August 30, 2013

Rossetti - Great Artists

The Beloved by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1865-1866). This work is currently at the Liverpool (UK) Museum, on loan from Tate Gallery, London. In The Beloved, Rossetti looked beyond the Caucasian type of beauty. Each of the bridesmaids has a darker skin than the bride. The one centre right, half-hidden, was painted from a Mrs Eaton, who sat for Jewish subjects by other artists. The bridesmaid on the extreme right was modelled a Romany woman who was a model and mistress of the artist Frederick Sandys. Quite early on in the planning of 'The Beloved', Rossetti wished to include a little black girl carrying a cup before the Bride. This was later changed to a black boy. This was the period of the American Civil War and the questions of slavery and abolition were hot topics in the newspapers. Rossetti's brother William, his sister Christina and other artist friends came out on the abolitionist side but Rossetti's views on the issue are not clear. Was the black boy an attempt to allude obliquely to the slavery question in his picture?
I'm as interested in songs and art as in weapons technology.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (12 May 1828 – 9 April 1882) was an English poet, illustrator, painter and translator. He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones. Rossetti had an obvious interest in woman (which I share :)

The Pre-Raphaelites believed the Classical poses and elegant compositions of Raphael (who painted most of his works in the early Sixteenth century (up to 1520) in particular had been a corrupting influence on the academic teaching of art. The brotherhood wanted a return to the abundant detail, intense colours and complex compositions of Quattrocento (Fifteenth century) Italian art hence Pre-Raphael.

More details of Rossetti's life, his models, poetry and pictures are here .

Self portrait of Rossetti (1847)


Bocca Baciata 1859. The model was Fanny Cornforth, the principal inspiration for Rossetti's sensuous figures.

Alexa Wilding (1879) her real name.

Portrait of Marie Spartali Stillman (1869)

Venus Verticordia (1864-1868). From 1864 till his death Rossetti was constantly altering this great work. Nothing is perfect.

Joli Coeur (1867) - very saucy.

Woman Combing Her Hair (1865)

Proserpine (1874) (the model was Jane Morris (1839-1914))
I'll add more to this odd assortment of weapons, songs and art as I can.

August 22, 2013

Pakistan's growing nuclear capabilities

Click to enlarge.
 In the realm of speculation - it is hard to be sure whether Pakistan has a thermonuclear capability (ie. H bombs).

While Pakistan's industrial and likely scientific base suggests it doesn't have H-bombs most Pakistani nuclear weapons designs and much testing were most probably courtesy of China. So no-one other than China and Pakistan itself know if China supplied H-bomb designs or even devices to Pakistan as a counter to India's likely H-bomb capability.

Russian nuclear weapon assistance to India is likely given the known scale and depth of India-Russian strategic and weapons relations. This includes excessive amounts of Indian defence money paid to Russia for oddly unproductive projects like INS Vikramaditya, known Russian assistance in building the reactor for INS Arihant and leasing of INS Chakra I and the current nuclear propelled INS Chakra "II" (ex Nerpa). 

Below are more confidently known details on Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programs partly drawn from pages 51-58 of Zia Mian's Pakistan chapter in Ray Acheson's (edit), Assuring Destruction Forever: Nuclear Weapons Modernisation Around the World, Reaching Critical Will, New York, March 2012. download: (note its 6.11 MB) or try
Pakistan is moving from an arsenal of weapons based wholly on HEU to greater reliance on lighter and more compact plutonium-based weapons. This is being made possible by a rapid expansion in plutonium production capacity, with two production reactors under construction to add to the two reactors that are currently operating. Pakistan has received direct assistance from China for its nuclear weapons and missile programs, from North Korea for its missile program and unintentionally enrichment technology from Urenco (through A Q Khan's espionage).
There is almost no information about the funding of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons production is probably and unintentionally cross-subsidized from large amounts of military aid from the United States. Between 2001 and June 2012 Pakistan may have received US$24 billion in aid from the United States, of which over $15 billion was military assistance, over $7 billion in economic aid and over $1 billion in covert funding (including bribes) to ISI and other influential institutions.
Some Chinese aid might be intentionally earmarked for the nuclear program. There are rumours that the Saudi aid is tied, in the sense that the Saudis have generated Pakistani indebtedness which would demand Pakistani nuclear assistance if Saudi Arabia were under nuclear threat (presumably from Iran or Israel).
Meanwhile US intelligence and Special Forces are believed to be fairly confident (although perhaps not 100%) that they can locate and destroy all of Pakistan's nuclear weapons if military and civil order breaks down and prior to suicide-jihadis siezing the weapons. 
Up to 130,000 Pakistanis are believed to be involved in nuclear weapon, research, production, deployment and guard duties. This may absorb all aid Pakistan receives from all countries, including tribute from Afghanistan. 
Pakistan may also have developed more advanced ‘boosted’weapons, which inject tritium gas into the pit just before it explodes thus increasing the proportion of fissile material that actually undergoes fission -therefore significantly increasing the explosive yield of the nuclear weapon. Pakistan is not believed to have developed thermonuclear weapons (hydrogen bombs).
Pakistan's tactical/battlefield and strategic nuclear missiles (under Army Strategic Force Command) and "nuclear" fast jets, under Air Force Strategic Command, all have km ranges designed for deterrence/conflict with India. Secondary uses might include deterrence of US forces in Afghanistan, in Middle East bases, and against carrier groups offshore.

