Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Senza categoria, Unione Europea

Germania quasi senza esercito. 95 carri armati efficienti.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-26.

Animali_che_Ridono__006_Muli

Si constata come dopo dodici anni di cancellierato di Frau Merkel, e svariati anni di Mrs Ursula von der Leyen come Ministressa della Difesa, le forze armate tedesche siano state disintegrate in modo quasi perfetto e totale: sono state efficienti quasi quanto l’Armata Rossa di vecchia memoria.

Se questo fatto preoccupa, e molto, gli alleati della Nato, Stati Uniti in testa, esso rende invece felice il cuore di Mr Putin, che è riuscito ad ottenere questo grandioso risultato senza sparare un colpo e spendere un copeco. Quando si tratta del Ministero della Difesa altrui Mr Putin è un fervente liberal e propugnatore del femminismo più drastico.

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More than half of the German’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks are unfit for service

«More than half of the Leopard 2 main battle tanks of the Bundeswehr are not operational. According to the Defence Ministry report, of the 244 Leopard 2 battle tanks were only 95 ready for use.

The report has been published by Focus magazine.

The German army has been well known in the past for its ability to deploy well-trained and maintained tank formations against the enemy, but this belief seems to be fading. Only 95 out of the Bundeswehr’s 244 Leopard 2 main battle tanks are combat-ready, Funke media group has learnt from a Defense Ministry report.

Some 53 tanks have been disarmed, seven are being used for testing, while 89 vehicles are “conditionally operational” as they cannot be repaired without critical spare parts. The Defense Ministry report especially highlights multiple cases in which “unavailability of the required spare parts would be detrimental.”»

The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and 12 other European countries, as well as several non-European nations, including Canada (Leopard 2A4M CAN), Chile, Indonesia, Singapore and Turkey.»

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Ma per essere sicura di aver dispiegato tutto il suo effetto distruttivo, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen ha aggiunto:

Germania, ministro Difesa: “Arruoleremo rifugiati nell’esercito”

«Berlino prosegue nella politica delle porte aperte e dell’integrazione dei profughi. La Germania programma di reclutare rifugiati nelle Forze armate della Repubblica federale. E’ stato il ministro della Difesa Ursula von der Leyen a comunicarlo in una intervista alla Frankfurter Allgemeine am Sonntag»

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Il Leopard 2 ha cinquanta anni sulle spalle e li dimostra tutti. Con novantacinque carri armati in servizio non è nemmeno possibile addestrare il personale.  Se poi il personale fosse composto di rifugiati dalla Siria, come auspica la Ministressa, forse sarebbe anche meglio non addestrarlo. Non sempre infatti i mercenari hanno grande spirito combattivo e non sempre sarebbero felici di andare a morire in battaglia per gratificare chi li paga, ed anche male.

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Di questi giorni la Commissione Militare del Bundestag ha rilasciato un report che conferma appieno i dubbi più pessimistici sullo stato della Bundeswehr.

Germany’s lack of military readiness ‘dramatic,’ says Bundeswehr commissioner

«The German parliament’s military commissioner has published a report sharply critical of Germany’s combat-readiness. The problem comes amid the country’s increasing involvement in military missions abroad.

Germany’s military has deteriorated in recent years amid budget cuts and poor management, according to a report published on Tuesday by Parliamentary Armed Forces Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels.

The call on politicians to double-down on reforms and increase funding came in the same week a Defense Ministry paper revealed German soldiers did not have enough protective vests, winter clothing or tents to adequately take part in a major NATO mission.

What’s wrong with the Bundeswehr?

– Bartels pointed to “big gaps” in personnel and equipment. At the end of 2017, no submarines and none of the air force’s 14 large transport planes were available for deployment due to repairs.

– Other equipment, including fighter jets, tanks and ships, was outdated and in some cases not fully operational because of bad planning or a lack of spare parts. Some air force pilots were unable to train because too many aircraft were being repaired.

– Soldiers have experienced increasing levels of stress and there was a lack adequate leadership due to some 21,000 vacant officer posts.

– The report said the government needed to pursue reforms “with greater urgency” and increase defense spending.

– A lack of funding and inefficient management structures and planning were behind the problems. Germany has cut defense spending since the end of the Cold War. In 2017, it spent about 1.2 percent of its economic production in 2017 on the armed forces, which is below the 2 percent target recommended by the NATO alliance.

Bundeswehr Chief of Staff reacts: Volker Wieker defended the military, saying “no complaints have come to my ear either in Germany or from our allies.” He did however admit that combat-readiness needed to be improve.

Bad timing: Bartels, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), said the meager state of the military was particularly bad because Germany has committed more troops to NATO and missions in Mali and Iraq. “Tasks for which there are supposed to be additional people and equipment in future are already upon us”, he said.

Germany’s spending promise: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD have committed to improving the Bundeswehr’s equipment and increasing defense spending to meet NATO targets in their coalition deal. SPD rank-and-file are currently voting on whether to accept the agreement and form a new government.

Two-percent-goal controversial: On Monday, the parliamentary leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Alexander Dobrindt, said it would be a “mistake” if Germany failed to meet NATO’s two-percent-goal by 2024. Acting SPD leader Andrea Nahles later said the coalition agreement only referred to a “target range” for defense spending, “but did not explicitly name the two-percent-goal.”

Allies expect more: Some of Germany’s NATO allies have repeatedly criticized alliance members who fail to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense. US President Donald Trump raised the criticism at a NATO summit in 2017 and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has said those countries that do not meet the NATO target threaten the alliance’s “unity.”»

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«Soldiers have experienced increasing levels of stress and there was a lack adequate leadership due to some 21,000 vacant officer posts.»

Poniamoci adesso una domanda seria: per quale potenza straniera lavorano Frau Merkel e Mr Ursula von der Leyen?

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Cina, Medio Oriente, Problemi militari

Arabia Saudita. Potrebbe sviluppare armamenti atomici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-21.

bomba_atomica_

مبررات القنبلة النووية السعودية


Saudi Crown Prince slams ‘harmful’ Iran for sheltering Osama bin Laden’s son [Full Video]

«Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s highly-anticipated interview on CBS’s 60 minutes aired on Sunday night in which the young royal spoke on a wide-range of topics, including the link between al-Qaeda and Iran.

The television interview, the first in which he is addressing an American audience, was broadcast two days before the crown prince’s meeting with US President Donald Trump in Washington.

Co-host of CBS This Morning Norah O’Donnell bagged the exclusive interview, in which the crown prince said the son of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is being supported by Iran. 

“Unfortunately, Iran is playing a harmful role. The Iranian regime is based on pure ideology. Many of the Al-Qaeda operatives are protected in Iran and it refuses to surrender them to justice, and continues to refuse to extradite them to the United States. This includes the son of Osama bin Laden, the new leader of Al-Qaeda. He lives in Iran and works out of Iran. He is supported by Iran,” Prince Mohammed said.

He also said that Saudi Arabia would build its own nuclear capabilities “immediately” if Iran develops a bomb.»

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Allo stato attuale della scienza e della tecnica, qualsiasi paese che abbia qualche ragionevole disponibilità economica è in grado di progettare e costruire un ordigno nucleare.

Se entrare nel novero delle superpotenze atomiche richiederebbe molto tempo ed investimenti mastodontici, perché ordigni atomici senza adeguati vettori e tutto il relativo supporto logistico sarebbero virtualmente inutili, arrivare ad avere un qualche armamento atomico ad uso locoregionale è diventato accessibile a molti.

Nel Medio Oriente l’Iran sta cercando di sviluppare una sua bomba atomica. Si dice, ma non esiste al momento alcuna conferma ufficiale, che Israele abbia da tempo simili armi.

L’iniziativa iraniana è comprensibile, ma occorre prendere atto che altera i già labili equilibri locoregionali.

Sono quasi millequattrocento anni che gli arabi odiano gli iraniani e tutti i loro vicini, adeguatamente ricambiati.

Sunniti, sciiti e wahabiti si odiano cordialmente ed al di là delle buone maniere diplomatiche, se potessero si sterminerebbero dal primo all’ultimo.

Poi, quasi che non fosse sufficiente, oltre a detestarsi per motivi politici e religiosi, è in corso una lotta all’ultimo sangue per il controllo dei bacini idrici e dei campi petroliferi.

Studiare il Medio Oriente è cosa desolante: ma siccome al peggio non c’è mai limite, si dovrebbero anche considerare le ambizioni politiche, economiche e militari delle superpotenze, che di fatto si stanno fronteggiando in quella regione in una lotta all’ultimo sangue.

Arabia Saudita. Un progetto da 500 miliardi.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Merkel. Una gran brutta figuraccia in Arabia Saudita.

L’Unione economica eurasiatica accoglierà l’Iran dal febbraio 2018.

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«Saudi Arabia held talks with China around six months ago to establish a nuclear infrastructure for peaceful purposes»

Se un cinico constatasse come solo una guerra distruttiva e massacrante potrebbe, forse, risolvere la situazione attuale, verosimilmente direbbe un qualcosa non molto lontano dalla verità.

Sotto queste considerazioni risulta chiaro il messaggio lanciato dal Principe Ereditario Mohammed bin Salman:

«Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran builds a nuclear bomb».

Sempre una persona cinica ma raziocinante arriverebbe a concludere che l’unico modo di conservare uno straccetto di pace, nome pomposo per una realtà ove la gente non si ammazzi su scala industriale, sarebbe quella di cercare di mantenere equilibri politici e militari in termini ragionevolmente accettabili.

Infine, cinico o disincantato, si dovrebbe ammettere come i trattati siano meri pezzi di carta, che valgono solo ed esclusivamente se supportati a garantiti da eserciti pronti, agguerriti, e soprattutto in equilibrio.


Al Arabiya. 2018-03-19. Saudi nuclear bomb justifications.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman dropped a bombshell when he said Saudi Arabia will develop nuclear weapons if Iran builds a nuclear bomb. Before this week, Saudi Arabia’s strategy was either based on not letting Iran develop nuclear weapons, via international negotiations and pressure, or depending on the international community – which we know is not reliable – to deter it.

Saudi policy has now changed. Prince Mohammed bin Salman chose CBS to announce the kingdom’s new policy before meeting with US President Donald Trump. His statements had tangible consequences in Washington whose stances are usually divided. The crown prince’s task to convince legislators in the Congress and the different political powers in Washington will be difficult.

Washington’s approval to let Saudi Arabia develop nuclear weapons is almost impossible especially that some countries, like Israel, oppose this. However, the prince linked this to Iran’s attempt to build its own nuclear weapons. This resembles the Pakistani scenario with India.

Deterrence

The new Saudi policy conveys to the Europeans and the Americans, particularly those who seem lenient towards Iran, that they must understand that Riyadh will not settle with any guarantees if Iran develops its nuclear weapons and that it will do the same within the context of balance of deterrence.

First of all, we must ask, is Saudi Arabia capable of building a nuclear bomb?

