The mainstream media in the United States is almost totally ignoring one of the most important trends in global economics. This trend is going to cause the value of the U.S. dollar to fall dramatically and it is going to cause the cost of living in the United States to go way up. Right now, the U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world. Even though that status has been chipped away at in recent years, U.S. dollars still make up more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world. Most international trade (including the buying and selling of oil) is conducted in U.S. dollars, and this gives the United States a tremendous economic advantage. Since so much trade is done in dollars, there is a constant demand for more dollars all over the globe from countries that need them for trading purposes. So the Federal Reserve is able to flood our financial system with dollars without it causing a tremendous amount of inflation because the rest of the world ends up soaking up a lot of those dollars. But now that is changing. China and Russia have been spearheading a movement to shift away from using the U.S. dollar in international trade. At the moment, the shift is happening gradually, but at some point a tipping point will come (for example if Saudi Arabia were to declare that it will no longer take U.S. dollars for oil) and the entire global financial system is going to change. When that tipping point comes the global demand for U.S. dollars is going to absolutely plummet and nightmarish inflation will come to the United States. If such a scenario sounds far out to you, then you have not been paying attention. In fact, China and Russia have been working very hard to move us toward exactly such a scenario.
China and Russia are not the “buddies” of the United States. The truth is that they are both ruthless competitors of the United States and leaders from both nations have been calling for a new global currency for years.
They don’t like that the United States has a built-in advantage of having the reserve currency of the world, and over the past several years both countries have been busy making international agreements that seek to chip away at that advantage.
Just the other day, China and Germany agreed to start conducting an increasing amount of trade with each other in their own currencies.
You would think that a major currency agreement between the 2nd and 4th largest economies on the face of the planet would make headlines all over the United States.
Instead, the silence in the U.S. media was deafening.
At least there were some reports in the international media about this. The following is from a Reuters article about this very important deal….
Germany and China plan to conduct an increasing amount of their trade in euros and yuan, the two nations said in a joint statement after talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on Thursday.
“Both sides intend to support financial institutions and companies of both countries in the use of the renminbi and euro in bilateral trade and investments,” said the text of the statement.
By itself, this deal would not be that alarming.
However, the truth is that both Russia and China have been making deals like this all over the globe in recent years. I detailed 11 more major agreements like the one that China and Germany just made in this article: “11 International Agreements That Are Nails In The Coffin Of The Petrodollar“.
In that article I listed a few of the things that will likely happen when the petrodollar dies….
-Oil will cost a lot more.
-Everything will cost a lot more.
-There will be a lot less foreign demand for U.S. government debt.
-Interest rates on U.S. government debt will rise.
-Interest rates on just about everything in the U.S. economy will rise.
So enjoy going to “the dollar store” while you can.
It will turn into the “five and ten dollar store” soon enough.
Okay, so if you are China and Russia and you are working hard to undermine the dollar, how do you get prepared for the fiat currency crisis that your hard work will eventually create?
You guessed it. You hoard gold and other precious metals.
And that is exactly what China and Russia has been doing.
A recent MarketWatch article detailed the massive hoarding of gold that Russia has been doing….
I can’t imagine it means anything cheerful that Vladimir Putin, the Russian czar, is stockpiling gold as fast as he can get his hands on it.
According to the World Gold Council, Russia has more than doubled its gold reserves in the past five years. Putin has taken advantage of the financial crisis to build the world’s fifth-biggest gold pile in a handful of years, and is buying about half a billion dollars’ worth every month.
Of course Russia is not alone in hoarding gold. According to Zero Hedge, China has quietly been importing gigantic mountains of gold….
In July, Chinese gold imports from HK, after two months of declines, have picked up once more and hit a 3-month high of 75.8 tons. While it is notable that this number is double the 38.1 tons imported a year prior, and that year-to-date imports are now a record 458.6 tons, well over four times greater than the seven month total in 2011 which was 103.9 tons, what is far more important is that in the first seven months of 2012 alone China has imported nearly as much gold as the total holdings of the hedge fund at the heart of the Eurozone, elsewhere known simply as the European Central Bank, and just as importantly considering the import run-rate has hardly slowed down in August, which data we will have in a few weeks, it is now safe to say that in 2012 alone China has imported more gold than the ECB’s entire official 502.1 tons of holdings.
