The Dutch defence minister has resigned over the deaths of two soldiers during a training exercise in Mali in 2016.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert stepped down after a report denounced “serious shortcomings” by her ministry.
The soldiers died when a mortar grenade exploded unexpectedly during target practice. A third was gravely injured.
The Dutch Safety Board said last week that the military had been using old, defective grenades that had not been tested or stored correctly.
In its report, it said the shells had been bought in 2006 “with the help of the US Department of Defence amid a pressure of time”. The defence ministry did not follow its own procedures to check they were safe.
“I am politically responsible and am taking that responsibility,” Ms Hennis-Plasschaert told the lower house of parliament in The Hague on Tuesday.
She had been expected to play a key role in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s new government.
General Tom Middendorp, the top Dutch military commander, also stepped down over the failures.
They pair had come under increasing pressure over the deaths of Kevin Roggeveld, 24, and Henry Hoving, 29, in Kidal, in north-west Mali in July last year.
The country’s security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters who held much of the north, including Timbuktu.
The UN says attacks by militant Islamists against government forces, UN peacekeepers and French troops have dramatically increased in recent months. There were 75 attacks between June and September – double the total of the previous four months. Malian troops suffered the heaviest casualties.
The UN mission in Mali (Minusma) employs more than 12,000 uniformed personnel and 1,350 civilians, at an annual cost of $1bn (£0.75bn).
La notizia non sembrerebbe essere di grande rilevanza: era da molto tempo noto come i sottomarini russi fossero dotati anche di missili di crociera, armabili sia con testate nucleari sia testate classiche.
Deir al-Zor si trova però molto ad est delle zone classiche dei combattimenti: è posta a cavaliere della strada che da Al-Raqqa porta ad Al-Qa’im, collocata questa ultima subito a ridosso della frontiera. Il controllo di questa cittadina darebbe il controllo quasi completo dell’Eufrate e con esso delle acque fluviali maggiori.
Se è vero che Deir al-Zor è tutto sommato un paesino, i missili di crociera dovrebbero avere una precisione nominale alla decina di metri. Non desta quindi stupore alcuno il loro impiego su di un obiettivo così limitato.
Da fonti solitamente bene informate sarebbe però trapelata la notizia che questo lancio sarebbe stato un test.
Secondo tali voci i russi avrebbero avuto a disposizione un sistema di guerra elettronica in dotazione all’Alleanza atlantica ed avrebbero testato se i loro missili ne sarebbero stati disturbati o meno.
Non avendo particolari ed essendo la fonte di informazione sui generis non si potrebbe né dovrebbe aggiungere altro.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian Navy on Thursday fired seven cruise missiles at Islamic state targets in the suburbs of Syria’s Deir al-Zor, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
It said the missiles were fired from two submarines in the eastern Mediterranean from a distance of 500-670 kilometers (727 miles).
“The targets were command posts, communication centers, as well as militants’ weapons and ammunition stockpiles in areas of south-east Deir al-Zor under the control of Islamic State,” the ministry said.
Si resta sempre sorpresi su come riescano i russi ad impiegare in modo così produttivo un bilancio militare che ufficialmente si attesterebbe attorno ai 65 miliardi di dollari americani.
I russi dispongono di una marina sufficiente per svolgere compiti locoregionali, senza attuali ambizioni globali. Una flotta di tale impostazione strategica abbisogna sicuramente di armi offensive, ma soprattutto di quelle difensive: sistemi contraerei ed anti-missile, sistemi missilistici anti-nave e, ovviamente siluri efficienti.
Loro obiettivo conclamato è il dominio dei mari limitrofi la Russia, ossia impedire ad altre marine militari di potersi avvicinare pericolosamente alle loro coste.
Alla fine del secolo scorso l’allora Unione Sovietica aveva messo in linea il siluro VA-111 Shkval, prodotto militare altamente innovativo: poteva infatti navigare ad una velocità di circa 90 km/h al momento del lancio, raggiungendo in breve i 370 km/h. Se è vero che essendo molto rumoroso era altrettanto facilmente individuabile, la sua stessa velocità gli avrebbe assicurato alte probabilità di colpire e distruggere l’obiettivo.
Cerchiamo di comprendere, per quello che è dato di sapere, come funziona un simile marchingegno e di razionalizzare le conseguenze tattiche e strategiche.
«La supercavitazione è una tecnica che permette di utilizzare gli effetti dell’ordinaria cavitazione per creare una bolla di gas all’interno di un liquido, permettendo ad un oggetto di viaggiare ad altissima velocità all’interno del liquido stesso, rimanendo però completamente avvolto dalla bolla di gas. La bolla riduce drasticamente la resistenza dell’oggetto, permettendogli di raggiungere velocità impossibili da ottenere con una normale tecnica di navigazione. Occorre considerare che la resistenza incontrata da un oggetto in un gas è molto inferiore a quella riscontrata in un liquido.
Quando in un liquido la pressione statica è minore della relativa tensione di vapore, avviene una transizione di fase e il liquido passa in fase gassosa sotto forma di bolle. Questo fenomeno è detto cavitazione. In genere la cavitazione è dannosa e da evitare nelle applicazioni fluidodinamiche: genera rumore, diminuzione di efficienza degli oggetti coinvolti ed erosione delle superfici a contatto.
La supercavitazione è utilizzata da alcuni siluri superveloci. Un siluro a supercavitazione è progettato per generare appositamente queste bolle di gas: l’estremità anteriore del siluro ha forma piatta con bordi sagomati. Quando l’oggetto raggiunge la velocità dell’ordine di 45 m/s, l’estremità piatta deflette l’acqua, che, incontrando a valle dell’estremità una pressione inferiore alla sua tensione di vapore, passa in fase gassosa dando origine ad una bolla di gas attorno alla punta del siluro. Aumentando ulteriormente la velocità ed iniettando gas di altra origine è possibile far crescere la bolla gassosa fino a ricoprire l’intero siluro.» [Fonte]
«Il VA-111 Shkval (in russo: шквал, “groppo”) è un siluro russo. Grazie all’utilizzo del fenomeno della supercavitazione può raggiungere delle velocità estremamente elevate (370 km/h). A causa di ciò la velocità e il rumore generato impongono un funzionamento più simile alla palla di fucile, che a quello di un siluro tradizionale e la portata è relativamente ridotta (tra i 7 e i 13 chilometri secondo le versioni).
La modalità di costruzione di tali armi rimane uno dei segreti più gelosamente custoditi dell’industria bellica russa, ma nel caso dello Shkval è noto che il siluro invia una parte dei gas che fuoriescono dai suoi ugelli di scarico in direzione del suo muso, cosa che permette di mantenere il siluro in una bolla di gas stabile di forma adeguata che lo separa dall’acqua circostante (supercavitazione). Il naso del proiettile è relativamente piatto e il corpo dell’arma possiede numerose alette destinate a stabilizzarlo.
Non esiste siluro occidentale paragonabile.» [Fonte]
È entrato in servizio nei primi anni del novanta: supporta testate convenzionali oppure nucleari.
Questo nuovo tipo di siluro a razzo dovrebbe essere un consistente miglioramento tecnico rispetto al VA-111 Shkval.
Very little information is being released on Khishchnik apart from the fact that it is being developed by Elektropribor, a design bureau which makes instruments for ships and subs as well as aviation components. Its existence was revealed in documents uncovered by Russian defense blog BMPD which revealed that the company had been working on Khishchnik since 2013 and that launch tests were expected in 2016 as part of a contract worth 3 billion roubles ($53m). There have been no official comments or announcements.
Other companies may also be working on the project. In 2016, Boris Obnosov, CEO of Russian company Tactical Missiles Corp, mentioned work in this area to Rambler News Service.
“Take for instance the well-known unique Shkval underwater missile. We are working on upgrading it heavily.”
The ‘heavily upgraded’ Shkval seems likely to be the Khishchnik.
Shkval has been upgraded several times previously, with improvements in range and guidance. A new name suggests a more significant upgrade. An export version of the Shkval, the Shkval-E was produced in 1999. There would be a big market for an unstoppable, carrier-killing torpedo.»
L’attuale tecnologia arriverebbe quindi a supportare velocità subacquee di 1,500 metri al secondo, ossia 5,400 km/h.
Da quanto sembrerebbe di poter capire, il Khishchnik potrebbe raggiungere la velocità di poco meno di 800 km/h con una portata utile di 30 – 50 kilometri. La testa generatrice del bubble sarebbe orientabile, consentendo quindi cambiamenti di rotta. Sembrerebbe anche verosimile che il sistema di guida sia stato migliorato afferendogli capacità di auto indirizzamento sull’obiettivo.
Stati Uniti e forze navali Nato non hanno sviluppato un simile sistema d’arma per il semplice motivo che, almeno al momento, le loro flotte militari non sono contrastate da forze navali degne di quel nome. In ogni caso, all’occorrenza, l’Occidente ha a disposizione tutte le tecnologie necessarie.
Opposta è invece la situazione sia della Russia sia della Cina, che solo del tutto recentemente inizia a sviluppare l’esigenza di flotte militari di altura.
Questi due stati hanno come preoccupazione principale le portaerei americane, che vorrebbero poter tenere più lontane possibile dalle loro coste e dalle loro basi navali. In questa ottica il VA-111 Shkval ed adesso il Khishchnik, sono armi che le portaerei non possono ignorare. Se è vero che le portaerei navigano ben protette da flotte di difesa e rifornimento, è altrettanto vero che nel rapporto prestazioni / costo una portaerei vale quasi venti miliardi, tenendo conto dell’armamento di bordo, mentre un siluro Khishchnik costa circa 50 milioni.
Accanto a questa tipologia di siluri, russi e cinesi hanno sviluppato una vasta gamma di missili ipersonici a bassa quota anti – nave.
«La Russia ha iniziato la sperimentazione dei nuovi ipersonici da crociera anti-nave Zircon, come ha riportato giovedì Sputnik News citando RIA Novosti. I missili da crociera dovrebbero essere in grado di raggiungere cinque o sei volte la velocità del suono (Mach 5 o Mach 6), ha aggiunto il rapporto. ….
I moderni missili anti-nave russi, come gli Onyx, possono raggiungere velocità fino a 2,6 Mach (circa 750 metri al secondo). Il missile da crociera Kalibr viaggia ad una velocità di 0,9 Mach, ma mentre si avvicina al bersaglio la sua velocità di punta può arrivare fino a 2,9 Mach. ….
In conclusione, anche se nessuno intende sottovalutare le capacità difensive delle navi militari della Nato ed americane in modo particolare, anche se li riteniamo essere troppo allarmistici, ben comprendiamo i titoli recentemente comparsi sulla stampa.
«Il missile supersonico CM-302 è in grado di colpire anche bersagli terrestri. ….
la Cina non possiede missili antinave simili ai russi P-1000 “Basalt” e P-700 “Granit”. Il P-700 da solo è grande come un piccolo aereo, con una massa di 7 tonnellate e colpisce il suo bersaglio ad una velocità Mach 2 e inoltre ha un proprio sistema di guida computerizzato dotato di contromisure EW (Electronic Warfare). Questi missili possono essere lanciati in salve, e durante il volo sono capaci di comunicare tra loro per coordinare l’attacco contemporaneamente su diversi bersagli. Il P-1000 può essere equipaggiato con una testata nucleare. Questi missili sono stati modernizzati più volte, possono essere lanciati dalle coste e sono stati progettati per colpire una portaerei a più di 700km di distanza.»
