How Obama and Biden betrayed the United States

No, Iran nuclear program was not ‘bottled up’

Leaving aside politics, I am concerned that your editorial, “As voting begins, our choice is Joe Biden,” (Oct. 1), incorrectly described the vitally important situation involving Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

You said that the Iran deal “had kept Iran’s nuclear program bottled up.” That statement has no basis in fact. In the negotiations toward that deal, our negotiators conceded away any meaningful way to verify Iran’s compliance. We surrendered the IAEA’s right to inspect all facilities. It may inspect only selected ones. Even the limited inspections are often subject to enough advance notice to Iran that its fanatical and ruthless leaders can easily cover up their nuclear efforts. Nothing is “bottled up.” Instead, the deal is like Swiss cheese.

While accepting on faith that Iran would keep its word, we gave it $100 billion, which it is using to fund terrorism and military proxies throughout the Middle East, including Syria and Iraq. Moreover, Iran will have plenty of arms available to purchase, as we  conceded away the UN arms embargo against Iran, which will now expire imminently.

The Day has a right to its political preferences but has an obligation not to make unfounded factual statements.

Mark I. Fishman

President of PRIMER-Connecticut (Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting)

New Haven

The nuclear deal unravels: Revelation 16

October 2020

By Kingston Reif and Shannon Bugos

As the clock winds down on the last remaining U.S.-Russian arms control treaty, the United States and Russia remain locked in a stalemate with numerous obstacles blocking the path to prolonging the agreement. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will only contemplate a short-term extension of the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) if Russia agrees to a framework for a new trilateral treaty that verifiably covers all nuclear warheads, includes those of China in the future, and makes changes to the painstakingly negotiated New START verification regime.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov arrives for nuclear talks with U.S. officials in Vienna on June 22. The discussions yielded little progress, and more recently he said “there are no grounds for any kind of deal in the form proposed.” (Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Moscow, which supports an unconditional five-year extension of the treaty, has called the U.S. proposal “absolutely unrealistic.” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that “there are no grounds for any kind of deal in the form proposed” by Washington in a Sept. 21 interview with Kommersant. New START permits an extension of up to five years so long as the U.S. and Russian presidents agree.

The U.S. approach raises several questions, such as whether the Trump administration is actually interested in extending New START at all, what the United States would be willing to put on the negotiating table in exchange for concessions from Russia, and why the administration believes that withholding an extension of the treaty provides the United States leverage in negotiations.

With Russia showing little sign of agreeing to the framework, the Trump administration will soon face the choice of whether to extend the treaty as is or set it on a path to expiration in February, which could trigger a costly arms race.

The Trump administration has also suggested that, if Russia does not agree to framework prior to the U.S. presidential election in November, Washington will tack on additional conditions for New START extension. What those conditions would be are unknown.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that if he is elected president in November and New START has not been extended, he will pursue the treaty’s extension and “use that as a foundation for new arms control arrangements,” according to his campaign website.

Marshall Billingslea, U.S. special envoy for arms control, told Kommersant on Sept. 21 that if Russia does not agree to the Trump administration’s framework, the United States will not extend New START. Billingslea also threatened that the United States would increase the deployed strategic arsenal “immediately after the expiration of the treaty in February.”

The U.S. insistence on the framework and refusal to extend New START without unilateral concessions by Moscow has prompted some skeptics to wonder whether the Trump administration is attempting to set Russia and China up to take the blame for an expiration of the treaty.

U.S. officials said that, with four months until New START expires on Feb. 5, 2021, sufficient time remains for Russia to agree to the U.S. offer before a decision must be made on an extension. Yet even if Russia were open to discussions with the United States on its demands, negotiating the specifics of a framework could take weeks if not months.

In addition, according to officials from the Russian Foreign Ministry, Moscow might need months to process a “technical extension” of the treaty.

Billingslea has claimed that the United States has significant leverage because Russia is desperate for an extension of the treaty. But Russia has said that it desires an extension of the treaty only as much as the United States and will not pursue an extension at any cost.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in July that, if the Trump administration does not agree to extend New START, “we will not insist.”

Extending the treaty for a period of less than five years, as the Trump administration is contemplating, also poses risks. Negotiations on arms control treaties are difficult and time consuming. A new agreement along the lines proposed by the Trump administration could take years.

