China Nuclear Horn Tests New Nuke

China tests new sub-launched ballistic missile that will raise the stakes in a nuclear war with the US

Ryan Pickrell

China tested a new JL-3 submarine-launched ballistic missile in late November, moving closer to strengthening its sea-based nuclear strike capabilities.

• The new missiles are expected to be carried by Type 096 submarines, which will replace the older Type 094 Jin-class submarines, China’s first credible sea-based nuclear deterrent.

• With a longer range than the current JL-2 missiles, these new missiles could give China the ability to strike the US mainland from Chinese coastal waters.

China recently conducted the first known test of a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, a significant development as Beijing attempts to bolster its nuclear forces.

The test, first reported by The Washington Free Beacon and confirmed by The Diplomat, involved the new JL-3 missile, which analysts speculate could potentially carry multiple warheads. While China has yet to confirm the test, it was reportedly monitored by the US.

The test was carried out in the Bohai Sea in late November using a modified conventional submarine, but the new weapon is expected to be operationally deployed on the new Type 096 nuclear ballistic missile submarines, which are still in development.

“China’s four operational JIN-class SSBNs represent China’s first credible, seabased nuclear deterrent,” the Department of Defense wrote in its 2018 report of Chinese military power, referring to the Type 094 submarines. “China’s next-generation Type 096 SSBN, reportedly to be armed with the follow-on JL-3 SLBM, will likely begin construction in the early-2020s.”

The current Type 094 submarines carry JL-2 missiles, naval variants of the land-based DF-31s. A report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center argued last year that “this missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast.”

The JL-3 is believed to have a far superior range to the JL-2, which has an estimated range of around 7,000 kilometers. The Diplomat, citing US intelligence estimates, suggested that the full range of the newer missile could be in excess of 9,000 km. The Free Beacon, however, put the range between 11,000 and 14,000 kilometers. During the most recent test, the missile was not fly to its full range, perhaps because the test was a systems verification evaluation

Either way, the extended range of the JL-3 gives China the ability to take aim at targets on the US mainland without venturing far from China’s coast into waters where the submarine might be more vulnerable to attack in the event of a confrontation.

India Ready to Nuke up Against Pakistan (Revelation 8)

Government aware of reports on Pakistan expanding nuke weapons capability

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said the government continues to monitor developments in this regard.

“Government is aware of reports on the expansion of Pakistan’s capability for fissile material production for nuclear weapons, the expansion in its delivery capabilities and purported development of tactical nuclear weapons,” she said. The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”. To a separate question on whether India has lost any territory as a result of international agreement and wars since independence or whether the country has gained any foreign territory through global pacts or wars during the period, she said the information is being collected form the ministries concerned.

India and Pakistan Prepare for a Nuclear Race (Revelation 8)

Modi government says aware of reports on Pakistan expanding nuke weapons capability

The government Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”.

By: PTI December 19, 2018 9:55

The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”.

The government Wednesday said it was aware of reports on expansion of Pakistan’s capability for production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and asserted that it was committed to take all necessary steps to respond to any threat “suitably”. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, replying to a question in Lok Sabha, said the government continues to monitor developments in this regard.

“Government is aware of reports on the expansion of Pakistan’s capability for fissile material production for nuclear weapons, the expansion in its delivery capabilities and purported development of tactical nuclear weapons,” she said. The minister said the government was “committed to take all necessary steps to safeguard national security and respond to any threat suitably and adequately”.

To a separate question on whether India has lost any territory as a result of international agreement and wars since independence or whether the country has gained any foreign territory through global pacts or wars during the period, she said the information is being collected form the ministries concerned.

Pakistan Counters India’s Nuclear Horn

Ammar Akbar |

“National missile defense is poised to retrigger a proliferation of weapons, notably nuclear missiles. Everything that goes in the direction of proliferation is a bad direction”, said Jacques Chirac, former president of France. However, the recent S-400 purchase deal inked between India and Russia has not only prompted an arms race but also created the question of balance of power in the region.

While India’s hegemonic ambitions have always propelled it to acquire state-of-the-art weapons, Pakistan, on the other hand, has made sure that a strategic balance is maintained to meet any challenges to its sovereignty. Therefore, Pakistan is fully aware of its security and defense challenges.

It’s not a surprise that Pakistan’s indigenous cruise missiles have the capability to beat the layered defense shield of S-400 and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy.