The principle of supercavitation continues to intrigue torpedo designers.
WHEN introduced 40 years ago, the Soviet Shkval (“Squall”) torpedo was hailed as an “aircraft-carrier killer” because its speed, more than 370kph (200 knots), was four times that of any American rival. The claim was premature. Problems with its design meant Shkval turned out to be less threatening than hoped (or, from a NATO point of view, less dangerous than feared), even though it is still made and deployed. But supercavitation, the principle upon which its speed depends, has continued to intrigue torpedo designers. Now, noises coming out of the Soviet Union’s successor, Russia, are leading some in the West to worry that the country’s engineers have cracked it.
Life in a bubble
Bubbles of vapour (ie, cavities) form in water wherever there is low pressure, such as on the trailing edges of propeller blades. For engineers, this is usually a problem. In the case of propellers, the cavities erode the blades’ substance. Shkval’s designers, however, sought, by amplifying the phenomenon, to make use of it. They gave their weapon a blunt nose fitted with a flat disc (pictured above) that creates a circular trailing edge as the torpedo moves forward. They also gave it a rocket motor to accelerate it to a speed fast enough for that edge to create a cavity consisting of a single, giant bubble which envelopes the entire torpedo except for the steering fins.
The result is that most of the torpedo experiences no hydrodynamic drag, greatly enhancing its potential velocity. To take advantage of this it is propelled, when the booster rocket runs out of oomph, by a hydrojet—a motor fuelled by a material, such as magnesium, that will burn in water.
Shkval’s problems are threefold. First, it has a short range—around 15km compared with around 50km for America’s principal submarine-launched torpedo, the Mk 48. Second, the hydrojet is noisy, so opponents can hear the weapon coming. Third, it cannot track its target. Most torpedoes use sonar to home in on the ship they are intended to sink. Because Shkval travels inside a bubble, any sonar needs to be mounted on the cavitation disc, which is too small for the purpose. In addition, returning sonar pings would be drowned out by the hydrojet’s noise. As a consequence, Shkval’s only guidance is an autopilot which steers it towards the place where its target was located at the moment of launch, in the hope that the target has not moved.
These deficiencies have not stopped Western countries trying to build supercavitating torpedoes of their own. Diehl, a German firm, announced a programme for such a weapon, Barracuda, in 2004. In 2006 General Dynamics, a big American firm, was commissioned to look into the matter (though its brief did not include the word “torpedo”, referring only to an “undersea transport”) by the country’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The firms’ engineers tried to overcome the guidance problem by developing a new type of cavitator. Rather than a flat disc, General Dynamics’ design had a curved surface, increasing the area available for sonar reception. In addition the sonar’s transmitters, mounted on the torpedo’s steering fins, were separate from the receiver, and the interference caused by engine noise was reduced by special filters. In the end, though, these efforts ran into the sand. Barracuda was never completed. General Dynamics’ project was shelved after a year. American naval research into supercavitation in general ended in 2012, though which particular problems proved insurmountable has never been revealed.
Russia, though, has not given up on the idea. In October 2016 plans emerged for a new supercavitating torpedo, Khishchnik (“Predator”). Few details have been released, except that the work is being carried out by Elektropribor, a design bureau specialising in high-precision systems for submarines. Combining a General Dynamics-style sonar with a better motor could, however, result in a weapon that the world’s navies would truly have to fear.
Such a motor is possible, according to Georgiy Savchenko of the Institute of Hydromechanics at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences. His supercavitation-research group estimates that with the right fuel (perhaps lithium, which packs more energy per kilogram than magnesium) a new torpedo could have ten times the range of Shkval. It would still be noisy, but, added to its speed, such a combination of range and tracking ability would make it hard to evade. Moreover, there is no theoretical reason why Khishchnik should not travel quite a lot faster than Shkval does. In laboratory tests, supercavitating projectiles have clocked more than 5,000kph.
The supercavitating design being developed for Khishchnik might also feed into the Kanyon project, a giant nuclear-powered torpedo with a nuclear warhead that is intended to attack coastal targets. In what was either a deliberate leak or a piece of disinformation, this project was revealed to the world in 2015 during a televised meeting between Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, and senior officers of the country’s armed forces. The camera, looking over one of these officers’ shoulders, gave a picture of plans for the putative device, annotated with helpful information such as “speed of travel—185kph”.
The leaked design did not appear to use supercavitation—but if Kanyon is genuine, then thoughts of adding it cannot have escaped its designers. Even if Kanyon is smoke and mirrors, though, Khishchnik seems real enough. Perhaps, this time, aircraft-carrier skippers should be worried.
The Elektropribor Design Bureau in Saratov is developing a high-speed torpedo dubbed Khishchnik (Russian for ‘raptor’) and designed to replace the Shkval, expert Vladimir Tuchkov writes in an article with the Svobodnaya Pressa online news agency. The blog of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) has reported that Elektropribor is soon to complete the development of a sophisticated high-speed torpedo. The weapon is designed for replacing the famous Shkval capable of accelerating to 200 knots under water. CAST learnt about that when Elektropribor applied for participating in the 2015 Aircraft Maker of the Year Competition held by the Union of Aviation Industrialists of Russia (UAIR).
Two applications have been submitted, with one of them dedicated to “the execution of the state defense order for developing components of advanced underwater vehicles.” The application continues: “Since 2013, the company has been developing and manufacturing prototypes and testing a component of the underwater missile embodying advanced boundary layer control principles.”
The weapon in question is the Khishchnik, of which very little is known due to the program being very hush-hush. The torpedo is under development by the company developing components for military planes, and the weapon has been submitted for the competition to be held by UAIR. The thing is, the type of weapons is called rocket-assisted torpedo, and Elektropribor is developing electrical units for its rocket motor and the control systems.
The NII-24 Research Institute (now the Region State Research and Production Company, a subsidiary of Tactical Missiles Corp.) kicked off Shkval’s development in 1960. The requirements specification called for a torpedo with a cruising speed of 200 knots and a range of 20 km for launch via the standard 533-mm torpedo tube.
The first prototype was made as soon as 1964. The same year, it launched its tests at Lake Issyk-Kul followed by tests in the Black Sea near the city of Feodosiya. The tests failed. The designers developed one model after another that kept on failing to meet the stringent requirements specification. It is the sixth prototype that passed the tests and was cleared for full-rate production. The torpedo entered the Soviet Navy’s inventory in 1977.
Its high speed resulted from cavitation. Research into this field was started by a TsAGI affiliate in the Soviet Union in the late ‘40s. In the late ‘50s, the scientists came up with a harmonious theory of cavitation movement and issued recommendations for applying its principles to high-speed underwater vehicle development. Cavitation boils down to an object (a torpedo in this case) moving inside an air bubble, overcoming the drag caused by the air, rather than by water. A combined-cycle gas turbine unit in the nose section creates the air bubble enveloping the torpedo.
The weapon is propelled by a jet from its solid-propellant rocket motor, rather than by a screw or a waterjet. The Shkval’s power plant is two-stage. First, the solid-propellant motor accelerates the torpedo to the cavitation speed. Then, the sustainer – an underwater ramjet – kicks in.
The development of the underwater ramjet proved to be as difficult as that of the cavitation generator. It is radically different to the ones used in planes and rockets. It uses seawater as actuating medium and oxidizer, while hydroreactive metals are its fuel.
The speed requirement was met, but the range proved to be a mere 13 km. The torpedo’s launch depth was 30 m, and the weapon dashed to its target at 6 m below the surface. Initially, its warhead was nuclear and had a yield of 150 kilotons. The torpedo weighed 2,700 kg and measured 8,200 mm long.
While having a huge speed, the torpedo lacked a seeker. There were two reasons for that. First, maneuvering worth mentioning is impossible at such a speed, because the air bubble will disintegrate. Second, the torpedo is very noisy and it vibrates, which will make the seeker hear nothing but the motor.
Naturally, the heading of the enemy ship subject to sinking as well as its speed and other factors is taken into consideration prior to the Shkval’s launch, i.e. a lead is allowed for, but it is short, because the Shkval covers 13 km inside 130 s – a bit more than 2 min. The torpedo’s baseline model carried a 150-kt nuclear warhead. It was replaced with a high-explosive one weighing about 250 kg, when the time came to slash the nuclear stockpiles. However, the launch of the torpedo exposed the submarine, for the Shkval’s wake gave its position away lock, stock and barrel. The torpedo’s short range was fraught with another problem: to attack an aircraft carrier or other major combatant, the submarine had to enter its antisubmarine coverage area, which reduced its own chances for survival. In other words, although the designers produced high technical characteristics, the weapon proved to be of little use in practical terms. The Shkval was removed from the inventory.
Designers in two more countries echoed the ideas embodied in the Shkval. In 2005, Germany announced the development of the Barracuda supercavitating torpedo with a speed of 400 km/h, and, two years ago, the Iranian chief of naval operations mentioned a torpedo travelling at 320 km/h. However, these are not weapons ready for combat, rather prototypes undergoing the trials.
The Khishchnik is not a version of the Shkval. Serious money has been set aside for its development. The two contractors alone – Elektropribor and the SEPO-ZEM plant in Saratov – co-pursuing the Khishchnik-M program have received more than 1.5 billion rubles ($25 million).
Therefore, it is possible that the torpedo will have a seeker and be able to maneuver and its range and stealth will increase, expert Vladimir Tuchkov writes in the article on the Svobodnaya Pressa news website.
L’argomento è delicato quanto pruriginoso ed importante. Capendolo si comprendono i triboli tedeschi e soprattutto francesi, nonchè molte dinamiche interne la così detta Unione Europea.
La lettura dei link e degli allegati è indispensabile per comprendere l’articolo.
Per un certo quale lasso di tempo Mr Macron è diventato l’idolo di moda della sinistra liberal europea.
In Francia Mr Hollande era riuscito nell’improba fatica di disintegrare il partito socialista riducendolo dal 61% all’8%, ma a quel punto erano scese direttamente in campo la massoneria francese e la Banca Rothschild, presentando il proprio candidato alla Presidenza francese: Emmanuel Macron.
Quasi onnipotenti quando l’Occidente negli anni sessanta costituiva il 90% del pil mondiale, sempre potenti, ma decisamente ridimensionati, oggi che l’Occidente conta poco più del 40% del pil mondiale e, soprattutto, evidenzia una grossolana frattura tra Usa ed Europa di Mr Macron e Frau Merkel.
Il Qatar è il più grande esportatore di gas naturale liquefatto (LNG), e rifornisce di gas naturale tutta la penisola araba. Grande finanziatore del terrorismo islamico in Medio Oriente ed in Europa, è paese amico di chiunque gli permetta di fare buoni affari. Esiste, è forte e potente: sarebbe impossibile non tenerne conto.
«United Arab Emirates — Qatar on Wednesday signed a €5 billion euro (U.S. $5.9 billion) deal to purchase seven naval vessels from Italy»
«despite a blockade from neighboring countries»
«Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced the defense deal at a joint news conference in Doha with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano»
«Qatar, which is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, and other energy rich Gulf Arab states are among the world’s biggest spenders on military equipment»
«Qatar also hosts the hub for U.S.-led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria»
* * * * * * *
La posizione del Qatar è quella tipica di ogni paese arabo: tiene il piede in un buon numero di scarpe nella concreta speranza di guadagnarci su qualcosa. Gli arabi sono persone pratiche. Gli Occidentali, specie europei, stentano a comprendere che l’islam è politica, non religione.