Billingslea has declined to say how long an extension the administration has proposed, telling Kommersant that it “depends on how flexible the Russian leadership will be.”

Moreover, assuming Moscow would even agree to multiple short-term extensions totaling less than five years, preparing and posturing for such extensions could distract from the broader talks the administration says it seeks.

Although any framework agreement is likely to require mutual concessions from Washington and Moscow, the Trump administration refuses to detail what it would be willing to put on the negotiating table, besides a short-term extension of New START, in order to secure Russia’s agreement.

Russia has long said that it prioritizes the inclusion of U.S. allies France and the United Kingdom in arms control discussions. In addition, Moscow seeks to capture other factors it deems essential to maintaining strategic stability, such as missile defense, ground-based short- and intermediate-range missiles, space weapons, and hypersonic weapons.

Billingslea, however, has dismissed the idea of including limits on U.S. missile defenses, involving France and the UK in multilateral talks, and removing U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Europe.

The Trump administration also has yet to describe what it would be willing to do in order to bring China to the table. Billingslea told CNN on Sept. 18 that Russia could persuade China to join talks, although Moscow has previously refused to do so.

“It’s [Russian President] Vladimir Putin,” he said. “He’s got all kinds of leverage. If they really wanted to help, they could.”

China has repeatedly declined to join trilateral arms control talks with the United States and Russia. The only way that Beijing would join, said Fu Cong, director-general of the Chinese Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, in July, was if the United States decreased its nuclear arsenal to the size of China’s. (See ACT, September 2020.) The United States has an estimated 6,000 nuclear weapons, including retired warheads; China’s arsenal numbers in the low 200s, according to a U.S. Defense Department report in September.

Billingslea claims that the verification regime put into place by New START suffers from significant loopholes and deficiencies, such as the absence of sufficient exchanges of missile telemetry and the limited frequency of on-site inspection.

The U.S. military, however, places great value on the treaty’s inspections and has not indicated that such flaws exist. Vice Adm. David Kriete, deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said in July 2019 that “those verification procedures that the U.S. gets to execute all the time provide great insight into Russia’s capabilities, numbers, and all kinds of things associated with their nuclear weapons.” If those procedures disappeared, he said, then “we would have to go look for other ways to fill in the gaps.”

Rose Gottemoeller, chief U.S. negotiator for New START, also emphasized the importance of New START’s verification setup, saying that it used what worked in previous treaties and discarded those elements that previously encountered issues with implementation. “In the end,” she said in May, “the United States got what it wanted in the New START verification regime: streamlined inspection procedures at a sufficient level of detail to be effectively implemented.”

Although the Trump administration has expressed its willingness to let New START expire, members of Congress continue their calls for the treaty’s five-year extension.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent a Sept. 8 letter to Trump calling for the United States to extend New START.

According to an internal State Department report for Congress obtained by Foreign Policy in September, U.S. allies are “concerned about the potential repercussions to the international security environment should New START expire before its full term.”

Meanwhile, the United States and Russia have continued a pause on inspections under New START and a postponement of the Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC), which oversees implementation of the treaty.

“The United States is studying how and when to resume inspections and the BCC while mitigating the risk of COVID-19 to all U.S. and Russian personnel,” a State Department spokesperson told Arms Control Today. “The United States continues to implement and abide by” New START.

New START caps the U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals at 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed missiles and heavy bombers each.

Russia’s Deterrent Nuclear Weapons (Revelation 16)

Russia’s Avangard Glide Vehicle ‘More Deterrent Weapon Than Nuclear Bomb’, Chinese Media Claims – Sputnik International

Oleg Burunov16:10 GMT 12.09.2020

Late last year, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu confirmed that the country’s first Strategic Missile Forces regiment armed with the nuclear-capable Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle had entered combat duty.

Although the US remains the country with the most comprehensive air defence system in the world, even this missile shield is unable to intercept Russia’s Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, the Chinese news outlet Sina reports.

The vehicle’s characteristics, especially its strike speed and resistance to interception, “make the Avangard missile a more deterrent weapon than a nuclear bomb”, Sina claimed.

The news outlet added that by showcasing the Avangard, Russia is sending a message to the US that “the existing American air defences are useless when it comes to intercepting Russian missiles”.

