Russian missile undermining the nuclear balance

Author : Gerhard Hegmann

Source : Die Welt

Russia is supposed to violate the INF disarmament treaty
20:23, 16 January 2019

Open source

The USA talks about this danger soberly, in numbers and letters. 9M729 (NATO-class SSC-8) is the missile developing which Russia violates the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles. Moscow denies the charges. This is a dispute in which experts point out contradictions and inconsistencies between the text of the treaty and the weapons arsenal with its technical capabilities.

The treaty concluded in 1987 between the USA and the USSR regulates the disarmament and destruction of shorter and medium-range nuclear weapons, that is, from 500 to 5,500 km range.

At the same time, the treaty concerns only ground-based weapons, and not projectiles from aircraft or ships and submarines. Therefore, the contract for decades has a loophole, experts say. The special sharpness the situation has due to the fact that the armament designed for launches from an airplane or a ship can also be tested on land.

At the end of November, the head of the U.S. National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, voiced what the industry has long been considered to be a well-known secret: Russia has been developing new ground weapons since the mid-2000s, and it can be equipped with a nuclear warhead.

Coats talked about the ground system. 9M729 is being developed by the Novator Russian design bureau. That is, we are talking about a rocket in its traditional sense. At the same time, Coats noted the Iskander system.

It is remarkable in that experts understand the Iskander as not only a rocket, but also a whole system of a heavy four-axle vehicle and a launching device, as well as armament. It can be either a short-range SS-26 missile, or auxiliary weapons, a smaller-range 9M728 (SSC-7) cruise missile.

This is a controlled weapon with a length of seven to eight meters and a diameter of half a meter. The main complaints are that Moscow has developed a much more powerful cruise missile, namely the 9M729 model, which can also be launched from the Iskander system.

Markus Schiller, a military expert, head of ST Analytics, a teacher at the University of the Bundeswehr in Munich, said that from a technical point of view it would not be a surprise if the 9M729 missile had a range longer than 500 km and thus means a breach of contract. "From the point of view of a technical specialist, the contract is formulated very imprecisely and unsuccessfully."

Thus, the Russians claim that their Iskander missiles (SS26) have a range of only 480 km, that is, they comply with the requirements of the treaty. “If the payload is reduced, the rocket will have a range of over 500 km,” says Schiller.

The engineer proceeds from the assumption that a new supposedly dangerous rocket is launched from a transport using a solid-fuel engine. Then, for approaching the target, a dual-circuit turbojet engine is used. Unlike a ballistic missile, it does not rise high into the sky, but probably approaches the target at a low altitude, perhaps even below 100 m.

At a speed of 1000 km / h, it will take much longer for this rocket to cover long distances comparing to ballistic missiles. “They can reach targets up to 5,000 km in a quarter of an hour. But the threat level of ballistic missiles is much higher,” says Schiller. By the way, a long-range ballistic missile can be converted into a medium-range missile.

Read original article at  Die Welt

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