New Russian missile threat to homeland

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Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who is also commander of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), said Russia “only recently developed and deployed capabilities to threaten us below the nuclear threshold.” (Associated Press/File)

 

The commander of the military’s Northern Command warned this week that Moscow is deploying conventionally armed missiles that for the first time are capable of striking targets deep inside the United States.

Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, who is also commander of the U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Command (NORAD), stated in prepared congressional testimony that while Russian nuclear missiles have threatened the country for more than 50 years, Moscow “only recently developed and deployed capabilities to threaten us below the nuclear threshold.”

The new threats include offensive cyberattacks and a new generation of air- and sea-launched cruise missiles.

The missiles can be fired farther from U.S. borders with “significantly greater standoff ranges and accuracy than their predecessors, allowing them to strike North America from well outside NORAD radar coverage,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Russian bombers, including Tu-95 Bears and Tu-160s Blackjacks, also are flying frequent sorties close to U.S. coasts and borders military to show off their nuclear capabilities, he said. The long-range Russian missiles include “highly capable” anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles.

Those air-launched weapons are backed by new Severodvinsk-class submarines “armed with advanced land-attack cruise missiles,” the general said, adding that the new sub “is much quieter and more lethal than previous generations of Russian attack submarines.”

Additionally, Russia is planning to deploy surface warships in Arctic waters armed with the modular Kalibr-NK cruise missile.

The Kalibr “will offer highly precise land-attack capabilities and introduce a new cruise missile threat from our northern approaches,” the four-star commander said.

In addition to the Kalibr, the Russians are bolstering Arctic defenses by deploying K-300 Bastion coastal defense cruise missiles on the New Siberian Islands, missiles that will significantly increase Russia’s control over a large stretch of the northern sea route, he said.

“Russia’s growing non-nuclear capabilities provide Moscow a range of options to dissuade an adversary from escalating and to terminate a conflict on terms favorable to Moscow, increasing the potential for miscalculation or opportunistic actions,” he added.

Another new weapon that poses a threat to the homeland is the Avangard hypersonic missile that travels at a reported 20,000 miles per hour — fast enough to defeat current missile defenses and capable of striking the homeland within 15 minutes of launch atop a ballistic missile.

Asked what is the most significant threat he is facing as commander, Gen. O’Shaughnessy said in the near term it is Russia’s missiles, both conventional and nuclear, and cyberattacks.

“We need to invest in our ability to defend if we’re going to be able to maintain our ability to defend, and that is something that I think we need to have a sense of urgency on,” he said.

STRATCOM ON RUSSIAN TACTICAL NUKES

U.S. WARSHIPS TRANSIT TAIWAN STRAIT

Two Navy warships transited the Taiwan Strait this week in a show of American support for democratic Taiwan and a dig at mainland China that regards the island as a breakaway Chinese province and not an independent state. The ships were identified as the guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem and dry cargo ship USNS Cesar Chavez.

Full article: New Russian missile threat to homeland (The Washington Times)

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