© Photo : Russian Defence Ministry

Avangard hypersonic missile system

The remarks came a few days after The Washington Post (WaPo) published excerpts of veteran American journalist Bob Woodward’s soon-to-be-released book on the Trump presidency, in which the reporter specifically cited POTUS as mentioning what he described as an “incredible” US nuclear weapons system.

“I have built a nuclear – a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before […]”, Trump told Woodward, adding that the US has “stuff” Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping “have never heard about before”.

Even though Trump did not elaborate, some quickly suggested that POTUS was probably referring to the W76-2, a new low-yield nuclear warhead designed to fit on the US Navy’s Trident D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The WaPo report followed Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov noting last week that it was Washington’s move to modernise low-yield nukes, not Russia’s actions, that is destabilising the global nuclear deterrent. Antonov was responding to US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence Robert Soofer, who earlier declared that Russia was initiating an arms race in the sphere of non-strategic weapons.

Earlier in September, Soofer said that bipartisan support for the creation of the W76-2 remains “divided”, as he outlined the US’ Nuclear Deterrence Strategy, which “places a premium on ensuring the survivability of nuclear forces that can threaten the adversary”.

Avangard Missile Enters Service

In late 2019, Russian Strategic Missile Forces commander Col-Gen Sergei Karakaev confirmed that the first Avangard-armed missile regiment had been stationed at the Yasnensky missile compound in the Orenburg region, about 1,200 km southeast of Moscow.

Russian Defence Ministry

Russia’s Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle Not Violating New START Deal – General Staff

The statement was preceded by Russian President Vladimir Putin telling the country’s Federation Assembly in February 2019 that the significance of creating the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle can be likened to the creation of the Earth’s first artificial satellite.

Presenting the Avangard missile during his Federation Assembly address the year before, Putin said that the missile is capable of changing course mid-flight, thereby avoiding being tracked and intercepted.

He noted that the speed of the missile, which “flies like a meteorite or a fire ball”, was in excess of Mach 20 and that it is capable of penetrating any existing missile defence system.

The Evasive Russian Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

Russia Develops New Technology to Detect Nukes

September 10, 2020 Christina Kitova

• Mephi developed technology using Red-100 detector.

• The plutonium detection will include the weapons grade levels.

• The technology will be utilized next year in the Tver region first.

Russia announced a device that can scan nuclear reactors at a distance. The device is developed and designed by the Mephi Nuclear University.  The surveillance can be carried out without needing permission to access the facility. It is essentially the RED-100 neutrino detector.

National research nuclear University is one of the first two national research universities in Russia (along with MISIS), established on April 8, 2009 on the basis of the Moscow Institute of engineering and physics (state University). The history goes back to the Moscow mechanical Institute of ammunition (MMIB), founded on November 22, 1942.

National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute) is one of the most recognized technical universities in Russia. MEPhI was founded in 1942 as the Moscow Mechanical Institute of Munitions.

The RED-100 detector uses 200 kilograms of liquid xenon cooled to -105 °C as the working substance. The entire installation is comparable in size to a human and can be mounted on a car. Such a machine could stop many kilometers away from a neutrino-emitting reactor and get information about it without attracting anyone’s attention.

The team does not need to be located on the nuclear station grounds. Additionally, this technology can be also mounted on drones in the future. It should be noted that as of now, the technology is not being mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles.

Furthermore, one of the most unique capabilities is the detection of plutonium. The plutonium detection will include weapons grade levels. The most common isotope, Pu-239, is produced when the most common isotope of uranium, U-238, absorbs a neutron and then quickly decays to plutonium.

It is this plutonium isotope that is most useful in making nuclear weapons, and it is produced in varying quantities in virtually all operating nuclear reactors. Project Manager Alexander Bolozdyn, in an interview with Russian news said:

Eight sovereign states— the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea— have publicly announced successful detonation of nuclear weapons. Another, Israel, is widely suspected to possess nuclear weapons.

“Neutrinos are elementary particles formed in large quantities during nuclear reactions. To guarantee that the neutrinos [coming] from the nuclear reactor will be stopped, a light-year-thick wall of lead will be required, so that they can easily pass through the protection of the nuclear power plant. Based on the analysis of neutrino radiation, we can understand both the isotopic composition of the reaction and what is happening right now in the center of the reactor core.”

Neutrinos easily pass through any walls, since they rarely interact with matter. But for the same reason, they are difficult to catch. This requires bulky multi-ton installations. The largest of them uses a cubic kilometer of Antarctic ice.