A deterrent role against mainly Shiite Iran will be added when/if it has a nuclear capability (Pakistan is mainly Sunni). Pakistan has generally good relations with Iran, but this has been put under strain by Taliban activities and illegal population movements both ways to/from Baluchistan.
Pakistan's nuclear capable, fast jets include the F-16 and Mirage V.
Pakistan is moving from liquid-fueled missiles (like the Gauris)  to solid-fueled (like the Shaheens) missiles (with solid fuels promoting rapid launch, safety and greater mobility). Pakistan has received assistance from North Korea and China with its missile programme. Pakistan's ballistic and cruise nuclear capable missiles, by increasing range, are:

- the 60 km range, Nasr (NSAR or Hatf 9) battlefield nuclear missile, first tested in 2011, to be deployed 2014.

- the Abdali (Hatf 2) missile, range approximately 180 km, a simple solid fueled missile that Pakistan deployed 2012 (?).

- Ghaznavi (Hatf 3), notional range of 290 km to conform to the MTCR given its possible Chinese origins, range may actually be 400 km, deployed 2004 

- an air launched 350 km range, Ra’ad (Hatf 8) cruise missile under test from 2007, to be deployed 2013(?).  

- Pakistan is also developing a nuclear-capable 600 km range, ground-launched Babur (Hatf 7) turbojet, cruise missile, deployed 2011(?).

- Shaheen-I, 750 km range solid-fueled  It is believed to be derived from the Chinese M-11 missile, with China handing over 34 M-11 missiles, Shaheen I's now locally built (?), deployed 2003.

- the Ghauri I - Gauri II suffer from being liquid fueled, with estimated range 1,200 to 2,300 km (depending on rocket motor capability and warhead weight),

- Shaheen II (Hatf ) is a 2,000 km range, solid fuel missile, deployed 2011 (article).
- Shaheen-III believed under current development with solid fuel stages and expected range of around 4,500 km.
According to a secret US cable published by Wikileaks, US officials suggested in 2008 that Pakistan was producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world. US Government estimates Pakistan’s stockpile to range from 90 to over 110 weapons.
The 2005 India-Pakistan Agreement on Pre-Notification  of Flight  testing of Ballistic Missiles commits the two states to provide 72 hours notice before a ballistic missile flight test and to not test missiles close to their borders.
Like India Pakistan is not a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), nor signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
As in most nuclear weapon states Pakistani governments have sought to create a positive image of the nuclear weapons program (particularly missile launches often by linking it to national pride and national identity.
There is little public information about the storage and deployment of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (but much publically derived or acquired satellite imagery). As many of Pakistan's missiles are believed to be transported in non-military, commercial looking covered trucks (hiding TEL) non-state observers would have trouble keeping track .
There is also no official information on Pakistan’s fissile  material production sites—although Pakistan and India each year exchange lists of nuclear facilities as part of their 1988 Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities. though see and overall see
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are widely seen as a response to India’s nuclear weapons and its larger conventional military forces, and the experience of wars in 1947, 1965, 1971, and 1999. Pakistani fears of Indian hegemony have increased in recent years as India’s economy has started to grow at a much faster rate than Pakistan’s and as India has increased its already much larger military budget at a much faster rate.
A longer-term concern now driving Pakistan’s nuclear programme is the United States’ policy of countering the rise of China as a potential great power competitor by cultivating a much stronger US strategic relationship with India. This latter concern may tie the future of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and those of India, to the emerging contest between the United States and China.