In actuality, it is the opacity of Pakistan’s missile and defense system technology, which would leave the adversary completely surprised. Similarly, the inherent weakness of the Russian S-400 anti-missile system and advanced missile systems of Pakistan make this nation of Quaid ready for any undesirable military adventures by the enemy.

The S-400 Triumf system, ‘considered’ to be the most advanced air defense system, has been in service for more than a decade but its performance and operationality on the field is marred with skepticism and uncertainty. On paper, the defense system is capable of engaging with all types of aerial targets including aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and ballistic and cruise missiles within the range of 400km, at an altitude of up to 30km.

These abilities sound impressive but the failure of S-400 in intercepting American Tomahawks missiles targeting Bashar al-Assad’s Al Shayrat military airbase outside Homs, casted doubts on the capabilities of the system. Russian political statements previously advocating S-400’s effectiveness weakened when senior Russian officials accepted that further improvements were needed to make the system more defense capable.

It must be kept in mind that the S-400 has not been tested against American and Pakistani missile technology. With Tomahawks, the American cruise missile, having a range of 690 miles and ability to skim the surface of the earth and take complicated routes to a target to avoid possible interception, it seems that the Russians would require significant updates in its S-400 system.

What’s interesting is how the Pakistani missile technology was also designed to penetrate the defenses of the S-400 system. It’s not a surprise that Pakistan’s indigenous cruise missiles have the capability to beat the layered defense shield of S-400 and hit its target with pinpoint accuracy. Babur, Raad, and Ababeel cruise missiles, the crowns of Pakistan’s cruise missile technology all have the defensive features to safeguard the borders.

The third Pakistani masterpiece is a warhead carrier developed indigenously to counter the strategic imbalance created by India’s procurement of S-400 is Ababeel.

So much so that even International defense experts have labeled Babur as the Pakistani version of Tomahawk. Catherine McArdle Kelleher, a senior American national security expert, has identified the unique similarities between the two cruise missiles. Technically, the technological edge of the cruise over ballistic missile is the maneuverability of the former.

And when it comes to conquering S-400, the Pakistani cruise missiles with multiple stealth capabilities totally dilute the pride of the enemy’s confidence in its defense systems. The ingenuity of Pakistani scientists in missile technology is remarkable. Not only do they accomplish to penetrate the current Indian Ballistic Missile Defence but also have the technology to undermine the abilities of over-hyped S-400.

Even our adversaries have long agreed on the superiority of the Pakistani missile technology. For instance, Lt Gen Sarath Chand, Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) of Indian Army, had already commended the brilliance and technical advancement of Pakistan’s defense industry.

The first line of defense against any misadventure in case of miscalculation and over-reliance on S-400 defense systems by India will be Babur. The cruise missile Babur is an all-weather nuclear capable land, sea and air launch capable missile. With a range of 700km and other distinct features such as Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and all-time Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC) technologies, which facilitate it to engage in different types of targets with pinpoint accuracy even in the absence of GPS navigation makes it impossible for S-400 batteries stationed across the border to interpret the subsonic missile.

Technically speaking, it’s low-flying, terrain-hugging missile and its flight capability of less than 5km over sea level makes it easy to evade the radar coverage of S-400. Russian defense sources have already disclosed that the maximum engagement attitude for S-400 interceptor missiles is between 15-20km. The nuclear-capable Babur missile even has an advantage over the current Indian missile defense system as it can beat the interception in the endo-atmospheric stage.

The second missile, which has the ability to neutralize the enemy’s defense, is Raad. Raad, which is also known as Hatf VIII, is similar to Babur in technology but is a far more advanced air-launched cruise missile (ALCM). Due to limited information on the missile’s full capabilities, the opacity surrounding its stealth technology is to leave the enemy defense systems unprepared and S-400 is one of those systems.

Gen Khalid Kidwai, former head of Pakistan’s strategic command, has called Shaheen-3 Pakistan’s answer to India’s so-called second capability. With 2750km range, the Shahaan-3 is a power to reckon with.

With an official disclosed the range of 350km, the missile is loaded with self-navigating technology and can fly on a non-ballistic very low altitude trajectory in order to avoid radar detection. Furthermore, its land and sea launch capabilities have included Pakistan in the League of Nations, which has both land and sea strategic standoff capability.

The third Pakistani masterpiece is a warhead carrier developed indigenously to counter the strategic imbalance created by India’s procurement of S-400 is Ababeel. It’s a great achievement for the Pakistani nation, its armed forces and the scientists who left no stone unturned to successfully test the missile. No doubt Pakistan has achieved a milestone in missile technology.