Thus far, the device is in the final stages of being tested in the Mephi laboratory. The technology will be utilized next year in the Tver region first. There is a large interest in the device. This technology could be revolutionary to be able to conduct testing, including in countries like Saudi Arabia.

This is a huge announcement and it can be a great aid to understand and analyze capabilities of the myriad of nations pertaining to the weapons of mass destruction. This is especially true with escalation of Iran, North Korea, and possibly even China to expand nuclear weapons production.

Babylon the Great Confronts the Russian Horn

B-52 Bombers Fly Unprecedented Patrol Along Edge Of Russian-Controlled Territory In Ukraine (Updated)

American and British spy planes lurked in the Black Sea during the B-52’s highly unique visit to Ukrainian airspace.

By Tyler Rogoway

USAF / AirNav RadarBox

In another unprecedented show of force aimed at Russia, U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers flew from the United Kingdom to Ukraine airspace earlier today. After arriving there, they orbited for an extended period right at the edge of the Russian-occupied Crimean Peninsula and near areas under the control of Kremlin-supported separatists. These sorties are the latest in a flurry of geopolitical posturing between Washington and Moscow and come a week after a Russian Su-27 Flanker fighter jet performed a potentially dangerous maneuver in front of another B-52H flying over the Black Sea.

Three B-52Hs, with the call signs Julia 51, 52, and 53 departed RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom on Sept. 4, 2020. There are conflicting reports about whether the third bomber took part in the mission to Ukraine, but only two of them were ever visible on online flight tracking software. Regardless, the bombers subsequently returned to Fairford, where a total of six of them – all of which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons – have been forward-deployed as part of a Bomber Task Force mission since Aug. 22.

After they had entered Ukrainian airspace, the B-52Hs flew to the southeastern portion of the country and entered a racetrack-like orbit along the coast of the Sea of Azov. The orbit’s southwesternmost point was over the Ukrainian port city of Henichesk, which is around 20 miles, at its closest, from the Crimean Peninsula. The northeasternmost tip of the route was just south of the city of Melitopol, around 115 miles or so from areas under the control of separatists in Eastern Ukraine that Russian forces are actively supporting.

There are unconfirmed reports Ukrainian Su-27 Flankers flew with the bombers during the sorties. In May 2020, Ukrainian Flankers, as well as MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets, flew with B-1 bombers in the region. At least one U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF) Eurofighter Typhoon, flying all the way from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea, also appears to have joined the bombers for a time.

In addition, a number of U.S. aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) assets, as well as those from the United Kingdom, were seen operating in the area at the time. This included an Air Force RC-135V/W Rivet Joint spy plane, as well as an RAF Airseeker, which is derived from the Rivet Joint. A RAF Sentinel R1, a radar platform based on the Bombardier Global Express business jet, was also present for a time.

The heavy ISR presence makes good sense as these B-52H sorties could only have prompted various responses from Russian forces in Crimea and elsewhere in the region. The RC-135V/W, Airseeker, and Sentinel R1 aircraft are all capable of collecting various signals and electronic intelligence, and would have been well-positioned to gather information about how Russia’s integrated air defense networks and other command and control nodes reacted to the B-52s. 

The ability of the RC-135V/Ws and the Airseeker, especially, to detect, classify, and geolocate various types of emitters, including air defense radars, means that they would have had a particularly good opportunity to help add to the known “electronic order of battle” of Russian forces in the broader Black Sea region. Russia has established a heavy air defense presence in Crimea since it illegally occupied it in 2014, including the deployment of both S-400 and S-300 surface-to-air missile systems at nine different sites.

Despite some reports, this is not actually the first time B-52s have flown inside Ukraine. In 1994, a B-52, along with a B-1 bomber and KC-10A Extender aerial refueling tanker flew to Poltava Air Base in northwestern Ukraine to mark the 50th anniversary of Operation Frantic during World War II. Operation Frantic was a so-called “shuttle bombing” effort in which U.S. bombers flew from bases in the United Kingdom and Italy, struck their targets in Germany and elsewhere, and then landed in bases in Ukraine, which was then a Soviet Socialist Republic. The last of these missions took place in September 1944.

These latest sorties could ostensibly be intended to mark the anniversary of the end of Operation Frantic, but this seems unlikely. This year is the 76th anniversary, not typically one the deserves special attention, and the bombers did not fly near any of the three bases that supported the World War II bombing missions.

