USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

Wehrtechnik & Rüstung, Sicherheit und Verteidigung außerhalb Europas
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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Raytheon exits precision strike missile competition (25. März 2020)
In what was described as a mutual decision, Raytheon is exiting from the Army’s Precision Strike Missile technology maturation and risk reduction phase without a flight test under its belt, according to a company statement sent to Defense News on March 25.

“Although we remain confident in our resolution to the technical issue that delayed our DeepStrike flight test, the Army and Raytheon have mutually come to the decision to conclude our participation in the PrSM Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction phase,” the statement reads in full.
“The decision was made to not provide additional money to Raytheon to help them try to meet the requirements to get into the next phase of the competition and, really, that meant have a successful flight test,” Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, who is in charge of Army Long-Range Precision Fires modernization, told Defense News in a March 25 interview.

“Their period of performance ended on the 20th, last Friday, and so they dropped out of the competition because they didn’t meet the requirement for the next phase,” he said. “It has been a competitive program and all competitions end and this one ended in this way.”

Lockheed now has two successful test flights of its PrSM offering, but Raytheon had struggled with a technical issue since late last year when it was scheduled to execute its first test flight at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

The company’s next flight test will be held April 30th, Rafferty said.
While Raytheon may be out now, Rafferty said, “I think it’s important to remember that we view not just the base missile as the competitive part of PrSM.”

The Army intends to spiral in capability to the base missile later on. Spiral one adds a more capable seeker, and spiral two would enhance lethality of the weapon either through sub-munitions or “a couple of alternatives that we are considering for that," Rafferty said.

And the service plans to extend the range of the PrSM missile so there are opportunities for competition there “and we would welcome Raytheon as an important competitor,” Rafferty said, adding Raytheon’s design features a compelling propulsion system, which fundamentally differs from Lockheed’s design and could be considered down the road.
But the Army believes the baseline missile could actually reach a range of 550 kilometers based on data from both Raytheon and Lockheed. The Army has said it wouldn’t consider adjusting its requirements until each company has had a chance to see how their respective missile behaves in real flight tests.

Lockheed’s third flight will test the missile’s performance at an even shorter range. The company is waiting on a potential award to conduct three more flights tests in a second phase of the program. Those tests will include a maximum range test as well as a salvo firing of two missiles. ... mpetition/

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Russia slams US arguments for low-yield nukes ... eld-nukes/

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Bild ... ?__tn__=-R ... &__tn__=-R

Lockheed Martin's PrSM Proves Reliability in Third U.S. Army Flight Test

PrSM was fired from Lockheed Martin's High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS™) launcher and flew approximately 85 kilometers to the target area, culminating in a highly accurate and lethal warhead event. ... light-Test

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades
John Hudson and
Paul Sonne

May 23, 2020 at 3:32 a.m. GMT+2

The Trump administration has discussed whether to conduct the first U.S. nuclear test explosion since 1992 in a move that would have far-reaching consequences for relations with other nuclear powers and reverse a decades-long moratorium on such actions, said a senior administration official and two former officials familiar with the deliberations.

The matter came up at a meeting of senior officials representing the top national security agencies May 15, following accusations from administration officials that Russia and China are conducting low-yield nuclear tests — an assertion that has not been substantiated by publicly available evidence and that both countries have denied.

A senior administration official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the sensitive nuclear discussions, said that demonstrating to Moscow and Beijing that the United States could “rapid test” could prove useful from a negotiating standpoint as Washington seeks a trilateral deal to regulate the arsenals of the biggest nuclear powers.

The meeting did not conclude with any agreement to conduct a test, but a senior administration official said the proposal is “very much an ongoing conversation.” Another person familiar with the meeting, however, said a decision was ultimately made to take other measures in response to threats posed by Russia and China and avoid a resumption of testing.

The National Security Council declined to comment.

During the meeting, serious disagreements emerged over the idea, in particular from the National Nuclear Security Administration, according to two people familiar with the discussions. The NNSA, an agency that ensures the safety of the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The United States has not conducted a nuclear test explosion since September 1992, and nuclear nonproliferation advocates warned that doing so now could have destabilizing consequences.

