Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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Why the Rafale Is Likely To Win More Export Orders & The Typhoon Is Not

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on May 24, 2015


As the Paris Air Show approaches, the press is marvelling at France’s success in winning three export orders for its Dassault Rafale fighter this year and speculating whether this French jet or its competitors will be selected by more foreign customers in the years ahead.

The first new opportunities will be in Saudi Arabia, which is looking to buy 48 or more fighter jets, and its satellite state Bahrain, which will shop for about a squadron’s worth (i.e. 12) of aircraft. The UAE will also be shopping for fighters – around 60.

Afterwards, Malaysia, Indonesia, Denmark, Belgium, Finland, and Poland will be looking for fighter jets to buy, as they need to replace their old, obsolete fleets of previous-generation aircraft.

Analysts and journalists are praising the French government’s active, close involvement in the bids – which is what probably tipped the scales in Dassault’s favor – but some are still deluding themselves that the Typhoon, manufactured by Dassault’s rival Eurofighter, can somehow outcompete the Rafale. DefenseNews reports:

“Justin Bronk, an air power analyst at the RUSI think tank in London, has published a report looking at Typhoon’s potential to meet Europe’s air power requirements, which concludes the jet is already the best air superiority fighter outside of the F-22 Raptor but is outclassed for the moment by the more mature Rafale in the air-to-ground role.

“In the Eurofighter, the European states have the most formidable non-stealth air-superiority platform in the world,” Bronk said.

With the entry into service of Storm Shadow and Brimstone II missiles, on contract to the UK Royal Air Force in 2018, and with an active electronically scanned array radar in development, Typhoon capabilities “should surpass that of the Rafale in many respects,” he said.”https://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

This utter nonsense, evidently written by a person who doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

The fact is that the Rafale is superior to the Typhoon in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground role. The Rafale, not the Typhoon, is the best Western air superiority fighter after the F-22 Raptor.

With regard to air-to-air combat, the Rafale clearly outclasses the Typhoon as it accelerates and climbs faster, is lighter and more maneuverable, can carry more ordnance, carries better weapons (e.g. the MBDA MICA IR far outranges the IRIS-T, at 50+ kms vs the IRIS-T’s 25 kms), is cheaper to buy and fly, has highway basing capability, and requires less maintenance than the Typhoon – and far less so than the F-22. Moreover, the Rafale already has an active electronically-scanned array radar, while the Typhoon does not and will not for years to come.

If that were not enough, the Rafale is carrier-capable, while the Typhoon is not and will never be, as it is too heavy and was EXPLICITLY designed not to be carrier-capable.

Adding Storm Shadow and Brimstone II missiles and equipping the Typhoon with an AESA will change nothing. This will just barely bring the Typhoon up to par with the Rafale in some respects – several years from now (by which time the Rafale will have likely been upgraded further). France already uses the Storm Shadow missile under the name of SCALP EG; the Brimstone II changes nothing; and equipping the Typhoon with a radar will barely bring it up to par with the Rafale on that score.

Contrary to what Mr Bronk says, the Typhoon does not, and will not, exceed the Rafale in capability on any score whatsoever.

This fact, coupled with Britain’s strong support for the Obama administration’s capitulation to Iran, its growing isolationism (and thus isolation in the world), and its retreat from the world stage, will only undermine any export prospects the Typhoon might still enjoy.

For – as France has learned – it is not enough to produce a good or even outstanding fighter to win export orders for it; one has to establish very friendly relations – indeed, strategic partnerships – with prospective customers, and maintain these friendly ties for many years.

French leaders have done so. British leaders have not. And considering their insular thinking, their myopic preoccupation with domestic affairs, and their growing isolationist tendencies, they aren’t likely to learn that lesson anytime soon.

Indeed, the Cameron years have been a time of a stunning loss of influence in the world by Britain. And the worst part of it is that the Tory Cabinet is pleased with itself and doesn’t realize anything bad has happened. But years ago, the Daily Telegraph expressed that worry openly in its pages.

This is, in particular, a defeat for the UK: it, along with West Germany and Italy, forced France to leave the Eurofighter program in 1984 because they didn’t want to develop a carrier-capable fighter (while France wanted it). Now, as my fellow blogger Picard says, France has a fighter that has not only arrived sooner, but is carrier-capable and better, in most respects, than the Typhoon – while the UK is stuck buying crappy F-35s for its carriers (which will be STOVL and not CATOBAR).

But British analysts are hardly the only ones who have manifested unwarranted optimism recently. Saab executives have also done so (though this is not surprising – they have to display optimism publicly).

Saab estimates it can win orders for up to 200 aircraft in the years ahead. But the only countries likely to order the Saab Gripen are poor countries that cannot afford more expensive (and more capable) aircraft like the Rafale and the Typhoon and/or do not face any significant threats – such as Brazil. The Latin American country ordered 36 Gripens in 2013, but as even Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group admits, Brazil doesn’t face any real threats at this moment – all of its neighbors are either economic basket cases or military weaklings.

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/air-force/2015/05/23/france-rafale-uk-eurofighter-gripen-paris-air-show-political-government-dassault-gulf-saab/27582313/

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Comment réformer et renforter l’armée française – 3ème edition

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on May 4, 2015


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N.b.: Ceci est la 3ème edition de ma liste des réformes 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. Réduire le coût annuel des vols des avions des VIP de 6.8M EUR a 3.4M EUR.
  4. Fermer la base aérienne de Villacoublay, reouvrir la base aérienne de Taverny (95), et y faire démenager tous les unités des bases de Villacoublay et de Creil. La base aérienne de Taverny devrait aussi devenir à nouveau une base des Forces Aériennes Strategiques.
  5. 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 Avignon, à Clermont-Ferrand, ou dans la Côte Mediterrainée (par exemple, à Nimes).
  6. 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 réduisant la Garde Républicaine par 75%; il faut supprimer complètement la cavalerie de la Garde et le 2ème Régiment 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).
  7. 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 et à certains officiers français servant dans les commandements de l’OTAN. Les rangs de 4 étoiles devraient être reservés seulement aux chefs des quatre services militaires, l’Amiral Commandant de la Force Océanique Stratégique (ALFOST), et le commandant des Forces Aériennes Strategiques. Il faut aussi réduire le nombre d’autres officiers.
  8. Supprimer la DGRIS, les bureaux des officiers généraux, le CSFM, le CAJ, etc.
  9. 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.
  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 et doit être immédiatement eliminé. (http://www.lefigaro.fr/conjoncture/2015/04/29/20002-20150429ARTFIG00010-engagee-sur-plusieurs-fronts-l-armee-francaise-a-besoin-de-materiels-neufs.php)
  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. La vente des chevaux toute seule produiserait 127 millions d’euros de recettes exceptionnelles.
  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 (qui devrait être importante – le nombre d’officiers de l’armée de terre et de l’armée de l’Air a peu diminu depuis 1996, et le nombre d’officiers de la Marine s’est même augmenté!) (http://www.ifrap.org/Bilan-de-15-ans-de-reduction-des-effectifs-au-sein-de-la-Defense,14674.html)
  15. Vendre l’Hôtel de Brienne, l’Hôtel de la Marine, les bâtiments des états-majors de l’Armée de Terre et de l’Armée de l’Air, la base aérienne de Velizy, celle de Creil, et le Château de Vincennes. Il ne faut pas utiliser l’Hôtel de la Marine comme un musée; Paris en a déjà assez. (http://www.opex360.com/2014/01/12/nouveau-changement-de-cap-pour-lhotel-de-la-marine/)
  16. Réduire fortement (d’au moins 66%) le nombre et les salaires des conseillers au Ministère.
  17. Vendre tous les avions CASA et tous les drones Harfang et Reaper de l’AdlA et acheter des drones RQ-170 Sentinel ou RQ-4 Global Hawk au lieu de ces derniers. (http://www.lefigaro.fr/conjoncture/2015/04/29/20002-20150429ARTFIG00010-engagee-sur-plusieurs-fronts-l-armee-francaise-a-besoin-de-materiels-neufs.php)
  18. Utiliser les avions Atlantique 2 SEULEMENT pour la lutte contre les sous-marins.
  19. Permettre aux annonceurs (donneurs des publicités) d’afficher leurs réclames aux côtés du Balardgone et aux palissades autour de l’Hôtel de Brienne et de la base militaire de Lyon.
  20. Annuler la contribution française au nouvel siège de l’Otan (110 millions d’Euros) ou, si le ministère l’a déjà payé, exiger un remboursement total du côté de l’Otan. Ne jamais transférer l’argent du contribuable français à l’Otan.
  21. Faire payer à l’heure la facture pour tous les vols presidentiels et ministeriels par tous les institutions de l’Etat et réduire leur cout de 50%, ce qui permettrait, par exemple, à l’AdlA d’acheter de nouveaux missiles.
  22. Appliquer la methode Lean Six Sigma dans l’ensemble du ministère.
  23. Retirer les soldats français des DOM-TOM, sauf la Guyenne.
  24. Supprimer la 2ème section.
  25. Réduire les effectifs de l’armee en reduisant quelques parmi les 18 000 postes epargnes par Francois Hollande le 29 avril 2015. (http://www.lepoint.fr/politique/hollande-3-8-milliards-d-euros-de-credits-supplementaires-pour-la-defense-29-04-2015-1925031_20.php)
  26. Réduire le budget de la DGSE.
  27. Vendant tous les C-130 Hercules utilisés maintenant par l’AdlA afin d’accélérer les livraisons des A400M et même en acheter plusieurs exemplaires supplementaires si besoin. http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/05/20/france-budget-hercules-c130-boost-sahel-africa-inflight-refueling-tiger-helicopter-frigate/27652679/