It seems much more likely that flying at least two nuclear-capable B-52s into Ukraine, and this particular part of the country, is meant to demonstrate America’s support for Ukraine. At the same time, it presents a visible challenge to Russia with regards to its continued occupation of Crimea and its support of separatists fighting authorities in Kyiv. 

The Sea of Azov was also the site of a very serious altercation between the Ukrainian Navy and Russian security forces in November 2018, in which Russia detained 24 Ukrainian sailors and impounded three Ukrainian vessels for nearly a year. Ukrainian authorities said the two gunboats and the tug were in extremely poor condition when Russia eventually returned them, something that the Kremlin vehemently denied.

This latest B-52H mission would be in line with a number of past bomber operations in the region, as well. Russian Flankers intercepted at least one of these bombers flying over the Black Sea on Aug. 28, with one of them conducting a possibly dangerous “thumping” maneuver very close to the American aircraft. The bomber was one of four that sortied out that day from Fairford to fly over the airspace of all NATO members in Europe, in an unprecedented demonstration of the alliance’s solidarity to any potential adversaries, including Russia. 

A Russian Flanker also followed one of the B-52s into Danish airspace during that mission. There seems to have been a deliberate decision to keep the bombers inside Ukrainian airspace this time, which would have reduced the chance of any kind of intercept.

In addition, as noted, in May 2020, B-1 bombers also trained in the region together with Ukrainian fighter jets, including conducting mock anti-ship operations clearly meant to send a signal to the Kremlin and the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. Last year, a B-52, also part of a detachment at Fairford for a short-term deployment, made a run in the Black Sea at Crimea that mirrored what one might expect to see in an actual strike on targets there involving the employment of air-launched cruise missiles, too. 

This latest B-52 operation is just the latest in a string of tit-for-tat shows of force and other posturing between the United States and Russia in both Europe and the Pacific, which the War Zone has been following closely and that you can read about in more detail in this recent story. NATO is also meeting today to discuss how it might respond to the assassination attempt against a major Russian opposition political figure, which involved a secretive chemical weapon that strongly ties the attack to the Kremlin.

Sending B-52s to southeastern Ukraine is sure to draw new responses from the Kremlin, which may feel a need to further escalate with its own shows of force in response.

UPDATE: 12:50pm EST

U.S. European Command (EUCOM) has confirmed that three B-52 bombers took part in the mission over Ukraine today, as did Ukrainian fighter jets, in a press release. The full release is as follows:

“Three U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress bomber aircraft from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, conducted vital integration training with Ukrainian fighters Friday inside Ukraine’s airspace.”

“Friday’s strategic bomber mission is part of the long-planned deployment of six B-52s to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire, England. The mission provided partners valuable midair training. In addition, the mission demonstrated how forward-located aircraft and crews, such as those in the B-52 units, enable collective defense capabilities and provide the U.S., NATO Allies and partners strategic and operational breadth to deter Russia and assure Allies and partners.”

“More than 200 related missions have been conducted since the Bomber Task Force launched operations in the European theater two years ago. These ongoing bomber missions showcase the U.S. Air Force’s ability to continually execute flying missions, sustain readiness and support Allies and partners across Europe, regardless of external challenges to include the current global COVID-19 crisis response.”

Contact the author: Joe@thedrive.com

Don’t forget to sign upYour Email Address

The powerful Russian nuclear horn (Daniel 7)

Fastest, Largest, Heaviest Bomber Ever Built – Russian Tu-160 Has One ‘Chink In Its Armour’ – US Experts

By Nitin J TickuAugust 29, 2020

Tupolev Tu-160 has got a new lease of life as Russia is working to modernize its existing fleet of Tu-160s with improved engines and avionics. However, experts have pointed out that the one prominent drawback is that it is not stealthy.

“The production of a modernized Tu-160 strategic bomber will require close cooperation among several different plants and the organization of a whole production chain—something that has been a weak point in Russia,” elaborated the Jamestown Foundation, a research and analysis think tank on the update.

Although Tu-160 is the fastest, largest and the heaviest bomber ever built,

Caleb Larson of The National Interest explained that stealth is hard and expensive to achieve. “Russia’s only stealth aircraft, the Su-57 has had myriad teething problems and is unlikely to enter full serial production any time soon due to many issues — the low cost of oil, upon which the wobbly Russian defense budget depends, and engine issues that may be difficult to rectify any time soon,” he wrote.

