Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

A blog dedicated to defense issues

Archive for the ‘Nuclear deterrence’ Category

What the LA Times got right – and wrong – about nuclear modernization

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on November 11, 2014


The Los Angeles Times has recently published an article on the upcoming modernization of the US nuclear arsenal, which is long overdue since the US hasn’t fielded any nuclear-capable delivery systems or warheads since the early 1990s, and the arsenal the US currently has is aging and nearing the end of its service life. Therefore, nuclear modernization is of utmost priority.

The LA Times – despite being a leftist newspaper – invokes many arguments for nuclear modernization. But it also gets four things badly wrong:

  1. It repeats the utterly false claim of the far-left nuclear disarmament advocate Jeffrey Lewis that nuclear modernization will cost $1 trillion over the next 30 years. His figure is a gross exaggeration designed to scare the public and policymakers into thinking that it’s unaffordable.
  2. It falsely claims that next year China will deploy missiles capable of hitting the Continental US for the first time. This is clearly false; China deployed the first such missiles, the multi-warhead DF-5 ICBMs, in 1981, over three decades ago! Not only that, but since then, China has also deployed the DF-31A and DF-31B, which can also hit all of the CONUS, and has already deployed JL-2 SLBMs (capable of hitting at least a part of the CONUS if launched just east of Japan) on its Jin-class ballistic missile submarines. (See the map below.)
  3. It falsely claims that the most common security threats are insurgencies in distant lands and domestic terrorist attacks. This is completely false. BY FAR the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security are the nuclear and ballistic/cruise missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea. Nothing, ESPECIALLY not insurgents in faraway lands or even domestic terrorist attacks, comes even CLOSE to being as grave a threat as Moscow’s, Beijing’s, and Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile arsenals. North Korea, with its small arsenal, could still kill millions of Americans and devastate part of US soil. Russia and China could both nuke all of the US and kill everyone in the US with their large nuclear arsenals.
  4. Finally, it wrongly claims that Russia’s newest submarine-launched ballistic missile, the RSM-56 Bulava, can deliver an “unprecedented” 10 warheads. It can deliver 10 warheads to the CONUS alright, but it’s hardly unprecendented: since the 1960s, Russia deploys land-based ICBMs that can deliver that many warheads (plus penetration aids) to the CONUS; and since 2012, it also deploys Liner SLBMs that can deliver even more (12) warheads to the Continental US. It’s hardly “unprecedented.” The simple fact is that Russia can deliver many thousands of warheads to the Continental US, and is expanding that capability still further.

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

All in all, by LA Times standards, this is a good article, as it nicely underlines the nuclear threats the US is facing, and thus the need for modernization of the US nuclear arsenal.

Posted in Media lies, Nuclear deterrence, Threat environment | Leave a Comment »

Comment réformer et renforter l’armée française – 2ème edition

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 31, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

N.b.: Ci-dessous est la 2ème edition de ma liste des reformes proposées, Comment réformer et renforter l’armée française , publiée pour la première fois en juillet.

L’armée française subit beaucoup de coupes budgetaires injustes et déstructives en ce moment. Il faut les arrêter, dégager des moyens dans les dépenses courantes (de fonctionnement de l’armée), et renforter les armées de la République Française.

Les économies

D’abord, pour dégager plus de l’argent, il faut:

  1. Réduire fortement le nombre des fonctionnaires civils du ministère de la défense, de 66 000 à 22 000, ce qui devrait permettre au ministère d’économiser au moins 1 Md d’Euros par an.
  2. Vendre tous les A319 et la moitie des Falcon de l’Armée de l’Air (AdlA).
  3. Fermer la base aérienne de Creil (Oise) et  la base aérienne de Villecoublay, reouvrir la base aérienne de Taverny (95), et y faire démenager tous les unités des deux autres bases. La base aérienne de Taverny devrait aussi devenir à nouveau une base des Forces Aériennes Strategiques.
  4. Fermer la base aérienne de Cazaux, qui est située trop près de Bordeaux, et faire démenager tous ses unites au Mont de Marsan, Pau, Perpignan, Bergerac, Nîmes, Avignon, ou Rodez. Ouvrir un centre international d’entrainement des pilotes à Rodez, à Clermont-Ferrand, ou dans la Côte Mediterrainée (par exemple, à Nimes).
  5. Réduire le budget de la Gendarmerie Nationale par au moins 700 millions d’Euros par an (en commencant par cesser de protéger l’appartement de Julie Gayet et en reduisant la Garde Républicaine par 75%; il faut supprimer complètement la cavalerie de la Garde et le 2ème Regiment de la Garde) afin de permettre à l’AdlA d’acheter 10 Rafale supplementaires par an (pour un coût de 680 millions d’Euros par an).
  6. Réduire le nombre des généraux et admiraux dans l’armée et les grades associées avec des différentes postes dans l’armée. Par exemple, les chefs des quatres services militaires devraient avoir seulement 4 étoiles, pas 5. Le rang du général d’armée, général d’armée aérienne, ou amiral devrait être reservé seulement au CEMA. Les rangs de 4 étoiles devraient être reservés seulement aux chefs des quatre services militaires, l’Amiral Commandant de la Force Océanique Strategique (ALFOST), et le commandant des Forces Aériennes Strategiques.
  7. Supprimer la DAS, les bureaux des officiers généraux, le CSFM, le CAJ, etc.
  8. Réorienter les priorites et les moyens de la Gendarmerie de la lutte contre les automobilistes à la défense nationale. Aussi cesser de protéger les bâtiments gouvernementaux – c’est le devoir de la police nationale et de la GSHP.
  9. Utiliser les soldats de l’armée française seulement pour combat et pour la protection du territoire français, et non pour les patrouilles des gares ferroviaires ou les stations du métro et du RER – ce qui est le devoir et la competence des services de securité de celles-là et de la police nationale.
  10. Immediatement terminer toutes les Opérations Externelles, sauf celle en Irak/Syrie, pour économiser 1 Md d’Euros par an. Le surcoût des OPEX pèse très lourd sur le budget du ministère.
  11. Vendre tous les 254 chevaux de l’armée française, chacun pour au moins 500 000 euros, ainsi que les costumes/uniformes de la cavalerie de la Garde Républicaine.
  12. Joindre tous les programmes des helicoptères des armées et faire de sorte qu’elles soient toutes sous le contrôle de l’AdlA.
  13. Supprimer le service de patrimoine des armées et céder ses fonctions, biens, et personnel au Ministère de la Culture.
  14. Mettre en oeuvre toutes les propositions de l’IFRAP devoilées ici et ici. L’IFRAP propose (sauf certaines sur l’europeisation de la défense), inter alia, une réduction des effectifs de soutien et administratifs, une externalisation des fonctions de soutien, la vente de l’immobilier de la défense, la fermeture des bases peu utilisées, et une réduction du nombre d’officiers.
  15. Vendre l’Hôtel de Brienne et le Château de Vincennes.
  16. Réduire fortement (d’au moins 66%) le nombre et les salaires des conseillers au Ministère.
  17. Vendre tous les avions CASA de l’AdlA.
  18. Utiliser les avions Atlantique 2 SEULEMENT pour la lutte contre les sous-marins.

