“The US Defense Department believes the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is developing a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile. That is, a heavy, multi-stage missile that leaves the Earth’s atmosphere and travels around the world at huge velocities before re-entering and descending toward its target at 20 times the speed of sound. Such missiles normally have a nuclear warhead: but this one, uniquely, would be armed with conventional explosives.
It’s an incredibly dangerous idea. A bad idea the Pentagon is intimately familiar with. After all, it tried to develop the same kind of “conventional” ICBM years ago – and ultimately gave up as it began to appreciate everything that could go wrong.
Namely, there seemed to be a good chance that, if US forces ever fired a conventional ICBM in anger, nuclear-armed countries would detect the launch, recognize the energy and trajectory of an ICBM – and be faced with an impossible dilemma.
Were the Americans launching a nuclear first strike? Would they lie, if asked? And how long could America’s nuclear rivals wait for clarification before launching their own nukes?
A non-nuclear ICBM was, and still is, a nuclear nightmare. That was the cold truth when the missile was an American idea. And it’s still the truth now that it’s a Chinese idea. “Conventionally-armed ICBMs would present significant risks to strategic stability,” the Pentagon warned in its latest annual report on Chinese military capabilities.”
“The Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah has obtained Russian anti-ship missiles capable of targeting US carrier groups posted near Israel, Reuters reported.
In a speech last week Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah issued a veiled threat to the US, saying that the militant group had weapons capable of striking US warships in the region to deter attacks on Israel.
Reuters, citing unnamed sources, said that Nasrallah was talking about Russian Yakhont missiles which Hezbollah obtained while fighting alongside Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war.
The missiles have a range of around 186 miles, and can be launched from ground, sea or air.
Speaking about the possibility that Hezbollah had acquired the weapons, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters: “This is news without any confirmation at all. We do not know if it is true or not.”
A US official told the outlet: “We’re obviously paying a lot of attention to that… and we’re taking what capabilities they have seriously.””
“The airfields that have reportedly been targeted are deep behind the front-line, supposedly safe from attack. But the ATACMS system can strike targets with pinpoint accuracy at a range of up to 300kms. Not so safe after all.
We’ve already seen the havoc wreaked by the British Storm Shadow precision missile. Its range of 180kms has made the Black Sea fleet all but irrelevant, as it has had to scuttle back to ports deep in Russia. ATACMS now means that Russia will have to move its key air assets far back from the front lines. Its attack helicopters, which have done so much damage to the Ukrainian armoured forces, may now be out of range entirely.
Likewise, command posts will have to move so far back from the front-lines that they may become entirely ineffective in controlling the close battle. If the untrained, poorly armed and underfed conscripts in the trenches felt isolated before, their leaders will now be so far away that – to use the British army adage for absent commanders – they will have to send their washing forward.
Soldiers without leaders are rabbles, and these Russian rabbles don’t even want to fight. Without their leaders forcing them at gun point, they may not – particularly if they don’t have air cover and artillery support.
It won’t just be helicopters and jets receiving gifts this Christmas courtesy of ATACMS. Russian artillery and its precision guided missile systems may all now be in range. If the flow of battlefield intelligence from the US, UK and Nato continues, we can expect a long string of successful attacks on high value Russian targets.
This won’t just be a morale boost for the Ukrainian military. It could well take the brakes off the counter-offensive. If the Ukrainian tanks don’t have to worry about attacks from the air, they can push on with greater urgency, break through the remaining Russian lines, and steam into Crimea.”
“Hypersonic weapons, or vehicles and missiles that travel faster than Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, aren’t new; the US has been developing and testing these weapons since the 1950s. But there’s been relatively little USinvestment in these systems
The U.S. Defense Industrial Base Is Not Prepared for a Possible Conflict with China Seth G. Jones. CSIS. https://features.csis.org/preparing-the-US-industrial-base-to-deter-conflict-with-China/ Affordable Mass: The Need for a Cost-Effective PGM Mix for Great Power Conflict Mark A. Aunzinger. 2021 11. Mitchell Institute. https://mitchellaerospacepower.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Affordable_Mass_Policy_Paper_31-FINAL.pdf Ukraine War
“”the military’s ability to respond to balloons and similar craft is constrained by physics and the capabilities of current weapons,” The Washington Post reports, and you can’t really pop a giant balloon with gunfire at 40,000 feet.
“You can fill a balloon full of bullet holes, and it’s going to stay at altitude,” David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and fighter pilot, tells the Post. The air pressure that high up doesn’t allow helium to freely escape through small holes, even if fighter jets flying by at hundreds of miles per hour can riddle the near-stationary balloon with bullets.”