And all over the world Chinese companies are buying up gold producers. China National Gold Group Corporation has put in a $3.9 billion bid to buy African Barrick Gold PLC, but that is only one example.
A recent Fox Business article listed a bunch of other similar transactions that have taken place recently….
Zijin Mining Group Co. (2899.HK), China’s second-largest gold producer by output, said last week that its subsidiary has acquired more than 50% of Kalgoorlie’s Norton Gold Fields (NGF.AU).
That deal gives it a foothold in the Australian market, the world’s second-largest source of gold output after China itself. In 2011, Zijin bought 60% of Kazakhstan-based miner Altynken, which has access to a gold mine in Kyrgyzstan.
Since 2008, Chinese companies have completed 10 US$20-million-plus acquisitions of Australian gold assets, worth a combined $1.6 billion, according to Dealogic. Half were initiated since last year.
In November, Shandong Gold-Mining Co. (600547.SH) launched a bid to acquire Brazilian gold miner Jaguar Mining Inc. (JAG.T) for $1 billion.
You would have to be blind to not see what is happening.
Other big names have been hoarding gold as well. In a previous articleI detailed how George Soros, John Paulson and central banks all over the planet have been hungrily accumulating gold.
So what does all of this mean for the price of gold?
That’s right – it is likely to keep heading up.
In fact, Citi analyst Tom Fitzpatrick believes that the price of gold will likely hit $2500 within 6 months.
Personally, I believe that there will be times when precious metals both fall and rise in price dramatically. It is going to be a wild ride. But in the long-term I believe that all precious metals will be going up as fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar fail.
Sadly, most Americans have no idea just how incredibly vulnerable the U.S. dollar really is.
The following is an excerpt from a recent piece by investigative journalist Bob Woodward. It shows just how worried our leaders are about a crash of U.S. Treasuries….
Another possible outcome, Geithner said, was perhaps worse. “Suppose we have an auction and no one shows up?”
The cascading impact would be unknowable. The world could decide to dump U.S. Treasuries. Prices would plummet, interest rates would skyrocket. The one pillar of stability, the United States, the rock in the global economy, could collapse.
What happens someday if the rest of the world decides to reject our currency and our debt?
Right now we are able to trade our dollars for the things that we “need” such as oil from the Middle East and cheap plastic consumer products from China.
But what happens if the Federal Reserve keeps printing and printing and printing and the rest of the world eventually decides that the U.S. dollar is not even worth the paper it is printed on?
The truth is that the amount of printing the Federal Reserve has been doing and the amount of borrowing the federal government has been doing are both completely and totally unsustainable.
At this point, Moody’s is threatening to cut the credit rating of the federal government if a deal is not reached soon to reduce our debt to GDP ratio.
And Moody’s is not the only one concerned about our exploding debt.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble recently stated that he believes that “there is great uncertainty about the course American politics will take in dealing the U.S. government’s debts, which are much too high”.
Just because the economy is relatively stable right now does not mean that it is always going to be that way.
If we keep debasing our currency like this, at some point the rest of the world is going to decide that China and Russia have been right all along and that we need a new global reserve currency.
That day is coming. It might not come tomorrow or next week or next month but it is definitely coming.
Once the U.S. dollar loses reserve currency status, that will be a major turning point in the history of our country. We will never fully recover from that, and we will never get back to the same level of prosperity that we are enjoying today.
So enjoy spending those dollars while you can. The party is almost over.
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These are not only insurgencies against Russia, but also a hostage situation in Georgia. As always, reports are inconclusive and questions always remain about motivation and who exactly is fighting whom.
Much of the conflict appears to originate in Dagestan, which is the seat of an extremely violent insurgency. Skirmishes appear to be spilling into Georgia, and worryingly for Putin, into the heartland of Russia.
On July 19, in Tatarstan, one leading Muslim cleric was shot and another was killed by a bomb. Tatarstan is much closer to Moscow than Dagestan, considered part of Russia’s ‘heartland’ so the spread of violence to this region is particularly alarming. It is indicative that the violence raging in Dagestan, where the killings of security officers and civilians is a daily occurrence, may not be contained much longer. The BBC concisely explains why violence in Tatarstan is quite worrying:
But Tatarstan, a mainly Muslim region on the Volga River, has long been seen as harmonious and stable. Even decades ago, in the Soviet Union, Tatarstan was seen as a model of peaceful co-existence for different nationalities and religions.