Air-to-air with a Tupolev Tu-160.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Tu-160 is nicknamed “White Swan”(NATO reporting name “Blackjack”) as the white coating on the entire plane is for the protection of its crew. The thermal energy of the nuclear explosion which is reflected by the white color and, in theory, protects the crew.

The Russian origin bomber is capable of carrying the twelve strategic cruise missile Kh-55 MS which has a maximum range is 3,000km, and it is armed with a 200kt nuclear warhead. The plane can also carry Kh-15P, which has a range of up to 200km.

The Kickback can be fitted with a conventional 250kg warhead or a nuclear warhead. The aircraft is also capable of carrying a range of aerial bombs with a total weight upto 40t.

Larson compared the Russian bomber with the American Rockwell B-1 Lancer. He stated that the two similarities between both are the variable-sweep wings and that both are supersonic.

“The B-1 Lancer is somewhat smaller and is a bomber in the classic sense. The Tu-160, on the other hand, is used more as a stand-off weapons platform, in which missiles are launched from the bomb bay doors while the “White Swan” would speed off at Mach 2+ to safety,” he stated.

He further added that it is the only Soviet-designed bomber that does not carry any defensive weapons, although its prodigious 88,000 pounds of payload capacity can carry a dizzying array of conventional and/or nuclear weapons.

The aircraft is highly computerized and the avionics systems include an integrated aiming, navigation, and flight control system, with navigation and attack radar, an electronic countermeasures system, and automatic controls.

The Tu-160 uses fly-by-wire controls. The aircraft is equipped with three-strut landing gear, a tailwheel, and a brake parachute. For take-off, the aircraft requires a 3.5km runway of solid concrete. The crew of the Tu-160 comprises a pilot, co-pilot, a navigator, and an operator.

Given the new lease of life, the Russian bomber may not be stealthy but is definitely a lethal weapon in the hands of Russia.

The speed of the Russian nuclear horn (Daniel 7)

New details emerge of Russian hypersonic weapons and intended deployments

Credit: Shutterstock

Russia’s recently announced Kh-32 upgrades will provide Russia with expanded hypersonic strike capability, with the dual-use missile to be deployed as an anti-ship weapon to complement the hypersonic Kinzhal’s primary use against land-targets. With a range of up to 1000km and a high explosive warhead which can pierce the hull of most warships, and the potential to overcome ship-based air-defense systems.

The revelation that this solution is Kh-32 based indicates Russian hypersonic weapons use will be very specifically targeted in roles and deployments, in addition to pointing to the stop-gap nature of this particular solution, says William Davies, Associate Analyst at GlobalData. This particular Kh-32 upgrade being launched from modified SU-30s means this is a viable hypersonic air-launched munition for other Su-30 operators such as China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Algeria, with the platform being significantly more widely proliferated than the MiG-31 that carries the Kinzhal.

In particular, the upgrade will provide frontal aviation units deploying SU-30s with the capability to strike naval vessels including aircraft carriers from outside their defensive umbrellas. The development of the Kh-32 as a widely deployed anti-ship missile would strengthen Russia’s area-denial capabilities, complementing the use of other hypersonic solutions. The Kh-32 is initially being deployed on Su-30s but it could potentially be deployed on other modified platforms and could provide a number of other frontline aircraft with hypersonic strike capabilities, such as the Su-34 and Su-24.

Russia has previously mounted the Kinzhal on the MiG-31K, but despite it having a larger range, it was designed for use on land targets making the upgraded Kh-32 a significant boost to Russia’s offensive hypersonic capabilities. The Kh-32 can be employed with nuclear or non-nuclear warheads, but given its application as an anti-ship missile, its application is likely to be non-nuclear in nature despite the DoD categorizing it as a nuclear weapons delivery system.

GlobalData is this website’s parent business intelligence company.

