30 January 2014 Last updated at 12:57
US briefs Nato on Russian 'nuclear treaty breach'
By Jonathan Marcus
BBC diplomatic correspondent
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan sign the INF Treaty in 1987 Continue reading the main story
Russia has been accused by the US of breaching a key arms control treaty banning medium-range nuclear missiles.
According to reports in the New York Times, citing US officials, Russia has been conducting flight tests since 2008 of a ground-launched cruise missile.
Such a test would fall under the treaty's parameters.
The US has not publicly stated that Moscow is in breach of the treaty but it has now briefed its Nato allies on the issue.
Washington is also reported to have raised concerns with the Russians several times during the past year but has been told that there is no issue to be resolved.
A Nato official contacted by the BBC responded to the reports by noting that "compliance with arms control treaties is a serious matter".
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the official said, was "a key component of Euro-Atlantic security, and compliance with arms control treaties is fundamental to building mutual trust and confidence, as is increased transparency in our dialogue with Russia".
The 1987 INF Treaty was one of the key arms control agreements of the Cold War years.
It eliminated an entire category of nuclear-armed weapons; land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges of between 500km and 5,500km (310 miles and 3,400 miles).
Russian Iskander missiles are transported in Moscow's Red Square ahead of a military parade
This encompassed US Pershing and Cruise missiles based in Europe, along with the then Soviet Union's SS-20 systems.
Today Russia's missile inventory is complex, often with versions of land, sea and air-launched missiles that bear strong family resemblances.
Some experts believe that the cruise missile in question is the R-500; derived from the land-based Iskander-K.
Douglas Barrie, aerospace analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London, said that "if the weapon is nuclear-capable, then its range is likely to drive a large coach and horses through the INF Treaty's restrictions".
He added: "There's no doubt that the Russians can package a nuclear warhead in a weapon of this diameter, as they've done it before."
However, he noted that "open source reporting has so far associated this system generally with a conventional non-nuclear payload".
There have been persistent reports that the Russians are in some way breaching the terms of the INF Treaty.
Up to now these have focused on the testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles at much shorter ranges that would fall within those covered by the INF Treaty.
Arms control experts have tended to dismiss these allegations.
This latest controversy, though, relates to a different sort of missile; a cruise type weapon.
This episode also demonstrates the complex technical, diplomatic and political aspects involved.
The Russians are no great fans of the INF agreement which they believe - some 26 years after it was signed - reflected a very different world.
It only eliminated these weapons from the US and Soviet/Russian arsenals and, since then, several countries have developed missiles within this range.
The issue is a sensitive one diplomatically, with the US struggling to try to craft a better relationship with Moscow.
The so-called "re-set" in ties between the US and Russia has come and gone.
They can work together on issues like Syria and Iran, although with very different perspectives and goals.
Further progress on arms control looks unlikely but the last thing the US wants to do now is to call the Russians out publicly for cheating.
However, there are also domestic US political aspects to this row.
More conservative elements in Congress have been pushing on the issue of Russian non-compliance with the INF Treaty, seeking to introduce legislation to compel the administration to report on Moscow's behaviour.
One of the great arms control successes of the Cold War era is fast becoming an irritant in relations between Washington and Moscow.
Second test of Nirbhay cruise missile in February
Kalyan Ray, Jammu, February 4, 2014, DHNS:
A year after India’s own Tomahawk class cruise missile Nirbhay test failed, scientists are ready for the second trial by the end of this month.
“We plan to launch Nirbhay by February end. It is a Tomahawk class missile but I will not disclose the range,” Avinash Chander, scientific advisor to the Defence Minister told Deccan Herald on the sidelines of the Indian Science Congress here. The long-range all weather subsonic cruise missile is India’s answer to the US Tomahawk, which was introduced first in the 1970 but underwent several modifications later. Used by the US Navy and Royal Navy, the missile reportedly has a range between 1,300 and 1,700 km.
Nirbhay is understood to have a range of 1,000 km, though there is no official confirmation. Once ready, the Navy would be the first user of this missile. Asked the reasons for delay in the project, which is in the developmental phase for many years, Chander said, “Nirbhay is a typical model of how we should not do project R&D. Earlier it was piecemeal work, but new thrust has been provided to this project.”
The missiles maiden test in March failed as it deviated from its pre-determined path after a few minutes, threatening the east coast. Subsequently, scientists at the control room of Interim Test Range, Chandipur, had to terminate its course forcing the surface-hugging cruise missile to explode midair over Bay of Bengal.
“Scientists have identified that inertial navigation system has malfunctioned and corrective design and modifications are being implemented,” Defence Minister A K Antony informed Parliament in May.
