«Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”.»
«L’isola di Vozroždenie, altresì conosciuta come isola della Rinascita (in uzbeco Tiklanish orollari; in russo Остров Возрождения; in inglese Vozrozhdeniya Island), era un’isola del lago d’Aral che, a causa del progressivo ritiro delle acque, è divenuta una penisola nel 2002 e, successivamente, un istmo. Attualmente è divisa tra il Kazakistan e l’Uzbekistan.
Fino alla Rivoluzione di ottobre portava il nome datole dal suo primo esploratore Butakov Alexei ovvero ‘Isola di Nicola I’. Data l’inaccessibilità del luogo, l’isola di Vozroždenie venne trasformata in uno dei principali laboratori sovietici per effettuare test di guerra batteriologica. Nel 1948, un ulteriore laboratorio top-secret per la produzione di armi biologiche venne stabilito qui. Dichiarazioni sulla pericolosità dell’isola vennero fatte da disertori sovietici, incluso Ken Alibek, l’ex capo del programma sulle armi biologiche dell’Unione Sovietica. Fu qui, come si riscontra in documenti successivamente desecretati, che le spore di antrace e i bacilli di peste bubbonica furono trasformati in armi e le stesse immagazzinate. Il principale insediamento nell’isola era Kantubek, oggi abbandonato, che una volta aveva una popolazione di circa 1.500 abitanti.
I membri dello staff del laboratorio abbandonarono l’isola nel tardo 1991. Molti dei contenitori che conservavano le spore ed i bacilli non furono immagazzinati o distrutti correttamente. Nel corso dei dieci anni successivi, molti degli involucri si erano deteriorati al punto da non contenere il pericolosissimo materiale in essi conservato. Dato l’incessante recedere del lago e l’inevitabile ricongiungimento dell’isola con la terraferma, c’era il timore che gli animali presenti nei dintorni potessero addentrarsi nell’impianto ed entrare in contatto con gli agenti contaminanti e disperderli nell’ambiente con gravissimo rischio di epidemie mortali.» [Fonte]
Tutti gli stati hanno una loro Vozrozhdeniya, di cui non amano certo parlarne.
«Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.
The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination»
* * * * * * *
Ufficialmente le armi biologiche sarebbero bandite, le ricerche interrotte ed i depositi avrebbero dovuto essere distrutti, a mente la Biological Weapons Convenction.
Al momento attuale sembrerebbe che gli stati classificabili come superpotenze abbiano distrutto i propri arsenali biologici, ma non esistono certezze assolute.
Il grande problema invece consiste nel fatto che con i progressi della genetica qualsiasi laboratorio, anche supportato da personale non altamente qualificato, sarebbe in grado di produrre armi biologiche efficienti per costi infimi.
Una simile concreta possibilità potrebbe rivelarsi in drammatiche conseguenze se fosse sfruttata da gruppi terroristici.
Nessuno intende fare allarmismo, ma questa ipotesi sembrerebbe di tale portata da indurre la messa in essere di adeguate contromisure.
On the Kazakh-Uzbek border, surrounded by miles of toxic desert, lies an island. Or at least, something that used to be an island.
Vozrozhdeniya was once home to a vibrant fishing village fringed by turquoise lagoons, back when the Aral Sea was the fourth-largest in the world and abundant with fish.
But after years of abuse by the Soviets, the waters have receded and the sea has turned to dust; the rivers that fed it were diverted to irrigate cotton fields. Today, a layer of salty sand, riddled with carcinogenic pesticides, is all that remains of the ancient oasis.
This is a place where the mercury regularly hits 60C (140F), where the only signs of life are the skeletons of desiccated trees and camels shading under giant, stranded boats.
Now Vozrozhdeniya has swallowed up so much of the sea that it’s swelled to 10 times its original size, and is connected to the mainland by a peninsula. But it is thanks to another Soviet project that it is one of the deadliest places on the planet.
From the 1970s, the island has been implicated in a number of sinister incidents. In 1971, a young scientist fell ill after a research vessel, the Lev Berg, strayed into a brownish haze. Days later, she was diagnosed with smallpox. Mysteriously, she had already been vaccinated against the disease. Though she recovered, the outbreak went on to infect a further nine people back in her hometown, three of whom died. One of these was her younger brother.
A year later, the corpses of two missing fishermen were found nearby, drifting in their boat. It’s thought that they had caught the plague. Not long afterwards, locals started landing whole nets of dead fish. No one knows why. Then in May 1988, 50,000 saiga antelope which had been grazing on a nearby steppe dropped dead – in the space of an hour.
The island’s secrets have endured, partly because it isn’t the kind of place where you can just turn up. Since Vozrozhdeniya was abandoned in the 1990s, there have only been a handful of expeditions. Nick Middleton, a journalist and geographer from Oxford University, filmed a documentary there back in 2005. “I was aware of what went on, so we got hold of a guy who used to work for the British military and he came to give the crew a briefing about the sorts of things we might find,” he says.
“He scared the pants off me, to be honest.”
That expert was Dave Butler, who ended up going with them. “There was a lot that could have gone wrong,” he says. As a precaution, Butler put the entire team on antibiotics, starting the week before. As a matter of necessity, they wore gas masks with hi-tech air filters, thick rubber boots and full white forensic-style suits, from the moment they arrived.
They weren’t being paranoid. Aerial photographs taken by the CIA in 1962 revealed that while other islands had piers and fish-packing huts, this one had a rifle range, barracks and parade ground. But that wasn’t even the half of it. There were also research buildings, animal pens and an open-air testing site. The island had been turned into a military base of the most dangerous kind: it was a bioweapons testing facility.
The project was a total secret, not even marked on Soviet maps, but those in the know called it Aralsk-7. Over the years the site flourished into a living nightmare, where anthrax, smallpox and the plague hung in great clouds over the land, and exotic diseases such as tularemia, brucellosis, and typhus rained down and seeped into the sandy soil.
The island was isolated enough that it wasn’t discovered until the 19th Century, making it the perfect place to hide from the prying eyes of Western intelligence. Failing that, the surrounding sea made a convenient natural moat.
These are the factors that led to it being chosen as the final resting place for the largest anthrax stockpile in human history. Its origins remain obscure, but it’s possible that the deadly cache was manufactured at Compound 19, a facility near the Russian city of Sverdlovsk, now Yekatarinburg.
Aralsk-7 was part of a bioweapons program on an industrial scale, one that employed over 50,000 people at 52 production facilities across the Soviet empire. Anthrax was produced in huge fermenting vats, tenderly nurtured as though they were growing beer.
In 1988, nine years after an anthrax leak at Compound 19 led to the deaths of at least 105 people, the Soviets finally decided to get rid of their cache. Huge vats of anthrax spores were mixed with bleach and transported the port town of Aralsk, on the shores of the Aral Sea (now 16 miles (25km) inland), where they were loaded onto barges and transported to Vozrozhdeniya. Some 100 to 200 tonnes of anthrax slurry was hastily dumped in pits and forgotten.
Most of the time, anthrax bacteria live as spores, an inactive form with extreme survival skills. They’ll shrug off pretty much anything you care to throw at them – from baths of noxious disinfectants to being roasted for up to two minutes at 180C (356F).
When they’re buried in the ground, the spores can survive for hundreds of years. In one case, they were recovered from an archaeological dig at the ruins of a medieval hospital in Scotland – along with the several-hundred-years-old remains of the lime they tried to kill them with.
More recently, a 12-year-old-boy died after being overcome by anthrax that had been lurking in the far north of Russia. The outbreak hospitalised 72 people from the nomadic Nenets tribe, including 41 children, and thousands of reindeer perished. It’s thought to have started when a heatwave thawed the carcass of a reindeer that was at least 75 years old.
As you might expect, the Soviets’ efforts at Vozrozhdeniya weren’t nearly enough. Years after the USSR’s collapse, in the wake of attacks in Tokyo and revelations about an extensive bioweapons programme in Iraq, fears were mounting about the prospect of terrorists or rogue governments getting their hands on any weaponised pathogens. So the US government sent teams of specialists to do some tests.
The precise location of the anthrax cache was never disclosed, but as it turns out this wasn’t a problem. The pits were so enormous, they were clearly visible in photos taken from space. Viable spores were found in several soil samples, and the US pledged $6m (£4.6m) for a project to clean the place up.
This involved a deep trench, dug next to the pits, some plastic lining and thousands of kilograms of powerful powdered bleach. All the team had to do was move several tonnes of contaminated soil into the trench – in 50C (122F) heat, while wearing full protective suits. In all, 100 local workers were hired and the project took four months to complete.
It worked. After stewing for six days with the powdered bleach, the spores were gone.
But that’s not quite the end of the story. Half a century of open-air testing has left the entire island contaminated – not just at the test site, but all over. “Oh, there will still be anthrax there, no problem,” says Les Baillie, an international expert on anthrax from Cardiff University. He spent a decade working at the UK’s former bioweapons research facility, Porton Down.
That’s not to mention the burial pits of infected animals, with up to a hundred corpses in each, or the unmarked grave of a woman who died while handling an infectious agent some decades ago. “Even when you bury an animal, you have to bury it a good couple of metres down. If the area floods the spores can float back up and earthworms in the soil can move it around,” he says.
Chillingly, there is a similar site much closer for comfort than the steppes of Central Asia: Gruinard, a small island just off the coast of the Scottish Highlands. From 1942 to 1943, just one year, it was the epicentre of the UK’s bioweapons programme. The tests involved tethering sheep in an open field or securing them in wooden frames, then exposing them to large doses of anthrax. Once it was exploded over the island, another time it was dropped from a plane.
The sheep would start dying three days later – “you can tell when an animal has died of anthrax. Just look for a bloated carcass with haemorrhaging,” says Baillie – after which their carcasses were carefully disposed of. The scientists burned the bodies and even dynamited a cliff over some to contain the contamination.
Just this single set of experiments rendered the island so contaminated, initial efforts to clean it up failed and the site was abandoned.
The only people to set foot there in half a century were scientists from Porton Down and two brothers, the Fletts, from the mainland. They rowed the 10-minute trip across the sea once a year to repaint the warning signs – and wore protective suits while doing so.
Soil samples taken in 1979 revealed that, nearly four decades later, there were still between 3,000 and 45,000 spores per gram of soil. Proposals for dealing with the “contaminated monster”, as it became known, ranged from concreting it all over, to removing the top layer of soil and dumping it in the North Atlantic.
