Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boston Globe Is Right On The Money.

I write constantly about the parallel universe in which US main-stream media live when dealing with, well, just about anything and, especially so, Russia, but some of the brain farts produced by a bunch of hacks working for US media machine do deserve to be singled out. Here is a today's pearl from Boston Globe:

Granted, mind you, that it is Scott Gilmore's "opinion", which usually implies that a rag which publishes "opinion" may or may not endorse it. All of it--mostly smoke and mirrors. I would have skipped the review of usual mental excrement of aggression and outright lies by another ignorant hack with degree in nothing and having no applicable skills to benefit society but one phrase caught my eyes. 

"According to the International Monetary Fund’s most recent data, the Russian economy is approximately the same size as Australia and slightly smaller than South Korea. As an exporter, it is now less important than Belgium, Mexico, and Singapore."  

It is only natural for a graduate of such madras as London School Of Economics (that is the "school" which barely touches reality in any meaningful way) to refer to IMF, an organization directly culpable in creating number of economic crises globally, as a reliable source of info on Russia. Indeed, what can one expect from the organization which excludes Russia from the list of advanced economies but includes there Lithuania.  

So, let's catch our "opinionated" boy economist and diplomat on pure lies. For that we will go to... IMF. Here is the the IMF data on Australian and Russian economies and, as Mr. Gilmore suggests showing Russian economy to be, and I quote:"the Russian economy is approximately the same size as Australia"(c).

 Here is Australian IMF data 2015-2016:

And here is Russia's for the same time period:

Anyone with a common sense, forget good understanding of the economics, which is not really a science, knows that absolute GDP measured in constant dollars is a misleading number. That is why anyone with the brain--from serious economists who abhorre all those BS monetarist, detached from real life, theories to serious intelligence and analytical organizations, use much more (still inaccurate) accurate metric--GDP based on PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) which does reflect what is, so to speak, real depth of the economy. Even a brief look at PPP comparisons between Russia's and Australia's economies show a peculiar number which tells us that, rephrasing our "specialist" and "diplomat" (a diplomatic tour in Indonesia surely makes one competent on Russia, wink-wink) "the Russian economy is approximately three times the size as Australia", in reality--much larger. Well, if we also concentrate on the last underlined row at the very bottom of the both tables we will see that shares of Global GDP based on PPP also relate to each-other as approximately 3.1 to 1 in Russia's favor. 

But all these numbers, which clearly show Mr. Gilmore to be what he really is--a frustrated BSer and a liar with no clue on the issues of real economies and power--do not reflect what real economy IS from which REAL both economic and military power derive. I wrote about this many times, I will repeat it again--Number of Enclosed Technological Cycles. This metric puts most of current monetarists out of their misery and suggest to them to go and do something really useful and contributing to society--such as tending cows on farms or working 5-axis CNC at some manufacturing plant. Let them try their pathetic "theories" in real life.  Now that we understand that this piece of "opinion" in Boston Globe is pure propaganda and that Mr. Gilmore is as qualified to speak on Russia as I am qualified to perform open heart surgery, we may concentrate on the issue at hand and here are some news that even Bloomberg people begin to take note. 

While Russian economy's recovery from both internal issues (and there are plenty of those, to be sure) and sanctions takes time and effort, retooling is ongoing and to a certain degree it influences global processes. As could be seen, while such "industries" as finances were contracting in 2015, the actual manufacturing was and is still growing. 

Most remarkable is the growth in machine-building sector which continues to grow at a very respectable 5+ % and it is there, together with broadly defined chemical industry and some other fields, where real power is manufactured. 

I like Ozzies--mostly simple folks, hard working, generally decent people, obviously suffering from the same malaise which afflicted whole of Anglo-sphere, but still--the guys and gals I would like to get together for a beer and talk about life, I did it before. So, I do not want any Ozzie who reads this blog to take anything personally. But here are the facts. There is no denial that Australia is a highly developed nation with extremely high standard of living but even the brief look at the Australia's GDP structure betrays what can only be described as total deindustrialization--only 21% of Australia's economy is industry. Compare this with 36.3% of Russia's share of industry in her GDP, with agriculture it rises to 40.3%. That is, in purely percentage expression Russia produces almost twice more than Australia. In absolute numbers? I would go on a limb here and will say that Russia's industrial (that is manufacturing) sector is much larger than Australia's whole GDP in whatever iteration it is going to be looked at. Consider these simple facts: 

Russia produces civilian jets from R&D stage to full production (including avionics, composites, aggregates what have you), Australia does not. Russia produces a variety of space vehicles, from parts of the International Space Station to different rockets. Australia does not. Russia produces own microprocessors. Does Australia? Never heard of it. Russia is a manufacturer and operator of only other truly global position system--GLONASS. And the list goes on and on, and on. Russia produces railway rolling stock, both on her own and in cooperation, such as with Siemens, including some cutting edge heavy pullers. Both Russia and Australia export crude, steel and other low processed products, but here where commonality ends. As it should when one compares a nation with 150 million population to one of barely 23 million people. 

