Abstract

Abstract:

Peculiar as they may appear to Westerners, the novel nuclear delivery systems announced by Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2018 complement Russia's overall nuclear strategy. These weapons can be divided into two groups that serve different purposes. The novel "assured retaliation" weapons such as the Poseidon intercontinental nuclear-powered torpedo and the Burevestnik nuclear-powered ground-launched cruise missiles appear to be a component of a dissuasion strategy aiming to convince US decisionmakers to forgo strategic missile defenses. Russian leaders may believe that the extreme nature of these systems signals their resolve and determination to neutralize any possible threat to their retaliatory capability posed by future advances in counterforce targeting and missile defenses. The theater-range hypersonic missiles such as Kinzhal and Tsirkon, by contrast, serve a more quotidian purpose: increasing the complexity of integrated air and missile defense for potential adversaries. Armed with conventional warheads, these weapons can help attain practical military objectives in subnuclear conflict.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-4724
Print ISSN
1945-4716
Pages
pp. 103-117
Launched on MUSE
2020-03-20
Open Access
No
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