In the end, every inch of the 1.96 sq km island was sprayed with 280 metric tonnes of formaldehyde solution mixed with seawater. It was finally declared safe in 1990. Today the island can be accessed easily by boat – though you’ll have to convince someone to take you first.
Thankfully, Vozrozhdeniya is not quite so accessible. To get there, Middleton, Butler and their team travelled across Kazakhstan to Quilandy, a nearby village on the mainland. The plan was to hire a boat to take them across the Aral Sea, and some guides. Naturally, the locals weren’t exactly falling over themselves to visit the notorious island – “They knew to stay away,” says Middleton – and in the end, they made an unlikely alliance with a gang of salvage-seekers.
The trip was delayed, as crew members were struck down by food poisoning. Hours after they were set to leave, a massive dust storm broke out, engulfing the village and the Aral Sea. “It was like the end of the world. We would have been in the middle of the storm in these rickety boats,” says Butler. “I don’t think we would have survived.”
The next day, they finally made it. The base is divided into two parts: the town of Kantubek, which was built to house scientists and their families, and the lab complex, which lies about two miles (3.2km) further south.
“Even once we got there, there was quite a way to go,” says Butler. The team had arrived from Kazakhstan, due to the difficulty of getting a visa from Uzbekistan – though this is where the base is actually located.
They traversed the island’s desert interior by moped, navigating without maps – “I think they used the Sun,” says Butler – while dressed in full biocontainment suits.
Though they knew it was dangerous, the gang had made several visits to the town before, ripping out copper pipes, removing light fixtures, gradually dismantling the town and scavenging what they could sell. “When you first see it, it looks like they’re still building it,” says Middleton.
Today Kantubek is a dilapidated ghost town, in which the signs of a once-comfortable life contrast with hints of something altogether more menacing. On the one hand, there are houses, a canteen and a couple of schools; on the other, the cracked portraits of military personnel, books by Marx and Lenin, and rusting tanks. “It’s weird because there’s this eerie sense of decay, but then there are incongruous elements, like a big war mural of a cartoon duck by a child’s playground,” he says. “There isn’t a single bird or insect – it’s totally quiet.”
The local gang was keen to get off the island as quickly as possible, so the crew didn’t have long. Soon they set off again, this time in search of the lab complex. “They took us to the front door of the place and said ‘we’ll wait outside’. They didn’t want to go in,” says Butler.
What they found at the site – officially called the Field Scientific Research Laboratory, or PNIL in Russian – was extremely disturbing. “The research buildings aren’t cleaned up at all,” says Middleton. “It just looks like they trashed the place and left.”
Vast glass tanks of hazardous substances line the walls, while the floor is covered in hundreds of thousands of smashed glass vials, pipettes and petri dishes. Discarded full-body suits, complete with alien-like masks and air hoses, are everywhere. The whole place has the feel of a dystopian video game – partly because it is (it’s featured in a version of the first-person shooter Call of Duty).
Here Butler stepped the safety up a notch and the team donned more complete breathing apparatus that filters the air. “Buildings tend to concentrate whatever’s there,” says Butler. In addition to stray anthrax, the team ran the gauntlet of formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic if you breathe it in.
But the sense of control didn’t last long. “We’d been in there for about 15 minutes and the canisters started to become defeated,” says Butler. When an air filter is overloaded, the first sign is usually a whiff of some noxious aroma which has snuck through. “It can happen if you get a real corrosive, industrial chemical in concentrated quantities.”
Whatever it was, they decided to get out, fast. Butler was happy to camp overnight and visit the testing range the following day, but the others had seen enough. “For me it was quite exciting – a chance to put all the knowledge I have into practice,” says Butler. “But I suppose I’m weird like that.”
As an extra precaution, Butler took nasal swabs from every member of the team and checked them for anthrax spores.
He had good reason to be worried. There are several ways to die from anthrax, and the gruesome details of each depend on how you were infected. There’s the gastrointestinal route, which is common in grass-eating animals such as cattle, horses, sheep and goats and still leads to human deaths in developing countries to this day. The symptoms vary, but tend to include vomiting, diarrhoea, and lesions all the way from the mouth to the intestines.
Failing that, skin contact alone is often enough; back in 19th Century Yorkshire, so-called “woolsorters disease” was an occupational hazard for people who worked in the textile industry.
But by far the most unpleasant fate is to inhale some. Once a spore makes its way into the body, first it hitches a lift to the lymph nodes. There the spores begin to hatch and multiply – eventually spilling out into the bloodstream and leading to widespread tissue damage and internal bleeding. It’s thought that the whole process can take months to complete, but in the end, at least eight out of 10 people die in the process.
“It’s probably an ideal biological weapon as is,” says Talima Pearson, a biologist from Northern Arizona University who helped to sequence the strain that caused the outbreak at Sverdlovsk. “They were probably getting it from out in the wild.”
And not all of it was ordinary anthrax. Aralsk-7 was built amidst a bioweapons arms race with the US and the UK – a perilous mission to take already-lethal pathogens and make them even more hardy, infectious and deadly. Pains were taken to ensure bacteria were resistant to antibiotics and viruses could infect even those who had been vaccinated.
To achieve this, the scientists grew up industrial quantities of pathogens collected from the wild and honed in on those with the right characteristics. “The more material, the more chances there are to find what you’re looking for,” says Baillie.
But on 10 April, 1972, the three signed a treaty agreeing to give it up. This is precisely the moment that the Soviets launched the most terrifying programme yet. This time, they would use the emerging science of molecular genetics. These bioweapons would be designed, not just cultivated.
This included a particularly nasty strain of anthrax, known to researchers as STI. For starters, it was resistant to an impressive array of antibiotics, including penicillin, rifampin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, macrolides and lincomycin. But that’s not the only reason you really, really don’t want to be infected by STI.
As if regular anthrax wasn’t bad enough, the scientists decided this natural killer needed a final flourish: toxins which can rupture red blood cells and rot human tissue. Scientists took the genes from a close relative, Bacillus cereus, and added them using the latest scientific techniques.
Anthrax naturally grows in clumps, but these can get caught up in the nostrils and don’t always lead to an infection. So the Soviets liked to grind them down using industrial machinery. The final result is just five micrometres long – at least 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. “That’s the perfect size to be inhaled,” says Butler.
Before the team left for the island, Butler constructed a decontamination zone on the beach – basically just an outdoor tap – and stockpiled antibacterial soap. When they returned, every member stripped down naked and scrubbed themselves clean. “We had to make sure we didn’t have any spores in the, erm, hairy parts of our bodies,” he says.
Thankfully the team’s swabs came back negative and even the salvage-seekers, who refused their offer of protective gear, escaped unscathed. For the moment, the anthrax at Vozrozhdeniya remains in the ground.
But what of the mysterious outbreaks in the 1970s and 80s? It’s now known that the Lev Berg strayed into an aerosol cloud of weaponised smallpox that had recently been exploded on the island. The incident was suppressed by the Soviet powers of the time, including KGB boss Yuri Andropov who later became Soviet premier. It’s not known exactly which strain they were infected with, but according to David Evans, a virologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, it’s likely to have been India-1967.
“We know this because this is the strain the Soviets sequenced,” says Evans. “They used a very old fashioned method which required astonishing quantities of DNA to do it, so it makes sense that they’d sequence the same one that they were weaponising.”
This was a highly virulent strain, first isolated from an Indian man who brought it to Moscow in 1967. There are two possible reasons it was able to infect those who had already been vaccinated: the vaccination didn’t work, or they were exposed to a particularly high dose.
“The Soviet vaccine was criticised, so it’s possible it just wasn’t working very well,” says Evans. “And a very high dose of anything can overcome an immunisation.” If the vaccine wasn’t working, India-1967 would have been a particularly dangerous virus to be exposed to.
So could the island still be infectious today? “Oh it would be long gone,” says Evans. The Russians recently rediscovered the victims of a smallpox epidemic in Siberia, after melting permafrost exposed their graves. Though their corpses had been frozen solid for 120 years, the scientists didn’t find any virus – just its DNA.
Evans works on the vaccine strain of the virus, which is related but only causes a localised skin infection. “Even in my lab where we store it in a -80C (-112F) freezer under ideal conditions, the virus slowly loses infectivity over time,” he says.
As for the plague, though the Soviets were working on weaponising it, the bacteria remains widespread in Central Asia to this day – in fact, the number of cases increased sharply after the USSR collapsed. Which just leaves us with the fish and the antelope. Both remain a mystery, but the widespread pollution in the Aral Sea at the time and more recent mass antelope die-offs suggest that both had alternative causes.
Translated into English, Vozrozhdeniya means “rebirth”. Let’s hope the island’s pathogens don’t experience one any time soon.
Lo Cazr Imperatore Alessandro I entra a Parigi il 30 marzo 1814.
«Il testo della canzone fa discutere».
Tradotto in un linguaggio come si mangia, il testo della canzone fa discutere i liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologici, mica la gente comune che tanto se ne guarda bene dal continuare a votarli. Liberal e socialisti incominciano a vedersi in Siberia, sopra il circolo polare artico, a coltivar prezzemolo.
«There is no opinion of its own in the European Union
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.»
«Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin»
«l’Ue è descritta come insignificante»
«il presidente americano è senza potere»
«tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa»
«Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te»
«The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU»
La storia ci insegna fino a qual punto i russi se la leghino al dito quando si cerca di calpestarli.
Quando Napoleone si era illuso di piegare la Russia nel 1812 imparò la lezione sulla Beresina, poi fece il ripasso a Leipzig, ed infine i russi vinsero la battaglia di Parigi del 31 marzo 1814, e se ne entrarono nella capitale francese, mentre Napoleone se ne andava a Sant’Elena. Ebbero 18,000 tra morti e feriti in quella sola battaglia, ma alla fine vinsero, e vinsero in modo completo. Ed usarono una mano ben pesante.
Centotrenta anni dopo ci riprovarono i tedeschi. Alla fine i russi parcheggiarono i loro carri armati sulla verticale della cancelleria tedesca: subirono quasi venti milioni di morti, ma chiusero la partita.
I russi sono pazienti, ma quando si mettono in moto finiscono il loro compito in modo definitivo. Non hanno mezze misure.
