiondesign choices different from those of the United States and. ahhough providing some unique weapons capabilities, do not necessarily provide clear-cut militaiy advantages
Advattced research in diiected-eoergyradioirequcney (RH andtrength of the Soviet*
Theyriority program to develop high-energy laser (HEL) weapons Thev aieto eipand their test range facilities for HELs and are furtheracility we believe is intended foe the design and fabrication oflaser weapons.
They are continuing extensive efforts, begun more thanears ago. aimed al developing high-power microwave and milk riveter-wave sources applicable lo tbc deveaotiment of RF
are uncertain about what progress the Soviets are making in particle beam technologies; their progtamt appear to be in an earlier phase anduch smaller scale than those applicable to laser weapons They appear lo be conducting laboratory research applicable to space-based beam weapons, but we do not believe that ihey Iiave built lhe accelerator ihey would need for feasibility lesiing of either raeutial (for space) or charged (for atrneapeserk) particle beam
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there characteristics peculiar to the Soviet weapons acquisition process tho! ease the dcvcl-opmeftsjo^ modern weapon systems?
Because ol structural differences in the twoSoviet military planners arc generally better able to marshal and sustain the commitment and resources forhan are their counterparts in the United States. While (he Soviet and US design cycles are similar in someare able lo move promising ideasureaucratic maze ofrequirements into weaponsdilferences arc also significant Thc following aspects of live Soviets' weapons acquisition process, all of which stem chiefly from their political and economic systems, help to explain how they overcome important weaknesses and field modern weapon systems:
A major weapons program in the Soviet Union is authorizedolilbuio-level (Defense Council) decision that has no direct counterpart in terms of authority in the United States. The decision is. in effect, the equivalent of combining aof Defense approvalresidential decision authorising top priority, and multiyear funding of thc program by Coneress.
olitburo decision, any stateis. any individual or organization in the USSR regardless of formallegally beoleeapons program. The Soviet leaders are thus assured that the best resources cau be made available to the program.
The Soviet emphasis on strict adherence to schedules results in what amountsreeze of most critical technologiesecision lo proceed with the development phase of aprogram has been made, thusigh probability of development success. Theoffset* the inherent potential forin Soviet weapon systems that could result from this practice by an almost routine approval of follow-on improvement programs.
Because all aspects of Soviel weapons programs, including their very existence, arc closely held stale secrets, thc regime prevents internal public deoaie and delays and hinders Westernof thc programs.
The Soviet leaders, when making weaponsdecisions, give only general consideration to expenditure estimates. They arc moreabout the integrated militaryfoi weapon systems and the capability, in terms of men and material, to successfully carry ihem out
The Soviet system fosters continuity in the key organizations and personnel that conductdevelopment. In contrast to weaponsin the United States, where weaponsmanagers and other key personnel are olten in flux, individuals androgram in the USSR normally stay with that program Irom inception to completion. Additionally, thc organizations responsible for the initial versioneapon usually retain responsibility for all follow-on versions.
What ore the Soviel capabilities for quickly' incorporating new technology into weapondesignj?
The Soviets can incorporate new technology in their weapon system development process in one of three basic time frames:
New or major modernized weapon systems that incorporate advanced technologyumber of subsystems generally require nine toears from program authorization to initial operational capability.
Modernized weapon systems that incorporate onemall number of new major subsystems (for ctainple. missile guidance, avionics)require five or more years.
weapon systems already in production (o* already in the Held) are achieved byonemall number of subsystems (for example, sensors, reentryrtilleryhese generally require less than five years
The Soviets' practice of fielding new or modernized weapons on the average ol every five toears In each system area has contributed significantly toigh level of technology in deployed weapons For example, because of their persistenl modernization effoits they have been able to move
computet technology Into deployed systems on live average ol sii yean latter tlian the United Slates, enabling, them parllilly to offset the US technological ieiegia computers. Similarly. frequent modeiniulion of fielded weapon systenu aho helps live Soviets lo compei in I? for the attendant technological lacs that result fiom their reliance on Western tcchnoloev for iheir military systems
Are there significant weaknesses inanagement that impede/progress?
