By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
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July 13, 2014
According to a recent Defense One report, Russia’s developing and looking to deploy “radar-evading” low-observable/stealth nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles that could prove to be a serious problem for U.S. ballistic missile defense systems. And, this year, Russia will reportedly deliver RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name SS-29) MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Reentry Vehicle)-equipped, thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles to its Novosibirsk, Tagil and Kozelsk missile units, further complicating the U.S.’ short-term ballistic missile defense capability outlook.
Now, while DefenseReview (DR) isn’t really worried about Russia launching a ballistic missile attack on the U.S. in the short term, or even the long term for that matter, it provides a really problematic future picture for the United States geopolitically, and here’s why: The Russians have been a bunch of busy little beavers over there, upgrading pretty much all their military defense tech, including fighter aircraft and infantry warfighter tech, including weapons and body armor. And, we know from recent events in the Ukraine, that 1) Russia’s rather adept at fast strategic and tactical infantry deployment into neighboring countries, and 2) Vladimir Putin has proven to be rather deliberate in his decision-making when it comes to Russian military operations.
Anyway, it’s Russia’s combined strategic and tactical military forces that will cause us problems, since it will make conventional warfare significantly more difficult to wage against them. Their upgraded conventional military capabilities will be harder to combat if it comes to it, and the specter of their improved, low-observabe/stealth nuclear missile (and aircraft) arsenal will make NATO forces more hesitant to even want to combat them, for fear of conflict escalation.
Oh, and it gets worse. Lately, there’s been some good ol’ Sino-Russian military colaberation/cooperation that doesn’t exactly bode well for the future. If World War III ever breaks out, God forbid, the United States and the rest of NATO must assume that it will have to contend with a Sino-Russian combined military force. The martial assistance of Germany, England, France and Japan (and hopefully India), will be crucial, if/when this occurs.
One must also assume that Russia won’t stop with “stealthifying” its ballistic missiles and combat aircraft. What about subsonic and supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles to better combat our aircraft carriers? It would seem only logical that the Russians would want to make those low-observable/stealthy as well, and that’s not exactly good news for U.S. aircraft carriers. The Chinese already have a rather disturbing anti-aircraft carrier solution with the DF-21D ASBM (Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile), some interesting electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons (including “Assassin’s Mace”), and their own 5th-generation low-observable/stealth fighter jet aircraft under development called the Chengdu J-20, their counterpart to the 5th-gen Russian PAK-FA Sukhoi T-50/HAL FGFA.
Finally, Russia and China have large populations of people whose lives they don’t appear to value quite as much as NATO countries do theirs, so when it comes to a war of human attrition, the Sino-Russian unholy alliance will enjoy an advantage there, as well. The Russian government proved in World War II (WWII) that it was will to sacrifice an incredibly large number of its people to beat the Germans. Both before and since that war, the Chinese government’s proven to be pretty uncaring of its own people. One just has to read about the virtual slave labor conditions and other situations in China, even at the manufacturing facilities of major U.S. companies that include children as the victims, to understand this. How much is the Chinese government really going to care about sacrificing their warfighters and civilians in an actual war (and there will be A LOT of Chinese warfighters with which to contend)?. Remember, they’ve got a lot more than we do.
Bottom line, it’s not just about low-observable intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s about the strategic ramifications of those missiles, the effect they’ll have on every aspect of future warfare and geopolitics with Russia (and possibly China). If Russia can get its missiles past our intercontinental ballistic missile defense shield, the geopolitical and future warfare trickle-down effect will be very real and non-positive for us.
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