Progettare e costruire armamenti allo stato dell’arte è cosa difficile, che richiede non solo centri di ricerca ed industrie specializzate nel campo, ma anche e soprattutto un amplissimo tessuto scientifico ed industriale a corolla della produzione militare.
Vi è un aspetto però che eleva la capacità produttiva bellica a vera arte: progettare armi, sistemi di arma, che siano facilmente manutenibili e che possano accomodare tutti i miglioramenti che via via possano essere diventati utili o necessari.
È un concetto facile da esprimersi ma molto difficile da interiorizzare. Attuarlo poi è ancor più improbo.
Aver progettato un device in modo tale da renderne possibile gli upgrade non solo consente risparmi consistenti, ma permette anche di rendere meno facilmente obsoleti gli armamenti.
Così, una nave vecchiotta ma rammodernata a dovere ritorna ad essere non meno temibile di quelle di ultima generazione.
«Buoyed by a rapidly growing economy and increasing defense industrial capabilities, China’s military continues to field large numbers of increasingly sophisticated and capable military equipment.»
«Impressive as China’s defense industrial output has been, the annual flow of new equipment constitutes just a small fraction of the total inventory and military equipment generally remains in service for 20-40 years.»
«After all, two decades of increasingly intense and comprehensive Chinese military modernization make clear that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not only interested in fielding as much equipment as possible or even the largest possible numbers of the latest equipment. Instead, it prioritizes resources, buying new equipment where and when necessary while upgrading older in-service systems to make the most out of their service life»
«In the naval and aviation realms, this has included upgrades of existing equipment, which, although less visible, have important implications for Chinese military power»
«Since 2011, just as production at Chinese shipyards was reaching its ongoing period of high intensity, China began upgrading some of its existing warships. The first were the two Type 052-class destroyers, the first modern destroyers built by China. At the time that they were upgraded, the youngest of the Type 052s was 17 years old, meaning that this was a mid-life upgrade. New air defense systems were added, improving survivability against cruise missiles while also reducing manpower requirements. To improve the detection of aerial targets, a Type 517M radar was installed.»
«To facilitate longer-range deployments, a satellite communications (SATCOM) system was also added»
«Whereas these changes are visible, changes, if any, to internal systems cannot be discerned from imagery. That said, it can be reasonably assumed that the combat management system (CMS) was modified to integrate the new sensors and armaments.»
«the upgraded Type 052-class destroyers are not very impressive. In many respects, however, this is largely a function of them being relatively obsolete even they were built. Old and obsolescent warships are difficult to upgrade comprehensively, and the cost is rarely worthwhile, particularly given ongoing production of much more advanced warships.»
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I cinesi hanno la grande dote di essere persone pratiche, di buon senso. Amano il presentarsi sottotono, il cercare di sembrare sempre più deboli di quanto non siano in realtà.
Al momento almeno, sono solo preoccupati di consolidare il loro ruolo locoregionale, e le forze armate sono commensurate e queste mansioni. Per il momento hanno militarizzato il mare Cinese del Sud, e per far ciò la loro marina a la loro aviazione è sufficiente. Poi, gradualmente, cercheranno di affacciarsi sull’Oceano Pacifico e su quello Indiano, se non altro per proteggere le proprie rotte commerciali. Ma questo è un capitolo futuro.
Besides new equipment, we need to pay attention to how China is upgrading old systems.
Buoyed by a rapidly growing economy and increasing defense industrial capabilities, China’s military continues to field large numbers of increasingly sophisticated and capable military equipment. Every year, photos of new ships, planes, and missiles emerge, providing analysts with important datapoints to assess Chinese military capabilities. Although the quality of analyses of material aspects of Chinese military power has been very good and continues to improve, there has been something of bias toward emphasizing new pieces of equipment over upgrades of existing equipment. This is unfortunate for it leads to an underestimation of Chinese military power and a misunderstanding of possible future trajectories.
Impressive as China’s defense industrial output has been, the annual flow of new equipment constitutes just a small fraction of the total inventory and military equipment generally remains in service for 20-40 years. Hence, it is important that analysts keep track of what China does with its existing equipment. After all, two decades of increasingly intense and comprehensive Chinese military modernization make clear that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is not only interested in fielding as much equipment as possible or even the largest possible numbers of the latest equipment. Instead, it prioritizes resources, buying new equipment where and when necessary while upgrading older in-service systems to make the most out of their service life. In the naval and aviation realms, this has included upgrades of existing equipment, which, although less visible, have important implications for Chinese military power.
Upgrades of Existing Warships
For over a decade, Chinese shipyards have not only cranked out large numbers of new warships, they have also fielded entirely new designs. Since 2010, for example, the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has fielded three progressively more capable destroyer classes. Although production rates have been impressive, modernizing a fleet the size of China’s is a decades-long process, the end of which heralds the replacement of the first wave of modern vessels. In the interim, when facing adversaries, the PLAN will go to war with both very modern and older vessels. Therefore, the scope and effects of upgrades to existing ships, if any, is an important and underexamined part of assessing China’s naval capabilities. Analysts are fortunate in that pictures of individual warships are more readily available than those of individual aircraft and that major improvement in the capabilities of a warship are generally visible.
Since 2011, just as production at Chinese shipyards was reaching its ongoing period of high intensity, China began upgrading some of its existing warships. The first were the two Type 052-class destroyers, the first modern destroyers built by China. At the time that they were upgraded, the youngest of the Type 052s was 17 years old, meaning that this was a mid-life upgrade. New air defense systems were added, improving survivability against cruise missiles while also reducing manpower requirements. To improve the detection of aerial targets, a Type 517M radar was installed. To facilitate longer-range deployments, a satellite communications (SATCOM) system was also added. None of these upgrades required major structural changes as would happen if the limited capability HQ-7 surface to air missile (SAM) system was replaced with a more capable system using a vertical launch system (VLS). Whereas these changes are visible, changes, if any, to internal systems cannot be discerned from imagery. That said, it can be reasonably assumed that the combat management system (CMS) was modified to integrate the new sensors and armaments.
On balance, the upgraded Type 052-class destroyers are not very impressive. In many respects, however, this is largely a function of them being relatively obsolete even they were built. Old and obsolescent warships are difficult to upgrade comprehensively, and the cost is rarely worthwhile, particularly given ongoing production of much more advanced warships. In other cases, however, China appears to have judged the cost and complexity of upgrading small classes of warships worthwhile and has invested in more comprehensive upgrades.
In 2014, China began upgrading the two oldest of the four-strong Russian built Sovremennyy-class destroyers. Although these were very capable warships relative to China’s fleet circa 2000, there is a very large gap between their capabilities and those of the latest Chinese warships. The upgrades help address such deficiencies for the second half of their service lives. Compared to the changes made to the Type 052-class, the upgrades to the Sovremenny have been far more impactful. The 48 Russian VLS cells for the Russian Shtil SAM have reportedly been replaced with 32 Chinese VLS cells. Although fewer in number, the PLAN’s logistical requirements are eased by not longer having to support this aging foreign system. Moreover, the new VLS can launch both Chinese HQ-16 SAMs as well as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missile. Other major changes include the installation of a new air search radar and the reported replacement of the supersonic Russian Moskit anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) with the analogous Chinese YJ-12. Overall, open source imagery analysis indicates that there are over a dozen identifiable changes to the armaments and sensors carried by the two upgraded Sovremennyy-class destroyers.
In 2015, China began upgrading the single Type 051B destroyer, underscoring the PLAN’s desire to not let even a single hull go to waste. After 16 years of service, the ship’s limited air defense capability received a dramatic improvement. The HQ-7 SAM system, with a dozen or so kilometers range, was been replaced with the HQ-16 SAM with a range of around 50 kilometers. More importantly, whereas the ship previously only carried 16 HQ-7 SAMs (eight ready to fire), it is now equipped with 32 VLS cells (all ready to fire) equipped with longer-ranged HQ-16 SAMs. To guide these missiles and improve aerial coverage, a more advanced Type 382 radar was installed. Other changes were made to the helicopter hangar, air defense guns, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities. All things considered, these upgrades have made the Type 051B destroyer a much more capable warship, one warranting consideration in military assessments for the next 10 or so years that it is expected to remain in service.
Upgrading Existing Aircraft
Every year, China adds dozens of new combat aircraft as well as large numbers of supporting platforms, such as airborne early warning aircraft (AEW). Over the past decade or so, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) and the PLAN have fielded 11 KJ-200 AEW aircraft. Although a decent complement to the five larger and more capable KJ-2000 AEW aircraft that China fielded in the same period, the KJ-200’s design did not allow for 360-degree radar coverage, a major limitation. At the same time, observers of the Chinese military had evidence by 2013 that a new AEW aircraft was under development. More or less based on the same airframe as the KJ-200, the new KJ-500 used a different radar design which, amongst other things, allowed for 360-degree coverage.
