Russia „Buzzes“ Its Nukes Past the US

ea735850b7171fa9cd2b795fa37dd7ab1b1936aeRussia flies supersonic nuclear bombers near Alaska coastline

By Karen Graham     Aug 17, 2018

According to the Moscow Times, the TU-160 is capable of carrying six standard cruise missiles and 12 short-range nuclear missiles and can fly at speeds in excess of 2,000 kph (1,243 mph).

The Russian Ministry of Defense said the flight-tactical exercise, which involved 10 planes in total that included the Tu-160 aircraft, Tu-95MS, and IL-78, was conducted under the command of long-range aviation commander Lieutenant-General Sergei Kobylash.

Flying from their home base in Saratov in southwestern Russia, the supersonic bombers flew 6,437 kilometers (4,000 miles) to Anadyr on the Chukotka Peninsula. The bombers practiced striking targets at Komi range before taking off across the Arctic Ocean. The two aircraft crews refueled in mid-air and then returned to their home base.

This may have been the first time TU-160 bombers have flown close to the Alaskan coast, but it is not the first time other Russian bombers have ventured close to Alaska. In May this year, two US Air Force F-22 stealth fighter jets intercepted two Tupolev Tu-95 Russian nuclear-capable bombers that came within 55 miles of Alaska’s west coast.

The TU-160 modernization program

The Tupolev TU-160 was entered into service in 1987 and was the last strategic bomber designed for the Soviet Union. As of 2016, the Russian Air Force, Long Range Aviation branch had at least 16 of the aircraft in service.

Since the early 2000s, the TU-160 has undergone modernization that included upgrades to the plane’s electronics systems. The first updated TU-160 was delivered in 2014. On 16 November 2017, a newly assembled Tu-160M2 (built of an unfinished airframe of Tu-160) was unveiled during the roll-out ceremony at the Kazan Aviation Plant.

According to Dmitri Rogozin, the serial production of completely new airframes for the modernized Tu-160M2 should begin in 2019 with deliveries to the Russian Air Force in 2023.

Murmansk Region  Olenegorsk. The strategic bomber Tu-160. Image taken in 2005.

Murmansk Region, Olenegorsk. The strategic bomber Tu-160. Image taken in 2005.
Presidential Press and Information Office

Russia shows off what it has

While the Moscow Times is saying that Russia has rebooted production of the plane as it steps up military spending and bomber patrols near foreign borders amid regional tensions, it could be said that Russia is also showing the United States it is not to be fooled with, either.

It is interesting to note that the bomber flights announced Thursday come amid escalating tensions between the US and Russia. And the flights come just after a new Pentagon report released on Thursday that details how Beijing is transforming its ground forces to „fight and win.“

Focusing on China’s air power, the report states that Chinese bombers are developing capabilities to hit targets as far from China as possible.

„Over the last three years, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against US and allied targets,“ the document states, noting how China is pushing its operations out into the Pacific.

The Sixth Seal: A Stack of Cards (Revelation 6:12)

Experts Warn NYC Could Fall Like ‘House of Cards’ With 5.0 Earthquake

A 3-D rendering of a destroyed NYC. (Pavel Chagochkin/Dreamstime.com)

By Mike Dorstewitz    |   Wednesday, 04 April 2018 06:30 PM

A magnitude-5.0 earthquake in New York City would cause an estimated $39 billion in damage after buildings topple like a “house of cards,” according to the Daily Mail.

And the city is overdue for a quake of that size, seismologists say. The last one was in 1884 and they occur about every 100 years.

An estimated 30 million tons of debris would litter the streets after a 5.0 earthquake in NYC , and anything bigger than that would almost certainly collapse buildings and cause loss of life to the city’s 8.5 million residents.

“The problem here comes from many subtle faults,” said Lynn Skyes, lead author of a study by seismologists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the New York Daily News reported. “We now see there is earthquake activity on them. Each one is small, but when you add them up, they are probably more dangerous than we thought.”

New York City is riddled with fault lines. The largest runs down 125th Street, extending from New Jersey to the East River. The Dyckman Street Fault runs from Inwood to Morris Heights in the Bronx. The Mosholu Parkway Fault line runs a bit farther north. The East River Fault is an especially long one, running south, skirting Central Park’s west side then heading to the East River when it hits 32nd Street.

New York’s main problem isn’t the magnitude of earthquakes, it’s how the city is built.

