«Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”.»
«L’isola di Vozroždenie, altresì conosciuta come isola della Rinascita (in uzbeco Tiklanish orollari; in russo Остров Возрождения; in inglese Vozrozhdeniya Island), era un’isola del lago d’Aral che, a causa del progressivo ritiro delle acque, è divenuta una penisola nel 2002 e, successivamente, un istmo. Attualmente è divisa tra il Kazakistan e l’Uzbekistan.
Fino alla Rivoluzione di ottobre portava il nome datole dal suo primo esploratore Butakov Alexei ovvero ‘Isola di Nicola I’. Data l’inaccessibilità del luogo, l’isola di Vozroždenie venne trasformata in uno dei principali laboratori sovietici per effettuare test di guerra batteriologica. Nel 1948, un ulteriore laboratorio top-secret per la produzione di armi biologiche venne stabilito qui. Dichiarazioni sulla pericolosità dell’isola vennero fatte da disertori sovietici, incluso Ken Alibek, l’ex capo del programma sulle armi biologiche dell’Unione Sovietica. Fu qui, come si riscontra in documenti successivamente desecretati, che le spore di antrace e i bacilli di peste bubbonica furono trasformati in armi e le stesse immagazzinate. Il principale insediamento nell’isola era Kantubek, oggi abbandonato, che una volta aveva una popolazione di circa 1.500 abitanti.
I membri dello staff del laboratorio abbandonarono l’isola nel tardo 1991. Molti dei contenitori che conservavano le spore ed i bacilli non furono immagazzinati o distrutti correttamente. Nel corso dei dieci anni successivi, molti degli involucri si erano deteriorati al punto da non contenere il pericolosissimo materiale in essi conservato. Dato l’incessante recedere del lago e l’inevitabile ricongiungimento dell’isola con la terraferma, c’era il timore che gli animali presenti nei dintorni potessero addentrarsi nell’impianto ed entrare in contatto con gli agenti contaminanti e disperderli nell’ambiente con gravissimo rischio di epidemie mortali.» [Fonte]
Tutti gli stati hanno una loro Vozrozhdeniya, di cui non amano certo parlarne.
«Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.
The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination»
* * * * * * *
Ufficialmente le armi biologiche sarebbero bandite, le ricerche interrotte ed i depositi avrebbero dovuto essere distrutti, a mente la Biological Weapons Convenction.
Al momento attuale sembrerebbe che gli stati classificabili come superpotenze abbiano distrutto i propri arsenali biologici, ma non esistono certezze assolute.
Il grande problema invece consiste nel fatto che con i progressi della genetica qualsiasi laboratorio, anche supportato da personale non altamente qualificato, sarebbe in grado di produrre armi biologiche efficienti per costi infimi.
Una simile concreta possibilità potrebbe rivelarsi in drammatiche conseguenze se fosse sfruttata da gruppi terroristici.
Nessuno intende fare allarmismo, ma questa ipotesi sembrerebbe di tale portata da indurre la messa in essere di adeguate contromisure.
On the Kazakh-Uzbek border, surrounded by miles of toxic desert, lies an island. Or at least, something that used to be an island.
Vozrozhdeniya was once home to a vibrant fishing village fringed by turquoise lagoons, back when the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest in the world and abundant with fish.
But after years of abuse by the Soviets, the waters have receded and the sea has turned to dust; the rivers that fed it were diverted to irrigate cotton fields. Today, a layer of salty sand, riddled with carcinogenic pesticides, is all that remains of the ancient oasis.
This is a place where the mercury regularly hits 60C (140F), where the only signs of life are the skeletons of desiccated trees and camels shading under giant, stranded boats.
Now Vozrozhdeniya has swallowed up so much of the sea that it’s swelled to 10 times its original size, and is connected to the mainland by a peninsula. But it is thanks to another Soviet project that it is one of the deadliest places on the planet.
From the 1970s, the island has been implicated in a number of sinister incidents. In 1971, a young scientist fell ill after a research vessel, the Lev Berg, strayed into a brownish haze. Days later, she was diagnosed with smallpox. Mysteriously, she had already been vaccinated against the disease. Though she recovered, the outbreak went on to infect a further nine people back in her hometown, three of whom died. One of these was her younger brother.
A year later, the corpses of two missing fishermen were found nearby, drifting in their boat. It’s thought that they had caught the plague. Not long afterwards, locals started landing whole nets of dead fish. No one knows why. Then in May 1988, 50,000 saiga antelope which had been grazing on a nearby steppe dropped dead – in the space of an hour.
The island’s secrets have endured, partly because it isn’t the kind of place where you can just turn up. Since Vozrozhdeniya was abandoned in the 1990s, there have only been a handful of expeditions. Nick Middleton, a journalist and geographer from Oxford University, filmed a documentary there back in 2005. “I was aware of what went on, so we got hold of a guy who used to work for the British military and he came to give the crew a briefing about the sorts of things we might find,” he says.
“He scared the pants off me, to be honest.”
That expert was Dave Butler, who ended up going with them. “There was a lot that could have gone wrong,” he says. As a precaution, Butler put the entire team on antibiotics, starting the week before. As a matter of necessity, they wore gas masks with hi-tech air filters, thick rubber boots and full white forensic-style suits, from the moment they arrived.
They weren’t being paranoid. Aerial photographs taken by the CIA in 1962 revealed that while other islands had piers and fish-packing huts, this one had a rifle range, barracks and parade ground. But that wasn’t even the half of it. There were also research buildings, animal pens and an open-air testing site. The island had been turned into a military base of the most dangerous kind: it was a bioweapons testing facility.
The project was a total secret, not even marked on Soviet maps, but those in the know called it Aralsk-7. Over the years the site flourished into a living nightmare, where anthrax, smallpox and the plague hung in great clouds over the land, and exotic diseases such as tularemia, brucellosis, and typhus rained down and seeped into the sandy soil.
The island was isolated enough that it wasn’t discovered until the 19th Century, making it the perfect place to hide from the prying eyes of Western intelligence. Failing that, the surrounding sea made a convenient natural moat.
These are the factors that led to it being chosen as the final resting place for the largest anthrax stockpile in human history. Its origins remain obscure, but it’s possible that the deadly cache was manufactured at Compound 19, a facility near the Russian city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekatarinburg.
Aralsk-7 was part of a bioweapons program on an industrial scale, one that employed over 50,000 people at 52 production facilities across the Soviet empire. Anthrax was produced in huge fermenting vats, tenderly nurtured as though they were growing beer.
In 1988, nine years after an anthrax leak at Compound 19 led to the deaths of at least 105 people, the Soviets finally decided to get rid of their cache. Huge vats of anthrax spores were mixed with bleach and transported the port town of Aralsk, on the shores of the Aral Sea (now 16 miles (25km) inland), where they were loaded onto barges and transported to Vozrozhdeniya. Some 100 to 200 tonnes of anthrax slurry was hastily dumped in pits and forgotten.
Most of the time, anthrax bacteria live as spores, an inactive form with extreme survival skills. They’ll shrug off pretty much anything you care to throw at them – from baths of noxious disinfectants to being roasted for up to two minutes at 180C (356F).
When they’re buried in the ground, the spores can survive for hundreds of years. In one case, they were recovered from an archaeological dig at the ruins of a medieval hospital in Scotland – along with the several-hundred-years-old remains of the lime they tried to kill them with.
More recently, a 12-year-old-boy died after being overcome by anthrax that had been lurking in the far north of Russia. The outbreak hospitalised 72 people from the nomadic Nenets tribe, including 41 children, and thousands of reindeer perished. It’s thought to have started when a heatwave thawed the carcass of a reindeer that was at least 75 years old.
As you might expect, the Soviets’ efforts at Vozrozhdeniya weren’t nearly enough. Years after the USSR’s collapse, in the wake of attacks in Tokyo and revelations about an extensive bioweapons programme in Iraq, fears were mounting about the prospect of terrorists or rogue governments getting their hands on any weaponised pathogens. So the US government sent teams of specialists to do some tests.
The precise location of the anthrax cache was never disclosed, but as it turns out this wasn’t a problem. The pits were so enormous, they were clearly visible in photos taken from space. Viable spores were found in several soil samples, and the US pledged $6m (£4.6m) for a project to clean the place up.
This involved a deep trench, dug next to the pits, some plastic lining and thousands of kilograms of powerful powdered bleach. All the team had to do was move several tonnes of contaminated soil into the trench – in 50C (122F) heat, while wearing full protective suits. In all, 100 local workers were hired and the project took four months to complete.
It worked. After stewing for six days with the powdered bleach, the spores were gone.
But that’s not quite the end of the story. Half a century of open-air testing has left the entire island contaminated – not just at the test site, but all over. “Oh, there will still be anthrax there, no problem,” says Les Baillie, an international expert on anthrax from Cardiff University. He spent a decade working at the UK’s former bioweapons research facility, Porton Down.
That’s not to mention the burial pits of infected animals, with up to a hundred corpses in each, or the unmarked grave of a woman who died while handling an infectious agent some decades ago. “Even when you bury an animal, you have to bury it a good couple of metres down. If the area floods the spores can float back up and earthworms in the soil can move it around,” he says.
Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.
The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination.
Just this single set of experiments rendered the island so contaminated, initial efforts to clean it up failed and the site was abandoned.
