Russian tactical nuclear weapons strike NATO with quiet terror
The American magazine The National Interest analyzed the arsenal of Russian tactical nuclear weapons and their importance for the defense of Russia. The article is titled “Why 3000 (or More) Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons Should Terrify NATO”.
In the course of its analysis of Russia’s tactical nuclear potential, the magazine concludes:
“Russian military doctrine views tactical nuclear warheads as a barrier against NATO, not only as a deterrent, but also one of the only means of leveling the playing field in the event of a mutually undesirable event of total war”.
Indeed, Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons undermine NATO’s conventional military superiority. And given the incomparable economic potential with the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, Russia makes no sense, and it is unrealistic to establish such parity.
The National Interest also notes the same argument:
“Tactical nuclear warheads are and likely will remain a cost-effective way for Moscow to compensate for its shortcomings in this area”.
At the moment, there is no definition of which nuclear weapons are tactical (non-strategic nuclear weapons). The line between tactical and strategic weapons is very conditional and can vary depending on the conditions of use.
The National Interest magazine believes that systems with a range of less than 5,500 kilometers should be classified as non-strategic nuclear weapons. Further, the publication lists some of the most famous Russian tactical nuclear warheads delivery vehicles.
The article mentions the Kalibr sea-launched cruise missile, the Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic missile system and the Iskander-M land-based missile system.
Here are some of the characteristics of these weapon systems. The range of destruction of ground targets of the Kalibr missile reaches 2,600 kilometers, and of the Kalibr-M missiles – up to 4,500 kilometers. The power of the thermonuclear warhead is 50 kilotons in TNT equivalent. “Calibers” are deployed on surface ships and submarines.The carriers of the X-47M2 “Dagger” hypersonic missile system are MiG-31K interceptor fighters, and in the future, Tu-22M3M long-range bombers. When used with the MiG-31K, the range of the “Dagger” is 2000 kilometers. Taking into account that the “Dagger” is an aviation version of the “Iskander” complex, the power of the nuclear warhead of its hypersonic missile is about 50 kilotons.
The Iskander-M ground-based missile system has a range of up to 500 kilometers with an aeroballistic missile, and the power of its nuclear warhead is also 50 kilotons.
Now it is not surprising that these systems, with their high characteristics in terms of power and range, inspire terror in Russia’s probable adversaries in the person of NATO.
The National Interest writes that Russia has 3,000 to 6,000 tactical nuclear warheads. However, the sources of these figures are not given. According to other, more realistic, data, Russia has at least 2,000 nuclear warheads, and the United States – at least 500.
Attempts to deprive Russia of the advantage of a significant arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons continue. This issue has been repeatedly brought up by Washington for talks on strategic stability, and the current American administration also has such intentions. But the desire of the Americans to apply the principle of equal ceilings on tactical nuclear warheads, or, as they put it, “to control all of Russia’s nuclear weapons” is unacceptable to our country. There are several important reasons for this.
The first is the different geopolitical positions of Russia and the United States. The United States has a land border only with Canada and Mexico, whose military capabilities are not nearly comparable to that of the United States. Both Canada and Mexico are nuclear-free states. The United States is separated from other potential adversaries by seas and oceans. The United States has a sea border only with Russia.
Russia borders on 18 states. Six of them (Belarus, Georgia, China, Latvia, Mongolia and South Ossetia) do not have a sea border with the Russian Federation, and two states (USA and Japan) do not have a land border. For our country, tactical nuclear weapons are the most important means of regional deterrence and play an essential role in ensuring national security.
As mentioned above, NATO countries are superior to Russia in conventional armed forces. It is impossible for our country to achieve parity with them in this indicator because of the incomparable economic opportunities. And there is even no point in striving for this, tk. Moscow has a much cheaper and more effective solution in the form of tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) and modern means of their delivery.
In addition, the entire Russian arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons is located on the territory of Russia. It poses a threat to NATO countries only in the event of an armed aggression against our country. It should be noted that Washington, in turn, has deployed part of its TNW arsenal in the form of 200 free-fall nuclear bombs outside the territory of the United States, on the territories of its NATO allies.
It is obvious that the military-political leadership of Russia will never give up its “tactical nuclear trump card”, no matter how hard they try in the West. No one will allow our potential adversaries to gain a unilateral advantage and achieve military superiority over Russia.
Therefore, in the words of an article in The National Interest, Russia’s tactical nuclear warheads will continue to terrify NATO and restrain the bloc’s potential aggression against our country.
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