Created: 4/1/1975

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Mobile Missile Verification Issues

This paper considers the issues involved inmobile missilesALT Two agreement. This paper does not address the issue of banning or permitting mobile basing options; rather it works from the premise that mobile options are permitted and focusses on the problems of mobile missile verification. The paperthe problem of monitoring the various basing options and analyzes collateral constraints or counting rules to" enhance verification.


Since early in the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, the US has taken the position that mobile missilesere difficult verification problem than do SLBMs or fixed ICBMs. In SALT One the US argued that, because of these verification problems, land-mobile missiles should be banned. The Soviets termed US concerns "artificial" and rejected the proposal to ban land-mobile missiles. Subsequently, the US fell backnilateral statement that we would "consider the deploy ment of operational land-mobile ICBM launchers curing the period of the Interim Agreement as inconsistent with the objectives of that agreement."

Vladivostok accord does not discuss land-mobile ICBMs specifically. It is implicit in this omission and in the provision to count "land-based ICBM launchers" that either party may deploy them. Thedoes cover air-to-surface missiles with rangesilometers carried on

The Soviet draft agreement would ban air-mobile ICBMs on aircraft other than bombers, and sea-surface

air-to-surface ballistic missiles and excludes cruise rdssiles.

mobile ballistic missiles. . draft permits and counts air-mobile ICBMs, and both drafts permit and count land-mobile ICBMs. . draftounting rule to eliminate the potential ambiguity which could arise if land-mobile IRBM launchers are deployed which are similar'to those

for ICBMs. It also bans storage of excess missiles in the vicinity of the launcher.

Soviet Mobile-Missile Program


The Soviets have experimented with mobile ballistic missile systems since the Fifties. Four land-mobile systems have been testedhecud,caleboard,camp andcrooge. Only theactical, missi leangen, and theange ofere ever deploye Development of theange of0 nn and theange in.excesso stopped short of deployment..

caleboard units, are deoloyed atnear the China bordci^^Jlsolatcdoiecssequipment haveseveral

other military districts in the^aov^^TjnTon that border other countries. Although the extent of this deplovmsnt can not be determined, it has been estimatedotal0 launchers are deployed. Scaleboard units are normally in garrison and deploy to the field only in alerts or exercises. t was estimated that Scaleboard units probably had nine launchers.

2 indicated thataunchers,

and consist of three battalions, each with two batteries of two missile launchers.

RBMs deployed at soft launch sites areand these units occasionally exercise atield sites. The fixed field sites vary from5 miles from the permanent launch site. They consist offour launch positions, however, all missile related equipment apparently is brought with the units from the

the permanent soft sites^hen" the" units* would-move-to the field "sites for additional "launches; Untile-recently we had estimated that there were at least two

missiles for each softauncher. However,'

(evidence that there are three-

:our missiles per launcher. "

The new Soviet solid-propellantCBM" probably is being developed in both silo-launched and land-mobile versions. We believe that the .silorbasedwill be deployed later this year. If there haveufficient number of tests'* of the mobile-version, the first land-mcbilenits could be technically ready for deployment at any time. It is possible that the Soviets, may wish to show theobilen the^.near future for political* effect/ depending on-their view of the progress of SALT Two. We think more likely, however,.that mobile depioymeht'will not begin until at Assurning that deployment begins- in .late.ur. best estima,te."is that the Soviets will, mobileaunchers in the field. If the Soviets choose to emphasize, survivability of their strategic force reater extent than we project in our best estimate, the land-mobile ICBM force could beaunchers The Soviets are capable of deploying more,ear, if they increase production rates.

Inare 8 and

intend tooDiTe^rersion. thepparently was designed by the same team that designed thend both missiles probably are produced at the same facility. Thepparently consists of the first and second stages of theith some modifications, andimilar post-boost vehicle. Thelthough smaller than theay use the same size canister. Thus the vehicles and ground support equipment (GSE) for both systems could be similar.

There have beenests ofo date and we believe that some have been froxi silos and others froia mobile platforms.

We believe that thes MIRVed with three RVs, each probably weighing as muchounds. It is highly unlikely that theIRV would be transferred directly to theinceayload this large would limit theange lessm. We cannot rule out the possibility that thoBV, with fewer or smaller RVs, could be transferred to theith additional testing.