“It would be an invitation for other nuclear-armed countries to follow suit,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. “It would be the starting gun to an unprecedented nuclear arms race. You would also disrupt the negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who may no longer feel compelled to honor his moratorium on nuclear testing.”
President Barack Obama supported the ratification of the CTBT in 2009 but never realized his goal. The Trump administration said it would not seek ratification in its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review.

Still, the major nuclear powers abide by its core prohibition on testing. But the United States in recent months has alleged that Russia and China have violated the “zero yield” standard with extremely low-yield or underground tests, not the type of many-kiloton yield tests with mushroom clouds associated with the Cold War. Russia and China deny the allegation.
Every year, top U.S. officials, including the heads of the national nuclear labs and the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, must certify the safety and reliability of the stockpile without testing. The Trump administration has said that, unlike Russia and China, it isn’t pursuing new nuclear weapons but reserves the right to do so if the two countries refuse to negotiate on their programs.
The primary remaining pillar of the arms-control framework between the United States and Russia is the New START pact, which places limits on strategic nuclear platforms.

The Trump administration has been pushing to negotiate a follow-on agreement that includes China in addition to Russia, but China has rejected calls for talks so far.

Trump’s presidential envoy for arms control, Marshall Billingslea, warned that China is the “midst” of a major buildup of its nuclear arsenal and “intent on building up its nuclear forces and using those forces to try to intimidate the United States and our friends and allies.”

One U.S. official said a nuclear test could help pressure the Chinese into joining a trilateral agreement with the United States and Russia, but some nonproliferation advocates say such a move is risky. ... story.html

20. Mai 2020

Text of a Letter to Certain Congressional Committees on the United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China ... lic-china/

United States Strategic Approach to The People's Republic of China
To respond to Beijing’s challenge, the Administration has adopted a competitive approach to the PRC, based on a clear-eyed assessment of the CCP’s intentions and actions, a reappraisal of the United States’ many strategic advantages and shortfalls, and a tolerance of greater bilateral friction. Our approach is not premised on determining a particular end state for China. Rather, our goal is to protect United States vital national interests, as articulated in the four pillars of the 2017 National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS). We aim to: (1) protect the American people, homeland, and way of life; (2) promote American prosperity; (3) preserve peace through strength; and (4) advance American influence.
3. Preserve Peace through Strength

The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) prioritizes long-term competition with China and emphasizes modernization and partnerships to counter the PLA’s technological advancements, force development, and growing international presence and assertiveness. As described in the Nuclear Posture Review, the Administration is prioritizing the modernization of the nuclear triad, including the development of supplementary capabilities designed to deter Beijing from using its weapons of mass destruction or conducting other strategic attacks. Meanwhile, the United States continues to urge China’s leaders to come to the table and begin arms control and strategic risk reduction discussions as a nuclear power with a modern and growing nuclear arsenal and the world’s largest collection of intermediate range delivery systems. The United States believes it is in the interest of all nations to improve Beijing’s transparency, prevent miscalculations, and avoid costly arms buildups.

The Department of Defense is moving quickly to deploy hypersonic platforms, increasing investments in cyber and space capabilities, and developing more lethal fires based on resilient, adaptive, and cost-effective platforms. Together, these capabilities are intended to deter and counter Beijing’s growing ambitions and the PLA’s drive toward technological parity and superiority. ... -of-china/

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Live nuclear testing could resume in ‘months’ if needed, official says
A live nuclear test could be arranged within “months” if requested by the president, a top defense department nuclear official said Tuesday, following a report that the Trump administration has discussed the first American nuclear test in decades.

However, Drew Walter, performing the duties of deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear matters, stressed that there “has been no policy change” when it comes to avoiding live nuclear testing.
Walter said it was his understanding that “a very quick test with limited diagnostics” could occur “within months” if ordered by the president for technical or geopolitical reasons. "I think it would happen relatively rapidly.”

However, the data gathered from such a test would likely be minimal, given the need to quickly set it up; a fuller test, to gather large amounts of useful data, might be more likely to take years, he said at an event hosted by the Mitchell Institute.

Under presidential guidance going back to 1993, NNSA is required to maintain a capability to conduct a nuclear test within 24 to 36 months, according to an agency document. However, “Nuclear test response time depends on the specific details of the test.”

