Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Militare

Russia. Sembrerebbe essersi dotata di nuovi SSC-8.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-03-05.

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Il problema è semplice.

Russia e Stati Uniti hanno firmato un buon numero di trattati per la riduzione bilaterale bilanciata delle loro forze nucleari.

Sull’argomento, la fantasia va subito alla testata atomica. Di estrema importanza, ovviamente, ma non sufficiente ad essere definita un’arma operativa di per sé. La bomba deve essere fatta arrivare sul bersaglio.

Le bombe a caduta per gravità, lanciate cioè da un bombardiere che vola immediatamente sopra l’obiettivo ci sono, ovviamente, ma il bombardiere è molto vulnerabile, per quanto esso possa essere dotato di sagoma e vernice antiradar e di tutto un armamentario di strumenti di contromisure elettroniche.

Il problema dei vettori diventa quindi di fondamentale interesse.

I missili balistici intercontinentali pluritestata sono l’arma di distruzione di massa, di rappresaglia, più potenti e più difficilmente intercettabili, ma il loro impiego significherebbe la fine del mondo, tanta è la potenza degli schieramenti.

Di possibilità di impiego molto più duttile è il missile da crociera. Sotto questa denominazione si indicano intere famiglie di prodotti più o meno sofisticati, più o meno costosi, ma tutti dotati di alcune caratteristiche:

«Il missile cruise è stato creato per aggirare le difese dell’avversario volando a bassa quota e rasente al terreno. Questo comportamento gli permette di aggirare le difese basate sul radar e sugli infrarossi, e ciò rende molto difficile intercettarlo. Nel tempo i missili Cruise sono stati aggiornati costantemente, migliorandone soprattutto la precisione e la flessibilità di utilizzo. Infine costano relativamente poco (un Tomahawk costa circa 1 milione di dollari) e non hanno bisogno di infrastrutture particolarmente complesse per essere messi in opera.»

Questa definizione è tuttavia obsoleta.

Riportiamo a solo scopo di esempio le caratteristiche del missile da crociera russo KH-32.

«La VKO o Forza di Difesa Aerospaziale russa (che assieme alla VVS – Aeronautica Militare – e alla VKS – Forze Spaziali russe – hanno formato il primo agosto 2015 la nuova VKS o Forza Aerospaziale russa), ha commissionato i nuovi missili da crociera Raduga Kh-32 (o X-32) al fine di armare i bombardieri strategici Tupolev Tu-22M3.

Versione profondamente aggiornata del Kh-22 questo missile da crociera, che può essere armato sia con una testata convenzionale che nucleare, dovrebbe raggiungere la considerevole velocità di Mach 4.5/5 e adotterebbe un nuovo sistema di navigazione utilizzando una combinazione di dati GLONASS-GPS e la mappatura radar del terreno, al fine di raggiungere livelli estremamente elevati di precisione nella neutralizzazione dei bersagli.

Inoltre, il Kh-32  vanterebbe il doppio della portata del Kh-22 e quindi sarebbe in grado di colpire un bersaglio a circa 800/900 Km di distanza dal velivolo lanciatore.

Secondo le fonti militari il Kh-32 è stato progettato per l’eliminazione di unità navali nemiche e stazioni radar e, considerando la velocità supersonica e il percorso di volo balistico, il Kh-32 sarebbe virtualmente invulnerabile ai sistemi antiaerei e caccia intercettori.

La missione di lancio prevede infatti un’arrampicata diretta nella stratosfera intorno ai 40.000 metri per poi giungere in picchiata con un angolo estremamente ripido verso il bersaglio.

La VKO, che ha condotto con successo le prove di valutazione operativa del missile da crociera Kh-32, potrebbe ricevere i primi esemplari già agli inizi del 2018.» [Fonte]

Come si vede resterebbe difficile far rientrare il Kh-32 entro la classica definizione di missile da crociera.

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Di questi ultimi tempi i russi avrebbero portato a termine progetto e sviluppo del sistema SSC-X-8. Dettagli tecnici a parte, questo sistema avrebbe una portata di 5,000 kilometri. In altri termini, uno di questi missili potrebbe essere lanciato dall’estremo orientale della Siberia e colpire San Francisco. Se invece fosse lanciato da un aereo oppure da una nave al largo delle coste americane, gli interi Stati Uniti sarebbero sotto tiro utile.

Non che l’America non abbia armi di tale genere: ne ha gli arsenali pieni ed anche allo stato dell’arte. Ovviamente.

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Il problema di base è che nessuna delle due superpotenze ammette di disporre di missili da crociera a lungo raggio ed accusa la controparte di essersene dotata segretamente.

Al momento è un dialogo tra sordi.


Deutsche Welle. 2017-02-15. Russia violates Cold War treaty with cruise missile test

Moscow has secretly deployed a SSC-8 cruise missile, a move violating the 1987 INF deal accredited with ending the Cold War. The news comes as the Trump administration finds itself without a national security adviser.

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Russia has deployed a new cruise missile despite previous complaints from Washington that the move violates a key treaty that helped end the Cold War, a senior US official said Tuesday.

While the exact date of the launch was not disclosed, Moscow’s secret development of an SSC-8 missile had been flagged by the Obama administration back in 2014.

“We know that this is an old issue. The Russians have been building and testing these things in violation of the INF treaty going back to the Obama administration,” a senior US official told the Reuters news agency on the condition of anonymity. “The issue now is the things are deployed and it’s an even greater violation of the INF treaty.”

