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The INF Treaty Part Two

As for short-range missiles -- those that can hit targets 300 miles to 600 miles away -- there is a proposal to increase the range of the Iskander tactical systems (pictured) from 160 miles to 300 miles. A mere 60 systems would be required in the next nine years. But a range of 300 miles is not the same as one of between 300 miles and 600 miles. Listing Iskanders in the category of short-range missiles is just wishful thinking.
by Nikolai Khorunzhiy
Moscow (RIA Novosti) April 20, 2007
Russia does not even have any plans to develop intermediate- or medium-range ballistic missiles, whereas the United States is intensively developing submarine-based, medium-range missiles. Moreover, frightened Europe will turn to its big brother for protection. In that case, the deployment of U.S. medium-range missiles would create a worse headache for the Russian strategic nuclear force than it did in the 1980s, because now NATO is much closer to the Russian border and its missiles could reach our launch sites in a matter of minutes.

The Russian Defense Ministry argues that it is capable of resuming the production of ballistic missiles with a range of 300 miles to 3,000 miles. These could be medium-range RSD-10 Pioneers of Soviet make, destroyed under the INF Treaty, or the latest Iskander systems.

Indeed, the Pioneer was a good missile, and the Soviet military mourned its destruction. But unlike its successor, Topol, it was not capable of evading an ABM system. This year we will have to muster all our efforts in order to produce 17 Topol-M missiles, as opposed to the three made in 2006.

At a recent news conference, Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, the commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, said that the Russian strategic nuclear force will receive seven Topol-M launchers in 2007.

Of the five tests of the new Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile, four were unsuccessful, which may be a serious obstacle to deploying them as planned on the new Borey class, or Project 955, submarines.

On top of all that, there are the unforeseen expenses of intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. The scientific editor of the magazine Arms Export, Mikhail Barabanov, has calculated that manufacturing 50-100 medium-range missiles would cost the same as producing several dozen Topol-M ICBMs. It is better to have an all-purpose Topol than an upgraded Pioneer of limited use.

As for short-range missiles -- those that can hit targets 300 miles to 600 miles away -- there is a proposal to increase the range of the Iskander tactical systems from 160 miles to 300 miles. A mere 60 systems would be required in the next nine years. But a range of 300 miles is not the same as one of between 300 miles and 600 miles. Listing Iskanders in the category of short-range missiles is just wishful thinking.

So what should Russia do? How should it respond to the challenge? One suggestion is to withdraw from the treaty on conventional forces in Europe. By doing so, however, we wouldn't scare anyone, since our weapons are inferior to their American counterparts in all respects. For obvious reasons, it makes little sense to compare NATO with the Collective Security Treaty Organization, comprised of Russia and five former Soviet republics -- Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. In any case, the two organizations practically do not have any contacts.

The purpose of politically menacing medium-range ballistic missiles may be served just as well with much cheaper air-launched cruise missiles. The Rosbalt agency wrote that two years ago, Russia conducted a successful test of its X-555 cruise missile with a range of up to 3,000 miles, circular error probable of 60 feet to 80 feet, and speed of Mach 0.77. It flies at tree-top level -- 130 feet to 350 feet -- which allows it to evade ABM systems. In early February the ARMS-TASS news agency reported that India and Russia had begun joint research and development on a cruise missile that can fly several times the speed of sound.

American ABM plans: Europe caught in the middle
Nikolai Khorunzhy, Independent Military Expert
Moscow (RIA Novosti) NATO and the NATO- Russia Council are going to discuss the issue of anti-ballistic missile systems in Brussels this week.

Both parties are interested in this discussion. The old NATO members are unhappy that the United States is deploying components of its ABM system on the territory of new members without consulting the European Union or NATO. After Kenneth Adelman, member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, said that the U.S. was ready to start consultations with Russia on the ABM systems, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested that European nations and the CIS should jointly estimate the nuclear missile threat, and that NATO should resume its ABM dialogue.

Russia will probably propose to Europe to come back to the joint development of non-strategic or theatre missile defenses. A great deal was done in this field but all efforts were discontinued when the United States announced its plan to bring components of its ABM system to Europe. The Americans are openly saying that any future NATO's missile defense system will be tailored to the U.S. ABM system, although only several months ago the NATO leaders swore that they had nothing to do with this.

The U.S. desire to occupy Russia's place in NATO's missile defense was confirmed by Czech Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanová's imprudent statement to the effect that the U.S. radar that would be deployed 65 km to the south-west of Prague would become part of NATO's missile defenses. "Washington is developing a system for countering intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), while Europe has focused on medium- and short-range systems," she said. "Both systems should become operational in 2012. They will be placed under NATO command and become part of its military structure."

The Americans may offer to supply Russia with information received by the radar it is going to deploy in Europe, and protect with its ABM shield part of Russia's territory that is not covered by its own missile defenses. But Russian military analysts call these proposals a diversion maneuver because the ground-based radars and satellites of the Russian early warning system will give a full report on a missile launch within minutes.

What is not clear is why the EU and NATO need anti-ballistic missile defense at all, regardless of whether Russia or America takes part in it. Iran, not to mention North Korea, does not have enough missiles of the right class to reach Europe and overcome its current air defense system. If the Americans compel the Europeans to make a financial contribution to the ABM project, the EU will have less money for other, more important defense systems. Perhaps, that is what Washington is trying to achieve? It is also abundantly clear that the United States will control the ABM system simply for lack of time to consult Europe about a decision to use it. When every second matters, a system should be automatic. This is exactly why the Europeans have backed out of the U.S. and Russian proposals and decided to upgrade their own air defense systems to the level of non-strategic missile defense that they will control themselves.

To sum up, there are not many opportunities for military-technical cooperation in such a sensitive sphere as ABM. The military diplomatic sphere offers more opportunities.

In 2000, Russia and the United States signed a memorandum on setting up a joint center in the town of Korolev near Moscow to exchange information on missile launches from early warning systems. But this was not done, and this year the U.S. gave up the project altogether. If the Americans want to protect Europe against Iranian missiles so much, why don't they want to use the information received by Daryal, a Russian radar that is part of the missile warning system in Gabala, Azerbaijan? Daryal is the world's most powerful radar and monitors air space to the range of more than 5,000 km - up to the Indian Ocean. The Sevastopol-based Dnepr radar also covers the potential flight path of Iranian missiles bound for Europe.

Next fall, Russia and NATO are going to hold the first field exercises involving the use of troops and missiles in order to improve the interoperability of non-strategic missile defenses in the European theatre. So Russia has some proposals for negotiations.

If NATO, primarily the United States, do not want to consider Russia's concern about the construction near its western border of missile silos that could contain both ABM components and first strike missiles, Moscow can take other asymmetrical military and diplomatic steps.

Alexander Pikayev, head of disarmament and conflict settlement department at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that Russia would not forget about its partners in Latin America. By the way, Russian weapons have become quite popular not only in Venezuela lately. There were precedents in history when military-technical cooperation led to the emergence of strategic alliances capable of drastically changing the plans of the Pentagon and U.S. State Department.

(Nikolai Khorunzhiy is an independent Russian strategic systems expert writing for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.)

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Source: RIA Novosti

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US Welcomes North Korean Pledge On Nuclear Shutdown
Washington (AFP) April 20, 2007
The United States welcomed a renewed North Korea pledge to start shutting down its nuclear program once a banking dispute is settled, but urged the communist state to act quickly.

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