Walter added that he believes the NNSA has a spot picked out in Nevada where it could do underground testing.
Walter hinted in that direction Tuesday, saying there is “widespread concern about the major disparity in the way Russia and China appear to interpret and adhere” to the CTBT guidelines. He added that the U.S. “should be mindful of the implications over the long term of what other countries will learn, maybe not today but in the long term, if they conduct” live nuclear tests. ... cial-says/

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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U.S. seeks to house missiles in the Pacific. Some allies don’t want them
The governor of a Japanese territory where the Pentagon is thinking about basing missiles capable of threatening China has a message for the United States: Not on my island.

“I firmly oppose the idea,” said Gov. Denny Tamaki, the governor of Okinawa, in an email to The Times.

Officials in other Asian countries are also signaling they don’t want them.

But Pentagon planners aren’t backing down after the Trump administration withdrew last year from a 33-year-old arms control treaty that barred U.S. land-based intermediate-range missiles in Asia.

Senior officials now say that putting hundreds of American missiles with nonnuclear warheads in Asia would quickly and cheaply shift the balance of power in the western Pacific back in the United States’ favor amid growing Pentagon concern that China’s expanding arsenal of missiles and other military capabilities threaten U.S. bases in the region and have emboldened Beijing to menace U.S. allies in Asia.

The missile plan is the centerpiece of a planned buildup of U.S. military power in Asia projected to consume tens of billions of dollars in the defense budget over the next decade, a major shift in Pentagon spending priorities away from the Middle East.
Australia and the Philippines publicly ruled out hosting American missiles when the Trump administration first floated the idea last year. South Korea is also considered an unlikely location, current and former officials say.

In Japan, the decision on whether to allow U.S. missiles on its territory will be made by the central government in Tokyo. Gov. Tamaki said officials at the Pentagon and in Tokyo have told him there are no definite plans to put missiles on Okinawa. But Tamaki isn’t reassured.

With a Japanese mother and an American father who served with the Marines on Okinawa before abandoning the family, Tamaki personifies the complex relationship between the U.S. and its allies in Asia. He was elected two years ago after pledging to oppose expansion of the already-substantial U.S. military presence on the island.

More than half of the 50,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan are in Okinawa, most concentrated at a Marine base surrounded by residential areas in the largest city. Opposition to the 70-year-old U.S. military presence has sparked local protests for years, which would probably intensify if there were a move to base missiles there.

“If there is such a plan, I can easily imagine fierce opposition from Okinawa residents,” Tamaki said.
U.S. officials say that many allies are privately supportive of the missile plan and may come around to permitting them on their territory but don’t want to provoke opposition from Beijing and their own public before decisions are on the table.

The U.S. has a defense treaty with Japan, as it does with South Korea, the Philippines and Australia. Taiwan is not a formal ally but has close, unofficial defense ties with Washington.

“We are very attentive to our allies’ concerns, and we recognized their political challenges,” said a senior defense official, who agreed to discuss Pentagon planning if he was not identified. “Everything that’s said in the media is not necessarily what’s said behind closed doors.”

To lessen the political opposition, the U.S. could rotate missile batteries in and out of locations around the region or place them in strategic locations without publicly disclosing it.

“It wouldn’t make much sense to announce plans now, which would stoke Chinese anger and possibly play into the domestic politics,” said Randy Schriver, who was a senior Pentagon official responsible for Asia until his resignation last year.

A decision to go ahead in Asia would intensify an arms race between the region’s two biggest powers whose relations — already tense over President Trump’s confrontational trade agenda and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hawkish policies — have nosedived since the coronavirus outbreak.

“It’s naïve and dangerous,” said Alexandra Bell, a former Obama administration arms control official and a critic of deploying U.S. missiles. “Instead of looking at how we can prevent a full-out arms race, that’s our opening salvo?” added Bell, a senior policy director at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation in Washington.

Putting land-based missiles in Asia capable of attacking China is not a new strategy.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the U.S. kept them at bases across the region, including in Okinawa, where hundreds of nuclear-armed warheads were stored secretly for decades even though Japan’s constitution prohibited the presence of nuclear weapons on its territory.

