KGB report to Central Committee. Possible consequences of NATO’s future deployment of smart tactical weapons for Soviet military strategy (3 pp). [R 14 December 1975, 3088-A]
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State Security Committee [KGB]
at the USSR Soviet of Ministers
14 December 1975, No 3088-A
To the CPSU Central Committee
On possible political and military consequences
of the development and deployment of high-precision tactical weapons
Recently the attention of military-political circles in NATO member-countries has been drawn to the issue of the so-called smart tactical weapon. According to forecasts this could lead to a change in the structure of the armed forces and have a serious influence in future on the development of the international situation.
The development of high-precision tactical weapons by the NATO countries is a result of the unceasing arms race. The particular feature of the smart weapon is its ability to hit the target with virtually one shot independent of the distance, in any weather conditions and at any time of day or night. Examples of a weapon of this type are: bombs with laser or television guidance that have already been used during the course of the war in South-East Asia; various types of missile and shell that are guided by lasers (the anti-tank Hellfire missile and 155 mm artillery shell developed in the USA), or by the relief of the locality (the Pershing-2 tactical missile with a probable deviation from the target of 20-40 metres, pilotless airplanes) and so on.
In the opinion of a number of foreign specialists the appearance of the smart tactical weapon would introduce a number of stabilising and destabilising factors into the international situation.
The high efficiency of the new weapon can be listed as a stabilising factor since it reduces the likely use of offensive nuclear weapons and increases the ability of the defending side to
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resist even the superior forces of the enemy. The destabilising factors are believed to include the danger of proliferation of high-precision tactical weapons in a wide circle of states, and the possibility of their production even in countries which do not posses highly developed scientific and technological base. This increases the likelihood that local military conflicts and terrorist attacks may occur.
In the opinion of a number of foreign specialists the appearance of such weapons could lead to the abandonment of certain contemporary and expensive types of aviation and armoured equipment and to an increasing role of cheap tanks, armoured personnel carriers, unpiloted planes, and in future result in the conduct of military operations using small highly-mobile detachments. As NATO military circles assume, the threat of a guaranteed strike against targets by the new weapon will require an entire range of measures to disperse military-industrial installations, weapons stores, and major military bases.
The USA is trying to use the opportunities provided by the appearance of the new tactical weapon to strengthen the NATO bloc and “raise confidence among their West German allies in their ability to resist the forces of the Warsaw Pact”.
Striving to increase the striking power of NATO armed forces, the bloc’s military and political circles consider it will be expedient to equip the smart weapon with low-yield nuclear warheads. In their view, such weapon systems could strike major targets causing hardly any damage to civilian installations or any significant losses among the civilian population. These qualities of the new weapon are being used by leading figures in NATO as an argument for the need to simply the procedure for taking the decision to use tactical nuclear weapons.
At present stage, the development of high-precision weapons involves introducing the models that have already been tested, studying the accumulated experience of their practical use, and
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also the development of new experimental systems. In March 1975, an unofficial meeting of the representatives of military and industrial circles of the NATO countries took place in West Germany. It was concluded that it was realistic to expect that high-precision tactical weapons might be widely deployed and ready for use as early as in the beginning of 1980s.
Therefore, the development of high-precision nuclear weapons may be considered as one of the trends in the further increase of the military potential of NATO member-states.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR STATE SECURITY
1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted
in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.
Translation, George Sklyar