The port of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece has gained strategic importance as the United States strengthens military ties with a South European NATO ally
This has hurt US relations with Turkey as Western leaders increasingly distrust authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Currently, American companies are showing the keenest interest in privatising this sea harbour in Greece.
Alexandroupolis is an important transhipment point for NATO military supplies to Ukraine. It is a strategic location for diversifying energy supplies to European markets. It is located in the country’s extreme northeast, 30 kilometres west of the Turkish border and 50 kilometres south of Bulgaria.
Over the past three years, the US and Greece have signed agreements to strengthen their defence cooperation. It guarantee “unrestricted American access” to a number of Greek military bases. Since that collaboration began, the port has experienced unusually high traffic in military vessels. It is so intense that when 1,500 US Marines from the USS Arlington landed on shore in May, the city’s 57,000 residents faced shortages of certain foodstuffs, such as eggs and tobacco.
“The port can accommodate ships up to 650 feet (200 m) in length. Its proximity to the newly improved road network and connection to the railways make it one of the most important ports in Greece. The US asked Greece to include Alexandroupolis in the list of areas where the Americans will be present. The port allows them to easily transfer forces and equipment to Eastern Europe.”
Liutenant General of the Reserve Ilias Leontaris
The Americans made certain improvements to the port, aimed at facilitating the loading and unloading of ships. In 2021 alone, the US military moved 3,100 containers through it, according to official sources cited by The New York Times. These sources did not specify the nature of the shipments, but assured that they were all destined for US bases in Europe.
This year, more than 2,400 containers passed through the port until July. According to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, protected Bushmaster mobile vehicles sent by Australia to Ukraine also passed through Alexandroupolis.
The deployment of US troops in Alexandroupolis did not go unnoticed by Russia. Back in December 2021, two and a half months before the start of a special military operation in Ukraine, Moscow accused Washington of sending weapons to Kyiv through a Greek port.
“Alexandroupolis is a gateway to the Balkans and a corridor to Ukraine. Since Turkey has become a less reliable ally, it is necessary to have an alternative route that can be activated”
Harry Theoharis – a former Greek Minister and MP from the right-wing New Democracy party
Thus, the article emphasises that the port of Alexandroupolis has become a coveted geopolitical object now that its management is offered to the highest bidder.
In return for the successive bailout packages the EU has given Greece over the past decade, Brussels has forced Athens to privatize numerous state assets. Including the management of its ports. By the deadline last Thursday, September 22, Greece received two binding bids for a majority stake in the port of Alexandroupolis. One is owned by Quintana, a US company with interests in the energy sector. The other is owned by International Port Investments Alexandroupolis.It is a joint venture led by Greek construction company GEK Terna with US investment fund Black Summit. Two other contenders were with Russian connections. One belonging to Ivan Savvidisi. The other to the Cupeluso family, who work with the Russian energy company Gazprom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 11, 2021 that the creation of a large American military base in the Greek port city of Alexandroupolis suggests that Greece itself has become a kind of US outpost.
India’s use of Russian missile know-how in its new BrahMos II hypersonic could trigger US sanctions
India’s new BrahMos II hypersonic missile may feature technology in Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic weapon. This development will further entrench the two sides’ already deep defence cooperation. It is when India faces Western pressure to distance itself from Moscow.
BrahMos II is jointly developed by India’s Defense and Research Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya. It is the successor to the Brahmos I supersonic cruise missile also jointly developed by the two sides.
BrahMos Aerospace CEO Atul Rane has said that India and Russia have worked out the basic design for BrahMos II. It will take five or six years before the first weapons test is staged.
He also notes that BrahMos II will not be exported. India is a party to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), meaning India can develop missiles with ranges of more than 300 kilometres and a weight of more than 500 kilograms but cannot sell such weapons to third countries.
Despite crippling Western sanctions on Russia’s defence industry imposed over its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and this year’s invasion of Ukraine, Rane mentions that these punitive measures have not affected the development of the Brahmos II project TASS reports.