In Ingushetia, multiple attacks have taken place, most prominently, bombings on August 19 and 27. The first attack took place during a funeral for a police officer, killing at least seven other policeman. In the August 27 attack, three were killed in an explosion at a marketplace
Georgia, a state brought to global attention for its brief war with Russia in 2008, experienced its first clashes since the war when five young men were taken hostage by armed men who apparently crossed the border from Dagestan.
Based on recent media reports, the hostage situation between Georgia and Dagestan appears to be (mostly) resolved after a deadly shootout resulting in the deaths of three Georgian military personnel and eleven alleged militants. What exactly motivated the hostage crisis is still unclear and frankly, murkier with each report. Georgian news media describes the crisis as such:
News about missing five men from the village of Lapankuri was first reported in the Georgian media sources in the morning of August 28…Several hours later, on the same day, on August 28, Rustavi 2 TV reported in its 3pm news bulletin that all five men were found as a result of search operation in which rescue teams, local police, military police and a helicopter was involved. Rustavi 2 said in that report that the men went missing after “they lost their way”. Before the midnight the Georgian authorities started sending troops to the area and the Interior Ministry announced about the operation aimed at “pursuing” armed group, which was referred to as “squad of saboteurs”…Some locals said that the five men were treated well while being held by the gunmen; it, however, remains unclear what was the motive behind taking the villagers in hostage.
According to the official version of events, the armed group ambushed Georgian border patrol’s vehicle and detained several officers, while they were searching for the missing young men. [A] Senior officer offered gunmen to release the villagers and other border guards and to keep only him in hostage, which was accepted by the militants.
As of August 31, it was unclear if the senior officers were still being held by militants. Shooting broke out when the militants refused to surrender.
It is worth pointing out that even though a group calling themselves the Caucasus Emirate, linked to Chechnyan militants, has vowed to retaliate for the death of the eleven men, leadership in Georgia is still pointing fingers at Russia and blaming them for all problems in the post-Soviet states. Additionally, political opposition groups in Georgia are hinting that the current administration, under Saakashvili, orchestrated the entire crisis to gain popular support prior to upcoming parliamentary elections in October.
In another incident of recent violence in Dagestan, on August 28, a prominent Sufi cleric, Said Efendi Chirkeisky (also called Said Afandi in the media), was killed by a suicide bomber in his home along with six others, including a child. The suicide bomber was reportedly the wife of a fundamentalist Islamic leader. Chirkeisky was a critic of Salafi Islam, which is a much stricter form of Islam than Sufi Islam. This made him a target of radical groups, and the religious leader had been targeted for assassination previously and survived.
As a testament to Chirkeisky’s influence, media reports indicate over 100,000 attended his funeral. RFE/RL’s reporting on the impact of his death is worth reading (linked above), as it clearly explains how dialogue between Salafi and Sufi leaders is likely to be more difficult now that one of the more important promoters of peace has been murdered. Sufi Islam is generally very critical of the violent aspects of Salafi (Wahhabi) Islam, causing rifts between the two ideologies. Many Salafi extremists have called for the deaths of leading Sufi clerics, stating Sufi Islam is not a ‘pure’ form of Islam.
In the wake of the assassination, Dagestan’s provincial leader, Magomedsalam Magomedov, has called for the formation of civilian paramilitary squads, essentially vigilante squads, to prevent and repel attacks by Islamic extremists.
You don’t need to know much about the situation to see how poorly that could turn out. Dagestan is already a violent (and underreported) conflicts. Arming civilians and encouraging them to turn on each other rarely works out well.
(RIA Novosti / Igor Mikhalev)
Anatoly Shlemov, the head of national defense orders for Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, told RIA Novosti that “this task has been definitely set for the [Russian] military-industrial complex.”
Almaz-Antey is not working alone on the planned system, Shelmov said, without specifying additional details about the top-secret project.
At the St. Petersburg Economic Forum earlier this year, President Roman Trotsenko of the United Shipbuilding Corporation announced that the USC would begin construction in 2016 of a series of six nuclear-powered destroyers armed with high-tech missile- and space- defense system.