The only people to set foot there in half a century were scientists from Porton Down and two brothers, the Fletts, from the mainland. They rowed the 10-minute trip across the sea once a year to repaint the warning signs – and wore protective suits while doing so.
Soil samples taken in 1979 revealed that, nearly four decades later, there were still between 3,000 and 45,000 spores per gram of soil. Proposals for dealing with the “contaminated monster”, as it became known, ranged from concreting it all over, to removing the top layer of soil and dumping it in the North Atlantic.
In the end, every inch of the 1.96 sq km island was sprayed with 280 metric tonnes of formaldehyde solution mixed with seawater. It was finally declared safe in 1990. Today the island can be accessed easily by boat – though you’ll have to convince someone to take you first.
Thankfully, Vozrozhdeniya is not quite so accessible. To get there, Middleton, Butler and their team travelled across Kazakhstan to Quilandy, a nearby village on the mainland. The plan was to hire a boat to take them across the Aral Sea, and some guides. Naturally, the locals weren’t exactly falling over themselves to visit the notorious island – “They knew to stay away,” says Middleton – and in the end, they made an unlikely alliance with a gang of salvage-seekers.
The trip was delayed, as crew members were struck down by food poisoning. Hours after they were set to leave, a massive dust storm broke out, engulfing the village and the Aral Sea. “It was like the end of the world. We would have been in the middle of the storm in these rickety boats,” says Butler. “I don’t think we would have survived.”
The next day, they finally made it. The base is divided into two parts: the town of Kantubek, which was built to house scientists and their families, and the lab complex, which lies about two miles (3.2km) further south.
“Even once we got there, there was quite a way to go,” says Butler. The team had arrived from Kazakhstan, due to the difficulty of getting a visa from Uzbekistan – though this is where the base is actually located.
They traversed the island’s desert interior by moped, navigating without maps – “I think they used the Sun,” says Butler – while dressed in full biocontainment suits.
Though they knew it was dangerous, the gang had made several visits to the town before, ripping out copper pipes, removing light fixtures, gradually dismantling the town and scavenging what they could sell. “When you first see it, it looks like they’re still building it,” says Middleton.
Today Kantubek is a dilapidated ghost town, in which the signs of a once-comfortable life contrast with hints of something altogether more menacing. On the one hand, there are houses, a canteen and a couple of schools; on the other, the cracked portraits of military personnel, books by Marx and Lenin, and rusting tanks. “It’s weird because there’s this eerie sense of decay, but then there are incongruous elements, like a big war mural of a cartoon duck by a child’s playground,” he says. “There isn’t a single bird or insect – it’s totally quiet.”
The local gang was keen to get off the island as quickly as possible, so the crew didn’t have long. Soon they set off again, this time in search of the lab complex. “They took us to the front door of the place and said ‘we’ll wait outside’. They didn’t want to go in,” says Butler.
What they found at the site – officially called the Field Scientific Research Laboratory, or PNIL in Russian – was extremely disturbing. “The research buildings aren’t cleaned up at all,” says Middleton. “It just looks like they trashed the place and left.”
Vast glass tanks of hazardous substances line the walls, while the floor is covered in hundreds of thousands of smashed glass vials, pipettes and petri dishes. Discarded full-body suits, complete with alien-like masks and air hoses, are everywhere. The whole place has the feel of a dystopian video game – partly because it is (it’s featured in a version of the first-person shooter Call of Duty).
Here Butler stepped the safety up a notch and the team donned more complete breathing apparatus that filters the air. “Buildings tend to concentrate whatever’s there,” says Butler. In addition to stray anthrax, the team ran the gauntlet of formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic if you breathe it in.
But the sense of control didn’t last long. “We’d been in there for about 15 minutes and the canisters started to become defeated,” says Butler. When an air filter is overloaded, the first sign is usually a whiff of some noxious aroma which has snuck through. “It can happen if you get a real corrosive, industrial chemical in concentrated quantities.”
Whatever it was, they decided to get out, fast. Butler was happy to camp overnight and visit the testing range the following day, but the others had seen enough. “For me it was quite exciting – a chance to put all the knowledge I have into practice,” says Butler. “But I suppose I’m weird like that.”
As an extra precaution, Butler took nasal swabs from every member of the team and checked them for anthrax spores.
He had good reason to be worried. There are several ways to die from anthrax, and the gruesome details of each depend on how you were infected. There’s the gastrointestinal route, which is common in grass-eating animals such as cattle, horses, sheep and goats and still leads to human deaths in developing countries to this day. The symptoms vary, but tend to include vomiting, diarrhoea, and lesions all the way from the mouth to the intestines.
Failing that, skin contact alone is often enough; back in 19th Century Yorkshire, so-called “woolsorters disease” was an occupational hazard for people who worked in the textile industry.
But by far the most unpleasant fate is to inhale some. Once a spore makes its way into the body, first it hitches a lift to the lymph nodes. There the spores begin to hatch and multiply – eventually spilling out into the bloodstream and leading to widespread tissue damage and internal bleeding. It’s thought that the whole process can take months to complete, but in the end, at least eight out of 10 people die in the process.
“It’s probably an ideal biological weapon as is,” says Talima Pearson, a biologist from Northern Arizona University who helped to sequence the strain that caused the outbreak at Sverdlovsk. “They were probably getting it from out in the wild.”
And not all of it was ordinary anthrax. Aralsk-7 was built amidst a bioweapons arms race with the US and the UK – a perilous mission to take already-lethal pathogens and make them even more hardy, infectious and deadly. Pains were taken to ensure bacteria were resistant to antibiotics and viruses could infect even those who had been vaccinated.
To achieve this, the scientists grew up industrial quantities of pathogens collected from the wild and honed in on those with the right characteristics. “The more material, the more chances there are to find what you’re looking for,” says Baillie.
But on 10 April, 1972, the three signed a treaty agreeing to give it up. This is precisely the moment that the Soviets launched the most terrifying programme yet. This time, they would use the emerging science of molecular genetics. These bioweapons would be designed, not just cultivated.
This included a particularly nasty strain of anthrax, known to researchers as STI. For starters, it was resistant to an impressive array of antibiotics, including penicillin, rifampin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, macrolides and lincomycin. But that’s not the only reason you really, really don’t want to be infected by STI.
As if regular anthrax wasn’t bad enough, the scientists decided this natural killer needed a final flourish: toxins which can rupture red blood cells and rot human tissue. Scientists took the genes from a close relative, Bacillus cereus, and added them using the latest scientific techniques.
Anthrax naturally grows in clumps, but these can get caught up in the nostrils and don’t always lead to an infection. So the Soviets liked to grind them down using industrial machinery. The final result is just five micrometres long – at least 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. “That’s the perfect size to be inhaled,” says Butler.
Before the team left for the island, Butler constructed a decontamination zone on the beach – basically just an outdoor tap – and stockpiled antibacterial soap. When they returned, every member stripped down naked and scrubbed themselves clean. “We had to make sure we didn’t have any spores in the, erm, hairy parts of our bodies,” he says.
Thankfully the team’s swabs came back negative and even the salvage-seekers, who refused their offer of protective gear, escaped unscathed. For the moment, the anthrax at Vozrozhdeniya remains in the ground.
But what of the mysterious outbreaks in the 1970s and 80s? It’s now known that the Lev Berg strayed into an aerosol cloud of weaponised smallpox that had recently been exploded on the island. The incident was suppressed by the Soviet powers of the time, including KGB boss Yuri Andropov who later became Soviet premier. It’s not known exactly which strain they were infected with, but according to David Evans, a virologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, it’s likely to have been India-1967.
“We know this because this is the strain the Soviets sequenced,” says Evans. “They used a very old fashioned method which required astonishing quantities of DNA to do it, so it makes sense that they’d sequence the same one that they were weaponising.”
This was a highly virulent strain, first isolated from an Indian man who brought it to Moscow in 1967. There are two possible reasons it was able to infect those who had already been vaccinated: the vaccination didn’t work, or they were exposed to a particularly high dose.
“The Soviet vaccine was criticised, so it’s possible it just wasn’t working very well,” says Evans. “And a very high dose of anything can overcome an immunisation.” If the vaccine wasn’t working, India-1967 would have been a particularly dangerous virus to be exposed to.
So could the island still be infectious today? “Oh it would be long gone,” says Evans. The Russians recently rediscovered the victims of a smallpox epidemic in Siberia, after melting permafrost exposed their graves. Though their corpses had been frozen solid for 120 years, the scientists didn’t find any virus – just its DNA.
Evans works on the vaccine strain of the virus, which is related but only causes a localised skin infection. “Even in my lab where we store it in a -80C (-112F) freezer under ideal conditions, the virus slowly loses infectivity over time,” he says.
As for the plague, though the Soviets were working on weaponising it, the bacteria remains widespread in Central Asia to this day – in fact, the number of cases increased sharply after the USSR collapsed. Which just leaves us with the fish and the antelope. Both remain a mystery, but the widespread pollution in the Aral Sea at the time and more recent mass antelope die-offs suggest that both had alternative causes.
Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”. Let’s hope the island’s pathogens don’t experience one any time soon.
«In 2013 President Xi Jinping revived this ancient endeavour, with the aim of linking China with Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East»
«In 2018 the new Silk Road will get a digital dimension. China will extend coverage of its home-grown satellite-navigation system to the 60-plus countries along the belt and road»
«By 2020 China aims to compete directly with America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), and expand its services globally with a network of 35 satellites»
«BeiDou connects the unconnected»
«The UN says that 62% of people in the Asia-Pacific region are not currently online»
«In addition to over $1trn in planned belt and road investments, China is spending an estimated $25bn on BeiDou.»
