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Evolution of maritime operations at the epoch of ocean-going nuclear missile fleet

Source: Military Industrial Bulletin, author: Ivan Kapitanets, Admiral of the Fleet, 28.01.10
Photo: Military Industrial Bulletin, author: Georgy Danilov
Translation: RusNavy.com

While studying main tendencies in the Navy, the time itself suggests proceeding from analysis of Great Patriotic War, Cold War of 1946-1991 and local conflicts of 1991-2003. Without those researches it seems difficult to determine the format of potential war and its basic material means.

The analysis of local wars and armed conflicts of late 20th and early 21st centuries waged on land, at sea and in air persuades us to continue further developing of warfare means; especially, means of destruction, control systems, and electronic warfare because time has significantly changed the nature of armed struggle. The generation of ocean-going nuclear missile fleet should evolve as well-balanced structure. Meanwhile, considering the format of future wars, one should give preference to nuclear-powered submarine forces and development of three-domain information field.

The theory of military science is based on the thesis that victory can be achieved by combined efforts of all branches and forces at any variant of unleashing and course of war and in conditions of opponent's use of up-to-date and prospective combat systems. Warfare of the future appears to be uninterruptedly supplemented by new parameters which may essentially affect pre-combat procedures and warfare techniques.

The first, main distinguishing features of warfare of the future lie in qualitative content of engagement systems and their information support.

The actions of various branches and forces performing huge number of interrelated strategic and tactical tasks must be considered. Operation of strategic weapons – land-, air- and sea-based – will have an impact on general course of combat action not only vertically (from strategy to tactics and conversely), but horizontally as well. Major objectives in defeating an opponent will be achieved not at the forward edge but as a result of distant missile strikes. Consequently, a battle becomes to be scattered and extensional, affecting all aspects of combat actions in three dimensions.

The second, role of conventional strategic precision weapons as determinant warfare instrument increases; it provides direct achievement of strategic results. It seems necessary to supplement triad of strategic nuclear forces by operational-strategic attack system of conventional weapons.

The third, space of combat actions has been increased because of global surveillance system. Precision arms are weapon of the future; it makes it possible to deliver powerful strikes all over the theater of operations. In fact, the terms "front line" and "rear area" will exist nominally.

The fourth, out of three fundamental elements of war – fire, strike and maneuver – fire becomes the prime one as it should provide assured destruction of an enemy. Decisive battles will take place not only on land and at sea but at aerospace zone, too. Generally, operations and combat actions will have a complex character in conditions of electronic warfare.

The fifth, aerial attack forces and – as their countermeasures – air defense and aerospace defense forces have presently become the basic warfare components of belligerent sides.

The sixth, consolidation of the defeat and keeping an enemy down can be only reached by invasion of land forces or opponent's capitulation after military-economic potential is destroyed and a country' life activity is disabled.

A crucially new aspect in military art of future wars is strategic deterrence of any potential aggressor through imposing persuasive threat of unacceptable damage by high precision conventional and nuclear weapons. To implement the concept of deterrence, it is necessary to create a new strategic attack system of conventional and nuclear arms at theatre of naval operations. This system should include:

1. Aerospace information field with real-time target designation.

2. Grouping of forces and means for countering platforms of precision weapons; nuclear deterrence force.

3. Aerospace defense forces.

A new method of fleet application emerges in terms of future achievements in naval art – strategic deterrence at theatre of naval operations to frustrate strikes from maritime directions. This deterrence should be provided by:
  • naval strategic nuclear force which would patrol (keep watch of) appointed regions in peace time; and be ready to conduct a countervalue naval operation in the time of war;
  • general purpose force which would maintain strategic stability in critical regions of the World Ocean in peace time – being deployed in those regions, and in war time – conducting anti-carrier and ASW operations to prevent high precision strikes from maritime directions;
  • littoral zone force which would defend naval bases and provide communications;
  • rapid reaction force which would support land troops in littoral zone – marine units, landing craft, combat helicopters and transport aircraft;
  • air defense grouping - aerospace forces and AA means.

In contrast to WW2 which was based on maneuver of armored forces and aviation, in 21st century wars will have global intercontinental nature and be based on aerospace facilities and high precision weapons. Dependence of war's course and outcome on results of aerospace engagement has become the basic regularity of armed struggle.