Protecting Minuteman Through SALT

  • Lawrence Freedman


During the first year of the Nixon Administration the Soviet ICBM effort moved forward steadily. From 896 ICBMs operational in September 1968, the Russians had 1028 by mid-1969, 1060 by the September of that year and 1158 by the end. In addition, the Russians were busy working on a number of new silos, a point which the Administration took pains to stress. A considerable proportion of the new construction was devoted to SS-9s. In September 1968 there had been 156 of these large missiles operational with another 72 under construction, making 228 in all. Using intelligence estimates dated 29 March 1969, Laird gave a figure of ‘more than 230’ SS-9s operational or under construction. This suggests a figure of 234, only an extra six since the start of the year.1 Thereafter there was rapid growth. By 1 September 1969 there were 282 SS-9s operational or under construction, of which some 18o were fully deployed. There was also growth in the SS-11 force. In September 1968 there had been 720 SS-11s operational or under construction; a year later there were 100 more. The number deployed rose from 520 to 644. It was only the SS-13s that still moved slowly. By September 1969 there were still only about 15 of these operational, with about another 25 under construction.


Nuclear Submarine Defence Budget Missile System Soviet Threat Soviet Force 
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Copyright information

© Lawrence David Freedman 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence Freedman
    • 1
  1. 1.Royal Institute of International AffairsUK

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