August 20, 2013

Pakistani Nuclear Forces 2011 - Megatons of Comfort

Click on chart to download readable full size version.
(Graph courtesy of FAS Strategic Security Blog)

 Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris of FAS Strategic Security Blog report (17 July 2011) that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal has doubled since 2004 and could double again in the next 10 years if the current trend continues. Kristensen and Norris continue:

“The latest Nuclear Notebook on Pakistan’s nuclear forces is available on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists web site. Since our previous Notebook on Pakistan in 2009 there have been several important developments.

Based on our own estimates, official statements, and fissile material production estimates produced by the International Panel of Fissile Materials, we conclude that Pakistan’s current nuclear weapons stockpile of 90-110 warheads might increase to 150-200 within the next decade. This would bring the Pakistani stockpile within range of the British stockpile, the smallest of the original five nuclear weapon states, but still far from that of France (despite some recent news reports to the contrary).

This development is precipitated by the anticipated introduction of several new nuclear delivery systems over the next years, including cruise missiles and short-range ballistic missiles. The capabilities of these new systems will significantly change the composition and nature of Pakistan’s nuclear posture.

India is following this development closely and is also modernizing its nuclear arsenal and fissile material production capability. The growing size, diversity, and capabilities of the Pakistani and Indian nuclear postures challenge their pledge to only acquire a minimum deterrent. Bilateral arms control talks and international pressure are urgently needed to halt what is already the world’s fastest growing nuclear arms race."


August 19, 2013

India helped US U-2s spy on China and Russia

A taxiing U-2 in its earlier 1960s configuration. Perhaps of the type that operated out of Charbatia Air Base in Orissa State, Eastern India, 1964-1967. Earlier U-2s had secretly operated from Badabare Air Force base, near Peshawar in Pakistan.

From the excellent US website IntelNews, August 19, 2013

"Report reveals secret US-India Cold War collaboration"


During much of the Cold War, India enjoyed a close diplomatic and military relationship with the Soviet Union. But a newly declassified document reveals that the South Asian country allowed the United States to spy on the Soviets using its airspace. The revelation is contained in a 400-page history of the American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft program authored on behalf of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The formerly classified document, written in 1992 by CIA historians Gregory Pedlow and Donald Welzenbach, is titled: The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974. It was declassified last week in response to a 2005 Freedom of Information Act request filed by Jeffrey T. Richelson, Senior Fellow at George Washington University’s National Security Archive.

The Central Intelligence Agency had been involved in U-2 reconnaissance missions since 1954, when the spy program began. Known officially as Project HOMERUN, the U-2 program was a joint effort by the CIA and the National Security Agency that surreptitiously gathered signals and photographic intelligence on Soviet military sites. The program, which has been described by some historians as one of the most successful intelligence projects in US history, relied on the U-2’s ability to fly beyond 70,000 feet over the Soviet Union, thus avoiding detection or attack by Soviet forces. That assumption, however, proved to have been false. In reality, Soviet radars had been able to detect nearly every U-2 flight over Soviet territory.

Eventually, on May 1, 1960, Soviet forces managed to shoot down one of the U-2 flights using a surface-to-air missile. This led to the so-called ‘U-2 incident’, during which India sided firmly with the Soviet Union, criticizing the US for violating Soviet airspace.

But New Delhi’s attitude to the U-2 program appears to have changed drastically following the Sino-Indian conflict on October 1962, when Chinese forces launched a series of armed incursions into Indian territory, killing over 1,000 soldiers. Soon afterwards, India approached the US and asked for military assistance; the US response was to offer to deploy U-2 airplanes from in Thailand, in order to spy on the Chinese forces along India’s eastern flank. India’s Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, agreed to allow the U-2 aircraft to refuel in Indian airspace.

According to the CIA history of the U-2 program, the Chinese detected the spy flights and logged official protests with both India and the US. But New Delhi’s response was to intensify its cooperation with Washington.

In early 1963, during a visit to India by US President John F. Kennedy, India offered to build an air base on its territory to be used exclusively by the CIA. The Agency made use of the Charbatia Air Base, in eastern India, for nearly four years, from 1964 to 1967, to spy on both China and the Soviet Union’s missile bases in Kazakhstan. It is not known whether the Soviets were aware of this secret collaboration between India and the US.

