Created: 10/1/1973

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The Soviet SSorce: Role and Strategy Implications

lter three yean oi building SSilos oriented for attack against the US, the Soviets began ICBM sites whose orientation permitted the option of attacking either the US or targets on the Soviet periphery. Some were oriented to add coverage of targets in Europe and the Middle East and others to add targets in the Far East.

The Soviets now have in operation or underSaunchers-overercent of their totalorceaunchers-positioned to allow either US Of peripheral targeting options.

This deployment reflects growing Soviet concern with the nuclear threat irom China and France, as well at the nuclear strike capability of US forces based in Europe and the Far East.

The Soviets probably also are concerned over the readiness andof their earlier peripheral strike force, largely comprised ofdeployed at vulnerable soft sites and aging bombers Some of the older missiles have been deactivated and their role apparently has been assumed by silo launcheds.

The use of ICBMs for peripheral attack raises serious questions at SALT, where limits on strategic missiles havo been imposed by system and not by mission. The Soviets have argued consistently that "equal security does not mean numerical equality."

have maintained that the overall strategic situation requires them to deploy greater numbers of ICBMs than the US, both because of targeting requirements and the need toeterrent force agamst third countries.

Although this concept has been rejected by the US, the Soviets probably will press for differential ICBM ceilings at SALT in an effort to make agreed limitations more closely accord with the Soviet view of the primary mission of elements of their missile force.

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The Sovietorce: Role and Strategic Implications

The Report in Brief

Recent analysis I of the Soviet

CBM ahow3 that tho misnHe can be targetedide firingdegrees for theariantegrees for the Hod 3. This

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medium- and intermediate-range missiles, has provided the basis for reevaluation of the intended role of theorce.

fter three yearn of buildingites oriented for attack against the US, the Soviets began the first new sites whose orientation provided the option of attacking cither the US or targets on the Soviet periphery. Some of these sites added coverage of Europe and the Middle East, and others, targets in the Far East. The Soviets now have inor underS-11

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overercent ol their totalorceto allow either US ortargeting options.

The introduction of theater targetinginto the ICBM force during the late Sixties stems from severalrowing Sovietwith the nuclear threat from China andontinuing concern with the US nuclear strike capability in Europe and the Far Last; anthat the MRBM ond IRBM force built since the Fifties for the peripheral strike role was becoming obsolescent;esire to increase the readiness and survivability of the earlier peripheral strike force which relied largely on missiles deployed at vulnerable soft sitos and aging bombers.

Evidence of this concern is reflected in the Soviets' decision to deactivate somo of their moro vulnerablendites and in their attempts to develop and deploy mobile missile systemseripheral role. To date, the Soviets haveSIndaunchers in the western USSR andaunchers in the eastern USSR. In the late Sixties the Soviets tested two mobilend theresumablyeripheral role. Both programs, however, were canceled and neither system was deployed.

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Replacingndissiles with the silo-launchedmproves tho overall capabilities-flexibility, accuracy, readiness, and survivability--of tho Soviot missile forcos available for peripheral attack. Use of an ICBM in this role, however, raises questions at SALT, where limits have been iraposod by system and not by mission.

The Soviets have argued consistently that "equal security does not mean numerical equality.- They have maintained that the overall strategic situation requires them to deploy groater numbers of ICBMs than the US, both because of targeting requirements and the need toeterrent force against third countries. Although this concept has been rejected by the US, the Soviets probably will press forICBM ceilings at SALT in an effort to make agreed limitations more closely accord with theview of the primary mission of elements of their missI Le force.

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Peripheral Attack Mission of the Strategic

Rocket Forces

Thend Peripheral Attack

Development and Deployment

Missile Tests and Training


Strategic Implications of theorce

Retargeting Capability of the SS-11

Soviet Targeting Doctrine

Peripheral Strike Role and

Strategic Balance


Change in Target Sectors ofaunch Complex

Target Sectors of SS-lls at Pervomaysk (Map) . . 14


overage Capabilities 10

Alternative Views of Soviet ICBM Force 20



Peripheral Attack Mission of the Strategic Rocket ForcTfs

The Soviet builduporce of land-basedmissiles for peripheral attack began8 with the deployment of aboutedium-rangemissiles. The force grew substantially through the early Sixties as deployment of theedium-range andntermediate-range ballistic missiles progressed. When new deployment of these two systems endedhe forceaunchers andS-5 launchers. Onlynd ere housed in silos; the remainder were deployed at soft, aboveground launch sites.

The primary mission of the peripheral strategic missile force is to destroy nuclear delivery systems and other strategic targets in Europe and Asia. thendould still be usedagainst airfields and other soft targets, their ability to carry out this mission has diminished since China began deployment of their own missile

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accuracy required to assure the destruction of these targets.

The vulnerability of thendorce also appears to be of increasing concern to the Soviets. Currently, two-thirds of tho launchers are at soft sites and all launchers, including silos, are deployed in clusters and are susceptible to multiple killingle warhead. The Soviets began development in the late Sixties of two mobile missile systcms--thecamp and therobably were doaigned toeripheral attack role. Both programs, however, wore cancelednd neither system was deployttd.

Since the mid-Sixties, the Soviets have deactivated allemainingaunchers andndaunchers. Of these,aunchers were opposite western


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Europe andaunchers were in the eastern USSR. Over the next few years most, if not all, of the present force probably will be deactivated. The evidencethat the Soviets have assigned other systems now in their strategic arsenal to fill the gap caused by the deactivation of obsolescent systems and theof the mobile missile programs.

