Zbigniew Mazurak's Blog

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 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 »

Le gouvernement socialiste est totallement incapable de financer la défense de la France

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 18, 2015

Comme l’a revelé le sénateur de Vienne Jean-Pierre Raffarin (UMP), un ancien premier ministre de la France, il y a un trou budgetaire dans les caisses du ministère de la défense français pour l’an 2015, à la somme de 3 milliards d’euros.

Il est clair que les socialistes n’ont appris rien, même apres l’aggression de la Russie contre l’Ukraine et les attentats terroristes a Paris en janvier 2015. Même maintenant, le gouvernement socialiste de la France est totallement incapable de faire les économies nécessaires afin de financer suffissament la défense de la France – ou même le niveau de dépenses militaires insuffisant qu’il a inscrit dans sa propre Loi sur la Programmation Militaire!

Au lieu de financer d’une maniere approprie la defense de la France, les socialistes preferent de financer l’aide médicale pour les sans-papiers, la bureaucratie étatique obèse, et les soi-disantes “sources rénouvelables d’energie” totallement non-economiques et non-viables.

Il faudra remplacer ce gouvernement en 2017. Mais pour le moment, il faut trouver une solution pour financer l’armée française maintenant. Il faut donc:

1) Réduire le nombre de fonctionnaires civils du ministère de la Défense de 66 000 a 22 000, afin d’économiser 1 Md d’Euros.

2) Réduire, d’une manière forte, le nombre des conseillers du ministère et leur rénumeration.

3) Réduire, d’une manière forte, le nombre des officiers, y compris les généraux.

4) Supprimer la 2ème section, comme l’ont recemment sugeré des jeunes officiers du soi-disante “groupe Marc Bloch”.

5) Accélérer la vente des fréquences très haut débit (700 mégahertz) aux opérateurs de téléphonie mobile.

6) Terminer, d’une manière immédiate, toutes les OPEX, sauf celle en Irak.


Posted in Defense spending | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Jeffrey Lewis drops his mask, shows his true face – that of a traitor

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on March 13, 2015

The leftist Foreign Policy magazine has recently published a ridiculous screed by the ultra-leftist pro-disarmament agitator and pseudo-expert Jeffrey Lewis of the Monterey Institute for International Studies.

In that screed, Lewis – who some have called an “expert” on nuclear weapons and who has testified before Congress on more a few occassions – drops his mask of an “expert” and shows the whole world his true face – that of a traitor, a hyperpartisan liberal Democrat, and a campaigner for America’s unilateral disarmament and for an appeasement policy of allowing hostile regimes to build up their nuclear arsenals.

The title and introducing sentence of that diatribe alone reveal Lewis’s true face:

“Why A Bad Deal With Iran Is Better Than No Deal At All”

“Look here, you hypocritical Republicans”

But Lewis doesn’t stop there, of course. In his diatribe, he lectures Republicans that obtaining an agreement that limits the number of Iranian centrifuges to just 164 or some other low number is impossible. But – says Lewis – if Barack Obama and John Kerry are just given a free hand to conclude a “bad deal” with Iran, Tehran’s nuclear program would be frozen – allowing the West to somehow stop the Iranians from acquiring nuclear weapons before they’re able to do so but after they decide to resume their nuclear weapons program.

Furthermore, Lewis believes any military strike on iran would be “half-assed” and would only unravel the sanctions regime by depriving the US of the support of its allies, and that the Bush Administration was wrong to withdraw the US from the Agreed Framework with North Korea in 2002. And, as a hyperpartisan Democrat, Lewis strongly condemns the letter 47 Republican senators have sent to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Lewis is dead wrong on all counts.

To start with, the kind of deal that Obama and Kerry are prepared to accept – allowing Iran to keep thousands of centrifuges and continue enriching uranium on a massive scale, as well as continue developing ballistic missiles of ever-increasing range – would only facilitate Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Republican Senators are thus right to oppose any such proposed deal, and to warn Iran’s supreme leader that such a deal would not be legally binding without the Senate’s advice and consent. (More on that later.)

