October 25, 2006

NOTHING TO FEAR... (via Lou Gots):

New Russian ballistic missile fails again in test (Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST, Oct. 25, 2006)

An experimental Russian ballistic missile veered off its course shortly after having been launched from a Russian nuclear submarine and fell into the sea Wednesday in its second consecutive launch failure in as many months, officials said. [...]

"The failure means that the entire new class of submarines has no missile to be equipped with," Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst, told The Associated Press. "That's a big problem for the military." [...]

Felgenhauer said that authorities had skipped test launches of Bulava from land-based launchpads in order to save funds and speed up their deployment. "During the Soviet times, they didn't test-fire experimental missiles from submarines because it was considered too risky," he told the AP.

Which is why we can do North Korea whenever we want.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2006 10:06 PM

Except if their command and control - help me out here, Lou! - over existing land-based missiles that do work is no better than this.

Posted by: Rick T at October 26, 2006 4:15 AM


Posted by: jd watson at October 26, 2006 5:33 AM

The USSR is no more---why does Russia need submarines??

Posted by: ray at October 26, 2006 10:57 AM


You do have to wonder, though, if Putin gave the order right now to launch all missles, how many of them would actually be in the air within an hour, and how many of those would actually hit anywhere near their target. I'm not at all sure, and I don't think anyone on the planet (including Putin!) knows, either.

Posted by: Mike Earl at October 26, 2006 11:41 AM

Not much help here. Russian gear is still very dangerous, and we certainly do not want to go to war with them. They do have weaknesses in command and control, which are vulnerabilities to be exploited. The effect of their incompetence is to diminish the crediility of their deterrent.

Keep in mind that the Russians, in their own version of the "happy times," never solved the fixed-wing carrier problem. How then are they likely to be able to cope with our anti-submarine warfare, anti-ballistic missile and space warfare capabilities?

Russia has more than enough power to defend itself and more than enough to deter an attack upon itself. The question should be whether it has enough power to deter an attack on North Korea or Iran. The question for the Russians is whether they are ready to "die for Danzig" if one of the rogue states pops a nuke at the United States or at a United States force.

The scenario would be as follows: the nuclear-equiped rogue state commits some provocation, such as an attack on South Korea or Israel. The United States responds with conventional power. Positing a failure of deterrence with respect to the rogue state, that state strikes the American force with a nuclear weapon. The next step, absent external deterrence, would be massive United States retaliation. At this point, what does Russia do?

Is Russia prepared to underwrite North Korean or Iranian national survival with its own?
Russian military incompetence makes this very unlikely.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 26, 2006 12:29 PM

Lou, why not follow Vietnam's example.

Posted by: erp at October 26, 2006 12:40 PM

It wouldn't even be capable of retaliating against a surprise first strike.

Posted by: oj at October 26, 2006 12:41 PM
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