The Pentagon plans to equip some of its Intercontinental ballistic missiles submarines (BRPL) Trident II D-5 non-nuclear warheads. Experts point out that this action is necessary to the United States to enhance their capacity operational strategic force projection and applying a sudden pre-emptive strikes. It is assumed that non-nuclear warheads will be equipped with missiles "Trident" II D versions-5.
Experts note that this type of missile was originally developed not as a carrier of nuclear warheads, but as a universal platform, where, depending on the tasks can be mounted on any head part.
Plans for the application of MBBL with non-nuclear warheads were first expressed in a study of "Prompt Global Strike"(PGS) prepared by the Pentagon back in 2001. The main objective of the study – the search for operational funds (not more than one hour from the moment of target detection to obtain the approval of the President on the use of force and striking) application of non-nuclear precision strike.
According to experts of the U.S. Navy, such a missile can with high accuracy (today already are working to bring the accuracy of warheads at a target to the level of global positioning systems GPS with probable circular deviation from the center of the target 15 meters) to deliver up to 600 kg of conventional explosives to a target located at a distance of up to 1500 nautical miles in just 14-15 minutes.
However, experts, both American and Russian, agree that the use of a universal platform for both nuclear and non-nuclear missiles will cause problems in the operation of early missile warning.
In addition, the experts raise the issue of international law – the problem of the flight of rockets launched through the airspace of third countries (first of all, it concerns Russia and China, as the largest on the territory of the countries), and falls in their territory spent rocket stages. Also, experts note that the emergence of the Pentagon these weapons will stimulate a new round of the arms race and increase the speed of the spread of missile technologies, as more and more countries will seek to create something that will be able to adequately respond to new threats from the United States.
To reduce the negativity in the emerging background of public opinion, the Pentagon makes statements according to which, the design of the missiles will be modified so as to allow to uniquely identify triggers of non-nuclear and nuclear missiles, and that such a weapon was urgently necessary for the US to counter terrorism. In addition, the Pentagon plans to improve warning system for countries on missile launches.
By some estimates the cost of the project on the use of non-nuclear warheads on MRPL is estimated at $ 500 million. Estimated duration of work – two years (according to some sources – up to five years). The project involves retrofitting two of the "Trident" II D-5 non-nuclear warheads on each submarine currently in service with the Pentagon. According to some information it is assumed that each missile will carry up to four multiple non-nuclear warheads, and two of them – kinetic (metal blank for the destruction of the objects kinetic energy).
Experts note that in the case of a decision about the equipment of the missiles, "Trident" II D-5 conventional warheads, there is a need to make significant adjustments in the reorganization plans of the submarine forces of the U.S. Navy. Still their weapons as a means of applying non-nuclear strikes against enemy targets on land used cruise missiles "Tomahawk", which all equipped with shock submarines of the United States. In addition, four derived from the composition of strategic nuclear forces of missile boats of the Ohio class currently loaded in the media "Tomahawk" (154 missiles on each boat) for ground attacks from the coastal zone. These boats are in parallel planned to use to support special operations forces of the Navy.
However, according to experts, cruise missiles, although they have a better range of start, but for hitting distant objects, they need several hours of flight, ballistic missiles are capable of within the theater of operations neighing their targets in 10-15 minutes. In this connection experts do not exclude that the Pentagon may decide on upgrading parts of their submarines to non-nuclear ballistic missiles, and to revise their plans for refitting the four submarines type "Ohio".
However, according to experts, the missile Trident II D-5 was developed at the peak of "Cold war" and was designed specifically to solve problems at the time, so most effectively to use such missiles for precisely its intended purpose: experts believe that the way the Pentagon seeks to obtain powerful non-nuclear high-precision means of destruction for use in a possible conflict with Iran or North Korea, but not to fight with terrorist groups.
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