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    INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

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    gaurav

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  gaurav on Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:12 pm

    Man this is as going to be crazy as ever.




    The United States informed its NATO allies this month that Russia had tested
    a new ground-launched cruise missile, raising concerns about Moscow’s compliance with a landmark arms control accord.

    I cant believe this crap. They are literally saying RS-24 and RS-26(Avanguard) are cruise missiles.

    These chinese specialists now running the pentagon have truly gone mad. They dont even know the difference between
    ICBM and cruise missile.

    These china focused Pentagon might be getting a little tizzy.. Twisted Evil
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    Viktor

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Viktor on Sun Feb 09, 2014 10:52 pm

    Nice read ...  thumbsup 

    What lies behind US allegations of Russian ICBM missile tests?

    specially this part (by Viktor Litovkin)

    The RS-26 Rubezh is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), meaning that it follows a ballistic trajectory to reach the target. Cruise missiles, on the other hand, fly horizontally just above the Earth's surface, sticking closely to the surface topography. ICBMs have a range of up to 11,500 km, whereas cruise missiles, as a rule, have a much more limited range of up to 3,500 km.
    The cause of the latest ruckus is that, in a certain sense, the warhead used with the Rubezh ICBM behaves as a cruise missile in its own right. After being launched from a mobile ground-based platform, the RS-26 climbs straight upwards.
    Once it has reached a certain altitude, it starts to follow a curved ballistic trajectory towards the target. Then during the descending section of that trajectory, with only a few hundred miles left to the target, the warhead suddenly takes a dive, loses altitude, and continues the approach as a cruise missile, i.e. flying horizontally along the Earth's surface. Detecting such a warhead by radars or other traditional means is impossible; neither can the warhead be intercepted.


    According to Gen. Zarudnitsky, once the Rubezh passes the trial program it will enter service with the Strategic Missile Troops (the Russian land-based nuclear forces). The first missile regiment will begin receiving these missiles later in 2014.


    RS-26 seems to be quite a missile  sniper 
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    magnumcromagnon

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:52 pm

    Viktor wrote:Nice read ...  thumbsup 

    What lies behind US allegations of Russian ICBM missile tests?

    specially this part (by Viktor Litovkin)

    The RS-26 Rubezh is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), meaning that it follows a ballistic trajectory to reach the target. Cruise missiles, on the other hand, fly horizontally just above the Earth's surface, sticking closely to the surface topography. ICBMs have a range of up to 11,500 km, whereas cruise missiles, as a rule, have a much more limited range of up to 3,500 km.
    The cause of the latest ruckus is that, in a certain sense, the warhead used with the Rubezh ICBM behaves as a cruise missile in its own right. After being launched from a mobile ground-based platform, the RS-26 climbs straight upwards.
    Once it has reached a certain altitude, it starts to follow a curved ballistic trajectory towards the target. Then during the descending section of that trajectory, with only a few hundred miles left to the target, the warhead suddenly takes a dive, loses altitude, and continues the approach as a cruise missile, i.e. flying horizontally along the Earth's surface. Detecting such a warhead by radars or other traditional means is impossible; neither can the warhead be intercepted.


    According to Gen. Zarudnitsky, once the Rubezh passes the trial program it will enter service with the Strategic Missile Troops (the Russian land-based nuclear forces). The first missile regiment will begin receiving these missiles later in 2014.


    RS-26 seems to be quite a missile  sniper 

    I wonder if it's possible to integrate a theater short range ballistic missile like Iskander-M in to an ICBM, now that would be something wouldn't it?
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    AlfaT8

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  AlfaT8 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:25 pm

    White House accuses Russia of violating Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
    United States President Barack Obama has formally accused his Russian counterpart of violating a 1987 nuclear weapons treaty, the White House said on Tuesday.

    Pres. Obama wrote Russia’s Vladimir Putin, White House press secretary John Earnest said during a routine briefing Tuesday afternoon, informing him that the US has determined that Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a pact signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev nearly 30 years ago.
    http://rt.com/usa/176492-obama-accuses-russia-nuclear-treaty/

    Washington Says Moscow Violated INF Treaty
    MOSCOW, July 29 (RIA Novosti) — The United States has claimed Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) by testing a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile, The New York Times reported citing senior US officials.