In spite ol decades of highlhe return rate on these invest menu in the USSR, measured in economic terms, has been low relative to lhat In the West While the payoff in military output in absoluteof new weapon systems, improved effectiveness, and thc growth in overall militarybeen quite good, on balance, productivity in tlieector, both civilian and military, has been notably poor. We eipect this inefficiency to continue. In general, the Soviet system docswe Judge wilistimulate and coordinate indigenous, innovative advances in basic mult id bdpli naryprograms such as computers orThe Soviets' prostice of heavily adopting Western ideas and designs Illustrates, and lends lo reinforce, their position of technological inleriorliy to andon the West While they have madegains in receni yean, serious shortcomings persist in jpjne-key areas ol military lechnologv
The Soviets remainin the design,and testing of microdedronlca. this will continue lo impair the quality and limit Ihe applications ol microelectronic devices In many types of miliiary systems.
In eompuio technologies, the Soviets lag the United Slates by fiveS years in various areas and may he falling funher behind This lag will hamper Soviet rW*eloptrient programs in antibal-listie missale (ADMI arMisitbmartrat warfarend command and control lyslems
in ttgnal proceswng technologycfiously impede Soviet capabilities to defend
against US Slealth technology
In production technologies and lest eauipmenl persisting inadequacies will continue to limit the quality and effectiveness of metallurgicaland generally hamper the reliability and availability of deployed military systems.
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Crealcr weapon system complexity could also pose Increasingly difficult management problem) for the Sovicls. the often overlapping demands on keyorganizations, suchose involved In lhe devel-opment and production of microelectronics, may tai their resources beyond their capabslllies lo deliver on schedule in luluie yearv
Whol ore ibe prospectsajor leehnologicol odvonte that would give Iho Soviets weapon systems that would provide on important military odvantoge over lhe Uniied Stales?
In general, we judge as low the prospecls for an unanticipated major lech oologies I advance in lhe
Soviet Union during thehat could leadevolutionary new capability penignificant new threat to the West We base this judgment foi those technologies whereave an adequatenl Soviet achievements tothe lag in Soviet technology behind that of the United Slates in aieas most critical to tbe achievement of miliiary advantage, and on thethe order of nineoafor technological advanceew operational weapon Thc Soviets almost certainly will not be able to incorporate into systems deployed5 technological advances much beyond the technology levels ihey have already achieved, or the technology now available lo the United Stales We cannot fudge the potentialajor advance
There arc important gaps in our understanding of Soviet progress In several areas ol technology and their currently achieved technology leveb, where major advances could be militarily significant,
In addition, while we believe Ihc Soviets lag the West In microelectronics, developments in this field are so rapidly paced and their aeoueations so broad thai we cannot foresee all possible militaryof advances in this technology area.
The Soviets' practices in technology application have become more aggressive and more responsive as their miliiary technologiesrganizations have matured. While the Soviets bur not beenas technological innovators, their substantialcapabilities have in tlie past used lower levels of technology to develop weapons designs which, in conjunction with high prodoction rates, have resulted in weapon system effectiveness comparable to or exceeding some modern Western weapons. Thus, military advances could also occur through Innovative applications of cutting technologic- Such advances would depend more on present Soviet engineering strengths lhan on an unexpected technologicalin an area of advanced research.
Finally, the growth and maturity ol tbe Soviets' RirD sector, and the persistence of their military progiamt, could result in some unexpected advances either In the speed with which they are able to develop and field new weapon systems with higher levels of performance, or in the novel design of some of tlx-it systerns.
How will the Soviets counter military technology odvonces in rhe West?
In several important areas, Soviel weaponsand hence system performance in, will be greatly influenced by the introduction of advanced military technologies by tbe United States and its allies The US loece modeinization program, for eiample. will lead to costly and technologically demanding efforts by the Soviets to attempt to counter these mator improvements, particularly in theirsystems.