Mobile Missile Programs

US studies of mobile ICBMs are of interest here because they shed further light on the feasibility of such systems and the verification problems that might arise, and the potential impact of counting roles or collateral constraints on US programs.


US involvement'in the development of land-mobile ballistic missiles has been primarily in the tactical area. Included in this category are the Honest John, Lance, Pershing, and Sergeant missile systems. The rershing missile, which became operationalas the longest range0 miles) of any of the tactical systems. The Sergeant, which was deployedaximum range ofiles. The lionest John and Lance missilesange capability less thaniles.

The US first considered land-mobile basing for intercontinental, ballistic missiles in thehen the Minuteman system was i'n its early developmental stages. At that time the Minuteman system was conceivedixed force of silo-based and rail-mobile ICBMs. The rail-mobile part of the concept, which was designed to operate on existing railroadas subsequentlyropped in order to reduce system cost.

Since thatide variety ofhave been postulatededge againstof the fixed based system. ystematic comparative evaluation beenof these concepts, under the- land-mobile portionAdvanced ICDM Technology (MX) program, thebasing options has been' narrowed to threebased, pool, and buried trench. In theseveral basing options, including theoffroad-mobile concepts employed by the Soviets,discarded as impractical for deployment in theland" areas, available in .the US. The systemhave survived the screening process to datein two respects: hey all.depend on aof hardness and location-uncertaintyhey would all be deployedelatively.

In spite of the continued interest invery little actual development or testingsystems was accomplished prior to initiationAdvanced ICBM Technology (MX) program program the technology necessary to support aprogram is being developed. Particularbeing placed on guidance, missile canisterization,

Air-Mobile Missiles

In addition to land-mobility the US has interest in the air-mobile ICBM concepteans of maintaining survivability against future threats. The air-mobile concept gained significant stature with the advent of the wide body jets which are capable of large payioads and long endurance times. Although the US has not yeta full scale development program, work isonducted under the Air Force Advanced ICBM Technology (MX) program to develop the supporting technology. The technical feasibility ofoncept was demonstrated in4 with the short-burn launchM I

missile droppedA aircraft.

The concepts currently under consideration include air-alert, strip-alert,ombination air/strip alert system which increases its alert rate as the threat increases. The primary missile configurations under consideration range0ound gross weight with primary interestommon missile which could be utilized in an air-mobile, land-mobile, or silo-based concept.

Sea-Mobile Missiles


Serious consideration of sea-based ballistic missiles began6oint Army-Navy project {Jupiter 5) to develop an IRDM capable of either land or sea basing. While cruise missiles were then deployed in both surface and submarine platforms, surface ship basing for Jupiter was generally favored because'of submarine structural problems and earlier availability of the surface platform.

.._ The. conception of the much smaller POLARISeased the. submarine structural problems, permitting missile compartments to be inserted into submarine hulls already under construction. Surface versions-were also planned, and several ships, including an Italian cruiser, were deployed with space provisions for. back-fitting POLARIS. The surface version of POLARIS was subsequently abandoned, however, in favor of an all submarine fleet.

Since the deployment of the POLARIS system, studies of alternative sea-mobile basing modes have continued butuch lower level of effort. These studies generally tended towardea surface launchers, either encapsulated or free floating, seabed or submersible systems, including missiles up0 pound throw-weight,eceptive basing of ballistic missiles on ships that could not be distinguished as missile carriers.

Current Navy studies (other than those directly supporting Trident) continue to reevaluate available technology with the objectives of both diversification (to provide capabilities complementary to Trident and land-basednd of economy (to provide cheap, effective and if necessary "second line" systems to fulfill level quotas). Emphasis is on encapsulation of. an ICBM range missile (such as Trident II) to give military effectiveness and flexibility both in deployment

area and type of platform.

It should be noted that, in general, most of the technology required for sea-mobile missiles-carries over-from SLBM programs. It is probableea-mobile ystem adapting existing SLBMs could bo deployedears given the availability of cargo ships.

Monitoring Problems

Mobile ICBMs presentnd. difficult,roblems. The fact that mobile systems can be hidden and' readily moved considerable distances from support bases* complicates the tasks of detecting and counting deployed, missile launchers. Firing positions need have no discern-able signatures and the required transportation routes may not have any unique characteristics otherequirement that they must be able to support the missile and related -cquipment-

Accounting__for. mobiles probably will be more ^ an estimative process than for fixed ICBM and SLBMs. ^ptV.

n urns

of the se at one.

under ison would

In addition, since mobile ICBM launchers probablv can be reloaded we will have the additional problem of monitoring missile transport equipment and storage areasetermine the total number of missilesoviet mobile ICBM unit could launch. However, this is also true of soft, fixed sites and possibly for the new canisterized missiles.