If the BrahMos II project pushes through, it shows that Russia still has trump cards to play to keep its defence industry afloat. In a 2021 Global Affairs journal article, Viljar Veebel notes that Russia can rely on its open and relatively generous arms export policy. On its proven weapons systems and path dependency to maintain its arms exports. Russia has adeptly played these cards to keep India on its tabs. Particularly on hypersonic weapons development.
Potential strategic repercussions
India is aware of the potential strategic repercussions of its reliance on Russian weapons and military technology. Asia Times has previously reported on India’s overdependence on Russian military hardware, with 60% of its military equipment imports coming from Russia.
No strings attached
Unlike Western arms exporters, Russia does not attach limitations or preconditions to its arms sales. Russia has offered several perks to established partners such as Iran, Syria, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya. These have included better negotiating terms, loans and quicker deliveries. It benefits these countries to purchase arms from Russia over other suppliers.
Sanctions threat on BrahMos
The threat of US sanctions on Russia-India joint defense ventures may have also stoked India’s reservations about its longstanding reliance on Russia.
While the US has not strictly enforced sanctions on India’s DRDO for dealing with Rosoboronexport and NPO Mashinostroyeniya, should the US choose to do so, US dollar-based payments between Russia and India for the BrahMos II project could trigger sanctions.
Given this, Simha notes that India is pursuing separate hypersonic weapon projects parallel to the BrahMos II. For example, he mentions India’s homegrown Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) is funded and researched separately from Brahmos II.
Another such project is the Shaurya ballistic missile, which reached Mach 7.5 during recent tests. He also mentions that India has built 12 hypersonic wind tunnels to achieve self-reliance in hypersonic weapons development.
Despite these caveats on Russia-India defense cooperation, the established and proven dynamics of these ties may be more practical to advance its hypersonic weapons program.
New German, Swedish subs offer alternatives to Taiwan’s Indigenous Submarine Program and Australia’s nuclear ones under AUKUS
Last month Germany and Sweden, two world leaders in conventional submarine design, unveiled three models that could prove to be better strategic choices than Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Submarine program and Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear-powered submarines under its AUKUS alliance.
Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Maritime Systems (TKMS) in cooperation with Fincantieri of Italy started construction of the U212 Near Future Submarine (NFS) for the Italian Navy. The first U212 NFS is scheduled to be launched in 2026, with its acceptance into the Italian Navy in 2027. Work on the second unit is scheduled to start in 2029.
The U212 NFS is a design evolution of the U212A, which first entered Italian Navy service in 2006. At present, the Italian Navy operates four U212A units. Compared with the U212A, the U212 NFS is 1.2 meters longer, has enhanced hydrodynamics and silence in a 59-meter hull, and surface displacement of 1,600 tons.
Designed to operate in tropical waters
The new class is also designed to operate in tropical waters, meaning that it is optimized for operations in the warmer southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean off North Africa and Turkey. This also means that the design could be sold to tropical climate clients such as Taiwan and Indonesia.
The first two boats of the U212 NFS use the same Siemens hydrogen fuel cell air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology from their U212A predecessors, but introduce lithium-iron-phosphate batteries for its new energy storage and management system, which is billed to be a “game-changer” in underwater warfare. Fincantieri is also developing a new type of AIP system for the third U212 NFS.
In terms of sensors, the U212 NFS also features a new sail mast design which can accommodate seven electrical masts with one extra space for an optional mast, allowing for future development of the class as a fully electric submarine.
A fully electric submarine such as the SMX31E New Full Electric Concept completely eliminates any need to surface during operations, meaning it can stay submerged as long as today’s nuclear submarines, which are only limited by crew endurance and supplies.
Current AIP technologies significantly minimize but do not eliminate the need for conventional submarines to periodically surface to run their diesel engines to charge their batteries.
Other sensors include six non-penetrating electrically hoisted masts and the new generation optical penetrating attack periscope, all provided by L3Harris, low probability of intercept radar by GEM Elettronica, Link 11/16 datalinks from Leonardo and a digital sonar suite by ELAC Sonar.