And then comes this sensitive issue of Russia maintaining the second most powerful military of the world. This is where all those "economic" comparisons and indices break down completely. Russia can produce and does produce state-of-the-art submarines, fighter-jets, air defense complexes and other extremely hi-tech things. Obviously, graduates of London School Of Economics together with their professors, whose world view of hi-tech is limited by the latest model of iPhone produced in China, have no clue what goes into all that but I do. Research & Development, Design, then manufacturing and procurement of such weapon systems as S-400 or fighter-jet of SU-35 type, as an example, require academic, scientific, industrial and other resources which are beyond the reach of overwhelming majority of nations, can not be merely expressed in some economic numbers. A single state-of-the-art SSGN of Severodvinsk-class, project 885 (Graney-class) requires a cutting edge industry to be designed and produced: from advanced materials, advanced radio-electronics industry, scientific and academic school, research institutes,  shipbuilding industry with highly trained personnel to a modern machine building complex capable to build everything from radar and sonar to combat information control systems (combat computers), to nuclear reactors to...the list is colossal and currently there are only two nations in the world capable to completely on their own do so, and you may have guessed it already--these are Unites States and Russia. The rest of the world is not even in the same league when dealing with quality and quantity of these kind of systems.  Moreover, working in these industries requires a constant inflow of specialists with extremely high level of STEM education. These people are taught at top national colleges and universities and those are, believe me, world-class and tough to graduate from. And then, there is national military educational system. Guess where Russian system of military education is in terms of reputation and quality? Granted, of course, that one should discard all kinds of propaganda crap.

Lack of knowledge, however, doesn't prevent Mr. Gilmore from sharing his "insights" on military issues by stating:

"According to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Institute, Russia’s defense budget is still less than China, and Saudi Arabia. It is roughly on par with India, France, and the United Kingdom. And it is nine times smaller than the Pentagon’s budget. The fact is, if it wasn’t for Syria, the Crimea, and some ageing warheads, Russia would get as much global attention as Slovakia or perhaps Wales" (c).

I already elaborated on the issue of military budget's size but the pearl about "aging warheads" is really something. Obviously, yet again, they don't teach anything of related to the reality in London School Of Economics but last time I checked, Russia possesses the most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world which ranges from the latest SLBMs Bulava carried by the state-of-the-art newest SSBN of Borei-class (3 hulls completed, 4 are being built) to a whole range of other both conventional and nuclear deterrents ranging from brand new RS-28 Sarmat ICBM, railroad complexes Barguzin to newest long-range cruise missiles of Kalibr and X-101 (102) class. One has to ask then, why Boston Globe gives a word to a guy who obviously is driven by feverish Russo-phobia and is utterly incompetent in just about any field he mentions in his drivel passed as an "opinion". It is an "opinion", alright, and it carries the same weight as my opinion on the issue of proctology or gynecology. The only difference between me and Mr.Gilmore--I do not speak on the subjects I have no clue about. I, as well as many other normal people, consider this to be uncultured and arrogant. But Gilmore is not alone here--he is a typical representative of North American so called "intellectual elite", which is neither intellectual nor elite but whose "opinions" are pushed on unsuspecting public as a noteworthy analysis. 

Make no mistake, Russia is no angel here either, Russia has her own share of "specialists" and "intellectuals" who do exercise their freedom of speech in all kinds of media outlets. But what is also true, and it is especially true for Russia's establishment media, Russians are on the order of magnitude more aware and knowledgeable about US (and Canada) than it is the other way around. Sure, one may see an opinion piece on the US which will be less than flattering (and often deservedly so) but it will not be filled with hatred towards American people, let alone with open bullshit and outright lies presented as a fact. In this sense, visceral hatred of North American "educated" class towards Russia and Russians is unique and borders on a paranoia and a very popular liberal delusion that thoughts may create a reality. But as old Oriental proverb goes: it will not get sweeter in the mouth by repeating the word sugar one hundred times. Russia is not going to collapse from depicting her as what she is not. Russophrenia is a cruel illness.

We all know that US "journalism" is dead. Hence the rise of the alternative media. Today this US "journalism" field is populated by ego-maniac hacks who decided that they are the ones who have the right to manipulate rather than inform and they seem totally content with the fact that most of them are human and professional failures in any human field which requires talent, knowledge and dedication--activities which lead human to what we all live for in the end--the pursuit of the truth since there is no happiness without it. Moreover, they get paid, often very handsomely, for spreading the lies and BS and in this case Boston Globe is right on the money--it delivered what it was paid to do: an opinion of a plumber on gynecology. I, meanwhile, am off to Russia, which, as we all know, is about to collapse and is crude drunk hooligan. Hey, that's partially true, Russians suck at football but, boy, they sure as hell know how to put up a fight.         
Parts Of Moscow. Sure Looks Like A Third World City;-))


Friday, June 17, 2016

State Department=Mini Peace (Minipax).

