Archive for the ‘Russian missiles’ category

Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders

November 3, 2017

Why Russian-made air-defense missiles miss Israel Air Force raiders, DEBKAfile, November 3, 2017

[Russia’s] three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.

The Russian system appears to lack the capacity to differentiate between the Israeli planes when they drop bombs or missiles or identity the types of ordinance used – both of which are essential data for determining which air defense systems are best suited to activate in response.

DEBKA’s military sources add: This may not be the only flaw in Russia’s air defenses; the Israeli Air Force may also be exploiting others. At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. If that is the case, Israel had better be prepared for them to change their minds at some point and use all the resources to put a stop to Israeli aerial incursions.

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In the last fortnight, missiles fired by Syria’s Russian-made air defense systems twice missed hitting Israeli air force planes – the first time on Oct. 16, when Israeli planes flew over Lebanon, and the second time on Wednesday, Nov. 1, when Israeli jets were reported to have struck Syrian military targets near Homs.

These incidents gave Western and Russian military experts their first glimpse of some of the aerial tactics employed by Israel, and also some of the operational flaws inherent in the Russian-Syrian air defense network spread out across Syria.

That network works on the “air defense bubbles” method, which is called in professional parlance “anti-access/area-denial-A2/AD exclusion zones.”  It is composed of anti-air missiles systems designed to hit flying objects at a wide range of altitudes and distances, and is supported by two tiers of ground-to-ground and shore-to-sea missiles. The entire set-up is backed by ship-to-air missiles installed on Russian warships cruising nearby.

The “bubble” is equipped with long-range surveillance radar, which gathers data and beams it to the stationary or mobile command center, which then selects the appropriate missile battery for downing or intercepting hostile aircraft or missiles. Available too is “engagement radar,” which guides the missile on its way to target.

A variety of advanced Russian air defense systems have been installed in Syria. Among them are the Pantsir-S1 or Buk-M2E, the S-400, S-300 and S-200. Integrated in the bubble of advanced weapons are 6 Syrian battalions which include ageing Russian-made SA-2 and SA-5.

The Russians operate the network from an air defense command at their air base at Khmeimim in Latakia, together with the joint command they have set up with Syria.

Russian sources claim that the Israeli Air Force, for its Oct. 16 flight in Lebanese skies, lofted different types of fighter-bombers, including the new F-35 stealth plane and a number of F-16 and F-15 jets. After a Syrian SA-5 battery east of Damascus shot missiles at those planes and missed, Israel conducted a separate air raid to destroy the battery. Western experts say the Russians are not certain whether they used cruise missiles or GPS-guided bombs. The Russians say their command center heard of the Israeli air strike after it had started, too late to activate an anti-air missile.

What the Russian argument reveals is that its three-tier air defense system can respond to attacks from planes and missiles approaching Syria, but not when missiles or guided bombs are aimed at Syrian targets from outside its borders, such as over Lebanon or the Mediterranean. The Israeli Air Force is using this flaw to bomb targets in Syria without being exposed to the risk of being shot down or intercepted by Russian air defense batteries.

The Russian and Syrian systems were unified under a joint command after a massive US Tomahawk cruise missile attack on Syria’s air base at Shayrat on April 7. In the ensuing seven months, the unified command has discovered its inability to strike back at hostile aircraft flying just beyond Syrian airspace, which release their ordnance without warning.

The Russian system appears to lack the capacity to differentiate between the Israeli planes when they drop bombs or missiles or identity the types of ordinance used – both of which are essential data for determining which air defense systems are best suited to activate in response.

DEBKA’s military sources add: This may not be the only flaw in Russia’s air defenses; the Israeli Air Force may also be exploiting others. At the same time, the Israelis may possibly be allowed to get away with it thanks to a Russian decision to turn a blind eye to their maneuvers against Syria and Hizballah. If that is the case, Israel had better be prepared for them to change their minds at some point and use all the resources to put a stop to Israeli aerial incursions.