Rated to be cyber-secure
Compared with the U212A, the U212 NFS features more Italian-made technology, such as an integrated platform control system (IPCS) provided by Fincantieri Seastema, steering and diving control system by Avio Aero, and combat management system (CMS) by Leonardo.
These systems are rated to be cyber-secure by the Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), making the U212 NFS the second cyber-secure design by Fincantieri after the Thaon di Revel class offshore patrol vessel (OPV).
The class is designed with open architecture in mind, enabling easy software upgrades such as third-party software, remote computing, extensive acoustic processing know-how and submarine mission-specific applications.
The Leonardo Black Shark Advanced (BSA) torpedo is projected to be the main armament of the U212 NFS, with the class also designed to deploy long-range cruise missiles. The U212 NFS also retains the special forces support capability of the U212A and can operate alongside unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs), which extends the surveillance capability of the class.
Germany and Israel signed a deal for three Dakar0-class submarines from TKMS. These boats are intended to replace three of Israel’s older Dolphin class boats which entered service in the 1990s.
The deal envisions that the first of these new boats would be delivered to Israel in 2027, and includes provisions for the creation of a submarine training simulator in Israel and supply of spare parts.
While Israel keeps the technical details of its new submarines classified, these new boats are said to be significantly more capable than the preceding Dolphin boats. The boats are said to be armed with 16 multipurpose torpedo tubes that can fire torpedoes, Turbo Popeye cruise missiles and even manned swimmer delivery systems, submersibles designed to stealthily insert special forces teams for covert underwater or amphibious operations.
Possibility of a vertical launch systems (VLS)?
Concept art of the Dakar class released by TKMS shows a much-enlarged sail, which has led to different speculation about the design’s capabilities. Speculations abound that this distinctive feature could be used to house vertical launch systems (VLS) for nuclear-tipped cruise or ballistic missiles. (Israel, of course, is tight-lipped about its alleged nuclear weapons program.)
Sweden has also begun the construction of its A26 Blekinge class submarines. It is a follow-on design to Sweden’s Gotland boats, whose stealth capabilities were made famous in 2005 by sinking the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier during naval exercises.
The Swedish Navy has ordered two units, the HSwMS Blekinge and HSwMS Skåne, with the aft section of one boat already put in place.
The class is built around Saab’s Ghost technology, which stands for Genuine Holistic Stealth. Ghost is a family of technologies meant to reduce the Blekinge boats’ detectable signatures.
Some of these technologies include rubberized mounts and baffles inside the submarine to reduce detectable machinery and crew noise, and careful design of all interior surfaces to minimize noise such as specific airflow speeds in air ducts, minimum bending radius on cables and pipes and the design of outboard holes and cavities.
In addition, the Blekinge class uses a new hull and fin shape to reduce hydrodynamic noise, and the boats’ mast has a unique shape to minimize radar signature.
Extended operation time
The class features an improved version of the Stirling AIP engine fitted in the Gotland class, which is 30% smaller, yet delivers more power. The Stirling AIP engine works by heating and cooling gases in its cylinders to force pistons up and down.
In the case of the Gotland and Blekinge boats, liquid oxygen and diesel are used to heat the engine, while cold seawater is used for cooling. This technology allows the class to operate for an extended time without surfacing to recharge its batteries by running its diesel engines.
A unique feature of the Blekinge boats is the Multi Mission Portal, which allows the launch and retrieval of diverse mission payloads, such as special forces or UUVs to extend the boats’ sensor range, which makes the class a potent underwater intelligence-gathering platform.
Moreover, Sweden also offers the Oceanic Extended Range (XR) submarines, which are designed for navies whose capability requirements include extended missions or long-distance operations.
Notably, the Australian Collins-class was built according to this design philosophy. The Collins boats were built between 1993 to 2001, with Saab working alongside the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), providing technology transfer for design and construction using an advanced modular method.