«More than 30 countries have signed agreements to embed BeiDou domestically»
* * * * * * *
«BeiDou, which is under military control, enables China to end its dependence on America’s GPS.»
«Now China can deploy BeiDou-guided conventional strike weapons »
* * * * * * *
Mentre l’Occidente investe gran parte dei bilanci statali in welfare e benefit, stipendi e vitalizi, la Cina investe cifre colossali in infrastrutture, dalle quali si attende anche un congruo ritorno economico, duraturo nel tempo.
È semplicemente evidente che alla fine il modello cinese è quello destinato a vincere. Con tutte quelle che saranno le ovvie conseguenze. Infatti sta semplicemente accerchiando l’Occidente.
Due elementi da mettere in evidenza.
«BeiDou connects the unconnected»
Già: ed i paesi che l’Occidente aveva snobbato saranno forse ingrati verso i cinesi?
«BeiDou, which is under military control»
Si è avvisati.
Tra tre anni la Cina disporrà di un sistema sia civile sia militare di geolocalizzazione: questo era l’elemento cardine per permettere il passaggio da potenza locoregionale a mondiale.
Poi non ci si stupisca più di tanto se alla fine la Cina esercitasse il potere che sta pazientemente costruendo.
Over 2,000 years ago the Silk Road carried goods, services and ideas across the Eurasian continent. In 2013 President Xi Jinping revived this ancient endeavour, with the aim of linking China with Asia, Africa, eastern Europe, Russia and the Middle East. His “belt-and-road” initiative (overland and maritime respectively) involves ambitious plans for infrastructure.
In 2018 the new Silk Road will get a digital dimension. China will extend coverage of its home-grown satellite-navigation system to the 60-plus countries along the belt and road. By 2020 China aims to compete directly with America’s Global Positioning System (GPS), and expand its services globally with a network of 35 satellites.
By the start of 2018 what China is calling BeiDou (its term for the Big Dipper) will have nearly 30 satellites, narrowing its accuracy to well below ten metres. That still leaves it behind GPS, which can pinpoint positions to a metre or less. But it is catching up and aims eventually to surge ahead.
Improvements mean faster, more efficient broadcasting. Navigation services will also get a boost. And BeiDou connects the unconnected. The UN says that 62% of people in the Asia-Pacific region are not currently online. Expanding coverage will be costly. In addition to over $1trn in planned belt and road investments, China is spending an estimated $25bn on BeiDou.
More than 30 countries have signed agreements to embed BeiDou domestically. Many authorise China to build ground stations, which improve BeiDou’s accuracy and reliability. On top of this, China has a three-year plan to invest in information infrastructure projects worth a combined $174bn, including the development of fibre-optic cables for high-speed internet.
Already, more than 150m Chinese smartphones, or 20% of the market, are equipped with BeiDou, and over 40,000 fishing vessels use it to communicate. Some 20m bicycles and motorcycles employ its positioning services. BeiDou-enabled services were worth more than $25bn in 2015; this is expected to double by 2020. A sub-industry of BeiDou-compatible chips, antennas and products aimed at the mass market has also formed.
Economic development is only part of the point. BeiDou, which is under military control, enables China to end its dependence on America’s GPS. Now China can deploy BeiDou-guided conventional strike weapons. As well as autonomy, the system brings the prestige of fielding one of the world’s four global navigation satellite systems (Europe, America and Russia manage the other three).
Critics worry about two things. China’s secrecy is a concern, especially when something goes wrong with the satellites. And, as with the rest of the belt-and-road initiative, China’s lopsided assumption of financial risk could cause problems if the returns are lacklustre.
Still, the government is committed to the plan. As the Chinese proverb goes, “If you want to get rich, first build a road.” In 2018, that means a digital highway, too.
Lo Cazr Imperatore Alessandro I entra a Parigi il 30 marzo 1814.
«Il testo della canzone fa discutere».
Tradotto in un linguaggio come si mangia, il testo della canzone fa discutere i liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologici, mica la gente comune che tanto se ne guarda bene dal continuare a votarli. Liberal e socialisti incominciano a vedersi in Siberia, sopra il circolo polare artico, a coltivar prezzemolo.
«There is no opinion of its own in the European Union
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.»
«Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin»
«l’Ue è descritta come insignificante»
«il presidente americano è senza potere»
«tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa»
«Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te»
«The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU»
La storia ci insegna fino a qual punto i russi se la leghino al dito quando si cerca di calpestarli.
Quando Napoleone si era illuso di piegare la Russia nel 1812 imparò la lezione sulla Beresina, poi fece il ripasso a Leipzig, ed infine i russi vinsero la battaglia di Parigi del 31 marzo 1814, e se ne entrarono nella capitale francese, mentre Napoleone se ne andava a Sant’Elena. Ebbero 18,000 tra morti e feriti in quella sola battaglia, ma alla fine vinsero, e vinsero in modo completo. Ed usarono una mano ben pesante.
Centotrenta anni dopo ci riprovarono i tedeschi. Alla fine i russi parcheggiarono i loro carri armati sulla verticale della cancelleria tedesca: subirono quasi venti milioni di morti, ma chiusero la partita.
I russi sono pazienti, ma quando si mettono in moto finiscono il loro compito in modo definitivo. Non hanno mezze misure.
Negli anni novanta, dopo la implosione dell’Unione sovietica l’Occidente impose severe condizioni alla Russia. Fece quello che mai un Richelieu oppure un Bismarck si sarebbe mai sognato di fare: li umiliarono.
La storia insegna che o si annienta oppure si tratta.
Chi si illudesse che i russi se ne siano dimenticati sarebbe davvero galatticamente ingenuo.
Ora l’Unione Europea sta disgregandosi, non ha nessun esercito degno di quel nome, è debosciata nel cuore e nella mente. Rigurgita di islamici infidi e le sue donne sono in gran parte depravate.
È forse questa l’Europa per cui andare a morire?
È forse questa la donna che dovrei difendere in battaglia?
Nella sala attivazione e lancio dei missili ad armamento atomico i nove addetti erano ebbri di cocaina e si scopavano le colleghe femmine, o facenti funzioni, sbalzandole/i sulla plancia dei comandi di lancio. Ed i russi dovettero avvisare gli inglese che avevano un bordello a bordo del loro sommergile nucleare: di bloccare quegli incoscienti.
La crisi tedesca innesca inevitabilmente quella dell’Unione Europea.
Sarà un periodo di chaos ove tutto potrebbe accadere.
Il video canoro iniziativa di una deputata putiniana “di ferro”.
Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin: la canzone ‘Zio Vova” – dove Vova è un affettuoso diminutivo per Vladimir – è una iniziativa della devota deputata putiniana Anna Kuvychko, eseguita da un coro di ragazzi che studiano nella scuola di polizia della regione di Volgograd, ovvero di quella che fu Stalingrado, città eroe che ancora oggi per i russi simboleggia la resistenza, il sacrificio e infine la vittoria sull’esercito nazista.
Il testo della canzone fa discutere – l’Ue è descritta come insignificante, il presidente americano è senza potere e tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa – ma per il Cremlino è una semplice “dimostrazione di simpatia” nei confronti di Putin. Il messaggio dei giovanissimi cadetti è certamente gradito all’uomo forte che ha fatto del patriottismo il suo manifesto: “Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te”.
The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU.
This is the moment Russian Police cadets sang a “chilling propaganda anthem” vowing to grab back the US state of Alaska – and never surrender Crimea.
The content of the song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin ‘s bid for another six years in the Kremlin.
Sung by cadets from a military-style college against a background of World War Two monuments in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, it oozes patriotism and depicts a weak, divided West.
It also cheekily borrowing a clip from a Brexit rally in the UK to justify the strongman’s bid to restore Russian might.
“We want our country back”, trumpet the Vote to Leave posters, mixed here with a message that the Russian young are ready to die for “Uncle Vova”, aka Vladimir Putin – Vova being a fond version of his first name.
Putin, aged 65, has not yet declared if he will run or not for a six year term in the March 2018 presidential election, but meanwhile videos like this show the path being cleared for him to notch up another landslide 18 years after he first took the Kremlin helm.
One of his ultra-loyal MPs Anna Kuvychko sings along with the uniformed cadets with lyrics which seem to predict Donald Trump’s impeachment and write off the European Union as of no consequence.
The song – redolent of Soviet-style propaganda – makes clear there will be no concessions to Japan in the disputed Kuril Islands, several of which Tokyo claims, nor 11 time zones away to NATO over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, an amber-rich region bristling with Russian military firepower.
The first verse takes a swipe at America’s perceived role as a superpower seeking global hegemony with the EU painted as its supplicant:
The 21st century is here – the Earth has got weary of wars,
The population of the planet is sick and tired with hegemony.
There is no opinion of its own in the European Union,
The Middle East is groaning from troubles,
Across the ocean the president was stripped of his power.
Then comes a refrain, making clear the obedience of these cadets to Putin if he orders them into action in the ‘final battle’:
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore,
We wish for peace in this land, but if the main commander calls us up for the last battle –
Uncle Vova, we are with you!