    According to the newspaper, US President Barack Obama conveyed his findings to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter Monday.
    http://en.ria.ru/politics/20140729/191425404/Washington-Says-Moscow-Violated-INF-Treaty.html

    Yea, i know this isn't anything to be surprised about, but since the U.S has now "formally" accused Russia of violating the treaty, Russia should take this opportunity to "formally" leaves said worthless one sided treaty!!  Twisted Evil

    Edit:
    Video title is misleading.


    Last edited by AlfaT8 on Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Tue Jul 29, 2014 7:29 pm

    It's funny that the U.S. has been heckling Russia over the R-500 over the INF, because the U.S. has missiles that violate the same treaty...
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    magnumcromagnon

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:36 pm

    Mike E wrote:It's funny that the U.S. has been heckling Russia over the R-500 over the INF, because the U.S. has missiles that violate the same treaty...

    Yeah they're called cruise missiles, which the sanctimonious hypocrites in the U.S. State Dept./Pentagon has thousands of Tomahawks which have the range of 2600km. The R-500 is a cruise missile system, not a ballistic missile system but the jackasses in Congress are incapable of telling the difference!
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    GarryB

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  GarryB on Wed Jul 30, 2014 9:51 am

    The INF treaty includes all ground launched missiles including ballistic and cruise missiles.

    the irony is that the US can base missiles in Europe while the Russians have no place to base intermediate range missiles that would be strategic if located close to its targets.


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    magnumcromagnon

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Wed Jul 30, 2014 12:16 pm

    GarryB wrote:The INF treaty includes all ground launched missiles including ballistic and cruise missiles.

    the irony is that the US can base missiles in Europe while the Russians have no place to base intermediate range missiles that would be strategic if located close to its targets.

    It's a testament to how much of imbecile Mikhail Gorbachev was...

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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Wed Jul 30, 2014 6:29 pm

    magnumcromagnon wrote:
    Mike E wrote:It's funny that the U.S. has been heckling Russia over the R-500 over the INF, because the U.S. has missiles that violate the same treaty...

    Yeah they're called cruise missiles, which the sanctimonious hypocrites in the U.S. State Dept./Pentagon has thousands of Tomahawks which have the range of 2600km. The R-500 is a cruise missile system, not a ballistic missile system but the jackasses in Congress are incapable of telling the difference!
    Not only that, but the U.S. has a "target ballistic missile" with a range of around 800 km. It is said that it could be used in combat, with real warheads. Russia made a fuss about a couple years ago, but nothing happened. (I totally forgot the name of this missile, so I'll try and find it.)  attack   Very Happy

    I found it, it is called the "Hera" missile with a range of 1,100 km.

    I hate to link Wiki, but it is one of the only sites with info on the missile. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hera_(rocket)
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    AlfaT8

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  AlfaT8 on Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:08 pm

    Russia: US claims on nuclear missiles treaty unfounded, we have questions too
    Moscow has slammed Washington’s allegations that Russia breached the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, calling the claims unsubstantiated. It added Russia also has complaints about the US’s fulfillment of their obligations under the treaty.

    US claims that Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are “just as unsubstantiated as everything that has recently been heard by Moscow coming from Washington, including other issues. There is absolutely no evidence provided to support [these allegations],” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
    http://rt.com/news/176812-russia-missile-treaty-response/
    I'm hoping this treaty burns, fingers crossed.  Wink 
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    magnumcromagnon

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:17 pm

    AlfaT8 wrote:
    Russia: US claims on nuclear missiles treaty unfounded, we have questions too
    Moscow has slammed Washington’s allegations that Russia breached the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, calling the claims unsubstantiated. It added Russia also has complaints about the US’s fulfillment of their obligations under the treaty.