The director-general of Defence Research and Development Organisation also confirmed the existence of India’s second nuclear-powered submarine, which is under construction at a military dockyard in Visakhapatnam for several years now. “The first submarine (Arihant) took 18 years. We hope to have the second submarine, which is under development, in 12 years,” he said.
The submarine launched ballistic missile (K-15) for Arihant is fully ready after several successful trials from underwater pontoons. When the Arihant goes for a sea trial shortly, it will carry the ballistic missile completing India’s nuclear triad or second-strike capability from the land, air and sea in case of a nuclear attack.
North Korea Developing Mobile Missile: U.S. Intelligence
By Tony Capaccio Feb 6, 2014 8:00 AM GMT+0800
North Korea has taken the initial steps toward fielding a road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile that could be capable of hitting parts of the U.S., according to U.S. intelligence agencies.
The KN-08 has been been displayed twice in parades, and “we assess that North Korea has already taken initial steps towards fielding this system, although it remains untested,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said in his latest annual unclassified Worldwide Threat assessment.
North Korea’s missile development, along with concern about Iranian weapons programs, is the principle rationale for the $34 billion U.S. ground based-missile defense program managed by Boeing Co. (BA), which hasn’t had a successful interception test since December 2008.
The Air Force’s National Air and Space Intelligence Center said in its latest public report last year that the missile, also known as the Hwasong-13, is estimated to have a maximum range of at least 5,500 kilometers (3,420 miles), far enough to reach Alaska but not the Pacific Northwest.
An analyst who follows North Korean missile developments said he was skeptical of Clapper’s claim and whether it has any real-world significance.
“The most important thing to know about this system is that it has never flown,” said Greg Thielmann, senior fellow at the Washington-based Arms Control Association and a former State Department official in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. “It doesn’t give us any hard evidence that the North Koreans are any closer to an operational road-mobile ICBM.”
Thielmann said that, provided that Clapper’s statement was “carefully and honestly formulated, one would have to assume that” intelligence agencies have “observed North Korea conducting large rocket-engine tests, road-mobile missile deployment operational training” and ground support equipment.
The most definitive step toward fielding a missile “is conducting flight tests,” he said.
“Whether or not North Korea has a road-mobile ICBM that can fly the distance is independent of whether or nor it has been able to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit and operate reliably on top of it,” he said. “The technical challenges are separate and distinct.”
Markus Schiller, a missile-defense analyst based in Munich, said in an e-mail that “laymen are not aware” that Clapper’s statement about the missiles being displayed twice “means they displayed mock-ups, as is always done in military parades.”
“At least in the ‘open world’ with access to open sources, no one has ever seen a real KN-08 missile,” said Schiller, who’s also written on North Korea’s missile threat for the Santa Monica, California-based Rand Corp.
Retiring U.S. Forces Korea Commander Army General James Thurman told reporters in October that while it is “difficult to assess” the missile’s full operational capability, it demonstrates North Korea’s “continued desire to develop long-range missiles.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Tony Capaccio in Washington at email@example.com
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Iran rolls out ballistic missiles
Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
06 March 2014
A blue 'Khalij Fars' anti-ship ballistic missile is seen in front of a green Fateh-110 in a photograph from the 5 March ceremony. The black cap on the nose of the blue missile makes it impossible Source: Iranian MoD
The Iranian Ministry of Defence (MoD) held a ceremony on 5 March to mark the delivery of Ghadr, Qiam, Fateh-120 and Khalij Fars ballistic missiles to operational units.
The Iranian MoD released this photograph that appeared to show 44 Qiams without warheads, suggesting the finless short-range ballistic missile is being rolled out on a significant scale. (Iranian MoD)
The Iranian MoD released photographs showing 15 Ghadrs and 40 Qiams lined up in rows. The Ghadr is the latest variant of the Shahab-3 liquid-fuel intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). The smaller and finless Qiam is generally believed to be a development of the Shahab-2. When it was unveiled in 2010 Iranian officials said it was harder to detect by radar, had a more accurate guidance system and a shorter preparation time.
The Fateh-110 is a 300 km-range tactical ballistic missile and the Khalij Fars is the anti-ship variant developed from it. Iran has previously announced that the Khalij Fars was successfully tested in February 2011 and July 2013, when video footage was released purportedly taken from the missile's electro-optical/infrared seeker as it homed in on its target.
While this raised the possibility that Iran had developed a weapon that naval vessels would struggle to defend themselves against, there were doubts whether the tests were as successful as claimed.
The Iranian media has previously reported that the missiles are being produced and delivered to operational units, but the photographs and video footage of the 5 March ceremony provided the first evidence that this might actually be the case.
