back to article Hypersonic nukes! Nuclear-powered drone subs! Putin unwraps his new (propaganda) toys

Russian Federation president Putin has used his annual state-of-the-nation address to show off the latest additions to Russia's weapon's catalog and to warn the Western powers that his country will not be trifled with. Putin showed off video of new weapons systems, including a massive ICBM capable of launching hypersonic …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

    Mutually Assured Destruction does not require a country to fire first, but just requires countries to fire enough and accurately enough to fuck everybody.

    Thanks Puty baby, now every country and dictator will want them, making the situation a lot more difficult.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      Vlad "Pootie" Putin needs to read 'Superiority' by Arthur C. Clarke

      And I have to ask this one tiny little question: Why, of all times, is he so blatantly bragging about his nukular capabilities? This is especially important because MOST of what he's talking about is still on the drawing board [as I understand it]. You can't be "stealthy" with hypersonics, FAST underwater craft are also LOUD [and susceptible to tactical nukular missiles, like 'subroc'] and so on.

      What he seems to be saying is "we're important, too, DAMMIT! Pay attention to us, we're tired of being FORGOTTEN!"

      Being that China's economy and population are WAY bigger than Russia, I can see he's got 'China Envy'.

      He's also not happy at renewed interest (over here in the USA) of upgrading our arsenal and undoing some of the technological stagnation and possible degradation that's happened over the last (nearly a) decade.

      If he hadn't been such an ass over in Crimea and Ukraine, maybe he wouldn't have to stand there jumping up and down and demanding we PAY ATTENTION TO HIM.

      In any case, the only thing he did NOT do is pound his shoe on the podium...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        If he hadn't been such an ass over in Crimea and Ukraine,

        And maybe if the US hadn't been stirring up things in Ukraine in the first place things might have turned out differently.

        Not to mention that in Crimea, Putin has simply copied the US programme, of interfering militarily in other countries who pose some minor threat.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "Putin has simply copied the US programme, of interfering militarily in other countries"

          It wasn't a US invention, countries have been doing that since written history became a thing.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            Phuzz suggested, "...countries have been doing that since written history became a thing."

            That's either an amazing coincidence in timing; or perhaps there's another explanation for this apparently common starting point for A) the written history of such activities, and B) ah, er, hmmm... written history itself.

            Excuse the pedantry, humour opportunity. :-)

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          Not to mention that in Crimea, Putin has simply copied the US programme

          Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero.

          Not to mention that this was a supposed ally where Russia had been given military basing rights. The very military bases it used to launch the invasion from in fact. Admittedly Russia got the lease on that base renewed by cutting off Ukraine's gas supplies during the winter - but still...

          Whereas you'll find countries round the world clammoring to have US bases. Because having US troops stationed on your soil is protection, whereas having Russian forces based near you is a threat.

          1. JassMan Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD @ I ain't Spartacus

            OOPS!!!

            I think you have forgotten about Grenada. An ex-British colony which suffered a coup by communists.

            OK they were seeking ties with Cuba but history has shown that Cuba has been nothing like the threat that the US has assumed them to be.

            I'm not saying that having a hard communist takeover of an already socialist/communist country was something the locals wanted but there are more diplomatic ways to undo the results of a coup d'état.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD @ I ain't Spartacus

              I think you have forgotten about Grenada. An ex-British colony which suffered a coup by communists.

              Don't think so. Again, did the US annex the territory of Grenada? Nope. They set up the old government which held elections and then left.

              Notice how the Iraqi government told the Americans to leave, and they did. They then invited them back again later after losing all that territory to ISIS.

              I didn't praise US foreign policy in my post, sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. But the point is they aren't doing it to annex territory.

              The post below yours reminds me that NATO annexed Kosovo. Which is odd because they... erm... Didn't.

              Note how Germany are still happy to have US forces based there, 70 years after they were part of the post-war occupying force. But nobody wants Russian forces there.

              Not many countries do. I suppose the Syrian government do - but then they use nerve gas on their own people.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            "How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero"

            Wot? People already forgot about NATO annexing Kosovo?

          3. Mage Silver badge

            Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

            Define Recently. C.f. Gibraltar, N.I. & Catalonia.

            ~

            In world history terms parts of Mexico isn't long ago.

            They got Washington burnt down for trying to invade Canada.

            Florida. Even though they were going to join the Union.

            Strip either side of Panama Canal.

            Destabilised much of Central & South Americas.

            Tried to invade Cuba.

            Messed up Korea (didn't stop advancing), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

            Puerto Rico is an oppressed Colony.

            Alaska. Ask Natives.

            Most of North American Landmass from natives LESS time ago than Ulster Plantation or Cromwell's push of people across the Shannon.

            Philippines.

            Okinawa.

            USA: You can join but can't leave.

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              Gibraltar wasn't annexed. It was ceeded by treaty.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              You missed Hawaii (annexed in support of US businessmen and the United Fruit corporation, later Dole)

              Samoa (that was WW1, so maybe allowable to take it off Germany, but New Zealand handed the part it took over back to the locals after the war whilst the USA kept theirs)

              The Marianas (arrived in WW2, never left)

              Guam (arrived, brought snakes, destroyed the ecosystem)

              They didn't "try to" invade Cuba - they did - in 1899 (a war against Spain started by a faulty steam boiler exploding in Havana Harbour and the mechanations of William Randolph Hurst wanting to sell more newspapers), then lost it to the Cubans and failed to invade it again.

              Virtually all of central america and the carribbean (at one point or another)

              etc.

              The USA has a very long history of invading other countries in its very short existence - it's been more prolific at it than any of the older european powers.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              "Alaska. Ask Natives."

              Pretty sure the US bought that chunk of wasteland from Russia.

              1. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

                "Pretty sure the US bought that chunk of wasteland from Russia."

                A few decades more anthropomorphic global warming and it might be quite pleasant to visit. Rather like Scotland really.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

                  Well... Scotland with bears. And no golf courses.

          4. ridley

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            "Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero."

            Maybe not annexed but the yanks, and to our shame, us have not exactly been averse to invading a country or two over the last few decades.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

            Different style. USA usually uses CIA contractors or "bomb into oblivion", destroys a country and leaves it in ruin. It DOES NOT TRY TO REBUILD what it fucks up. It is like a spoiled child which goes and breaks other children toys and after that runs away not to deal with the consequences. It invades (directly or paying goons), destroys and leaves others to deal with the fruits of its "intervention". A good example would be the way we are dealing with the fallout around the Mediterranean rim today.

            USA interventions count so far since WW2 off the top of my head is (I will probably miss half of them): Cuba (Bay of Pigs), Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Vietnam, Iran (twice), Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, ex-Yugoslavia (twice).

            USSR + Russia: Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Chechnia (twice), North Ossetia, Crimea+Donbass and Syria. Half of those it tried to put at least some effort into rebuilding any damage it did in the process.

            So looking at the score USA has at least double the attempts to intervene militarily in other countries affairs. It also always puts exactly NIL effort to reconstruct, rebuild and fix what they fuck up (I am not counting the Haliburton/Shrub asset stripping operation in Iraq, that was clearly not an attempt to rebuild anything as far as the country infra was concerned).

            It is not a comparison which is in favor of USA by any means.

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          Crimea is a tricky situation because its always been a strategically important area for Russia, its home to a lot of military facilities that haven't been part of Ukraine but rather Russian federal reservations. While Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union or at least in the Russian sphere of influence this didn't matter but as NATO gradually moves to the eastern borders of Russia this becomes a sensitive issue. At the very least Russia didn't 'invade' Crimea because it was already in Russian hands; expecting Russia to move off and leave the facilities for NATO was probably expecting just a bit too much.

          With regard to new weapons there's probably a good bit of Star Wars in there but at the same time it wouldn't pay to become too complacent. Russia has air defense systems that equal or improve on anything the US can field and their latest military aircraft seem to be at least as usable (and a lot cheaper to make) as the F35. We can argue about the relative merits of these systems but one thing is quite noticeable -- we've been hollowing out our aerospace industry which has tended to leave us with a lot of nearly working signature projects that are incredibly expensive that have great potential, assuming they can be made to work (think what happened in the UK but on a larger scale). Russia may have the same limitations but somehow I doubt it (same with China, BTW).

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        Why, of all times, is he so blatantly bragging about his nukular capabilities?

        Would it help if we all clubbed together and bought Vlad an extension operation for those vital few extra inches?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "Would it help if we all clubbed together and bought Vlad an extension operation for those vital few extra inches?"

          It might help more if you got his boyfriend some plastic surgery.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "In any case, the only thing he did NOT do is pound his shoe on the podium..."

        It pays to read the whole speech and not just focus on the shoe.

        Niki was raving on about how Russia has endured many invasions and buried many invaders after the forces have left. Soviet policy was about establishing buffer zones between Moscow and anywhere that might want to invade (which given the history of invasions is about right if you're paranoid about being invaded again). Given the way the US has been shown to export "freedom" (and the type it exports) over the last few decades, that paranoia is arguably justified.

        On the other hand, Vlad is simply poking a stick into a hornet nest - and perhaps attempting to get the USA to spend even more on its military defence technology than it already does (which is unaffordable, well beyond the official 2% GDP and already causing substantial damage to the fabric+infrastructure of american society) in the hope that it will emulate the USSR's implosion on military spend.

        If that;s the case he needn't bother, the F35 project is doing that already.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "On the other hand, Vlad is simply poking a stick into a hornet nest - and perhaps attempting to get the USA to spend even more on its military defence technology than it already does..."