    US claims that Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are “just as unsubstantiated as everything that has recently been heard by Moscow coming from Washington, including other issues. There is absolutely no evidence provided to support [these allegations],” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
    http://rt.com/news/176812-russia-missile-treaty-response/
    I'm hoping this treaty burns, fingers crossed.  Wink 

    Me too... Twisted Evil 
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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:55 pm

    magnumcromagnon wrote:
    AlfaT8 wrote:
    Russia: US claims on nuclear missiles treaty unfounded, we have questions too
    Moscow has slammed Washington’s allegations that Russia breached the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, calling the claims unsubstantiated. It added Russia also has complaints about the US’s fulfillment of their obligations under the treaty.

    US claims that Russia violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) are “just as unsubstantiated as everything that has recently been heard by Moscow coming from Washington, including other issues. There is absolutely no evidence provided to support [these allegations],” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
    http://rt.com/news/176812-russia-missile-treaty-response/
    I'm hoping this treaty burns, fingers crossed.  Wink 

    Me too... Twisted Evil 

    I think the U.S. is using this to get out of the treaty themselves, it would be a win-win situation.

    If this treaty does "burn", do you think Russia will reveal the "true range" of the Iskander? I sure hope so!
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    George1

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  George1 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:57 pm

    Russia urges NATO chief to take care of making INF Treaty multipartite

    MOSCOW, July 31. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry urged NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to take care of making the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty multipartite which Russia called for repeatedly.

    “Moscow has studied NATO general secretary’s statements on the issue of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles with some surprise,” the diplomatic agency said.

    “We hope that the general secretary will not challenge this treaty was concluded in December 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States, but not between the Soviet Union and NATO or Russia and NATO,” the ministry said.

    “If the essence of concerns voiced in the statement lies in the situation over observing provisions of this document, he should address not to us, but to the North Atlantic Alliance member state which is a signatory nation to the treaty,” the Foreign Ministry said.

    US statements that Russia breaks INF Treaty unfounded - FM
    “If the NATO general secretary would like to make a serious contribution in making the INF Treaty regime stronger, we would recommend to him to take care of making the agreement multipartite which Russia called for repeatedly,” the ministry added.

    On July 30, the NATO chief said “Russia should work constructively to resolve this critical Treaty issue and preserve the viability of the INF Treaty by returning to full compliance in a verifiable manner. Continuing to uphold the Treaty strengthens the security of all, including Russia.”

    Backing US accusations against Russia made at a media briefing of ambassadors from 28 NATO states Rasmussen recalled that the INF Treaty obligations envisage “not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Thu Jul 31, 2014 6:21 pm

    Knew it! It just makes me wonder how long the range actually is. My guess would be around 700 km, but that may be over-optimistic.  russia
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    Viktor

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Viktor on Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:35 pm

    Mike E wrote:Knew it! It just makes me wonder how long the range actually is. My guess would be around 700 km, but that may be over-optimistic.  russia


    I have heard about 900-2500km range speculation but we can´t be sure.
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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:15 am

    That would be nice, to say the very least. I have a quote (that I made up) that fits here; "hope for the best, but expect the worst". Very Happy 
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    GarryB

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  GarryB on Fri Aug 01, 2014 9:59 am

    The air launched Kh-101 and Kh-102 have flight ranges of 5,500km... it would not be that difficult to design a ground launched missile able to be launched from the Iskander TEL vehicle that is in the 2-3 ton range with a heavy rocket booster to get it airborne that has a flight range of 5,800km or more which would make it not an IRBM and therefore not limited by the INF treaty.


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    George1

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  George1 on Fri Aug 01, 2014 12:15 pm

    Russian Military Reaffirms Strict Adherence to INF Treaty

    MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Chief of the Russian General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, said on Thursday that Russia is strictly implementing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with the United States.

    Gerasimov discussed the situation around the Soviet-era agreement in a phone call with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey.

    “Gerasimov reaffirmed Russia’s adherence to strict implementation of the INF Treaty,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    Washington has recently accused Moscow of violating its obligations under the treaty, but declined to provide any evidence.

    But now White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States has determined that Russia has violated provisions of the INF treaty.

    On Wednesday, the US administration released a report claiming that Russia “is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty not to possess, produce, or flight-test a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km, or to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.”