No one can confirm that. However, the kingdom does have scientific competencies. This year, it will set up projects related to reactors, factories and infrastructure to develop its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes. What distinguishes Saudi Arabia from Iran here is that it has uranium in its desert. Therefore, the kingdom does not need to buy it, and it has actually adopted a plan to extract it for development projects that are part of Vision 2030.

The second question is how will Saudi Arabia confront international opposition and possible political risks?

I do not think Riyadh will take this step to develop nuclear weapons without the approval of the concerned superpowers which cannot ignore the fact that Iran targets Saudi Arabia and that the former has reached an advanced stage of readiness to build nuclear weapons. If Tehran decided to enrich uranium and resume its nuclear project for military purposes, the crown prince’s statement will thus be justified.

Those who oppose the crown prince are not just in Iran but also in Washington itself. US Senator Ed Markey, also member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, immediately responded to the prince’s statements and said: “Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has confirmed what many have long suspected—nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia is about more than just electrical power, it’s about geopolitical power,” adding: “The United States must not compromise on nonproliferation standards in any 123 agreement it concludes with Saudi Arabia.” Opponents have noted that Saudi Arabia refuses to sign the “gold standard” or the “123 agreement” which guarantees that it does not enrich uranium and does not reproduce plutonium.

It’s worth noting that a week before the crown prince kicked off his tour in the US, the kingdom announced that it approved its national policy of the atomic energy program and confirmed its commitment to international agreements and the principle of transparency while emphasizing the program aims to serve peaceful purposes. The prince’s recent statements ahead of his travel to Washington prepared everyone there to understand that keeping silent and being lenient with Iran, thus allowing it to produce nuclear weapons, will mean that Saudi Arabia will do the same and possess a nuclear bomb. His statements may be looked at from two angles. The first one is that Saudi Arabia does not intend to develop nuclear weapons if Iran commits not to, and the second one is that the prince is warning of being lenient with Tehran because he will thus develop nuclear weapons to defend his country and create “a balance of terror.”
Everyone takes Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s statements seriously. In addition to announcing its national policy of the atomic energy program, Saudi Arabia held talks with China around six months ago to establish a nuclear infrastructure for peaceful purposes. This will probably be among the topics he will address in Washington. Discussing these matters will not be easy due to all those skeptics who doubt Saudi Arabia’s aims and intentions. These skeptics have two choices, to either work seriously to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons – in this case Saudi Arabia and the world will not sense nuclear threats – or approve Saudi Arabia’s right of readiness to possess weapons like Iran’s. Iran is headed by an extremist fascist and religious regime which may use any nuclear weapons it builds to attack its rivals. Even if it does not directly use these weapons, it will exploit them to blackmail the region and the world and it will threaten to use them to achieve its expansive activities it’s currently endeavoring.

 

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Stati Uniti

Usa. Marines. Abbassati ulteriormente gli standard fisici.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-03-08.

2018-02-29__Marines__001

Lo United States Marine Corps era stato un corpo leggendario nella storia civile e militare americana.

Il suo motto trae origine dal famoso discorso di Re Enrico V ad Agincourt Pas de Calais: “The Few, The Proud, “I pochi, gli orgogliosi“.

«Lo United States Marine Corps (in sigla USMC, anche conosciuto in italiano come “Corpo dei Marines” o semplicemente “Marines” o “Fanteria anfibia di Marina”) è una delle Forze Armate degli Stati Uniti dʼAmerica.

Anche se nei primi anni dalla fondazione si occupava quasi esclusivamente di sicurezza sulle navi e di operazioni anfibie, il Corpo dei Marines ha avuto unʼevoluzione tale da fargli assumere molteplici ruoli, che ne fanno un caso a parte nellʼapparato militare degli Stati Uniti.

Con 182.000 militari in servizio e 38.500 nella Riserva (dati 2017) il Corpo dei Marines è la seconda più piccola forza armata degli USA e solo la Guardia Costiera, dipendente dal Dipartimento per la Sicurezza Interna, ha un organico numericamente inferiore. Il Corpo però supera in dimensioni le forze armate di quasi tutti i principali paesi: è più grande, ad esempio dellʼEsercito del Regno Unito. Il Corpo dei Marines costituisce la Fanteria di Marina, cioè un corpo autonomo, anche se si appoggia largamente alla US Navy, specializzato nelle operazioni anfibie e nelle operazioni in veste di “expeditionary force”.» [Fonte]

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Nonostante che gli Stati Uniti abbiano una popolazione superiore ai 310 milioni, le forze armate americane fanno fatica a trovare i volontari per riempire i ranghi di un esercito ridotto all’osso. Se sicuramente vi sono problemi riguardo gli emolumenti, altrettanto sicuramente è in corso un processo di continuo degrado della figura del militare nell’attuale contesto sociale americano. Oramai le forze armate americane hanno un numero di cognome di origine sassone inferiore alla metà degli organici.

Nel 2012 le forze armate americane aprirono i reclutamenti al personale femminile anche nel corpo dei marines. Scelta apprezzata come consistente progresso sociale da parte dei liberal e delle femministe, mal vista da parte dei militari professionisti.

I Marines aprono le porte anche alle donne. Da settembre corsi di tre mesi e prove durissime

«Sarà perché è tradizionalmente un corpo di “duri” o perché i suoi 200 mila componenti sono preparati a intervenire ovunque come forza d’intervento rapido specializzata anche in operazioni anti guerriglia ma il Corpo dei Marines statunitensi è tradizionalmente la forza armata più refrattaria ai cambiamenti sociali e al “politically correct”.

Fecero scalpore alcuni anni or sono, quando a Washington si cominciò a discutere dell’abolizione della formula “don’t ask, don’t tell” relativa all’arruolamento degli omosessuali, le dichiarazioni di alcuni alti ufficiali contrari alla presenza di gay dichiarati tra i ranghi dei marines. Forse anche per questo l’apertura alle donne dell’Infantry Officer Course (IOC)nella grande base di Quantico (Virginia) ha ottenuto grande visibilità sui media americani e un reportage esclusivo del New York Times.

Si tratta di uno dei corsi più duri delle forze armate statunitensi destinati a selezionare tra i giovani tenenti quanti hanno le capacità fisiche, tecniche, caratteriali e mentali per diventare comandanti dei plotoni di fanteria del Corpo dei Marines.

Per intenderci quei reparti che negli ultimi anni sono riusciti a sgominare i miliziani di al-Qaeda nella provincia irachena di al-Anbar e a strappare al controllo talebano buona parte della provincia afghana di Helmand. Anche per questo l’IOC, 86 giorni di prove durissime e altamente selettive, è uno degli ultimi baluardi della formazione militare riservata finora ai soli uomini, ma da settembre verrà aperto a titolo sperimentale anche alle donne in base alla politica obamiana che nel febbraio scorso ha visto il Pentagono aprire alle donne soldato anche i ruoli più duri e difficili, dal combattimento all’imbarco sui sottomarini, con una stima di 14 mila posti di lavoro in più per le donne. Iniziative simili sono in atto anche in Gran Bretagna e Australia mentre l’Italia non ha mai posto limiti all’impiego delle donne anche nei compiti più duri anche se finora nessuna presenza femminile è stata registrata nelle forze speciali.

L’Infantry Officer Course coinvolge circa 400 ufficiali in quattro corsi all’anno nei quali almeno il 25 per cento dei candidati non ce la fa a superare tutte le prove o subisce infortuni. A Quantico non si aspettano un’esplosione di domande da parte dei tenenti di sesso femminile anche perché gli standard richiesti non verranno abbassati e le donne nel Corpo sono appena il 6 per cento, più bassa rispetto alle altre forze armate statunitensi dove la percentuale media è del 14 per cento mentre le donne in uniforme negli Stati Uniti sono circa 200 mila.»

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Il problema della presenza femminile nelle forze armate è ampio, ed esula lo scopo di questo articolo.

Qui interessa mettere in evidenza un solo fattore.

Le femmine hanno tipicamente una struttura fisica meno forte e robusta dei maschi. È il motivo per cui alle Olimpiadi si mantengono distinte le gare maschili da quelle femminili: è un problema di massa muscolare. È il motivo per cui le quadre di calcio sono maschili e femminili, non miste.

Il punto di riferimento dovrebbe essere più che quello di teorie sociali e politiche il confronto con il personale e relativo addestramento delle forze analoghe di potenze militari potenzialmente avversarie. La resistenza fisica è fondamentale: chi non sappia reggere gli sforzi richiesti è solo carne da cannone. Cede per stanchezza.

Per esempio, la normale fanteria russa, non i corpi speciali, esegue tipicamente una grande manovra estiva ed una invernale. Per una settimana marcia di quaranta kilometri al giorno affardellati con circa 50 kg di armamenti, quindi una giornata di esercitazioni a fuoco particolarmente realistiche, quindi altri sette giorni di marcia indietro, sempre 40 kilometri al giorno. Di estate a +40°C, di inverno a -40°C. Sono tests che richiedono fisici perfetti e molto ben allenati.

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Le forze armate americane sono state costrette invece a ridurre in modo sostanziale i requisiti fisici per l’ammissione al corso ufficiali.

«- “Pass infantry officer physical standards requirements, including a 15 km hike with 105 lbs in 3 hours.”

– “Cross a 56” wall unassisted in 30 seconds.”

– “Conduct a ground casualty evacuation (214 lbs. dummy) in 54 seconds.”

– “Lift a MK-19 heavy machine gun (77 lbs.) overhead, and rush 300 meters to an objective in 3 minutes 56 seconds.”»

Si noti che:

– una libbra internazionale equivale a 453.59237 grammi.

– 105 libbre equivalgono a 47.627 kilogrammi.

– 214 libbre equivalgono a 97.068 kilogrammi.

– 77 libbre equivalgono a 34.927 kilogrammi.

Una marcia di 15 km con 47 kg di fardello da compiersi in tre ore è prova davvero ridicola per un corpo di élite. Si pensi solo alla prova dei russi.

Eppure….

«Only 35 women have attempted the course, and only five of those have attended the IOC after the job field was opened to women»

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«only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the course»

* * * * * * * *

Solo una femmina è riuscita a terminare il corso di addestramento,

pur avendo ridotto in modo consistente il livello richiesto.

Tra le molte possibili, una considerazione apparirebbe essere evidente.

Una cosa sono le sfilate e le parate militari, un’altra invece i combattimenti in zone operative. Zone dove ti sparano addosso, per intendersi. Lì il nemico non da certo il tempo per riposarsi.

Se messi in opposizione a forze armate reclutate ed addestrate come quelle russe, gli attuali marines americani non avrebbero nemmeno la forza fisica di portarsi dietro ed imbracciare le armi sofisticate delle quali sono dotati: creperebbero di fatica prima ancora che sotto il fuoco nemico.

«alla politica obamiana che nel febbraio scorso ha visto il Pentagono aprire alle donne soldato»


The Washington Times. 2018-02-18. Marine Corps again lowers requirements for Infantry Officer Course

Brig. Gen. Jason Q. Bohm: ‘The course is as hard as it’s ever been’

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The Marine Corps is on the defensive for a second time this month over changes to its famous Infantry Officer Course (IOC).