The anthem goes on:
And what will be left for my generation? If we are weak, we will lose the whole country.
And our devoted friends – these are the army and navy,
And a red star of a grandfather as a memory of friendship.
Then comes the Uncle Vova refrain once more before the next verse vows:
The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.
As the cadets dream of grabbing America’s largest state — sold by the Romanov tsars for $7.2 million in 1867 — they give a final stirring rendering of the refrain.
Major newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets noted it showed “kids ready to die for Putin” and said the song – supposedly the initiative of the woman MP, an ultra-loyalist in his United Russia party – has gone viral.
The young singers are reported to be from Volgograd Police Cadet school 44, and the song comes at a time when observers note a return to pride in the military and law enforcement agencies in Russia.
Volgograd is a “hero city” for its role in pushing back the Nazis, with some two million killed in the Battle of Stalingrad as Hitler’s thrust into the USSR was reversed.
Kuvychko, who represents Volgograd, said on Facebook: “The growing generation of hero city Volgograd, who are they?
“They are thinking people, and very much loving our country – the great Russia!
“They were brought up with the help of an example given by our defenders, they clearly understand that their great-grandfathers were fighting here, on Stalingrad’s land, long ago for this blue peaceful sky.
“They are facing different challenges these days no less serious than before.
“But they will manage and they will win!”
Other comments are not so positive, with critics claiming it is “a chilling propaganda anthem” aimed at backing Putin’s bid to keep his grip on Russia.
“Don’t mix up your Motherland and Uncle Vova. Love to the big boss is not about patriotism,” said one.
“We’re right on the way to a new North Korea,” complained another.
A critic added: “It is a pure political propaganda, dragging children into politics and teaching them from early years that war is a good thing.
“And those words about taking Alaska are hardcore.
«The S-500 Prometey (Russian: C-500 Прометей, Prometheus), also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M.”, is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern and with its characteristics it will be much similar to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.
The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) and 400 km (250 mi) for the air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph). It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5 as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi). It is effective against ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the radar reaches a radius of 3,000 km (1,300 km for the EPR 0,1 square meter).
The main components of the S-500 will be:
– the launch vehicle 77P6, based on the BAZ-69096 10×10 truck;
– the command posts 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 on BAZ-69092-12 6×6;
– the acquisition and battle management radar 91N6A(M), a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8×8 tractor;
– the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10×10;
– the multimode engagement radar 76T6 on BAZ-6909-022 8×8;
– the ABM engagement radar 77T6 on BAZ-69096 10×10;
Response time of less than 4 seconds (S-400 less than 10)» [Fonte]
«The Russian military is gearing up to test the first prototypes of its next-generation S-500 Prometey air and missile defense system, which is also known as 55R6M «Triumfator-M».
The weapon is not an upgrade but the fifth (new) generation system, capable of destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles and spacecraft, hypersonic cruise missiles and airplanes at speeds of higher than Mach 5.
The S-500 is expected to be much more capable than the current S-400 Triumph.
For instance, its response time is only 3-4 seconds (for comparison, the response time of S-400 is nine to ten seconds).
The S-500 is able to detect and simultaneously attack (as well as make speeds of up to 4.3 miles per second) up to ten ballistic missile warheads out at 600 km flying at speeds of twenty-three thousand feet per second.
Prometey can engage targets at altitudes of about 125 miles, including incoming ballistic missiles in space at ranges as great as 400 miles.
Experts believe that the systems capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the end and the middle portion.
Some sources report, that the S-500 system can detect ballistic missile at a range of 2000 km and warheads of ballistic missiles at a range of 1300 km.
It makes the system capable of defeating ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter atmosphere.» [Strategic Culture]
Nessuna forza militare ama parlare dei propri armamenti, specie poi di quelli innovativi.
Spesso le informazioni che trapelano sono solo quelle volutamente rilasciate, e l’esperienza insegna che dovrebbero essere prese con buon senso, anche perché sono spesso discordanti.
Per quanto riguarda il sistema S-500 una fonte riporta:
«Some sources report, that the S-500 system can detect ballistic missile at a range of 2 000 km and warheads of ballistic missiles at a range of 1 300 km. It can defeat ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter atmosphere.» [Military Today]
Esattamente come un’altra fonte riporta che
«It has been reported that there is also an S-1000 system being developed in Russia. Possibly it is a modification of the S-500.»
Segnaliamo un lungo articolo di Mirko Molteni sull’argomento.
Il vero segreto militare gelosamente custodito è come facciano i russi a stare tecnologicamente allo stato dell’arte spendendo 69 miliardi Usd all’anno, circa due volte di quanto spenda l’Italia. Solo che la Russia è una potenza nucleare ed ha un esercito di quasi un milione e mezzo di effettivi, armati fino ai denti.
Gli Usa spendono 611 mld, i paesi dell’Unione Europea ne spendono 347 all’anno. L’Occidente spende 14 volte quanto stanzia la Russia, ma con risultati non confortanti.
I conti non tornano visibilmente, né si può dire che i russi spendano di più: semplicemente non avrebbero risorse sufficienti per farlo.
Russia’s Air and Space Forces are to receive state-of-the-art S-500 Prometey (“Prometheus”) anti-aircraft missile systems by 2020, Lieutenant-General Viktor Gumenny, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force said. Russia has been developing the new system since 2011.
The new anti-aircraft missile systems of the S-500 will have a number of advantages. The S-500 is believed to be a universal anti-aircraft long-range and high-altitude missile interception system with an enhanced missile defense capability.
According to information from open sources, the S-500 has an impact radius of 600 kilometers. The complex will be able to detect and simultaneously strike up to ten ballistic supersonic targets flying at speeds of up to seven kilometers per second. It will also be able to defeat combat blocks of hypersonic missiles. In a nutshell, the new complex will become one of the elements of counteraction to the USA’s Prompt Global Strike Concept.
According to the National Interest, the S-500 of Russia will be similar to THAAD, integrated into a “single network” with S-400, S-300VM4 (Antey-2500) and S-350 (Vityaz) systems thus forming an integrated air defense system.
Generally speaking, experts believe that the S-500 can be attributed to the first generation of systems of anti-space defense, unrivaled throughout the world.
At present, Russia’s air defenses are based on S-400 complexes. As of May of this year, the armed forces of the Russian Federation had nineteen S-400 regiments (38 divisions out of 304 launchers).
The S-400 Triumph system has gained a lot of international attention recently primarily because of Russia’s agreements to sell those systems to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Given the history of the development of the American THAAD system that has experienced many problems in more than ten years of tests, there are reasons to believe that it will take Russia a long time to create an effective anti-missile system, the National Interest assumed.
However, Russia has extensive experience in the development of anti-missile systems, and her present-day complexes are still top of the line, so Russia can take her time.
Amendments to the list of agricultural produce, raw materials and food products originating from the Republic of Turkey, the import of which has been banned since 1 January 2016, stipulate that the term “fresh or chilled tomatoes” be amended with a footnote saying that the produce imported within the import quota approved by the Agriculture Ministry shall be excluded from the ban.
The resolution was drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Government Resolution No. 1296 of 30 November 2015 approved the list of agricultural produce, raw materials and food products originating from the Republic of Turkey and subject to an import ban effective 1 January 2016 (hereinafter referred to as the List).
The resolution makes amendments to the List. Under the resolution, the term “fresh or chilled tomatoes” (EAEU Commodity Classification of Foreign Economic Activity 0702 00) has been amended with a footnote saying that the produce imported within the import quota approved by the Agriculture Ministry shall be excluded from the ban.
The resolution enters into effect on 1 November 2017.
The amendment will allow Turkey to export tomatoes in the amounts approved by the Agriculture Ministry under the guarantee of a competent Turkish agency and under the supervision of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision (Rosselkhoznadzor) starting 1 November 2017.
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Russian President congratulated Mr Erdogan on Turkey’s national holiday – Republic Day – marked on October 29.
The two presidents had a thorough exchange of views on various aspects of successful bilateral cooperation, including the implementation of major joint energy projects.
Ahead of the seventh international meeting on Syria to be held in Astana on October 30–31, the two sides stressed the importance of stepping up efforts to ensure the functioning of de-escalation zones, fighting terrorism and promoting the political settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic.
The two leaders agreed to maintain personal contacts.
Il Presidente Trump, esattamente come il Presidente Putin, sa benissimo come la Germania entro quindici anni sarà spopolata dagli autoctoni e tramutata in un enclave islamico, indifendibile dal punto di vista americano e facilissima preda per la Russia. Preda obbligatoria, per non esserne contagiata.
Per quale motivo correre il rischio di un conflitto nucleare per la Germania?
Tanto alla fine i russi dovranno occupare un’Europa spopolata degli autoctoni per impedire che diventi un nuovo focolaio islamico.
Il problema è drammaticamente semplice.
La pace può essere mantenuto solo sotto la condizione che tutti i possibili contendenti siano in un ragionevole equilibrio di forze. E questo è vero da un punto di vista degli armamenti atomici.
La grande disparità è evidente per quanto riguarda gli eserciti e gli armamenti convenzionali.
Gli Occidentali non hanno forze armate degne di quel nome, non intendono spendere in armamenti e, soprattutto, non hanno un numero sufficiente di uomini da arruolare.
Né ci si illuda delle capacità combattive delle donne immesse le truppe di prima linea. Saranno unità di svago per gli avversari.
