- The Washington Times - Monday, June 12, 2000

Russia's Defense Ministry and military industry have produced the first public encyclopedia on its strategic nuclear arsenal that provides unprecedented details about Moscow's weapons systems.

The book was produced in cooperation with arms exporters and is a comprehensive collection of photographs and diagrams on most Soviet, and now Russian, strategic weapons systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear missile submarines, bombers, and testing and support facilities and equipment.

For example, the book lists the nuclear yield of the warhead for Russia's newest road-mobile ICBM, the SS-27, at 0.55 megatons or the equivalent of 550,000 tons of TNT. It also states that the missile is accurate enough to place the warhead within 0.9 kilometers of its target.

A diagram shows the flight path of a 10-warhead missile fired from a submarine. The re-entry vehicle maneuvers during flight and guides each warhead to a target over an ocean an implicit reference to the United States.

The book also shows a photograph of the 1-kiloton nuclear warhead used on Russia's anti-aircraft missile interceptors that is "designed to engage single and multiple air targets at altitudes of 7.5 kilometers … up to 40 kilometers."

The highly detailed information contained in the book on Russian missiles has raised questions among some U.S. national security officials and experts that Moscow is preparing to put its nuclear warhead and missile know-how up for sale.

One U.S. defense official said the book appears to be a "sales brochure" for Moscow's weapons exporters, who helped to produce the publication. The information also could be used by states like North Korea, Iran and Iraq to assist the development of their long-range missiles, the official said.

A copy of the book, "Russia's Arms and Technologies: The XXI Century Encyclopedia," was obtained by The Washington Times from its U.S. distributor, TommaX Inc., a New Jersey company that specializes in defense and aerospace technical data. The 511-page first volume on Strategic Nuclear Forces costs $495.

TommaX President Thomas J. Langan said the book provides a never-before look inside the Russian nuclear complex. "Some specific information has been released for the first time and will be very useful to our intelligence community," Mr. Langan said.

A Defense Intelligence Agency spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the book.

Russia's Defense Minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev stated in the introduction that the series on the Russian weapons will help boost exports of Russian arms and technology.

In addition to providing information about Russia's weapons systems and equipment, the series will show the "major directions of the Russia's military-technical policy at the beginning of the 21st century and its potentialities to export arms, military equipment and defense technologies," the defense minister said.

As for the strategic nuclear arsenal, Mr. Sergeyev stated that nuclear weapons still are needed after the Cold War because of new dangers, including the increasing number of countries with nuclear arms.

"Under these circumstances, Russia's nuclear weapons, strategic above all, continue to be the most important deterrent and strategic stability factor," he said.

Mr. Sergeyev did not say Moscow intends to sell nuclear weapons and equipment. However, he said conventional arms sales will continue. The book will "help Russia implement its new strategy in the field of military-technical cooperation with other countries," he said.

He made no mention of Russia's new nuclear doctrine that places a greater reliance on the use of nuclear weapons in conflicts because of the decline in conventional forces since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The book has new details on Russian nuclear command and control facilities, including mobile command posts, spy satellites and communications networks used to send orders to nuclear missile submarines.

It also contains diagrams that show the layout of nuclear missile submarines and mock-ups showing the placement of components inside missiles.

Facts about Russia's mobile missile launchers, including important specifications that could be useful in making copies, also are included.

The book reveals details about once-secret Russian nuclear research centers, and contains photographs of the remote arctic nuclear weapons test facility at Novaya Zemlya, where several secret tests were recently detected by U.S. intelligence agencies.

As for bombers, Russia's air-launched nuclear cruise missiles are shown and details about the characteristics of the missiles are included, as well as diagrams showing aerial refueling capabilities.

Nuclear storage facilities, bomb containers and their security systems also are shown, information that analysts say would be useful to saboteurs or thieves.

Henry Sokolski, a former Pentagon weapons proliferation specialist, said the book highlights the danger of spreading strategic nuclear weapons information to rogue states.

"It is not just people pulling stuff down from the Internet or from the United States that people can learn about strategic weaponry or procedures for their use," said Mr. Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

Russia has been identified by the CIA as a major proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and missile systems, including sales to China, Iran, Egypt, Libya and Syria.

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