MEMORANDUM FOR: The Director of Central Intelligence
MILITARY THOUGHT: "The Role of Aviation in
Military Operations aty Rear-Admlral V. Bogolepov
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THOUGHT: "Tbo Rolo of Aviation lr. Military
aty Rear-Admiral V. Bogolepov
Followingerbatim translation of an article titled "The Role of Aviation in Military Operations atritten by Rear-Admiral V. Bogolepov.
This article appeared in0 Third Issuepecial version of Voyennaya Mysl (Military Thought) which is classified TOP SECRET by the Soviets and is issued irregularly. It la distributed within the Ministry of Defense down to the level of Army Commander. 0 Third Issue was sent for typesetting on
Toe Role of Aviation in Military Operations at Sea
Rear-Admiral V. Bogolepov
Tbe gigantic development of mlsalle weapons compels one to ask the question: Will the missile in its triumphal advance diminish the role which manned aircraft have played up to now in military operations nt sea? One must answer quite categorically: Hot only will it not diminish, but rattier, on the contrary, giving aviation more perfected weapons will even increase this role in the foreseeable conditions of warfare. To demonstrate thia is the aim of this article.1
Two dual, basic strategic missions have always stood and BtlU stand before the navy: operetions on sea (ocean) communication lines, and operations in connection with the coast; in each case combat Is conducted against enemy objectives and for protection of one's own installations.
Previously, which is very important, to these basic strategic missions was added, so to speak, an operationalbe battle for supremacy at sea, which facilitated the accomplishment of both primary missions. ractical matter, it also developedtrategic, ond in many cases, even Into tho foremost of strategic missions, inasmuch as its more or less successful execution (by destroying or blockading theleet) automatically leduitable level of accomplishment of the basic missions.
At the present time, thia battle'for supremacy st sea has changed its meaning and characterignificant extent. First, under conditions of the diversity and tho dispersion of naval power (including here, above all,t is almost impossible to neutralize) or blockade the forces of the enemy so as to completely curb his activity; submarines and aircraft, especially pilotless, have broken "the law ofo that within known limits they can operate even where the enemy has superiority of forces. Second, for the accomplishment of some missions, such preliminary neutralizing or blockading of the enemy's forces is not required. Third, modem combat against the main forces of theircraft carriers or
I While the present article deals with the question in an operational-strategic context ond perspective, in the Collection of Articles (Sbornlk statey)f the "Buvol Collection" (Morakoy sbornlk) Journalin tbe ertlcle. Kevzorov,tbe same question is examined from operational-tactical positions.
missileas as its goal primarily, not indirect, but direct and Immediate protection of one's own instellstioos from their influence, and not only the naval but, primarily, land installations.
Undoubtedly, operations against enemy sea (ocean) ccnnunlcation lines and against shore installationaumber of cases already can be executed not only by naval and air forces, but also by land-based (naaemnoye) missiles. To be precise, sea (ocean) cceanunlcation lines of themselves slso include, along with those at sea, shore Installations such as ports, hydrotechnical facilities, etc. But whllo earlier, becauae of tho limited capabilities of naval weapons, the basic objectives on sea (ocean) communication lines were vessels at sea, now ouch basic objectives are frequently becoming those on shore.
Therefore, the question la what Is more "profitable": to destroy all these objectives with land-baaed missiles or those from "intervening" (promezhtochnyy) missileubmarine, surface, or airt Even elementary calculations showniform solution to this question in all cases is Impossible: Under varied conditions It is advantageous to use varied forces and weapons.
If one has In mind tbe probable enemy's stationary ground pl oca which are separated from ue by water and whose precise locations we know, it would seem in all cases more advantageous to destroy them with land-based missiles, for thla saves us not only from looses of missile carriers, but also from the necessity for creating these carriers.