Although this new platform heralded a coming improvement in Chinese AEW capabilities, it did not change the limited capabilities of the 11 existing KJ-200 aircraft, which had decades of service ahead of them. In 2016, observers caught their first glimpse of an upgraded KJ-200 airframe, reportedly designated the KJ-200A. The most obvious change was the addition of rather large new forward-looking radar to improve radar coverage. Whether changes were made to the internal components is unclear but not unlikely given China’s rapid advances in defense electronics. In late 2017, evidence emerged of a further upgrade for the KJ-200 fleet, one adding a SATCOM system and passive electronic sensors to complement the radar picture. Overall, then, although the number of KJ-200 aircraft remains fixed at 11 and even though they have been complemented by growing numbers of the newer KJ-500 aircraft, upgrades to the KJ-200 result in the continued improvement of China’s AEW without gaining the attention that new designs and new airframes do.
Chinese combat aircraft have also become progressively more capable, with existing aircraft receiving upgrades and subsequent batches of production also improved. In some cases, such as the J-10 fighter jet, changes are very visible. Observers comparing a picture of the first variant of the J-10 and a J-10B can identify a different radome, air intake design, and the addition of an infrared search & track (IRIST) sensor, for example. These, however, are differences between new-build aircraft and many of these changes, such as the different air intake design, cannot be backfitted to existing airframes.
Other developments, however, can be backfitted and analysts have photographic evidence that PLAAF and PLANAF aircraft receive upgrades, showing that these services do not commit all their resources to new construction. Combat aircraft have been upgraded with new radio antennae and the integration of new, more capable munitions. Some aircraft, such as J-11A fighter jets, have received missile approach warning system (MAWS) years after entering service. Others, such as the J-11B, have received electronic countermeasures (ECM) pods. Although not likely to elicit headlines in the manner of new aircraft designs or even new munitions, these small developments herald important advances in capabilities. In these cases, the result is that Chinese fighter aircraft have better defenses against adversary missiles and radar.
Although the underlying technologies can be integrated across all Chinese aircraft, these are platform specific upgrades. In contrast, munitions can be integrated onto a wide range of aircraft, as the case of the new PL-15 long-range air-to-air missile indicates. Other important Chinese munitions, such as the supersonic YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missile, have been integrated onto older aircraft, including the PLANAF’s H-6G bomber. ECM pods have also been integrated onto multiple designs, including several variants of the H-6 bomber family and the JH-7 fighter-bomber. Without such relatively unglamorous equipment, Chinese strike aircraft are likely to struggle against adversary air defenses. With these and their new munitions and supported by other PLAAF and PLANAF capabilities, however, they are increasingly capable of successfully completing their missions.
What to Look Out for in the Naval Realm
It remains to be seen how many in-service warships and aircraft will receive major upgrades and mid-life modernizations. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that China will start midlife upgrades for its two Type 052B-class destroyers in the next few years and the two Type 051C-class and the two newer Sovremennyy-class destroyers a few years later. If extant upgrade projects are a good indicator, then it is likely that these ships will have their Russian VLS systems replaced with multirole Chinese VLS systems. Sensors and communications are also likely to be upgraded, bringing them in line with the rest of the fleet.
Other things to look for are upgrade programs to backfit design alterations to ships well in advance of their midlife upgrade. For example, by the time construction of the class wraps up in 2019, just under half of the 30 strong Type 054A-class frigate fleet will be equipped with variable depth sonars (VDS). Although it is not essential for all large PLAN warships to be equipped with such a potent ASW sensor, the PLAN may want more VDS-equipped ships and may upgrade some of these recently commissioned frigates. Similarly, as advanced ASCMs, particularly those capable of hypersonic speeds, proliferate in the region, the PLAN may have to make heavy investment into upgrading radars, electronic countermeasures, and air defenses of even relatively new vessels. Today, China has just six destroyers needing upgrade in the next few years. In a decade, however, it may have to upgrade some two dozen currently very new destroyers to keep up with qualitative advances in the ASCM threat.
The secrecy veiling China’s submarine fleet and the contained nature of a submarine’s equipment make it difficult to discern if Chinese submarines are being upgraded and what the effects of these upgrades are. Although unconfirmed, stills from a recent Chinese news broadcast may indicate that China has lengthened one of its Russian-built Kilo-class submarines, presumably to install an air independent propulsion (AIP) system. Such an effort would not be without parallel, as Sweden demonstrated with the insertion of a hull section containing AIP onto its Västergötland-classsubmarines. Assuming that China has undertaken such an effort, then it may equip its 11 other Kilo-class and 13 Song-class submarines with AIP, complementing its 17 or so AIP-equipped Yuan-class submarines. This would give the PLAN over 40 AIP submarines even without major new construction and, more importantly, greatly improve the capabilities of its submarine force. Similarly, it remains to be seen if the munitions used by the PLAN submarine fleet are standardized and whether highly capable munitions, such as the new YJ-18 supersonic ASCM, are integrated onto all existing submarines.
What to Look Out for in the Aviation Realm
As production of fourth-generation fighter aircraft such as the J-10 and J-11 family eventually draws down and as the number of fourth and fifth-generation fighter aircraft in service approaches the PLA’s force structure requirements, counting the number of aircraft produced and tabulating the inventory will become increasingly limited in terms of analytic utility. Instead, analysts will have to pay greater attention to what the PLA does with its fielded hardware and assess the implications of upgrades. In some cases, these upgrades will be visible and can be identified through careful imagery analysis. For example, it is not enough to know that China has apparently developed and fielded a very capable air-to-air missile, such as the PL-15. The important questions are how many missiles are produced and how many aircraft are capable of fielding them. Unfortunately, the PLA’s secrecy renders impossible the answering of the first question. The second question, however, can be answered by observing and tracking which aircraft types fly with a given munition.
Similarly, although the radars mounted on Chinese fighter jets are becoming increasingly capable, China currently fields hundreds of competitive fourth generation aircraft with older, less capable radar designs. It remains to be seen whether China will mount the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars found on its latest J-10 and J-11 fighter jet variants on older variants of these aircraft. Similarly, with so many variants of each of these aircraft in service, the logistical burden of sustaining such a diverse fleet will grow until a standardization upgrade of avionics and electronics takes place, a process similar to the Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) which the U.S. Air Force undertook to standardize its disparate F-16 fighter jet inventory. In other cases, however, the development of capabilities in fielded forces will be less visible. To understand advances in defense electronics, including those installed on upgraded airframes, analysts will have to examine Chinese technical journals and follow the activities of China’s electronics industry.
More Than Meets the Eye
The Chinese military has made dramatic improvements in its military capabilities. Many of these developments are both visible and measurable. Analysts know, for example, that the PLAN has commissioned dozens of new warships in the past few years. Similarly, they can discern that these warships are increasingly capable, featuring more advanced munitions and sensors. But improvements in Chinese military capabilities do not only come from the continued production and fielding of new hardware. Older systems – even those fielded over a decade ago – constitute the bulk of the inventory and are likely to remain in service for decades to come. Even with high rates of production, the annual flow of new equipment is just a small fraction of the total inventory that can be used in conflict at any given time.
Rather than devoting all of its resources into new production, the Chinese military is making greater investment into upgrades of its existing hardware. In the naval and aerial realms, this has considerably improved Chinese capabilities without getting the attention that newly built hardware receives upon entering service. With upgrades to the same existing platforms, China’s military is more capable than it was just a few years ago. As China’s force structure stabilizes and as the inventory of modern equipment matures, identifying and assessing upgrades of existing equipment will become ever more important to understanding Chinese military capabilities. Analysts would do well to pay more attention to these less visible aspects of Chinese military modernization.
«They will stand little chance of evading attacks by the new missile system.»
«It is critical to note when assessing its capabilities that the S-400 was designed largely in response to the United States’ development of advanced stealth aircraft, with the cash-strapped Russia forced to cancel Soviet era programs to develop stealth fighters of its own and instead rely on asymmetric surface-to-air batteries to ensure its continued ability to threaten the new American aircraft»
«Entering service just months after the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, the lethal new American jet held the S-400 to extremely high standards. This implies that the missile platform is well within its limits to target non-stealthy older aircraft such as the F-15. Taiwanese jets today, considerably lighter, slower, lower flying than the F-15 and operating with high radar and heat signatures by the standards of modern combat jets, have an extremely poor level of survivability against the S-400 even at extreme ranges.»
«Taiwan’s fleet of unspecialized light multirole aircraft — six wings comprised of Mirage 2000 jets and F-5E Freedom Fighters (one wings each) as well as F-16A Fighting Falcons and indigenous F-CK Ching Kuo jets (two each) — lack even basic stealth technologies and use designs dating back to the 1970s or earlier. They will stand little chance of evading attacks by the new missile system.»