Trotsenko called the warships “benchmarks of Russian space defense in the World Ocean,” but refused to comment further on the plans.
As it begins introducing the new S-400 system, Almaz-Antey is also finishing its S-500 ‘Prometheus’ system, which features space-defense capabilities. The S-500 is expected to be deployed in 2017, and will most likely arm the destroyers in project.
Previously, Almaz-Antey created the S-300 system for naval use, developing the S-300 Fort F and Fort FM for the Russian Navy.
The S-500 will supposedly able to engage targets in low earth orbit flying at speeds of up to 7 kilometer per second – the highest speed achievable by a ballistic missile at its highest trajectory in space.
The backbone of the Aegis Combat System – the Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) – is a closely guarded secret, though the Missile Defense Agency of the US Department of Defense once published information revealing that the SM-3 can intercept targets flying at a speed of 3.7 kilometers per second.
The latest versions of the S-300 can engage targets flying at speeds of up to 2.8 kilometer per second; the S-400 can intercept targets at 4.8 kilometer per second.
A warship equipped with Aegis Combat System has a 190-kilometer range, and can intercept targets in low earth orbit up to 180 kilometers and detect objects at distances of up to 320 kilometers.
The S-400 can hit air targets at distances of up to 400 kilometers, while detecting them from as far away as 600 kilometers.
The Aegis Combat System is currently used by the US, Australian, Japanese, Norwegian, South Korean and Spanish navies.
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report August 29, 2012, 4:44 PM (GMT+02:00)
Russian naval vessels have unexpectedly departed the Syrian Mediterranean port of Tartus and Russian arms shipments to Syria have been suddenly discontinued. DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal that those and other steps indicate that the Russians are rapidly drawing away from the Syrian arena to avoid getting caught up in the escalating hostilities expected to arise from military intervention by the US, Europe and a number of Arab states. Russian intelligence appears to have decided that this outside intervention is imminent and Moscow looks anxious to keep its distance for now.
According to our military and Russian sources, these drastic steps must have been personally ordered by President Vladimir Putin. He is believed to have acted over the objections of some of his army and naval chiefs. This would explain the mixed statements issuing from Moscow in recent days about the disposition of Russian personnel at the naval base in Tartus and Russian military personnel in Syria.
Wednesday, Aug. 22, Commander of the Russian Navy Vice Adm. Viktor Chirkov said that if the fighting in Syria reached Tartus, Moscow may decide to evacuate the base. He stressed that this decision would have to be taken on the authority of President Putin. He was the first Russian official to suggest the possibility of an evacuation.
A week later, Aug. 28, Russian chief of staff Gen. Nikolai Makarov denied anything had changed in the working procedures of Russian military personnel in Syria or that there were any plans to evacuate the Russian naval base in Tartus:
“I think it’s too early to draw conclusions [from the situation in Syria],” said the general. “No one is running away from there.”
When a Russian journalist pressed the general and ventured to ask whether Moscow was terminating its military involvement in Syria, Marakov retorted, “Why are you so worried about Syria?”
But he didn’t answer the question.
DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose that the Russians have taken five significant military steps with regard to Syria in the last two weeks:
1. They cancelled a large-scale naval exercise dubbed “Caucasus 2012” scheduled to start mid-August in the eastern Mediterranean opposite the Syrian coast;
2. Warships from three fleets – the Northern, Baltic and Black Sea – concentrated opposite Syria have dispersed and returned to their bases;
3. Syrian President Bashar Assad was notified that Moscow was halting military aid to his army – except for intelligence updates and advice on logistics from Russian military advisers;
4. Moscow has not clearly announced a freeze on arms shipments, including replacement parts for Russian weapons, which make up the bulk of the Syrian army’s weaponry. Officials have only said, “There are no large Russian weapons shipments planned in the near future to Syria.”
5. The only Russian naval ship left in Tartus – a floating Russian Navy PM-138 shipyard – is also under orders to depart Tartus and return to the Black Sea in September.
A Russian source disclosed that all the remaining Russian personnel in Tartus have gathered on the floating shipyard, except for two officers on shore. This vessel and the remaining personnel are evidently packed up and ready to sail at any moment out of the Syrian port.