However, the development and deployment of mobile, long-range ballistic missile systems would be atask. Such systems require tests both of the missiles and associated equipment. The logistics

security, and communications problems associated with mobile systems are greater than with fixed systems and,etwork of supoort facilities would be required.


In an overt deployment scenario, the Sovietstake special pains to hide the fact thatwere deployed. Some believe that theadopt operating practices which would assist,hamper cur monitoring-efforts-.- Thev- believe -thatSoviets would view their mobile missiles asrather thanirst-strike force and,to enhance its deterrent value, -would take stepsthat the US couldairlyon mobile missile launchers. Others believeif the fact of mobile missile deployment wereover survivability would give the Sovietsto. alter their operating practicesa consequent increase in our uncertainty about

If the Soviets attempted'to deploy mobile missile, launchers in excess of the agreed limit, the goal would bc to deceive the US asthe number of .launchers deployed.eployment scheme could range from simplelage to an elaborate and costly deception effort and might involve attempts to hide mobile ICBM launchers or to disguise them as other objects, including shorter range missiles not covered by the SAL agreement-.

It is possible, of course, to combine these options and to deploy partorce overtly and part covertly.

Land-Mobile ICBMs

The paragraphs below, and the table on the following page, outline our monitoring capabilities under various Soviet land-mobile ICBM deployment options.* The options considered are not all that cculd be conceived, butikely-range of deployment schemes, given

Judgments on monitoring confidence are scenario-dependent. Throughout this paper the assessments of uncertainty in estimating mobile ICiVl deployment levels represent the views of CIA. These assessments were made on the basis cf subjective estimates by intelliger. analysts and of subjective statistical analyse:

All other agencies doubtr.itoringCC Sufficiently to warrant presentation cf specific levels offj.



measures, we believe that we could recognizef new land-mobile ballistic missile systemsear. By this time they could haveaunchers, depending on their force goals and the rate f deployment they choose. Our ability to estimate the extent of deployment would vary with "time and with the number-of launchers deployed. CIA and DIA estimate that at the beginning of the deployment program, or.if the level of deployment is small, we probably could estimate the extent of deployment to withinaunchers afterad been deployed; they believe that with larger deployments, we might still have to allow for the possibility that as manyaunchers might remain

on the orderissiles. Later inew SAL agreement, they believenumber couldV- ,.

Rail-Mobile ICBMs"

were toail-mobile could detect itear of so. to estimate the force level" would_depend factors:

whether new logistic bases and rail spurs for launch points were being constructed),

the extent of the dispersalhether missile trains could be 'distinguished from freight and passenger trains;

the extent of concealment measures;




The problem of monitoring ICBM launchers on surface ships and barges is still being evaluated. Ourestimate is that an overt Soviet program for surface

ship launchers probably could be detected within several months after it began. Depending on the manner of construction or conversion of'these ships, we might have considerable uncertainty about the number of missiles carried by each. An overt program to constructarrying barges for operation on inland waterways might not be recognizedear or so after its inception, and by thatozen or more craft might have been produced.

.If the Soviets were to convert merchant .ships to carry missiles under the guise of routine overhaul activity, we probably could detect it, but this mightear or more and by the time several ships could be available forimilar program for ICBM-carrying bargeswhich we consider highly unlikelymight not be detected for several years.

Similarly, if the Soviets were to develop sub-mergible missile capsules that could be towed by or launched over the side of existing surface ships the detection and monitoring of such systems would be difficult.

Air-Mobile Missiles

The problem of monitoring Soviet air-mobile ballistic missile deployment probably would.not arise until, near the end of the proposed SAL agreement. Ifrogram were undertaken, we almost certainly would be able to determineong range air-mobile ballistic missile was being developed, identify the types ofwhich could carry it and estimate how many missiles each aircraft could carry. Unless a- specifically designed aircraft were used, we probably would not be able to ascertain how many aircraft capable of carrying such missiles were actually armed with then. Thus, our monitoring uncertainty could be as high as the number of aircraft capable of carrying air-ncbile ballistic missiles, but not counted as ballistic missile carriers, times the number of missiles which each could carry.

