[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] T [/yt_dropcap]he many projects circulating in Italy, as well as in the other NATO and EU countries, for the “new EU Army” lack a nuclear and chemical-bacteriological perspective, without which any Joint Armed Force in Europe – after the withdrawal of a nuclear power such as Great Britain from the EU – would be little more than a group of scouts or amateurs.
Moreover, the probable reduced US interest in European defense, combined with a possible series of tensions with the Russian Federation, make it necessary to rethink the European nuclear arsenal (as well as the chemical-bacteriological one) and the whole Eurasian peninsula’s defense doctrine.
We are all still living in the Cold War spell. Of course, Russia is no longer the arch-enemy it was at that time, but it is definitely a EU global competitor with which strategic and economic agreements can and must be reached, which – however – has different views about Eurasia, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Different views not only from the American ones, but also alien to a properly understood European interest.
Therefore, after Brexit, France remains the only European nuclear power.
Thanks to its national strategic nuclear structure, France wants to “prevent war”, be it nuclear or conventional.
Also in the case of France, the doctrine has not changed much from the one in force during the Cold War, even though currently the misplaced theme of “terrorism”, which is rather strictly jihad, sees France using its nuclear triad against terrorist organizations or the “Heads of State using weapon of mass destruction against France’s territory and interests”.
Too little. And what would happen if China launched a missile attack on France?
The nuclear theory must analyze all scenarios, not just those who are thought to be the most likely.
Moreover, in his speech of January 19, 2006, President Chirac pointed again to the legitimate use of the force de frappe (the military strike force) “against the leaders of the countries using terrorist methods” and “against those who want to use weapons of mass destruction” – and this applied both to the French territory and to the “neighbouring States.”
A nuclear strategic launch against the “leaders” of a country?
It is also true that the French nuclear system is extremely refined and sophisticated with regard to the accuracy of the weapons used, which – however – are not individual weapons used against a criminal.
Therefore, in essence, this is the question to be posed: is France interested in pooling its strategic nuclear arsenal with other countries, after Brexit?
Certainly a role as holder of the nuclear response would make France become the true dominus of the EU Army and of Europe, but it is equally true that France would never accept to defend intra-European targets in which it is not interested or which divert technologies and means from the already planned defense points.
Hence it would be a defense halfway, without even putting into question the issue of the chemical and bacteriological weapons of the future EU Army.
Not to mention nuclear-powered carriers, which are as important as the technology they use as weapon.
Moreover Germany – which has always been suspicious of nuclear weapons which, during the Cold War, were designed to hit targets inside the German territory – wants a strategic nuclear response organized on the basis of the existing French and British arsenals.
Germany does not want to be alone to manage a French-only nuclear arsenal – hence bound to “sacrifice” German areas, where needed, to defend positions and populations inside the French border.
Neither Germany nor Italy, however, cannot believe that strategic competition or nuclear compensation between Great Britain and France can be chosen or directed by the States which are protected almost for free.
Currently the six NATO bases hosting nuclear weapons are Kleine Brogel, Belgium; Buchel, Germany; Aviano and Ghedi, Italy; Volkel, Netherlands and Incirlik, Turkey.
They host 180 nuclear devices.
Other US nuclear weapons in Europe are currently hosted in Lakenheath, UK; Nörvenich and Ramstein, Germany, in addition to the other above mentioned German bases; Araxos, Greece and Akinci and Bolkesir, Turkey, in addition to the above stated Incirlik Turkish base.
During Barack Obama’s Presidency, the United States drew up the EPAA (European Phased Adaptive Approach) program, which is expected to progressively protect the whole of Europe, although with targets and timing obviously chosen by the United States.
Furthermore we do not believe that currently the extension of the EPAA program from 2011 to 2020 would not be financially supported by the individual European countries accepting it.
In the first phase, US ships with AEGIS interceptors (with Arleigh-Burke ships) and RIM 161 SM3 missiles operating against short- and medium-range enemy missiles will come. This has already happened in the base of Rota, Spain.