The concern and the recognition of Pakistan’s MIRV technology by Robert Ashley, the director of the American Defence Intelligence Agency, further solidifies the significance of the development. One must note that in military warfare, future enhancements of adversary’s defense technology are taken into account prior to the development of new defense equipment. Ababeel, a surface-to-surface nuclear-capable missile with the 2,200km target range, was one such project.

What has made this missile a center of attention in the western and Indian media was its Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology. If we explain the feature in simple words then one can understand the lethality of the missile in this modern age. The S-400 system boasts a multiple layered defense protection against hostile incoming missiles.

Despite high claims of having the capacity to engage with hundreds of incoming targets simultaneously, the success rate of S-400’s interceptor missiles is not 100 percent as witnessed in Syria. Therefore, Ababeel’s MIRV system, which is capable of launching multiple warheads with inbuilt decoys- flying objects to exhaust interceptor missiles- at mid-course and the terminal stage, has full ability to counter the effectiveness of S-400 air defense system.

Pakistan’s necessary strategic reliance on tactical nuclear weapons-a detailed review will be covered in later articles-is response to Indian cold war doctrine of which S-400 is the cornerstone.

Pakistan has not only updated its missile defense technology to deter the hegemonic policing ambitions of India in the region but also made sure the Indian Ocean littoral is secured. Gen Khalid Kidwai, former head of Pakistan’s strategic command, has called Shaheen-3 Pakistan’s answer to India’s so-called second capability. With 2750km range, the Shahaan-3 is a power to reckon with. With built-in MIRV technology, the missile has full capability to deter Indian second-strike capability from the Andaman and Nicobar islands and penetrate the blanket coverage of S-400.

The advanced terminal guidance system on board explains the combination of deterrence features on board of Shaheen 3. In fact, Pakistan’s own second-strike capability achieved through Submarine Launch missile system, Babur 3, has taken hostile forces by surprise. As a result, the Indian army has triggered an arms race by spending billions of dollars on anti-missile defense systems.

Upgrading the ballistic missiles and turning to a nuclear triad capable state was the only option for Pakistan for it was important to maintain the balance of power in the region. It is worth mentioning that Pakistan is fully combat ready to counter Indian aggression be it on land, sea or air. Pakistan’s necessary strategic reliance on tactical nuclear weapons-a detailed review will be covered in later articles-is response to Indian cold war doctrine of which S-400 is the cornerstone.

Hence, the strengthening of Pakistan’s defense industry is a direct response to those powers, which dream to weaken Pakistan in the international society. As Sun Tzu, the ancient military strategist said, “Invincibility lies in the defense; the possibility of victory in the attack”.

Apart from the technical and expert analysis on the impact of the recent S-400 Indian deal, it is also pertinent to discuss the geopolitical analysis, especially when India, Russia, China, and Pakistan are members of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The gradual yet explicit shifts in regional partnerships could destabilize the region if the powerful governments fail to take into account the ground realities.

Anti-state elements tried each and every technique to destabilize our country. The response was simple, the harder you press us, the stronger we will emerge.

Buzzwords such as nuclear proliferation, nuclear suppliers group and sanctions are becoming irrelevant while America’s strategic partner is being given special treatment. The vivid example is America’s new strategic partner, India, whose complete violations of international obligations under Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) are justified as a diplomatic understanding between the USA and India.

Michael Kugelman, an expert on South Asia, argues that despite the converging of American and Indian interests, Russia’s relationship with India remains strong. Similarly, America’s nuclear deal with India, despite non-signatory of the NPT, is a clear message to promote India at the cost of Pakistan while disturbing the regional peace and security.  However, Pakistan is aware of these changes and has credibly maintained its defense capabilities to defeat the hegemonic maneuvers of India and its partners.

Read more: India tests Brahmos missile in “extreme conditions”

Sadly, if Russia continues to prioritize its security equipment sales over peace in the region then SCO would follow the same trajectory as SAARC. Any significant arms deal should go through the SCO platform and Pakistan especially should be taken into confidence due to its important geopolitical location. The dream of India to act as a big brother will remain a delusion as Pakistan’s hard power is globally recognized.

