STRATDELA newsletter by Dmitry Stefanovich - Issue #5

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STRATDELA newsletter by Dmitry Stefanovich
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Dmitry Stefanovich
Dmitry Stefanovich
Welcome back to the STRATDELA newsletter, where we dive into all things strategic and nuclear as seen by yours truly from Moscow.

Strategic Offensive Weapons
Unexpectedly, we have some new stuff about PAK DA, next generation Russian heavy bomber under development by Tupolev.
A patent on air intake filed this year has some nice schemes, first reported by Aviation Week (https://aviationweek.com/defense-space/aircraft-propulsion/russia-pushes-ahead-new-strategic-bomber), and also by my friend Alexander Yermakov (https://t.me/nuclear_stormbringer/3105).
So, here are the pictures.
Front -
Top -
Side -
Rollout might be expected later this year, but there are serious doubts. Maiden flight still might happen around 2025-2026 with serial production starting around 2028-2029. Probably I need to write another special issue on this thing.
Nothing on the sea leg caught my attention, although there was some nice shots of SSBNs because of the Russian Navy Day (https://vk.com/photo-120229555_457305002)
Verkhoturye 667BDRM/Delta-IV
Verkhoturye 667BDRM/Delta-IV
#hyperhype
Putin mentioned that Tsirkon deliveries will begin in the coming months, and Admiral Gorshkov frigate will be the first to get those. Still, the most interesting part is where it will be deployed - “The area in which the ship equipped with Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles will carry out its duty will be selected based on Russia’s security interests.” (http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69082)
There are reasons to have it any theater, each comes with advantages and disadvantages, so I suggest we wait for now.
Dynetics used an updated picture of their C-HGB glider for the new ad (https://twitter.com/Dynetics/status/1554557654479118337?s=20&t=-0IcoIs4sKYjlk21d9TUDw):
Space
(link to the whole gallery - https://xn--80ahclcogc6ci4h.xn--90anlfbebar6i.xn--p1ai/multimedia/photo/gallery.htm?id=115176@cmsPhotoGallery)
(link to the whole gallery - https://xn--80ahclcogc6ci4h.xn--90anlfbebar6i.xn--p1ai/multimedia/photo/gallery.htm?id=115176@cmsPhotoGallery)
The most interesting space-related development is the latest Soyuz-2.1v launch from Plesetsk (http://www.russianspaceweb.com/nivelir3.html). It delivered Kosmos-2558 spacecraft to orbit, which might be an inspector satellite, and which might start chasing USA 326 (https://twitter.com/Marco_Langbroek/status/1554199679608492033?s=20&t=SXhVb_1OiiTh1RNAwVTBxQ)
This would not be an unprecedented development, but given the overall dramatic situation things might spiral…somewhere. Let’s wait and see.
Apart from that, there were relatively vague statements regarding the future of Russian participation in the International Space Station, as well as plans on the Russian national one, but I think that it is safe to assume that nothing will be decided before 2023-2024, and it will take several more years afterwards. Here’s a link to a big interview on the subject: https://www.roscosmos.ru/38020/
Roscosmos issues were discussed at a meeting of the Russian Security Council permanent members - without Rogozin or Borisov: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69070
There was also an interesting launch by our Chinese friends: ZK-1A, from a very simple launchpad. Also, this SLV is believed to be related to the DF-31 ICBM, so this is the closest to a proper footage of a modern Chinese ICBM launch we can get - https://youtu.be/aKo9Pc7jRes
Diplomacy
X NPT RevCon finally started, and, hopefully, will not end in a disaster.
Oher two P5 nuclear weapon states are absent from the statement (apart from UK being mentioned within the AUKUS framework), which is normal for Washington.
Here’s the message to the RevCon participants and guests from Vladimir Putin: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69096
Russian MFA response includes some counter accusations, but it seems a genuine interest from the US to engage in arms control might produce positive reaction (https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1824782/#10) (in Russian, translation in progress).
…and a somewhat traditional response to the Biden’s statement from the Chinese MFA on their attitude to nuclear disarmament and arms control can be found here: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/202208/t20220802_10732302.html (TASS question)
P3 (France, UK, US) also released a joint working document (https://www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/npt_conf.2020_wp.70_advance.pdf), but, of course, there is not a single explicit word about Paris and London joining some sort of formal arms control.
Remarks by Igor Vishnevetskii, Deputy Head of the Russian Delegation at the 10th NPT Review Conference can be read here: https://russiaun.ru/en/news/020822d
Well, at least the topic is back on the agenda. Personally I find even restarting direct communications on the issue of strategic arms related arms control after 2026 good enough at the moment. Of course, actual agreement is very far off, but something like coordinated unilateral initiatives might be possible.
Anyway, reiteration of “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” by everyone is most welcome.
Further reading (and watching)
Somewhat strategic vision on Russian foreign policy by the head of, well, foreign policy planning department of the Russian MFA: https://interaffairs.ru/news/show/36410 (in Russian)
Nice resources to follow NPT RevCon (h/t Andrey Baklitskiy):
Brief comments on the new Russian Maritime Doctrine approved on July 31st (http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/69084) :
The War in Ukraine and Global Nuclear Order, long good journal article by Alexander K. Bollfrass & Stephen Herzog - https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00396338.2022.2103255
This RAND report on escalation pathways and prevention within the context of the armed conflict on Ukrainian territory is important: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1971-1.html
New video by Vatfor project, together with Andrey Baklitskiy, Konstantin Bogdanov and Oleg Krivolapov we dived deep into the missile defense issues: https://youtu.be/ZSnneqgrTvk (in Russian)
Music
I’ve recently ran into this rather interesting postpunk-ish band from Russia called СРУБ/Srub (a wooden house to put it simply): https://youtu.be/C-m2qz-la40
A bit of The Sisters of Mercy, a pinch of Wovenhand, some Russian folk/rock…not bad at all.
End titles
Thanks for reading!
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Keep yourselves safe, and feel free to reach out.
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Dmitry Stefanovich
Dmitry Stefanovich

All things nuclear and strategic as seen from Moscow.

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