North Korea Fires Back At Babylon

North Korea launches ballistic missiles 
By KJ Kwon, Barbara Starr and Jim Sciutto, CNN
Updated 2034 GMT (0434 HKT) March 18, 2016

(CNN)North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles off the west coast of the Korean peninsula, the South Korean military and U.S. defense officials said Friday.

The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff said that one ballistic missile flew a distance of 800 kilometers overland toward the sea off the country’s east coast, while a second projectile, assumed to be a missile, was detected by radar but disappeared at an altitude of about 17 kilometers.

The military said it was closely tracking and monitoring the situation and maintaining a readiness posture for any North Korean provocation.

U.S. official confirmed the launch, with a U.S. defense official telling CNN that it tracked two ballistic missiles.

The launch came around 5:55 a.m. local time, near Sukchon county, South Pyongan province, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Iran Increases Its Ballistic Rhetoric (Daniel 8:4)

Obama administration preparing new sanctions
Updated Dec. 31, 2015 2:37 p.m. ET
Mr. Rouhani’s comments, made on his official Twitter account Thursday, cast fresh doubts on the prospects for the U.S. and Iran to successfully implement the landmark nuclear agreement reached last July.
The Obama administration has said it could begin removing sanctions on Tehran as early as January since Iran has begun taking steps to roll back its nuclear program.
But the U.S. is concurrently preparing to impose new sanctions on Iranian defense firms and officials in the wake of two ballistic missile tests staged by Tehran over the past three months, according to senior U.S. officials.
Mr. Rouhani said Thursday such sanctions are illegal and that Tehran will take steps to retaliate, including accelerating the pace of its missile program.
“If U.S. continues its illegitimate interference with Iran’s right to defend itself, a new program will be devised to enhance missile capabilities,” the Iranian president said. “We have never negotiated regarding our defense capabilities including our missile program and will not accept any restrictions in this regard.”
The Obama administration has long said that the nuclear agreement doesn’t prevent the U.S. from imposing sanctions on Iranian entities allegedly involved in missile development, as well as those that support international terrorism and human-rights abuses.
The U.S. Treasury Department is preparing to blacklist nearly one dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates for their alleged role in supporting the Iranian missile program.
“We’re not going to respond to every comment from Iranian officials,” a State Department official said Thursday. “We have long taken actions to counter the threats from Iran’s missile program and will continue to do so, including working closely with our allies in the region to bolster their defenses against such threats.”
The missile-related sanctions would be the first since the July agreement was reached. U.S. and European officials said they were optimistic Tehran wouldn’t take any radical steps to blow up the deal.
During the nuclear negotiations the U.S. and its partners sought to construct the deal in a way that would allow a range of lighter sanctions for smaller breaches of the accord.
However critics of the deal have argued that Iranian hardball tactics would force the U.S. to chose between repeatedly overlooking smaller infractions or risking a major confrontation with Tehran that could cripple the deal.
Iran is expected to gain access to as much as $100 billion of its oil revenues that have been frozen in overseas bank accounts in the early stages of the nuclear agreement. Western diplomats said they were doubtful Tehran would put this at risk.
“The first reaction of any country submitted to sanctions is posturing,” France’s ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, said on Twitter. “The real one comes later and discreetly.”
The U.S. wasn’t alone in its push for a response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests.
French officials said in December they were very attentive to Iran’s actions. France, the U.K. and Germany in October backed the U.S. call for the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee to take action over the missile test.
One European diplomat said Thursday the tests clearly breached two existing U.N. resolutions, including July’s Security Council decision endorsing the nuclear deal. “I just hope that it will not jeopardize the rest” of the deal, the diplomat said.
In theory, the EU could match the U.S. moves on sanctions, but diplomats said that was unlikely. There was no official response from the EU on the U.S. plans.
Iran has raised the possibility in recent days that it would take the U.S. to an international body empowered by the U.N. Security Council, called the Joint Commission, to arbitrate disputes that emerge as part of the nuclear agreement.
Iranian diplomats have specifically cited new U.S. visa legislation as a violation of the nuclear agreement. It requires all foreign nationals who have visited Iran, as well as Syria, in the past decade to obtain a visa before entering the U.S.
“If this law is applied, we will put forward a request to the Joint Commission, because the law goes against the nuclear accord,” Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, said this month.
The recent Iranian missile tests and the U.N. ruling that they violated Security Council resolutions threaten what had already been a fragile rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran in the aftermath of the nuclear deal.
In a further sign of recent tension, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Wednesday that the naval forces of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had recently conducted a test of unguided rockets about 1,500 yards from the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Strait of Hormuz. The Guards issued a denial on Thursday, however, saying Iranian ships weren’t conducting tests in the area.
“Publication of such false reports under the current circumstances is more a psychological operation and is questionable,” Revolutionary Guards spokesman Ramezan Sharif said Thursday, according to the Guards’ official news website
Tests, military exercises and detentions of vessels around the crucial Strait of Hormuz have often taken place during times of heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. About a third of the world’s oil trade goes through the narrow passageway.
Despite signs of political strain—and repeated denunciations of U.S. policy by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—the substantive steps Iran and other countries committed to under the nuclear deal have progressed on schedule.
The International Atomic Energy Agency in mid-December issued a report on the possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, determining that scientists had done research on nuclear weapons until 2009.
Iran also made some headway on several steps it must take to secure sanctions relief, including decommissioning thousands of enrichment centrifuges, removing the reactor core at its Arak nuclear facility near Tehran and reducing its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
Mr. Kerry said this week that Iran had shipped about 25,000 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Russia, including almost all of its 20%-enriched uranium. Iranian officials said they received about 140 tons of minimally processed yellowcake uranium from Russia in exchange.