 

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must

July 27, 2017

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must, Gatestone InstitutePeter Huessy, July 27, 2017

(Russia is not our only nuclear or nuclear-capable enemy. What about Iranian, Chinese and North Korean nukes and delivery systems, now and in the future? — DM)

In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?

The U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.” — General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command.

America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

In April 2017, the Pentagon launched the U.S. Defense Department’s legislatively mandated quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review to determine American policy, strategy and capabilities. The process now underway involves testimony from experts arguing over how the estimated $27 billion spent annually (growing over the next decade by an additional $10 billion a year) on America’s nuclear arsenal should be allocated.

One claim, made by a number of experts, is that investing in the effort to upgrade America’s exiting nuclear arsenal — the land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) — would be destabilizing and wasteful. They are, it is claimed, highly vulnerable to enemy attack and therefore do not provide deterrence. Among the 40 House members who suggest killing the land-based missiles is the ranking Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee.

The opposite position was expressed recently by General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). He persuasively argued that, far from being either destabilizing or unnecessary, “Our bomber and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) forces, and our nuclear command, control, and communications systems defend our national interests, assure our allies and partners, and deter potential adversaries.”

Addressing the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee on June 7, Rand said, “ICBMs are the sole weapon system capable of rapid global response and impose a time-proven and unpalatable cost to attack by peer, near-peer and aspiring nuclear nations.”

The discrepancy in viewpoints stems from the difference in perception about American nuclear power and deterrence. Those who disagree with Rand are stuck in Cold War thinking, which has become largely irrelevant in today’s world. To understand this better, a review of the history of the U.S.-Soviet arms race is necessary.

In January 1967, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced that the USSR had greatly expanded its powerful multiple-warhead land-based missiles, as well as having begun to build an anti-ballistic-missile defense system (ABM) around Moscow — which would enable it to launch a first strike against the U.S. without fear of an effective retaliation against Soviet leadership bunkers — and called for strategic arms limitations talks (SALT).

Johnson’s successor, Richard Nixon, continued with the process, formally launching the negotiations in November 1969 that led to the signing of the SALT I executive agreement in May 1972. When Gerald Ford became president, he agreed with Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev on a general framework for a second agreement — SALT II — marginally to limit the deployment capabilities of each side, but still allow major increases in warheads, especially powerful, multi-warhead land-based Soviet missiles.

Although SALT II was signed in June 1979 by Ford’s successor, President Jimmy Carter, it was never ratified by the Senate, members of which, on both sides of the aisle, argued that it would not “reverse trends in the military balance adverse to the United States.” A week after 19 senators expressed this warning in a letter to Carter, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Carter withdrew the treaty from further consideration.

Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan — who had been vehemently opposed SALT II before his election — knew its upward limits would readily accommodate his proposed modernization efforts and thus agreed to abide by it in principle. But here, he switched gears while pursuing a markedly different military and diplomatic avenue, in the form of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Reagan proposed that the U.S. simultaneously modernize while seeking reductions, instead of merely allowing huge increases in warheads under the SALT process. This also challenged the Soviet idea of a nuclear freeze — especially in that the Soviets were well through their nuclear modernization and the United States had not even begun.

Early in the Reagan administration, the U.S. still continued seeking to make its land-based silo missiles better able to withstand a massive Soviet strike. Many plans were examined, but all were expensive and required the use of a great deal of land on which to move the missiles on trains, trucks or mobile launchers.

Ultimately, in 1983, Reagan reached a simple, but elegant, solution: a three-step program. First, deep reductions in nuclear weapons; second, putting the new, modern, large 10-warhead Peacekeeper land-based missiles in existing Minuteman silos, and third, simultaneously developing a much smaller mobile missile with only one warhead, to be built later. This was essentially accomplished during the three successive administrations after the end of the Cold War, but with one key change. Given that the number of Russian and American strategic warheads eventually were reduced by more than 90% under the START I, Moscow and New START Treaties, American silo-based missiles — all with only a single warhead — became fundamentally survivable, even deployed in silos where they remain today.