The shield has been riling up Russia since it was announced, and in May the Kremlin came out and said it was not ruling out a first strike against the NATO shield in Europe.
Not long after the strike was threatened a story came out saying that Obama would release classified data on the shield to the Russians in an effort to calm them down.
No word on that yet, but then again, we know Obama wants to wait until after the election to assuage Russian concerns.
The USS Ross was commissioned in 1997 and has almost 300 crew
The Ross is 505 feet long and weighs around 9,000 tons full
In 2009 the Missile Defense Agency announced that the Ross would be upgraded to hold the advanced Standard Missile-3
In addition to the missiles that the ship carries, the Carney also has a landing pad for an anti-submarine helicopter
The Ross — like the 62 other ships in the Arleigh Burk class of destroyers — cost around $1.8 billion
This is the USS Carney, the oldest of the ships being sent to Spain
Seen from the mast here, the Carney was commissioned in 1996
One USS Carney tradition is the playing of National Anthem on guitar after each underway replenishment
In the back here, the Carney launches a coordinated volley of vertically-launched missiles
The ship also has a five inch gun which poses a massive threat to nearby enemies
The USS Cook, seen here receiving fuel on-the-go, was commissioned in 1998
The ship was one of the first to come to the aid of USS Cole — another Arleigh Burk-class destroyer — after it was damaged in a suicide attack by al Qaeda operatives in 2000
Here, the Cook fires a torpedo as part of an exercise
The ship is seen here firing Tomahawk missiles into Iraq in April, 2003
The ship was part of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group
The USS Porter in the foreground — is the youngest ship of the four being sent to Spain and was commissioned in 1999
an SA330 Puma lands on the Porter’s helipad for personnel transfer
In 2007 the Porter sank two pirate boats off the coast of Somalia that were attacking an oil tanker
The ship carries 90 Tomahawk missile, which can be launched from the vertical launch system
On August 12, 2012 the Porter collided with a Japanese Oil Tanker near the Strait of Hormuz and will be in Dubai for repairs for the time being
That’s what will be protecting Europe.
Published: RT 26 July, 2012, 13:21
Edited: 26 July, 2012, 18:22
The joint group, composed of ships of three Russian fleets, is taking part in scheduled drills aimed at testing inter-fleet coordination. Earlier Navy sources said it would visit Syria for refueling and taking fresh supplies on board.
“The Russian warships will not be visiting the Syrian port of Tartus. They will carry on the assignment planned for the tour,” Vice-Admiral Viktor Chirkov, who heads the Russian Navy, said on Thursday.
The admiral also said the base in Tartus is “useful, because it helps with lowering operational costs for warships in distant missions,” and that Russia will preserve it. The base plays an important part in Russia’s pirate-fighting mission in the Gulf of Aden.
There are 10 warships and ten support ships of the three Russian fleets in the Mediterranean at present. Ships from the Baltic and Northern Fleets passed the Strait of Gibraltar on Tuesday to meet their counterparts from the Black Sea Fleet.
The landing ships taking part in the exercise have marine units armed with their regular weapons on board, Chirkov confirmed. He added the drills were planned back in 2011.
Earlier some media reports speculated that the exercise may have been timed with an escalation in the Syrian conflict, and that Russian marines may be deployed in Tartus to defend the base from a possible attack. The navy denied the allegations.
DEBKAfile Special Report July 25, 2012, 1:31 PM (GMT+02:00)
Russian, Western and Arab forces were piling up on Syrian borders Wednesday, July 25, bringing closer a war confrontation which could spur the Assad regime into making good on its threat to use chemical weapons against “external aggression.”
Based on this reading, Moscow added its voice Tuesday to that of US President Obama and warned Bashar Assad against using chemical weapons in view of “its commitments under the international convention it ratified prohibiting the use of poisonous gases as a method of warfare.”
DEBKAfile’s military sources: With operational intelligence deployment and electronic stations positioned inside Syria, the Russians are better placed than any other outsiders to know what is happening on Syria’s battlefields. Their warning must therefore be tied to solid information confirming Washington’s assessment that Assad is dangerously close to deciding to use his chemical and biological weapons in a way that would precipitate a regional conflict.
Israel, Turkey and Jordan would be the first targets on his list.