Se il Qatar ospita comandi e truppe americane impegnate nella lotta contro il terrorismo in Medio Oriente, nel contempo finanzia in modo sostanzioso i terroristi stessi. È lavoro che genera lavoro. Accettato dalla Realpolitk, è avversato dagli ideologi.
In buona sostanza l’Europa, recependo le istanze di Frau Merkel, aveva posto come conditio sine qua non per fornire armamenti ai Paesi del Medio Oriente. LEuropa voleva anche la loro completa accettazione dei ‘valori‘ patrocinati dalla Bundeskanzlerin e del così detto ‘buon governo‘, così come esso è definito dai liberals. In parole povere, i tedeschi e l’Unione gradirebbero che gli arabi si convertissero all’lgbt, diventassero femministi, indicessero elezioni ed eleggessero governanti tedeschi oppure si dimettessero in massa e si facessero sostituire da femmine educate in Europa alla scuola liberal. Questa la loro risposta:
«We will not cause any more problems for the German government with new requests for weapons»
Mr Macron aveva mosso Cielo, terra ed inferi per avere questa commissione del Qatar per i cantieri Stx. Ma non ce la ha fatta. Non gliela hanno voluta dare. Adesso dovrebbe essere evidente che la potenza reale di Mr Macron e dei suoi mandanti è stata ampiamente sopravalutata.
E poi. Chi mai si potrebbe fidare di Mr Macron?
A nessuno è sfuggito come l’intero progetto sia finanziato da Deutsche Bank, in passato di proprietà tedesca. Così i sudditi di Frau Merkel avranno il privilegio di finanziare un progetto da cui la Bundeskanzlerin si è auto esclusa per difendere la propria Weltanschauung, trascinando Mr Macron con lei.
Confermare Mr Macron e Frau Merkel nelle loro rispettive fedi ideologiche è stato un capolavoro psicologico di Mr Tillerson, potentemente aiutato da Mr Putin. I superbi alla fine credono sia vero quanto dicono loro gli adulatori.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Qatar on Wednesday signed a €5 billion euro (U.S. $5.9 billion) deal to purchase seven naval vessels from Italy, a reminder of the small Gulf state’s purchasing power despite a blockade from neighboring countries.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced the defense deal at a joint news conference in Doha with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. They did not provide more details on the deal, saying only that it underscored the countries’ ongoing defense cooperation.
Qatar, which is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, and other energy rich Gulf Arab states are among the world’s biggest spenders on military equipment. The deals signed over the years with the U.S. and European allies have helped cement bilateral ties, but have also made the diplomatic fallout around Qatar all the more politically sensitive. Qatar also hosts the hub for U.S.-led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
The dispute erupted in early June when the four countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar. Saudi Arabia also sealed shut Qatar’s only land border, impacting a significant source of food imports, and barred it from using its airspace, which has forced Qatar’s flagship carrier to take longer routes over Iran.
The crisis has prompted a flurry of international visits and meetings to try and resolve the crisis.
Earlier this week, the quartet said they would be open to dialogue with Qatar if it accepts their demands to change its policies in the region first. They also insisted that Qatar comply with a sweeping list of 13 demands as well as six broader principles that center around cracking down on terrorism financing.
In remarks at the news conference Wednesday, Al Thani insisted that any talks respect Qatar’s sovereignty and said his country has never put forth conditions for dialogue. He also appeared to dismiss the quartet’s latest comments that Qatar comply with their demands.
The Qatari government has inked a $5.9 billion U.S. deal with its Italian counterpart for four corvettes, an amphibious landing platform dock (LPD) and two offshore patrol vessels.
Qatar had negotiated the purchase in June 2016. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is the principal shipbuilder, but Qatar’s ships will also be equipped with electronics and armaments from Leonardo and MBDA, respectively. The latter two firms are to receive a $1.13 billion contract to fit the new ships. The complete naval program also includes 15 years of after-sale maintenance and support work.
Notes & Comments:
Like Qatar Emiri Army and Qatari Emiri Air Force, the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces (QENF)’s modernization-track is steered towards both qualitative improvements as well as capability and quantitative expansion. The QENF’s present fleet comprises of fast attack craft and patrol boats meant for guarding its littoral seas and policing its exclusive economic zone. However, its future fleet will not only augment its patrol force (through two new OPVs), the four corvettes will provide a vastly changed warfighting capability.
Qatar’s forthcoming corvettes will be multi-mission combatants capable of anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). With a hull length of over 100 metres, Doha intends to configure the corvettes with (likely) a Leonardo KRONOS (Naval or Grand Naval) active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar paired with the MBDA Aster 30 Block-1 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM), which has a range of in-excess of 100 km. Qatar is also procuring MICA-VL short-range SAMs which offer a range of 20 km, potentially to augment the Aster 30s on the corvettes and/or to equip the OPVs. The AShW element will center on the 180 km-range Exocet MM40 Block-3 anti-ship missiles (AShM).
The LPD is expected to be a variant of the 9,000-ton LPD Fincantieri had built for the Algerian Navy, the Kalaat Beni-Abbes. The Kalaat Beni-Abbes has a crew of 160 and can ferry 400 soldiers, 15 main battle tanks or 30 light-armoured vehicles with three medium-weight utility helicopters on its flight deck. This LPD will provide Qatar with an expeditionary element that it can apply for humanitarian and disaster relief and coalition support missions.
Le forze armate americane hanno subito in pochi giorni due smacchi sensazionali: uno con la USS Gerald R Ford, una portaerei con problemi di atterraggio e decollo, poi con la saga degli F-35, sui quali si blocca l’erogatore di ossigeno.
USS Gerald R. Ford.
A prima vista potrebbe sembrare una domanda idiota il chiedersi a cosa possa servire una portaerei se poi gli aeroplani non riescano ad atterrarvi sopra e nemmeno a ripartirne.
Ma poi, nei fatti, non è una domanda idiota: è il caso della USS Gerald R. Ford.
«The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land»
«Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million»
«While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat»
«Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck»
«scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system …. the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult ….The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.»
In sintesi: l’erogatore di ossigeno di bordo non funziona ed i piloti vanno in anossia. A latere, la cabina non mantiene la pressurizzazione.
«The Lockheed Martin-made F-35A fighter jets were declared combat ready by the Air Force last year, and F-35s have now deployed to Japan and Europe»
«An F-35 fighter wing will remain grounded as the service works to identify the cause of five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, the Air Force said Monday. …. The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights last week after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force. …. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.»
«For military jets, oxygen deprivation has been a nagging problem.»
«Navy investigators had identified 382 cases, including 130 that involved some form of oxygen contamination, and 114 with a failure of the jet’s system that maintains cabin pressure.»
* * * * * * *
Questi elementi ben si presterebbero a satire e facezie, che vorremmo evitare.
Tuttavia alcune considerazioni di ordine generale sembrerebbero emergere.
– Il livello degli ingegneri progettisti sta decadendo sempre più rapidamente nel tempo.
– Se è vero che tutti i grandi progetti richiedono un certo quale lasso di tempo per funzionare pienamente a regime, è altrettanto vero che i difetti dovrebbero emergere durante le simulazioni ed il periodo di prova, non dopo che sia stato dato l’ok operativo. Chi ha concesso il permesso di operatività dovrebbe essere rinviato a giudizio.
– i progettisti di ottanta anni fa, con regolo e buon senso, avevano progettato le portaerei che fecero vincere agli Stati Uniti la guerra sul mare. Esattamente come i loro colleghi nel ramo aeronautico avevano progettato e costruito i mitici B-17 e B-25. Alcuni progettisti, protetti dall’anonimato, hanno ammesso sconsolato che quelli non avevano femmine per i piedi.
– i progettisti di questa generazione hanno una fede infantile nelle nuove tecnologie e si illudono che elettronica, software ed intelligenza artificiale possano rimediare alle loro lacune matematiche, nel settore della fisica e della scienza dei materiali. Fanno un figurone nei salotti e nelle trasmissioni televisive, ma sul lavoro sono solo iettature. Ma come ingegneri, specie quelli meccanici, si qualificano con quello che producono.
– Landing system costs soared to fix flaws during development
– Carrier still can’t launch jets with full extra fuel tanks
The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land.
Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million, according to Navy documents obtained by Bloomberg News.
While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat.
The twin issues underscore the technical and cost challenges for the planned three-ship, $42 billion Ford class of carriers that is drawing increased congressional scrutiny. The Navy and Trump want to increase the carrier fleet from 11 authorized by law to 12.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has long criticized the Navy’s management of the Ford program and joined a congressional effort that capped funding for the Ford at $12.9 billion and for a second ship under construction, the John F. Kennedy, at $11.4 billion. He’s likely to grill Navy officials about the newly disclosed landing system costs and troubled launch system during a hearing Thursday on the Navy budget.
The surge in costs for the development phase of the advanced arresting gear — built by General Atomics to catch planes landing — was borne by the Navy under terms of that contract. In addition, the program acquisition costs of the three systems built so far more than doubled to $532 million each from $226 million, an increase which must be paid by closely held General Atomics.
General Atomics spokeswoman Meghan Ehlke referred all questions to the Navy “per our contract.” Captain Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said the contractor forfeited all bonus fees it could have made during the 2009-2016 development phase and the service is reviewing the company’s master schedule for the John F. Kennedy weekly. The Navy also has placed personnel at the company’s facility in Rancho Bernardo, California, to monitor progress.
The Navy reported the cost increase to Congress last month because it breached thresholds established under a 1982 law for major weapons systems. It’s separate from the 22 percent increase since 2010 for construction of the carrier, which resulted in Congress imposing the $12.9 billion cost cap.
Trump, who has repeatedly complained about the high cost of major weapons systems — and then taken credit for reining them in — did that in a Coast Guard commencement address on May 17. The Ford “had a little bit of an overrun problem before I got here, you know that. Still going to have an overrun problem; we came in when it was finished, but we’re going to save some good money.”
‘It’s No Good’
Trump said “when we build the new aircraft carriers, they’re going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule, just remember that.” Still, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report Tuesday that the John F. Kennedy’s cost estimate “is not reliable and does not address lessons learned” from the Ford’s performance.
Trump scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system in a Time magazine interview last month, saying it doesn’t work and “you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Saying the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult, he added, “The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”
Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck.
That “would preclude normal employment” of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the radar-jamming Growler version because “the aircraft are limited in the types of missions that they can accomplish” without added under-wing fuel tanks, Army Lieutenant Colonel Roger Cabiness, spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email. He said the Navy asserts that testing on the ground has solved a software flaw that caused excessive vibrations of those fuel tanks.
“The Navy estimates the software problem will be resolved and software updates incorporated” on the carrier for testing at sea during the vessel’s post-shakedown phase between May and November of 2018, Michael Land, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email. He said actual launches of jets with wing tanks will follow in 2019.
The Navy still has time to fix the catapult issue. Though the Ford has been delivered, the ship is not scheduled to be declared ready for operations until 2020, with first actual deployment planned for about 2022, according to spokeswoman Kent.
Washington (CNN)An F-35 fighter wing will remain grounded as the service works to identify the cause of five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, the Air Force said Monday.
The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights last week after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.
The Air Force had expected to lift the grounding measure over the weekend, but said Monday that flight operations will remain on hold until a coordinated analysis of the problem is complete. An updated timetable to resume flights was not provided, with the Air Force saying only “we will take as much time as necessary” to ensure pilot safety.
“The 56th Fighter Wing will continue their pause in local F-35A flying to coordinate analysis and communication between pilots, maintainers, medical professionals and a team of military and industry experts,” said Air Force spokesperson Maj. Rebecca Heyse in a written statement.
