http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/ ... eapons.php
Report: Russian navy to rely on tactical nukes
MOSCOW: The role of tactical nuclear weapons in the Russian navy may grow, a news agency quoted a senior Russian admiral as saying Monday.
Vice Adm. Oleg Burtsev told the state-run RIA-Novosti that the increasing range and precision of tactical nuclear weapons makes them an important asset.
"Probably, tactical nuclear weapons will play a key role in the future," said Burtsev, the navy's deputy chief of staff.
He added that the navy may fit new, less powerful nuclear warheads to the existing types of cruise missiles.
"There is no longer any need to equip missiles with powerful nuclear warheads," Burtsev said. "We can install low-yield warheads on existing cruise missiles."
Tactical nuclear weapons have a much shorter range compared to strategic nuclear weapons. They are intended for use within a theater of battle.
The United States and the Soviet Union decided in 1991 to eliminate some of their non-strategic nuclear weapons and withdraw others from duty, including those used by navy ships.
But in 2006 Russia signaled it no longer intended to abide by that decision when then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said that Russian submarines were carrying tactical nuclear weapons on patrol.
Last December, chief of the Russian military's general staff, Gen. Nikolai Makarov, said Russia will keep its arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, which he said were necessary to counter a massive NATO advantage in conventional weapons.
Burtsev said the navy will also build six new nuclear submarines carrying intercontinental ballistic missiles. The first sub in the series, the Yuri Dolgoruky, already has been built and is undergoing tests.
However, the prospective Bulava missile designed to equip the new submarine has failed repeatedly in tests, making prospects of its deployment dim.