Military communities were abuzz in early February when officials confirmed that successfully completing the Combat Endurance Test (CET) — the rigorous first stage of IOC — would no longer be a requirement for passing the 13-week course.

The Corps answered criticism on Feb. 7, but found itself in the same position this week as new standards for IOC’s training hikes were revealed. 

The course previously required a Marine to complete nine hikes, of which six would be evaluated more carefully and passage required on five of the six. The new standard evaluates just three of the Marine’s hikes, though he must pass all three, Marine Corps Times reported Wednesday.

Brig. Gen. Jason Q. Bohm, the commanding officer of Marine Corps Training Command, told the newspaper that changes were made to better reflect operational reality.

“Technically what we have done is we have modified graduation requirements, but we actually tie our requirements now more to the T&R [Marine infantry training and readiness manual] standards,” he said. “The course is as hard as it’s ever been. We did not do away with any training events.”

Marine Corps Times noted that only one unnamed female Marine has successfully completed the course, although officials have countered that most IOC failures are men.

“Only 35 women have attempted the course, and only five of those have attended the IOC after the job field was opened to women,” the newspaper reported.

Marine officers who graduate IOC moving forward will:

– Participate in a total of nine hikes while passing three evaluations.

– Conduct CET.

– Conduct 6 tactical field exercises.

– “Pass infantry officer physical standards requirements, including a 15 km hike with 105 lbs in 3 hours.”

– “Cross a 56” wall unassisted in 30 seconds.”

– “Conduct a ground casualty evacuation (214 lbs. dummy) in 54 seconds.”

– “Lift a MK-19 heavy machine gun (77 lbs.) overhead, and rush 300 meters to an objective in 3 minutes 56 seconds.”

“[The change] was not about lowering attrition, it was about making students more successful to complete the course,” Brig. Gen. Bohm added, the newspaper reported.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari

L’America potrebbe non sopravvivere ad un attacco al grid.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-2-28.

Views Of A Dynergy Inc. Power Plant Ahead of Earns Reports

Il termine sassone blackout indica una interruzione del servizio di corrente elettrica.

Nel mondo occidentale una sospensione di questa tipologia di servizio potrebbe dapprima generare un consistente chaos, quindi una paralisi a livello nazionale. Tutte le reti ad alta tensione sono infatti interconnesse e la corrente immessa nel sistema secondo necessità. Per un qualsiasi malfunzionamento, le reti si staccano automaticamente, generando blackout a valle.

A seguito riportiamo le cronache di alcuni blackout per chiarire meglio il problema.

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2006-11-05. Energia: mezza Europa al buio per blackout

«Tutta l’Europa occidentale – compresa l’Italia – per un totale di 10 milioni di persone, è stata colpita sabato sera da blackout elettrici, originati in Germania, dove si è lamentata un’improvvisa diminuzione della produzione di energia. Secondo il gestore della rete francese Rte, i circa 5 milioni di utenze lasciate al buio in Francia corrispondono a circa il 10% della popolazione francese. Il black-out è cominciato in Francia alle 21 circa. Secondo la fonte, le utenze francesi sono state «progressivamente rialimentate tra le 22,30 e le 23». In particolare sono stati colpiti i dipartimenti Rodano, Isere, Loira, Ain e Saona e Loira. In Germania – Paese all’origine del blocco – è stata colpita soprattutto la zona di Colonia, nel land della Renania del Nord-Westfalia. È stato colpito per breve tempo anche l’aeroporto di Colonia, ma l’entrata in funzione dei generatori ha permesso la ripresa dell’attività. Colpiti anche Belgio (ma non Bruxelles) e Spagna, dove ci sono stati blackout nelle regioni di Madrid, Catalogna, Valencia e Castiglia-La Mancia. Fonti della Rete elettrica della Spagna (Ree) hanno precisato che l’incidente ha provocato una reazione a catena con la perdita totale di 2.500 megawatt. Secondo la Ree, la corrente è mancata dalle 22,05 alle 22,40.

Secondo il ministero regionale dell’Energia del Nordreno-Vestfalia un contributo al blackout è stato dato anche dagli impianti di produzione dell’energia eolica. Quanta più corrente viene immessa dagli impianti eolici, tanto più va ridotta la quota proveniente da altre fonti, …. Sabato c’è stata una forte immissione di corrente elettrica eolica, ma sembra che non sia stata adeguatamente ridotta quella di altre fonti.»

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2003-09-28. Black-out in Italia del 2003

«Il black-out del sistema elettrico italiano del 28 settembre 2003 fu il più importante incidente di tale genere nella storia del Paese. Ebbe inizio alle 3:30 locali di domenica 28 settembre 2003 e interessò tutta l’Italia continentale e peninsulare e la Sicilia. ….

L’incidente fu dovuto ad una serie di eventi scatenati dalla scarica verso terra tramite un albero eccessivamente vicino della linea svizzera ad altissima tensione Lavorgo-Mettlen alle ore 03:01. Il carico si redistribuì automaticamente sulle altre linee, che a loro volta andarono oltre i limiti di sicurezza e si aprirono. In particolare l’unica altra linea da cui l’Italia importa corrente elettrica dalla Svizzera, tramite il passo del San Bernardino: l’allungamento dei conduttori per dilatazione termica causata da correnti elevate determinò l’apertura degli interruttori di protezione e non risultò possibile reinserirla.

In quel momento, l’Italia stava importando dall’estero il 25% del carico totale.

Alle 3:11 gli operatori svizzeri ETRANS chiesero agli operatori italiani di rientrare nei carichi contrattualizzati, rimuovendo i circa 300 MW di sovraconsumo. L’operazione venne eseguita dal gestore della rete italiana GRTN alle 3:21, secondo gli svizzeri troppo lentamente, ed inoltre nei minuti successivi la richiesta di corrente elettrica tornò nuovamente ad aumentare.

A partire dalle 3:25, tutte le linee ad alta portata Svizzera-Italia si aprirono in successione, alcune per sovraccarico, altre per scarica a terra. Il transito proveniente dall’Europa venne ripartito pertanto sulle linee di collegamento con la Francia, che però anch’esse a loro volta andarono in sovraccarico e si aprirono.

In seguito a questo calo della potenza disponibile, nel sistema elettrico italiano iniziarono forti instabilità di tensione, seguite da progressiva perdita di passo: la frequenza nominale di rete di 50 Hz prese a scendere, attivando le diverse protezioni previste dal Piano Difesa del GRTN: ….

Si innescò così una reazione a catena che nel giro di circa 2 minuti e 30 secondi mandò fuori uso l’intero sistema elettrico italiano.»

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Blackout di 11 ore all’aeroporto di Atlanta, caos ai gate e 1000 voli cancellati

«Gigantesco black-out nell’aeroporto più trafficato del mondo, quello della città americana di Atlanta, nello Stato della Georgia, e per 11 ore è stato il caos. Decine di migliaia di persone sono rimaste al buio, oltre 1000 i voli bloccati a terra, molti dirottati, schermi «muti», la sicurezza affidata alla buona sorte. Nella tarda notte locale, all’alba italiana, la luce elettrica è tornata all’aeroporto Hartsfield-Jackson. Ma ci vorranno ore prima che la situazione torni alla normalità. 

Il calo di tensione, come informano le autorità aeroportuali, è iniziato alle 19 ora italiana di domenica. Lo scalo dovrebbe tornare a pieno regime alle 12 italiane di oggi, lunedì. La Georgia Power, che fornisce l’energia elettrica all’aeroporto, ha detto che a causare il danno è stato probabilmente un incendio all’impianto elettrico sotterraneo, che potrebbe essere stato generato da un corto circuito.»

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Queste cronache ci rendono edotti su di un fatto usualmente ben poco valutato. Il grid, ossia la rete di distribuzione dell’energia elettrica, è un network molto delicato. Basta un intoppo apparentemente ridicolo, un albero troppo vicino ad una linea sovraccarica, per determinare un blackout a livello nazionale, da cui la nazione emerge dopo alcuni giorni di intenso lavoro. Il danno è smisurato rispetto la causa efficiente scatenante.

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Bene.

Adesso pensiamo invece alla concreta possibilità di un attacco militare ben pianificato alla rete di distribuzione.

Per una nazione come l’Italia sarebbe sufficiente una decina di sabotatori che facessero saltare ciascuno tre o quatto tralicci di alta tensione contigui, scaglionando i sabotaggi nel tempo. Non solo si resterebbe senza corrente per illuminazione e lavorazione industriale, ma anche tutte le telecomunicazioni sarebbero azzerate: le colonnine dei cellulari sono infatti in gran parte alimentate a rete ed i cellulari hanno batterie ricaricabili. Dieci giorni senza corrente elettrica porterebbero la nazione alla fame: si tenga presente che anche le pompe di benzina funzionano se alimentate dalla corrente elettrica. In pochi giorni i mezzi di trasporto sarebbero bloccati per mancanza di carburante.

L’intera nazione risulterebbe essere bloccata e precipitata in una terrificante confusione per decine di giorni.

Sicuramente i militari dispongono di una loro propria rete elettrica. Ma non ci si dovrebbe fare poi troppo affidamento. Anche perché i gruppi elettrogeni hanno una autonomia di funzionamento alquanto limitata, e sono ben poche le unità militare che ne sono dotate.

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Pensiamo adesso ad un attacco in grande stile.

Trump. Contro la Korea del Nord potrebbe usare le bombe Champs.

Bombe Champs sono presenti negli arsenali di tutte le potenze militari. Ma si tenga presente che anche un modestissimo cruise che colpisca una centrale di trasformazione potrebbe arrecare danni inenarrabili.

Il blackout sarebbe generalizzato e potrebbe durare mesi.

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Se è vero che il grande incubo è la guerra termonucleare, il blocco del grid non sarebbe poi molto da meno.

Non a caso paesi come la Russia e la Cina hanno progettato la propria rete distributiva in modo che fosse in grado di sopportare un certo numero simultaneo di interruzioni locali di servizio.


Bloomberg. 2017-12-24. Can America’s Power Grid Survive an Electromagnetic Attack?

The threat of nuclear war with North Korea has raised the stakes when it comes to defending against EMPs.

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Last month, federal agencies and utility executives held GridEx IV, a biennial event where officials responsible for hundreds of local utilities game out scenarios in which North America’s power grid could fail. Potential calamities both physical and cyber are reviewed, with participant responses analyzed to better prepare for any future attack.

This year, the event took on an added urgency given growing concern with a weapon straight out of the Cold War: an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, emanating from a nuclear blast—specifically, one delivered by a North Korean missile or satellite detonated miles above the Earth. Though GridEx IV didn’t pose this exact scenario, industry experts concede there’s no clear plan to deal with it.