I wanted to write some thoughts on the issue, but then read Moon Of Alabama and concluded that most what I wanted to say was already said in much more appropriate English. The only thing I would add here is that we all are witnessing a complete and utter degeneration of current US "elites". Recall my post on Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice. It seems that utter ignorance and sheer lunacy are becoming a defining feature of these "elites". So, here it is--a full text from Moon Of Alabama

Know-Nothing "Diplomats" Prepare For Hillary's War On Syria

There are at least 51 stupid or dishonest "diplomats" working in the U.S. State Department. Also - Mark Lander is a stupid or dishonest NYT writer. The result is this piece: Dozens of U.S. Diplomats, in Memo, Urge Strikes Against Syria’s Assad
WASHINGTON — More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.
Note that it was Ahrar al Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra and other U.S. paid and supported "moderates" who on April 9 broke the ceasefire in Syria by attacking government troops south of Aleppo. They have since continuously bombarded the government held parts of Aleppo which house over 1.5 million civilians with improvised artillery.
Back to the piece:
The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
The names on the memo are almost all midlevel officials — many of them career diplomats — who have been involved in the administration’s Syria policy over the last five years, at home or abroad. They range from a Syria desk officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to a former deputy to the American ambassador in Damascus.
While there are no widely recognized names, higher-level State Department officials are known to share their concerns. Mr. Kerry himself has pushed for stronger American action against Syria, in part to force a diplomatic solution on Mr. Assad.
The State Department officials insisted in their memo that they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action to keep Mr. Assad in line.
These State Department loons have their ass covered by Secretary of State Kerry. Otherwise they would (and should) be fired for obvious ignorance. What "judicious" military threat against Russian S-400 air defense in Syria is credible? Nukes on Moscow (and New York)?
In the memo, the State Department officials argued that military action against Mr. Assad would help the fight against the Islamic State because it would bolster moderate Sunnis, who are necessary allies against the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Would these "diplomats" be able to name even one group of "moderate Sunnis" in Syria that is not on the side of the Syrian government? Are Ahrar al-Sahm and the other U.S. supported groups, who recently killed 50 civilians out of purely sectarian motives when they stormed the town of Zara, such "moderate Sunnis"?
These 50 State Department non-diplomats, and the stinking fish head above them, have obviously failed in their duty:
  • "Diplomats" urging military action do nothing but confirm that they do not know their job which is diplomacy, not bombing. They failed.
  • These "diplomats" do not know or do not want to follow international law. On what legal basis would the U.S. bomb the Syrian government and its people? They do not name any. There is none.
  • To what purpose would the Syrian government and the millions of its followers be bombed? Who but al-Qaeda would follow if the Assad-led government falls? The "diplomats" ignore that obvious question.
The NYT writer of the piece on the memo demonstrates that he is just as stupid or dishonest as the State Department dupes by adding this paragraph:
[T]he memo mainly confirms what has been clear for some time: The State Department’s rank and file have chafed at the White House’s refusal to be drawn into the conflict in Syria.
How is spending over $1 billion a year to hire, train, arm and support "moderate rebels" against the Syrian government consistent with the claim of a U.S. "refusal to be drawn into the conflict"?
It is obvious and widely documented that the U.S. has been fueling the conflict from the very beginning throughout five years and continues up to today to deliver thousands of tons of weapons to the "moderate rebels".
All the above, the "diplomats" letter and the NYT writer lying, is in preparation of an open U.S. war on Syria under a possible president Hillary Clinton. (Jo Cox, the "humanitarian" British MP who was murdered yesterday by some neo-nazi, spoke in support of such a crime.)
The U.S. military continues to reject an escalation against the Syrian government. Its reasonable question "what follows after Assad" has never been seriously answered by the war supporters in the CIA and the State Department.
Unexpected support of the U.S. military's position now seems to come from the Turkish side. The Erdogan regime finally acknowledges that a Syria under Assad is more convenient to it than a Kurdish state in north-Syria which the U.S. is currently helping to establish:
"Assad is, at the end of the day, a killer. He is torturing his own people. We're not going to change our stance on that," a senior official from the ruling AK Party told Reuters, requesting anonymity so as to speak more freely. "But he does not support Kurdish autonomy. We may not like each other, but on that we're backing the same policy," he said.
Ankara fears that territorial gains by Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria will fuel an insurgency by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an armed struggle in Turkey's southeast for three decades.
The Turks have suddenly removed their support for their "Turkmen" proxies fighting the Syrian government in Latakia in north west Syria. Over the last few days the "Turkmen" retreated and the Syrian army advanced. It may soon reach the Turkish border. Should the Latakia front calm down the Syrian army will be able to move several thousand troops from Latakia towards other critical sectors. The Turkish government, under the new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, is now also sending peace signals towards Russia.
The situation in Syria could rapidly change in favor of the Syrian government should Turkey change its bifurcating policies and continue these moves. Without their Turkish bases and support the "moderate rebels" would soon be out of supplies and would lack the ability to continue their fighting. The Russians and their allies should further emphasize the "Kurdish threat" to advance this  Turkish change of mind.
The race to preempt a Hillary administration war on Syria, which the "diplomats" memo prepares for, is now on. May the not-warmongering side win.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Armata, Costs And Reality. Again....

When Main Battle Tank T-14 Armata debuted at Moscow's Victory Day Parade in 2015, let's be honest, it created a global media furor. No doubt, together with praises, a truck load of doubts was also dumped on Armata and the main of them all was the issue of costs. Few people argued with the fact that it is the most advanced tank in the world today, but what price? Initial speculations were that the cost will be so high that Russia as a whole may go bankrupt and dissolve after producing 5, 6....8 Armatas tops. Of course, how could it be any other way when "Russian scholars" (mostly from uber-liberal think-tanks, a euphemism for NATO shills) said so.  

