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

U.S. Air Force deploys WC-135 nuclear sniffer aircraft to UK as spike of radioactive Iodine levels is detected in Europe

A follow-up from yesterday’s post:

 

 

The USAF WC-135C Constant Phoenix might be investigating a spike in radioactive levels in Norway. Someone speculates the release of this radionuclide could be the effect of a Russian nuclear test.

On Feb. 17, 2017, U.S. Air Force WC-135C Constant Phoenix Nuclear explosion “sniffer,” serial number 62-3582, using radio callsign “Cobra 55” deployed to RAF Mildenhall, UK.

As we have already reported the WC-135 is a derivative of the Boeing C-135 transport and support plane. Two of these aircraft are in service today out of the ten examples operated since 1963. The aircraft are flown by flight crews from the 45th Reconnaissance Squadron from Offutt Air Force Base while mission crews are staffed by Detachment 1 from the Air Force Technical Applications Center. Continue reading

Nuclear Submarines and Hypersonic Missiles: China Is Making Game-Changing Weapons Advances

Caption: Chinese navy formation during military drills in the South China Sea on January 2, 2017. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The United States military could be in “serious trouble” in a face-off against Chinese forces in the South China Sea, according to analyses published this week. China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is making massive gains in its development of two key areas of advanced weaponry: Nuclear submarines and hypersonic missiles.

Alongside these advances, the PLA is demonstrating ever more willingness and resolve to use its military might. Analysts believe these factors could eventually tip the scales of a regional conflict in Beijing’s favor. Continue reading

Navy’s Depleted Aircraft Will Take Years to Rebuild After Obama-Era Defense Cuts

A U.S. Navy fighter jet takes off from the deck of the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier / AP

 

Nearly two-thirds of Navy strike fighters unable to fly

The Navy’s aircraft arsenal is so depleted it would take several years to rebuild the fleet even if the Trump administration allotted the funding needed to repair inoperable aircraft, according to a policy expert and former Air Force pilot.

John Venable, a senior research fellow for defense policy at the Heritage Foundation, cited a report released Monday that found two-thirds of the Navy’s strike fighter jets are unable to fly due to maintenance problems exacerbated by several years of military budget cuts. Continue reading

China Tests Missile With 10 Warheads

cctv-warheads

 

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

Trump could reset Star Wars at full throttle toward militarization of space

US Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten’s statement that Russia and China will soon pose a threat to American spacecraft resembles nothing so much as an attempt to justify the militarization of space by the Pentagon, Russian military expert Konstantin Sivkov told RIA Novosti.

Speaking at Stanford University’s Center for Security and Cooperation, the commander of US Strategic Command highlighted the importance of “deterrence in space.” Continue reading

Russia Keeps Provoking NATO Planes: SecAF

A Russian Su-27 fighter flies over the Kamchatka Peninsula. In April, a Su-27 intercepted an American reconnaissance aircraft over the Baltic Sea in a series of hostile fly-bys in 2016 alone, the Air Force’s top civilian said.

 

The Russian air force has not shown any good faith toward NATO aircraft policing Baltic airspace in recent months by conducting a flurry of unsafe maneuvers and flybys, the top civilian leader of the Air Force said Monday.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the German air force, which oversees the mission, reported “more than 30 scrambles between the end of August and the start of November this year, intercepting Russian aircraft flying near civilian air routes with their transponders turned off.Continue reading

Air Force: U.S. falling behind China, Russia in race for hypersonic weapons

China last tested its hypersonic technology in April. / Artist rendering.

 

China and Russia are winning the race in the development of “game-changing” hypersonic weapons, making the U.S. vulnerable to a future attack, according to a U.S. Air Force study.

The unclassified summary of the report, “A Threat to America’s Global Vigilance, Reach, and Power: High-Speed, Maneuvering Weapons,” was produced by a blue-ribbon panel of experts for Air Force Studies Board at the National Academies of Science. The summary was made public last month. Continue reading

STAR WARS: Russia could use ‘KAMIKAZE’ satellites to attack US spacecraft and EARTH

MOSCOW could use satellites to attack other spacecraft or Earth, senior US scientists and military bosses have spectacularly warned.

In a terrifying scenario plucked straight from the pages of a James Bond espionage thriller, the experts said Russia could use kamikaze satellites to take out vital space infrastructure or “swallow” smaller satellites.

Spacecraft could also be manipulated to attack targets on Earth in a conflict reminiscent of a Star Wars movie. Continue reading

Washington is Quietly Reinforcing Europe’s Northern Flank

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway.

Norwegian soldiers, U.S. Marines, Dutch and U.K. Royal Commandos do an integrated air insert during a training event for Exercise Cold Response 16, March 3, 2016, around the city of Namsos, Norway. (U.S. Marine Corps / Master Sgt. Chad McMeen)

 

 

Much is being done to counter Russian ambitions in the High North, and yet much more remains to be done.

