The French Ministry of Defence announced that a French Navy (Marine Nationale) Rafale M carrier-borne multirole fighter successfully launched an ASMPA missile during a simulated nuclear strike mission.
A French Navy Rafale M fitted with a ASMPA nuclear missile. Picture: MBDA
During the test which took place on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, a Rafale M took off from the Avord Air Force Base and completed a flight of more than four hours. The flight involved all the phases of an airborne deterrent mission: transit flight, successive refuelings, low-altitude penetration, very low altitude phase with terrain following radar and precision launch of the ASMPA missile on a test area at the DGA missile test center of Biscarrosse (South West of France).
This assessment and evaluation of the Rafale / ASMPA missile combo is representative of a real mission of the French airborne nuclear component.
Long planned and carried out on a regular basis, the force evaluation firings are a demonstration of the reliability of the airborne weapons system over time. This new success reinforces the technical and operational credibility of French deterrence.
Artist impression: Launch of an ASMPA nuclear missile from a Rafale
The Strategic Air Forces (forces aérienne stratégiques or FAS) is a branch of the French Air Force created in 14 January 1964 and responsible for the use of air-launched nuclear weapons. It is one of the French nuclear deterrence arms, the other one being the SSBNs and their ICBMs.
In the French Navy, there is a small air-launched nuclear arm as well called FANu (Force aéronavale nucléaire). A select number of pilots are trained to deploy ASMPA missiles from their Rafale M taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Designed and produced by MBDA, the ASMPA (air-sol moyenne portée amélioré) is defined by some as a tactical air to surface nuclear missile. In French nuclear doctrine however, it is called a "pre-strategic" weapon or a "last warning" weapon prior to the full-scale employment of strategic ICBMs from SSBNs.
This pretty unique missile has a range of about 500 kilometres (310 mi) with a speed of up to Mach 3 thanks to its ramjet engine fed by two air intakes. It is fitted with a TNA (tête nucléaire aéroportée) 300kt thermonuclear warhead.
According to MBDA, ASMPA is destined to replace the ASMP (strategic and ultimate deterrent air-launched nuclear missile, for deployment by France’s strategic air forces and which can be carried under the Mirage 2000N). The transition scenario from ASMP to ASMPA was initial entry into service on the K3 standard of the Mirage 2000N (in 2009) and subsequently on the F3 standard Rafale (in 2010).
The concept is similar to that of ASMP. The ASMPA air vehicle uses the air vehicle pre-developed for the Vesta activity (ramjet air vehicle) in conjunction with the ANF future anti-ship programme (ANF was suspended at the end of 1999). The missile is powered by a ramjet motor. This mode of propulsion, compared to a traditional rocket propulsion system, allows for the significant reduction of both the required space within the missile as well as missile weight in relation to the required range and warhead charge. It allows the missile to cover a large part of the flight envelope at high supersonic speeds. The range and penetration capabilities have been significantly enhanced in relation to ASMP. The missile is nuclear-attack hardened.
Russia has deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the “spirit and intent” of an arms control treaty and poses a threat to Nato, the vice-chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, Gen Paul Selva, said on Wednesday.
It was the first public US accusation of the deployment after reports said last month that Russia had secretly deployed the ground-launched SSC-8 cruise missile that Moscow has been developing and testing for several years, despite US complaints that it violated sections of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
“The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe and we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to Nato and to facilities within the Nato area of responsibility,” Selva said during a House armed services committee hearing. He did not say if the missile carried a nuclear weapon.
Selva said the United States had brought up the issue with Russia. He did not say what options were being considered if the discussions did not lead to results, but added that “we have been asked to incorporate a set of options into the nuclear posture review”.
In 2014, the United States made a similar accusation. The state department concluded in an control report that Russia was in violation of its obligations under the INF treaty.
Russia accused Washington of conducting “megaphone diplomacy” after the accusation was repeated by the state department in 2015. Moscow also denied it had violated the treaty, which helped end the cold war.
Questions have been raised about US commitment to another nuclear weapons deal, the New Start agreement, which caps US and Russian deployment of nuclear warheads after Reuters reported that Trump told Putin it was a bad deal for the United States.
During the Wednesday hearing, senior military officials strongly backed the treaty.
“I have stated for the record in the past, now I’ll state again that I am a big supporter of the New Start agreement,” said Gen John Hyten, the head of US strategic command.
“The risk would be an arms race, we are not in an arms race now,” Hyten said.
The U.S. conducted 210 atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1962, with multiple cameras capturing each event at around 2,400 frames per second. But in the decades since, around 10,000 of these films sat idle, scattered across the country in high-security vaults. Not only were they gathering dust, the film material itself was slowly decomposing, bringing the data they contained to the brink of being lost forever.
For the past five years, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) weapon physicist Greg Spriggs and a crack team of film experts, archivists and software developers have been on a mission to hunt down, scan, reanalyze and declassify these decomposing films. The goals are to preserve the films’ content before it’s lost forever, and provide better data to the post-testing-era scientists who use computer codes to help certify that the aging U.S. nuclear deterrent remains safe, secure and effective.