Well, realities on the ground, however, are such that 20 Armatas are already serving with Russian Army's regular tank units and undergo what is called "troop trials", a term somewhat related to IOC: Initial Operational Capability. This is after a year since debut at the Red Square. To add insult to injury, or rub the salt into the wounds, of all kinds of Western Russia's ever ignorant "military experts", the CEO of famed Ural Vagon Zavod (Ural Train Cars Factory--yes, Russians love their military technologies pass as train cars or baby food) Oleg Sienko in his recent interview to National Defense magazine confirmed what many suspected all along, that Armata is exactly three times less expensive to produce than Abrams. That means only one thing: if to believe Abrams' (or Leopard's) cost to be $8.62 million, then Armata is $2,87 million. So, does it mean that Russian Army will receive planned 2300 Armatas by 2025 (initially it was stated to be 2020)? It sure as hell looks like it.      

Will there be delays, rescheduling, adjustments etc.? Absolutely! It already happened due to economic and geopolitical circumstances.  No state-of-the-art technology ever was procured without that and it is quite normal. But there is no doubt that Russia, yet again, was able to complete a full cycle--from R&D to procurement--of the cutting edge military technology which in the West would have cost....cough...F-35. This technological gap with the West will continue to grow, especially so if Putin will finally make a decision which a whole nation waits from him now. If not, somebody else, not Putin, will be making those decisions but that is a separate matter and a discussion. Meanwhile, Sukhoi T-50 (aka PAK FA) is getting ready to hit serial production in 2017, with new T-50 specific engines to be installed starting from 2018. 

It is not only inevitable but warranted to observe a somewhat peculiar reaction of Western MSM on a stream of real news from Russia. Behind this reaction (Russophrenia) is their never realized but, oh so palpable, "secret" desire to see Russia implode economically and Russians starve and crawl to the West on their knees. Yet, Russia somehow makes more money exporting grain than she does exporting weapons and now is world's leading exporter of wheat, still builds nuclear and diesel ice-breakers, produces micro-processors, launches satellites, builds nuclear power stations and, generally, is not willing to get scared. I guess this costs factor and ability to produce one of, if not the world's best weapons in quantities that deter any aggression is a huge part of the answer. In Russia it is always Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum and rightly so--this is reality of Russia's history.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Is Strategy? No, Really, What Is It.

For those who read my blog consistently for the last 1.5 years this shouldn't present any difficulty--it is a system of measures for attaining political objectives of a war, campaign (both military and, why not, advertising) or even a test. I like Daniel Larison, to whose blog I have a direct link, but he doesn't like me since I constantly point out to the fact that if one wants to make a difference in US disastrous foreign policy one should start to point out WHO runs it or...speak in broadsides. That involves appropriating a famous neocon "method" of ad hominem but with one very serious addition--use of an actual serious academic argumentation. For example, if I say that Marco Rubio is mama's boy who compensates for...being mama's boy (plus, of course, being on the payroll of Israeli-first Adelson)--it could be easily proven that his, or, as an example, Speaker Paul Ryan's, views on foreign policy are nothing more than wet dreams of lawyers or political "scientists" who didn't spent a day in the armed forces nor have any clue of outside world. Easy. The only thing which drives them is a necessity to look tough and cool--like Speaker Ryan who simply lied about his sports' achievements.  You see, being macho is really big deal in Congress where very few ever served in armed forces, let alone saw combat or serious operations, which were dangerous to their lives

Now, Daniel Larison writes another excellent piece in The American Conservative and this piece, yet again, makes an argument within the confines of American perception of the outside world and war, but this cannot be changed since, as I write throughout this whole blog for the last 18 months--it can not be changed until all those Ivy League boys feel an intensive heat from explosions, feel what kinetic means first hand and, in general, experience the fear, sweat, exhaustion, smell and desperation of the serious military service. Nothing is going to change until those people get a very clear idea that their decisions may have a very serious consequences for their very own dears like being....blown to smithereens. Especially so against the background of US political "elites" literally living in La-La Land insofar as military power goes. The closest those people ever have been to real military is, probably, when given rides on some military technology and watching movies and reading late Clancy's BS. Now, mentally, fly into Kremlin and ask yourself a question: do Russians know that most of US "elites" sincerely, truly believe that US is militarily exceptional? Not only Russians are aware of that, their awareness is a part of their geopolitical and military calculus. 