Thus, Russia should rethink the S-400 deal and amend relations with Pakistan to benefit from its counter-terrorism and defense industry expertise. The resilience of Pakistan army in the war against terror is proof that as a nation we prefer peace over violence. The SCO and its member Russia have to follow zero-sum free policies towards Pakistan, as it will boost Pakistan’s role in the organization. The objectives of the organization have to take precedence over national interests.

The state-of-the-art weapons are the reminder to those who underestimate the full spectrum deterrence capabilities of Pakistan. Pakistan believes in the peaceful rise of its neighbors but not at the cost of hawkish policies of the surrounding nations.

It’s a defining moment for Pakistan because, despite years of uncertainty and internal and external challenges, Pakistan emerged as the winner. Anti-state elements tried each and every technique to destabilize our country. The response was simple, the harder you press us, the stronger we will emerge. While Pakistan fought for global peace, India spent billions to upgrade its defense abilities to bully other nations and S-400 deal part of the game.

But rest assured, despite economic constraints Pakistan’s defense industry has become one of the best in the world and is capable enough to produce missiles and tactical weapons, which can sheer through enemies defense lines irrespective of S-400 systems. Defense experts in warfare studies would remember and quote this act as a perfect example of the balance of power maneuvering.

The state-of-the-art weapons are the reminder to those who underestimate the full spectrum deterrence capabilities of Pakistan. Pakistan believes in the peaceful rise of its neighbors but not at the cost of hawkish policies of the surrounding nations.

Read more: Does S-400 air defense missile system signal an end of Pakistan…

We understand the social-economic issues of the subcontinent but survival is paramount in the international comity of nations. When countries– such as India– spend billions on arms purchases and disregard poverty-ridden public, than necessary measures have to be taken by peace-loving nations like Pakistan to safeguard sovereignty because as the father of the nation said, “There is no power on Earth that can undo Pakistan.”

Ammar Akbar Chaudhry is alumni of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. He is International Youth Ambassador at Global Youth Parliament, is a Defence Analyst, and author at ‘Hilal’ magazine, Pakistan Armed Forces. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.

India Widens It’s Nuclear Horn

India Test Fires Agni-V Nuclear-Capable ICBM

Franz-Stefan Gady

India has successfully test fired its most advanced nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Agni-V, the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement. The missile was fired from a canister on a road mobile launcher at Dr Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the eastern Indian state of Odisha on December 10.

“The launch operations were carried out and monitored by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) in presence of Scientists from Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and other associated officials,” the MoD statement reads.  The flight performance of the Agni-V was tracked and monitored by radars, tracking instruments and observation stations. According to the MoD, the user trial of the new ICBM was successful. All test objectives were met.

The December 10 test firing constitutes the seventh test launch of the three-stage Agni-V ICBM, officially designated as an intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), and the third launch in 2018. The last test of the missile took place on June 3. A previous test occurred on January 18. In both instances, the ICBM was launched in deliverable configuration from a hermetically sealed canister mounted on a mobile transporter erector launcher.

The missile was fired in a similar configuration in December 2016 and January 2015. The former launch included testing the missile for its full range. Two other tests that took place in April 2012 and September 2013 respectively, involved the launch of the Agni-V in ‘open configuration.’ The Agni-V is expected to be inducted into service in the coming months. (Earlier media reports suggested a December 2018 induction date.) An operational deployment of the new ICBM would require at least two additional test firings by the SFC.

Development of the Agni-V began in 2008. The ICBM features indigenously designed navigation and guidance systems including a ring laser gyroscope based inertial navigation system. The missile has been primarily developed as a strategic nuclear deterrent against China. As I noted previously:

While previous nuclear-capable missiles of the series (Agni-I, Agni-II, and Agni-III) were developed to offset Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the Agni-IV, [and] Agni-V (…) given their longer ranges, are designed to provide a credible nuclear deterrent against China.

Additionally, I explained:

The Agni-V, a three-stage solid fueled missile, has an approximate range of 5,500-5,800 kilometers [the exact range remains classified, but it is assumed that the missile has a range of 6,000-7,500 kilometers], and can carry a 1,500-kilogram (3,300-pound) nuclear warhead. India has reportedly also been working on multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) for the Agni-V in order to ensure a credible second-strike capability.

The Agni-V’s increased accuracy could pose a problem for long-term strategic stability in South Asia.  The missile’s reduced launch time, paired with India’s burgeoning maneuverable reentry vehicle (MaRV) and MIRV technology, can reduce decision-making time in crisis situations and invite miscalculation.

