Thursday, March 28, 2019

A Very Interesting Moment With Brahmos.

One of those A-ha (no, not the band) moments which clarifies a lot.  As TASS reports (in Russian), Russian co-director of Russian-Indian Joint Venture Brahmos speaking to reporters at Malaysia's LIMA 2019 military exhibition, stated that in the nearest future Brahmos missile (which is a version of Russia's P-800 Onyx missile) after some modifications will reach speeds of M=4.5-5.0, thus making it effectively a hyper-sonic weapon which, as you may have guessed it already, have the most serious operational and strategic ramifications. 

Rumor has it that Russia's 3M22 Zircon capable of M=9 is built on Onyx's design, but it is one thing to have a new missile such as Zircon, totally another--to be able to upgrade own whole "fleet" of missiles from simply deadly (M=3) to uninterceptable. It is also clear that laser weapons will not become a reliable and effective counter-measure for such a threat any time soon, and I mean not soon at all. In the end, issues of attenuation and counter-measures from missiles themselves (from rotating frames, to reflective surfaces, among others) are more than sufficient to keep laser weapons as a niche weapon primarily against slow unprotected targets, such as drones, for a very long time. But my point here is this (I write about it in my new book)--what about proliferation? 

I think proliferation of a hyper-sonic weapons is inevitable, both as a military product and as a geopolitical one. The demand for it is huge because it means safety of own littorals from any kind of forces and threats. There will be many, in addition to already huge number, statements, declarations and documents about A2/AD "bubbles" and how to puncture them, but without radical transformation of the surface fleets away from what they are today and introduction of real weapons systems capable of stopping hyper-sonic missiles tens kilometers away from ships, all this will remain an operational and strategic (and doctrinal) pseudo-intellectual masturbation for all kinds of military "analysts" for a long time. Think for a second what happens even if one "blows" M=9 or even M=5 missile in 2-3 kilometers from own ship? How about, in the best case scenario, a shower of the hyper-sonic fragments still capable to disable the ship? Questions, questions....  

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