Much of US foreign policy arrogance (and failures) is based on the fact of decision-makers being completely oblivious to real issues of war. In current American political world where appearances are more important than substance, the image of modern Russian Armed Forces may create such hysterical reactions:

You see, just mere purposeful and to a good end (killing ISIS and US supported "moderate terrorists") use of Russia's Armed Forces creates a near aneurysm reaction. Fact is, Russia has no intention to humiliate anyone, let alone US military to which Russian Armed Forces have professional respect. But Russians know that every performance of Russian Armed Forces (which were presented always as hordes of primitive barbarians in the "West"), be it on the Red Square during Victory Day parade or delivering precision guided munitions against ISIS animals, inevitably creates among those who set current US foreign policy against Russia a sense of, how to put it politely, insecurity. Reason? I mentioned it not for once--a sacred belief that US and NATO can conventionally defeat Russia in her vicinity based on Hollywood. Well, it can not. So, does demonstration of Russian conventional military prowess become a part (an element) of strategy to deter war? Absolutely, if it wasn't the case, both Putin and Russian General Staff (which knows a thing or two about war) should have been fired. As Sun Tzu, or Clausewitz, or Delbruck, or whoever (maybe even George Friedman of STRATFOR;-)) said it: the best way to win the war is not to fight it, especially against the opponent whose political command has barely any idea what they are dealing with. This is also a great strategy, that is a system of measures to attain political objectives of the war, and I may add, without fighting it. Today's decision on "deployment" of the whole....4 NATO battalions in Poland and Baltic States against Russian "aggression" surely testifies to the fact that the message was delivered and understood. The rest--let PR and media people deal with that. As long as the appearances are good and Russians feel intimidated;-)  


James Holmes On OODA.

As some of you may have noticed I don't take The National Interest magazine seriously--most of its publications are wet dreams of "professionals" from political pseudo-science and technophile amateurs who love those big guns and sexy planes. But once in a while even TNI publishes a very good piece which is worth paying attention to. Recently it was an excellent piece by Lieutenant Colonel Davies and now it is the piece by James Holmes, a Professor of Strategy from Naval War College:

I want to remind you all, that I started this blog by going into the nature of Colonel Boyd's OODA Loop and how it is being discarded by most US political and military "elites".  Holmes also goes into this issue and argues with late Admiral Cebrowski--the father of the Net Centric Warfare. While doing this, Holmes references one of the greatest contemporary naval minds, Captain Wayne Hughes (and others) with his Mesh Network In Littoral Operations.  

This is an extraordinarily important discussion, which may not generate much in terms of comments--people simply do not like math and fairly complex (not really, wink-wink) constructs but I want to stake this discussion for the future since view it as the most important issue of modern naval combat, which already is having a major strategic implications, with tectonic geopolitical ramifications. While discussing technological dimension of war is very important (and it is fun for many), its operational and human dimensions are no less, if not more, important. So, here it is. meanwhile, if someone wants to refresh some basic facts related to Boyd's OODA Loop--welcome to  Sand Castle Geopolitics, where I go in some depth into the OODA issue as applied to geopolitics. 

Admiral Gorshkov In Base

Friday, June 10, 2016

It Was About 25 Years Ago.....

That Soviet firm Melodiya produced Alexey Rybnykov's greatest masterpiece Rock Opera Juno And Avost--a Russian Orthodox Melodic Intoxication, songs which became prayers. It suddenly dawned on me again today. Paris in 1988 packed its best venues demanding more and more and The Theater Of Lenisnky Komsomol performed week after week for adoring sold out Paris crowds. Today, quarter century later--it seems that this anthem (a closing theme of rock-opera) to lovers, man and a woman, suddenly is as relevant as ever. Hallelujah to beloved couple............Hallelujah to love......Hallelujah to all future children....we will respond with smile to the hatred........


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

And The Bird Is Out.....

And she is a beauty!!

This is a major development not only for Russia, with MC-21 already having 175 firm orders and 100 options from Russia's airlines, but also for global market. This jet is a direct and powerful competitor at the most voluminous market of mid-range aircraft with anything out there available today. In this roll out, MC-21, named after legendary Soviet/Russian aircraft designer Alexander Yakovlev (initially, the plane was known as Yak-242), is equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines--this configuration will be used for promotion in the international markets. Russian versions will be equipped with newest PD-14, which will be in series production by 2018. 

MC-21 is a remarkably thoroughly Russian-made plane with a very high percentage of localization--from avionics to composites, which constitute 40% of aircraft air frame, including all-composite wings. A lot could be said about all that, but what must be said is that it is a milestone and a massive comeback of Russian civil (commercial) aviation which about 10 years ago was all but "buried" by all kinds of "experts".                 

This aircraft has a massive export potential but for now it must be oriented towards Russian  market.


Now, onto flight tests and certification. This aircraft is badly needed in Russia. As they say--Godspeed.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Oh the 1970s.....;-)

Yes, I am that old, and yes we danced to it at our school parties;-)

Have a nice weekend..............

Short Bypass (Military Power Related).

Me and others speak constantly on the "bang for a buck" issue of the national military power. Here is an example of real economy translating directly (or almost directly) into the military power. I want to express, before elaborating on the issue, my deepest gratitude to all those OSINT naval enthusiasts from famous Balancer's Air Base Forum for doing a yeomanry work in squeezing out all available open information on Russian Navy. Enter second in Project 11356 class frigates, Admiral Essen

She was fully completed and ready to be transferred to Russian Navy two days ago. Thanks to our enthusiasts and, obviously, 1st Federal TV Channel Rossiya, we have a glimpse into the main document which finalized the completion of this ship. Here it is:

One doesn't have to know Russian to see that the final cost of this frigate is 13,650,240,000 Rubles. Let us do some very simple and not so prudent economic math. The exchange rate for Ruble today is 66.2 Rubles for 1 US Dollar. Let's see how much in US Dollars Admiral Essen's cost will be? We divide:
      13,650,240,000 ÷ 66.2 ≈ 206,196,978 US Dollars.

