Thursday, October 14, 2010

Smoking gun- NK parade reveals Iranian missile ties.

Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine:

The North Korean military parade last weekend does more than give world exposure to the heir apparent to Pyongyang’s leadership. It also revealed a new road-mobile ballistic missile – a variant of the BM-25 Musudan with a projected range of 3,000-4,000 km.

More intriguing, North Korea’s weaponry is showing design characteristics associated with the Shahab 3, Iran’s most advanced missile. Such evidence is leading some international analysts to the conclusion that the ballistic missile development ties between the two countries is active and producing improvements in the arsenals of both countries.

While it would seem doubtful that complete missiles or missile sections are being shipped – given the close scrutiny by the West of North Korea shipping – components and engineering data could move relatively easily by air and diplomatic pouch.

For years, Iran has been the junior partner in the relationship and used the conduit to acquire No-dong and other missile technologies to build its own systems. Now, Israeli officials have noted the first public emergence in North Korea of the BM-25 Musudan, a weapon they believe has already been supplied to Iran.

It is believed to the first time the road-mobile, liquid-fueled intermediate range ballistic missile has been shown to anyone outside the North Korean military. The public unveiling took place Oct. 10 during a military parade attended by the country’s leader, Kim Jung-il, and his son and apparent leader-designate, Kim Jung-un.

The BM-25 is a derivative of the Russian-designed, SS-N-6 submarine-launched ballistic missile, although it has been increased in length to add range. North Korea showed several of the missile and wheeled launchers during the parade, although the operational status remains uncertain owing to a lack of flight trials detected by outside observers. The range is estimated between 3,000 km to 4000 km depending on warhead mass.

The parade also showcased a No-dong ballistic missile with a tri-conic nosecone. That configuration is typically associated with Iran’s Shahab-3, causing some analysts to suggest technical information gleaned by Tehran in flight trials is being fed to Pyongyang. Such a move would suggest Iran has made considerable progress in developing its indigenous missile engineering expertise.

The latest Iranian ballistic missile developments indicate the missiles “are much more sophisticated and reliable than the [early] Scud designs,” says Arieh Herzog, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization. “The inertial navigation systems are better and improved guidance in the final phase makes some of them accurate to without about 100 meters.”

The migration of the BM-25 to Iran has major security implications for Europe, since it would give Tehran the ability to strike targets in southern Europe. For Israel, the introduction of the BM-25 would have relatively modest impact on its strategic calculation, since Iran already has the ability to strike Israeli cities with ballistic missiles, but it would allow Iran to disperse its launchers over a much larger area in the eastern part of the country

Pantex dismantling B53 nukes.

A U.S. Department of Energy agency has authorized Pantex, the country’s only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant, to begin work dismantling B53 bombs.

A National Nuclear Security Administration statement Wednesday said once the bombs arrive at the plant near Amarillo the high explosives inside will be physically separated from the nuclear material before the material and components will be processed, which includes sanitizing, recycling, and disposal.

The bomb, each about the size of a minivan and weighing about 10,000 pounds, joined the nation’s stockpile in 1962 and was retired in 1997, the statement reads.

The B53 is among the longest-lived weapons ever used, the statement reads.

Other than Pantex - several classified weapons storage sites are rumored to have B53s in stockpile including the Manzano Nuclear Weapons Storage Base (Site Able) near Albuquerque and "Area II" on the Nellis AFB range.

UFOs over NYC - probably a publicity stunt.

New York Police and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) were fairly busy with incoming calls claiming of a UFO hovering over Manhattan, near Chelsea on Wednesday. Sources say around 1pm (local time), calls begin to pour alleging that there were a group of silver objects floating high over the city.

According to the NY Daily News, a spokesperson for the FAA stated, “We re-ran radar to see if there was anything there that we can’t account for, but there is nothing in the area”.

Meanwhile, many people crowed the streets to have a look at the mysterious flying object. Many on the scene gave their take on the mystery. One man jokingly said, “Maybe its superman”, while others believe it could be balloons.

Authorities are also aiming towards balloons as the explanation for this bizarre incident, but as of late Wednesday had not been confirmed. Many are linking this to a book publication made by a former N.O.R.A.D (North American Aerospace Defense Command) officer, who predicted that UFOs would appear in major cities around the country on October 13.

Nighthawks flying again? Speculation to follow:

On many aviation sites (including Dreamland Resort) there have been posts about recent sightings of the (thought to be retired) venerable F-117 Nighthawk flying on the Nellis and Area 51 classified ranges.

Could it be that several F-117s have been taken out of storage to practice for a special mission - one that required stealth and precision bombing?

Let's speculate for a moment -

Well - maybe - just maybe it is being readied to destroy a hardened (underground) target in a rogue nation that is known to have nuclear weapons. Why a F-117? Couldn't a B-2 do the job?

Sure - but B-2s exist in the white world now. Any movement, deployment and sudden appearance of a B-2 at a forward base would be noted. A B-2 is also a strategic weapon-and not really a tactical one.

So how about an F-22?

Great airplane - but not really a bomber - yet. Fast, stealthy and deadly, sure - but to destroy a hardened target -covertly - what is needed is a medium stealthy aircraft that can carry bunker-busting and deep penetration bombs. The F-22 doesn't quite fit the bill and the FB-22 hasn't been built - yet.

Still - the F-117 has a meager two bomb capacity bomb bay - not quite what would call a medium bomber.

But wait - recently photos have surfaced on the net showing wind tunnel tests of an F-117 model with stealthy weapons pods attached under the wings, effectively doubling the Nighthawks kill capacity.

Me thinks something may be in the wind - or (because the sightings have been undertaken in daylight) that the Pentagon wants to make an enemy to "think" something may be in the wind.

Only time will tell.

Even if it is enough to make Kim Jong Un and Amanutjob loose some sleep - I'm happy.

- SD


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