EXCLUSIVE: US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers Back on 24-Hour Alert

A 2014 photo of a B-52H Stratofortress based at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. (U.S. AIR FORCE / SENIOR AIRMAN CHRISTINE GRIFFITHS)

 

If the order comes, the B-52s will return to a ready-to-fly posture not seen since the Cold War.

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. —  The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

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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

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 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

Russia Adds Hundreds of Warheads Under Nuclear Treaty

61 new warheads since April under New START

Russia increased its deployed nuclear warheads over the past six months under a strategic arms reduction treaty as U.S. nuclear warhead stocks declined sharply, according to the State Department.

During the same period, the United States cut its deployed nuclear warheads by 114, increasing the disparity between the two nuclear powers.

Russia’s warhead increases since 2011 suggest Moscow does not intend to cut its nuclear forces and will abandon the New START arms accord as part of a major nuclear buildup. Continue reading

China gears up for missile warfare with US

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An Illustration of the hypersonic glider’s flight path and maneuvers

 

China’s military is developing offensive and now defensive missiles in preparation for a future missile-dominated conflict with the United States.

Beijing’s arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles has been growing steadily for decades as new systems were fielded in an array of ranges – short, medium and intercontinental. Several long-range cruise missiles, capable of carrying nuclear or conventional payloads also are deployed.

And one of China’s most secret missile programs is a revolutionary hypersonic strike vehicle that skims the upper atmosphere and can maneuver in a bid to defeat U.S. strategic defenses. Continue reading

Russia Building New Underground Nuclear Command Posts

U.S. intelligence detects dozens of hardened bunkers for leaders

Russia is building large numbers of underground nuclear command bunkers in the latest sign Moscow is moving ahead with a major strategic forces modernization program.

U.S. intelligence officials said construction has been underway for several years on “dozens” of underground bunkers in Moscow and around the country.

Disclosure of the underground command bunkers comes as Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. European Command, warned recently that Russia has adopted a nuclear use doctrine he called “alarming.” Continue reading

Space Warfare: No Longer Just Science Fiction

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Caption: (iStock.com/Andrey Prokhorov)

 

What was once restricted to the realm of fiction and fantasy is now reality, and the U.S. is already losing.

In the last few decades, the idea of space warfare has evolved dramatically. Once perceived only in the fantasy realm of tie fighters and X-wings, war in outer space is now reality. In a technological age, satellites and military installations in orbit are taking on a pivotal role in geopolitics.

The realm formerly dominated by the United States is under threat. With each satellite launch by foreign powers, gaping holes form in America’s defenses. Space is being opened up to a number of powerful nations eager to exploit the heavens for their own military advantage. Invisible battlegrounds are forming in the night sky.

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White House Mulls Big Nuclear Policy Changes, and Lawmakers Speak Up

With this nuclear policy change, it means no first-strike capability. No first-strike capability means that America’s enemies would be able to nuke America first before it would be able to decide to retaliate. It works great for everyone but America.

 

 

WASHINGTON — As the clock ticks down on the final term of US President Barack Obama, who is believed to be reviewing a potential disarmament agenda for his last months in office, there has been a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill to try to influence the internal debate.

Lawmakers both pro and con for nuclear modernization have fired off dueling letters—the latest a July 20 letter to Obama from five key House Democrats who want to scale back standing nuclear modernization plans. Continue reading

China Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile

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An artistic rendering of a hypersonic aircraft / AP

 

Seventh test of new DF-ZF glider tracked over northern China

China successfully flight tested its new high-speed maneuvering warhead last week, days after Russia carried out its own hypersonic glider test, according to Pentagon officials.

The test of the developmental DF-ZF hypersonic glide vehicle was monitored after launch Friday atop a ballistic missile fired from the Wuzhai missile launch center in central China, said officials familiar with reports of the test. Continue reading

Inside the Ring: James Syring, missile defense chief, seeks laser funding to counter China, Russia

The gutting of the U.S. military by the Obama administration has allowed for Russia and China to out-gun America. We’re in the phase right now where America is losing its supremacy. Budget cuts have seriously degraded any chance of modernization and the little funding that is allowed goes towards programs such as this are not sufficient. You can’t make mistakes like this, that are so grave to the national security of America, by accident.

 

The U.S. is moving to counter Chinese and Russian hypersonic strike vehicles using lasers, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency revealed last week.

But Vice Adm. James Syring told a House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces hearing that he lacks the funding to counter hypersonic missile threats, but that money has been requested in the defense authorization bill to deal with the threat.

“I’ve asked for $23 million to begin a low-power laser demonstrator this year to demonstrate the feasibility by 2021,” the three-star admiral said.

Critics say the Missile Defense Agency has been remiss by not beginning work earlier in countering future Chinese and Russia high-speed maneuvering strike vehicles. The relatively low funding and long lead time for a demonstration of a laser against a hypersonic strike vehicle are not likely to address the growing threat of hypersonic missiles. Continue reading

China Flight Tests New Multiple-Warhead Missile

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DF-41 launch comes amid heightened tensions over S. China Sea

China conducted another flight test of its newest and longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile last week amid growing tensions with the United States over the South China Sea.

Pentagon officials told the Free Beacon the flight test of the new road-mobile DF-41 missile took place Tuesday with two multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, that were monitored in flight by U.S. military satellites and other regional sensors. Continue reading

Russia Doubling Nuclear Warheads

New multiple-warhead missiles to break arms treaty limit

Russia is doubling the number of its strategic nuclear warheads on new missiles by deploying multiple reentry vehicles that have put Moscow over the limit set by the New START arms treaty, according to Pentagon officials.

A recent intelligence assessment of the Russian strategic warhead buildup shows that the increase is the result of the addition of multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, on recently deployed road-mobile SS-27 and submarine-launched SS-N-32 missiles, said officials familiar with reports of the buildup.

“The Russians are doubling their warhead output,” said one official. “They will be exceeding the New START [arms treaty] levels because of MIRVing these new systems.” Continue reading

China, Russia Planning Space Attacks on U.S. Satellites

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Photographers follow a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket, carrying the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM military communications satellite / AP

 

 

Critical space infrastructure faces crippling missile strikes, small satellites, lasers

China and Russia are preparing to attack and disrupt critical U.S. military and intelligence satellites in a future conflict with crippling space missile, maneuvering satellite, and laser attacks, senior Pentagon and intelligence officials told Congress on Tuesday.

Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Air Force Space Command, said the threat to U.S. space systems has reached a new tipping point, and after years of post-Cold War stagnation foreign states are focused on curbing U.S. space systems. Continue reading

Russia wants to fly surveillance planes over US with advanced cameras, congressional staffer says

Russia will ask permission on Monday to start flying surveillance planes equipped with high-powered digital cameras amid warnings from U.S. intelligence and military officials that such overflights help Moscow collect intelligence on the United States.

Russia and the United States are signatories to the Open Skies Treaty, which allows unarmed observation flights over the entire territory of all 34 member nations to foster transparency about military activity and help monitor arms control and other agreements. Senior intelligence and military officials, however, worry that Russia is taking advantage of technological advances to violate the spirit of the treaty. Continue reading