          I was just remembering what did for the USSR and noting the similarities. The USA has huge debt, a President who want's to "Make America Great Again" and part of that plan is to massively spend on the armed forces, especially the nuclear arsenal, and develop new (and very expensive) weapons. I wonder how much of Putins weapons speech is disinformation and how well backed up that is?

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      No, MAD means that his new weapons are pointless. Russia could already destroy the US or any other country they wanted to with the weapons they had. Our missile defense system (if it even worked at all in real life) is designed to defend against a handful of missiles, like if terrorists took over a Russian base, or North Korea or Iran or whoever got it working. It was never designed to or remotely capable of stopping an all out assault from Russia, no matter which pole it came over.

      This is Putin campaigning in Russia: "see I made Russia strong, big bad US can't push us around!" Normally the US would ignore it, but it will end up causing Trump to redouble the stupid project to "strengthen" our nuclear arsenal. Our nuclear arsenal can already destroy Russia many times over, we don't need the capability to destroy it more times.

      It is a doubly bad idea right now because we have an unstable lunatic with his finger on the button and hardly any friends left in the White House who could talk him down. Fortunately I think the military would simply ignore his launch orders, but I'd hate to depend on their common sense overriding decades of indoctrination to follow orders.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "we have an unstable lunatic with his finger on the button"

        I nearly gave you an upvote until I read THAT part. Seriously? You actually BELIEVE that?

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "I nearly gave you an upvote until I read THAT part. Seriously? You actually BELIEVE that?"

          Yes it should read "in charge of the nuclear codes". There is no button as such.

    3. LeeE Silver badge

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      The trouble with partisan views is that they're guaranteed to be incomplete.

      This is a response to posturing and allegations by the West and is hardly unexpected; due to its history, Russia collectively feels very strongly about other nations trying to dominate or intimidate it.

      What Putin is doing is the same as what Trump is doing - bigging up his country and making its people feel strong and resistant to threats from others. The importance is not whether either are good people - the morals of both are open to question - but whether they're competent and whether they're respected.

      What is actually most important about this address is that it hints at some revolutionary advances in technology and even if none of them are actually true as stated it's still likely that some significant advances have been made.

      With hints of 'nukes, the safety of these new advances might be an issue though.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "What Putin is doing is the same as what Trump is doing - bigging up his country and making its people feel strong and resistant to threats from others. "

        And both are making as much money as possible in the process. For instance the new motorway to the Russian winter Olympics would have been cheaper to pave with Pravda handbags than the price that it actually cost to build!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      Presumably Americans will be able to buy them in Walmart soon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crazy thing is that Russia, China and America are :-

    All staunchly independent.

    All will shove a gun in your face to get their way.

    Non of them like being told what to do.

    and all dumb and rich enough to do it.

    All (currently) Fascist and Dictatorial in (true) nature.

  3. Tim99 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Possible scenario

    As well as embiggening himself, perhaps Putin is trying to break the US economy by getting them to spend pointless amounts of treasure on 'defence' - Just like Reagan did to help break the old Soviet Union?

    This may be pointless, as much of the US economy has been purposed to develop unnecessary/late/ineffectual weapons systems for many decades (like the F35?). The US voter might be persuaded to stump up the money on this stuff, rather than on health and social care (which is actually bigger than defence spending) but they seem to be unaware its true purpose - To channel very large amounts of taxpayers' monies to a very small number of (already very rich) people.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Possible scenario

      "unnecessary/late/ineffectual weapons systems" "like the F35?"

      well, people used to say bad things about the M-16, too, when it first came out. nowadays, after a few decades of serious use and tweeking, it's probably one of the best small arms any military might have in its arsenal. IMBO [In My Bombastic Opinion] it's better than an AK-47, though AKs are probably cheaper to make [it was a design feature of the AK to be cheap/easy to make].

      Give the F35 some time, so the bugs can be worked out, and the benefits of having a common airframe for what is basically 3 different kinds of aircraft will make a lot more sense. Sometimes you have to look at "total cost of ownership", and how military supply systems work on ships and when deployed in the field. Keep in mind that you need SPARE PARTS for all of those planes, to deal with war damage and normal wear and tear. And so, the basic design feature of 'commonality' is a serious tactical advantage, from a supply/material standpoint.

      [having been in the military, having been a 'repair parts petty officer' and had to deal with the navy supply system, it's important to consider THAT aspect, too, with respect to weapons systems and availability and so on].

      In Sun Tzu's book, "The Art of Warfare", he talked about how important it was to make sure your troops were properly supplied for whatever campaign they were to be sent on. Supplies are extremely important.

      Anyway, that's my $.10 worth on the F35. It's really still a "beta release". Then again, in a time of war, sometimes those 'beta release' weapons make all the difference. I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE? And I think it was the P51 Mustang with the Merlin engine that really did the trick to help end the war a bit faster...

      1. ciaran

        No real commonality in the F35

        bombastic bob says "the benefits of having a common airframe "

        Sorry bob, there's only about 25% commonality between the different versions.

        Each version of the F35 has different wings, for example. The F35-B uses aluminum in the central body while the others use titanium.

        The current projected "Total cost of ownership" is so high the USAF is saying its unsustainable.

        The actual underlying design is flawed for current needs. Its range is too short, and the body too wide. The US Navy doesn't want it.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: No real commonality in the F35

          The F35 is a disaster, and no amount of "tweaking" will save it. It would have cost us much less to buy a lot more F22s for combat superiority, and an updated F18 for the common case with air superiority in place.

          Besides, in a decade all human piloted fighters will be obsolete. Someone (probably China) is going to build small and comparatively cheap drones that rely on kinetic kills. Maybe with jet engines but if they could make it work without they'd be really cheap - just fit a solid rocket booster in the back to briefly go supersonic when they go in for the kill. Now you might say "hey an F22/F35/F18 is way more maneuverable than a drone with a solid rocket booster that will flame out in a short period of time" and you'd be right. Except a wing of jets will be facing a thousand of these drones, and there will be nowhere to hide.

          When the first such "dogfight" takes place and human pilots are slaughtered by sheer numbers, that will be the end of the F35 program - long before it is scheduled to end in 2070. Yes you read that right, that's seriously how long the F35 is projected to be viable! The Air Force is run by guys who used to pilot a jet, and they are unable and unwilling to see a future where pilots aren't needed in fighter jets - even half a century from now! That's how out of touch they are.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: No real commonality in the F35

            "Someone (probably China) is going to build small and comparatively cheap drones that rely on kinetic kills"

            So sort of like a guided missile type thing? Oh, wait, we already have those!

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: No real commonality in the F35

            "Except a wing of jets will be facing a thousand of these drones, and there will be nowhere to hide."

            I don't think you've thought this through. In order for them to be cheap enough, they're going to have to be both light and simple. Simple affects their radar cross-section, making them easier to spot. Light makes them vulnerable to techniques that wouldn't affect a real jet, such as an airburst explosion (and since it would be anti-materiel, it shouldn't run afoul of rules of engagement). Plus I don't think it would be possible to swarm a wing of jets in all three dimensions without some sort of advance warning. At the least, they'll probably always be able to climb OVER them.

            PS. Why kinetic kills anyway? Most modern munitions use the types of warheads they use now because an air-on-air kill gets tricky at speed and some kind of "shotgun" effect helps in these situations.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: No real commonality in the F35

          I think you may need to look at the kinds of stuff that typically gets repaired/replaced to understand what I mean here. But yeah there are 3 versions that I know about, and of course they have differences. The question is whether the things that are maintained all of the time are also "that different" between them, things like avionics, hydraulic systems, the engine, yotta yotta. Just sayin' that's the thinking behind the basic design. And the supply system has to stock spares for all of that...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible scenario

        people used to say bad things about the M-16, too, when it first came out. nowadays, after a few decades of serious use and tweeking, it's probably one of the best small arms any military might have in its arsenal

        Bombastic bob evidently bases his views on his extensive experience of Counter Strike*.

        It is also worth thinking that by far the most "popular" assault rifle in the world is the AK47 and its variants. It has adherents, but when the chips are down, I suspect most troops would choose a H&K weapon, and ideally a 7.62mm version, instead of the crappy air gun pellets that are the NATO standard round.

        * I certainly do :)

      3. Jason 24

        Re: Possible scenario

        "He talked about how important it was to make sure your troops were properly supplied for whatever campaign they were to be sent on."

        <caveat>According to wikipedia</caveat> we built 20,351 supermarine spitfires and 14,851 hawker hurricanes during the second world war.

        How are you going to supply that many F35s during war time if we can't manage a dozen now? Or the Typhoon with the wonderful idea of building different parts all over the world. Can we even repair the typhoons here since the deal was Turkey would do it?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Possible scenario

          fortunately, modern warfare isn't "a numbers game" any more. But the way that all of the aircraft of WW2 were supplied was basically a government 'takeover' of existing industry that was focused on producing things like cars. There were no new cars for a few years during WW2. They were building aircraft and tanks and jeeps instead.

          Seriously, though, if you want mass production, don't you want a "common airframe" instead? That should make it cost less and have more interchangeable parts.

          And - somewhat related to other comments - an advantage of an M16's small round COULD be the fact that you can carry more of them [because they'd weigh less]. Though I admit I never had the chance to actually fire one when I was in the military. But I know people who have.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Possible scenario

            The M16's .223 or 5.56mm round is designed to tumble when it hits the body causing maximum damage - also the idea of a smaller bullet was to cause casualties, not death. A dead soldier is just dead, a wounded soldier takes two other soldiers to evacuate, thereby removing three soldiers from the battlefield instead of just one.