Europe de Défense

Tous les membres de l’UE peuvent aussi économiser des moyens en evitant de créer de programmes d’armament duplicatifs et en établissant un état-major européen permanent. On peut aussi mutualiser des moyens, sans les diminuer, en créant des flottes communes des équipements similaires a l’European Air Transport Command. Il faut créer telles flottes communes des avions de ravitaillement, des navires de ravitaillement, des navires de lutte contre les mines, des drones, des avions AWACS, et des avions de patrouille maritime. Il faut aussi standardiser les équipements des armées européennes au point auquel c’est pratiquement possible. Il faut aussi interdire, au niveau européen, l’importation d’armes et d’equipment militaire non-européen au moins que aucun pays européen ne soit pas capable de le produire.

Le renfortement

Afin de renforter l’armée française, il faut – et avec les économies ci-dessus, il sera possible – de renforter l’armée de la manière suivante. Pour l’AdlA:

  1. Commander au moins 10 Rafale supplementaires par an (50 Rafales en total entre 2019 et 2024), financés par une réduction du budget de la Gendarmerie Nationale de 700 millions d’Euros par an. 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. Augmenter le nombre des avions de l’AdlA dediés à la dissuasion nucleaire de 40 à 60, en récréant le troisième escadron des avions dediés à la dissuasion nucléaire (l’escadron de chasse 1/4 Dauphiné, dissout par Nicolas Sarkozy pour plaire au mouvement anti-nucleaire). Cet escadron serait équipé de 20 parmi les 50-60 Rafale supplementaires prévus ci-dessus.
  3. 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. Le coût à l’unité d’un missile ASMP-A égale 15M d’Euros.
  4. 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. Demander aux EAU de renforter la base aérienne d’Al Dhafra.
  5. Developper, avec tous les autres pays européens, un nouvel avion d’entrainement comme l’Alphajet (ou acheter une licence pour produire en France l’avion britannique BAE Hawk).
  6. Convertir les 3 A310 de l’escadron de Villacoublay, les 2 A340 de l’escadron de Velizy-Villacoublay, 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 a la France d’être totalement independante, dans la matière de ravitaillement de ses avions, des Etats-Unis et de tout autre pays.
  7. Acheter des avions C-17 afin de ne pas être dependent sur aucune armée aérienne étrangere pour la logistique.
  8. Acheter une licence pour la production des missiles israeliens air-air Python-5.
  9. Faire démenager les centres d’entrainement des pilotes de l’AdlA de La Rochelle à Rodez, Perpignan, Pau, et/ou Clermont-Ferrand.
  10. 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.
  11. Faire les aéroports sous-utilisés du sud de la France toujours disponibles pour les armées.
  12. 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 française et ferait ces produits plus attractifs aux acheteurs étrangers. Ces travaux seraient financés par la réduction du nombre et des rangs des généraux et admiraux et des officiers non-généraux.
  13. 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.
  14. Installer de nouveaux radars anti-aériens (dont des radars Over The Horizon) dans l’est et le nord-est de la France.
  15. Commander plus des missiles AASM et en maintenir la chaine de production en luttant pour son exportation. (http://www.lesechos.fr/journal20141231/lec2_industrie_et_services/0204040754646-lavenir-de-lun-des-armements-les-plus-sensibles-du-rafale-en-suspens-1079208.php#gauche_article)
  16. Faire en sorte que parmi les 185 avions de combat de l’AdlA prévus par la LPM 2014-2019, et parmi les 235 avions de combat de l’AdlA prévus par la publication présente, une grande majorité (au moins 75%) – et non seulement 12 – soient disponibles pour opérations exterieures et la défense de l’espace aérien de la France. (http://www.huffingtonpost.fr/2015/01/13/prevention-des-attentats-intervention-irak-armee-defi-double-mobilisation_n_6456616.html)
  17. Remplacer la perte des avions (2 Alphajet et 2 Mirage 2000D détruits, 2 Rafale endommagés) dans l’accident qui s’est produit en Espagne en janvier 2015. Exiger à la Grèce (dont le chasseur F-16 a provoqué cet accident) une indemnisation  pour le payer.
  18. Acheter la moteur hypersonique du type ramjet essayée par les Britanniques en 2001 et 2007 et les missiles hypersoniques essayés par les Chinois, et les utiliser pour construire un missile hypersonique qui pourra porter des têtes nucléaires et, dans une longue perspective, remplacer les Rafale et leurs missiles ASMP-A. Il serait aussi utile d’acheter quelques exemplaires du missile BrahMos avec une moteur hypersonique (a vitesse de Mach 5). Ce missile et sa moteur devraient etre co-developpés et co-finances avec le Royaume-Uni. La France devrait aussi co-developer un missile hypersonique portant une tête nucleaire avec la Chine. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1358702/British-engine-test-heralds-5000mph-flight.html; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SABRE_%28rocket_engine%29; http://nationalinterest.org/blog/russia-developed-new-fuel-power-mach-5-hypersonic-missiles-12266)
  19. Augmenter la commande pour les systèmes de défense anti-aérienne Aster 30 de 8 à 12 au moins, financés par une reduction de 50% du nombre et des salaires des conseilleurs du ministère. Recréer tous les regiments de défense aérienne équipés du système Aster qui ont été dissouts. L’un des régiments équipés de ce systeme devrait être basé dans le nord-est de la France, et l’autre en Bretagne, pour défendre la France contre des attaques aériennes et missilières russes. Il faut également que les alliés de la France, notamment le Royaume-Uni, la Norvège, la Belgique, et les Pays-Bas, fassent à ses escadrons de chasseurs patrouiller la Mer du Nord d’une manière permanente.
  20. Developper, avec les partenaires européens de la France, un drone de renseignement, de surveillance, et de combat, dote des capabilites de port de bombes importantes, pour utiliser au sein de l’AdlA et pour offrir aux clients etrangers, notamment les USA, l’Inde, et le Bresil. Les USA ne visent qu’a developper un drone de surveillance; renseignement, et reconnaissance dans le cadre de leur programme UCLASS. Il parait que l’Europe va commettre la meme erreur. Il faut developper un drone arme, avec un plein assortissement de bombes, pas seulement un drone de renseignement. (http://www.lefigaro.fr/conjoncture/2015/04/29/20002-20150429ARTFIG00010-engagee-sur-plusieurs-fronts-l-armee-francaise-a-besoin-de-materiels-neufs.php)
  21. Ne pas commander aucun avion americain – et donc aucun C-130 Hercules – et accelerer les livraisons des A400M. (http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/05/20/france-budget-hercules-c130-boost-sahel-africa-inflight-refueling-tiger-helicopter-frigate/27652679/)

Pour renforter l’armée de terre:

  1. Augmenter le nombre des chars Leclerc de 200 à 400, c’est-à-dire, reprendre en service les chars Leclerc retirés, et les moderniser pour prolonger leur vie opérationelle jusqu’au moins 2040 (financés par la supprimation des bureaucraties inutiles et la fermeture des bases peu utilisées). Le successeur du Leclerc devrait être developpé dans les années 2030 et produit dans la décennie suivante.
  2. Retourner le programme Scorpion à son envergure originale.
  3. Ne pas réduire aucune flotte des vehicules de l’armée de terre, sauf les vehicules obsolètes.
  4. Récréer la 5e division blindée.
  5. Developper, avec les autres pays membres de l’UE, un nouveau type de char et l’exporter en Arabie Saoudite et en Chine.
  6. Augmenter la commande pour les helicoptères Tigre de 60 à 80 appareils, ce qui était prevu par le Livre Blanc sur la Défense Nationale de 2008. La réduction de 80 à 60 unites, ordonnée par Jean-Yves Le Drian, n’a produit aucune économie, car le coût unitaire s’est augmenté. (http://www.defence24.pl/news_mniej-smiglowcow-tiger-dla-francji)
  7. Annuler la commande pour les fusils Beretta et acheter des fusils seulement aux societés françaises. Remplacer aussi les fusils HK G3 et les autres fusils de la compagnie HK) utilisés par la police et la gendarmerie avec des fusils français.
  8. Recommencer le programme PAPOP.
  9. Réduire les poids portés par les soldats de l’armée de terre.

