Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Avanguard / Vanguard

In mid-March 2018 it was reported that the newest hypersonic strategic missile system "Avangard" will be adopted for service no later than 2019. "Vanguard" with a hypersonic planning and maneuvering warhead has already been put into serial production. The strategic hypersonic missile system (RK) "Vanguard" of silo-based basing is included in the state armament program (GPO) until 2027, it will replace the mobile RK "Rubezh". Initially, it was planned to include both the Avangard and the Rubezh in the GPO, but later it became clear that there were not enough funds for the simultaneous financing of these two projects. Therefore, the final version of the new GPO included Avangard, as having more importance for ensuring the country's defense capability.

The newest hypersonic strategic missile system "Avangard" is planned to be adopted not later than 2019. This was reported by TASS on 15 March 2018, a source in the Russian military-industrial complex. "Complex Avangard after the release of the first series of planning combat units and in the case of a successful launch of a single missile with this combat equipment can be adopted at the end of 2018. The deadline for its adoption into service and deployment for combat duty is 2019" , - the interlocutor of the agency said. The source noted that with the adoption of "Avangard" the number of missile divisions in the combat composition of the Strategic Missile Forces (Strategic Missile Forces) will not increase: the newest complexes will be used for the existing missile compounds.

Earlier, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that the military department had signed a contract for the production of the hypersonic strategic complex Avangard. For the first time on March 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin told about the missile complex "Avangard" with a winged maneuvering block in his message to the Federal Assembly. Later, the commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, Sergei Karakaev, specified that the trials of Avangard had been successfully completed.

"Vanguard" - a strategic complex with an intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a planning hypersonic winged combat unit. According to open sources, "NPO Mashinostroenia" (Reutov, Moscow region) was developed, was tested since 2004. The combat unit is able to fly in dense layers of the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds, maneuvering at the rate and height and overcoming any missile defense.

In the "President's Address to the Federal Assembly" on 01 March 2018, Putin stated "A real technological breakthrough is the creation of a strategic missile complex with a fundamentally new combat equipment - a planning wing unit, which has also been successfully tested. I repeat once again that we have repeatedly told our American and European partners - NATO members that we will take the necessary measures to neutralize the threats that arise for us in connection with the deployment of the US global missile defense system. They talked about this during the talks, and even publicly. Back in 2004, after the exercises of the strategic nuclear forces, during which the system was tested for the first time, about which I now speak, at a meeting with the press I said. It's embarrassing to quote, but just today it will be right.

"So it was said: "In the conditions of qualitative and quantitative growth of the military potential of other states of Russia, a breakthrough is needed in order to have the weapons and equipment of the new generation. In this regard, I can be pleased to inform you that as a result of the experiments conducted in these exercises, the experiments that have ended successfully, we finally became convinced and confirmed - in the near future, the newest technical complexes will be supplied to the arsenal of the Russian Army, the Strategic Missile Forces, which are able to hit targets at intercontinental depth with hypersonic speed and high accuracy, with the possibility of a deep maneuver both in height and course. I must say that in every word that has just sounded, every word matters. At present there are no such weapon systems in any country of the world.

"When moving towards the goal, the planning wing unit, as I said in 2004, carries out deep maneuvering, both lateral (several thousand kilometers) and height. This makes it absolutely invulnerable to any means of anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense. The use of new composite materials has made it possible to solve the problem of a long-term controlled flight of a planning wing block practically under conditions of plasma formation. He goes to the goal as a meteorite, like a burning ball, like a fireball. The temperature on the surface of the product reaches 1600-2000 degrees Celsius, the winged unit at the same time is reliably controlled.

For obvious reasons, we can not show today the true appearance, the true appearance of this product. Even this now matters, serious significance. I think everyone understands this. But I assure you, all this is available and works well. Moreover, Russian industrial enterprises have started serial production of this system - this is another new type of strategic weapons in Russia. We called it the "Vanguard"."