Such a deal would not only be a foolishness, it would actually undermine any effort to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program. That’s because Iran would keep thousands of centrifuges while the US – and the West at large – would have to abolish sanctions against Iran – thus relieving Tehran of economic pain.

That would only greatly facilitate Iran’s path to nuclear weapon state status: thousands of centrifuges producing weapons-grade uranium and sanctions relief. And, of course, no limitation of its ballistic and cruise missile programs.

And that is assuming Iran would actually keep its end of the bargain. If it cheated – and it would certainly do – such an accord would be even more detrimental to US and allied security.

As for the Agreed Framework with North Korea, that accord – agreed by the Clinton administration in 1994 – was an utter foolishness which allowed North Korea to develop nuclear weapons. Under that utterly failed deal, North Korea was allowed to keep enriching uranium and maintaining a reactor producing plutonium – and, of course, to continue developing ballistic missiles. The US, in return, unilaterally withdrew its tactical nukes from South Korea. The Bush Administration rightly withdrew the US from that agreement when North Korea was caught CHEATING in the early 2000s – proving that the Agreed Framework was never worth the paper it was printed on.

As for the Republican senators letter – in which they reminded Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei that no US-Iran agreement would be legally binding without Senate consent – they are absolutely right.

Under the US Constitution, the President may conclude legally binding agreements on behalf of the United States ONLY with the advice and consent of AT LEAST two thirds of Senators present in the Senate’s place of meeting. The Constitution mentions the President’s agreement-making power only once – when it provides the above rule for concluding legally binding agreements on America’s behalf.

The Founding Fathers knew very well that it would be VERY dangerous to give the power to conclude such legally binding agreements (then called “treaties”) to the President alone. Had they done so, there would’ve been no limit to the commitments a President could undertake on America’s behalf. Thus, they put in place a system of checks and balances to ensure the President could never, by himself, make such commitments to foreign countries on the country’s behalf, and put in place a very high (2/3 of the Senate) requirement for any such agreement to be law.

Alexander Hamilton explained it nicely in Federalist #69:

“The President is to have power, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the senators present concur. The king of Great Britain is the sole and absolute representative of the nation in all foreign transactions. He can of his own accord make treaties of peace, commerce, alliance, and of every other description.

It has been insinuated, that his authority in this respect is not conclusive, and that his conventions with foreign powers are subject to the revision, and stand in need of the ratification, of Parliament. But I believe this doctrine was never heard of, until it was broached upon the present occasion. Every jurist2 of that kingdom, and every other man acquainted with its Constitution, knows, as an established fact, that the prerogative of making treaties exists in the crown in its utomst plentitude; and that the compacts entered into by the royal authority have the most complete legal validity and perfection, independent of any other sanction.”

As Alexander Hamilton narrates above, the President of the United States cannot, by himself, conclude legally binding agreements on behalf of the US – he needs the advice and consent of two thirds of Senators present for that. By contrast, the British king of the time, King George III, against whom the former American colonies had previously rebelled, had the power to conclude any agreement of any kind on Britain’s behalf alone – as was the unanimous opinion of every British lawyer, and every other man acquainted with British constitutional law.

Thus, for example, when Britain’s then-Foreign Secretary the Lord Grenville concluded the so-called Jay’s Treaty with US Chief Justice John Jay, the treaty only needed King George III’s sanction to be ratified by Britain. But for the treaty to become legally binding on the US, two thirds of the Senators of the time (all of whom arrived in Philadelphia upon President Washington’s request to debate the treaty) had to vote for it – and the Senate resolution of advice and consent significantly modified the treaty (notably by striking its Article XII).

So the Senate Republicans are absolutely right – and Jeffrey Lewis, as always, is dead wrong. The Obama administration is desperately trying to conclude a deal with Iran at any cost – even if that means allowing Iran to freely develop and, one day, obtain a nuclear weapon one day. Republicans are right to oppose this – and to remind Iran’s supreme leader that ANY agreement between him and Obama won’t be legally binding unless it receives the Senate’s advice and consent.