Collateral Constraints

While collateral constraints cannot eliminate the verification problems described above, certain constraints could mitigate some of these problems. This section presents collateral constraints which could deal with

such problems as the irobile IRBM/ICBM ambiguity. Each of the constraints is analyzed in terms of its contribution to verifiability and its effect on US and Soviet programs andnd an estimate is made of its negotiability. Some of the constraints are -presented in the form of countingormy slightly improve their acceptability to the Soviets.


Constraint No. 1: Mobile IRBM/ICBM Ambiguity' .

This constraint has been included in article III,.'[f the US draft treaty: "The Parties undertake to consider as subject to the aggregate limitation set forth in this article all land-mobile ballisticaunchers compatible with launching an ICBM.

a. Contribution to Verification. If the Soviets accepted this counting rule, it would reduce possible confusion and.misunderstanding with respect toof land-mobile IRBMs..

i Effect on US Programs and Options. This

v-would have no effect .either on current US

programs or on plausible.future US. deployment options-^

C. Effect on Estimated Soviet Programs and Options. If theses the sdne size canister as theCBM, and if the transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles for both are similar, this counting rule would require the Soviets either to change their mobileaunchers in some way so as to make them clearly not capable of launching ICBMs, or to agree that these IRBMs would be included in the aggregate ceiling. They may well be reluctant to do either of these.

Estimate. Early in SALT the US proposed restrictions on IRBMsmight be indistinguishable from ICBMs, andrefused to.acceptrovision It is likely that they will resist thisrule unless it is packaged with somepro quo.

The land-mobile IRBM/ICBM ambiguityprove toerious verification problem, and this


counting rule would deal effectively with it. Soviets will probably be reluctant to accept'_

Constraint No. Shelter basing*

"If mobile ICBM launchers are deployed inmust be made for eliminating the additional in verification of 'deployment levels

national technical means introduced by the deployment mode."

to Verification. "Sheltergame') includes any scheme for concealingof land-mobile. hidden inor under canvas canopies. The basicshelter basing is to deployarge numberthat the adversary does not have enoughdestroy then all, and that he does not knowcontain missiles. In the absence of someallows the other side to count theithsuch basing, directly violates, the undertaking

"not to use deliberate concealment measures which impede by national technical moans ofthe provisions" of the

Shelter basing could lead to very largeties in our estimates of the actual number of Soviet ICBMs. For example, if the estimate is based only on the number ofoviet deployment ofhelter-based ICBMs, each with ten shelters, could result in an uncertainty in our estimate of their land-mobile deployment as high Based on other evidence, however, we probably could narrow our uncertainty to less than this outer limit.

Effect on US Programs and Potions.been some interest in maintaining an optiondeployment of land-mobile missiles whichelatively small area and dependand location uncertainty forthe MX program, the field of land-mobile basing

The JCS and OSD representatives point out that this constraint; in that it applies only to shelter based mobile concepts which are more likely to be deployed by. and less likely for the Soviets would. frccdon of action toore severely than Soviet and therefore is noc in the. interest.

options has been narrowed to three concepts: shelter-based, pool, and buried trench. The proposed counting

rule would not" rule but "such systems but'would require

that they incorporate acceptable procedures-for enabling the Soviets to count the number of ICBMs deployed.

on Estimated Soviet Programs andthis time we do not know whether or< not thefor initial land-mobile ICBM deploymentbasing. In any case, they may employ suchmode sooner or later if allowed to do so by the

SALT agreement. (OSD and JCS believe that present US.

analysis suggests that such an option would not be cost-effective for the Soviets and is therefore unlikely.)

Estimate. The Soviets may wellto accept it, particularly if it does nottheir current land-mobile program.

e. his provision wouldajor verification problem, however it would constrain flexibility .in design of .shelter based systems.*

f. Alternative Approach. . and Soviet draft texts contain obligations not to use deliberatemeasures which impede verification byechnical meansof compliance with the provisions of the apreement. An alternative toeparate counting rule on deceptive basing would be to interpret this agreed language on deliberate concealment measures to prohibit the use of shelters or other deceptive deployment techniques which would preclude counting the number of missiles deployed- The sice deployingystem would have to incorporate features which allow the number of missiles deployed to be counted.

