Posts Tagged ‘ballistic missile’

Why China Wants South China Sea

July 18, 2011 Comments off

By Tetsuo Kotani

Beijing is interested in more than just energy and fishery resources. The area is also integral to its nuclear submarine strategy.


In an effort to underscore its importance to Asia, geostrategist Nicholas Spykman once described it as the ‘Asiatic Mediterranean.’ More recently, it has been dubbed the ‘Chinese Caribbean.’ And, just as Rome and the United States have sought control over the Mediterranean and Caribbean, China now seeks dominance over the South China Sea.

It’s clear that China’s claims and recent assertiveness have increased tensions in this key body of water. Yet while most attention has focused on Beijing’s appetite for fishery and energy resources, from a submariner’s perspective, the semi-closed sea is integral to China’s nuclear strategy. And without understanding the nuclear dimension of the South China Sea disputes, China’s maritime expansion makes little sense.

Possessing a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent is a priority for China’s military strategy. China’s single Type 092, or Xia-class, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, equipped with short-range JL-1 submarine-launched ballistic Read more…

Iran Speeding Up Long-Range Missile Drive: U.N. Experts

June 15, 2011 Comments off


A recent U.N. expert review asserts that Iran has increased the rate of activities aimed at producing long-range missiles, Haaretz reported last week (see GSN, June 13).

Iran has tamped down public references to its ballistic missile advancements, possibly in part due to international uncertainty over its capacities in the area as well as over penalties other governments have adopted in a bid to curb Tehran’s disputed nuclear and missile activities, the Israeli newspaper said (see GSN, May 14).

Iran has conducted trial flights of its Shahab 3 and Sajjil ballistic missiles in three instances in less than half a year, and some of the weapons can travel farther than 620 miles, the report says. The Shahab 3 missile has proven in tests its ability to fly as far as 560 miles, and the Sajjil 1 missile has a range of Read more…

India Test-Fires Nuke Capable Ballistic Missile

June 10, 2011 Comments off

(RTTNews) – India on Thursday successfully test-fired a nuclear capable ballistic missile from a test range in the country’s eastern state of Orissa as part of the user’s trial by the Indian Army.

“The indigenously developed missile mounted on a mobile launcher was test-fired from the launch complex-3 in the Integrated Test Range at around 0905 hours and the trial was fully successful,” the Press Trust of India news agency reported quoting defense sources. Earlier also, the Prithvi-II missile had Read more…

China Seen Deploying New Ballistic Missile Unit Close to Taiwan

May 27, 2011 Comments off


Here is another article of interest published in April.

Taiwan’s intelligence head on Thursday asserted China had fielded an additional ballistic missile unit not far from the self-governing island, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, April 6).

“The unit, carrying the code number 96166 and based in Guangdong province [in southern China], is indeed a new unit, probably a new ballistic missile brigade,” National Security Bureau chief Tsai Teh-sheng said, without offering further specifics.

“Over the past few years, the People’s Liberation Army has kept increasing its deployment of ballistic missile units in both quantity and quality opposite Taiwan,” Tsai said in remarks passed along by lawmaker Lin Yu-fang.

Taiwanese analysts project that Beijing at present has in excess of 1,600 missiles targeting the island that it claims as Chinese territory. The majority of those weapons are thought to be fielded in Jiangxi and Fuijan provinces in the southeastern part of the country. Experts predict that as many as 1,800 missiles could be aimed at Taiwan in 2012, AFP reported.

China’s robust rail system has allowed it to rapidly transport missiles to coastal regions when required. Some missiles can even be fired from railway trains, according to Lin, who is also a military affairs professor.

China’s top military official last week seemingly denied that any missiles were aimed at Taiwan. Beijing, though, has said it could take military action should Taipei seek full autonomy (see GSN, May 19; Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, May 26).

North Korean Missile Reach Will Extend to U.S.: Senior Intel Official

May 19, 2011 Comments off


WASHINGTON — North Korea’s ballistic missile program would eventually yield systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons to the United States, a senior U.S. intelligence official said on Wednesday (see GSN, April 14).

(May. 19) – A North Korean missile unit, shown in a 1992 military parade in Pyongyang. North Korea is on track to one day produce ballistic missiles suited for carrying nuclear weapons to the United States, a high-level U.S. intelligence official said on Wednesday (Getty Images).

The North Korean missile threat is “very different from what we had 40 years ago with the Soviet Union and the threat of first strikes,” Raymond Colston, the new national intelligence manager for Korea at the National Intelligence Director’s Office, said during a Capitol Hill panel discussion of Korean Peninsula security issues.

“No one is looking at the North Koreans as building these systems to have a first-strike capability or anything like that. That’s not what we’re really concerned about. But they are certainly building missiles that eventually will be capable of targeting the U.S., and these missiles will be capable of having nuclear weapons.”

The North has an aggressive missile development program that has included two apparent test launches of its Taepodong 2 long-range ballistic missile, in 2006 and 2009. The first flight ended in less than a minute, while the second rocket flew farther but apparently crashed down with the second and third stages failing to separate.

Pyongyang is not known to have yet developed nuclear warheads that could be loaded onto missiles. The regime, though, is believed to hold enough plutonium for six weapons and last November unveiled a uranium enrichment plant that could give it a second route for preparing weapons material.

