Precise Long-Range Weapons in Europe: Problems of Limitation and Control

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-9-5-13

S. Oznobishchev (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
K. Bogdanov (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation 

Acknowledgements. Parts “Defining the Range Threshold”, “Advanced Precision-Guided Weapons”, and “Approaches to the Control over Precision-Guided Weapons” of the article have been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation. Project   18-18-00463.

Abstract. The article analyses the new phenomenon, which emerged in the military-technical developments in recent years – the rapid progress in the precision-guided long-range weapons. This is taking place against the background of degradation of the arms control system and the deep overall crisis of the Russian-Western relations. The course for the abrogation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) is declared by the U. S. Administration, the cessation of the negotiations upon the “new edition” of the Treaty on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) took place, the uncertainty exists as far the future of the Prague START is concerned. In this situation the new types of precision-guided long-range weapons are being designed and deployed by a number of countries. Technically this provides them with new military possibilities – i.e. striking through the entire territory of a potential opponent in case of the armed conflict. The authors detail the progress in the development of such weapons and assess the possible impact of various types of long-range precision-guided munitions on stability in Europe. Options are considered to provide exact definition of “long-range” for such systems in the context of the military-strategic balance on the continent. The perspective directions in development of these weapons are discussed in details, their interaction with the current arms control regime is assessed. The article discusses the destabilizing effect of such weapons and, in some cases, – the exaggerated assessment of this effect by the military-political communities of different countries. In view of the authors, the principle task in defining the control mechanisms applicable to these new assets is to prevent the possibility of a sudden large-scale air offensive operation with the wide use of precision-guided long-range weapons. The article proposes a set of measures in arms control designed to complicate and exclude such option. These measures may mainly contain the restrictions imposed on the locations of these assets and their platforms (airplanes), as well as the restrictions based on the zonal limitations – alike the philosophy used in the CFE Treaty. The military political conditions for imposing such control regime are being discussed.

Keywords: precision-guided munitions, advanced conventional weapons, strategic balance, conventional arms control in Europe, confidence-building measures, tensions defusing 


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For citation:
Oznobishchev S., Bogdanov K. Precise Long-Range Weapons in Europe: Problems of Limitation and Control . World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 9, pp. 5-13.

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