            1. Michael Thibault
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Possible scenario

              "…a wounded soldier takes two other soldiers to evacuate, thereby removing three soldiers from the battlefield instead of just one."

              Assuming anyone gives a fuck about casualties (i.e. where "dead" is just the variable time waiting for the gates of paradise/Valhalla/etc. to open). And, for reasons of economy, and to work around the fact of armies marching on their bellies currently, the meat-bags will shortly be replaced with automata and machinery remotely controlled, so the round to be defended against is the largest the holdovers can carry in their short sorties toward the gates.

              However, there's still a place for the smaller round in a domestic setting, particularly urban ones.

              1. 404 Silver badge

                Re: Possible scenario

                True - this assumes the Geneva Convention is in effect and since the folks who make the decisions always seem to be fighting the last war... well, that's about all I can say about that ;)

      4. G.Y.

        P Re: Possible scenario

        "P" stood for Pursuit -- later became "F" for Fighter

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible scenario

        "I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE?"

        None.

        Sorry, you just hit a history fail.

        The 'P' designation for combat aircraft, in use in the US from WW1 until after WW2 stood for 'pursuit' which was their term for what they now called a 'fighter' aircraft.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Possible scenario

          "I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE?"

          As in the P-51 Mustang? The P in this case meant "Pursuit" meaning they were designed to pursue and shoot down other aircraft. "Protoype" planes these days get the prefix X for "eXperimental".

    2. Iain W

      Re: Possible scenario

      Perhaps but no one in the West knows what technologies China and Russia have developed. The Chinese already have a working quantum communications system and the Russians have a range of proven hypersonic technologies. I don't think it would take much for the US economy to implode given the self inflicted and idiotic policies of the past decades. Britain quickly lost an empire through burning treasury via two world wars. The US has inflicted its own downfall.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Britain quickly lost an empire

        Because ultimately it was mostly based on asset stripping. Ask Africans, Indians (and former Indian regions), China. Or even USA (First serious loss?) and Ireland.

        No-one anywhere outside the UK wants Empire 2.0

        Sykes-Picot was about French & UK (and a little for the Czar) divving up the Ottoman Empire, to get richer. Look how well that has worked (A) to Make UK richer, (B) for the Middle East. The Bolsheviks came to power before the plan was activated. They published it which created the Arab & Muslim "home rule" movements and factions.

  4. Paul 129
    Megaphone

    Little reactors?

    There could be quite a good market for those.

    Once the dick waving stops.

    Given the current bunch of supremo's perhaps the safest option is develop a salted weapon and nuke from orbit unlit there is no possibility of breeding more.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Little reactors?

      The real question is who volunteered to build and test these rockets. They're a bit harder to turn off than kerosene jets when something goes wrong.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Little reactors?

      "There could be quite a good market for those."

      Assuming they work. Tiny reactors would be more difficult to control, possibly using fast fission rather than thermal. Additionally, they'd be highly inefficient because you wouldn't have enough mass to properly utilize the thermal energy. The main reason that nuclear jet engines were abandoned is that they're just TOO HEAVY to be practical.

      A tiny reactor must be created with extermely enriched fuel, 'weapons grade' or better, and it requires a pretty significant mass of external things to transfer the heat. To be controllable, you need even bigger mass/geometry and it very rapidly becomes impossible to put it into a missile. A "Big Fornicating Rocket" might be able to manage a nuclear engine (and that's been proposed) but they still need some kind of fuel/propellant to eject out the tail end and so the mass of the engine must be weight against the need for separate fuel/oxidizer and the limitations of chemical reactions.

      Anyway, putting a nuclear engine on a missile that's capable of running for "unlimited" time is extremely impractical. The physics and thermodynamics just don't work very well, ya know?

      [not saying IMPOSSIBLE just IMPRACTICAL]

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Little reactors?

        "There could be quite a good market for those."

        Blighty could offer to purchase some (of the nuclear powered torpedoes) to strap onto the QE class carriers - a sort of "Nuclear Cruise" option to save on bunker fuel and extend range, and no doubt increase speed.

      2. JassMan Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Little reactors? @ bombastic bob

        > A tiny reactor must be created with extermely enriched fuel, 'weapons grade' or better,

        The thing the russkies are betting on is that since you are delivering is a NUCLEAR WEAPON you might as well use a bit more fissile material to get it to its target. As for getting rid of excess heat, the ocean makes an extremely good heat sink for a hot torpedo. The cruise missile may be more difficult but probably not insurmountable.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Little reactors? @ bombastic bob

          "The cruise missile may be more difficult but probably not insurmountable."

          Yes, it's not like it needs shielding and safety systems. It only has to perform for a max of a couple of hours and if the exhaust is "dirty" who cares?

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: Little reactors?

          >all those Russian military scientists and engineers.

          We haven't heard from them. We've heard from a politician.

          1. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Little reactors?

            "Russia does not pursue the objective of destroying the United States. Russia’s actions are dictated by only one cause–to pull a gun on a drunk, rowdy, knife wielding bully in the bar and get him to pay attention to what others may have to say. In other words, Russia brought the gun to a knife fight and it seems that this is the only way to deal with the United States today".

            http://www.unz.com/article/the-implications-of-russias-new-weapons/

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Little reactors?

          "Good to hear that you know more than all those Russian military scientists and engineers"

          you haven't even SEEN my CV. And yes, I quite possibly DO know more than at least most of those Russian military scientists and engineers, particularly if they're proposing things that are impractical to implement.

          I may ALSO know "things" about (most likely still classified) systems such *AS* the old nuclear aircraft design. What's publicly available on Wikipedia is probably enough, though. I wouldn't divulge anything else.

          /me used to operate a nuclear reactor on a submarine. yes, I know how they work, quite well in fact. So I think I'm a pretty good judge of how a 'tiny' nuclear reactor might be designed and what a lot of the problems are in trying to get it to fly... or power a torpedo or unmanned submersible vehicle, for that matter.

          1. Andy Tunnah

            Re: Little reactors?

            I LOVE how you tailor your CV to every thread on el reg. Honestly, reading your fantastical comments are my fave part of these forums. You try to baffle us with brilliance, and you just end up blinding yourself with bullshit.

            I LOVE it.

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Little reactors?

            "/me used to operate a nuclear reactor on a submarine. yes, I know how they work, quite well in fact. "

            That must have been an interesting career change from Petty Officer (Stores) to Nuclear Reactor Operator. I'm tempted to wonder if you are related to Jake "Jack of all trades", who seems to have done almost every job description under the sun :-)

      4. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Little reactors?

        The main reason that nuclear jet engines were abandoned is that they're just TOO HEAVY to be practical.

        The Unreliable Source's article on Project Pluto suggests otherwise:

        On May 14, 1961, the world's first nuclear ramjet engine, "Tory-IIA", mounted on a railroad car, roared to life for a few seconds. Three years later, "Tory-IIC" was run for five minutes at full power. Despite these and other successful tests the Pentagon, sponsor of the "Pluto project", had second thoughts. The weapon was considered "too provocative",[2] and it was believed that it would compel the Soviets to construct a similar device, against which there was no known defense. Intercontinental ballistic missile technology had proven to be more easily developed than previously thought, reducing the need for such highly capable cruise missiles. On July 1, 1964, seven years and six months after it was started, "Project Pluto" was canceled. (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersonic_Low_Altitude_Missile)

        The main reason why they abandoned Pluto was not that the (unshielded) engines were too heavy (they weren't), but that the weapon was too provocative and too unnecessary.

        Shielded "crew-safe" nuclear thermal rockets that use inhaled air as propellant may well be, as you say, too heavy to be practical, but an uncrewed unshielded cruise missile is technologically possible, if marginally feasible.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Little reactors?

          "an uncrewed unshielded cruise missile is technologically possible, if marginally feasible."

          keep in mind that it's supposed to be able to run 'indefinitely' which means it's an air-breather. If it carried propellant, it would run out, eventually. The only way to make a 'long time' sustainable nuclear engine is for it to breathe air [or water if it's submerged, which might be a bit more practical]. That also doesn't consider the overall size requirement for the power plant and supporting systems. An air-breathing engine needs a heat exchanger that's large enough to transfer it to the propellant [in this case, air], and not melt in the process [so it can sustain propulsion].

          Project Pluto - that's an interesting one (maybe Putin read the wikipedia page, said "we can do this, too" etc. nevermind the 1960's date on when the project was canceled).

          Back in the 1950's and 60's there were a LOT of those kinds of things being tested out, not the least of which were the nuclear artillery round [which works, but who'd want to shoot an artillery round that causes fallout to drop on your own head?] and the SL-1 reactor [a small reactor that was SO dangerous it exploded from an accident during routine maintenance].

          There are often a lot more reasons why a project is abandoned other than the ones stated. Some of these reasons are actually classified, or were at one time (SL-1 may be an example, I won't say why - if it's publically disclosed I'll comment on it, but that's about it).

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Little reactors?

            "SL-1 reactor [a small reactor that was SO dangerous it exploded from an accident during routine maintenance]."

            Actually it went prompt-critical and because it was partially drained of water the resulting extra large steam explosion was what killed the maintenance crew. (incidentally it was also prompt-criticality and a steam explosion which blew the roof off at Chernobyl)

            It's because of SL-1 that nuclear reactors are always kept full of water when being maintained. The idea that a 100kW (thermal) reactor could generate 20+GW of heat for a few seconds was known about but hadn't been drawn to the attention of the people tasked with designing maintenance procedures.

            SL-1 was one of the incidents on Alvin Weinberg's mind when he set out to eliminate water from nuclear reactor cores. The idea of 600-1200MWe steam bombs scared the shit out of him and he _designed_ the original PWR reactor.