An EMP could damage electronic circuits over large areas, depending on the configuration of the weapon and how high it was detonated, though there’s disagreement over how effective such a tactic would be. Scientists also emphasize that a nuclear bomb that hits a ground target is much more worrisome. Nevertheless, with North Korea’s increasingly successful missile and warhead tests in mind, Congress moved to renew funding for the Commission to Assess the Threat to the U.S. from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

In September, the commission’s top officials warned lawmakers that the threat of an EMP attack from a rogue nation “becomes one of the few ways that such a country could inflict devastating damage to the U.S.”

GridEx IV participants said the use of an EMP, however improbable, has been very much on their radar. Lisa Barton, executive vice president of Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric Power Co.’s transmission unit, said the Electric Power Research Institute, an industry research arm, was analyzing the risk. An EPRI report published this week emphasized that widespread damage was indeed possible from such an attack.

“It’s certainly more about North Korea now,” said Rob Manning, vice president of transmission and distribution infrastructure for EPRI. “In the past it was more about multiple potential threats.”

The new challenge comes as the industry grapples with a host of costs tied to keeping the lights on in extreme weather, and bouncing back when there’s an outage. In the past five years, Superstorm Sandy, tornadoes, hurricanes and intense cold have all tested grids in unprecedented fashion. Regulators are seeking ways to improve reliability and resiliency, including a potential multibillion dollar payout to coal and nuclear generators to keep plants online as grids add gas, wind and solar.

John Norden, director of operations at ISO New England Inc., which manages a grid serving six states, said the industry is unprepared for a full-scale electromagnetic attack. The power industry doesn’t really have any standards or tools to handle “black sky events’’ such as an extreme cyber or EMP attack, or even conventional war, Norden said at a recent conference.




“I don’t think we have an illusion we will prevent it. That’s really the government’s job”


GridEx IV involved 6,300 participants from 450 organizations, including utilities, government agencies, financial services firms, telecommunications companies, and gas, water and supply chain industries, said Kimberly Mielcarek of the North American Electric Reliability Corp., a non-profit that develops standards for grid reliability and oversees the excercise. Cybersecurity has grown to rival physical infrastructure attacks as a focus of the event, and a new scenario introduced this year involved false reports, or “fake news.” But the best experience utilities have had in preparing for an EMP is tied to a natural phenomenon: solar flares.

While astronomers can see solar events, such as a coronal mass ejection, they don’t have a true picture of its magnitude until it’s about 90 minutes from Earth. The U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center will issue solar storm warnings in anticipation of these events. Grids are alerted to dangerous solar activity and geomagnetic storm watches are called. But with so little time to react, hardening networks ahead of time is more practical.

PJM Interconnection LLC, operator of the power grid serving one-fifth of America’s population, has a lot of experience protecting systems against solar activity. PJM has also been working with transmission owners to protect against other threats, many of which have two specific characteristics: low probability and high potential for catastrophe, said Mike Bryson, vice president of operations for the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based operator. An EMP is one of them.

Power companies have made a few moves to protect against electromagnetic interference. Some grid operators and transmission infrastructure owners are putting in place so-called Faraday enclosures, shields of conductive material used to protect electronic equipment and facilities. Utilities have also started stockpiling spare parts to replace any that are damaged by an EMP event, storms or other disasters.

“I don’t think we have an illusion we will prevent it,” Bryson said in an interview. “That’s really the government’s job.”

During the Cold War, a blast and EMP high over the U.S., either on its own or as a prelude to a first strike by the Soviet Union, was seen as a very real threat. But back then, priority was given to hardening military infrastructure to maintain the promise of retaliation. Duke Energy Corp., one of the country’s largest utility owners, has been working with EPRI to study its threat to civilian infrastructure. Lee Mazzocchi, Duke’s senior vice president of grid solutions, said “we really want to use science and research to validate if and how much an EMP threat there could be.”

Jon Rogers, a scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, has been studying the threat since the 1990s. The lab has been looking at how automated control systems could help systems recover. Rogers noted that the grid already has lightning surge arrestors to protect against strikes, which could potentially be useful in case of an EMP. “There are open questions,” he said.

“Back in the Cold War, we worried about massive exchanges at the time with the Soviet bloc,” Rogers said. “There seems to be reduced concern about that and increased concern about a single or smaller surges and what that could mean.” Targeted attacks on specific elements of infrastructure are seen as more likely, including “using an EMP without going nuclear,” added Jeff Engle, vice president of government and legal affairs for United Data Technologies, a security services firm.

“EMP technology itself has been advancing with devices becoming smaller, more effective,” said Engle, who declined to give specific examples. Along these lines, the industry’s stance has been to prepare for less-intense EMPs from irregular lightning strikes, solar flares—and possibly localized attacks.

For EMPs resulting from nuclear blasts, the Edison Electric Institute, an industry group, said the possible effects aren’t fully understood and proposed fixes remain unproven and impractical. 

“Other sectors of the economy likely will be affected by a nuclear EMP attack, including other critical infrastructure sectors upon which the electric sector depends,” the group said in a 2015 paper titled Electromagnetic Pulses (EMPs): Myths vs. Facts. “It makes little sense to protect the electric grid while ignoring these other critical infrastructure sectors.”

Still, the EPRI report paints a picture that’s hard to ignore. Simulations showed that detonating a nuclear weapon about 250 miles above the Earth using a 1.4 megaton bomb, almost 100 times more powerful than the one dropped on Hiroshima, would likely collapse voltage regionally, affecting several states but not the entire eastern or western networks. “None of the scenarios that were evaluated resulted in a nationwide grid collapse,” the report stated. Recovery time from a high-altitude EMP would depend on equipment damage, something the EPRI said it plans to study next year and “develop cost-effective options for mitigating.”

Richard Mroz, president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, warned the cost of preventing widespread failures from an EMP would “be astronomical.” Placing transformers or a substations in shielded cages would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, he said, while protecting critical assets on a distribution system like New Jersey’s could reach into the billions of dollars.

“Managing that kind of threat right now—no one really has the resources to do that,” Mroz said. 

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Unione Europea

Francia. Macron vara per la difesa un piano da 295 miliardi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-02-19.

Parigi. Arco di Trionfo, 001

I paesi dell’Unione Europea per decenni hanno eseguito investimenti minimi nel settore della difesa.

Al momento attuale i loro eserciti sono fatiscenti: organici ridotti al minimo di sopravvivenza ed armamenti in gran parte obsoleti.

La Francia di Mr Macron sembrerebbe essere stata la prima nazione europea a semtire l’esigenza di adeguare le proprie forze armate ai nuovi compiti.

«La nuova legge di programmazione militare 2019-2025 ha l’ambizione di ricucire i rapporti tra l’Armée francese e il presidente Emmanuel Macron che ora intende anche lanciare un servizio nazionale universale, obbligatorio, della durata di tre-sei mesi»

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«Seimila soldati in più, dei quali 1.500 destinati alla cybersicurezza e un budget complessivo, per l’intero periodo, portato a 295 miliardi»

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«Il bilancio annuale della difesa salirà quindi dai attuali 34,2 miliardi previsti per il 2018 a 44 miliardi nel 2023, con un incremento del 35,8% rispetto al 2017, e si porterà a 50 miliardi nel 2025»

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«Il progetto prevede l’assunzione di 6mila effettivi (3mila entro il 2023), interrompendo una tendenza alla riduzione degli occupati (-60mila tra 2005 e 2015). Circa 1.500 saranno destinati alla cyberdifesa e l’informatica, sulla quale la Francia intende moltiplicare gli sforzi, altri 1.500 all’intelligence.»

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«Sul piano più convenzionale, si prevede il varo di una nuova portaerei – la Charles de Gaulle, attiva dal 2001, è spesso ferma per riparazioni e oggi per ristrutturazioni – entro il 2025 oltre a quattro sottomarini barracuda e tre fregate multimissione. Saranno operativi 28 nuovi caccia Rafale, mentre 55 Mirage 2000 della Dassault saranno modernizzati. I nuovi aerei cisterna saranno consegnati nel 2023 e non più nel 2025»

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«Alla dissuasione nucleare saranno destinati 37 miliardi da oggi al 2025: dovrebbe essere lanciato un programma per la costruzione di sottomarini di terza generazione e un altro per un nuovo missile nucleare aerotrasportato.»

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Questo progetto militare sembrerebbe voler coprire due differenti aspetti: sia l’efficienza delle forze armate sia riportare allo stato dell’arte l’industria bellica francese.

Sono due componenti complementari e simbiotiche, da lungo tempo trascurate.


Sole 24 Ore. 2018-02-15. Francia, 300 miliardi per la difesa

Una nuova portaerei. Un maggior potere di dissuasione nucleare, per garantire l’«autonomia strategica» della Francia, senza dimenticare però la volontà di collaborare più strettamente con alcuni partner europei, tra i quali anche l’Italia. Seimila soldati in più, dei quali 1.500 destinati alla cybersicurezza e un budget complessivo, per l’intero periodo, portato a 295 miliardi. La nuova legge di programmazione militare 2019-2025 ha l’ambizione di ricucire i rapporti tra l’Armée francese e il presidente Emmanuel Macron che ora intende anche lanciare un servizio nazionale universale, obbligatorio, della durata di tre-sei mesi, che potrà anche svolgersi nelle forze armate.

Un bilancio in espansione

Il bilancio annuale della difesa salirà quindi dai attuali 34,2 miliardi previsti per il 2018 a 44 miliardi nel 2023, con un incremento del 35,8% rispetto al 2017, e si porterà a 50 miliardi nel 2025. Il progetto prevede l’assunzione di 6mila effettivi (3mila entro il 2023), interrompendo una tendenza alla riduzione degli occupati (-60mila tra 2005 e 2015). Circa 1.500 saranno destinati alla cyberdifesa e l’informatica, sulla quale la Francia intende moltiplicare gli sforzi, altri 1.500 all’intelligence. Insieme alla legge di programmazione, il consiglio dei ministri ha varato anche una nuova dottrina in questo settore: gli attacchi informatici degli altri stati, per spionaggio e sabotaggio, e la diffusione di virus sembrano essere i rischi considerati più gravi.

Al nucleare 37 miliardi

Sul piano più convenzionale, si prevede il varo di una nuova portaerei – la Charles de Gaulle, attiva dal 2001, è spesso ferma per riparazioni e oggi per ristrutturazioni – entro il 2025 oltre a quattro sottomarini barracuda e tre fregate multimissione. Saranno operativi 28 nuovi caccia Rafale, mentre 55 Mirage 2000 della Dassault saranno modernizzati. I nuovi aerei cisterna saranno consegnati nel 2023 e non più nel 2025. Sarà inoltre rilanciato il programma Scorpion per i blindati di medie dimensioni (Griffon e Jaguar). Parigi vuole inoltre lanciare nuovi satelliti artificiali per la sorveglianza esoatmosferica. Alla dissuasione nucleare saranno destinati 37 miliardi da oggi al 2025: dovrebbe essere lanciato un programma per la costruzione di sottomarini di terza generazione e un altro per un nuovo missile nucleare aerotrasportato.