The declassified history is now available in full on the National Security Archive’s website."

August 18, 2013

Launch of INS Vikrant, India's first locally built aircraft carrier

INS Vikrant, India's first locally built carrier, at its launch on August 12, 2013. The lack of an island and other essentials indicate it will need 3 or 4 more years until construction ends. Then 3 to 4 years of trials before it goes into service.
There are some in Pakistan whose knee-jerk reaction is to match what India has in every weapon category. As indicated below aircraft carriers are very large and expensive. They are of greater use for long range power projection than defensive uses. A country also needs a minimum of two or three. As all Pakistani ports and exit points are in easy reach of Indian airpower Pakistani carriers would be highly vulnerable in wartime. The opportunity costs suggest Pakistan would be better off building more submarines than an aircraft carrier or three.

"India launches first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant"

On August 12, 2013 India launched its first locally built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, of 37,500 tonnes at Kochi shipyard, on India's southern west coast. It is almost four-and-a-half years after its keel was laid. Vikrant will probably be in regular service in 2020.

Vikrant will carry 12 MiG-29Ks and eventually 8 HAL Tejas light fighters, as well as 10 medium-large helicopters. Launch of jets will be by ski-jump and landing by conventional arrestor gear - similar to Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov.

One excellent comment from Bob at is:

"The project has suffered terrible delays and monstrous cost overruns from the beginning. Designing a carrier from scratch is no easy feat, but toss in India’s lack of experience constructing large warships and notoriously corrupt & inefficient military procurement process, and it was headed for trouble from the start. Add to this the problems with system integration that come from sourcing material, weapons, electronics, propulsion, power generation, design work, aircraft, and other parts of the weapons system from hundreds of different companies in a half dozen different countries around the world. And top it off with the fact that some of these countries do not get along, and they speak half dozen different languages, and it is a bit of a minor miracle that the thing got built at all.

India has never designed a large warship before, let alone a carrier with rather unique design requirements. The nations with conventional carrier experience do not build ski-ramp carriers; the nations that build ski ramp carriers for Harrier-type planes do not build ones large enough to operate high-performance fixed wing aircraft like the MiG-29, Rafale, or F-18 from. Russia comes closest, but when India started this process in 1999 the Admiral Kuznetsov design was already 20 years old, and the ship had spent more time under repair that it had at sea. Not that the Russians have ever really mastered carrier operations even now, but back then the whole Russian carrier project looked like a dud.

Once they got past the design weirdness, there were monumental construction problems. India signed a big contract with Russia to purchase all the shipbuilding grade structural steel, three basic types for use in various parts of the hull, over 26,000 tons to flow to the project in a steady stream over several years. But Russia proved incapable of delivering it at all, let alone on time and on budget. So there was a long and costly delay while India basically built three new steel mills and set up a shipbuilding grade steel industry from scratch to meet the needs of the project. No small task considering not only the quantity, but also the quality needed as compared to the usual rebar-quality re-rolled steel that comes out of Indian mills.

Then actual construction started, but there was no dock large enough for the ship. So they started in a dock too small for the hull- it would have to be assembled to about 20,000 tons out of about half of the over 850 lift blocks, floated out, and finished in a larger dock that was to be built. But changes in plans resulted in the ship being floated out at only about 17,000 tons, with construction continuing in a basin until a large dock was finally finished, which allow the ship to be out of the water for propulsion installation.

Then the Indian company providing the main gears dropped the ball and design took much longer than expected. Then there was an issue with the generators, which if I recall correctly were destroyed in some train accident, and the replacements were both delayed and initially installed incorrectly. System integration was not seamless either, as the turbines and control systems were from other countries.

Now issues are popping up with the planned integration of the radars, combat information systems, weapons, electronics, and other systems, as they were all purchased from different nations and not really designed to work together.

All this adds up to five years worth of delays between keel laying and commissioning, and a ship that costs something like 3 times initial estimates.

So the fact that India did not just walk away, and has instead decided to build the second in the series without any foreign help, shows just how committed they are, with budgetary concerns taking a back seat to getting the job done."

August 16, 2013

Tragic loss of 18 crew on INS Sindhurakshak


INS Sindhurakshak officers and family in happier times.
This news story has been carried internationally including US (Yahoo), UK (BBC) news outlets and wire services (including REUTERS).