          2. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

            Re: Little reactors?

            The only way to make a 'long time' sustainable nuclear engine is for it to breathe air [or water if it's submerged, which might be a bit more practical]. That also doesn't consider the overall size requirement for the power plant and supporting systems. An air-breathing engine needs a heat exchanger that's large enough to transfer it to the propellant [in this case, air], and not melt in the process [so it can sustain propulsion].

            My reading of the Project Pluto page and related stuff is that the SLAM (the missile they were trying to develop) was in essence an airbreathing nuclear thermal rocket. In an NTR, the "heat exchanger" is essentially *direct*contact* between the propellant (in this case, atmospheric air compressed by the ramjet tube to something over 300 psi) and the fuel elements. The *air* (OK, propellant, but this one's air-breathing) is the coolant for the reactor, and this, combined with the almost total absence of shielding, means that the reactor is light enough to be put in a (large) cruise missile.

            And yes, an in-atmosphere nuclear thermal rocket zipping about at supersonic speeds *is* an insane idea. It spews oodles of fission-sourced neutrons wherever it goes, and barfs out significant quantities of radioactive waste particles through the exhaust, but if it's flying in circles over enemy territory, it's ...

            No, it's just insane.

      5. Mike Richards Silver badge

        Re: Little reactors?

        One thing the Russians have experience of is in designing small reactors for their RORSAT programme. Their later 5kW Topaz liquid metal cooled reactor was so good that the US wanted to use it for their space missions. I wonder if they've been looking to scale it up for more power?

      6. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Little reactors?

        "The main reason that nuclear jet engines were abandoned is that they're just TOO HEAVY to be practical."

        It wasn't the reactor that was the problem. other ensuring they didn't spray out masses of radioactive exhaust.

        All the weight was in shielding to keep whatever was at the controls from being fried (meatsacks and electronics are equally susceptable to high levels of radiation)

    3. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Little reactors?

      "There could be quite a good market for those."

      Probably not, no. These aren't nuclear electric generators, they're nuclear engines. Probably something like the Project Pluto ones mentioned in the article, which basically wanted to replace burning fuel with nuclear-heated air in a jet engine. A neat idea when you want a jet or rocket engine, especially a single-use one that doesn't need to run for more than a few hours at most, but not much use in the civilian world. It's less Fallout-style nuclear powered cars, and more a slightly better controlled Project Orion (that's the one that planned to launch a rocket by repeatedly exploding nuclear bombs behind it).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. MAD

    Interesting idea: why don't countries simply put the money wasted on nuclear weapons into actual things that might benefit this planet such as asteroid detection and defence?

    As it stands Russia didn't see the Chelyabinsk asteroid coming, had that been 3% larger or at a slightly shallower angle Europe would now be glowing in the dark.

    Direct hit on a reprocessing plant would be a doomsday scenario that would dwarf Chernobyl and qualify as an extinction level event in its own right.

    The big problem is that depending on where it hits, it could set off WWIII by itself which is exactly why we need a system in the first place.

    Silly humans. (Grey alien face)

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Re. MAD

      "why don't countries simply put the money wasted on nuclear weapons into actual things that might benefit this planet such as asteroid detection and defence?"

      sadly there is still evil in the world. You can't reason with evil. You can't make deals with it, either. Non-aggression pacts will be violated, agreements will be broken, and like Hitler during WW2, evil will secretly develop its aggressive ability until it's too late to stop. Unless there's a significant deterrent for any one rogue country to do what the German government did leading up to WW2, we're doomed to repeat that scenario.

      Does that answer your question?

      1. I&I

        Re: Re. MAD

        Plus people hate “evil” more than “random”

    2. Archtech Silver badge

      Re: Re. MAD

      "Interesting idea: why don't countries simply put the money wasted on nuclear weapons into actual things that might benefit this planet such as asteroid detection and defence?"

      Because if any given country stops providing for its own defence, it is likely to be conquered by heavily armed rivals which then oppress its people and extract its wealth.

      Sad, but true.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Re. MAD

      "Direct hit on a reprocessing plant would be a doomsday scenario that would dwarf Chernobyl and qualify as an extinction level event in its own right."

      Wrong.

  6. Mark 65 Silver badge

    Long range missile

    Was this "long range cannot shoot down as it goes via the South Pole" missile the one in the video with the South Park graphics? FFS.

  7. IceC0ld Bronze badge

    El Reg's choice would be Nuky McMeltingface.

    why give them 'scary' 'macho'names like Satan ?

    named in honour of Curly Larry n Mo

    Nuk Nuk Nuk

    1. Archtech Silver badge

      Scoff as much as you like

      Nobody in Russia will care about your feeble jokes. All that matters is that, if anyone attacks Russia, their own country will be utterly destroyed - probably along with any allies that have not dissociated themselves from the aggression quickly enough.

      And when your face is melting, you probably won't find it so funny.

      https://www.thepoke.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Screen-Shot-2017-08-11-at-11.22.41.png

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Scoff as much as you like

        Archtech,

        But that was true already. Russia / the Soviet Union has had the power to "end the world" since the 60s. OK, back them a lot of their bombers might have been shot down, but enough would get through. Since then there have been enough missiles kicking around to do the job. Admittedly some of those needed to be updated, as they've got limited lifespans, but not seriously upgraded. The US does not have a significant missile defence capacity, nor does it have the plans to build one, or the technolocy.

        Also, what's this thing with new hypersonic warheads on the new ICBMs. I thought all ICBM warhead were already hypersonic?

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: Scoff as much as you like

          Have you read the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States, which makes it perfectly clear that the Pentagon's new #1 targets are Russia and China? A summary is here:

          https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf

          Did you notice outgoing President Obama's commitment to spend $1 trillion (which obviously would be multiplied many times in practice) essentially replacing the whole of the USA's nuclear arsenal with newer and better weapons?

          https://theintercept.com/2016/02/23/obamas-new-rationale-for-1-trillion-nuclear-program-augurs-a-new-arms-race-with-russia/

          Are you aware that the USA currently spends ten times as much as Russia on its armed forces?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

          Or that just the increase approved by Mr Trump is greater than Russia's entire defence budget?

          The USA has systematically surrounded Russia with military and naval bases and missile sites.

          http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/03/proof-russia-iran-want-war-look-close-put-countries-military-bases.html

          It's clear that the people in Washington do not see things as clearly as you do. They are so skilled at self-deception that they may well believe they can defeat Russia anyway. Otherwise why waste such colossal sums of money on surrounding Russia with bases and weapons?

          So Mr Putin's latest announcements are intended to prove to the dimmest American chauvinist that no, they cannot win a war against Russia. All they can do is (further) bankrupt the USA, just as military spending bankrupted the USSR.

          https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/02/john-w-whitehead/the-military-industrial-complex-strikes-again-war-spending-will-bankrupt-america/

          1. Blitheringeejit
            Facepalm

            Re: Scoff as much as you like

            "They are so skilled at self-deception that they may well believe they can defeat Russia anyway. Otherwise why waste such colossal sums of money on surrounding Russia with bases and weapons?"

            For the same reason as most US Gummint money is spent - pork-barrelling for their domestic military-industrial complex. It's been going on for generations - politicians inflate the possible threat out of all proportion to reality (via "military intelligence", my favourite oxymoron), then use that inflated threat as an excuse to put billions of tax-dollars into the trousers of the arms company executives who then fund the campaigns of those selfsame politicians. No real threat is required - it's just a circle of money and political power, fleecing poorer US taxpayers who aren't in the loop - you know, the ones whose resentment was so effectively harnessed by the Trump campaign. Turkeys vote, yet again, for Christmas.

            Meanwhile, Putin's posturing works along the same lines, and also has a distinguished history (remember Khruschev's "We will bury you!" speech, when he actually had about two ICBMs, neither of which would probably have worked). But because Russian leaders are not (except in the loosest possible sense) elected, and there is even less freedom of information there than in the US, they don't need vast sums of money to stay in power. So they don't need to actually build any of the weapons they say they are building - or indeed make them technically plausible. They just need to inflate the threat, say they are dealing with it, fake a few videos of scary weapons, and thereby retain enough popular support to avoid being overthrown.

            Mr Putin's announcements are not aimed at Americans, any more than Trump's are aimed at Russians. This is really old, tired stuff - please can we have something more original and fun on a Friday afternoon?

          2. Alistair Silver badge
            Windows

            Re: Scoff as much as you like

            ". Otherwise why waste such colossal sums of money on surrounding Russia with bases and weapons?

            Well, as someone once said, follow the money. The US has a fairly short history, but it has spent an enormous percentage of that time loosing wars and spending colossal sums of money on armaments.

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Scoff as much as you like

            "Did you notice outgoing President Obama's commitment to spend $1 trillion (which obviously would be multiplied many times in practice) essentially replacing the whole of the USA's nuclear arsenal with newer and better weapons"

            And Trump, as he keeps reminding us, is going to reverse everything Obama did? Oops.

          4. Archtech Silver badge

            Re: Scoff as much as you like

            https://www.sott.net/article/378900-Target-Russia-NATO-sprawl-creeps-into-Eastern-Europe-and-there-are-no-more-illusions-about-its-purpose

  8. ST Silver badge
    Mushroom

    My ICBM is bigger than Your ICBM

    And has deeper penetration too.

    Interpret that as you wish.

    Freud would have a field day with this. Problem is, it's not Freud receiving this challenge, it's Trump.

    I think that sums it up.