Collaborazione con l’Italia

La legge – che sarà esaminata dall’Assemblée Nationale dal 12 marzo e dal Senato a maggio – non dimentica il progetto di difesa europea, che Macron aveva rilanciato a settembre nel suo discorso alla Sorbona. Viene riconfermata l’intenzione di approfondire i legami con un gruppo inizialmente ristretto di Paesi: la Germania innanzitutto, con la quale la Francia ha dato vita alla Brigata francotedesca forte di circa 6mila effettivi. Saranno però cercate «sistematicamente» opportunità di cooperazione più strette nel settore spaziale, «in particolare con italiani e tedeschi». Il nostro paese sarà coinvolto, insieme a Germania e Spagna, nel programma per il drone europeo Male (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) – sul quale dovrebbe essere coinvolta la Leonardo – e nel progetto della nave di supporto logistico (con funzioni di cisterna) Flotlog, per il quale era stata avviata una collaborazione con Fincantieri. Più in generale, il documento del ministro delle Forze armate segnala l’interesse ad approfondire le relazioni bilaterali con Italia e Spagna.

La leadership francese

È innegabile l’interesse della presidenza Macron di confermare e rafforzare la leadership, in Europa, delle forze armate francesi, presenti peraltro anche all’estero e in diversi territori d’oltremare. L’idea è quella di dare alla Francia un ruolo catalizzatore, se non organizzativo nelle coalizioni di cui fa parte attraverso la sua superiorità produttiva e tecnologica. Il settore comprende in Francia 10 grandi gruppi, 4mila imprese piccole medie e “di dimensioni intermedie” (le Eti) e 200mila lavoratori nell’indotto. Altre 27mila imprese hanno tra i loro clienti le Forze armate. Verrà quindi creato un Defence Lab , una piattaforma per sostenere le innovazioni tecnologiche, affianco al Def’invest che si occupa del consolidamento le imprese strategiche.

Ricucire i rapporti

La legge intende anche ricucire i rapporti tra il presidente e i militari. Erano iniziati decisamente male. Il 13 luglio, alla vigilia della festa nazionale, Macron aveva annunciato per il 2017 tagli alle spese per 850 milioni di euro, la maggior riduzione subita dai ministeri francesi, per rispettare il tetto del 3% per il deficit pubblico. Il capo di Stato maggiore Pierre de Villiers, al grido di «Non mi farò baiser così» (“baisier”, in francese, significare molto più che “baciare”) dette le dimissioni. Il presidente aveva però anche promesso di portare le spese militari al 2% del pil, come chiesto dalla Nato, dall’1,78% del 2017. La legge proposta dalla ministra delle Forze Armate Florence Parly ha proprio questa ambizione, anche se l’obiettivo – per rispettare i vincoli europei – viene programmato per il 2025, dopo la fine del quinquennato presidenziale.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Russia

Russia. Testati i missili anti missile Prs-1M.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-02-18.

2018-02-17__prs-1m-missile-balistico-test-poligono-russia-foto2

Già il 27 novembre dello scorso anno la Russia aveva iniziato a testare sul campo il nuovo sistema missilistico PRS-1M.

Russia testa con successo missile intercettore PRS-1M

«Il Ministero della Difesa russo ha riportato che l’aeronautica russa (VKS) ha testato il nuovo missile anti-balistico PRS-1M presso il poligono di Sary-Shagan (Repubblica del Kazakhstan).

Il Colonnello Andrey Prikhodko dell’aeronautica russa ha confermato che gli obiettivi della missione sono stati raggiunti e ha aggiunto: “Il missile ha eseguito con successo le istruzioni e ha colpito un obiettivo simulato“, senza aggiungere altri dettagli.

Il PRS-1M fa parte del sistema anti-balistico A-135 e può essere lanciato sia da silos rinforzati che da veicoli TEL. Il missile è stato sviluppato da KB Motor congiunta alla OJSC Avangard.

La struttura del nuovo missile è dotata di uno scudo protettivo per alte temperature costituita di materiali compositi e il missile è equipaggiato con un motore più potente che ne aumenta la velocità di 4km/s rispetto alla vecchia versione. Inoltre sono stati effettuati vari aggiornamenti tra cui quello al sistema di guida (in grado di resistere ad accelerazioni fino a 300G).

Il missile è in grado distruggere obiettivi a 350km e ad un’altitudine massima di circa 40-50km (è possibile che verrà equipaggiato anche con testate nucleari).»

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Di questi giorni le ulteriori notizie di nuovi lanci di prova.

Analisi sulla nuova arma anti-missile russa che difenderà Mosca

«I test dei missili intercettori modernizzati PRS-1M dal poligono di tiro di Sary-Shagan si svolgono all’interno del programma di aggiornamento del sistema di difesa missilistico esistente a Mosca e nel distretto centrale industriale A-135 per aumentare le sue capacità.

Lo ha riferito a Sputnik l’esperto militare russo e membro del Consiglio civico del ministero della Difesa Igor Korotchenko.

In precedenza l’organo ufficiale del dicastero militare russo “Krasnaya Zvezda” ha riferito che nel poligono di tiro di Sary-Shagan in Kazakistan è stato testato il sistema di difesa anti-missile modernizzato. Successivamente il ministero della Difesa ha pubblicato il video del test.


“Il missile intercettore PRS-1M testato, che sostituisce i razzi 53T6 ormai a fine servizio, sono di fatto una nuova arma. Rispetto alle dimensioni e caratteristiche del precedente razzo di contraerea, il PRS-1M è dotato di un nuovo propulsore e di apparecchiature elettroniche radicalmente nuove, sono notevolmente aumentate la velocità e l’altezza d’intercettazione del missile, così come l’efficacia della distruzione di obiettivi individuali e di gruppo,” — ha detto Korochenko.


Ha ricordato che attualmente la Russia sta sviluppando contemporaneamente il nuovo sistema missilistico antiaereo di quinta generazione S-500, in grado di distruggere bersagli non solo nell’atmosfera, ma anche nello spazio vicino.»

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Grandi sono infatti le attese sul sistema S-500, cui la Russia sta lavorando da lungo tempo.

«The S-500 Prometey (Russian: C-500 Прометей, Prometheus), also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M.”, is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern and with its characteristics it will be much similar to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system

The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) and 400 km (250 mi) for the air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph). It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5 as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi). It is effective against ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the radar reaches a radius of 3,000 km (1,300 km for the EPR 0,1 square meter).

The system will be highly mobile and will have rapid deployability. Experts believe that the system’s capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the middle and end portions of flight, but reports by Almaz-Antey say that the external target designation system (RLS Voronezh-DM and missile defense system A-135 radar Don-2N) will be capable of mid-early flight portion interceptions of enemy ballistic missiles, which is one of the final stages of the S-500 project.

In 2009, the system was under development at the design stage at Almaz-Antey and had been planned to be completed in 2012. In February 2011, it was announced that the first S-500 systems should be in serial production by 2014. Under the State Armament Programme 2020 (GPV-2020), the plan is to purchase 10 S-500 battalions for the Russian Aerospace Defense (VKO).

The main components of the S-500 will be:

– the launch vehicle 77P6, based on the BAZ-69096 10×10 truck;

– the command posts 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 on BAZ-69092-12 6×6;

– the acquisition and battle management radar 91N6A(M), a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8×8 tractor;

– the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10×10;

– the multimode engagement radar 76T6 on BAZ-6909-022 8×8;

– the ABM engagement radar 77T6 on BAZ-69096 10×10.» [Fonte]

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Scanso di equivoci, il fatto che in questo articolo si sia parlato di missili antimissili russi non significa minimamente che americani e cinesi non dispongano o stiano approntando sistemi di arma analoghi. Anzi, i sistemi americani THAAD sono già operativi, da qualche anno.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Russia

Sukhoi 25 russo abbattuto ad Idlib.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2018-02-03.

Aleppo__011

Russian warplane shot down in north-west Syria

«Preliminary information suggested a portable ground-to-air missile was used to hit the plane in an area under the control of al-Qaida’s Syrian link, the ministry’s Zvezda TV reported.»

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A Russian Sukhoi-25 fighter jet has been shot down near Idlib in Saraqeb in north Syria

Russia Confirms Warplane Downed in Syria; Pilot Dies in ‘Fight’ With Rebels

Tahrir Al-Sham Claims Responsibility For Shooting Down Russian SU-25 – Reports

«According to the preliminary information, the jet was shot down from a man-portable air-defense system»

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2018-02-03__Syria__001

Quanto accaduto dovrebbe costituire materia di ampia riflessione.

Se è vero che la potenza di fuoco dei moderni cacciabombardieri è notevole, è altrettanto vero quanto essi siano vulnerabili.

Un missile terra – aria trasportabile a mano, del costo variabile tra i 30,000 ed i 100,000$, può distruggere un aereo del costo di decine di milioni.

Non solo. Mentre per costruire un Sukhoi 25 servono circa sedici mesi, quei missiletti possono essere prodotti su larga serie.

Né si venga a dire che i ribelli siano in grado di progettare e costruire un simile missile: quindi, qualcuno glielo ha fornito.


Bbc. 2018-02-03. Russian fighter jet shot down in Syria’s Idlib province

A Russian Sukhoi-25 fighter jet has been shot down in a rebel-held area in Syria’s north-western province of Idlib.

The Russian defence ministry said the pilot had ejected into an area believed to be controlled by the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham alliance.

Although he survived the crash he was killed in a ground fight, Moscow said.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham – formerly linked to al-Qaeda – said it had shot down the plane.

The Syrian government, backed by Russian air power, launched a major offensive in December against rebel groups in Idlib.

What more do we know of the incident?

The Sukhoi-25, a close-support ground-attack aircraft, was operating over the town of Maasran in Idlib.

There had been dozens of Russian air strikes in the area over the previous 24 hours, monitoring groups said.

Video posted on social media showed the jet being hit and quickly catching fire, before spiralling to the ground.

Video from the ground showed the wreckage with red stars on the wings.

Russia’s defence ministry said: “The pilot had enough time to report that he had ejected in an area controlled by the militants”.

“During a battle with terrorists, the pilot was killed.”

Other video on social media showed a bloodied body in a uniform.

Who shot the plane down?

In a statement released on social media, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group claimed it had shot down the plane using a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile.

The group said the plane had been carrying out on air raid over the nearby city of Saraqeb.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has operated in the region for years under a series of different names.

How are the Russians responding?

The defence ministry said it was making all possible efforts to retrieve the body.

However, social media posts also reported a salvo of cruise missiles had been fired into Idlib province from Russian navy vessels in the Mediterranean.

The Russian defence ministry confirmed only that “a series of high-precision weapons strikes has been delivered on the area”.

Is this a rare event?

Very. It could be the first time rebels have shot down a Russian fighter jet since Moscow began its Syria campaign in September 2015, although rebels did bring down a helicopter in 2016.

About 45 Russian military personnel have been confirmed dead in Syria, along with an unknown number of contractors.