«NATO would be incapable of rebuffing an attack by Russia on its eastern flank»
Ciò chiarito, facciamo alcune considerazioni.
La Russia non è al momento interessata ad una guerra europea, se non per quanto riguardasse il ricongiungimento delle popolazioni russofone della zona del Don.
Ma questo quadro potrebbe non durare a lungo nel tempo.
L’Europa continentale continua implacabilmente a spopolarsi degli autoctoni.
Non serve la sfera di cristallo per comprendere come saranno inevitabili fortissime tensioni sociali: tutta una situazione che la Nato identifica come “Turbulence and Competition.». Ben difficilmente la Russia potrà tollerare una simile situazione ai suoi confini: più che invasione si tratterebbe di un’operazione su vasta scala di polizia.
Intanto, a tal punto, la Nato sarà ridotta da un punto di vista militare ai soli Stati Uniti.
Ma, domandiamoci seriamente, tra dieci anni la Nato, sempre che ci sia ancora, sarà interessata al controllo del continente europeo?
BERLIN: NATO would be incapable of rebuffing an attack by Russia on its eastern flank, according to an internal report by the alliance cited Friday by German magazine Der Spiegel.
The document, entitled “Progress Report on the Strengthened Deterrence and Defense Capability of the Alliance,” identified significant deficiencies.
“NATO’s ability to logistically support rapid reinforcement in the strongly expanded territory of the European commander’s area of responsibility has atrophied since the end of the Cold War,” Spiegel quoted the report as saying. Even the expansion of the NATO Response Force (NRF) had failed to ensure that it could “react rapidly and — if necessary — sustainably,” it said.
The report cited a pared-down command structure since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as one of the crucial factors that had undermined the alliance’s defense capabilities, Spiegel said.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu declined to comment on the Spiegel report but said that alliance “forces are more ready and able to deploy than at any time in decades.”
She added that work was “underway to ensure that the NATO command structure remains robust, agile and fit for purpose,” an issue to be discussed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers next month.
NATO’s relations with Russia have hit their lowest point since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine.
After Russia annexed Crimea on March 18, 2014, the alliance suspended its civilian and military cooperation with Moscow, and Ukraine announced its intention to apply for NATO membership.
The alliance also fast-tracked preparations for the defense of eastern European members and tripled the size of its Response Force, with a new 5,000-member rapid reaction force at its core.
The US-led alliance has bolstered its forces in eastern Europe with four international battalions acting as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism in the region.
But NATO has also tried to maintain dialogue with Moscow, and ambassadors from its 29 member states will meet their Russian counterpart next Thursday in Brussels.
→ C4 Defence. 2017-10-21. NATO-Russia-defence. [Uluslararası Savunma Haberleri (Notizie sulla difesa internazionale)]
NATO-Russia-defence NATO ill-prepared for a Russian attack: report Berlin, Oct 20, 2017 (AFP) – NATO would be incapable of rebuffing an attack by Russia on its eastern flank, according to an internal report by the alliance cited Friday by German magazine Der Spiegel. The document, entitled “Progress Report on the Strengthened Deterrence and Defence Capability of the Alliance”, identified significant deficiencies. “NATO’s ability to logistically support rapid reinforcement in the strongly expanded territory of the European commander’s area of responsibility has atrophied since the end of the Cold War,” Spiegel quoted the report as saying. Even the expansion of the NATO Response Force (NRF) had failed to ensure that it could “react rapidly and — if necessary — sustainably”, it said. The report cited a pared-down command structure since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 as one of the crucial factors that had undermined the alliance’s defence capabilities, Spiegel said. NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu declined to comment on the Spiegel report but said that alliance “forces are more ready and able to deploy than at any time in decades”. She added that work was “underway to ensure that the NATO command structure remains robust, agile and fit for purpose,” an issue to be discussed at a meeting of NATO defence ministers next month. NATO’s relations with Russia have hit their lowest point since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine. After Russia annexed Crimea on March 18, 2014, the alliance suspended its civilian and military cooperation with Moscow, and Ukraine announced its intention to apply for NATO membership. The alliance also fast-tracked preparations for the defence of eastern European members and tripled the size of its Response Force, with a new 5,000-member rapid reaction force at its core. The US-led alliance has bolstered its forces in eastern Europe with four international battalions acting as tripwires against possible Russian adventurism in the region. But NATO has also tried to maintain dialogue with Moscow, and ambassadors from its 29 member states will meet their Russian counterpart next Thursday in Brussels.
NATO would not be able to rebuff a potential Russian attack on its eastern flank, according to an internal report cited on October 20 by German weekly Der Spiegel.
The paper, titled Progress Report On The Strengthened Deterrence And Defense Capability Of The Alliance, pointed to significant deficiencies.
“NATO’s ability to logistically support rapid reinforcement in the strongly expanded territory of the European commander’s area of responsibility has atrophied since the end of the Cold War,” Der Spiegel quoted the report as saying.
Even the strengthening of the NATO Response Force (NRF) has failed to ensure that it could “react rapidly and — if necessary — sustainably,” it said.
The report cited a downsized command structure since the fall of communism as one of the paramount elements that has undermined the alliance’s defense capabilities, Der Spiegel quoted the report as saying.
NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu declined to comment on the German magazine report but said that alliance “forces are more ready and able to deploy than at any time in decades.”
Lungescu said that efforts are “under way to ensure that the NATO command structure remains robust, agile, and fit for purpose.”
The alliance’s command structure is to be discussed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers next month.
NATO’s relations with Russia are at their lowest since the Cold War over the conflict in Ukraine.
After Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, NATO suspended its civilian and military cooperation with Moscow, as Ukraine announced its intention to seek membership in the alliance.
In einem Geheimbericht warnt die Nato davor, dass man einem Angriff Russlands nicht gewachsen sei. Führende Militärs fordern eine Rückkehr zu den Kommandostrukturen des Kalten Krieges.
Das 2. Kavallerie-Regiment ist einer der ältesten Verbände der US-Armee. Schon 1846 kämpften Soldaten der Einheit gegen die Mexikaner. In den Indianerkriegen zwei Jahrzehnte später geriet ein Teil des Regiments in einen Hinterhalt und wurde skalpiert. 1905 schlugen die Kavalleristen einen Aufstand auf den Philippinen nieder. Die Truppe war in zwei Weltkriegen im Einsatz und wurde mehrmals in den Irak und nach Afghanistan verlegt.
Molte le congetture sulle sue finalità: spesso la realtà supera qualsiasi tipo di fantasia.
«UVB-76, conosciuta anche come “The Buzzer”, è il soprannome dato da radioamatori e ascoltatori di onde corte a una misteriosa stazione radio che trasmette in AM e in modulazione a banda laterale singola con soppressione della banda inferiore (USB) sulle frequenze 4625 kHz e 6998 kHz. La stazione abitualmente trasmette un breve e monotono ronzio Ascolta[?·info], ripetuto 25 volte al minuto, senza sosta. Nella storia della stazione, in alcune saltuarie occasioni, il suono si interrompe lasciando il posto a messaggi vocali cifrati in russo. Le prime trasmissioni sembrano essere iniziate tra la fine degli anni ’70 e i primi anni ’80.
La stazione è soprannominata dai radioascoltatori di tutto il mondo “The Buzzer”, mentre quelli russi sono soliti chiamarla “жужжалка” (žužžalka), “il brusio”. Il nome ufficiale della stazione è sconosciuto, sebbene alcuni messaggi vocali trasmessi abbiano fatto intuire un possibile callsign. Fino a settembre 2010 la stazione si autoidentificava come UVB-76 (cirillico: УВБ-76). Da settembre 2010 sembra che il sito di trasmissione sia cambiato e che la stazione sia quindi stata spostata. Il callsign da allora utilizzato all’interno dei messaggi vocali è MDZhB (cirillico: МДЖБ).
Il suono trasmesso consiste in un ronzio simile a quello di un sonar, dalla durata di 1,2 secondi, con pause di 1 – 1,3 secondi circa, ripetuto dalle 21 alle 34 volte al minuto. Fino a novembre 2010 ogni ronzio aveva una durata minore, di circa 0,8 secondi.
Alle 22:25 UTC del 1º settembre 2010, il ronzio venne sostituito da un celebre pezzo di musica classica della durata di 38 secondi estratto dal Lago dei cigni del compositore russo Tchaikovsky. Quattro giorni dopo, il 5 settembre, alle ore 12:30 UTC, una voce femminile iniziò a contare in sequenza da 1 a 9 in russo; dopo poco più di un’ora, alle 13:39 UTC, venne trasmesso un altro messaggio vocale.
Lo scopo della stazione non è mai stato ufficialmente rivelato. Si pensa che i messaggi vocali siano una sorta di sistema di comunicazione cifrato, probabilmente ad uso militare. Il ronzio potrebbe quindi essere una sorta di “marcatore”, utilizzato per lasciare la frequenza sempre occupata in modo da poter prontamente trasmettere in caso di bisogno. Questa teoria è avvalorata dall’esistenza di due altre stazioni simili, soprannominate The Pip e The Squeaky wheel. Come The Buzzer, queste stazioni trasmettono un suono continuo (nel caso di The Pip si tratta di un cicalino, nel caso di The Squeaky wheel di un suono simile al cigolio di una ruota), interrotto occasionalmente da trasmissioni vocali cifrate.» [Fonte]
In the middle of a Russian swampland, not far from the city of St Petersburg, is a rectangular iron gate. Beyond its rusted bars is a collection of radio towers, abandoned buildings and power lines bordered by a dry-stone wall. This sinister location is the focus of a mystery which stretches back to the height of the Cold War.