    Josh Earnest said earlier US President Barack Obama conveyed his findings to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter, in addition to US previous attempts to raise the concern “with the Russians on a number of occasions through our standard diplomatic channels."

    The accusation prompted the Russian Foreign Ministry to dismiss the White House statement as “ungrounded,” citing the absence of evidence to support this claim. It also bashed Washington for its plan to deploy MK 41 VLS launching systems in Poland and Romania as part of the “phased adaptive approach” for missile defense.

    The INF is a 1987 agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate the use of nuclear and conventional missiles with intermediate range, defined as 500 to 5,000 kilometers (310 to 3,100 miles).

    The pact has often been lauded as an example of successful arms control because it eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons.
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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:57 pm

    Sounds like a good idea.

    Keep in mind that the Kh-10X also get a "push" off of the aircraft when they are launched (aircraft speed). That shouldn't reduce the Kh's range that much, but maybe it would travel 50 km less than the air-launched model.
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    AlfaT8

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  AlfaT8 on Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:38 pm

    magnumcromagnon wrote:Are we really going to stake the future of mankind on wikipedia  (to know reliable thermonuclear stockpile data)?
    Fine here are some non-wiki links that say pretty much the same thing:
    http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab19.asp
    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/nucstock-6.html
    http://docs.nrdc.org/nuclear/files/nuc_11129601a_008.pdf
    http://www.nukewatch.org/media2/postData.php?id=2862
    And i don't believe stockpile number are classified the same way blackops operations are.

    Russia needs to demand France and Britain to join START, let's see some transparency and some legal binding we have to actually take everything in to consideration and not just rely on some talking-points from pro-NATO media.
    I mostly agree, France and Britain should have indeed signed sought a treaty, but that treaty could not be the START treaty, because the biggest reason for the START treaty was to lessen the amount nuclear weapons, you cannot have nations with far less nukes then the treaty allowed (max), this would give these weaker nations permission not to decrease there stockpiles, but to increase them instead, which makes the entire point of the treaty (START) meaningless.  Neutral

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    GarryB

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  GarryB on Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:36 am

    Keep in mind that the Kh-10X also get a "push" off of the aircraft when they are launched (aircraft speed). That shouldn't reduce the Kh's range that much, but maybe it would travel 50 km less than the air-launched model.

    When we are talking about such a long range cruise missile the solid rocket booster to get it airborne should equate to most of the energy given to a cruise missile launched in flight by the carrier aircraft.

    Very simply a slight increase in fuel tank size plus flying at medium altitude at a lower more efficient power setting should allow any loss of range from ground launch to be made up over air launched models.

    A larger more efficient wing giving better lift could easily raise performance too.

    In fact a much better idea would be to greatly enlarge the missile to say 4 tons with a heavy solid rocket booster for launch and a larger wing that is designed to be stealthy and fly at medium to high altitudes and carrying up to ten nuclear payloads that are ejected upwards in flight and fall by parachute onto the target while the missile flies a preprogrammed path all over europe...

    I mostly agree, France and Britain should have indeed signed sought a treaty, but that treaty could not be the START treaty, because the biggest reason for the START treaty was to lessen the amount nuclear weapons, you cannot have nations with far less nukes then the treaty allowed (max), this would give these weaker nations permission not to decrease there stockpiles, but to increase them instead, which makes the entire point of the treaty (START) meaningless.

    But you need to acknowledge that there are "sides" in Europe and it is basically NATO vs Russia so rather than allowing the UK and France to have the same number of strategic nuclear weapons as Russia or the US the weapons of Americas allies should be included with Americas weapon numbers.... otherwise it ends up like the farce that the CFE became where instead of balance as originally wanted it ended up with NATO having most of the Warsaw Pacts allocation of numbers with a resulting huge imbalance that became rather meaningless.


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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:16 am

    GarryB wrote:
    Keep in mind that the Kh-10X also get a "push" off of the aircraft when they are launched (aircraft speed). That shouldn't reduce the Kh's range that much, but maybe it would travel 50 km less than the air-launched model.