“This coordination will include technical analysis of the physiological incidents to date and discussions on possible risk mitigation options to enable a return to flying operations,” she added.
There are 55 F-35As at Luke Air Force Base. Graff said that it’s still not clear what caused the oxygen incidents, but said that the pause was confined to Luke because “no other incidents have been reported” at any other Air Force bases since May 2.
The Luke F-35 grounding is the latest setback for the $400 billion F-35 program, a long delayed and over-budget weapons system that’s become the Pentagon’s most expensive in history. The Air Force grounded 10 of its F-35 fighters last year due to insulation problems, and last month the Air Force announced it had resolved an ejection seat issue that had led to a weight restriction being imposed on pilots.
The Lockheed Martin-made F-35A fighter jets were declared combat ready by the Air Force last year, and F-35s have now deployed to Japan and Europe.
The F-35A is the Air Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter: The F-35B Marine Corps variant was declared combat-ready in 2015, and the F-35C Nary variant is supposed to be combat operational next year.
President Donald Trump has taken a personal interest in the F-35 program, slamming the costs as “out of control” and then getting involved in the Pentagon’s contract negotiations with Lockheed Martin. He took credit for generating $700 million in savings in the $8.5 billion contract for the latest batch of F-35 fighters.
For military jets, oxygen deprivation has been a nagging problem.
The Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jet pilots experienced a rising rate of “physiological episodes,” Navy officials told Congress in March.
Navy investigators had identified 382 cases, including 130 that involved some form of oxygen contamination, and 114 with a failure of the jet’s system that maintains cabin pressure.
The Air Force’s F-22 fighter pilots also struggled with hypoxia-like symptoms back in 2012, which led to limitations on F-22 flights until the issue was resolved. The Air Force said Friday that the F-35 program office has created a team of “engineers, maintainers and aeromedical specialists to examine the incidents to better understand the issue.”
«The Russian Company Uralvagonzavod is responsible for the design and development of the new Russian main battle tank MBT Armata T-14 for 2013 with the delivery of the first prototypes for 2015. The first reports indicate that the new Armata could be based on the Russian main battle tank T-95 Object 195 and the project tank “Black Eagle” which was presented to the public at the Omsk defence exhibition in 1999. The Armata will have more firepower than the latest generation of main battle tank T-90. The Armata will be fitted with a new unmanned remote weapon station turret. Russian experts believe that the appearance of the remotely controlled gun would eventually lead to the development of a fully robotic tank which could be deployed as part of a spearhead in the offensive. The T-14 Armata was unveiled for the first time to the public during the military parade in Moscow for the Victory Day, May 9, 2015. The Russia Defense Ministry said the field testing of the new MBT Armata was expected to start in 2014. The first deliveries of the tank to the Russian Armed Forces are scheduled for 2015. A total of 2,300 MBTs are expected to be supplied by 2020.
The T-14 Armata is equipped with an unmanned turret and all the crew is located at the front of the hull. The new unmanned remote turret of Arama T-14 would be equipped with new generation of 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore gun with an automatic loader and 32 rounds ready to use. The main gun can fire also new laser-guided missile with a range from 7 to 12 km. The T-14 Armata carries a total of 45 rounds. According some Russian sources, the T-14 Armata could be armed in the future with a new 152mm cannon. The first scale model of the Armata unveiled in July 2012 showed that the vehicle has a secondary weapon that could be a 57mm grenade launcher mounted on the left of the turret, and a machine gun 12.7 mm mounted on the right side. During the victory day parade 2015, Russia has unveiled the new Armata and the main armament consists only of a new 125mm gun with no additional weapons on the side of the turret. Second armament of the T-14 Armata includes one remote weapon station mounted on the top rear of the turret armed with one 7.62mm mm machine gun.
Standard equipment of Armata T-14 includes probably day and night vision equipment, NBC system, front mounted dozer blade, fire detection and suppression system and a battle management system as modern Russian-made main battle tanks. The new Armata also have latest generation of active protection defensive aids suite. A computerized fire-control system is fitted to enable stationary and moving targets to be engaged with a very high first round hit probability. The T-14 Armata is equipped with the Active Protection System (APS) Afghanit which seems similar to the Israeli Trophy able to intercept and destroy incoming missiles and rockets. The system is designed to work against all types of anti-tank missiles and rockets, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades. The Afghanit APS includes four sets of 12 launch tubes, two at the rear left side of the turret, and one on each rear top side of the turret. At the base of each side of the turret are five large and fixed horizontally arrayed launch tubes covering the 120° frontal arc of the turret. This tubes could launched unguided projectiles with HE warhead to counter incoming anti-tank guided missiles or RPG (Rocket-Propelled Grenade). The Afghanit APS also includes two types of sensors mounted around the T-14’s turret. Two large sensors, believed to be electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR)-based laser warning receivers, are angularly mounted on the front of the turret providing 180° coverage, while four smaller sensors (covered but believed to be radars) are mounted around the turret providing 360° coverage. The T-14 Armata is fitted with a computerized fire control automatically calculates the fire control solution based on – lead angle measurement, bend of the gun measured by the muzzle reference system, velocity measurement from a wind sensor mounted on the roof of the turret. A dozer blade mounted under the nose of the tank is used for clearing obstacles and preparing fire positions. A 360° panoramic sight mounted at the front of the remote weapon station of the turret allows commanders and gunner to have all-round surveillance on the battlefield without being disturbed by turret motion. For close view, the T-14 is equipped with wide angle cameras mounted around a vehicle giving full 360° all-round vision on displays and situational awareness.» [Army Recognition]
«The T-14 Armata is equipped with the Active Protection System (APS) Afghanit which seems similar to the Israeli Trophy able to intercept and destroy incoming missiles and rockets.»
«The system is designed to work against all types of anti-tank missiles and rockets, including handheld weapons such as rocket propelled grenades.»
«The Afghanit APS includes four sets of 12 launch tubes, two at the rear left side of the turret, and one on each rear top side of the turret.»
Se al momento sembrerebbero essere in servizio 500 carri armati Armata, a fine 2020 il loro numero dovrebbe essere di 2,300. Come peraltro gli americani, questo carro russo sembrerebbe essere in grado di utilizzare proiettili termobarici. Solo per dare numeri indicativi, la Germania ha in servizio poco meno di 400 Leopard 2, pochi di più della Grecia che ne ha 356: ma nel complesso questi carri sono vetusti e tenuti nello stato di manutenzione che la Grecia può attualmente permettersi. L’esercito italiano dispone di 200 carri armati Ariete, progettati negli anni ’80. Ferri vecchi.
L’impressione generale è che l’esercito russo sia decisamente meglio armato e ben più numeroso di quelli europei considerati tutti assieme.
Al momento attuale ha un organico di 766,055 uomini in servizio attivo (220,000 ufficiali), oltre ai 2,485,000 uomini già addestrati tenuti di riserva. Grosso modo sei volte gli organici di tutti i paesi europei considerati assieme.
Molti sono convinti che un conflitto in Europa non possa essere altro che fase iniziale di un confronto globale termonucleare. Questa ipotesi trova sicuramente un certo numero di sostenitori, ma sottostà all’assunzione che gli americani considerino il controllo militare dell’Europa talmente vitale per la loro sicurezza da sfidare la sorte di essere distrutti da una rappresaglia nucleare pur di difenderla. Ma sono invece in molti coloro che ritengono che questa ipotesi sia inconsistente. La conseguenza è che un confronto terrestre sembrerebbe essere la probabilità più verosimile.
Se poi si prendesse in considerazione un raffreddamento dei rapporti tra Stati Uniti ed Europa, questa ultima ipotesi di lavoro ne uscirebbe ulteriormente avvalorata.
A Russian innovation in armoured warfare has pushed Norway to replace many of its current anti-tank systems.
Active protection systems (APS) are being built into Russia’s new Armata T-14 tank, posing a problem for a whole generation of anti-armour weapons, not least the US-supplied Javelin guided missile, used by the Norwegian Army.
The warning comes from Brig Ben Barry of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He says this is a problem that most Nato countries have barely begun to grapple with.
APS threatens to make existing anti-tank weapons far less effective, and there is little real discussion of this among many Western militaries, he says.
Some countries are conducting research and trials to equip their own tanks with APS. “But they seem to miss the uncomfortable implications for their own anti-armour capabilities,” he says.
Norway is one of the first Nato countries to grasp this nettle. Its latest defence procurement plan envisages spending 200-350m kroner (£18.5-32.5m; $24-42m) on replacing its Javelin missiles, “to maintain the capacity to fight against heavy armoured vehicles”.
“There is a need for [an] anti-tank missile,” it says, “that can penetrate APS systems”.
APS is the latest twist in the age-old battle between offence and defence in military technology.
At different periods one side has held the advantage over the other. The armoured knight once ruled supreme, but the widespread use of firearms put paid to the armour-clad nobility’s dominance.
Since World War Two the tank, like the knight of old, has reigned supreme on the battlefield.
It is of course vulnerable to the main guns of other tanks. If you have a heavy enough shell and a gun firing at high-enough velocity you can punch through even the best armour.
But tanks are also vulnerable to other weapons systems, and that is what APS is designed to deal with.
Since World War Two a whole category of lighter, man-portable anti-tank weapons has been devised.
Since they have to be carried by the infantry they depend not upon velocity and mass to get through the tank’s armour, but on a chemical reaction. These warheads impact on the external armour and a metal core forms into a molten jet that pierces through.
Tank designers have tried to counter this in all sorts of ways, with reactive panels that explode outwards when hit; or by providing additional layers of spaced armour, to detonate the incoming round away from the tank itself.
APS takes a whole new approach. It is essentially an anti-missile system for tanks, with radars capable of tracking the incoming anti-tank missile, and projectiles that are launched to disrupt or destroy it.
Israel is among the leaders in this field and its Merkava tanks used it with some success during the last upsurge of fighting in Gaza.
The Israeli Trophy system is being evaluated by the Americans. Britain too is looking at such systems and the Dutch have recently decided to equip their infantry combat vehicles with another Israeli-developed system.
The fitting of APS to armoured vehicles is intended to counter a variety of weapons, ranging from the ubiquitous Russian/Chinese RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) to much more sophisticated guided anti-tank weapons like the Russian Kornet.
But Brig Barry at the IISS is pointing out that Russia’s APS technology raises questions about many of Nato’s anti-tank defences too. Norway is taking action – and he believes other Nato countries will have to do the same.
Russia is purportedly mulling fitting its newest battle tank with a 152 millimeter gun capable of firing nuclear rounds.
Russia’s deadliest tank, the third-generation T-14 main battle tank (MBT), an armored vehicle based on the “Armata” universal chassis system, might be getting even more deadly in the near future.
According to unconfirmed media reports, Russian defense contractor Uralvagonzavod (UVZ), the world’s largest tank maker, will not only upgrade later versions of the mysterious T-14 with a new 2A83 152 millimeter gun but also develop a nuclear tank shell for tactical use on the battlefield.
It is unclear whether a 152 millimeter sub-kiloton low-yield round is already under development. The use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield is not part of official Russian military doctrine. However, Russia has made important strides in low-fission, high-fusion, sub kiloton tactical nuclear technology in recent years.
Nevertheless, it is more than unlikely that Russia will arm the T-14 with nuclear shells given the short range of the MBTs gun. The current version of the T-14 is armed with the 2A82 125 millimeter smoothbore cannon, capable of firing high-powered munitions (10 shots a minute at an effective range of up to seven kilometers). The 2A83 152 millimeter gun would have a much lower rate of fire.