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This concept was first studied by the German engineer Eugene Sanger, whose "Silver Bird" antipodal bomber was intended to bomb New York City. During the early years of the Cold War the Soviet Union investigated a variety of such mixed propulsion configurations, including rocket boosted cruise missiles and rocket launched boost glide vehicles.

The priority development of a hypersonic weapon is on a par with high-precision, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry issues of the government. In his opinion, the one who will own hypersonic weapon "will change the principles of warfare." And, of course, the relevance of this theme highlights the priority in Russian President Vladimir Putin. During his meeting with the students of the National Research Nuclear University "MEPhI", which took place in 2014, the President drew attention to the importance of the development of new materials in the context of just this military equipment. "Modern hypersonic missile systems that provide several Mach speed, it is impossible to imagine without modern materials, - said Vladimir Putin.

According to the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, retired Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the appearance in Russia's own hypersonic weapons will restore the balance of power, as there is practically no means of protection against such weapons. At the same time, as stressed by the head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, a key task for such weapons can be to destroy enemy missiles when the main thing is "to have time to react."

As explained by the "joint venture", military expert and editor in chief of the portal Militaryrussia Dmitry Kornev , the correct technical name of the tested aircraft is "aeroballistic hypersonic combat equipment" (AGBO). Its peculiarity is that most of the flight unit moves along the boundary of Earth's atmosphere. And it is this aerodynamic movement at high speed is termed "hypersonic flight" with a seed up to 7 kilometers per second. It is important to understand that the machine "4202" in itself can not fly. To start it necessarily need a ballistic missile. The "Pretty pictures" often encountered on the web depicting some futuristic hypersonic aircraft, some vehicles with wings, with a pronounced tail and so on, and not the reality. Most likely, the "Objekt 4202" looks not much different from the usual combat unit. Nevertheless, it is able to create additional points by maneuvering airfoils. This is the main innovation of hypersonic unit.

Boost-glide technologies mate a rocket booster with a hypersonic glide vehicle, which may or may not incorporate an air-breathing supersonic-combustion ramjet. A Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (MARV) is a ballistic missile reentry vehicle, with no propulsion system, equipped with its own navigation and control systems capable of adjusting its trajectory during reentry into the atmosphere. In the 1970s the three measures that were proposed in the United States for increasing hard-target, counterforce capability were: Refine the existing guidance system for the Minuteman III; Initiate engineering development of a larger yield warhead (MK-12A) that could be placed on the Minuteman III; and Initiate advanced development of terminally guided maneuvering reentry vehicles (MARV), such as the Evader MARV as an anti-ABM warhead for deployment on 100 TRIDENT I missiles by the early 1980s.

Long range BGVs start at orbital speed of nearly 8 km/s and have therefore rather more kinetic energy to dissipate than do ICBM RVs. The RV traverses the entire 8 km “scale height” of the atmosphere at an angle to the horizontal of 22° in a few seconds, while the BGV supports itself aerodynamically for 10,000 km at near-orbital speed for 1,200 seconds. The heating due to lift is concentrated on the lower surface of the BGV rather than uniformly around the axis of the RV. This would typically require a very thick layer of ablative material on the lower surface of the BGV. The function of the inner layer is simple insulation rather than ablation, so much of the protection system could be in the form of non-ablating material such as the “tiles” on the space shuttle.

The intense heating of the BGV during the whole of the glide phase provides a strong infrared signal to defensive systems designed to detect it or to use it for an infrared homing intercept. A simple terminal maneuver for a ballistic missile will allow it to deny sanctuary to structures and locations shielded by a near-vertical launch interceptor. At intermediate range this can require a 45° maneuver that with an L/D = 2.2 would result in a reduction of warhead speed to 0.7 of the initial speed. If performed at 10 g transverse acceleration (0.1 km/s2), the maneuver could take on the order of 30 seconds. An alternative would be to have a high-drag RV to greatly reduce speed to, say, Mach 3 (1 km/s), so that a 45° maneuver could be accomplished in a few seconds (slowdown to turn). The simple kinematic considerations of this appendix indicate the value of the engineering design of a variable-geometry RV, and the competition between the longer-term “better” and the earlier and perhaps “good enough.”

