Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts

18 July 2018

Chinese nuclear forces, 2018

By Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris

The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists, and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the since 1987. This issue’s column examines China’s nuclear arsenal, which includes about 280 warheads for delivery by ballistic missiles and bombers. This stockpile is likely to grow further over the next decade.

11 July 2018

Explaining the Hype Around Hypersonic Weapons


Countries around the world are in the process of developing hypersonic weapons technology, and the United States and China are leading the pack. With the technology needed for hypersonic missiles growing ever more feasible and accessible, we anticipate that both countries will have mature designs in the near future. The new missiles will be much faster than any current cruise missiles, and they will be extremely hard to detect. As the world adjusts to this evolving weaponry, the way countries approach offensive arms development and preemptive strikes is set to change dramatically.

8 July 2018

Why India’s Nuclear Security Challenge Demands Attention

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan

Nuclear security has been a key issue for India for several decades, well before the world started paying greater attention to the subject after the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. Given the kind of neighborhood that India is in, securing nuclear and radiological materials from a range of internal and external challenges has remained a major preoccupation. Such concerns shaped the Indian approach, which took the form of a number of institutional and legal measures, some of which go back to the 1960s. These measures have been periodically revised to adapt to the changing threat environment. Though the likelihood of an attack on a nuclear facility may be remote, the impact of such an attack could potentially be horrendous. This has led to greater official Indian attention leading to better interface between policy, regulation, and technology to implement a more effective security practice.

7 July 2018

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty at fifty: a midlife crisis


On 1 July 1968, the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, or NPT) was opened for signature. Since then, the Treaty has become a cornerstone of international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, to eventually eliminate them and to facilitate peaceful use of nuclear energy. With the adherence of 190 countries, the NPT is close to universal world participation. In 1995 the Treaty was extended indefinitely, after its initial period of 25 years. The NPT remains unique as there is no other international agreement based on a bargain between nuclear- and non-nuclear-weapon states.

The Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons

by Paul R. Pillar

The significance of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been the subject of tendentious debates. The right-wing government of Israel, not wanting to relinquish the conquered land whose relinquishment would be necessary for peace, often contends, along with its sympathizers, that peace in that conflict doesn’t really matter much anymore. The region has become preoccupied with other things, goes the argument, and even most Arabs care less about the Palestinians’ situation than about other problems. The kernels of truth in the argument are that the Middle East does indeed have many other troubles independent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that many Arab governments haven’t exactly been steadfast in upholding the interests of their Palestinian brethren.

6 July 2018

America’s new B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs are set to enter service in 2020 and already cost nearly twice their literal weight in gold

Joseph Trevithick

The U.S. Air Force, in cooperation with the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration, has completed the first end-to-end qualification flight tests of the new B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb on the B-2 bomber. This milestone comes amid continued concerns about the weapon’s cost, including the recent announcement that the Pentagon’s top internal watchdog has started its own audit of the program. On June 29, 2018, the National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, revealed the two successful test flights in an official press release. A B-2A Spirit stealth bomber from the Air Force’s 419th Test and Evaluation Squadron, situated at Edwards Air Force Base in California, had dropped the weapons, which did not carry live nuclear warheads, on the Tonopah Test Range on June 9, 2018.

5 July 2018

The state of the world’s nuclear arsenal in 3 charts


At the start of 2018 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) — possessed approximately 14,465 nuclear weapons.
This marked a decrease from the approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons that SIPRI estimated these states possessed at the beginning of 2017.

3 July 2018

The Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons

by Paul R. Pillar

The significance of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been the subject of tendentious debates. The right-wing government of Israel, not wanting to relinquish the conquered land whose relinquishment would be necessary for peace, often contends, along with its sympathizers, that peace in that conflict doesn’t really matter much anymore. The region has become preoccupied with other things, goes the argument, and even most Arabs care less about the Palestinians’ situation than about other problems. The kernels of truth in the argument are that the Middle East does indeed have many other troubles independent of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that many Arab governments haven’t exactly been steadfast in upholding the interests of their Palestinian brethren.