Pakistan Boasts Fastest Growing Nuclear Arsenal (Daniel 8:8)


Pakistan tests nuclear-capable missile with range of 900km

Pakistan on Tuesday tested the nuclear-capable Shaheen-IA ballistic missile with a range of 900 km, capable of striking targets deep within India.

This was Pakistan’s second test of a nuclear-capable missile in four days. A statement from the Pakistani military’s media arm described Tuesday’s launch as successful but did not say where the test was conducted.

The test of the Shaheen-IA was aimed at “re-validating several design and technical parameters of the weapon system”, the statement said.

The impact point of the test was in the Arabian Sea and the launch was witnessed by officers from the Strategic Plans Division, strategic forces, scientists and engineers.

Lt Gen Mazhar Jamil, the head of the Strategic Plans Division that manages the country’s nuclear arsenal, said the test was “another display of strengthening Pakistan’s defence”. He added: “Pakistan’s strategic capabilities are based on credible minimum deterrence and desire for peaceful co-existence in the region.”

On December 11, Pakistan tested the Shaheen-III surface-to-surface ballistic missile with a range of 2,750km. The military said that test was aimed at “validating various design and technical parameters”.

Pakistan has developed a range of nuclear-capable missiles, most of them with help from China, that are India-centric. Experts believe Pakistan has one of the fastest growing nuclear arsenals.

Russia Outclasses Babylon: Launches ICBM (Dan 7:7)

Russia successfully test fires Topol ballistic missile


Russian Strategic Missile Forces successfully test fired a single-warhead Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Kapustin Yar test range in the Astrakhan Region in southern Russia on Saturday. The warhead hit a designated target at the Sari-Shagon test range in Kazakhstan. The RS-12M Topol is the predecessor of the Topol-M, with a maximum range of 10,000km (6,125 miles). It is capable of carrying a 550-kiloton nuclear weapon.

MAD: mutually assured destruction (Rev 16)

Regular missile tests maintain India-Pakistan status quo

New Delhi, May 15 Abheet Singh Sethi IANS1 day ago

Last month, India tested its indigenously-developed 3,000-km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni III, while Pakistan tested its 1,300-km Medium Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM) Ghauri.

Both missiles are part of an ever-growing arsenal capable of reaching every corner of rival territory (including India’s Andaman Islands) and carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads. Ironically, these tests are also a good way of ensuring the two countries do not go to war.
“Such tests are considered routine exercises for the two arch-rivals since they developed nuclear weapons capabilities in 1998,” according to Foreign Policy.

Nuclear weapons carried by ballistic missiles are strategic weapons of mass destruction meant primarily to scare and deter, usually ending in strategic stalemates between countries that possess such arsenals.

The possibility of “mutually assured destruction“, or MAD, as it is commonly known, also prevents their use on the subcontinent.

India’s ballistic-missile programme is driven by the threat it perceives from its nuclear armed neighbours Pakistan and China.

On May 11, 1998, India’s then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared to the world that India had become a nuclear weapons state after successfully detonating three devices. Less than three weeks later, Pakistan also conducted nuclear weapons tests.