Pour renforter la Marine Nationale et la force de dissuasion nucléaire:

  1. Commencer la construction du premier et deuxième SNLE de 3ème génération en 2020, financé par la vente des immobiliers du ministère (dont l’Hôtel de Brienne, l’Hôtel de la Marine, et le Chateau de Vincennes), la vente des bases dont le ministère n’a pas de besoin, et, si necessaire, aussi par la réduction du nombre de fonctionnaires du ministère par 66%. La construction du troisième SNLE de 3ème génération pourrait être financée par la vente des frequences de très hauts debits. La région Bretagne devrait aussi contribuer à lachat des SNLE de la 3ème génération.
  2. Reprendre la production du plutonium de grade militaire.
  3. Developper des lasers et des rail guns pour les navires de surface de la MN et les installer à bord de ces navires pour les défendre contre des avions et missiles anti-navire ennemis, mais aussi progressivement au sol francais; reserver les Systèmes de Lancement Verticaux (SYLVER) seulement aux missiles offensifs, tels comme l’Exocet, le MdCN, le SCALP, ou le futur missile Pegasus.
  4. Faire en sorte qu’il y ait toujours deux SNLE en patrol, pas seulement un, et les armer avec un nombre maximum possible de têtes nucléaires.
  5. Maintenir tous les 22 avions Atlantique-2 jusqu’à 2032 et, en partant d’environ 2029, les remplacer avec de nouveaux avions de patrouille maritime, basés sur un avion civile de la famille A320 d’Airbus.
  6. Draguer le chemin de sortie de la base navale d’Ile Longue (pour que les SNLE français puissent sortir de cette base déjà immergés, comme les sous-marins chinois sortants de la base Yulin) et rénover cette base (la région de Bretagne devrait payer cela).
  7. Conduire un nouvel essai du missile M51 afin de faire certain que le missile fonctionne bien.
  8. Faire en sorte que les aeroports d’Avignon, de Montpellier, et de Perpignan soient toujours disponibles pour l’aviation navale et l’AdlA. Démenager l’escadron nucleaire de la Marine de Landivisiau à l’aéroport de Nîmes, celui de Toulon-Hyeres, ou à celui d’Avignon.
  9. Acheter l’ex-USS Kitty Hawk de la Marine américaine afin que la France ait deux porte-avions, dont un toujours disponible pour des missions.
  10. Envoyer des officiers sous-mariniers français aux Pays-Bas pour étudier au Dutch Submarine Command Course.
  11. Prolonger la vie opérationnelle des frégates de la MN. Reprendre en service la fregate Georges Leygues et l’aviso Détroyat. Annuler le plan de retirer des missiles mer-mer Exocet des avisos du type A69 (classe d’Estienne d’Orves) et de retirer le TCD Siroco et le ravitalleur Meuse (http://www.lemarin.fr/articles/detail/items/marine-nationale-cinq-batiments-desarmes-en-2015-plus-de-500-postes-supprimes.html; http://www.opex360.com/2014/12/10/le-tcd-siroco-pourrait-aussi-interesser-la-marine-bresilienne/).
  12. Re-embaucher les 213 specialistes des technologies missilieres licenciés par EADS a Saint-Médard-en-Jalles et les 396 specialistes des technologies de satellites licenciés par EADS a Toulouse. (http://www.upr.fr/actualite/france-europe/crash-en-vue-pour-la-defense-francaise-par-regis-chamagne)
  13. Créer en Europe du Nord un réseau de monitoring de la mer (similaire au réseau SOSUS americain), y compris entre l’Angleterre et la France, entre Dover et Calais. Patrouiller la Manche et la Mer du Nord d’une manière permanente avec les alliés de la France.
  14. Equiper toutes les frégates des sonars et des radars de Thales les plus modernes. (http://www.defensenews.com/story/breaking-news/2015/05/20/france-budget-hercules-c130-boost-sahel-africa-inflight-refueling-tiger-helicopter-frigate/27652679/)

Globalement:

  1. Investir 600M d’Euros par an en plus afin que tout l’équipement de l’armée soit maintenu dans un bon état et pret à utilisation. Tout le matériel des armées doit avoir une taux de disponibilité d’au moins 90%, et idéalement de 100%. Aujourd’hui, selon un général de 2 étoiles, la disponibilité du matériel des armées est bien souvent très inferieure a 50%. (http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/20140930trib176ebda11/defense-la-facture-de-la-maintenance-des-materiels-va-t-elle-tuer-la-loi-de-programmation-militaire.html; http://www.asafrance.fr/item/libre-opinion-la-situation-de-nos-armees-est-grave.html)
  2. Investir assez de moyens afin que le CEA et la DGA disposent d’assez de personnel et d’argent. (http://www.rbmfrance.com/la-dissuasion-fait-partie-de-lavenir-de-la-france-par-aymeric-chauprade/)
  3. Recouvrir tous les debris/decombrés des missiles ballistiques mer-sol essayés par la France, la Russie, la Chine, et les Etats-Unis, et les missiles essayés par la Corée du Nord, comme les USA le faisaient pendant la Guerre Froide.
  4. Ne transférer de l’équipement des armées, une fois acheté, à aucune sociète. Annuel les plans pour les “societés de projet.” Les armées doivent toujours être le seul proprietaire de tout son équipement et ne le devraient jamais louer de toute societé.
  5. Un jour, mettre en place un systeme de defense contre les missiles ballistiques et croisieres si c’est possible technologiquement et financierement. Un tel systeme pourrait completer, mais jamais remplacer, la force de dissuasion nucleaire.

Les priorites absolues sont l’achat des 10 Rafale supplementaires par an, des deux premiers SNLE de nouvelle generation, et l’augmentation de la portée des missiles francais, surtout du 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, y compris celles en Libye, au Mali, et en Irak.

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 protéger (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. Comme l’a révélé Le Monde, l’AdlA est epuissée et au bout de souffle – tous ses moyens sont deja utilisés.

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 nucléaires. Au contraire, la Russie, la Chine, le Pakistan, l’Inde, l’Israel, et la Corée du Nord ont tous augmenté leurs arsenaux nucléaires. Depuis 2007, l’Inde et le Pakistan ont doublé ses arsenaux nucleaires, lorsque celui de la Chine comprend entre 1 600 et 3 000 têtes nucléaires.

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 des frequences de haut debit, et la vente de l’Hôtel de Brienne, l’Hôtel de la Marine, 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, les pays arabes, la Pologne, et l’Indonesie à acheter des armes françaises et encourager l’Inde à acheter 4 navires Mistral.

Il faut aussi:

Posted in Defense spending, Military issues | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Qatar Orders 24 Rafale Jets, Takes An Option For 12 More

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on May 1, 2015


French-bashers around the world are having a lousy year. After Egypt and India placed orders for 24 and 36 Rafale fighter jets, respectively, Qatar has now become the third country to order these potent fighter aircraft. As Le Figaro (owned by the Dassault family, which also owns the Dassault Aviation company which manufactures the Rafales) has reported:

François Hollande en a recu la confirmation, mercredi 29 avril, par Cheikh Tamim ben Hamad al-Thani, émir du Qatar. Doha passe une commande ferme pour 24 avions de combat Rafale à la France. Un communiqué de l’Elysée a rendu publique cette bonne nouvelle ce jeudi 30 avril. Le contrat sera signé, lundi 4 mai à Doha, entre le Qatar et Dassault Aviation, le constructeur de l’appareil français, en présence du président de la République et de son ministre de la défense, Jean-Yves le Drian. Il porte également sur l’acquisition d’armements modernes (missiles air-air longue portée Meteor, missiles de croisière Scalp et bombes guidées air-sol AASM) ainsi que sur la formation, dispensée par l’Armée de l’air française à Mont de Marsans, de 36 pilotes Qatari et d’une centaine de mécaniciens spécialisés.”

This order brings the total tally of foreign orders for the Rafale up to 84 aircraft and France’s total weapons exports for this year to 12 bn euros, not counting the Indian order for Rafales and the Polish order for 70 Eurocopter Caracal helicopters. This alone will make France the world’s third arms exporter in the world this year.

It is interesting to note that Egypt, India, and Qatar all operate the Mirage 2000 – Dassault Aviation’s previous frontline fighter. Which will make integrating the Rafale into their air forces easier, as their pilots and ground personnel are all already familiar with Dassault fighters and will need only minimal retraining. Their base infrastructure, fit to accommodate Mirage 2000s, will also accommodate Rafales easily.

If the current trend continues and more deals (including those with India and Poland) are signed, French arms exports in 2015 will reach a record sum of 15 bn EUR, thus surpassing those of Russia, making France the second-largest arms exporter in the world.