Russia sends a nuclear warning to Babylon the Great

New Video Shows Largest Hydrogen Bomb Ever Exploded

By William J. Broad

Aug. 25, 2020, 12:58 p.m. ET

A Russian nuclear energy agency released formerly classified footage of the Soviet Union’s 1961 Tsar Bomba test.A still image from a 30-minute, previously secret documentary on the largest hydrogen bomb ever detonated.Rosatom

Hydrogen bombs — the world’s deadliest weapons — have no theoretical size limit. The more fuel, the bigger the explosion. When the United States in 1952 detonated the world’s first, its destructive force was 700 times as great as that of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

And in the darkest days of the Cold War, the Soviets and the Americans didn’t only compete to build the most weapons. They each sought at times to build the biggest bomb of all.

“There was a megatonnage race — who was going to have a bigger bomb,” said Robert S. Norris, a historian of the atomic age. “And the Soviets won.”

Last week, the Russian nuclear energy agency, Rosatom, released a 30-minute, formerly secret documentary video about the world’s largest hydrogen bomb detonation. The explosive force of the device — nicknamed Tsar Bomba, or the Tsar’s bomb, and set off on Oct. 30, 1961 — was 50 megatons, or the equivalent of 50 million tons of conventional explosive. That made it 3,333 times as destructive as the weapon used on Hiroshima, Japan, and also far more powerful than the 15 megaton weapon set off by the United States in 1954 in its largest hydrogen bomb blast.

ADVERTISEMENT

From several angles and distances, the video shows the development of the weapon’s gargantuan mushroom cloud, hinting at the bomb’s churning power and apocalyptic force.

Russia has previously released photos and video clips of the device, known officially as RDS-220. The Barents Observer, a publication in Norway, earlier reported on the video’s full release. It features closed captions in English, as well as surges of triumphal music.

“Top secret,” reads the opening caption.

In an interview, Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., called the release “a nice addition” to the growing body of public information. He said the bomb’s description in the video documentary was much fuller than the public would normally receive, but nonetheless carefully avoided the secret technical details “despite appearing to show the innards.”

Dr. Norris, the author of “Racing for the Bomb,” cited formerly classified American documents that revealed the largely dismissive reaction of American military officials to the colossal blast.

Roswell L. Gilpatric, the deputy secretary of defense in 1961, said in a speech just days before the giant Soviet test that American nuclear experts had judged the military value of such a blockbuster “so questionable that it was not worth developing.”

The mushroom cloud from the bomb’s detonation was so large that the Soviet photographers had a hard time capturing its full dimensions. Rosatom

A top-secret document written in July 1963, nearly two years after the blast, noted that “the United States presently has the capability of designing” a weapon of such destructive force.

It never appeared.

Over decades, the big challenge for the makers of the nation’s nuclear arsenal (as well as Russia’s) turned out to be devising not big hydrogen bombs but small ones, which were judged as more useful for targeted attacks. Miniaturization let hydrogen bombs be made small enough so that many warheads could fit atop a single missile (putting many cities simultaneously at risk) or that they could be sent into war aboard trucks, submarines and other non-aerial platforms.

The secrets of miniaturization proved so remarkably difficult to master that they eventually became the stuff of spy scandals.

Still, as Dr. Norris put it, history has long credited the Russians for creating and demonstrating the fearsome power of “the big one” and providing a terrifying object lesson in why hydrogen weapons, as a category, are known as unthinkable.

Atomic Past, Present and Future

William J. Broad is a science journalist and senior writer. He joined The Times in 1983, and has shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues, as well as an Emmy Award and a DuPont Award. @WilliamJBroad

Seventy-five years of nuclear weapons madness is coming to the End

Seventy-five years of nuclear weapons madness

Bret FearAugust 22, 2020

Wars have always caused needless suffering, destruction and death. But 75 years ago, the hell of war reached a new all time immoral low when on August 6, 1945 a United States Boeing B-29 bomber dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima instantly killing over 70,000 – mostly civilian – children, women and men.

And again three days later, on August 9, 1945 the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb, this time on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing at least 60,000 people – again mostly civilians.  Nagasaki was the center of Japanese Catholicism.

Since then eight additional nations have acquired nuclear weapons: Russia, China, Great Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

When one considers the tensions between India and Pakistan, Israel and certain Middle East nations, the U.S. and China, the U.S. and North Korea and the U.S. and Russia, the chances of nuclear war are dangerously real.

Russia and the U.S. possess over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal. And each nation has several hundred nuclear weapons aimed at each other – programmed at “launch ready alert” or otherwise known as “hair-trigger alert.”

Not only is there a real possibility of intentional nuclear war between both countries, but also due to sloppy communications and/or computer errors, Russia and the U.S. have come within minutes of accidental nuclear war more than once.