Le renfortement

Afin de renforter l’armée française, il faut – et avec les économies ci-dessus, il sera possible – de:

  1. Commander au moins 10 Rafale supplementaires, finances par une réduction du budget de la Gendarmerie Nationale. Cela renfortera l’armée aérienne et à la fois réduira le coût unitaire de chaque Rafale, le faisant plus attractif sur le marché mondial.
  2. Commencer la construction du premier et deuxième SNLE de 3ème generation en 2020, financé par la vente des immobiliers du ministère et la réduction du nombre de fonctionnaires du ministère par 66%.
  3. Augmenter le nombre des avions de l’AdlA dediés à la dissuasion nucleaire de 40 à 60, en récréant un troisième escadron des avions dediés à la dissuasion nucleaire (l’escadron de chasse 1/4 Dauphiné). Cet escadron serait équipé de 20 parmi les 50-60 Rafale supplementaires prévus ci-dessus.
  4. Augmenter le nombre des Têtes Nucleaires Aériennes de 47 à 70 et le nombre des missiles ASMP-A de 79 à 80, financé par la vente de tous les chevaux et costumes de la cavalerie de la Garde Républicaine.
  5. Augmenter la portée des missiles M51 (à 12 000 km), SCALP EG, MBDA MICA IR, et MBDA Meteor (à 180 km). Cela renforterait aussi l’industrie spatiale et missilière francaise et ferait ces produits plus attractifs aux acheteurs étrangers. Ces travaux seraient finances par la reduction du nombre et des rangs des generaux et admiraux et des officiers non-generaux.
  6. Augmenter le nombre des chars Leclerc de 200 à 400, c’est-à-dire, reprendre en service les chars Leclerc retirés, financés par la supprimation des bureaucraties inutiles et la fermeture des bases peu utilisées.
  7. Augmenter la commande pour les systèmes de défense anti-aérienne Aster 30 de 8 à 12 au moins, finances par la reduction du nombre et des salaires des conseilleurs du ministère.
  8. Installer de nouveaux radars anti-aériens (dont des radars Over The Horizon) dans l’est et le nord-est de la France.
  9. Faire ouvrir, à Rodez, Clermont-Ferrand, Castres, Perpignan, Bastia, Ajaccio, Bergerac, Nîmes, Pau, Tarbes, ou Vatry (préferablement à Pau ou Clermont-Ferrand), un centre européen et OTAN d’entrainement des pilotes de l’UE et de l’OTAN, bien que l’Italie soit en concurrence pour en être le pays-hôte.
  10. Developper, avec tous les autres pays européens, un nouvel avion d’entrainement comme l’Alphajet.
  11. Faire démenager les centres d’entrainement des pilotes de l’AdlA de La Rochelle à Rodez, Perpignan, Pau, et/ou Clermont-Ferrand.
  12. Convertir les 3 A310 de l’escadron de Villecoublay, les 2 A340 de l’escadron de Velizy-Villecoublay, et l’A330 originel de la compagnie Airbus, en avions de ravitaillement (A330 MRTT et A310 MRTT). Cela augmenterait le nombre des avions de ravitaillement projetés par l’AdlA de 12 à 18 et en consequence permettrait la France d’être totalement independante, dans la matière de ravitaillement de ses avions, des Etats-Unis et de tout autre pays.
  13. Acheter des avions C-17 afin de ne pas être dependent sur aucune armée aérienne étrangere pour la logistique.
  14. Faire en sorte que 90% du parc des vehicules et des avions, et 80% des navires, soient utilisables immediatement si besoin; il faut les maintenir dans la meilleure condition possible – financé par la réduction du nombre de fonctionnaires du ministère par 66%.
  15. Faire en sorte que les pilotes de l’AdlA et du Groupe Aéronaval volent au moins 180 heures par an afin qu’ils soient suffisament entrainés.
  16. Disperser les escadrons des Forces Aériennes Strategiques entre les bases d’Istres, de Saint-Dizier, de Luxeil, et de Taverny, et renforter les hangars et les magasins d’ammunition de tous les avions basés là-bas.
  17. Reprendre la production du plutonium de grade militaire.
  18. Acheter une licence pour la production des missiles israeliens air-air Python-5.
  19. Faire les aeroports sous-utilises du sud de la France toujours disponibles pour les armees.

Les priorites absolues sont l’achat des 10 Rafale supplementaires par an, des deux premiers SNLE de nouvelle generation, et l’allongement de la portée des missiles francais, surtout le missile M51.

dassaultrafale

La justification

Certains poseront certainement la question, “Mais pourquoi ces commandes supplementaires sont-elles necessaires? Pourquoi est-ce que l’armée a besoin de tous ces appareils et outils?”

La réponse: parce que toutes les interventions militaires de la France – d’intensite majeure, moyenne, ou basse – ont montré que c’est les vehicules blindés terrestres et les avions de combat (principalement les Rafale et Mirage 2000), de ravitaillement, et de transports qui jouent le role decisif dans chaque intervention et chaque guerre a laquelle la France participé.

Il serait donc fou de réduire les flottes de ces vehicules et avions. Au contraire, il faut les augmenter pour que l’armée française puisse gagner ses guerres.

C’est-à-dire, ces vehicules et avions sont les outils-clès pour la victoire de la France dans toute intervention/guerre.

Dans toute operation exterieure menée recemment par la France – en Libye, au Mali, et en Irak – l’outil-clé, l’outil primordial qui a joué un role decisif, etait le Rafale.

Pour faire certain que les soldats français puissent vaincre, il faut les transporter à la zone de combat, leur donner des vehicules blindés qui offrent une protection et une puissance de feu suffissante, et les soutenir de l’air avec des avions de combat – ravitailles, bien sûr.

En plus, la France est un grand pays, et pour le proteger (dont son espace aérien), il faut beaucoup plus que les 185 avions que l’Armée de l’Air possédera sous les plans du gouvernement socialiste en fonction.

Il faut aussi garantir la credibilité de la dissuasion nucleaire française, affabliée par Nicolas Sarkozy en 2008 avec sa decision injustifiable de réduire la composante aérienne de la force de dissuasion nucleaire d’un tiers – ce qui n’a pas du tout encouragé les autres puissances nucleaires à réduire ses propres arsenaux nucleaires. Au contraire, la Russie, la Chine, le Pakistan, l’Inde, l’Israel, et la Corée du Nord ont augmenté ses arsenaux nucleaires.

Quand au premier SNLE de la 3ème generation, pour garantir la permanence de la composante maritime et donc une flotte des 4 SNLE, il faudra le commander en 2020. Ce que la termination de toutes les guerres inutiles et la vente de l’Hotel de Brienne et du Château de Vincennes permettrait.

Les exports

Enfin, dans la matière d’exports d’armes, il faut les vendre à chacun qui peut payer. Il faut donc livrer les 2 navires de la classe Mistral commandés par la Russie. Il faut aussi seduire l’Egypte, le Canada, la Pologne, et l’Indonesie à acheter des armes françaises et encourager l’Inde à acheter 4 navires Mistral. Il faut aussi vendre au Qatar et aux EAU les participations de l’Etat francais dans les aeroports francais s’ils achetent le Rafale et s’engagent à acheter SEULEMENT des armes francaises et des avions civils Airbus.

Posted in Air combat, Defense spending, Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

Analysis: How many nuclear weapons does Russia have?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 28, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

Although China has a much larger nuclear arsenal than the DOD and arms control advocates are prepared to admit, Russia remains the principal nuclear and geopolitical adversary of the US. It is therefore necessary to examine the size and composition of Moscow’s atomic arsenal and the Russian government’s plans for its future.

Like the US, Russia possesses a strategic triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), bombers, and ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) armed with submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

1) ICBMs: Russia currently possesses ICBMs: 58 SS-18 Satan (10 warheads per missile), 35 SS-19 Stilletto (6 warheads per missile), 171 SS-25 Sickle (single-warhead), 78 SS-27 Stalin (single-warhead), and 42 RS-24 Yars (4 warheads per missile) ICBMs, for a total of 384 ICBMs.

This works out to:

58*10=580

35*6=210

171*1=171

78*1=78

42*4=168

This enables Russia’s ICBMs to deliver a total of 1,207 warheads to the Continental US. Note that over time, as Russia continues to replace older, single-warhead SS-25 and SS-27 missiles with Yars and RS-26 Rubezh multiple-warhead missiles, the number of warheads it can deliver to, and will aim at, the US will only continue to grow.

2) Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs) and their associated Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs): Russia currently possesses fourteen such submarines: 4 of the Delta III (Kalmar) class, 7 of the Delta IV (Delfin) class, 1 of the Project 941 Akula (Typhoon) class, and 2 of the newest Borei class.

Each of these submarines carries 16 SLBMs, except the Typhoon-class boat, which can carry 20 SLBMs but is usually used as a test platform (though it could be armed with SLBMs like a normal submarine if need be).

