Russia hypersonic weapon likely ready for war by 2020: US intel

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In this video grab provided by RU-RTR Russian television via AP television on Thursday, March 1, 2018, a computer simulation shows the Avangard hypersonic vehicle en route to target. (RU-RTR Russian Television via AP)

 

  • Russia has successfully tested a hypersonic weapon the United States is currently unable to defend against, according to sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports.
  • The Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is expected to enter Russia’s arsenal by 2020.
  • The weapon could be outfitted with a nuclear warhead but would be able to create destruction even without explosives.

A Russian weapon the U.S. is currently unable to defend against will be ready for war by 2020, according to sources with direct knowledge of American intelligence reports.

The sources, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity, said Russia successfully tested the weapon, which could carry a nuclear warhead, twice in 2016. The third known test of the device, called a hypersonic glide vehicle, was carried out in October 2017 and resulted in a failure when the platform crashed seconds before striking its target.

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Taiwan Livid After China Secretly Installs Cruise Missiles On Contested Spratly Islands

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Tensions continue to flare up in the South China Sea, as Beijing has reportedly installed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on three outposts in the region, as reported by CNBC on Wednesday, which cited sources with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports. The missiles have reportedly been installed on Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef and Mischief Reef.

The land-based anti-ship cruise missiles, designated as YJ-12B, allow China to strike surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs. Meanwhile, the long-range surface-to-air missiles designated as HQ-9B, have an expected range of targeting aircraft, drones and cruise missiles within 160 nautical miles. –CNBC

As we’ve documented again and again (and again and again), China’s military buildup in the Pacific, particularly surrounding the Spratly Islands, a collection of small islands, cays and atolls in the South China Sea, is one of the greatest long-term risks to peace and stability in the US and many of China’s neighbors, who have territorial claims in the region that may conflict with China’s. Continue reading

Admiral: Beijing Now Controls South China Sea

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(Photo Credit: MC1 Tiffini M. Jones/U.S. Navy)

 

Pacific Command Commander-designate Adm. Philip Davidson said China could overwhelm any other military force short of going to war with the U.S.

The nominee to take over the beleaguered U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Philip Davidson, has informed Congress that China has the capacity and capability to control the South China Sea “in all scenarios short of war with the U.S.” Continue reading

Mattis on Russian Mercenaries in Syria: I Ordered Their Annihilation

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis explained Thursday why he directed a strike that reportedly killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria back in February.

Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. has a deconfliction line with Russia to ensure that the two countries can communicate in order to avoid direct conflict with one another in Syria. He said that a group of “irregular forces” were in conflict with U.S. forces, and once it was ascertained that those forces were not Russian regulars, Mattis directed a counterattack. Continue reading

U.S. Air Force to Ramp Up Commitments to Space Amid Chinese Threat

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein / Getty Images

 

China’s “rapid growth” in military capabilities and space innovation considered a top concern

The United States Air Force is accelerating investment in space as Chinese advancements threaten to penetrate American systems in the previously uncontested domain, top service officials said during a congressional hearing Tuesday.

Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Air Force secretary Heather Wilson and chief of staff General David Goldfein both identified China’s space innovation and “rapid growth” in military capabilities among their top concerns facing the service in the coming years. Continue reading

Pacom Nominee: China Military Islands Now Control South China Sea

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

Admiral urges rapid U.S. buildup of hypersonic and medium-range missiles to counter China threat

China has deployed electronic attack systems and other military facilities on disputed islands in the South China Sea and is now capable of controlling the strategic waterway, according to the admiral slated to be the next Pacific Command chief.

Additionally, the command nominee Adm. Philip Davidson told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a written statement this week that the military urgently needs hypersonic and other advanced weaponry to defeat China’s People’s Liberation Army in a future conflict. Continue reading

Pentagon Steps Up North Korea Military Planning

Without a doubt, the talks are a major breakthrough in the nuclear impasse, but to be clear, it’s only in the very beginning stages. Although it’ll seem hypocritical to many after seeing high-level talks will happen, Washington is laying down its insurance policy. There is no guarantee that anything will come to fruition with the talks, and second, there’s no guarantee Kim Jong-un won’t use this for only his benefit like Russia, China and Iran do. They make treaties to break them because they know the United States will commit to its obligations.

It’s in America’s blood to take the moral high road in this sense. The axis powers know no morality in cases like this and use deals to extract concessions. They are users and manipulators, not cooperators. A majority of the public doesn’t see this, however, due to good propaganda that projects the ideal positive spotlight on them that they want.

