US-Saudi arms mega deal looks to counter Iran

 

Washington has announced a bumper arms deal with Saudi Arabia, heralding the package as a major boost to long-standing security ties and a way to further isolate Iran.

Administration officials claim the agreement — worth $110 billion over the next decade — is the biggest single arms deal in American history, and it will see US defense firms flow everything from ships and tanks to the latest anti-missile systems to the kingdom.

The deal also reportedly includes the renewed sale of precision-guided munitions that had been blocked under president Barack Obama’s administration, for fear the Saudis would use them on civilian targets in Yemen, where Riyadh is prosecuting a war against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels. Continue reading

Geography and the coming Sino-American war at sea

A member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force takes part in an amphibious drill on May 13 during joint military exercises on Guam involving Japan, the U.S., France and Britain that were intended to show support for the free passage of vessels in international waters amid concerns China may restrict access to the South China Sea. | AP

 

Geography is determinate in military plans, a fact that planners understand at all levels, from tactical to strategic. While tailored combat elements may traverse difficult environments on land and at sea, heavily laden logistics craft that follow and enable them can rarely do the same. This is what pushes armies and fleets toward certain immutable routes, resulting in battles occurring at the same locations, over and over, throughout recorded history. Much as the ridge at Megiddo, better known as “Armageddon,” played witness to strife no less than 13 times since the 15th century B.C. because it stood astride the route from Mesopotamia to Egypt, key maritime straits such as the waters of the South China Sea and the Sunda and Malaccan Straits will provide the backdrop for future naval battles. Geography and geopolitics are intermeshed and unavoidable. Unfortunately for China, they sit upon the wrong side of the former and are rather poor at the latter. Western advantages in both must not be squandered. Continue reading

U.S. military satellites in crisis as foreign weapons advance and proliferate

(Associated Press/File)

(Associated Press/File)

 

The U.S. military’s satellite communications are facing a crisis, threatened by a growing array of foreign weapons, including cyberattack capabilities, lasers, electronic jammers and anti-satellite weapons, according to a Pentagon study.

An executive summary of the report by the Defense Science Board warns that military satellite communications used for global operations “will be contested by a myriad of effects ranging from reversible to destructive.”

“The estimated and projected electronic threats against satellite communication (satcom) have rapidly escalated in the last few years and will continue to increase in the foreseeable future,” the report says. Continue reading

Russia’s ‘Killer Satellites’ Re-Awaken

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY ELIZABETH BROCKWAY/THE DAILY BEAST

 

The trio of mysterious spacecraft were idle for at least a year. Now they’re zooming toward foreign satellites again—and no one really knows why.

A trio of mysterious Russian government satellites startled space experts when, shortly after blasting into low orbit between 2013 and 2015, they began dramatically changing their orbits, demonstrating a rare degree of maneuverability for small spacecraft.

Now after being idle for a year or more, two of the mystery-sats are on the move again. On April 20, 2017, one of them reportedly shaved hundreds of meters off its orbit in order to zoom within 1,200 meters of a big chunk of a defunct Chinese weather satellite that China smashed in a controversial 2007 test of an anti-satellite rocket.

By orbital standards, that’s pretty close. Continue reading

US Hypersonic Aircraft Will Not Catch Russia Flat-Footed

illustration only

 

The all-new Voronezh-class radar stations are able to spot and track America’s hypersonic aircraft designed to bypass Russia’s missile warning system. Until very recently the trajectories of these “fast runners” were impossible to register, much less to track.

Right now the Pentagon is developing several hypersonic vehicles as part of the DARPA Falcon Project. The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which accelerated to about 6 kilometers a second during flight tests in 2015 and 2016, is in the final stages of development now. Continue reading

North Korea War a ‘High Possibility,’ South Korea’s New President Says

South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-In, speaks during a press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on May 10. [JUNG YEON-JE/POOL/REUTERS]

 

There is a “high possibility” of a military conflict with North Korea, South Korea’s recently elected president, Moon Jae In, said Wednesday. The comments come just days after North Korea tested its latest missile, which was described by experts as its most successful so far, and one that the North said was capable of carrying a large nuclear warhead.

Moon, a liberal who was elected last week after a decade of conservative leadership, has taken a relatively diplomatic tone with North Korea, with whom the South remains technically at war following the armistice signed to end the 1950-1953 conflict. But he did not shy away from the potential consequences of the continued escalation of rhetoric and testing emanating from North Korea. Continue reading

America’s Dying Aluminum Industry

And America still has no replacement for the Russian rockets it uses to send things into space with. America is hemorrhaging.

 

High purity aluminum is used to make jets such as this Boeing F-18. (ASANKA BRENDON RATNAYAKE/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES)

 

Cheap Chinese aluminum is undermining national security.

At the dawn of the 20th century, the United States of America emerged as a world power. At the heart of its rise was a powerful manufacturing economy. Following the rapid expansion westward of Manifest Destiny, the collective resources of the continent were combined with the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people. The steel smelters of Pittsburgh, and the automobile factories of Detroit were symbols of America’s manufacturing might.