The fourteen SSBNs of the Russian Navy are:

Name……………………………………Class…………….Fleet…………Year of commissioning

K-129 Orenburg……………………..Delta III………..Northern……1981

K-433 St George the Victorious…Delta III………..Pacific………..1980

K-233 Podolsk………………………..Delta III……….Pacific…………1980

K-44 Ryazan…………………………..Delta III……….Pacific…………1982

K-51 Vyerkhoturye………………….Delta IV……….Northern……..1984

K-84 Yekaterinburg…………………Delta IV……….Northern……..1985

K-64 ……………………………………..Delta IV……….Northern……..1986

K-114 Tula………………………………Delta IV……….Northern……..1987

K-117 Bryansk…………………………Delta IV……….Northern……..1988

K-18 Kareliya………………………….Delta IV……….Northern………1989

K-407 Novomoskovsk……………..Delta IV……….Northern………1990

TK-208 Dmitriy Donskoi…………..Typhoon……..Northern……….1981

K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy……………Borei………….Northern………..2013

K-550 Alexander Nevskiy…………Borei…………..Pacific……………2013

K-551 Vladimir Monomakh……….Borei…………..Pacific…………..2014 (expected)

 

Included in the list is a fifteenth SSBN, the Vladimir Monomakh, which will be commissioned on December 10th, 2014.

The Delta IV class submarine K-64 is the only one in the Russian ballistic submarine fleet which doesn’t have a name. All other boats in the fleet are named after Russian cities, the Kareliya Peninsula, a saint (Saint George), or medieval Ruthenian/Russian princes.

Of the submarines listed, Orenburg, Ryazan, Yekaterinburg, and K-64 are currently in overhaul and (in the case of Yekaterinburg, which suffered a fire in 2013) repairs, which means they are not currently available for operational service.

Nonetheless, ten SSBNs are still available for duty at any given time – and Russian SSBNs can launch their missiles even when moored dockside.

Collectively, the thirteen SSBNs in service, other than the Dmitry Donskoi, can launch 16 SLBMs each; the Dmitry Donskoi can launch 20 such missiles. A single Russian Bulava SLBM can carry 10 warheads; the R-29RMU2 Liner missile can carry 12 warheads.

Assuming that all Russian SSBNs carry the Bulava, and not the Liner, the 13 non-Typhoon-class submarines could collectively launch 208 missiles, and with ten warheads per each missile, deliver 2,080 warheads to the CONUS. The Typhoon class boat, for its part, capable of launching 20 missiles, can deliver 200 additional warheads to the US.

Thus, assuming that all Russian SSBNs are armed with Bulava missiles, they can collectively deliver 2,280 warheads to the CONUS.

Even excluding those submarines that currently aren’t in operational service doesn’t reduce the Russian nuclear threat significantly. The 9 remaining Delta class submarines can collectively launch 144 missiles, and with 10 warheads sitting atop each missile, deliver 1,440 warheads to the CONUS – with the Typhoon-class boat delivering another 200.

So even with four submarines currently dockside in overhaul or repairs, the remaining submarines can still deliver 1,640 warheads to the Continental US if each submarine is armed with Bulava missiles – and even more if each submarine is armed with Liner missiles.

It is not clear how many warheads are actually currently deployed on Russian ballistic missile submarines – the New START “data” Russia gives the US State Department contains woefully understated figures and therefore is not credible. Russia undoubtely deploys many, many more warheads on its submarines than it acknowledges in New START “data exchanges.” Given that Russia has a long, proven history of violating arms limitation treaties, including most recently the INF treaty, no one should be surprised. In fact, had Russia’s most recent violations been disclosed before New START was ratified in December 2010, in the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress (the most liberal Congress in US history), the treaty would’ve never been passed.

Note that the Russian Navy has ordered over 100 Bulava and over 100 Liner SLBMs. This will be enough to fully equip each ballistic missile submarine of the Russian Navy and thus to replace the Sinyeva.

Finally, one must note that while the Russian Navy’s SSBNs conducted almost no patrols in the late 1990s and few in the 2000s, the situation is now different; these submarines go on patrol often, flush with funding from the government, primarily from oil and gas revenue.

3) Strategic Bomber Fleet (Dalnaya Aviatsiya – Long-Range Aviation)

This fleet consists of three aircraft types. The oldest is the Tu-95 Bear turboprop. While the oldest models were commissioned in 1956, the ones serving today were built later. Each can carry 6 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and a freefall nuclear bomb. It was a Tu-95 bomb which, in 1961, detonated the Tsar Bomb – the most powerful nuclear warhead in history, with the explosive power of 50 megatons. Currently, the Russian Air Force operates 64 such aircraft which collectively can deliver 702 nuclear warheads right to the Continental US.

They are supplemented by 171 Tu-22M Backfire-C and 16 Tu-160 bomber. While the Tu-22M is often called a theater or continental bomber and was not included in START treaties as a strategic delivery system, it should have been, because its combat radius of 2,400 kms can be dramatically increased with in-flight refueling. That gives it capability to reach the CONUS from Russian bases in the Far East (such as Ukrainka AFB) if refueled in the air (which Russian Air Force does for its aircraft anyway when practicing nuclear strikes on the US, as Russia has repeatedly done in the last few years).

A single Tu-22M can carry 10 nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, including 4 on its wings and 6 in its internal weapons bay on a rotary launcher.

The Tu-160 bomber was commissioned in 1987 and can carry the most cruise missiles of any Russian bomber: 12. Thus, a fleet of just 16 Tu-160s can carry 184 nuclear-armed cruise missiles – and deliver them right to the CONUS. Russia is now building up its Tu-160 fleet with stockpiled components.

As for the Tu-95 fleet, it is estimated to be able to deliver between 384 and 702 nuclear weapons to the CONUS.

702 + 184 + 1710 = 2596. This is the number of nuclear warheads that the Russian bomber fleet could potentially deliver to the CONUS (with air refueling for the Tu-22Ms; however, the Russian Air Force does not have nearly enough tankers to provide aerial refueling for 171 Tu-22Ms; barely a few dozen could actually receive air refueling on their way to the US, relegating the Tu-22M to the role of a continental/theater bomber).

Even excluding the Tu-22M fleet, however, the Russian long-range bomber fleet can still deliver 886 nuclear warheads to the CONUS.

Russia’s next-generation bomber, the PAK DA (Prospektivnoy Aviatsionnyi Kompleks Dalnoy Aviatsii – Prospective Aircraft Complex of Long-range Aviation), is under development.

4) Tactical nuclear weapons and their carriers

Russia possesses thousands of tactical nuclear weapons. Just how many exactly it has is unclear. What is known is that they number in the thousands. A very conservative estimate by Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris puts the number at 2,000 tactical warheads deployed. Even the anti-nuclear, anti-American Ploughshares Fund estimates Russia’s total nuclear arsenal (strategic and tactical) at 8,000 warheads, the largest in the world (slightly larger than America’s, which consists of 7,300 warheads).

However, the exact number of tactical nuclear weapons Russia has remains unknown, due to the fact that Russia refuses to disclose this number, and the Obama administration is assisting in Russia’s nuclear opacity.

Russian tactical nuclear weapons can be carried by a wide range of delivery systems, including:

  • Artillery pieces;
  • Su-24, Su-25, Su-27/30/33/35 Flanker, and Su-34 Fullback tactical strike aircraft;
  • Tu-22M continental bombers;
  • Surface ships (in the form of nuclear depth charges and nuclear torpedoes);
  • Submarines (in the form of nuclear depth charges, torpedoes, and cruise missiles, including the recently-deployed Kalibr missile – Russia’s 12 nuclear-powered attack submarines carry such weapons today, as do Russia’s 8 cruise missile submarines);
  • Short-range missiles such as earlier Iskander (SS-26 Stone) variants; and
  • Russia’s new, illegal, intermediate-range cruise and ballistic missiles such as the Iskander-M, Iskander-K, and R-500. Some of Russia’s Iskander missiles are reportedly deployed in the Kaliningradskaya Oblast north of Poland, from which they can threaten any target within a 500 km radius.

Russia has developed, tested, and deployed these missiles in blatant violation of the INF Treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from even testing, let alone deploying, any ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5500 kilometers, or even testing any ground-launched missiles inside that range. Therefore, the 2013 test of the Rubezh ICBM at a range of 2,000 km – i.e. within INF Treaty range – was also a clear violation of the treaty.

Although Russia’s blatant violations of the treaty have been known to the Obama administration since at least 2010, the administration nonetheless withheld that information from the Senate so as to win ratification of the one-sided New START treaty, which obligated only the US (not Russia) to cut its nuclear arsenal, while allowing Russia to build up its arsenal – which it has been doing ever since New START’s ratification.