Due to the stringent requirement of a high degree of accuracy for conventional vehicles, lifting re-entry can be used to attain the impact at the desired terminal flight path angle and speed and thus can potentially improve accuracy of the re-entry vehicle. The re-entry of a medium range and intermediate range vehicles is characterized by very high negative flight path angle and low re-entry speed as compared to a maneuverable re-entry vehicle or a common aero vehicle intended for an intercontinental range. Highly negative flight path angles at the re-entry impose high dynamic pressure as well as heat loads on the vehicle.

The design of flight control systems for high performance maneuvering reentry vehicles presents a significant challenge to the control systems designer. These vehicles typically have a much higher ballistic coefficient than piloted vehicles like as the Space Shuttle or proposed crew return vehicles such as the X-38. Moreover, the missions of high performance vehicles usually require a steeper reentry flight path angle, followed by a pull-out into level flight. These vehicles then must transit the entire atmosphere and robustly perform the maneuvers required for the mission. The vehicles must also be flown with small static margins in order to perform the required maneuvers, which can result in highly nonlinear aerodynamic characteristics that frequently transition from being aerodynamically stable to unstable as angle of attack increases. The control system design technique of dynamic inversion has been applied successfully to both high performance aircraft and low beta reentry vehicles.

It has been found that cross range capability of up to 35 km can be achieved with a lifting-body design within the heat rate and the dynamic pressure boundary at normal entry conditions. For shallow entry angle of -20 degree and intermediate ranges a cross range capability of up to 250 km can be attained for a lifting body design with less than 10 percent loss in overall range. The normal acceleration also remains within limits. The maneuvering capability could be used to complicate hit-to-kill or conventional warhead ballistic missile defense systems.

The MaRV/BMD terminal engagement scenario is partitioned into the tandem engagement subproblems of searching, tracking and discrimination, and interception, which are the various functions of the BMD system. For the MaRV search subproblem, which is typically a radar problem, the probability of acquisition is the performance measure of importance. In the MaRV tracking subproblem, which also is typically a radar problem, the tracking error is the performance measure of importance. The subproblem of MaRV discrimination is a classification or pattern recognition problem for which a measure of importance is the probability of correct discrimination or correct classification. The subproblem of MaRV interception is a guidance and control problem for which two measures of importance are the probability of interception, which is dependent on the definition of interception, and the miss distance. All of these performance measures are well established in the field of defense systems, and are sensitive to MaRV characteristics and trajectory evolution.

Missile defense interception of a mid-course trans-atmospheric warhead would confront similar considerations. The timeline would be at least an order of magnitude longer, the search and track subproblems might entail infra-red tracking systems, and discrimination would be much easier in the absence of credible decoys. The interception end game thus becomes a contest between the divert capabilities of the interceptor and the boost-glide vehicle. Understanding the potential maneuver parameters of the boost-glide vehicle would permit proper sizing of the interceptor divert propulsion.

As George Lewis points out, American exo-atmospheric"interceptors can only operate at altitudes above about 100 km, while almost all of the glide portion of a boost-glide weapon’s trajectory will take place at altitudes below 100 km, making intercepts by existing GBI or SM-3 interceptors essentially impossible. Even if a decision is made to develop a THAAD-ER system, which may be able to intercept down to altitudes of about 40 km, it may be difficult for it to intercept a highly maneuverable, intercontinental-range vehicle, and a large number of THAAD-ER systems might be needed to cover U.S. territory. In addition, the low-altitude and unpowered nature of the glide portion of a boost-glide weapons trajectory could pose severe problems for the U.S. early warning and missile defense sensors. It is possible that as the glide vehicle heats due to atmospheric friction, it may once again become visible to early warning satellites."