Here are the air force losses:

– Dec 2017: Shelling damages several planes at the Hmeimim airbase, with two Russian servicemen killed

– Dec 2016: A Tu-164 carrying 92 people – including army musicians – crashes into the Black Sea after taking off for Syria from Sochi, killing all on board

– Aug 2016: All five people on board a helicopter are killed when it is shot down over Idlib

– Nov 2015: Turkish warplanes shoot down a Sukhoi-24. One pilot is killed, the other rescued. The incident sparks a severe deterioration of bilateral relations

What’s going on in Idlib?

It is supposed to be a “de-escalation zone”, as agreed by Turkey, Russia and Iran. But fighting escalated in November and the Syrian government launched a major offensive there in December.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is the main adversary.

There are 2.65 million people in north-western Syria as a whole, the UN says, and 1.16 million of them are internally displaced people (IDPs).

Is this the only fighting in north-west Syria?

No. Turkey launched an operation on 20 January called “Olive Branch” aimed at removing Kurdish militiamen from Afrin, to the north-west of the city of Aleppo.

The Turkish army said seven Turkish soldiers were killed in action on Saturday, including five who died in an attack on a tank by the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) militia.

It was heaviest Turkish death toll in one day since the operation began.

Kurds in Syria also reacted furiously to a video showing the body of a female Kurdish fighter killed in battle.

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Problemi militari, Russia, Stati Uniti, Unione Europea

Nato. I sommergibili russi sono stati migliorati, quelli tedeschi kaputt.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-12-30.

2017-12-14__Sottomarini russi

«Russian submarine activity is at its highest level since the Cold War»

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«The alliance meanwhile has lost some of its anti-submarine capability»

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«Russian naval build-up threatens transport and communications links between alliance members»

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«the submarine build-up threatened logistic and communications channels between North America and Europe»

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I russi stanno lavorando duramente al rafforzamento della propria flotta sottomarina.

Russia. Varato un altro sommergibile atomico Borei.

Non è solo questione di deterrenza nucleare: la Nato si articola tra gli Stati Uniti e l’Europa, e l’Oceano Atlantico non è ostacolo di poco conto ai trasporti di truppe e materiali.

Mentre arrivano queste notizie poco rassicuranti, se ne aggiungono altre, invero sinistre.

«All of Germany’s six submarines are out of action»

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«four U-boats are being serviced in boatyards while two others are waiting for a berth»

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«Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen views the temporary loss of the underwater fleet …. isn’t happy about it »

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«this is obviously not a good situation»

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«we would hope the mission readiness was higher, but sometimes with technology the devil is in the detail»

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Alcune semplici considerazioni.

– A parte le forze armate americane, quelle europee della Nato assomigliano a quelle di Re Franceschiello. Pur spendendo ogni anno più di 350 miliardi di euro, quattro volte i russi, le forze europee sono risibili. Un esempio per tutti. Non sono disponibili più di ottocento carri armati, e tutti vetusti: sagome per il tiro al bersaglio dei russi. Non solo: gli europei hanno in linea ben diciassette tipi diversi di carri, con tutti i relativi problemi logistici.

– Gli europei potrebbero mettere in linea non più di duecentomila soldati, mentre i russi ne dispongono per impiego immediato di dieci volte tanti: il numero, diceva Nelson, annienta.

– Gli Occidentali sono abbacinati dalla tecnologia: non sono riusciti ad emergere dalla fase onirica infantile dei sogni sulle guerre stellari.

Non servono armi sofisticate: servono armi che funzionino.

Maggiore è la complessità e la sofisticazione di un’arma, maggiori sono le probabilità di malfunzionamenti e di guasti che le rendono inefficienti. Sei sommergibili su sei fuori uso dovrebbe ben insegnare qualcosa.

– Da ultimo, ma non certo per ultimo, dopo aver visto all’opera la Ministra per la Difesa tedesca Mrs Ursula von der Leyen anche la più ardente femminista si tramuterebbe in una misogina assoluta. È inutile che frigni: deve mettere le forze armate tedesche in grado di essere allo stato dell’arte.


Deutsche Welle. 2017-12-24. NATO chief warns of Russian submarine capability

Russian submarine activity is at its highest level since the Cold War, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said. The alliance meanwhile has lost some of its anti-submarine capability.

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NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warned in an interview published Saturday that a Russian naval build-up threatens transport and communications links between alliance members.

“Russia has invested massively in its navy, especially submarines,” Stoltenberg told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, adding that Moscow has deployed 13 additional submarines since 2014.

“Russia’s submarine activity is now at its highest level since the Cold War,” he said, adding that submarines were active in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and also “near our coastlines.”

Stoltenberg suggested the submarine build-up threatened logistic and communications channels between North America and Europe.

“We are a transatlantic alliance, and we must therefore be in a position to transport troops and equipment over the Atlantic. For that we need secure and open seaways,” he said.

In this strategic environment, NATO plans to establish a new Atlantic and logistics command. The location and structure of the commands is to be determined next year.

Decline in maritime capacity

The NATO chief also warned that since the end of the Cold War the alliance has lost some of its sea capability, especially in countering submarines.

On December 14, 25 member nations of the EU also inaugurated the PESCO pact – backed by NATO – to cooperate more closely on defence projects in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

A first batch of 17 projects includes a Belgian-led effort to develop submarine drones to tackle mines at sea.

Past efforts to integrate EU defence had been frustrated, first by French reluctance and later by British opposition to a “European Army.”

Abstainers from PESCO are Denmark, Malta and Britain, which plans to leave the EU bloc in 2019.

Associated Press. 2017-12-24. Germany’s entire submarine fleet is now out of action

BERLIN (AP) — All of Germany’s six submarines are out of action, and the country’s defense minister isn’t happy about it.

The Kieler Nachrichten newspaper reports that four U-boats are being serviced in boatyards while two others are waiting for a berth.

Asked how Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen views the temporary loss of the underwater fleet, her spokesman said Friday that “this is obviously not a good situation.”

Jens Flosdorff told reporters in Berlin that “we would hope the mission readiness was higher, but sometimes with technology the devil is in the detail.”

U-boats became the pride of the German navy in World War I, when the Kaiser’s submarines dealt several heavy blows to the British navy.

Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Militare, Problemi militari, Senza categoria

Russia. Vozrozhdeniya. Isola desertificata della morte.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-12-07.

Vozrozhdeniya 001

«Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”.»

«L’isola di Vozroždenie, altresì conosciuta come isola della Rinascita (in uzbeco Tiklanish orollari; in russo Остров Возрождения; in inglese Vozrozhdeniya Island), era un’isola del lago d’Aral che, a causa del progressivo ritiro delle acque, è divenuta una penisola nel 2002 e, successivamente, un istmo. Attualmente è divisa tra il Kazakistan e l’Uzbekistan.

Fino alla Rivoluzione di ottobre portava il nome datole dal suo primo esploratore Butakov Alexei ovvero ‘Isola di Nicola I’. Data l’inaccessibilità del luogo, l’isola di Vozroždenie venne trasformata in uno dei principali laboratori sovietici per effettuare test di guerra batteriologica. Nel 1948, un ulteriore laboratorio top-secret per la produzione di armi biologiche venne stabilito qui. Dichiarazioni sulla pericolosità dell’isola vennero fatte da disertori sovietici, incluso Ken Alibek, l’ex capo del programma sulle armi biologiche dell’Unione Sovietica. Fu qui, come si riscontra in documenti successivamente desecretati, che le spore di antrace e i bacilli di peste bubbonica furono trasformati in armi e le stesse immagazzinate. Il principale insediamento nell’isola era Kantubek, oggi abbandonato, che una volta aveva una popolazione di circa 1.500 abitanti.

I membri dello staff del laboratorio abbandonarono l’isola nel tardo 1991. Molti dei contenitori che conservavano le spore ed i bacilli non furono immagazzinati o distrutti correttamente. Nel corso dei dieci anni successivi, molti degli involucri si erano deteriorati al punto da non contenere il pericolosissimo materiale in essi conservato. Dato l’incessante recedere del lago e l’inevitabile ricongiungimento dell’isola con la terraferma, c’era il timore che gli animali presenti nei dintorni potessero addentrarsi nell’impianto ed entrare in contatto con gli agenti contaminanti e disperderli nell’ambiente con gravissimo rischio di epidemie mortali.» [Fonte]

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Tutti gli stati hanno una loro Vozrozhdeniya, di cui non amano certo parlarne.

«Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.

The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination»

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Ufficialmente le armi biologiche sarebbero bandite, le ricerche interrotte ed i depositi avrebbero dovuto essere distrutti, a mente la Biological Weapons Convenction.

L’Unoda, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, riporta in dettaglio tutti gli aspetti relativi alla:

Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.

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Al momento attuale sembrerebbe che gli stati classificabili come superpotenze abbiano distrutto i propri arsenali biologici, ma non esistono certezze assolute.

Il grande problema invece consiste nel fatto che con i progressi della genetica qualsiasi laboratorio, anche supportato da personale non altamente qualificato, sarebbe in grado di produrre armi biologiche efficienti per costi infimi.

Una simile concreta possibilità potrebbe rivelarsi in drammatiche conseguenze se fosse sfruttata da gruppi terroristici.

Nessuno intende fare allarmismo, ma questa ipotesi sembrerebbe di tale portata da indurre la messa in essere di adeguate contromisure.


Bbc. 2017-09-27. The deadly germ warfare island abandoned by the Soviets.

On the Kazakh-Uzbek border, surrounded by miles of toxic desert, lies an island. Or at least, something that used to be an island.

Vozrozhdeniya was once home to a vibrant fishing village fringed by turquoise lagoons, back when the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest in the world and abundant with fish.

But after years of abuse by the Soviets, the waters have receded and the sea has turned to dust; the rivers that fed it were diverted to irrigate cotton fields. Today, a layer of salty sand, riddled with carcinogenic pesticides, is all that remains of the ancient oasis.

This is a place where the mercury regularly hits 60C (140F), where the only signs of life are the skeletons of desiccated trees and camels shading under giant, stranded boats.

Now Vozrozhdeniya has swallowed up so much of the sea that it’s swelled to 10 times its original size, and is connected to the mainland by a peninsula. But it is thanks to another Soviet project that it is one of the deadliest places on the planet.

From the 1970s, the island has been implicated in a number of sinister incidents. In 1971, a young scientist fell ill after a research vessel, the Lev Berg, strayed into a brownish haze. Days later, she was diagnosed with smallpox. Mysteriously, she had already been vaccinated against the disease. Though she recovered, the outbreak went on to infect a further nine people back in her hometown, three of whom died. One of these was her younger brother.

A year later, the corpses of two missing fishermen were found nearby, drifting in their boat. It’s thought that they had caught the plague. Not long afterwards, locals started landing whole nets of dead fish. No one knows why. Then in May 1988, 50,000 saiga antelope which had been grazing on a nearby steppe dropped dead – in the space of an hour.

The island’s secrets have endured, partly because it isn’t the kind of place where you can just turn up. Since Vozrozhdeniya was abandoned in the 1990s, there have only been a handful of expeditions. Nick Middleton, a journalist and geographer from Oxford University, filmed a documentary there back in 2005. “I was aware of what went on, so we got hold of a guy who used to work for the British military and he came to give the crew a briefing about the sorts of things we might find,” he says.