However,umber of cases, depending on the distances, on the nature of the antiaircraft and antimissile defense of the enemy, and on other elements of the situation, the use of "intervening"ay be fully warranted, partly because of tbe feasibility of simplifying construction and decreasing tbe size, weight, and hence, the cost of the missiles, partly because of their great accuracy of hit at lesser distances from the target, partly because mobile "Intervening" carriers are lees vulnerable to the enemy's missiles than fixed land-based launching installations, partly because these carriers may be needed anyway for performing other missions, and finally,esult of tho necessity for tha enemy to expend weapons In these cases to combat the missiles and thoir carriers.
If one takesnit the military-economic cost of destroying In the initial periodr not less thanoercent of an
enemy Industrial area measuringyilometers bymissiles with nuclear warheads, then with regard to allenumerated, ao well as the probable losses, the costthis mission by atomic submarines will besame, by diesel submarines-twice as much, by cruisehree times as much, and byeveralexpensive. The expenditures of the enemy to counteractwill be: for operations againstr 7againstnd against0 to
Undoubtedly, these calculations, in view of their extraordinary' importance, must be verified repeatedly and be defined more precisely for the moot diverse conditions, for, depending on the situation. It will be advantageous to use one or another method of delivering missiles to the target.
If one speaks of "Intervening" carriers, then it is very clear that It will be more expedient to uee aircraft in case of relative weakness of the antiaircraft defensend to use submarines In case of relative weakness of the enemy's antisubmarine defense (PLO).
Thus, one may conclude that In operations against enemy shore installations the role of aviation under modern conditions la rather modest, although in some casea it is not ruled out. It is more advantageous to use land-based and submarine missiles against such Installations.
Let us proceed to an examination of methods of operation against mobile sea (ocean) objectives: the transportation means of the enemy, as well as his combat large units (soyedinenlye) and vessels. Ihe picture here is drastically changed.
The level of development of missile technology theoretically even now permits the destruction of any objective in any area of the world ocean by land-based cruise missiles, and in certain casea even by ballistic missiles. And, if one speaks of offshore (pribrexhnaya vodnaya) zones saturated with technical shore surveillance means, thenolution to thet least In relation to surface objectlveiractical matter, is not only feasible, but In many cases even more advantageous.
1 An exposition of the methodology of these calculationseparate place.
-In which caseaI in those where the extent of the development of tbeeter facilitates tho creation of the necessary era tea of missile launchers and shore Installations in general. If this does not exist, then lt Is evident that It la simpler to utilize, for these targets, acelle forces and weapons, primarily aircraft. This question must also he solved cn the basis of mlllUry-economic celculatlona based on initial operational-tactical requlrementa.
The width of the coastal cone now consists of several hundred kilometers and, in accordance with the development of technology is
growing continually. Extensive investigation must define precisely .
the order of this growth in the near future, but In any case one must consider tbat in some offshore novel theaters land-based missiles already are becoming the backbone of naval forces.
It may be askedi Why are land-based missiles regardedaval force, even If only provisionally! For the sane reasons that "one gun on shore Is worth ten gunss has been correctly assumed up to now, considering that one of the basic elements of naval forcea la the so-called shore defense, including,above all,aval direction ie not necessarily connected only with vessels; lt is connected with those forcea and weapons by means of which it la more advantageous to accomplish the existing missions.
Concerning combat with submorlnes, in thla zone tbe solution to the question depends on the method selected by us for detecting them. If this mission is assigned to fixed means (which at present can work only on the basis of hydroacoustlca) having good communications with the shore, then detected submarlnea could be destroyed from the shore under conditions In which this will not disrupt the system of detection. But if the search and location of submarines is done by mobile forces, then these, naturally, will have the adsslon of destruction. As Is known, the leading place among these forces belongs to aircraft. Including helicopters. -
Thus, the nature and degree of importance of one orission of aircraft in our offshore zone depends on the situation. But if the basic weapon against enemy surface forces in acme cases is land-based missiles, then in combat against hisrominent place, along with small vessels, as before, belongs to aircraft, in particular helicopters.
It must be added that if the operational range of shore missile
weapons is superior to tbe range of shore technical means of surveillance and target designation, then in this "external" part of the offshore zone the significance of aviation will grow still more as a result of the assignment to it of the mission of surveillancearget designation, and, when needed, guidance.