Offering more sensible alternatives to Australia and Taiwan
These new submarine designs may satisfy the submarine capability requirements of both Taiwan and Australia, offering more sensible alternatives considering the tactical, operational, strategic and political challenges they face in their respective submarine programs.
In the case of Taiwan, it has a significant shipbuilding industry but has limited experience in building warships, and no experience in building submarines.
While countries such as Australia, Canada, India, Spain, the UK and the US are assisting Taiwan in building its own conventional submarines, this is not a guarantee of success. For instance, Australia’s Collins boats were built from the Saab Gotland class, and Australia received considerable technical assistance from Sweden and the US in this project.
However, the Collins class turned out to be plagued with various problems, which forced Australia to seek replacements.
It may be more rational for Taiwan to harness its strengths, such as AI, software, semiconductors, electronics and the production of asymmetric weapons, which it can realistically manufacture such as torpedoes, naval mines and cruise missiles, rather than take huge risks by building its own submarines.
Also, should Taiwan persist in acquiring submarines, these subsystems can be integrated into an established, open-architecture submarine design suited for tropical operations.
An Open Architecture design
Thus, the U212 NFS or a derivative of the class makes sense for Taiwan’s submarine capability requirements. It is an open-architecture design, as shown by the integration of Italian and US subsystems into a German hull, and is designed for tropical operations as well.
As such, Taiwanese subsystems and weapons can be fitted into this already established design. Such an arrangement fulfills Taiwan’s capability requirements for submarines and harnesses its stronger strategic sectors.
Australia may have made a mistake in the first place in disqualifying TKMS in favor of DCNS from France, as the U214 class from TKMS has capabilities that far exceed those of the Collins class. Further, TKMS offered Australia the U216, which is a scaled-up version of the U214 built to Australian capability requirements.
Australia initially chose to settle on the DCNS Shortfin Barracuda as a replacement for its Collins boats.
However, the deal with DCNS ran into several problems, such as finding a sensible rationale to justify retrofitting a conventional propulsion system to a hull designed for nuclear propulsion, the incompatibility of US combat systems in a French-designed hull, long development time leading to obsolescence on delivery, the failure of DCNS to invest enough in Australian suppliers and labor and cost overruns.
These factors may have led Australia to drop its deal with DCNS and make a bold move to acquire nuclear submarines with technical assistance from the US and UK under AUKUS.
Doubts about Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear submarines
It is highly likely that Australia’s plan to acquire nuclear submarines under AUKUS will not materialize, as political considerations regarding maintaining command and control should Australia lease a US Virginia class nuclear boat, vague terms in technology, cost and labor sharing within AUKUS, opposition to nuclear power in Australia and its lack of infrastructure to support nuclear submarines play out against its plan.
That said, Australia may have compounded its mistakes in its deal with DCNS by picking an equally unfeasible solution with AUKUS for its submarine capability requirements.
In addition, should Australia choose to lease nuclear submarines from the US, it would not be until the 2030s when an aging US nuclear boat would be available for lease, and only in the 2040s would Australian nuclear boats have any strategic effect.
This leaves a huge capability gap between the planned obsolescence of Australia’s Collins boats in 2026, and before its planned nuclear submarines become fully operational in the 2040s.
By then, the geopolitical situation and China’s naval capabilities may have vastly changed. Australia’s only feasible choice to maintain its underwater warfare capabilities is to acquire conventional submarines to fill this capability gap.
However, with the capabilities of today’s conventional submarines approaching those of their nuclear counterparts, perhaps Australia’s quest for nuclear submarines was an unnecessary venture in the first place.
Considering Australia’s bad experiences with its Saab-built Collins boats and its deal with DCNS, it may well do for it to revisit talks with TKMS to acquire new conventional submarines that fulfill its capability requirements.
The French military-industrial complex is unique in its essence and has no analogues in Europe (except for Russia). In the world it lags behind only the United States. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that the Americans are actively sabotaging French orders and intercepting them without ceremony with their “partner”.
“The French defense industry is unique in the West. It is the only one, besides the US military-industrial complex, capable of designing and producing all military systems: armored vehicles, combat aircraft, submarines, helicopters, missiles, radars, space systems …” – Military Review .
