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Can Moscow regain superpower status? This fighter jet is key.
Global Post ^ | October 11, 2011 | Fred Weir

Posted on 10/11/2011 11:32:24 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

Can Moscow regain superpower status? This fighter jet is key.

Fred Weir [2]October 11, 2011 06:09

Russia’s military attempts to build a 21st century fighter. But can it?

MOSCOW – Russia is desperate for the world to think of it as a superpower again.

Last week, Vladimir Putin — the country’s once and presumed future president — proposed the formation of a “Eurasian Union” among former Soviet states. The move was widely seen as a challenge to the West, and a push to reestablish Moscow’s former empire.

Putin floated his idea in the context of an unprecedented Russian military renaissance. Moscow is so eager to re-establish its military mojo, in fact, that it has pledged $730 billion to equip its long-neglected armed forces with 21st century weaponry by 2020. According to the plan, Russia's military will receive 1,000 new helicopters, 600 combat aircraft and 100 warships – including aircraft carriers and 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The build-up also envisions new generations of intercontinental missiles and advanced air defense systems.

That all might sound formidable. But more than anything else, Moscow’s ability to reclaim global dominance depends on one key piece of military machismo: the sleek, futuristic "fifth generation" fighter plane known as the Sukhoi PAK T-50 [3].

From Russia: Another billionaire stands up to the Kremlin [4]

With its sharply swept-back wings and dart-like profile, the T-50 is the first significant Russian aviation design not derived from the former Soviet Union's amply-stocked military cupboard.

But the big question is, does Russia have the manufacturing wherewithal to make it happen?

Moscow doesn't lack determination. Current president Dmitry Medvedev explained last February that Russia needs to catch up to NATO and the U.S., after two decades of being treated like a third-rate power. "The attempts to enlarge NATO’s military infrastructure are not ceasing," he said. "All this calls for qualitatively modernizing our armed forces and reshaping their image. . . we need comprehensive rearmament."

Russian defense spending has increased tenfold since Putin came to power in 2000. Former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said last month that if planned expenditures go ahead, it will double again in the next two years, from 3 to 6 percent of gross domestic product.

Money and motivation are important to any superpower wannabe. So is industrial capability. Security experts doubt that Russia's decayed military-industrial complex can deliver the goods.

They say that without the vast web of small subcontractors that enabled the USSR to produce everything from bullets to intercontinental missiles, the few mainly export-oriented arms industries still working cannot handle the surge of orders that's expected to start pouring from the military's general staff headquarters in Moscow by the end of this year.

"Money is now available, and it may be that a single project like the T-50 is possible, even in Russian circumstances," says Vitaly Shlykov, a former Soviet war planner and ex-deputy defense minister of Russia. "But Russia has de-industrialized. It's basically a third world country that lives by oil extraction today. This rearmament program is a political campaign, to make Putin proud. The T-50 is essentially a political gadget."

Putin is apparently aware of the hurdles. On Oct. 7, he announced that Moscow would spend more than $13 billion over the next three years modernizing more than 1,700 weapons factories. “If we want to have weapons that answer the demands of today’s combat, ... we need to revamp the military industrial complex,” Putin said, according to the Associated Press [5].

If the T-50 is for real, it's an impressive fighter. Military officials classify is as a "fifth generation" fighter. That’s a category of aircraft that only the United States has successfully fielded, in the form of the F-22 Raptor.

Fifth generation fighters have advanced capabilities of stealth, super-maneuverability, sustained supersonic cruise and over-the-horizon radar visibility. They also have integrated weapons and navigation systems managed by artificial intelligence, and high-performance frames made from space-age materials.

That’s what it takes to be a real superpower.

Photo Gallery: Russia's Ghost Villages [6]

So far, the T-50 has struggled. When one of the two existing prototypes was rolled out for Putin and other officials at Moscow's MAKS airshow in August, 2011, it appeared able to perform only a slow flyby and a few sedate rolls [7]. The next day, when the plane was supposed to be shown to the public, it suffered a flame-out on take off and had to be grounded for the duration of the show.

Some experts are beginning to suspect that the T-50, which is being developed with India as junior partner, may not be all it's cracked up to be.

"Just because they show it publicly doesn't mean we know what's under the hood," says Alexander Golts, a military expert with the online newspaper Yezhednevny Zhurnal.

"We don't even know basic facts about it, such as, does it have new engines or old ones? When we ask questions, they say 'that's top secret,'" he says.

