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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


RT-21M / SS-20 SABER - Deployment

Between 1978 throught 1986 a total of 441 launch complexes for the "Pioneer" missiles were deployed. The SS-20 was one of the missile systems eliminated under the terms of the INF Treaty, which took effect in June 1988. Prior to the INF drawdown, the SS-20 force comprised 48 bases that housed the regularly deployed force of 405 missiles and launchers.

By the end of 1984 the identification of three new SS-20 base brought to 15 the number of SS-20 bases identified by Western intelligence during 1984. Five of these 15 new bases became operational during the last quarter of the year; a total of six bases became operational in 1984. Of the 15 new bases identified during 1984, 12 were west of the Ural Mountains in the western USSR, and only three were in the eastern USSR. However, the six bases that achieved operational status in 1984 were di­ vided evenly between the western and eastern portions of the country. The Soviets appeared to be stabilizing their divisional structure at five IRBM regiments per division. Four of the SS-20 divisions in the western USSR contained five bases; a fifth western division (Belokorovichi) contained four bases and one suspect site; a sixth western division (Lida) contained five bases. Resubordination of the two mobile bases in the nearby Pruzhany Division complemented the existing three bases. This resubordination had the additional affect of placing the two Pruzhany Division bases in a division with a nuclear payload handling facility, a type of facility absent from the Pruzhany Division but present in every other SS-20 division. With the exception of the Novosibirsk Division, which contained six bases, the remaining SS-20 divisions contained enough bases and/or suspect sites to conform to the five­base pattern.

According to some recent Russian sources, Defense Minister Demetri Ustinov and Commander of the Strategic Missile Forces V.Tolubko prepared for the USA one more unpleasant surprise. In the process of preparing a surprise in 1984, the 99th motorized rifle division was redeployed to Chukotka in the area of Anadyr and the special underground structure Portal under the pretext of protecting strategic aerodromes in Anadyr, but its real purpose was different. The 99th Division was supposed to provide cover, protection and, if necessary, defense of the Pioneer PGRK units, which were planned to be urgently redeployed to Chukotka by air and sea at the same time as the PGRK Speed ??Group was deployed in the GDR and Czechoslovakia.

When preparing a campaign for accommodation in the Anadyr area of ??the Pioneer type MRBR, the Soviet leadership took into account the experience of locating in Cuba in 1962 the MRBM P-12 and R-14. Ironically, the operation, successfully carried out then under the leadership of N. Khrushchev, bore the code name "Anadyr"! As is well known, with his decisive actions, N. Khrushchev then not only strengthened the military-political position of Cuba, but also, creating a serious threat primarily to the southern and southeastern states of the USA, solved the main task, for which operation “Anadyr” was started - forced Americans in response to the withdrawal of the newly emerged threat to the United States to remove Jupiter and Thor MRSD deployed against the Soviet Union from Western Europe and Turkey, discouraging American MRSD from Eurasia for as much as 21 years.

For example, the BMEWS Radar Warning System (SPRN) radar post located in Clear Alaska, the Cobra Dane radar on the Shemiya Island, North Dakota radar in the State of North Dakota would be under threat of lightning destruction from the northwest rocket-threatening direction in the United States. It should be added that the detection of launches of ballistic missiles from high-latitude arctic regions with the help of the satellites of the American DSP space system located in geostationary orbit is difficult. In addition, for example, the missile submarine base of Bangor near Seattle, the most important similar facility on the west coast of the United States, would be under the threat of lightning destruction.

It must be emphasized that the development of the Pioneer PGRK in the arctic tundra, which had always been previously based in the wooded areas of the central belt of the USSR, was possible, despite the seemingly doubtful nature of this idea. The climate in Chukotka, of course, is severe, but Anadyr is not Verkhoyansk and not Oymyakon. The January isotherm in Anadyr (-24°C) is the same as, for example, in Irkutsk. The registered absolute minimum temperature (-51°C) did not cause concern for the performance of the systems and components of the Pioneer complex.

The question of the possibility of masking dispersed launchers against the background of the tundra was more acute, but there were hopes for its solvability. The validity of these hopes was confirmed several years later, in 1991, when the United States and its allies could not solve the problem of the timely detection and destruction of mobile launchers of Iraqi tactical missiles. Neither dominance in the air, nor large forces of air and space reconnaissance, nor sabotage and reconnaissance groups helped. Based in the low-rugged desert terrain, the Iraqis were able to launch 83 ballistic missiles, while, as a rule, the Americans found PUs that had already managed to launch missiles, i.e. completed the combat mission. Thus, as a result of the Pioneer PGRK deployed in Chukotka, the United States would suddenly have many unpleasant and intractable problems.

In March 1985 M. Gorbachev came to power. One of the first things that Gorbachev did when he came to power was to stop work on the creation of the “Speed” complex. Samples of the launcher and missiles ready for flight testing were subsequently secretly destroyed. Naturally, the question of redeploying launchers of the Pioneer PGRK to Chukotka has never been raised again. The 99th motorized rifle division, forgotten by all, remained in Anadyr, which was written by Izvestia [February 25, 1997].




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Page last modified: 21-04-2022 11:46:41 ZULU