On the 17th year anniversary of India’s nuclear weapons test, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the efforts of Indian scientists with the following tweet.

“We salute efforts of our scientists & political leadership behind the success of Pokhran Tests on this day in 1998. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 11, 2015″

Almost 17 years later, the arch rivals each test fired ballistic missiles. These are strategic delivery systems capable of delivering either nuclear or conventional warheads deep inside each other’s territory, with the focus being predominantly on the former.

Land, fire and falcons

When it comes to Pakistan, India has developed/is developing the Prithvi and Agni series of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles.

The Prithvi series comprises three short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) with a range of 150-350 km, capable of targeting major Pakistani cities, such as Lahore, Sialkot, the capital Islamabad and Rawalpindi according to an IndiaSpend analysis.

The Prithvi series are road mobile and deployed. Development of the Prithvi series began in 1983.
Agni I and II, with ranges of 700 km and 2,000 km respectively, are capable of targeting almost all major Pakistani cities, including Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, Karachi, Quetta and Gwadar.

The development of the Agni I began in 1999, and it was first tested in January 2002. The Agni I fills the gap between the SRBM Prithvi series and medium-range Agni II missile. It has been in service since 2004.

The Agni II is a medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM), first tested in April 1999. It allows India to attack all of Pakistan, although it falls short of major targets within China. Like Agni I, it too is highly accurate and is road and rail mobile.

Agni III, IV and V, with their longer ranges, might be able to reach all of Pakistan, but it can be safely said that they are directed more towards China.

Pakistan’s Hatf (named after the sword of Prophet Muhammad, pbuh) series of ballistic missiles have been developed–and is still under development–keeping India in mind. These missiles have varying ranges starting from 70 km, and go up to 2750 km. Some of these missiles are variants of existing Chinese and North Korean ballistic missiles, according to a report on Pakistan’s ballistic missile programme by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore.

Of these, the operational SRBM Ghaznavi (named after the 11th-century Afghan invader Mahmud Ghazni) is a shortened version of the Chinese M-11 missile and has a range of between 270 km to 350 km; this means it can target Ludhiana, Ahmedabad and the outer perimeter of Delhi.

The recently-tested Ghauri (named after 12th-century Afghan king Shahbuddin Ghauri, also known as Muhammad of Ghauri) is an MRBM, with a claimed range of 1,300 km and is “clearly and unambiguously North Korean in origin”, according to the NIAS report. The report adds that the missile is deployed and can target Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Bhopal and Lucknow.

The Shaheen-III, a road-mobile IRBM was tested this March and has a claimed range of 2,750 km.
Addressing the Carnegie International Nuclear Policy Conference 2015 in Washington, Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai (retd), a former head of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons division, said Pakistan has developed the Shaheen III to prevent India from attaining a nuclear second-strike capability from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

(In arrangement with, a data-driven, non-profit, public-interest journalism platform, with which Abheet Singh Sethi is a policy analyst. The views expressed are personal. Additional inputs from Ramya Panuganty, junior research fellow, National Institute of Advanced Studies)


India And Pakistan Exchange Fire Nuclear Capable Missiles

India and Pakistan conduct user trials of nuclear-capable missiles

18 November 2014


The Indian Air Force (IAF) has conducted yet another launch of the Akash nuclear capable supersonic missile from the launch complex III of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odhisa, India.

Undertaken as part of a routine user trial, the test featured an air force version of Akash, and successfully met its objectives.

Akash mission director G Chandramouli was quoted by The Hindu as saying the missile flew at a supersonic speed over a distance of 14km prior to destroying a target at a low-altitude of 1.2km.
Called para flare, the target was reportedly dropped by a MiG-27 fighter aircraft belonging to the air force.

ITR director M V K V Prasad told Press Trust of India that the trial of was fully successful, saying: “Some more similar trials of the missile will be conducted in this week.”

The trial comes on the same day as the Pakistani military conducted a successful test launch of the upgraded version of its Shaheen I intermediate range ballistic missile.

Carried out from an undisclosed location with impact point in Arabian Sea, the trial was aimed at re-validating various design and technical parameters of Shaheen IA weapon system.

“The trial comes on the same day as the Pakistani military conducted a successful test launch of the upgraded version of its Shaheen I intermediate range ballistic missile.”

Shaheen1A missile can carry nuclear and conventional warheads to a range of 900km, whereas Akash is an all-weather surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of 25km.

Developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation and Bharat Electronics Limited as part of the integrated guided missile development programme, Akash has already entered into IAF’s operational service, and is awaiting induction into the Indian Army.