Most of the weapons produced in post-Soviet Russia are at best modified Soviet designs. This is true of it's biggest export cash-earner, the multi-purpose Sukhoi Su-30, sold to India, China and Venezuela, which is a jumped-up version of the Soviet Union's Su-27 front line fighter. The MiG-35, a light fighter Russian arms merchants are offering around the world as a new product, is little changed from the old MiG-29, say experts.

The only truly new designs to appear are the T-50 and the problem-plagued Bulava submarine launched ballistic missile, which is scheduled to go into serial production next year.

In recent years Putin has tried to reclaim the USSR's mojo by merging some of the country's most famous aviation names -- Sukhoi, MiG, Tupolev, Ilyushin -- into a giant state-owned conglomerate known as the United Aircraft-Building Corporation [8].

But experts say this move only masks the main problem. Fewer than half of Russia's former Soviet military industries are still operating. Virtually none of the old sub-contractors are churning out the multitude of small parts and components that are necessary for assembling a complicated weapons system.

That means every part that goes into a Russian fighter plane these days has to be produced in-house, an exhaustive, time-consuming and exorbitantly expensive process, says Pavel Felgenhauer, a military expert with the opposition Novaya Gazeta newspaper in Moscow.

"Worse than that, there's a huge technological gap between Russian and Western industry," he says.

Video: Russia's Afghan addiction [9]

"[Russia] still has people who can design new products, but the ability of our industry to produce them is deeply questionable. What can you do if you can't get reliable components, have no modern machinery capable of making precision parts and you lack highly-skilled workers? You can't produce much of value," Felgenhauer says.

Even President Medvedev suggested last summer that the answer might be to buy weapons abroad. Russia already does import a few things, including German sniper rifles and Israeli drones. Last year it signed a controversial contract with France to buy four Mistral-type helicopter assault ships at a price of about $750-million each.

But experts say there is fierce opposition at the top of Russia's military establishment against turning to foreign sources of arms. With the more conservative and nationalistic Putin returning to the presidency next year that option may become politically impossible.

Legendary Russian test pilot, Magomed Tolboyev, says he is one of the T-50's biggest fans, but he doubts the official production startup date of 2013 is realistic.

"We've had 20 years of complete stagnation in our aviation industry; whole plants stopped working, qualified specialists left," he says. "It's an empty space that will take 10 or 15 years to fill. You can't just bring people into a vacant field and tell them to start producing highly delicate and sophisticated machines."


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: aerospace; pakfa; russia; stealth

1 posted on 10/11/2011 11:32:29 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
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To: sukhoi-30mki
That's a great photo. You almost cant see the strings holding it up.
:o)
2 posted on 10/11/2011 11:43:28 PM PDT by BigCinBigD
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To: sukhoi-30mki
If the future of the United States of America lies in the ambition of the 99%ers, Putin doesn't need to waste so much money.
3 posted on 10/11/2011 11:53:26 PM PDT by Kickass Conservative (Liberals, Useful Idiots Voting for Useless Idiots...)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

So do you think this thing is the real deal, or another MIG-25?


4 posted on 10/11/2011 11:58:45 PM PDT by Carbonsteel
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To: Tailgunner Joe; Thunder90; sukhoi-30mki

PING


5 posted on 10/12/2011 12:22:45 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
LOL :-)

6 posted on 10/12/2011 12:23:25 AM PDT by Bobalu (More rubble, less trouble)
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To: sukhoi-30mki
"[Russia] still has people who can design new products, but the ability of our industry to produce them is deeply questionable. What can you do if you can't get reliable components, have no modern machinery capable of making precision parts and you lack highly-skilled workers? You can't produce much of value," Felgenhauer says.

I guess every country has its doubting Thomases. Not to defend Russia, but they are a huge country, even without the Soviet satellite countries. It is always possible to build new factories, train new workers and build good equipment, but if you have a bunch of people dragging their feet and saying, "It can't be done", sure as he**, you won't be able to do it. Self sustaining prophecy.

7 posted on 10/12/2011 12:43:20 AM PDT by calex59
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To: Carbonsteel
So do you think this thing is the real deal, or another MIG-25?