The recent stream of senior U.S. defense officials to Nordic countries underlines American concerns about potential friction in northern Europe, and Washington’s efforts to boost defense and deterrence there. Defense Secretary Ash Carter stopped in Norway in early September, while his deputy Bob Work, who has been to the region three times over the last two years, paid an early-October visit to Finland’s capital, Helsinki. Shortly thereafter, Air Force Secretary Deborah James made her own trip across the region. (Go back to last year, and Senate Armed Services Committee chair John McCain was in Norway and Sweden to discuss regional security.)

Continue reading

Toying with a World War (II)

BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) -While jihadi militias pursue their military offensive launched on the weekend in Aleppo, the German government is increasing its pressure on Russia. “As the most important supporter of the regime” in Damascus, Moscow must provide “a sound agreement for Aleppo,” demanded German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. But it was in fact the militia that broke the ceasefire initiated by Russia late last week and it was they who were also preventing the evacuation of the civilian population by firing at the escape corridors, as a British journalist reported from Aleppo. Similar practices are being used by the militia in the Iraqi town of Mosul, however these are being described for what they are, i.e. the IS is using civilians as “human shields.” The German government is intensifying its pressure on Russia, at a moment when Moscow is reinforcing its military strength in the Eastern Mediterranean with the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group near the Syrian coast, aimed at achieving an equal footing with the western powers. A German Bundeswehr frigate is accompanying the French aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle” in the same region, where the Russian aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” is going. Particularly the German Green Party leadership is raising demands for declaring a no-fly zone over Syria – preparing another escalation, risking a direct war with Russia.

Continue reading

The big Mosul offensive is stuck, halted by ISIS

Less than a day after its launch, the big Mosul offensive prepared for more than a year by the US, the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and others, ground to a halt Tuesday Oct. 17, debkafile’s military sources report – although none of the parties admitted as much.  Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said his troops were busy opening up corridors for some million civilians to escape, while US sources suggested that the Islamic State would use primitive chemical weapons against the advancing Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

Both had the ring of cover stories to account for the spearhead forces, the Iraq army’s 9th Armored Division and the Federal Police special anti-terror units, being thrown back Tuesday on their way to Mosul from the east and the south, while still 10-15km short of the city. They sustained heavy losses in lives and hardware.

The 9th Division and its newly-supplied heavy US Abrahams tanks were stopped at al-Hamdaniyah outside Mosul and retreated, recalling a previous defeat at ISIS hands in June 2014, when troops of the same division fled under Islamist attack, leaving their tanks behind. Continue reading

The US Air Force Just Dropped Two Fake Nukes

The tests in the Nevada desert come as tensions rise with Russia and the Pentagon seeks to replace its aging nuclear arsenal.

A pair of U.S. Air Force B-2 bombers dropped two 700-pound faux nuclear bombs in the middle of the Nevada desert within the past few days. Now the Pentagon wants to tell you about it.

Continue reading

US Air Force set to replace intercontinental nuke arsenal

While the last Minuteman II was deployed in the early 1990s, which still run off 1970’s floppy disc era technology (See also HERE), Russia and China have both developed and deployed their advanced nuclear weapons. To make matters worse, if the GBSD’s being developed will be “phased in” during the 2030 decade, that is at least a 15 year window of opportunity for China and Russia to strike an ancient America with its 40 year old nukes — if their shelf life is even that long.

 

Hidden underground in steel-and-concrete silos across rural America, more than 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles point to the skies, poised for launch — and ready to obliterate cities across the world.

First designed in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War, the Minuteman nuclear weapons are starting to show their age, and replacement parts are difficult to find for the weapons designed in an analog age.

Also aging are their silos, many built in the 1950s and now rusting as water seeps through the decaying concrete. Continue reading

F-35 May Never Be Ready for Combat

The F-35’s cannon door causes the plane to pull to one side, reducing the accuracy of the gun. (Photo by http://www.jsf.mil)

 

Testing Report Contradicts Air Force Leadership’s Rosy Pronouncements

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program is the most expensive procurement program in Pentagon history. It’s been plagued by schedule delays, gross cost overruns, and a slew of underwhelming performance reviews. Last month the Air Force declared its variant “ready for combat,” and most press reports lauded this as a signal that the program had turned a corner. But a memo issued from the Pentagon’s top testing official, based largely upon the Air Force’s own test data, showed that the Air Force’s declaration was wildly premature.

Dr. Michael Gilmore’s latest memorandum is damning. The F-35 program has derailed to the point where it “is actually not on a path toward success, but instead on a path toward failing to deliver the full Block 3F capabilities for which the Department is paying almost $400 billion.” The 16-page memo, first reported by Tony Capaccio at Bloomberg and then by others, details just how troubled this program is: years behind schedule and failing to deliver even the most basic capabilities taxpayers, and the men and women who will entrust their lives to it, have been told to expect.

The Pentagon’s top testing office warns that the F-35 is in no way ready for combat since it is “not effective and not suitable across the required mission areas and against currently fielded threats.” (Emphasis added) As it stands now, the F-35 would need to run away from combat and have other planes come to its rescue, since it “will need support to locate and avoid modern threats, acquire targets, and engage formations of enemy fighter aircraft due to outstanding performance deficiencies and limited weapons carriage available (i.e., two bombs and two air-to-air missiles).” In several instances, the memo rated the F-35A less capable than the aircraft we already have. Continue reading