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Air Force Deep Basing Program COL. STANLEY D. BERRY Ballistic Missile Office (AFSC) Norton Air Force Base, California SUMMARY: It is well known that the President recently announced a new strategic mod- ernization plan and that the MX missile is aSkey part of the plan. This briefing states why intercontinental ballistic missiles are important and why the United States needs the MX missile in a survivable basing mode. The reason we have strategic forces is to deter an attack on the United States or its allies. That objective has been achieved over several decades with the use of a "triad" of strategic forces, consisting of (l) bombers with air-launched missiles, (2) submarines, and (3) land-based missiles. Each of the triad's elements has dif- ferent strengths and weaknesses, but the diverse capabilities of the combined forces make it very difficult for an adversary to attack all elements successfully. The So- viets cannot guarantee that they can wage a successful attack without suffering dev- astating retaliation and destruction on their own homeland. This has provided strong deterrence. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) contribute unique and essential char- acteristics to the triad of forces, such as accuracy, speed, good communications, low cost, and a high state of readiness. However, ICBM survivability is degrading due to a massive Soviet buildup of its ICBM force, technical improvements in accuracy and warhead technology, and extraordinarily high expenditures on their military forces. Many alternative responses have been proposed, including launch under attack, giving up the triad for a dyad, establishing a ballistic missile defense, and rebas- ing the MX. Rebasing is the alternative addressed in this presentation. The MX in a survivable basing mode can help restore the military balance and en- hance world stability. There are many reasons why the MX in a deep basing system makes sense. The Air Force needs the U.S. National Committee on Tunneling Technology's help to resolve key technical, cost, and schedule issues, which are discussed in more detail by Lt. Colonel Rule in his presentation. As you know, the President recently announced a new strategic package to upgrade our strategic forces, and MX was a very key and a very knotty problem for him. He kind of came out with the conclusion that we really did not have the right answer now. I am going to tell you today very briefly why MX is importantâwhy missiles are importantâand hopefully it will be a speech that you have not, very many of you, heard before. The reason we have strategic forces is to deter the Soviet Union from going to war with us, and clearly that is a worthwhile objective. Now, maybe we stumbled into it or maybe we planned it, but it doesn't
make any differenceâsomehow we came out with a triad of strategic forces. First of all, we have the airplane; the bomber was the first of these, and we went for some time with just bombers as strategic forces essentially. Then along came the intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and the submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Each of the three has dif- ferent characteristics. An attack on one does not necessarily mean an at- tack on all, and the Soviets have to be able to attack them all success- fully, or, in fact, you have deterred them. Figure l shows the weapons inventories' changes over the years l950 to l979, in each of the three categories. In the early to middle l950s, we built up something like l,500 or l,600 airplanes, and then in came the ICBMs and SLBMs. So, we have some 2,000 strategic systems of three dif- ferent kinds. I will talk to you now for the rest of the presentation about ICBMs, and the MX in particular. Figure 2 shows some of the advantages of ICBMs. I want to point out the word "survivable." The reason we are in this room today is that the ICBM has lost its survivability. Now, one of the beauties of the triad is that if you have three legsâthree sets of stra- tegic weaponsâand one leg becomes vulnerable, the other two can carry you through that period of time so that the Soviets cannot attack you with great ease or even be promiscuous in a world political situation, I might say. But the ICBM leg has become more and more vulnerable, and through the l980s it is definitely not going to have the survivability characteristics that we wish, and that is why we are looking for a way to base the MX missile. I might also add that in the President's recent strategic package he said that we are going to buy the B-l bomber. The B-52 bomber, I al- ways thought, was designed in l952. I asked the president of the Boeing Corporation once, and he said, "No, it was designed in a