It is thought to be the headquarters of a radio station, “MDZhB”, that no-one has ever claimed to run. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues.
Once or twice a week, a man or woman will read out some words in Russian, such as “dinghy” or “farming specialist”. And that’s it. Anyone, anywhere in the world can listen in, simply by tuning a radio to the frequency 4625 kHz.
It’s so enigmatic, it’s as if it was designed with conspiracy theorists in mind. Today the station has an online following numbering in the tens of thousands, who know it affectionately as “the Buzzer”. It joins two similar mystery stations, “the Pip” and the “Squeaky Wheel”. As their fans readily admit themselves, they have absolutely no idea what they are listening to.
In fact, no-one does. “There’s absolutely no information in the signal,” says David Stupples, an expert in signals intelligence from City University, London.
What’s going on?
The frequency is thought to belong to the Russian military, though they’ve never actually admitted this. It first began broadcasting at the close of the Cold War, when communism was in decline. Today it’s transmitted from two locations – the St Petersburg site and a location near Moscow. Bizarrely, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, rather than shutting down, the station’s activity sharply increased.
There’s no shortage of theories to explain what the Buzzer might be for – ranging from keeping in touch with submarines to communing with aliens. One such idea is that it’s acting as a “Dead Hand” signal; in the event Russia is hit by a nuclear attack, the drone will stop and automatically trigger a retaliation. No questions asked, just total nuclear obliteration on both sides.
This may not be as wacky as it sounds. The system was originally pioneered in the Soviet era, where it took the form of a computer system which scanned the airwaves for signs of life or nuclear fallout. Alarmingly, many experts believe it may still be in use. As Russian president Vladimir Putin pointed out himself earlier this year, “nobody would survive” a nuclear war between Russia and the United States. Could the Buzzer be warding one off?
As it happens, there are clues in the signal itself. Like all international radio, the Buzzer operates at a relatively low frequency known as “shortwave”. This means that – compared to local radio, mobile phone and television signals – fewer waves pass through a single point every second. It also means they can travel a lot further.
While you’d be hard pressed to listen to a local station such as BBC Radio London in a neighbouring county, shortwave stations like the BBC World Service are aimed at audiences from Senegal to Singapore. Both stations are broadcast from the same building.
It’s all thanks to “skywaves”. Higher frequency radio signals can only travel in a straight line, eventually becoming lost as they bump into obstacles or reach the horizon. But shortwave frequencies have an extra trick – they can bounce off charged particles in the upper atmosphere, allowing them to zig-zag between the earth and the sky and travel thousands, rather than tens, of miles.
Which brings us back to the Dead Hand theory. As you might expect, shortwave signals have proved extremely popular. Today they’re used by ships, aircraft and the military to send messages across continents, oceans and mountain ranges. But there’s a catch.
The lofty layer isn’t so much a flat mirror, but a wave, which undulates like the surface of the ocean. During the day it moves steadily higher, while at night, it creeps down towards the Earth. If you want to absolutely guarantee that your station can be heard on the other side of the planet – and if you’re using it as a cue for nuclear war, you probably do – it’s important to change the frequency depending on the time of day, to catch up. The BBC World Service already does this. The Buzzer doesn’t.
Another idea is that the radio station exists to “sound” out how far away the layer of charged particles is. “To get good results from the radar systems the Russians use to spot missiles, you need to know this,” says Stupples. The longer the signal takes to get up into the sky and down again, the higher it must be.
Alas, that can’t be it either. To analyse the layer’s altitude the signal would usually have a certain sound, like a car alarm going off – the result of varying the waves to get them just right. “They sound nothing like the Buzzer,” says Stupples.
Intriguingly, there is a station with some striking similarities. The “Lincolnshire Poacher” ran from the mid-1970s to 2008. Just like the Buzzer, it could be heard on the other side of the planet. Just like the Buzzer, it emanated from an undisclosed location, thought to be somewhere in Cyprus. And just like the Buzzer, its transmissions were just plain creepy.
At the beginning of every hour, the station would play the first two bars of an English folk tune, the Lincolnshire Poacher.
“Oh ‘tis my delight on a shining night
In the season of the year
When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire
‘Twas well I served my master for nigh on seven years…”
After repeating this12 times, it would move on to messages read by the disembodied voice of a woman reading groups of five numbers – “1-2-0-3-6” – in a clipped, upper-class English accent.
To get to grips with what was going on, it helps to go back to the 1920s. The All-Russian Co-operative Society (Arcos) was an important trade body, responsible for overseeing transactions between the UK and the early Soviet Union. Or at least, that’s what they said they did.
In May 1927, years after a British secret agent caught an employee sneaking into a communist news office in London, police officers stormed the Arcos building. The basement had been rigged with anti-intruder devices and they discovered a secret room with no door handle, in which workers were hurriedly burning documents.
It may have been dramatic, but the British didn’t discover anything that they didn’t already know. Instead the raid was a wake-up call to the Soviets, who discovered that MI5 had been listening in on them for years.
“This was a blunder of the very first order,” says Anthony Glees, who directs the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham. To justify the raid, the prime minister had even read out some of the deciphered telegrams in the House of Commons.
The upshot was that the Russians completely reinvented the way messages are encrypted. Almost overnight, they switched to “one-time pads”. In this system, a random key is generated by the person sending the message and shared only with the person receiving it. As long as the key really is perfectly random, the code cannot be cracked. There was no longer any need to worry about who could hear their messages.
Enter the “numbers stations” – radio stations that broadcast coded messages to spies all over the world. Soon even the British were doing it: if you can’t beat them, join ‘em, as they say. It’s quite difficult to generate a completely random number because a system for doing so will, by its very nature, be predictable – exactly what you’re trying to avoid. Instead officers in London found an ingenious solution.
They’d hang a microphone out of the window on Oxford Street and record the traffic. “There might be a bus beeping at the same time as a policeman shouting. The sound is unique, it will never happen again,” says Stupples. Then they’d convert this into a random code.
Of course, that didn’t stop people trying to break them. During World War Two, the British realised that they could, in fact, decipher the messages – but they’d have to get their hands on the one-time pad that was used to encrypt them. “We discovered that the Russians used the out-of-date sheets of one-time pads as substitute toilet paper in Russian army hospitals in East Germany,” says Glees. Needless to say, British intelligence officers soon found themselves rifling through the contents of Soviet latrines.
The new channel of communication was so useful, it didn’t take long before the numbers stations had popped up all over the world. There was the colourfully named “Nancy Adam Susan”, “Russian Counting Man” and “Cherry Ripe” – the Lincolnshire Poacher’s sister station, which also contained bars of an English folk song. In name at least, the Buzzer fits right in.
It also fits with a series of arrests across the United States back in 2010. The FBI announced that it had broken up a “long term, deep cover” network of Russian agents, who were said to have received their instructions via coded messages on shortwave radio – specifically 7887 kHz.
Now North Korea are getting in on the act, too. On 14 April 2017, the broadcaster at Radio Pyongyang began: “I’m giving review works in elementary information technology lessons of the remote education university for No 27 expedition agents.” This ill-concealed military message was followed by a series of page numbers – No 69 on page 823, page 957 – which look a lot like code.
It may come as a surprise that numbers stations are still in use – but they hold one major advantage. Though it’s possible to guess who is broadcasting, anyone can listen to the messages – so you don’t know who they are being sent to. Mobile phones and the internet may be quicker, but open a text or email from a known intelligence agency and you could be rumbled.
It’s a compelling idea: the Buzzer has been hiding in plain sight, instructing a network of illicit Russian spies all over the world. There’s just one problem. The Buzzer never broadcasts any numbered messages.
This doesn’t strictly matter, since one-time pads can be used to translate anything – from code words to garbled speech. “If this phone call was encrypted you’d hear “…enejekdhejenw…’ but then it would come out the other side sounding like normal speech,” says Stupples. But this would leave traces in the signal.
To send information over the radio, essentially all you’re doing is varying the height or spacing of the waves being transmitted. For example, two low waves in a row means x, or three waves closer together means y. When a signal is carrying information, instead of neat, evenly spaced waves like ripples on the ocean, you’re left with a wave like the jagged silhouette of an ECG.
This isn’t the Buzzer. Instead, many believe that the station is a hybrid of two things. The constant drone is just a marker, saying “this frequency is mine, this frequency is mine…” to stop people from using it.
It only becomes a numbers station in moments of crisis, such as if Russia were invaded. Then it would function as a way to instruct their worldwide spy network and military forces on standby in remote areas. After all, this is a country around 70 times the size of the UK.
It seems they’re already been practicing. “In 2013 they issued a special message, ‘COMMAND 135 ISSUED’ that was said to be test message for full combat readiness,” says Māris Goldmanis, a radio enthusiast who listens to the station from his home in the Baltic states.
The mystery of the Russian radio may have been solved. But if its fans are right, let’s just hope that drone never stops.
«Germany has put all major arms exports to Turkey on hold, stepping up the ongoing dispute between the two countries. The decision prompted a swift reaction from Ankara, with Turkey’s EU Minister Ömer Çelik telling reporters on Sept. 12 that it weakens Ankara’s fight against terrorism and makes Europe more vulnerable.»