«Other than fighters, support aircraft such as the E-2 Hawkeye, while potentially highly effective force multipliers when operating at safe distances, will be extremely vulnerable as soon as they leave the ground, due to their poor maneuverability and bulky airframes . With the S-400’s missiles incoming at speeds of Mach 8.2, in the case of the 48N6E2, and Mach 14 in the case of the 48N6E3 and 40N6, the missiles can be launched from command posts on the Chinese mainland and will reach their targets over Taiwan in a matter of seconds.»
«While Chinese air defense capabilities were negligible until the early 1990s, the acquisition of advanced Russian technologies, including several variants of the S-300, was key to building up an advanced network capable of protecting the country’s airspace from a potential air or missile attacks — shifting the balance of forces in the air strongly in Beijing’s favor»
«The S-400 today is set to complement existing air defense platforms such as the HQ-16 and HQ-17, while fielding a number of game-changing capabilities, including new surface-to-air missiles and anti-stealth technologies»
«Even without the support of other air defense and aerial assets, the S-400 alone poses a major threat not only to hostile aircraft operating within Chinese airspace, but also, due to its extreme range, to aircraft to well beyond Chinese shores.»
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“Si vis pacem, para bellum”.
Trenta anni or sono la Cina era politicamente, economicamente e militarmente un paese trascurabile.
Poi venne Deng Xiao Ping che mise in soffitta le ideologie ed instaurò un sano pragmatismo empirico.
Adesso è diventata una grande potenza e le sue forze armate iniziano a diventare davvero temibili.
L’acquisizione dei sistemi S-400 rende il suo spazio aereo ben difficilmente penetrabile, se non al costo di perdite intollerabili. Nessuna intenzione di sopravvalutare la potenza di fuoco degli S-400: solo che gli equilibri di forze hanno spostato significativamente le proprie frontiere.
Taiwan’s fighter jets will stand little chance of evading attacks by the new missile system.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) recent acquisition of Russian-made S-400 missile systems has considerably augmented what has already long been one of the world’s most formidable air defense networks, with wide-ranging implications for the balance of power in East Asia.
While Chinese air defense capabilities were negligible until the early 1990s, the acquisition of advanced Russian technologies, including several variants of the S-300, was key to building up an advanced network capable of protecting the country’s airspace from a potential air or missile attacks — shifting the balance of forces in the air strongly in Beijing’s favor. The S-400 today is set to complement existing air defense platforms such as the HQ-16 and HQ-17, while fielding a number of game-changing capabilities, including new surface-to-air missiles and anti-stealth technologies. Even without the support of other air defense and aerial assets, the S-400 alone poses a major threat not only to hostile aircraft operating within Chinese airspace, but also, due to its extreme range, to aircraft to well beyond Chinese shores.
While China’s acquisition of the S-400 is set to have considerable implications for a number of potential conflict zones, including the country’s ongoing disputes with Japan over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and with India over the border region, it is in the Taiwan Strait where the weapon’s deployment may well have the greatest impact. The S-400 is able to engage a phenomenal 80 aircraft simultaneously, equivalent to approximately one-third of Taiwan’s fighting fleet, allocating two missiles per target. In addition, the missile system’s 48N6E2, 48N6DM/48N6E3, and 40N6 missiles retain ranges of 200 km, 250 km and 400 km respectively, all giving extensive coverage over Taiwanese airspace. Thus the PLA’s acquisition of the S-400 allows it to enforce an effective no fly zone over the territories under Taipei’s control in the event of cross-strait war.
It is critical to note when assessing its capabilities that the S-400 was designed largely in response to the United States’ development of advanced stealth aircraft, with the cash-strapped Russia forced to cancel Soviet era programs to develop stealth fighters of its own and instead rely on asymmetric surface-to-air batteries to ensure its continued ability to threaten the new American aircraft. Entering service just months after the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor, the lethal new American jet held the S-400 to extremely high standards. This implies that the missile platform is well within its limits to target non-stealthy older aircraft such as the F-15. Taiwanese jets today, considerably lighter, slower, lower flying than the F-15 and operating with high radar and heat signatures by the standards of modern combat jets, have an extremely poor level of survivability against the S-400 even at extreme ranges.
Taiwan’s fleet of unspecialized light multirole aircraft — six wings comprised of Mirage 2000 jets and F-5E Freedom Fighters (one wings each) as well as F-16A Fighting Falcons and indigenous F-CK Ching Kuo jets (two each) — lack even basic stealth technologies and use designs dating back to the 1970s or earlier. They will stand little chance of evading attacks by the new missile system.
Other than fighters, support aircraft such as the E-2 Hawkeye, while potentially highly effective force multipliers when operating at safe distances, will be extremely vulnerable as soon as they leave the ground, due to their poor maneuverability and bulky airframes . With the S-400’s missiles incoming at speeds of Mach 8.2, in the case of the 48N6E2, and Mach 14 in the case of the 48N6E3 and 40N6, the missiles can be launched from command posts on the Chinese mainland and will reach their targets over Taiwan in a matter of seconds.
While Taiwan’s air fleet already faced a considerable challenge operating against China’s existing air defense batteries such as the HQ-9B and elite air superiority fighters such as the J-11B and Su-35, the emergence of the S-400 not only eliminates an offensive or retaliatory strike role for Taiwan’s air fleet but it also seriously hinders its ability to undertake even very basic defensive operations. As Taiwan continues to invest heavily in costly but seemingly inconsequential modernizations for its aging fighters, from new cruise missiles to stronger radars, the armed forces would do well to consider the threat the S-400 poses to the continued viability of their fleet.
Possible counters to the new weapons system could include heavy investments in electronic warfare and potentially the acquisition of stealth fighters which, at least at extreme ranges, should retain a degree of survivability against the S-400. With the situation for Taiwan’s air force looking increasingly bleak, the military may well move to concentrate more heavily on acquiring and modernizing its own ground based surface-to-air missile systems as an asymmetric response – an effective means of denying the PLA Air Force access to its airspace even if its own fighter fleet remains grounded.
L’8 settembre 1380 i russi guidati dal Granduca di Vladimir, Dmitrij Ivanovič di Mosca, sconfissero l’armata dell’Orda d’Oro con gli alleati lituani. Fu l’inizio di una lunga guerra di liberazione che terminò con la battaglia sull’Ugra, un secolo dopo.
Nessuna sorpresa quindi che quando la Prussia Orientale passò nel 1945 da tedesca a russa con il nome di Circondariato Federale Nordoccidentale, Oblast di Kaliningrad, nella ridenominazione dei paesi e delle cittadine una avesse assunto il glorioso nome di Kulikovo.
L’Oblast di Kaliningrad è altamente strategico. È l’estrema punta occidentale della Russia ed i suoi porti non ghiacciano durante l’inverno: sono infatti sede della Flotta del Baltico. Con l’acuirsi dei dissensi tra occidentali e russi, quell’area strategica è stata riarmata.
Una cosa è certa. Se in passato gli occidentali trovarono una buona ragione per andare a morire per Danzica, oggi i russi ne hanno altrettanta per andare a morire per Kaliningrad.
«The anti-aircraft systems, which have a range of 400 km, will then be deployed to secure the air space along Russia’s north-western border»
«Lanciabile da una piattaforma mobile, l’Iskander viaggia a mach 6.2 – è ipersonico -: in tre o quattro minuti primi arriva da Kaliningrad a Berlino. Quasi nemmeno il tempo di poter dare l’allarme. …. Può portare testate convenzionali ma anche una bomba termonucleare da 50 kTon»
«During flight it can maneuver at different altitudes and trajectories and can turn at up to 20 to 30 G to evade anti-ballistic missiles»
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Chiariti questi elementi di base, entriamo nel merito.
La Federation of American Scientists (FAS) ha rilasciato un documento che suggerirebbe quanto segue.
«Russia may have significantly upgraded its nuclear bunker in Kaliningrad»
«The photos reportedly showed that Russia may have modernized the nuclear weapons storage bunker which is located in a sensitive enclave of Russian territory which is between Poland and the Baltics.»
«one of three underground bunkers at the location was excavated and deepened before it appeared to have been covered over in recent months, “presumably to return (to) operational status soon.”»
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Il problema è drammaticamente semplice.
Usualmente le superpotenze atomiche schierano i loro arsenali nucleari molto addentro i loro territori: chiaro indizio di quanto essi costituiscano elemento deterrente, di difesa.
Ma i missili balistici intercontinentali sono abbastanza facilmente rilevabili dai radar avversi e, soprattutto, con un margine di tempo sufficiente per mettere in atto tutte le opportune contromisure. I sistemi anti – missile da ambo le parti sono riferiti in grado di abbattere un buon numero di testate in arrivo.
L’introduzione di missili a corto raggio ma ipersonici ha cambiato le esigenze dello scacchiere.
Lanciabili da mezzi mobili, i missili ipersonici arriverebbero sul bersaglio in tempi così ristretti da rendere impossibile l’attivazione dei sistemi anti – missile. Non solo. Ma gli attuali sistemi radar e missili – antimissile non sarebbero in grado di intercettarli.
