The New York Times reported, Saturday 17 In September, US officials said there were concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin would use tactical nuclear weapons, perhaps in a show bombing over the Black Sea, in the Arctic Ocean or inside Ukraine, in response to his country's recent setbacks in Ukraine..
The newspaper quoted an intelligence official as saying that there was a debate going on within the US intelligence community about whether Putin believed such a move would take place. (Use of nuclear weapons) It will risk isolating his country from the countries that need it most - especially China- Or if he keeps this option as a backup.
For its part, the Kremlin stressed that it will use nuclear weapons only on the basis of Russia's nuclear doctrine only, which prompts us to consider the Russian nuclear doctrine, and the place occupied by nuclear weapons in Moscow's military strategy.
A long history of fear
Several years ago, Putin was at the head of opponents of the threat to deploy nuclear weapons, and even stated at the time:: “Waving a nuclear weapon is the last thing to do. This is malicious speech, and I do not welcome it”Then he is now doing it only three days after the start of the war. Here the main question arises during all these events, is Russia brandishing nuclear only as a matter of political maneuvering, or does the Russian military doctrine make it really possible?
For a deeper understanding of this point, we can consider a six-page document published by the Russian government in 2 June 2020 Defines its perspective on nuclear deterrence, and its official address(2) “Basic principles of the state policy of the Russian Federation on nuclear deterrence”In which the Russian threat of nuclear escalation or the first actual use of nuclear weapons is considered a behavior that would lead to “de-escalate” Disputes on terms that serve the interests of Moscow.
But in this context, Russia considers nuclear weapons exclusively as a means of deterrence, and sets a set of conditions that clarify that point, so the right to use nuclear weapons is in response to the use of nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction against it or its allies, or in response to an attack by adversaries against sensitive government or military positions in the Russian Federation, which would undermine the actions of nuclear deterrence, or in response to widespread aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons could jeopardize the very existence of the State.
Although these restrictions practically reduce Moscow's options for deploying nuclear weapons, they remain elusive and can easily be customized according to the whims and personal preferences of the Kremlin leaders. In fact, many analysts and scholars see this scope - from the American and European sides.- That Russia, and before that the Soviet Union, has always followed the doctrine of(3) It is incorporating nuclear weapons into its own military exercises, indicating that it may be more inclined to rely on nuclear weapons than other nuclear-armed powers. This is clearly shown in reports that Russia's military exercises appeared to simulate the use of nuclear weapons against NATO members.
This doctrine has deep historical roots in Russia, which views nuclear weapons as the best and shortest means of deterrence in cases of weakness. When the Soviet Union retreated politically and militarily during the Cold War, and then collapsed after that, the only guarantor of Russian deterrence was nuclear weapons.. But besides all of the above, there is an additional, more important reason for some analysts to believe that activating the nuclear option for Russia is not a completely impossible option..
What is Russia doing now?
The Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear explosive test 29 August 1949, four years after the United States used the atomic bomb against Japan in World War II, the Soviet Union tested its first version of the thermonuclear bomb in 1953, and since then the Soviet stockpile of nuclear warheads has grown rapidly, especially during the 1960s and 1970s year, and reached its climax 1986 about 40 A thousand nuclear warheads.
By the 1960s, Russia had developed a triad of nuclear forces like the United States of America: Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)Submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs)Heavy bombers equipped with nuclear weapons. This set of tools of war are called strategic nuclear weapons, that is, those that are able to strike an enemy far away from the country.
For more than half a century, Russia has been involved in agreements and treaties that reduce the number of its nuclear warheads, so since the 1980s the number of Russian warheads has fallen to about 6 Only thousands, but in return for this decrease in numbers, Russia has taken care of fully developing and modernizing its arsenal.
In December 2020, . reported(4) Russian President Vladimir Putin said that modern weapons and equipment are now forming 86% Of the nuclear triad of Russia, compared to 82% In the previous year, he indicated that he expected this number to rise to 88.3% Within one year, he stated that the pace of change in all critical areas of the armed forces is unusually fast today, adding: “If you decide to stop for a second, you will start falling right away”.
