by Ilya Kramnik
U.S. missile defense system, whose deployment has continued despite the changed concept remains the main stumbling block between the U.S. and Russia. Today, it can not reflect the Russian nuclear attack and is unlikely to tomorrow, but it is in its weakness is the main threat.
Background to the conflict
Development and the establishment of missile defense systems have a long history, but today this issue has become one of the most pressing. The level of discussion of the problem, the frequency of meetings, decision makers and the heat of the debate talking about the subject of extreme importance for all parties to the dispute. What, indeed, is the dispute and what it sought both sides?
In the development of its missile defense system the United States went through several stages. Its modern history to be reckoned with in 1999 with the adoption of the U.S. Act on national missile defense. The act provides for a system covering the whole territory of the United States "immediately, as soon as technically feasible." Introduced the limitations of the possibilities of future missile defense: it was designed to protect the U.S. homeland against a limited attack - the accidental, unintentional or intentional. However, the criteria for a limited strike never been identified.
After coming to power in 2000, President Bush reconsidered plans to build missile defense.In the first place again for the first time since Ronald Reagan left the project a layered system.A key requirement for the missile defense system was the ability to intercept missiles in all phases of the trajectory - the initial (active), middle and end.
Creating such a system is contrary to the provisions of the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile, 1972, and eventually the United States have decided on unilateral withdrawal from the agreement.
Deputy general director - executive director of the Center NIIRP Sergei Kurushkin: "Agreement of 1972 led to separate strategic and non-strategic missile defense system. Under the strategic missile defense system were intended a system capable of intercepting ballistic targets with a range of over 6000 kilometers and a speed exceeding 5 km / sec. For guaranteeing this interception were required the corresponding possibilities of radar stations Below are non-strategic systems designed to intercept intermediate-and shorter-range missiles, such as THAAD or PAC-3.”
In 2002, the U.S. decided to create a national missile defense system , the main weapon which would become the interceptors long range Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI), and a regional missile defense (also known as theater missile defense), the basis of which should constitute a system designed to intercept intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. "
THAAD is intended to be used as complexes in the United States; is destroying the ABM objectives, past the line of defence, but their ability to GBI to intercept ICBMS are much lower and the probability is very low.
Despite the fact that as a major threat to the United States were named missile programs of Iran and North Korea, missile defense systems are being architecture as such that its true purpose could be the neutralization of nuclear-missile potential of Russia. In any case, placing GBI interceptors in Alaska, as well as planned by the previous U.S. administration to deploy the third site a missile defense system in Poland, were best suited to intercept Russian ICBMs, whose trajectory in the case of a hypothetical nuclear conflict found themselves in the zone of action of these systems. In this case, neither Iran nor North Korea did not have then (and now) missiles that can reach U.S. territory.
Against whom are we fighting for?
This question, which in one form or another is constantly asked by the Russian military and politicians, continues to be a major evaluation of the American missile defense system. GBI missile deployment in Alaska in 2004 and modernized radar early warning system, located in Greenland and Britain, have caused a reasonable confusion on the part of Russia.After appearing in October 2004 reported the consent of Great Britain to host the U.S. missile interceptors; the Russian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement which said: "The U.S. assures us that the emerging missile defense along with its overseas bases is not directed against Russia. However, we still have not received an answer to our question: how is this ‘undirectedness’ is guaranteed.While there is no answer, the Russian side can not but take into account the possible threat to Russian security. "
In late 2005, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, Army General Yuri Baluyevsky, in an interview with Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said he did not foresee a nuclear conflict between Russia and the West, but the countries who will participate in the creation of an American missile shield, must understand the consequences:"Please build shield. Just think that then you will fall on your head ".
In 2006 it was the same in an interview with Polish newspaper "Dziennik", he warned that the deployment of U.S. missile defense sites in Europe to change the existing strategic parity between America and Russia, and this in turn would require adjustment of the Russian military plans.
In early October 2006, starting with a visit to Warsaw, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia will take appropriate action in case of Poland to host the U.S. missile defense elements.
U.S. nevertheless persisted to claim that deploying a missile defense system designed to intercept missiles fired from Iran and North Korea. The basis for the third site - after Alaska and California - had become a base of GBI interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic, near Prague. This radar made it possible to monitor launches of ICBMs from the European part of Russia, where is located main The Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN RF), and there occurs potential GBI promises to intercept ballistic missiles launched toward the U.S. east coast. Same security for West Coast is provide by ABMs stationed in Alaska.. It was obvious that a few dozen interceptors in Alaska, four in California, ten (as expected) in Poland is not suited well for the reflection/neutralization of a full-fledged nuclear attack from Russia, even in the case of increasing the number of ABMs twice or thrice. The real danger of American settlement was in the other, as we discuss it below.