The immediacy of the peril, DEBKAfile’s military sources report, has speeded the arrival of Russian warships to Syria to counter a potential Western, Arab or Israeli assault on the embattled country.
The Russian Ministry of Defense, which rarely discloses Russian military movements outside its borders, announced early Wednesday morning, July 25 that a fleet of Russian warships had passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean.
The fleet is headed by the anti-submarine and anti-aircraft Admiral Chabanenko warship and consists of another three vessels carrying a large number of Russian marines. This fleet will rendezvous with a Russian flotilla standing by in the Mediterranean since July 21, detached from Russian Black Fleet and composed of the Smetlivy figate and two large landing craft loaded with Russian marines. This group awaited the main force before approaching Syria.
The fact that Russia is massing large numbers of marines off the Syrian coast looks as though a landing on Syrian soil is on Moscow’s cards.
The Russian marine contingent, DEBKAfile’s sources say, will stand ready – either to come to the aid of the Assad regime or to serve as a bargaining chip for a last-minute deal between Moscow and Washington for ending the war by establishing a transitional military regime in Damascus whose makeup would be agreed between them and Assad.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted at this possibility on Tuesday, July 24, when she said: “We do believe that it is not too late for the Assad regime to commence with planning for a transition.”
But Clinton also hinted, in a more threatening tone, that a situation is developing for the creation of safe zones in rebel-controlled areas of Syria. “More and more territory is being taken and it will, eventually, result in a safe haven inside Syria which will then provide a base for further actions by the opposition,” she said.
Clinton didn’t name the potential protectors of those havens. However, since the Syrian rebels are short of manpower, Western, Muslim or Arab defenders would have to be called in.
Wednesday, British military sources in London said the moment is rushing forward for British forces to get involved in what is happening in Syria. Iran and Turkey are not indifferent either.
Deputy Iranian Revolutionary Guard chief, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, warned on Tuesday, July 24, that Tehran would not permit regime change in Damascus and if Syria’s enemies intervened, Iran would hit them hard. The Iranian commander pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia and Qatar, adding that the US and Israel are at the forefront of the comprehensive campaign against Syria but are being beaten back.
This was the first time Tehran had explicitly threatened military intervention in Syria.
Wednesday, Turkey shut its border crossings to Syria. Military sources in Ankara confirmed that massive Turkish military strength had been on the move toward the Syrian border.
The MSTA-S 2S19
It sounds like a lot, and it is, the Russian military budget doubled from 2006 to 2009 from $25 billion to $50 billion; but it’s still not a tenth of the U.S. defense budget, which averages around $600 billion per year.
Perhaps the most interesting facet of Russian military production is that it’s a bit less refined than America‘s, more burgeoning capitalism than entrenched lobbying with the state.
Private enterprise is exporting sophisticated arms packages and entering into international contracts with foreign powers to enhance already well developed weapons program.
So while this doesn’t necessarily bring us to a new Cold War as some suggest, it should keep the U.S. aware that it’s not the only player on the world’s military stage, and in the end, that can only be a good thing.
Russia’s T-90 main battle tank tank is just as advanced as the America’s M1 and costs half as much
Produced from 1995 onward, the T-90 is a modernization of the Soviet T-72.
The overhaul is remarkable and the fact the T-90 costs anywhere from $2.8 to $4.3 million compared to the M1 Abrams $8.6 million is more remarkable still.
Manufacturer Kartsev-Venediktov has pumped the tank full of electronic warfare capabilities, and it’s filled with laser warning receivers, an electronic jamming system and a three-tiered protection system consisting of turret armor, explosive reactive armor and a full countermeasures suite.
Despite the T-90′s well advanced status it’s only a stop-gap piece. Russia’s T-99, coming by 2020, will serve as the new main battle tank, infantry fighting vehicle, and armored personnel carrier.
Production begins of the T-99 begins in 2014.
The MSTA-S 2S19 can run on six different types of fuel
While this artillery platform is pretty interesting on its own — a 152mm self propelled howitzer that entered service in 1989 — perhaps its most compelling feature is its versatility.
The 2MSTA-S 2S19 offers significant automation with loading and firing, allowing the crew to stay mobile while firing and it can run on six different types of fuel including diesel, gasoline, aviation fuel, and alcohol. Russia has 800 of them as of 2008.
