Inside the Ring: Pentagon Studies Ways to Counter Hypersonic Missile Threat from China, Russia

Navy Phoenix missiles like this one may be used to acquire hypersonic flight test data. (NASA)

 

The Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency has launched a study of innovative ways to counter advanced missile threats such as ultra-high-speed maneuvering hypersonic missiles.

“MDA understands the emerging threat posed by hypersonic glide vehicle and maneuvering ballistic missile warheads and is evaluating programs and technologies to address this threat,” MDA spokesman Chris Johnson told Inside the Ring.

The agency recently released a request for information that will seek to identify weapon concepts for defense against future advanced threats such as hypersonics, he said. The responses are due Friday and will be used to develop an “analysis of alternatives” planned for 2017. Continue reading

The Rotten Heart of the United States Navy

Caption: Donald Trump speaks aboard the World War II Battleship USS Iowa. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The United States Navy is the most dominant military force in world history. Its firepower compared to rival fleets makes it unchallengeable. However, that power is eroding.

In response, President Donald Trump has vowed to implement the biggest shipbuilding strategy since Ronald Reagan. The president cited that the U.S. Navy is its smallest since World War I and needs rapid expansion to avoid collapse. With China, Russia and Iran challenging U.S. naval hegemony, it seems like an appropriate response. Indeed, the U.S. Navy has been losing its edge technologically and numerically since the end of the Cold War. However, that is not the most dangerous threat it faces.

The U.S. Navy has a crisis in character. If not solved, it will completely neutralize one of the greatest forces for good in the world. Continue reading

Robots poised to take over wide range of military jobs

Henrik Christensen, director of UC San Diego’s Contextual Robotics Institute. (K.C. Alfred / Union-Tribune)

 

The wave of automation that swept away tens of thousands of American manufacturing and office jobs during the past two decades is now washing over the armed forces, putting both rear-echelon and front-line positions in jeopardy.

“Just as in the civilian economy, automation will likely have a big impact on military organizations in logistics and manufacturing,” said Michael Horowitz, a University of Pennsylvania professor and one of the globe’s foremost experts on weaponized robots.

“The U.S. military is very likely to pursue forms of automation that reduce ‘back-office’ costs over time, as well as remove soldiers from non-combat deployments where they might face risk from adversaries on fluid battlefields, such as in transportation.” Continue reading

Russia Gains Upper Hand In Asian Oil War

The Saudi-led OPEC cuts may have supported oil prices and reduced market volatility, but they have also opened the door wide to rival crude grades flowing into the most prized market for the Middle Eastern producers: Asia.

Reduced supplies by OPEC resulted in higher prices for Middle Eastern crude benchmark Dubai and a narrower Brent/Dubai spread, which made the shipment of Brent-price-linked crude grades to Asia profitable. Continue reading

U.S. aircraft carrier group begins patrols in disputed S. China Sea

USS Carl Vinson transits the Philippine Sea on Feb. 14. /U.S. Navy/MC3 Kurtis A. Hatcher

 

The U.S. deployed an aircraft carrier group to the South China Sea on Feb. 18, one day after China completed naval exercises in the disputed waters.

Rear Adm. James Kilby, commander of the Vinson strike group, told Navy News Service that “the training completed over the past few weeks has really brought the team together and improved our effectiveness and readiness as a strike group. We are looking forward to demonstrating those capabilities while building upon existing strong relationships with our allies, partners and friends in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.” Continue reading

Chinese weapons reaching ‘near-parity’ with West: study

The International Institute for Strategic Studies said that China’s official defence budget of $145 billion (137 billion euros) last year was 1.8 times higher than those of South Korea and Japan combined (AFP Photo/GREG BAKER)

 

China is beginning to export its own weapon designs, including armed drones, worldwide and is reaching “near-parity” with the West in terms of military technology, according to a report on Tuesday.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies said that China’s official defence budget of $145 billion (137 billion euros) last year was 1.8 times higher than those of South Korea and Japan combined. Continue reading

“It Was A Deer In Headlights Moment”: Japan Dumps Most US Treasuries Since May 2013

 

With the December monthly TIC data due out this week, bond traders will be closely watching if the selling of US Treasuries by foreign accounts, and especially central banks, which as we have repeatedly shown for the past several months has hit record levels…

However, this time the surprise may not be China, but its nemesis across the East China Sea, Japan. Continue reading

Trump To Unveil “Passive-Aggressive” Currency War With China

Call it passive-aggressive currency war.

While one of Trump’s most sincere desires, both during his campaign, and ideologically from his life prior to politics, has been to publicly declare China a currency manipulator – something he promised he would do on day one of his administration – and crack down on the “undervalued” Yuan (even though over the past 18 months, China has been scrambling to prevent further devaluation of the Yuan in light of over $1 trillion in capital outflows in recent years), lately Trump appears to have gotten second thoughts, and after backing off on his intent to negotiate the “One China” policy, now Trump is looking for a way out of engaging China directly in currency war. Continue reading

Russia, Iran Supporting Taliban to ‘Undermine’ U.S. Mission in Afghanistan

Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan / AP

 

Moscow working to ‘publicly legitimize’ Taliban

The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday that Russia and Iran are supporting the Taliban in part to undermine the U.S. and NATO mission to attain peace and stability in the nation.

