Category Archives: Missiles

UN report reveals how North Korea sources missile technology | Asia Times

The report cites Chinese components and European parts acquired through China that were recovered from the debris of a North Korean missile launch. They included what the report described as an electromagnetic interference filter for a camera, pressure transmitters, and ball bearings traced to Russia.

In another case, the UN found that North Korea set up a front company in Malaysia called Glocom that was used to produce military communications gear.

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“Suppliers were mostly located in China (in particular in Hong Kong) and many of them were selling widely available electronic products,” the report said. North Korea “procured relatively inexpensive components for the purpose of assembling and selling very expensive tactical military radio communications materiel.”

UN report reveals how North Korea sources missile technology | Asia Times

Russian Officials Say U.S. Global Missile Defense Could Lead to Nuclear War in Europe

According to the Military Doctrine of Russia, last updated in 2014, Russia reserves “the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and/or its allies, as well as in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation with the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is in jeopardy.”

Russian Officials Say U.S. Global Missile Defense Could Lead to Nuclear War in Europe

What if Israel nukes Syria? Syria is an ally of Russia. Israel is an ally of the US. Does that that kind of event qualify for a nuclear response from Russia against the US? I think it possibly could qualify.

A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development? | 38 North

What Explains North Korea’s Solid Propellant Rocket Technology?

How did North Korea make such significant progress in the solid propulsion technology field? As is well known, the structure of a solid propellant rocket is much simpler than that of a liquid propellant rocket, but the complexity of the design grows exponentially with its size, requiring extensive testing and design iterations for development. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Pyongyang has been working on solid propellant technology for more than a decade while simultaneously developing the indigenous Musudan liquid propellant engine. It is also possible that Pyongyang is concurrently developing the solid propellant Pukguksong-2 IRBM and solid propellant Pukguksong-3 ICBM. As such, it would not be surprising if the North also decides initially to pursue concurrent development of both solid and liquid propellant ICBMs (Figure 7).

Some experts also suspect that North Korea’s accelerated development of solid fuel rockets is connected to Iran’s missile program—more specifically, that the North provided liquid propellant missile technology to Iran in exchange for solid propellant missile technology. However, Iran only started to develop solid propellant missiles in the early 2000s, and its two-stage solid propellant Sajiil missile is still in development. In short, Iran has not yet mastered this technology. Nevertheless, a connection between the two countries is possible, but it is difficult to substantiate such claims due to the lack of solid evidence.

A Paradigm Shift in North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Development? | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North Korea

Russian Air Defense and the US Strike on Al-Shayrat – Jamestown

These systems are not principally designed to counter low-flying subsonic Tomahawks; their capacity to attempt this is limited to approximately 30–40 km. Colonel (retired) Mikhail Khodarenok, a defense correspondent for Gazeta.ru and an air defense specialist, notes the Al-Shayrat airbase is located around 200 km from Latakia, which he suggests lies at the outer limit of the S-400 range: to strike a target at this range requires it to be flying at an altitude of 8–9 km. If it flies lower, the S-400’s multifunctional radar cannot see the cruise missile due to the curvature of the Earth’s surface. Similarly, the S-300V4 at Tartus has a range of around 100 km and requires a target altitude of 6–7 km. According to Air Force Colonel General (retired) Igor Maltsev, the former chief of the Main Staff in the Air Defense Troops, since Tomahawks fly at 50–60 meters above the ground, the outer effective range for the S-300V4 system would only be around 24–26 km in cross country terrain. Maltsev concluded that the S-400 and S-300V4 located in Latakia and Tartus did not have even a theoretical chance to counter the US cruise missile strike. Moreover, to protect against a similar strike in the future, Maltsev believes Al-Shayrat would need four to five S-400 battalions, alongside a radar reconnaissance system to provide depth of detection against cruise missiles, in addition to an air regiment of Su-30SM or Su-35 fighters (Gazeta.ru, April 7).

Russian Air Defense and the US Strike on Al-Shayrat – Jamestown

Kremlin Reels From US Missile Strike on Syria – Jamestown

What is perhaps more embarrassing for Moscow than political isolation is the suddenly exposed weakness of its military capabilities in Syria. Much was made of the air defense “bubble” covering Syria’s Mediterranean coast, from Latakia to Tartus. But now, the Russian top brass cannot produce any explanation for why the much-advertised S-400 and S-300 surface-to-air missile systems failed to intercept the incoming US cruise missiles (Gazeta.ru, April 7). The Russian defense ministry claims that the impact of the US strike was miniscule because only 23 out of the 59 Tomahawk missiles reached the targeted base. Yet, the credibility of this information is likely no different than the fake news spread by the Syrian propaganda (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, April 7). Seeking to boost its military posture, Moscow ordered the frigate Admiral Grigorovich to deploy from the Black Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, but this show of the flag is far from impressive (Rosbalt, April 8). Russia has also suspended the memorandum on flight safety signed with the US in October 2015. Though, in actuality, the Russian air force grouping operating from the Khmeimim base needs this “de-conflicting” mechanism no less than the US forces (RBC, April 7).