Sapere che l’Oblast di Kaliningrad rigurgita di questi missili e che a Kulikovo sono stati costruiti grandiosi depositi per armamenti nucleari non concorrerebbe a lasciar fare soni tranquilli.
During the past two years, the Russian military has carried out a major renovation of what appears to be an active nuclear weapons storage site in the Kaliningrad region, about 50 kilometers from the Polish border.
A Digital Globe satellite image purchased via Getty Images, and several other satellite images viewable on TerraServer, show one of three underground bunkers near Kulikovo being excavated in 2016, apparently renovated, and getting covered up again in 2018 presumably to return operational status soon.
The latest upgrade obviously raises questions about what the operational status of the site is. Does it now, has it in the past, or will it in the future store nuclear warheads for Russian dual-capable non-strategic weapon systems deployed in the region? If so, does this signal a new development in Russian nuclear weapons strategy in Kaliningrad, or is it a routine upgrade of an aging facility for an existing capability? The satellite images do not provide conclusive answers to these questions. The Russian government has on numerous occasions stated that all its non-strategic nuclear warheads are kept in “central” storage, a formulation normally thought to imply larger storage sites further inside Russia. So the Kulikovo site could potentially function as a forward storage site that would be supplied with warheads from central storage sites in a crisis.
The features of the site suggest it could potentially serve Russian Air Force or Navy dual-capable forces. But it could also be a joint site, potentially servicing nuclear warheads for both Air Force, Navy, Army, air-defense, and costal defense forces in the region. It is to my knowledge the only nuclear weapons storage site in the Kaliningrad region. Despite media headlines, the presence of nuclear-capable forces in that area is not new; Russia deployed dual-capable forces in Kaliningrad during the Cold War and has continued to do so after. But nearly all of those weapon systems have recently been, or are in the process of being modernized. The Kulikovo site site is located:
– About 8 kilometers (5 miles) miles from the Chkalovsk air base (54.7661°, 20.3985°), which has been undergoing major renovation since 2012 and hosts potentially dual-capable strike aircraft.
– About 27 kilometers (16 miles) from the coastal-defense site near Donskoye (54.9423°, 19.9722°), which recently switched from the SSC-1B Sepal to the P-800 Bastion coastal-defense system. The Bastion system uses the SS-N-26 (3M-55, Yakhont) missile, that U.S. Intelligence estimates is “nuclear possible.”
– About 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Baltic Sea Fleet base at Baltiysk (54.6400°, 19.9175°), which includes nuclear-capable submarines, destroyers, frigates, and corvettes.
– About 96 kilometers (60 miles) from the 152nd Detachment Missile Brigade at Chernyakovsk (54.6380°, 21.8266°), which has recently been upgraded from the SS-21 SRBM to the SS-26 (Islander) SRBM. Unlike other SS-26 bases, however, Chernyakovsk has not (yet) been added a new missile storage facility.
– Near half a dozen S-300 and S-400 air-defense units deployed in the region. The 2018 NPR states that Russian’s air-defense forces are dual-capable. These sites are located 20 kilometers (13 miles) to 98 kilometers (60 miles) from the storage site.
So there are many potential clients for the Kulikovo nuclear weapons storage site. Similar upgrades have been made to other Russian nuclear weapons storage sites over the base decade, including for the Navy’s nuclear submarine base on the Kamchatka peninsula. There are also ongoing upgrades to other weapons storage sites in the Kaliningrad region, but they do not appear to be nuclear.
The issue of Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons has recently achieved new attention because of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, which accused Russia of increasing the number and types of its non-strategic nuclear weapons. The Review stated Russia has “up to 2,000” non-strategic nuclear weapons, indirectly confirming FAS’ estimate.
NATO has for several years urged Russia to move its nuclear weapons further back from NATO borders. With Russia’s modernization of its conventional forces, there should be even less, not more, justification for upgrading nuclear facilities in Kaliningrad.
Il Medio Oriente è uno scacchiere geopolitico davvero molto complesso.
Virtualmente, tutti gli stati che vi appartengono si odiano l’un l’altro di odi secolari, laddove alle lotte religiose ed etniche si sono aggiunte negli ultimi decenni anche quelli economici.
Poi, come se la cosa non fosse sufficiente, tutte le grandi potenze mondiali stanno versano a piene mani benzina sul fuoco.
Per finire, come se poi ce ne fosse stato tanto bisogno, il carattere degli arabi è spesso ambiguo, le loro posizioni sempre sfumate, e con grande facilità sanno tenere il piede non in due, ma anche in quattro scarpe. Con loro, nulla potrebbe mai dirsi definitivo.
Se è vero che usualmente mantengono le parole date, sarebbe altrettanto vero ammettere che cerchino in ogni modo di eluderne gli obblighi.
«Il Qatar aspira a entrare nell’Alleanza atlantica»
«Il vicepremier ha precisato che il Qatar è già preparato al dispiegamento di «qualsiasi unità della Nato» sul suo territorio»
«Le dichiarazioni arrivano a un anno dal blocco economico lanciato dal cosiddetto Quartetto (Arabia Saudita, Emirati arabi, Bahrein, Egitto).»
«Doha ha però sempre respinto le accuse di appoggiare «gruppi terroristici», come Hamas o Hezbollah»
«L’Arabia Saudita ha di nuovo minacciato di invadere il piccolo regno se procederà all’acquisto del sistema anti-aereo russo S-400»
«Il Qatar resta un alleato militare chiave degli Usa»
«Vicino a Doha c’è la base americana di Al-Udeid, la più grande in Medio Oriente, con oltre cinquemila uomini schierati e decine di cacciabombardieri»
* * * * * * *
Ad oggi non sembrerebbe essere stata presentata domanda ufficiale di adesione del Qatar alla Nato. L’idea di richiedere l’ingresso nella Nato e, contemporaneamente, quella di voler comprare sistemi S-400, sembrerebbero essere davvero conflittuali.
Ragionando sulla base dei dati ufficiali disponibile, questa iniziativa sembrerebbe rientrare più in un captatio benevolentiae che di preliminare ad una proposta formale.
Di certo, un’adesione del genere rimescolerebbe tutte le carte in Medio Oriente in modo violento, causando anche ire furibonde di altre potenze.
Il Qatar aspira a entrare nell’Alleanza atlantica. La rivelazione è stata fatta da vicepremier Khaled bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah alla rivista militare «Al-Talia»: l’ambizione a medio termine è «la piena adesione alla Nato». Il vicepremier ha precisato che il Qatar è già preparato al dispiegamento di «qualsiasi unità della Nato» sul suo territorio e che la collaborazione con i Paesi che fanno parte è «ai massimi livelli».
Le dichiarazioni arrivano a un anno dal blocco economico lanciato dal cosiddetto Quartetto (Arabia Saudita, Emirati arabi, Bahrein, Egitto). Lo scontro all’interno degli alleati occidentali nel Golfo è nato dall’appoggio del Qatar ai Fratelli musulmani e dalle sue posizioni più concilianti con l’Iran, con il quale condivide il più grande giacimento di gas al mondo.
Doha ha però sempre respinto le accuse di appoggiare «gruppi terroristici», come Hamas o Hezbollah. Il blocco non ha finora messo in ginocchio l’economia qatarina, che l’anno scorso è cresciuta dell’1,9 per cento, in leggero rallentamento rispetto al più 2,2 per cento del 2016. Ma le tensioni restano altissime. L’Arabia Saudita ha di nuovo minacciato di invadere il piccolo regno se procederà all’acquisto del sistema anti-aereo russo S-400. Mosca ha confermato che le trattative sono in corso.
L’affare è però poco probabile. Il Qatar resta un alleato militare chiave degli Usa. Vicino a Doha c’è la base americana di Al-Udeid, la più grande in Medio Oriente, con oltre cinquemila uomini schierati e decine di cacciabombardieri. La Turchia, altro Paese della Nato, ha aperto a sua volta una base e dispiegato un battaglione meccanizzato. Ankara è in questo momento il più stretto partner di Doha ma Washington sta premendo sugli alleati del Golfo per una riconciliazione perché in questo momento il fronte anti-Iran è indebolito. Le dichiarazioni del vicepremier si inseriscono in questa battaglia diplomatica, con il Qatar che vuole dimostrare di essere l’alleato “più affidabile” dell’Occidente sul fronte mediorientale.
«NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday (17 May). They discussed preparations for the Summit of NATO leaders in Brussels on 11-12 July, including NATO’s growing contribution to the fight against terrorism and fairer burden-sharing within the Alliance.