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. France, a country of just 66 mn people, is the world’s third-largest arms exporter and on track to becoming the world’s second-largest, trailing only the US.

This is only the beginning of May, but it’s clear that 2015 will go down in history as a terrible year for French-bashers all around the world, and indeed for all those who wish France ill. It’s also a very lousy year for all those naysayers and fatalists in Europe – including in France itself – who claim that France must dissolve itself into a European superstate because she can no longer play any meaningful role on the world stage alone. These three successes of the French defense industry – and the above statistics – completely belie their claims.

This is likewise a very lousy year for all those Rafale-bashers who predicted the Rafale would hardly obtain any export orders, and certainly not in Qatar, including Richard Aboulafia, the VP of the Teal Group and a self-appointed “expert” on military aviation.

Not only has he claimed that France would not win an order for Rafales from Qatar, he has even falsely claimed that:

“Both of these planes [i.e. the Rafale and the Typhoon] are upper middle/heavy weight twinjets. The market for beasts like these is extremely limited.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Firstly, the Rafale and the Typhoon are NOT heavyweight fighters – they are middleweights. A heavyweight fighter is an aircraft like the F-15, F-22, F-35, Flanker, PAK FA, or J-20. THESE are heavyweights – not the Rafale, and not the Typhoon.

The Rafale’s MTOW is 24,500 kg (54,000 lb); the F-15’s is 30,845 kg (68,000 lb); the J-11 Sinoflanker’s is 33,000 kg, i.e. 73,000 lb. The F-22 Raptor is even heavier than that, at 38,000 kg (83,500 lb)!

Secondly, the market for the Rafale and the Typhoon is far from “extremely limited.” Between them, these two fighters have already been sold in hundreds of copies to 6 countries, with more orders coming. The Typhoon has been procured by Austria, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. The Rafale, as stated above, has been selected by Egypt, India, and Qatar – with more orders being within Dassault’s reach, in Canada, Malaysia, and potentially elsewhere around the world. On top of that, the Indian MRCA program continues, so Paris can count on selling an additional 126 Rafales to New Delhi.

Richard Aboulafia is not an “expert.” He’s an ignoramus – just like wannabe “experts” Hans M. Kristensen, Robert Norris, and Jeffrey Lewis are nuclear weapons ignorami.

In any event, this is shaping up to be a TERRIBLE year for French-bashers all around the world. Stay tuned, folks.

For an interactive overview of the Rafale’s performance and component assembly sites, see here.

 

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India will order 36 Rafales; talks on the other 126 aircraft will continue

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 11, 2015


(Updated on 12th April 2015)

(Note: for my previous postings on and analysis of the Rafale in English and in French, please see here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Yesterday afternoon, French and American media reported that France and India were discussing a sale of 63 Rafale jets, to be constructed in France and delivered to India in flyaway condition, so that the IAF could quickly replace at least some of its obsolete MiG-21 aircraft with these new French jets:

“PARIS — French and Indian officials are negotiating an off-the-shelf order worth €7.2 billion (US $7.6 billion) for 63 Rafale fighter jets to equip three Indian Air Force squadrons, during a visit by the Indian prime minister, daily Le Monde reported Friday. “The discussions lasted all night, they are continuing this morning,” a source close to the talks said, Le Monde reported. “The idea is to be able to announce this contract during the visit to Paris of Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, on Friday or Saturday.” Modi is on a two-day state visit. (…) While the number of aircraft has yet to be finalized, the order would be for Rafales built in France rather than assembled in India with technology transfer. This is available under an option agreed with Dassault in 2012 for an off-the-shelf purchase of 63 “supplementary” units, the afternoon daily reported. Negotiations have been conducted for three years for a purchase of 126 Rafales, of which 18 would be built in France and 108 in India. If agreed, this off-the-shelf deal would speed up acquisition for the Indian Air Force, the report said, while talks on the larger buy continued. “The Rafale question is still under discussion and we should be able to move ahead on a mutually agreed basis,” Modi told Le Figaro, the daily owned by the Dassault family.”

Yesterday afternoon, at a press conference with French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Palace, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India would place an initial order for 36 Rafales, while talks on the 126 fighters originally envisaged by the Indian MRCA [Medium Regional Combat Aircraft] program would continue. This means that those 36 Rafales India will urgently order are an arms package separate from, not part of, the 126 aircraft whose sale Dassault and India are still negotiating. Opex360 reports in French:

“À l’issue d’une rencontre avec le président Hollande, ce 10 avril, à l’Élysée, le Premier ministre indien, Narendra Modi, a en effet confirmé l’intention de New Delhi de commander 36 avions Rafale.

Plus tôt, des informations publiées par la presse indienne avait indiqué que l’Inde envisageait de revoir ses plans dans le cadre du programme M-MRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft), qui prévoyait l’acquisition de 126 appareils, dont 108 devaient être assemblés par le constructeur indien HAL. « J’ai demandé au président [ndlr, Hollande] la fourniture de 36 Rafale prêts à voler à l’Inde », a ainsi affirmé Narendra Modi. Toutefois, le Premier ministre indien a indiqué que les termes et les modalités du contrat restaient encore à préciser. « Nos fonctionnaires vont discuter de ces aspects plus en détail et poursuivre les négociations », a-t-il dit. En outre, et selon une source française citée par l’agence Reuters, cette commande serait distincte des négociations exclusives entamées en janvier 2012 dans le cadre de l’appel d’offres M-MRCA, remporté par Dassault Aviation et le Rafale, aux dépens de l’Eurofighter Typhoon.”

(Hat tip to mig31foxhound for the hint.) Thus, India may very well end up ordering 162 Rafale jets – almost as many as France has ordered so far (180) !

If this order for 36 jets is signed – and there’s every reason to believe it will be – it’ll be a great success for France and her defense industry, for the Dassault Aviation company, and for President Hollande and Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian personally. These two men, despite their numerous failures on other policy fronts (including maintaining France’s own defense capabilities), have shown themselves quite competent in one regard: promoting, and successfully obtaining orders for, French weapons. As the La Tribune daily has noted, they’re a good, effective weapons exporting duo. They’ve already obtained orders for 60 Rafale jets in total – while previous French administrations were not able to sell a single Rafale jet anywhere. France might’ve been able to sell the Rafale to Switzerland, had then-President Nicolas Sarkozy not falsely accused that country of being a tax haven (when, in reality, cantonal taxes in that country can be high, depending on which canton you live in – French-speaking cantons generally have high levels of taxation). Indeed, for many years, the Rafale was known as a jet which, although a highly capable aircraft, was unable to obtain a single order anywhere, and was subject to widespread ridicule for that reason. Not anymore. In all fairness to Sarkozy, however, it was under his Presidency that India chose Dassault as the exclusive partner for negotiations on the sale of 126 fighter jets – talks that are continuing to this day. He therefore deserves at least some of the credit for yesterday’s success as well – it’s thanks to him that France and India are even having this conversation. (And before that, he obtained a firm contract for upgrading India’s Mirage 2000 jets.) This announcement by PM Modi also marks a painful defeat for certain parties:

  • The Russians, the British, the Germans, and the Italians. They (chiefly the Russians and the British) have invested a great amount of effort and money in smearing the Rafale and trying to convince India to ditch the French jet in favor of the Su-30, the MiG-35, or the Typhoon. They have failed miserably, however. India might actually end up ordering more Rafales than originally envisaged. This is, in particular, a defeat for the UK: it, along with West Germany and Italy, forced France to leave the Eurofighter program in 1984 because they didn’t want to develop a carrier-capable fighter (while France wanted it). Now, as my fellow blogger Picard says, France has a fighter that has not only arrived sooner, but is carrier-capable and better, in most respects, than the Typhoon – while the UK is stuck buying crappy F-35s for its carriers (which will be STOVL and not CATOBAR).
  • The naysayers (including so-called “experts” such as Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group) who were completely surprised that Egypt ordered 24 Rafale jets and claimed this would likely be the sole order Dassault would win for those aircraft.

UPDATE: The Le Figaro daily, the main right-wing daily newspaper in France (and one of the most widely-read), owned by the Dassault family, trumpets Rafale’s export success from its first page, congratulates President Hollande and Defense Minister Le Drian and gives a very nice, detailed, interactive infographic about where in France various parts of the Rafale are made. The program benefits many regions of the country, but final assembly takes place at Merignac, next to the Merignac airport serving the city of Bordeaux, in the Aquitaine region. Now, with Rafale’s export successes, the region will be famous for more than its excellent wines.

That Le Figaro, France’s main right-wing daily, is congratulating a Socialist President and a Socialist Defense Minister, is not surprising, because this duo has proven very effective in winning export orders for the Rafale. So, naturally, the Dassault family wants them to continue. Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in particular has worked very hard on that front with India and France’s Arab partners. In recent times, he’s visited India every 2 months on average.

