What was new on STAR Site?

August, 2002

August 28, 2002
In his interview with Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye Strategic Rocket Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov said that SRF restructuring plans have been modified so that two out of three groupings of RS-20 (SS-18) heavy ICBMs will remain in service until 2015: Moscow Redefine Missile Priorities, - in Russian, (by Salavat Suleimenov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, August 23, 2002)

Arms control experts comment on the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT):

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) released its report on the Defense Department's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Contrary to previous analyses, the report says the Bush administrations new nuclear strategy will result in less dependence on nuclear weapons in defense planning:

The U.S. militarys primary goals are protecting bases of operations, particularly the U.S. homeland, and defeating weapons of mass destruction, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in his Annual Report to the President and the Congress, released last week:

The Pentagon postponed by 30 to 45 days a ground-based midcourse missile defense test scheduled for Saturday because of problems with the interceptor's booster:

On the progress of the US missile defense programs see also:

Russian Minatom reported, that August 22, 2002, on request of the US Government, 5046 cylinders of fresh highly enriched uranium fuel (total gross weight 817 kg) have been removed from Vinca Nuclear Institute in Belgrade Yugoslavia:

"We will return all the spent nuclear fuel, and it will not fall into anybody's hands but Russia's," Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev told the Russian army's official Krasnaya Zvezda daily, "Now we are completely legitimate," he added: Every Atom Under Control, - in Russian, (by Alexander Manushkin, Krasnaya Zvezda, August 21, 2002). On the Russian-Iranian nuclear energy cooperation see also:

Russia in fact doesn't make any money on building VVER-1000 reactor for Tyanvan nuclear power plant in China. Along with the signing of a contract on construction of nuclear reactors, another intergovernmental agreement was made: Russia granted China a $2 bil. credit to be returned in about 20 years.

On Minatom activity see also:

August 20, 2002
Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov visited Kartaly Strategic Missile Forces (SRF) base at which RS-20 (SS-18) heavy ICBMs are deployed. Prior to this visit, Strategic Rocket Forces Commander Nikolai Solovtsov said that certain plans on restructuring of SRF have been changed so that the heavy ICBM grouping and one division of rail-mobile ICBMs will be preserved. Commenting the plans of the Russian military in an interview to a correspondent of Guardian, Eugene Miasnikov, the Editor of the STAR Site said: "...It is cheaper to keep maintaining the missiles than to dismantle them...The missiles are not very old. The general purpose [of the Russian military] is still the downsizing [of the nuclear arsenal], but this will not happen as quickly as we thought two years ago...": Moscow extends life of 144 cold war ballistic missiles, (by Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian, Tuesday August 20, 2002). See also:

"...Of course, there is a theoretical possibility to equip (Topol-M - E.M.) missile with MIRV from RSD-10 (SS-20) with three 250 Kt independently-targetable warheads instead of single 250-300 Kt warhead, however, unsurmountable technical problems occur..." (Regret Is All That's Left. By 2012 Russia's Nuclear Sword Will Turn Wood, - in Russian, by Sergey Kherkherov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, August 16, 2002).

On the current state of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces see our frequently updated section Strategic Nuclear Forces of USSR and Russia (in Russian).

STAR Site presents slides of Eugene Miasnikov's presentation Counterforce Potential Of Conventional Precision Guided Weapons at the First International Professional Meeting of Independent Technical Security Analysts, Chicago, IL, July 23-24, 2002. See also a report Precision-Guided Weapons and Strategic Balance, published in 2000 (in Russian).

"...The (SORT) Treaty reflects the fact that Russia and the US no longer perceive each other as a nuclear threat. Consequently, each side can afford the other a high degree of flexibility in determining its nuclear posture, while making implementation of agreed reductions less complicated and costly. Verification was sacrificed to these considerations...From the perspective of international security, this is a mistake...": No SORT Of Verification, (by Nikolay Sokov, Trust and Verify, July/August 2002). See also our special section Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions: Status, Comments, Expert Opinions

U.S. defense contractor TRW has begun design work to decommission U.S. Peacekeeper intercontinental ballistic missiles and transfer the warheads to the older Minuteman III ICBM arsenal. Officials plan to evaluate the hardware in 2004 and conduct flight tests of the single-warhead Minuteman 3 in June and August 2005: TRW Begins Work to Transfer ICBM Warheads, (Global Security Newswire, Thursday, August 12, 2002)

The U.S. Defense Department expects to complete a program to retire and relocate 33 B-1 bombers by Oct. 1, 2003: Pentagon to Finish Retiring Bombers by October 2003, (Global Security Newswire, Thursday, August 12, 2002)

The Pentagon on Aug. 24 will conduct the seventh in a series of flight tests of a prototype interceptor rocket that may become part of a future missile defense system. During the test, tracking information from SPY-1 sea-based radar system will be used, which was prohibited by 1972 ABM Treaty:

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish, head of the Missile Defense Agency, said he would support the use of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missile interceptor in the event of U.S. military action against Iraq:

The United States probably will need to resume full-scale nuclear testing to evaluate the results of subcritical tests on the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal, a Defense Department nuclear weapons adviser said:

Monterey Institute for International Studies released a new Occasional Paper devoted to the problem of deployment of weapons in space: Future Security in Space: Commercial, Military and Arms Control Tradeoffs, (Ed. by James Clay Moltz, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Occasional Paper No 10, July 2002)

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sent a classified memo to the White House last month calling for increased efforts to defend against cruise missiles:

U.S. President George W. Bush signed a waiver to release funds for programs to dismantle and secure Russian weapons of mass destruction. Officials had suspended the cooperative threat reduction funds when Bush administration officials refused to certify that Russia is committed to complying with certain arms control treaties:

Russian experts believe that Moscow's perseverance over Iranian issue is due to its economic interests, which are major factor in political relations with the US:

"...Terrorist acts of September 11 put forward a problem of safety (of radioactive materials). Sophistication of the attacks, obvious intent to cause a large-scale panic and destruction, terrorists' readiness to risk their own lives for the sake of their goals made the "dirty bomb" threat much more realistic...": IAEA to Search "Dirty Bombs", - in Russian, (by Mokhamed ElBaradei, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 15, 2002)

Center for Defense Information released its new report Assessing the Threats, which reviews and compares emerging threat perceptions around the world in the wake of Sept. 11, examining strategic thinking in the United States, Western Europe, Russia and Northeast Asia., (Ed. by John Newhouse, Center for Defense Information, July 2002)

The U.S Energy Department is planning to move tons of weapon-grade uranium and plutonium from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico to the Nevada Test Site for security reasons:

See also:

Israel's fleet of F-16s, the backbone of the air force, are the most likely candidates to carry Israeli nuclear weapons says Nuclear Notebook, the newsletter published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, in its upcoming September-October issue.

"...Pakistan possesses the most effective capabilities and improvements to ensure control and safety of nuclear weapons. These arsenals are directly subordinate to and under personal supervision of the head of the government. That is why our missiles do not need UN safeguards..." Pervez Musharraf: "Our Missiles Do Not Need UN Safeguards", - in Russian, by Georgiy Zotov, Izvestia, August 15, 2002)

At the Russian START Forum: on current state of the Russian early warning system, and other topics.

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