A HYPOTHESIS ON SOVIET SALT NEGOTIATING OBJECTIVES: THE SS-X-20, A KEY TO EQUAL

Created: 3/15/1977

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Hypothesis on Soviet SALT Negotiating Objectives: Theey to Dqual Aggregates

The hypothesis of this paper is that tho Soviets may be prepared toALT agreement calling for equal aggregates of intercontinental delivery vehiclesevel aboutercent below0 figure agreed to ot Vlndivostok--providcd they are ablo to carry out their deployment program for thoDM.

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The Soviet's acceptance of an equal aggregate limit0 intercontinental delivery vehicles ot Vladivostok came os somewhaturprise, inasmuch as they had argued in SALT ONE for additional weapons to compensate for peripheral threats. SALT ONE allowed thc Soviets to haveCBModern SLDM launchers, providing that for svery SLDM launcher, the Sovietsan older missile launcher. The US, in effect, was limited1 ICDMLDM launchers. Bombers wore excluded from SALT ONE.

The composition of the ICBM force being deployed at the rime of SALT ONE wap:

(older

J launchers)

ran

Comments and aufvies regarding this memorandum arcmay be directed to |

TtreeiiET

Strategic Fteeearch,

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irri i

rurtntnnoru, cnu aovi'itu unaouucccjy were"the dismantlement of-lder ICBMallow for the continuing construction of ballisticsubmarines. By not countinglderS-lls

I the Soviets wouia consideretween8 fixed strategic missiles targeted against the US, compared4 US ICBMs. In addition, the Soviets hadeavyntercontinental-range) bombers, while the US had. Considering all intercontinental delivery vehicles whicn were targeted or immediately available for use against the opponent's territory, tho Soviets could have concludedough equivalance existed under SALT ONE, as follows:

While additional Soviet ICBMs as well as some SLBMs and heavy bombers may be intended for use against peripheral areas rather than the US, the Soviets probably judge that some US SLEMs and bombers are intended for use against targets in locations other than the USSR. In any case, the flexibility of SLBMs and bombers would permit easy reallocation of these weapons to targets in the opponent's territory.

Thus, it appears that the Soviets accepted the concept of equal aggregate limits in the SALT ONE agreements. They probably recognized that if equal aggregates were to be formally codified in SALT TWO, the US would have to be allowed to compensate forS-lls

finest niAssxTt

since timsw missiles

could also be used against the-US. Unless these ICBMs were released for an intercontinental mission and their peripheral attack role taken over by some other peripheral weapon system, however, tho US woulduantitative advantage. And, indeed, there was justeapon systemobile IRBM.

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In

Vladivostok0

uuue rninn.ua

.ng, tho Soviots flight tested the

r

I tnat atypioymenc or tne uenevea to be theas pro-

grnmmcd as follows:

Regiments Launchers

1 Proposed Amended

roposed Amended

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are unsure of the meaning of the above breakdown, but the figures seem to indicate that ataunchers will be deployed. Of thc five missiles produced per launcher, we think three or four will be fielded with each launcher and that one or two will bo used for spares, If mo, it would appear that thes intended to replace both the agingeripheral missile force and the SS-lls persently allocated to peripheral strike roles.

Wo have no direct evidence of how manythe Soviets have solected for strategicthe, the Soviets hadS-lls ' '

numoer or targets in ens Far East to grow as th* Chinese continue to develop their nuclear threat, but initially they might rely on the refire capability of thend deploy fewer launchers than might be required over tho longer term.

tho Soviets in

thes nau <is manyilo-basednd SS-5s,oftnd SS-5s. The number of strategic missile warheads that would have been aimed

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ranged {with no refire;aaiumlng that two missiles were available for refire from the soft launchers). The Soviets wouldaunchers to reach the low side of this spread in terms of the number of warheads able to be

delivereda first salvo. To

match the luiiiasoftnd SS-5s, many of theaunchers would require two refire missiles. Morearheads might be needed to cover

f-hn nnmP tHrejotm, f"

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for the initial deployment of theppear consistent with the hypothesis that this systen vill assume the role ofRBMs and of theCBMs which are targeted against peripheral areas, i" i

From the above discussion, one can hypothesize that:

Soviets, in effect, agreed in SALT ONE to an equal aggregate limit of0 deliveryon each side that could be allocated to intercontinental targets.

Sovi'.-ts were willing to codify at Vladivostok the concept of an equal aggregate limit, because they expectedo assume the role of the SS-lls

Soviets would accept reductions in the aggregateon tho order of ten percent below0 figure, berause that would provide them with the number of delivery vehicles allocated totargeting which they had already implicitly accepted in SALT ONE.

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