1 July 2018

Report: Foregrounding India’s Nuclear Responsibilities: Nuclear Weapons Possession and Disarmament in South Asia

Rishi Paul

The BASIC Programme on Nuclear Responsibilities shapes the approach to international nuclear weapon policy to draw out the “nuclear responsibilities” of states around nuclear weapons during the process of global disarmament. Each nuclear weapons possessor state has described itself as a 'responsible' nuclear-armed state, but there exists no common understanding of what this entails. This presents an opportunity for a new, inclusive and engaging discussion of nuclear deterrence, restraint, and disarmament that is centred around the nuclear responsibilities frame.

What this report does

28 June 2018

No Surprise: The Bomb Has Made a Bad Situation Worse in South Asia

Michael Krepon

After testing nuclear devices in 1998, Indian and Pakistani leaders genuinely believed—or stated for the record, while suspecting otherwise—that bringing bombs out of the basement would help make the region safer and more stable. They assumed, as did leading strategic analysts in both countries, that nuclear-weapon requirements could remain modest and minimal. Subsequent developments made it is all too clear that, in South Asia, as elsewhere, the overlay of nuclear weapons onto existing grievances does not improve bilateral relations and reinforce conditions of stable deterrence. Pro-bomb constituencies grow stronger once the testing threshold is crossed. Testing nuclear devices opens up a Pandora’s box of requirements that can be relieved only by accepting a modus vivendi with an adversary or by accepting minimal deterrence and dropping out of the competition.

24 June 2018

An Internet of Nuclear Things: Emerging Technology and the Future of Supply Chain Security

Wyatt Hoffman and Tristan Volpe


Emerging technologies enabled by digitization—notably additive manufacturing—are alluring for the nuclear industry as it works to lower financial costs and remedy quality-control concerns with aged production lines. While cyberphysical manufacturing technology could increase the efficiency and visibility of supply-chain operations, the steady trend toward digitization and interconnection could result in unacceptable cyber risks, ranging from the loss of sensitive proprietary information to the spread of compromised components throughout nuclear infrastructure.

23 June 2018

Are Countries Prepared for the Increasing Threat of Engineered Bioweapons?

Ranu S. Dhillon Devabhaktuni Srikrishna David Beier

Amid current outbreaks of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nipah virus in India, an even scarier threat looms. Last year, researchers recreated an extinct smallpox-like virus with DNA bought online for just $100,000 and published how they did it. Their feat heightens concerns that rogue regimes and terrorists could similarly modify or engineer pathogens and use them as weapons. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter warned that such biological artillery might come to rival the destructive power of nuclear arms. If a highly contagious agent were released in a major city, it could spread far and wide and kill thousands before it is even clear what is happening. Responding effectively to such threats will require a paradigm shift towards approaches that are faster and more agile and decentralized than what exists now.

21 June 2018

SIPRI: Nuclear weapons are still being developed


The vision of a world without nuclear weapons is history. In its annual report, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has criticized the ongoing development of new nuclear weapons. Last year was a special year for those in favor of nuclear disarmament. A total of 122 UN member states signed a pledge not to produce or possess nuclear weapons.However, this has not brought the goal of a nuclear-free world much closer. According to the latest estimates by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 14,465 nuclear weapons still exist, in the hands of just nine states: the US, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea. Although internationally these nine countries are in the minority, they have absolutely no intention of giving up their nuclear weapons.

The Nukes You Never Hear About: Russia’s Air-Delivered Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

Mark B. Schneider

Before starting a discussion of Russian non-strategic or tactical air-delivered nuclear weapons, it is important for the reader to understand that these weapons do not exist in isolation. They are part of what amounts to a Russian non-strategic nuclear Triad composed of: 1) ground-based nuclear capable short- to intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles; 2) a sea-based force of nuclear-capable cruise missiles carried on both surface ships and submarines; and 3) an air-delivered non-strategic nuclear force of Backfire bombers and a variety of long-range fighter aircraft which carry both nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles. Russia’s non-strategic nuclear Triad has the same resilience, flexibility, survivability, and defense penetration ability of Russia’s better known strategic Triad. Only Russia, and apparently China, have a non-strategic nuclear Triad. Russia is secretive about its non-strategic nuclear capabilities, particularly its low-yield weapons; hence, it is unlikely that the picture derived from open sources is complete.