Negli anni novanta, dopo la implosione dell’Unione sovietica l’Occidente impose severe condizioni alla Russia. Fece quello che mai un Richelieu oppure un Bismarck si sarebbe mai sognato di fare: li umiliarono.
La storia insegna che o si annienta oppure si tratta.
Chi si illudesse che i russi se ne siano dimenticati sarebbe davvero galatticamente ingenuo.
Ora l’Unione Europea sta disgregandosi, non ha nessun esercito degno di quel nome, è debosciata nel cuore e nella mente. Rigurgita di islamici infidi e le sue donne sono in gran parte depravate.
È forse questa l’Europa per cui andare a morire?
È forse questa la donna che dovrei difendere in battaglia?
Nella sala attivazione e lancio dei missili ad armamento atomico i nove addetti erano ebbri di cocaina e si scopavano le colleghe femmine, o facenti funzioni, sbalzandole/i sulla plancia dei comandi di lancio. Ed i russi dovettero avvisare gli inglese che avevano un bordello a bordo del loro sommergile nucleare: di bloccare quegli incoscienti.
La crisi tedesca innesca inevitabilmente quella dell’Unione Europea.
Sarà un periodo di chaos ove tutto potrebbe accadere.
Il video canoro iniziativa di una deputata putiniana “di ferro”.
Pronti ad morire in guerra per la Russia, se ce lo chiederà Vladimir Putin: la canzone ‘Zio Vova” – dove Vova è un affettuoso diminutivo per Vladimir – è una iniziativa della devota deputata putiniana Anna Kuvychko, eseguita da un coro di ragazzi che studiano nella scuola di polizia della regione di Volgograd, ovvero di quella che fu Stalingrado, città eroe che ancora oggi per i russi simboleggia la resistenza, il sacrificio e infine la vittoria sull’esercito nazista.
Il testo della canzone fa discutere – l’Ue è descritta come insignificante, il presidente americano è senza potere e tra le varie belligeranti promesse c’è quella di riprendersi l’Alaska dagli Usa – ma per il Cremlino è una semplice “dimostrazione di simpatia” nei confronti di Putin. Il messaggio dei giovanissimi cadetti è certamente gradito all’uomo forte che ha fatto del patriottismo il suo manifesto: “Vorremmo che nel mondo ci fosse la pace, cantano, ma se il comandante supremo ci chiama per l’ultima battaglia, Zio Putin, noi saremo con te”.
The song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin’s bid for another six years in the Kremlin – and references Japan, the Middle East and EU.
This is the moment Russian Police cadets sang a “chilling propaganda anthem” vowing to grab back the US state of Alaska – and never surrender Crimea.
The content of the song in the video footage shared online is seen as an opening shot in Vladimir Putin ‘s bid for another six years in the Kremlin.
Sung by cadets from a military-style college against a background of World War Two monuments in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, it oozes patriotism and depicts a weak, divided West.
It also cheekily borrowing a clip from a Brexit rally in the UK to justify the strongman’s bid to restore Russian might.
“We want our country back”, trumpet the Vote to Leave posters, mixed here with a message that the Russian young are ready to die for “Uncle Vova”, aka Vladimir Putin – Vova being a fond version of his first name.
Putin, aged 65, has not yet declared if he will run or not for a six year term in the March 2018 presidential election, but meanwhile videos like this show the path being cleared for him to notch up another landslide 18 years after he first took the Kremlin helm.
One of his ultra-loyal MPs Anna Kuvychko sings along with the uniformed cadets with lyrics which seem to predict Donald Trump’s impeachment and write off the European Union as of no consequence.
The song – redolent of Soviet-style propaganda – makes clear there will be no concessions to Japan in the disputed Kuril Islands, several of which Tokyo claims, nor 11 time zones away to NATO over the Baltic Sea exclave of Kaliningrad, an amber-rich region bristling with Russian military firepower.
The first verse takes a swipe at America’s perceived role as a superpower seeking global hegemony with the EU painted as its supplicant:
The 21st century is here – the Earth has got weary of wars,
The population of the planet is sick and tired with hegemony.
There is no opinion of its own in the European Union,
The Middle East is groaning from troubles,
Across the ocean the president was stripped of his power.
Then comes a refrain, making clear the obedience of these cadets to Putin if he orders them into action in the ‘final battle’:
And we are – from our northern seas to southern borders, from the Kuril islands to the Baltic shore,
We wish for peace in this land, but if the main commander calls us up for the last battle –
Uncle Vova, we are with you!
The anthem goes on:
And what will be left for my generation? If we are weak, we will lose the whole country.
And our devoted friends – these are the army and navy,
And a red star of a grandfather as a memory of friendship.
Then comes the Uncle Vova refrain once more before the next verse vows:
The Samurais will never get this line of islands,
We’ll stand up and protect the amber capital,
We’ll keep our Sevastopol and Crimea for our descendants,
We’ll bring Alaska back home.
As the cadets dream of grabbing America’s largest state — sold by the Romanov tsars for $7.2 million in 1867 — they give a final stirring rendering of the refrain.
Major newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets noted it showed “kids ready to die for Putin” and said the song – supposedly the initiative of the woman MP, an ultra-loyalist in his United Russia party – has gone viral.
The young singers are reported to be from Volgograd Police Cadet school 44, and the song comes at a time when observers note a return to pride in the military and law enforcement agencies in Russia.
Volgograd is a “hero city” for its role in pushing back the Nazis, with some two million killed in the Battle of Stalingrad as Hitler’s thrust into the USSR was reversed.
Kuvychko, who represents Volgograd, said on Facebook: “The growing generation of hero city Volgograd, who are they?
“They are thinking people, and very much loving our country – the great Russia!
“They were brought up with the help of an example given by our defenders, they clearly understand that their great-grandfathers were fighting here, on Stalingrad’s land, long ago for this blue peaceful sky.
“They are facing different challenges these days no less serious than before.
“But they will manage and they will win!”
Other comments are not so positive, with critics claiming it is “a chilling propaganda anthem” aimed at backing Putin’s bid to keep his grip on Russia.
“Don’t mix up your Motherland and Uncle Vova. Love to the big boss is not about patriotism,” said one.
“We’re right on the way to a new North Korea,” complained another.
A critic added: “It is a pure political propaganda, dragging children into politics and teaching them from early years that war is a good thing.
“And those words about taking Alaska are hardcore.
«27% of the adult population (here defined as aged 18–65) had experienced at least one of a series of mental disorders in the past year».
Piaccia o meno il dato di riscontro è questo: un occidentale su tre è pazzo da legare. Questa così estesa patologia psichiatrica è causa efficiente delle anomalie cognitive e comportamentali riscontrabili in Occidente. Poi, ovviamente, i pazzi si considerano normali e reputano pazzi tutti gli altri.
«The Army will now allow recruits with a history of some mental health conditions to seek waivers to join the service.»
«The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018»
«To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses»
* * *
«In fiscal year 2017, the active-duty Army recruited nearly 69,000 soldiers, and only 1.9% belonged to what is known as Category Four.»
«That refers to troops who score in the lowest category on military aptitude tests»
«In 2016, 0.6% of Army recruits came from Category Four.»
«The Pentagon mandates that the services accept no more than 4% of recruiting classes from Category Four. In addition, waivers for marijuana use, illegal while in uniform, jumped from 191 in 2016 to 506 in 2017.»
* * * * * * * *
Gli Stati Uniti assommano a 325 milioni di persone.
Per raggranellare 80,000 nuove reclute gli Stati Uniti devono aprire a tutti.
Femmine, drogati, persone sofferenti di severe patologie mentali quali la sindrome duale, la depressione, l’etilismo cronico: tutti abili arruolati.
Trasformare questo branco di inabili ad abili al servizio militare è operazione impossibile.
Salireste su di un aeroplano il cui pilota sia un depresso con tendenze suicide?
Vi fareste operare da un chirurgo ubriaco fradicio?
Se tutti siamo concordi che gli armamenti siano essenziali per le vittorie militari, tutti pure concordiamo, dovremmo concordare, che i militari dovrebbero essere selezionati con cura: maneggiano armi letali. Magari deboli, ma almeno sani di mente.
Dareste forse una mitragliera in mano ad un pazzo?
Giorni fa avevamo dovuto prendere atto di questa notizia:
Questi simpaticoni si drogavano nella centrale attivazione e lancio dei missili atomici.
* * * * * * * *
Mr Putin, e con lui tanti altri, se la gongolano alla grande.
Senza sparare un colpo stanno distruggendo l’esercito americano.
È stato sufficiente foraggiare a dovere i parlamentari ed i senatori liberal democratici: quattro scudi, due gitoni, delle bustine di coca fina.
Chi nell’esercito russo presenti una malattia mentale è mandato in ospedale psichiatrico, ma chi si drogasse oppure si ubriacasse in servizio si farebbe venticinqe anni di Siberia, così, tanto da schiarisi le idee.
The Army will now allow recruits with a history of some mental health conditions to seek waivers to join the service. Here’s why this is happening now.
WASHINGTON – People with a history of “self-mutilation,” bipolar disorder, depression and drug and alcohol abuse can now seek waivers to join the Army under an unannounced policy enacted in August, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
The decision to open Army recruiting to those with mental health conditions comes as the service faces the challenging goal of recruiting 80,000 new soldiers through September 2018. To meet last year’s goal of 69,000, the Army accepted more recruits who fared poorly on aptitude tests, increased the number of waivers granted for marijuana use and offered hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses.
Expanding the waivers for mental health is possible in part because the Army now has access to more medical information about each potential recruit, Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman, said in a statement. The Army issued the ban on waivers in 2009 amid an epidemic of suicides among troops.
“The decision was primarily due to the increased availability of medical records and other data which is now more readily available,” Taylor’s statement to USA TODAY said. “These records allow Army officials to better document applicant medical histories.”
But accepting recruits with those mental health conditions in their past carries risks, according to Elspeth Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010 and is an expert on waivers for military service. People with a history of mental health problems are more likely to have those issues resurface than those who do not, she said.
“It is a red flag,” she said. “The question is, how much of a red flag is it?”
While bipolar disorder can be kept under control with medication, self-mutilation — where people slashing their skin with sharp instruments — may signal deeper mental health issues, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
If self-mutilation occurs in a military setting, Ritchie said, it could be disruptive for a unit. A soldier slashing his or her own skin could result in blood on the floor, the assumption of a suicide attempt and the potential need for medical evacuation from a war zone or other austere place.