While the US held a significant nuclear arsenal advantage over Russia at the time the treaty was signed, this is no longer true. The US now barely enjoys parity with Russia in strategic nuclear weapons.

Returning to the subject of tactical nuclear arms, these – except those carried by submarines, surface ships, and Tu-22M bombers – cannot be delivered to the US, but can be used against America’s allies in Europe and Asia. Russia has threatened to do so on numerous occassions, which is why US allies in Europe, particularly Poland and the Baltic states, have repeatedly stressed the need for the US nuclear umbrella and for the continued deployment of American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

Russia has always steadfastly refused to discuss any limits on its tactical nuclear weapons, knowing that it is absolutely not in its interest to throw away the significant advantage it has over the West in this field. Russia’s leaders, unlike those of the West, are not foolish enough to do so, and will not disarm Russia unilaterally – unlike the West’s leaders.

Finally, it should be noted that the Su-34 Fullback strike aircraft, like Tu-95 and Tu-160 intercontinental bombers, can launch the Kh-55 and Kh-102 nuclear-armed cruise missiles, which have a range between 2,500 and 3,000 kms.

Conclusions

Russia has regained nuclear parity with the US in all categories of strategic nuclear weapons, and holds a huge lead over the US and its allies in tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.

Not only is this a huge threat in and of itself, but Russia has proven itself to be quite aggressive – and quite willing to use its nuclear weapons if it senses weakness on the West’s part. It reserves the right, in its nuclear doctrine, to use atomic weapons first even if the enemy doesn’t have nuclear weapons; it has threatened to use them against the US and its allies on at least 15 separate occassions since 2007; and its bombers have repeatedly practices nuclear strikes on the US and European nations (including neutral ones such as Sweden and Finland) since 2012.

Russia has made it clear it considers the US and NATO as enemies against whom its nuclear weapons are intended. In June 2012, after conducting simulated nuclear strikes on the US, the Russian Air Force was asked what it was doing in the Northwest, and replied it was “practicing attacking the enemy.” This September, while NATO leaders were gathered in Wales, Russian nuclear-armed bombers were again simulating strikes against the US – then practiced similar attacks against Britain.

Thus, Russia constitutes by far the gravest threat to US, allied, and world security, by virtue of its nuclear arsenal alone. Countering that threat should be, and appears to be emerging as, the DOD’s #1 priority. Comprehensive modernization of the US nuclear arsenal is the only way the Russian nuclear threat can be staved off and for decades to come.

 

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies, Threat environment | Leave a Comment »

Yet MORE bad news for threat deniers: North Korea CAN miniaturize nuke warheads

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 27, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

Nuclear warheads have to be miniaturized before they can be placed on top of a ballistic or cruise missile. Those who seek the unilateral disarmament of the US have long claimed North Korea has not mastered that and lacks the technology to do so.

But they’re dead wrong. North Korea mastered that process and the requisite technology years ago. And now, the commander of all US troops on the Korean Peninsula (i.e. the man responsible for holding North Korea at bay), has acknowledged that it’s likely the North Koreans have that technology:

“Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, said North Korea now is capable of building a miniaturized nuclear warhead, a step needed to complete development of a nuclear-tipped missile.

Such nuclear warheads would be small enough to fit on a ballistic missile and would be a major improvement to Pyongyang’s weapons technology. Gen. Scaparrotti said he believes North Korea also has developed a launcher that could carry an intercontinental ballistic missile with a miniaturized warhead.

He also said dictator Kim Jong Un “is clearly in control of the country,” despite recent rumors that his grip on the nation has slipped. (…)

If North Korea has a launcher as well as a functioning, long-range missile and a miniaturized nuclear warhead, the combined components would significantly increase its capabilities.

Intelligence assessments of North Korea’s capabilities have fluctuated recently, but Gen. Scaparrotti is seen as a voice of authority when it comes to matters involving security in the Asian region.

North Korea has struggled for years in its attempts to develop nuclear warheads and long-range missiles, as well as with the steep technical challenges of combining warhead and missile technology. But Gen. Scaparrotti said it is likely that Pyongyang now has the capability.

“I believe they have the capability to have miniaturized the device at this point, and they have the technology to potentially actually deliver what they say they have,” he said.

Gen. Scaparrotti said North Korea may have gained know-how on warhead-miniaturization technology through its relationships with Iran and Pakistan.

The mention of Iran and Pakistan is significant. Pakistan has already demonstrated the technology and the know-how to miniaturize a warhead and put it atop of a missile, and Iran is now working to master both. This means North Korea will likely transfer the miniaturization technology and know-how to Iran – which will only increase the Iranian nuclear threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, the time for denying and downplaying the North Korean (and Iranian) threat has passed. It’s now time to COUNTER these threats – BEFORE it’s too late. Starting with the wholesale modernization of the entire US nuclear arsenal, cessation of any cuts to it, and the reaffirmation of the guarantee to use it in defense of any treaty ally of the US – including South Korea.

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Threat environment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What does it matter if Russia has more warheads?

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 23, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

There is a widespread belief among many people – fostered by leftist organizations seeking America’s unilateral disarmament – that even a small number of nuclear warheads is sufficient for nuclear deterrence, so it doesn’t matter – according to that theory – if Russia will have more nuclear weapons than the US does. According to that view, America can therefore – allegedly – afford to cut its nuclear arsenal unilaterally and deeply and still be secure.

Nothing could be further from the truth. That belief is utterly wrong.

It matters a huge deal how many nuclear weapons the US has vis-a-vis potential adversaries.

For effective deterrence, it isn’t enough to have some nuclear weapons; you must have more than any potential adversary. Deterrence works only if the adversary knows that in response to his attacks you would be willing and able to launch a devastating retaliation that would destroy him.

For that to be possible, you must have at least – repeat, AT LEAST – enough nuclear warheads and delivery systems to survive an enemy first strike and then deliver a devastating retaliation whose consequences for the enemy would be too frightening to even contemplate.

In other words, you must have enough nuclear warheads – and enough delivery systems – to ensure that a large number of them will survive the enemy’s devastating first strike (a preemptive one) and be available to retaliate against the enemy.

For that to be possible, you must have a VERY LARGE nuclear arsenal. A small one will be woefully inadequate – it would be easily destroyed in a first strike by the enemy.

Russia currently possesses 8,000 nuclear warheads, including around 4,500 of them deployed. Of these deployed warheads, 1,643 are strategic. But that isn’t all: Russia’s triad of intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, and intercontinental bombers could deliver two times that amount of warheads. The Russian ICBM fleet alone could deliver over 1,200 warheads to the CONUS; the bomber fleet, 700 warheads; the ballistic missile submarine fleet, at least 1,400.

And as Russia replaces its 4-warhead R-29RMU Sinyeva submarine-launched missiles with newer, 10-warhead Bulava and 12-warhead Liner missiles, the number of warheads carried by its submarine fleet will increase even further.

Russia currently has 12 ballistic missile submarines that can carry 16 missiles each, and one submarine capable of carrying 20 missiles. 10 of those submarines are in service at any given time. That equals 164 submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

Assuming every one of these 164 missiles were a Bulava (RSM-56/SS-NX-30) armed with 10 warheads, that would enable the Russian Navy’s ballistic missile submarines to deliver 1,640 warheads.

Asssuming every one of those 164 missiles were a Liner, however, the Russian Navy’s ballistic missile submarine fleet could deliver 1,968 warheads to the CONUS. Almost 2,000 warheads – delivered by Russia’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles alone.

Remember: in order to effectively deter Russia from perpetrating aggression, the US nuclear arsenal has to be LARGE ENOUGH to withstand any Russian (or Chinese) first strike and then still have enough nuclear warheads, deployed on a sufficiently large number of delivery vehicles, to unleash a devastating retaliation on Russia – meaning, striking ALL of Russia’s thousands of military and economic assets.

That cannot be done with a small arsenal of just a few hundred warheads – they would be easily destroyed by Russian nuclear warheads attacking the US, and America’s noisy ballistic missile submarines would be easily found by the Russian Navy. Moreover, a few hundred warheads – even if they survived at all, which they wouldn’t – would be woefully inadequate to destroy Russia’s thousands of military, economic, and geostrategic assets.

A small number of warheads and delivery systems could – due to its small size – be easily destroyed by any aggressor, thus enabling a state like Russia or China to nuke each target several times to make sure it’s been destroyed.

