The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems

The Implications of Russia’s New Weapon Systems, by Andrei Martyanov.

Vladimir Putin’s March 1st, 2018 address to Russia’s Federal … was clear: “You [the US] didn’t listen to us then, you will listen to us now”. After that he proceeded with what can only be described as a military-technological Pearl-Harbor meets Stalingrad. The strategic ramifications of the latest weapon systems Putin presented are immense. In fact, they are historic in nature.

Of course, many American pundits, expectedly, dismissed that as bluster — it is expected from the US military “expert” community. Others were not as dismissive and some were, indeed, deeply shocked. The overall impression today, a day after Putin’s presentation, can be described in simple terms as such: the missile gap is real and, in fact, it is not a gap but a technological abyss.

Paradoxically, this abyss is not where many do admit it — such as the RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, whose existence and approximate characteristics were more or less known for years. It is, undeniably, an impressive technological achievement of having a ballistic missile with not only practically unlimited range but also capable of trajectories which render any kind of Anti-Ballistic Defense useless. In the end, to be attacked from the South Pole, through South America, is not a contingency the US military is capable of facing. Probably not for very many years.

Nor is the Russian M=20+ [mach 20] hypersonic glider weapon system called Avangard, which is already in series production, an unexpected development — the United States has its own, albeit not successful yet, program for such types of weapons and those ideas were being floated in the US since the mid-2000s under the tutelage of the PGS (Prompt Global Strike). Yes, these are stunning technological achievements by Russia with Jeffrey Lewis’ term “bizarre” being a euphemism for “we don’t have anything comparable”, but it wasn’t even here where the real shock should be. …

Today it is patently clear that Russia holds an overwhelming military-technological advantage in cruise and aero-ballistic missiles and leads the US by decades in this crucial field. …

While Western punditry was discussing all those exotic and, no doubt, stunning weapon systems designed for the delivery of nuclear weapons to any point on the globe with very high precision, many true professionals were gasping for the air when the Dagger (Kinzhal) was unveiled. This is a complete game changer geopolitically, strategically, operationally, tactically and psychologically. …

This, most likely based on the famed Iskander airframe, M=10+ capable, highly maneuverable, aero-ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers, carried by MiG-31BMs, just rewrote the book on naval warfare. It made large surface fleets and combatants obsolete. No, you are not misreading it. No air-defense or anti-missile system in the world today … is capable of doing anything about it, and, most likely, it will take decades to find the antidote. More specifically, no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter — all this without use of nuclear munitions. …

The immediate strategic consequences of Kinzhal’s operational deployment are as follows:

  1. It finally moves aircraft carriers into the niche of pure power projection against weak and defenseless adversaries …This also means a complete no-go zone for any of the 33 Aegis-equipped US Navy destroyers and cruisers which are crucial for American Ballistic Missile Defense …
  2. It also makes any surface combat ship defenseless regardless of its air-defense or anti-missile capabilities. It completely annuls hundreds of billions of dollars investment into those platforms and weapons, which suddenly become nothing more than fat defenseless targets. …
  3. Those who have such weapons, simply own vast spaces of the sea limited by the ranges of the Kinzhal and its carriers.

The US Navy’s whole surface component becomes a complete hollow force good only for parades and flag demonstration near and in the littorals of weak and underdeveloped nations. This can be done for a tiny fraction of the astronomical costs of US platforms and weapons. …

The United Sates was not and is not prepared for this, despite many real professionals, including in the US itself, warning about the new unfolding military-technological paradigm and a complete American myopia and hubris in anything military. …

If warnings and the demonstration of Russian military-technological superiority will have an effect, as was the Russian intent from the beginning, some sensible conversation on the new world order may start between key geopolitical players. The world cannot afford any more a pretentious, self-aggrandizing and hollow bully which knows not what it does and threatens the world’s stability and peace.

Now that’s a viewpoint and some news one doesn’t often hear in the West.