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile in its silo in Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, circa 1980. (Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)

The situation is therefore now the opposite of what it was during the 1970s and 1980s. At the height of the Cold War, the U.S. — with 1,000 American missile silos — faced more than 13,000 Soviet (subsequently Russian) warheads, or a 13-to-1 ratio. Today, we face roughly 1,750 Russian warheads but have 450 silos, a 4-to-1 ratio. In other words, the strategic environment became more stable, not less, and eliminating the very nuclear triad responsible for this stability makes no sense.

Although the nuclear triad was conceptualized and developed during the Cold War, maintaining it is just as imperative today. ICBMs are as highly stabilizing now as they were highly destabilizing prior to the dramatic reduction in the number of warheads from 1981-2017.

Why is that?

In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?

It is crucial, therefore, to continue to invest in modernizing the ICBMs. As for the suggestion — among some of the less extreme anti-ICBM analysts — that the current ICBM force be extended for a few more years and modernization be reassessed later — is not a viable option, according to General Rand. He says that the U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.”

Let us hope that those who do not grasp how necessary it is for the United States to go forward with the ground-based strategic deterrent have little influence over the Nuclear Posture Review that is currently underway. America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

Dr. Peter Huessy is President of GeoStrategic Analysis, a defense consulting firm he founded in 1981, as well as Director of Strategic Deterrent Studies at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. He was also for 20 years, the senior defense consultant at the National Defense University Foundation.

Intelligence Report Warns of Growing Missile Threats

July 13, 2017

Intelligence Report Warns of Growing Missile Threats, Washington Free Beacon, July 13, 2017

China’s CSS-5 Mod 5 MRBMsdf

The United States faces a growing threat of ballistic and cruise missiles from China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, according to a military intelligence report.

“Ballistic and cruise missiles present a significant threat to U.S. and allied forces overseas, and to the United States and its territories,” states the latest report by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center in Ohio.

The report warns that both China and Russia are expanding their force of strategic nuclear missiles with new multi-warhead weapons.

North Korea now has three intercontinental-range missiles and is moving ahead with a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The report was published days before North Korea on July 4 conducted the first flight test of the new Hwasong-14 missile, described in the report as a new road-mobile ICBM first unveiled in October 2015.

In addition to that missile, North Korea also has another road-mobile ICBM called Hwasong-13, also known as the KN-08, and the Taepo Dong-2.

“Any of these systems could be exported to other countries in the future,” the report said.

Iran appears to be on a path to developing long-range missiles as part of what the report said was “Tehran’s desire to have a strategic counter to the United States.”

Multiple test firings of Iran’s Simorgh space launch vehicle are viewed as a test bed for developing long-range missiles.

“In 2015, Iran publicized the launch of the Emad-1, which officials claim is Iran’s first long-range missile that is guided throughout flight and capable of hitting its targets with high-precision,” the report said.

“Iranian officials have also announced plans for an Emad-2 with greater precision as well as a new Sejjil which can also be guided all the way to the target.”

The proliferation of missile systems and technology has resulted in over 20 nations having ballistic missiles that the report said “likely will be a threat in future conflicts involving U.S. forces.”

In the past 30 years, missiles were used in several wars, including the Iran-Iraq war, the Afghan civil war, the war in Yemen, the 1991 and 2003 Persian Gulf conflicts, Russian military actions in Chechnya and Georgia, and most recently in the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.

The NASIC missile threat report is published periodically and is the first report since 2013.

For the first time, the center reveals new details about China’s force of “close-range” missiles that could be used in an attack on Taiwan.

The report also warns that new “hypersonic” missiles are being developed that have characteristics of both ballistic and cruise missiles. Ballistic missiles travel in space on a trajectory to their targets while cruise missiles often fly close to land or sea.

Russia’s SS-27 ICBM

Hypersonic missiles are maneuvering weapons launched atop ballistic missiles that glide to their targets. They are being developed by China and Russia as both strategic nuclear and conventional weapons capable of passing through U.S. missile defenses, often at speeds of up to 7,500 miles per hour.