Thus, a small nuclear arsenal would be utterly inadequate for America’s deterrence needs – let alone the need to protect all allies of the US who rely on the US nuclear umbrella for their national security and their very survival.

Hence, the US must NOT reduce its nuclear arsenal any further.

Posted in Ideologies, Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

Even MORE bad and embarrassing news for anti-nuclear activists

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 14, 2014


The advocates of America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament never cease to trot out the blatant lie that the US nuclear arsenal, and in particular, American tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe to deter Russia, are an unneeded “anachronism.” They make up all sorts of lies to mislead the public into accepting their scrapping.

The Obama administration – infested with advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament – apparently agrees. It has authorized anti-nuclear hacks at CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) to conduct “unofficial” talks with the Russians on possible cuts in, or even the possible withdrawal of, US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe – a long-held goal of American anti-nuclear activists and their Kremlin puppet masters.

The talks are being led for the CSIS by Sharon Squassoni, a longtime anti-nuclear activist and advocate of America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament. A few years ago, Squassoni participated in a Ploughshares propaganda “study” that called for the removal of all US tactical nuclear weapons from Europe.

Squassoni is the ignorant, anti-American-nuclear-weapons hack who, in June 2008, wrote this:

“North Korea’s commitment to dismantle its nuclear programme proves that George Bush’s hardline approach was a failure

When the Yongbyon cooling tower collapses on Friday in a cloud of dust, it will signal a level of commitment by the North Koreans to dismantling their nuclear weapons programme not previously seen.”

Just several months later, in April 2009, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear weapon, thus proving that their “commitment” to dismantling their nuclear weapons programme was a total farce – and that Squassoni is an utterly ignorant hack who doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about.

But just a few days ago, the Russians again did something that completely disproves the myths being trotted out by Western anti-nuclear activists, thus embarrassing them: Moscow has begun deploying nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and supersonic Tu-22M bombers in the Crimea, a part of Ukrainian territory invaded and annexed by Russia earlier this year. This will bring Russian nuclear weapons closer to Western Europe than at any point since the end of the first Cold War (excluding the Kaliningradskaya Oblast).

That’s right: having illegally invaded, occupied, and annexed the Crimea in blatant violation of international law and the Budapest Memorandum, the Russians will now greatly profit from their aggression against Ukraine by deploying nuclear weapons capable of reaching all of Europe on that peninsula.

This means the nuclear threat to Europe and the US will only grow significantly.

This proves that the need for a large US nuclear deterrent – and for American tactical nuclear weapons in Europe – far from being gone, is actually greater than ever.

Nothing else will suffice.

And it’s not just me who underlines the primordial importance of nuclear weapons for America’s national security and survival: it’s the commander of the US Strategic Command, the US Air Force, and the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer who have recently stressed that importance. That, once again, utterly disproves anti-American-nuclear-weapons activists’ claims that America’s nuclear weapons is “a Cold War anachronism.”

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russia-deploying-tactical-nuclear-arms-in-crimea/

Posted in Ideologies, Nuclear deterrence, Obama administration follies | Leave a Comment »

Under SECDEF Frank Kendall confirms I was right

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 13, 2014


The US Air Force, the Commander of the US Strategic Command, and the Pentagon’s top weapons buyer have recently confirmed what I’ve been saying for a long time: that nuclear deterrence is of primordial, supreme importance to America’s security in today’s world. Here’s the story from the Air Force’s official website:

Nuclear deterrence operations and long-range strike capabilities continue to be essential to the United States’ national defense strategy in the 21st century by providing security and stability for the U.S. and its allies in a highly complex and fluid global environment.

“The United States’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent is foundational to U.S. national security and the security of our allies and partners,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command commander. “These test launches, and the valuable lessons we learn from each, ensure USSTRATCOM’s strategic forces remain relevant and ready, 24/7, providing flexible and credible options for the President and the Department of Defense.”

With multiple nations either currently in possession of nuclear weapons or believed to be attempting to develop them, maintaining a safe, secure and effective deterrent capability is crucial.

“[The nuclear mission] is our most important mission, period, simply because of the sheer destructive power that’s involved and because of the criticality of it to our national security,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, speaking on behalf of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference, Sept. 17.

“This is the very foundation of U.S. national security,” Kendall said. “No capability we maintain is more important than our nuclear deterrent.”

There you have it, folks. It isn’t just me who underlines the primordial importance of nuclear weapons to America’s security: it’s also the Pentagon’s highest leaders.

http://www.afgsc.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123426299

Posted in Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

Bad News for Arms Control Advocates and Russian Threat Deniers

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on October 2, 2014


The last few weeks have been bad for advocates of arms control and other deniers of the Russian and Chinese military threat. While these people continue to stubbornly claim that nuclear weapons are “useless” against the security threats the US faces, the opposite is true, and more facts that refute their blatant lies are coming to light every week.

The latest New START “compliance” report was released last month. It shows Russia has increased its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal dramatically since March 1st (the date of the previous report), building up from 1,512 to 1,643 deployed strategic warheads – an increase of 131 deployed warheads in just 6 months!

Russia’s declared fleet of deployed strategic delivery systems (intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, bombers) also increased, from 498 to 528 – and even that is a vast understatement that excludes the vast majority of Russia’s SLBMs and bombers. (In the coming weeks, this website will publish a credible report on Russia’s real arsenal of warheads and delivery systems).

Thus, under New START, Russia’s nuclear arsenal has grown significantly rather than shrink – exactly as we, New START opponents, predicted, and exactly as Russian officials promised. Under New START, Russia is permitted to, and is, BUILDING UP rather than cutting its nuclear arsenal.

This means that those of us who opposed New START and other cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent were right ALL ALONG, and those who supported it, including arms controllers and then-Sec. of State Hillary Clinton – were WRONG ALL ALONG.

The increase in warheads is probably attributable to the deployment and arming of Russia’s two newest ballistic missile submarines, the Yuri Dolgoruki and Alexander Nevsky, both capable of launching 20 ballistic missiles. And since each Bulava or Liner missile can deliver 10-12 warheads, that means a single Russian submarine can deliver 240 nuclear warheads to the Continental US.

Now why does this matter (other than proving the growing need for a large US nuclear arsenal)?

Because arms control advocates have, for years, been falsely claiming that the US must not withdraw from, or even suspend its participation in, the New START and INF treaties because doing so would allegedly  “free” Russia from constraints on its nuclear arsenal, prod it to stop supposed reductions in its nuclear arsenal, and allow it to grow that arsenal. In other words, arms controllers are blatantly lying that Russia is now reducing its arsenal and that New START withdrawal would allow it to grow that stockpile.

This is completely false. Russia is not cutting ANYTHING. Russia has not reduced its nuclear arsenal by a single warhead, missile, or bomber. Under New START, it is BUILDING UP its arsenal of nuclear warheads and their associated delivery systems.

In addition, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced last week that Russia will develop new, “offensive” nuclear and nonnuclear weapons aimed at the US and its NATO allies. (So much for the US nuclear arsenal being supposedly “useless” and an “anachronism.”)

In other news, the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz has just reported that the Chinese military has recently tested a new ICBM – the DF-31B – and increased the number of the DF-31/31A ICBMs it deploys to 40 (which may be even higher). Each DF-31 can carry 3-4 warheads, so this works out to 120 DF-31 missile warheads being aimed at the US (with more to be added soon). Every day, the PLA adds more missiles and warheads to its arsenal.

Also, the Heritage Foundation reported recently that the Israeli Iron Dome system has intercepted 90% of the missiles it has attempted to shoot down, contrary to missile defense critic Ted Postol’s ridiculous claims of a 95% failure rate. Postol makes that ridiculous claim on the grounds that Iron Dome interceptors have not been hitting offensive missiles from Gaza head-on, but rather from the sides or from the rear; that counts as a “failure to intercept” in his fantasyland. In reality, the only thing that counts is intercepting the enemy’s missiles, and it doesn’t matter from what aspect it’s done. In fact, in real warfare, it is PREFERRABLE to strike the enemy from the sides or the rear; head-on attacks usually fail.

The proof of Iron’s Dome success is not just its 90% interception rate, but also the fact that NO Israeli has died in areas protected by this system in 2014 or even 2012. This cannot be attributed just to shelters as Postol as tried to do.