For defensive missions, ihc Soviets must make major improvements in several critical ireas well beyond
owot military applications. For detection of US ballistic mimic submarines andagainst Stealth pcnetratori. the Soviets alio must contend with the limits Imposed on the detection graces* by the physical environment. We doubt the Soviets will have the capability lo deploy effective defenses against planned US ballistic missileor Stealth priictratois, even by the. Furthei. Western advances in armor protection and antiarmor weapons threaten to irvene some of the Soviets' techrttcal advantages in the land-warfare area The Soviets will needevelop new anturmor weapons because many of their current weapons cannot defeat the Ml tank's special armor. Also, greatly improved warheads for US antitank weapons should be able to penetrate the armor of4 and 'Iain battle tanks. The development ol new tank aimor and antitank weapons to counter these new, more powerful US weapons wiU place severe requirements on the Soviets, especially in the area of materials technology
Who! new mililory systems, including those that will require new advanced technology, ore likely to appear in? Are there Olher systems for which we believe Ihe Soviets lock the needed technology, which are thcrotore noi likoly lo appear in, but which could have motor significance if the Soviets were able to produce ihem?
Some af ihe advanced systems lhal we protect the Soviets will deploy inrr shown In. Jusesc systems will generally provide them wiih new capabilities thai either fill existing needs or offer new opportunities Also shown inte systems that we believe arc not likely to reach initial operational capabdity (IOO in, these iudgmcnU are based on our forecast of lhe technology thai will be available lo thc Soviets If these systems should be deployed ini even later, however, they would give the Soviets important military advantages in the absence of appropriate Western responses
The technology for nearly all ol lhe Systems thai we expect the Soviets lo deploy through thcs probably now available lo ihem. although we do not have evidence, in some cases, of what specific level of Tecifnology rhey have achieved For some systems to
appear by thc, the Soviets will require important technological improvements that we believe thev have not yet achieved
A key trend in the USSR's arralegic offensive svslenu will be greater mobility and accuracy. Thc development of mobile systems will serve to offset thc increasing vulnerability of fiacd intefoontinentalmissiles (ICDMs) lo programed US strategicsystems Trie Soviets has* long perceived thc benefits of such mobilily and have had developmental, efforts under way in small, solid propellant ICBMs. for example, lor overears Soviet technologies in propulsion, materials, and terminal guidance are cur-renllv sufficient to support the development of land-mobile ICBMs wiih hard-target kill capability These lechnologics are abo adequate for development and deployment of improved subtrutine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) syslems. some ol which. In thcr, could be capable of attacking hard targets by using accuracy MaRVs (maneuvcrable reentry vehicles) In addition, the Soviets couldtheir offensive forces further by developing new aerodynamic systems, perhaps Including some tvlth reduced observable!
Soviet strategic air defense technologies will very likely continue to lag behind the changing threat. If US penetrating airciall and cruise missile programs result in deployments. Tlie Soviets will be severelyIn their capability to deal effectively with lame scaleattacks by cruise missiles, short-range attack missiles, and penetrating aircraft with low radar cross sections, and especially attacks by bombers and cruise missiles using Stealth technology
The So-iets are probably making an effort to develop the capability to destroy cruise missile earners before ihey launch iheli missiles. They are about to deploy an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft for long-range search and surveillance, and ran be developing long-range, long-coders nee Interceptors to counter standoff cruise missile delivery vehicles Further developments, luchpaceborne air vehicle detection system, will require Soviet advances beyond currently achieved levels in severalprocessinc. radiofrequencv and elect ro-optical sensors, and computers.
Majof New Soviet Systems lorUWIv Systems ind Thoie Unlilcly Qui Significant)
wnt> Moderate-to-High Utcl.toodol Initial Opera -
Accuracy MaoV (maneuveiable iDMliy vehicle)
V aircraft and
SiBte-bucd irHvm lw detect-on
d boeobnitumt ciui
lav MilnrteUitc (ASAT)tTStam
C round litvid tidiolievjuci.ey AS ATAaU-crubeMUMU musk bltBitr (or detteiwa bwacho
Noi Eiprcled To IWaeb IOC, flat Itui Would Be Sir ml lamV, Did'
o- iparr-bMedooffuifc mluilr- dejeate iihudi
OrttW parade beam ASA7 weapon
Stealth caunUimcantia in'cmiSpace Jowl nonaaauMenmix detection ipilrm*
Central purpose grand foices
i' hi aima.fi
em leal warlai* agenu
Advanced (possibly luiielWu) tank
niercrplJam mine lyilemi
control, comma-nwjtiom. and intedlecitc* intern
lechndoev befoie system
thai development wjN be m, auceesiful .nd lhal! choose to deploy the system, Hot all Sovielad lo drplovn icni
Ivpe indicates piograrai identified as injuiiipg Mcolficani .dvati dcvrliHiinrnl can
* Thii system could not appeai until thei lbc tartest.