A legacy of problems
Accepting recruits with poor qualifications can cause problems. In 2006, for example, an Iraqi girl was raped and her family killed by U.S. soldiers, one of whom required waivers for minor criminal activity and poor educational background to join the Army.
Memos and documents obtained by USA TODAY outline the hurdles that a potential recruit must clear to join the Army.
Guidance for screening potential recruits with histories that include self-mutilation make clear that the applicant must provide “appropriate documentation” to obtain the waiver, according a September memo to commanders. Those requirements include a detailed statement from the applicant, medical records, evidence from an employer if the injury was job-related, photos submitted by the recruiter and a psychiatric evaluation and “clearance.”
Slides for military officials who screen recruits show examples of people whose arms, legs and torsos have been scarred by self-mutilation.
“For all waivers,” one memo states, “the burden of proof is on the applicant to provide a clear and meritorious case for why a waiver should be considered.”
Taylor said many “meritorious cases” had been found of highly qualified applicants who had been disqualified because of events that had occurred when they were young children.
“With the additional data available, Army officials can now consider applicants as a whole person, allowing a series of Army leaders and medical professionals to review the case fully to assess the applicant’s physical limitations or medical conditions and their possible impact upon the applicant’s ability to complete training and finish an Army career,” Taylor said. “These waivers are not considered lightly.”
Under the right circumstances, a waiver for self-mutilation could be appropriate, Ritchie said.
“I can see a rationale that that shouldn’t be an absolute but could be a waiver,” she said.
Unknown number of waivers
The Army did not respond to a question of how many waivers, if any, have been issued since the policy was changed.
Data reported by USA TODAY in October show how the Army met its recruiting goals by accepting more marginally qualified recruits.
In fiscal year 2017, the active-duty Army recruited nearly 69,000 soldiers, and only 1.9% belonged to what is known as Category Four. That refers to troops who score in the lowest category on military aptitude tests. In 2016, 0.6% of Army recruits came from Category Four. The Pentagon mandates that the services accept no more than 4% of recruiting classes from Category Four. In addition, waivers for marijuana use, illegal while in uniform, jumped from 191 in 2016 to 506 in 2017. Eight states have legalized recreational use of marijuana.
Recruiting generally is more challenging for the services when the economy is strong. The Army has responded by offering more bonuses to those who sign up for service. In fiscal year 2017, it paid out $424 million in bonuses, up from $284 million in 2016. In 2014, that figure was only $8.2 million. Some recruits can qualify for a bonus of $40,000.
The Army’s decision to rescind the ban for a history of mental health problems is in part a reaction to its difficulties in recruiting, Ritchie said.
«The S-500 Prometey (Russian: C-500 Прометей, Prometheus), also known as 55R6M “Triumfator-M.”, is a Russian surface-to-air missile/anti-ballistic missile system intended to replace the A-135 missile system currently in use, and supplement the S-400. The S-500 is under development by the Almaz-Antey Air Defence Concern and with its characteristics it will be much similar to the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system.
The S-500 is a new generation surface-to-air missile system. It is designed for intercepting and destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as hypersonic cruise missiles and aircraft, for air defense against Airborne Early Warning and Control, and for jamming aircraft. With a planned range of 600 km (370 mi) for Anti Ballistic Missile (ABM) and 400 km (250 mi) for the air defense, the S-500 would be able to detect and simultaneously engage up to 10 ballistic hypersonic targets flying at a speed of 5 kilometres per second (3.1 mi/s; 18,000 km/h; 11,000 mph) to a limit of 7 km/s (4.3 mi/s; 25,000 km/h; 16,000 mph). It also aims at destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and other aerial targets at speeds of higher than Mach 5 as well as spacecraft. The altitude of a target engaged can be as high as 180–200 km (110–120 mi). It is effective against ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3,500 km (2,200 mi), the radar reaches a radius of 3,000 km (1,300 km for the EPR 0,1 square meter).
The main components of the S-500 will be:
– the launch vehicle 77P6, based on the BAZ-69096 10×10 truck;
– the command posts 55K6MA and 85Zh6-2 on BAZ-69092-12 6×6;
– the acquisition and battle management radar 91N6A(M), a modification of the 91N6 (Big Bird) towed by the BAZ-6403.01 8×8 tractor;
– the 96L6-TsP acquisition radar, an upgraded version of the 96L6 (Cheese Board) on BAZ-69096 10×10;
– the multimode engagement radar 76T6 on BAZ-6909-022 8×8;
– the ABM engagement radar 77T6 on BAZ-69096 10×10;
Response time of less than 4 seconds (S-400 less than 10)» [Fonte]
«The Russian military is gearing up to test the first prototypes of its next-generation S-500 Prometey air and missile defense system, which is also known as 55R6M «Triumfator-M».
The weapon is not an upgrade but the fifth (new) generation system, capable of destroying intercontinental ballistic missiles and spacecraft, hypersonic cruise missiles and airplanes at speeds of higher than Mach 5.
The S-500 is expected to be much more capable than the current S-400 Triumph.
For instance, its response time is only 3-4 seconds (for comparison, the response time of S-400 is nine to ten seconds).
The S-500 is able to detect and simultaneously attack (as well as make speeds of up to 4.3 miles per second) up to ten ballistic missile warheads out at 600 km flying at speeds of twenty-three thousand feet per second.
Prometey can engage targets at altitudes of about 125 miles, including incoming ballistic missiles in space at ranges as great as 400 miles.
Experts believe that the systems capabilities can affect enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles at the end and the middle portion.
Some sources report, that the S-500 system can detect ballistic missile at a range of 2000 km and warheads of ballistic missiles at a range of 1300 km.
It makes the system capable of defeating ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter atmosphere.» [Strategic Culture]
Nessuna forza militare ama parlare dei propri armamenti, specie poi di quelli innovativi.
Spesso le informazioni che trapelano sono solo quelle volutamente rilasciate, e l’esperienza insegna che dovrebbero essere prese con buon senso, anche perché sono spesso discordanti.
Per quanto riguarda il sistema S-500 una fonte riporta:
«Some sources report, that the S-500 system can detect ballistic missile at a range of 2 000 km and warheads of ballistic missiles at a range of 1 300 km. It can defeat ballistic missiles before their warheads re-enter atmosphere.» [Military Today]
Esattamente come un’altra fonte riporta che
«It has been reported that there is also an S-1000 system being developed in Russia. Possibly it is a modification of the S-500.»
Segnaliamo un lungo articolo di Mirko Molteni sull’argomento.
Il vero segreto militare gelosamente custodito è come facciano i russi a stare tecnologicamente allo stato dell’arte spendendo 69 miliardi Usd all’anno, circa due volte di quanto spenda l’Italia. Solo che la Russia è una potenza nucleare ed ha un esercito di quasi un milione e mezzo di effettivi, armati fino ai denti.
Gli Usa spendono 611 mld, i paesi dell’Unione Europea ne spendono 347 all’anno. L’Occidente spende 14 volte quanto stanzia la Russia, ma con risultati non confortanti.
I conti non tornano visibilmente, né si può dire che i russi spendano di più: semplicemente non avrebbero risorse sufficienti per farlo.
Russia’s Air and Space Forces are to receive state-of-the-art S-500 Prometey (“Prometheus”) anti-aircraft missile systems by 2020, Lieutenant-General Viktor Gumenny, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force said. Russia has been developing the new system since 2011.
The new anti-aircraft missile systems of the S-500 will have a number of advantages. The S-500 is believed to be a universal anti-aircraft long-range and high-altitude missile interception system with an enhanced missile defense capability.
According to information from open sources, the S-500 has an impact radius of 600 kilometers. The complex will be able to detect and simultaneously strike up to ten ballistic supersonic targets flying at speeds of up to seven kilometers per second. It will also be able to defeat combat blocks of hypersonic missiles. In a nutshell, the new complex will become one of the elements of counteraction to the USA’s Prompt Global Strike Concept.
According to the National Interest, the S-500 of Russia will be similar to THAAD, integrated into a “single network” with S-400, S-300VM4 (Antey-2500) and S-350 (Vityaz) systems thus forming an integrated air defense system.
Generally speaking, experts believe that the S-500 can be attributed to the first generation of systems of anti-space defense, unrivaled throughout the world.
At present, Russia’s air defenses are based on S-400 complexes. As of May of this year, the armed forces of the Russian Federation had nineteen S-400 regiments (38 divisions out of 304 launchers).
The S-400 Triumph system has gained a lot of international attention recently primarily because of Russia’s agreements to sell those systems to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Given the history of the development of the American THAAD system that has experienced many problems in more than ten years of tests, there are reasons to believe that it will take Russia a long time to create an effective anti-missile system, the National Interest assumed.
However, Russia has extensive experience in the development of anti-missile systems, and her present-day complexes are still top of the line, so Russia can take her time.
Purtroppo non è lecito raccontare i fatti come si siano svolti realmente, per cui ci si dovrà accontentare della versione ufficiale.
Andreste a dormire tranquilli se la sala operativa per attivazione e lancio di missili balistici a testata atomica multipla fosse in mano a nove cocainomani fatti come cocchi che stanno giocano con i bottoni rossi?
«Nine British servicemen have been thrown off a nuclear submarine after testing positive for drugs»
«the drug they had taken was cocaine»
«The servicemen were dismissed from duty from HMS Vigilant»
«The Royal Navy said it did not tolerate drugs misuse»
«A nuclear submarine captain has been relieved of his command after an alleged “inappropriate relationship” with a member of his crew. The Royal Navy captain is being investigated following the allegations, which involve a female member of crew.»
* * * * * * * *
Cerchiamo di parlarci chiaramente, perché qui ne va della nostra pelle.
Diamo atto a Lavrentij Pavlovič Berija di aver inventato il “pacifismo” ed il “femminismo“: due idee semplicemente geniali per indurre l’Occidente al suicidio.
I liberal democratici ed i socialisti ideologici vi si buttarono sopra come lupi famelici, e ne fecero bandiera ideologica.
Nemmeno Berija e nemmeno Stalin avrebbero però potuto prevedere gli sviluppi finali.
Dal loro punto di vista, ma anche da quello dei loro epigoni, lo sfascio morale dell’Occidente ottenuto così a buon mercato era, ed è tuttora, manna caduta dal Cielo. Un grande risultato ottenuto con il minimo sforzo.