    When we are talking about such a long range cruise missile the solid rocket booster to get it airborne should equate to most of the energy given to a cruise missile launched in flight by the carrier aircraft.

    Very simply a slight increase in fuel tank size plus flying at medium altitude at a lower more efficient power setting should allow any loss of range from ground launch to be made up over air launched models.

    A larger more efficient wing giving better lift could easily raise performance too.

    In fact a much better idea would be to greatly enlarge the missile to say 4 tons with a heavy solid rocket booster for launch and a larger wing that is designed to be stealthy and fly at medium to high altitudes and carrying up to ten nuclear payloads that are ejected upwards in flight and fall by parachute onto the target while the missile flies a preprogrammed path all over europe...

    I mostly agree, France and Britain should have indeed signed sought a treaty, but that treaty could not be the START treaty, because the biggest reason for the START treaty was to lessen the amount nuclear weapons, you cannot have nations with far less nukes then the treaty allowed (max), this would give these weaker nations permission not to decrease there stockpiles, but to increase them instead, which makes the entire point of the treaty (START) meaningless.

    But you need to acknowledge that there are "sides" in Europe and it is basically NATO vs Russia so rather than allowing the UK and France to have the same number of strategic nuclear weapons as Russia or the US the weapons of Americas allies should be included with Americas weapon numbers.... otherwise it ends up like the farce that the CFE became where instead of balance as originally wanted it ended up with NATO having most of the Warsaw Pacts allocation of numbers with a resulting huge imbalance that became rather meaningless.

    True, I completely forgot about that.
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    George1

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  George1 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:43 am

    Russia and the INF Treaty violation

    The 2014 Compliance Report released by the U.S. State Department last week officially declared that the United States believes that "the Russian Federation is in violation of its obligations under the INF Treaty." The report, however, provides no details about the specifics of the violation, leaving plenty of room for uncertainty. The story still have more questions than answers, so this post is an attempt to summarize what do we know about the alleged violation.

    The little information that is available suggests that it is not related to the RS-26 ballistic missile, even though it looks like it's an intermediate-range missile that was tested once at a range that would qualify it as an ICBM. The missile will therefore be counted against the New START limits, so an argument can be made that the future RS-26 deployment will be limited by arms control obligations (unless we note that the limit will disappear once New START expires in 2021).

    Instead, the current controversy seems to be centered at a "new ground-launched cruise missile." At least this is what the United States, according to a New York Times story, told its NATO allies at a briefing in January 2014.

    Most reports immediately focused on the ground-launched cruise missile that is part of the Iskander system that Russia has been developing for some time. Iskander is a somewhat unusual weapon system that includes ballistic missile as well as cruise missile launchers (these systems are known as Iskander-M and Iskander-K respectively). So, it appears the the cruise missile of Iskander-K, identified as R-500, is the one that is causing all the problems. At least this is what Jeffrey Lewis of Armscontrolwonk.com and Hand Kristensen of FAS said in their posts on Russia's INF (non-)compliance. It's became a popular theory that invites a fairly straightforward political solution -- confront Russia about the violation and don't let it go until it confesses and reverses the course, just as Reagan did with the Krasnoyarsk radar and the ABM Treaty in the 1980s. Unfortunately, things seem to be a bit more complicated and a simple strategy may not work.

    Let's start with the facts about R-500 and Iskander. The only reliable appearance made by a cruise missile named R-500 was the test on 29 May 2007. The missile was launched from the Kapustin Yar test site. MIlitaryrussia.ru has a nice collection of photos of the launch (which appear to be authentic - see a photo distributed by RIA Novosti). The photos are too grainy to provide any details, but we could tell that the missile is about 6 m in length and 0.5 m in diameter (The TEL truck, which is about 3 m high, provides a reference for the size of the missile):