Another piece of bad news for arms controllers seeking to disarm the US is, of course, the fact that the Republican Party is fully on course to win the upcoming House and Senate elections – and it will likely win big. It is poised to gain its largest majority in the House since 1946 and projected by RealClearPolitics to win, on net, 7 Senate seats, giving it a 52-47 majority (with 1 Republican-leaning independent). This will result in Republicans completely stopping the Left’s unilateral disarmament agenda dead in its tracks.

The very first thing the next Congress should do – after publicly reading the Constitution – is to immediately pass the bills proposed by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to suspend US participation in the New START and INF treaties.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/1/inside-the-ring-compromise-of-classified-documents/?page=2

 

Posted in Ideologies, Nuclear deterrence, Threat environment | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How many nuclear weapons does China have? I’m quoted in Proceedings

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on September 30, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

How many nuclear weapons does China have?

This is currently a subject of dispute between those who attempt to assess the Chinese arsenal’s size soberly and objectively, and those who wish to downplay and deny the Chinese military threat.

Captain David A. Adams, USN, Director of Initiatives at the US Seventh Fleet command, falls into the first camp. Proceedings, the flagship publication of the US Naval Institute and a very respective monthly magazine, has just published an article of his where he cites my estimate of the size of China’s nuclear arsenal, based on the estimates by General Viktor Yesin (Russian Strategic Missile Troops, ret.) [1] and Professor Philip A. Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist in the Reagan Administration [2].

In November 2012, you might recall, I estimated that:

China has at least 1,129 intercontinental and medium range nuclear delivery systems capable of delivering, collectively, 1,274 warheads. And that’s without counting any of its SRBMs or GLCMs, and optimistically assuming that DF-5 ICBMs can carry only two warheads.

Based on these conservative estimates, Captain Adams castigates AirSea Battle proponents, and others who plan for war with China, for assuming that China would refrain from using nuclear weapons if its mainland were bombed by the US. Based on my estimates, he says China could very well retaliate with nuclear weapons and has the capability to do that on a huge scale:

“That is why it is so important for U.S. nuclear strategy to draw the clearest possible line between any level of aggression and the invocation of nuclear defense of the United States and our allies. Delegitimizing U.S. nuclear deterrence plays right into China’s hands. Allies who lack confidence in U.S. extended deterrence will have no choice but to either bow to Chinese coercive influence or develop their own strategic arsenals. An unintended consequence of Air-Sea Battle is that it actually raises the nuclear threshold by demonstrating our intent to fight a full-scale conventional war with China. This fuels China’s incentive to prepare to win a hybrid war with conventional aspects that remain just below that threshold. It also risks severe miscalculation by undermining the certainty that conventional attacks might escalate into a calamitous nuclear exchange.

Just as the Chinese cannot be sure of our nuclear thresholds, we cannot be sure of theirs. Some analysts are convinced that China will not choose nuclear escalation even in the face of strikes on their homeland, citing the PRC’s long-standing restrained attitude toward the use of nuclear weapons. It would be a mistake, though, to assess China’s policy of restraint in light of anything other than its massive nuclear disadvantage. A closer examination suggests that Beijing’s nuclear policy “resembles mutually assured destruction in every way but name.” 8 Some analysts suggest that the United States is seriously underestimating China’s nuclear capacity. General Viktor Esin, a former commander of Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, and Georgetown University’s Dr. Philip A. Karber estimate that China has more than 1,500 nuclear warheads hidden in a vast network of tunnels. What is certain is that the PRC has fielded “at least 1,129 intercontinental and medium-range nuclear delivery systems capable of delivering, collectively, 1,274 warheads.” 9

To understand the PRC commitment to a second-strike capability one need look no further than the country’s press for a sea-based strategic deterrent in the form of the Jin-class ballistic-missile submarine armed with the JL-2 missile. Deterring the United States is the only plausible explanation for this buildup. General Zhu Chunghu, now dean of the Chinese National Defense University, once admitted, “if the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons.” 10 “

Captain Adams does have a point here. Given how large China’s nuclear arsenal is and how fast it is being grown and modernized by the PLA, any direct war between the US and China would be an absolute suicide for both countries and indeed the world.

And that is precisely why nuclear deterrence is needed to deter China and thus to keep the peace in the Pacific – as Captain Adams himself stresses.

But that is also why the US needs to implement the AirSea Battle concept Captain Adams criticizes. The only way to prevent China from attacking the US or its allies is to threaten, and be capable of credibly threatening, a deadly, painful retaliation against the Chinese mainland and to threaten the very existence of the Chinese regime.

Only thus can China be discouraged from attacking any of America’s allies in the Pacific.

Last, but certainly not least, it should be noted that China has added a lot of missiles since my November 2012 estimate:

  • It has deployed a new IRBM, the DF-26C, with a range of over 3,500 kms and thus the capability to reach Guam and beyond.
  • It has begun deploying, and publicly confirmed the existence of, the DF-41 mobile heavy ICBM, which is capable of delivering 10 warheads per missile. StrategyPage estimates that China has deployed “fewer than a dozen” DF-41s so far. That means anywhere from 1 to 11 DF-41s – and since each DF-41 missile can deliver 10 warheads, that means up to 110 additional warheads being targeted against the US.
  • It has replaced its last DF-3 MRBMs with mobile DF-21s.
  • It has increased the number of SRBMs deployed opposite Taiwan.
  • It has certainly increased the number of the DF-31s it deploys, from the 30 then estimated to be in service.

So the number of intercontinental and medium range missiles it deploys, and the number of warheads it can deliver, has increased.

My new estimate is as follows:

Warhead delivery system Inventory Maximum warheads deliverable per system Maximum warhead delivery capacity
DF-5 ICBM 24 At least 6 144
H-6, Q-5, and JH-7 aircraft 440 1 440
DF-31 40 3-4 120
DF-41 11? 10 110?
DF-3* 0-17* 1 0-17*
DF-4 20 3 60
DF-21 100 1 100
JL-1 12 1 12
JL-2 48 4 192
DH-10 nuclear armed LACM ? ? ?
DF-11/15 nuclear armed SRBM 1,600 ? ?
DF-26C 1?  ? 1?
Total 696 Various 1,159

In total, I estimate China to possess at least 696 intercontinental- and intermediate-range delivery systems (missiles and aircraft) capable of delivering at least 1,159 nuclear warheads.

Note, however, that this is a very conservative estimate, one that likely dramatically underestimates the size of China’s missile and nuclear arsenals, for the following reasons:

  • Due to a lack of newer data, it accepts the 2009 DOD estimate of China having 30 DF-31 ICBMs, even though China has, since then, deployed many more of these missiles.
  • It does not take into account any of China’s intermediate-range DH-10 and CJ-10 ground-launched cruise missiles and its 1,600 short-range ballistic missiles, again for a lack of reliable data to base an estimate on.
  • It assumes, very conservatively, that only one DF-26C has been deployed and can carry only one warhead, even though more of these missiles have probably been deployed and may be capable of carrying multiple warheads.
  • Due to a lack of data, it does not take into account any of the air-launched CJ-10 cruise missiles carried by China’s H-6K bombers, assuming that these bombers still only carry a single nuclear warhead.

So as you look at my estimate, bear in mind, Dear Reader, that it is a very conservative estimate, and that China’s deployed and nondeployed nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal is likely to be far larger. Putting together such an estimate is not easy due to China’s absolute nuclear opacity and the scarcity of data in open sources.

Still, the estimate provided herein, based on reliable sources, is still far more credible than those put forward by pro-unilateral-US-disarmament groups such as the Arms Control Association, the FAS, the NRDC, Ploughshares, or the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

In the near future, if and when more data becomes available, this estimate will be updated, and an estimate of the nuclear size of Russia.

UPDATE ON OCT. 2ND, 2014: Estimate updated to include new data on the DF-31 inventory size. Also note that, according to the WFB’s Bill Gertz, China has tested and will soon deploy a new variant of the DF-31 ICBM – the DF-31B. More here.

Footnotes:

*The DF-3 is nearing retirement, and may have already been retired, from Chinese inventory.