Furthermore, last year the U.S withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which had required Russia (then the Soviet Union) and the U.S. to eliminate all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (see: https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/INFtreaty).

“Mutual assured destruction” – appropriately known as MAD – is the military doctrine which attempts to reason that since the undeniable massive devastation caused by a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia – not to mention devastating the rest of the world – would be so great that neither nation would start such a war, is catastrophically foolish. It is nothing short of playing Russian roulette with the human race.

Add to these dangers the U.S. Nuclear Posture Review’s statement that the U.S. will continue its policy to be the first to initiate a nuclear attack if it decides that its “vital interests” and those of its “allies and partners” are at risk.

On Jan. 23, 2020 the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved their famous Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight – warning how extremely near humanity is to a global catastrophic midnight posed by the increasing threats of nuclear war and climate change.

“We are now expressing how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds – not hours, or even minutes. It is the closest to Doomsday we have ever been in the history of the Doomsday Clock. We now face a true emergency – an absolutely unacceptable state of world affairs that has eliminated any margin for error or further delay,” warned Rachel Bronson, Ph.D., president of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (see: https://bit.ly/2T55YkP).

In his message given at Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park last year, Pope Francis said, “One of the deepest longings of the human heart is for security, peace and stability. The possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction is not the answer to this desire; indeed they seem always to thwart it.”

And with prophetic warning Pope Francis declared: “The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possessing of nuclear weapons is immoral, as I already said two years ago. We will be judged on this” (see: https://cutt.ly/Ne1emEG).

Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. He is available to speak at diocesan or parish gatherings. Tony can be reached at tmag6@comcast.net.

Russia Really Does Have a Nuclear-Armed Hypersonic Missile (Daniel 7)

Does Russia Really Have a Nuclear-Armed Hypersonic Missile?

Does Russia really have a nuclear-armed hypersonic missile able to travel at 20-times the speed of sound to instantly destroy targets, penetrate air defenses and overwhelm enemies before there is a chance to respond?

A Russian newspaper says yes, adding that Russia has completed the “experimental design work to develop the Avangard missile systems with the boost-glide vehicle capable of breaching existing and future anti-ballistic missile defenses.”

Avangard is reported to be an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with both hypersonic speed and an ability to fly a “maneuvering” flight path through the atmosphere.

Boost-glide hypersonic weapons are built to skim along the upper boundaries of the earth’s atmosphere before using the sheer speed of descent to close in on targets with kinetic energy warheads. The principle advantage with hypersonics is, of course, time–an ability to deprive an enemy with any ability to respond.

Should this weapon fully come to fruition, and be nuclear-capable, it would certainly present technical and strategic challenges for U.S. defenses, as there simply may not be time for air defense radar to find and track the approaching missile.

This being said, the prospect of this kind of weapon does raise several interesting questions, pertaining to both U.S. nuclear defenses and emerging innovations aimed at stopping hypersonic attacks.

Should U.S. nuclear launchers, ICBMs or even land-launched, nuclear-armed strategic bombers be rendered ineffective or destroyed, the U.S. still has available options with which to retaliate.

What this means is that an attacker, if even enabled by scores of fast-moving, destructive hypersonic nuclear weapons, will still be at risk of total nuclear destruction for one specific reason…. nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines.

Lurking beneath the surface in strategically vital waters throughout the world, U.S. submarines are at any time in a position to annihilate entire nations with nuclear-armed missiles. Submarines, it goes without saying, could most likely not be found, targeted or destroyed by air traveling hypersonic weapons.

The U.S. Navy now operates 14 Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines capable of firing nuclear-armed Trident II D5 nuclear weapons at any time. The concept here is self-evident, as they can ensure the complete and immediate destruction of any nation which launches a nuclear attack upon the U.S. Given this, would it make sense for Russia to consider firing nuclear-armed hypersonic weapons at the U.S., even if they were able to penetrate missile defenses.

Also, beyond the well known undersea leg of the U.S. strategic deterrence nuclear triad, U.S. military and industry innovators are working on new innovations aimed at establishing a “continuous track” on approaching hypersonic weapons at long ranges, regardless of their advanced speed. Much of this involves advanced networking, satellite-integrated sensors, and connectivity between boundaries within and beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

Kris Osborn is the new 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 Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.