“Overall, the threats posed by ballistic missile delivery systems are likely to continue to increase and grow more complex,” the report said.

“Adversary ballistic missile systems are becoming more mobile, survivable, reliable, and accurate while also achieving longer ranges. Hypersonic glide vehicles delivered by ballistic missile boosters are an emerging threat that will pose new challenges to missile defense systems.”

China’s missile forces are expanding in both numbers and types.

“China continues to have the most active and diverse ballistic missile development program in the world,” the report said. “It is developing and testing offensive missiles, forming additional missile units, qualitatively upgrading missile systems, and developing methods to counter ballistic missile defenses.”

Beijing’s nuclear missile forces are expanding with multiple-warhead systems that will expand China’s warhead stockpile in the coming years.

On China’s close-range missiles, which can be used in artillery salvos during a conflict with Taiwan or against ships in the South China Sea from newly militarized islands, the report identified 19 different missiles with ranges of between 24 miles to 173 miles.

Russia, North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and India also have close-range missiles some of which are precision guided.

To defeat increasingly effective missile defenses, short-range missile manufacturers are working on countermeasures, such as maneuverable reentry vehicles called MaRVs.

New missiles with ranges of between 620 miles and 3,400 miles are in development by China, North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan, and many will be armed with nuclear or other unconventional warheads.

“All of these countries except Iran have tested nuclear weapons,” the report said.

Iran has promised to give up developing nuclear weapons for the next 10 years under the deal reached in 2016. Critics note that the continued development of Iran’s long-range missiles is an indication Tehran plans to break out of the treaty in the future.

The report for the first time mentions Russia’s new hypersonic missile called the “object 4202” that will be used to penetrate missile defenses. Several other new long-range missiles, including a heavy ICBM called the Sarmat, are being deployed or are in development.

China also is building a new DF-41 road-mobile ICBM that will carry multiple warheads.

“The number of warheads on Chinese ICBMs capable of threatening the United States is expected to grow to well over 100 in the next five years,” the report said.

For submarine-launched missiles, the report identified Russia’s submarine forces as “substantial” and undergoing modernization. New long-range submarine nuclear missiles include the SS-N-32 Bulava, along with upgraded SS-N-23s.

The intelligence report for the first time confirms that China’s new CSS-N-14 submarine-launched missile is deployed on four missile submarines.

“This missile will, for the first time, allow Chinese SSBNs to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast,” the report said.

Cruise missile threats, those that are guided by satellite navigation, also are increasing.

“The cruise missile threat to U.S. forces is increasing in the number of countries possessing [land attack cruise missiles], the number of LACMs, and the number of LACMs possessing advanced capabilities,” the report said.

China has a new DH-10 long-range cruise missile and Iran has developed a Soumar cruise missile, based on Russia’s AS-15 air launched cruise missile.

Russia’s Club-K cruise missile is dubbed the “container launcher” weapon that is fired from what appears as a standard shipping container, making it easy to hide and fire from cargo ships, trains, or commercial trucks.

“The majority of LACMs will still be subsonic, but supersonic and hypersonic missile will be deployed in the future,” the report said.

Missile weapons are sought by many nations because they can be used effectively against adversaries with formidable air defenses that make using aircraft impractical or too costly, the report concludes.

“In addition, missiles can be used as a deterrent or an instrument of coercion…. Even limited use of these weapons could have devastating consequences if armed with chemical, biological, or nuclear warheads.”

Rick Fisher, a military affairs analyst with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the report for the first time details China’s growing arsenal of very accurate close-range missiles.

Fisher said China is a world leader in developing new, longer range and precision guided artillery rockets like the 124-mile-range CSS-X-16, and the new 174-mile range CSS-14 Mod-X-2. A third is the 161-miles range CSS-9 Mod-X-2.

“NASIC, however, does not mention that these new systems have the potential to carry five to eight missiles per launcher, so they could rapidly increase the number of missile targeting Taiwan into the multiple thousands, when considering potential reloads,” he said.