The Race to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Image result for nuclear war india pakistanMissile and arms race

December 7, 2018

The quick expansion of military technologies and arms race between the two nations is the mere result of their divergent threat perceptions. Obviously, the competitive security narratives and their past stories of unending hostility between the two are the root causes of such perceptions. Among all the major military technologies, Missile Technology is the most expensive one. It eats up the lion’s share of both the countries’ defence budgets.

Moreover, the history depicts that Pakistan has always created the reaction of the action initiated by India. For example, the nuclear weapons, Pakistan commenced its nuclear programme after India’s so-called “Peaceful Nuclear Explosion” in 1974. Similarly, India, first, conducted the nuclear explosion in May 1998. Hence, Pakistan was left with no other option but to react in the same way in order to balance the mismatched power in the region. Resultantly, it is high time that India realized to stop allocating its resources in unnecessary military technologies so that Pakistan doesn’t need to react to balance the disturbed power.

SHEERAZ AKHTAR BHUTTO

Shikarpur, Sindh

US Ready to Break Russian Nuclear Deal

Pompeo says US suspending landmark nuclear deal because of Russian violations

By Conor Finnegan

Dec 4, 2018, 1:48 PM

One of the key treaties that helped to end the Cold War and reduce nuclear tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union and now Russia could be dead within a matter of months.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at NATO Headquarters Tuesday that the U.S. will suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty in 60 days because of Russia’s continued violations of the treaty, shortly after NATO’s foreign ministers affirmed its support for that conclusion in a new joint statement.

“We had a party– a treaty that had two parties, only one of which is compliant!” Pompeo said Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium. “That’s not an agreement, that’s just self-restraint, and it strategically no longer made sense to remain in that position.”

President Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton had previously suggested the U.S. would withdraw from the treaty, but Pompeo’s announcement Tuesday officially starts the clock.

The decision comes as the U.S. seeks to counter a “larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage,” according to Pompeo, but also to take on China’s growing military power, with the top U.S. diplomat warning the treaty gives China a military advantage. But to some arms control experts and Democrats in Congress, the decision was a hasty one that will make the world less safe.

The U.S. will remain in compliance for the next 60 days and then begin the six-month notice period before withdrawal, he said, adding that if Russia comes back into compliance before then, the U.S. could remain in the agreement.

“We would welcome a Russian change of heart, a change in direction, the destruction of their program, and their followed-on continuance of the terms of the treaty, and so over the next 60 days they have every chance to do so,” he said. “But there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.”

Pompeo said there is “complete unity” among NATO members on this decision, and it comes after the Foreign Ministers of NATO released a joint statement that says Russia’s development and deployment specifically of the 9M729 missile system “poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security” and “is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty,” paving the way for U.S. withdrawal.

The U.S. has remained in compliance of the treaty, the group added, despite claims by Russia to the contrary.

Russia has denied violating the INF treaty, at first denying the existence of the weapons system and then later admitting it existed but arguing it was in compliance.

President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting at Finland’s Presidential Palace on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki.

Russia’s violations of the landmark nuclear treaty are also part of a “larger pattern of Russian lawlessness on the world stage,” Pompeo added, citing its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, its intervention in Syria in support of the Assad regime, its election interference in the U.S. and other countries, its use of a nerve agent against an ex-spy in the U.K., and most recently its seizure of Ukrainian ships and sailors in international waters.

But Pompeo did give other reasons for U.S. withdrawal, including the fact that China is not a party to the treaty and is beefing up its military capabilities.

China, North Korea, and Iran are not obligated by the treaty’s limitations, and, “This leaves them free to build all the intermediate range missiles they would like,” he said. “There is no reason the United States should continue to cede this crucial military advantage to revisionist powers like China, in particular when these weapons are being used to threaten and coerce the United States and its allies in Asia.”

There was no immediate response in Moscow to Pompeo’s announcement, but Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said earlier on Tuesday that he and President Vladimir Putin had discussed how to take measures to increase Russian troops’ “military capabilities” in response to a potential new “arms race.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S. National security adviser John Bolton shake hands during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Oct. 23, 2018.

“Measures were looked at for increasing the military capabilities of troops and forces in the conditions of an arms race, connected with the plans of the U.S. to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty,” Shoigu said, according to Russian-state media.

President Trump lamented this possible arms race in a tweet Monday, calling on Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet to “start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race.”