motel room in Dayton, Ohio, in l948." I don't care what year it was; I know that it is an old airplane, and we either have to have a new bomber or we sort of have to give up on bombers, and the President went that way. So, we have two legs of the triad that are having some problems, and hopefully you are going to help us solve this one in the ICBM leg. Figure 3 shows where the present ICBMs are located. We have three Titan wingsâin Arizona, in Kansas, and in Arkansas. We have six Minute- man missile wings: Whiteman in Missouri; Warren in Wyoming; Ellsworth in South Dakota; Grand Forks and Minot in North Dakota; and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. Just to show how obtrusive a missile site is, Figure 4 is a photo- graph of one. It covers about an acre or so, and it sits out here in the farmland. That particular one sits out in the farmland of North Dakota, and it doesn't seem to bother the neighbors a whole great deal. That is what one looks like. Through the l970s, as you have heard, the Soviets have spent a lot more money. I have got a couple of illustrations that show that. I just want to talk first of all about development (Figure 5). It used to be that the United States spent a great deal more money than the Soviet Union on the development of strategic and defense technology, but some- time about l970 there was a crossover, and although we made progress
toward the end of the l970s, it is clear that the Soviets are spending a great deal more money than we are. Now, that is development money. Figure 6 shows that into the l970s their research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) dollars, their development funds, had gone up by 92 percent, and ours were actually down 20 percent. Figure 7 shows that the Soviets spent more on equipment and facili- ties than we did during the time period. I read in a newspaper sometime in the very recent past where the Soviet Union actually for military ex- penditures during the decade of the l970s had spent almost $500 billion more than the United States, but in this periodâlike l970 to l978âthey had spent for equipment and facilities $l04 billion more than the United States had. That is documentable, and these are the kinds of things that we could have bought with $l04 billion. If we had spent that $l04 bil- lion the B-l, the MX, and the Trident would be in the field, along with the XM-l tank and the F-l4, F-l5, F-l6, F-l8, and A-l0. It would have paid for all those programs, and we are still struggling in the Depart- ment of Defense to do some of those things. What that has led to is the area of rough equivalence here that we talk about, whether we are roughly equivalent with the Soviet Union. The "in" phrase in town now, I think, is "window of vulnerability." Back at the end of World War II it was clear that we had superior strength and certainly in the early l950s and l960s. There was no question that we had a deterrent force because in the Cuban missile crisis there is very little doubt that the Soviets looked at us and blinked and backed away. Now, I am not sure that if that were to occur today they would blink and back away. We have l,000 Minuteman missiles (Figure 8), and we have 54 Titans, which we are now taking out of the field. The Minuteman II missiles are roughly 20 to 25 years old; the Minuteman Ills are a little newer. The Titans are 25 years old. You can also see the Soviet missile forces in the figure. Those indicated as under development are actually, it seems, beginning to come out into the field. The SS-l8 and the SS-l9âthey have about l,000 of the smaller missiles that you see and about 300 SS-l8s, and they are brand new as compared to our l,000 Minuteman Us and Ills. That is why we are trying to build the MX missile, and you people here today, hopefully, are going to help us figure out a good way to base the missile, because there is very little question that we need the missile. The only question is about how we base it. Figure 9 illustrates what the Soviets have been doing over the years. At first they started out with single reentry vehicles. They have now put MIRVs on their big missiles, and while this shows that there are 7 or l2 on there, the number is not particularly important at this point in time; the fact is that if you can kill a target with one of those on the left, you could kill l2 targets with one of those on the right. That is where the problem comes in, because they have very large missiles, and they can put an awful lot of warheads on them, and each one of them kills a separate target. Figure l0 shows that also, through the years, they have moved their Circular Error Probable (CEP) in. Now, CEP is a term that you don't re- ally have to understand, but all it says is how accurate the missile is.