Sources:

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/98667133/YESIN-China-s-Nuclear-Potential

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_ByWFC7loM

[3] http://freebeacon.com/national-security/china-conducts-flight-test-of-new-mobile-icbm/

Posted in Nuclear deterrence, Threat environment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Rebuttal of NYT’s and arms control advocates’ lies

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on September 26, 2014


142074.439nuclear_explosion

The advocates of America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament are at it again. They’ve launched yet another attack on the US nuclear arsenal – the only thing that is deterring Russia, China, and North Korea from attacking the US with nuclear weapons.

But fear not, Dear Reader. The pro-disarmament-crowd’s latest media attack on the US nuke deterrent is yet another litany of blatant lies that don’t even pass the laugh test. They are the same old tired lies that the treasonous pro-disarmament crowd has been peddling for many years. Evidently, like their intellectual godfather, Joseph Goebbels, they believe that repeating a lie a hundred times makes it true.

But it doesn’t.

The New York Times ran a story this week about the Defense Department’s nuclear arsenal modernization plan. America’s current ballistic missile submarines, nuclear-capable bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and associated nuclear warheads – built during the 1970s and 1980s – are aging out and will need to be replaced soon.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to disarm America unilaterally, the anti-nuclear Left – led by the NYT and pro-unilateral-disarmament groups – is conducting a propaganda campaign falsely claiming that the modernization/replacement effort will cost $1 trillion, that nuclear weapons are supposedly useless, that this conflicts with Barack Obama’s pledge to seek a “world without nuclear weapons”, etc.

Needless to say, all of their claims are blatant lies.

The Cost Of Nuclear Modernization

Firstly, the $1 trillion figure comes from an anti-nuclear propaganda pamphlet cooked up at the extremely-leftist, anti-nuclear Monterrey Institute for International Studies and was personally rigged by well-known anti-nuclear hacks such as Jeffrey Lewis (who has been proven wrong on many issues, including the range of China’s ballistic missiles and the size of China’s nuclear arsenal).

To say it very politely, Lewis is not an authority on nuclear weapons or defense spending.

Wildly exaggerating the costs of nuclear modernization is an old tactic of unilateral disarmament advocates, dating back decades. It’s nothing new. The anti-nuclear Ploughshares Fund has been caught doing so. It’s no surprise the liberal MIIS is now lying so blatantly as well.

And even if the $1 trillion figure were correct – which it isn’t – it refers to planned spending on nuclear modernization over the span of THREE DECADES. That is, MIIS claims the US will spend $1 trillion over a span of 30 years on nuclear modernization.

Simple math tells us that $1 trillion divided by thirty is around $33 bn per year. That works out to around 5-6% of the DOD’s annual budget (around $600 bn per year).

It is ridiculous to claim that a Department that has an annual budget of around $600 bn – larger than the GDP of most countries in the world – can’t afford to spend a meagre 5-6% of its budget on modernizing and preserving America’s nuclear deterrent.

Therefore, the claims of dinosaur politicians like former Clinton Defense Sec. William Perry and anti-nuclear hacks such as ex-Gen. James Cartwright (Obama’s “favorite general”) that the Obama administration’s modernization plans are “unaffordable” are completely false prima facie.

In fact, over the next 30 years, the DOD is poised to spend $20 trillion on all sorts of military things. $1 trillion is a tiny fraction (5%) out of that figure.

Moreover, if the DOD’s nuclear modernization plans are “unaffordable” (which they are not), the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program to develop and procure 2,443 short range fighters is even more so unaffordable, with a price tag of $400 bn to develop and procure and an additional $1 trillion to operate over 50 years! $1.4 trillion for a fleet of far less capable systems!

Compared to this, nuclear weapons are cheap.

Anti-nuclear hacks such as those on the “National Defense Panel” also falsely claim that also falsely claim that nuclear modernization spending will siphon lots of money from America’s conventional forces.

But that is also a blatant lie. As stated above, nuclear modernization will cost only 5% of the DOD budget over the next 30 years.

Moreover, nuclear modernization programs aren’t the costliest ones in the DOD’s budget plans. Not even close. A recently released “Weapon Systems Factbook” by the CSBA documents this.

CSBA’s “Factbook” says the DOD will need to invest $73 bn to develop and build 100 stealthy bombers and $90 bn to build replacements for America’s current, obsolete, noisy, and ageing ballistic missile subs (SSBNs). (The bomber program will, in fact, cost only $55 bn, not the $73 bn that the CSBA claims.)

That’s $163 bn in total, per the CSBA “Factbook.”

By far the most expensive weapon program in the DOD’s current plans, and indeed in US history, is the conventional F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, aiming to develop an aircraft that can do everything from air superiority to close air support, but which in reality will produce an aircraft mediocre at every task.

This program will in fact develop and procure a fleet of partially stealthy, short-ranged, slow, sluggish, unmaneuverable, underpowered, poorly armed, useless “strike fighters” designed for strikes against massive Soviet tank armies in Germany – a threat that no longer exists. It is now intended by the USAF to fight enemy aircraft and go into airspace protected by modern SAM systems – missions it is utterly incapable of performing.

The F-35 is also short-ranged, with a combat radius of about 1,800-1,900 kms at most, meaning that, like other US fighters, it would need to use bases close to potential adversary countries – bases that are well within the range of enemy medium range ballistic and cruise missiles. As Congressmen Randy Forbes and Chris Stewart explain here, cutting spending on bombers to protect short-range fighters would be a grave mistake.

Per CSBA’s Factbook, the F-35 has already cost taxpayers $100 bn and will cost another $251.3 bn in the coming years to complete the program.

That is $88.3 bn more than the cost of the long-range strike bomber and new ballistic missile submarine programs COMBINED! And that is using the CSBA’s grossly exaggerated estimate of the bomber program’s cost!

In other words, if the DOD cancelled the useless F-35 Junk Strike Fighter, it could pay the entire cost of both the new bomber and the new ballistic missile sub programs COMBINED and still make a saving of $88.3 bn!

“Oh, but other dastardly nuclear weapon programs will siphon more money”, anti-nuclear propagandists will claim.

No, they won’t. The other nuclear weapon programs the DOD has in store, the Trident II missile and the B61 nuclear bomb toolkit, will cost $5.6 bn and $1.2 bn, respectively, a total of $6.8 bn. Paying for them from savings generated by F-35 cancellation would still leave the DOD with a saving of $81.7 bn!

In fact, if the DOD simply cancelled the F-35 program, it could pay for upgrading F-15s and F-16s, prolonging their service lives by decades, building all the planned 100 stealthy long range bombers and 12 replacements for Ohio class submarines, for the Trident missile, for B61 modernization, for the KC-46 tanker, the V-22 Osprey, the Virginia class of attack submarines, and dozens of other weapon programs – and still have healthy savings left.

(Speaking of the V-22 Osprey, can’t the CH-46 do the job? Some naval aviators, such as Jack McCain, believe it can.)

So contrary to anti-nuke propagandists’ claims, no, the Long Range Strike Bomber and the Ohio class replacement will NOT crush conventional weapon programs. The F-35 Junk Strike Fighter will.

The proverbial elephant in the room is the F-35.

Furthermore, the DOD owns real estate collectively worth $800 billion, but doesn’t really need a good part of it and doesn’t even know what to do with a large chuck of that real estate. Selling only a quarter of it would raise $200 bn – more than enough to pay for the bomber, ballistic missile submarine, and warhead programs combined. Selling half of DOD’s real estate would raise $400 bn – the equivalent of the F-35 program’s cost. (Source: http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2014/09/14/the_pentagons_800_billion_real_estate_problem_107438.html)

Moreover, the Long Range Strike Bomber will be as much a conventional weapon platform as a nuclear one. It is needed for both conventional and (if need be) nuclear strike. It is needed because America’s potential foes (Russia, China, Syria, Venezuela, and even Iran and North Korea) possess such sophisticated air defense systems (especially the first three countries) that America’s nonstealthy bombers (B-52s and B-1s) can’t go into their airspace, and B-2’s stealth technology is 1980s vintage. Moreover, the USAF has only 20 B-2s – way too little for any effective campaign against even a mid-sized adversary.

Unsurprisingly, the National Defense Panel, which the NY Slimes quotes so approvingly, strongly supports the Long Range Strike Bomber (p. 45):

“Whether the aircraft is designed to be manned, unmanned, or “optionally manned,” the need to bring such an aircraft into service by the mid-2020s, when modern air defenses will put the B-2 bomber increasingly at risk, is compelling. We are concerned that continued budget cuts and the resulting programmatic instability would jeopardize this critical investment.”