    <EOM>

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Mushroom

      South Pole route

      They don't like it up 'em

      Lance Corporal Jones Putin

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: My ICBM is bigger than Your ICBM

      Shirley, "My Pecs are bigger and firmer than yours?"

  9. jonathan keith

    Excellent work from the CGI team.

  10. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Aimed right at the heart of america

    The yanks' biggest vulnerability is their paranoia. Their fear. And they will go to great (extreme?) lengths to assuage that.

    Just like the 1980's Star Wars programme promised to make the USSR vulnerable to high-tech american weapons - even though they didn't exist and could never have been made - so this is the same: right back at ya!

    Putin seems to have the measure of Trump. He knows the guy is an unbearable narcissist (it takes one to know one?) and that he couldn't let a challenge like this go unanswered. So by hinting that the USA might be "naked" and susceptible to some real imaginary military threat is a great bit of plonker-pulling.

    And if it gets the merkins to crank up their unbelievably inefficient war-machine and spend $ TREEEEEELIONS on countering some Youtube videos and cartoons, then Putin will be laughing all the way to his next election.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Putin vs Trump

      That is the issue. Two of the biggest [redacted] heads with their hands on the nuclear triggers.

      Putin is about to become President for Life.

      Trump is verging on senile and as such is twice as dangerous. He's even planning on standing for re-election.

      Their egos will really clash sooner or later.

      Spend it while you can people as TBH, I don't see a long term future for the planet once Cold War V2.0 kicks in for real.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Aimed right at the heart of america

      Pete 2,

      Your post makes no sense. Everyone has been living with the threat of nuclear anihilation since the 50s/60s. Russia was able to do that yesterday, and when these new weapons turn up will still be able to do it with the old ones anyway.

      The US might spend R&D money on missile defence, but there's no serious program to stop the threat of Russian ICBMs because it's pointless. Deterring North Korea makes sense, they're only capable of building a few warheads a year, and it's probably similar with the rockets (even if they've got the tech to make the nukes small enough to be deliverable).

      Making it too expensive for the North Korean's to have a credible threat makes it more likely they'll do a deal to trade their nukes for more trade/aid/attention. That's a few billion well spent. The same calculation was true with Iran. Not with Russia.

      You're obviously right about Trump being an arse - but he has to get defence spending through Congress. He'll probably just restrict himself to responding on Twitter.

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Aimed right at the heart of america

      Putin seems to have the measure of Trump. He knows the guy is an unbearable narcissist (it takes one to know one?) and that he couldn't let a challenge like this go unanswered.

      Couple of things. Most of the commentariat has failed to read the official Russian and American strategy in its most recent editions. Russian was published a few years back, American just got published a few weeks ago.

      Russian is very Russian. It is Slavic to the bone. The key differentiator between Slavic mentality and Anglo-Saxon one is that Slavic and especially Russian mentality does not know the concept of limited response. The response is "as big as it takes that you never fucking bother us again". It is erroneously labeled in UK and USA recent analysis as "escalate to deescalate". No it is not - it is escalate so there is no f*cking repeat of this. Translated in real terms, this means that Russia has postulated that it will use its FULL military force with no restrictions in a "limited" conflict (just as it did in Ossetia) to make sure nobody gets funky ideas about limited conflicts. The only "rule" is - it will not deploy its nukes first.

      The official response by USA in the new Trump policy is the use of tactical nukes including USA if necessary using them first in such scenario to keep the conflict "limited" and deter the Russians from using a sledgehammer to crack nuts. If you just spit your coffee on your keyboard, go and read it. Whoever wrote that in Trump team is on some very weird meds. Meds or no meds, the fact is a fact, they will be actually building the weapons to deliver this idea.

      The official Russian response proscribed by their strategy to that is similar - use of weapons of mass destruction against their forces leads to unlimited response on a "this country will not exist to do this stupidity again" basis. This is something they have and they can deploy today. No USA weapon changes this equation.

      Now, looking back on the weapons in question. They are actually a deviation from their official strategy (if they exist). They allow them instead of the proscribed complete destruction to chose a target of any value they like and make a BIG show of taking it out. Without it being a guaranteed end of the world. It may still be an end of the world none the less, but you never know.

      In any case, the correct response here is to de-escalate and rescind the USA policy back to its Obama and earlier incarnations which was "no nukes first". From there on it would be possible to discuss some disarmament. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen and it is not Trump who is the culprit - there a plenty of psychotic hawks at all levels in both NATO and USA command too and it is them who are calling the shots, not the politicians - same as during the early years of Reagan/Andropov era.

  11. AndersBreiner

    It's worth pointing out that Russia had a lot of trouble getting its latest generation of SLBMs to work properly

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSM-56_Bulava

    "

    The missile's flight test programme was problematic. Until 2009, there were 6 failures in 13 flight tests and one failure during ground test, blamed mostly on substandard components. After a failure in December 2009, further tests were put on hold and a probe was conducted to find out the reasons for the failures. Testing was resumed on 7 October 2010 with a launch from the Typhoon-class submarine Dmitri Donskoi in the White Sea; the warheads successfully hit their targets at the Kura Test Range in the Russian Far East.[9] Seven launches have been conducted since the probe, all successful. On 28 June 2011, the missile was launched for the first time from its standard carrier, Borei-class submarine Yury Dolgorukiy, and on 27 August 2011 the first full-range (over 9,000 km (5,600 mi)) flight test was conducted. After this successful launch, the start of serial production of Bulava missiles in the same configuration was announced on 28 June 2011. A successful salvo launch on 23 December 2011 concluded the flight test programme. The missile was officially approved for service on 27 December 2011,[10] and was reported to be commissioned aboard Yuri Dolgorukiy on 10 January 2013. The missile did however continue to fail in the summer of 2013 and was not operational as of November 2013.[11] The Bulava became operational aboard Yury Dolgorukiy as of October 2015.[12] However, recent developments put this in question. In November 2015, the submarine Vladimir Monomakh fired two missiles while submerged. One of the missiles self-destructed during the boost phase and the other failed to deliver its warheads to the specified target. After being sent back to the manufacturer, it was determined that the missiles failed due to manufacturing defects.[13]

    "

    And Sarmat is basically 1980s technology. Russia's defence budget is less than the UK's.

    So the idea they're going to be fielding nuclear powered cruise missiles and undersea drones with unlimited range anytime soon is pretty remote.

    It's all CGI vapourware designed to fool the gullible.

    Also US missile defences was never intended to stop a full on attack by Russia or China. Russia doesn't need all this high tech stuff to get through US missile defences it just needs a nuclear trident with submarine, land and air based nukes. Which it has had since the 1960s.

    I.e. this is all vapourware and Russia doesn't even need to build it to be sure that it could get through US missile defences.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Putin is also feeling the pressure a bit this election. He'll win of course, non-token opposition isn't tolerated. But he's having to talk about social programs, because people are getting less thrilled with military success - when the economy is in the crapper. The Syrian adventure wasn't even popular to start with. And Putin had to miss a great opportunity to chest-beat about the US killing a hundred-odd Russian mercenaries last month, because that would mean admitting that the Syrian campaign has been so successful that they still require ground troops (something he said wouldn't be needed).

      The problem is that Russian government gets about a third of its budget from taxes on oil and gas revenue. And that's down by a hell of a lot, since the heady days of $140 a barrel. Those were the days when they started increasing their defence budget and ordering all these shiny new weapons. Some apparently very impressive. But can they still afford more than a few of them? As you say, their defence budget is lower than the UK's, although of course wages are much lower so it probably goes a lot further.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Russian Time Travel...

      Quote from wikipedia...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSM-56_Bulava

      "on 27 August 2011 the first full-range (over 9,000 km (5,600 mi)) flight test was conducted. After this successful launch, the start of serial production of Bulava missiles in the same configuration was announced on 28 June 2011"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AndersBreiner

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSM-56_Bulava vs Sineva/Lainer.

      It is standard Russian methodology in anything to have plan B. They do it in life, they do it in engineering acrosss the board. If you have every worked with them you would have run across this one. It pisses off British and American PHBs immensely - most of them cannot comprehend the idea of investing into plan B day one, they invest into it only when Plan A has failed by which point it is too late.

      They also do it with their weapons. An example of how this distinctly Russian way of doing things would have translated to American thinking would have been a full upgrade and life extension of A10 in parallel with doing the F35. See yanks doing it? I do not, not their way of thinking. It is the latest and the greatest or bust.

      When the Russians run an advanced project with a significant risk or delay probability they always also run another project in parallel which uses a tested and proven (but more conservative) tech to achieve a reasonable compromise in terms of functionality.

      That is exactly the case here. Bulava differs from most SLBMs - it uses a very low trajectory "just in case" the opponent has space or land based mid-course interceptor defenses. It also is designed to deploy hypersonic terminal glide warheads in the future. It was always EXPECTED to have a high failure rate.

      In the meantime, while everyone has been paying attention to the Bulava/Borei program, the Russians have IN PARALLEL done the Plan B. With virtually no failures. The result is Sineva/Lainer. It will not fly low so there is some chance intercepting it. It is not designed to carry super-duper special next generation warheads. It can, however carry 16 of them - 4 more than Trident D5. Plenty enough as a deterrent.

      And if Bulava works, that gives them a massive one up. If not - they are at least at parity.

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    If I was president of a country, I would use wooden props (viewable from spaaaaaaaace) and good CGI to let the world believe I have an army to content with, and pressure them to escalate their weaponry upwards, thus making them waste their money on weapons, soldiers and armoury things whilst building my economy up.

    Then making all things money go pear-shaped, buying out their soldiers etc, taking control of their countries that way.