If I am trying to kill Washington, D.C., and I put a warhead over Balti- more, obviously it doesn't kill Washington, D.C., and so accuracy is very important. While the figure is an unclassified chart from the l978 to l987 time frame, I can only tell you that their missiles are becoming very accurate, and they are at the point at which they can destroy with one warhead virtually any target that they shoot at. They are that ac- curate. Figure ll lists some of our alternative responses. One thing is to launch under attack. That means that if we see their missiles take off, and the President decides that we are going to lose our systems, then we can launch while we are under attack to avoid that loss. Now, that is not very pleasing to many people; it is not very pleas- ing to the President; it is not very pleasing to the Congress, but that is one of the things that can be done. Clearly that is not our national stated objective, although we do have the capability to do so. We could move from a triad to a dyad, and one of the problems with moving to a dyad is that then if one of those legs gets vulnerable you don't have two legs to help support you. If you move to a dyad, and one leg is vulnerable, and all of a sudden they make a breakthrough on the other leg, you know that you are pretty well held hostage. We can defend silos or we can rebase, and the rebasing of the MX is what we are talking about here today. Through the years we have looked at an awful lot of ways to base the MX missile. Each and every one of them, for one reason or another, has been rejected, and that is why we are in the room today. Figure l2 gives some statistics on the MX missile. It is 92 inches in diameter. It weighs l90,000 pounds. It is about 7l feet long. It has about 8,000 pounds of throw weight, and could throw l0 reentry vehi- cles on that missile. It is, also, the largest U.S. ICBM allowed under SALT II. (Even though the SALT II agreement was never ratified here in this nation, both sides have chosen to live to the terms of that agree- ment. ) Figure l3 shows what the missile looks like. It is a three-stage solid rocket motor missile. The first stage weighs some l06,000 pounds and is about 50 feet long; the second stage weighs about 40,000 pounds. The third stage kind of looks like a donut, or a doorknob. It is very small. Of course, as soon as the propellant is burned out these stages fall off, and finally you are left in space with the fourth stage, which maneuvers and very precisely releases each individual reentry vehicle to go to the target. Figure l4 compares the Minuteman III missile with the MX. Remember I told you that the Minuteman is some l5 to 20 years old. It weighs 78,000 pounds. It is 66 inches in diameter at the bottom stage. Then it narrows down to 52 inches all the way, and we only can throw three reentry vehicles with that, compared to ten with the MX. Hopefully, if we are successful, the MX missile will be added to the U.S. inventory. Essentially it is equivalent in size to the smaller Soviet missiles, which they are allowed about l,300. The MX, of course, is probably a little more capable than the Soviet missiles of the same category, but they are probably going to have l,000 of those and we are
talking about l00 or 200 MXs. So, even if we get MX based as we desire, we are still not asking for an equal inventory. It is very clear. The Soviet Union has built up a very large inven- tory of missiles, and it has got to be for other than self-defense rea- sons. You just don't built an inventory of these things without a pur- pose. It is pretty clear that their intentions are not all honorable. The President has told us, "Develop and produce l00 MX missiles; de- ploy some of these missiles initially in silos." Part of our job out at the Ballistic Missile Office is to design and produce the hardware neces- sary to go in some 40 or 50 Titan or Minuteman silos. We have also been instructed to pursue as long-term options each of three categories of things; the decision date for the choice among these three options is late l984. The first option is continuous patrol aircraftâvery large airplanes that fly slowly and low but can stay in the sky a long time. The optimists believe that perhaps we can get an airplane to stay in the air for l0 days at a time, and the idea is if you have an airplane that can be in the air for l0 days you fly from the East or West Coast out over the ocean, and the Soviets could not find it. Therefore, the argu- ment goes, that would be a nice, survivable way to base missiles. The second concept is that of ballistic missile defense whereby we could actually defend our silos with our own ballistic missile defense system. Right now there is a treaty that prohibits an effective ballis- tic missile defense, because it allows you only l00 interceptors. Now, if this option were chosen, of course, then we would have to tell the Soviets that it was in our best interests that we did not continue that treaty. We have not done that as yet; maybe in l984 we will. The third option, which is why I am standing here talking to all you folks today, is deep underground basing. It is felt that if we can put these missiles, in some numbers, very deep below the surface, the Soviets will be unable to destroy the system. Then the real issues are how much it costs to build a system like that and how we get the missiles out once we want to fire them. As I said, we are going to select the long-term basing modes in l984. All of the Air Force people in this room are advocates of deep basing, and if you ask them questions I am sure they will all tell you all the reasons why we think we can do this. But we certainly need your help.
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