The need for the LRSB has been irrefutably proven time and again.

The Need For Nuclear Modernization

Anti-nuclear hacks such as the CLW’s Kingston Reif – who has been proven wrong on every issue he’s written about – protest, however, that nuclear weapons are “useless” for countering any threats to US national security, so it doesn’t matter if they cost little. In a recent screed published by DefenseOne, Reif and his fellow CLW hack Angela Canterbury falsely claim:

“But the most explosive (literally) power tool has neither prevented nor will be useful in addressing any of today’s international security issues: nuclear weapons. The current U.S. arsenal of approximately 4,800 nuclear warheads is a Cold War anachronism. (…) The current modernization plan is geared towards building nuclear weapons that we don’t need and can’t afford. It’s time for Congress to insist on a new approach.”

(http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2014/09/its-time-rein-nuclear-spending/95174/?oref=d-skybox)

They also falsely call the new National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund “a nuclear submarine slush fund”.

In another screed for DefenseOne, Rep. Mike Quigley, a liberal Democrat from Illinois, falsely claimed that:

“not every element of NATO’s power is useful in combating the Russian threat to European security. NATO’s nuclear weapons strategy in Europe is no longer relevant… (…) The nuclear weapons we deployed for the Cold War, which ended two decades ago, are simply not the same weapons we need for the “hot” war threat that our eastern NATO allies, and Ukraine, face today.”

But they are dead wrong, because nuclear weapons are of paramount importance to countering threats to America’s security. The gravest of these threats are the nuclear arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea and Iran’s ambition to develop its own atomic weapons.

ONLY nuclear weapons can protect the US and its allies from these grave threats.

The nation’s second most senior military officer, Adm. James Winnefeld, understands this, which is why he said earlier this year at the Atlantic Council:

“If we consider that at the top of our list of national security interests is probably the survival of our nation, then at the top of the list of threats to that interest is a massive nuclear attack from Russia.”

Indeed, the Russian nuclear threat is the gravest of all. Russia’s nuclear arsenal is huge, numbering anywhere between 6,800 (per the FAS) and 8,000 (per the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists) nuclear weapons, deployed and nondeployed.

In early September, while NATO leaders were gathered in Wales for a NATO summit, Russian nuclear-armed bombers simulated (for the upteenth time since 2012) a nuclear strike on the US! Shortly thereafter, they tested the air defenses of northern European countries, again carrying deadly nuclear payloadsthen practiced a strike on the US again, but the much-maligned F-22 Raptors intercepted them.

Since 2007, Russia has threatened to aim or use nuclear weapons against the US and its allies at least 15 times, including in recent months!

Russia’s nuclear triad numbers over 400 ICBMs (capable of delivering over 1,600 nukes to the continental US), 13 ballistic missile subs (boomers) capable of delivering over 2,000 warheads to America’s shores, and 251 strategic bombers capable of delivering another 1,400 nuclear warheads to the US. The Tu-95 bomber fleet alone can deliver over 700 warheads.

On top of that, Russia’s attack and cruise missile submarines can deliver further over 1,000 atomic warheads to the US on their cruise missiles.

And as Russia replaces older, single- or low-number-warhead missiles (like the Topol) with newer ones (e.g. Yars, Bulava, and Liner), capable of carrying more warheads, Russia’s nuclear arsenal will only grow.

Moscow has just announced that three more missile regiments will, by this year’s end, swap their single-warhead Topol missiles for 4-warhead Yars ICBMs.

Putin has also stated Russia will grow its atomic arsenal and develop new, “offensive” nuclear weapons.

So Russia’s nuclear arsenal will grow STILL FURTHER, with new, “offensive” nukes aimed against the US and NATO.

Even larger is Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal, estimated at 4,000 warheads and deliverable by a wide range of short- and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, surface ships, tactical aircraft, artillery pieces, and other systems.

China also has a large nuclear arsenal, estimated at between 1,600 (per General Viktor Yesin) and 3,000 (per Dr Philip Karber, the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under President Reagan) warheads and the means to deliver many of them. It currently has at least 75 (and likely many more) ICBMs capable of reaching the US, including at least 55 multiple-warhead ICBMs (DF-5s, DF-31s, DF-41s) capable of striking the Continental US.

Moscow and Beijing are also both developing next-generation bombers.

Both Russia and China are rapidly growing, not cutting, their atomic arsenal. In these circumstances, it would be utterly suicidal for the US to cut – or neglect to modernize – its own nuclear deterrent. It would be an invitation of a nuclear first strike by Russia or China.

And that’s before mentioning North Korea, which already has miniaturized nuclear warheads it can mate to missiles, and ICBMs capable of delivering them to the US.

America’s Allies Get It; American Anti-Nuke Activists Don’t

Hardly surprising, then, that America’s European allies – especially those most threatened by Russia – have also once again underlined the importance of NATO’s nuclear deterrent. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated: “The current situation reaffirms the importance of NATO’s nuclear deterrence policy.”

Because America’s nuclear weapons also serve another vitally important function: reassuring them that they are protected by the US, safe from potential aggressors like Russia and China, and therefore don’t need to develop their own nukes.

But they will if the US continues to cut its arsenal. Already 66% of South Koreans want their country to “go nuclear”; Poland’s former President Lech Walesa has said his country should do the same; Saudi Arabia has already ordered nuclear warheads in Pakistan and DF-21 ballistic missiles  in China; and Japan has opened a facility that can produce 3,600 nuclear warheads in a year if Tokyo ever decides to “go nuclear.”

And if America continues to cut its own arsenal, they won’t have any alternative. They cannot afford to bet their security and their very survival on American liberals’ fantasies of “a world without nuclear weapons”. They know that Reif’s and another anti-nuclear hacks’ claims that “nuclear weapons are useless” are patently false.

So if America continues to cut its nuclear arsenal, we will see MORE nuclear arms and MORE nuclear-weapon-wielding states in the world, not fewer. Potential enemies, emboldened by America’s disarmament, will arm themselves. Nervous allies, worried about their security, will also obtain nuclear weapons. 66% of South Koreans also want their country to do so. Japan is ready to do likewise the moment its Prime Minister decides to do so.

Therefore, no matter how much nuclear modernization will cost, it is a national security imperative – and even the anti-nuclear President Obama has realized it.

Forget About The “Nuke-Free World” Fantasy

Critics claim that by pursuing it, he’s violating his pledge to seek “a world without nuclear weapons.”

But he isn’t. There is nothing inconsistent with seeking a long-term goal of such a fantasy world (which will never exist) while modernizing the US nuclear arsenal to maintain it for the foreseeable future.

From the beginning of his first presidential campaign, Obama was saying explicitly that as long as nuclear weapons exist, the US will have to maintain a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear arsenal.

And let’s be honest: there will never be a world without nuclear weapons. There is zero chance of such a world existing. More and more countries are developing nuclear weapons or at least considering it and talking openly about it. The world is heading towards MORE nuclear arms and more nuclear weapon possessing states.

Obama’s “nuclear-free world” was always a totally unrealistic, childish fantasy. It should’ve never been pursued.

But when the NYT and anti-nuclear groups like the “Council for a Livable World” and the “Arms Control Association” complain that nuclear modernization plans impede the goal of “nuclear disarmament”, they are not talking about GLOBAL nuclear disarmament.

No, they are talking about their long-held goal of the nuclear disarmament of the United States. That is what they seek and have always sought.

Their goal is not to free the world from nuclear weapons. Their goal is to disarm the US unilaterally and to expose it to Russian and Chinese nuclear attack.

They must be stopped at all costs.

UPDATE: Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics (i.e. the Pentagon’s weapons buyer), Frank Kendall, has underlined the primordial importance of the US nuclear deterrent in the strongest words possible:

“[The nuclear mission] is our most important mission, period, simply because of the sheer destructive power that’s involved and because of the criticality of it to our national security. This is the very foundation of U.S. national security,” Kendall said. “No capability we maintain is more important than our nuclear deterrent.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/22/us/us-ramping-up-major-renewal-in-nuclear-arms.html

Posted in Media lies, Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 440 other followers