Even the only American low-power nuclear warhead W76−2 can destroy the whole world.
Just a week ago, the hands of the symbolic Doomsday Clock in the United States, as stated in a statement by the overseas organization Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, were moved 20 seconds ahead. And only for the second time in the history of this visual timing of the impending catastrophe, which has been conducted since 1947, were only 100 seconds from midnight, which in this case means the moment of the onset of a nuclear apocalypse on the planet. So close this dial to the fateful line for humanity was selected only once – in 1953, after the first test of the hydrogen bomb.
And now it turns out that Judgment Day, it is possible, has become even closer to all of us. This became clear to many after the news spread: the USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) class “nuclear submarine” USS Tennessee (SSBN-734) went to the Atlantic Ocean for the next combat duty in the Atlantic Ocean Ohio “) with intercontinental ballistic missiles on board.
It looked pretty routine: a hike like a hike. Six remaining at the Pentagon in the ranks of such strategic nuclear submarine missile cruisers of the 20th US Navy squadron regularly enter combat service. But this Tennessee exit to the Atlantic still stands apart. Because for the first time on board the submarine is a pair of newly manufactured at the Pantex Plant plant (Texas) new nuclear warheads of low power W76−2. The power of each of them is only about 6 kilotons. Only a third of the combat potential of a bomb dropped by the Americans at one time on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The rest of the warheads on the SSBN-734 in this campaign are the usual 100 kilotons caliber for Ohio type U-boats.
Paradoxically, it is precisely the relatively modest destructive power of W76−2 that makes specialists outside the United States now shiver chilly. Because the likelihood of a nuclear conflict in the world with the advent of this weapon of mass destruction by the Pentagon has now increased significantly. Washington has taken another step towards the abyss, since it is now tempted to strike first with the worst weapon in human history. A year ago he considered as necessary to warn the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov.
In January 2019, he said: “This topic was already included in last year’s review of Washington’s nuclear policy. Even then, we expressed serious concern that the development of such low-power ammunition lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and, of course, increases the risk of a nuclear conflict.” And the opposition’s decision by President Donald Trump to start production of W76−2 warheads, representative of the One Earth Future Foundation, Dr. Melissa Hanham, allowed herself a bitter irony: “Hello to all hostile nuclear forces. We will simply believe that you recognize the attack as “small nuclear weapons” and do not take revenge on everyone that you have. Remember: the US only intends to bite you a bit. ”
What logic guided the White House, introducing a new type of underwater weapon into the ocean? According to the American leadership, he is very concerned about the overwhelming superiority of Russia in the field of tactical nuclear weapons – air bombs, warheads of missiles (operational-tactical and tactical class), artillery shells, mines, depth charges, torpedoes and the like. First, the USSR, and then Russia, for really many years paid close attention to these weapons. Since the Soviet were very worried about China, and in recent decades – the NATO bloc, which is many times superior to us in conventional weapons.
Our military doctrine of the Russian Federation openly and bluntly says: in the event of a major war, and if it comes to the existence of Russian statehood itself, Moscow will be forced to use nuclear weapons against a more powerful enemy. In the United States, such a Russian strategy is now called “escalation for de-escalation.” It is clear that in the first place it is precisely tactical ammunition that is meant – the mass launch of strategic missiles would mean a complete end to everything on Earth.
In modern Russian military science, it is customary to separate the three stages in the development of a hypothetical use of any tactical nuclear weapon in a land theater of operations.
At the beginning – a “demonstration of determination.” That is – the application of single demonstrative low-power nuclear strikes on desert territories (water areas), on secondary military facilities of the enemy with limited military personnel or not at all serviced.
If this does not stop the advance of the enemy, then there will be “intimidation-demonstration”. It is understood to mean delivering single nuclear strikes against transport hubs, engineering structures and other objects for the territorial localization of the war zone and (or) against individual elements of the opposing group of troops (forces) of the enemy, leading to violation (decrease in effectiveness) of control of the invasion group at the operational ( operational-tactical) level and not causing relatively high losses of enemy forces.
Suppose – this was not made a proper impression. The enemy offensive continues to develop rapidly. Then comes the “intimidation” itself — delivering group nuclear strikes of low power against the main grouping of enemy troops (forces) in one operational direction to change the balance of forces in this direction and (or) eliminate the enemy’s breakthrough into the operational depth of Russian defense.
Here we will allow myself a slight digression. We remember how, several decades ago, on the eve of tactical seminars at the Military-Political Academy, we drew numerous blue circles on huge secret training cards, in expanded form, the size of a couple of tables each. According to these glued multi-colored “canvases”, some “corps” or division (any of them, naturally, meant tank or mechanized formations of some of the leading NATO countries) broke through somewhere in the Smolensk or Voronezh region. Each such circle on the “listening” map designated the epicenter of the explosion of our low-power nuclear warhead.