    Muhuhahahaha.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      "Muhuhahahaha."

      And demand - 100 BEEELION DOLLARS

      Muhuhahahaha. Muhuhahahaha. Muhuhahahaha! [pinky on cheek]

      "I call this plan, preparation H"

      "I call it - the Alan Parsons Project"

      and so on

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] I would use wooden props ( [...]"

      In WWII part of the D-Day preparations consisted of inflatable tanks etc that fostered a deception of massive forces destined for a Calais invasion.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        A deception the Germans were still buying (to an extent) even after half a million troops had landed in Normandy. It's scary how many panzer divisions Hitler kept around Calais - given how much damage Rommel could have done with them.

        Apparently one of the rubber "tanks" got popped when it was charged by a bull. I like to imagine it taking off and flying round the field, making farting noises...

        1. Jemma Silver badge

          Not as good as the poor French sod who cycled past some American and British squaddies involved in picking up and moving Sherman tank inflatables - apparently the poor guys eyes bugged out of his head and one of the British apparently said "these Americans, very strong..", in French, at which point monseiur peddled the hell out of it at high speed and the squaddies collapsed in hysterics. History does not mention whether monseiur was more terrified of Americans with a 15 tonne benchpress or British who could speak French..

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "[...] or British who could speak French.."

            I refer you to "one of the British apparently said [...]" - the Frenchman may have thought he had good cause his interpretation of what the sounds used actually meant in French

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Joke

              "I refer you to "one of the British apparently said [...]" - the Frenchman may have thought he had good cause his interpretation of what the sounds used actually meant in French"

              Don't worry, I'm sure the British squaddie said it loudly and slowly so as to make sure that Johnny Foreigner understood.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "If I was president of a country, I would use wooden props (viewable from spaaaaaaaace) and good CGI to let the world believe I have an army to content with"

      I was under the impression that terracotta was the preferred material for this scenario.

  13. AndersBreiner

    Hmm, I checked and Russia's defence budget is quite a bit more than the UK's these days

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

    However it's still a lot less than the US's.

    I reckon the US and Russia will do a deal on this. The last budget in the US funded literally everything the military asked for including sub strategic Trident which bothers the Russians enormously.

    I predict Russia and the US will do an arms control treaty and most of the new stuff will be bargained away.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      In order to be bargained, it needs to exist

      Previous rounds of bargains included proven weapons.

      If Russia really wants to make a point, expect a hypersonic demo in Syria by end of year. Till then, it is all cgi and blueprints. While theoretically possible, none of them is proven until its shown - the way it did with its new generation of conventional weapons. That is something which is actually coming off the assembly line. This... Still mostly cgi.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: In order to be bargained, it needs to exist

        > If Russia really wants to make a point, expect a hypersonic demo in Syria

        Unlikely, as the debris from the attack could easily find its way to western intelligence and its actual capabilities analysed and mitigated. Far better to conduct tests in territory you (and you alone) control.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: In order to be bargained, it needs to exist

          Unlikely, as the debris from the attack

          What debris at >5M? It does not even need a warhead. mv2 by itself is enough to vaporize whatever is left.

          If it does not, their existing Tornado missile batteries at Latakia will clean up the area. That is one of the reasons they are there - to sterilize a spot where they have lost something which they do not want NATO to recover. They already use kit like that there in order for it to clock combat hours. For example - the Su-PAKFA fighters.

          So far they have not needed to use "sterilize the area", but they are perfectly capable of doing it (without blowing up Chinese embassies "by mistake" as a collateral).

    2. Jemma Silver badge

      Fair point but to be blunt - Micronesia probably has a bigger defence budget than the UK and half of it is sinking into the sea.

      What I can't work out is this. How has no one noticed that in comparison to the QEs or Vanguard the modern "navy" is using what amount to coracles, but if you adjust the prices and compare they're paying 10x as much for the coracles.. Running Windows for Warships no less and half the weapons won't fit, don't work or possibly don't exist. How did we get to this point?

      And I really wouldn't worry about Putin McNukeyface. So he drops a nuke on London - what he doesn't own here (and everywhere else) the Chinese do - so he certainly doesn't gain, he's busy quietly buying up farmland (even in the US) so it's kind of pointless from that angle. About the only place he might be able to nuke to a net benefit would be the Galapagos and I wouldn't want to be him afterwards.

      Putin has been relying on people being idiots for almost his whole life, sadly America and to a lesser extent western Europe have made that a perfect strategy and I don't see it changing any time soon.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        How has no one noticed that in comparison to the QEs or Vanguard the modern "navy" is using what amount to coracles, but if you adjust the prices and compare they're paying 10x as much for the coracles.. Running Windows for Warships no less and half the weapons won't fit, don't work or possibly don't exist. How did we get to this point?

        We got here through a lack of accountability for the people making decisions, and a failure to learn the lessons of either history or previous procurement failures. The only reason the QE carriers were ordered was a desperate attempt by Gordon Brown to shore up the Labour vote in Scotland (and they weren't even effective at that task).

        With almost all military procurement, development costs vastly too much because the original spec was either inadequate or kept changing, and then to keep total costs down, politicians reduce the planned orders, which does reduce total costs, but causes the average cost to increase dramatically. Getting the EAP prototype (forerunner of Typhoon) in the air cost a touch over £100m, with most of the £25m design work done as a private venture by BAe, but MoD funding the c£80m construction of the prototype. But the development costs alone for Typhoon are probably around £7-10 billion, reflecting all the complexity of making it a crappy European project, and then letting the procurement agencies keep farting around. So the production costs of the Typhoon exceed the costs of the first hand-made prototype. That's how fucked up defence procurement is.

    3. TonyJ Silver badge
      Joke

      "...Hmm, I checked and Russia's defence budget is quite a bit more than the UK's these days.."

      That's not hard...I reckon my son's pocket money is more than the UK's defence budget these days :(

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        @TonyJ

        That's not hard...I reckon my son's pocket money is more than the UK's defence budget these days :(

        He probably has a catapult or two. That's more than what can be said for the QE class carriers.

    4. Archtech Silver badge

      Apples... oranges...

      Hmm, I checked and Russia's population is more than twice the UK's. And Russia is 70 times bigger than the UK.

      And Russia is seriously threatened by the USA, which the UK is not - it having been conquered back in about 1930 or 1940.

      1. Blitheringeejit
        Trollface

        @Archtech

        You are Boris Grishenko (http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/Boris_Grishenko), and I claim my five pounds.

        1. Archtech Silver badge

          Re: @Archtech

          Descent to "ad hominem" - rather a low tactic.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: @Archtech .. and the Art of Having Nothing to Worry About because Craft and Stealth are MIA

            Descent to "ad hominem" - rather a low tactic. ... Archtech

            'Tis the common default comfort blanket of both the intellectually challenged and future naive, Archtech .... and typical of Sub-Prime busy at work, doing its finest.

  14. Trygve Henriksen

    Nuclear powered cruise missile from the south?

    How will that get past Trump's Great Wall?

  15. EricM

    Great CGI show, I must admit - but how credible is all that?

    Given the upcoming eletions in Russia - how do you estimate the fiction/fact relation of that presentation?

    80/20? 90/10?

    New Launcher: OK. I think a Laser weapon, and nuclear powered sub drone prototypes could be somehow built. Long-term reliability in a military context would have to be seen.

    However, all these pretty much do not change much in the current threat scanrios.

    But the rest? Highly doubt it.

    So MAD was ever and is still assured ...

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Great CGI show, I must admit - but how credible is all that?

      How do hypersonic missiles turn corners? Surely they can be fast or manoeuverable, but not both?

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Great CGI show, I must admit - but how credible is all that?

        "How do hypersonic missiles turn corners? Surely they can be fast or manoeuverable, but not both?"

        Manoeuvrable is easy. I'm not sure just how manoeuvrable something can be at hypersonic speeds purely because even in a 100G turn you'd need a second or two to turn 45 degrees and you would have travelled a few miles. I'd imagine the steering fins would undergo enormous ablation at those speeds so you couldnt do a lot of it, But you could do some but it would be more like the M1 than Brands Hatch.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Great CGI show, I must admit - but how credible is all that?

          How do you pull a 100G turn without the missile breaking in half?

          If you're in your final approach and the warhead has separated, then that's a different matter. Assuming they're planning for warhead separation of course.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Great CGI show, I must admit - but how credible is all that?

            "If you're in your final approach and the warhead has separated, then that's a different matter. Assuming they're planning for warhead separation of course."

            If you're already hypersonic, do you even need a warhead? A solid lump of something might be enough, or maybe a box of large(ish) ball bearing that opens us before impact for a shot gun effect. I wonder what the effect of a mach 10+ 1" steel ball bearing would be? Or an expanding cloud of them?

  16. Iain W

    Not a Clue

    The title of the article is idiotic. The writer has no idea as to the status of Russian or Chinese technologies and capabilities and nor does anyone in the West. They are running blind.

  17. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Putin's gift to U.S. the armaments industry

    Expect plenty of new weapons programs to be announced by the U.S, in response to the toys Putin just announced...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Putin's gift to U.S. the armaments industry

      Which strangely was also one of Bin Ladens goals, that the US after the WTC attack would spend itself into economic collapse.

  18. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Anyone remember the hype surrounding the Foxbat??

    Supposed to be a superjet that could outfly and out gun anything in the sky.

    When the USSR collapsed, it turned out it was made of steel; could go fast but couldnt turn, had RADAR worse than Mk1 eyeball and missiles with the range of spitballs.

