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NATO Concerned about Russian Cruise Missiles

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Old March 13th, 2015   #1
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NATO Concerned about Russian Cruise Missiles

US General expresses concern about frequency of Russian bomber flights combined with their new cruise missile capability to launch from long distance and strike with accuracy.

U.S. admiral raises alarm over Russian military threat - CNN.com

So much then for winning the cold war and NATO over shadowing Russia's out of date capability!

Looks like Russia have again caught up and are causing the West serious concern.

So what happens now? Politicians and Military officials in the UK, US and EU are all raising the same concerns. This definitely looks like the start of a new arms race. NATO will have to respond I would think.

Will we see tactical nuclear missile batteries return to Europe? Will we see a symmetrical response from Russia as they seek to build bases in Cuba and Venezuela?

Here we go again.
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Old March 14th, 2015   #2
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So what happens now? Politicians and Military officials in the UK, US and EU are all raising the same concerns. This definitely looks like the start of a new arms race. NATO will have to respond I would think.
Only if Europe is willing to pony up the money to do so. Doesn’t look likely.
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Will we see tactical nuclear missile batteries return to Europe? Will we see a symmetrical response from Russia as they seek to build bases in Cuba and Venezuela?
Nobody is going to mess with tactical nukes, that just destabilizes the situation. Especially when stationed in a 3rd country where you cannot guarantee control without a very large garrison in position to maintain that control, which both sides had during the Cold War in Europe. Besides, Europe doesn’t want nukes on their soil.
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Old March 14th, 2015   #3
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Having read the article, it seems that part of the concern is about the potential for Russia to send inbound conventional ALCM into the US or Canada, and part is about the inability to determine before impact/detonation whether the inbound is conventional or nuclear, and the potential for a strike to be nuclear and upon a strategic defence target whose loss would compromise national security for the US and Canada.

If that is an accurate assessment of the situation, there is a fairly simple solution, which even has the benefit of symmetry. Raise the stakes.

If the US were to announce, to Russia and the world, that due to the potential for a nuclear warhead to be on an ALCM fired by Russian aircraft at targets in North America or US military assets, any and all ALCM that are believed to be Russian in origin will be treated as nuclear weapons, and that the US will respond to ALCM launches accordingly. Given that Russia has announced that in the event of armed conflict, conventional or nuclear, which threatens it's existence (not further defined as to what constitutes such a threat), it will use nuclear weapons, then such a US response would not be out of the realm of reasonability. After all, if an ALCM was fired by a Russian aircraft at a US or Canadian city or military base, the US and Canada would not know that it was nuclear-armed until too late...

Of course raising the stakes in such a fashion could lead to either a reduction in tensions, if both sides acknowledged the threat and potential outcome, or it could result in a dramatic increase in tensions, as both nations try to make the other back down.
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Old March 14th, 2015   #4
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Having read the article, it seems that part of the concern is about the potential for Russia to send inbound conventional ALCM into the US or Canada, and part is about the inability to determine before impact/detonation whether the inbound is conventional or nuclear, and the potential for a strike to be nuclear and upon a strategic defence target whose loss would compromise national security for the US and Canada.

If that is an accurate assessment of the situation, there is a fairly simple solution, which even has the benefit of symmetry. Raise the stakes.

If the US were to announce, to Russia and the world, that due to the potential for a nuclear warhead to be on an ALCM fired by Russian aircraft at targets in North America or US military assets, any and all ALCM that are believed to be Russian in origin will be treated as nuclear weapons, and that the US will respond to ALCM launches accordingly. Given that Russia has announced that in the event of armed conflict, conventional or nuclear, which threatens it's existence (not further defined as to what constitutes such a threat), it will use nuclear weapons, then such a US response would not be out of the realm of reasonability. After all, if an ALCM was fired by a Russian aircraft at a US or Canadian city or military base, the US and Canada would not know that it was nuclear-armed until too late...

Of course raising the stakes in such a fashion could lead to either a reduction in tensions, if both sides acknowledged the threat and potential outcome, or it could result in a dramatic increase in tensions, as both nations try to make the other back down.
Todd does the US have the ability to detect and take down ALCM's?
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Old March 14th, 2015   #5
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Todd does the US have the ability to detect and take down ALCM's?
The answer honestly is, it depends. There are a number of variables involved, like what type of ALCM, what it's flight profile is, what it launched from and where, what the ALCM target is, etc.

