China strengthens the Pakistani Nuclear Horn: Daniel

China Delivers Largest, Most Advanced Warship to Pakistan

November 10, 2021

China delivered its largest, most advanced warship ever exported to Pakistan on Monday, assisting the South Asian nation in striking a “balance” in the Indian Ocean region.

The type 054A/P, christened PNS Tughril by Pakistan, is the first of the four frigates to be delivered to the country and comes with a “state-of-the-art combat management and an electronic warfare system along with modern self-defense capabilities,” Global Times reported

Pakistan signed a contract with the manufacturer, China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited, in 2017 to buy two 054A type ships, increasing the number to four a year later. All were contracted for delivery by 2021, Naval Technology wrote, adding that China had offered the ships to Thailand in 2013, but the country chose the South Korean modified Gwanggaeto the Great-class destroyers instead.

Offensive Capabilities

The PNS Tughril integrates “enormous surface-to-surface, surface-to-air and underwater firepower, besides extensive surveillance potentials,” enabling it to simultaneously execute a range of naval warfare missions “in a highly intense multi-threat environment,” the Pakistan Navy stated.

According to Zhang Junshe, a senior research fellow at the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Naval Research Academy, the 054A is China’s most advanced frigate. 

Global Times added that it is equipped with a better radar system compared to its predecessors and includes more missiles with a longer range. The People’s Liberation Army Navy currently operates 31 of these warships, the first of which was inducted in 2008, and around 20 more are likely to be inducted in the future.

Features

The 4,053-ton, 134m (440ft) ship’s hull design features “sloped sides and reduced superstructure” for reduced radar cross-section. 

The ship can accommodate a crew of around 165 people and has a top speed of 27 knots (31 mph/50 kph) with a maximum range of 8,025 nautical miles (9,235 miles/14,862 km).

Pakistan Navy’s ‘Mainstay’

The head of the Pakistan Navy Mission overseeing construction of the frigate, Commodore Rashid Mehmood Sheikh, revealed that the warship will become the navy’s “mainstay,” bolstering the service’s maritime defense capabilities.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, called the delivery a “new chapter” in the already strong bilateral relations between the two countries, particularly praising developers for their timely delivery despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Russian Horn sends nuclear bombers into Europe

Russia Belarus Military
In this handout photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, a long-range Tu-22M3 bomber of the Russian Aerospace Forces takes off to patrol in the airspace of Belarus, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia Sends Nuclear-Capable Bombers on Patrol over Belarus

11 Nov 2021

Associated Press  By Vladimir Isachenkov

MOSCOW — Russia sent two nuclear-capable strategic bombers on a training mission over Belarus for a second straight day Thursday in a strong show of Moscow’s support for its ally amid a dispute over migration at the Polish border.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers practiced bombing runs at the Ruzany firing range, located in Belarus about 60 kilometers (just over 37 miles) east of the border with Poland. As part of the joint training, Belarusian fighter jets simulated an intercept, the ministry said.

The missions marked the second time in two days that Russia sent its nuclear-capable bombers into the skies over Belarus.

A pair of Russian Tu-22M3 long-range bombers flew a similar patrol Wednesday, and Belarusian air defense assets practiced intercepting them.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said that such Russian bomber flights will be conducted on a regular basis.

Russia took the rare step of dispatching two nuclear-capable strategic bombers to patrol Belarusian airspace in a show of support for its close ally, which the EU accuses of of mounting a "hybrid attack"

Russia has strongly supported Belarus amid a tense standoff this week as thousands of migrants and refugees, most of them from the Middle East, gathered on the Belarusian side of the border with Poland in the hope of crossing into Western Europe.

The European Union has accused Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko of encouraging illegal border crossings as a “hybrid attack” to retaliate against EU sanctions on his government for its crackdown on internal dissent after Lukashenko’s disputed 2020 reelection.

Belarus denies the allegations but has said it will no longer stop refugees and migrants from trying to enter the EU.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry accused Poland on Thursday of an “unprecedented” military buildup on the border, saying that migration control did not warrant the concentration of 15,000 troops backed by tanks, air defense assets and other weapons.

“It looks more like forming a strike group of forces,” the ministry said, adding that the Polish military buildup prompted Belarus to respond with actions “both independently and within the existing agreements with our strategic ally,” a reference to Russia.