Everyone remembers the famous story of the Mistral helicopter carriers, which France during the time of François Hollande refused to transfer to Russia under US pressure and then paid our country an astronomical fine.
Also in the fall of last year, the Americans “threw” France with the order of nuclear submarines for Australia, forcing the latter to abandon the contract in favor of their technologies. But these are far from isolated cases. The United States has been methodically strangling a strong competitor from the international arms market for a long time.
In 2016, the Polish authorities unexpectedly canceled the contract for the supply of 50 military transport helicopters H225M Caracal. Or last year, after the visit of US President Joe Biden to Geneva (in 2021 for negotiations with Vladimir Putin), Switzerland suddenly called the F-35 “the best aircraft” and refused to purchase all other options, including … the French fighter Rafale … Coincidence?
The list is long
The list of refusals is endless: from corvettes for Qatar to the notorious submarines for Australia. And at the end of 2021, Washington is actively trying to squeeze the Rafale out of the Indonesian tender in order to impose its F-16 Viper.
Paris is naturally not happy with this “policy”. But the world market regulator capable of restraining the Americans does not exist at the moment. Market relations just don’t work here. Otherwise, no one would buy, for example, expensive American fighters at a loss. But this is the harsh reality. For example, the same French Suffren-class nuclear submarine costs about 1 billion euros, and the American Virginia – already at $ 3.5 billion, although it is inferior to that in terms of maneuverability efficiency.
The collapse of the French military-industrial complex is both commercial and strategic. Having eliminated a direct competitor, the Americans, in fact, will not leave potential customers with a choice. As a result, Americans will become monopolists dictating their own terms. And Paris, having lost its own military-industrial complex, will lose its sovereignty. What kind of European army can we talk about without its own weapons?
Australia is looking to replace older jet trainers, but Serbia could be first to adopt the jet in a combat role
Boeing’s T-7A Red Hawk jet trainer, which it developed together with Swedish aviation firm Saab for the U.S. Air Force, is already generating interest on the international market. The T-7A, which could also have a future as a light combat aircraft, is now officially in the running to replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s BAE Hawk jet trainers and could be an option to supplant the Serbian Air Force’s G-4 Super Galeb jet trainers and J-22 Orao ground attack planes.
Boeing officially announced that it had submitted the T-7A for Australia AIR 6002 Phase 1 future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS) competition on July 30, 2020, according to FlightGlobal. This was five days after Nenad Miloradovic, Serbia’s Acting Assistant Minister of Defense for Material Resources, said his country was exploring the possibility of buying Red Hawks in a televised interview, which Jane’swas first to report on.
“The T-7, which is scalable, interoperable and configurable, is ideally suited to address the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) next-generation frontline fast-jet aircraft training requirements,” Boeing said in a statement to FlightGlobal regarding the Australian LIFTS program.
“No other training system in the world today will better develop the skills required to operate the RAAF’s most advanced frontline aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing’s Vice President for the T-7 program, added. It’s worth noting that the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler are both also Boeing products. The RAAF is also an operator of Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and is working with the company’s Australia-based division on an advanced loyal wingman-type drone effort, known as the Airpower Teaming System, which you can read about more in this past War Zone piece.
The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet
The RAAF is looking to replace its entire fleet of approximately 33 BAE Hawk Mk 127 Lead-in Fighter (LIF) jet trainers, which it first ordered in 1997. Last year, the U.K.-based manufacturer completed an upgrade program for all of these jets, which included a improved electronic warfare system, as well as Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning (EGPWS) and Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) suites. Though these aircraft don’t have a radar of their own, they also have updated radar emulation capabilities when combined with podded systems, such as the Air Combat Manoeuvring Instrumentation (ACMI) pod. The aircraft have new glass cockpits with digital multi-function displays, as well.