Constraint No. 3: Geographical Deployment Limits

"Each Party undertakes not to deploy land-basedoutside of deployment areas, each

of which shalliameter of no more than


kilometers. Each Party agrees to notify the other Party of the geographic coordinates of the center of each such deployment area within thirty days after initialtakes place."

a. Contribution to Verification.rovision such as this would not eliminate the seriousroblems referred to earlier, it could be of considerable assistance,he detection ofingleobile ICBM launcher outside the permitted areas would be evidenceiolation.

Inside the declared deployment areas weoncentrate on establishing the best estimate we*could, as to the number of land-mobile"launchers actually deployed. The smaller the permitted deployment area, the easier it would be to focus our resources on this effort.

This constraint would retain much of itsven if the Soviets accepted.only the first, sentence and rejected the second sentence regarding notification.

b. Effect on US Programs and Options. In the event that the US should decide toand-mobile ICBM system, we would be unlikely to deploy an off-road mobile or road mobile system because of the limited land area available in the US for such deployment. Since US deployment would beelatively small area, this provision would not affect. US deployment options.

Effect on Estimated Soviet Programs'and Options. '

we do not know the Soviet .land-mobile deployment

plans, we .could propose this provision to the Soviets leaving blank the number and size of the deployment areas and request that they suggest, appropriate numbers which they would find satisfactory. Such a negotiating approach would eliminate any legitimate Soviet objection that we were constraining their freedom to design their own force deployments. We would also make clear that if the Soviets should decide at some future time to move one of their deployment areasew location they would have the freedom to do so under this provision..

ability Estimate. It is difficulthow the Soviets would react to the first partprovision, since allowing them to fill inshould have considerable appeal to them. Thewith respect to notification, may provenegotiate, since the Soviets have indicated in thedistaste for notification.

This provision would contribute tocapabilities, but onlyimitedUS would have nothing to lose and something toproposing it, but should notigh price for it.

on US Programs and Options. AtUS does not have an air-mobile ICBM programhas been some interest in .maintainingystem. If we decide at some future time

to deploy an air-mobile ICBM by modifying ahircraft type, this constraint would require that the modification be sufficiently' conspicuous as to make the modified aircraft clearly distinguishable from the unmodified aircraft. We would be more likely toew type of dedicated aircraft for this purpose, with fast take-off capability to improve its survivability. In that case, its distinguishability would probably be adequate.

on Soviet Programs and Options. Ifdecide to deploy an air-mooile missilesame considerations would apply as for the US.

d- Negotiability. The Soviets have expressed concern over the possible US deployment of air-mobile ICBMs. Their draft treaty5 prohibits use or conversion of "transport airplanes" as delivery vehicles for nuclear weapons. Accordingly, they would probablyaccept this provision.

Although not of immediate concern, this provision would be in the US interest from-astandpoint, and the Soviets would probably accept


Sea-Mobile Ballistic Missiles*

- Constraint No. 5: Distinguishability of Vessels Carrying Ballistic Missiles

"Each Party undertakes to limit deployment of sea-launched ballistic missiles tc vessels (surface orwhich are clearly distinguishable from other vessels by virtue of unique observable features. Missile launchers on such ships would be fixed within the superstructure of the(vessel and not reloadable from stores within the vessel."


These provisions could be expanded to Include SLCtls which axe limited by the agreement.

to Verification. Thisplace the burden of making sea-launched ballistic

missile carriers"'Clearly-

vessels on the side deploying the systems. -It would . assist the counting of overtly deployed systems and

.reduce the possibility of covertly deployed strategic missiles on attack submarines and surfacewould alsoasis for challenge if even one such deployment were detected.

on US Programs and Options. nce theno plans for ceploying strategic missiles onand or to deploy separately encapsulatedSLBMs, this provision would have'nocurrently planned programs: Future optionssubmarines from SLBM carriers to other uses, of aging or as part of general forcebe affected. However, conversion proceduresto both sides could probaoly be worked out if

C. Effect on Soviet Programs and Options. There is no evidence that the Soviets intend to deploy ballistic, missiles on surface ships or to deploy SLBMs on anyother than those specifically designed for that purpose. Therefore, this provision should have no effect on known Soviet programs. As discussed cbove, future options for converting SLBM carriers to other uses could be affected.

Since this provision wouldeither side appreciably, the Soviets shouldto acceptonstraint.

This provision would be inerification point of view andacceptable to the Soviets.

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