«German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sept. 12 rejected a total ban on arms exports to NATO ally Ankara,saying that such sales had already been restricted somewhat, but Turkey remained a key ally in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Merkel told broadcaster NDR that Germany would decide on arms sales requests from Turkey on a case-by-case basis. She also said she saw no reason to impose a travel warning for Germans travelling to Turkey, but said Berlin would keep its options open.»
«Turkey has signed a controversial deal with Russia to arm its forces with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles»
«President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a deposit had already been paid»
«The deal is thought to be worth $2.5bn (£1.9bn). Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato»
«The alliance reacted sceptically to the decision, saying the system was not compatible with its equipment.»
«Turkey’s decision has both practical and political significance. Inevitably it will be seen as a further sign of Ankara’s gradual estrangement from its Western allies»
«Turkey has been in the market for new air defences for some time. Four years ago it flirted with the idea of buying a Chinese system. But after pressure from its Nato allies it backed away from the deal.»
«On regional policy Ankara and Moscow are more closely aligned.»
«Nato has not been informed about the details of any purchase»
«Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said Berlin would put all arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating relationship between the two nations»
«Relations between the two countries have deteriorated»
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Su questo argomento abbiamo già parlato in diverse occasioni.
In un’epoca in cui vi sono superpotenze con arsenali atomici in grado di distruggere il mondo in pochi minuti, così come potenze locoregionale anche esse dotate di armamenti atomici, sia pure di livello inferiore, diventa essenziale il mantenimento degli equilibri tra i potenziali avversari.
Equilibri che devono essere preservati sia a livello degli armamenti effettivamente in linea, sia a livello di geopolitica, sia infine a livello delle alleanze.
La rottura degli equilibri, indipendentemente dalle cause che abbiano innescato il fenomeno, corre il concreto rischio di far sentire uno dei contendenti minacciato nella sua integrità, e di rispondere quindi con l’opzione militare.
L’incrinatura della Nato nei confronti della Turkia è evidente, e la Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel ne è causa efficiente.
Ella propugna una sua scala valoriale, in ossequio alla quale sembrerebbe disposta a disintegrare Unione Europea e Nato, scala valoriale che peraltro è condivisa quasi esclusivamente da lei. La sua opposizione alla Turkia è squisitamente ideologica.
Un vero politico coagula consensi, agglutina forze anche molto differenti, appiana gli attriti, stringe accordi non compromessi.
Da questo punto di vista Frau Merkel è un pericolo attuale alla pace.
Sappiamo bene che parlando di questi argomenti molte persone si lasciano trasportare dalle loro viscerali ideologie, emettendo giudizi tanto tranchant quanto utopici. Sono persone che a voce reclamano la pace ma nei fatti spianano la via al conflitto armato.
Turkey has signed a controversial deal with Russia to arm its forces with Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a deposit had already been paid. The deal is thought to be worth $2.5bn (£1.9bn).
Turkey has the second-largest army in Nato. The alliance reacted sceptically to the decision, saying the system was not compatible with its equipment.
Turkey has been establishing closer links with Russia after its recent souring of ties with the US and Europe.
Mr Erdogan’s government objects to US military support for the YPG Syrian Kurdish rebels, who are linked to rebel Kurds in Turkey.
Russia says the S-400 system has a range of 400km (248 miles) and can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously, aiming two missiles at each one.
Russia deployed the S-400 at its air force base near Latakia in Syria in December 2015, after Turkish jets had shot down a Russian Su-24 warplane on the Syria-Turkey border.
That incident caused a diplomatic rift between Russia and Turkey, but President Erdogan later patched up his quarrel with President Vladimir Putin.
Tensions within Nato
A military adviser to Mr Putin, Vladimir Kozhin, said the S-400 contract with Turkey was “strictly compatible with our strategic interests”. “On that score, one can quite understand the reaction of some Western countries who are trying to put pressure on Turkey.”
Mr Erdogan, quoted by Turkey’s Hurriyet daily, voiced displeasure with unnamed Western partners who were “seeking enormous amounts of money” for military drones.
He said Turkey had killed 90 YPG “terrorists” in the past week with Turkish drones – developed because the Western ones were too expensive.
“We are responsible for taking security measures for the defence of our country,” he stressed.
The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Turkey says the missile deal is clearly a rebuff to Nato, after the US and Germany withdrew Patriot air defence batteries from Turkey.
In 2015, Turkey urged its Nato allies to keep those batteries positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Speaking to AFP news agency, an unnamed Nato official said: “No Nato ally currently operates the S-400”. They added: “Nato has not been informed about the details of any purchase.”
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, said Berlin would put all arms exports to Turkey on hold due to the deteriorating relationship between the two nations.
Mr Gabriel’s counterpart in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said the comments were inappropriate for a foreign minister.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since Turkey arrested a Turkish-German journalist in February as part of a crackdown on political opponents in the country.
Last month, President Erdogan called Germany’s ruling politicians “enemies of Turkey”.
Turkey is also angry with the US for not extraditing Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric who, according to Mr Erdogan, organised the July 2016 coup plot by rogue Turkish officers. Mr Gulen denied any involvement.
Manufacturer: Almaz-Antey arms firm; Deployment: Hmeimim airbase near Latakia – entered service in Russia in 2007; Range: 400km (248 miles); Speed: up to 4.8km (3 miles) per second; Max target height: 30km – can track up to 80 targets simultaneously; Types of target: aircraft, cruise missiles, medium-range missiles, drones, other airborne surveillance systems. (Sources: RIA Novosti, Russian 1TV.ru)
– Long-range surveillance radar tracks objects and relays information to command vehicle, which assesses potential targets
– Target is identified and command vehicle orders missile launch
– Launch data are sent to the best placed launch vehicle and it releases surface-to-air missiles
– Engagement radar helps guide missiles towards target
Not a good choice for Nato
By Jonathan Marcus, BBC defence correspondent
Turkey’s decision has both practical and political significance. Inevitably it will be seen as a further sign of Ankara’s gradual estrangement from its Western allies.
Turkey has been in the market for new air defences for some time. Four years ago it flirted with the idea of buying a Chinese system. But after pressure from its Nato allies it backed away from the deal.
Choosing a Russian system which will be hard, if not impossible, to integrate into Nato’s wider air defence system makes little strategic sense.
It was not that long ago – November 2015 – that Turkey actually shot down a Russian warplane that it said had intruded into its airspace from Syria.
But since then much has changed. On regional policy Ankara and Moscow are more closely aligned. And Turkey’s internal policies are seen as increasingly repressive by many of its allies.
In Nato generally the only Russian equipment used is legacy hardware in the forces of former Warsaw Pact countries. Greece also has an earlier Russian air defence system that was first sold to Cyprus.
Al-Jahrah. Cimitero dei carri armati iracheni dopo la guerra del golfo. Si noti come molti di essi abbiano ricevuto un colpo che ha scamottato via la torretta. In gran parte sono stati neutralizzati dagli Apache.
«The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), which approves big-ticket purchases, gave the green light to acquire six additional Apache helicopters after 22 were bought as part of a $2.5 billion deal in 2015»
«DAC approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with associated equipment for the army totally about 4,168 crore rupees ($650 million)»
«It will be the first time the Indian army has received attack helicopters and it hopes to deploy the craft along India’s high-altitude frontiers — particularly its border in the east with regional rival China»
«India has increasingly turned to the United States and France, rather than traditional ally Russia, for its military hardware in recent years»
* * * * * * *
«The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems.
It is armed with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability. ….
One of the revolutionary features of the Apache was its helmet mounted display, the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System (IHADSS) ….
The AH-64 was designed to perform in front-line environments, and to operate at night or day and during adverse weather conditions ….
Longbow-equipped Apaches can locate up to 256 targets simultaneously within 50 km (31 mi). ….
In 2014, it was announced that new targeting and surveillance sensors were under development to provide high-resolution color imagery to crews, replacing older low definition black-and-white imaging systems. ….
The AH-64 is adaptable to numerous different roles within its context as Close Combat Attack (CCA). In addition to the 30 mm M230E1 Chain Gun, the Apache carries a range of external stores and weapons on its stub-wing pylons, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, and Hydra 70 general-purpose unguided 70 mm (2.756 in) rockets. One 18-aircraft Apache battalion equipped with Hellfire missiles is capable of destroying 288 tanks» [Fonte]
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Alcune cose sarebbero da notarsi.
Da un punto di vista economico, l’elicottero Apache AH-64D ha un prezzo di listino di 65 milioni Usd. Sei Apache avrebbero dovuto costare 390 milioni. 260 milioni in pezzi di ricambio, armamento suppletivo, e munizionamento a scorta sembrerebbero essere un investimento giustificabile solo se a ridosso di una qualche operazione a breve termine, tenendo conto della rapida obsolescenza delle armi.
Dal punto di vista politico invece, si nota come l’India abbia iniziato a diversificare i fornitori, tra i quali rientra anche Israele.
Gli Apaches non sono esenti da critiche.