Let us not forget, however, that if it hadn’t been for India’s selection of Dassault Aviation as its sole partner for talks in January 2012 – thanks to President Sarkozy’s lobbying – India would’ve never placed this rush order for the Rafale in the first place; instead, Eurofighter would’ve received it. Let’s therefore give credit to all to whom it is due.

Posted in Air combat | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

India, Take Note: Ditching the Rafale for the Su-30MKI Would Be A Grave Mistake

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 6, 2015


As mentioned here previously, and as reported already by DefenseNews, India is considering breaking negotiations to buy the French Rafale fighter and buying more Su-30MKIs instead. This is supposedly due to both budgetary reasons and heavy Russian lobbying.

If India were to do so, this would be a grave mistake that would cost India dearly in the very near future. Here’s why.

The Su-30MKI, as I have demonstrated earlier, is DECISIVELY inferior to the Dassault Rafale on all counts:

  • SIZE: The Su-30MKI (like all other Flanker variants) is much bigger and hotter, and therefore much easier to detect visually, with infrared sensors (such as the Rafale’s OSF), and with radar, than the Rafale, which is a small aircraft with a wingspan of just 10.8 m. In confrontation with the PLAAF’s J-7, J-10, and J-31 fighters, or the Pakistani Air Force’s J-7, Mirage 5, F-16, and JF-17 fighters, Indian Su-30MKI pilots will be at a distinct disadvantage: they will be detected visually and with IR sensors long before they can detect these small fighters.
  • PILOT VIEW: Its pilot doesn’t have a good rearward view from his cockpit, unlike the Rafale’s pilot, who enjoys full, unobstructed view in all directions from his own cockpit.
  • WEIGHT: It is much heavier, and therefore is far less capable of transitioning from one maneuver to another, than the Rafale.
  • MANEUVERABILITY: It is far less maneuverable than the French fighter: its wing loading and thrust/weight ratios are 401 kg/sq m and 1.00:1 at 56% fuel, respectively. For the Rafale, the figures are 306 kg/sq m and around 1.23:1. In fact, at a full fuel and weapon load, the Rafale still has a 0.988:1 thrust/weight ratio – almost the same ratio as the one achieved by the Su-30MKI at a 56% weapons load. This means that a fully-loaded Rafale is as maneuverable as a half-fully-loaded Su-30MKI, while a half-fully-loaded Rafale can run circles around a Flanker.
  • RATE OF CLIMB: The Su-30MKI’s rate of climb (300 m/s) is inferior to that of the Rafale (305 m/sq).
  • WEAPONS LOAD: It can’t carry as many arms as the Rafale can (12 at most, versus 13-14 for the Rafale), nor are the Russian-supplied weapons as capable as those offered by France’s MBDA (which include the supersonic, 160-km-range Meteor ramjet missile and the 50-km-range MICA IR-guided missile).
  • TAKEOFF FROM MAKESHIFT RUNWAYS: It can’t take off from highways or unpaved runways – unlike the Rafale – because its wingspan and the takeoff distance requirement are too great. By contrast, the Rafale, with a wingspan of just 10.8 metres, can take off from any Western highway (motorway).
  • MAINTENANCE: It spends 4 times as many hours in maintenance for 1 hour of flight than the Rafale (32 vs 8). It’s a veritable hangar queen.

How do these glaring weaknesses translate into inferiority and vulnerability in combat?

To prevail in air combat, one must:

  • Be capable of defending one’s own airspace anytime, on call, at a moment’s notice if need be;
  • Be harder to detect than the enemy and detect him faster so that he’ll be shot down unaware of his attacker (as 80% of all fighters shot down throughout aviation history were);
  • If possible, be more numerous than the enemy;
  • Provide one’s own pilots with more flight hours than the enemy to practice flying skills;
  • Be more maneuverable than the enemy;
  • Be more capable of transitioning from one maneuver to another than the enemy.

The Dassault Rafale meets these requirements. The Su-30MKI does not. The Rafale needs only 8 hours of maintenance for every hour flown, so a squadron can be called into duty at any moment and, with a sufficient budget, pilot skills can be maintained. It is small and has a tiny thermal signature, and is thus hard to detect. It is highly maneuverable and can run circles around bigger, heavier, more sluggish aircraft than the Su-30MKI. And it provides its pilot with full unobstructed horizontal view from the cockpit. The same cannot be said of the Su-30.

The Su-30MKI will leave the Indian Air Force at a deep disadvantage vis-a-vis the PAF (flying J-7s, Mirage 5s, F-16s, J-10s, and JF-17s) and J-7, J-10, and J-31-equipped squadrons of the PLAAF. These aircraft are all much smaller, lighter, more maneuverable, and have a much smaller infrared (thermal) signature than the Su-30. Being lighter, they can also transition from one maneuver to another far easier than the Su-30 can; and being much smaller than the Su-30, they can easily take off from highways or even dirt strips (excluding possibly the J-31).

Also, they (except possibly the J-31) spend far, far less time in maintenance than the Su-30MKI, and excluding the J-7 (which both the PLAAF and the PAF are now retiring), they offer their pilots full, unobstructed 360 degree horizontal view from the cockpit – like the Rafale, but unlike the Su-30MKI. In fact, giving the pilot such unobstructed view was a formal requirement for both the F-16 and the Rafale programs. So a PLAAF or PAF pilot flying one of the aircraft types listed above can sneak up undetected upon the Su-30MKI from the rear and shoot him down unaware, but the reverse is not the case.

Unlike the deeply and irredeemably flawed Su-30MKI, the Dassault Rafale, if procured by India, would give the IAF an advantage over both the PLAAF and the PAF, because it matches or bests all of their fighter aircraft on all the parametres listed above, including size, weight, thermal signature, maneuverability, takeoff capacity, weapons, sensors, flying availability, and ease of maintenance.

Compared to the Rafale, PLAAF and PAF aircraft are inferior by at least one criterion:

  • The MiG-21/J-7 (like the Flanker family) was intended to be a supersonic interceptor. Its pilot’s view to the rear is severely obstructed.
  • The J-7, Mirage 5, and JF-17 lack modern sensors which the Rafale has (which is not surprising, given that the Mirage 5 first flew in 1967; it was an excellent fighter in its day, but not anymore).
  • The F-16, the J-10, and the J-31, while far more maneuverable and far lighter than the Su-30, are nonetheless less maneuverable, and accelerate worse, than the Rafale. The wing loading ratios are: 449 kg/sq m for the F-16, 381 kg/sq m for the J-10, and 306 kg/sq m for the Rafale. The T/W ratios at 50% fuel + ammo are: 1.095:1 for the F-16, 1.16:1 for the J-10, and around 1.23:1 for the Rafale. The F-16’s climb rate is only 254 m/s, while the Rafale’s is 305 m/s.
  • The J-31 is larger, and may be hotter, than the Rafale, making it easier for a Rafale pilot to detect, either visually or with the French fighter’s excellent OSF IRST system. (Detecting the much bigger J-20 would, of course, be even easier.)

In short, the Su-30MKI is decisively inferior to the Dassault Rafale and to many fighter types flown by China’s PLAAF and Pakistan’s PAF – the two most likely adversaries India will face in the future – while the Rafale can beat every fighter type flown by either of these organisations. It is an aircraft which, owing to its combination of small size, radar and thermal signature reduction, maneuverability, speed, armament, and ease of maintenance will give New Delhi an edge over both China and Pakistan. It can also be integrated with India’s newest Astra missile and is already capable of carrying the much longer-ranged Meteor Beyond Visual Range missile. India would therefore be well advised to cease Su-30MKI production, ditch any plan of substituting the Su-30 for the Rafale, and procure the Dassault aircraft.

Posted in Air combat, Threat environment | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Preliminary Assessment of the Nuclear Accord Between the P5+1 And Iran

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on April 4, 2015


Both Western and Iranian leaders have hailed the accord struck recently in Lausanne between the P5+1 group and Iran on the issue of that country’s nuclear program. US President Barack Obama claims this agreement permanently closes any path to nuclear weapons for Iran.

Such an optimistic assessment of the agreement is not warranted, however. While this is a preliminary accord and many details remain to be fleshed out, one can already see from the White House’s own so-called “fact sheet” that the provisions of the agreement leave Iran multiple paths to nuclear weapon acquisition. Specifically, the agreement:

  • Allows Iran to maintain over 6,100 nuclear centrifuges, enough to enrich a quantity of uranium sufficient for a nuclear warhead within a timeframe of months, not years. Even if the other 13,000 centrifuges are decommissioned, that doesn’t solve the problem at all.
  • Allows Iran to keep those other 13,000 centrifuges in storage – with no control over how these will be used and no way of preventing Iran from re-using these.
  • Does not require Iran to close any of its nuclear sites, and allows the Islamic Republic to continue producing heavy water at Arak.
  • Allows Iran to retain a 300 kg stockpile of enriched uranium – more than enough for one nuclear warhead if it were enriched further to a 90% degree.
  • Allows Iran to continue all of its nuclear research programs.
  • Does not limit Iran’s ballistic missile development, testing, production, and deployment in any way.