“He scared the pants off me, to be honest.”

That expert was Dave Butler, who ended up going with them. “There was a lot that could have gone wrong,” he says. As a precaution, Butler put the entire team on antibiotics, starting the week before. As a matter of necessity, they wore gas masks with hi-tech air filters, thick rubber boots and full white forensic-style suits, from the moment they arrived.

They weren’t being paranoid. Aerial photographs taken by the CIA in 1962 revealed that while other islands had piers and fish-packing huts, this one had a rifle range, barracks and parade ground. But that wasn’t even the half of it. There were also research buildings, animal pens and an open-air testing site. The island had been turned into a military base of the most dangerous kind: it was a bioweapons testing facility.

The project was a total secret, not even marked on Soviet maps, but those in the know called it Aralsk-7. Over the years the site flourished into a living nightmare, where anthrax, smallpox and the plague hung in great clouds over the land, and exotic diseases such as tularemia, brucellosis, and typhus rained down and seeped into the sandy soil. 

The island was isolated enough that it wasn’t discovered until the 19th Century, making it the perfect place to hide from the prying eyes of Western intelligence. Failing that, the surrounding sea made a convenient natural moat.

These are the factors that led to it being chosen as the final resting place for the largest anthrax stockpile in human history. Its origins remain obscure, but it’s possible that the deadly cache was manufactured at Compound 19, a facility near the Russian city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekatarinburg.

Aralsk-7 was part of a bioweapons program on an industrial scale, one that employed over 50,000 people at 52 production facilities across the Soviet empire. Anthrax was produced in huge fermenting vats, tenderly nurtured as though they were growing beer.

In 1988, nine years after an anthrax leak at Compound 19 led to the deaths of at least 105 people, the Soviets finally decided to get rid of their cache. Huge vats of anthrax spores were mixed with bleach and transported the port town of Aralsk, on the shores of the Aral Sea (now 16 miles (25km) inland), where they were loaded onto barges and transported to Vozrozhdeniya. Some 100 to 200 tonnes of anthrax slurry was hastily dumped in pits and forgotten.

Most of the time, anthrax bacteria live as spores, an inactive form with extreme survival skills. They’ll shrug off pretty much anything you care to throw at them – from baths of noxious disinfectants to being roasted for up to two minutes at 180C (356F).

When they’re buried in the ground, the spores can survive for hundreds of years. In one case, they were recovered from an archaeological dig at the ruins of a medieval hospital in Scotland – along with the several-hundred-years-old remains of the lime they tried to kill them with. 

More recently, a 12-year-old-boy died after being overcome by anthrax that had been lurking in the far north of Russia. The outbreak hospitalised 72 people from the nomadic Nenets tribe, including 41 children, and thousands of reindeer perished. It’s thought to have started when a heatwave thawed the carcass of a reindeer that was at least 75 years old.

As you might expect, the Soviets’ efforts at Vozrozhdeniya weren’t nearly enough. Years after the USSR’s collapse, in the wake of attacks in Tokyo and revelations about an extensive bioweapons programme in Iraq, fears were mounting about the prospect of terrorists or rogue governments getting their hands on any weaponised pathogens. So the US government sent teams of specialists to do some tests.

The precise location of the anthrax cache was never disclosed, but as it turns out this wasn’t a problem. The pits were so enormous, they were clearly visible in photos taken from space. Viable spores were found in several soil samples, and the US pledged $6m (£4.6m) for a project to clean the place up.

This involved a deep trench, dug next to the pits, some plastic lining and thousands of kilograms of powerful powdered bleach. All the team had to do was move several tonnes of contaminated soil into the trench – in 50C (122F) heat, while wearing full protective suits. In all, 100 local workers were hired and the project took four months to complete.

It worked. After stewing for six days with the powdered bleach, the spores were gone.

But that’s not quite the end of the story. Half a century of open-air testing has left the entire island contaminated – not just at the test site, but all over. “Oh, there will still be anthrax there, no problem,” says Les Baillie, an international expert on anthrax from Cardiff University. He spent a decade working at the UK’s former bioweapons research facility, Porton Down.

That’s not to mention the burial pits of infected animals, with up to a hundred corpses in each, or the unmarked grave of a woman who died while handling an infectious agent some decades ago. “Even when you bury an animal, you have to bury it a good couple of metres down. If the area floods the spores can float back up and earthworms in the soil can move it around,” he says.

Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.

The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination.

Just this single set of experiments rendered the island so contaminated, initial efforts to clean it up failed and the site was abandoned.

The only people to set foot there in half a century were scientists from Porton Down and two brothers, the Fletts, from the mainland. They rowed the 10-minute trip across the sea once a year to repaint the warning signs – and wore protective suits while doing so.

Soil samples taken in 1979 revealed that, nearly four decades later, there were still between 3,000 and 45,000 spores per gram of soil. Proposals for dealing with the “contaminated monster”, as it became known, ranged from concreting it all over, to removing the top layer of soil and dumping it in the North Atlantic.

In the end, every inch of the 1.96 sq km island was sprayed with 280 metric tonnes of formaldehyde solution mixed with seawater. It was finally declared safe in 1990. Today the island can be accessed easily by boat – though you’ll have to convince someone to take you first.

Thankfully, Vozrozhdeniya is not quite so accessible. To get there, Middleton, Butler and their team travelled across Kazakhstan to Quilandy, a nearby village on the mainland. The plan was to hire a boat to take them across the Aral Sea, and some guides. Naturally, the locals weren’t exactly falling over themselves to visit the notorious island – “They knew to stay away,” says Middleton – and in the end, they made an unlikely alliance with a gang of salvage-seekers.

The trip was delayed, as crew members were struck down by food poisoning. Hours after they were set to leave, a massive dust storm broke out, engulfing the village and the Aral Sea. “It was like the end of the world. We would have been in the middle of the storm in these rickety boats,” says Butler. “I don’t think we would have survived.”

The next day, they finally made it. The base is divided into two parts: the town of Kantubek, which was built to house scientists and their families, and the lab complex, which lies about two miles (3.2km) further south.

“Even once we got there, there was quite a way to go,” says Butler. The team had arrived from Kazakhstan, due to the difficulty of getting a visa from Uzbekistan – though this is where the base is actually located.

They traversed the island’s desert interior by moped, navigating without maps – “I think they used the Sun,” says Butler – while dressed in full biocontainment suits.

Though they knew it was dangerous, the gang had made several visits to the town before, ripping out copper pipes, removing light fixtures, gradually dismantling the town and scavenging what they could sell. “When you first see it, it looks like they’re still building it,” says Middleton.

Today Kantubek is a dilapidated ghost town, in which the signs of a once-comfortable life contrast with hints of something altogether more menacing. On the one hand, there are houses, a canteen and a couple of schools; on the other, the cracked portraits of military personnel, books by Marx and Lenin, and rusting tanks. “It’s weird because there’s this eerie sense of decay, but then there are incongruous elements, like a big war mural of a cartoon duck by a child’s playground,” he says. “There isn’t a single bird or insect – it’s totally quiet.”

The local gang was keen to get off the island as quickly as possible, so the crew didn’t have long. Soon they set off again, this time in search of the lab complex. “They took us to the front door of the place and said ‘we’ll wait outside’. They didn’t want to go in,” says Butler.

What they found at the site – officially called the Field Scientific Research Laboratory, or PNIL in Russian – was extremely disturbing. “The research buildings aren’t cleaned up at all,” says Middleton. “It just looks like they trashed the place and left.”

Vast glass tanks of hazardous substances line the walls, while the floor is covered in hundreds of thousands of smashed glass vials, pipettes and petri dishes. Discarded full-body suits, complete with alien-like masks and air hoses, are everywhere.  The whole place has the feel of a dystopian video game – partly because it is (it’s featured in a version of the first-person shooter Call of Duty). 

Here Butler stepped the safety up a notch and the team donned more complete breathing apparatus that filters the air. “Buildings tend to concentrate whatever’s there,” says Butler. In addition to stray anthrax, the team ran the gauntlet of formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic if you breathe it in.

But the sense of control didn’t last long. “We’d been in there for about 15 minutes and the canisters started to become defeated,” says Butler. When an air filter is overloaded, the first sign is usually a whiff of some noxious aroma which has snuck through. “It can happen if you get a real corrosive, industrial chemical in concentrated quantities.” 

Whatever it was, they decided to get out, fast. Butler was happy to camp overnight and visit the testing range the following day, but the others had seen enough. “For me it was quite exciting – a chance to put all the knowledge I have into practice,” says Butler. “But I suppose I’m weird like that.”

As an extra precaution, Butler took nasal swabs from every member of the team and checked them for anthrax spores. 

He had good reason to be worried. There are several ways to die from anthrax, and the gruesome details of each depend on how you were infected. There’s the gastrointestinal route, which is common in grass-eating animals such as cattle, horses, sheep and goats and still leads to human deaths in developing countries to this day. The symptoms vary, but tend to include vomiting, diarrhoea, and lesions all the way from the mouth to the intestines.

Failing that, skin contact alone is often enough; back in 19th Century Yorkshire, so-called “woolsorters disease” was an occupational hazard for people who worked in the textile industry.

But by far the most unpleasant fate is to inhale some. Once a spore makes its way into the body, first it hitches a lift to the lymph nodes. There the spores begin to hatch and multiply – eventually spilling out into the bloodstream and leading to widespread tissue damage and internal bleeding. It’s thought that the whole process can take months to complete, but in the end, at least eight out of 10 people die in the process.

“It’s probably an ideal biological weapon as is,” says Talima Pearson, a biologist from Northern Arizona University who helped to sequence the strain that caused the outbreak at Sverdlovsk. “They were probably getting it from out in the wild.”

And not all of it was ordinary anthrax. Aralsk-7 was built amidst a bioweapons arms race with the US and the UK – a perilous mission to take already-lethal pathogens and make them even more hardy, infectious and deadly. Pains were taken to ensure bacteria were resistant to antibiotics and viruses could infect even those who had been vaccinated.

To achieve this, the scientists grew up industrial quantities of pathogens collected from the wild and honed in on those with the right characteristics. “The more material, the more chances there are to find what you’re looking for,” says Baillie.

But on 10 April, 1972, the three signed a treaty agreeing to give it up. This is precisely the moment that the Soviets launched the most terrifying programme yet. This time, they would use the emerging science of molecular genetics. These bioweapons would be designed, not just cultivated.

This included a particularly nasty strain of anthrax, known to researchers as STI. For starters, it was resistant to an impressive array of antibiotics, including penicillin, rifampin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, macrolides and lincomycin. But that’s not the only reason you really, really don’t want to be infected by STI.

As if regular anthrax wasn’t bad enough, the scientists decided this natural killer needed a final flourish: toxins which can rupture red blood cells and rot human tissue. Scientists took the genes from a close relative, Bacillus cereus, and added them using the latest scientific techniques.