Theoretically, yes, the US can detect an inbound ALCM (of some types) and intercept it. Assuming of course that there a sensor in the right area, looking at the right things, and an interceptor of some sort available, within response range, and in communications with the sensor(s) and command centre(s).
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Old March 16th, 2015   #6
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The answer honestly is, it depends. There are a number of variables involved, like what type of ALCM, what it's flight profile is, what it launched from and where, what the ALCM target is, etc.

Theoretically, yes, the US can detect an inbound ALCM (of some types) and intercept it. Assuming of course that there a sensor in the right area, looking at the right things, and an interceptor of some sort available, within response range, and in communications with the sensor(s) and command centre(s).
Thanks Todd

Hence the reason why Russia may be 'probing' for dead zones or areas of weakness.
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Old March 16th, 2015   #7
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There is a little more on the story here:

Amid NATO exercises, Russia puts Northern Fleet on 'full alert' - CNN.com

More evidence that a new cold war is well underway. NATO will have no option but to develop new defenses and deploy symmetrically in whatever way they can. I can see Europe being heavily nuclearised again to be able to ensure an effective counter strike in case Russia decides to hit the US mainland.

Cold War 2 is with us.
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Old March 17th, 2015   #8
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I can see Europe being heavily nuclearised again to be able to ensure an effective counter strike in case Russia decides to hit the US mainland.
If Russian nukes the US mainland then the ICBMs will fly, there is no reason to station nukes on European soil where the US will have to negotiate with the host country for the right to launch them. If Russia doesn’t use nukes in a strike on the US mainland then none of the NATO countries will permit a nuclear counterstrike to be launched from their territory. The only possible use for nuclear weapons in Europe is to counter a Russian use of tactical nuclear weapons on European targets, something European countries don’t seem concerned about.
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Old March 17th, 2015   #9
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There is a little more on the story here:

Amid NATO exercises, Russia puts Northern Fleet on 'full alert' - CNN.com

More evidence that a new cold war is well underway. NATO will have no option but to develop new defenses and deploy symmetrically in whatever way they can. I can see Europe being heavily nuclearised again to be able to ensure an effective counter strike in case Russia decides to hit the US mainland.

Cold War 2 is with us.
Let's hope this isn't Able Archer part 2 kicking off...
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Old March 21st, 2015   #10
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Let's hope this isn't Able Archer part 2 kicking off...
Let's hope your right!
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Old March 24th, 2015   #11
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Re: tactical nuclear weapons in the European theater, Russia may already be "messing" in that arena. Remember back in summer of last year, the US called out Russia for alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, for allegedly testing land-launched cruise missiles with ranges from 500 to 5500 kilometers. The US President was claimed to have spoken to Putin directly about this --- yet no definitive response put the matter to rest, and it still festers.

One other way to "raise the stakes" that would not violate any current treaties would be to pull some of those nuclear-capable Tomahawks out of storage and put them back on a few US Navy ships. Granted they would probably be denied port privileges in Europe, but it would be one way to position a nuclear capability in the European vicinity without having to actually base such weapons on European soil.

Yes this might destabilize the area even further.... but whether Russia is or is not testing and fielding LLCM's remains obscure creates a tricky problem too.
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Old April 1st, 2015   #12
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Re: tactical nuclear weapons in the European theater, Russia may already be "messing" in that arena. Remember back in summer of last year, the US called out Russia for alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, for allegedly testing land-launched cruise missiles with ranges from 500 to 5500 kilometers. The US President was claimed to have spoken to Putin directly about this --- yet no definitive response put the matter to rest, and it still festers.

One other way to "raise the stakes" that would not violate any current treaties would be to pull some of those nuclear-capable Tomahawks out of storage and put them back on a few US Navy ships. Granted they would probably be denied port privileges in Europe, but it would be one way to position a nuclear capability in the European vicinity without having to actually base such weapons on European soil.