In addition, this agreement does not require Iran to cease supporting terrorist organizations.

Or, as the Washington Post’s editorial board has recently written:

“The “key parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released yesterday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration.

• 1) None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed.
• 2) Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled.
• 3) Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country.
• 4) In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years.
• 5) When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.
• 6) The UN resolutions call for Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium. Instead, enrichment will continue with 5,000 centrifuges for a decade, and all restraints on it will end in 15 years.
• 7) That’s a long way from the standard set by President Obama in 2012 when he declared that “the deal we’ll accept” with Iran “is that they end their nuclear program” and “abide by the U.N. resolutions that have been in place.”
• 9) The proposed accord will provide Iran a huge economic boost that will allow it to wage more aggressively the wars it is already fighting or sponsoring across the region. They are even removing sanctions that have nothing to do with nuclear weapons.
• 10) The President has ignored the US Congress.

Obama and Secretary of State John F. Kerry emphasized that many details need to be worked out in talks with Iran between now and the end of June.
We hope they will make as much effort to engage in good faith with skeptical allies and domestic critics in Congress as he has with the Iranian regime.”

In short, this agreement will certainly not live up to the Obama administration’s promise. Contrary to its claims, it permits Iran to retain a path to nuclear weapons development.

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

Rebuttal of liberals’ lies about nuclear weapons

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 27, 2015


Bad, ridiculous ideas, bad and ridiculous policies, and treasonous proposals never seem to die. Such is the case with the Left’s ongoing, decades-old campaign to disarm the US unilaterally. The extremely-leftist, anti-defense, treasonous Senator (and former Congressman) from Massachusetts, Ed Markey, and his far-left allies in the Congress, have reintroduced their insane, treasonous bill, mistitled “The Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act.”

That bill, were it to pass (God forbid), would dramatically expedite America’s unilateral nuclear disarmament. It would cut the existing fleet of ballistic missile submarines from 14 to 8, cut the planned replacement fleet from 12 to 8, delay the urgently-needed Long Range Strike Bomber (LRSB) (needed to replace obsolete B-52s and B-1s), cut the number of USAF ICBMs from 420 to just 300, dramatically cut funding for extending the service lives of nuclear warheads, and deny any funding for the development of a new ICBM (needed to replace the old Minuteman III missiles now in service). In short, it would disarm the US by dramatically cutting the nuclear arsenal America now has, and allowing what would be left of it to decay and rust out due to old age.

In support of his treasonous proposals, Sen. Markey has lied that:

“We are robbing America’s future to pay for unneeded weapons of the past. As we debate the budget and Republicans rally around devastating cuts to Medicare, Head Start and investments in research and science, it makes no sense to fund a bloated nuclear arsenal that does nothing to keep our nation safe in the 21st century.”

Tony Fleming, the said Tony Fleming, campaigns director of Citizens for Global Solutions, a progressive advocacy group based in Washington, defended Markey’s treasonous proposals by making similar, utterly false claims:

“The more tangible threats facing the United States today come from a suitcase or a personal computer. We’re more likely to suffer a cyber or terrorist attack from a small rogue group than be hit by a nuclear bomb that requires massive government infrastructure and investment. U.S. citizens deserve to have their tax dollars be used to protect them from real, 21st century, threats, not Cold War-era relics.”

What is wrong with their claims?

To start with, EVERYTHING.

Firstly, nuclear weapons are not “Cold War era relics” nor “unneeded weapons of the past”, and the US nuclear arsenal is not bloated. America’s nuclear weapons are crucial instruments of deterrence indispensable for protecting the US – and its allies – against the gravest threats to America’s and its allies’ security.

These gravest threats are the nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea (soon to be joined by Iran), NOT terrorists, “small rogue groups”, cyberattacks, suitcases, or personal computers. None of these groups or tools could do anything even CLOSE to the massive death and destruction Russia, China, and even North Korea could wreak upon the US (not to mention its allies). These three countries and Iran – NOT terrorists and hackers – pose by far the gravest, most tangible, most real threat to US (and allied) security.

THIS is the reality of the 21st century – not Markey’s and Fleming’s blatant lies that “we are robbing America’s future to pay for unneeded weapons of the past”, or that “a bloated nuclear arsenal that does nothing to keep our nation safe in the 21st century.”

How grave is the Russian, Chinese, and North Korean nuclear threat, exactly?

Russia alone has well over 300 ICBMs capable of delivering over 1,200 nuclear warheads to the Continental US (CONUS) – and that number will only grow in the future, as Moscow replaces old, single-warhead missiles with ICBMs armed with multiple warheads. In addition, Russia has bombers capable of delivering over 900 warheads to the CONUS and 14 ballistic missile submarines capable of launching 16 missiles each; every single one of these missiles can, in turn, deliver 10-12 warheads to the American homeland.

Moscow is now building a submarine class (the Borei class) which, starting with the 4th boat, will be able to launch 20 missiles each. That will give a single Russian submarine an ability to deliver 200-240 warheads to the American homeland.

Thus, the total number of warheads Moscow could deliver to the CONUS if it wanted to is over 3,000.

Specifically, Russia currently has:

  • About 414-434 ICBMs capable of delivering at least 1,684 (and probably more) nuclear warheads to the CONUS, with its fleet of 68-75 SS-18 Satan ICBMs alone being able to deliver 10 warheads each (750 in total);
  • 13 ballistic missile submarines, each armed with 16 ballistic missiles (20 in the case of the sole Typhoon class boat), each missile being itself capable of delivering 4-8 warheads (12 in the future, when Bulava and Liner missiles replace the currently-used Skiff) to the CONUS even if launched from Russian ports (Moscow has had such long-ranged missiles since the late 1980s), meaning over 1,400 warheads in total deliverable by Russia’s strategic submarine fleet;
  • 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-160, Tu-22M), each capable of delivering between 7 (Tu-95) and 12 (Tu-22M) nuclear warheads to the CONUS. Russian bombers have, in recent years, repeatedly flown close to, and sometimes into, US airspace.
  • 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads in total, of which 1,500 are now deployed – and more will be deployed in the future – on the forementioned ICBMs, submarines, and bombers.
  • Over 20 attack and cruise missile submarines, each carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles (one such submarine of the Akula class popped up last year near the US submarine base at King’s Bay, GA).
  • The world’s largest tactical nuclear arsenal, with around 4,000 warheads deliverable by a very wide range of systems, from short-range ballistic missiles to artillery pieces to tactical aircraft (Su-24, Su-25, the Flanker family, Su-34), to surface ships using nuclear depth charges.
  • Illegal (banned by the INF Treaty) intermediate-range nuclear-armed missiles (Yars-M, R-500, Iskander-M) that can target any place in Europe and China. (Nonetheless, despite these facts, the Obama administration and NATO are too afraid to recognize and name Russia as an INF Treaty violator.)

Russia is now dramatically increasing that arsenal, as the State Department and the Strategic Command’s leader have now confirmed. In addition to deploying more warheads and building more bombers from stockpiled components, it is:

  • Deploying new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Bulava and the Liner) that can carry 10-12 warheads each. Russia plans to procure around 140-150 missiles of each type; when these are fully deployed on Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs, that fleet will be able to carry 2,000-2,200 nuclear warheads all by itself.
  • Deploying additional Yars-M, R-500, and Iskander-M IRBMs – in violation of the INF Treaty.

Russia is also steadily modernizing its existing nuclear arsenal and fleet of delivery systems. It is:

  • Developing and deploying a new class of ballistic missile submarines capable of carrying missiles such as the Bulava and the Liner. Two of them have already been commissioned and at least eight in total will be built.
  • Developing a next-generation intercontinental bomber, slated to first fly in 2020 – before the USAF’s planned Long Range Strike Bomber will.
  • Developing a new submarine-launched cruise missile, the Kaliber;
  • Procuring and deploying a new air-launched cruise missile, the Kh-101/102;
  • Developing and deploying three new ICBM types – the light Yars (RS-24, SS-29) to replace the single-warhead Topol and Topol-M missiles, the midweight Avangard/Rubezh (slated to replace SS-19 Stiletto missiles), and the Sarmat (AKA Son of Satan), intended to replace the SS-18 Satan heavy ICBMs.
  • Developing a rail-based ICBM type on top of the forementioned ICBM classes.
  • Developing a hypersonic missile that could carry nuclear warheads to any point on Earth in an hour and easily penetrate US missile defenses.