 

North Korean threats to turn the South Korean capital of Seoul into a “sea of fire” are not propaganda, the Senate Armed Services Committee was told. (Associated Press/File)

 

The Pentagon is intensifying military planning for war on the Korean Peninsula despite the apparent thaw between North Korea and the United States over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile program.

Pentagon officials say the military planning has increased in recent weeks and involves reworking and refining Op Plan 5027, as the war plan for a conflict against North Korea is called.

The activity is being done by planners in the Pentagon in coordination with officials from U.S. Forces Korea, the military command in South Korea. The objective is to determine how best to execute President Trump’s order to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program. Continue reading

DIA: China, Russia Engaged In Low-Level Warfare Against U.S.

DNI Daniel Coats and Gen. Robert P. Ashley, director of the DIA

DNI Daniel Coats and Gen. Robert P. Ashley, director of the DIA / Getty Images

 

‘Gray Zone’ conflict outlined at Senate hearing

The Pentagon’s top intelligence official warned that China and Russia are engaged in information and cyber attacks against the United States as part of an undeclared low-level conflict.

Army Lt. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said during a Senate hearing the character of war is changing as technology facilitates greater global reach with weapons such as cyber attacks. Continue reading

US military chief Dunford: China is main threat to security

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on September 26, 2017. Photo: Reuters / Aaron P Bernstein

 

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff set out new US military strategies and policies toward China and Asia in a senate hearing

China was identified this week as posing the most significant long-term military challenge to the United States by America’s senior-most military leader, as he set out new US military strategies and policies toward China and Asia more generally in a congressional hearing.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, also revealed in the hearing, before senate, that he had informed China last summer of US plans to use military force against North Korea. 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

U.S. Military has ‘No Defense’ against Russian Nuclear Missiles, Top General Says

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, who was the chief commander of the U.S. missile and nuclear warhead arsenal, told members of Congress Tuesday that Moscow’s deployment last month of at least two battalions of the SSC-8 cruise missile, also called the RK-55 Relief, violated a 1987 arms treaty and put most of Europe at risk. Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Moscow’s latest move left the U.S. and its NATO allies off guard.

We have no defense for it, especially in defense of our European allies,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to the Agence France-Presse. “That system can range and threaten most of the continent of Europe depending on where it is deployed. … It is a concern and we’re going to have to figure out how to deal with it as a nation.” Continue reading

China’s First Overseas Military Base Nearing Completion

Chinese military officers bid farewell to members of a Chinese medical contingent as it leaves for West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola from the airport in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. China’s first overseas military base should be ready this summer close by the operations hub of U.S. Africa Command in Djibouti. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

 

Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AfriCom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expected the Chinese base on the Horn of Africa to be operational later this summer.

Without getting specific, Waldhauser said he recently met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese should not do at that location.” Continue reading

China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

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Multi-warhead weapon tested amid growing tensions with the United States

China flight tested a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads in what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.

The flight test of the DF-5C missile was carried out earlier this month using 10 multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs. The test of the inert warheads was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies, said two officials familiar with reports of the missile test.

The missile was fired from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in central China and flew to an impact range in the western Chinese desert.

No other details about the test could be learned. Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Gary Ross suggested in a statement the test was monitored. Continue reading

F-35 Program Delayed Again, Costing At Least $500 Million

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program has been delayed again and will cost at least $500 million more, according to correspondence between the Pentagon and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) revealed Tuesday afternoon that the Defense Department had confirmed the seven-month delay in the F-35’s system development and demonstration phase, or SDD. McCain has long been a harsh critic of the F-35 program for its delays and accompanying cost overruns, and President-elect Donald Trump has more recently took aim at Lockheed Martin’s development of the fifth-generation stealth fighter jets for its “out of control” costs. Continue reading

Pentagon’s top tester: Littoral ships ‘have a near-zero chance of completing a 30-day mission’

The Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program is behind schedule, hundreds of millions over budget, and incapable of conducting most of the basic missions it was intended to carry out. Senators on Thursday said they wanted to know why.

“Like so many major programs that preceded it, LCS’s failure followed predictably from an inability to define and stabilize requirements, unrealistic initial cost estimates, and unreliable assessments of technical and integration risk, made worse by repeatedly buying ships and mission packages before proving they are effective and can be operated together,” said Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., told Pentagon witnesses during a hearing.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was more blunt. “The process is completely broken. If you want this to stop, somebody needs to get fired.” Continue reading