Years of diplomatic activity under the six-party talks process have failed to persuade the regime to accept nuclear disarmament.

North Korea’s proliferation of weapons systems is a “very serious concern,” added the official, who spoke on the third day in his present position at the National Read more…

Chinese space plans cause military jitters

May 17, 2011 Comments off

China has announced plans to put its own space station in orbit by 2020. The 60-tonne construction will be one-seventh the weight of the ISS and will focus on scientific experiments. However, military involvement with the project is causing concern.

Beijing’s Space City research center is opening its doors to the media, as China has announced its intention to build a rival to the International Space Station.

While some see Chinese advances in space travel as a potential threat, the country’s officials are keen to stress the spirit of co-operation, which they say is behind China’s space program.

“We are looking forward to co-operating with other countries in the field of space exploration,” said Yang Liwei, Vice Director of Manned Space Engineering Bureau. “We are also looking forward to having more countries join this club, so we can promote the common goals of mankind.”  

For the moment though, the Chinese space program is doing very well on its own.

Since becoming only the third country in the world to send a person in to space, in 2003, the Chinese also carried out a space walk in 2008 and the Read more…

Iran, North Korea Partnering on Ballistic Missiles, U.N. Says

May 16, 2011 Comments off


(May. 16) - An Iranian Shahab 3 ballistic missile lifts off in a 2009 test. The Shahab 3's warhead appears comparable in design to a North Korean warhead unveiled last year, according to a U.N. report that says the countries seem to have exchanged ballistic missile technology (Shaiegan/Getty Images). Iran and North Korea seem to routinely be swapping ballistic missile equipment in breach of U.N. Security Council directives, a classified expert report to the international body stated on Friday (see GSN, Dec. 1, 2010).

Illegal trades of missile technology had “transshipment through a neighboring third country,” the report states. Multiple envoys told Reuters the nation in question is China.

The report by the Panel of Experts assigned to oversee adherence to U.N. sanctions levied against North Korea was sent to the Security Council on Friday and viewed by Reuters on Saturday.

The document is expected to increase apprehension over Pyongyang’s collaboration with Tehran and to bolster worries about Beijing’s willingness to implement sanctions targeting North Korea and Iran’s nuclear activities, diplomats said.

The Security Council sanctions forbid commerce in atomic and missile systems with the North.

“Prohibited ballistic missile-related items are suspected to have been transferred between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air,” the experts stated.

“For the shipment of cargo, like arms and related materiel, whose illicit nature would become apparent on any cursory physical inspection, (North) Korea seems to prefer chartered cargo flights,” the document says.

Chartered cargo flights typically travel “from or to air cargo hubs which lack the kind of monitoring and security to which passenger terminals and flights are now subject,” according to the report.

A number of envoys to the Security Council said Beijing was not pleased with Read more…

India Seeks Longer-Range Ballistic Missile

March 28, 2011 Comments off


India is working on a new ballistic missile that could travel more than 3,000 miles, the Press Trust of India reported on Friday (see GSN, Jan. 5).

“India has reached an appreciable level of competence in missile technologies, with a reach capability of” 2,175 miles, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said during a gathering of Defense Research and Development Organization laboratory chiefs. The organization is now pursuing a version of the nuclear-capable Agni missile that could fly roughly 3,100 miles, he added. Informed insiders said the Agni 5 would be test-launched sometime in 2011.

India continues to work on other versions of its Agni series. An Agni 3 missile with a flight range of about 2,175 miles was successfully test-fired not long ago from a launch site. Other Agni missile variants have traveling distances between 435 and 1,553 miles.

The Defense Research and Development Organization also prepared the Prithvi missile series, whose missiles can travel as far as 217 miles.

Antony called on DRDO scientists to increase the pace of trials for ballistic missile defense interceptors (Press Trust of India/The Hindu, March 25).

Russia, U.S. begin data exchange under New START

March 23, 2011 Comments off

The right to begin conducting on-site inspections officially begins 60 days after the treaty's entry into force, which is April 6.

The right to begin conducting on-site inspections officially begins 60 days after the treaty’s entry into force, which is April 6.

The United States and Russia have begun exchanging information on their nuclear stockpiles under a new U.S.-Russian arms reduction treaty, a senior U.S. official said.

“With entry into force of the Treaty, we have begun implementing an extensive regime of mutual monitoring and information exchange,” Rose Gottemoeller, the Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, said.

“Our Nuclear Risk Reduction Center transmitted the U.S. database to Russia over this Read more…

Russia to spend $700 bln on new weapons

March 19, 2011 Comments off


MOSCOW (AP) — President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that Russia will spend the equivalent of $700 billion by 2020 to modernize the military’s aging arsenals, but sternly warned arms industries against jacking up prices.

Medvedev said the new plan should re-equip the armed forces, which have mostly relied on Soviet-built weapons, but some analysts say that the ambitious program that envisages procurement of 600 new warplanes, 100 ships and 1,000 helicopters is unfeasible because of a steady decline of the nation’s once-proud arms industry.

Medvedev, speaking at a meeting with the top military brass, harshly criticized domestic arms makers for failing to meet Russia’s weapons orders last year and said that the culprits will be punished.

Medvedev didn’t give details, but deputy prime minister Sergei Ivanov said Read more…