This is evident in many respects. For example, Russia is currently continuing to withdraw its mobile missiles “Topol” (Topol) rate 9 to me 18 missile every year, to be replaced by intercontinental ballistic missiles of the type “yrs” or “RS-24”, Yaris was first tested in 2007, was adopted by the Russian Strategic Missile Forces in 2010, and production began during the same year. The arsenal now includes more than 147 A missile of this type 135 A mobile platform can be launched (her cart 16 wheel) And only 12 need fixed launchers.
up to yars(5) to me 12 thousand kilometers (This is equal to the width of a country like Egypt twelve times), and can carry 6-10 Nuclear warheads with a power ranging from 150-500 kilotons each (The previous Topol missile had one warhead). technical qualifications “Merv” (MIRV) This missile can carry more than one warhead, each capable of hitting a different target. The Yaris is also designed to evade missile defense systems, maneuvering during flight and carrying booby traps, so it has a chance of at least 60-65% To break through the counter defenses.
One example that is also widely cited is “Status-6” (Status-6) Known in Russia as Poseidon or (god of the seas). Poseidon is(6) A long-range nuclear-powered torpedo, which was described in a Russian government document as intended to create “Extensive radioactive contamination areas that may be unsuitable for military, economic or other activity for extended periods of time”. Put more simply, this was designed to attack ports and cities to inflict large-scale indiscriminate damage. The potential power of this weapon is 100 A megaton, that's twice the power of the largest known nuclear explosion.
The Soviets began developing this weapon in 1989, but it was interrupted by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, as well as with the policies of nuclear disarmament.. However, Russia returned to develop it again later, and in the year 2015 Information about this weapon was deliberately disclosed by the Russian Ministry of Defense. According to the information received, the range of this vehicle is 10000 km, and its speed under water can reach 200 how many hours. This is much faster than normal torpedoes can travel.
Moreover, Poseidon is planned to operate at depths of up to 1000 meters, making it difficult to intercept, and it is even believed that this terrifying piece of technology can operate under the ice sheets in the Arctic, here it is very difficult to detect and engage with it. Poseidon is scheduled to begin actual work in the Russian nuclear arsenal within five years.
Fire from Tupolev
Putin inside “Tupolev TU-160”.
The multi-mode supersonic strategic bomber “Tupolev TU-160” It is also a component of the recently developed Russian nuclear arsenal. Although there are many larger civil and military aircraft, this aircraft is the largest in terms of thrust, and the heaviest in terms of take-off weight among combat aircraft.. Each aircraft of this model can carry up to 40 Tons of ammunition, including 12 Air-launched nuclear cruise missile. Generally, bombers of this type can carry more than 800 weapon.
This aircraft was the last strategic bomber designed by the Soviet Union, but it is still in use today. In addition, there are two distinct updated programs for the development of the Tupolev being implemented simultaneously.: Initial program includes “deep update” of the existing airframe to integrate a next-generation engine, as well as new avionics and modern radar based on artificial intelligence techniques, and another program that involves integrating similar systems into completely new aircraft structures.
in 3 November 2020, Russia announced that the latest version of “Tupolev TU-160” (The West calls it blackjack) It was launched from Kazan powered by motors “NK-32-02” new, with a thrust of 55000 Pounds, this engine is the largest and most powerful engine ever installed in a military aircraft. The first flight of the upgraded bomber with the new engines took 2 hours and 20 minutes and traveled at an altitude 6000 meters, after the new engine raised the plane's range towards 1000 kilometer. (7)
Yaris, Poseidon and the modernization of the Tupolev bomber are a few examples of a great state of development in the Russian nuclear arsenal, besides, Russia is diversifying the scope of development, it is not only working on strategic nuclear weapons (Who hits the enemy far away)There are also great strides in the development of nuclear weapons (tactical), a term referring to nuclear weapons designed for use on the battlefield with friendly forces nearby, possibly on friendly contested territory.
out of stock(8) The current Russian nuclear warhead, there are nearly 1600 Strategic warhead ready to strike, towards 800 one of them on the intercontinental ballistic missiles, and about 624 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 200 In strategic bombers. Besides, there are about 985 Another strategic warhead in storage, along with about 1912 non-strategic warhead (tactical).
In addition to the military inventory of operational forces, there are about 1760 of retired, but still largely intact warheads awaiting decommissioning and restarting, bringing the total stockpile to nearly 6000-6300 Warhead, note that these are estimates only, as countries do not announce the actual number of nuclear warheads.
The conclusion, then, is that Russia's nuclear modernization programs, along with the increase in the number and size of military exercises, and the explicit nuclear threats it poses against other countries (What happened in the case of Ukraine? 2022 not new)Russia's nuclear doctrine all contribute to the uncertainty about Russia's nuclear intentions!