“Considering population density and the condition of the region’s infrastructure and building stock, it is clear that even a moderate earthquake would have considerable consequences in terms of public safety and economic impact,” New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation wrote on its website.

Iran Prepares for War with Babylon the Great

FILE PHOTO: Iran’s national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012.

REUTERS/MORTEZA NIKOUBAZL

Iran to unveil new fighter jet, develop missiles: minister

Reuters Staff

(Reuters) – Iran will unveil a new fighter jet next week and continue developing missile capabilities as a top priority, the defense minister said on Saturday, defying new U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran’s missile program and regional influence.

Iran’s navy also announced on Saturday that it has mounted a locally built advanced defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time, as tensions mount with the U.S. military in the Gulf.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States in May from a 2015 accord between Iran and world powers that curbed Tehran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief.

Trump said the deal was deeply flawed as it had not curbed Iran’s ballistic missile program or reined in its support for proxies in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran has dismissed any direct talks with Washington to resolve the issues raised by Trump.

„Our top priority has been development of our missile program. We are in a good position in this field, but we need to develop it,“ Brigadier General Amir Hatami was quoted as saying by Fars news agency on Saturday.

„We will present a plane on National Defense Industry Day, and people will see it fly, and the equipment designed for it,” Hatami added. Iran celebrates National Defense Industry Day on Aug. 22.

„POSSIBLE THREATS“

Iran unveiled in 2013 what it said was a new, domestically built fighter jet, called Qaher 313, but some experts expressed doubts about the viability of the aircraft at the time.

Iran’s functional air force has been limited to perhaps as few as a few dozen strike aircraft, either Russian or ageing U.S. models acquired before the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi said on Saturday that „coastal and sea testing of the short range defense Kamand system were concluded successfully, and said this system was mounted … on a warship and will be mounted on a second ship soon,“ the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said earlier this month it held war games in the Gulf aimed at „confronting possible threats“ by enemies.

The U.S. military’s Central Command said it had seen increased Iranian naval activity, extending to the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway for oil shipments the Revolutionary Guards have threatened to block.

Iran has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes that have barred it from importing many weapons.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin in London; Editing by Toby Chopra and Andrew Heavens)

Building the German Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Tornado combat aircraft of the German Air Force on December 2, 2015, in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Having Decided It Can’t Rely On America, Germany Debates Acquiring Its Own Nuclear Weapons

By Heather Hurlburt

You can now read in English the article that spoiled many a European summer weekend last month, when eminent German political scientist Christian Hacke opined that Germany should acquire its own nuclear weapon:

Since the U.S. nuclear guarantee has become increasingly doubtful and a common European deterrent does not seem to be forthcoming, only one possible conclusion can be drawn: in a serious crisis the only one Germany can truly rely on is itself.

Well then.

The article drew many responses from European and American thinkers, most offering reasons why Germany could not, or should not, get the bomb:  Such a step would be “strategic suicide,” said one keen observer, and Berlin should focus on strengthening its conventional defenses instead. Germany, already spending far less than what it pledged NATO, has armed forces that are in great disrepair and could not possibly muster the political will to pay for an A-bomb.

The state of their armed forces aside, Germans hate nuclear power so much that their conservative government committed to getting rid of it after the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan. Nor would they be comfortable repealing or exiting the treaties Germany has signed in which it explicitly forswore nuclear arms.

Neither of those factors discourage German strategic thinkers entirely, though. Many commenters are tempted by the prospect of Germany buying a share, so to speak, of the British or French nuclear forces to create a “European deterrent.” But when the West German government tried this proposal out on France during the heat of the Cold War, Charles de Gaulle responded with a statement that has now become a maxim: nuclear weapons, he said, are “hard to share.”

Americans should be more concerned about two arguments that were not made. First, no one said: Why would Germany need a nuclear weapon? A cynical American might say, as some have, that Germany is at grave risk of being deterred in a crisis by Russian control of its natural gas supply. The threat of nuclear bombs is no help with that.

But let’s say Germany’s recent surges in wind power eventually do solve the Russia gas problem Trump loves to embarrass Berlin with. There’s a bigger strategic shift that Americans may be missing. For the first 25 years after the Cold War, many civilian strategists assumed that the political and environmental costs borne by any European state that used a nuclear weapon in Europe would be so high that no country would ever attempt it. European integration had succeeded, and even if European countries still have spectacular political and economic fights, from a military point of view the continent was dormant. Germany was neutered, Britain self-isolated, France too interested in its global role. And oil markets, political influence, and cyberattacks could get it everything it wanted.