I think a bit of both. In terms of being the real deal, I would say that in terms of capability it will not be able to touch the Raptor at all (the F-22 is really the superlative machine) and the F-35 will still have far more advanced avionics and systems , but that it should be able to very successfully engage all Gen 4 and Gen 4.5 airframes out there with ease. That means F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Rafales, EuroFighters, Gripens, the various MiGs, the various Chinese J-variants (ranging from the J-10 to their SU-30 clone the J-11). Basically, it provides a fighter that enables its user to (easily) dominate any gen 4/4.5 adversary, and to do so in a manner that creates an unfair advantage.

As for whether it is another MiG-25 I would also say yes to that as well, but with a twist. The MiG-25 was regarded as a Soviet super-fighter, which in many ways led to the US developing the F-15 to close the 'gap' the Soviets apparently held. When a defector (Viktor Belenko) managed to fly one into Western hands it was quickly realized that the plane was no super-fighter ...it couldn't turn quickly, its fast speeds meant the engines (due to poor Soviet production techniques) were useless once it landed, etc etc etc. It was not a super fighter. However, it was NOT a dud ...and that is where people mess up about the FoxBat. They forget to consider what its true role was, and instead focus on the 'super fighter' theme that was incorrect.

What was the purpose of the FoxBat? To be an extremely high speed interceptor meant to intercept USAF B-58 Hustlers, a supersonic bomber meant to deliver thermonuclear bombs to targets in Russia, and particularly the B-70 Valkyrie concept (an even faster bomber that was at concept stage at the time and was later on killed). The Soviets needed a plane with a huge @$$ radar (hence the MiG-25 being the first plane to carry a phased-array radar - a really powerful PESA), and very high speed so as to be able to get a chance to close within altitude and range of the incoming supersonic bombers (and engine life did not matter much because if the MiG-25s missed the fast bombers that would mean the atomic bombs would be dropped on their targets - which meant that the main imperative was the success of the mission, even if it meant burning out the engines).

Thus, in its mission to be a (Mach 3 / high altitude / powerful radar) interceptor capable of intercepting incoming supersonic bombers like the B-58 and B-70, the MiG-25 was actually one of the bigger successes of aviation history. It only becomes a 'dud' when compared against the 'super-fighter' theme that came up when the first photographs of a mysterious plane started showing up, with aviation analysts and the CIA claiming it was the latest Soviet super-fighter (when in fact it was a super-interceptor). In the fighter role it has not been too shaby, especially in the Gulf War where it was the only enemy plane to shoot down one of our planes (it shot down a F/A-18), and during the same war at one point managed to escape 8 F-15s shooting at it and even launch missiles at a EF-111 (which fortunately did not hit). Over the skies of Pakistan the Indian airforce has successfully used them for reconaissance purposes without the Pakistanis being able to do much, and it is one of the planes in Syrian hands that the Israelis could not easily shoot down.

Anyways, why is the PakFa like the MiG-25?

Because people are also confusing its purpose. Most analyses I have seen compare it with the F-22, when the fact is that it is not as good as the F-22. However, it is not meant to be as good as the F-22. It is basically a solution that is supposed to give the Russian and Indian airforces an answer to the Chinese airforce's legions of J-10s, J-11s, SU-30MKKs, and J-15s; as well as to provide an effective counter to future Chinese stealthy airframes (like the J-20, as well as the other 2 J-XX concepts being worked on, of which one was recently revealed to be a smaller single-engine stealthy airframe). That is the purpose of the PakFa, which is why it is similar to the MiG-25 in that, just as the MiG was seen to have a different role when its real role was something else, many people see the PakFa as a Raptor competitor, when the truth is that it is not as good as the Raptor and its role is to be better than aircraft owned by a certain Southern neighbor to Russia that would like to get its hands on certain Russian regions that are extremely resource rich.

8 posted on 10/12/2011 1:05:57 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: spetznaz
KGB Putin thinks the "COLLAPSE" of the mass-murdering communist Soviet Union was the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th Century"!

"the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century" -Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the collapse of the Soviet Union...
"World democratic opinion has yet to realize the alarming implications of President Vladimir Putin's State of the Union speech on April 25, 2005, in which he said that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented the 'greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.'
http://www.hooverdigest.org/053/beichman.html
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"'The Black Book of Communism,'; a scholarly accounting of communism’s crimes, counts about 94 million murdered by the supposed champions of the common man (20 million for the Soviets alone), and some say that number is too low."