Russia and Belarus have a union agreement envisaging close political and military ties. Lukashenko has stressed the need to boost military cooperation in the face of what he has described as aggressive actions by NATO allies.

Lukashenko on Thursday called the Russian bomber flights a necessary response to the tensions on the Belarus-Poland border.

“Let them scream and squeak. Yes, those are nuclear-capable bombers, but we have no other choice,” the president, who has been in office since 1994, said.

Col. Gen. Retired Leonid Ivashov, the former head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s foreign cooperation department, said the Russian bomber flights over Belarus were intended to demonstrate Moscow’s support for its ally amid soaring tensions.

“Military drills and bomber flights are part of training for joint action,” Ivashov was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. “It’s needed to avert a possible military conflict that could escalate into a big war. It’s necessary to demonstrate our readiness.”

Amid the tensions on the Belarus-Poland border, Russia has strongly backed Belarus, charging that the West destabilized the Middle East and therefore bears responsibility for migrants and refugees seeking safety in Europe.

At the same time, Moscow angrily rejected Poland’s claim that Russia has helped foment a situation with humanitarian as well as political dimensions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted the thousands of troops that have been deployed on either side of the Polish-Belarusian border and said “it’s a cause for deep concern of all sober-minded people in Europe.”

Asked about German Chancellor Merkel’s request for Russian President Vladimir Putin to exert influence on Belarus, Peskov responded that “Russia, like all other countries, is trying to help resolve the situation.” He said Putin has remained in contact with Lukashenko, but didn’t elaborate.

Russia’s national flag carrier, Aeroflot, responded to reports that the EU was mulling sanctions against the airline for its alleged involvement in bringing refugees and migrants to Belarus. Aeroflot strongly rejected the claim.

“The information about Aeroflot’s participation or assistance to organizing mass transportation of migrants to the territory of Belarus doesn’t conform to reality,” the airline said in a statement.

Aeroflot noted that it wasn’t conducting any regular or charter flights to Iraq or Syria and didn’t have any flights between Istanbul and Minsk.

Asked about the reports of possible EU sanctions against Aeroflot, Kremlin spokesman Peskov pointed to the airline’s denial of knowingly transporting Europe-bound asylum seekers.

“Let hope that such mad ideas only exist in those media hoaxes,” he said in a conference call with reporters.Show Full Article

And the Chinese Horn now has a low yield nuclear bomb Daniel 7

China’s DF-26 Carrier-Killer Missile: Now a Low-Yield Nuclear Weapon?

A Defense Department’s report on the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) military raises the possibility that its Army may convert its Dong-Feng 26 (DF-26) anti-ship missile into a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon.

The DF-26 is reportedly capable of hitting large Navy surface platforms with precision guidance from up to two thousand miles away.

“The DF-26 is the PRC’s first nuclear-capable missile system that can conduct precision strikes, and therefore, is the most likely weapon system to field a lower-yield warhead in the nearterm,” according to the report, titled Military and Security Developments involving the People’s Republic of China. “PRC military writings in 2012 noted that the introduction of new precise small-yield nuclear weapons could possibly allow for the controlled use of nuclear weapons.”

There has been much discussion about a “limited” or “targeted” nuclear engagement using tactical, lower-yield weapons following Russia’s violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and pursuit of low-yield nuclear weapons. These developments were likely part of the rationale for the Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. The review advocated for a large-scale effort to build low-yield nuclear weapons such as a submarine-launched, nuclear-capable cruise missile and a reconfigured submarine-fired Trident II D5 armed with low-yield warheads. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis once said that the review called for new low-yield weapons as a means of bringing Russia back to the negotiating table following its INF violations. The Defense Department’s report makes it clear that China took notice of the threat.

“PRC concerns began to emerge that the United States would use low-yield weapons against a Taiwan invasion fleet, with related commentary in official media calling for proportionate response capabilities,” the report states. “PRC strategists have highlighted the need for lower-yield nuclear weapons in order to increase the deterrence value of the PRC’s nuclear force, though they have not defined specific nuclear yield values.” 

Low-yield weapons have generated vigorous debate in recent years. In fact, some members of Congress have raised the concern that they could “lower the threshold” to nuclear war. Meanwhile, others have maintained that low-yield weapons are crucial to sustaining an effective nuclear deterrence posture.  Fundamental to this discussion is the issue of “proportional response.” Some people argue that the use of any nuclear weapon on any scale should be met with the promise of a large-scale catastrophic response aimed at complete destruction. By contrast, others argue that an ability to launch a limited, proportional response introduces counterattack options for military commanders and strengthens the U.S. deterrence posture. 