There has been a tragic loss of 18 crewman on INS Sindhurakshak due to explosions . Based on previous incident-explosions on diesel-electric submarines one possible cause may be the buildup of hydrogen,  from battery charging operations, then ignition by flame or sparks - see . Leakage of missile or torpedo propellant fuel then ignition then explosion of  warheads is possible.

The Sydney Morning Herald based on The New York Times, August 17, 2013 reports "Officials believe that a small explosion within the submarine set off two huge blasts from its onboard munitions. Video of the explosions seems to show two separate bursts that threw flames hundreds of feet into the air."


Yahoo via REUTERS reports August 16, 2013 on the tragic loss of 18 crewman on INS Sindhurakshak

"Indian navy says three bodies found in submarine, no chance of survivors

By Sanjeev Miglani

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - - India's navy said on Friday divers had found the bodies of three sailors who were on board a submarine badly damaged by a fire and explosions and that it was unlikely any of 15 other missing crew members would be found alive.

Eighteen sailors were missing after weapons stored in the forward section of the Russian-built INS Sindhurakshak exploded in the middle of Tuesday night, causing a fire as it lay berthed in Mumbai, the navy's worst losses in more than four decades.

"The state of these bodies and conditions within the submarine leads to firm conclusion that finding any surviving personnel within the submarine is unlikely," the navy said in a statement.

"The damage and destruction within the submarine around the control room area indicates that the feasibility of locating bodies of personnel in the forward part of the submarine is also very remote as the explosion and very high temperatures, which melted steel within, would have incinerated the bodies too."

The sinking of the diesel-powered submarine is the biggest blow for the navy, both in terms of lives and the loss of a vessel, since a frigate was sunk in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

It has turned the spotlight on the navy's ageing submarine fleet even as it spends billions of rupees on aircraft carriers to counter the rising influence of the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean.

The Sindhurakshak is a Kilo class vessel, which were built in former Soviet and later Russian shipyards for the Indian navy from 1985 to 2000. The navy has 10 of the submarines and four German HDW boats.

A defense source said the navy did not have a deep submergence rescue vehicle that other navies use to save trapped sailors, although in this case the incident occurred while it was docked and not in the deep seas.

The navy said divers couldn't enter the Sindhurakshak for more than 12 hours because of boiling water inside parts of the vessel. Access was "almost impossible due to jammed doors and hatches, distorted ladders, oily and muddy waters".

Only one diver could work at a time initially to clear a path inside the submarine. Divers are trying to reach further inside to find the remaining bodies, the navy said.

A naval board of inquiry has been ordered into how weapons went off while the vessel was berthed in the high-security Mumbai base.

Weapons on board such a submarine include torpedoes and missiles that are launched over long ranges above water."

August 13, 2013

More non-state based cyber-warfare between Indians and Pakistanis

The Oslo (Norway) based Norman Security group reported cyber-warfare between non-state Indian entities dubbed HangOver against Pakistani users in this report .

Pakistani users included the Pakistani subsidiary of Norwegian telco Telenor - see

The usual ambiguity over "who done it" but the likelihood that state based attackers would be more difficult to detect applies.

This Norman report was carried (minus graphics, computer code and other technical detail) in the South Asian media including the following report in the Indian Express, May 21, 2013 :

'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report

Manu Pubby : New Delhi, Tue May 21 2013

"Cyber analysts in Norway have claimed that hackers based in India have been targeting government and military agencies in Pakistan for the last three years, extracting information of national security interest to India.

The "sophisticated" attacks originated from an extensive, "non-state" cyberattack infrastructure, and used decoy links, including those that referred to this year's beheading incident on the Line of Control and rebel movements in the Northeast, as bait, according to a report released Monday by the Oslo-based Norman Shark group.

The alleged cyberattack network — referred to as "Operation HangOver" in the report — was apparently unearthed as cyber analysts investigated an industrial espionage attack on the Norwegian telecom firm Telenor.

The report has not identified the Pakistani agencies that were targeted, but has hinted that these included several sensitive military targets that would be of interest to India. The primary goal of the network seems to have been "surveillance against national security interests", says the report.

The report says there is no evidence of "state sponsorship" for Operation Hangover. But it names several private Indian hacker groups, including those based in New Delhi, as being behind the attack.

The hackers allegedly exploited vulnerabilities in software to plant Trojans in computers across the world, primarily in Pakistan, that then extracted information and sent it back over the Internet.