' Low rxobabiluyvHem capable ol driving ballolk- .nmile submarine, in tbe opto oceanprobability lor detection ol (Hack submarines dying to penetrate bastion .teas lor Sovielul-nannes An,vnem Io, ihc dnccion ol aitad tvbn.aii.ia ii somewhat more likely.
A v. liable (ecriaolocv will pmnli lhcurveillance and
tracking systems, muittmicsion lighters with mut-
afttple target engagement capability,ir missile (SAM) svslems with phascd-array ladai using pubc Dopolci techniques, and anti ctuise-mitaile missiles
In the, Western Slealth eruisc missllen and alrerafl will severely stress the Soviets' defenses We do not believe lhat ihey have the technology available lo develop systems to effectively eountei Steallh in
The progress made by the Soviets in directed-energy technologic* has permitted systems develop-meni and prototype testing of some types of direcied-encrgy weapons. The Soviet slate of the art Is not sufficient, however, lo proceed with development of some other types of directed-energy weapons.
The technology for ground-based User weapons capable oi in band damage ol satellite sensors has been available for atecade, thc laser lechnologyhort-range sckice-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon is probably nowFor (aclical use, including air delense, the Soviets have had thc technology for anlisensor weapons for ar leastears; technology foe destructive air defense weapons is eapected to be available within Ihe neat several years The technology for longer range space-based ASAT weapons is also likely to be available withineu several years, to support prototype tests in space by thehe technology for ballistic missile defense (HMD) weapons is not yel sufficient lo support developmentrototype weapon. Cround based and space-based BMD systems are likely to require .otherean oe more of lechnology developmcnl. and opetation-al systems for destruction of Iwlllslic missiles or their reentry vehicles probably could not be fielded until after the turn of thc century
Theow have Ihe lechnology callable of supporting development ol a prototype UK weapon for soft kill of electronics or fore*Vinnel applications outistance ofilometer.
-Thc lechnology lo support development of destructive particle beam weapons. (Iis notpeeled lo be availablerototype lest before the mid-to. Thc real-lime performance of command, control, communications, and Intelligence systems,space-based systems, will continue to be limited by deficiencies in computer technology andnet work ing The Soviet lag in computetis greatest in software and peripherals, where the USSR is respectivelynd IS years behind the West. Still, we expect the Soviets lo deploy, in theetwork of space-based near-real-time reconnaissance systems, and an automatedinlegratiOn and dissemination system could be available in the.
In iidinif technologies, the USSR will concentrate on (hose applicable to development of systems for protection of ils nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) forces and (or detection ofsubmarines. Tho Soviets will achieve someIn protecting their own submarines by selection of operational areas and improved tactics, bvmultiple layers of ASW forcesthe basb of technology nowIncreased SSBN Quieting and by improvements in short-range detection systems The Soviets will remain unable to systematically detect and track Western SSBNs in broad ocean areas. They may be able to deploy spaceboine nonacouslic systems in thcith limited capabilities to detect enemy attack submarines attempting to penetrate bail ions for Soviet ballistic missile submarines. An airbornecould be available by thee expect lhal current lechnology will enable theto be able to deploy conveniional-takeoff-and-landing aircraft and airborne early warning aircraft in then attack carriers They mayirst-generalIon shipborne high-energyfor ship defense in the
Soviet ground jorcci and supporting air and ait defenie forces will also require tome systemsadvanced technologic! to meet theirobjectives innd
-In tactical reconnaissance, high-quality near-real-time intelligence and targeting dala will be
required lo support strike* by aircraft andballistic missiles against dispersedtargets. We cipect developmeiil oland infrared sensorsradars lo be based on aircraft,vehicles, and di.mes. together wiihground-based processing andsystems. The technology Is now availableof these systems; someoneigh-altitudenow well
under way.oubtful, however, thai the Soviets will be able lo produce the necessary systems in the quaitllhes required lor effective tactical application before the,
The introduction of small, guided, heliborne flre-and-forget weapons by the Soviets will require thc develosarncnt and Introduction of advanced sensors, signal-processing techniques, andand com put ing techrmlocies. Wethe technologies to lie available within tlie neit lew years to support initial deployments of such weapons in the.