This new paradigm may have prompted “PRC nuclear thinkers” to reconsider “their long-standing view that nuclear war is uncontrollable,” according to the report. 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.   

Image: Reuters

China Prepares for Nuclear War with US

China Has Built Mockups of US Navy Aircraft. For Nuclear Missile Practice?

China Has Built Mockups of US Navy Aircraft. For Nuclear Missile Practice?

Images captured by a private satellite service have revealed that China has built mock-ups resembling U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier and a destroyer, Associated Pressreported.  The images were captured in a desert in the northwestern province of the country, so it is unlikely that they were made for a purpose other than target testing.

Earlier in September this year, we had reported how the U.S. plans to counter China’s rising influence in the South China sea by sharing nuclear submarine technology with Australia. While the details of the plans still need to be ironed out, China seems to be working aggressively on its military expansion with the Pentagon suggesting that China wants to outpace the U.S. nuclear force by the middle of the century, Politico reported. 

While China has denied allegations of force expansion, it has reportedly been the aggressor with Taiwan sending nuclear-capable bombers into Taiwanese airspacelast month. While Taiwan is a self-governing island, the U.S. treats threats to the island’s sovereignty as a “matter of grave concern” and provides it the weaponry to defend itself, Politico reported.

On the other hand, China considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province. Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to reunite Taiwan with the People’s Republic of China, just last month. So, any movement on this front is likely to evoke a response from the U.S. as well. The recently released satellite images from Ruoqiang, a Taklamakan Desert county in northwestern China show that the country is preparing for a confrontation with the U.S. Navy. 

The U.S. Naval Insitute (USNI), an independent body, called the mock-ups, part of the target range that the Chinese Army has made. The images, captured near a railway track in the desert, suggest that the mock-ups can be transported. However, the level of details on the mock-ups is not clear, giving the resolution of the satellite images. However, UNSI was able to identify features such as funnels and weapon systems on the destroyer, Politico reported. 

China has allegedly developed the DF-21D, a land-based ballistic missile, regarded as the ‘carrier killer.’ Coupled with the report of over 300 intercontinental ballistic missile silos that were caught under development by other satellite images, China does seem to be escalating its firepower. However, during a daily briefing a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said he could not provide any information as he was not aware of the situation and the images, Politico reported.

Babylon the Great is Set to Make Nuclear War More Likely

The US is Set to Make Nuclear War More Likely

The US is about to move towards a far more likely first use of nuclear weapons, with word that the Air Force has “completed flight testing” of the cost-and-performance-plagued F35A Lightning fighter, all units of which are being “upgraded” to carry thermonuclear weapons.

What this means, as explained in a new article in Popular Mechanics, is that the world’s most costly weapons program (at $1.7 trillion), a fifth-generation fighter, supposedly “invisible”  to radar (that actually cannot fight and is not invisible to advanced radars), now has a new mission to justify its existence and continued production:  dropping dial-able “tactical” nuclear weapons that can be as small as 0.3 kilotons or up to 50 kilotons in explosive power.

Now 0.3 kilotons is “just” the equivalent of 300 tons of dynamite, which supposedly makes them “useable,” meaning not holocaust-causing (that is assuming that some country backing the targeted country doesn’t decide to respond in kind and we go up the escalation ladder quickly to ever bigger bombs. Meanwhile,  \ dialed up to its maximum 50-kiloton power each F35A bomb would be significantly more than twice as powerful as the nuclear bomb that leveled Nagasaki.

The Popular Mechanics article, also published in Yahoo News, quotes Pentagon sources as saying the new F35A capability gives the US flexibility to deliver nukes to targets in a country threatening the US, and also to recall them up to the last second before dropping the weapon since the plane would be piloted. But this supposed advantage of a manned delivery system being recallable is a fantasy.

As Daniel Ellsberg has exposed in detail in his 2017 book The Doomsday Machine, written based on his decades of work with a top security clearance on behalf of the Secretary of Defense office investigating command-and-control procedures and practices of the nation’s nuclear forces, there is no way to guarantee that a pilot ordered on a nuclear strike mission will receive — or believe — any message or signal ordering a cancellation of the attack order.

