Taking the High Ground onf Future Warfare:  Chariots of Fires

This presentation has two threads.  The first is an update on NATO's changing vulnerabilities.  The saecond is a theoretical approach to prevnt a Russian reinvasion of the Baltic States,  It was given in Stockholm on 9 December 2015.

December 20th...

Well, one has to watch the Russia with more than one eye.  A new story line is the growing Russian focus on Armenia.  TASS this morning is reporting the deployment of additional helicopters to Armena.  It is worthwhile putting the past few months in perspective.

  • September - CSTO "peacekeeping" exercise in Armenia...with tanks.  For political purposes, the definition of "peacekeeping" has a very broad meaning in their international exercises.
  • October 6 & 7 - Turkish helicopters violated Armenian air space.  The incidents were covered in TASS.  Turkey says it was because of bad weather.  This incident could be the cause of the recent deployments to Armenia along with the recent shoot down.
  • Early December - Seven older helicopters deployed to Armenia.
  • December 15th - Orian-10 UAV tested at the air base in Armenia.  The Russians have called the UAV stealthy which it is probably not.  We continue to see design elements in the Russians UAV's based upon the systems they bought from Israel.
  • December 21st Announcement - The TASS piece refers to modern Mi-24P's being sent to Armenia.  The impression from the article and the picture is that these are the new "night fighters" capable of night time operations.

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January 6th...

Have had an opportunity to do some additional digging and reflecting on the comment from Sputnik yesterday.

As I mentioned, I was taken by the data point that the system could engage 36 targets and fire 72 missiles against them. 

I was challenged that I needed to be careful because Sputnik is a messaging vehicle for the Russians.  Understand that, but those who write and screen pieces don't always know what is important, and I personally get some important glimpses.  This was one of them.  It tells me the basic design of the system is for a dual launch on a target.

That dual launch engineering is pretty standard...with air-to-air missiles and with US ground-based systems.  If they were low on missiles, we might see a single launch, but the insight is for a vulnerability of the Russian air defense system, specifically the S-400.

If early in a conflict NATO could bring the Russians to firing two missiles per target, one could begin to see that the S-400 could be rendered ineffective due to running out of missiles.  If NATO could put false targets in the air, either physical (drones) or electronic, the system could be rendered ineffective even more quickly.  In other words, NATO does not have to penetrate to destroy but just facilitate the system becoming ineffective.

There is another item of interest on the S-400 this morning.  TASS is announcing that "two regimental sets" of S-400's were being allocated to the Moscow region and the Central Industrial District.  I was struck by this because I don't hear anyone saying that NATO might think of attacking Moscow or the industrial base if there were a conflict over the Baltic States.

My conclusion is the Russian have the United States strategic threat in mind with this allocation of the S-400's.  Although there are significant reasons not to attack Moscow in a Baltic scenario, it would be important to keep the Russians believing that an attack might be possible.

The Russians have vulnerabilities.