As a result of the close-range missile threat from China, the United States should speed up development of energy weapon defenses, like rail-guns and lasers that can defeat large numbers of the close-range missiles, he said.

Fisher also notes that the report understates China’s potential warhead expansion.

“If China modifies all of its DF-5 to the 10 warhead DF-5C standard, as it has started to modify the older single-warhead DF-5A with the three-to-five warhead DF-5B warhead bus, this type of ICBM alone could account for over 200 warheads,” he said.

“Then to this you add the road and rail mobile 10 warhead DF-41, with at least two units of six missiles accounting for 120 warheads. Many times 100 Chinese warheads is much more than ‘well over.'”

U.S. warhead cuts under the Obama administration should be reconsidered, he said.

“China’s potential to approach at least 1,000 warheads over the next decade, plus Russia’s missiles, means the United States must prepare to exceed existing limitations on deployed weapons or face the possibility of coordinated nuclear blackmail from China and Russia,” Fisher said.

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon nuclear missile expert with the National Institute for Public Policy, said the report reveals that Russia’s 3M-14 Kalibr cruise missile, capable of being fired from the ground, ships, or submarines, has a range of 1,553 miles.

“This is obviously the INF Treaty violation,” he said of the 1987 U.S.-Russian accord banning all ground launched cruise missiles with range of between 620 and 3,420 miles.

The U.S. government has accused Russia of violating the INF treaty but has not provided details of the cruise missile Moscow has deployed in violation of the accord.

How an Iranian general duped US command in Syria

June 10, 2017

How an Iranian general duped US command in Syria, DEBKAfile, June 10, 2017

Our sources cannot confirm for certain what part the Russians played in Iran’s underhand maneuver. Were they in on it, or were they hoodwinked by Soleimani like the Americans? However, the bottom line of this incident is that Syria’s neighbors, Israel and Jordan, face a new and distinctly troublesome downturn in the strategic situation on their borders. The next arena of potential US-Iranian confrontation is building up in Syria’s oil-rich Deir ez-Zor region.

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The Iranian-made Syrian drone downed by US F-15 fighters in southeastern Syria on June 8 was presented by American media as a “pro-regime” drone. It was in fact, as DEBKAfile’s military sources can disclose, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Shahed-129, which was fired as a part of a complicated ruse to dupe the US commanders while pro-Iranian forces surreptiously moved in on the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Americans had drawn a line in the Syrian Desert sand 55 km outside the Al-Tanf border crossing embedded in the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border triangle, which is under the control of US, Western and Jordanian special forces, together with a US-trained Syrian rebel group. The Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the US military command in Syria and Iraq were confident that by securing this perimeter, their forces would keep the pro-Iranian advance at bay and the border safe.

When the hostile drone flew past this line, it was shot down. But the Americans were reluctant to let the incident escalate into a major clash, while the Iranians were smarting under the Islamic State attack on Tehran’s national sites. And so they played it down. The next day, therefore, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis reported that “hostilities between the coalition and the pro-regime forces had been avoided thanks to Russian influence. He went on to say: “The calm we see today is largely due to their efforts.”

What brought the Russians onstage?

The sequence of events which unfolded over 48 hours in the Syrian Desert is revealed her by our military sources. The drone was fired as a deliberate provocation to cross the 55-km line enclosing the US-controlled border garrison, on the orders of the Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani. It was intended as a diversion from the real action.

The Russians entered the picture at this stage with an attempt to cool the situation and restore calm. While they were busy assuring the Americans that the Syrian army, Hizballah and its other pro-Iranian allies would refrain from crossing the 55-km line, Qassem moved a large-scale force up to a point just a few hundred meters from the American line.

By Friday, June 9, as Russian de-escalation diplomacy with the Americans wound down, Soleimani’s forces were found to have quietly reached new positions on both sides of the border.

1. He had moved those forces to a point 56km north of Al-Tanf to a rendezvous with pro-Iranian Shiite militias which had come from southern Iraq. That rendezvous breached the Iraqi-Syrian border and attained Iran’s strategic goal of opening up a land bridge between Iraq and Syria.