As for the mini-nukes, Del Monte expects they represent “the most horrific near-term nanoweapons.”
Nanotechnology opens up the possibility to manufacture mini-nuke components so small that they are difficult to screen and detect. Furthermore, the weapon (capable of an explosion equivalent to about 100 tons of TNT) could be compact enough to fit into a pocket or purse and weigh about 5 pounds and destroy large buildings or be combined to do greater damage to an area.
“When we talk about making conventional nuclear weapons, they are difficult to make,” he said. “Making a mini-nuke would be difficult but in some respects not as difficult as a full-blown nuclear weapon.”
Del Monte explained that the mini-nuke weapon is activated when the nanoscale laser triggers a small thermonuclear fusion bomb using a tritium-deuterium fuel. Their size makes them difficult to screen, detect and also there’s “essentially no fallout” associated with them.
Still, while the mini-nukes are powerful in and of themselves, he expects they are unlikely to wipe out humanity. He said a larger concern is the threat of the nanoscale robots, or nanobots because they are “the technological equivalent of biological weapons.”
The author said controlling these “smart nanobots” could become an issue since if lost, there could be potentially millions of these deadly nanobots on the loose killing people indiscriminately.
Laitetaanpa tänne (hitoriallinen, video) koska filmi on hämmästyttävän yksityiskohtainen, en tiennytkään että plutoniumydin on noin pieni (selittänee ns salkkupommin):
eli, miten USAn atomienergialaki estikin brittejä saamasta tietoa atomipommista, ja kun PM Attleeta suorastaan kiristettiin esim lainoituksen loppumisella, niin hän päätti käynnistää brittien ikioman, kymmenien miljuunien salaisen projektin. Siitä syntyi plutoniumpommi ja paikka atomiklubissa. Mielenkiintoinen koukkaus, että Klaus Fucs vakoili USAn atomiaseosaamista brittien laskuun, mutta luovutti tiedot myös Neuvostoliittoon (josta oikeudenkäynnistä yleensä puhutaan).
Tuossa linkissä oli yksi mielenkiintoinen koelataus, joka liittyy suoraan ydinasekehityksen alkuvaiheisiin. Filmipätkä Ruth- nimisestä kokeesta näyttää itse asiassa pieleen menneen koeräjäytyksen. Amerikkalaiset näet testasivat Upshot-Knothole -koesarjassa 1953 lämpöydinaseen laukaisussa tarvittavaa fissioräjähdettä (jonka piti siis käynnistää fuusioreaktio). Tähän tarvittiin perinteinen fissioräjähde ja juuri tuossa koesarjassa kokeiltiin uutta uraanihybridilatausta.
Two test devices were exploded in 1953 as part Operation Upshot–Knothole. The aim of the UCRL design was to produce an explosion powerful enough to ignite a thermonuclear weapon, with the minimal amount of fissile material. The core consisted of uranium hydride, with hydrogen, or in the case of Ray, deuterium acting as the neutron moderator. The predicted yield was 1.5 to 3 ktTNT for Ruth and 0.5–1 ktTNT for Ray. The bombs failed to have the predicted explosive power in practice.
Ruth, which used ordinary hydrogen-1, was the first device entirely designed at Livermore; it was fired on March 31, 1953 at 05:00 local time (13:00 GMT) at Mercury, Nevada. The explosive device, Hydride I, weighed 7,400 lb (3,400 kg) and was 56 inches (140 cm) in diameter and 66 inches (170 cm) long. The predicted yield was 1.5 to 3.0 kilotons, but the actual yield was only 200 tons. Wally Decker, a young Laboratory engineer, characterized the sound the shot made as "pop." The lower 100 ft (30 m) of the 300-foot (91 m) testing tower remained intact, although the upper third was vaporized.
A second device, Ray, used deuterium. It was fired on a 100-foot (30 m) tower on April 11, 1953. Although Ray leveled the tower, the yield was similarly disappointing: again 200 tons, as opposed to the predicted 0.5–1 ktTNT.
Hyvä dokkari vuodelta 1983, jossa kuvataan ohjussukellusvene HMS Repulsea pelotepartiossa.
Tässä tuoreempi dokumentti samasta aiheesta. Kuvaa hyvin brittien Trident -ohjuksilla varustettujen veneiden toimintoja. Ja samalla myös sitä, miten läheistä yhteistyötä tekevät amerikkalaisten kanssa.
On March 1, 2017, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientistsreleased a major scoop that has extremely worrisome implications for U.S.-Russian relations and the risk of nuclear war. The story, by Hans Kristensen, Matthew McKinzie and Theodore Postol, concerns a new technical capability called “super-fuzing” that dramatically increases the lethality of the United States’ submarine-launched nuclear weapons.
Much of the report is given over to technical descriptions, but the gist of the story is this — the W76–1 naval warhead is now three times as lethal as before, and this massive expansion of kill capability makes it look like the United States is preparing for a decapitating nuclear attack.
Now obviously the United States is not actually planning to do this, nor can it be confident an all-out assault would “succeed.” But technologically, a preemptive strike on Russia now appears feasible — and that’s what matters.