Thend Peripheral Attack

Development and Deployment

Theas apparently designed in the early Sixties to meet what the Sovietsrime requirement; toarge ICBM forcehort period of time. In retrospect, the Soviot goalto have been tomall, reliable, and flexible system which could be doployed extensivelyelatively low cost.

construe! Eon ol standUW WJ-.llBi VhjA. and the last group became operational in the springilos had been deployed atdditional silos had been constructed at two peripheral missile complexes. All were equipped with thehichingle warhead.

0 the Soviets began construction ofew silos at the two peripheral missileDerazhnya and Pervomaysk. These silos incorporate new design features and are significantly harder than earlierilos. Twenty of these launchers are now complete and probably are intended for the latest variant of thehe Modhich carries three reentry vehicles.




Cost. Incentives

Any decision to replace thendith theouldudgment taking overall system cost into consideration. Use of theeripheral striko weapon offers savings inexpenditures which the Soviets would have to weigh against performance characteristics they might achieve through the developmentewfor the peripheral role.

Theas already available and inactor which would significantly reduce investment expenditures over those required to tool upew system. Because of its relatively

small size and the already large-scale deploymenttrategic attack role, theas the lowest average investment cost of any SRF missile system. Even so, at an estimated investment ofillion rubles (some Sll million) for each unit deployed at Derazhnya and Pervomaysk,aunchers required an investment ofillion rubles (someillion).

Substitution of theystem forndystems would result in considerable savings in operation and maintenancecosts per launcher for there estimated to be about one-third those of thend SS-5. Estimates of the manpower requirement for there abouten per launcher, as opposed toen per launcher for thendeployed at soft sites. Moreover, its deployment pattern ofaunchers for each control center instead of the four launchers per site for the softndermits overhead costs to be sharedreater number of launchers.

Strategic Implications of theorce

Retargeting Capability of the SS-11

It is clear that the Soviets designed theystem to increase the strategic flexibility of their ICBM force. This flexibility isunction of the wide target sector of the ss-ll, and ison its ability to be retargeted within the sector. The guidance system of therobably accepts only one targetime. Although there is no direct evidence of the time required to change targets, analysis of the guidance system andpatterns provides some insight inlo the problem.



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Theuidance system, whichfly theoncept, may be adaptable to rapid Changing the second-stage cutoff velocity alters the range of the missile, and rotating the guidance platform changes tho launch azimuth. the new targot data is precomputed and can be introduced directly into the missile guidance system from the launch controlingle missile could be retargeted inoinutes.

Even if the Soviets have the capability toa group ofS-lls from the launch controlit is questionable whether anaunch crew can retarget allissiles simultaneously. The new data must be put into the system, verified, andto determine the status of the missile. This probably requires at least two men to ensure that the data are correct and that the security of the system is not compromised. Retargeting of anroup probably wouldew hours if themust be done sequentially for each missile. If retargeting cannot bo done remotely from the launch control center, it probably would require several days to retarget anomplex ofr so launchers.

Retargeting may haveactor in the appar-

ent abandonment of the "fly the wire" concept for computer guidance on thehe follow-on to theow under development. The on-boardcarried by US missile systems allow theof data for moreingle target into the missile, thus improving targeting flexibility.

Soviet Targeting Doctrine

Technical considerations are only one aspect of targeting flexibility, providing limits on the op-

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are inserted into Ihe guidance system prior to launch ond the missile is kept near its programed flightby Varying the engine thrust during pouered flight.

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tions available to the Soviet planner. Sovietbased on an evaluation of availabledetermine the use of those SS-llsrimary role against peripheral targets. od Is at Derazhnya and Per-vomaysk which are assigned targets in western Europe might not be launched in the eventuclearwith the US if Europe were not immediately involved. Tn this instance, these missiles wouldecond-strike alternative against the US as well. Selection of these complexes forof the new harder silos is consistent with this strategy.

Although Soviet planners may envisionflexibility in retargeting missiles from western Europe to the US, retargeting missiles from China to the US may be looked at differently. In mostSoviet planners probably regard the US and western Europeingle entity for purposestrategic nuclear exchange. They may believe that Chinaistinct, largely unrelated threat which could be dealt with separately. However, in the event theissile launchers capable of targeting China were used against the US, the Soviet strategicagainst China would be weakened severely.

In terms of the all-out initial strike against the US, the Soviet planners would have to determine the incremental value theeripheral strike force would provide to the missile force ofCBMsLBMs now slated for the intercontinental strategic attack role. This value would then bewith the capability of theo reachnot within range of thend SS-5s, and thes ability to attack time-urgent targets and hardened silos at less than ICBM ranges.

Peripheral Strike Role and Strategic Balance

Despite the advantages of deploying theeripheral Strike role, its useilemma

at SALT, where limits have been imposed by system and not by mission. The Soviets have stated at SALT that asymmetries in targeting requirements justify the size of their large ICBM force.

Views of parity in strategic missiles such as those expressed by Kishilov may continue to hinder future negotiations. Under the Interim Agreement, the Soviets may deactivate all olderndissile launchers and replace them with submarine launched ballistic missiles. Once thendre deactivated, the Soviets might argue that they haveCBMs for use against thea force equivalent toinuteman launchers of the US. (Sue tabic on next page.) Such adisregards the fact that all Soviet ICBMs

thisarge silos under construction at derashnya and i'ervomaysk and one silo at each of fiveomplexes uhich probably willaunch con-trot function.

have the capability of attacking tho US, and there is no way to determine conclusively the target of any of them.

Alternative Views of Soviet ICBM Force

Possible Soviet US View

Modern* ICBMs Modern* ICBMs (Peripheral Modern* ICBMs





* The term "modern" excludesndaunchers and 11 large silos deployed at Deraahnya, Parvomaysk, and fiveomplexes which probably will have a launch control function when complete. The total includesilos not yet operational:ew large silos for the developmentalndew small silos for theod 3.

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