Forgetting the Evils of Communism: The amnesia bites a little deeper
By Jonah Goldberg, August 2008:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZmY0MjI1MDgyYjg1M2UwNDMzMTk2Mjk5YTk0ZTdlMWE=
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9 posted on 10/12/2011 2:01:54 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: ETL
He is currently trying to bring about the 'Eurasian Union' (which would include some of the former Soviet republics). Some would say that would be the USSR but without the communism. I'd say going forward the main threats will be Islamic radicalism on one front - which would include independent players like the next incarnation of Al Queda as well a state actors like Pakistan; and on the other front Fascism/Nationalism, particularly in China and to a smaller extent Russia (with fascism replacing the void that communism had left, which is ironic since communism filled the global/strategic void that fascism had left once Germany/Italy/Imperial Japan fell ...it's like going full circle).

Anyways, going back to the main thread. Russia will need more than the PakFa to 'regain superpower status' (if at all possible - most probably Russia will remain an energy superpower as the main energy producer in the world, and have strong regional influence, but I doubt it will be able to replicate its global geopolitical influence - that will be between the US and China). Also, the plane is better than any gen4.5, but it is not at Raptor level. Finally, the plane is not meant to be a Raptor competitor, but rather something that (for Russia: together with the SU-35 / for India: together with the SU-30MKI and the Eurofighter/Rafale winner) will be used by the Russian and Indian airforces to give them a solution against Chinese J-10s/J-11s/SU-30MKKs/J-15s/etc as well as a hedge against the J-20 and other JXX variants.

10 posted on 10/12/2011 3:16:43 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: spetznaz
He is currently trying to bring about the 'Eurasian Union' (which would include some of the former Soviet republics). Some would say that would be the USSR but without the communism


Did Communism Fake Its Own Death in 1991?
American Thinker ^ | January 16, 2010 | Jason McNew

In a [] 1984 book [New Lies for Old], ex-KGB Major Anatoliy Golitsyn predicted the liberalization of the Soviet Bloc and claimed that it would be a strategic deception. ..."

"Golitsyn's argument was that beginning in about 1960, the Soviet Union embarked on a strategy of massive long-range strategic deception which would span several decades and result in the destruction of Western capitalism and the erection of a communist world government."

"Golitsyn published his second book, The Perestroika Deception, after the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991. This book contained further analysis of the liberalization, in addition to previously classified memoranda submitted by Golitsyn to the CIA. The two books must be read together to get a complete picture of Golitsyn's thesis."

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/did_communism_fake_its_own_dea.html

11 posted on 10/12/2011 4:49:44 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
We are creating a new world, a balanced world. A new world order, a multipolar world,” Chavez told reporters during a visit to Communist China, one of many. His “new world order” includes [RUSSIA], China, Iran,... and a significantly weakened United States, he explained.

Resurgent Communism in Latin America
by Alex Newman, March 16, 2010:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/world-mainmenu-26/south-america-mainmenu-37/3122-resurgent-communism-in-latin-america?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=
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From the Russian News and Information Agency:
July 27, 2006
"'I am determined to expand relations with Russia,' Chavez, known as an outspoken critic of what he calls the United States' unilateralism, told the Russian leader, adding that his determination stemmed from their shared vision of the global order.":
http://en.rian.ru/russia/20060727/51913498.html
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From the Sino-Russian Joint Statement of April 23, 1997:
"The two sides [China and Russia] shall, in the spirit of partnership, strive to promote the multipolarization of the world and the establishment of a new international order."

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/HI29Ag01.html
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"Joint war games are a logical outcome of the Sino-Russian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty signed in 2001, and reflect the shared worldview and growing economic ties between the two Eastern Hemisphere giants."

http://www.heritage.org/Press/Commentary/ed092605a.cfm
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Photobucket
President Obama and Venezuela dictator Hugo
Chavez at the 2009 Summit of the Americas in Trinidad.
Note the "soul bro" handshake. (my caption)

Obama, Chavez shake hands at Americas Summit:
http://www.newsvine.com/_news/2009/04/17/2698451-obama-chavez-shake-hands-at-americas-summit
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Russia's Medvedev hails "comrade" Obama

Associated Foreign Press (AFP) ^ | April 2, 2009 | Anna Smolchenko

"Russia's Dmitry Medvedev hailed Barack Obama as "my new comrade" Thursday after their first face-to-face talks"

http://www.france24.com/en/20090402-russias-medvedev-hails-comrade-obama

April 1, 2009:
"Obama, Medvedev pledge new era of relations":
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090401/wl_afp/usrussiadiplomacynuclear_20090401152002
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12 posted on 10/12/2011 4:50:56 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
Russia's Leaders See China as Template for Ruling
New York Times ^ | October 17, 2009 | CLIFFORD J. LEVY

MOSCOW — Nearly two decades after the collapse of the Communist Party, Russia’s rulers have hit upon a model for future success: the Communist Party.

