Containerised attack

An Israeli defense contractor has successfully test-fired a missile with a 400-kilometer range that can fit into a standard shipping container. 
Launched from a ship, it joins the trend of weaponizing civilian freighters.
The missile that was fired on Tuesday, dubbed LORA or Long-Range Artillery weapon system, is produced by state-owned defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). According to company specifications, the solid-propellant ground-to-ground 1,600-kilogram projectile has a range of 400 kilometers and can be fired at a target in just 10 minutes.
First revealed in 2006, the missiles were originally designed to be secretly deployed. To protect them from detection, the missiles are stored in dedicated sealed canisters that can fit inside a standard shipping container and have a shelf life of seven years without maintenance.
From the start, IAI saw LORA as both land-based and ship-based system. This week, a missile fired from a ground launcher placed on a freighter vessel out at sea successfully hit its intended target on land.
“This was one of the most complex trials we held over the past few years and a technological breakthrough for IAI’s missile development operations,” said Executive Vice President Boaz Levi, according to an IAI statement.
“The trial was held according to a full operational outline, including an assessment of the system’s maneuvering, assault, and precision capabilities. The impressive results attest to the system’s maturity and advanced capabilities,” he said.
In theory, a complete containerized version of LORA would not need a dedicated launcher system. Rather a standard container would house four missiles and everything needed to fire them. A command and fire control section inside another container would be enough to serve up to four launchers.
The new technology could potentially turn any civilian freighter ship into a naval missile platform, a consideration that raises concerns about potential sneak attacks.

 

Chinese hypersonic update

China achieved a breakthrough development for high-speed missiles equipped with a new high-technology ramjet engine, according to state media.

The breakthrough was based on two successful flight tests of a solid-fuel ramjet capable of producing hypersonic speeds—4,000 miles per hour or faster, according to a May 31 report in Science and Technology Daily, official newspaper of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

The new engine is part of China’s second type of hypersonic missile—weapons designed to defeat missile defenses.

The first hypersonic weapon, known as the DF-ZF, is a strike vehicle that glides and maneuvers to its target at speeds of up to 7,000 miles per hour. China has conducted six tests of the DF-ZF, according to Pentagon officials.

China’s hypersonic weapons, which have been in development for more than a decade, were mentioned Monday by Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as one of the several growing threats posed by China’s military.

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“Motley Crew”…autonomous warfare, not the band

The next big thing for unmanned naval aviation is a group of unmanned aerial systems that can share information and then assign tasks and make strategic targeting decisions based on available intelligence.

This concept, called Motley Crew, will be demonstrated by the Navy in 2018 or 2019, said Rear Adm. Mark Darrah, the service’s program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.

Speaking at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference Tuesday, Darrah said there are many factors still to be decided — which unmanned systems to feature, for example, and what the target sets would be — but the goal is clear: Develop autonomous systems that could be strategic, collaborative and efficient.

“Imagine, if you would, different weapons flying in the same airspace, communicating with each other, leveraging a best of breed from each of the weapons and able to make decisions … about which ship to go after, so they don’t target the same ship four times with four weapons,” Darrah said. “This is a breakthrough in my mind that we’ve got to get to.”

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Is Putin facing “use it or lose it” decision?

Recent Russian actions suggest a new stage of the Russian threat to Ukraine—and potentially to the Caucasus, Belarus or the Baltic states as well—that could presage a new large-scale military operation.

First, in 2016, Russia created 25 division formations and 15 brigades, while raising manpower by only 10,000 men. This suggests the possibility that Russia may aim to wage protracted large-scale war using the Soviet model, with a Soviet-type army composed of “skeleton units” that existed solely on paper until they were called up as part of the process of mass mobilization.

That such mobilization may be under consideration is apparent from the Kavkaz-2016 and other military exercises in 2016 where Moscow mobilized forces from the Ministry of Interior, banks to pay soldiers’ wages in the fields and hospitals to provide field hospitals, as well as entire provincial civilian administrations. Russia is apparently thinking about possible protracted contingencies and is returning to fantasies of a Soviet-type military and mobilization effort.

Second, as part of that military process in 2016-2017, Moscow created the 1st Guards Tank Army, the 40th Army and the 8th Army, and deployed them all around Ukraine’s borders. The 8th Army headquarters is at Rostov-On-Don, from where it could strike toward the Caucasus if necessary, or be air- or sea-lifted to the Middle East.

Moreover, any of these armies could quickly be moved toward Belarus to put down unrest there, if Belarus’s government cannot or will not do so.

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New Russian Nuke

Russia has floated its new state-of-the-art nuclear-powered multipurpose submarine called Kazan as its fleet returned to Soviet-era operational levels in terms of sea patrols, according to the Russian Navy chief.
“The Yasen-M class nuclear-powered submarine cruisers are some of the most advanced battleships that amassed all cutting-edge submarine shipbuilding technologies,” Admiral Vladimir Korolev, the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, said as the most advanced Russian nuclear attack submarine, Kazan – the second submarine of the Yasen-M class – was launched in the northern Russian port of Severodvinsk.
Kazan was laid down in 2009 and is expected to be accepted by the Russian Navy in 2018 following sea trials. The admiral said four more submarines of the same class – Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Perm – are now being built at the Sevmash shipyards in Severodvinsk and one will be launched as early as in 2019 while the seventh and last vessel of this project, Ulyanovsk, would be laid down in the summer of 2017.
All the vessels are expected to be built by 2023, according to Korolev.

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