Se basta regalare qualche bustina di coca ad un marinaio per mettere fuori combattimento una nave da guerra il rapporto prestazioni / costi è da favola.
L’Occidente si è assuefatto all’uso di sostanze inebrianti e stupefacenti, ed insorge veementemente contro quanti cerchino di bloccare codesto andazzo, come per esempio le Filippine.
Si valuti bene la penultima frase riportata. La Royal Navy non tollera l’abuso, non l’uso. Questa lessicologia la conta lunga.
Sarebbe velleitario sperare che una società così decadente possa poi dotarsi di eserciti virili. Sì: usiamo pure il tanto vilipeso termine “virile“.
In Occidente la gente si bea di una presunta superiorità tecnologica, senza tener presente che sono alla fine gli esseri umani ad impiegare la tecnologia. Ed ubrianchi o sotto l’effeto di una droga non sanno nemmeno fare i loro bisogni primari. se la fanno addosso e tanti signori: figurarsi poi gestire un sistema tecnologicamente complesso.
Con immensa soddisfazione russi e cinesi hanno assistito alla femminizzazione delle forze armate occidentali, che hanno dovuto abbassare gli standard fisici alla massa muscolare muliebre. Ed abbassare anche il grado di resistenza morale alla alterna sorte.
Ma con ancor maggiore soddisfazione Mr Putin e Mr Xi stanno assistendo all’imbruttimento delle forze armate occidentali.
Ufficialmente, a parole, vige la “no touching rule“, ma nei fatti mettere assieme, specie poi nei ristretti spazi di una nave da guerra, la miscela maschi – femmine risulta essere una mistura esplosiva. Se poi oltre alle femmine si prendono alla leggera gli alteramente senzienti ed agenti, bene, allora il “casino” è assicurato.
Russi e cinesi sono riusciti a neutralizzare gli Occidentali usando le loro stesse armi: bustine di coca e sesso sfrenato. E quante informazioni sensibili si ottengono con quattro soldi di droga!
Sulle allegre navi di Sua Maestà Britannica la Regina gli equipaggi passano il loro tempo ad amoreggiare, tra una sniffata e l’altra. Però, sia ben chiaro, mica fumano sigarette di tabacco!
Quando però nove imbarcati sul sommergibile atomico HMS Vigilant sono cocainomani fradici, la cosa inizia ad essere preoccupante, ma diventa estremamente pericolosa quando gli inglesi, gente notoriamente di larghe vedute, li mette nella sala di controllo per l’attivazione ed il lancio di missili balistici a testata multipla.
Quegli scotennati, nell’estasi eroica da stupefacenti, potrebbero tranquillamente scatenare un conflitto atomico.
Ed alla fine dei sughi si arriva all’epilogo.
Saranno i servizi russi a dover segnalare all’Ammiragliato inglese quanto sta accadendo sulle navi britanniche.
* * * * * * *
Quanto accaduto è di straordinaria gravità.
Non solo il fatto che membri dell’equipaggio fossero cocainomani, quanto piuttosto il clima di placida indifferenza che circondava quei nove.
Cari signori Lettori, se è vero che non potrete dir più nulla il giorno che arriverà sulla testa un missile nucleare lanciato da un cocainomane, è altrettanto vero che ve la siete voluta con il vostro permissivismo, con il vostro “femmina è bello“, e così via.
Siamo chiari: Mr Duterte fa benissimo, anzi, è fin troppo lasco.
The Dutch defence minister has resigned over the deaths of two soldiers during a training exercise in Mali in 2016.
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert stepped down after a report denounced “serious shortcomings” by her ministry.
The soldiers died when a mortar grenade exploded unexpectedly during target practice. A third was gravely injured.
The Dutch Safety Board said last week that the military had been using old, defective grenades that had not been tested or stored correctly.
In its report, it said the shells had been bought in 2006 “with the help of the US Department of Defence amid a pressure of time”. The defence ministry did not follow its own procedures to check they were safe.
“I am politically responsible and am taking that responsibility,” Ms Hennis-Plasschaert told the lower house of parliament in The Hague on Tuesday.
She had been expected to play a key role in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s new government.
General Tom Middendorp, the top Dutch military commander, also stepped down over the failures.
They pair had come under increasing pressure over the deaths of Kevin Roggeveld, 24, and Henry Hoving, 29, in Kidal, in north-west Mali in July last year.
The country’s security has gradually worsened since 2013, when French forces repelled allied Islamist and Tuareg rebel fighters who held much of the north, including Timbuktu.
The UN says attacks by militant Islamists against government forces, UN peacekeepers and French troops have dramatically increased in recent months. There were 75 attacks between June and September – double the total of the previous four months. Malian troops suffered the heaviest casualties.
The UN mission in Mali (Minusma) employs more than 12,000 uniformed personnel and 1,350 civilians, at an annual cost of $1bn (£0.75bn).
La notizia non sembrerebbe essere di grande rilevanza: era da molto tempo noto come i sottomarini russi fossero dotati anche di missili di crociera, armabili sia con testate nucleari sia testate classiche.
Deir al-Zor si trova però molto ad est delle zone classiche dei combattimenti: è posta a cavaliere della strada che da Al-Raqqa porta ad Al-Qa’im, collocata questa ultima subito a ridosso della frontiera. Il controllo di questa cittadina darebbe il controllo quasi completo dell’Eufrate e con esso delle acque fluviali maggiori.
Se è vero che Deir al-Zor è tutto sommato un paesino, i missili di crociera dovrebbero avere una precisione nominale alla decina di metri. Non desta quindi stupore alcuno il loro impiego su di un obiettivo così limitato.
Da fonti solitamente bene informate sarebbe però trapelata la notizia che questo lancio sarebbe stato un test.
Secondo tali voci i russi avrebbero avuto a disposizione un sistema di guerra elettronica in dotazione all’Alleanza atlantica ed avrebbero testato se i loro missili ne sarebbero stati disturbati o meno.
Non avendo particolari ed essendo la fonte di informazione sui generis non si potrebbe né dovrebbe aggiungere altro.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian Navy on Thursday fired seven cruise missiles at Islamic state targets in the suburbs of Syria’s Deir al-Zor, the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
It said the missiles were fired from two submarines in the eastern Mediterranean from a distance of 500-670 kilometers (727 miles).
“The targets were command posts, communication centers, as well as militants’ weapons and ammunition stockpiles in areas of south-east Deir al-Zor under the control of Islamic State,” the ministry said.
Si resta sempre sorpresi su come riescano i russi ad impiegare in modo così produttivo un bilancio militare che ufficialmente si attesterebbe attorno ai 65 miliardi di dollari americani.
I russi dispongono di una marina sufficiente per svolgere compiti locoregionali, senza attuali ambizioni globali. Una flotta di tale impostazione strategica abbisogna sicuramente di armi offensive, ma soprattutto di quelle difensive: sistemi contraerei ed anti-missile, sistemi missilistici anti-nave e, ovviamente siluri efficienti.
Loro obiettivo conclamato è il dominio dei mari limitrofi la Russia, ossia impedire ad altre marine militari di potersi avvicinare pericolosamente alle loro coste.
Alla fine del secolo scorso l’allora Unione Sovietica aveva messo in linea il siluro VA-111 Shkval, prodotto militare altamente innovativo: poteva infatti navigare ad una velocità di circa 90 km/h al momento del lancio, raggiungendo in breve i 370 km/h. Se è vero che essendo molto rumoroso era altrettanto facilmente individuabile, la sua stessa velocità gli avrebbe assicurato alte probabilità di colpire e distruggere l’obiettivo.
Cerchiamo di comprendere, per quello che è dato di sapere, come funziona un simile marchingegno e di razionalizzare le conseguenze tattiche e strategiche.
«La supercavitazione è una tecnica che permette di utilizzare gli effetti dell’ordinaria cavitazione per creare una bolla di gas all’interno di un liquido, permettendo ad un oggetto di viaggiare ad altissima velocità all’interno del liquido stesso, rimanendo però completamente avvolto dalla bolla di gas. La bolla riduce drasticamente la resistenza dell’oggetto, permettendogli di raggiungere velocità impossibili da ottenere con una normale tecnica di navigazione. Occorre considerare che la resistenza incontrata da un oggetto in un gas è molto inferiore a quella riscontrata in un liquido.
Quando in un liquido la pressione statica è minore della relativa tensione di vapore, avviene una transizione di fase e il liquido passa in fase gassosa sotto forma di bolle. Questo fenomeno è detto cavitazione. In genere la cavitazione è dannosa e da evitare nelle applicazioni fluidodinamiche: genera rumore, diminuzione di efficienza degli oggetti coinvolti ed erosione delle superfici a contatto.
La supercavitazione è utilizzata da alcuni siluri superveloci. Un siluro a supercavitazione è progettato per generare appositamente queste bolle di gas: l’estremità anteriore del siluro ha forma piatta con bordi sagomati. Quando l’oggetto raggiunge la velocità dell’ordine di 45 m/s, l’estremità piatta deflette l’acqua, che, incontrando a valle dell’estremità una pressione inferiore alla sua tensione di vapore, passa in fase gassosa dando origine ad una bolla di gas attorno alla punta del siluro. Aumentando ulteriormente la velocità ed iniettando gas di altra origine è possibile far crescere la bolla gassosa fino a ricoprire l’intero siluro.» [Fonte]
«Il VA-111 Shkval (in russo: шквал, “groppo”) è un siluro russo. Grazie all’utilizzo del fenomeno della supercavitazione può raggiungere delle velocità estremamente elevate (370 km/h). A causa di ciò la velocità e il rumore generato impongono un funzionamento più simile alla palla di fucile, che a quello di un siluro tradizionale e la portata è relativamente ridotta (tra i 7 e i 13 chilometri secondo le versioni).
La modalità di costruzione di tali armi rimane uno dei segreti più gelosamente custoditi dell’industria bellica russa, ma nel caso dello Shkval è noto che il siluro invia una parte dei gas che fuoriescono dai suoi ugelli di scarico in direzione del suo muso, cosa che permette di mantenere il siluro in una bolla di gas stabile di forma adeguata che lo separa dall’acqua circostante (supercavitazione). Il naso del proiettile è relativamente piatto e il corpo dell’arma possiede numerose alette destinate a stabilizzarlo.