On top of that, Russia has a vast arsenal of tactical nuclear warheads – some 4,000, including 2,000 operationally deployed. Many of these can be delivered by attack and cruise missile submarines right to the CONUS using cruise missiles.

And Russia will, in the years ahead, only increase the number of warheads it has, including those deployed on intercontinental delivery systems, as the State Department and the commander of the US Strategic Command have confirmed.

China’s nuclear arsenal is also growing – as the STRATCOM’s commander has also confirmed. It already has about 64 ICBMs capable of reaching the Continental US with multiple warheads and is deploying more – including the DF-41, a heavy, road-mobile ICBM capable of delivering 10 warheads to the CONUS. It also has 5-6 ballistic missile submarines, all but one of which can launch 12 missiles each, and each of these can deliver at least 4 warheads to the American homeland. It also has 20 land-based missiles and 120 bombers which (the latter using their cruise missiles) can deliver nukes as far away as Hawaii. Finally, China has a huge number of short- and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles which can hit any target throughout East Asia with nuclear weapons, and is developing hypersonic missiles for nuclear delivery purposes.

North Korea is also a real nuclear threat, having deployed the TD-2 and KN-08 ICBMs and successfully miniaturized its nuclear warheads.

To unilaterally disarm in the face of these threats would be worse than pure folly; it would be utterly suicidal.

Sen. Markey and Tony Fleming are lying blatantly. No, nuclear weapons are not “unneeded weapons of the past”; they are needed now more than ever. It is Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – not terrorists or hackers – who pose by far the greatest threat to America’s (and its allies’) security and survival.

And if the US does cut its nuclear arsenal unilaterally further, several of its allies will develop nuclear arsenals. Some Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have already warned they’ll do so. 66% of South Koreans already want their country to be a nuclear power. Japan, for its part, has reactors capable of producing enough weapons-grade plutonium for 3,600 warheads in a year if need be.

And no, contrary to Sen. Markey’s lies, Republicans have NOT proposed any cuts to Medicare or to science and research programs.

Shame on Sen. Markey and Tony Fleming for their treason.

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

STRATCOM commander confirms: the Russian, Chinese, and NK nuclear threat is growing; NK HAS miniaturized its warheads

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 25, 2015


In his most recent testimony before Congress, Adm. Cecil D. Haney, the commander of the US Strategic Command, in charge of the entire US nuclear deterrent, has confirmed that:

1) Russia’s and China’s nuclear and ballistic missile arsenals are steadily growing;

2) China is developing, and has successfully tested, two different kinds of anti-satellite missiles;

3) North Korea has managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads;

4) In the face of the growing Russian, Chinese, and NK nuclear threat, the US nuclear deterrent must be modernized.

The Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz has reported that:

“On the nuclear and strategic threats, Haney said: “Today’s threat environment is more diverse, complex, and uncertain than it’s ever been, against a backdrop of global security environment latent with multiple actors, operating across multiple domains.”

Haney warned that the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and infrastructure can no longer be taken for granted as safe, secure, and effective in the future without modernization, which is threatened by budget cuts.

“For decades, we have sustained while others have modernized their strategic nuclear forces, developing and utilizing counterspace activities, increasing the sophistication and pervasive nature of their cyber capabilities and proliferating these emerging strategic capabilities around the globe.

Haney singled out Russian President Vladimir Putin for “provocative” actions, along with Russian modernization of nuclear missiles, bombers, submarines, and industrial base.

The provocative actions included demonstrating nuclear capabilities during the Ukraine crisis and penetrating U.S. and allied air defense zones with long-range strategic bombers. He also mentioned Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty.

China also is building up strategic forces. “China has developed a capable submarine and intercontinental ballistic missile force, and has recently demonstrated their counterspace capabilities,” Haney said.

On North Korea, Haney noted Pyongyang’s claim to have miniaturized a warhead capable of being fired from the new KN-08 road-mobile long-range missile.

“As of yet, I don’t see any tests yet that associated with this miniaturized claim,” he said. “But as a combatant commander, as commander of your Strategic Command, it’s a threat that we cannot ignore as a country.”

Iran recently launched a space vehicle that “could be used as a long-range strike platform,” he said.

U.S. nuclear forces remain in urgent need of modernization, he said.

“As a nation, we cannot simply afford to underfund our strategic capabilities, Haney said. “Any cuts to the president’s budget, including those imposed by sequestration, will hamper our ability to sustain and modernize our joint military forces and put us at real risk of making our nation less secure and able to address future threats.””

Haney’s statement that North Korea has likely managed to miniaturize its nuclear warheads is no surprise – in 2012, that country demonstrated its mastery of miniaturizing satellites and mating them with space rockets. The technology used to do so is the same as the technology used for miniaturizing nuclear warheads.

You can read the whole article here.

Posted in Nuclear deterrence | Leave a Comment »

The UK Parliament confirms: Britain’s Armed Forces must be rebuilt

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 24, 2015


When the UK’s current Coalition Government announced deep defence cuts in 2010, under it’s so-called “Strategic Defence and Security Review”, I warned that these cuts would gravely weaken the British armed forces.

The evidence materialised before long. While Argentina was threatening the Falklands, the UK had no meaningful naval capability to counter that. While Russia, China, and North Korea were staging provocation after provocation, the UK had no capability to counter that. When Russia invaded Ukraine, the UK was powerless to stop it. When Russian bombers flew close to UK coasts to test the RAF’s response, the RAF’s few fighter squadrons were overstretched by the necessity to respond.

A British parliamentary committee has now come to similar conclusions: the Coalition Government’s utterly irresponsible defence cuts have gravely weakened Britain’s armed forces, which now need to be rebuilt. As DefenseNews reports:

“Britain needs to rebuild conventional military capabilities lost since the end of the Cold War in order to deter further threats on Europe’s eastern border, the parliamentary defense committee has warned the government.

Maritime surveillance, nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological warfare training, ballistic missile defense, a comprehensive carrier strike capability, full maneuver warfare capability, more warships and aircraft, and possible prepositioning of troops in continental Europe are required, the report said

Entitled, “Re-thinking Defence To Meet New Threats,” the committee said Britain’s future military force structure and the accompany[ing] national security strategy resulting from the 2010 strategic defense and security review (SDSR) conducted by the current Conservative-led coalition government are no longer fit for purpose and need rethinking.

The committee cited the increasing security problems around the globe and particularly the threat to Europe posed by Russia and warned that Britain couldn’t afford to “retreat to isolation.”

“The current national security strategy is no longer adequate for this changed world, nor is the future force structure. It will be necessary to continue to commit to 2 percent of gross domestic product to enhance the NATO alliance and retain US involvement in Europe,” said the lawmakers.

“The UK will need to make tough choices within limited resources, about what to do, and perhaps more importantly, what not to do. … But it is vital to rethink the fundamental assumptions of our defense planning, if we are to help arrest the descent into chaos, which threatens to spread from the Western Mediterranean to the Black Sea,” said the report.

To bring the UK military into line with future needs, the committee said the government needed to build a closer coalition with the US and France, develop new asymmetric warfare capabilities, and develop the capacity to respond to the expanding challenges outside Europe.

Rory Stewart, the committee chairman, said the current SDSR had been overtaken by events and the military had to change to adapt to the new security situation.

“The SDSR and Future Force 2020 were based on the fundamental assumption that British forces should be structured to deploy a single brigade formation to a single key theater such as Afghanistan and sustain it there. But now we can see that we might be needed in a dozen different theaters, concurrently, confronting terrorism or lightly armed paramilitaries in one setting and heavily armed, formed units of an advanced military nation in another. More advanced military threats and multiple concurrent threats both require a fundamental rethinking of our strategy and our force structure,”Stewart said.”

The Committee wrote that “Britain’s future military force structure and the accompany[ing] national security strategy resulting from the 2010 strategic defense and security review (SDSR) conducted by the current Conservative-led coalition government are no longer fit for purpose and need rethinking.” But in truth, the military force structure, budgets, programmatic decisions, and the accompanying national security strategy resulting from the 2010 SDSR were absolutely not fit for purpose even back in 2010! Even then, there was no shortage of threats around the world, and the Coalition Government’s draconian defence cuts were utterly foolish even back then.

Yet, this idiotic Coalition Government, including its senior Tory members, will never admit being wrong. They’re actually PROUD of their record of gutting the UK military – although, of course, they’ll never admit they’ve done that, they still deny doing so and claim to have reformed the Ministry of Defence:

“British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon dismissed the committee’s recommendations, saying the government is already Europe’s biggest defense spender and was committed to spending over £160 billion (US $239.1 billion) on equipment and support over the next 10 years.

“The suggestion that we need to rebuild our defense capabilities is nonsense. Under this government we have gone from the £38 billion black hole in the defense budget that we inherited to a properly funded £34 billion annual budget. That means we have been able to commit to spending over £160 billion on equipment over the next decade to keep Britain safe — including new joint strike fighters, hunter killer submarines, two aircraft carriers and the most advanced armored vehicles.”

