Over the past few years, the South Asian region has witnessed profound developments and enhancements of cruise missiles. This is primarily because of India’s aspirations for supersonic and hypersonic weapons. Evidence comes from how India has been carrying out an extensive cruise missile development program along with its prospective enhanced air defence shield. It has developed and operationalized advanced cruise missiles such as the short-range Nirbhay cruise missile and the most advanced recently operationalized short-range cruise missile BrahMos having land, sea and air launch versions with incredible supersonic speed. This adds to the spectrum of threat and compels Pakistan despite serious financial constraints, to follow suit while staying within its existing doctrinal posture of credible deterrence.
Pakistan’s cruise missile inventory includes short-range landand sea-launched Babur, and short-range air-launched Ra’ad missiles. These missiles are aimed at providing credible deterrence against a wide spectrum of threats from India that include; supersonic cruise missiles, acquisition of advanced air defence systems and conventional superiority as well. In a recent development, Pakistan has successfully test-fired Ra’ad-II air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) on February 17, 2020, with are ported range of 600 kilometers and capable of delivering multiple types of warheads. The Ra’ad-II cruise missile which is an advanced version of the Ra’ad-I cruise missile is believed to be a ‘stealth’ with pinpoint accuracy. Furthermore, it is described as terrain hugging as well as a highly maneuverable missile. At present, the Ra’ad-II is attachable to Pakistan’s Air Force’s (PAF) Mirage-III aircraft with a provision to be integrated with the JF-17 thunder jets as well.
It is worth mentioning here that cruise missiles, unlike ballistic missiles, fly an essentially horizontal cruise path for most of the duration of their flights and can maneuver like a fighter jet through various waypoints. They are difficult to be located and provide a distinct advantage over ballistic missiles. Moreover, due to their varying altitudes during the flight, they are believed to be complex as far as their detection and interception are concerned with the provision of air defence systems. This has been evident in how Iran’s cruise missiles back in September 2019 have reportedly penetrated the US Patriot surface-to-air system (PAC-2) – one of the most advanced air defence systems in the world. The PAC-2 has spectacularly failed to deter and defend against the reported cruise missiles attacks by Iran. The lapse was such that even the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had to justify it by admitting that some of the finest air defence systems do fail sometimes when it comes to providing defence shield against the cruise missiles.
Coming to the relevance of air defence systems vis-à-vis cruise missiles in the South Asian context, it would be significant to highlight some prevalent factors. India is investing heavily in the provision of a sophisticated air defence shield aimed at deterring Pakistan. In this regard, at present, India possesses and intends to acquire some advanced air defence systems in its missile defence inventory that would likely cover a broad range of spectrums including cruise missiles. These include indigenously developed ballistic missile defence systems such as the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missiles, the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Ashwin missiles and the Barak-8 missile defence system which has been jointly developed with Israel. Furthermore, to enhance its future capabilities which would also cover the spectrum of cruise missiles, India had also signed an agreement with Russia for the acquisition of the S-400 anti-missile system back in October 2018, the delivery of which will start by end-2021. In another significant development, India reportedly intends to acquire the ‘National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), a medium-range missile system from the US. This system once acquired, would be an addition to India’s air defence inventory specifically focused on cruise missiles.
In the same vein, India’s development and operationalization of advanced cruise missiles such as the Nirbhay and the BrahMos would likely destabilize the pre-existing deterrence framework in the South Asian region. Simultaneously, India’s provision of Air Defence Systems would encourage India to counter Pakistan’s existing range of warhead delivery systems including cruise missiles. However, the inadequacies of some of the battlefield tested advanced air defence systems such as the Patriot system vis-à-vis cruise missiles are also evident from recent examples. Moreover, given such inadequacies, India’s acquisition ofS-400 would not solely guarantee the non-penetrability of India’s air defence shield by Pakistan’s cruise missiles in the foreseeable future. In this regard, Pakistan’s cruise missiles especially the Ra’ad-II as a standoff weapon with its extended range and pinpoint accuracy would likely remain a key determinant of the deterrence posture probably in years to come.
Hence at present, Pakistan is being threatened by the Indian offensive military aspirations of enhancing the cruise missiles and a non-penetrable air defence shield. Pakistan still holds a principled stance of working for peace and stability in the entire region. However, Pakistan, being a responsible nuclear weapons state and having huge economic constraints does not want to deal with India on a tit for tat basis with regards to the provision of supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles. Pakistan’s response against the backdrop of severe threats from India is aimed at assuring its security and preserving its sovereignty. In this regard, Pakistan’s credible air-launched cruise missile capability i.e. Ra’ad-II within its existing doctrinal posture seems a plausible way out at least for the time being.
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.
Aspects of the American maritime strategy
Let’s start from a premise that should be completely obvious from a strategic point of view: Any maritime strategy, whether the English one – from the eighteenth century to the Second World War – or the American one, is necessarily a long-term strategy and therefore requires long-term investments by looking for where it is possible to anticipate future challenges. We think in this regard of the nuclear aircraft carriers of the Gerald Ford class whose first series should be put into place next year. If the United States has decided to invest substantial resources in the context of the projection of maritime power this depends on the need to consolidate its naval power, consolidation possible both thanks to the economic and financial power they have at least until today and thanks to technological innovation. (let’s think both of the fact for example that the USA is the only nation that builds catapults for flat deck aircraft carriers and to the fact that with the new class of Ford aircraft carriers the Navy will equip itself with electromagnetic catapults that will be able to increase by about one third the current capabilities of the catapults).
Of course, such large investments on the aircraft carrier front are certainly not accidental since these play a fundamental role of traditional deterrence – both in the sense of being able to threaten armed intervention in the event of a crisis – and of nuclear deterrence as long as the aircraft departing from the aircraft carriers being equipped with nuclear weapons, albeit with low potential, they play a very important deterrent role. In short, the aircraft carrier allows the use of gradual or flexible deterrence.
But in order for the US naval power to be effectively consolidated – especially in the context of the Indo-Pacific and therefore as a function of anti-Chinese containment – today as yesterday (we allude to the cold war) the American military infrastructures present in key strategic junctions on a global level allows it to exercise its naval power effectively: the strengthening of the military partnership with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines must be read just as a renewed interest on the part of the American in the fundamental role of naval power. all these reasons together can only lead us to define the United States as a real modern thalassocracy.
It is no coincidence, on the other hand, that the Obama administration has turned its attention to East and South Asia starting from the realization that the future of the world is at stake in these geopolitical contexts.
In fact, on the front of economic competition with China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was signed in 2016, a treaty to which – among others – Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, excluding China. Barack Obama has spelled out his foreign policy program, called The Obama Doctrine, rejecting isolationism and supporting multilateralism. In other words Obama has explicitly pursued the tradition of realism embodied by “senior” Bush and by Scowcroft military interventions, too often supported by the State Department, the Pentagon, and think tanks, should only be used where America is under imminent and direct threat. In an environment where the greatest dangers are now climate, financial or nuclear, it is up to US allies to shoulder their share of the common burden. While agreeing that the relationship with China will be the most critical of all, his political program emphasizes that everything will depend on Beijing’s ability to take on its international responsibilities in a peaceful environment. If it did not do so and allowed itself to be conquered by nationalism, America will have to be resolute and take all initiatives aimed at strengthening its multilateralism in the function of anti-Chinese containment. It is therefore very likely that the current US president Biden will carry out a strategy of this nature.
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