Non esiste siluro occidentale paragonabile.» [Fonte]
È entrato in servizio nei primi anni del novanta: supporta testate convenzionali oppure nucleari.
Questo nuovo tipo di siluro a razzo dovrebbe essere un consistente miglioramento tecnico rispetto al VA-111 Shkval.
Very little information is being released on Khishchnik apart from the fact that it is being developed by Elektropribor, a design bureau which makes instruments for ships and subs as well as aviation components. Its existence was revealed in documents uncovered by Russian defense blog BMPD which revealed that the company had been working on Khishchnik since 2013 and that launch tests were expected in 2016 as part of a contract worth 3 billion roubles ($53m). There have been no official comments or announcements.
Other companies may also be working on the project. In 2016, Boris Obnosov, CEO of Russian company Tactical Missiles Corp, mentioned work in this area to Rambler News Service.
“Take for instance the well-known unique Shkval underwater missile. We are working on upgrading it heavily.”
The ‘heavily upgraded’ Shkval seems likely to be the Khishchnik.
Shkval has been upgraded several times previously, with improvements in range and guidance. A new name suggests a more significant upgrade. An export version of the Shkval, the Shkval-E was produced in 1999. There would be a big market for an unstoppable, carrier-killing torpedo.»
L’attuale tecnologia arriverebbe quindi a supportare velocità subacquee di 1,500 metri al secondo, ossia 5,400 km/h.
Da quanto sembrerebbe di poter capire, il Khishchnik potrebbe raggiungere la velocità di poco meno di 800 km/h con una portata utile di 30 – 50 kilometri. La testa generatrice del bubble sarebbe orientabile, consentendo quindi cambiamenti di rotta. Sembrerebbe anche verosimile che il sistema di guida sia stato migliorato afferendogli capacità di auto indirizzamento sull’obiettivo.
Stati Uniti e forze navali Nato non hanno sviluppato un simile sistema d’arma per il semplice motivo che, almeno al momento, le loro flotte militari non sono contrastate da forze navali degne di quel nome. In ogni caso, all’occorrenza, l’Occidente ha a disposizione tutte le tecnologie necessarie.
Opposta è invece la situazione sia della Russia sia della Cina, che solo del tutto recentemente inizia a sviluppare l’esigenza di flotte militari di altura.
Questi due stati hanno come preoccupazione principale le portaerei americane, che vorrebbero poter tenere più lontane possibile dalle loro coste e dalle loro basi navali. In questa ottica il VA-111 Shkval ed adesso il Khishchnik, sono armi che le portaerei non possono ignorare. Se è vero che le portaerei navigano ben protette da flotte di difesa e rifornimento, è altrettanto vero che nel rapporto prestazioni / costo una portaerei vale quasi venti miliardi, tenendo conto dell’armamento di bordo, mentre un siluro Khishchnik costa circa 50 milioni.
Accanto a questa tipologia di siluri, russi e cinesi hanno sviluppato una vasta gamma di missili ipersonici a bassa quota anti – nave.
«La Russia ha iniziato la sperimentazione dei nuovi ipersonici da crociera anti-nave Zircon, come ha riportato giovedì Sputnik News citando RIA Novosti. I missili da crociera dovrebbero essere in grado di raggiungere cinque o sei volte la velocità del suono (Mach 5 o Mach 6), ha aggiunto il rapporto. ….
I moderni missili anti-nave russi, come gli Onyx, possono raggiungere velocità fino a 2,6 Mach (circa 750 metri al secondo). Il missile da crociera Kalibr viaggia ad una velocità di 0,9 Mach, ma mentre si avvicina al bersaglio la sua velocità di punta può arrivare fino a 2,9 Mach. ….
In conclusione, anche se nessuno intende sottovalutare le capacità difensive delle navi militari della Nato ed americane in modo particolare, anche se li riteniamo essere troppo allarmistici, ben comprendiamo i titoli recentemente comparsi sulla stampa.
«Il missile supersonico CM-302 è in grado di colpire anche bersagli terrestri. ….
la Cina non possiede missili antinave simili ai russi P-1000 “Basalt” e P-700 “Granit”. Il P-700 da solo è grande come un piccolo aereo, con una massa di 7 tonnellate e colpisce il suo bersaglio ad una velocità Mach 2 e inoltre ha un proprio sistema di guida computerizzato dotato di contromisure EW (Electronic Warfare). Questi missili possono essere lanciati in salve, e durante il volo sono capaci di comunicare tra loro per coordinare l’attacco contemporaneamente su diversi bersagli. Il P-1000 può essere equipaggiato con una testata nucleare. Questi missili sono stati modernizzati più volte, possono essere lanciati dalle coste e sono stati progettati per colpire una portaerei a più di 700km di distanza.»
The principle of supercavitation continues to intrigue torpedo designers.
WHEN introduced 40 years ago, the Soviet Shkval (“Squall”) torpedo was hailed as an “aircraft-carrier killer” because its speed, more than 370kph (200 knots), was four times that of any American rival. The claim was premature. Problems with its design meant Shkval turned out to be less threatening than hoped (or, from a NATO point of view, less dangerous than feared), even though it is still made and deployed. But supercavitation, the principle upon which its speed depends, has continued to intrigue torpedo designers. Now, noises coming out of the Soviet Union’s successor, Russia, are leading some in the West to worry that the country’s engineers have cracked it.
Life in a bubble
Bubbles of vapour (ie, cavities) form in water wherever there is low pressure, such as on the trailing edges of propeller blades. For engineers, this is usually a problem. In the case of propellers, the cavities erode the blades’ substance. Shkval’s designers, however, sought, by amplifying the phenomenon, to make use of it. They gave their weapon a blunt nose fitted with a flat disc (pictured above) that creates a circular trailing edge as the torpedo moves forward. They also gave it a rocket motor to accelerate it to a speed fast enough for that edge to create a cavity consisting of a single, giant bubble which envelopes the entire torpedo except for the steering fins.
The result is that most of the torpedo experiences no hydrodynamic drag, greatly enhancing its potential velocity. To take advantage of this it is propelled, when the booster rocket runs out of oomph, by a hydrojet—a motor fuelled by a material, such as magnesium, that will burn in water.
Shkval’s problems are threefold. First, it has a short range—around 15km compared with around 50km for America’s principal submarine-launched torpedo, the Mk 48. Second, the hydrojet is noisy, so opponents can hear the weapon coming. Third, it cannot track its target. Most torpedoes use sonar to home in on the ship they are intended to sink. Because Shkval travels inside a bubble, any sonar needs to be mounted on the cavitation disc, which is too small for the purpose. In addition, returning sonar pings would be drowned out by the hydrojet’s noise. As a consequence, Shkval’s only guidance is an autopilot which steers it towards the place where its target was located at the moment of launch, in the hope that the target has not moved.
These deficiencies have not stopped Western countries trying to build supercavitating torpedoes of their own. Diehl, a German firm, announced a programme for such a weapon, Barracuda, in 2004. In 2006 General Dynamics, a big American firm, was commissioned to look into the matter (though its brief did not include the word “torpedo”, referring only to an “undersea transport”) by the country’s Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.
The firms’ engineers tried to overcome the guidance problem by developing a new type of cavitator. Rather than a flat disc, General Dynamics’ design had a curved surface, increasing the area available for sonar reception. In addition the sonar’s transmitters, mounted on the torpedo’s steering fins, were separate from the receiver, and the interference caused by engine noise was reduced by special filters. In the end, though, these efforts ran into the sand. Barracuda was never completed. General Dynamics’ project was shelved after a year. American naval research into supercavitation in general ended in 2012, though which particular problems proved insurmountable has never been revealed.
Russia, though, has not given up on the idea. In October 2016 plans emerged for a new supercavitating torpedo, Khishchnik (“Predator”). Few details have been released, except that the work is being carried out by Elektropribor, a design bureau specialising in high-precision systems for submarines. Combining a General Dynamics-style sonar with a better motor could, however, result in a weapon that the world’s navies would truly have to fear.
Such a motor is possible, according to Georgiy Savchenko of the Institute of Hydromechanics at Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences. His supercavitation-research group estimates that with the right fuel (perhaps lithium, which packs more energy per kilogram than magnesium) a new torpedo could have ten times the range of Shkval. It would still be noisy, but, added to its speed, such a combination of range and tracking ability would make it hard to evade. Moreover, there is no theoretical reason why Khishchnik should not travel quite a lot faster than Shkval does. In laboratory tests, supercavitating projectiles have clocked more than 5,000kph.
The supercavitating design being developed for Khishchnik might also feed into the Kanyon project, a giant nuclear-powered torpedo with a nuclear warhead that is intended to attack coastal targets. In what was either a deliberate leak or a piece of disinformation, this project was revealed to the world in 2015 during a televised meeting between Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, and senior officers of the country’s armed forces. The camera, looking over one of these officers’ shoulders, gave a picture of plans for the putative device, annotated with helpful information such as “speed of travel—185kph”.
The leaked design did not appear to use supercavitation—but if Kanyon is genuine, then thoughts of adding it cannot have escaped its designers. Even if Kanyon is smoke and mirrors, though, Khishchnik seems real enough. Perhaps, this time, aircraft-carrier skippers should be worried.
The Elektropribor Design Bureau in Saratov is developing a high-speed torpedo dubbed Khishchnik (Russian for ‘raptor’) and designed to replace the Shkval, expert Vladimir Tuchkov writes in an article with the Svobodnaya Pressa online news agency. The blog of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) has reported that Elektropribor is soon to complete the development of a sophisticated high-speed torpedo. The weapon is designed for replacing the famous Shkval capable of accelerating to 200 knots under water. CAST learnt about that when Elektropribor applied for participating in the 2015 Aircraft Maker of the Year Competition held by the Union of Aviation Industrialists of Russia (UAIR).
Two applications have been submitted, with one of them dedicated to “the execution of the state defense order for developing components of advanced underwater vehicles.” The application continues: “Since 2013, the company has been developing and manufacturing prototypes and testing a component of the underwater missile embodying advanced boundary layer control principles.”
The weapon in question is the Khishchnik, of which very little is known due to the program being very hush-hush. The torpedo is under development by the company developing components for military planes, and the weapon has been submitted for the competition to be held by UAIR. The thing is, the type of weapons is called rocket-assisted torpedo, and Elektropribor is developing electrical units for its rocket motor and the control systems.
