Saturday, March 8, 2008

From Russia with Love

I would like to refer you to three recent posts by Pavel Podvig on the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces. The first one is about the Topol-M deployment in 2008 in which Pavel writes that the number will reach 65 by the end of the year. A second post lays out the rocket launch plans for 2008. Russia plans to conduct 11 missile launches this year, including two tests of the “new” RS-24, before this ICBM will enter service in 2009. Lastly, he reports on his Russiansforces blog that the Russian Military-Industrial Commission decided to continue the Bulava project as there are no alternatives to it.

Some additional news on Russia: the Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace announced another success. On March 6 another test of the sea-based version of the BrahMos cruise missile was conducted off Andamans coast. It was the 15th successive successful launch of the missile, but the first one that was aimed against a ground target. All previous test-launches had solely proven the sea to sea attack capability.

United Press International comments:

As we have noted over the past two years, India continues to forge ahead with its ambitious program to become a major power with its own domestically produced
intercontinental ballistic missile and cruise missile capabilities. India is even pushing ahead with its own ballistic missile defense programs, without buying from the United States the quantity and quality of BMD technology that other democratic nations such as Japan, Taiwan and Israel have all embraced. […]

Having said that, the BrahMos offers a remarkable opportunity for India and the DRDO to break that pattern [of difficulties with the transition from prototype achievements to the steady, reliable production,] because it involves such close association with Russian heavy industry in a field where only the United States can contest Russia globally -- the production of many types of reliable military missiles.

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