The upgraded Mk 127s have a configuration very similar to the Hawk T2s, originally known as Mk 128s, that the U.K. Royal Air Force flies. It’s interesting to note that Northrop Grumman had initially planned to submit the T2 to the U.S. Air Force’s T-X competition, but ultimately went with a clean sheet design after deciding that the modernized Hawk could not meet that program’s requirements. The Boeing-Saab T-7A was the winner of the T-X competition in 2018.
Australia hopes to have picked a winner for its LIFTS competition in the next few years and have all of the new jet trainers delivered by 2033. Previous estimates have said that the entire procurement effort, which could include various ancillary items and services, could cost between $4 and $5 billion Australian dollars, or between around $2.85 billion and $3.56 billion at the present rate of conversion. The U.S. Air Force is only slated to receive its first production T-7As in 2023.
Serbia is looking to replace its G-4 Super Galeb and J-22 Orao
Serbia is also in the process of exploring replacement options for its G-4 Super Galebs and J-22 Oraos, both of which were developed by SOKO in the former Yugoslavia during the Cold War. SOKO designed the G-4 on its own, but crafted the J-22 together with Romania’s Avioane Craiova. The J-22 first entered Yugoslav service in 1978, with the G-4 arriving five years later. The Serbia Air Force inherited examples of both of these aircraft, among many other types, after the breakup of Yugoslavia, which began in 1991.
That Serbia is looking at the T-7A as one possible replacement for its G-4s makes good sense. The single-engine G-4 is roughly comparable to many other jet trainers of its era, including early generations of the BAE Hawk. The Red Hawk would offer a substantial increase in overall capability and performance over the Super Galebs in lead-in and advanced jet trainer roles.
However, if the Serbian Air Force were to adopt the T-7A, or a variant or derivative thereof, as a replacement for the J-22, it would make the country the first to operate the aircraft in a dedicated combat role. The J-22 is a ground-attack aircraft that can also carry out tactical reconnaissance missions when carrying a pod equipped with visual and infrared cameras. The jet has an internally-mounted 23mm GSh-23 twin-barrel automatic cannon and can carry various weapons on any of five external hardpoints, two under each wing and one under the fuselage centerline.
Potential to serve as a light fighter jet
Serbia didn’t come to the idea of using a version of the T-7A in this role, either. There has already been talk for years, as The War Zonehas explored in the past, about how the Red Hawk offers the growth potential to serve as a light fighter jet with a robust ground-attack capability. Boeing itself highlighted this again just this month, suggesting that the aircraft could be a good and relatively low-cost choice for countries looking to replace aging light jet combat aircraft, such as Northrop F-5 Tiger IIs and Franco-German Alpha Jets. Both of those Cold War-era aircraft remain in widespread use around the world.
The G-4s also have a limited secondary air-to-ground capability. It is possible that Serbia could acquire a single trainer-attack-type variant to replace both those jets and the J-22s.
“These are the initial steps in developing new capabilities as no such capital acquisition is realized overnight,” Miloradovic said in his interview, according to Jane’s. “The [T-7A] aircraft itself is supersonic and features modern avionics, and as such would be able to entirely replace our ground attack aviation and being multirole would also be able to support our [MiG-29 Fulcrum] interceptors.”
Beyond the Red Hawk’s capabilities and performance, any foreign customer would be able to benefit from the significant investments that the U.S. government has already made in the design, as well as the supply chains to support it, all of which will help reduce the jet’s unit cost and what it takes to operate and maintain it. The U.S. Air Force has already said it will buy at least 351 examples and possibly up to 475 of the T-7As, which are set to be a major component of its future pilot training programs, if nothing else, for years to come.
The features of the highly specialized anti-aircraft complex of the Russian design “Abakan”, capable of withstanding ballistic missiles, have become known. At the same time, the new air defense system is as automated as possible. It is analogous to the well-proven Israeli Iron Dome system
SAM is not strategic, and this is emphasized by its developers. “Abakan” is not a competitor to the S-300 and S-400. This is a highly specialized system, and this is its main feature. The tasks of “Abakan” include the interception of operational-tactical ballistic missiles, as well as hypersonic targets, for other targets it does not work as efficiently.
