From 5 to 10 September, the Russian Federation set up one of the largest military exercises ever conducted, “Caucasus 2016”. 120,000 soldiers and civilian officials were involved in this military training exercise. According to the Russian news agency Tass, this took place in the immediate vicinity of the Crimean peninsula. Head of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov said on 9 September, that more than 12,500 people had never been involved in the exercise at the same time. Ministerial officials and members of the Russian central bank were also involved. Gerasimov described the exercises as “an intensive military training”. It had been a tough test for commanders of all ranks, and had also subjected the military control organisations to a hard test as well as testing their capabilities of coordinating operations among the United Forces.
The sheer size of the exercise and the chosen region might already be interpreted as a clear warning to the West not to lay undue strain on the question of the “annexation of the Crimea” and not to test the patience of Russia in the Donbass area unduly. At the same time, we are informed that a coastal defence is to be constructed on the outermost eastern tip of Russia by 2018. One week before the start of the “Caucasus 2016” exercise, the Russian defence minister Shoigu confirmed the plans for the establishment of a special troop unit in the Chukotka region. The decision to do so was made in 2015 and is “part of a plan for the establishment of a unified system of coastal defence from the Arctic in the north to the Premorja territory in the south”. This is intended to secure the Kuriles and the Bering Sea as well as cover the routes of the fleets in the Pacific, and thus also to increase the combat power of Russia’s nuclear-strategic naval forces. The new divisions are to ensure the defence of the extremely sparsely populated regions of the Russian Federation’s eastern coast.
More is not said about this in the statement. What is really interesting in connection with these two reports is that the Russian Federation is sending a very clear message to Washington. So far, Russia has had not a single coastal defence division. Russia’s western borders are on the European continent, and in its almost uninhabited East there was no need to defend its coasts against the equally deserted Alaska on the opposite shore. So we do not have even a clue as to what a coastal defence in the East might look like, nor to its extent and the armament that will be provided. Until now, naval forces in the Baltic Sea, the Arctic Sea, the Black Sea and the Pacific have maintained the defence of Russian shores, as they did in the Soviet-era. Why should entire divisions be established on the mainland along the coasts?
A division is a large body of land forces, and it is capable of conducting a “connected weapons” campaign. This means: infantry, pioneers, ABC defence, tanks, medical supplies, rocket artillery and tube artillery … in short, everything you need to create a complete pandemonium. So now several divisions are to be set up along the east coast.
A look at the map shows that Russia’s extreme north-east is separated from the US only by the Bering Strait. At its narrowest point, the two superpowers are not even 90 kilometres apart. Alaska is only a stone’s throw away. But what is there in Alaska, except moose, wolves, bears, reindeer and a few settlements?
There are indeed a few not quite unimportant US military bases like the Elmendorf Air Force Base at Anchorage. Not only are the latest F-22 Raptor fighters stationed there, which are able to start from there to intercept Russian strategic bombers, but also the Norad for the Alaska area and the Command of the 11th Air Army. Fort Richardson with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (paratroopers) of the 25th Infantry Division also has its seat in the region.
As mentioned above, the (Russian) divisions could also be equipped with rocket artillery of various kinds. Military analyst Sergei Ischenko notes in an analysis that the American F-22 Raptors would not have the time to ascend and intercept Russian bombers, if the Russians were to install mobile launching ramps for the Iskander ballistic short-range missile system on the east coast of their country. As we know from the incident with the “Donald Cook” and from other Russian demonstrations, they can completely shut down US military electronics, and therefore the observation and warning posts in Alaska would probably simply go dark. “The crews in the military bases Elmendorf and Fort Richardson will go to bed with a bad feeling in the evening, just as in the days of the cold war,” sums up Ischenko.
Russia is obviously dealing with the US in exactly the same way that it has had to accept itself in recent years: the military bases and troops of the opposing power block are moving to the borders of the US. And then also Chinese President
Xi Jinping said at the G-20 summit in Hangzhou that China would pursue its interests in the South China Sea masterfully and confidently. The South China Sea is linked to the east coast of Russia in the South. All this does not look too good for the US.
But things are not left at the coastal defense divisions in Chukotka and on the coast down to China. The Russian Air Force has built ten air bases in the Arctic. The Russian Organisation for Special Constructions (Spetsstroy) is currently developing facilities for the infrastructure of these air bases for 20,000 military personnel, their families and civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence in the Far North, the Far East and Siberia.
According to a report on the website “The National Interest”, fighter jets on these 10 air defence bases will be equipped with the feared Vympel R-37 (air-to-air missile), which has a very high range and is capable of accurately targeting and shooting down US AWACS and C4-ISTAR planes. And in doing so, they can keep such a great distance that the American fighters supposed to protect the AWACS and C4 ISTARs cannot reach them. The Russian fighter jets can also shoot down American refuelling aircraft very accurately, and because of their load highly explosive kerosene the escape of the crews by means of ejection seats would become obsolete, as a hit would instantly transform the flying store of kerosene into a fireball.