    Since the missile is only 6 m long, it is not "very similar to the SS-N-21" as Hans Kristensen suggested in his post and the side-by-side comparison on the left is not entirely accurate. SS-N-21 SLCM and its ground-launched version, RK-55 Relief/SSC-X-4, are 8.09 m long. R-500 on the photo looks more like a different cruise missile, 3M14 Kalibr-M/Club-M, which is reported to be 6.2 m long (with the solid-propellant booster). The R-500 appears to have a slightly different TEL, but the launch containers of R-500 (top, shown as Iskander-K TEL in a 2009 photo) and Club-M (bottom) look very much alike, at least from the outside:

    Club-M is part of a family cruise missiles that could be deployed in a variety of ways (the Club-K could famously fit into a standard shipping container). The sea-launched version of the missile can be deployed in standard 533-mm torpedo tubes. It's a sort-range missile, though -- the 3M14 is reported to have a range of 300 km (the domestic version may have a range of 500 km).

    Since R-500 was touted as a new missile at the time of the May 2007 test, it would be reasonable to assume that it is somewhat different from 3M14, although it is not clear what's the difference is. One possibility is that it is integrated with the Iskander system that could include short-range ballistic missiles as well. It's tempting to suggest that R-500 has an extended range, but my guess is that it's unlikely - there is only so much one can do with a missile of a given size that has to carry a certain payload. Ted Postol and George Lewis at some point estimated that one can probably double the range in this case, but that would require significant advances in materials and propulsion. Given that 3M14 is a relatively new missile, it's somewhat unlikely that there is much room for improvement there. Also, if the big thing about R-500 is its integration with Iskander, then one would expect the ballistic and cruise missiles of the system to have a comparable range. On the other hand, older (but bigger and nuclear) RK-55 Relief/SSC-X-4 and SS-N-21 have a range of about 2500-3000 km, so one should not rule out that the R-500 has a range significantly over 500 km (although 2000 km is still unlikely). I'm very much open to suggestions and ideas on this point.

    [UPDATE: As I expected, the range issue is not that simple. At least one report from 2012 quoted the commander of the Caspian Flotilla as saying that the conventional ship-based Kalibr-NK has a range of 2600 km.]

    What's interesting is that the missile was eventually deployed with the Iskander-K system appears to be different from the R-500 tested in May 2007. At least it clearly has a different launch container:

    This is a photo taken in June 2013, when the industry delivered the first "complete set" of Iskander missiles to the military. It may not be obvious at a first glance, but the placement of outer rings on the Iskander-K container is different from the one on the 2009 version (see the photo above). This does not necessarily mean that the missile itself is different, but something has clearly changed since that 2007 launch. What is the same, though, is the size of the missile - the new container still appears to hold a missile that is about 6 m long - a longer container would not fit into the transporter bay.

    This one appears to be longer, but a closer look suggests that the difference between this container and the one from June 2013 is an attachment on top (the one with an orange cap). Since this thing would presumably still have to fit into the 7 meter-long transporter bay, this may be a temporary attachment that protects the container during the loading operation. Or maybe not - it's hard to tell from the photo.

    In fact, we don't really know if the cruise missile that allegedly violates the INF Treaty has anything to do with Iskander. Indeed, the little bits reported by the New York Times in January don't quite fit the Iskander theory. The NYT story said that "American officials believe Russia began conducting flight tests of the missile as early as 2008." Since the R-500 missile was tested in May 2007, it doesn't fit that description. It's possible, of course, that the missile in question is the modification of the missile that was eventually deployed with Iskander-K -- the different launch container would seem to point at this possibility. But the United States told NATO that in January 2014 the culprit GLCM had not been deployed yet -- this doesn't fit the fact that the first "complete set of Iskander" (with cruise missiles) was delivered to the military in June 2013. I wouldn't say that this information rules Iskander out, but in my view it strongly suggests that Iskander is the wrong place to look at.

    An alternative explanation, floated some time ago, is that the violation is largely a technicality having to do with the fact that the INF Treaty requires that any missile that is not a GLCM covered by the treaty should be test-launched from a "fixed land-based launcher which is used solely for test purposes and which is distinguishable from GLCM launchers." Strictly speaking, a test of a SLCM (with a range of more than 500 km) from a road-mobile launcher would mean that this SLCM would qualify as a GLCM and therefore will be a treaty violation. I have no direct evidence that would indicate that this explanation is correct, but it fits the facts much better than the Iskander/R-500 one.

