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Suggested Citation:"High-Precision Weapons." National Research Council. 1994. Dual-Use Technologies and Export Control in the Post-Cold War Era. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2270.
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HIGH-PRECISION WEAPONS

Colonel V. Tsymbal (reserves)

Professor, Russian-American University

Co-Director of the RAS Elorma Program

While elaborating on the ideas mentioned in the report of Professor O. Rogozin, I would like to emphasize again that high-precision weapons are today becoming the main means of realizing a deterrence strategy. The threat of retaliation using high-precision weapons against an aggressor is completely different from the threat of retaliation using weapons of mass destruction.

I would say that high-precision weapons allow highly accurate and measured retaliation, to strike not only at the appropriate place (for example, against the main arsenals or against the rulers of an aggressor state) but also using the most rational means, by varying the trajectory, time and direction of the strike, the type and characteristics of the munitions selected. These are fragmentation-demolition, volume-detonating, and incendiary munitions, or even electromagnetic wave weapons that would destroy only electronics. However, as General Oleg K. Rogozin properly noted, even those weapons can become exceedingly dangerous if they fall in the hands of men with evil intent.

From a technical point of view, high-precision weapons, or guided weapon systems, contain elements used in many technical systems, especially those in civil aviation. These systems include compact sensors and basic navigation tools—the inertial control systems. Equipment for receiving signals from satellite radio navigation systems is also used. It is very difficult today to find an aircraft or an ocean liner without similar equipment. Even automobiles are becoming equipped with navigation devices. Guided weapon systems use highly-efficient engines, advanced construction materials, and other inventions. State-of-the-art computers and algorithms (software) are used to run many subsystems, to develop devices of automatic situation analysis, to make "rational decisions". American and Russian cruise missiles ALKM and "Tomahawk", anti-ship missiles, and other guided weapon systems are well-known examples of high-precision weapons.

All elements of high-precision weapons, even combat munitions, may have dual-use. Then, what is the difference between nondangerous and potentially dangerous elements and technologies? The difference lies not only in their functions, but more importantly in their parameters (quantitative characteristics) which, together with the introduction of corresponding subsystems, permit the creation of highly effective high- precision weapons. For example, if a navigation error of a device is measured by a few meters, there is no doubt it exceeds industrial requirements and may be used for navigating high-precision weapons.

Suggested Citation:"High-Precision Weapons." National Research Council. 1994. Dual-Use Technologies and Export Control in the Post-Cold War Era. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2270.
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It follows then that while considering new scientific and technical achievements from the standpoint of their undesirable use by potential aggressors for the purpose of creating high-precision weapons, a coordinated evaluation of the threshold significance of the main scientific and technical parameters is needed. It is time to begin this work at the international level, to compare the methods and initial data possessed by the specialists of our countries, and to coordinate the results of these evaluations. This can also be tied to the process of deciding which weapons to sell to the Third World countries.

However, I do not think it is possible to stop completely the spread of technologies that can be used for developing high-precision weapons. There are too many areas of their application and they are just too valuable to economic growth.

Therefore, countries concerned about international security should start working ahead of time on the creation of technical means and application methods that would allow them to neutralize the high-precision weapons of aggressors or at least sharply diminish the weapons' effectiveness. Without going into detail about what the United States did in destroying Iraqi air defenses, which were armed with high-precision antiaircraft guided missiles, we should point out the very fact of the successful resolution of this problem.

Therefore, if highly developed peaceful countries are successful in creating technical means capable of neutralizing high-precision weapons of potential aggressors, the necessity of including components of these high-precision weapons and related technologies on restricted lists will become less critical. After all, in the final analysis we are interested in the widespread use of useful technologies.

These facts lead to one more area of collaboration between American and Russian specialists. The various types of research that I mentioned are probably as important as the development of new technologies. Therefore, I propose to note this area of collaboration in the final document and to provide material support for it.

Suggested Citation:"High-Precision Weapons." National Research Council. 1994. Dual-Use Technologies and Export Control in the Post-Cold War Era. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2270.
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Page 105
Suggested Citation:"High-Precision Weapons." National Research Council. 1994. Dual-Use Technologies and Export Control in the Post-Cold War Era. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/2270.
×
Page 106
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This book arises from a joint NAS-Russian Academy of Sciences program to explore possible new approaches to the control of sensitive dual-use technologies, with respect to expanded trade between Western advanced industrialized countries and the republics of the former Soviet Union as well as to the export trade of the Russian and other CIS republics with countries of proliferation concern.

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