2. A second pro-Iranian force captured and cut off the roads from northern Syria to the southeastern town of Deir ez-Zor, thereby segregating US and pro-American forces in the north from the American garrison in the south.

Our sources cannot confirm for certain what part the Russians played in Iran’s underhand maneuver. Were they in on it, or were they hoodwinked by Soleimani like the Americans? However, the bottom line of this incident is that Syria’s neighbors, Israel and Jordan, face a new and distinctly troublesome downturn in the strategic situation on their borders. The next arena of potential US-Iranian confrontation is building up in Syria’s oil-rich Deir ez-Zor region.

Russia deploys advanced anti-missile system to Syria for first time, US officials say

October 4, 2016

Russia deploys advanced anti-missile system to Syria for first time, US officials say, Fox News, October 3, 2016

The SA-23 can fire two different types of missiles. A smaller missile is used against aircraft and cruise missiles and is known by NATO as Gladiator. The larger missile is used against intermediate-range ballistic missiles and jamming aircraft and is known as Giant. Both missiles use the same type of warhead containing over 300 pounds of explosives, according to military-today.com.

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EXCLUSIVE: Russia has deployed an advanced anti-missile system to Syria for the first time, three US officials tell Fox News, the latest indication that Moscow continues to ramp up its military operations in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

It comes after Russia’s actions led to the collapse of a cease-fire and the cut-off of direct talks with the U.S.

While Moscow’s motives are not certain, officials say the new weapon system could potentially counter any American cruise missile attack in Syria.

Components of the SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system, which has a range of roughly 150 miles, arrived over the weekend “on the docks” of a Russian naval base along Syria’s Mediterranean coastal city of Tartus, two US officials said.

It is the first time Russia has deployed the SA-23 system outside its borders, according to one Western official citing a recent intelligence assessment. The missiles and associated components are still in their crates and are not yet operational, according to the officials.

The U.S. intelligence community has been observing the shipment of the SA-23 inside Russia in recent weeks, according to one official.

While the purpose is not clear, one US official asked sarcastically, “Nusra doesn’t have an air force do they?” speaking about the Al Qaeda-linked group in Syria.  The Islamic State also does not fly any manned aircraft or possess cruise missiles, in a sign that Russia is directing its actions to protect itself against any potential attack from the United States or its allies.

The SA-23 can fire two different types of missiles. A smaller missile is used against aircraft and cruise missiles and is known by NATO as Gladiator. The larger missile is used against intermediate-range ballistic missiles and jamming aircraft and is known as Giant. Both missiles use the same type of warhead containing over 300 pounds of explosives, according to military-today.com.

Three years ago, President Obama weighed military action against the Assad regime’s chemical weapons facilities as well as airbases housing the regime’s attack helicopters and jets. US Navy ships in the eastern Mediterranean were prepared to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles in a limited strike to cripple the regime.

Russia deployed a separate air defense system, the S-400, to Syria after a Russian jet was shot down by a Turkish warplane last November.  Since the S-400 deployment, the U.S. military has been careful about flying  manned aircraft inside the range of the system, despite repeated pledges by the US military that its airstrikes in Syria are focused on ISIS, not the Assad regime.

Monday, the Pentagon announced it conducted an airstrike potentially killing a “prominent” al-Qaeda linked operative in Syria.  Officials said they were still assessing the strike and have not released the name of their target.

Hours after the State Department announced it was cutting off talks with Moscow, President Vladimir Putin said he had suspended a Russia-U.S. deal on the disposal of weapons-grade plutonium. Putin’s decree released by the Kremlin cited Washington’s “unfriendly actions.”

Top US officials have recently accused Russia and the Syrian regime of indiscriminant bombing in Syria using incendiary and bunker busting bombs on civilians. Two weeks ago, a UN aid convoy was bombed, killing dozens of aid workers attempting to deliver critical supplies to the more than 200,000 Aleppo residents trapped inside the eastern portion of the city, once Syria’s most populated. In the past week, hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed, according to local reports.