Army Gen. John Nicholson told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Iran is providing the Taliban in western Afghanistan with military and logistical support. Continue reading

China ‘beefing up military’ on disputed islands in the South China Sea, says US think tank

A satellite image taken last month of Chinese building work on Drummond Island in the Paracels. Photo: Centre for Strategic and International Studies

 

Satellite images suggest further military build-up on the Paracel Islands, US researchers say

Satellite images suggest China has upgraded military infrastructure in northern areas of the South China Sea around the disputed Paracel Islands, according to a US think tank.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said on Wednesday that China now occupies 20 outposts in the Paracels and there has been an extensive military buildup on eight islands. Continue reading

Global arms race won’t stop now: U.S. eyes potential foes working on new weaponry

It’s just basic human nature, but no one likes to look over their shoulder to see an eager competitor gaining on them no matter what the situation is, right?

Well, while we have the world’s finest, most powerful military, we have some potential enemies, “frenemies,” etc. who are trying to catch up to us with their development and deployment of cutting-edge military weapons.

There’s reason to be unsettled. Continue reading

Has China been Practicing Preemptive Missile Strikes against U.S. Bases?

What a great time to have most of the U.S. carrier strike groups docked on the mainland… for China, that is.

Please see the source for more eerie satellite pictures, etc…

 

Fig. 10: Possible moored ship and naval facility targets, imagery dated August 2013. Compared for scale with actual U.S. destroyer.

You’ve probably heard that China’s military has developed a “carrier-killer” ballistic missile to threaten one of America’s premier power-projection tools, its unmatched fleet of aircraft carriers. Or perhaps you’ve read about China’s deployment of its own aircraft carrier to the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. But heavily defended moving targets like aircraft carriers would be a challenge to hit in open ocean, and were China’s own aircraft carrier (or even two or three like it) to venture into open water in anger, the U.S. submarine force would make short work of it. In reality, the greatest military threat to U.S. vital interests in Asia may be one that has received somewhat less attention: the growing capability of China’s missile forces to strike U.S. bases. This is a time of increasing tension, with China’s news organizations openly threatening war. U.S. leaders and policymakers should understand that a preemptive Chinese missile strike against the forward bases that underpin U.S. military power in the Western Pacific is a very real possibility, particularly if China believes its claimed core strategic interests are threatened in the course of a crisis and perceives that its attempts at deterrence have failed. Such a preemptive strike appears consistent with available information about China’s missile force doctrine, and the satellite imagery shown below points to what may be real-world efforts to practice its execution. Continue reading

China Boosting Nuclear Capabilities, Narrowing Gap With US, Russia

“The DF-5’s strengths are obvious. This is a powerful liquid-fuel missile which weighs 183 tons. Its energy potential is so great that it [led to China] creating a family of space launch vehicles based [upon this missile]. It is capable of delivering a powerful front section with ten warheads and the means of overcoming ballistic missile defenses to the US,” Vasily Kashin said.

 

China is likely to change the rules of the game in the Asian-Pacific region: in the coming years Beijing may narrow the gap with the US in terms of strategic nuclear capabilities, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin told Sputnik, referring to Beijing’s flight test of advanced DF-5C intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

There appear to be more and more reasons to expect China to make a spectacular breakthrough in the field of nuclear weapons development, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin told Sputnik, adding that this could lead to radical changes in the ongoing geopolitical game over Asia-Pacific.

On January 31 Bill Gertz, a senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon, reported that Beijing had flight tested “a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads,” dubbing it a “dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.” Continue reading

WARNING TO TRUMP: China to flex military muscle with FIVE HUNDRED warships

As we had learned from previous posts, the PLAN can expand its navy during war, weaponize and mobilize over 172,000 sea vessels.

You can read more about this in the following previous posts:

China using fishing fleets to expand maritime claims: US official

China Prepares Its 172,000 Civilian Ships for War

US Navy’s Challenge in South China Sea? Sheer Number of Chinese Ships

China practices Taiwan invasion with civilian ferries, bomber flights in Bashi Channel

A lot of naysayers would immediately dismiss the threat, however, 172,000 vessels loaded with anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles, ICBMs, or God forbid a nuclear weapon, would be a problem for the U.S. Navy. Shipping containers can easily disguise mobile nukes loaded on freighters. Even half or a quarter of the amount of ships loaded with weapons would keep anyone out that doesn’t want to lose an entire fleet… or more.

 

Donald Trump’s comments over the South China Sea have sparked powerful response from China [Getty]

 

HUNDREDS of warships, including aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and a destroyer force, could soon be patrolling the Asia–Pacific as tensions between Beijing and Washington reach boiling point.

China is refusing to back down over President Donald Trump’s apparent interest in interfering with the ongoing turf war in the South China Sea.

With Xi Jinping’s nation being economically strong, it has the money and capability to massively expand its armed forces. Continue reading

Large Russian Anti-Sub Ship Severomorsk to Participate in Oman 2017 Exercises

© Sputnik/ Mikhail Fomichev

 

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Navy’s large anti-submarine ship Severmorsk has completed a business visit to Oman’s port of Salalah and continued its mission in the Indian ocean, with further participation in the Aman 2017 international naval exercises, which will be held in the North of the Arabian Sea, the press service of the Russian Northern fleet said Tuesday. Continue reading