Inside the Ring: Russia to test new missile

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“Our ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities currently protect the U.S. homeland against a limited ICBM attack,” Col. Pickert said. “U.S. BMD systems remain focused on defending from ballistic missile threats like those posed by North Korea and Iran. They are not directed at Russia. We remain confident in the ability of our BMD capabilities to defend the United States and its allies against this growing threat.

The RS-26 will add to Russia’s formidable and growing arsenal, which includes SS-27 and SS-29 road-mobile, solid-fuel missiles; a new submarine-launched nuclear missile called Bulava; and plans for a new silo-based ICBM. Russia also announced plans to build rail-mobile ICBMs that were deployed during the Soviet-era and later dismantled.

Under the 2010 U.S.-Russia New START, both countries are to reduce deployed strategic warheads to 1,550. The treaty, however, does not prohibit Russia’s development and deployment of new strategic missile systems and weapons.

The strategic nuclear buildup is Moscow’s response to U.S. missile defenses, which Russia opposes as threatening its strategic nuclear forces.

The Obama administration has said U.S. missile defenses would not be used against Russian or Chinese nuclear missiles, although both nations have rejected the U.S. claims.

Russian government procurement documents provided the first official confirmation of the RS-26 on Sept. 23 when discussing insurance liability for related to test launches, Russia’s Vedomosti news outlet reported Oct. 1.

A Russian defense official told Interfax this week that the RS-26 “is fitted with advanced warheads that travel at supersonic speeds and are able to perform altitude and course maneuvers.”

LIMITATIONS IN SPACE

China’s military issued an unusually harsh denunciation of Rep. Frank R. Wolf over his sponsoring of legislation that would restrict U.S.-China space cooperation.

Mr. Wolf, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on commerce, justice and science, wrote an open letter to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. last week that described the agency’s Ames Research Center as “a rat’s nest of inappropriate and possibly illegal activities.”

The congressman was critical of the NASA center for what he said were inaccurate comments that appeared in a British newspaper about restrictions on U.S.-China space cooperation.

Mr. Wolf, Virginia Republican, said China is deserving of criticism for its human rights abuses, espionage and cyberattacks, and growing space warfare capabilities, including the recent test of a satellite that captured another satellite with a robotic arm.

In response, PLA Daily, the newspaper of the Chinese military, reported Oct. 11 that NASA’s blocking of Chinese scientists to an international astronomy conference resulted from anti-communist fervor.

“In his open letter to Bolden, Wolf, as usual, continued to violently slander China for the so-called theft of military and commercial secrets, and alleged that China would be provided with more opportunities for stealing secrets from the U.S. if the two countries seek cooperation in spaceflight,” the newspaper stated.

The Chinese accused Mr. Wolf of being part of a group that has “long been clinging to the Cold War mentality and prejudiced against China.” The paper then said China and the U.S. are important “space powers,” and noted the use by U.S. astronauts of a Chinese space station in the new Hollywood movie “Gravity.”

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About the Author
Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz

Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.

He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.

Mr. ...

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