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

Rebuttal of disarmament advocates’ blatant lies

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 25, 2015


The unilateral disarmament lobby in the US has hardly given up on its goal to compeltely and unilaterally disarm America, even though Barack Obama himself seems to have given up on that goal. Nor have Russia’s, China’s, and North Korea’s nuclear buildups and aggressive actions sobered these people up.

They have written yet another garbage screed calling for deep cuts in America’s nuclear arsenal – while Russia, China, North Korea, and others are growing their own arsenals.

Specifically, ACA’s Daryl Kimball and NRDC’s Matthew McKinzie have written a garbage screed published by the leftist DefenseNews website.

In it, they falsely claim at the beginning (3rd paragraph):

“Moscow’s actions have prompted calls from some to halt implementation of nuclear arms control agreements, including the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which verifiably limits Russian nuclear potential to no more than 1,550 strategic deployed warheads.”

That is a blatant lie right at the start. The New START treaty has not limited Russia’s nuclear arsenal AT ALL. On the contrary, it has permitted Moscow to significantly GROW that arsenal – so much so that it now stands at 1,643 deployed (and many more nondeployed) strategic warheads, far above New START limits – and Moscow keeps ADDING warheads.

If limiting Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal was the goal, New START has failed abysmally to achieve it – as I predicted in 2010.

I was right, and the pro-disarmament lobby was wrong.

But the screed’s authors don’t stop at that one blatant lie. Despite Moscow’s, Beijing’s, and Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile buildups – and aggressive actions – they falsely claim that it’s time to cut America’s nuclear arsenal even further, that the US nuclear arsenal is “excess”, and that the US should rely on “diplomacy, economic sanctions, and conventional deterrence” instead!

They reject any calls to modernize and build up the US nuclear arsenal and falsely claim that:

“But rather than helping to protect Ukraine or NATO, these proposals would undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers. Moscow’s actions in Ukraine require a tough and unified US and European response involving diplomacy, economic sanctions and NATO conventional deterrence, but the challenge can’t be effectively resolved with nuclear weapons or a US nuclear buildup.

As President Barack Obama declared in 2012, “[t]he massive nuclear arsenal we inherited from the Cold War is poorly suited for today’s threats.” (…)

Moscow and Washington could do more to reduce their nuclear excess and should pursue a further one-third cut in their strategic stockpiles. With New START verification tools in place, additional nuclear reductions can be readily achieved without a new treaty.”

Au contraire! The only language that Putin, China’s Xi Jinping, and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un understand is the language of force. Ony military strength – and that has to include nuclear strength – can dissuade them from further aggression.

Diplomacy and economic sanctions have utterly failed and will continue to fail. These dictators don’t care about their nations’ economic well-being (if they did, they’d have pursued market-based economic reforms long ago) or diplomatic niceties. Western sanctions have already wrecked havoc on Russia’s economy – but Moscow’s behavior towards its neighbors (especially Ukraine) and towards the West has only become more aggressive since 2014.

As for conventional deterrence, the US alone (not to mention the entire NATO alliance) already has a huge edge over Russia in conventional weapons. The problem is not inadequate conventional deterrence. The problem is inadequate nuclear deterrence – and a lack of will to enforce the West’s red lines. No amount of military power – nuclear or conventional – means anything unless it is used when aggressors overstep acceptable bounds.

Put simply, Western nations are not willing to defend themselves (let alone Ukraine), and Putin knows it.

What would REALLY undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers would be to fail to modernize and sufficiently increase America’s nuclear deterrent. It’s the only effective protection the US and over 30 of its allies and friends have against nuclear, chemical, or bilological attack – or blackmail of such an attack.

Russia has a vast and very diverse nuclear arsenal and is still growing it (along with the fleet of delivery systems: ICBMs, bombers, and boomers). China has a large and still growing nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal – in fact, the fastest growing in the world according to USAF intel. North Korea is growing its nuclear stockpile, perfecting its ICBMs, and testing a ship-based ballistic missile intended for its Golf-class submarine.