Speaking after the meeting in the Oval Office, the Secretary General stressed that in an unpredictable world we need a strong NATO. Mr. Stoltenberg thanked the US President for his leadership on defence spending, which is having a clear impact. All NATO Allies have stopped the cuts and started to increase, with the third consecutive year of defence increases across NATO European Allies and Canada. “It’s very important that we all contribute more to our shared security,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
The Secretary General and President Trump were joined in their talks by members of the U.S. national security team, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, General (ret) John Kelly, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff and Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In that meeting, Mr Stoltenberg also addressed NATO’s contributions to the fight against terrorism, including by boosting its training missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Wednesday evening, the Secretary General also met with Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Ambassador John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the State Department for talks on the situation in Syria, Iran and Russia.»
«PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you very much. And today I’m honored to welcome Secretary General Stoltenberg back to the White House as we prepare for the upcoming NATO Summit in July. That will be both interesting and exciting. ….
We’re delighted to report that last year, as a result of our joint efforts, we witnessed the single-largest increase in defense spending among European member states and Canada in a quarter of a century. That really is quite a spectacular achievement, so I congratulate you. I congratulate you very much. ….
This afternoon, I want to thank the seven NATO nations, in addition to the United States, who will meet their 2 percent NATO defense spending. Now, unfortunately, we pay much more than 2 percent, which is probably unfair, and unfair to the taxpayers of the United States.
But the 2 percent number that’s met is Poland, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, and the United Kingdom. And they are right up to snuff. They paid. They were on time. They paid the number that they’re supposed to be paying. We have some that don’t — and, well, they’ll be dealt with. ….
And 2 percent is a very low number. The number really should be 4 percent. Two percent is a very low number. ….
In particular, Germany must demonstrate leadership in the Alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions. Germany has not contributed what it should be contributing, and it’s a very big beneficiary — far bigger than the United States, frankly.
In addition to that, as you know, they’re buying massive amounts of gas from Russia and paying billions and billions of dollars. So I think that’s something we’ll be discussing later and we’ll be discussing that at our meeting, and probably long before the meeting. …..
Today, the United States reaffirms our commitment to Article 5 and the mutual defense pact. ….
including by increasing their defense contributions under the Article 3 requirement for preparedness and military capacity. Have to be prepared. Never know what’s going to happen ….
We need fairness. We need to be reciprocal. Countries have to be reciprocal in what we’re doing. Unfair that some countries pay, and some countries work, and some countries are loyal and terrific, and other countries aren’t.»
* * * * * * *
Cerchiamo di essere chiari, a costo di essere anche impopolari con quanti vivano le realtà odierne in modo viscerale.
– Al mondo vi sono tre superpotenze nucleari e militari: America, Cina e Russia. Nessuna delle tre apparirebbe essere particolarmente bellicosa, ma l’unico modo per continuare a garantire una pace, per quanto instabile, è quello di conservare gli equilibri di forza. Senza mantenimento degli equilibri il pericolo di conflitto aumenta notevolmente.
– All’interno della Nato i rapporti devono essere reciprochi. Solo chi assolve al dovere di pagare le proprie quote si riconosce il diritto ad essere difeso.
– La Germania ha nei confronti della Nato debiti ingenti, pur essendone la maggiore beneficiaria.
Mr Trump ha sicuramente molti difetti, ma i fatti hanno dimostrato come sappia mantenere le parole date.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that NATO members that do not contribute fully to the group would be “dealt with,” and singled out Germany as a country he said was not doing enough.
At a Cabinet meeting attended by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, Trump listed countries he said had paid the amount “they’re supposed to be paying.”
“We have some that don’t and, well, they’ll be dealt with,” Trump said.
He added Germany “has not contributed what it should be contributing and it’s a very big beneficiary.”
“In particular Germany must demonstrate leadership in the alliance by addressing its longstanding shortfall in defense contributions,” Trump said.
Despite often disagreeing with Trump in other areas, German Chancellor Angela Merkel agrees that Germany should contribute more and wants her country to boost military spending to meet the NATO target of 2 percent. She told senior military officers on Monday more spending is needed in light of changing security requirements in the world.
Stoltenberg praised Trump’s work on shoring up NATO, whose continued purpose Trump questioned while campaigning in the 2016 election.
Sitting on Trump’s right, Stoltenberg said: “Your leadership on defense spending has really helped to make a difference.”
“It is impacting allies because now all allies are increasing defense spending,” he said. “No allies are cutting their budgets.”
Donald Trump told Angela Merkel it was “essential” that Germany pay more for defence amid tensions over Nato spending .
Mr Trump denied having a frosty personal relationship with the German chancellor, greeting her with a kiss on the cheek at the White House, and calling her an “extraordinary woman”.
However, her visit lasted less than three hours, while Emmanuel Macron, the French president, enjoyed a three-day lavish state occasion earlier this week.
In a 30-minute Oval Office meeting Mrs Merkel pressed Mr Trump not to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and to step back from tariffs on steel and aluminium
But in response Mr Trump said Germany should meet the Nato goal of spending two per cent of GDP on defence.
Mrs Merkel said her country would spend 1.3 per cent in 2019, an increase over previous years.
She admitted it was “perhaps not, from the president’s perspective, fast enough”.
Mr Trump said: “We talked about the security of Europe and the responsibility of European nations to properly contribute to their own defence.
“All member states must honour their commitment to two per cent, and hopefully much more, of GDP, on defence. It is essential our allies increase so everyone is paying their fair share. A lot of countries have stepped up. They have to keep going.”
Mrs Merkel objected to Mr Trump’s decision to introduce trade tariffs on steel and aluminium.
She said: “We had an exchange of views on where we stand on this. The decision lies with the president.”
Mrs Merkel also laid out that Germany was against pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.
“We will see what decisions are made by the US. We will continue to be in very close talks on this,” she said.
Speaking at a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels, Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said “no decision” had been made on the Iran deal but “absent a substantial fix” Mr Trump was “unlikely to stay in that deal”.
Asked if Germany was spending enough on defence, Mr Pompeo said: “No. They should meet the goals that they agreed to.”
«China is developing a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, likely based off the DF-21»
«China is developing and has been flight-testing a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) along with a new long-range strategic bomber to deliver it»
«The two most recent tests of the system involved aerial launches off a modified H-6K strategic bomber capable of being refueled while in the air»
* * * * * * *
A quanto è dato sapere al momento attuale, il raggio di azione dell’H-6k sarebbe di circa 3,000 kilometri: molti in senso assoluto, pochi se commisurati allo scacchiere dell’Oceano Pacifico.
Sempre a quanto riferito
«The CH-AS-X-13, meanwhile, is a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile with a 3,000 kilometer range; it is likely a variant of the DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile»
In sintesi, il raggio di azione bombardiere – missili non supererebbe i 6,000 kilometri complessi: questa arma potrebbe quindi svolgere più un compito nella parte occidentale dell’Oceano Pacifico, difficilmente su distanze maggiori.
«Sviluppato a partire dal 2000, l’H-6K rappresenta un notevole passo in avanti sia per prestazioni di volo che per capacità belliche. Il nuovo modello ha volato nel 2007 entrando in servizio intorno al 2010. Rispetto ai predecessori il velivolo è stato radicalmente ammodernato, con la sezione anteriore della fusoliera e il raccordo con il cockpit sono stati modificati ed il naso vetrato è stato sostituito da uno solido di elettrico. Nella sezione anteriore ventrale della fusoliera è stata installata una torretta elettro-ottica e lungo la fusoliera sono comparse una serie di antenne per la guerra elettronica (ECM, ESM), mentre dietro la baia armi è presente una carenatura che potrebbe nascondere l’antenna di datalink per la variante lanciabile da aereo del missile da crociera a lungo raggio CJ-10/KD-20. Sulla deriva verticale, inoltre, sono presenti le antenne dei sistemi RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) e MWR (Missile Warning Receiver). Ulteriore spazio per altri apparati avionici è stato, infine, ricavato rimuovendo la torretta per il cannone da 23 mm in coda. La cellula è stata rinforzata in diverse parti e dovrebbero essere stati impiegati pure materiali compositi. Il velivolo è stato rimotorizzato e al posto dei due turbogetti Xian WP8 (copia del Mikulin RD-3M che spingeva il Tu-16) sono stati installati i più potenti e moderni turboventola Saturn D-30KP-2, ciascuno tarato per erogare fino a 23.150 libbre (103kN) di spinta, che ha comportato anche l’allargamento delle prese d’aria. Un’altra modifica importante è stata la soppressione della stiva armi interna, il cui spazio è stato riutilizzato per ospitare ulteriore carburante, aumentando l’autonomia ed il raggio d’azione del velivolo. Le fonti concordano nel ritenere che l’autonomia del velivolo sia pari a circa 3.500 km. Il velivolo è così armato “solo” con 6 missili KD-20, 3 per ogni semiala, con 2.000 km di portata, che fa si che l’H-6K potrebbe colpire bersagli strategici fino a Guam, Alaska ed Hawaii restando entro la copertura delle difese aeree amiche» [Fonte]
China is developing a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile, likely based off the DF-21.