At the end, the Russian military would do better to arm the T-14 with depleted uranium shells rather than nuclear weapons in order to maximize the tank’s fire power on the tactical battlefield.
The Armata is the first new MBT developed by Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The tank is reportedly fitted with a new active protection system including a new generation of explosive reactive armor allegedly capable of fending off the world’s most advanced anti-tank gun shells and anti-tank missiles.
Furthermore, as I pointed out elsewhere (See: “Russia’s Military to Receive 100 New T-14 Armata Battle Tanks”), the T-14 will eventually be a completely automated combat vehicle, remotely controlled and fitted with a unmanned turret. The T-14’s genuine combat capabilities are unknown, and will remain so until tested in actual combat. As of now, no T-14 MBT has been spotted in eastern Ukraine.
“The Armata universal chassis system is a platform for over a dozen different tracked vehicles, including a self-propelled artillery gun, an armored military engineering vehicle, and an armored personal carrier,” I explained elsewhere. “70 percent of tracked armored vehicles of the Russian Ground Forces are slated to be replaced by vehicles based on the Armata universal chassis system.”
In 2016, Russia Ministry of Defense ordered a first batch of 100 T-14s and purportedly intends to procure up to 2,300 T-14s by 2025. It appears, however, that this is far beyond the financial and production capacity of Russia. According to some estimates, Russia is only capable of building 120 new T-14s per year from 2018. There are currently around 20 T-14s prototypes operating with the Russian Ground Forces. It is unclear whether the tank has already entered serial production.
Si noti che in un recente passato Mr Juncker aveva dichiarato:
«Bisogna smetterla di parlare degli Stati Uniti d’Europa, la gente non li vuole» [JC Juncker]
«It is the most basic and universal of rights to feel safe and secure in your own home. Europeans rightly expect their Union to provide that for them. And they want their governments to work together to make it happen …. War is anchored in Europe’s history»
«There is also a long-standing, a fundamental question about sovereignty that we need to properly address. Many of our Member States consider defence as a matter of strict national sovereignty. But sharing sovereignty does not mean forgoing sovereignty»
«So it is no longer a question of national sovereignty. To borrow a phrase from my friend Emmanuel Macron, it is a question of European sovereignty»
«our deference to NATO can no longer be used as a convenient alibi to argue against greater European efforts»
«The United States fundamentally changed its foreign policy long before the arrival of Mr Trump. Over the past decade it has become crystal clear that our American partners consider that they are shouldering too much of the burden for their wealthy European Allies»
«While the European Union spends around EUR 27,000 per solider on equipment and research, the US spend EUR 108,000. No wonder then that less than 3% of European troops are deployable at this very moment. …. Russia spends over 5% of its GDP on defence while China has increased its defence budget by 150% over the past decade»
«Overall, the 27 Member States spend only 1.3% of their overall budgets on defence. Together, we spend half as much as the United States but even then we only achieve 15% of their efficiency»
«We allow ourselves the luxury of having 17 different types of combat tanks while the United States is able to manage perfectly well with just one model»
«It is time to wake the Sleeping Beauty up»
«A European Security and Defence Union will help protect our Union, which is exactly what EU citizens expect»
* * * * * * * *
In linea generale siamo di accordo con l’ignoto estensore della relazione letta da Mr Juncker.
Settanta anni di lunga pace militare hanno infrollito gli europei, che si cullavano nell’utopia che gli Stati Uniti li avrebbero difesi senza far spender loro un centesimo e senza richiedere il loro sangue.
«It is time to wake the Sleeping Beauty up»
Sarà un ben brusco risveglio.
Tutto il mondo si sta riarmando, tranne i paesi europei. 17 tipi diversi di carri armati indicano soltanto 17 diverse fonti cui abbeverare i cavalli dell’élite. “Absurdly, there are more helicopter types than there are governments to buy them!“.
«No wonder then that less than 3% of European troops are deployable at this very moment»
Questo significa che sui circa 300,00 soldati dell’Unione Europea, solo 9,000 sono pronti all’impiego. Davvero pochini per coprire un eventuale fronte orientale di circa tremila kilometri di sviluppo.
Di tutte le argomentazioni possibili vorremmo trarne solo una.
Se gli Stati Uniti spendono 108,000 euro per soldato contro i 27,000 dell’Unione Europea, ne conseguirebbe che per portare gli eserciti dell’Unione al livello americano servirebbe aggiunge 81,000 euro a soldato. Una spesa ulteriore di 40.5 mls di euro l’anno.
La Bella Addormentata si sveglia non con un bacio, ma con un conto da pagare. Welfare, addio!
Frau Merkel continui pure a sognare, ma fino a tanto che no sgrairà denaro sonante i suoi resteranno sogni.
It is the most basic and universal of rights to feel safe and secure in your own home. Europeans rightly expect their Union to provide that for them. And they want their governments to work together to make it happen. European leaders heeded that call three months ago in signing the Rome Declaration. Together, they committed to strengthening Europe’s security and defence by doing more and by cooperating closer.
[Europe as a promoter and provider of peace]
The reasons are clear. War is anchored in Europe’s history. The memories of terror and bloodshed are still all too vivid for many people in this country and in all of Europe.
Our Union has come very far in making Europe safer and more peaceful. And thanks to our global influence, we have also helped to do the same around the world.
The European Union has 15 missions around the world and is fighting terrorism in the Sahel: we committed EUR 50 million more on Monday. We are combating piracy in the Indian Ocean and we promote security sector reform in Ukraine. European troops have taken leading roles in NATO missions and UN peacekeeping efforts, most recently in Mali, Somalia, Kosovo and elsewhere.
These efforts are complemented by the EU’s soft power. We have promoted peace, universal values and inclusive growth right around the world. The European Union and its Member States provide more than half of the world’s humanitarian and development aid. Its diplomatic strength has helped to broker agreements that make the world safer, such as the deal with Iran on its nuclear programme.
But it is time to go further.
[A chequered past on defence]
This has been a long time coming. Attempts to move towards common defence have been part of the European project since its inception.
As early as 1950, French Prime Minister René Pleven proposed a plan for far-reaching defence integration, including the setting up of a European Army and the appointment of a European Minister of Defence. Alas, it was not to be. After two years of negotiations, all six members of the European Coal and Steel Community signed the “Treaty establishing the European Defence Community”. But after ratification by the Benelux countries and Germany, the project encountered a political impasse in France, when it was voted down by the Assemblée nationale. This put an end to the idea of a common European defence for the next half a century.
The failure of 1954 left a scar. Subsequent attempts were less bold. We advanced slowly, incrementally, timidly.
This was not for want of trying. I am one of four former European Heads of State and Prime Ministers – France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg – who signed a 2003 declaration seeking to define the outlines of a European Security and Defence Union, with a military headquarters in Tervuren, Brussels, Belgium. They called us the ‘Peace Club’ — the leaders of the four countries most vocally opposing European intervention in Iraq. We were not a putschist quartet but believed that European integration often advanced at the initiative of a handful of Member States.
Our colleagues were not spontaneously following in our footsteps. The reasons for this should not be underestimated. The difficulties are real. But I believe that they can be overcome.
We have very, diametrically, different defence reflexes amongst our Member States. This diversity was formed by different histories, by different geographies. One example: the cultures of decision-making on military engagement differ starkly between neighbouring France, which favours an executive approach, and Germany, which has a deep tradition of parliamentary oversight.
There is also a long-standing, a fundamental question about sovereignty that we need to properly address. Many of our Member States consider defence as a matter of strict national sovereignty. But sharing sovereignty does not mean forgoing sovereignty. On the contrary, having stronger and more sovereign Member States in a globalised world requires having more cooperation within the European Union, especially on defence. Systematic defence cooperation and further integration will contribute to the preservation of national sovereignty.
This is the natural conclusion of the changing realities around us. How long can we pretend that countries so intimately linked as we are in the European Union do not also need to face external threats together? With the Schengen area of free movement our borders are common. When we speak to Russia we are heard collectively, not individually. When France intervenes in Mali, it is European honour they are saving.
So it is no longer a question of national sovereignty. To borrow a phrase from my friend Emmanuel Macron, it is a question of European sovereignty.
NATO has been and will remain the cornerstone of European security for decades. We are different but we complement each other in so many ways – not least by the fact that we share 22 members. Competition between the EU and NATO is not an option.
Over the years we have worked together in Afghanistan, the Balkans, the Horn of Africa and countless other places across the world. Since the declaration that Donald Tusk, Jens Stoltenberg and myself signed in Warsaw, a new climate of cooperation between the European Union and NATO has been created.
In today’s world, a strong NATO, a strong European Union and a strong relationship between the two, are more important than they ever have been before. But our deference to NATO can no longer be used as a convenient alibi to argue against greater European efforts.
The world around us is changing. The United States fundamentally changed its foreign policy long before the arrival of Mr Trump. Over the past decade it has become crystal clear that our American partners consider that they are shouldering too much of the burden for their wealthy European Allies. We have no other choice than to defend our own interests in the Middle East, in climate change, in our trade agreements.
By stepping up their efforts on defence, and by doing so together, the Member States of the Union will strengthen the ties that bind the Allies within NATO.
[The threats we face]
The protection of Europe can no longer be outsourced. Even our biggest military powers — and I could count them on one, maximum two fingers — cannot combat all the challenges and threats alone.
We do not have to look much further than our doorstep to see that war is not a thing of the past.
The Czech Republic knows this. The memories are fresh. Soviet tanks rolled in the streets of Prague as recently as 1968. In this part of Europe, World War II did not end in 1945.
The threats remain and they have dramatically changed in nature. Instability and unpredictability, combined with worldwide rearmament, are symptomatic of the new world we are living in.
More than 60 million people around the world are displaced because of war, some of which are happening in our immediate neighbourhood.
We see the damage unscrupulous and brutal criminals are inflicting in large ungoverned spaces in parts of the Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Further afield, we witness increasing tensions in East Asia. North Korea is accelerating its nuclear plan and is getting closer with every test.
Soft target terrorism as seen in the tragic and devastating scenes in London and Manchester show the lengths that barbaric terrorists will go to in a futile attempt to break us and destroy our way of life.
The cyber-attacks that recently targeted key infrastructure across the world show that we are going to need to invest heavily in information security. We must protect ourselves from this new phenomenon. It becomes more sophisticated by the hour.
All of that shows that soft power alone is not powerful enough in an increasingly militarised world.
And it reminds us that we cannot be naïve or complacent. True security starts at home.
[The way forward]
The way forward starts with making sure that we spend what is needed on our defence.
While the European Union spends around EUR 27,000 per solider on equipment and research, the US spend EUR 108,000.
No wonder then that less than 3% of European troops are deployable at this very moment.
That shows that we need to invest more, and invest in a more efficient way.
Russia spends over 5% of its GDP on defence while China has increased its defence budget by 150% over the past decade. And the US too has just announced a major increase in their defence budget.
And the EU? Overall, the 27 Member States spend only 1.3% of their overall budgets on defence.
Together, we spend half as much as the United States but even then we only achieve 15% of their efficiency.
That is because around 80% of defence procurement, and 90% of research and technology investment, is done at national level with no coordination between the Member States of the European Union.
That is both inefficient and costly. And it makes it harder for our troops to work together.