What would REALLY undermine strategic stability and increase nuclear dangers would be to fail to modernize and sufficiently increase America’s nuclear deterrent under those circumstances. Yet, that is precisely what ACA and the NRDC advocate.

The claim that America’s nuclear arsenal is “poorly suited” for today’s threats and that it’s “excess” is a blatant lie. The US nuclear arsenal is perfectly suited to address the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security.

These threats are not Ebola, Al Qaeda, or the Islamic state, but the nuclear and missile arsenals of Russia, China, and North Korea. Nothing else comes even CLOSE to being as grave a threat as these three.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not an isolated incident, but a mere part of Russia’s overall pattern of aggressive behavior towards the US, the West, and any country Putin perceives as aligning itself with the West – including Ukraine and Georgia. In accordance with this pattern of aggressive behavior, Russia has, in recent years, threatend to aim or use its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles against the US or its allies 15 times; has flown nuclear-armed bombers near US and allied airspace, and sometimes even into the airspace of countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Finland; has dramatically increased the frequency of its nuclear-armed submarine patrols; has threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the Crimea; and has conducted a dramatic buildup of its nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal.

In doing so, it has violated every arms limitation treaty it is party to, including the INF, CFE, CTBT, and New START treaties.

If the US fails to modernize and increase its nuclear arsenal, or worse, cuts that arsenal, it will fail to address that threat, and thus commit suicide.

Kimball and McKinzie deny that their organizations have recently called in Vienna on the US to disarm itself unilaterally, But ACA has repeatedly called on the US to do that on many occassions in the last several years. A few years ago, Tom Z. Collina, then ACA’s “Research Director”, called on the US to unilaterally cut its nuclear arsenal and falsely claimed that “there’s no reason to wait for Russia.” Also, ACA has, for many years, advocated (and still advocates) foregoing the modernization of the US nuclear deterrent, including cancelling the replacement for the USAF’s obsolete bombers and ICBMs and cutting the planned buy new new ballistic missile subs to just 8. That would essentially be unilateral disarmament by atrophy and neglect. That would be just as bad as scrapping the US nuclear arsenal outright.

Last but not least, Kimball and McKinzie are trying to delude the American people with totally unrealistic, fantastic fairy-tales of global nuclear disarmament:

“We proposed “making nuclear disarmament” a global enterprise. We called on all states to press China, India and Pakistan, in particular, not to increase their fissile material or weapons stocks. A unified push for further US-Russian arms cuts combined with a nuclear weapons freeze by other nuclear-armed states could create the conditions for meaningful nuclear risk reduction.”

This is a total, unrealistic fantasy. The idea that cuts in America’s and Russia’s nuclear arsenals will prod other nuclear powers to reduce their own stockpiles is fantasy – as is the idea that China, India, and Pakistan will ever succumb to “pressure” not to increase their fissile materials or nuclear weapon stocks. These countries don’t care about international pressure or America’s meaningless unilateral disarmament gestures; they only care about their own military power.

Kimball’s and McKinzie’s screed is total garbage. Shame on DefenseNews for publishing it.



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

Rebuttal of DefenseNews’ Blatant Lies About the Rafale

Posted by zbigniewmazurak on February 24, 2015

This Sunday, DefenseNews, an American military affairs website, published a garbage screed smearing the Dassault Rafale and quoting garbage Russian state propaganda in support of one of its rivals, the Su-30MKI. (Who would’ve thought thatan American news website would be parrotting Russian state propaganda?)

In that article, DefenseNews falsely claims that the Rafale will likely fail to win an export order in India because, supposedly, France is an unreliable supplier of weapons. In support of that garbage claim, DefenseNews parrots Russian propaganda:

“Russian officials and pundits have gone out of their way in recent months to cast France as an unreliable trading partner, a supplier that may cancel deals at the last minute in accordance with the political whims of its puppet masters in DC, and have promised to pursue legal damages if Paris does not go through with the delivery.”