Russia began its air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30, 2015 following a weeks-long buildup of fighter jets and attack aircraft.  Long-range bombers flying from Russia and Iran have also been used to attack Syrian rebels, some backed by the United States.

Days after Russian bombs started falling in Syria, President Obama predicted that Russia and Iran would find themselves mired in a “quagmire.”

“[A]n attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire. And it won’t work,” he told reporters in a White House press conference on Oct. 2, 2015.

On Friday, the one-year anniversary of the Russian strikes, the State Department acknowledged that Russia had succeeded in its goal of propping up the Assad regime.

“It is a grim anniversary…It is hard not to assess that they have succeeded in bolstering the regime,” said Mark Toner, a State Dept. spokesman.

Iran: No Range Limit for Our New Ballistic Missiles

August 29, 2016

Iran: No Range Limit for Our New Ballistic Missiles, Clarion Project, Meira Svirski, August 29, 2016

Iran-Missile-HP_9An Iranian missile test (Photo: © Reuters)

Iran has successfully played America as the fool, challenging the U.S. to stand up to its belligerence. Every time America backs down, by either making excuses for the Islamic Republic (i.e., by redefining the deal) or ignoring their latest outrage, Iran becomes more empowered.

Sanctions relief let the Iranian genie out of the bottle. Now, the terror-supporting and oppressive regime is taking its place on the world stage unrestrained and unopposed.

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The Iranian defense minister recently pronounced that the Islamic Republic has “no limit for the range” of the ballistic missiles it is developing.

In making the pronouncement, General Hossein Dehqan also said that Iran is now on par with world standards for most of its weapons and military equipment, specifically, that “production of the national individual weapons and efforts to improve the quality and precision-striking power of ballistic missiles are among the defense ministry’s achievements…”

One of the advanced weapons Iran has developed is a ballistic missile that deploys multiple warheads against a single target. As the government-aligned Fars News Agency reported, “This makes for an efficient area attack weapon.”

(Never mind that just three months ago, that the state-owned IranianPress TV announced that “all these advancements on the military level are only for defensive reasons.”)

In addition, Iran has now deployed the long-awaited Russian-made, long-range S-300 missile system. The system was deployed to protect the country’s Fordo nuclear facility, which the commander of Iran’s air force calls paramount “in all circumstances.”

Western officials, who tried to block the delivery of the missile system, said that once in place, the S-300 would essentially eliminate the military option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The nuclear deal made with Iran and the world powers was sold to the public as a way to contain not just Iran’s nuclear weapons program, but its ballistic missile program as well.

Ballistic missiles are mainly used to deliver nuclear warheads. Under the terms of the agreement we were told that the current UN restrictions on Iran’s ballistic missile program would remain in effect for eight years, including forbidding Iran from testing of ballistic missiles.

Less than two months after the deal was formalized, a senior figure in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh, announced, “Some wrongly think Iran has suspended its ballistic missile programs in the last two years and has made a deal on its missile program … We will have a new ballistic missile test in the near future that will be a thorn in the eyes of our enemies.”

As far as the defense minister Dehqan, commenting about the restrictions, he said, “To follow our defense programs, we don’t ask permission from anyone.”

After the first ballistic missile test conducted by Iran after the agreement was made, the U.S. administration backtracked, saying that the test was really not a violation of the nuclear agreement but there were “strong indications” that the test violated UN restrictions.

The second ballistic missile test came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel. Painted on the two missiles (which had the capability of reaching the Jewish state) were written the word in Hebrew, “Israel should be wiped out.”

Hajizadeh said at the time, “The 1,240-mile range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime. IRNA, Iran’s state news agency, reported the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as saying the test had Iran’s enemies “shivering from the roar” of the missiles.

For his part, Biden said at the time, the U.S. would “act” if Iran broke the nuclear agreements.

Judging from its lack of action, the U.S. ostensibly does not count this as a violation of the agreement, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Since the signing of the nuclear agreement Iran has engaged in aprovocative “cat and mouse” game with the U.S.