As Ellsberg explains, communication systems routinely break down on an almost daily basis at one of the US military’s hundreds of global bases and aircraft carrier battle groups. cutting of the link between Washington and bases far-flung military bases, because of equipment malfunctions, storms, solar flares, etc.. Furthermore, in a period of international crisis, a pilot may distrust even an order to call off an attack which, after all, won’t be a phone call from the president, a Pentagon general, or even a known base commander, but rather a short coded signal. As Ellsberg notes in his terrifying book, the other flaw is that a pilot, once ordered on such a mission, could decide in the heat of the moment, to just carry on with orders and drop his weapon regardless of receiving a cancellation order. Remember, in times of crisis, countries may be employing jamming systems to knock out enemy military communications, or could even be blinding communication satellites.

Meanwhile the scenario presented in the article — a lone pilot being dispatched to deliver one or two dial-able B61-12 thermonuclear weapons onto some command-and-control center or missile launching site, perhaps — is not really what the Pentagon strategists have in mind for its  F-35A planes.

Actually, hundreds of these Air Force versions of the F-35 have been getting so-called “block four’ alterations, with bulging farings replacing their formerly sleek bodies, in order to allow the carrying  of two elongated Hydrogen bombs inside their fuselages, where they won’t present a larger radar image as bombs carried externally under wings would do. These re-configured planes, which also have software upgrades to allow them to prime, unlock and release their twin nukes, are being delivered to forward bases near Russia and China within the relatively short range of the bomb-laden planes.

The idea (hopefully wishful thinking), is that such planes, armed with their two nukes, could streak across a Russian and/or Chinese border at supersonic speed, flying low to the ground, to strike government buildings, military bases, and missile silos in a surprise strike, leaving the target country unable to retaliate.

For US military policy makers, all the way back to the post-war late 1940s, through the 1950s  and on, taking out America’s nuclear-armed rivals in a preventive atomic blitz has long been a strategic dream, always deferred thankfully because of lingering fears among saner heads that such a criminal and genocidal attack would fail to prevent a counterattack.

Bernie Sanders, the independent self-described “socialist” senator from Vermont, now needs to finally end his own dogged and cynical support for the basing of 18 F-35A planes at the Burlington International Airport, where pilots of the Vermont Air National Guard are now training for exactly the kinds of bombing scenario described above.

Sanders has insisted that while he “opposes” the “wasteful” F35 program, it is a “done deal” and so he wants Vermont’s Air National Guard unit to get a piece of the “benefits” of having it and the “jobs” it supposedly brings with it in his state. He has continued to dissemble, claiming that the Vermont F35As will not carry nuclear weapons or be used in nuclear war. In fact, his office was caught altering a document from the Pentagon to hide the fact that the Vermont Guard’a planes would in fact definitely be upgraded with the “block four” alterations so they can carry nukes just like all F-35As in the Air Force fleet.

Vermont’s planes would not, and could not, fly from Burlington over the North Pole to deliver their bombs to Russian or Chinese targets, except with multiple in-flight refueling sessions, and all the while flying at subsonic speeds to conserve fuel, obviating any chance of a “surprise” attack. But they could, if the pilots are trained (as they will be) in using the upgraded planes to carry their nuclear cargo and to release them on targets, be activated during a period of international crisis. The plan would then be for US-based pilots to ferry their F-35A planes to forward bases, where the nuclear bombs would be stockpiled. The planes and their pilots would then be prepositioned, to join a potential attack, or to create a sense of looming threat that would, supposedly, lead the enemy — say Russia or China — to back down, or alternatively to launch their own attack first.

With word the Air Force is ready to start full-scale upgrading of its F35A fleet to nuclear-capable bombers, Sen. Sanders needs to execute a red-faced volte-face and demand the immediate removal of F35A jets from Vermont. He must also stop hypocritically  supporting the further production and Block-Four upgrading of this plane.

Let’s be clear:  a nuclear-armed, radar-evading fighter-bomber fleet cannot by any stretch be conceived of as a “retaliatory” weapon. If Russia or China, the only countries that could even conceivably consider launching a first strike on the US, were to do so, having a plane that could hit command-and-control centers, missile silos and military bases in the attacking country would be useless. First of all those planes would have been already blown to smithereens on the ground in the initial enemy attack. Second, if they somehow survived to take off, the national political and military leaders of any country launching such an attack would long since have moved to protective hidden locations once having ordered their attack, troops would have been moved off their inevitably targeted bases with their equipment, and missile silos would be empty holes, their rockets having already been launched. Moreover, enemy countries would be on high alert looking for any incoming F35s or other bombers and would have their anti-aircraft missile arrays ready to fire, and their fighter defenses already in the air on full alert to knock down the heavily burdened and inevitably poorly armed incoming US planes.