The MSTA has been adapted into a number of different variants which include a wheeled variant, various enhanced versions, a “laser tank” and a prototype which includes dual howitzers.
The Sukhoi Su-35 is Russia’s most advanced operational fighter jet
The Su-35 is a twin-engined multi-role fighter. Since Russia has not been in a significant war since the aircraft’s development, the supermaneuverable jet is currently used by the nation’s Russian Knights air display team. The Russian Air Force has eleven of them, mostly an upgraded version.
The Air Forces of Libya, India, Malaysia and Algeria have considered purchasing the craft.
Exporter Rosoboronexport lost $4 billion after the Libyan revolution because of cancelled contracts, so the future of the jet outside of Russian borders remains unclear.
The Sukhoi T-50 will be Russia’s stealth fifth-generation fighter
This is the future of Russian combat aviation.
Currently a prototype T-50, the second model started flight testing in March 2011. Next year, the Defense Ministry plans to buy 10 evaluation aircraft, followed by an initial purchase of 60 jets by 2016.
The service life is projected to be three decades, and this aircraft will likely contend with the the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet. Still, the Russians managed to confine development costs to around $10 billion.
While less stealthy than the F-22, newspapers have claimed it is more maneuverable.
The MiG-35 has state-of-the-art radar and is all digital
The MiG-35 is a huge upgrade to the MiG-29, a jet so successful it remains in use all over the world.
It’s still in the development phase, but some Russian leaders have been completely explicit about the name: The MiG 35 is seen as a probable direct competitor to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Installed on the MiG-35 will be a state-of-the art radar system developed by Phazotron. This fighter is all digital. It should be able to hit Mach 2.25 and has a range of 125 miles. It first flew in 2007.
The Mi-28 is the most advanced attack helicopter made in Asia — for now
Right now, the Mi-28 is the top attack helicopter made in Asia. It functions in any weather, by day or night, and has no other possible use beside aerial offense.
Still, the helicopter is a mere placeholder for the time being. Right now Russian Helicopters — the corporate parent of Mil — is designing the next-generation attack helicopter to bring Russian rotors out of the eighties. With China developing the Z-10 (with some help from Pratt & Whitney of course) it’s time for an upgrade.
The fifth-generation helicopter has bold goals: light, noiseless, and invisible to radar. They want to start work after the Su-35 is done.
The Antonov An-70 can haul up to 300 troops at a time
Russia has sixty of the Ukrainian aircraft on order, to be delivered sometime between 2015 and 2016. Right now Antonov has two prototypes complete. It’s able to hold 300 troops or 200 wounded.
It has got four propellers. It’s comparable to the C-130J. The project has had some significant hurdles, with Russia pulling out in 2006 before ordering sixty aircraft in 2010, consistent with the rearmament program for the new decade.
The Yasen-class of attack submarines will carry up to 32 cruise missiles
The Office of Naval Intelligence thinks the Yasen sub is the quietest in the ocean belonging to a competitor to the United States.
It’s powered by a nuclear reactor and one is currently in trials after its 2010 launch. The next is expected in the ocean before 2015. It’s been describes as state-of-the-art, and costs the Kremlin $1.2 billion each.
While the Borei-class subs will move ballistic missiles around the world, the Yasen is armed with up to thirty two cruise missiles and has ten torpedo tubes. I
The Bulava, Sineva, and Layner ballistic missiles explain why the Russians are obsessed with submarines
A submarine launched U.S. Trident missile
Russia came to the point a few years ago where it designed submarines around ballistic missiles. Right now, three submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) help define Russian naval missile defense.
The Sineva SLBM was introduced in 2007 and has an operational range of 7,100 miles. It’s designed to be launched from the Delta IV class submarines, built from 1985 to 1992.
The Bulava SLBM carries a warhead with six 150 kiloton bombs in them. They have an operational range of 6,100 miles, but since they’re stocked in the Borei-class submarines that range can be expanded far away from the Russian motherland. They are planned to enter service this year.
The Layner SLBM is being developed by the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau. It has got 12 warheads and can allegedly pierce anti-ballistic missile defenses. It should enter service soon. It’s designed to augment, not replace the Bulava.
The Steregushchy-class corvette is the foundation of Russian coastal defense
The Steregushchy class was initially developed to replace the Grisha class of anti-submarine corvettes.