o* technology will need to makestrides to counter Western antiarmor improvements We capocl the Soviets to have difficulties achieving (hoc improvementsOne approach, based on existing technology, could be the developmenturret less tank for initial oeplovment in theank wouldeduced silhouette andarmor protection
Sovnlt laclical air and air defense systems, using available technology, will probably emphasize improved survivability and operationalSoviet tactical lighten will be muhimissioo and will probably tr-semblc their currentcounterparts We eapect an emphasis on increased maneuverability wiih external otd-nancc Inoud conditions and ancapability for outol-planeobile ground-based high-energy laser weapon, which is now under rot nr. testing, could bebeginning in thet could be capable of structural damage at short lanarm) under optimal conditions, and sensorange, ol aboutm. Tlieiotiodeiatc likelihood thai an advanced system
with liiRher power levels will be deployed in the.
Given Iheir maturing technology bone, ore the Soviets more likely to take te<ru>ciogKal risks in the wcopons deyeh>pmcnt program?
Inractices, the Soviets will probably continue to restrict technological risk to lhe applied research phase prior toommitment for weapon system development. They will continue to reduce risk in actual weapons developcrsenl bythe use of proven technologies and evolutionary improvements in system Quality, with lhe intc.nl ofigh probability that weapon systems will be delivered on time and achieve the desiredlevels In addition, the continued infusion of technology fiom lite West will serve lo lower tbo lechnological risk in applied research, thereby helping the Soviets lo build weapon systems with better per-locmance capabilities sooner, and withesources, than would otherwise be possible
Military requirements, together wllh the availability of new technologies, are thecton In Soviet dec is ions to develop new military systems. Also, thc satisfaction of future military objectivesriving force behind Soviel military research. Although ad-varsced technologies ate often requiredew system, they aie matured through separate technology development programs and. In almost all cases, must be available before (lie decision is made to include that technologyeapon system development program.
Will the Soviets continue toarge number ol military systems as ihey hove in the post?
We believe lhal the Soviets will continue loa high level of military systems development into.
We estimate that, ashe Soviets have under developmeni between ISOew and major modernized weapon systems and support systems, including military space systems. Over the past two decades, we estimatenaior weapon systems have been In development it any one time. We believe (hat the number of systems that will be in development in lhe s unlikely to decline
support for millesearch andremains strong, facilities air still eiparuling. and lhe HAD program effort seems not to have been alfeC.cd bydillleullies in the civilian sector AfeV^equircment* for HAD ate Increasing at ihc compleiity of military problems facing the Sovicls becomes greater
The Soviets aie increasing combat potential by caploiling advanced technology. In certain areas, (his will leadmaller number of systemsigher percentage of mullimtuion systems lhan has been Soviet practice Wc eapect. for eaample, that tactical aircraft will be able to carry and employ larger mlics of high-technology weapons in. In other areas, large numbers of many different types of systems will be developed for some established(such as tlie current trend for general purpose submarines) and io meet new requirements (such as for long-range land-attack cruise missiles and for direct ed-energy weapons) The Soviets will lend In maximize tlie development potential of their new weapons by continuing io design ihem to aceommo date future modular upgrades after they are deployed.
However. Soviel military RAD organiiations have probably become more capable in developingweapon systems than Soviet industry has become in producingombination of-more multipurpose weapons, higher costs, gieal-er quality control problems, and more difficult and costly maintenancelikely to cause the Soviets to produce new. more technologically advanced systems in smaller quantities than they have in Ihc past Thus, they are tending to rely somewhat more on technology, and somewhat less on Quantity, to achieve their future military goah
What problems will the Soviets have in producing tlie sophisticated weapons that wo project for development?