Seven motors, guidance units and warheads were lined up on either side of a hall for the event. The ones on the left were painted green, suggesting they were Fateh-110s, while the ones on the right were painted pale blue like other types of Iranian anti-ship missiles, suggesting they were Khalij Fars.
The only obvious external difference between the Fateh-110 and the Khalij Fars is the transparent dome on the nose of the latter for its seeker. However, the blue missiles displayed at the ceremony had a black cap over their noses making it impossible to confirm they had electro-optical guidance systems.
15 Ghadr ballistic missiles (without warheads) are seen lined up in rows in a photograph released by the Iranian MoD on 5 March (Iranian MoD)
Army On Budget, On Schedule with Hypersonic Missile Program
(Source: US Army; issued March 14, 2014)
WASHINGTON --- In August, the Army expects to again test its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon Technology Demonstration. The results of that test will help determine the system's future.
Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, commander, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, discussed the status of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, or AHW, program, March 12, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, subcommittee on strategic forces.
"Based upon the results that come from that test, we'll go ahead and, again, work closely with Office of the Secretary of Defense as to what they would like us to do, what the next steps are," Mann said.
The general told lawmakers the Army is also working with the Navy on "possible utilization of this capability."
The AHW is part of an effort to develop a conventional "Prompt Global Strike" capability. Conventional means non-nuclear. The AHW can be launched from the United States and can hit a target anywhere in the world. It can travel at speeds of Mach 5, about 3,600 mph, or higher.
As part of the November 2011 test, an AHW was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, and arrived 30 minutes later at the Reagan Test Site, U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands -- a distance of about 2,500 miles.
Mann said with the AWH, the Army is on budget and on target with the program.
"I don't see any kind of an overrun at this moment," he said. "Everything is kind of predicated on what happens after the test. We have the monies allocated to support the test. We don't envision any kind of overruns."
Beyond offensive capabilities like the AHW, the Army is also looking at defensive capabilities against threats from other nations.
The U.S. has defensive missile capabilities at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Mann said adding an additional site on the East Coast of the United States would be beneficial to America's defense capability.
"Obviously, putting a third site out there on the East Coast will provide increased capacity, not so much capability, but increased capacity," Mann said. "You will take your assets and spread them out so that you don't have them just at Greeley or at Vandenberg Air Force Base. It also will give a little bit more decision space or 'battle space' as it's known, in order to make a decision regarding a threat emanating from Iran."
Mann told lawmakers the Army must focus more on "long-range discrimination," of targets -- determining what is a threat.
"I think it's fair to say that we will never have enough interceptors to really address all the threat vehicles that are out there," he said. "I think it's more important that we're as efficient and as effective with the interceptors that we currently have, and that's the reason why making sure that we're providing the interceptor with the best track data, the discrimination, to be able to really identify the target within a complex. That's really what I would really highly recommend."
Russia’s Iskander-E Missile System Ready for Deliveries to Other Countries
(Source: RIA Novosti; published July 10, 2014)
MINSK, Belarus --- Iskander-E mobile theater ballistic missile systems are ready for export, awaiting a decision by state authorities, the head of the Russian delegation to arms and military exhibition MILEX-2014 Valery Varlamov said Thursday.
"Iskander-E [NATO reporting name: SS-26 Stone] is ready for deliveries to other countries, as well as S-400 Triumf [NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler], but the state authorities need to approve it first," Varlamov said.
The representative said that Russia "will deliver [the systems] to any country, if there is such a decision of the president and the government."
A few years ago, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that S-400 will be produced only in the interests of Russia. Even partners such as Belarus and Kazakhstan will receive them only after the Russian missile defense system is fully equipped, the ministry said.
No such statements have been made about Iskander in public, but in practice the situation is the same, a source in the Russian military-industrial complex told RIA Novosti.
Iskander is one of the country’s most powerful missile strike systems used in the nation’s ground forces. Iskander missiles are nuclear-capable and can make use of different types of reentry vehicles to engage a wide range of targets, from enemy military units to underground command centers.
Iskander systems were successfully tested in 2007. The Russian Army currently uses its Iskander-M and Iskander-K variants. Iskander-E is an export version, with just one rocket on the ballistic missile launcher instead of two, and a range of up to 174 miles.
Kazakhstan interested in Russia's Iskander-M missile system deliveries
August 11, 14:18UTC+4
Iskander-M is capable of hitting targets deep inside the enemy lines and has a firing range of up to 500 km
ZHUKOVSKY, August 11. /ITAR-TASS/. Kazakhstan has filed a request concerning deliveries of Russian Iskander-M missile systems, Konstantin Biryulin, director of the Federal Service for Military Technological Cooperation, told journalists on Monday.