Our approach is a scattergun one. There are 178 – as the Prime Minister said – different weapon systems in the EU, compared to 30 in the U.S. We allow ourselves the luxury of having 17 different types of combat tanks while the United States is able to manage perfectly well with just one model.
Absurdly, there are more helicopter types then there are governments to buy them! We must do better.
That is why the European Commission proposed a European Defence Fund.
While it will not and cannot replace Member States’ budgets on defence, it will create incentives for them to cooperate on joint research, development and acquisition of defence equipment and technology.
We have seen that this approach works, for example with the Meteor air-to-air missile that was developed together by six Member States. It is now widely seen as one of the most capable missiles of its kind.
This is the Fund that will make the European Union the biggest investor in collective defence research and technology in Europe.
The Commission is committed as never in the past: until 2020, we plan almost EUR 600 million in support of defence. And after 2020, we propose to allocate EUR 1.5 billion each year — as part of the new funding priorities of the Commission. The Fund will make the EU the biggest investor in collective defence research and technology in Europe.
This is a crucial step. But we cannot stop here.
[PESCO – the Sleeping Beauty]
The European Union already has the legal means at its disposal to move away from the current patchwork of bilateral and multilateral military cooperation to more efficient forms of defence integration.
I am talking about permanent structured cooperation— the Sleeping Beauty of the Lisbon Treaty.
Article 42 of the Treaty makes it possible for a group of like-minded Member States to take European defence to the next level.
I have said it before and I will say it again: I think the time to make use of this possibility is now.
It is time to wake the Sleeping Beauty up.
But at the end of the day, it is not the Commission that will build a common defence.
The Commission is putting everything it has on the table. We have explained how our policies can help fight hybrid threats. We are using our development policy to build up the security of partner countries. We have proposed a Defence Fund which commits the EU budget in an unprecedented way. And we have produced a detailed reflection paper with different options for how the European Union at 27 might develop by 2025 in the area of defence.
But it will always — always — come down to a question of ambition and political will of the Member States.
The past has shown that European defence does move ahead if and when there is political will.
The Franco-British Saint-Malo agreement laid the ground for a momentous step forward towards the Common Security and Defence Policy we have today. The defence provisions of the Lisbon Treaty were another expression of strong ambition.
But so far these ambitions have remained largely unfulfilled. We created European Battlegroups, but we never used them. The ambitious provisions of the Lisbon Treaty lay dormant too.
I see the tide turning. There were only four believers in 2003. As it happens so often in Europe, it took time for others to realise the importance of what was being proposed. Today we see that the group of believers is expanding.
Just last month, the Member States unanimously decided to establish the first Military Planning and Conduct Capability to take over command of EU training missions. This is a first step towards a more robust capability.
In two weeks, the European Council will meet. My colleagues and friends in the European Council understand the importance of this debate. They know how much the debate on the future of Europe’s defence is tied to the debate about the future of Europe.
We have reached a point where progress is the only option. The only question is the speed.
The momentum behind closer defence cooperation comes first and foremost from the people of Europe. In almost all Member States, security is among the top three priorities, and three quarters of Europeans are in favour of a common security and defence policy.
They want their Union to do more to protect them from threats old and new.
And it is time we listened.
In the last decades, there has not been a more compelling set of security challenges, economic facts and political arguments justifying a drastic step change in European defence.
But more than that, the clock is running on how long we can live in a house half built. A European Security and Defence Union will help protect our Union, which is exactly what EU citizens expect.
So the call I make today is not only in favour of a Europe of defence — it is a call in defence of Europe.
Questa celeberrima frase di don Gambino dovrebbe essere scolpita a lettere di fuoco nello studio di ogni persona che esercita un certo quale potere.
Cesare fu assassinato da Bruto, Cassio e loro sodali, non da Tizio e Caio. E nemmeno da Pompeo: Pompeo era un avversario dichiarato, ma non un traditore. Era persona leale.
Ma sul teatrino della politica, specie nei momenti di turmoil, si può vedere di tutto ed il contrario di tutto. Spesso poi sono sceneggiate concordate. Ma il pubblico televisivo se ne bea, e beve tutto dal pirun. Basta che sia una maledicenza oppure un qualcosa di morboso.
Non abbiamo elementi per dire se fu teatrino oppure scena verace, ma questi sono i fatti.
«Two leading Republican senators on Sunday said President Trump is making a mistake by failing to more forcefully confront Saudi Arabia over the country’s treatment of women and other human rights issues in the Middle Eastern nation»
«Mr. Trump’s highly anticipated address in Saudi Arabia on Sunday will focus heavily on the fight against terrorism but will include little in terms of human rights. While administration officials say the topic has been discussed in private settings, critics say that’s simply not enough»
«I think it’s in our national security interest to advocate for democracy, freedom and human rights. I would tell you the White House and I have a different approach on the issue of human rights»
«Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued that the president has “learned a lot” about the Middle East and its culture during his trip. He said the administration believes that defeating the Islamic State is the key to improving human rights in the region»
«I think the way you address those human rights issues and women’ rights issues is to improve conditions in the region,” Mr. Tillerson told Fox News»
* * * * * * * *
Mr Obama aveva ripetutamente richiesto ai sauditi di trasformarsi in alteramente pensanti e senzienti, ma con pessimi risultati. Aveva avuto modo di imparare molte nuove parole in arabo, di quelle fiorite ed irripetibili.
Pochi giorni or sono ci aveva riprovato da Bundeskanzlerin Frau Merkel: ma anche in quella occasione i sauditi non ne vollero saper ed il re saudita si rifiutò categoricamente di abdicare per lasciare il governo ad un pool di femmine.
«We will not cause any more problems for the German government with new requests for weapons»
Adesso Mr Trump ritorna dall’Arabia Saudita con in tasca un piano di investimenti militari di oltre trecento miliardi scaglionati in dieci anni.
Avrebbero dovuto fargli un monumento a cavallo e nominarlo imperatore degli Stati Uniti.
Ma l’invidia è una gran brutta consigliera.
Così i sen John McCain e Marco Rubio alzano alti lai che Mr Trump non è riuscito a far diventare omosessuali i sauditi. Non solo, ma avrebbe anche dovuto trasformare quel regno in un matriarcato. I sauditi non avrebbero gradito.
Potrebbe anche essere una bruschetta lanciata ai democratici, ancora scottati che la loro fede teistica nel sesso e nel femminismo li abbia condotti a dare la nomination a Mrs Hillary Clinton, la perdente cronica.
A nostro sommesso avviso, contratti per trecento miliardi sono un piccolo capolavoro diplomatico e commerciale. Si accettano commenti e critiche solo da parte di chi abbia saputo fare altrettanto.
Two leading Republican senators on Sunday said President Trump is making a mistake by failing to more forcefully confront Saudi Arabia over the country’s treatment of women and other human rights issues in the Middle Eastern nation.
Mr. Trump’s highly anticipated address in Saudi Arabia on Sunday will focus heavily on the fight against terrorism but will include little in terms of human rights. While administration officials say the topic has been discussed in private settings, critics say that’s simply not enough.
“America is the unique nation in history, with all of our errors and failings and mistakes we’ve made … We have stood up for people,” Sen. John McCain told “Fox News Sunday.”
“We have to stand up for what we believe in or we’re no different,” the Arizona Republican said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, echoed those concerns, saying he would prefer a more direct approach on the part of the president.
“I think it’s in our national security interest to advocate for democracy, freedom and human rights. I would tell you the White House and I have a different approach on the issue of human rights,” he told CNN’s “State of the Union.” “But he’s the president, so our hope is they will at least raise these these issues in private.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson argued that the president has “learned a lot” about the Middle East and its culture during his trip. He said the administration believes that defeating the Islamic State is the key to improving human rights in the region.
“I think the way you address those human rights issues and women’ rights issues is to improve conditions in the region,” Mr. Tillerson told Fox News.
Tutte le forze armate conservano gelosamente i propri segreti, siano essi punti di forza, siano essi di debolezza. Nessuno sarebbe così ingenuo da rendere pubblici dati e fatti riservati.
Di conseguenza, occorrerebbe sempre tenere presente come la maggior quota delle informazioni accessibili pubblicamente siano in gran parte disinformazione.
Ma anche il tentativo di analisi dei dati di fatto è molto ardua: non tanto la loro constatazione, quanto piuttosto cercare di capirne il razionale.
Se resta davvero difficile immaginarsi che grandi eserciti possano prender decisioni alla leggera, la constatazione di fatti apparentemente inspiegabili non dovrebbe necessariamente portare a conclusioni di incapacità gestionale.
Questo è uno dei settori che più difficilmente si presta a visioni dicotomiche: esistono certamente il bianco ed il nero, ma soprattutto innumerevoli sfumature di grigio.
Un fatto paramount.
«L’attacco Usa alla Siria: cosa c’è davvero dietro ai missili di Trump?
Partiamo proprio dalla base militare di Sharyat, bombardata dagli Usa con razzi tomahawk due giorni fa. Le immagini satellitari e numerosi giornalisti dicono chiaramente che sono stati distrutti solo 6 vecchi mig in riparazione, una stazione radar e poco di più. Non solo: dei 59 missili lanciati dagli Usa, secondo Mosca solo 23 avrebbero raggiunto l’obiettivo. Le due piste dell’aeroporto sono intatte, al punto che i caccia di Damasco hanno già ripreso le missioni. C’è di più: le batterie antimissilistiche siriane e russe (Mosca ne ha in abbondanza sia nella base navale di Tartus sia in quella aerea di Lavtakia, entrambe sulla costa siriana) non sono entrate in azione per intercettare i missili. E quando i tomahawk sono arrivati, Sharyat era già stata evacuata: non solo i russi, ma anche i militari siriani erano stati avvertiti. Martedì il segretario di Stato Usa, Rex Tillerson, incontrerà Putin al Cremlino. Da questo incontro si capirà molto della politica estera di Donald Trump.» [Rai News]
Dovrebbe essere evidente come questa azione militare sia stata effettuata senza la chiara intenzione distruttrice bellica. Che poi solo 23 cruise siano andai a segno sui cinquantanove lanciati lascia davvero molto perplessi. Se fosse successo mentre l’avversario metteva in atto tutte le contromanovre sarebbe stato comprensibile: la contraerea può far pagare uno scotto anche severo ad un qualsiasi attaccante. Ma che i cruise americani siano così imprecisi sembrerebbe essere del tutto inverosimile.
* * * * * * * *
Sul problema dell’elettronica di bordo di cruise e missili varia americani è uscito da pochi giorni uno studio da leggersi con attenzione perché riporta molti dati fatto, facilmente riscontrabili, assieme ad altri non controllabili. Data la tesata editrice si dovrebbe presumere che l’articolista sia in possesso di informazioni sicure ma non pubblicabili per ovvi motivi.
«“The default assumption is that everything is vulnerable,” says Robert Watson, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge. The reasons for this run deep. The vulnerabilities of computers stem from the basics of information technology, the culture of software development, the breakneck pace of online business growth, the economic incentives faced by computer firms and the divided interests of governments. The rising damage caused by computer insecurity is, however, beginning to spur companies, academics and governments into action.»
«Modern computer chips are typically designed by one company, manufactured by another and then mounted on circuit boards built by third parties next to other chips from yet more firms. A further firm writes the lowest-level software necessary for the computer to function at all. The operating system that lets the machine run particular programs comes from someone else. The programs themselves from someone else again. A mistake at any stage, or in the links between any two stages, can leave the entire system faulty—or vulnerable to attack.»