    The evidence is very much circumstantial at this point, but the reluctance of the U.S. administration to charge Russia with a violation suggests that the case is not exactly clear-cut. It probably would not have taken the United States three years to go open with the case had Russia tested a 2000 km-range missile several times (even though, admittedly, determining the range of a cruise missile is a tricky business). Then, unless the case has something to do with the launcher, I don't see why the administration would include a specific reference to that INF Treaty clause in its 2014 Compliance Report.

    Also, even though Russia is hardly an exemplary law-abiding global citizen these days, I don't believe it would go ahead with a blatant and open violation of the INF Treaty conditions. Whatever complaints they may have about the treaty, the Russians are usually quite legalistic and would rather find a loophole than covertly break out of the treaty.

    I know that people would point out that the story of the ABM Treaty and Krasnoyarsk radar to say that the Soviet Union did just that in the past. However, that story is a bit more complicated than it may appear. Even though the radar was not exactly treaty-compliant, the Soviet Union was fully prepared to defend it and to work with the United States to clarify the ABM Treaty terms (like "located on the periphery" or "pointed outwards") to make it so. The Soviet Union had a good case in its claim that the U.S. PAVE PAWS early-warning radar in Fylingdales, U.K. was a technical violation as well (the treaty allowed an upgrade of existing radars, while PAVE PAWS was built next to the old radar, so it didn't really qualify as an upgrade). The hope in the Soviet defense ministry was that the United States would trade the violations, especially since the radar in Krasnoyarsk was clearly an early-warning rather than a treaty-prohibited battle-management radar. The politics of the moment worked against the Soviet Union, though, and the Reagan administration correctly judged that the Soviet Union was not in the position to press its case or to negotiate.

    This is not to say that the Obama administration was wrong in charging Russia with a violation, but its case may not be as impressive as the one that Reagan had in the 1980s -- it's one thing to point at a massive structure built in Siberia and quite another to debate fine points of interpretation of some obscure provisions of the treaty. My guess is that if it were not for the domestic pressure on Obama, he would much rather discuss this issue quietly.

    As for why Russia would do a test like that, I could certainly imagine a situation when it needed a launcher for one of its SLCMs and the mobile launcher seemed like a best available option - since the launch tubes are standard, it's not an implausible scenario. The alternative would be to build a new fixed one and for whatever reason that wasn't practical.

    As it often happens, the bottom line is that we don't have enough information to say anything definitive yet. I hope that as the story develops we will have more details. It well may be that the culprit is the Iskander cruise missile, but at this point my money is on a technicality.
    avatar
    Viktor

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Viktor on Sun Aug 10, 2014 10:19 pm

    Nice article about the subject  thumbsup 

    Does Russia need the INF Treaty

    and the most interesting thing of all Very Happy

    Apparently, listening to such views, the Russian leadership does not hurry to make a decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty. Although, if you remember, last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already hinted the United States and NATO on the possibility of such a decision.

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    Mike E

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

    Post  Mike E on Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:38 pm

    Russia, US to Discuss Agreement on Mid, Short-Range Missiles in September - Source

    MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian and US experts will meet in September to discuss a bilateral agreement on mid- and short-range missiles, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told RIA Novosti Thursday. “A meeting will be held on the expert level. This will be consultations on mutual concerns,” the source said in reference to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Washington earlier accused Moscow of “breaching its INF obligations of not testing, producing or developing cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.” The Russian Foreign Ministry said the accusations are unfounded and that the United States has not released any evidence of Russia breaching the agreement. The Russian authorities have expressed their own complaints about US compliance with the treaty in light of Washington’s plans to deploy Mark 41 Vertical Launching Systems to Poland and Romania. Last week, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel discussed the necessity of more meetings and open lines of communication on the treaty.The INF Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 to prevent the use of nuclear and conventional missiles with an intermediate range, defined as 500 to 5,000 kilometers (310 to 3,100 miles).

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    Re: INF Treaty - coming to the end of its life

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