In the world of deterrence, perception is everything — and if the Russians come to question our intentions, especially in a moment of crisis, the results could be catastrophic. Super-fuzing, far from keeping the United States safe, threatens to undermine the strategic stability that keeps nuclear war at bay.
The basic concept behind super-fuzing is simple. Whereas previous warheads on submarine-launched ballistic missiles had a fixed-height fuze, the “super-fuze” is variable and self-measuring. This vastly improves the warhead’s chances of detonating inside an optimal above-target zone called the “lethal volume” and obliterating the target beneath.
“An aging nuclear force…has forced the need for a modernization program,” the Defense Science Board declared last December after President Barack Obama gained rare bipartisan support.
The aim is ambitious: to refurbish or replace every aspect of America’s land, sea, and air-based nuclear “triad,” and to deter any moves by Russia, China, and rogue states like North Korea to threaten the American homeland.
The project is expensive. For instance, the U.S. Navy’s 14 nuclear submarines—each armed with up to 240 nukes—are slated for replacement. The planned Columbia-class sub is expected to consume about one-sixth of the Navy’s entire shipbuilding budget for the next 30 years (about $100 billion in total).
In a world of “improving” nuclear weapons, there are wider lessons. Because these systems can never be fully tested in advance (thanks to a multilateral test-ban treaty), how can we know how much foresight is good enough? The human factor is also critical. Soldiers on subs or in missile silos, for instance, might choose to defy launch orders from political leaders they mistrust.
Or nuclear warriors, who have grown accustomed to drills and rehearsals, may simply disbelieve when there’s a genuine crisis. Consider how on 11 September 2001, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), charged with protecting the United States from nuclear missile attacks from a command center inside Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain, failed to respond to even the hijacked airplane that struck the Pentagon. Soldiers (captured on tape recordings since made public) kept asking over and over, “Is this real-world or exercise?” They repeatedly assumed they were in a training simulation. Only after all four hijacked aircraft had crashed did NORAD receive authorization to shoot down any threatening aircraft in order to save lives on the ground.
Uncertainty clouds the nuclear-weapons complex, and human performance represents perhaps the biggest unknown. Improving hardware may do no good unless it is accompanied by a similar emphasis on enhancing human software. Ultimately, humans will decide whether the human species has the capacity to manage powerful tools that can either protect or grievously harm us.
U.S. Air Force harkitsee pienen, vain muutaman korttelin alueen tuhoavan ydinaseen kehittämistä:
US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence
The Joint Chiefs’ vice chair says smaller-yield weapons are needed to deter the use of same.
The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch.
The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.
Throughout much the Cold War, the thinking in Washington and especially Moscow was that bigger yields was better: the more destruction, the more deterrence. This thinking drove the Soviet Union to build the most powerful bomb ever, the Tzar Bomba, whose 100,000 kilotons, detonated over DC, would burn Baltimore.
But the future of nuclear deterrence lies, at least in part, in smaller nuclear weapons that the United States might actually use, Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday at a Mitchell Institute event in downtown Washington. The threat of mutually assured destruction doesn’t work against smaller regimes in the way that it used to against the Soviet Union. Selva said the U.S. needs to be able launch a nuclear attack on an adversary without ending the world or causing massive “indiscriminate” casualties.
“If all you have is high-yield weapons to answer a low-yield attack, it’s still a nuclear attack. Answering that with a conventional weapon is likely not going to have the kind of deterrent value as saying, ‘Even if you use a low-yield weapon, we have options to respond,” he said. “If the only options we have are to go with high-yield weapons that create a level of indiscriminate killing that the President can’t accept, then we haven’t presented him with an option with an option to respond to a nuclear attack in kind.”
BEIJING (China Daily/The Asia News Network) - The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Rocket Force has improved its strategic deterrence capability, with the service of a new missile.
The DF-31AG, an enhanced version of the DF-31A intercontinental ballistic missile, is a new type of solid-fuel, road-mobile missile that can be launched from an eight-axle vehicle that also transports the missiles, according to an article published on Thursday (Aug 3) by an online outlet run by PLA Daily, the military's flagship newspaper.
Compared with its predecessors, the DF-31 and DF-31A, the new missile features better mobility and survivability, the article said, without giving further details.
Before the arrival of the DF-31AG, the DF-31A was the PLA's newest intercontinental ballistic missile known to the public.
As he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945, a piece of Hindu scripture ran through the mind of Robert Oppenheimer: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”. It is, perhaps, the most well-known line from the Bhagavad-Gita, but also the most misunderstood.
“Krishna is saying you have to simply do your duty as a warrior,” says Thompson. “If you were a priest you wouldn't have to do this, but you are a warrior and you have to perform it. In the larger scheme of things, presumably The Bomb represented the path of the battle against the forces of evil, which were epitomised by the forces of fascism.”
For Arjuna, it may have been comparatively easy for Arjuna to be indifferent to war because he believed the souls of his opponents would live on regardless. But Oppenheimer felt the consequences of the atomic bomb acutely. “He hadn't got that confidence that the destruction, ultimately, was an illusion,” says Thompson. Oppenheimer’s apparent inability to accept the idea of an immortal soul would always weigh heavy on his mind.