Warlord NBC forces
After the dissolution of the sirian warlord groups in 2925 in the aftermath of the Unification War, the newly minted Sirian Union faced a serious problem. Many of the warlords had either come into possession of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon stockpiles or manufactured them. In the chaotic period that inevitably follows a violent change of power, it was a significant risk that these weapons could be sold on the black market or cross borders - or even worse, an accident could occur. Thus, it was necessary to account for each and every warhead, as well as devise plans for their use and storage.
The Sirian Union saw these weapons as a way of ensuring the inviolability of its territorial integrity. By threatening the use of NBC weaponry, they hoped to dissuade would-be aggressors from attempting to invade Sirian space. This soon mellowed into a conditional "no first use" policy, as described below.
Approximately 5 years prior to the Freedom War, the Kaladian Empire became suspicious of foreign powers - including the Sirian Union - as a result of the deteriorating security situation within its borders. As Kaladian warships were always armed with nuclear weapons, this was a source of much alarm among Sirian policy makers, who raised the SPECCON (SPECial CONdition) level of the NBC Squadrons to SPECCON 2, the highest level reached thus far in Sirian history. The armed forces were stood on alert in preparation to deploy and engage with NBC weapons within six hours of the Kaladians launching a nuclear weapon. In the event, the threat never came to pass and the NBC squadrons were stood down.
In recent years as the perceived need for them has reduced funding for the NBC Squadrons has been cut slightly. However, they still represent a force not to be taken lightly. They maintain a large stockpile of strategic and tactical air, space, and planetside launched nuclear, chemical, and biological warheads.
Although the NBC Squadrons employ the full range of NBC weapons, nuclear weapons will be predominantly discussed here.
In a very real sense, the doctrine of the NBC Squadrons is the doctrine of the conventional Sirian military in regards to the employment of NBC weaponry and defence against them. NBC Squadron units are attached to conventional Sirian Army units to perform extra NBC reconnaissance, among other roles. As mentioned previously, the SU maintains a "no first use" policy. That is, they will not use nuclear weapons if their opponent does not do so. However, this comes with two important caveats. The first is that if national survival or a similarly crucial imperative demands it, release authority may be granted for NBC warheads. The second is that the Sirian Army aims to preempt the use of NBC weapons by enemy forces. Hence, if there are sufficient indicators that the enemy is preparing for or is about to initiate a nuclear attack, the Sirian Army would attempt to preempt the strike by attempting a massive initial counter-strike at the operational level intended to be intense and in depth. In such scenarios, current Sirian thought stresses the need to "go nuclear" very early so as to ensure there are sufficient surviving conventional forces to exploit gains made with an immediate and rapid offensive. However, it is anticipated that a nuclear war would be preceded by a period of conventional warfare that escalates to NBC weapon deployment. Thus, as many NBC weapons are targeted and destroyed as possible during the non-nuclear phase.
Furthermore, the Sirian Army operates under the assumption that they are in a NBC threatened environment (i.e. that NBC weapons may be targeted against Sirian forces at any time). This colours how Sirian units are deployed and behave, and ensures that time is not wasted by switching from a non-nuclear posture to a nuclear posture (because their forces are already broadly in a nuclear ready posture). In a war that is nuclear from the start, ideally NBC weapons would be targeted at enemy strong points and throughout their entire operational depth. Appropriately dispersed Sirian units would attack through the gaps created at top speed, the aim being to seize or destroy hostile NBC systems and weapons, as well as C3 facilities. They would also attempt to isolate enemy units by attacking across a broad front and from multiple directions. Due to the fact that Sirian powered armour and vehicles are all NBC sealed, the actual attack would likely come after only a short delay. Furthermore, in the offense NBC weapons would be used to:
- Destroy the enemy's main combat formations and her command and control system.
- Destroy the enemy's nuclear weapons.
- Isolate the battlefield.
- Breach the enemy's main line of defense and define the main axes of attack.
Subsequent strikes may be used to jump start a stalled attack due to organised enemy resistance etc. When pursuing the enemy, NBC weapons would be targeted at choke points the enemy would have to cross. Biological and chemical weapons may be used to deny the use of facilities to the enemy, timed in such a manner that by the time friendly forces arrive the agents have dispersed, thereby allowing them to use the facility or facilities as normal. A more unorthodox use of Sirian chemical weapons would be for a Naval Infantry boarding party to use them against defenders. This forces the opponent to choose between venting atmosphere (thereby killing anyone unfortunate enough not to be wearing a suit capable of protecting against vacuum) or spend time attempting to don NBC protective equipment. It is hoped that this would in turn allow the Naval Infantry to seize the initiative.
Overall, enemy NBC weapons and means would be the priority threat (and hence targeted above all others), with higher HQs, prepared defences, troop concentrations and reserves, supply installations (particularly those supplying NBC munitions), and communication facilities also being targeted. In the defence, tactical munitions would be aimed at the forward echelons of enemy units attempting to pursue Sirian formations. The NBC Squadrons teach commanders to be aware that the sudden withdrawal of an enemy in contact may be a prelude to the detonation of a NBC weapon as they try to get to a safe distance. In the defence, the main objectives of a NBC strike would be:
- Destruction of enemy nuclear delivery means.
- Destruction of main attacking groups.
- To counter enemy fire support.
- Elimination of enemy breakthroughs.
- Support of counterattacks.
- Denial of areas to the enemy by use of surface bursts.
The NBC Squadrons do not in and of themselves have easily identifiable equipment. This is a measure designed to increase uncertainty and complicate enemy targeting. However, they are heavily involved in the development and deployment of NBC weapons and simulants. These are described generally below:
Sirian nuclear devices are very compact and designed to provide no obvious cue as to their true nature aside from a colour code. They are uniformly "dial-a-yield" weapons to increase their flexibility and utility on the battlefield. Often, the same warhead type may be fitted to a variety of very different weapon systems. This is so that a nuclear armed unit can continue to deliver nuclear munitions regardless of the means available.
In common with other biological weapon programmes, Sirian biological weapons are often either weaponised diseases or synthetic diseases tailored to a variety of needs. Due to the greater flexibility inherent in the latter, they are the most common type. In order to simplify logistics and once again improve utility, these weapons are designed to affect as many of the known species of the galaxy as possible. Where this is not viable (say, wildly differing biological make up), sirian biological weapons often carry a disease known to affect one portion of the galaxy's races and another that "covers" the remainder. Interestingly, not all of these are designed to be lethal - rather, they may induce a prolonged sickness that incapacitates the victim. Sirian biological weapons are designed to be infectious by as many means as possible.
Sirian chemical weapons vary from blood agents, pulmonary agents, nerve agents, and blister agents to hallucinogens and incapacitants. Like their biological bretheren, they are almost all synthetic in nature and are designed to affect as many species at once as possible. Furthermore, they are designed to be fast acting (ideally immediately) and harmful at very low concentrations. All sirian chemical weapons are binary agents. In other words, they are completely harmless unless two isolated (and non-toxic) chemicals inside the warhead are mixed. This ensures that an accident or mishandling will not, by itself, cause friendly casualties. The persistency of Sirian chemical weapons varies in order to deny areas to the enemy for different periods of time as needed. Some of the incapacitating agents have been adapted for use as riot control agents. In a similar manner to Sirian biological weapons, their chemical weapons are designed to act through as many different methods as possible. Examples include skin contact, breathing in the agent, ingesting or touching fluids contaminated with the agent, etc.