After coming to power Barack Obama's U.S. began to adjust their plans. We are talking about creating a more mobile and flexible system that provides mostly intercepting ballistic missiles, short-and medium-range missiles. As the chief weapons are now considered not a massive GBI interceptor silo-based, but much more compact and lightweight SM-3 which has one significant advantage - mobility.
SM-3 missiles are placed on warships equipped with command and control system Aegis and vertical launch systems, and thus can be deployed to any area from which the threat is anticipated. Also being developed is the road-mobile version of the SM-3.
Features of this system against intercontinental ballistic missiles in its current form is rather limited. Ships equipped with SM-3 will have as close as possible to the areas of ballistic missile to be able to counteract the active portion of the trajectory. Under certain conditions, the SM-3 could try to intercept the warhead ICBMs declining at the end of the trajectory, but the complexity of this problem leaves little chance for success.
In this case, the U.S. seems to have refused to deploy a radar in the Czech Republic - its complexes, according to media reports, will be closed and and ground complexes SM-3 and, apparently, radars will appear in Rumania and Turkey, where they can actually intercept missiles launched across Europe from Iran.
However, the mobility of the SM-3 as a ship, and in the developed ground modification, coupled with early warning radars on the floating platforms to quickly "re-configure" the system by shifting its efforts from one theater to another, potentially poses a significant threat.
SM-3 capabilities in the future are to grow - a modification of this interceptor, known as block II, will have a large range and high intercept, and an improved guidance system. This improvement will increase the capabilities of the system as a whole, making it capable to deal with ballistic missiles (BMs), though not throughout the flight.
It should be noted that the most important stage ICBM flight, during which it is most vulnerable, is the first, or active segment of the trajectory; when the engine is running & the main stages of ICBMs along with warheads (or MIRVs) has not yet separated. In addition, at this stage ballistic missile, is easiest to detect. As a result interception of BM in the active portion of this trajectory is a priority for a missile defense system, and here is focused most of the effort - from the placement of the ships with SM-3 prior to the preparation of a laser airborne system.
Reasonable efforts of the Russian Federation
Despite any changes in plans to deploy U.S. missile defense system, it remains a fundamental, defining feature of its possible use. Neither the current nor in perspective US ABMs are able to intercept a massive nuclear strike.At the same time it completely can reflect the small number of separate launchings. Herein lies its greatest danger.
If we talk about the prevailing balance of power between the U.S. and Russia, such a scenario can be realized only if the first; beheading and disarming impact on Russia from the side of the USA. The probability of such an attack in concrete of today's political environment, against the "reset" and the general convergence between Moscow and Washington is virtually zero. But it is unclear what will shape relations between Russia and the U.S. in the future, and the country's leadership can not be indifferent to this threat. Possible risk of such a scenario increases, as the U.S. and Russia continue to reduce nuclear arsenals. In this scenario, where the first nuclear attack destroys most of the arsenal, and the remaining being intercepted by US ABM, is becoming increasingly real. An additional threat is the deployment of advanced U.S. space-based systems, which can be created on the basis of devices such as the recently tested the X-37. Created under the concept of high-precision global strike, these devices have to hit command posts and stationary missile launchers with a very high probability.
To avoid similar consequences is possible only by increase in the vitality of the group of nuclear forces, and that is not enough simply to strengthen missile silos. Major role to play by mobile systems, which, as experience shows, are much more difficult to detect and destroy all of a sudden.. Thus, the efforts made by Russia to deploy new-generation SSBN groups and mobile missile systems, should be considered justifiable.
However, international situation makes it necessary to speak about the consequences, which nullified the development by the Americans: Because this system only works effectively in the event of U.S. preemptive nuclear strike, it would reasonably be considered "destabilizing weapons."
Disturbing attitude of Russia towards the development of U.S. missile defenses can be removed only via greater trust between the two countries and joint work to reduce the relevant risks. But while the likelihood of such cooperation is quite low - a level of trust between the parties, despite all the changes, is extremely low. Moreover, the U.S. and Russia put different content in many of the basic concepts for normal negotiations on such issues the parties have to spend considerable effort to find a common language.
Russian concerns on this issue can be resolved only by the desire to raise the level of trust and joint centers such as which emerged in the 1990s the Centre interchange on missile launches. The creation of a common defense with the organization of joint combat duty, and linking the relevant Russian and American systems into a single complex today is objectively impossible. From this point of view the conversations about the united European antimissile system interests Russia, only for, that they make possible for sides to listen to each other, combining the points of view and providing the possibility of the advertisement of Russian weapon systems.