While American manufacturing drove forward peacetime prosperity, it wasn’t long before it would be mobilized for war. The armies of freedom were fortunate that the American industrial machine was on the side of the Allies, for it proved unmatched in the world. It is doubtful that the Allies could have won World War II if America was less industrialized. Despite the vital nature of American manufacturing, it has crumbled into oblivion since 1945.

The continuous outsourcing of American manufacturing and the over production of other countries has eroded away any industry America had. The smelters around Pittsburgh have long disappeared, and Detroit has become a ghost town. While this has led to fewer jobs and domestic issues, it is also becoming a national security threat. Continue reading

Space Wars? Moscow Seeking ‘Qualitative Parity’ With Washington – US Intel Chief

 

“Moscow is pursuing a wide range of nuclear, conventional, and asymmetric capabilities designed to achieve qualitative parity with the United States,” Coats told the US Senate Intelligence Committee. “These capabilities will give Moscow more options to counter US forces and weapons systems.”

On April 20, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the country was developing hypersonic weapons on par with the United States. Continue reading

Turkey Seeks Advanced S-400 Anti-Air Missiles From Russia

Russian S-400 air defense missile systems roll along Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow, on May 7, 2017. Ivan Sekretarev/AP

 

Turkey and Russia are haggling over the price for Turkey’s purchase of advanced long-range S-400 anti-air missiles, billed as F-35 killers by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on the outlines of an S-400 deal in May 3 meetings in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Continue reading

Foreign States Preparing Cyber Attacks on Infrastructure in Future War

National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers

National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers / Getty Images

 

Rogers awaiting new Trump cyber policy

Foreign nations’ cyber intrusions into key infrastructure network are preparation for damaging attacks in a future conflict, the commander of Cyber Command told Congress Tuesday.

Adm. Mike Rogers, the commander who is also director of the National Security Agency, said one of his major concerns is cyber attacks on critical infrastructures used to run the electric grid, financial systems, communications networks, the transportation systems, and others. Continue reading

China Warns Washington Its Latest Missile Can Sink A US Aircraft Carrier

 

China recently tested a new, advanced type of guided missile in the sea near the Korean peninsula, the Chinese defense ministry said Tuesday cited by the Times of India, just as South Korea concluded its presidential elections amid rising regional tensions. The test in the Bohai Sea was conducted to “raise the operational capability of the armed forces and effectively respond to threats to national security,” the ministry said in a brief statement. The statement did not say when the launch took place, only that it happened “recently”, nor did it give any details about the missile nor the type of platform from which it was launched. Continue reading

Iran reportedly tests supercavitating torpedo

The Hoot was displayed for the first time in October 2015. (Mehr News Agency)

 

Iran test fired its Hoot high-speed torpedo near the Strait of Hormuz on 7 May, NBC News reported three senior US defence officials as saying on the following day.

The sources said the Hoot is still in its testing phase and could not say whether the test was successful. They said the weapon should be able to travel 12,000 yards (11 km) at 200 kt (370 km/h). There was no information on the launch platform used for the test. Continue reading

Iran to Launch Two New Satellites, Likely Cover for Illicit ICBM Program

As warned about as early as 2012:

Iran launches observation satellite: media

 

A picture taken in 2010 shows the test firing at an undisclosed location in Iran of a surface-to-surface Qiam missile / Getty Images

 

Trump admin moving closer to confronting the Iranian threat

Iran is preparing to launch two new domestic satellites into space, according to a new announcement by Iranian military leaders that is stirring discussion among U.S. national security insiders who say the move is likely cover for the test firing of advanced intercontinental ballistic missile technology that could be used as part of Iran’s nuclear program.

The latest test comes as the Trump administration continues to engage in a comprehensive review of the Iran nuclear agreement that U.S. officials tell the Washington Free Beacon will result in a full-scale plan to “meet the challenges Iran poses with clarity and conviction.” Continue reading

Images emerge of possible new Chinese anti-ship weapon

An image of what appears to be a brochure marketing the ‘ground-effect unmanned aerial vehicle’ appeared on Chinese online forums in early May. (sina.com.cn)

 

China may be developing a new anti-ship weapon that combines technologies derived from developments in cruise missiles and ground-effect vehicles (GEVs).

An image of a brochure marketing the weapon, the latter of which is shown painted in blue Chinese navy camouflage, appeared on Chinese online forums in early May. Continue reading

China Develops Software to Stop Whistleblowers From Leaking State Secrets

© Photo: Pixabay

 

The Chinese military is developing software that will be able to automatically tip off authorities each time soldiers leak classified information via their smartphones, Chinese media reported.

According to China News, the program can be installed and uninstalled in automatic mode, restrict access to specific websites, set limits on communication hours and keep an eye on the use of sensitive words. Continue reading