In August or July, China tested a missile (or rocket) system that may be a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) or maybe something else. I’m not a missile expert, so I have no opinions on what it is, but I know some missile experts whom I will quote.
The exact nature of what was tested is unclear – the term “hypersonic” is being tossed around, but that has been unclear for some time. ICBMs are hypersonic (traveling faster than sound) when they re-enter the atmosphere. The newer vehicles that are given that name are different in being maneuverable. The confusion suggests that we need to clarify what the threat is and use names related to that. But multisyllabic words that are almost understandable are a staple for convincing Congress to spend more on weapons.
Vladimir Putin has claimed that Russia is building a suite of advanced nuclear weapon delivery vehicles – Hypersonic missiles, an underwater drone, a nuclear-powered cruise missile. The American Missile Defense Review is, in part, a response to that.
The new Russian weapons sound amazing! The underwater drone, Putin would have us believe, could sneak up on the east coast of the United States and cause a radioactive tsunami! The nuclear-powered cruise missile could cruise around the globe twice and then nuke Florida!
Putin has shown all that on animated videos. A few frames appear to be actual photos, but the videos are mostly animation. Read More
Missile defense isn’t going to save us from North Korea. In the top June 1, 2009, photo, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, center, gets briefed on interceptor missiles at Ft. Greely, Alaska. The missiles carry a nonexplosive “kill vehicle” that is supposed to intercept and destroy enemy ballistic missiles in space. (John Wagner / Associated Press)
We are not “running out of time” on North Korea, as National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster likes to say. Here’s why.
The 1950s and the 1980s were decades of nuclear fear. The arms race of the 1950s culminated in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, after which institutions and procedures were put in place to cut back some of the causes of that fear. The Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty put nuclear tests underground, which made them more difficult and expensive and began to slow down the arms race. Better communications between American and Soviet leaders were developed. Treaties to limit the numbers of nuclear weapons followed. Read More
China wants to build a new rail route to Europe. That would help to open commerce for the Central Asian nations along the way. Those nations were part of the Soviet Union, and Russia sees them as its sphere of influence. But it is not in a position to promote something like that new rail route. Plus Russia would like to ally more closely with China, but their respective economies would easily subordinate Russia in that relationship. Interesting times ahead. Read More