Yes this might destabilize the area even further.... but whether Russia is or is not testing and fielding LLCM's remains obscure creates a tricky problem too.
In the western eyes, Russia might be messing around with their new missiles. But in Russian eyes, Nato and US are messing with the so called new missile shield.. now whom started this mess.. go figure
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Old April 1st, 2015   #13
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In the western eyes, Russia might be messing around with their new missiles. But in Russian eyes, Nato and US are messing with the so called new missile shield.. now whom started this mess.. go figure
Given how well the systems work, and the number of interceptor... It should be fairly clear to Russia that the system would be of marginal effectiveness vs. Russian ICBMs. And that was before Russia had announced that due to the "missile shield" MIRV warheads were going to be fitted back onto Russian ICBMs in stead of just the single warhead.

Barring a significant leap forward in technology, and a similar increase in anti-ICBM infrastructure, the US and NATO just does not have sufficient interceptors to handle the potential number of inbounds from Russia. From Iran or North Korea? Possibly. From China? Maybe but I have my doubts, and not likely from any sub-launched ICBMs. From Russia, with the potentially thousands of inbounds (not all will necessarily be warheads, but there is no reliable way to tell what are warheads) which can be coming in from a number of different vectors, many of which there are no interceptors positioned to stop...

If Russia had a single sub do a full nuclear launch with MIRVs, then there would be more inbounds than the US has interceptors at present. The full system as currently planned should have about 200 interceptors, not including possible local BMD for naval vessels and task forces. Under current doctrine, 200 interceptors might be able to handle 100 inbound RVs, with 2+ interceptors for each RV/possible warhead. Again, that is the system as planned, only something like 30 GBIs have been deployed between Alaska and Hawai'i. Some mobile batteries were planned for deployment in eastern Europe for some protection vs. missiles launched from Iran, but again there would not be enough to handle what Russia could potentially launch even if they all worked 100% flawlessly.
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Old April 2nd, 2015   #14
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I have some questions so I hope someone can answer them. There are a lot of theories here in Serbian media regarding the shield. A lot of them just copy, translate and paste from Russian sources and people mostly take them at face value. One of the theories is that the system could easily be turned into a weapon, that is, an offensive weapon which could launch a nuclear tipped missile at Moscow, a missile that could reach its target withing 2 or 3 minutes, a time-frame too narrow for the Russian side to react, thus, effectively decapitating their high command, causing a system-wide breakdown due to an EMP blast and limiting their capacity to counter-react.
So, can the shield really become a weapon that easily? How realistic is this scenario? If not, why are the Russians opposing it that much, because clearly it doesn't have enough interceptors to match their ICMBs?
Thanks in advance.
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Old April 2nd, 2015   #15
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I have some questions so I hope someone can answer them. There are a lot of theories here in Serbian media regarding the shield. A lot of them just copy, translate and paste from Russian sources and people mostly take them at face value. One of the theories is that the system could easily be turned into a weapon, that is, an offensive weapon which could launch a nuclear tipped missile at Moscow, a missile that could reach its target withing 2 or 3 minutes, a time-frame too narrow for the Russian side to react, thus, effectively decapitating their high command, causing a system-wide breakdown due to an EMP blast and limiting their capacity to counter-react.
So, can the shield really become a weapon that easily? How realistic is this scenario? If not, why are the Russians opposing it that much, because clearly it doesn't have enough interceptors to match their ICMBs?
Thanks in advance.
Cheers
On the surface at least, the theory sounds pretty implausible. The only BMD system which might have the range, and potentially be in a location to actually get a missile into/over Moscow appears to be a ship-based SM-3 Block IIA. The other systems like Patriot, MEADS, or THAAD which are or can be in Europe do not have the range.

Now for the SM-3 Block IIA, the final state, where the warhead would need to be, is only ~10kg, which in turn is less than half the weight of a W-54 250 ton AIM-26A Falcon warhead. This, now retired, nuclear weapon had a minimal yield and while technology has gotten better, I do not think the yield would be sufficient to generate a strategically useful EMP attack. If the warhead could even be fitted to an SM-3 Block IIA.

The GBI does have long range, ~5,300 km, but that is still short the ~6,700 km distance between Fort Greely, Alaska an Moscow by about 1,400 km.

I have not bothered calculating flight times, since it is apparent that no US nuclear warhead, past or present, with yields in the tens of kilotons or greater will fit into a BMD interceptor which could reach Moscow or even near it.
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