Yes, my friends, this ship of 4,000 ton displacement, packing a serious long range and anti-shipping punch in a form of now very well known Kalibrs, having impressive medium range air defense system, robust ASW capability (including 1 ASW helicopter), state of the art sensor and processing suite, good guns, excellent sea keeping properties etc. For 200 million bucks? Yes, exactly--you are not mistaken. Mind you, this is the cost, or, rather, value which will be calculated by all kinds of monetarists, Western and domestic-alike, when "calculating" Russia's GDP. In this case, irresistible and highly warranted question arises--how much such kind of ship would cost in NATO? Well, that is an interesting question. If we are talking about US Navy's LCS, also known as self-propelled 57-mm gun, a single ship of this class, whose combat capabilities compared to Admiral Essen are puny, to put it mildly, costs....drum roll...362 million US Dollars. 1.8 times more for a platform which in the case of Surface Warfare scenarios will not even see what hit it and will have no means of defending itself, forget strike missions. Yet, Admiral Essen (as well as Admiral Grigorovich) is totally capable to strike to a strategic depth and is capable to sink any ship with a single strike with, possibly, one exception of US Navy's massive aircraft carriers. 

You may say, comparison with LCS is not correct (it is, but for the sake of argument), let's see what are the costs of something really comparable, something more frigatish. OK, let's take a look at so called FREMM frigate by France. First, the ship with the displacement in excess of 6,000 tons is not really a frigate, Italy's version of FREMM has a 6,700 ton displacement. Really? How about calling this thing a DDG, not FFG. After all, it is almost twice the standard displacement of Admiral ESSEN. But let's see what this FREMM really packs. It has a very respectable Air-Defense complex and a more advanced, phased array antenna, it also has a very robust ASW suite. It also carries long-range land-attack missile SCALP whose long-range capabilities of about 1,000 km are not even in the same universe as those of Kalibr's  3M14T whose range is 2,500 km. Anti-shipping weapons are represented by venerable subsonic Exocet Block 3 missile, whose range is about 97 nautical miles (180 km). Here, FREMM, whose cost is 670 million Euros (that is 758 million US Dollars) loses massively on both costs and on some very crucial combat capabilities. In the end, anti-shipping version of Kalibr, 3M54T out-ranges Exocet by 480 km while reaching Mach=3 in its terminal phase. 

So, my friends, here we are--a very short review of a bang for a buck. We, of course, could delve into the all kinds of actual coefficients of combat effectiveness, combat stability, probabilities etc. But I suspect, that in the average model of ship to ship engagement of similar FFG classes, Admiral Essen will come out on top most of the time. For a fraction of a price, mind you. But then, of course, we could also compare more expensive, but still way more affordable, Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov class frigates--here, the combat advantage becomes even more startling while the cost gap narrows somewhat. 
What does it all mean, then? Well, it means only one thing about which I was talking since the inception of this blog--Russia simply produces better weapons for a fraction of the cost and it is true for all of them. This also demonstrates what a pile of steaming shit all those GDP "calculations" are by all kind of international financial shyster organizations. While the relation between exchange rates and costs is, of course, more complex--this simple comparison is more than valid, none the less. Russia can afford to sell state-of-the-art SU-35 for 65 million US Dollars and make a killing, while, US is forced to sell F-35, a wreck of a plane, for....well, judge for yourself. In general, Russia's economy is much smaller than that of, say, US but:

1. It is not as smaller as many try to convince us. In reality the gap, while still fairly large, is not as dramatic;
2. Realities of Russia's economy allow Russia to compete directly in weapons and fields related to them with the combined West and, in fact, beat it in very many fields. As per famous coefficient combat effectiveness/cost--the combined West is not even a real competitor here. 
3. Why it is so--the answer is in Russia's 20th century history, a real one. Learning it is beyond the grasp of most "experts" in the West. But we knew that all along, didn't we?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

IL-96 (and IL-114) Are Back.

This was in November 2015. But that was just an intention. A week ago an intention started to become practical steps. 

Russia Bets On Aircraft From Soviet Past (In Russian). 

This development is strategic, to put it mildly. Of course, the cabal of "experts", many of them, and you may have guessed it already, with financial degrees are "skeptical". One of those "experts" went as far as to complain that it is impossible to improve on the air frame developed  in 1980s. He is such an "expert" that he, of course, forgot that venerable and superbly modern Boeing-747-400, a plane currently still in production, goes back as far as...1968. Many object for a reason of 4 engines and economic issues which arise from that. The problem with this reasoning is that those who object they either can only see what is going on in the West or they have no idea that passenger aviation is a bit more important than production of espresso machines. In the end, one can make a decent living on the import of foreign-made espresso machines. For country such as Russia, which has an outstanding history and tradition of commercial aviation, and whose air frames are universally admired, it is a national shame to buy, especially as it was in 1990s-early 2000-s, Western second hand, some of it--dangerous junk. 