Three ships have been in service beginning in 2007. At the moment, three are under construction, and two more are expected to be exported to Algeria.
It has a helicopter hangar, eight torpedo tubes, and 12 cells for surface to air missiles of the S-400 type. The ships are currently undergoing sea-trials. With Russia charging $150 million per export ship, these vessels are a steal for the Russian Navy compared to the United States’ plannedLittoral Combat Ships which cost $2.4 billion.
The Gorshkov Frigate is a multi-role ship that will form the core of Russia’s future Navy
The Gorshkov’s predecessor, the Krivak-class
Right now, Severnaya Verf is building the first three of a planned 15-20 frigates for the Russian Navy. They’ll be 425 feet long with a range of 4000 nautical miles.
The plan is to replace the aging Sovremenny destroyers and Burevestnik frigates with the ships. The first frigate — the Gorshkov — was begun in 2006, launched in 2010, and will be commissioned in 2013.
The ships will have advanced radar systems, a 130mm naval gun, Oniks missiles, multiple torpedo tubes, and will hold one helicopter.
Russia focuses on four theaters for their Navy. They have a Northern Fleet, a Baltic Fleet, a Pacific Fleet and a Black Sea fleet.
The S-400 may be the best air defense system in the world
A Russian S-400 Surface-to-Air Missile system
The S-400 is a massive upgrade to Russia’s successful S-300 surface-to-air missile system. While it’s only in limited service at this point, its predecessor currently stands as Russia’s premiere air defense system.
The S-400 has a range of 250 miles, at least twice that of the United States’ MIM-104 Patriot. Three different missiles are used for various ranges, with the fastest going twelve times the speed of sound. The radar can track 100 targets at once.
With this system, even some of the most elite attacking aircraft are at risk.
The S-500 is definitely going to be the best air defense system in the world
The S-500 is a more efficient version of the S-400 designed for ICBM interception among other air defense goals. It’ll be derived from the S-400 but will be reduced in dimensions.
The radar systems have been improved from the S-400, and most of the equipment will be derived from the S-300 family. It’s supposed to be a highly mobile system. Again, details are loose, but this could be a serious game-changer.
The most interesting take away: This isn’t designed to defend from a U.S. ballistic missile attack.
As China builds up their ICBM range, this is likely insurance against either a souring of relations between Moscow and Beijing or the spread of Chinese ICBMs to less-predictable countries.
The Iskander-M missile system replaces the SCUD as the go-to tactical ballistic missile
The Iskander-M is a hypersonic single-stage surface-to-surface ballistic missile with an operational range of 250 miles and an accuracy of 5-7 meters. It’s designed for conventional warheads.
The missiles are 24 feet long and weigh four tons. They are designed for theater-level conflicts.
The case in point is the 2008 South Ossetia war against Georgia, where the missile was hugely effective in destroying military targets.
According to Wikileaks releases of emails from Stratfor.com, there are five Iskander missile brigades stationed in Russia.
The Pantsir-S1 is one of the most sophisticated and compact air defense systems in Russia
The Pantsir S-1 is one incredible system. It combines both medium-range Surface-to-air missiles with anti-aircraft artillery and the most sophisticated radar system available in a single compact package.
Produced beginning in 2008, it’s effective against aircraft, helicopters, drones, and cruise missiles. Russia is even installing it on their aircraft carrier.
Pantsir carries twelve missiles, each with an operational range of 12 miles. The main selling point of the Pantisir is the phase-array radar, which has 360 degree coverage amd a detection range of 20 miles. It can track 20 targets simultaneously.
Russian skies are safe from incoming threats.
Topol is Russia’s first new ICBM since the Soviet breakup
Produced beginning in 1994, the Topol-M Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) packs a single 800 kiloton warhead and is propelled by a three-stage solid propellant. It has an operational range of 6,800 miles and travels at 22 times the speed of sound.
The Topol can be launched from either a reinforced missile silo or a transporter.
Even more, the Topol is being developed to sustain Multiple Re-entry vehicles (MIRV), which would allow multiple warheads to be transported by a singe rocket.
The beleaguered START treaty would have Russia replace their existing MIRV ICBMs with ICBMS with a single warhead. Don’t hold your breath.