Obviously, this means – at first – to protect the US forces already present in the South-Mediterranean region.
At a later stage, the United States will add a ground component to the SM-3 missiles to the North and South of Europe, always targeted against short- and medium-range nuclear intrusions.
Finally, in 2018, the whole of Europe should be covered by a network of SM-3 missiles having only a limited ability to hit the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs).
Hence we are back to square one.
Without adequate coverage and ability to retaliate against an ICBM attack, the European defense – with or without the US support – is a wet fuse.
Moreover, currently France uses ballistic missiles only in the maritime component of the nuclear triad (land-sea-air), while the land-based missiles have been “decommissioned” since 1996.
France, however, still has nuclear cruise missiles that can be carried on aircraft used – according to the current French nuclear doctrine – as “tactical weapon” preceding the phase of the real nuclear attack.
The “ultimate deterrence” before a counterforce nuclear salvo.
It is not enough and, in any case, the French doctrine is not sufficient to autonomously defend the European territory – and probably nor its nuclear warheads are enough.
Moreover, Phase 4 of the US EPAA program envisages the presence of missiles in Europe, including the long-range ones, only from 2020 onwards, but obviously only with a US “key”.
It is worth recalling here the old question a great strategist – and hence great politician – Charles de Gaulle, put to the North American ambassador to Paris in 1965: “What would you do if a Soviet missile hit Lyon?” That is to say: in terms of nuclear strategy, does Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty really apply? Just for the record, the US diplomat remained silent.
As we have already seen, currently the nuclear bombs hosted in Europe are over 180 and are B-61 weapons, model 3-4-7-10.
The aforementioned weapon can also be carried by the new F-35 fighter jets, as well as by the old Tornado or F-16 ones.
Within 2018, all B-61 nuclear weapons will be converted into the Mod-12 version.
A weapon that will be available in the 0.3 kiloton explosive yield, which is 50 times less powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, up to a maximum of 50 kiloton explosive yield.
The Mod-12 version has a strong “bunker-buster” characterization, namely designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground, such as military bunkers.
The over 180 nuclear bombs present in the EU would anyway be credible deterrence, considering that – as to number and power – they would not be enough to destroy the enemy command line, but could be useful against countries that can make or want to make nuclear bombs “at home” and with a low potential.
This means that Russia has no deterrence, while countries which currently have other things to think about than nuclear strategy might be blocked in the nuclear ”rise to extremes”. Or it is possibly thought that this nuclear posture may deter the makers of some “dirty bomb”.
Rather weak strategic thinking – if we may say so.
However, which would be these countries subjected to European deterrence? Certainly neither Iran nor the Russian Federation, nor some Maghreb countries such as Morocco and Egypt – considering their small nuclear capacity.
Therefore it is just a mere political guarantee in the US hands and under its direct command.
In this context, some German analysts have suggested that the entire French nuclear system may be extended to the EU, with almost exclusively German funding and in parallel with – and not as an alternative to – the US deterrence already present in Europe.
We have seen, however, that, apart from the maritime component, the French arsenal has no true potential against the ICBMs and probably against intermediate-range nuclear carriers, if they are many and launched from sites near EU borders.
Finally, France wants to maintain absolute discretionary power on the targets and the use of its nuclear deterrent which, in the event of an extension of the French umbrella to the whole EU, should protect the Baltic States from an attack of the Russian Forces – also a conventional one.
No one wants to wake up the Russian bear, but rather to make it understand that the first Russian nuclear salvo could lead to such a counter-salvo as to cause sufficiently severe counterforce damage, but not enough to block a second salvo, which would become the basis for a political negotiation.
Moreover, in the event of a nuclear attack on Russia, it would still launch nuclear carriers directly against North America. Currently this is no longer tolerable for the United States, which has no intention of protecting a geoeconomic competitor, namely the European Union, at almost zero cost for the Europeans themselves.
However, how is the Russian Federation organized in the field of nuclear war?