    If Putin really wants to scare Trumplestiltskin, he should threaten to drop weedkiller on Mar-El Largo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone remember the hype surrounding the Foxbat??

      Hype?, got to remember, it was the hype about the B-70 that made the Soviets come up with the Foxbat design in the first place.

      The MiG-25/Foxbat's construction was conclusively known about in 1976, long before the collapse of the USSR.

      As to going fast and not turning, it was never intended as a fighter, it was designed as a high Mach (3+, but more realistically 2.5-2.8) high altitude interceptor intended to take out things like the B-70, as such, its role was similar to that of the EE Lightning - in the event of a war, take off, get up to 50,000-100,000 ft as fast as possible, intercept the enemy nuclear bombers, blow the buggers up (cf. 'missiles with the range of spitballs'), then GTF away as fast as possible..if possible.

      As to the RADAR, ISTR at the time when they got their hands on the MiG-25 the defector landed in Japan they muttered a couple of things about it, as it was valve based (as were most of the avionics) it was more EMP resistant and that it had a very high output power which meant that it the potential ability to 'burn through' ECM, as to accuracy, bear in mind it wasn't designed to find fighter sized targets, but bomber sized ones flying at high altitude.

      A final thought about hype, the capabilities of Soviet aircraft were regularly greatly, ummm, overestimated by Western analysts..being kind to them they were just guessing based on available (dis)information, being cynical, well, we just had to have some superbogeymen out there to justify our procurement of new super-anti-superbogeymen toys somehow as well...

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Bond Villain

    He's only wanting to be noticed by the Bond film producers so that they will consider him for role of the next Bond Villain

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Bond Villain

      That can't be true. Otherwise one of these announced projects would be a monorail...

  20. Archtech Silver badge

    Oh you guys!

    What would it take - just hypothetically - to get you to take anything seriously? I can understand that news like this might bring on a few fits of nervous tittering, but why do it in public?

    It's very simple. The US government is very pleased with its immense, all-powerful armed forces, and for a few years after the dissolution of the USSR was looking forward to being the world's only "super-power". Meaning that it could do whatever it liked and impose its will on everyone.

    But the Russians don't want to become American slaves (again). They tried that in the 1990s and it was utterly gross. Men's life expectancy plummeted by nearly ten years in less than a decade.

    Then Mr Putin became president, and Russia regained its pride and independence. All Mr Putin's speech implied (and remember, the bit about weapons was about 5 minutes long) was that Russia should not be treated as a helpless victim, because it has the means to defend itself.

    In Western terms, confronted with a murderous gunslinger, Russia has just hitched its coat back a little to reveal the powerful guns at its own belt.

    1. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Oh you guys!

      What would it take - just hypothetically - to get you to take anything seriously?

      Well, you could try making a point that extends beynd "I don't like America and will support any action against them by anyone", which is pretty much the essence of your posts.

      The fall in Russian life expectancy had nothing to do with American policies and everything to do with communism running out of money. The poverty spikes (real poverty) the utter collapse of their false economy triggered were all but inescapable for most Russians. Suddenly, if entirely predicatable to anyone with any economic nouse, they found that there was no money, and no work.

      The economic collapse also caused a currency rout, which left Russia unable to supplement its produce with foreign products because the exchange rate meant the state couldn't afford to buy enough bread or fuel.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Oh you guys!

      Archtech,

      Laughing at Putin is exactly the right response.

      Partly because it pisses him off.

      Also because he's the one who's deliberately trying to be scary. And he's the one sulking because he was on the losing side of the Cold War. Because his system was both evil and rubbish.

      Worrying about the threat Russia may or may not pose is something that's worth doing. Panicking, not so much. We're in NATO, so we're obliged by treaty to protect the Baltic States and Poland. We should either pull out of NATO (or kick them out) and admit we don't want to do that, or we should take our obligations seriously and so deal with the perceived threat.

      Putin's problem is that he seems to want Russia to be perceived as a threat (as important) - but then whines pathetically when people do see Russia as a threat. Well ya can't have it both ways. And that's another good reason to laugh at him.

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Oh you guys!

      "What would it take - just hypothetically - to get you to take anything seriously? "

      Something that might actually happen, where our actions might affect it. Russia could end the world yesterday, and could do it again tomorrow. New nukes don't make much difference.

      Two nuke armed powers getting into an actual exchange of nukes falls well outside that. The only consolation I have is that I live ~5 miles from NATO JFC, so if the balloon goes up, I'm dead in a fireball in the first 20 minutes or so.

      "Meaning that it could do whatever it liked and impose its will on everyone"

      But crucially, not by invading them, You may have noticed that the US hasn't actually successfully invaded and conquered anywhere for quite some time. In fact the US is singularly terrible at holding captured territory, and have to rely on PRT and their ilk from allies to maintain order on the ground. The US does have the best pointy stick, but it's only good for killing, not conquering.

      "In Western terms, confronted with a murderous gunslinger, Russia has just hitched its coat back a little to reveal the powerful guns at its own belt."

      Hahahaha! Silly example :) Anyone who cares knows the Russians have plenty of world ending weapons. No-one is planning to invade Russia. Lots of efforts to put limits on the kleptocracy in charge, which is what's pissing them off, but invading is bonkers.

      To quote Monty: "Rule 1, on page 1 of the book of war, is: "Do not march on Moscow". "

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backup plan

    Some of us are less than a month away from a working FTL drive, if funding / parts are available.

    Have the technology recovered from "Sport Model" but can't use it in an atmosphere as the shielding is damaged which is why it crash-landed in the first place due to a very unlucky coincidence involving a weather balloon and "but the shielding is working right?" SNAFU.

    The bad thing is someone didn't take into account that LIGO can sense gravitational waves at much higher frequencies than admitted, if anyone *anywhere* turns on an FTL drive in the vicinity of our Solar System detectors in five locations will inform the authorities and triangulate location very quickly indeed, as it turned out the delay was in fact to add anti-FTL filters for civilian use.

    You do have to feel sorry for them, First Contact wasn't supposed to happen until 2022 and it turned out that they could breathe our atmosphere just barely due to need for higher O2 and inert gas in place of N2 content.

    Hayfever affects them worse than us, needed extreme filtration just to keep them alive.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Backup plan

      "Hayfever affects them worse than us, needed extreme filtration just to keep them alive."

      Dammit! My parents said I was their baby and hay fever was just something some people had!!!

  22. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Penetration

    "If you want to be the best, if you want to beat the rest, dedication’s penetration's what you need".

    With Many Thanks to Roy Castle, who dedicated his final years to highlight the danger of passive smoking.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Penetration

      Appropriate, as Putin likes blowing his own trumpet...

  23. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Macbeth Act II, Scene 1

    Russia already has a new for a new hypersonic missile system, Putin said, and it was called Kinzhal, which translated to Dagger. The air-launched missile is capable of flying ten times the speed of sound, manoeuvre around defense systems and has a range of 2,000 miles.

    "Is this a dagger which I see before me"

    Too late. Boom!

  24. Scroticus Canis Silver badge
    Meh

    In other news; 1st April moved forward by a month ....

    All sounds just like willy waving to me. Did someone buy the wee man a 14" strap-on?

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: In other news; 1st April moved forward by a month ....

      Thanks muchly for that image. I may never sleep again.

      Still could be worse. Trump could go to fancy dress party as the transvestite from Little Nicky...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typo

    "Putin also described an new"

  26. HmmmYes Silver badge

    Dont worry.

    That useless cunt Brown 'invested' the next 20 years of defense spending on a couple of useless carriers.

    All so the workers would vote for him. Which they didnt.

  27. handleoclast Silver badge
    Coat

    Saner MAD

    How to make MAD ever-so-slightly saner.

    MAD (Mutually-Assured Destruction) is predicated upon being able to wipe out your opponent even as your opponent is wiping you out. You're both fucked. The hope is that neither side will be so insane as to actually do it, although it's only an effective deterrent if you can persuade your enemy that your leader is insane enough to actually do it (Trump's only talent).

    Counter-measures, such as laser and missile (missle in Merkin) defences, destabilize MAD. They raise the possibility that you could nuke your opponent whilst taking out your opponent's counter-strike. That would turn a lose-lose situation into a win for you, giving you an incentive to launch a pre-emptive strike.

    Here's where it gets interesting. If you nuke your opponent, the immediate damage is caused by thermal flash and blast wave. In the slightly longer term, fallout (via both radioactivity and the extreme toxicity of various residues) wipe out everyone that survived the blast. In the even longer term, if you use everything in your arsenal (as MAD requires) fallout and nuclear winter wipe out the whole planet.

    So here's how to do MAD sanely. Sanely, because it removes the destabilizing effects of counter-measures. If it ever happens, just nuke your own country (turn off your own counter-measures first). Sure, you'll all die immediately or not long after. But in the longer term the fallout and nuclear winter will take out your enemy just as surely as if you had targeted them.

    Mine's the NBC suit ---------------->

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Saner MAD

      "nuke your own country"

      Scorched Earth policy is nothing new. The Russians have been using it for centuries to keep invaders at bay.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Saner MAD

        Trouble is, what if someone comes along crazy enough to welcome MAD?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Saner MAD

          What, you mean like, oh, maybe two nuclear powers, one whose people mainly follow a religion which prominently features reincarnation, so them fucking up the planet in a nuclear war just means hanging about discarnate wherever for a while (or 24,000-300,000 years) before having another go at the old life thingie, the other lot, whose people mostly follow a religion which makes a big deal about dying in a holy war being a 'really good thing'™ which leads to them being awarded all sorts of fringe benefits in their version of the hereafter?

