Monday, March 12, 2018

Vox Popoli: Gamechangers - (on the myths of US global military supremacy)

US global military supremacy has proven short-lived, as any military historian could have predicted. The Saker has again been proven correct about Russia's advanced military capabilities:
There are two myths which are deeply imprinted in the minds of most US Americans which are extremely dangerous and which can result in a war with Russia.

The first myth is the myth of US military superiority.

The second myth is the myth of US invulnerability.

I believe that it is therefore crucial to debunk these myths before they end up costing us millions of lives and untold suffering.

Introducing the Zircon 3M22 hypersonic missile

First, some basic data about this missile (from English and Russian Wikipedia):

Low level range: 135 to 270 nautical miles (155 to 311mi; 250 to 500km).
High level range: 400nmi (460mi; 740km) in a semi-ballistic trajectory.
Max range: 540nmi (620mi; 1,000km)
Max altitude: 40km (130,000 feet)
Average range is around 400km (250mi; 220nmi)/450 km.
Speed: Mach 5–Mach 6 (3,806–4,567mph; 6,125–7,350km/h; 1.7015–2.0417km/s).
Max speed: Mach 8 (6,090mph; 9,800km/h; 2.7223km/s) during a test.
Warhead: 300-400kg (high explosive or nuclear)
Shape: low-RCS with radar absorbing coating.
Cost per missile: 1-2 million dollars (depending on configuration)

All this is already very impressive, but here comes the single most important fact about this missile: it can be launched from pretty much *any* platform: cruisers, of course, but also frigates and even small corvettes. It can be launched by nuclear and diesel-electric attack submarines. It can also be launched from long range bombers (Tu-160), medium-range bombers (Tu-22m3), medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft (SU-34) and even, according to some reports, from a multi-role air superiority fighter (SU-35). Finally, this missile can also be shore-based. In fact, this missile can be launched from any platform capable of launching the now famous Kalibr cruise missile and that means that even a merchant marine or fishing ship could carry a container with the Zircon missile hidden inside. In plain English what this means is the following:

Russia has a missile which cannot be stopped or spoofed by any of the current and foreseeable USN anti-missile weapons systems. This missile can be deployed *anywhere* in the world on *any* platform.
Let me repeat this again: pretty much any Russian ship and pretty much any Russian aircraft from now on will have the potential capability of sinking a US aircraft carrier. In the past, such capabilities were limited to specific ships (Slava class), submarines (Oscar class) or aircraft (Backfires). The Soviets had a large but limited supply of such platforms and they were limited on where they could deploy them. This era is now over. From now on a swarm of Zircon 3M22 could appear anywhere on the planet at any moment and with no warning time (5000 miles per hour incoming speed does not leave the target anything remotely comparable to even a short reaction time). In fact, the attack could be so rapid that it might not even leave the target the time needed to indicate that it is under attack.

Introducing the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)

Though officially very little is know about the Sarmat and the Yu-71, the reality is that the Internet has been full of educated guesses which give us a pretty clear idea of what kind of systems we are dealing here.

You can think of the RS-28 Sarmat as a successor of the already formidable RS-36 Voevoda (SS-18 Satan in US classification) missile: it is a heavy, very powerful, intercontinental ballistic missile with multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (warheads):

Weight: 100 tons
Payload: 10 tons
Warheads: 10 to 15
Hypersonic glide vehicles: 3-24 (that’s the Yu-71 we will discuss below)
Range: 10,000km
Guidance: Inertial , satellite, astrocelestial
Trajectory: FOBS-capable

That last line, about being FOBS-capable, is crucial as it means that, unlike most Soviet/Russian ICMBs, the Sarmat does not have to fly over the North Pole to strike at the United States. In fact, the Sarmat could fly over the South Pole or, for that matter, in any direction and still reach any target in the US. Right there this capability is, by itself, is more than enough to defeat any current and foreseeable US anti-ballistic missile technology. But it gets better, or worse, depending on your perspective: the Sarmat’s reentry vehicles/warhards are capable of flying in low orbit, maneuver, and then suddenly plunge towards their targets. The only way to defeat such an attack would be to protect the US by a 3600 coverage capable ABM system, something which the US is decades away from deploying.

Although it upsets most Americans to be confronted with the facts, the truth is that the USA badly misplayed its dominant hand after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Instead of modernizing its military and maintaining its technological superiority, it elected to play global policeman at the behest of the neocons. And, as anyone who knows anything about military history can tell you, policemen make terrible soldiers. All the hundreds of bases scattered now around the world have been transformed at a stroke from tools for force projection into indefensible vulnerabilities, and with the development of hypersonic missiles - which probably explain the recent sightings of high-speed UFOs - the USA's ability to project force via its naval dominance is now subject to a Russian veto.

As we've seen in Syria, this new ability of the Russians to rein in the lunatic neocons is probably a good thing. Although the US military is still superior, it is no longer supreme, and one hopes that the God-Emperor's more intelligent military advisers will help him understand the new rules of the game. But the US will have to significantly adjust its strategy if it is not going to find itself being technologically passed up by China as well as Russia.

Once more, we are seeing that the Open Society approach championed by George Soros and the European Union is not merely foolish, but significantly disadvantageous. These new developments bring some dangers, but on the whole, the coming end of NATO and the neoliberal world order is almost certainly a good thing for the people of the West.