Currently Russia is producing a fairly successful Sukhoi Superjet-100, which is a regional jet, slow produces a number of other decent commercial jets and she also is getting ready to roll out Irkut MC-21. This plane is a wowser. This will be a first serious attack, initially primarily on the internal Russian market,  on the niche which currently is occupied by B-737 MAX and Airbus A321 NEO.  With firm orders for this aircraft topping 200 and PD-14 engine having very successful trials, the implications are obvious. MC-21 is a thoroughly Russian aircraft, albeit capable of being equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines for prospective foreign buyers, who are more used to P&W. As real experts point out:

The MC-21 has its own profile. It is not a copy of a Western aircraft. It has a wider cabin than the A320, a wing which allows a higher cruise speed and a higher capacity in its base variant, the MC-21-300.

And while MC-21 development is not without its share of problems and delays, it seems that 2016 should be the year when this jet will  make its maiden flight.

Russia is a country created by nature for commercial aviation--11 time zones, vast spaces, huge distances between major urban centers. And in late 1980s, early 1990s Russia had her own jumbo. The world knows it by its slightly shortened 300 version of President Of Russian Federation Ilyushin IL-96 300 Rossiya.

Its commercial version IL-96 400 is used by Aeroflot and Cubana. These are magnificent planes. 

The way Russian aerospace industry was being destroyed by the so called "reformers" in 1990s can only be described as economic state crime. It is nothing short of miracle that Russia's aerospace not only survived but is finally poised to break out into the vast Russian commercial flight market and it seems that this will be done with state-of-the-art jet aircraft, including, finally, a wide body ones. There is no doubt that new iteration of IL-96s will be updated with composites where it is needed, the older glass cockpit will be updated to the newest ones by KRET and, in foreseeable future, by newest engines. These aircraft have a very bright future in Russia and are genuine tough competitors to Boeing and Airbus on Russian market. It is a very healthy development for Russia, economic nationalism is the way to go for real recovery. In the end, none other than Donald Trump embodies this vision in the US and good for the US, I say, if this vision becomes a set of policies--it is certainly happening in Russia. 

No amount of financial manipulations or speculation ever produced anything of value, it only destroys. Building things is a completely different proposition and money must be in the subordinate position to these higher goals, not define them. Otherwise we will have what Russia was in 1990s or what US has become today--a market of office plankton and entry level service jobs. In the end, European people are in dire need of producing and building things, without that--the best in our culture is lost. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Russian Warning

Dmitry Orlov and The Saker wrote an interesting declaration. While I do not subscribe to everything in this declaration, hence no my signature, I do find this piece important and gladly post it in my blog. You may also read it on both Saker's and Orlov's sites. 

A Russian Warning

We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy as being in shambles and the Russian military as weak—all based on no evidence. But we—knowing both Russian history and the current state of Russian society and the Russian military, cannot swallow these lies. We now feel that it is our duty, as Russians living in the US, to warn the American people that they are being lied to, and to tell them the truth. And the truth is simply this:

If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States
will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead.

Let us take a step back and put what is happening in a historical context. Russia has suffered a great deal at the hands of foreign invaders, losing 22 million people in World War II. Most of the dead were civilians, because the country was invaded, and the Russians have vowed to never let such a disaster happen again. Each time Russia had been invaded, she emerged victorious. In 1812 Nepoleon invaded Russia; in 1814 Russian cavalry rode into Paris. On July 22, 1941, Hitler’s Luftwaffe bombed Kiev; On May 8, 1945, Soviet troops rolled into Berlin.

But times have changed since then. If Hitler were to attack Russia today, he would be dead 20 to 30 minutes later, his bunker reduced to glowing rubble by a strike from a Kalibr supersonic cruise missile launched from a small Russian navy ship somewhere in the Baltic Sea. The operational abilities of the new Russian military have been most persuasively demonstrated during the recent action against ISIS, Al Nusra and other foreign-funded terrorist groups operating in Syria. A long time ago Russia had to respond to provocations by fighting land battles on her own territory, then launching a counter-invasion; but this is no longer necessary. Russia’s new weapons make retaliation instant, undetectable, unstoppable and perfectly lethal.

Thus, if tomorrow a war were to break out between the US and Russia, it is guaranteed that the US would be obliterated. At a minimum, there would no longer be an electric grid, no internet, no oil and gas pipelines, no interstate highway system, no air transportation or GPS-based navigation. Financial centers would lie in ruins. Government at every level would cease to function. US armed forces, stationed all around the globe, would no longer be resupplied. At a maximum, the entire landmass of the US would be covered by a layer of radioactive ash. We tell you this not to be alarmist, but because, based on everything we know, we are ourselves alarmed. If attacked, Russia will not back down; she will retaliate, and she will utterly annihilate the United States.