We believe lhal the Soviets will eipertencein manufacturing many of the sophitlicated weap ons protected foihe Soviets are eipeiienc-ing production late limitations and technical problems thai are disrupting the manufacture of advanced systems- -including2 tank, their crafty the liackhie bomber, and the Typhoon SSBN. Current'evidence of capansion in electronics-related
industry, protected advances in precision macfonlng and other fabrication lechnolrsgies, and continued arcicuivc eaploltation of Western technology suggest that some of iheir present difficulties are likely to be at lean partially overcome. But some major deficiencies are eiperted to continue in the availability and quality of lest equipment and insl rumen tat ion, in theirbase, and in technical training of maintenance pet sonnet-Will Ihe Soviets' face resource constraints in producing and supporting these complex new systems for?
Although wc do notajor diversion of resources away from military RAD. growing demands in the civilian sector will intensify the competition for resources if economic problems worsen in the. Since the, the annual rate of Soviel economic growth has been declining because olresource scarcities, industrial andbottlenecks, and persistent inefficiencies within the economy.
Manpower constraints, both in numbers and quality, might have an adverse impact on thc ability ol tlie defense industries to produce advanced weapons.in productivity from more automatedhave ihc potential to offset shortages of sktUed labo) in the industrial sector. In the armed forces, however, the relative decline in manpower quality, brought aboutrowing number of less educated non-Russian-speaking Central Asians, may adversely allecl operation and maintenance of complex weapon
Who! are the Sovicls doing to ensuretrong technology base for?
In the past few years the party Central Committee and the Council of Ministers have initiated programs to Improve the hurcaucialic and economic aspects ol lhe USSR's science and technologytrong leadership commitment to this SAT policy is likely to stiengihea lhe overall Sonet technology base necessary for satisfying both the needs ol thc civilian economy and the rcQulrements for some of thc high technology for weapon systems protected in this Estimate- This new policy has a stated near-lerm emphasis on
engthening technology applicable io lhc civilian iccloiying on lhc defense secior toertise. technology, and limited rcaources.ouldubstantial diversion of resources from. which we do not foresee. If the Soviets ate successful inluough long-range programs, the future military bene!iis could be significant, particularly in those Technologies lhat aie common to both sectors,computers, microelectronics, fiber optics, powder metallurgy and composite mitdials, and industrial laseis and robots
Can the Soviets catch upIho West in overall military lechnology?
While the Soviets appear fully committed tomilitaiy-technical superiority, andevoted significant resources toward this stated goal, we doubt thai they currently possess the necessary capabilities to match or overtake the United States in overall military technologies by. In addition to thewithin iheystem, they must also contend with uncertainties about their future successes in technology acquisitions, and with thc current and prospective upswing In UShese efforts, il sustained, willajor challenge to the Soviets and make it more difficult for ihem to close existing gaps In certain areas of prospective US concentration, such as directed-energy technologies applicable to ballistic missile defense, existing Soviet strengths could be overshadowed In these and other areas, hoagevty. Sovietill continue for some years fo benefit from the Irscrejsos in invest-
the larger total investirienl relative to that of thc Unitedhave characterized tbe past decade
We also caution thai there are considerableassociated with our assessments ol the overall relative standing of US and Sovicl militarybyur uncertainties stem from an incomplete understanding of lhe rdative standings now and of lhc rate of change in Soviet lechnology, and from the difficulty in forecasting the contribution of technology transfer In addition, while wetrong US commitment to. systematic comparistnyhe future Males of US and Soviel
technological capabilities must also lake account of actual advances la US technologies- which we have not studied here, and wltsch have yet lo be lealired. but which could significantly influence any
While we ixolect that lhe Sovsets will remain generally behind ihe West, we aho caution lhal their majoi commitment lo advances will probably not dissipate, that theirill continue in any case to benefit tor years lo come from pastand thaind economic reform efforts may yield incremental but useful payoffs. We eipecl continued advancements in all Soviet military technologies, and that the overall gap between the US and Soviel technology bases will be further narrowed.arger number of the Soviet military technologies will be lagging by no more than two to ihree years, and the gap would be small enough to make die level of technologv introduced Into many miliiary systems deployed in thendnearly comparable.
In general, who! ore Ihe prospects for Soviet miliiary technologies by lhe end of?