I am certain that, at some time in the future, President Xi and I, together with President Putin of Russia, will start talking about a meaningful halt to what has become a major and uncontrollable Arms Race. The U.S. spent 716 Billion Dollars this year. Crazy!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2018

It’s that concern that upset Congressional Democrats, blasting the administration’s decision as a dangerous move that “play[s] directly into President Putin’s plans,” according to Rep. Adam Smith, the incoming Democratic chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

“The Trump administration should instead work with our allies to take meaningful actions to hold Russia accountable for its violation of the treaty, press Russia back into compliance, and avoid a new arms race,” said Smith, D-Washington, in a statement.

ABC News’s Patrick Reevell contributed to this report from Moscow.

China Prepares for Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

China has constructed two terrifying new nuclear submarines (Pic: AFP/AFP/Getty Images)

China unleashes deadly new NUKE submarines in race to be next SUPERPOWER

CHINA has constructed two terrifying new nuclear subs as it laps the West in the international arms race amid World War 3 fears.

By Matt Drake

14.12, 02 Dec 2018 UPDATED 21.12, 02 Dec 2018

The Type 094 JIN-class ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN)  is the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy second generation SSBN and are at the centre of the Communist state’s sea-based nuclear deterrent.

Satellite imagery from Planet Labs has revealed that workers at the Bohai Shipyard at Huludao have constructed the two additional subs that bring China’s total number to at least six.

Skysat imagery of Bohai Shipyard acquired on 16 November 2018 (Pic: Planet Labs)

Catherine Dill of the James Martin Centre for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: “China is continuing to modernise its nuclear weapons programme, broadly.

“There’s a big emphasis on the SSBN program because all of its deliverable nuclear weapons are on land-based systems. Expanding into these SSBNs gives China more flexibly and credibility.

“These observations would not have been possible without the high cadence of the Planet imagery, which gave us 244 days of exploitable imagery to monitor from July 2017 to November 2018.”

It comes after the US Department of Defence’s China military report published in August 2018 claimed China operates four JIN class boats but did not say anything about SSBN’s under construction.

Beijing’s nuclear deterrent is definitely operational (Pic: TASS\TASS via Getty Images)

But the 2016 report said China may produce a fifth hull before turning to the development of the next generation – the Type 096 SSBN in the 2020s.

China currently has a goal of eight nuclear submarines and the photographs suggest it is well on its way to achieving this.

Western observers have underestimated the number of Chinese nuclear subs in development, but they have overestimated how many are operational.

China currently has a goal of eight nuclear submarines (Pic: VCG)

Only half of China’s nuclear-armed SSBNs appear to be operational and the photos of the Bohai Shipyard and the Longpo Naval Facility suggest that “China does not yet have a credible sea-based deterrent,” Ms Dill continued.

She claims that: “Two of China’s four  JIN (or 094)-class subs appear to not be in operation and are undergoing maintenance or repairs at the Bohai shipyard, suggesting to us that credibility is still in question.”

The revelations come as a report this month claimed the US would lose a war against Russia and China.

Four Type 094 are operationally deployed to the Longpo Naval Base on Hainan Island (Pic: Planet Labs)

US submarine USS Albuquerque SSN 706 (Pic: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

US defence chiefs claim its historic military strength has been devastated, leaving it unable to fight more than one war at once.

It was issued by the National Defence Strategy Commission, whose board are appointed by the House and Senate Armed Services committees.

“US military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe,” it says.

Babylon the Great Withdraws from Nuclear Treaty

US makes case for withdrawal from missile treaty with Russia

Maria Danilova, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Russia has for years been developing, testing and deploying a missile that violates a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a senior White House official said Tuesday, making a case for the administration’s planned withdrawal from the accord ahead of a scheduled meeting between the leaders of the two nations.

The nuclear-capable missile, the official said, can reach over 300 miles (500 kilometers), in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed amid Cold War hostilities in 1987 and which the Trump administration is now seeking to exit.

Russia developed the weapon between 2000 to 2010 and completed testing by 2015, the official said. But when questioned about it in recent years, Moscow officials have denied violating the treaty and demanded to know how the U.S. detected the apparent violation, the official said.

The official said the Trump administration believes it was Russia’s intention to keep the U.S. constrained by the treaty while they developed and deployed the illegal missiles that threaten Europe. The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive foreign policy issue.