The anti-aircraft missile system ZRK 98R6E “Abakan” used missiles from one air defense system, and the radar from another. When creating it, the developers took missiles from the Antey-4000 anti-aircraft system and a radar station from one of the promising anti-aircraft systems. Which one is not disclosed. This combination made it possible to make “Abakan” unique in its characteristics.
The future customer of the complex was one of the countries of the Middle East. It required specific characteristics. A multifunctional complex of the S-400 or S-500 type was not required. The order was for a highly specialized anti-aircraft complex capable of fighting ballistic targets.
Moreover, it had to be as automated as possible. Russian developers from “Almaz-Antey” managed to create in a short time the air defense system “Abakan”. It fully meets the requirements of the customer. The complex is designed to combat single-stage missiles with a speed of up to 3 km per second.
The air defense missile system is capable of hitting targets at an altitude of 25 km and a range of up to 45 km. The complex can be easily integrated into any anti-missile system and can operate both autonomously and in conjunction with other air defense systems.
Part of a bigger system
The complex was created to work in tandem with Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile systems. Its task is to supplement them. It is designed to help can create a modular air defense system. It is known that the same S-400 has a limited number of launchers, and if you borrow a certain number of missiles to intercept complex targets, then the number of ammunition for intercepting conventional targets will already be less than required.
Here “Abakan” will come to the rescue, which will deal with complex ballistic targets. The complex is capable of destroying both modern and advanced non-strategic ballistic missiles in the air. Also, “Abakan” can work in conjunction with foreign anti-aircraft missile systems. Any country can expand the capabilities of its air defense-missile defense system with the help of “Abakan”.
The combination of S-400 and “Abakan” is becoming especially relevant. This takes place in the context of a bet on the so-called oversaturation of air defense/missile defense. It is when a large number of objects are simultaneously attacked. This is most clearly seen in the technology of “drone swarm” being created in many developed countries. It theoretically can break through almost any air defense, since there are not enough missiles for all these kamikaze drones and attack drones.
Similar to the Israeli Iron Dome
“Abakan” can work not only in conjunction with other air defense systems, but also independently. The complex is capable of performing tasks that are inherent in such a tactical missile defense complex as the Israeli Iron Dome. Experts call the new Russian air defense system a universal air defense-missile defense system, which can be used to protect important military-industrial facilities, including command posts, from enemy strike weapons.
For the first time, the Abakan air defense missile system was presented at the international exhibition Dubai Airshow 2021, held in the United Arab Emirates in November this year.
Often, when referring to the Northern Sea Route (NSR), one can hear the definition that this is the “Russian way to India.” Indeed, the NSR is the shortest and safest access to the powerful, developing market of this vast country.
No pipe, even the widest in diameter, can meet India’s oil and gas needs. But shipping by sea is a different matter. It seems that India has been eyeing alternative routes for a long time to ensure its energy security. For Russian gas and oil companies, a partner such as India will help diversify the markets for minerals.
The development of the Arctic for New Delhi is also a matter of constant competition with another global player in the region. With China, which has already laid the foundation for the third icebreaker in the “Snow Dragons” series. India is trying to keep up. It is known that she has been eyeing the Russian project 21180 (M) icebreakers for a long time. These auxiliary diesel-electric icebreakers of a new type with a powerful energy complex and a modern propeller electric installation of Russian production are assessed by the Indians as ships with enhanced functionality. They are able to mill ice up to 1.5 meters.
In terms of displacement, they correspond to the Norwegian patrol icebreaker Svalbard. However, the practice of military-technical cooperation between India and Russia shows that New Delhi trusts more Russian developers and shipbuilders. That is more than once expressed in mutually beneficial and long-term contracts. The project 21180 icebreaker “Ilya Muromets” became the first icebreaker in 45 years, created exclusively for the needs of the Russian Navy. It is part of the Northern Fleet.