Or at least, the one that reigns next door.

Like an envious underachiever, Vladimir V. Putin’s party, United Russia, is increasingly examining how it can emulate the Chinese Communist Party, especially its skill in shepherding China through the financial crisis relatively unbowed.

United Russia’s leaders even convened a special meeting this month with senior Chinese Communist Party officials to hear firsthand how they wield power. ..."

“The accomplishments of China’s Communist Party in developing its government deserve the highest marks,” Aleksandr D. Zhukov, a deputy prime minister and senior Putin aide, declared at the meeting with Chinese officials on Oct. 9

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...

13 posted on 10/12/2011 4:53:45 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
From National Public Radio (NPR):
August 29, 2006
"Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been visiting countries such as China, Iran and Russia as part of an effort to build a 'strategic alliance' of interests not beholden to the United States. He considers the United States his arch enemy.":
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5729764
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Venezuela Set to Develop Nuclear Power With Russia
September 29, 2008
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that Russia will help Venezuela develop nuclear energy — a move likely to raise U.S. concerns over increasingly close cooperation between Caracas and Moscow.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,429441,00.html
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Venezuela's Chavez welcomes Russian warships
Nov 25, 2008
LA GUAIRA, Venezuela – Russian warships arrived off Venezuela's coast Tuesday in a show of strength aimed at the United States as Moscow seeks to expand its influence in Latin America. The deployment is the first of its kind in the Caribbean since the Cold War and was timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Caracas — the first ever by a Russian president.
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%22Venezuela%27s+Chavez+welcomes+Russian+warships%22&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz2

More Yahoo search results for Russia and Venezuela connections:
http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=A0geu_X30pZJCJEAfCtXNyoA?p=Russia+Venezuela+bombers+tanks+arms&y=Search&fr=404_news

14 posted on 10/12/2011 4:58:25 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
Russian nuclear bombers in Cuba?
July 23, 2008

The media has been abuzz today at the prospect of Russian nuclear bombers being stationed in Cuba if the US goes ahead with plans for missile defense bases in Eastern Europe.

The story has riled the US enough that a US general has been wheeled out to tell the world’s press that any Russian attempt to build another nuclear base in Cuba would cross US “red line”.

The story broke earlier this week, when Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted an un-named source from within the Russian military. He told the Russian daily:

“While they are deploying the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, our strategic bombers will already be landing in Cuba.”

The quote hasn’t been independently confirmed, but the Russian Defense Ministry added fuel to the fire when they refused to comment on the story.

The prospect of Russian nuclear forces being stationed in Cuba - which is, after all, only 90 miles from the US coast - would bring back some rather unpleasant memories for the US of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, where the Soviet Union under Nikita Kruschev launched an audacious and foolhardy bid to station nuclear missiles on the Caribbean island.

http://www.siberianlight.net/2008/07/23/russian-nuclear-bombers-cuba/
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Russia to help Cuba modernize weaponry, train military

September 18, 2009

HAVANA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday. Gen. Nikolai Makarov arrived on a working visit to Cuba on Monday, met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the country's military leadership, and visited a number of military installations.

"During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs," Makarov said.

"We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country...I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task," the general said.

Makarov said the Cuban request for assistance with training of military personnel will also be fully satisfied.

Although the Cuban leadership has repeatedly said it has no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia after the surprise closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, bilateral military ties seem to have been improving following the visit of Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba in July last year.

A group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer visited Cuba in December last year during a Caribbean tour.

http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20090918/156170428.html

15 posted on 10/12/2011 4:58:54 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
Kazakhstan 'moving to reinstate Soviet Union' with customs union with Russia
The Telegraph ^ | 6/11/2010 | Richard Orange in Almaty

Kazakhstan's leading opposition party has warned that the customs union with Russia could be the first step in a project to re-instate the Soviet Union.