«It is not always easy to tell the difference. Peter Singer, a fellow at New America, a think-tank, tells the story of a manufacturing defect discovered in 2011 in some of the transistors which made up a chip used on American naval helicopters. Had the bug gone unspotted, it would have stopped those helicopters firing their missiles. The chips in question were, like most chips, made in China. The navy eventually concluded that the defect had been an accident, but not without giving serious thought to the idea it had been deliberate.»
«Most hackers lack the resources to mess around with chip design and manufacture. But they do not need them. Software offers opportunities for subversion in profusion. In 2015 Rachel Potvin, an engineer at Google, said that the company as a whole managed around 2bn lines of code across its various products. Those programs, in turn, must run on operating systems that are themselves ever more complicated.»
* * * * * * *
L’elettronica di bordo di un cruise oppure di un missile è molto complessa sia come hardware sa come software. Inoltre nel momento di impiego è sottoposa a stress straordinari: si pensi solo alle accelerazioni ed alle variazioni termiche alle quale resta sottoposta. Imperfezioni non riscontrabili agli ordinari test statici potrebbero diventare evidenti nel momento operativo. Sicuramente possono essere fatti molti test di simulazione, ma per quanto siano essi accurati non vicariano in nulla la prova sul campo.
In linea generale, più un mezzo militare è complesso e maggiori sono le possibilità sia di malfunzionamento sia le vulnerabilità.
Ecco cosa può generare il difetto in un transistor, ossia un componente da quattro soldi.
«it would have stopped those helicopters firing their missiles».
Non si dovrebbe nemmeno mai dimenticare che un sistema perfettamente funzionante durante i test nel momento dell’azione sia sicuramente sottoposto alle contromisure elettroniche dell’avversario, che in queste ha effuso il massimo impegno. Le contromisure mirano solitamente ai punti deboli. Quello che segue è un esempio che si direbbe essere da manuale.
«In 2015 a group of computer-security researchers demonstrated that it was possible to take remote control of certain Jeep cars»
A tutte queste considerazioni se ne dovrebbe aggiungere un’ultima, si non poca importanza.
«The chips in question were, like most chips, made in China.»
«The navy eventually concluded that the defect had been an accident, but not without giving serious thought to the idea it had been deliberate»
Due considerazioni sembrerebbero essere doverose.
In primo luogo, tutti i componenti di un ordigno militare dovrebbero essere stati progettati, costruiti ed assemblati in stabilimenti locati in patria. Questo sia al fine di evitare una dipendenza strategica del tutto inopportuna, sia per poter avere tutta la catena produttiva sotto il controllo dell’intelligence.
In secondo luogo, si sarebbe restati perplessi se i produttori dei componenti non avessero inserito nei loro chip un qualcosa atto a causarne un malfunzionamento, magari a seguito di un comando esterno. Anzi, si potrebbe quasi dire che se non lo avessero fatto sarebbero stati tutti da licenziare, come minimo.
Nessuno però si stupirebbe più di tanto se in realtà i cruise americani montassero esclusivamente componenti domestici ed i malfunzionamenti portati a conoscenza del pubblico fossero stati causati ad arte.
As the consequences pile up, things are starting to improve.
OVER a couple of days in February, hundreds of thousands of point-of-sale printers in restaurants around the world began behaving strangely. Some churned out bizarre pictures of computers and giant robots signed, “with love from the hacker God himself”. Some informed their owners that, “YOUR PRINTER HAS BEEN PWND’D”. Some told them, “For the love of God, please close this port”. When the hacker God gave an interview to Motherboard, a technology website, he claimed to be a British secondary-school pupil by the name of “Stackoverflowin”. Annoyed by the parlous state of computer security, he had, he claimed, decided to perform a public service by demonstrating just how easy it was to seize control.
Not all hackers are so public-spirited, and 2016 was a bonanza for those who are not. In February of that year cyber-crooks stole $81m directly from the central bank of Bangladesh—and would have got away with more were it not for a crucial typo. In August America’s National Security Agency (NSA) saw its own hacking tools leaked all over the internet by a group calling themselves the Shadow Brokers. (The CIA suffered a similar indignity this March.) In October a piece of software called Mirai was used to flood Dyn, an internet infrastructure company, with so much meaningless traffic that websites such as Twitter and Reddit were made inaccessible to many users. And the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s e-mail servers and the subsequent leaking of embarrassing communications seems to have been part of an attempt to influence the outcome of the American elections.
Away from matters of great scale and grand strategy, most hacking is either show-off vandalism or simply criminal. It is also increasingly easy. Obscure forums oil the trade in stolen credit-card details, sold in batches of thousands at a time. Data-dealers hawk “exploits”: flaws in code that allow malicious attackers to subvert systems. You can also buy “ransomware”, with which to encrypt photos and documents on victims’ computers before charging them for the key that will unscramble the data. So sophisticated are these facilitating markets that coding skills are now entirely optional. Botnets—flocks of compromised computers created by software like Mirai, which can then be used to flood websites with traffic, knocking them offline until a ransom is paid—can be rented by the hour. Just like a legitimate business, the bot-herders will, for a few dollars extra, provide technical support if anything goes wrong.
The total cost of all this hacking is anyone’s guess (most small attacks, and many big ones, go unreported). But all agree it is likely to rise, because the scope for malice is about to expand remarkably. “We are building a world-sized robot,” says Bruce Schneier, a security analyst, in the shape of the “Internet of Things”. The IoT is a buzz-phrase used to describe the computerisation of everything from cars and electricity meters to children’s toys, medical devices and light bulbs. In 2015 a group of computer-security researchers demonstrated that it was possible to take remote control of certain Jeep cars. When the Mirai malware is used to build a botnet it seeks out devices such as video recorders and webcams; the botnet for fridges is just around the corner.
Not OK, computer
“The default assumption is that everything is vulnerable,” says Robert Watson, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge. The reasons for this run deep. The vulnerabilities of computers stem from the basics of information technology, the culture of software development, the breakneck pace of online business growth, the economic incentives faced by computer firms and the divided interests of governments. The rising damage caused by computer insecurity is, however, beginning to spur companies, academics and governments into action.
Modern computer chips are typically designed by one company, manufactured by another and then mounted on circuit boards built by third parties next to other chips from yet more firms. A further firm writes the lowest-level software necessary for the computer to function at all. The operating system that lets the machine run particular programs comes from someone else. The programs themselves from someone else again. A mistake at any stage, or in the links between any two stages, can leave the entire system faulty—or vulnerable to attack.
It is not always easy to tell the difference. Peter Singer, a fellow at New America, a think-tank, tells the story of a manufacturing defect discovered in 2011 in some of the transistors which made up a chip used on American naval helicopters. Had the bug gone unspotted, it would have stopped those helicopters firing their missiles. The chips in question were, like most chips, made in China. The navy eventually concluded that the defect had been an accident, but not without giving serious thought to the idea it had been deliberate.
Most hackers lack the resources to mess around with chip design and manufacture. But they do not need them. Software offers opportunities for subversion in profusion. In 2015 Rachel Potvin, an engineer at Google, said that the company as a whole managed around 2bn lines of code across its various products. Those programs, in turn, must run on operating systems that are themselves ever more complicated. Linux, a widely used operating system, clocked in at 20.3m lines in 2015. The latest version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system is thought to be around 50m lines long. Android, the most popular smartphone operating system, is 12m.
Getting each of those lines to interact properly with the rest of the program they are in, and with whatever other pieces of software and hardware that program might need to talk to, is a task that no one can get right first time. An oft-cited estimate made by Steve McConnell, a programming guru, is that people writing source code—the instructions that are compiled, inside a machine, into executable programs—make between ten and 50 errors in every 1,000 lines. Careful checking at big software companies, he says, can push that down to 0.5 per 1,000 or so. But even this error rate implies thousands of bugs in a modern program, any one of which could offer the possibility of exploitation. “The attackers only have to find one weakness,” says Kathleen Fisher, a computer scientist at Tufts University in Massachusetts. “The defenders have to plug every single hole, including ones they don’t know about.”
All that is needed is a way to get the computer to accept a set of commands that it should not. A mistake may mean there are outcomes of a particular command or sequence of commands that no one has foreseen. There may be ways of getting the computer to treat data as instructions—for both are represented inside the machine in the same form, as strings of digits. “Stackoverflowin”, the sobriquet chosen by the restaurant-printer hacker, refers to such a technique. If data “overflow” from a part of the system allocated for memory into a part where the machine expects instructions, they will be treated as a set of new instructions. (It is also possible to reverse the process and turn instructions into unexpected streams of data. In February researchers at Ben-Gurion University, in Israel, showed that they could get data out of a compromised computer by using the light that shows whether the hard drive is working to send those data to a watching drone.)
Shutting down every risk of abuse in millions of lines of code before people start to use that code is nigh-on impossible. America’s Department of Defence (DoD), Mr Singer says, has found significant vulnerabilities in every weapon system it examined. Things are no better on civvie street. According to Trustwave, a security-research firm, in 2015 the average phone app had 14 vulnerabilities.
All these programs sit on top of older technologies that are often based on ways of thinking which date back to a time when security was barely a concern at all. This is particularly true of the internet, originally a tool whereby academics shared research data. The first versions of the internet were policed mostly by consensus and etiquette, including a strong presumption against use for commercial gain.
When Vint Cerf, one of the internet’s pioneers, talked about building encryption into it in the 1970s he says his efforts were blocked by America’s spies, who saw cryptography as a weapon for nation-states. Thus, rather than being secure from the beginning, the net needs a layer of additional software half a million lines long to keep things like credit-card details safe. New vulnerabilities and weaknesses in that layer are reported every year.
The innocent foundations of many computer systems remain a source for concern. So does the innocence of many users. Send enough people an innocuous-looking e-mail that asks for passwords or contains what look like data, but is in fact a crafty set of instructions, and you have a good chance that someone will click on something that they should not have done. Try as network administrators might to instil good habits in their charges, if there are enough people to probe, the chances of trust, laziness or error letting a malefactor get in are pretty high.
Good security cultures, both within software developers and between firms and their clients, take time to develop. This is one of the reasons to worry about the Internet of Things. “Some of the companies making smart light bulbs, say, or electricity meters, are not computing companies, culturally speaking,” says Graham Steel, who runs Cryptosense, a firm that carries out automated cryptographic analysis. A database belonging to Spiral Toys, a firm that sells internet-connected teddy bears through which toddlers can send messages to their parents, lay unprotected online for several days towards the end of 2016, allowing personal details and toddlers’ messages to be retrieved.
Even in firms that are aware of the issues, such as car companies, nailing down security can be hard. “The big firms whose logos are on the cars you buy, they don’t really make cars,” points out Dr Fisher. “They assemble lots of components from smaller suppliers, and increasingly, each of those has code in it. It’s really hard for the car companies to get an overview of everything that’s going in.”
On top of the effects of technology and culture there is a third fundamental cause of insecurity: the economic incentives of the computer business. Internet businesses, in particular, value growth above almost everything else, and time spent trying to write secure code is time not spent adding customers. “Ship it on Tuesday, fix the security problems next week—maybe” is the attitude, according to Ross Anderson, another computer-security expert at the University of Cambridge.
The long licence agreements that users of software must accept (almost always without reading them) typically disclaim any liability on the part of a software firm if things go wrong—even when the software involved is specifically designed to protect computers against viruses and the like. Such disclaimers are not always enforceable everywhere. But courts in America, the world’s biggest software market, have generally been sympathetic. This impunity is one reason why the computing industry is so innovative and fast-moving. But the lack of legal recourse when a product proves vulnerable represents a significant cost to users.