In addition, to the ballistic missile tests, since signing the agreement:

●      In September, Iran simulated a missile attack on a US aircraft carrier in an agitprop video titled “If Any War happens.”

●      In October, just three days after one of the ballistic tests, Iranian state TV aired unprecedented footage of an underground missile base.

●      In December, Iran tested rockets with live fire within 1,500 yards of American warships in the Strait of Hormuz

●      In January, Iran test-fired an upgraded surface-to surface cruise missile in a new set of wargames code-named Velayat-94

●      In January, an unarmed Iranian surveillance drone flew near U.S. and French aircraft carriers in the Gulf, managing to take “precise” photos while the ship was involved in an ongoing naval drill. An Iranian submarine was also detected in close proximity to the aircraft carriers.

●      In January, Iran captured 10 U.S. sailors whose boat had strayed into Iranian territorial waters. The soldiers were humiliated and held for 15 hours. Iran has since used the incident to mocked America in videos and plays.

“Without understanding Iranian culture, it is impossible to understand what is going on,” said Harold Rhode, an expert on Islamic culture who worked for the Pentagon for 28 years, in an interview with The Algemeiner. “Nothing is in and of itself. The way negotiations work among Iranians is that an agreement as we understand it means nothing. It is nothing more than a step along the way to getting what they want.”

“From an Iranian cultural point of view, at all times there is a balance — ‘Are you giving it or are you getting it?’ … It’s simply domination; it’s simply power.”

Iran has successfully played America as the fool, challenging the U.S. to stand up to its belligerence. Every time America backs down, by either making excuses for the Islamic Republic (i.e., by redefining the deal) or ignoring their latest outrage, Iran becomes more empowered.

Sanctions relief let the Iranian genie out of the bottle. Now, the terror-supporting and oppressive regime is taking its place on the world stage unrestrained and unopposed.

Iran unveils its own version of S-300 air defense system

August 22, 2016

Iran unveils its own version of S-300 air defense system, Israel Hayom, August 22, 2016

iran 373Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan with the Bavar 373 | Photo credit: Reuters

According to Iranian media, the system can engage cruise missiles, drones, fighter jets and ballistic missiles. Production began after Russia put a deal to supply Iran with the original S-300 system on hold as part of international pressure geared toward curbing Iran’s nuclear program. The decision to suspend the deal was made after Israel and the U.S. pressured Moscow to enforce nuclear sanctions on Iran.

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Iran revealed Sunday its first long-range, domestically built air defense system, which supposedly has similar characteristics to the Russian made S-300.

The Iranian media aired footage of President Hassan Rouhani and Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan standing near the system, the Bavar (Belief) 373, whose production was commissioned in 2010.

According to Iranian media, the system can engage cruise missiles, drones, fighter jets and ballistic missiles. Production began after Russia put a deal to supply Iran with the original S-300 system on hold as part of international pressure geared toward curbing Iran’s nuclear program. The decision to suspend the deal was made after Israel and the U.S. pressured Moscow to enforce nuclear sanctions on Iran.

In the wake of the landmark July 2015 nuclear agreement between Western powers and Iran, Russia agreed to proceed with the S-300 deal and some of the system’s components have reportedly already been delivered.

“Our goal was not to make an Iranian version of the S-300, but rather a [new] Iranian system, and we built it,” Dehghan told the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency on Saturday. A day earlier, during Friday prayers, he said that “our missile power is at such a level that we are able to destroy all targets at any operational range.”

Iran’s president echoed Dehghan’s comments on Sunday, telling Iranians in a televised speech that “we are able to engage world powers around the negotiating table because of our national strength, because of our national unity.”

Rouhani also unveiled his country’s first Iranian-made turbojet engine on Sunday. Iran claims it can be used for flight at 50,000 feet. “The Islamic republic is one of only eight countries in the world that have mastered the technology to build these engines,” the president said.

Rouhani also announced that Iran’s defense budget was more than double what it was the previous fiscal year.