Bulat Abilov, co-Chairman of the National Social Democratic Party, said: "Our concern is that this economical Union can develop into a political one. We also know about some plans to revive the Soviet Union, maybe in another form, in 2017 on the anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution of 1917." The party has written an open letter to Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, demanding a national referendum on the customs union, which is set to come into effect at the start of July. The union will see Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus set the same tariffs for the outside world, while allowing free trade between themselves.

The National Social Democratic Party won nearly five per cent of the vote in Kazakhstan's last parliamentary elections, making it the most significant opposition party in what is effectively a one-party state.

President Nazarbayev's Nur-Otan party won every parliamentary seat in the 2007 election, with 88 per cent of the votes. Mr Nazarbayev has ruled without interruption since independence twenty years ago.

Many Russians consider former soviet republics such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Belarus as the "near-abroad", causing suspicion among Kazakhs.

The opposition leader said: "We think there exists some sort of imperialist nostalgia about a big, great and strong Soviet Union. Even if nobody speaks loudly about it now, the idea could appear later."

Karim Massimov, Kazakhstan's prime minister, signed up to the customs union in Moscow at the end of May.

A third partner, Belarus, held back over disagreements on energy import tariffs, but has since agreed to join.

In the letter, the National Social Democratic Party gave warning that the customs union risked smothering Kazakhstan's manufacturing sector, which

(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
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"the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century" -Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the collapse of the Soviet Union...
"World democratic opinion has yet to realize the alarming implications of President Vladimir Putin's State of the Union speech on April 25, 2005, in which he said that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented the 'greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.'
http://www.hooverdigest.org/053/beichman.html

16 posted on 10/12/2011 5:18:52 AM PDT by ETL (ALL (most?) of the Obama-commie connections at my FR Home page: http://www.freerepublic.com/~etl/)
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To: spetznaz
“I would say that in terms of capability it will not be able to touch the Raptor at all (the F-22 is really the superlative machine) and the F-35 will still have far more advanced avionics and systems “

I would beg to differ. I think as far as Russia is concerned, their whole purpose of developing the PAKFA is to match the F-22 if not exceed it in term of technological capabilities. How PAKFA will actually perform in reality once it is ready, only time will tell. But we do know that the purpose for building the PAKFA at least from Russian perspective is to beat the F-22. There is no reason why Russia would spend so much time and billions of dollars to come up with a whole new design if the purpose had only been to beat her own Sukhois and Chinese copies of the same. If the purpose was to beat F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Rafales, EuroFighters, Gripens....... Su-35s, Su-37 with upgraded avionics, engine, AESA radars, stealthy smart skins and Novator long range missiles can very easily get the job done. From India's perspective there is a good chance Pakistan (either directly from US or indirectly from any of her Muslim allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or UAE) might get her hand on the F-35. India would like to have a fighter that exceeds the capability of the F-35.

17 posted on 10/12/2011 9:26:12 AM PDT by ravager
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To: spetznaz
What the article is hinting at here is that the PAKFA will be the corner stone of Russian technological dominance and reemergence as a superpower. And that is only possible if they can bridge the gap between the F-22 and Russia's most advance fighter. Existing Russian fighter technology are already superior to Chinese technology and evenly match European capabilities and maybe even exceed them. The Russians are not making this huge investment in terms of effort and money to dominate over what they already dominate. They are for sure targeting the F-22. In fact if you read articles from Russian media and statements made by Russian officials w.r.t PAKFA, they all the time compare it to the F-22. the F-22 is their main focus and also their benchmark.
18 posted on 10/12/2011 9:40:26 AM PDT by ravager
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19 posted on 10/12/2011 11:44:47 AM PDT by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: ETL

Obama sure knows how to throw a state dinner.

What's with the Obama "voodoo" stare over a burger, anyway?

20 posted on 10/14/2011 1:21:51 PM PDT by hattend (If I wanted you dead, you'd be dead. - Cameron Connor)
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To: ravager
I would beg to differ. I think as far as Russia is concerned, their whole purpose of developing the PAKFA is to match the F-22 if not exceed it in term of technological capabilities. How PAKFA will actually perform in reality once it is ready, only time will tell. But we do know that the purpose for building the PAKFA at least from Russian perspective is to beat the F-22. There is no reason why Russia would spend so much time and billions of dollars to come up with a whole new design if the purpose had only been to beat her own Sukhois and Chinese copies of the same. If the purpose was to beat F-15s, F-16s, F-18s, Rafales, EuroFighters, Gripens....... Su-35s, Su-37 with upgraded avionics, engine, AESA radars, stealthy smart skins and Novator long range missiles can very easily get the job done. From India's perspective there is a good chance Pakistan (either directly from US or indirectly from any of her Muslim allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia or UAE) might get her hand on the F-35. India would like to have a fighter that exceeds the capability of the F-35.