The future of the treaty is likely to come up this week when President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina. Administration officials have said it is time to withdraw from an accord that is outdated, has prevented the U.S. from developing new weapons and has already been violated with this Russian missile, the 9M729.

It comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Trump suggested Tuesday in an interview with The Washington Post that he may cancel the sit-down with Putin over Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian naval ships last weekend.

Russia has denied that it has violated the treaty, saying the 9M729 has not been tested for the range that would make it prohibited. Moscow has also alleged the United States has also breached the accord.

Putin has warned that a U.S. decision to withdraw from the treaty would destabilize Europe and prompt Russia to “respond in kind.” On Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated that position.

“We won’t be able to turn a blind eye to the potential deployment of new U.S. missiles on the territories where they may threaten Russia,” Ryabkov said.

The senior U.S. official said the administration, which is seeking support for withdrawal from NATO allies, can still reverse its plan to pull out if Russia acknowledges its violations and takes corrective steps.

Democrats Try to Take Away Trump’s Nuclear Option

Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup

Control of the House will give them ‘the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement.’

By BRYAN BENDER 11/24/2018 07:15 AM EST

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats preparing to take over the House are aiming to roll back what they see as President Donald Trump’s overly aggressive nuclear strategy.

Their goals include eliminating money for Trump’s planned expansion of the U.S. atomic arsenal, including a new long-range ballistic missile and development of a smaller, battlefield nuclear bomb that critics say is more likely to be used in combat than a traditional nuke.

They also want to stymie the administration’s efforts to unravel arms control pacts with Russia. And they even aim to dilute Trump’s sole authority to order the use of nuclear arms, following the president’s threats to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea and other loose talk about doomsday weapons.

The incoming House majority will have lots of leverage, even with control of only one chamber in the Capitol, veterans of nuclear policy say. They point to precedents in which a Democratic-controlled House cut funding for Ronald Reagan’s MX nuclear missile and a Democratic-led Congress canceled the development of a new atomic warhead under George W. Bush.

They can block funding for weapon systems,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington. “The Democrats’ ascendancy will prove a much-needed check on the Trump administration’s nuclear weapons policy and approaches.”

Leading the charge is Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, who is set to become the first progressive in decades to run the House Armed Services Committee, which is responsible for setting defense policy through the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Smith has long criticized both President Barack Obama and Trump’s $1.2 trillion, 30-year plan to upgrade all three legs of the nuclear triad — land-based missiles, submarines and bombers — as both unaffordable and dangerous overkill.

He’s made it clear in recent days that revamping the nation’s nuclear strategy will be one of his top priorities come January, when he is widely expected to take the gavel of the largest committee in Congress.

“The rationale for the triad I don’t think exists anymore. The rationale for the numbers of nuclear weapons doesn’t exist anymore,” Smith told the Ploughshares Fund, a disarmament group, at a recent gathering of the Democratic Party’s nuclear policy establishment.

The daylong conference included leading lawmakers, former National Security Council aides, peace activists and an ex-secretary of Defense, William Perry, who was once an architect of many of the nation’s nuclear weapons but is now a leading proponent for a major downsizing.

Arms control and disarmament groups see Smith’s emergence as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to craft a much more sensible approach to nuclear weapons and reduce the danger of a global conflict.

The mere appearance of a would-be Armed Services chairman at the recent gathering demonstrated how much circumstances have changed.

“I have never seen a chairman give nuclear policy such a high priority, have such personal expertise in the area, and be so committed to dramatic change,” said Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund.

Cirincione served as a staffer to then-Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), who chaired the panel during the fierce debates over nuclear weapons policies in the 1980s, which he sees as an instructive period for today.

“I know that a Democratic House can have a major impact on nuclear policy,” he said. “It is the power of no — the ability to block programs, cut funding, withhold agreement to dangerous new policies. Democrats may not be able to enact new policies, but they can force compromises.”

High on the priority list is halting or delaying the development of a planned new nuclear bomb that would have less explosive power than a more traditional atomic bomb. The Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review called for the so-called low-yield weapon last year.

Advocates assert that the weapon, to be launched from a submarine, will provide military commanders with more options and better deter nations such as Russia, China, North Korea and Iran that are building up their own nuclear arsenals. Such a modest nuke would not destroy a city but would devastate a foreign army — and adversaries would have reason to fear that the U.S. might use it in a first strike.

But Smith, who will also influence the House Appropriations Committee’s recommendations for Pentagon funding, insists such a new weapon “brings us no advantage and it is dangerously escalating.”

