Effort to make nuclear missiles less vulnerable to attack
The US Air Force is planning to build a huge network of underground subway tunnels in order to shuttle around nuclear missiles as part of an effort to move away from stationary silos that are easier to attack.
“Next month, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center plans to award multiple study contracts — each worth as much as $3 million — to expand on several ways of extending the operational life of the ground-based ICBM fleet from 2025 to 2075,” reports InsideDefense.com.
The project would require, “a vast underground subway-like network of pathways to shuttle new missiles around to multiple launch portals, any of which of could be used to fire the missile.”
Launch portals would be stationed at regular intervals along the subway, allowing the unmanned transporters to be raised up and the missile to be fired in a “doomsday scenario”. Each tunnel would be dedicated to one single missile and launch system.
The mobile silo system would have to be capable of withstanding “ground shock levels” and to “permit adequate ‘rattle space’ in the event of an enemy attack.”
A recent feature article published in the Strategic Studies Quarterly journal of the U.S. Air Force Air University by authors Keir A. Leiber, associate professor at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, and Daryl G. Press, an associate professor of government at Dartmouth University, warned that the risk of nuclear weapons being used in future conflicts has heightened.
“In the coming decades, deterring the use of nuclear weapons during conventional wars will be much harder than most analysts believe,” state the authors, adding, “Very accurate delivery systems, new reconnaissance technologies, and the downsizing of arsenals from Cold War levels have made both conventional and nuclear counterforce strikes against nuclear arsenals much more feasible than ever before.”
America’s efforts to make its nuclear arsenal less vulnerable to attack dovetails with the ongoing development of the US missile defense system which many analysts have warned has little to do with defense and a lot to do with targeting Russia. Operational missile defense systems are set to be deployed in Romania and Russia within the next 5 years.
Vladimir Kozin, leading researcher with the Kremlin-affiliated Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, recently complained that “The only purpose of the U.S. missile defense equipment deployed in Europe is to destroy Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles,” asking why “the U.S. Air Force completed building new underground warehouses at 13 air bases in six NATO member countries to store precision nuclear air bombs.”
Russian Bear bombers capable of carrying nuclear missiles have been conducting increasingly hostile maneuvers in recent years near US airspace, including an incident last month where the aircraft flew over the US island of Guam in a “highly unusual” move and were intercepted by US Air Force F-15 jets.