According to the latest data exchanged with the West, according to the START Treaty, Russia has 1,643 nuclear warheads carried on 528 strategic delivery systems.
France has 300 nuclear warheads. They are placed on four submarines and the air component is supplied to four air squadrons.
Britain has 215 nuclear warheads. In this case, too, the carrier is mainly maritime.
China owns 260 nuclear bombs; India has 120 nuclear warheads and Pakistan 130.
Russia keeps on producing the RS 24 YARS missile (NATO reporting name: SS-29), which is a land-transportable ICBM, while it has just manufactured a new land-transportable ICBM, namely the RS-26 RUBEZH, which is specifically targeted against the enemy missile defenses.
The RS 24 is a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), which can accommodate multiple warheads and has an 11,000 kilometer range, while the RUBEZH can reach up to 12,600 kilometers.
There is also a new Russian ICBM in an advanced manufacturing stage, which will be completed in 2018 and will be operational in 2019, which is placed in silos and will be liquid fuel-propelled.
As to the maritime component of the nuclear threat, in 2013 Russia already developed and deployed the R-30 BULAVA (NATO reporting name: SS-NX-30 MACE), which will be launched by the new Borei class submarines which became operational in 2013.
The BULAVA has a range of 8,000 to 10,000 kilometers.
The air component of the Russian nuclear triad is composed mainly by the Kh-55 missiles (NATO reporting name: AS-15 KENT), having a range of up to 2,500 kilometers, which are usually launched by Tupolev 95 MS (NATO reporting name: BEAR H) and Tupolev 160 (NATO reporting name: BLACKJACK) strategic bombers.
The latter is a supersonic variable-sweep wing heavy strategic bomber, with a possible load of 40 nuclear and conventional tons.
Russia has also developed another air-to-surface long-range nuclear cruise missile, namely the KH 101.
Furthermore, the Russian Federation is still making Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCMs) such as the R500, operational.
Alias “Iskander”, the above stated GLCM is wire-guided and has a 500 kilometer range.
For Russia, nuclear weapons and their use are needed to implement the new Russian national security doctrine, which consists in reaffirming its role as independent leading power in the world, in a global security scenario which is fluid, dangerous and uncertain, with fierce competition for economic and intangible resources.
Russia also believes that the world is heading for a polycentric composition of the new powers. Finally Russia thinks it must be surrounded by buffer zones protecting it against any kind of external threat.
Hence, if we consider also the French stand-alone nuclear force, and its doctrine of immediate “anti-terror” use, as well as the US network of medium-to-short range missiles, for the protection of Forces more than of the territory, we are faced with an unreasonable strategic equation.
It is not useful for deterrence vis-à-vis Russia and it is not needed for defense against the so-called “dirty bombs”. It is not even useful to protect us from a possible nuclear salvo launched by a terrorist group.
Therefore the Russian Federation can hit the EU territory at a long range, while the possible European and NATO response is based on medium-to-short range nuclear weapons just hitting the first frontline of the enemy’s attack.
Probably within the European borders.
However, for the Russian Federation, to what extent the nuclear set-up which is emerging in Europe (not considering the chemical and bacteriological component) may act as a deterrent?
This is a question which can be answered only by the Russian political and military decision-makers, who have every interest in keeping the strategic pressure on Europe high so as to create political and economic equilibriums they could not reach without the nuclear asymmetry in their favour.
India’s Sprouting Counterforce Posture
In recent years, the technological advancements by India in the domain of counterforce military capabilities have increased the vulnerability of the South Asian region. While trying to disturb the strategic stability in South Asia, India through its adventuresome counterforce posture against Pakistan is on the verge of becoming a rogue state. Notwithstanding the repercussions, India is voyaging towards destabilization in the South Asian Region.
India’s enhanced strategic nuclear capabilities which includes-the development of Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles (MIRVs), Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMD), Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, and acquisition of nuclear-capable submarines- indicate that India is moving away from its declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) towards a more aggressive, counterforce posture against Pakistan. The BMD and MIRV technology along with the provision of an advanced navigation system under BECA would embolden India to go for the first strike against Pakistan. While having reliance on BMD, as to be sheltered in return. These technological advancements made by India are sprouting a new era of counterforce posture, which would further make the South Asian region volatile and vulnerable to conflicts.