The NII-24 Research Institute (now the Region State Research and Production Company, a subsidiary of Tactical Missiles Corp.) kicked off Shkval’s development in 1960. The requirements specification called for a torpedo with a cruising speed of 200 knots and a range of 20 km for launch via the standard 533-mm torpedo tube.
The first prototype was made as soon as 1964. The same year, it launched its tests at Lake Issyk-Kul followed by tests in the Black Sea near the city of Feodosiya. The tests failed. The designers developed one model after another that kept on failing to meet the stringent requirements specification. It is the sixth prototype that passed the tests and was cleared for full-rate production. The torpedo entered the Soviet Navy’s inventory in 1977.
Its high speed resulted from cavitation. Research into this field was started by a TsAGI affiliate in the Soviet Union in the late ‘40s. In the late ‘50s, the scientists came up with a harmonious theory of cavitation movement and issued recommendations for applying its principles to high-speed underwater vehicle development. Cavitation boils down to an object (a torpedo in this case) moving inside an air bubble, overcoming the drag caused by the air, rather than by water. A combined-cycle gas turbine unit in the nose section creates the air bubble enveloping the torpedo.
The weapon is propelled by a jet from its solid-propellant rocket motor, rather than by a screw or a waterjet. The Shkval’s power plant is two-stage. First, the solid-propellant motor accelerates the torpedo to the cavitation speed. Then, the sustainer – an underwater ramjet – kicks in.
The development of the underwater ramjet proved to be as difficult as that of the cavitation generator. It is radically different to the ones used in planes and rockets. It uses seawater as actuating medium and oxidizer, while hydroreactive metals are its fuel.
The speed requirement was met, but the range proved to be a mere 13 km. The torpedo’s launch depth was 30 m, and the weapon dashed to its target at 6 m below the surface. Initially, its warhead was nuclear and had a yield of 150 kilotons. The torpedo weighed 2,700 kg and measured 8,200 mm long.
While having a huge speed, the torpedo lacked a seeker. There were two reasons for that. First, maneuvering worth mentioning is impossible at such a speed, because the air bubble will disintegrate. Second, the torpedo is very noisy and it vibrates, which will make the seeker hear nothing but the motor.
Naturally, the heading of the enemy ship subject to sinking as well as its speed and other factors is taken into consideration prior to the Shkval’s launch, i.e. a lead is allowed for, but it is short, because the Shkval covers 13 km inside 130 s – a bit more than 2 min. The torpedo’s baseline model carried a 150-kt nuclear warhead. It was replaced with a high-explosive one weighing about 250 kg, when the time came to slash the nuclear stockpiles. However, the launch of the torpedo exposed the submarine, for the Shkval’s wake gave its position away lock, stock and barrel. The torpedo’s short range was fraught with another problem: to attack an aircraft carrier or other major combatant, the submarine had to enter its antisubmarine coverage area, which reduced its own chances for survival. In other words, although the designers produced high technical characteristics, the weapon proved to be of little use in practical terms. The Shkval was removed from the inventory.
Designers in two more countries echoed the ideas embodied in the Shkval. In 2005, Germany announced the development of the Barracuda supercavitating torpedo with a speed of 400 km/h, and, two years ago, the Iranian chief of naval operations mentioned a torpedo travelling at 320 km/h. However, these are not weapons ready for combat, rather prototypes undergoing the trials.
The Khishchnik is not a version of the Shkval. Serious money has been set aside for its development. The two contractors alone – Elektropribor and the SEPO-ZEM plant in Saratov – co-pursuing the Khishchnik-M program have received more than 1.5 billion rubles ($25 million).
Therefore, it is possible that the torpedo will have a seeker and be able to maneuver and its range and stealth will increase, expert Vladimir Tuchkov writes in the article on the Svobodnaya Pressa news website.
L’argomento è delicato quanto pruriginoso ed importante. Capendolo si comprendono i triboli tedeschi e soprattutto francesi, nonchè molte dinamiche interne la così detta Unione Europea.
La lettura dei link e degli allegati è indispensabile per comprendere l’articolo.
Per un certo quale lasso di tempo Mr Macron è diventato l’idolo di moda della sinistra liberal europea.
In Francia Mr Hollande era riuscito nell’improba fatica di disintegrare il partito socialista riducendolo dal 61% all’8%, ma a quel punto erano scese direttamente in campo la massoneria francese e la Banca Rothschild, presentando il proprio candidato alla Presidenza francese: Emmanuel Macron.
Quasi onnipotenti quando l’Occidente negli anni sessanta costituiva il 90% del pil mondiale, sempre potenti, ma decisamente ridimensionati, oggi che l’Occidente conta poco più del 40% del pil mondiale e, soprattutto, evidenzia una grossolana frattura tra Usa ed Europa di Mr Macron e Frau Merkel.
Il Qatar è il più grande esportatore di gas naturale liquefatto (LNG), e rifornisce di gas naturale tutta la penisola araba. Grande finanziatore del terrorismo islamico in Medio Oriente ed in Europa, è paese amico di chiunque gli permetta di fare buoni affari. Esiste, è forte e potente: sarebbe impossibile non tenerne conto.
«United Arab Emirates — Qatar on Wednesday signed a €5 billion euro (U.S. $5.9 billion) deal to purchase seven naval vessels from Italy»
«despite a blockade from neighboring countries»
«Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced the defense deal at a joint news conference in Doha with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano»
«Qatar, which is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, and other energy rich Gulf Arab states are among the world’s biggest spenders on military equipment»
«Qatar also hosts the hub for U.S.-led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria»
* * * * * * *
La posizione del Qatar è quella tipica di ogni paese arabo: tiene il piede in un buon numero di scarpe nella concreta speranza di guadagnarci su qualcosa. Gli arabi sono persone pratiche. Gli Occidentali, specie europei, stentano a comprendere che l’islam è politica, non religione.
Se il Qatar ospita comandi e truppe americane impegnate nella lotta contro il terrorismo in Medio Oriente, nel contempo finanzia in modo sostanzioso i terroristi stessi. È lavoro che genera lavoro. Accettato dalla Realpolitk, è avversato dagli ideologi.
In buona sostanza l’Europa, recependo le istanze di Frau Merkel, aveva posto come conditio sine qua non per fornire armamenti ai Paesi del Medio Oriente. LEuropa voleva anche la loro completa accettazione dei ‘valori‘ patrocinati dalla Bundeskanzlerin e del così detto ‘buon governo‘, così come esso è definito dai liberals. In parole povere, i tedeschi e l’Unione gradirebbero che gli arabi si convertissero all’lgbt, diventassero femministi, indicessero elezioni ed eleggessero governanti tedeschi oppure si dimettessero in massa e si facessero sostituire da femmine educate in Europa alla scuola liberal. Questa la loro risposta:
«We will not cause any more problems for the German government with new requests for weapons»
Mr Macron aveva mosso Cielo, terra ed inferi per avere questa commissione del Qatar per i cantieri Stx. Ma non ce la ha fatta. Non gliela hanno voluta dare. Adesso dovrebbe essere evidente che la potenza reale di Mr Macron e dei suoi mandanti è stata ampiamente sopravalutata.
E poi. Chi mai si potrebbe fidare di Mr Macron?
A nessuno è sfuggito come l’intero progetto sia finanziato da Deutsche Bank, in passato di proprietà tedesca. Così i sudditi di Frau Merkel avranno il privilegio di finanziare un progetto da cui la Bundeskanzlerin si è auto esclusa per difendere la propria Weltanschauung, trascinando Mr Macron con lei.
Confermare Mr Macron e Frau Merkel nelle loro rispettive fedi ideologiche è stato un capolavoro psicologico di Mr Tillerson, potentemente aiutato da Mr Putin. I superbi alla fine credono sia vero quanto dicono loro gli adulatori.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Qatar on Wednesday signed a €5 billion euro (U.S. $5.9 billion) deal to purchase seven naval vessels from Italy, a reminder of the small Gulf state’s purchasing power despite a blockade from neighboring countries.
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani announced the defense deal at a joint news conference in Doha with Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. They did not provide more details on the deal, saying only that it underscored the countries’ ongoing defense cooperation.
Qatar, which is the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter, and other energy rich Gulf Arab states are among the world’s biggest spenders on military equipment. The deals signed over the years with the U.S. and European allies have helped cement bilateral ties, but have also made the diplomatic fallout around Qatar all the more politically sensitive. Qatar also hosts the hub for U.S.-led operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
The dispute erupted in early June when the four countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and transport links with Qatar. Saudi Arabia also sealed shut Qatar’s only land border, impacting a significant source of food imports, and barred it from using its airspace, which has forced Qatar’s flagship carrier to take longer routes over Iran.
The crisis has prompted a flurry of international visits and meetings to try and resolve the crisis.
Earlier this week, the quartet said they would be open to dialogue with Qatar if it accepts their demands to change its policies in the region first. They also insisted that Qatar comply with a sweeping list of 13 demands as well as six broader principles that center around cracking down on terrorism financing.
In remarks at the news conference Wednesday, Al Thani insisted that any talks respect Qatar’s sovereignty and said his country has never put forth conditions for dialogue. He also appeared to dismiss the quartet’s latest comments that Qatar comply with their demands.
The Qatari government has inked a $5.9 billion U.S. deal with its Italian counterpart for four corvettes, an amphibious landing platform dock (LPD) and two offshore patrol vessels.
Qatar had negotiated the purchase in June 2016. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri is the principal shipbuilder, but Qatar’s ships will also be equipped with electronics and armaments from Leonardo and MBDA, respectively. The latter two firms are to receive a $1.13 billion contract to fit the new ships. The complete naval program also includes 15 years of after-sale maintenance and support work.
Notes & Comments:
Like Qatar Emiri Army and Qatari Emiri Air Force, the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces (QENF)’s modernization-track is steered towards both qualitative improvements as well as capability and quantitative expansion. The QENF’s present fleet comprises of fast attack craft and patrol boats meant for guarding its littoral seas and policing its exclusive economic zone. However, its future fleet will not only augment its patrol force (through two new OPVs), the four corvettes will provide a vastly changed warfighting capability.