It’s all a big lie in other words, for the Pentagon to claim these planes are making the world safer by including a pilot.

As first-strike weapons the nuclear bomb-capable F35A simply increases the chance that a war will be started by the US,  if Pentagon strategists start believing they have a window of  opportunity to strike without fear of a significant retaliation.

That leaves the other more likely risk too:  That this nuclear-capable fighter could be used to deliver a “small nuke”  against some  non-nuclear nation — one of the many where US military forces are constantly being engaged in undeclared wars like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger, the Philippines, etc. The consequences of such a use of a nuclear weapon against a non-nuclear nation, by opening the door to widespread use of nuclear weapons in virtually any armed conflict, could be as profound as was the first such use against non-nuclear Japan by a cocky US in the waning days of World War II.

Those two bombings of two non-military targets, obliterating two major Japanese cities, led directly to a multi-generational multi-trillion-dollar arms race between the US and Soviet Union, and ultimately China too, and to a spread of nuclear weapons to seven more nations.

This latest escalation of nuclear weaponry, creating a fleet of over a thousand nuclear-carrying stealth fighter-bombers, will inevitably lead to similar planes being developed in Russia, China and elsewhere (China has already created a very similar stealth fighter to the F-35, and Russia, which has a very advanced aircraft design capability, is sure to follow suit).  The unrelenting efforts, at incalculable cost. by the US to come up with a viable first-strike capability are also compelling the Russians and Chinese to respond with alternative deterrent weapons, notably hypersonic cruise missiles that can autonomously change direction and shift targets while flying at thousands of miles per hour, are not first-strike weapons, given the relatively longer time it would take them to reach their targets.

For all the huffing and puffing of media scaremongers, the hypersonic missiles being tested by Russia and China are a defensive weapons designed to make a nation like the US that is openly looking for an offensive first-strike possibility,  think twice before launching such a holocaust.

Deterrence is decidedly not what the F35A nuclear bomber upgrades are about. The best that can be hoped is that this bomber upgrade is just the latest in a series of schemes by the Pentagon, F35-maker Lockheed-Martin, and all the company’s Congressional backers accepting the company’s bribes, to keep this $1.7-trillion gravy train for this epic boondoggle of a plane flowing.

The Korean Horn Continues to Nuke Up: Revelation 8

Satellite imagery shows continued operation of North Korea's uranium enrichment plant

Satellite imagery shows continued operation of North Korea’s uranium enrichment plant

Photo Credit: IANS

Seoul/Washington: North Korea continues to operate its key uranium plant, a US think tank said, suggesting a steady growth in Pyongyang’s stockpile of the material used to build nuclear weapons.

Citing recent satellite imagery, Beyond Parallel, a project of the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies, reported the North’s Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant remains operational and is producing uranium concentrate, Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.

“The main plant of the Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant continues to show activity consistent with the continued production of uranium concentrate and ongoing maintenance efforts,” the report said, citing commercial satellite imagery collected between April and October.

It said some panels on the roof of a “leaching and classifying building” at the Pyongsan plant appeared to have been replaced due to deterioration that it said “is caused by acid vapour condensing on the underside of the roof panels”.

The report noted the Pyongsan plant remains the “sole verified producer of uranium concentrate”, also known as yellowcake.

“As such it represents the foundation upon which the nation’s production of fissile material for nuclear weapons is built,” it said.

The Pyongsan facility is located some 45 km north of the inter-Korean border.

North Korea has staged six nuclear tests with its last test being conducted in September 2017.

The North, however, has repeatedly vowed to continue bolstering its nuclear capability as a deterrent against what it claims to be US hostility toward it.

“Given the observed level of activity and North Korean statements concerning the importance of continued development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and barring any unforeseen developments, the plant will undoubtedly remain operational for the foreseeable future.

“The dismantlement of the Pyongsan Uranium Concentrate Plant should be an essential component to any meaningful future ‘complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement’ nuclear agreement between the US and North Korea,” the report added.