Then, according to the corresponding tables in the guides marked “Top Secret”, the probable losses of the NATO troops from the shock wave, radiation and electromagnetic pulses were calculated. Each time it turned out that the mechanized brigade or regiment of the enemy that came under our attack stopped in flaming forest blockages for a couple of days. We put ourselves in order to continue the “drang nah osten.”
But we somehow doubted that after such an attack it would be generally possible. Imagination vividly painted the few survivors, but irradiated and distraught from a similar turn of events, soldiers and officers. Who sat on charred stumps and on the trunks of fallen trees and for hours silently swayed on them, holding their heads. And no military psychologists and psychotherapists were able to return these conquerors for the armor of surviving combat vehicles.
Fortunately, no one in the world has ever tested the reality of those calculations in practice. But there is no doubt that current American generals once studied in much the same way. Only, it seems, their fantasies were thinner than ours. Because now overseas military professionals are openly working to ensure that the losses and rates of restoration of combat readiness after tactical nuclear strikes are personally studied in practice. What, in fact, their minister Lavrov warns about.
Meanwhile, the direct threat of losing statehood has never threatened America and does not threaten in any direction – the oceans are separated from any conceivable enemy of the United States. Therefore, they did not seek to stockpile tactical ammunition in impressive volumes either. Just in case, however, something of the kind is at the disposal of the Pentagon. First of all, the B-61 type nuclear bombs stored, including in German territory at the German air base in Büchel (their controlled modification B61-12, designed to be dropped with special accuracy on well-protected objects, were tested by the U.S. Air Force in 2014).
But, from the point of view of American generals, in recent years there are more and more risks that in the event of a war with China or Russia, tactical nuclear bombs cannot be delivered by air to their designated targets in a timely manner. An obstacle will be the relentless strengthening in these countries in the most important strategic areas of “A2 / AD access restriction and prohibition zones” (as the American military usually refers to these areas of potential enemies well protected from their invasion). One of the foundations of these “restriction zones” is Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile systems of various modifications S-300 and S-400.
Their high combat effectiveness has long been recognized by the West. It will be difficult to break such air defense for aircraft with nuclear bombs on board, the US Army admits. Therefore, for the implementation of the plan requires something else.
Therefore, they began to look for a way out. As such, low-power warheads on intercontinental sea-based ballistic missiles were recognized. In the military-political leadership of the United States, the prevailing opinion is that such may be the UGM-133A Trident II, which are on the Ohio-class nuclear submarines. So, by decree of Trump, two years ago, W76−2 began to be born.
The production of new warheads was launched in April 2018. For this project, the Department of Energy and the US National Nuclear Safety Administration received additional funding of $ 65 million. According to press reports, instead of developing a new and unique low-power ammunition, American engineers removed thermonuclear fuel (uranium, lithium and deuterium) from the old 100-kiloton warhead of a standard Trident II rocket. As a result, only the plutonium trigger remained, and the TNT equivalent of the new warhead dropped to five to six kilotons.
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Due to the critical importance of the program, work was completed at an accelerated pace. Already in January 2019, the first warhead was ready. Today, it is already somewhere in the depths of the Atlantic waiting in the wings. And that raises a lot of questions among Trump opponents around the world. The main one: suppose W76−2 will be decided to apply against anyone. If against Iran or North Korea – they, of course, feel sorry for them, but they will do without the end of the world. Since the response from these states is not a massive retaliatory nuclear strike against the United States. Just nothing.
And what will happen if the target is on the territory of Russia? It is clear that the underwater launch of the Trident II missile will be instantly detected by our missile attack warning system. According to the existing algorithms for such a case, the so-called nuclear “suitcases” of the President of the Russian Federation, the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff will be immediately activated. And in a matter of minutes, a retaliatory strike will begin against the United States with all the might of the strategic triad of our country. Everyone, the Doomsday Clock, will strike the midnight for the first and last time.
In February 2019, the French newspaper February 4, 2019 L’Opinion was horrified at this point: “Only this was not enough. War. Nuclear. Again everything is possible, even the unthinkable, even nuclear war. Nuclear weapons are the never-used deterrent weapons. The status of the nuclear bomb has changed: it has become the usual, that is, the applicable type of weapon. ”
Therefore, the biggest threat to peace is not that America has acquired a new nuclear warhead. Even worse, the United States, at the behest of its frivolous president, has moved along a path beyond which the end of the world is for us all. Therefore, it is so impatient to expect when the Tennessee nuclear submarine finally returns to its own pier in the state of Georgia. They say it will happen in February.