Sorry for taking long to respond.

My views on this are as follows. First of all note that for a while I was one of the few people on FR who did not jump into the 'PakFa is cr@p' bandwagon. I once posted a detailed analysis a year or so ago on why the aircraft held a lot of promise. Thus, I am not saying it is a useless aircraft, and I believe that once the various prototypes evolve into the finalized product it will be easily one of the more lethal airframes present, and far better than any legacy 4.0/4.5 generation aircraft (be it modern variants like the Typhoon and Rafale, updated legacy platforms like the modern F-15 iterations and the F-18E/F, or more legacy airframes like the F-16C/D, F-18C/D and MiG-29). However, our discussion revolves as to whether it is better than the Raptor, and on whether it was intended to be better than the Raptor. My opinion is that it will not be as good as the Raptor, and this is why.

A cursory look at the PakFa prototype will show several areas that are not as stealthy (and some that are not stealthy), however I am not basing my views on that. I am fully cognizant that what we have seen so far are the prototypes of the aircraft, and looking at prototypes of analogous US aircraft one would note nozzles that are not stealthy (neither were those of the F-35 until quite recently), what seems to be exposed fan blades (at certain angles the YF-23 aircraft also had exposed blades that were taken care of later - google for a picture), and rivets (again, google for a close up picture of the early YF-23 airframe ...and note that later on the YF-23 was considered stealthier than the YF-22). I am not basing my views on 'simple' issues like the canopy (google the canopy of even the current F-35) that many people criticize the PakFa for but for some reason refuse to notice similar aspects in, say, the F-35.

My rationale is based on the following. First of all, the level of stealth necessary for the PakFa is lower than that of the Raptor. This stems from design differences that required the Raptor to be a deep-IADS penetrator, while the PakFa did not have that role. The front aspect stealth of the Raptor is widely given as 0.0001 m2, with a side and rear aspect of 0.01 – 0.001 m2 (for comparison purposes, the front aspect for the F-35 is given as 0.001 m2, with the Side and Rear Aspect as 0.01 m2). The best estimate (note: estimate, meaning that the real product could very well be better than that) for the PakFa was F-35 class from a frontal aspect (with most credible estimates showing less than F-35 level). Even if it matches the F-35, it simply does not have the shaping design to give it the all-aspect stealth of a Raptor. It simply is not in the shaping. Now, some talk of plasma stealth, and in static tests it has been shown to work. However, I wonder how effective it would be in high speed (the PakFa is meant to be able to supercruise), or in high alpha (the PakFa is meant to have exceptional maneuverability), or whether the use of plasma stealth may protect the aircraft from conventional radar but expose it to other forms of detection (especially certain passive technologies)? Thus, while it is possible that plasma stealth or whatever 'nano particles' some Russian guy was speaking of may work, at the current moment, based on shaping, the PakFa is simply not at Raptor level.

Another question is avionics. Generally speaking, the US has always had a sizeable (and sizeable may be an understatement) advantage over equivalent Russian technologies. This is not to say that the Russian approaches have been cr@p - they have not been (and performance of a rag tag Iraqi military is not a logical measuring stick). More than that, the Russians have come up with many firsts (e.g. the first phased radar on a plane, etc), and also several innovative approaches (e.g. some of the PESAs used by Russian planes are so bl@@dy powerful as to almost approach the capability of most AESAs). The L-band AESA radars to supplement the main X-band AESA the PakFa has are also quite interesting (although it should be noted that the Raptor always had space for side-looking AESAs in its cheeks that have not yet been financed for, but it was designed for them and future upgrades of the existing Raptor force will possibly include them). However, US radar technology is simply more advanced than what the Russians have (which is why the Russians have always tried to work around that by using radars that simply generate obscene amounts of power). While it is very possible for the Russians to use off-the-shelf Western technology, or the Indian assistance they are getting, as of this moment American avionics (be they radars, datalinks, etc) are simply better than available Russian technology.