China is developing and has been flight-testing a nuclear-capable air-launched ballistic missile (ALBM) along with a new long-range strategic bomber to deliver it, The Diplomat has learned.
According to U.S. government sources with knowledge of the latest intelligence assessments on the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, China has conducted five flight tests of the unnamed missile. The U.S. intelligence community is calling the new missile the CH-AS-X-13.
The missile was first tested in December 2016 and was most recently tested in the last week of January 2018, according to one source. In recent years, the directors of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) have made reference to this nuclear-capable ALBM in their two most recent on-record worldwide threat assessments.
The two most recent tests of the system involved aerial launches off a modified H-6K strategic bomber capable of being refueled while in the air.
The new bomber, dubbed the H6X1/H-6N by the U.S. intelligence community, has been modified from standard variant H-6s for the ALBM delivery mission. The modifications have been made by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, the manufacturer of all H-6 bomber variants since the late-1950s. The H6X1/H-6N may have been the subject of speculation in August 2017, when an image of an unidentified H-6 variant appeared on Chinese social media.
The CH-AS-X-13, meanwhile, is a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile with a 3,000 kilometer range; it is likely a variant of the DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile. The missile may use lighter weight composite materials in its airframe to reduce the necessary carry weight for the bomber.
The H6X1/H-6N is assessed to have a combat radius of nearly 6,000 kilometers — a significant improvement from older H-6 variants. As a system for nuclear delivery, the CH-AS-X-13 on the H6X1/H-6N, assuming a launch from the edge of the bomber’s combat radius, will be capable of threatening targets in the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and Alaska.
According to a source who spoke with The Diplomat, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the CH-AS-X-13 will be ready for deployment by 2025.
Aside from the H6X1/H-6N, China has developed the H-6 into a range of support and attack roles. The H-6K, for instance, is capable of delivering standoff range CJ-20 land-attack cruise missiles with precision guidance. These bombers have conducted missions across the so-called First Island Chain, into the western Pacific.
Additionally, the People’s Liberation Army Navy operates the H-6G, which is designed for anti-ship and maritime support missions.
In recent years, senior U.S. intelligence officials have acknowledged the development of a nuclear-capable ALBM in China.
In May 2017, Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the former director of the DIA, for the first time, referenced “two, new air-launched ballistic missiles, one of which may include a nuclear payload.”
It’s unclear if the conventional ALBM referenced in these DIA threat assessments is an alternate warhead configuration for the nuclear-capable system. A conventional variant of the CH-AS-X-13 could perform a long-range anti-ship role.
ALBMs are carried horizontally by aircraft and dropped prior to their engines igniting. Following ignition, the missile reorients toward a regular ballistic trajectory like any other ballistic missile.
Why an Air-Launched Ballistic Missile?
Air-launched ballistic missiles are an unusual configuration for ballistic missiles. No country has inducted and deployed an ALBM as part of its strategic forces; the closest would have been the United States, which developed the GAM-87 Skybolt in the 1950s.
The Skybolt program, which also involved the participation of the United Kingdom, was ultimately cancelled in favor of the submarine-based Polaris system. U.S. President John F. Kennedy cancelled the program in the final weeks of 1962, weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Soviet Union, too, is thought to have briefly experimented with modifying its Tu-160 strategic bomber to carry a nuclear-capable ALBM, but the project foundered in the early 1980s and never proceeded to flight-testing.
Until the advent of reliable submarine-launched ballistic missiles and ballistic missile submarines, ALBMs offered an attractive means to improve the survivability of land-based nuclear forces in silos.
As a crisis would escalate, countries could direct their strategic bomber fleets, equipped with ALBMs, to high alert status. Once an ALBM-equipped bomber had taken off — presumably after warning of an incoming launch or the start of an attack — national leadership could be assured of some retaliatory capability.
Given the standoff ranges available to ALBMs, bombers carrying these weapons do not necessarily need to penetrate hostile airspace to be effective.
For China, the pursuit of an ALBM capability may suggest real concern about the survivability of its existing nuclear forces. With an estimated 270 nuclear warheads, China is not a near-peer nuclear adversary of the United States and has a lean force posture built around a longstanding pledge of no first use.
Operational training for the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (formerly the Second Artillery Corps) has long simulated retaliatory launch operations after the country has already absorbed a nuclear strike — presumably against known basing sites for its intercontinental-range ballistic missiles, both in silos and on road-mobile launchers.
In this context, China’s pursuit of an ALBM capability might not be so surprising. Assuming a sufficiently distributed bomber force, the long-range H6X1/H-6N and CH-AS-X-13 could lend important retaliatory flexibility to Chinese nuclear forces.
Moreover, with Chinese concern growing about U.S. missile defenses, a long-range strategic bomber carrying an ALBM could present U.S. homeland missile defense systems with challenging or impossible intercept geometries. (China’s deployed nuclear ballistic missile submarines also have this advantage.)
Finally, in a conventional conflict with the United States, China may plan on its conventional anti-access/area denial capabilities securing air corridors for its bombers to access airspace far into the western Pacific. The ALBM, given its relatively short assessed range of 3,000 kilometers, may ultimately find more use as a theater ballistic missile.
U.S. and allied fighters in Northeast Asia and surface ships in the Pacific could deny the H6X1 the necessary access to make the ALBM useful as a weapon for strategic nuclear retaliation.
Beijing’s growing suite of anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic boost-glide warheads, and conventional short-to-intermediate-range systems, however, could neutralize U.S. air defenses and airfields in the East Asian theater.
Given the lack of any authoritative Chinese statements on the burgeoning ALBM program and the lack of an imminent date for deployment, it’s possible too that the program is merely experimental and serves as a technology demonstrator for now.
«La NATO, Organizzazione del Trattato Nord Atlantico è un’organizzazione internazionale per la collaborazione nella difesa. Il trattato istitutivo della NATO, il Patto Atlantico, fu firmato a Washington, D.C. il 4 aprile 1949 ed entrò in vigore il 24 agosto dello stesso anno. Venne fondato da USA, Canada, Regno Unito, Francia, Norvegia e molti Paesi dell’Europa che, al termine della seconda guerra mondiale erano entrati nella sfera di influenza USA. È stato durante la Guerra fredda in contrapposizione con il Patto di Varsavia creato dai paesi del Blocco sovietico.» [Fonte]
Lo statuto / trattato della Nato riporta all’art. 5 quanto segue:
«Le parti concordano che un attacco armato contro una o più di esse, in Europa o in America settentrionale, deve essere considerato come un attacco contro tutte e di conseguenza concordano che, se tale attacco armato avviene, ognuna di esse, in esercizio del diritto di autodifesa individuale o collettiva, riconosciuto dall’articolo 51 dello Statuto delle Nazioni Unite, assisterà la parte o le parti attaccate prendendo immediatamente, individualmente o in concerto con le altre parti, tutte le azioni che ritiene necessarie, incluso l’uso della forza armata, per ripristinare e mantenere la sicurezza dell’area Nord Atlantica»
* * * * * * *
La parti contraenti, ossia gli stati nazionali, si erano accordati di ripartirsi le spese dell’Alleanza – 775 miliardi di euro nel 2017 – e di mantenere delle forze armate proporzionali alle esigenze del proprio scacchiere geopolitico e geomilitare.
Ulpiano, giurista romano, aveva sintetizzato in una massima un principio fondamentale del vivere comune, recepito bene dal diritto internazionale e da quello privato: “pacta servanda sunt“. Senza rispetto di quanto pattuito non potrebbe sussistere alcuna convivenza umana.
Sotto i lunghi cancellierati di Frau Merkel, tuttavia, la Germania ha gradualmente ma significativamente ridotto anno dopo anno gli stanziamenti militari e si è dimostrata sempre più inadempiente nei confronti degli obblighi finanziari nei confronti dell’Alleanza.
Alla fine del suo terzo mandato di Bundeskanzlerin, Frau Merkel deve constatare due fatti:
In sintesi: La Germania gode dei benefici e tutele di appartenere alla Nato senza contribuire in nulla, né come alleata né come forze armate nazionali.
Dovrebbe essere evidente come una situazione del genere non possa durare all’infinito. Se Frau Merkel ed i tedeschi vogliono illudersi che la Nato li difenda, si accomodino pure, ma sia ben chiaro che è un mera illusione.
«Due to a technical problem with the defense system of the combat aircraft only 10 of the Luftwaffe’s 128 Eurofighters are mission ready»
«The problem stems from a cooling liquid leak in the aircraft’s wing pod sensors, which are used to recognize hostile jets or incoming attacks»
«The shortage of aircraft means that Germany is unable to fulfill its NATO obligations to have 82 combat ready jets for crisis situations»
* * * * * * *
Fra le tante, una unica considerazione sembrerebbe essere prioritaria.
Mantener fede agli impegni presi è il primo passo verso quella credibilità che eleva un politico al rango di statista.