India’s urge to acquire counterforce capability is strongly associated with its doctrinal shift. As the stated posture requires flexibility in the use of nuclear weapons, which fortifies the first strike capability, and thus a deviation in India’s declared policy of ‘No First Use’ (NFU) has become more significant, particularly concerning its impact on regional stability. India’s declared policy of NFU, set out in Draft Nuclear Doctrine in 1999, followed by its first amendment in January 2003 has since then been into hot debates. Pakistan has long doubted the Indian policy of NFU, as the actions and statements by the officials of the latter have always been aggressive and protruding towards the former. India, now, is drifting away from its policy of NFU with the acquisition of counterforce capabilities, particularly against Pakistan. This is further evident from the statement issued by India’s Defense Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, back in August 2019. It stated “Till today, our nuclear policy is ‘no-first-use’ (NFU). What happens in the future depends on the circumstances.” A change at the doctrinal level is evident in the Indian strategic enclave. Notwithstanding the challenges and repercussions caused by the counterforce strategy and with an attempt to destabilize the nuclear deterrence in the region, India would go unjustifiably low to attain such measures.
In the same vein, India has been enhancing its nuclear capabilities for strategic flexibility against its regional rivals. By the same token, it wants to attain nuclear dominance, which would ultimately result in chaos in the region. The counterforce capability by India would compel its adversaries to heed towards the preemptive strike, in case of a crisis, out of the fear of the use of Nuclear weapons first by the patent enemy. Moreover, the counterforce capability pushes the enemy to put the nuclear weapons on hair-trigger mode, which is directly linked with the crisis escalation. The acquisition of counterforce capability by India would likely provoke a new arms race in the region. This would further destabilize the already volatile South Asian region. The far-reaching destabilization which India is trying to create, just to have an edge on the nuclear adversary, would be back on India’s face, faster than she knew it.
On the contrary, Pakistan has been maintaining a posture of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD) and does not claim to have a No-First Use (NFU) policy. Moreover, Pakistan’s nuclear capability is defensive in principle and a tool for deterrence. Given the Indian evolved notions of counterforce preemption, even now Pakistan would be left with no choice but to leave room for carrying out a ‘first strike’ as a feasible deterrent against India. Nevertheless, with the advent of technological innovations, its countermeasure arrives soon, too. Presently, there are two aspects that Pakistan should take into consideration; the growing Indo-US nexus and India’s concealed innovations in the nuclear posture. Though India is far from achieving counterforce strikes against Pakistan’s nuclear targets, concrete steps are required for maintaining future deterrence stability. With that intention, Pakistan might need to look towards its allies for getting hands-on the modern capabilities which includes- advanced communication and navigation systems, sensors, and advancements in artificial intelligence and otherwise, is essential for strengthening its deterrent capability. Pakistan should heed towards the development of absolute second-strike capability; as, what is survivable today, could be vulnerable tomorrow. Therefore, advancements in technology should be made for preserving nuclear deterrence in the future as well.
Summarizing it all, the existence of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence has created a stable environment in the region, by deterring full-scale wars on multiple occasions that might have resulted in a nuclear exchange. With the revolution in nuclear technology, the threat of nuclear war has emerged again. Instead of going towards the attainment of peace and stability in the region, India has been enhancing its counterforce capabilities. This would likely remain a significant threat to the deterrence stability in the region. Moreover, any kind of failure to maintain nuclear deterrence in South Asia could result in an all-out war, without any escalation control. India, in its lust for power and hegemonic designs, has been destabilizing the region. Both the nuclear states in South Asia need to engage in arms restraint and escalation control measures. This seems to be a concrete and more plausible way out; else the new era of destabilization could be more disastrous.
