Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the
round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're
not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify
them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change
things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the
crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs
US computer engineer & industrialist (1955 - 2011)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Russian Ace - Khibiny

As the world seems to bounce from one disaster to another, all of our own making, one can't help but wonder where it will all end. Certainly there are signs that point toward a world conflict of "world war" scale. There is no question of that. Eurasia is slowly, but surely forming itself into a formidable trading bloc, and likely military alliance as well. Historically, the two have gone hand in hand, and the signs these days point to that same direction. Coproduction agreements, and arms development/sales deals are growing rapidly between China, Russia, Iran, India, and so on. Trends in international affairs, which this author has predicted for over a decade now, are grudgingly poking their collective heads up.

The recent coup attempt in Turkey has the potential to escalate the trend line very rapidly - destabilizing the geo-political balance so much that the reverberations will be felt intensely and world-wide. In a real sense, Turkey is the southern flank of the Eurasian project. Its very geography makes it key to accessing Russia's south (remember Gallipoli in WWI?) and the Middle East in general. Lately, Turkish President Erdogan had been moving Turkey toward a more friendly relationship with Russia. His government apologized to Russia for the downing of a Russian jet, and followed that with a statement suggesting peace with Syrian President Assad.

In fact, Erdogan was scheduled to meet in Moscow with Russian President Putin just two days before the coup. However, all that came to a sudden end when Erdogan was spirited out of his vacation home just prior to an attempt on his life by a platoon of Turkish special forces. Somehow he had gotten wind of it, boarded his jet, and jettisoned off toward Turkey's capital. While enroute to the capital his plane was "locked onto" by two Turkish F-16's. Despite locking onto Erdogan's jet the Turkish fighter pilots could not fire and bring it down - for whatever reason. The bottom line is that al the evidence points toward a very important Russian intervention in the coup - to stop it that is. It appears that Russian intelligence intercepted the coup plotter's communications and plans, alerted Erdogan in advance, and saving his life in the process. It likely also proved very clearly to Erdogan who his friends were, and who they were not. In any case, the mysterious escape from the lethal missiles of those two Turkish F-16s is really what this article is about.

Funny enough, Erdogan's saving grace seems to be a part of another trend that has raised its head for at least the last few years. Simply put, the Russians have developed technology that renders all missile systems, nuclear or conventional, useless. In November, 2014 the first high profile incident occurred when a Russian SU-24 fighter bomber shut down all systems on the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea. The only armament the plane carried was a small basket - an important little basket known as "Khibiny" - perhaps named after the Russian mountain of the same name. In any case, the entire state-of-the-art destroyer was rendered unable to defend itself while the SU-24 flew eleven simulated bombing runs over it before flying off. The Cook's Aegis system (most modern US defence system) was shut down completely.

Then, just three weeks ago a military drone entered Israeli airspace from Syria. The Israeli military fired two Patriot missiles at the drone, but the deadly accurate missiles could not hit the slow and plodding drone. Then an Israeli fighter pilot fired an air-to-air missile at the drone, but the missile would not strike it. It appears quite obvious that the Russian drone had on board a system similar to the Khibiny electronic warfare device that shut down the Cook. However, this system appears to not jam the firing systems, but just the missiles themselves. That would be a variant of the system and essentially render anti-aircraft systems and fighter jets obsolete. It seems clear the Russians used the air-tight "Iron Dome" Israeli anti-missile system as a test for this technology. Not a bad choice considering Israel's small land mass and therefore concentrated air defence systems. Or, in other words, no better place to test it in the world.

There is no question that with the development of Khibiny , and its apparent variants, that Russia (and therefore Eurasia) has assumed a massive strategic advantage over NATO and other western military forces. How that will affect world balance of forces is yet to be seen, but there is no question it has the potential to be devastating for Russia's enemies on the battlefield and in world politics. Erdogan may be the first, and very public, example of how this new technology can shift the balance of power in the world. Russia has taken technological creativity to the next level - potentially rendering nuclear weapons obsolete (which would be great for the world). Russia now has its ace in the hole, and the only question that remains is how this new technology will change our world.

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