Si deve a malincuore constatare quanto la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel sia inaffidabile.
Sul Ministro della difesa, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen, vorremmo essere esonerati dall’esprimere giudizio.
Tutte le scelte hanno dei pro e dei contro, da valutarsi bene a mente fredda: di sicuro però ognuna avrà le sue conseguenze. Anche il non scegliere è in realtà una opzione.
Non lice voler godere i vantaggi della Nato senza accollarsene anche gli oneri: e di fatto la Germania non può più contare sulla Nato, ma ben lo sanno i paesi del Visegrad.
Si potrebbe anche correre il rischio di spaccare un’Europa già frammentata.
The report is the latest to cast doubt on Germany’s military capabilities and readiness. It raises questions of whether Germany is really meeting its NATO commitments.
Only a handful of the German Air Force’s Eurofighter jets are combat ready, according to a report in the magazine Der Spiegel published Wednesday.
Due to a technical problem with the defense system of the combat aircraft only 10 of the Luftwaffe’s 128 Eurofighters are mission ready, according to the report.
The problem stems from a cooling liquid leak in the aircraft’s wing pod sensors, which are used to recognize hostile jets or incoming attacks. Without the defense system the Eurofighter jets are not combat ready.
The shortage of aircraft means that Germany is unable to fulfill its NATO obligations to have 82 combat ready jets for crisis situations.
The wing pod issue is only one problem facing the Luftwaffe. Der Spiegel reported that there are only enough missiles to make only four Eurofigher jets ready for combat.
The German military confirmed to Der Spiegel the technical problems with the Eurofighter, but would not comment on the number of combat-ready aircraft, given that this information is classified.
The revelation in Der Spiegel is the latest report to cast doubt on Germany’s military readiness and capabilities.
In a Bundeswehr document provided to the German parliament last year, the military classified 39 of 128 jets as combat ready.
A Bundeswehr spokesperson told Der Spiegel that the “daily actual availability” of the Eurofighter right now is better than last year.
However, Der Spiegel said that the military appeared to count any Eurofighter that can fly as ready, even if they are only available for training or maneuvers without missiles or defense systems.
“These jets are barred from participating in real deployments, such as air patrols in the eastern flank of NATO,” Der Spiegel wrote.
«Il Javelin è un’arma militare utilizzata in caso di attacco contro mezzi blindati e carri armati, ma non sono esclusi elicotteri a bassa quota. Il raggio d’azione è di circa 2–3 km. L’arma è composta da un lanciatore spalleggiabile usa e getta, chiamato CLU (Command Launch Unit, unità di controllo lancio); il proiettile utilizzato è un missile a combustibile solido.
Il personale di lancio è di norma costituito da due persone, ma può essere lanciato anche da una persona singola.
Il bersaglio viene individuato in fase di puntamento, ed è agganciato e seguito autonomamente dal missile, senza che siano necessari altri interventi da parte del personale che lo ha lanciato (“lancia e dimentica”) per mezzo del calore emanato dal bersaglio stesso; il puntamento è facilitato dall’elettronica dell’arma che, oltre ad una funzione di zoom, include anche una di visione notturna.
Il missile può operare in due differenti modalità:
– Direct Attack: il missile colpisce con volo diretto il bersaglio ad una quota massima di 60 m superiore al punto di lancio;
– Top Attack: il missile si innalza fino a 150 m di altezza prima di colpire, se occorre, in picchiata.
La parte superiore dei veicoli blindati si presenta solitamente piatta e non ha i tipici profili inclinati e sfuggenti destinati a deviare i proiettili di provenienza orizzontale. Nella modalità “Top Attack” il missile, grazie alla condizione di velocità raggiunta in picchiata, ricade sull’obiettivo con un altissimo potere di penetrazione.
Allo scopo di neutralizzare la difesa reattiva delle moderne corazze reattive, il missile utilizza una doppia testata HEAT in tandem, la prima carica esplosiva fa saltare le corazze reattive esterne, la seconda carica (principale) penetra nella corazza.
Il missile può essere sviluppato in modo da confondere i sistemi antimissile della difesa da colpire, in quel caso il bersaglio non ha via di scampo.» [Fonte]
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«The White House is said to have approved the sale of Javelin systems to Ukraine late last year after months of heated debate»
«The announcement at the time triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, including an accusation against the United States of “fomenting a war”»
Il sistema contro-carro Javelin non è esattamente lo stato dell’arte, ma è pur sempre una arma ravvicinata di tutto rispetto. Si riferisce che per neutralizzare un carro armato T 14 sarebbero necessari da quattro a cinque missili.
Di per sé la fornitura di missili contro – carro non dovrebbe essere una notizia: tutti gli eserciti ne sono forniti e tutti i carri armati moderni hanno sistemi di difesa
Ciò che sembrerebbe essere mutato è l’atteggiamento americano: una cosa è fornire sistemi di arma offensivi, ed una totalmente differente è vendere sistemi di arma difensivi.
In ogni caso, un giorno o l’altro, il problema ukraino dovrà ben essere affrontato in sede politica: servirebbe un accordo dignitoso per tutte le parti.
Sarebbe del tutto comprensibile quanto i russi siano rimasti contrariati da questa fornitura.
The US State Department has confirmed a delivery of American-made anti-tank missile systems to Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported.
The broadcaster said the delivery was likely to anger Moscow amid a four-year-old conflict that has seen Russia-backed separatists battling Ukrainian troops.
The Javelin anti-tank missile systems intended for Ukraine “have already been delivered,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty quoted a US State Department official as saying on Monday in response to a query.
The State Department provided no further details, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
It noted that, according to the authorities in Kyiv as well as Western governments, ever since Moscow seized the Crimea region of southern Ukraine in March 2014, Russia has armed and coordinated Ukrainian separatists as well as provided Russian fighters amid attempts to seize control of swathes of eastern Ukrainian territory across the Russian border.
The US shipment marks at least a symbolic victory for Ukraine in its efforts to keep Western support in the simmering conflict, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after a referendum that the Ukrainian authorities and the West said was illegal. Earlier, Russian soldiers in unmarked uniforms seized strategic facilities on the peninsula from the Ukrainian army and local authorities.
The White House is said to have approved the sale of Javelin systems to Ukraine late last year after months of heated debate, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
The announcement at the time triggered a sharp reaction from Moscow, including an accusation against the United States of “fomenting a war,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said.
Questo è un argomento che solo tra molti decenni si potrà sapere se fosse stato o meno vero.
I russi affermano di aver potuto raccogliere un missile Tomahawk inesploso e di starlo utilizzando per comprenderne il funzionamento e migliorare quindi i propri sistemi di arma.
I russi affermano e gli americani smentiscono: nessuno è al momento in grado di appurare cosa ci sia di vero.
«Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems»
«the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”»
«an unexploded Tomahawk cruise missile and one high accuracy air-launched missile that the U.S. and its allies used in their last airstrike in Syria on April 14 has been brought to Moscow»
«Some of the missiles failed to reach the designated targets apparently due to technical failures, which created the risk of destroying civilian facilities and causing civilian casualties»
«Two of them, a cruise missile Tomahawk and a high-accuracy air-launched missile, have been brought to Moscow»
«The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapon systems»
Riportiamo la notizia per completezza informativa.
Nota. Da quel che si possono conoscere i servizi segreti delle grandi potenze, nessuno si stupirebbe se progettisti ed operai addetti alla costruzione dei missili da crociera Tomahawk fossero tutte spie russe.
– Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
– However, the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”
– Russia said it would study the Tomahawk and would use it to improve Russian weapon systems.
Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday,
However, the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”
An official within Russia’s ministry said that an unexploded Tomahawk cruise missile and one high accuracy air-launched missile that the U.S. and its allies used in their last airstrike in Syria on April 14 has been brought to Moscow, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The chief of the Russian General Staff’s main operations directorate, Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy, told a news briefing on Wednesday that Russian military specialists were already studying the missiles.
“Some of the missiles failed to reach the designated targets apparently due to technical failures, which created the risk of destroying civilian facilities and causing civilian casualties,” Rudskoy said.
“Two of them, a cruise missile Tomahawk and a high-accuracy air-launched missile, have been brought to Moscow,” he said, adding that Russian specialists were studying them.
“The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapon systems.”
A Pentagon spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense rubbished the claims, telling CNBC that they were an attempt to distract people from its alliance with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
“This is another example of the Russian disinformation campaign to distract attention from their moral complicity to the Assad Regime’s atrocities and the civilian carnage in western Syria,” Eric Pahon, Pentagon spokesman, told CNBC via email on Wednesday.
“The claims … regarding our target selection are absurd, as is the rest of the (TASS) article. On the Tomahawk, we have seen no proof, other than statements made to Russian state-owned media, that their claims are true. This is likely another smoke screen of propaganda to distract from the real issue at hand — the murder of innocent civilians by a murderous regime propped up by Russian backing,” he said.