In addition there are the Nivator KS-17 air-to-air missiles already called AWACS killer by the Americans, which are able to home in accurately over a distance of 400 kilometres. They are the heaviest and most destructive air-to-air missiles ever built. The Indian Air Force owns them and arms its Russian SU-30MKI fighter jets with them.
But things do not rest with the military buildup confronting America’s north-western border. The Russian news agency Tass reported on 6 September that the Russian Federation had sent 1,500 elite soldiers, the so-called Spetsnaz, with immediate effect to Bolivia. This was stipulated in an agreement on military cooperation between the Russian Federation and Bolivia. And implemented immediately. Here, too, a vanguard – as it will not rest with 1,500 men – is coming closer to the borders of the USA. The Bolivian defense minister let it be known that Bolivia sees a fraternised country in Russia, with whom it maintains excellent relations. Russian Defense Minister Shoigu returned the compliment, saying that Russia, on the other hand, had a promising partner in Bolivia.
Background for the willingness of Bolivia to cooperate with Russia is also its concern that Bolivia could be the next country after Venezuela and Brazil in which the USA will trigger unrest and upheavals. In Brazil, where Washington was behind the disempowerment of President Dilma Rousseff, her successor to the presidency, Michel Temer, had, according to Wikileaks, been working as an informer to the US secret services against his own country for many years. The article also states that Temer will now appoint Goldman Sachs and the IMF to administer and manage the Brazilian economy.
In his overthrow of President Rousseff, Temer was supported by Senator Aloysio Nunes, who pursued her deposition. After the successful coup, Nunes traveled to the US for three days to meet US government representatives. Among them were members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the Albright Stonebridge Group (Chairwoman Madeleine Albright) and former US Ambassador to Brazil, Thomas Shannon. Also the current US ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, is a woman who, according to Wikileaks, was already involved in the fall of the Paraguayan government.
As a reason for the massive strengthening of their military efforts, which are evidently directed against the US, Russia said that this was due to the fact that the week before, the US had had one of their espionage aircraft P8-Poseidon fly over the Black Sea, and that this had switched off its transponder and made an attempt to penetrate the airspace of the Russian Federation. It was intercepted by a Russian SU-27. Yet the Pentagon had actually complained that the Russian fighter jet had flown dangerous maneuvres and approached the American machine up to 10 feet. The attempt to penetrate Russian airspace was against all international rules and, moreover, a continuation of the unprovoked US aggression of 1 August, when the US had had several strategic bombers flying along the Russian northern frontier.
Calculating the fact that, as already mentioned, China has openly expressed its willingness to take on the Americans, and taking into account the armament that China has developed, a new picture of the world situation is emerging.
With its PL-15 missile, China has baffled the US military’s leadership. The US fighter jets’ decades old AIM-120 AMRAAM can no longer keep up. “What can we deploy against this , and how can we counter this threat?” asked Air Combat Command, Commander General Herbert Carlisle. And he said, “The PL-15 and the range of this rocket … we just need to be able to surpass this missile.” In addition, the Chinese have developed a highly modern, powerful fighter jet in the form of the Chengdu J-20, which also has camouflage features. To be sure, the Chinese are holding the data back, but the US military is aware of the fact that they are dealing with an optimised high-speed, large-range aircraft. If these fighters are armed with the PL-15 missiles, they will enable the Chinese to destroy both American refueling aircraft and war ships. But to allow air operations of the American F-22 fighter jets over the sea, after an RAND briefing three to four refueling aircraft have to rise every hour to deliver 2.6 million gallons of kerosene to the fighter jets. This is also known to Beijing. The Chengdu J-20 jets only need to shoot the heavy and clumsy refueling aircraft down like clay pigeons from a safe distance with their far-reaching PL-15 in order to paralyse the US air force in the waters around China’s and Russia’s eastern coasts.
If Russia were yet to add its ability to simply eliminate the US forces’ highly developed electronic AEGIS system, the US can not afford a showdown with China and Russia in this region for the foreseeable future. A penetration of bombers deep into China and Russia in order to destroy large cities and important centres by bombing will not be possible for the Americans, neither even skirmishes in the coastal waters off China and Russia.
America is just losing its air supremacy over the enormously important South China Sea with its world trade routes and its influence on the neighbouring countries, which are watch as the former top dog is being stopped and challenged.
Conversely, the chances for Russia and China to hit the US extremely painfully with air attacks on its own soil along their west coast are very good. Without their electronic warning systems, which Russia is able to shut down, the Americans’ options of air defense are limited the Russian and Chinese long range missiles are superior to the American ones in the air. This time, the Americans must be prepared for a war in their own country. The entire west coast, far into the hinterland, would be affected. If the US were to bet on their nuclear power, the direct response would follow in the form of at least one atomic bomb on an American city on the west coast. The development delineated here shows that this is precisely what China and Russia want to clearly demonstrate to the Americans and that they are also determined to carry it out. The American population, however, is not psychologically adjusted to such horrendous scenarios at all. Panic would break out and a storm would be set off against the government. The US would not be in a position to wage such a war for more than two weeks.
(Translation Current Concerns)
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