20 June 2018

Russian Air-Delivered Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons

By Mark B. Schneider
Before starting a discussion of Russian non-strategic or tactical air-delivered nuclear weapons, it is important for the reader to understand that these weapons do not exist in isolation. They are part of what amounts to a Russian non-strategic nuclear Triad composed of: 1) ground-based nuclear capable short- to intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles; 2) a sea-based force of nuclear-capable cruise missiles carried on both surface ships and submarines; and 3) an air-delivered non-strategic nuclear force of Backfire bombers and a variety of long-range fighter aircraft which carry both nuclear bombs and nuclear-capable ballistic and cruise missiles. Russia’s non-strategic nuclear Triad has the same resilience, flexibility, survivability, and defense penetration ability of Russia’s better known strategic Triad. Only Russia, and apparently China, have a non-strategic nuclear Triad. Russia is secretive about its non-strategic nuclear capabilities, particularly its low-yield weapons; hence, it is unlikely that the picture derived from open sources is complete.

14 June 2018

Hypersonic weapons race


Chinese researchers have been publishing technical papers at a blistering pace about their fundamental research into hypersonic flight, loosely defined as maneuvering in the atmosphere at speeds above 6,000 kph. Flying faster than Mach 5 could be a handy way to travel, but for the leaders in this field — China, Russia and the U.S. — the emphasis has shifted to weapons. At least some of China’s research appears to be headed in that direction, based on references to missiles in the published papers, although my inquiries to the Chinese Embassy’s press office about the purpose of this research went unreturned. The Pentagon reported to Congress earlier this year that China has conducted 20 times as many hypersonic flight tests as the U.S. The most noteworthy recent test was in November, when China flew a new hypersonic missile, the DF-17, capable of flying 1,800 to 2,500 kilometers, as first reported by The Diplomat website. 

12 June 2018

Safer at Sea? Pakistan’s Sea-Based Deterrent and Nuclear Weapons Security

Christopher Clary and Ankit Panda 

Its January 2017 and March 2018 missile tests demonstrate Pakistan’s commitment to develop sea-based nuclear weapons in the coming decade. While some argue this could enhance deterrence, it may increase the dangers of higher readiness and unauthorized use; the risks of inadvertent escalation, preemption, and crisis stability; and the threat of theft or sabotage.

11 June 2018

Time for Global Action Against Radiological Threats

By Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
As a general proposition, the security of nuclear and radiological materials has been a global concern since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, when there were fears that these materials and expertise from Soviet Union would fall into the wrong hands. But the issue only really gained serious attention only after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. In its aftermath of the incident, there were genuine worries that terrorists may get hold of these materials.The fears are not unfounded – according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB), there were a total of 2,889 confirmed incidents involving nuclear and radiological materials between 1993 and 2015. Though only around 25 countries around the world have nuclear materials in their possession, radiological sources are far more widely available because of their dual-use nature and their use for medicinal, industrial, and agricultural purposes.

8 June 2018

Israel To Pump $2B Into Ground-Ground Missile Unit

By ARIE EGOZI
Source Link


While we can't confirm that Israel used ground-to-ground missiles against Syria, a few months ago the IDF established a new unit -- on the orders of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman -- to operate Israeli-developed ground- ground missiles. TEL AVIV: The recent massive Israeli attack on Iranian targets in Syria may mark a major shift in the way Israel uses its fire power. On May 9 Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria in response to the launching of 20 rockets from Syria by Iranian-controlled forces. Four of the rockets were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system; the rest exploded on Syrian territory. There were no Israeli casualties. Reports from Israel said more than 20 Israeli fighter aircraft prosecuted the attack, doubtless helped by Israel’s impressive electronic warfare capabilities. But reports from Syria claimed that surface-to-surface missiles were also used to hit the Iranian installations in Syria. Those reports may be signs of a important change in how Israel executes counter-battery strikes.

7 June 2018

Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape

By STEPHEN BRYEN

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Immortal Regiment in memory of Russian fighters who died in World War II, Israel was getting ready to retaliate for an Iranian rocket attack on Israeli military units in the strategically sensitive Golan. Israel attributed the missile attack to Iran’s al-Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) operating in Syria. The Quds Force reports directly to the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, who certainly authorized the Iranian strike and must take full responsibility for the consequences.