We shall turn to an appraisal of possible methods of operations against mobile enemy objectives located outside the offshore tone just examined. If one speaks of enemy submarines, then, naturally, -detection and destruction of them outside the offshore zone by some type of fixed or shore means is Impracticable, and coy be accomplished only by surface and air forces. If one speaks of surface ocean objectives, then elementary calculations show that the destruction of them from the land, although possible, demands such cumbersome missiles andomplicated syotem of target designation and guidance that in an overwhelming majority of cases It Is much more profitable to destroy then with missiles from mobile, specificallyarriers. Which carriers in this realm are mostubmarine, surface, or air!
Aa is known, we have set aside surface ocean forcesesultumber of considerations. Therefore, the discussion may proceed solely with submarine or air forces.
Unfortunately, tha requisite comprehensive examination ofdoes not yet exist. Preliminary calculations permit onethat the most advantageous carrier oft see is ^
The experience of Metory confirms this concept. Thuej while in the First World War, aviation, especially at sea, only spread its wings, in the Second World War, its shore was already from one-third to one- half of the destroyed and damaged combat vessels and ships of all combatant nations. As long as manned aviation is compared here, ot with missiles (for it itself usesut with the other "intervening"urface and submarine, then there is no doubt that this process of tbe increasing role of aviation in operations In open sea (ocean) theaters will continue, ddition, without the assistance cf aviation, the operations of subnnrinea, especially diesel, ere made much more difficult.
Concerning intelligence, as is known, even with the comparatively favorable ratio of the rates of speed of German submarines on the surface and merchant ships in the First and Second World Wars' (respectively
onots for the submarinesonots for thehe effectiveness of the submarines' combat operations depended to an extraordinary degree on their receipt of timely and precise data on the movement of convoys and ships. Nov the ratio of these speeds la becoming all the more unfavorable for dieselonots for them ando l6 knots for the transports). But in addition, while submarines traveled on then the past war, especially at night, ccejparatively without hindrance, and vere able to overtake and repeatedly attack convoys, now, with the widespread participation of aviation in antisubmarine defense, this Is almost ruled out. The underwater speed of diesel submarines with regular use of the RDP (submerged diesel operatlon-rabota dizelya pod vodoy) apparatus does not exceed an averagenots.
esult, when the enemy baa at his disposition routes in an ocean zoneidthiles, then for dependable assurance ofingle attackonvoyroup of subrarTnos, it la necessary to deploy ahead of this group two reconnaissance Bcreoas ofoubmarines each. oefficient of operational utilization! of diesel submarines of not more5 for such uninterrupted reconnaissance (and only fort would be necessary to have for only one ocean direction, not considering possibleo hOO, or as an average,ubmarines,otal cost ofoillion rubles. Meanwhile, for the accomplishment of the same reconnaissance mission by aviation, with two or three flights daily by paired flights of aircraft end with an intensitylights per month for one aircraft,ora needed, or an average ofoircraftotal costillion rubles. Figures are eloquent, and with regard to possible losses,omparison will be still more to tbe disadvantage of diesel submarines.
Of course, tho mission of reconnaissance now can also be accomplished by pilotless means. If one bears in mind tho long-term possibilities In this connection of artificial earth satelliteshich could systematicallyomplete picture of movement oo the oceans, then the conclusion follows, that tbe speedy realization of that prospect should be worked at persistently. But if the discussion concerns the so-called reconnaissance missiles, then they, especially from submarines, may be launched only for
1 By coefficient of operational utilization is understood the relation of the time of the submarine's stay in tbe area of combat operationsithout taking Into eccount the tlme^reiminder of footnote missing/-
tactical elaboration of an already known operational situation, and to effect reconnaissance of the latter is actually much simpler and more convenient with the aid of manned aircraft.
Perhaps these calculations and conclusions will appear to someone to be exaggerated. t is enough to analyze the experience of the Second World War, iu particular the extraordinary decrease in the effectiveness of the operations of German submarines because of their poor aerial reconnaissance support, in order to arrive at the same conclusions. And since at present the main bulk of submarines still have diesel-electriche question of supporting submarines with aerial reconnaissance is exceptionally important.