“It just begins a new nuclear arms race with people just building nuclear weapons all across the board in a way that I think places us at greater danger,” he told Ploughshares Fund.

Democrats are expected to revive legislation proposed earlier this fall in both the House and Senate to try to roll back the program.

There’s no such thing as a low-yield nuclear war,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), one of the co-sponsors, who also gave his pitch at the Ploughshares Fund gathering this month. “Use of any nuclear weapon, regardless of its killing power, could be catastrophically destabilizing.”

Leading Democrats also have their sights on a new intercontinental ballistic missile that is under development as the future land-based leg of the nuclear triad. The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is set to replace current ICBMs that are deployed in underground silos in Western states such as Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.

“The ICBM is where the debate will focus,” predicted Mieke Eoyang, vice president of national security at Third Way, a centrist think tank, and a former aide on the House Intelligence Committee.

One key argument will be cost, she added.

“People make the case for all three legs of the triad, but when you look at the budget situation, the Pentagon is going to have to make some tough choices,” Eoyang said in an interview. “The modernization of the triad is a big-ticket item that comes over and above what current Defense Department needs are — at a time when budget pressures are coming the other way.”

Critics also argue that the ICBM has outlived its usefulness.

Perry, who served as Pentagon chief for President Bill Clinton, has argued that the land-based ICBM is the leg of the triad that is most prone to miscalculation and an accidental nuclear war. He said submarine- and aircraft-launched nuclear weapons would provide a sufficient deterrent on their own.

But not everyone thinks cutting one leg of the triad will be easy. They cite the political clout of defense contractors and their political supporters in both parties, including the so-called ICBM Caucus — especially in the Senate, which will remain under Republican control.

“They won’t be able to take on the triad,” warned former Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), executive director of the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, who chaired the national security and foreign affairs panel of the Government Oversight and Reform Committee.

But Tierney and others said the House can pursue other areas for reshaping nuclear policy — and force the Senate to take up their proposals.

One way is to revive legislation adopting a “no first use” policy for nuclear weapons, declaring that a president could not order the use of nuclear weapons without a declaration of war from Congress.

“We want to avoid the miscalculation of stumbling into a nuclear war,” Smith said. “And this is where I think the No First Use Bill is incredibly important: to send that message that we do not view nuclear weapons as a tool in warfare.”

The unfolding strategy will also rely on inserting new reporting requirements in defense legislation as a delaying tactic on some nuclear efforts or to compel the administration to reconsider its opposition to some arms control treaties.

While the president negotiates treaties and the Senate is vested with the constitutional authority to ratify them, the House also has some power to force the administration’s hand.

Trump, citing Russian violations, has threatened to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that Reagan signed with the then-Soviet Union in 1987. He recently sent national security adviser John Bolton to Moscow to relay the message.

But critics say the landmark treaty, which banned land-based missiles with ranges from 50 to 5,500 kilometers, is still worth trying to salvage with the Russians. And Democrats can try to force the Trump administration to curtail plans for a new cruise missile that would match the Russians.

The Democrats can put the cruise missile “back on its heels,” Tierney said. “Sometimes they can delay, sometimes defeat.”

Democrats also worry that the Trump administration will opt to not renew the New START Treaty with Russia, which expires in early 2021. That pact, reached in 2010, mandates that each side can have no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and requires regular inspections to ensure each side is complying.

Trump and his advisers “are opposed to multilateralism just based on principle,” Smith told the crowd of arms control advocates. “That is John Bolton’s approach, that he doesn’t want to negotiate with the rest of the world, almost regardless of what it is that we negotiate.”

But Kimball, who met recently with Smith, said Democrats have options on that front, too.

“If the Trump administration threatens to allow New START to expire in 2021, the Democrats are not under any obligation to fund the administration’s request for nuclear weapons,” Kimball said.

He pointed out that Obama secured bipartisan Senate support for ratifying the New START treaty in return for a pledge to increase spending on upgrading the nuclear arsenal and new missile defense systems. “That linkage works the other way, too,” Kimball said.

What is clear is that the nuclear arms control crowd sees Smith as the best hope for change in many years.

“I don’t think it is going to be easy, but we see a chance that we haven’t seen in a long time to have a different path forward on nuclear weapons,” said Stephen Miles, director of Win Without War, an antiwar group. “There isn’t enough money available for the wild plans we had before, let alone Trump’s new objectives.”