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Soviet Military Power 1985 - Strategic Defense And Space Programs

Soviet Military Power 1985 - Strategic Defense And Space Programs

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Published by jb2ookworm
Soviet Military Power was a publication of the United States Department of Defense which used to
provide an estimation of the military power and strategy of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Its purpose
was to provide an estimation of the capabilities of the Soviet Armed Forces.
Soviet Military Power was a publication of the United States Department of Defense which used to
provide an estimation of the military power and strategy of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Its purpose
was to provide an estimation of the capabilities of the Soviet Armed Forces.

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Published by: jb2ookworm on Nov 15, 2008
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SOVIET MILITARY POWER 1985Strategic Defense And Space Programs
 
Strategic defenses are vital to the overall Soviet strategy for nuclear war. The operationsof Soviet defensive and attack forces, as noted in Chapter II, are closely coupled; attack strategies are geared in large part to the reduction of the defensive burden. In the Soviet conceptof a layered defense, effectiveness is achieved through multiple types of defensive capabilitiescompensating for shortcomings in individual systems and for the likelihood that neither offensivestrikes nor any one layer of defense will stop all attacking weapons. The Soviets are makingmajor improvements in their deployed strategic defenses and are investing heavily in ABM-related developments.
Soviet Military Power 1983 and 1984
outlined the continuing expansion into space of theSoviet drive for military superiority. In the past year, some 80 percent of Soviet space launcheshave been purely military in nature, with much of the remainder serving both military and civilfunctions. This is an increase from 70 percent in previous years. The Soviet military space program dominates the USSR's overall space effort. Soviet military doctrine establishesrequirements for the military space program.
Laser/Energy Weapons Systems
Soviet directed-energy development programs involve future Ballistic MissileDefense(BMD) as well as antisatellite and air-defense weapons concepts.By the late 1980s, the Soviets could have prototypes for ground-based lasers for ballisticmissile defense. Testing of the components for a large-scale deployment system could begin inthe early 1990s. The many difficulties in fielding an operational system will require muchdevelopment time, and initial operational deployment is not likely in this century. However, withhigh priority and some significant risk of failure, the Soviets could skip some testing steps and beready to deploy a ground-based laser BMD by the early-to-mid-199Os.Ground- and space-based particle beam weapons for ballistic missile defense will bemore difficult to develop than lasers. Nevertheless, the Soviets have a vigorous programunderway for particle beam development and could have a prototype space-based system readyfor testing in the late 1990s.The Soviets have begun to develop at least three types of high-energy laser weapons for air defense. These include lasers intended for defense of high-value strategic targets in theUSSR, for point defense of ships at sea, and for air defense of theater forces. Following past practice, they are likely to deploy air defense lasers to complement, rather than replace,interceptors and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The strategic defense laser is probably in at leastthe prototype stage of development and could be operational by the late 1980s. It most likely will be deployed in conjunction with SAMs in a point defense role. Since the SAM and laser systemswould have somewhat different attributes and vulnerabilities, they would provide mutualsupport. The shipborne lasers probably will not be operational until after the end of the decade.The theater force lasers maybe operational sometime sooner and are likely to be capable of structurally damaging aircraft at close ranges and producing electro-optical and eye damage atgreater distances.
 
The Soviets are also developing an airborne laser. Assuming a successful developmenteffort, limited initial deployment could begin in the early l990s. Such a laser platform could havemissions including antisatellite operations, protection of high-value airborne assets, and cruisemissile defense.The Soviets are working on technologies or have specific weapons-related programsunderway for more advanced antisatellite systems. These include space-based kinetic energy,ground- and space-based laser, particle beam, and radio frequency weapons. The Sovietsapparently believe that these techniques offer greater promise for future antisatellite applicationthan continued development of ground-based orbital interceptors equipped with conventionalwarheads. The Soviets also believe that military applications of directed energy technologieshold promise of overcoming weaknesses in their conventional air and missile defenses.The USSR's high-energy laser program, which dates from the mid-1960s, is much larger than the US effort. They have built over a half dozen major R&D facilities and test ranges, andthey have over 10,000 scientists and engineers associated with laser development. They aredeveloping chemical lasers and have continued to work on other high-energy lasers having potential weapons applications - the gas dynamic laser and the electric discharge laser. They arealso pursuing related laser weapon technologies, such as efficient electrical power sources, andare pursuing capabilities to produce high-quality optical components. They have developed arocket-driven magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) generator which produces 15 megawatts of short-term electric power - a device that has no counterpart in the West. The scope of the USSR'smilitary capabilities would depend on its success in developing advanced weapons, includinglaser weapons for ballistic missile defense.The Soviets have now progressed beyond technology research, in some cases to thedevelopment of prototype laser weapons. They already have ground-based lasers that could beused to interfere with US satellites. In the late 1980s, they could have prototype space based laser weapons for use against satellites. In addition, ongoing Soviet programs have progressed to the point where they could include construction of ground-based laser antisatellite(ASAT) facilitiesat operational sites. These could be available by the end of the 1980s and would greatly increasethe Soviets' laser ASAT capability beyond that currently at their test site at Sary Shagan. Theymay deploy operational systems of space-based lasers for antisatellite purposes in the l990s, if their technology developments prove successful, and they can be expected to pursuedevelopment of space-based laser systems for ballistic missile defense for possible deploymentafter the year 2000.Since the early 1970s, the Soviets have had a research program to explore the technicalfeasibility of a particle beam weapon in space. A prototype space-based particle beam weaponintended only to disrupt satellite electronic equipment could be tested in the early 1990s. Onedesigned to destroy satellites could be tested in space in the mid-199Os.The Soviets have conducted research in the use of strong radio frequency (RF) signalsthat have the potential to interfere with or destroy components of missiles, satellites, and reentryvehicles. In the 1990s, the Soviets could test a ground-based RF weapon capable of damagingsatellites.

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