Reports of the recent missile deployment have further complicated US-Russia relations and come as the White House finds itself without a national security adviser following the forced resignation of Michael Flynn on Monday. The retired general is accused of lying to Vice President Mike Pence over contact he made with a Russian diplomat while President Barack Obama was still in office.

Moscow has always denied it has violated the INF treaty. When Washington repeated accusations in 2015 that Russia was developing banned missiles, Moscow accused it of conducting “megaphone diplomacy.”

However, the New York Times newspaper reported Tuesday that Russia now has two battalions of the cruise missile, quoting administration officials. One test site is reportedly located in Kapustin Yar, in the country’s southeast region. The location of the other has not been disclosed.

Weight on Washington’s Russia, NATO relations

While the State Department declined to confirm the Times report, it did note that it reported last year that Russia had violated its treaty obligations not to possess, produce or test cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (3,417.5 miles).

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said: “The administration is undertaking an extensive review of Russia’s ongoing INF treaty violation in order to assess the potential security implications for the United States and its allies and partners.”

The alleged missile deployment will likely be high on agendas when US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attends his first NATO summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

The INF deal, signed in December 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is accredited with significantly reducing the threat of nuclear confrontation and accelerating the end of the Cold War.

The deal eliminated the production and possession of nuclear and conventional ground-launched intermediate-ranged ballistic and cruise missiles. 

It still stands as the only treaty to have eliminated an entire class of US and Russian weapons. Under the INF agreement, the US withdrew its nuclear-armed missiles from Europe.

 


Popular Mechanics. 2017-02-15. Russia Has Reportedly Deployed Treaty-Breaking Cruise Missiles

The SSC-8 cruise missile is prohibited under a 30 year old arms control treaty.

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The New York Times reports the Trump Administration has charged Russia with deploying cruise missiles in violation of an arms control treaty between the two countries. The SSC-8 cruise missile is deployed from land and has a range of at least 1,200 miles, a combination that puts it in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union signed a landmark arms control agreement, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The United States worried that Soviet intermediate-range missiles would be used to destroy NATO forces and could escalate a battlefield nuclear war to all-out nuclear war, while the Soviets feared their American counterparts in Europe that could strike Moscow in mere minutes—a capability the Soviet Union couldn’t hope to match. Both sides saw they had something to gain from a treaty that banned the missiles for good.

The INF Treaty banned both countries from possessing, owning, or flight testing ground-launched missiles—both ballistic and cruise missiles—with ranges between 300 to 3,400 miles. The treaty banned both conventional and nuclear armed versions of the same missile. Finally, it allowed for monitoring of the destruction process and short-notice inspections to ensure neither side cheated. The treaty is widely considered a success, with 2,662 missiles scrapped.

Both sides complied with the treaty, at least until 2007 when the first tests of a new cruise missile in Russia were reported. At the time, the U.S. government didn’t issue an opinion as to whether it considered these tests as a breach of the INF Treaty— likely because nobody had actually seen the missile fly to a treaty-breaking range. By July 2014 the U.S. State Department apparently had more proof and formally accused Russia of testing the new missile in violation of the INF Treaty. A second test in October 2015 was leaked to the Washington Free Beacon.

Now, in February 2017, the Trump Administration claims that the SSC-X-8 cruise missile, now just known as the SSC-8, is out of development and operational. The New York Times claims there are two battalions of SSC-8s, one at the Kapustin Yar missile development complex. Each battalion has four firing units of Iskander missile launchers and a large number of SSC-8 missiles. Here’s a video of a cruise missile, probably a shorter range version of the SSC-8, being launched from an Iskander:

Not much is known about SSC-8. The missile is likely very, very similar to the sea-launched Kalibr cruise missile Russia has launched from ships in the Caspian Sea against Islamic State targets. Sea and air launched cruise missiles, it’s worth noting, are legal under the treaty. The SSC-8 probably carries a conventional warhead of about 1,000 pounds or a nuclear warhead of several hundred kilotons. The Kalibr has an inertial guidance system, a range of one thousand to 1,600 miles, and can fly low enough to stay under enemy radar. Here’s an alleged sighting of a Russian cruise missile, likely a Kalibr, streaking over Aleppo:

Why field these new missiles? Despite all of the recent hype about a resurgent Russian military threat, Russian defense spending is one-eleventh that of the United States. The bulk of Russian military hardware consists leftovers from the Cold War, and getting older every day. Grandiose plans to replace the bulk of the country’s weapons by 2020 were undercut by Western sanctions imposed after the annexation of Crimea and depressed commodity prices, particularly oil.

It’s likely Russia thinks that missiles such as the SSC-8 can arrest the decline of its armed forces by offering a long-range precision strike capability. The missiles, which can be launched from Russian territory against military and civilian targets across Western Europe, are also useful to intimidate NATO, which is militarily stronger in almost every way.

The real question is whether the juice is worth the squeeze. It is worth it to Russia to ditch a 30-year-old treaty that kept American missiles out of Europe and out of striking range of Moscow? Was there not some other cost-effective way to negate NATO’s military advantage that didn’t involve the stain of breaking a longstanding international agreement? Why doesn’t Moscow put the missiles on ships, where they would be legal under the treaty? Only Moscow knows for sure.

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