France is a poodle of its puppet masters in DC? Can anyone take these people seriously?

The reason why the delivery of the Mistrals has been suspended is because Russia has illegally invaded another state and annexed part of its territory by force. This is illegal and contrary to the norms accepted throughout the civilized world. If Russia doesn’t like that, it should withdraw from Ukraine, return the Crimea to that country, and respect its territorial integrity. Period.

But DefenseNews doesn’t stop there. It says Rafale will likely fail to land the deal because the Su-30MKI Flanker is supposedly a better alternative. To support that ridiculous claim, it again quotes garbage Russian propaganda:

“Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, a Moscow-based defense think tank, said Russia has been lobbying for some time for India to ax the Rafale contract.

“Russia has tried its best to explain to India, as the Eurofighter people have, that it is completely senseless to buy a platform designed in the 1980s for such a huge amount of money,” Pukhov said, “especially since the full fleet won’t be operational for, let’s say, 10 years.”

For the money India would spend on Rafale, it could buy from a mature product that they already know how to maintain and operate, Pukhov argued, adding that its combat capability surpasses that of any other aircraft in India’s Air Force.”

All of that is utter garbage.

Firstly, India has not signed a contract for the Rafales yet. Secondly, although the Rafale was designed in the 1980s, the Flanker – which Pukhov touts as a superior alternative – is much older. It was designed in the late 1960s and in the 1970s as the Soviet response to the American F-15 and first flew in 1977 – a full 9 years before the Rafale did. In fact, at that time, the Rafale project didn’t even exist. Furthemore, the Flanker entered service with the Soviet (not Russian) Air Force in 1984 – 2 years before the Rafale first flew.

Thus, the Rafale is much younger.

As for the Eurofighter, it is also older than the Rafale. The Eurofighter project was initiated in the early 70s and early 80s, but in 1984, by decision of then-French Defense Minister Charles Hernu, France withdrew from the project and then started its own fighter program.

But age isn’t the most important metric of a fighter. Combat capability is. ANd here, the Rafale has an undisputable edge over all competitors, including and especially the Su-30MKI.

The most important criteria by which to measure fighters are: reduced observability (to the human eye, on radar, and to thermal (IR) sensors); speed and maneuverability (including turning capability and climb rate);its combat radius; its weapons load and capability; combat availablity and ease of maintenance; and avionics.

Those are the criteria that actually determine victory in air combat, because:

1) An aircraft which is easy to detect (whether visually, with radar, or with infrared sensors) is not survivable and therefore destined to lose. History of air combat since the First World War shows 80% of fighters shot down went down unaware of their predator. The pilot also must have good vertical and unobstructed all-around horizontal visibility, so that he can see what’s behind his aircraft.

2) An aircraft which is less maneuverable than the opponent will be outmaneuvered by him, and he’ll position himself behind that aircraft’s rear, its most vulnerable quadrant, while being slower than the enemy makes fleeing him – or chasing him – impossible;

3) An aircraft which lacks the combat radius to perform distant missions or to protect a sizeable part of a nation’s territory is useless;

4) An aircraft which can’t carry a meaningful, useful weapons load will have few weapons to fire at opponents who will likely try to duck them, and if its weapons are simply inferior, it can simply be outgunned;

5) An aircraft which has to spend too many hours on the ground cand can’t fly often is, to be blunt, useless; and

6) Modern fighter aircraft need a wide range of modern avionics – including active and passive sensors, computers, and datalinks – to detect and target enemies, attack them accurately, maintain contact with friendlies, and exchange information with them.

By these criteria, the SU-30MKI is decisively inferior to the Rafale:

1) The Su-30MKI, like other Flankers, is much larger, heavier, and hotter – and thus much easier to detect visually, with radar, and with infrared sensors – than the Rafale. So a Rafale could detect a Flanker much earlier than the other way around. Worst of all, the Flanker’s (including the Su-30MKI’s) pilots have very poor rearward visibility, while the Rafale (like other Eurocanard aircraft, as well as the F-15, F-16, F/A-18, and F-22) gives its pilot completely unobstructed horizontal visibility. So a Rafale can sneak behind an Su-30MKI, and the Indian Flanker pilot won’t even know the Rafale is there! That’s basically game over already, but let’s review the other criteria, shall we?