The missiles were gradually taken out of service in the 1960s and 1970s, because of budget cuts and a shift in U.S. strategy away from defense of the region focused on nuclear weapons. In 1987, the Reagan administration signed an arms control treaty that prohibited the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and later Russia) from deploying any land-based intermediate range missiles, including in Asia. ... -expansion

Russland hat vor wenigen Tagen eine neue Nukleardoktrin veröffentlicht:

Fundamentals of Nuclear Deterrence State Policy approved

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Lockheed Martin and US Army ink PrSM development contract
On 12 June the service disclosed the dollar amount of the PrSM Enhanced Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction (ETMRR) effort that will be administered through Advanced Technology International (ATI).

“The ETMRR phase will include the build of four missiles, three flight tests, and subsystem qualification for PrSM,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told Janes on 15 June.

“We are currently working to produce the missiles in preparation for the flight tests that will take place in 2021,” the spokesperson added.

The company added that this next chapter will follow the Technical Maturation and Risk Reduction phase (TMRR) that is slated to be completed in the coming weeks.

Monica Guthrie, the communications director for the army’s Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team (LRPF CFT), noted that the upcoming ETMRR effort is designed, in part, to ensure that the PrSM achieves a technology readiness level 6 prior to entering the engineering, manufacturing, and development phase of the program.

“It includes an assessment of manufacturing feasibility, establishing a configuration baselines, full sub-assembly-level qualification of sup-assemblies, assessment of the missile's survivability against threat systems and representative flight tests of the final configuration,” she wrote in a 15 June email to Janes. ... t-contract

Bild ... &__tn__=-R

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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NATO passt atomare Abschreckung an
Man habe sich darauf geeinigt, zusätzliche Schritte zu unternehmen, um eine sichere und effektive Abschreckung zu gewährleisten, sagte Generalsekretär Jens Stoltenberg heute nach Beratungen mit den Verteidigungsministern der Bündnisstaaten.

Details nannte er nicht. Theoretisch könnte die Anpassung zum Beispiel durch zusätzliche Alarmübungen und Manöver mit Atombombern erfolgen. Lediglich Planungen für die Stationierung neuer landgestützter atomarer Mittelstreckenwaffen wurden zuletzt ausgeschlossen.

NATO Defence Ministers agree response to Russian missile challenge, address missions in Afghanistan and Iraq

Press conference
by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers

Today, we addressed Russia’s extensive and growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles.

And their implications for NATO’s security.

Last year, Russia’s deployment of SSC-8 missiles led to the demise of the INF Treaty.

The SSC-8 missiles are dual-capable, mobile, and hard to detect. They can reach European cities with little warning time. And they lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.

Russia is also modernising its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Its hypersonic glide vehicle has entered operations.

Russia has tested its air-launched ballistic missile system. And is developing a nuclear-powered cruise missile. We have also seen a pattern over many years of irresponsible Russian nuclear rhetoric, aimed at intimidating and threatening NATO Allies.

Russia’s behaviour is destabilizing and dangerous.

At our meeting today Ministers discussed these challenges and agreed a balanced package of political and military elements.

This includes strengthening our integrated air and missile defence.

A number of Allies have announced they are acquiring new air and missile defence systems, including Patriot and SAMP/T batteries.

We also agreed to strengthen our advanced conventional capabilities.

Allies are investing in these new platforms, including fifth generation fighter aircraft.

And we are also adapting our intelligence, and our exercises.

Ministers also met in in the Nuclear Planning Group format.

NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements have served us well for decades. Allowing us to forge common ground on nuclear issues.

The NATO nuclear deterrent in Europe remains vital for peace and freedom in Europe. And today we decided on additional steps to keep the NATO nuclear deterrent safe, secure and effective.

We will maintain our deterrence and defence but we will not mirror Russia.

We have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.

Meetings of NATO Ministers of Defence

17 Jun. 2020 - 18 Jun. 2020

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Paper #11: 7/23/2020
Strengthening Deterrence and Reducing Nuclear Risks, Part II: The Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-Nuclear (SLCM-N) ... -Final.pdf

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Re: USA: "Low-yield nuclear weapon" & "INF Range Ground-launched Missile System"

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Nuke Sea-Launched Cruise Missile Would Bolster Deterrence, Officials Say ... cials-say/