We oped the Soviets lo make continued progress in raising the levels of those technologies thai are key to their advanced weapons development programs
present the Soviets are strongroad front of military technologies, with theof advanced microelectronics into military systems trailing similar technologies in the West by onl< about three to five years At the same lime the Soviets have achieved superiorcapabilities in several important areas that could provide the USSR and its allies with some military advantages In.
ofnd dclense production by Sovicl science also has improved noticeably over Use lastears The strength of Soviet efforts in several importantwave, electro Optics, directed energy, acoustic ami rionacoustic ASW, anddirectly attributable to brge and extensive xientificprognms
Progress in rnilliaiy technologies will vaiy byarea
Soviet development ol information escouiiMion lechnology will probably accelerate and be
stronger bcloie thc end cJor com-Pic. Ihc Soviets will needadvanced radar and electro-opticsn an effort lo cirricr US Stealth lechnology.ey to their success in countering Stealth is whether they can develop better signalapability that depends on improving their ability to produce high-duality microelectronics and opticalor possibly making major advances in the linking of their analog, optical, and digitalcapabilities)
-Soviet in/ofniaiion-processlng technologies,mieroelrctronics and computers, are not likely to keep up with Western developments, however,ect the Soviets bv the end ofill make innovative use ol theirin designing large-scale integrated (LSI) circullry lor militaiy application. Further, we believe Soviet use of digital signal processing based on microelectronics will be widespread for both ground-based and airborne weapon systems by they thehey may introduce verylarge-scale-imcgrated (VLSI)into military systems.
We cipeel Soviet weapons delivery technologies, particularly missile guidance and propulsionu advance steadily and continue lotrong base for both tactical and strategic weapons devetocanent
Possibly ihe most signdseant advances in the Soviet military technologies will occur in the lethpltryjdamage lechnology area. The Soviets arc likely to keep up their large investment in conventionalplosives technologies in order lo maintain theicelleni technological capabilities ihey now have We are uncertain about whatvigorous chemicalffort will produce tn Ihe neit five loears because of the lead they have now opened over the West As Soviet rcseaich In diircled enetgy. particularly laser and IIK weapon technology, begins to yield results, the effects of even limited test success could Stimulate even
Apart from some area* such as chemical and. h'e sciences technologies in lhe USSTt arc generally lets sophisticaled and less well developed than those in ihe United Slalcs.
Overall, genetic cnginccimc techniques, for en-ample, are somewhat Ins advanced than those of thc United Stales and applications development elforti are smaller We are coriceincd. however, aboul lhe potential lhal genetic engineering has for the oVvesopmeed ofwarfare agents or to..ns Soviet research, development, andefforts involving human factors appear to be loncent rating on improving weapon system performance through Ihe optimal use of humans as conlrolleis and decisionmakers We also cipect lhal the Soviet chemical warfare effort will continue, with emphasis on tartlet protective suits and improved abil.iv to detect CW agents, as well as more effective agents for offense.
Soviet ocean sciencen theto eipand. with new advanced shins, instrurnenlation, and ocean-ographie satellites. One particular area of Soviet ocean sciences interest is th* Arctic, where Soviet submarine undcr-ice eieditions and transfers have been conductedanographic scientificcditi.ns, which also began ihen. aie probably related lo tlie development of submarine navigation procedures, to ASW opera-lions and tactics, and to establishing lhe Soviet Navy's capability to operate Its most modern submarines in its cocKrguous Arctic havensfrom US acoustic Surveillance systems
The Soviets have commutedcsouices to support theli tpoce programs, with large Increases in lhcor theirmanned space program and communica-lions systems The wide range of new space systems now in development starsds In contrast to, when most oWaoprtseoU were for improved, rather than new. systems Mihlary systems and missions receive firstovicl space shuttle, space plane, heavy-lift launch vehicle and near-real-lime im-agcryrelav systems. New capabilities will result, including (hose lor quick reaction militarysuch as reconnaissance
TV Soviets are gradually improving their pro duct ion lechnology.rend toward greatei industrial automation The principal improve menl fiom automated production will be in-
Ci'ind. andib some alleviation
of ci peered manpower shortages, especially ol skilled lalxir But Soviel industrial uiitoroatlon Ispooled to result in thcof substantially larger nurnheis ol weapon systems than are now being produced Bather it is likely to be used to aid the production of more compiei weapon systems by producing parts of higher reliability that are manufactured to moretolerances and industry standardk
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