2) The Su-30MKI is decidely less maneuverable than the Rafale: it climbs slower (300 m/s vs 305 m/s for the Rafale) and has a very high wing loading ratio (401 kg/sq m, vs 304 kg/sq m for the Rafale – a difference of almost 100 kg/sq m!). It has excellent roll onset, pitch onset, instantaneous turning, and sustained turning rates. Thus, the Rafale can easily outturn and outclimb the Su-30MKI. As my fellow blogger Picard has written:

“Rafale’s placement of canards, which are close coupled to the wing, means that outboard canard vortices energize wing tips regardless of the angle of attack. This results in excellent roll onset rate at all flight conditions, allowing aircraft to be flown with rapid reversals of flight directions instead of rolling pulls. Canards also create an area of low pressure on forward part of the wing, which results in a significant pitch-up tendency and consequently in rapid pitch onset rate. Maximum climb rate is 305 meters per second, indicating very good acceleration, while wing loading of 275 kg/m2 at combat weight gives it instantaneous turn rate unmatched among Western fighters, especially when combained with close-coupled canard’s favorable effects on wing lift at high angles of attack. Thrust-to-weight ratio is 1,2 at combat weight, and allows it good sustained turn rate, especially when combined with its very high lift to drag ratio.”

3) Both aircraft have sizeable combat radii, but the Rafale’s is greater, at 1,852 kms unrefueled.

4) The Rafale B and C can carry more weapons than the Su-30MKI – 13 and 14, respectively, vs the Su-30MKI’s 12. The Rafale is, in fact, the only fighter in the world which can carry ordnance and fuel weighting 1.5 times the aircraft’s empty weight. Its 30mm gun is the best fighter gun in the world, and its MICA IR missiles permit it to shoot down opponents detected by its IRST at a range of up to 80 kms.

5) The Rafale spends only 8 hours on the ground for each hour flown. The Su-30MK (including the MKI) has to spend FOUR times as much time on the ground – 32 hours for each hour flown! So the Rafale can fly four hours for each hour the Su-30MKI can fly. So even if the IAF could buy four times more Su-30s than the 126 Rafales it’s in talks to buy, in practice, only a quarter of these would be operationally available. Put another way, to numerically match the Rafales in the air, you’d have to have a total Su-30 fleet 4 times larger than your opponent’s Rafale fleet. Problem is, the Su-30MKI is not much cheaper than the Rafale.

6) The Rafale’s OSF infra-red search and tracking system and its RBE2 AESA radar are among the best in the world. By contrast, the Su-30MKI uses the inferior Phazotron Zhuk AESA radar and the OLS-30 IRST which, although good, is nowhere near as good as the Rafale’s OSF – or the OLS-35 used on the newest Flanker variant, the Su-35.

A few final considerations are worth pointing out: The Rafale needs only a 450 m runway to take off, and its wingspan of 10,8 meters allows it to take off from Western-style highways, or from makeshift runways, if need be. The Su-30MKI, with a runway requirement of at least 550 m and a wingspan of 15 m, cannot do that.

Last but not least, the Russian officials cited by DefenseNews claim that India has experience building, maintaining, and operating the Su-30MKI. That is true, but that is no justification for buying an inferior aircraft when one can buy a much better fighter. And India is a relatively recent Sukhoi customer, while it has literally decades and decades of experience operating Dassault fighters. If New Delhi procures the Rafale, IAF pilots and technicians would need little retraining.

In short, the DefenseNews screed is a piece of Russian propaganda BS. If BS were currency, the authors of that screed could easily bail Russia out of its fiscal problems.


Posted in Air combat | 6 Comments »


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