The turn of military events in Syria has clearly caught the Russian leadership by surprise. But Moscow was pushed into a tight corner by more than simply Trump’s unpredictability or the emotion-driven change to his anti-interventionist course. Russia has made corruption and fake news into usable tools of state policy, and now is now being treated accordingly—as a co-belligerent in the Syrian conflict and not as a responsible power with a positive agenda. The protracted humanitarian catastrophe in Syria is for Moscow just an opportunity to claim a greater role in the international arena—something it could not accomplish via peace-building. Russia’s experiment in military power projection in the Middle East looks set to backfire, but Putin’s personal ambitions stand in the way of sober risk re-evaluation.

Kremlin Reels From US Missile Strike on Syria – Jamestown

Russia?s hypersonic missile ratchets up arms race | DW.COM

Ripley believes the West is right to be worried about Russia’s military advances, warning that a new arms race was now unavoidable.

“We’re in a period of possible military parity again. Recently we’ve had Ukraine, Crimea and Syria, where Russia has deployed weapons that are certainly on a par with their American and British equivalents, including cruise missiles from submarines,” he said, adding that Zircon will push Russia ahead.

Noting that US President Donald Trump recently ordered a 9.4 percent increase in military spending worth some $54 billion, Ripley is watching to see if European leaders follow suit.

Russia?s hypersonic missile ratchets up arms race | DW.COM

The (real) reason China doesn’t like South Korea’s missile defenses | Asia Times

Chinese opposition to South Korea’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system is less about missiles and more about efforts to weaken the US network of formal and informal alliances in Asia that has underpinned the regional order for the last seventy years.

The THAAD controversy displays China’s familiar modus operandi: First, pick a fight over an allegedly offensive act. Next, follow up with vitriol and veiled threats, and then inflict economic pressure — all while declaring the exercise the spontaneous reaction of the righteously offended Chinese people.

This sequence played out to form in South Korea in recent months, highlighted by verbal assaults on Seoul and fierce pressure on Lotte Group’s business operations inside China. (Lotte sold the land being used for THAAD batteries in South Korea.)

The (real) reason China doesn’t like South Korea’s missile defenses | Asia Times

Hamas said to acquire highly explosive short-range rockets | The Times of Israel

Hamas has acquired dozens of large, highly explosive rockets, more powerful than those previously in its arsenal, that could be used to devastating effect on the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, Army Radio reported Tuesday.

Each rocket is said to contain hundreds of kilograms of explosive material, far beyond the capacities of the other missiles and mortar shells believed to be in the terrorist group’s hands.

Hamas said to acquire highly explosive short-range rockets | The Times of Israel

Why Russia Will Keep Cheating on the INF Treaty | Small Wars Journal

As such, Russia has signaled a willingness to remilitarize Europe. In the event of a military crisis, Russia could use these weapons as a bargaining chip to force NATO to back down from challenging Russian aggression. Most notably, Germany has opposed the re-militarization and pushed for the denuclearization of Europe. It is difficult to imagine German leaders supporting a more robust nuclear posture in central Europe such as increasing NATO’s nuclear arsenal or deploying nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe, to respond to Russian aggression.

In the long term, Putin has likely calculated that weakening NATO’s deterrence posture provides greater benefits than any punitive damaged incurred from violating the INF treaty. As US policymakers develop a response, they should understand what has driven Moscow to develop and deploy these missiles: China’s growing military power, Putin’s desire to exploit political divisions in NATO, and Russian military doctrine. Therefore, we must develop a policy that reduces the incentives that have pushed Moscow to violate the INF treaty.

Why Russia Will Keep Cheating on the INF Treaty | Small Wars Journal

China Warns of Arms Race After U.S. Deploys Missile Defense in South Korea – The New York Times

Under its deal with Washington, South Korea is providing the land for the missile system and will build the base, but the United States will pay for the system, to be built by Lockheed Martin, as well as its operational costs.

A C-17 cargo plane landed at the United States military’s Osan Air Base, about 40 miles south of Seoul, on Monday evening, carrying two trucks, each mounted with a Thaad launchpad. More equipment and personnel will start arriving in the coming weeks, South Korean military officials said.

The South Korean Defense Ministry declined to specify when the system would be operational. But the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the deployment was likely to be completed in one or two months, with the system ready for use by April.

China Warns of Arms Race After U.S. Deploys Missile Defense in South Korea – The New York Times