Of course, nuclear submarines present another perspective. Considerably surpassing in their submerged speed the average speed of convoys, they can combine reconnaissance with attacks, even repeated attacks. Calculations still show that aerial reconnaissance can also substantially Increase their effectiveness.
The close combat assistance of aviation is no lessdiesel submarines. Being obliged regularly to proceedfrom one fourth to one third of tbe time, for rechargingeven though not rising to the surface, dieselthe same are comparatively easy to detect by tbeof the enemy's aviation. Hence,ore or lessof their security, regular combat againstission which, on the ocean again, canufficiently long-range (avtonomnaya) and
There is no doubt that operational and combat coordination with aviation is also advantageous for nuclear submarines. Thus, the role of aviation in combat against mobile objectives of the enemy on thogainst his combat forces, primarily aircraft carriers, and against his convoys and transports, has even Increased; moreover, not only directly ln relation to combat, but also ln the realm of supporting operations of submarines, especially diesel submarines. It may be asserted thatreater role in operations at sea in general belongs to aviation.
Up to this point the discussion has concerned itself with the possible participation of aviation in the fulfilment of the first,alf of both basic missions of navalperations
a-?lsjt the share and against ocean objectives of the enemy. At the cameecond,alf of tbe first mission has appeared forhe defense of one's own shore installations, since operations against enemy aircraft carriers and submarines aro really the execution of this mission.
What is the possible role of aviation in fulfilling the second half of the second ml asn the defense of one's own communication lines.! peaks of the very reel, for us, securing of then In the immediate offshore xoneepth in modern conditions, as has already been noted, of several hundredhen depending on the situation, land-based missiles and aviation must serve as the basic means of defense of co-muni cation lines from surface forces of tbe enemy.
Our small vessels of the patrol boat (storozhevoy kater)ogether with aviation can fully protect shore communication lines from the submarines and air forces (WS) of the enemy. It should be noted that in spite of some views tha possibilities for aerial combat will in no way be curtailed. Tho history of the development of weapons irrefutably proves that when the conduct of combat by conventional means between any types of newly appearing major elements of armed farces (weapons carriers) becomes Impossible, then human Ingenuity finds a way out cf the situation by creating nev combat means. Thus It la here. While tha tremendous speeds and greet turning radii of modern airplanes prevent visual observation of the enemy and the utilization of cannon-ma chine gun armament against him, technical means of surveillance are arriving to assist the eye, missiles are appearing In place of am chine' guna and cannons, end the work of the brain le made easier by electronic computers.
Cf course PVO vesselsumber of antiaircraftveil as helicopter vessels of the PLO, could also be usefulpurposes. However, the role of the PVO vessels will be/
passive: owing to the short range of operation of their weapons, they cannot ccetbat the enemy's aviation Itself, but only the missiles launched by it. Concerning helicopter vessels, for each specific direction, one must consider whether lt Is not more advantageous to have landing areas for the helicopters on shore in place of the helicopter vessels.
There Is no doubt, finally, that the transports themselves can be equipped with antiaircraft missile launchers and that they also
can carry helicopters.
for the defense of clcso ccsxainlcatlon Uses, shore-based aviation, Including helicopters, have, aa before, vital Importance, what is Its possible role In securing distant ocean communication lines? It Bust be said directly, that with its present range, aviation Is notosition to defend ocean communication lines, and that the defenso of them now la feasible only for aircraft carrier aviation. This is precisely why the USA continues to build aircraft carrlera -vessels which in their time were actually born from tbe insufficient range of aviation: our enemy cannot manage without ocean communications snd without aircraft carriers these communications are'indefensible.
Cf course, aircraftong flight range could, being based on tho shore or near the shore, cover ocean convoys or large unite of surface vessels "inaking off from tbe shore end returning there. But the coet of such coverage will turn out to be less than tbe cost of aircraft carrier support only when tbe shore-based aircraft gain not leee than several days' range.