The US leadership has done everything it could to push the situation to the brink of disaster. First, its anti-Russian policies have convinced the Russian leadership that making concessions or negotiating with the West is futile. It has become apparent that the West will always support any individual, movement or government that is anti-Russian, be it tax-cheating Russian oligarchs, convicted Ukrainian war criminals, Saudi-supported Wahhabi terrorists in Chechnya or cathedral-desecrating punks in Moscow. Now that NATO, in violation of its previous promises, has expanded right up to the Russian border, with US forces deployed in the Baltic states, within artillery range of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest city, the Russians have nowhere left to retreat. They will not attack; nor will they back down or surrender. The Russian leadership enjoys over 80% of popular support; the remaining 20% seems to feel that it is being too soft in opposing Western encroachment. But Russia will retaliate, and a provocation or a simple mistake could trigger a sequence of events that will end with millions of Americans dead and the US in ruins.

Unlike many Americans, who see war as an exciting, victorious foreign adventure, the Russians hate and fear war. But they are also ready for it, and they have been preparing for war for several years now. Their preparations have been most effective. Unlike the US, which squanders untold billions on dubious overpriced arms programs such as the F-35 joint task fighter, the Russians are extremely stingy with their defense rubles, getting as much as 10 times the bang for the buck compared to the bloated US defense industry. While it is true that the Russian economy has suffered from low energy prices, it is far from being in shambles, and a return to growth is expected as early as next year. Senator John McCain once called Russia “A gas station masquerading as a country.” Well, he lied. Yes, Russia is the world’s largest oil producer and second-largest oil exporter, but it is also world’s largest exporter of grain and nuclear power technology. It is as advanced and sophisticated a society as the United States. Russia’s armed forces, both conventional and nuclear, are now ready to fight, and they are more than a match for the US and NATO, especially if a war erupts anywhere near the Russian border.

But such a fight would be suicidal for all sides. We strongly believe that a conventional war in Europe runs a strong chance of turning nuclear very rapidly, and that any US/NATO nuclear strike on Russian forces or territory will automatically trigger a retaliatory Russian nuclear strike on the continental US. Contrary to irresponsible statements made by some American propagandists, American antiballistic missile systems are incapable of shielding the American people from a Russian nuclear strike. Russia has the means to strike at targets in the USA with long-range nuclear as well as conventional weapons.

The sole reason why the USA and Russia have found themselves on a collision course, instead of defusing tensions and cooperating on a wide range of international problems, is the stubborn refusal by the US leadership to accept Russia as an equal partner: Washington is dead set on being the “world leader” and the “indispensable nation,” even as its influence steadily dwindles in the wake of a string of foreign policy and military disasters such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Ukraine. Continued American global leadership is something that neither Russia, nor China, nor most of the other countries are willing to accept. This gradual but apparent loss of power and influence has caused the US leadership to become hysterical; and it is but a small step from hysterical to suicidal. America’s political leaders need to be placed under suicide watch.

First and foremost, we are appealing to the commanders of the US Armed Forces to follow the example of Admiral William Fallon, who, when asked about a war with Iran, reportedly replied “not on my watch.” We know that you are not suicidal, and that you do not wish to die for the sake of out-of-touch imperial hubris. If possible, please tell your staff, colleagues and, especially, your civilian superiors that a war with Russia will not happen on your watch. At the very least, take that pledge yourselves, and, should the day ever come when the suicidal order is issued, refuse to execute it on the grounds that it is criminal. Remember that according to the Nuremberg Tribunal “To initiate a war of aggression… is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” Since Nuremberg, “I was just following orders” is no longer a valid defense; please don’t be war criminals.

We also appeal to the American people to take peaceful but forceful action to oppose any politician or party that engages in irresponsible, provocative Russia-baiting, and that condones and supports a policy of needless confrontation with a nuclear superpower that is capable of destroying America in about an hour. Speak up, break through the barrier of mass media propaganda, and make your fellow Americans aware of the immense danger of a confrontation between Russia and the US.

There is no objective reason why US and Russia should consider each other adversaries. The current confrontation is entirely the result of the extremist views of the neoconservative cult, whose members were allowed to infiltrate the US Federal government under President Bill Clinton, and who consider any country that refuses to obey their dictates as an enemy to be crushed. Thanks to their tireless efforts, over a million innocent people have already died in the former Yugoslavia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, the Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia and in many other countries—all because of their maniacal insistence that the USA must be a world empire, not a just a regular, normal country, and that every national leader must either bow down before them, or be overthrown. In Russia, this irresistible force has finally encountered an immovable object. They must be forced to back down before they destroy us all.

We are absolutely and categorically certain that Russia will never attack the US, nor any EU member state, that Russia is not at all interested in recreating the USSR, and that there is no “Russian threat” or “Russian aggression.” Much of Russia’s recent economic success has a lot to do with the shedding of former Soviet dependencies, allowing her to pursue a “Russia first” policy. But we are just as certain that if Russia is attacked, or even threatened with attack, she will not back down, and that the Russian leadership will not “blink.” With great sadness and a heavy heart they will do their sworn duty and unleash a nuclear barrage from which the United States will never recover. Even if the entire Russian leadership is killed in a first strike, the so-called “Dead Hand” (the “Perimetr” system) will automatically launch enough nukes to wipe the USA off the political map. We feel that it is our duty to do all we can to prevent such a catastrophe.

Evgenia Gurevich, Ph.D.

Dmitry Orlov

The Saker (A. Raevsky)