"There has been a request from Kazakhstan but no decisions have been made as of yet,” Biryulin told Itar-Tass, adding both sides are involved in a discussion.
Iskander-M (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) is a version of the Iskander tactical missile system supplied to the Russian Armed Forces. It is capable of hitting targets deep inside the enemy lines. The system’s firing range is up to 500 km. The complex comprises a launcher with two missiles, a missile-transporter loader, a command post vehicle, a technical maintenance vehicle, a set of arsenal equipment, a data processing unit, as well as training facilities.
US Army's Hypersonic Missile Fails During Test
Aug. 25, 2014 - 02:15PM | By AARON MEHTA
A test flight of the US Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon failed Monday morning. The weapon had a successful test flight in November of 2011, seen here. (US Army)
WASHINGTON — The US Army’s new Advanced Hypersonic Weapon failed during an early morning test Monday, the Pentagon announced.
The test launch failed four seconds after taking off from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, resulting in operators triggering a self-destruct sequence, according to a DoD news release.
“Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety,” the release said, adding that officials are conducting an “extensive” investigation into the cause of the failure.
The Pentagon release did not contain details of the incident, but Alaskan radio station KMXT posted a report online citing eyewitness reports that the weapon quickly veered off trajectory before exploding.
The Army’s test was part of the Pentagon’s overall Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) development program, which aims to develop a long-range non-nuclear weapon capable of quickly reaching targets around the globe. CPGS has been in development since 2003, but the program has finally matured enough that its use should be viable by the early 2020s.
While a CPGS weapon would likely be too expensive to use on smaller targets, such as vehicles or anti-aircraft batteries, they could provide the Pentagon the ability to neutralize major command-and-control centers that form the core of advanced air defense systems.
The Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon program had a successful test launch out of Hawaii in November 2011, covering 2,500 miles in about 30 minutes. The plan calls for the weapon to move at speeds of 3,600 mph.
The Air Force has said it intends to study and invest in hypersonic weapons going forward, making that one of the key technology priorities laid out in its recent 30-year strategy. ■
China’s Hypersonic Aircraft Fails Second Test Launch
(Source: RIA Novosti; published August 22, 2014)
MOSCOW --- A Chinese hypersonic vehicle designed to deliver nuclear weapons at high speeds failed in its second test launch, the South China Morning Post reported.
"It's necessary for China to boost its missile capabilities, because the PLA's [People’s Liberation Army] weapons are weaker than the US' shields, which are deployed everywhere in the world," Xudong Wang, a satellite adviser to China’s central government, was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.
"All missiles launched by the PLA, if there was a military conflict, would be intercepted by the US' defense systems before entering the atmosphere,” Wang added.
The vehicle, dubbed the WU-14 by the Pentagon, was launched in Shanxi province on August 7, breaking apart soon afterwards.
The first test carried out by China’s People’s Liberation Army on January 9, was successful according to the National Defense Ministry.
The newest model is carried by a ballistic missile and then released, causing it to dive towards its target at speeds of up to Mach 10, equivalent to over 12,000 km per hour.
The United States is the only other nation developing a similar technology, and invested in further development in June, according to US media reports.
"The WU-14 will become China's global strike weapon that would cause a great threat and challenges to the US,” said Professor Arthur Shu-fan Ding, the secretary general of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies.
A successful model of the vehicle would boost China’s defense, and possibly render existing US missile-defense systems obsolete, according to the professor. China currently has approximately 100 teams of experts working on the project, a hypersonic expert told the South China Morning Post.
In 2013 China invested over $145 billion in military projects.
PTI | Oct 17, 2014, 11.23 AM IST
India test-fires nuclear-capable Nirbhay cruise missile
BALASORE (Odisha): India's indigenously developed nuclear capable sub-sonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay', which can strike targets more than 700 kms away, was today test-fired from a test range at Chandipur near here.
READ ALSO: 7 years in making, cruise missile fails test
"The missile was test-fired from a mobile launcher positioned at launch pad 3 of the Integrated Test Range at about 10.03 hours," said an official soon after the flight took off from the launch ground.
"Flight details will be available after data retrieved from radars and telemetry points, monitoring the trajectories, are analysed," the official said.
It is the second test of the sub-sonic long range cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from the ITR.
The maiden flight, conducted on March 12, 2013 could not achieve all the desired parameters as "the flight had to be terminated mid-way when deviations were observed from its intended course," sources said.
India has in its arsenal the 290 km range supersonic "BrahMos" cruise missile which is jointly developed by India and Russia.
But 'Nirbhay' with long range capability is a different kind of missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Nirbhay has good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and very good stealth features.