Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yeah, Right. Tell Us Another.

Russia says new ICBM can beat any system

By STEVE GUTTERMAN
Associated Press
Wed May 30, 2007

MOSCOW - Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that [First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov] boasted could penetrate any defense system. [...]

"As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems," Ivanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "So in terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country's future."

Ivanov is a former defense minister seen as a potential Kremlin favorite to succeed Putin next year. Both he and Putin have said repeatedly that Russia would continue to improve its nuclear arsenals and respond to U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic — NATO nations that were in Moscow's front yard during the Cold War as Warsaw Pact members.

Russia has bristled at the plans. [...]

The ICBM, called the RS-24, was fired from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch site in northwestern Russia. Its test warhead landed on target some 3,400 miles away on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, the Strategic Missile Forces said in a statement...


Pure hyperbolic rubbish, although I understand the Kremlin's need to reassure some elements of the Russian population that Russia can still swagger on the world stage.

Further, the new missile no doubt can penetrate the existing ballistic missile defense system - but likely not always, nor any better than previous missiles. The current missile shield is a better-than-nothing partial defense.

But nobody else has even that limited capability, and the boast about how Russia will be able to "overcome any future missile defense systems" is laughable. The current system is analogous to the American "Atlas" ICBMs of the 60s. Those were failure-prone and barely adequate.

But we got better at making ICBMs, and we'll most-certainly get better now at stopping them.

Finally, if Russia's new missile did indeed fly 3,400 miles and land on-target, and is capable of MIRV-ing, (as is stated in the full article), then Russia can legitimately swagger a bit, since those are performance hallmarks of a superpower, and are well beyond the capabilities of wanna-be's such as Iran and No. Korea.

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