«While effective in combat, the AH-64 also presented serious logistical complications. Findings reported in 1990 stated “maintenance units could not keep up with the Apache’s unexpectedly high work load… To provide spare parts for combat operations, the U.S. Army unofficially grounded all other AH-64s worldwide; Apaches in the theater flew only one-fifth of the planned flight-hours» [Fonte]
Gli Apache sono un sistema d’arma allo stato dell’arte. Durante la Guerra del Golfo, pur avendo svolto per problemi tecnici solo un quinto delle missioni preventivate, hanno concorso a distruggere un numero impressionante di carri armati avversari.
Resta un ragionevole dubbio.
L’esercito iracheno aveva armamenti obsoleti e quasi nessun mezzo di contrasto contraereo: per gli Apache è stato una sorta di tiro al bersaglio.
Sono in molti ad essere dubbiosi sulla loro reale capacità operativa qualora dovessero affrontare un esercito armato allo stato dell’arte, con batterie missilistiche terra aria di breve raggio. Un elicottero in volo è un bersagli relativamente statico. Sarebbe difficile pensare ad un attacco in forze di carri armati senza che sia stata loro assicurata la protezione contraerea.
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India on Thursday cleared the purchase of six more Boeing Co (BA.N) Apache helicopters in a deal worth close to 42 billion rupees ($654.6 million), a defence ministry official said.
The order follows India’s purchase of 22 Apache and Chinook helicopters from Boeing in 2015.
Thursday’s deal, approved by the government’s Defence Acquisition Council, includes the helicopters and associated equipment, spares, training, weapons and ammunition.
The Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by the defence minister, also cleared an order for gas turbine engines – worth an estimated 4.9 billion rupees – for two ships currently under construction in Russia, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
India approved a $650 million purchase of six attack choppers Thursday from US aviation giant Boeing, officials said, as it boosts its military might amid border tensions with China and Pakistan.
The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), which approves big-ticket purchases, gave the green light to acquire six additional Apache helicopters after 22 were bought as part of a $2.5 billion deal in 2015.
Two Defense Ministry sources told AFP on the condition of anonymity that the deal was approved exclusively for the army, without providing further details including a date for delivery.
“DAC approved procurement of six Apache helicopters along with associated equipment for the army totally about 4,168 crore rupees ($650 million),” an official told AFP by text message. The initial batch of 22 Apaches — equipped with Hellfire and Stinger missiles — replaced the Indian Air Force’s aging fleet.
Soon after the first Apache acquisition, the army put in a separate request for a fleet of at least 39, one of the officials told AFP. It will be the first time the Indian army has received attack helicopters and it hopes to deploy the craft along India’s high-altitude frontiers — particularly its border in the east with regional rival China.
New Delhi and Beijing are locked in a tense impasse over a strategic Himalayan plateau where hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers have been squaring off against each other for more than three months.
India — the world’s largest defense importer — has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing territorial disputes with its nuclear-armed neighbors.
India has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to power in 2014. In April, it signed a military deal with Israel worth nearly $2 billion, which includes an advanced defense system of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology. India has increasingly turned to the United States and France, rather than traditional ally Russia, for its military hardware in recent years
«America’s unmanned dominance has been contested by China’ ambitious drive to be the leading force in drone development and distribution»
«China is increasingly becoming a potent player in the unmanned game. …. China is developing a new generation of UUVs, aimed at pinpointing the location of U.S. submarines in the depths of Pacific waters»
«In another advance for China, two months ago, news broke that China is aiming to develop a sea-skimming drone, a drone-bomber, or drone “warthog” capable of tearing across the water just half a meter above the surface — well below radar coverage»
«In addition to its phantom profile, the advanced concept carries with it a 1,000 kilgram payload, packing enough explosive power to significantly damage an entire U.S. flattop»
«Will this be China’s second, aircraft killer after the Dong-Feng 21? …. China’s new system would be far more economically viable to deploy and operate than the DF-21. …. A U.S. carrier task force could be quickly overwhelmed by an aerial armada of these new deadly weapon units steaming at high speeds directly toward it»
* * * * * * * *
La storia degli armamenti evidenzia l’alternanza di fasi nelle quali predominano le armi di attacco seguite da fasi nelle quali dominano quelle da difesa.
Un caso classico è stata l’introduzione della mitragliatrice, che ha conferito agli eserciti terrestri un’arma di difesa micidiale, quasi insormontabile. Fino alla fine della prima guerra mondiale la mitragliatrice ha condizionato una situazione di sostanziale stallo tra le forze opposte. Questa fase fu superata con la introduzione del carro armato, strumento bellico contro cui la mitragliatrice svolge al massimo un ruolo psicologico.
Al momento attuale sembrerebbe che le armi di difesa anti – nave stia iniziando a prendere il sopravvento sul potere offensivo, del tutto non indifferente, montato sulle navi da guerra.
Un fattore che trova una sempre maggiore considerazione è quello legato al costo degli armamenti.
Le navi da guerra, specie poi le porterei, sono molto onerose essendo i costi nell’ambito dei miliardi. Al contrario, i sistemi d’arma anti – nave sono economici, si parla di cifre che variano dai 50,000 Usd fino a circa il milione. La disparità dei costi si aggiunge alla efficienza di questi sistemi.
Tutte queste considerazioni trovano però valore sotto la condizione che le telecomunicazioni siano in grado di funzionare anche in zone operative nelle quali operino avversare tecnologicamente avanzati. Un drone teleguidato ha infatti capacità operativa sotto la condizione che il sistema di telecomando funzioni anche quando fosse disturbato dall’avversario.
Is this the next “carrier killer” in China’s arsenal?
China was dubbed an “emerging force” in drone warfare in and called a “rising drone power” by 2015. In four short years, its status has gone from “new” to “leading” on multiple fronts in the drone domain. One of those fronts is the application of (militarized) drone technology in sea operations. For over a decade, the United States was the undisputed leader in unmanned development and deployment in East Asia. From the Grey Eagles deployed in South Korea to Global Hawks flying from Japan, and more recently tests with the X-47B, the Sea Hunter USV, and a generation of UUVs under development that should enable U.S. attack submarines to discover other potential underwater enemies more quickly than in previous years.
Yet America’s unmanned dominance has been contested by China’ ambitious drive to be the leading force in drone development and distribution. In prior articles, we argued that China is increasingly becoming a potent player in the unmanned game. Recently, in The Diplomat, Steven Stashwick described how China is developing a new generation of UUVs, aimed at pinpointing the location of U.S. submarines in the depths of Pacific waters.
In another advance for China, two months ago, news broke that China is aiming to develop a sea-skimming drone, a drone-bomber, or drone “warthog” capable of tearing across the water just half a meter above the surface — well below radar coverage. In addition to its phantom profile, the advanced concept carries with it a 1,000 kilgram payload, packing enough explosive power to significantly damage an entire U.S. flattop. Will this be China’s second, aircraft killer after the Dong-Feng 21?
The drone’s speed and below-the-radar-coverage translates into a potentially deadly reduction in reaction time for whatever lies in its sights. The detection-speed metric would probably afford the target vessel less than a minute to defend itself, presenting a looming threat for even the most advanced warships. The U.S. Navy (USN) could still rely on its Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA) technology, which can project existing naval sensory ranges through E-2D coordination. The Hawkeye aircraft, operating some 25,000-30,000 above a warship, can act as the task force’s eyes, possibly detecting incoming attackers from a distance of several hundred kilometers. Such coordinated defensive action can put a much-needed cushion of time between the run-up to attack and the prosecution of an assault against America’s naval giants. Yet for other nations, this “warthog” poses a new lethal treat.
With an estimated range of 900 miles, it certainly stretches China’s capabilities to project power from its shores – that’s two to three times the range of a conventional cruise missile or what are colloquially called “sea skimmers.” China’s drone-missile hybrid can be launched from a land-based military installation and dart out to sea. Using its onboard radar technology, the unit would seek out an enemy target and execute a strike much like an advanced cruise missile. However, the hybrid would carry with it a lower price tag than a conventional cruise missile and would therefore by far more expendable than its pure missile counterpart. In this, China’s new system would be far more economically viable to deploy and operate than the DF-21.
Yet most striking in this development is China turning from the development of UAVs for aerial purposes toward unmanned systems aimed at tasks in the maritime realm. With the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and Air Force (PLAAF) increasingly becoming main military actors, and the South China Sea, East China Sea, and general naval expansion as centers of military attention, China appears poised to steer its R&D regarding new (unmanned) military systems in the direction of systems that would benefit operations in the naval realm.
A second striking feature is how the development of unmanned systems is slowly moving toward the development of armed, next-generation unmanned systems. Unarmed systems could still be used in the maritime realm, and indeed China has deployed them to its new bases in the South China Sea, but their survivability in any possible conflict will be limited, or even non-existent due to a lack of defense capabilities. The development of sea-skimming drones exemplifies China’s desire to weaponize its current, and especially its next, generation of unmanned systems slated for East Asia waters and the Pacific. Such systems, moreover, would complement China’s larger A2/AD naval strategy, which aims to prevent the U.S. Navy and other allied naval forces from operating safely within the first island chain.
Furthermore, the drone-missile hybrid paves the way for near-future military applications with the basis for building on the concept of drone swarming in a unique unmanned domain. A U.S. carrier task force could be quickly overwhelmed by an aerial armada of these new deadly weapon units steaming at high speeds directly toward it. In expansive waters, the threat level posed through the application of this lethal devise is high enough, but when prosecuted in tight littoral regions such as the Taiwan Strait or waters adjacent South Korea and even Japan, evading the weapons could be tricky business.