Now, a point could be made that the Russians have put a lot of money into passive detection systems, such as their infra-red detectors. True. However, the F-22A has a very comprehensive infra-red management technology (the F-35 has nothing like it, and it is unknown what the PakFa will have), and by the time the PakFa's passive systems detect the F-22 it may be too late for both planes (I believe that with the advancement of weapons we are getting to a point whereby within a certain range both planes risk getting destroyed ...for instance imagine a fight between a modern F-15 variant and a modern SU-30 variant ...the both have very capable BVR weapons, but still managed to get close to each other due to effective jamming technologies - here we are assuming it is not the USAF flying against the Iraqi airforce. Let's assume it is a Russian SU-35 flying against a South Korean F-15K. Both have good weapons, and effective jammers. So, they are now within range of their short-range missiles - although the range is anything but short. The SU-35 fires its R-74, and the F-15K fires its AIM-9X. Result = both planes are destroyed, since the survival rates against a modern imaging-infrared is basically nil within a certain range). Thus, the advantage of the PakFa's passive detection is largely mitigated against by the Raptor. The most advanced passive detection system currently used in Russia, the OLS-35, would not work well against the Raptor (by that I mean before the Raptor's sensor suite has discriminated the target). Now, future OLS (like the one for the PakFA) are something else, and in my opinion that is the most frightening technology about the PakFa (more than it being stealthy, or it having a mix of X-band and L-band AESAs), since a future super-OLS using QWI-photodetectors would be a game changer (in every sense of that word), and that is the ONE technology that may give the PakFa a more equal footing against the Raptor. But it seems to be seen how those technologies will mature.

However, the Raptor on the other hand will also get enhanced lethality once the avionics package in the F-35 (the most advanced in the world) gets transplanted to the Raptor in future upgrades. The Raptor was originally supposed to get the Advanced Infra Red Search and Track, but that fell by the way side due to funds. However, proposed block upgrades to the Raptor include inclusion of the F-35's Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS), and in particular, the AN/AAQ-37 distributed aperture system (DAS). The DAS alone would turn the Raptor from the most lethal flying machine in the skies to something bordering on fire-from-the-heavens. The level of sensor fusion enabling constant target identification from a 360 degree sphere around the aircraft, IR tracking, radio tracking, ,missile tracking, etc would turn the Raptor into something far more lethal than the current F-22A currently flying. Google for some of the upgrades intended for the F-22C (not new builds ofcourse, since the numbers are frozen, but upgrading some of the current F-22As into F-22Cs).

Let's just say there is a reason the F-35 can be sold to countries like Turkey, but the F-22 cannot be sold to even close allies like Japan and Australia.

Anyways, I am not saying that the PakFa is a dog. I know it is not, and I have 'defended' (I don't like that word, but it is the most appropriate here) the PakFa against the usual crowd that thinks it is cr@p because F-15s shot down Iraqi MiG-29s in the first Gulf War. I am cognizant of its abilities (the ones that we are able to see) and it is obvious it will be a stealthy airframe (once the final product comes out) that will be able to good supercruise speeds and exceptional maneuvering kinematics. It will have a very good radar, good weapons, and (in my opinion) its most deadly asset will be whatever OLS it will be using. However, so far (apart from the promise of a 'super' OLS) the PakFa hasn't shown anything that would give it an edge over the Raptor. And yes, I know that the PakFa is supposed to have better kinematics, but it is not as if the Raptor has poor kinematics - it currently has the best of any airplane currently flying, and I am not just talking about high alpha low speed capabilities like the ones seen in airshows, but also high maneuvering capability at supersonic speeds and high altitudes that most air-show performers cannot replicate. The PakFa will also have that ability, but currently only the Raptor can do that, and even if the PakFa may do it slightly better (may) the difference will not be significant (e.g. a supercruise of 1.8 vs 1.9 is not much of an advantage). However, the current avionics suite of the Raptor is better, and planned progress of block upgrades of some F-22As into F-22Cs (especially some aspects of what the F-35 has), even negate the effect that a super OLS would have on the PakFa.

The PakFa is not a Raptor killer. It may be an 'everything else' killer (which says a lot considering that, for example, the US Navy never called its NATF - which was supposed to be a navalized F-22 - and thus has to deal with the F-18E/F until the F-35 comes along, and I honestly wouldn't even want to be in an F-35 against the finished PakFa ...), but it is not a Raptor killer.

21 posted on 10/17/2011 1:27:30 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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