          Nah, no sane planet could have a couple of Nations of nuclear armed nutjobs like those described above...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's the difference?

    Absolute destruction is as assured as before.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: What's the difference?

      With one difference. You will (if it exists/works, which it doesn't have to) now get very very little warning before you need to decide to retaliate, so the probability of panic button pressing over a glitch just went up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the difference?

        Given the megatonnage which would be unleashed in an all out attack, a nuclear winter will wipe out the enemy eventually anyway. Therefore, time to retaliation pre-impact is irrelevant.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: What's the difference?

          Unless you make it ZERO, in which case it's now a decapitation strike and a potential winner.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's the difference?

            In the event of a "decapitation strike", everything is hardwired to be launched automatically at every target and the other side would respond in kind... therefore, no winners.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Russian kit

    One of the things missing from the multiple articles written about this is that this is Russia regaining the capability to build ICBM's.

    The USSR's missiles (which are aging and need replacing) were made by Ukrainian based design centers.

    Funnily enough, those Ukrainians don't feel much like rearming Russia.

    So they had to build from scratch. Whats the point of building last generation weapons when you are starting again?

    Its actually quite remarkable how far they've managed to come.

    Before anyone questions whether Russia should be spending this money like this, two things:

    1) Their defence projects cost one tenth of US ones - vastly more effecient.

    2) Whilst there is poverty in Russia, its actually percentage wise on par with the USA and numerically less than half of US poverty figures.

    Russia also has vivid memories of the Great Patriotic War. Sure we all lost people in WW2, but nothing like they did. They absolutely will not stand for it to happen again. Trump makes noises about US rearmament, tearing up the ABM treaty and the first use of nuclear weapons, Putin MUST respond.

    Additionally China is another direct threat to Russia (and have attacked them before) and nothing short of nuclear weapons will keep them at bay across a vast land border.

    Whether of course any of their new kit will actually work is another matter... I'd guess some will, some won't.

    This course of action by Putin was entirely predictable with all of the PR stunt being about him being re-elected (of course pretending all the while that its actually a fair election and that he needs to actually persuade voters to vote for him.... which he doesn't really)

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Russian kit

      "2) Whilst there is poverty in Russia, its actually percentage wise on par with the USA and numerically less than half of US poverty figures."

      Poverty is actually usually defined on a percentage basis - I think it's the percentage of people who receive less than 60% of the median income. Which means it is very relative. As US GDP is something like seven times that of the RF, most people in poverty in the US would be considered rather well off in Russia.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Russian kit

        But does that also take into account the cost of living in each country?

  30. taxman
    Devil

    Trumps pal (allegedly)

    Great announcement from the Russian Leader to enable the current US of A Leader demand greater spending on Defence (and De-Wall).

    You don't think this is another way of "controlling" the US of A folk now that the social media front has been blown?

  31. A_Melbourne

    No bluff

    It would be very silly to think that Putin is bluffing. He is not like Reagan with "Star Wars." Putin is a serious statesman. Another thing he said a while back is that if Russia is attacked, the fighting will not only take place in Russia - like last time.

    NATO has been bugging the Russians for decades and this is simply push-back. He is telling them that placing missiles on Russia's border - while pretending it is to protect Europe from the Iranians - is a waste of time.

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: No bluff

      Is it snowing where you are? :)

      Putin is a spymaster - he knows he doesn't need the weapon to exist for its effects to be real. He has demonstrated excellent grasp of psyop bang per buck with his putinbots, and frankly wasting all that money on nukes you don't plan to need is inferior to making your enemy waste all their money on nukes you don't plan to make them use.

      And yeah, NATO really shouldn't fear Russian tanks and missiles entering neighbouring countries. They always magically repatriate *before* they cross the border. They take the badges off and everything! What more could NATO want?

      1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: No bluff - Is it snowing where you are? :)

        Odd comment. It's -14 degrees and clear in St. Petersburg but parts of the UK are having a fair bit of snow.

        Just curious about what point you think you're making.

        1. Daggerchild Silver badge

          Re: No bluff - Is it snowing where you are? :)

          Well, none now you've permanently disambiguated the climate context. Meanie.

  32. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    cc .... 23, Ulitsa Ilyinka, 103132, Moscow, Russia.* and No 10

    Mother Russia, with the likes of a Putin into reorganising the status quo, would appear to be well suited to test and energise and master pilot Internetional Flights of Fancy Programming with NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Weapons for Universal Application against Perverse Foe and Corrupting Influences which are easily delivered with IT Command and AI Control Centres of Future Excellence. ...... https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/03/01/us_researchers_apply_spectrestyle_tricks_to_break_intels_sgx/#c_3441851

    And although such AIMunitions are surprisingly inexpensive to hold and wield masterly, they are exorbitantly expensive and cripplingly destructive to oppose and/or compete against for those who would be thinking to try and use any such new facilities and abilities in support of failed and/or failing status quo systems.

    The bottom line and absolutely fabulous fabless money shot? ...... Who Dares Win Wins.

    * .... http://en.letters.kremlin.ru

    :-)[On broadcasting, she says the UK provides 30% of the channels available in the EU. We should explore creative options, she says. ..... And May says the UK does not want to be part of the single market for digital. The UK is a world leader here, she says. It needs to be able to respond swiftly and flexibly to new developments. ..... May says “bold and creative” thinking can lead to new agreements in a range of areas.] ..... Some folk with a prepared script talk a good deal but walk only like a lame duck ...... but hope springs eternal such are as a cygnet preparing to fledge.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: AC response to cc .... 23, Ulitsa Ilyinka, 103132, Moscow, Russia.* and No 10

        You should like this, AC ...... http://www.mayofamily.com/RLM/txt_Clarke_Superiority.html ...... although it does highlight the danger you are in whenever you either think to think too much or not nearly enough about what is said to be realised and presented.

        [Hat tip to Alan Brown for the short story ... https://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2018/03/02/lockheed_martin_laser_us_navy/#c_3443224 .... about Future Containments for Restraint of Sub Primes?]

  33. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Aren't nuclear warheads already hypersonic?

    Now, if you developed a warhead that could maneuver erratically before accurately hitting its target, that might be useful to avoid anti-missile defenses.

    This sounds like a lot of pre-election propaganda to convince Russians that Vlad is the man to face down those Yankee hordes.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. ScottishYorkshireMan

    More Weapons - Snow Way!!!

    So, writing from a snow clad Scotland, I say why the hell does Mr Putin need these weapons? Obviously to screw up the UK all he needs is a fecking big snow machine. Job done. Trains off, schools shut, supermarkets bare.

    Taxed to feck, charged to feck, country gone to feck.

    Have a good weekend all.

  35. JLV Silver badge

    Putin 's deeds of the day

    - ban your only serious opponent in upcoming election. Hey, at least he wasn't murdered by mysterious strangers like the previous one

    - send some "volunteers" to Ukraine East. Nice how soldiers can volunteer off their military bases with their weapons and wo being AWOL

    - Syria needs help oppressing and gassing. Let's tow our geriatric carrier there. Declare Mission Accomplished cuz that worked well for that other bloke on his carrier.

    - call Orthodox Church and ask which sexual orientation they need banned this week.

    - one of my best friends cited in Panama Papers has $400M from his violinist career? Totally above board, I tell ya.

    - shut down independent media outlets. No, that's done already.

    - fix the doping mess. We should never have gotten caught.

    - Wave your willy big bad nukes. Half of this may never work. Most of it is irrelevant with 7000 existing nukes. All of it will probably syphon off more dosh into the inner circle, just like $50B Sochi Games.

    I really expected better from the Russian people after Communism fell but all they seem to care for is getting the same respect they did back when their country had the Gulags.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Putin 's deeds of the day

      "- ban your only serious opponent in upcoming election."

      Oh come now. He may be the CIA candidate but the guy is not serious, his share of the vote would be significantly less than that of Farage in the UK. Russians remember 1998. Going to Yale is not a plus point where Navalny is concerned.

      Grudinin and Zhirinovsky are likely to get a lot more votes than that.

      Wishful thinking about Russia is a peculiarly American problem, but it then becomes a global problem.

  36. SiFly

    Nuclear Rocket Engine

    Quite trackable (if it exists) i'd say, just look for that spot in the sky emitting a rather lot of high energy neutrons

  37. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Coincidence?

    Putin asks Trump if he wants to continue the 'New Start' US/Russia Nuke reduction treaty that OBAMA created.

    Trump, without hesitation, says no. Later tweets: "Let it be an arms race"

    Putin makes new nukes.

    Art of the deal folks...

  38. spold Bronze badge

    Inadequate

    Xi is about to become Dàdì (Grand Emperor) forever.

    Putin is about to become Prezident forever.

    Trump the Chump is looking past his sell-by date, he must be feeling very inadequate in all departments.

    Don the Con has been promising to upgrade the US nuclear arsenal (he is putting the arse in arsenal). Putin just put another chip on the table with nuclear buzz-bombs and nuclear equipped sharks. Putin can trade this.... Actually I hope the US military says "yes we will stop ours if you stop yours, BUT only if you release the wee-wee video so we can all get back to normal, besides we could do with a laugh".

  39. DanceMan

    Russians respect strength

    Russians have always liked strong leaders, going back to Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. This speech is probably as much to impress the Russian public in advance of the vote as much as it is the west.

    I've thought for a long time that to deal with the Russians you have to initially slap them in the face. Once you have their attention (and have gained some respect) you can proceed to negotiate. Trump's toadying approach to Putin has and will fail.

  40. siluri

    Doesn't he sound like a mad Korean Dictator we all know lol

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