An attacker could prevent a missile defense system from intercepting nuclear warheads by using anti-simulation balloon decoys. An April 2000 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists noted that "The heavy balloon is spherical in shape, has a diameter of three meters, and is made of a laminate of a 0.001-inch-thick layer of aluminum foil and a 0.001-inch-thick layer of mylar (which gives it the same thickness as the NASA balloons). Balloons of roughly this size and thickness, and the gas used to inflate them, would weigh about 3 kilograms (6.5 pounds).... Considerably lighter balloons could be made by using thinner balloon materials. ... The total weight of the balloon, gas, and gas bottle would be about 500 grams (roughly 1 pound).... If we assume that a missile carrying a nuclear warhead could devote 100 kilograms of payload to the balloons, then the attacker could easily deploy dozens of balloons of various weights. " According to Ted Postol, "You can build decoys weighing literally ounces, deploy hundreds or thousands of them, and the radar would be saturated."

Two types of defenses are possible in midcourse: random subtractive and adaptive preferential. Random subtractive defenses would act in midcourse as in boost to subtract from the total number of objects in the threat. Even without discrimination, midcourse defenses can act preferentially. Modest numbers of adaptive preferential interceptors may be used efficiently whereas larger numbers of random subtractive interceptors may not. The midcourse interceptors may be deployed in an adaptive preferential manner to protect targets which are of high value, while ignoring objects that are not on trajectories that impact targets of value.

The bus that dispenses multiple actual warheads must act with precision, setting each one on a path towards an important target. Decoys, particularly large numbers of decoys, cannot be dispensed with such care or precision. Possibly all the decoys would be sprayed out soon after the bus entered midcourse, or possibly the decoys would dribble out during the dozen or so minutes of early midcourse. In any event, some fraction of the decoys would be on trajectories that would impact things the Americans held dear, while most would not.

The American population is urban. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 80.7 percent of the U.S. population lived in urban areas as of the 2010 Census. Just 486 urbanized areas accounted for 71.2 percent of the U.S. population, and the top 48 urbanized areas account for more than half of the entire urban population. A majority of the U.S. population lives in incorporated places or cities, although these areas only make up a small fraction of the U.S. land area, according to a report released 04 March 2015 by the U.S. Census Bureau. This report found that U.S. cities are home to 62.7 Percent of the U.S. Population, but comprised just 3.5 Percent of land area.

Thus, with a random spray of decoys, over 95% would be on trajectories taking them towards "relatively" uninhabited aim points, and many of the remainder would be on trajectories towards sparsely populated suburbs. American patriots might argue that even one nuclear weapon detonating over American solid is one too many. And Republicans might argue that any defense that failed to defend rural Red states was no defense at all, if all it did was defend Blue cities. But a determined attack might wish to do better than this, just as the French are determined to be able to destroy Moscow.

If the impact point prediction of an adaptive preferential defense could reduce the number of credible decoys from many hundred to a few dozen, the task of the defense become much more manageable. The task of missile defense might become merely difficult, rather than implausible. An while the defense might not provide a robust damage denial capability, it could constitute a not-implausible damage limitation capability.

This is where the Avanguard maneuvering reentry vehicle comes into play. Such a MaRV could be hidden in a balloon an a trajectory that would impact an uninhabited area. Upon reentry, the balloon would be torn away by atmospheric friction, and the MaRV would change course, heading towards a nearby city. Deeper analysis would disclose how much trajectory diversion the MaRV might produce, and thus what fraction of apparently "innocent" balloon decoys might hide such a MaRV.

In any event, this is not a threat against which the United States is presently seeking to defend. Such a defense would not be difficult, but it would require a small battery of interceptors [possibly a dozen or so THAAD] and a small radar [along the lines of the THAAD X-band radar]. The city's airport would be a logical location, and the total cost per emplacement would probably be of the order of half a billion dollars - $500 per head for a city of a million.

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