The real nonsense here are Mr Fallon’s claims. This government HAS gutted Britain’s armed forces, and the country’s defence capabilities DO NEED to be rebuilt. Under this government many crucial equipment programs have been dramatically cut or cancelled altogether, the defence budget has been slashed (in nominal terms, not even accounting for inflation) from £40 bn in 2009/2010 to £34 bn in 2014/2015, and the size of the armed forces – as well as their equipment inventories – have been slashed to dangerously low, woefully inadequate levels.

As for the weapon programs Mr Fallon cites – “including new joint strike fighters, hunter killer submarines, two aircraft carriers and the most advanced armored vehicles” – Britain committed to ALL of these programs under the PREVIOUS (Labour) government, NOT the current Coalition cabinet. The current government only (reluctantly) reaffirmed these programs – and cut most of them. Excluding the Joint Strike Fighters and aircraft carriers, all of these weapon systems will be procured in woefully inadequate quantities. For example, the UK will procure only seven (7) hunter-killer submarines, which will be barely enough to escort a British carrier strike group and the British ballistic missile submarine fleet. Beyond that, a fleet of just 7 hunter-killer subs won’t be able to do much, if anything.

As for the Joint Strike Fighter, it’s an utter waste of money and a totally useless aircraft. It is not truly stealthy, poorly armed (it can carry only 4 air-to-air missiles internally in its “stealth” mode), slow, overweight, unmaneuverable, smokes worse than an F-4 Phantom, and a single round from an enemy fighter’s gun could easily bring it down. It therefore stands ZERO chance of defeating current and future adversary aircraft. It is also useless for counter-insurgency operations, as it’s too expensive and overbuilt for such situations.

“The UK has the second largest defense budget in NATO and the largest in the EU. We are the US’s largest partner in the coalition air effort against ISIL, bearing more of the load in terms of strikes in Iraq than we played in either of the gulf wars,” said Fallon in a statement.”

Wrong. The UK is NOT playing a greater role – or conducting more strikes per day – in Iraq than during either of the Gulf Wars. The UK is now playing a much SMALLER role and conducting fewer strikes daily. During both Gulf Wars, the UK deployed scores of land-based strike jets and at least one aircraft carrier in each case. Today, the UK can barely muster a handful of strike aircraft – and ZERO aircraft carriers – to the Gulf to strike targets in Iraq.

Today, the UK armed forces are flying FEWER sorties, conducting FEWER strikes, and delivering LESS ordnance daily than during either of the two Gulf Wars.

The UK is NOT America’s largest partner in the coalition air effort against ISIL – France is. It has deployed squadrons of land-based strike aircraft (it has a few bases available in the region) and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91), with 40 embarked aircraft, a vessel whose capability outmatches anything that Britain – or anyone in the world except the US, for that matter – can muster right now.

More broadly, as DefenseNews reported recently, France is now America’s most important European military ally right now – not just in Iraq, but globally, a marked change from 12 years ago. France is contributing (and is able to contribute) MORE than the UK can.

As for the UK having the largest defence budget in the EU and the 2nd largest in NATO, that is ONLY because other European states spend even less on their defense than the UK does.

As badly as the UK is underinvesting in its own defense, other European countries are underinvesting even more badly. Put another way, although the UK had deeply cut its defence budget, other European countries have cut their defence budgets even more deeply.

As Mr Fallon’s comments demonstrate abundantly, there are three kinds of lies: ordinary lies, big lies, and statistics as the worst possible kind of lies. He’s trying to use irrelevant statistics to cover the Coalition Government’s draconian defence cuts.

“As US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told me earlier this month, ‘the UK military has the ability to act independently, to be a force of its own in the world’. Our response to events in the Middle East, Sierra Leone and Ukraine recently highlight that the flexible strategy adopted under the 2010 SDSR and Future Force 2020 is working.”

This is also utter nonsense. The UK military has NO ability to act independently – even in the defense of its own country! Because this Coalition Government has completely axed the UK’s maritime surveillance aircraft capability, Britain now depends on other countries to fight submarines and to protect its territorial waters from such vessels! As was evidenced recently when Britain had to beg its NATO allies to dispatch ASW aircraft and ships to its home waters to find the Russian submarine that was prowling these waters and threatening Britain’s ballistic missile submarine fleet.

Posted in Defense spending, Naval affairs | Leave a Comment »

The “weapons and technology is unimportant; doctrine and tactics matter far more” myth

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 21, 2015


One of the myths currently being spread by people ignorant of defense issues – such as Pierre Sprey and Winslow Wheeler – is that the quality of weapons and weapon technology is unimportant, and that troop training, military doctrine, and tactics are far more important to determining victory or defeat on the battlefield.

Some people even quote Israeli General Mordechai Hod as supposedly saying (though I have not found any such quote anywhere on the Internet, except the claimant’s blog) that the Israelis would’ve defeated the Arabs in the Six Day War even if the two sides had swapped weapons.

This myth is completely false, both in general and specifically regarding the Six Day War.

The truth is that the quality of weaponry and other military equipment is of PRIMORDIAL importance to winning battles and wars. A moderately competent military advanced with superior weapons will trounce a better trained, better-led, but inferior-equipped force everytime, unless the inferior-equipped force has virtually infinite resources and can either swarm the enemy with sheer numbers or keep losing on the battlefield and keep fighting until the better equipped military tires of the war and gives up.

History proves this rule without exceptions. Throughout history, the only occassions when the better-equipped force lost was when the enemy either overwhelmed it with sheer numbers or had virtually infinite resources, patience, and public support despite losing on the battlefield.

Such has been the case with Israelis during the War of Independence, the Six Day War, and the Yom Kippur War, as well as the 1982 air war with Syria. During each of these conflicts, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) had far better equipment (not to mention leadership), and was better trained, than the enemy. But even if the Arabs had been better trained and led, they would’ve still lost because of Israel’s technological edge. Until the Six Day War, Israel had access to top-notch Czechoslovakian and French weaponry – and since 1967, the US has supplied it with the latest US weapons. The Arabs, OTOH, had only been able to procure obsolete Soviet weaponry.

How important technology is was proven beyond any doubt by the tank battle at the Golan Heights in 1973: just TWO Israeli-manned Centurion tanks were able to defeat an onslaught by 150 (!) Arab-used T-62 tanks and destroyed 60 of them. Just TWO Centurion tanks did this!

In another example, a small fleet of fewer than 400 F-15s has been able to achieve 102 confirmed air-to-air combat kills for NO own losses.

Some people will claim: “but the barefoot Taleban have beaten NATO troops in Afghanistan, the mujahedeen previously beat the Soviets there, the North Vietnamese beat the Americans in Vietnam, and the Israelis have been frustrated by Hezbollah and other Arab irregulars in Lebanon!”

True – but as I said recently, there is one exception to the above rule: it doesn’t apply if the technologically inferior force has far greater, virtually unlimited resources (human, material, financial) and/or popular support.

This is what happened in all these cases: NATO members, Israel, and even the Soviet Union could not tolerate unlimited casualties or costs or wage wars infinitely. Casualties and costs mounted, public opinion demanded withdrawal, and thus, policymakers – even those in Moscow – had to end these wars.

By contrast, the North Vietnamese, the Taleban (a loose movement of militias fighting against NATO), the mujahedeed (a loose alliance of Afghans resisting Soviet occupation), and Hezbollah and other movements resisting Israeli neo-colonialism had unlimited human resources and patience – not to mention huge popular support in their countries and – in the North Vietnamese’s case – around the world (recall the worldwide protests against the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s?).

All of this brings us to Carl von Clausewitz’s summation of what war really is and how it is won. According to Clausewitz, war is the continuation of policy by other means. Its objective is to force the opponent to bend to our will (i.e. our political demands). We succeed if – and only if – he does.

To compel him to do so, Clausewitz says we must entirely crush his physical or his moral strength, i.e. he must lose either the physical ability or the willingness to fight.

Put another way, to wage war, the enemy – like us – most have both the physical capacity (the manpower, the weapons, the supplies) and the willingness to fight. If we deprive him of one (or both of these factors), the war will be over in short order.

But in those wars, the North Vietnamese, the mujahedeen, the Taleban, and Hezbollah lost neither their willingness nor the ability to fight: they still had virtually inexhaustible manpower resources, they were (except the Taleban) still supplied with very effective weapons by their foreign sponsors (the Soviet Union, the US, and Iran and Syria, respectively), and their will to fight was never broken.

To sum up, we can discern the following rule of warfare:

In war, the better-equipped (technologically superior) side wins unless a) it is very poorly trained or led or b) its opponent has far more immense resources (human, material, or financial) and/or immense and unshaken public support.

Posted in Media lies, Military issues | 6 Comments »

 
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