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US playing strategic arms game


09:33, February 07, 2013

The US could cut its defense spending because of the fiscal cliff. But it would be wrong to assume that such a cut will weaken the US military.

In fact, the US has allocated more funds for the development of Prompt Global Strike, a system that can deliver a precision non-nuclear weapon strike anywhere in the world within 1 hour. The number of such weapons in the US armory will continue to grow, with the Russian Defense Ministry estimating that Washington will have 1,500 to 1,800 sea- and air-based first-strike cruise missiles by 2015 and 2,500 to 3,000 by 2020.

The US aims to combine PGS with its space and anti-missile technologies to form an integrated defense system, which could render other countries' strategic weapons, including nuclear arms, almost useless. It intends to break the global and regional strategic balance, minimize other countries' capability of strategic counterattack during emergencies and squeeze their strategic space.

This could put other countries in a dilemma: they either lose the capability to launch a strategic nuclear counterattack or use nuclear weapons first to avoid devastation.

Russia's army, navy as well as air force still have the capability to deal with any challenge. Moscow's Topol-M missiles are its major strategic nuclear deterrent and the project to deploy them is the most important part of its national armament planning. Russia has a reliable protection system, which also consists of multi-range anti-aircraft missiles to defend against air attacks from even high-precision non-nuclear weapons.

The Russian army has a multi-level firepower system, comprising C-400 and C-400M anti-aircraft missiles, and Thor and Amor anti-aircraft missile launchers, which is regarded as the best anti-aircraft power combination targeting PGS.

Since Russia's strategic weapon system is better than China's in terms of numbers, mobility and protection capabilities some experts believe that the US army's PGS poses a greater threat to China than Russia.

To many defense experts' surprise, Chinese military experts seem to pay more attention to missile defense while ignoring the precision-guided prompt long-distance strike system. Some experts even say that China faces a difficult choice. On one hand, it is not sure of being able to build an effective protection system. On the other, even if it can build one, it will expose its limited and covert strategic missile launching bases.

During talks on strategic arms reduction, Russia has opposed the US' use of nuclear weapons delivery vehicles for non-nuclear military objectives because it not only helps the US save huge amounts in defense spending, but also boosts its PGS project.

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