Tomahawk missiles are, their maker Raytheon says, “modern, mature, powerful” and can “can circle for hours, shift course instantly on command and beam a picture of its target to controllers halfway around the world before striking with pinpoint accuracy.”
Raytheon notes that Tomahawks can be launched from a ship or submarine and can fly into heavily defended airspace more than 1,000 miles away “to conduct precise strikes on high-value targets with minimal collateral damage. Launching the weapon from such a long distance helps to keep sailors out of harm’s way.”
It notes that the U.S. and allied militaries have used Tomahawk missiles more than 2,000 times in combat, and flight-tested them 500 times. In April 2017, U.S. Navy destroyers launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets on a Syrian air base, it said.
A U.S. Department of Defense press briefing on April 14 — the date the U.S. and its allies launched an airstrike on Syrian government bases in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime, an ally of Russia – confirmed the use of multiple Tomahawk missiles in the airstrikes.
Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said Tomahawk missiles had been deployed to various targets in Syria including the Barzeh Research and Development Center (believed to be involved in chemical weapon research and development) and a chemical weapons storage facility.
«Il Chengdu J-20 è un aereo da caccia stealth di quinta generazione sviluppato dall’azienda aeronautica cinese Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group negli anni duemila e dal 2016 in fase di preproduzione. ….
Pare sia un bireattore con configurazione alare delta canard con elevate caratteristiche di invisibilità, supercruise e maneggevolezza, nel complesso comparabile all’F-22 americano. Il design dovrebbe trarre parzialmente ispirazione dal Mig 1.44 e dal Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 Black Widow II.Tra le caratteristiche innovative figurerebbero un radar AESA a scansione elettronica sviluppato localmente, una stiva interna, un’interfaccia digitale, un sistema di spinta vettoriale e una grande capacità di trasporto di armi e carburante in stive interne.
Le informazioni in possesso dai media affermano che siano stati realizzati 9 prototipi (le cui foto sono apparse in rete il 22 dicembre 2010), e che si stanno effettuando numerosi test a terra; mentre sembra che il primo test in volo si sia tenuto l’11 gennaio 2011 sui cieli della città di Chengdu.
Anche il J-20 è attualmente equipaggiato con due turbofan di fabbricazione russa, anche se il caccia di linea dovrebbe essere dotato di un motore di concezione e produzione nazionale.» [Fonte]
Dai dati disponibili, sembrerebbe che il J-20 abbia una velocità massima di Mach 2.5, un raggio di azione di 2,000 kilometri ed una tangenza di 20,000 metri.
Sull’armamento corrono voci discordanti, forse perché riferite a versioni differenti.
«Il J-20 dovrebbe trasportare internamente fino ad un massimo di quattro missili BVRAAM, beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles e due a corto raggio PL-10.»
With more countries now fielding and trying to market stealth jets, Business Insider spoke to Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at the think tank CNA and fellow at the Wilson Center focusing on Russia’s military and defense, about how the Su-57 and the J-20 match up with the US’s stealth planes. ….
What do you think overall of the Su-57? I think it’s a stealthier aircraft than your typical fourth-generation design. I don’t think it matches the stealth capability of the F-22 or F-35, nor does it match the price tag of them. I think it’s a poor man’s stealth aircraft. I think it’ll be a very capable platform. I don’t think it’ll match or compete the low-observation parameters of US aircraft. ….
The F-22 is actually really good in maneuverability too. The F-35 not so much, but the F-22 is actually a brilliant aircraft. We still have a lot of them. But the Su-57 is not meant to be a direct competitor to the F-22 or F-35. ….
Is the Su-57 better than the J-20? Well, it’s certainly far — if not further — along in technology design. ….
What do you think about the J-20 compared to the F-22 or the Su-57? I suspect that the J-20 probably has great avionics and software but, as always, has terrible engine design. In fact, Chinese low-observation aircraft designs like J-31 are flying on older Russian Klimov engines because the Chinese can’t make an engine. Others are Russian saturn engines, or Chinese engines based on western designs.»
* * * * * * *
Gli esperti del The Diplomat sembrerebbero dare una migliore valutazione del J-20.
«The J-20’s rapidly evolving combat capabilities could make it a world leading aerial warfare platform»
«China’s Chengdu J-20 fifth generation air superiority fighter first entered service in early 2017, providing the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) with an analog to the U.S. F-22 Raptor»
«the J-20 to become a world leading aerial warfare platform»
«Other upgrades for the J-20 include improved software, improvements to radar capabilities, enhanced avionics and superior electronic equipment»
* * * * * * * *
A nostro personale parere, le discussioni tecniche interessano ben poco, specialmente per il fatto che nessuna delle parti in gioco ha reso note e pubbliche le vere specifiche dei propri mezzi.
Senza tener poi conto che questa tipologia di caccia necessita di tutta una lunghissima serie di servizi che spaziano dalle comunicazioni satellitari, all’integrazione in una rete radar a livello almeno locoregionale, e così via.
Ci sembrerebbe invece più proficuo soffermarci su di una considerazione ovvia, che poi ovvia sembrerebbe non esserlo molto.
Trenta anno or sono l’industria aeronautica cinese era praticamente inesistente. La società Comac è stata fondata l’11 maggio 2008, ed il suo prototipo C919 è già in fase di testaggio avanzato.
Al momento sta muovendo i suoi primi cautissimi passi, però c’è.
The J-20’s rapidly evolving combat capabilities could make it a world leading aerial warfare platform.
China’s Chengdu J-20 fifth generation air superiority fighter first entered service in early 2017, providing the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) with an analog to the U.S. F-22 Raptor. The platform was the first fifth generation fighter to enter service anywhere in the world outside the United States, and came equipped with state-of-the-art radar evading capabilities, avionics, and air-to-air missiles. The fighter’s canard configuration served to further enhance stealth capabilities while maintaining high levels of maneuverability. With less than a year having passed since the J-20 was inducted into service, the next generation platform has already received its first set of upgrades aimed at enhancing its combat performance. These upgrades are but the first of many to come, which could well lead the J-20 to become a world leading aerial warfare platform.
A notable shortcoming of prototypes and early production models of the J-20 was their use of fourth generation engines, the WS-10G, which were heavily based on the Russian AL-31 used to power fourth generation heavy fighters. The platform lacked an engine comparable to the F119 used by the F-22 Raptor, leaving it underpowered and significantly less capable in an air superiority role. China’s military aviation industries have since the induction of the fighter however developed a fifth generation fighter engine, WS-15, with analogous capabilities to the F119. These new and superior engines will be installed on future fighters and represent a significant upgrade over previous capabilities. Reports from a number of analysts indicate that several J-20 fighters which took part in major military drills at the Zhurihe base in Inner Mongolia in mid 2017 were already equipped with the WS-15 for testing purposes.
Other upgrades for the J-20 include improved software, improvements to radar capabilities, enhanced avionics and superior electronic equipment. A lead engineer working on the J-20, speaking to the People’s Daily, said his team were making further modifications to the elite fighter’s engine, stealth coating and weapons bay. This would improve the platform’s flight performance, survivability, and firepower. The rate at which the J-20 has received upgrades is particularly significant when compared to the rate of upgrades for the F-22 Raptor, which has yet to complete installation of its second set of upgrades after almost 13 years of service. Upgrading the J-20’s weapons bay in a number of months, for example, represents an accomplishment the U.S. Air Force has attempted for years to achieve to improve the firepower of the F-22 and allow it to operate more advanced air to air missiles. F-22 upgrade programs such as the Raptor Agile Capability Release have taken years, not months, to implement and arguably are less significant than the upgrades China was able to so quickly apply to its J-20. By the time the U.S. Raptors have all been equipped with the new 180 km range AIM-120D air to air missiles, the J-20 is likely to have already begun to operate the new ramjet powered variants of the PL-21 and PL-12D air to air missiles with higher speeds, maneuverability and ranges estimated at 200-400 km. The pace at which the Chinese fighter’s capabilities are improving far exceeds those of the F-22.
The U.S. Air Force’s ability to improve the capabilities of the Raptor is limited largely due to the termination of production of the fighter, meaning it is no longer a “live program” undergoing continuous development in the same way as the F-35, F-15, and J-20. The age of the Raptor’s design, meaning it uses software and computer architecture developed in the 1990s with a core processor speed of just 25MHz, further complicates upgrades – causing particular issues when attempting to equip the fighter with newly developed weapons systems. The J-20’s far newer computer architecture is far easier to work with for China’s own military. While the J-20 was considered unable to match the capabilities of the F-22 upon its induction into service, the far faster rate at which upgrades can be applied are set to rapidly narrow the gap and could well lead the Chinese fighter to soon surpass the capabilities of its U.S. counterpart and in future go on to transcend them entirely. With both fighters representing the elite of each country’s respective aerial warfare capabilities, this will inevitably have significant implications for the balance of power in the Pacific.