Qatar’s forthcoming corvettes will be multi-mission combatants capable of anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). With a hull length of over 100 metres, Doha intends to configure the corvettes with (likely) a Leonardo KRONOS (Naval or Grand Naval) active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar paired with the MBDA Aster 30 Block-1 long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM), which has a range of in-excess of 100 km. Qatar is also procuring MICA-VL short-range SAMs which offer a range of 20 km, potentially to augment the Aster 30s on the corvettes and/or to equip the OPVs. The AShW element will center on the 180 km-range Exocet MM40 Block-3 anti-ship missiles (AShM).
The LPD is expected to be a variant of the 9,000-ton LPD Fincantieri had built for the Algerian Navy, the Kalaat Beni-Abbes. The Kalaat Beni-Abbes has a crew of 160 and can ferry 400 soldiers, 15 main battle tanks or 30 light-armoured vehicles with three medium-weight utility helicopters on its flight deck. This LPD will provide Qatar with an expeditionary element that it can apply for humanitarian and disaster relief and coalition support missions.
Le forze armate americane hanno subito in pochi giorni due smacchi sensazionali: uno con la USS Gerald R Ford, una portaerei con problemi di atterraggio e decollo, poi con la saga degli F-35, sui quali si blocca l’erogatore di ossigeno.
USS Gerald R. Ford.
A prima vista potrebbe sembrare una domanda idiota il chiedersi a cosa possa servire una portaerei se poi gli aeroplani non riescano ad atterrarvi sopra e nemmeno a ripartirne.
Ma poi, nei fatti, non è una domanda idiota: è il caso della USS Gerald R. Ford.
«The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land»
«Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million»
«While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat»
«Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck»
«scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system …. the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult ….The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.»
In sintesi: l’erogatore di ossigeno di bordo non funziona ed i piloti vanno in anossia. A latere, la cabina non mantiene la pressurizzazione.
«The Lockheed Martin-made F-35A fighter jets were declared combat ready by the Air Force last year, and F-35s have now deployed to Japan and Europe»
«An F-35 fighter wing will remain grounded as the service works to identify the cause of five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, the Air Force said Monday. …. The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights last week after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force. …. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.»
«For military jets, oxygen deprivation has been a nagging problem.»
«Navy investigators had identified 382 cases, including 130 that involved some form of oxygen contamination, and 114 with a failure of the jet’s system that maintains cabin pressure.»
* * * * * * *
Questi elementi ben si presterebbero a satire e facezie, che vorremmo evitare.
Tuttavia alcune considerazioni di ordine generale sembrerebbero emergere.
– Il livello degli ingegneri progettisti sta decadendo sempre più rapidamente nel tempo.
– Se è vero che tutti i grandi progetti richiedono un certo quale lasso di tempo per funzionare pienamente a regime, è altrettanto vero che i difetti dovrebbero emergere durante le simulazioni ed il periodo di prova, non dopo che sia stato dato l’ok operativo. Chi ha concesso il permesso di operatività dovrebbe essere rinviato a giudizio.
– i progettisti di ottanta anni fa, con regolo e buon senso, avevano progettato le portaerei che fecero vincere agli Stati Uniti la guerra sul mare. Esattamente come i loro colleghi nel ramo aeronautico avevano progettato e costruito i mitici B-17 e B-25. Alcuni progettisti, protetti dall’anonimato, hanno ammesso sconsolato che quelli non avevano femmine per i piedi.
– i progettisti di questa generazione hanno una fede infantile nelle nuove tecnologie e si illudono che elettronica, software ed intelligenza artificiale possano rimediare alle loro lacune matematiche, nel settore della fisica e della scienza dei materiali. Fanno un figurone nei salotti e nelle trasmissioni televisive, ma sul lavoro sono solo iettature. Ma come ingegneri, specie quelli meccanici, si qualificano con quello che producono.
– Landing system costs soared to fix flaws during development
– Carrier still can’t launch jets with full extra fuel tanks
The newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, praised by President Donald Trump and delivered to the Navy on May 31 with fanfare, has been dogged by trouble with fundamentals: launching jets from its deck and catching them when they land.
Now, it turns out that the system used to capture jets landing on the USS Gerald R. Ford ballooned in cost, tripling to $961 million from $301 million, according to Navy documents obtained by Bloomberg News.
While the Navy says the landing system has been fixed, the next-generation carrier built by Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. still hasn’t been cleared to launch F/A-18 jets carrying a full complement of fuel tanks under their wings, a handicap that could limit their effectiveness in combat.
The twin issues underscore the technical and cost challenges for the planned three-ship, $42 billion Ford class of carriers that is drawing increased congressional scrutiny. The Navy and Trump want to increase the carrier fleet from 11 authorized by law to 12.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain has long criticized the Navy’s management of the Ford program and joined a congressional effort that capped funding for the Ford at $12.9 billion and for a second ship under construction, the John F. Kennedy, at $11.4 billion. He’s likely to grill Navy officials about the newly disclosed landing system costs and troubled launch system during a hearing Thursday on the Navy budget.
The surge in costs for the development phase of the advanced arresting gear — built by General Atomics to catch planes landing — was borne by the Navy under terms of that contract. In addition, the program acquisition costs of the three systems built so far more than doubled to $532 million each from $226 million, an increase which must be paid by closely held General Atomics.
General Atomics spokeswoman Meghan Ehlke referred all questions to the Navy “per our contract.” Captain Thurraya Kent, a Navy spokeswoman, said the contractor forfeited all bonus fees it could have made during the 2009-2016 development phase and the service is reviewing the company’s master schedule for the John F. Kennedy weekly. The Navy also has placed personnel at the company’s facility in Rancho Bernardo, California, to monitor progress.
The Navy reported the cost increase to Congress last month because it breached thresholds established under a 1982 law for major weapons systems. It’s separate from the 22 percent increase since 2010 for construction of the carrier, which resulted in Congress imposing the $12.9 billion cost cap.
Trump, who has repeatedly complained about the high cost of major weapons systems — and then taken credit for reining them in — did that in a Coast Guard commencement address on May 17. The Ford “had a little bit of an overrun problem before I got here, you know that. Still going to have an overrun problem; we came in when it was finished, but we’re going to save some good money.”
‘It’s No Good’
Trump said “when we build the new aircraft carriers, they’re going to be built under budget and ahead of schedule, just remember that.” Still, the Government Accountability Office said in a new report Tuesday that the John F. Kennedy’s cost estimate “is not reliable and does not address lessons learned” from the Ford’s performance.
Trump scoffed at the carrier’s troubled electromagnetic launch system in a Time magazine interview last month, saying it doesn’t work and “you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out.” Saying the Navy should stick with an old-fashioned steam-driven catapult, he added, “The digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”
Until the catapult problem, which was discovered in 2014, is resolved it limits how much combat fuel can be carried in planes being launched from the carrier’s deck.
That “would preclude normal employment” of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the radar-jamming Growler version because “the aircraft are limited in the types of missions that they can accomplish” without added under-wing fuel tanks, Army Lieutenant Colonel Roger Cabiness, spokesman for the Pentagon’s testing office, said in an email. He said the Navy asserts that testing on the ground has solved a software flaw that caused excessive vibrations of those fuel tanks.
“The Navy estimates the software problem will be resolved and software updates incorporated” on the carrier for testing at sea during the vessel’s post-shakedown phase between May and November of 2018, Michael Land, spokesman for the Naval Air Systems Command, said in an email. He said actual launches of jets with wing tanks will follow in 2019.
The Navy still has time to fix the catapult issue. Though the Ford has been delivered, the ship is not scheduled to be declared ready for operations until 2020, with first actual deployment planned for about 2022, according to spokeswoman Kent.
Washington (CNN)An F-35 fighter wing will remain grounded as the service works to identify the cause of five incidents where pilots suffered from oxygen deprivation problems, the Air Force said Monday.
The 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona suspended all F-35A flights last week after the five pilots experienced hypoxia-like symptoms, Air Force spokesman Capt. Mark Graff said in a statement. The pilots all used their backup oxygen to land the planes safely.
The Air Force had expected to lift the grounding measure over the weekend, but said Monday that flight operations will remain on hold until a coordinated analysis of the problem is complete. An updated timetable to resume flights was not provided, with the Air Force saying only “we will take as much time as necessary” to ensure pilot safety.
“The 56th Fighter Wing will continue their pause in local F-35A flying to coordinate analysis and communication between pilots, maintainers, medical professionals and a team of military and industry experts,” said Air Force spokesperson Maj. Rebecca Heyse in a written statement.
“This coordination will include technical analysis of the physiological incidents to date and discussions on possible risk mitigation options to enable a return to flying operations,” she added.
There are 55 F-35As at Luke Air Force Base. Graff said that it’s still not clear what caused the oxygen incidents, but said that the pause was confined to Luke because “no other incidents have been reported” at any other Air Force bases since May 2.
The Luke F-35 grounding is the latest setback for the $400 billion F-35 program, a long delayed and over-budget weapons system that’s become the Pentagon’s most expensive in history. The Air Force grounded 10 of its F-35 fighters last year due to insulation problems, and last month the Air Force announced it had resolved an ejection seat issue that had led to a weight restriction being imposed on pilots.
The Lockheed Martin-made F-35A fighter jets were declared combat ready by the Air Force last year, and F-35s have now deployed to Japan and Europe.
The F-35A is the Air Force variant of the Joint Strike Fighter: The F-35B Marine Corps variant was declared combat-ready in 2015, and the F-35C Nary variant is supposed to be combat operational next year.
President Donald Trump has taken a personal interest in the F-35 program, slamming the costs as “out of control” and then getting involved in the Pentagon’s contract negotiations with Lockheed Martin. He took credit for generating $700 million in savings in the $8.5 billion contract for the latest batch of F-35 fighters.
For military jets, oxygen deprivation has been a nagging problem.
The Navy’s F/A-18 fighter jet pilots experienced a rising rate of “physiological episodes,” Navy officials told Congress in March.
Navy investigators had identified 382 cases, including 130 that involved some form of oxygen contamination, and 114 with a failure of the jet’s system that maintains cabin pressure.
The Air Force’s F-22 fighter pilots also struggled with hypoxia-like symptoms back in 2012, which led to limitations on F-22 flights until the issue was resolved. The Air Force said Friday that the F-35 program office has created a team of “engineers, maintainers and aeromedical specialists to examine the incidents to better understand the issue.”