Anthrax naturally grows in clumps, but these can get caught up in the nostrils and don’t always lead to an infection. So the Soviets liked to grind them down using industrial machinery.  The final result is just five micrometres long – at least 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. “That’s the perfect size to be inhaled,” says Butler.

Before the team left for the island, Butler constructed a decontamination zone on the beach – basically just an outdoor tap – and stockpiled antibacterial soap. When they returned, every member stripped down naked and scrubbed themselves clean. “We had to make sure we didn’t have any spores in the, erm, hairy parts of our bodies,” he says.

Thankfully the team’s swabs came back negative and even the salvage-seekers, who refused their offer of protective gear, escaped unscathed. For the moment, the anthrax at Vozrozhdeniya remains in the ground.

But what of the mysterious outbreaks in the 1970s and 80s? It’s now known that the Lev Berg strayed into an aerosol cloud of weaponised smallpox that had recently been exploded on the island. The incident was suppressed by the Soviet powers of the time, including KGB boss Yuri Andropov who later became Soviet premier. It’s not known exactly which strain they were infected with, but according to David Evans, a virologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, it’s likely to have been India-1967.

“We know this because this is the strain the Soviets sequenced,” says Evans. “They used a very old fashioned method which required astonishing quantities of DNA to do it, so it makes sense that they’d sequence the same one that they were weaponising.”

This was a highly virulent strain, first isolated from an Indian man who brought it to Moscow in 1967. There are two possible reasons it was able to infect those who had already been vaccinated: the vaccination didn’t work, or they were exposed to a particularly high dose.

“The Soviet vaccine was criticised, so it’s possible it just wasn’t working very well,” says Evans. “And a very high dose of anything can overcome an immunisation.” If the vaccine wasn’t working, India-1967 would have been a particularly dangerous virus to be exposed to.

So could the island still be infectious today? “Oh it would be long gone,” says Evans. The Russians recently rediscovered the victims of a smallpox epidemic in Siberia, after melting permafrost exposed their graves. Though their corpses had been frozen solid for 120 years, the scientists didn’t find any virus – just its DNA.

Evans works on the vaccine strain of the virus, which is related but only causes a localised skin infection. “Even in my lab where we store it in a -80C (-112F) freezer under ideal conditions, the virus slowly loses infectivity over time,” he says.

As for the plague, though the Soviets were working on weaponising it, the bacteria remains widespread in Central Asia to this day – in fact, the number of cases increased sharply after the USSR collapsed.  Which just leaves us with the fish and the antelope. Both remain a mystery, but the widespread pollution in the Aral Sea at the time and more recent mass antelope die-offs suggest that both had alternative causes.

Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”. Let’s hope the island’s pathogens don’t experience one any time soon.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Geopolitica Militare, Problemi militari, Putin, Russia, Unione Europea

Putin. Inutile incazzarsi: la canzone dice cose vere.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2017-11-25.

2017-11-23__Lo Cazr Imperatore Alessandro I entra a Parigi il 30 marzo 1814.

Lo Cazr Imperatore Alessandro I entra a Parigi il 30 marzo 1814.


«Il testo della canzone fa discutere».

Tradotto in un linguaggio come si mangia, il testo della canzone fa discutere i liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologici, mica la gente comune che tanto se ne guarda bene dal continuare a votarli. Liberal e socialisti incominciano a vedersi in Siberia, sopra il circolo polare artico, a coltivar prezzemolo.

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«There is no opinion of its own in the European Union

 And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore The Samurais will never get this line of islands,

We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,

We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,

We’ll bring Alaska back home.»

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«Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin»

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«l’Ue è descritta come insignificante»

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«il presidente americano è senza potere»

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«tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa»

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«Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te»

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«The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU»

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Russia. Capire un popolo per capire una nazione.

Capire la Russia. Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Katyusha.

КАТЮШA (Katyusha) – Дмитрий Хворостовский

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La storia ci insegna fino a qual punto i russi se la leghino al dito quando si cerca di calpestarli.

Quando Napoleone si era illuso di piegare la Russia nel 1812 imparò la lezione sulla Beresina, poi fece il ripasso a Leipzig, ed infine i russi vinsero la battaglia di Parigi del 31 marzo 1814, e se ne entrarono nella capitale francese, mentre Napoleone se ne andava a Sant’Elena. Ebbero 18,000 tra morti e feriti in quella sola battaglia, ma alla fine vinsero, e vinsero in modo completo. Ed usarono una mano ben pesante.

Centotrenta anni dopo ci riprovarono i tedeschi. Alla fine i russi parcheggiarono i loro carri armati sulla verticale della cancelleria tedesca: subirono quasi venti milioni di morti, ma chiusero la partita.

I russi sono pazienti, ma quando si mettono in moto finiscono il loro compito in modo definitivo. Non hanno mezze misure.

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Negli anni novanta, dopo la implosione dell’Unione sovietica l’Occidente impose severe condizioni alla Russia. Fece quello che mai un Richelieu oppure un Bismarck si sarebbe mai sognato di fare: li umiliarono.

La storia insegna che o si annienta oppure si tratta.

Chi si illudesse che i russi se ne siano dimenticati sarebbe davvero galatticamente ingenuo.

Bene.

Ora l’Unione Europea sta disgregandosi, non ha nessun esercito degno di quel nome, è debosciata nel cuore e nella mente. Rigurgita di islamici infidi e le sue donne sono in gran parte depravate.

È forse questa l’Europa per cui andare a morire?

È forse questa la donna che dovrei difendere in battaglia?

L’America fa sbudellare Mr Putin dalla esultanza.

Perché Mr Putin dovrebbe temere un esercito di malati di mente, depravati dall’uso di droga, miscela di femmine petitive che credono che la guerra sia una sfilata di moda?

Ma ci siamo dimenticati quanto è successo pochi giorni or sono?

Regno Unito. Sommergibile atomico con a bordo nove cocainomani.

Nella sala attivazione e lancio dei missili ad armamento atomico i nove addetti erano ebbri di cocaina e si scopavano le colleghe femmine, o facenti funzioni, sbalzandole/i sulla plancia dei comandi di lancio. Ed i russi dovettero avvisare gli inglese che avevano un bordello a bordo del loro sommergile nucleare: di bloccare quegli incoscienti.

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La crisi tedesca innesca inevitabilmente quella dell’Unione Europea.

Sarà un periodo di chaos ove tutto potrebbe accadere.


Aska. 2017-11-22. I cadetti-bambini di Putin cantano pronti alla guerra per lui [Video]

Il video canoro iniziativa di una deputata putiniana “di ferro”.

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Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin: la canzone ‘Zio Vova” – dove Vova è un affettuoso diminutivo per Vladimir – è una iniziativa della devota deputata putiniana Anna Kuvychko, eseguita da un coro di ragazzi che studiano nella scuola di polizia della regione di Volgograd, ovvero di quella che fu Stalingrado, città eroe che ancora oggi per i russi simboleggia la resistenza, il sacrificio e infine la vittoria sull’esercito nazista.

Il testo della canzone fa discutere – l’Ue è descritta come insignificante, il presidente americano è senza potere e tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa – ma per il Cremlino è una semplice “dimostrazione di simpatia” nei confronti di Putin. Il messaggio dei giovanissimi cadetti è certamente gradito all’uomo forte che ha fatto del patriottismo il suo manifesto: “Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te”.

Mirror. 2017-11-22. “We’re ready to die for Putin” Russian child police cadets sing chilling propaganda anthem demanding return of Alaska to Kremlin

The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU.

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This is the moment Russian Police cadets sang a “chilling propaganda anthem” vowing to grab back the US state of Alaska – and never surrender Crimea.

The content of the song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin ‘s bid for another six years in the Kremlin.

Sung by cadets from a military-style college against a background of World War Two monuments in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, it oozes patriotism and depicts a weak, divided West.

It also cheekily borrowing a clip from a Brexit rally in the UK to justify the strongman’s bid to restore Russian might.

“We want our country back”, trumpet the Vote to Leave posters, mixed here with a message that the Russian young are ready to die for “Uncle Vova”, aka Vladimir Putin – Vova being a fond version of his first name.

Putin, aged 65, has not yet declared if he will run or not for a six year term in the March 2018 presidential election, but meanwhile videos like this show the path being cleared for him to notch up another landslide 18 years after he first took the Kremlin helm.

One of his ultra-loyal MPs Anna Kuvychko sings along with the uniformed cadets with lyrics which seem to predict Donald Trump’s impeachment and write off the European Union as of no consequence.

The song – redolent of Soviet-style propaganda – makes clear there will be no concessions to Japan in the disputed Kuril Islands, several of which Tokyo claims, nor 11 time zones away to NATO over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, an amber-rich region bristling with Russian military firepower.

The first verse takes a swipe at America’s perceived role as a superpower seeking global hegemony with the EU painted as its supplicant:

The 21st century is here – the Earth has got weary of wars,

The population of the planet is sick and tired with hegemony.

There is no opinion of its own in the European Union,

The Middle East is groaning from troubles,

Across the ocean the president was stripped of his power.

Then comes a refrain, making clear the obedience of these cadets to Putin if he orders them into action in the ‘final battle’:

And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore,

We wish for peace in this land, but if the main commander calls us up for the last battle –

Uncle Vova, we are with you!

The anthem goes on:

And what will be left for my generation? If we are weak, we will lose the whole country.

And our devoted friends – these are the army and navy,

And a red star of a grandfather as a memory of friendship.

Then comes the Uncle Vova refrain once more before the next verse vows:

The Samurais will never get this line of islands,

We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,

We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,

We’ll bring Alaska back home.

As the cadets dream of grabbing America’s largest state — sold by the Romanov tsars for $7.2 million in 1867 — they give a final stirring rendering of the refrain.

Major newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets noted it showed “kids ready to die for Putin” and said the song – supposedly the initiative of the woman MP, an ultra-loyalist in his United Russia party – has gone viral.

The young singers are reported to be from Volgograd Police Cadet school 44, and the song comes at a time when observers note a return to pride in the military and law enforcement agencies in Russia.

Volgograd is a “hero city” for its role in pushing back the Nazis, with some two million killed in the Battle of Stalingrad as Hitler’s thrust into the USSR was reversed.

Kuvychko, who represents Volgograd, said on Facebook: “The growing generation of hero city Volgograd, who are they?

“They are thinking people, and very much loving our country – the great Russia!

“They were brought up with the help of an example given by our defenders, they clearly understand that their great-grandfathers were fighting here, on Stalingrad’s land, long ago for this blue peaceful sky.

“They are facing different challenges these days no less serious than before.

“But they will manage and they will win!”

Other comments are not so positive, with critics claiming it is “a chilling propaganda anthem” aimed at backing Putin’s bid to keep his grip on Russia.

“Don’t mix up your Motherland and Uncle Vova. Love to the big boss is not about patriotism,” said one.

“We’re right on the way to a new North Korea,” complained another.

A critic added: “It is a pure political propaganda, dragging children into politics and teaching them from early years that war is a good thing.

“And those words about taking Alaska are hardcore.

“Where are those MPs coming from?”