Proven partnership over the years
The reincarnation of the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov took place in Severodvinsk. With the active participation of the Nevsky Design Bureau, thanks to India. Russian shipbuilders have gained unique experience in the implementation of such global tasks. The Indian order made it possible to actually upgrade the Russian MiG-29K carrier-based fighter to the 4 ++ level.
Today MIG-29K meets all modern requirements for carrier-based aircraft. It is unobtrusive – 20% of the aircraft are assembled from non-metallic composite materials. To reduce visibility in the infrared range, the “cooled wing” technology has been implemented.
The fighter is equipped with the latest avionics, infrared target finder, guidance of close air-to-air missiles by turning the pilot’s head. The new radar “Zhuk-ME”, installed on board, finds targets at a distance of 200 km. With its help, guidance is carried out with corrected bombs and medium-range missiles.
Although the MiG-29K has a shorter range and payload than the Su-33, it is more compact. Thanks to the money of the Indians, is deeply modernized relative to the original Soviet projects MiG-29K and Su-33.
Military cooperation is being transformed into the Arctic Cooperation between Moscow and New Delhi. It continues not only in the military, but also in the oil and gas sector. This may allow India to become the first non-Arctic state to extract resources in the Arctic.
Russian-Indian cooperation in geological exploration and joint development of oil and gas fields, including offshore projects, is rapidly developing. Indian companies are involved in the development of oil and gas fields within the Sakhalin-1 project and the Vankor oil and gas condensate field. It is worth noting that Rosneft is a shareholder in the large Indian oil refinery Vadinar.
Is China jealous?
Improving the delivery of Russian energy resources to Indian partners is also a priority. China is very jealous of India’s admission to the region. At the same time, the economic potentials of India and China differ.
China, in addition to having ice-class ships, has long been active in investing in infrastructure energy projects in the Arctic. India in this sense lags far behind. And it’s not just New Delhi’s caution. There are players who constantly distract India from projects that are profitable for it.
India has a clearly positive image in the Arctic G8. In addition, India has lobbying opportunities for a representative diaspora in the Arctic countries. Especially in the United States and Canada. Weak investment activity of Indian business structures is a profitable business.
Chasing two hares
India has long surpassed Japan and has become the third largest economy in the world, calculated in purchasing power parity terms. The consumption of hydrocarbons is growing every year.
According to the forecasts of the International Energy Agency, India will become the third country in the world in terms of energy consumption by 2030. Due to the lack of its own sources of primary energy, the country will increase their imports. And she is going to do this, taking the most active part in the development of polar resources. In any case, there is such a desire.
In this sense, Russia for India is a guarantee of colossal investments. The only problem is the inconsistency of the concepts of the development of the civil and military navy. It’s like chasing two birds with one stone. On the one hand, India does not want to lag behind China in the Arctic. But on the other hand, it is implementing an ambitious maritime strategy. The goal of which is to turn the country into the main power in the Indian Ocean.
Does India have enough finance, especially considering that the United States is increasingly engaging India in a clash with China through a four-sided military bloc, the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), which also includes Japan and Australia. Will India have time for the Arctic if it is drawn into the war?
The US is indeed purposefully luring India into a trap from which the Asian giant simply cannot emerge victorious. Indeed, Pakistan will take the side of China in the event of an escalation of the regional conflict. And a conflict between nuclear-weapon states can easily escalate into a nuclear catastrophe. This is already fraught with stability on the planet, but do such little things worry the hawks in Washington …
Divide and conquer
The development of the Arctic by India is postponed every time the word “Aksaychin” appears on the world agenda. A region of confrontation between India and China. Two powers that more than others can influence the radical redistribution of world resources. Can the United States allow such “gluttonous” countries, in the opinion of the Yankees, to approach the division of Arctic resources? The question is rhetorical.
The United States can say whatever it wants in the Congress, but the Americans will not allow the strengthening of the influence of China and the supposedly allied India in the Arctic. Their true desire is for India and China to moderate their ambitions. For this, Washington is making every effort to play off Beijing and New Delhi in a senseless duel. That is obviously disadvantageous for both countries.