This is why, while continuing in the meantime to construct aircraft carriers, the Americans at the same time1 have been working strenuously in recent years on tho creationuclear power plant for aircraft. There is no doubt that we have every possibility of outdistancing the USA ln this connection.
But if sufficiently long-range (avtonomnyy) and cargo-carrying aircraft are created, then perhaps with their assistance transoceanic transport can be realised, at any rate, military.
To this, one may answer that cargo merchant marine transport will be retained ln the foreseeable future owing to its greet economy ln comparison with sir transport, and on the strength of tbe fact that along with regularly scheduled, there will always be irregular transport (ueasonol, etc). In connection with passengers, the situation la differenti even now, more and more people prefer air travel to travel by sea. In wartime the situation changes still more. During the Korean, the Americana transported by airillion persona (true, in the same time, aboutillion persons by sea) and8 percent of all cargo.But tho application of nuclear power to aviation will undoubtedly ^bxx here completely new perspectives in the area of the freight-carrying capacity of Individual aircraft and in relation to the overall freight-carrying capacity of aviation.
Thug, at sea the relative weight oT ohore-based aviationremains high (with the assimilation of missile weapooaln tbe future it will increase still more.
What kinds of aircraft are needed for operations in see (ocean) theaterst
First snd foremost, if this is not prevented by other circumstances, seaplanes, in particular, flying boatsre moat advantageous, not only with regard to their ease of basing (bothtrip of water near the shore and deep inside tbeut also because,umber of cases, by landing on water in the course of accomplishing their mission they nay increase their range. It is really unnecessary to speak ln this regard about aircraft specially designated for coordinated operation with submarines, far conveying supplies to them, or, on the other hand, for receiving supplies, in particular, fuel, from submarines.
Other demands on naval aviation must be outlined mainly depending on the planned area of its operations. In regard to aviation for coastal waters, lt can manage without special range, although for some classes of aircraft, for example, reconnaissance aircraft, antisubmarine, and PVO aircraft guarding convoys, greater range would be useful. To the extent that this is "our zone" and we mist always have air superiority here, especially high speed for these aircraft is notbe main need is for excellent means of surveillance (including detection of submarines) and weapons.
On the other hand, especially greet range and maximum speed (now cot less then lSOO0 kilometers per hour) in order to have the capability of evading an air enemy with superior forces are required for ocean-going aircraft. It should not be said that the best way to fulfil both dooandn will be securedransfer to nuclear power, the introduction of which to aviation, however, should bo given most serious attention.
In the first volume of the secret military-hla tor leal essay The Bavy of the Soviet Onion ln tbe Greet fatherlandt is Justly said that the main striking force of the Navy in Worldas aviation. Despite the systematic utilization of naval aviation for operatlona on ground axes, owing to the situation which arose, it still occupied the first ploca in inflicting losses on the enemy at sea. At the same time, lt is noted In thia work that by
the beginning of the war "qualitatively, ourthe navy waa significantly inferior to the aviation of the .5 percent of the aircraft were new types; the remaining types were obsolete. "The lag of aircraftechnical sense, principally in apeed, and also their numerical deficiency In each of tbe operating fleets, created significantly difficulties ln the initial period of the war" . Every one knows whet urgent and meet energetic meaaures were required in order to correct thia situation. And even long before theasis already existed for considering that aviation in the near future would occupy the place of the basic striking force in combat operations at sea end, in addition, in the Basic Conalderatlons in the Development of tbe BBvyf the workers' and Feasants1 Red Amy (PJQCA) during the Second rive-Year Plan it was indicated that "The most important and decisive role must belong to submarines and heavy aircraft*.
Such are some conclusions, not so muchheoretical, asractical, underestimation by us of the significance of aviation In operations at sea before tbe last war. There la no doubt whatever thathe basis of attentive study of the experience of the last war, exhaustive analysis of tbe new requirements of tba situation, the powerful development of Soviet science and technology, end, finally, the glfpntlc potential of our industry, we shall not repeat the old mis take.
Of course,ournal article one may take up the question being examined onlyery genorel plane. But its importance urgently demands the moat attentive end detailed examination of both tbe questionhole, and of all its individual facetc.Original document.