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Nations to Spend $1 Trillion on Nukes, Group Says

June 20, 2011 Comments off

globalsecuritynewswire

The planet’s nine nuclear weapons states are anticipated in the next 10 years to expend $1 trillion on acquiring and updating their systems, a prominent nuclear disarmament organization said (see GSN, June 7).

The group Global Zero — whose goal is total nuclear disarmament no later than 2030 — calculated the nuclear weapons expenditure figures for China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Financial Times reported. The organization is seeking to bring attention to the high price countries pay for their nuclear arsenals in a time of increasing government budget restraints.

Nuclear costs among the nine nations this year are estimated at $100 billion, with similar annual numbers anticipated throughout the decade, according to Global Zero.

The organization determined that nuclear arsenal expenditures take up roughly 9 percent of the countries’ total military spending; that percentage is anticipated to increase as traditional defense programs are curtailed in a number of the nations. Nuclear weapons spending encompasses research, development, weapons assessments and acquisitions.

“Spending will increase because of decisions by both nations to upgrade and replace,” Global Zero founder Bruce Blair said. “Modernization is progressing at such a pace we are seeing more spending on nuclear weapons than at any time since the Cold War.”

The group is to convene a two-day forum in London this week with participants including Russian Federation Council international affairs committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov, ex-Indian defense chief Jaswant Singh, ex-CIA intelligence agent Valerie Plame and multiple senior Chinese officials.

Global Zero wants to see other nuclear nations besides the United States and Russia take part in formal discussions on nuclear arms control.

The two former Cold War rivals together hold 95 percent of the planet’s nuclear weapons. They recently implemented a bilateral treaty that requires both sides to reduce their deployed stockpiles of strategic warheads to 1,550. U.S. President Obama has said he would like to see negotiations with Moscow for a treaty on tactical weapons begin in 2012 (see GSN, June 2; James Blitz, Financial Times, June 19).

China Stealth Jet Fighter J-20

January 5, 2011 Comments off

Aviation experts believe China may have started testing a new stealth aircraft – putting it well ahead of Western predictions that a revamped air force would not be ready for take-off for another decade.

Photographs of the J-20 taking high-speed taxi tests at an airfield have appeared on several websites, fueling speculation that Beijing is not particularly concerned about keeping its latest weapon under wraps – at least unofficially.

The plane photos surfaced just one week after a U.S. naval commander warned that China is stepping up testing on a space missile that could sink American aircraft carriers in the Pacific.

The Chinese prototype looks like it has “the potential to be a competitor with the F-22 and to be decisively superior to the F-35,” said Mr. Fisher. The J-20 has two engines, like the F-22, and is about the same size, while the F-35 is smaller and has only one engine.

China’s stealth-fighter program has implications also for Japan, which is considering buying F-35s, and for India, which last month firmed up a deal with Russia to jointly develop and manufacture a stealth fighter.

The Chinese military are also expected to launch their first aircraft carrier next year – a year earlier than anticipated by U.S. experts.

But China’s Foreign Ministry insists his military is one of peace, saying: ‘We pose no threat to other countries.’

According to the Aviation Week website, security at the airfield  where the J-20 was photographed was slack and the prototype could be viewed from several public areas.

The ‘leak’ supports earlier claims by the Chinese military that a stealth aircraft would be airborne by 2011 and could be operational by 2017.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates dismissed that idea at the time, claiming that China would not have stealth fighters operational before 2020. “China has the money, they have the industrial expertise, they have the scientific base, the drive and motivation and of course the benefit of American research over 30 years acquired by legal or illegal means,” one anonymous observer was quoted by a Time magazine blog site. “These enablers give China wide latitude in matching or exceeding American designs that are now 20 years old.”

Stealth aircraft – which can evade detection by radar, infrared and other tracking devices – have been in development since the end of World War Two.

Experts point out that the Chinese version is larger than most observers expected – ‘pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads’.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1344115/China-leaks-sneak-peek-latest-stealth-aircraft-going-test-run.html#ixzz1A9jwFEWh