A pig in a poke of Lithuanian Armed Forces
The proverb “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” perfectly reflects the situation in the Lithuanian armed forces. It is it unclear how the army will carry out its tasks, if everything that happens there runs counter to common sense.
The conscription took place in Lithuania. The recruits once again were revealed by an electronic lottery on January 7, 2021. 3,828 recruits were selected from the list of 38 thousand conscripts aged 18 to 23.
The idea of using electronic lottery in such a serious procedure arises a lot of questions among Lithuanians. Young people are suspicious of this method and fully admit the possibility of corruption. Nobody could check the results and so nobody could be blamed for random selection. The more so, the armed forces could get weaker recruits than in case of using usual ways of choosing among candidates. So, the army buys a pig in a poke.
This approach to recruitment in Lithuania results in presence of those with criminal intents and inclinations. Сases of crimes committed by Lithuanian military personnel have increased. Incidents with the involvement of military regularly occurred in Lithuania in 2020.
Thus, a soldier of the Lithuanian army was detained in Jurbarkas in October. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A Lithuanian soldier suspected of drunk driving was detained also in Siauliai in December. Panevėžys County Chief Police Commissariat was looking for a soldier who deserted from the Lithuanian Armed Forces and so forth.
Such behaviour poses serious risks to public safety and leads to loss of confidence in the Lithuanian army in society.
Lithuanian military officials have chosen a new way to discourage young people from serving in the army, which is already not popular.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” The ministry of defence decided to run a photo contest that would reflect service in the country’s armed forces. It is doubtful that such pictures will attract to the army, but the real situation is provided.
Usually, popularization is the act of making something attractive to the general public. This contest served the opposite goal. Look at the pictures and make conclusions.
Fatah-1: A New Security and Technological Development About Pakistan’s Indigenous GMLRS
Islamabad: It seems like 2021 has been a good start for Pakistan specifically with regard to stepping up its missile testing. On the 7th of January, the Pakistan military has successfully conducted a purely indigenously developed missile test flight known to be Fatah-1. As stated by various reports, Fatah-1 is an extended-range Guided Multi-Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) which itself is a developed variant of the guided MLRS family.
According to the recent statement given by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) about the newly developed rocket, it was stated: “The weapon system will give Pakistan Army capability of a precision target deep in the enemy territory.” Director-General of Pakistan Army, Media Wing, major general Babar Iftikhar on 7th January tweeted: “Pakistan today conducted a successful; test flight of indigenously developed Fatah-1, Guided Multi Launch Rocket System, capable of delivering a conventional Warhead up to a range of 140 km.”
Defense analyst Mr. Syed Muhammad Ali also stated in his capacity: “the new system was very fast, accurate, survivable, and difficult to intercept”. A video was also shared by ISPR on their official website, in which the missile launch can be seen while being fired from the launcher however, the details on when and where the test flight has taken place, along with the specification of the rocket system are yet to be announced.
Currently, Pakistan Army owns a wide range of Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM), Medium-Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBM), Battlefield Ballistic Missiles (BBM), Rocket Artillery, and Surface to Surface Cruise Missile (SSCM). In the previous year, Pakistan had also maintained prime success in conducting the Ra’ad-II cruise missile and Ghaznavi surface-to-surface ballistic missile (SSBM). Besides, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) on 30thDecember made apt progress when it comes to the national air defense arsenal as it was announced that PAF is beginning the production of the State-of-the-art JF-17 Thunder Block 3 fighter jets, at the same time acquiring the 14 dual-seat Jf-17 aircraft.
According to various reports, the JF-17 Thunder Block 3 will be said to have a new radar operational capability which will be far better in the practical domain as compared to the Raphael aircraft acquired by India. Whereas, the exchange of 14 dual-seat aircraft, manufactured with Pak-China cooperation were also given to the PAF which will be used for extensive training.
The recent successful testing of Fatah-1 has been considered to be another milestone for Pakistan as it tends to be a fitting response to the recent developments in the conventional capabilities carried out by India and also to India’s Cold Start Doctrine.
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