Since last week, both Indian and Pakistan have conducted a series of missile launches to evaluate the performance of the domestically built weapons systems.

While India test-fired Dhanush and Prithvi-II ballistic missiles from test ranges in the state of Odhisa, the Pakistani Army conducted operational launch of Shaheen-II intermediate range ballistic missile from an undisclosed location.

Russian Nuclear Horn Launches New Nuclear Missiles Successfully

Russia developing new nuclear weapons to counter US, NATO

MOSCOW — Russia is developing an array of new nuclear and conventional weapons to counter recent moves by the US and NATO, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday as the military successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a nuclear submarine.

Putin accused the West of using the crisis in Ukraine to reinvigorate NATO, warning that Moscow will ponder a response to the alliance’s decision to create a rapid-reaction “spearhead” force to protect Eastern Europe.

His comments came as Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War due to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine. They appear to show that the Russian leader is determined to pursue a tough course in the face of more Western sanctions.

Addressing a Kremlin meeting on weapons modernization, Putin ominously warned the West against getting “hysterical” about Moscow’s re-arming efforts, in view of US missile defense plans and other decisions he said have challenged Russia’s security.

“We have warned many times that we would have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security,” Putin said, adding that he would now take personal charge of the government commission overseeing military industries.

He said Russia’s 2016-2025 weapons modernization program should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent”; re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system, and developing high-precision conventional weapons.

The difficulties faced by the Russian arms industry have been highlighted by the long and painful development of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, which has suffered repeated launch failures.

Its designers finally seem to have cured the glitches, and the navy boasted of a successful launch of the Bulava from a nuclear submarine Wednesday. Two more launches are set for the fall.

Putin said potential threats must be thoroughly analyzed to avoid overburdening the economy with excessive military spending. He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.

Putin’s emphasis on high-precision conventional weapons reflected government concerns about the US and other NATO countries enjoying a significant edge in that area.

The comparative weakness of Russia’s conventional arsenals have prompted Russia to rely increasingly on a nuclear deterrent, with the nation’s military doctrine envisaging the possibility that Russia may use nuclear weapons first in response to a conventional aggression.

Talking about potential threats, the Russian president specifically pointed at the US missile defense program and Washington’s plans to develop new conventional weapons that could strike targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is in charge of weapons industries, told reporters after the meeting that Russia will respond to the US challenge by developing its strategic nuclear forces and aerospace defenses. Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said the military will focus on developing defensive systems to counter the new US programs, according to the Interfax news agency.

Russia inherited most of its arsenal from the Soviet Union and has struggled to develop new weapons systems after the post-Soviet industrial meltdown. With hundreds of subcontractors going out of production, Russian arms manufacturers often had to make components themselves, swelling costs and affecting production quality.

Putin said Russian defense industries must rid themselves of a dependence on imports and quickly become capable of producing key components at home.

Faced with a pro-Russian insurgency in the east backed by Moscow, Ukraine has already cut arms exports to Russia. They include missile components, helicopter engines and turbines for naval ships that Russian arms makers may find hard to replace. Western nations also have cut exports of military components to Russia.

Pakistan Fires Nuclear Capable Missile

Pakistan test-fires nuke-capable missile
This handout photograph released by Pakistan
This handout photograph released by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) office, shows a Hatf III, (Ghaznavi) short range ballistic missile launched from an undisclosed location in Pakistan on May 10, 2012.
Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:12PM

The military said in a statement that the missile codenamed ‘Ghaznavi’ was launched from an undisclosed location on Tuesday and has a range of 290 kilometers.

Army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa also said the test was conducted during a field training exercise supervised by top military commanders.

“The test-firing was another milestone which has further strengthened the defense potential of Pakistan,” media outlets quoted the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Rashad Mahmood as saying.

Pakistani military routinely test various missiles to match those of India.

Pakistani authorities have frequently reiterated that nuclear deterrence is the basis of the country’s security policy and that they have no intention of using the missiles aggressively.

India and Pakistan have routinely carried out missile tests since both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability in 1998. The two neighbors have engaged in an arms race since the partition of Pakistan from India in 1947.

Both neighbors have refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international regulatory pacts that restrict developing or testing nuclear weapons.

India considers the NPT as discriminatory, while Pakistan has indicated that it will not join the international treaty until its neighbor does so.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars with its nuclear-armed neighbor India since their independence from Britain in 1947.