If customers find it hard to exert pressure on companies through the courts, you might expect governments to step in. But Dr Anderson points out that they suffer from contradictory incentives. Sometimes they want computer security to be strong, because hacking endangers both their citizens and their own operations. On the other hand, computers are espionage and surveillance tools, and easier to use as such if they are not completely secure. To this end, the NSA is widely believed to have built deliberate weaknesses into some of its favoured encryption technologies.
Increasingly paranoid android
The risk is that anyone else who discovers these weaknesses can do the same. In 2004 someone (no authority has said who) spent months listening to the mobile-phone calls of the upper echelons of the Greek government—including the prime minister, Costas Karamanlis—by subverting surveillance capabilities built into the kit Ericsson had supplied to Vodafone, the pertinent network operator.
Some big companies, and also some governments, are now trying to solve security problems in a systematic way. Freelance bug-hunters can often claim bounties from firms whose software they find fault with. Microsoft vigorously nags customers to ditch outdated, less-secure versions of Windows in favour of newer ones, though with only limited success. In an attempt to squash as many bugs as possible, Google and Amazon are developing their own versions of standard encryption protocols, rewriting from top to bottom the code that keeps credit-card details and other tempting items secure. Amazon’s version has been released on an “open-source” basis, letting all comers look at the source code and suggest improvements. Open-source projects provide, in principle, a broad base of criticism and improvement. The approach only works well, though, if it attracts and retains a committed community of developers.
More fundamental is work paid for by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a bit of the DoD that was instrumental in the development of the internet. At the University of Cambridge, Dr Watson has been using this agency’s money to design CHERI, a new kind of chip that attempts to bake security into hardware, rather than software. One feature, he says, is that the chip manages its memory in a way that ensures data cannot be mistaken for instructions, thus defanging an entire category of vulnerabilities. CHERI also lets individual programs, and even bits of programs, run inside secure “sandboxes”, which limit their ability to affect other parts of the machine. So even if attackers obtain access to one part of the system, they cannot break out into the rest.
Sandboxing is already used by operating systems, web browsers and so on. But writing sandboxing into software imposes performance penalties. Having a chip that instantiates the idea in hardware gets around that. “We can have a web browser where every part of a page—every image, every ad, the text, and so on—all run in their own little secure enclaves,” says Dr Watson. His team’s innovations, he believes, could be added fairly easily to the chips designed by ARM and Intel that power phones and laptops.
Another DARPA project focuses on a technique called “formal methods”. This reduces computer programs to gigantic statements in formal logic. Mathematical theorem-proving tools can then be applied to show that a program behaves exactly as its designers want it to. Computer scientists have been exploring such approaches for years, says Dr Fisher, but it is only recently that cheap computing power and usable tools have let the results be applied to pieces of software big enough to be of practical interest. In 2013 Dr Fisher’s team developed formally verified flight-control software for a hobbyist drone. A team of attackers, despite being given full access to the drone’s source code, proved unable to find their way in.
“It will be a long time before we’re using this stuff on something as complicated as a fully fledged operating system,” says Dr Fisher. But she points out that many of the riskiest computing applications need only simple programs. “Things like insulin pumps, car components, all kinds of IoT devices—those are things we could look at applying this to.”
Most fundamental of all, though, is the way in which markets are changing. The ubiquity of cyber-attacks, and the seeming impossibility of preventing them, is persuading big companies to turn to an old remedy for such unavoidable risks: insurance. “The cyber-insurance market is worth something like $3bn-4bn a year,” says Jeremiah Grossman of SentinelOne, a company which sells protection against hacking (and which, unusually, offers a guarantee that its solutions work). “And it’s growing at 60% a year.”
As the costs of insurance mount, companies may start to demand more from the software they are using to protect themselves, and as payouts rise, insurers will demand the software be used properly. That could be a virtuous alignment of interests. A report published in 2015 by PwC, a management consultancy, found that a third of American businesses have cyber-insurance cover of some kind, though it often offers only limited protection.
But it is the issue of software-makers’ liability for their products that will prove most contentious. The precedents that lie behind it belong to an age when software was a business novelty—and when computers dealt mostly with abstract things like spreadsheets. In those days, the issue was less pressing. But in a world where software is everywhere, and computerised cars or medical devices can kill people directly, it cannot be ducked for ever.
“The industry will fight any attempt to impose liability absolutely tooth and nail,” says Mr Grossman. On top of the usual resistance to regulations that impose costs, Silicon Valley’s companies often have a libertarian streak that goes with roots in the counterculture of the 1960s, bolstered by a self-serving belief that anything which slows innovation—defined rather narrowly—is an attack on the public good. Kenneth White, a cryptography researcher in Washington, DC, warns that if the government comes down too hard, the software business may end up looking like the pharmaceutical industry, where tough, ubiquitous regulation is one reason why the cost of developing a new drug is now close to a billion dollars. There is, then, a powerful incentive for the industry to clean up its act before the government cleans up for it. Too many more years like 2016, and that opportunity will vanish like the contents of a hacked bank account.
Le forze armate francesi che operano in Africa dipendono dalla disponibilità russa di metter loro a disposizione gli An-124, aerei da trasporto con capacità di carico di circa 150 tonnellate. In altri termini, la Francia non dispone di aerei da trasporto militari il raggio di azione e la capacità di carico dei quali consenta loro di operare su tutti gli scacchieri di loro interesse strategico. Ha in dotazione 2 Airbus A340, 3 A310 e i primi A-400M. L’Airbus A340 ha una capacità di carico tra le 25 e le 30 tonnellate, ma necessita di piste molto lunghe.
«L’Antonov An-124 Ruslan (in cirillico Антонов Ан-124 Руслан, nome in codice NATO Condor) è un quadrimotore turboventola da trasporto strategico ad ala alta progettato dall’OKB 153 diretto da Oleg Konstantinovič Antonov e sviluppato in Unione Sovietica negli anni ottanta.
Impiegato dalla Sovetskie Voenno-vozdušnye sily sovietica a partire dal 1987, è ancora oggi in servizio principalmente in ambito militare con la Voenno-vozdušnye sily Rossijskoj Federacii, l’aeronautica militare russa, ed in ambito civile con le compagnie aeree cargo 224mo Distaccamento Aereo, Air Company Polet, Antonov Airlines, Volga-Dnepr.
È il più grande aereo da carico prodotto in serie (più grande dell’equivalente Lockheed C-5 Galaxy dell’USAF al quale sottrasse il record di carico per altezza).
L’aereo è stato chiamato Ruslan (Руслан un nome di battesimo russo) per ricordare il protagonista della favola in versi Ruslan e Ljudmila di Aleksandr Puškin. Nella favola Ruslan è un principe e cavaliere fortissimo.
L’An-225 Mriya, in assoluto il più grande e potente aereo da carico del mondo, è una versione estesa del Ruslan costruita per il progetto Buran, ed oggi utilizzata per il trasporto di carichi speciali dalla Antonov Airlines. ….
Nel maggio 1987, un An-124 stabilì un record del mondo, coprendo la distanza di 20.151 km, senza rifornimento in volo. ….
Nel luglio 1985, un An-124 decollò con un carico di 171.219 kg raggiungendo i 2.000 metri di altitudine. ….
«Il deputato francese François Cornut Gentille ha presentato lo scorso mese un allarmante rapporto in seno alla commissione Finanze dell’Assemblea nazionale circa l’eccessiva dipendenza delle Forze Armate francesi dalla Russia e dall’Ucraina»
«Una relazione al vetriolo che ha trattato specificatamente il tema del trasporto strategico, un settore che vede a tutt’oggi costantemente impegnati i velivoli Antonov An-124 Ruslan in ausilio alle forze armate francesi capaci di fornire solo il 25% per cento dei voli cargo necessari impiegando 2 Airbus A340, 3 A310 e i primi A-400M entrati in servizio»
«In poche parole – ha dichiarato Gentille – russi e ucraini hanno oggi il controllo delle forze di proiezione in teatri esterni delle nostre Forze Armate e la situazione non accenna a diminuire»
«La cosa preoccupante secondo il deputato francese è inoltre il fatto che il 98% dei pezzi di ricambio degli aerei da trasporto An-124 provengano anch’essi dalla Russia»
«La fornitura degli An-124 è diventata una questione diplomatica e un deterioramento delle relazioni con uno di questi due paesi potrebbe completamente paralizzare le capacità di proiezione aerea della Francia»
Se è vero che la Russia spende circa 20 miliardi all’anno più della Francia, è anche vero che mantiene un esercito numericamente dieci volte superiore di numero, con armamenti di ottimo livello e continuamente aggiornati, ed infine con un arsenale atonico che la rende un superpotenza mondiale.
Riproponiamo quindi la domanda fatta dall’on. François Cornut Gentille esprimendola in termini economici: come spende la Francia il budget militare?
Il deputato francese François Cornut Gentille ha presentato lo scorso mese un allarmante rapporto in seno alla commissione Finanze dell’Assemblea nazionale circa l’eccessiva dipendenza delle Forze Armate francesi dalla Russia e dall’Ucraina.
Una relazione al vetriolo che ha trattato specificatamente il tema del trasporto strategico, un settore che vede a tutt’oggi costantemente impegnati i velivoli Antonov An-124 Ruslan in ausilio alle forze armate francesi capaci di fornire solo il 25% per cento dei voli cargo necessari impiegando 2 Airbus A340, 3 A310 e i primi A-400M entrati in servizio.
“In poche parole – ha dichiarato Gentille – russi e ucraini hanno oggi il controllo delle forze di proiezione in teatri esterni delle nostre Forze Armate e la situazione non accenna a diminuire”.
Neppure l’arrivo dell’Airbus A400M Atlas intacca questa situazione data la notevole differenza di carico tra l’An-124 (120 tonnellate) e il cargo Airbus (25/30 tonnellate).
Secondo Gentille, dunque, il problema esiste e non accenna minimamente a scomparire, ma ci sarebbe dell’altro: l’Antonov-124 oggi è posseduto tra tre aziende di cui una ucraina (Antonov DB) e due russe (la privata Volga-Dnepr e la statale TTF Air 224) e questo fattore secondo il deputato francese potrebbe costituire una possibilità di ricatto, come già avvenuto in passato nel 2015- In quell’occasione quando Parigi bloccò la vendita a Mosca delle unità navali da assalto anfibio Mistral nell’ambito delle sanzioni decretate da Usa e Ue in seguito alla crisi in Ucraina, la società russa TTF Air 224 stoppò i voli per conto di Parigi.
La cosa preoccupante secondo il deputato francese è inoltre il fatto che il 98% dei pezzi di ricambio degli aerei da trasporto An-124 provengano anch’essi dalla Russia.
“La fornitura degli An-124 – ha dichiarato ancora Gentille (nella foto) – è diventata una questione diplomatica e un deterioramento delle relazioni con uno di questi due paesi potrebbe completamente paralizzare le capacità di proiezione aerea della Francia”.
Una spada di Damocle che pende sulla Francia e retta dalla mano di Mosca (più che da Kiev) zecondo il rapporto di Gentille, mostrando un settore attualmente non in grado di operare autonomamente al 100% nonostante la cospicua flotta da trasporto militare a disposizione, almeno sulla carta.
In un recente futuro, dunque, Parigi dovrebbe prendere in seria considerazione la possibilità di dotarsi di un aereo da trasporto strategico specifico per compensare una carenza che in realtà riguarda oggi tutti i Paesi europei.