The idea that military might was nearly obsolete in Europe underlay both the decisions of major European powers to stop investing in defense and Washington’s interest in a pivot to Asia. Nothing was going on in Europe, and anyway, if it was, the Europeans could handle it.

Now here we are. Europe is — again — a continent where laying waste to one’s neighbors seems a viable strategic option. At minimum, it’s something that Germany, but also Poland, France, and those stereotypically peaceable Nordics, among others, want Russia to know is a strategic option.

And it’s an option which can move ahead without Washington. Remarkably absent from the German nuclear debate were voices saying this is all overblown, Trump will be gone, the Americans will be back, everything is fine. Americans are still telling each other that, including very prominent senators from both parties. But our European allies are not. The cumulative weight of bad faith and bad policy has collapsed trust that, while imperfect all around, had lasted seven decades. “Germany can no longer rely on the protection of the United States,” says the introduction to the English-language version of Hacke’s article. How stunning is it that no one has even tried to argue the point?

“We Europeans have to look out for ourselves more,” said the German foreign minister last week, echoing his boss the German chancellor as well as his neighbors in Brussels and Paris. While dreams of strategic independence are on the rise among European intellectuals, plain old anti-Americanism is on the rise among European peoples. Six months ago, more than two-thirds of Americans said relations with Germany were good, but more than half of Germans begged to differ. And that was before Trump imposed economic sanctions, dressed Merkel down at a NATO breakfast, and reportedly threw Starburst candy at her in a G-7 economic forum. That’s not usually how you treat a leader whose country is thinking about getting its own nuclear weapon.

China Establishes Nuclear Power (Daniel 7)

China, close to establishing its own ‘nuclear triad,’ has practiced targeting US

By: Tara Copp

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Su-30 fighter, right, flies with a H-6K bomber during a September 2016 drill near the East China Sea. While the U.S. military remains the dominant force in Asia, China is catching up quickly and is increasingly able to project power far from its shores. (Shao Jing/Xinhua via AP, File)

The Pentagon, for the first time, has publicly reported what commanders in the Pacific have known about, and kept a wary eye on, for some time: China is practicing long-range bombing runs against U.S. targets.

While the Defense Department annually reports on the rapid growth in capabilities of China’s air, land and sea forces, the 2018 report is the first to acknowledge the direct threat to U.S. territory.

Recent developments on China’s H-6K variant of its Badger bomber give the bomber “the capability to carry six land-attack cruise missiles, giving the PLA a long-range standoff precision strike capability that can range Guam,” the report said. It also acknowledged frequent bombing practice runs that U.S. commanders at the newly renamed U.S. INDOPACOM in Hawaii have watched expand in numbers and distance.

U.S. forces are adjusting how they would execute a conflict with China as incursions increase.

During a trip to the command last October, defense officials described to Military Times the frequent incursions to test Guam’s air-defense zone as one of the many changes in China’s behavior in the Pacific that create worry. Compared to North Korea, which officials said they still view as “a fight we can win,” with China they “worry about the way things are going.“

The $716 billion defense budget for FY2019 is largely focused on getting U.S. forces ready again for a great power fight, with investments in new fighters, bombers and ships to keep the U.S. at pace with — and ahead of — the Chinese investments.

“The PLA has been developing strike capabilities to engage targets as far away from China as possible. Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets,” the 2018 report found.

More worrisome, the report found, “the PLA Air Force has been re-assigned a nuclear mission. The deployment and integration of nuclear-capable bombers would, for the first time, provide China with a nuclear “triad” of delivery systems dispersed across land, sea and air.”

The unclassified version of the annual report to Congress on China’s military and security developments was released Thursday; a separate classified version was also prepared for the Hill.

The Pentagon emphasized that even as it is monitoring and re-calibrating its own defense strategies and investment priorities to be prepared for a potential great power fight in the future with China, “the Department of Defense’s objective is to set the military relationship between our two countries on a path of transparency and non-aggression,“ the report said.

For years the U.S. has reported on the closing gap between U.S. and Chinese capabilities. The Chinese air force totaled more than 2,700 aircraft in 2018 and, of those, 2,000 were combat aircraft. More than 600 of those combat aircraft were 4th-generation fighters and the country is rapidly fielding its fifth generation J-20 and FC-31 jets, the report said.