There are no details yet on how much data might have been leaked, but the report claims that the network became active in 2010, peaked last year, and continues to be active currently.

"Based on analysis of IP addresses collected from criminal data stores discovered during the investigation, it appears that potential victims have been targeted in over a dozen countries, most heavily represented by Pakistan, Iran, and the United States. Targets include government, military and civilian organisations," the report says.

The Trojans planted by the network were inadvertently downloaded by users who viewed files or photographs pertaining to Indian military and rebel movements. A Pakistan government site was infected, for example, after a picture of soldiers praying near the Siachen glacier was downloaded, says the report.

Another link that was allegedly used for infection was an article and satellite image of the Mendhar area on the Line of Control that saw heightened tension this year after the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani army regulars.

Other baits were related to rebel movements in Punjab and Nagaland.

"The attackers went to great length to make the social engineering aspects of the attack appear as credible and applicable as possible," the report says."

August 12, 2013

China's, India's and Pakistan's Future Nuclear Rivalry

Click on map to expand to clarity.

The following are excerpts from an article Nuclear Weapons Stability or Anarchy in the 21st Century: China, India, and Pakistan, dated February 25, 2011 by Thomas W. Graham, Ph.D.

The article carries this disclaimer: "The views expressed in this paper are those of this author and do not reflect Brookhaven National Laboratory, the Department of Energy  [America's nuclear weapon development umbrella organisation (DOE)] or any other organization. The analysis is based entirely on open source and unclassified information."

While the following is largely opinion the proximity of the author to the '"coal face" of America's nuclear weapons research industry makes his words more significant.,_India,_and_Pakistan_250211_1545.pdf

"...Current conventional wisdoms suggest [future] change in nuclear status and politics will be incremental. This may turn out to be tragically wrong if global nuclear dogma is influenced strongly by the unstable triangular nuclear weapons competition among China, India, and Pakistan. Three indicators are worth watching to foreshadow whether the world will move toward nuclear stability or anarchy in South West Asia.
  • First, will countries stabilize their operationally deployed nuclear forces at the approximate level of 150-200, 300-500 or larger?
  • Second, will these three countries adopt compatible and increasingly stable nuclear postures or will they continue to cling to three divergent nuclear postures?
  • Third, will future military crises be resolved with or without use or threatened use of nuclear weapons? help us assess forthcoming global nuclear stability, it is imperative to take a fresh look at the dynamics of contemporary nuclear force structures and modernization in South West Asia.

...China, India, and Pakistan will continue to maintain three mutually incompatible nuclear doctrines. Multiple drivers for nuclear force modernization in each country will provide sufficient domestic and bureaucratic political pressure to expand and modernize nuclear weapons for decades to come.

Given this situation, proposed arms control treaties such as the CTBT and FMCT will not be implemented. Both proposed agreements are opposed by all three countries to varying degrees. The roots of their opposition are not being addressed seriously with policy research, strategic planning, or diplomacy.

…The United States has adopted a neo-Cold War nuclear posture to keep a few European allies quiet and to avoid a major bureaucratic fight between the White House and a few civilian Pentagon officials who work closely with Republican allies on Capital Hill. …Perhaps the administration’s logic was that it perceived the demonstration effect of a fundamentally new American nuclear posture would have little significant impact on thinking in China, India, and Pakistan.

So why pay a short term domestic political price for the prospects of marginal increases in long-term stability? However, absent such a fundamental change and serious discussions between the U.S. and China, one can predict with a high degree of confidence that business as usual will produce nuclear arms races in South West Asia for decades.

Other reasons to sustain a business as usual approach are obvious. America will continue to spend approximately ten billion dollars per year on national missile defense to neutralize potent domestic constituencies regardless of technical feasibility and negative impact on Russia and China.

The United States does not want to think seriously about steps it could take to address the Kashmir conflict because it is so complex, India’s position has been set in stone for decades, and it is easier to think of India as a global economic power sympathetic to American values.

The United States has not invested in civilian governance and rebuilding civil administrative capability in Pakistan because the military is the only functioning entity in the country in the short term. Honest and capable civilian political leadership in Pakistan is almost entirely lacking and will take many years to develop and mature.

Pakistani born Islamic terrorists and “India-phobic and paranoid” Pakistani strategic culture is acknowledged by American decision makers as a key problem, but American decisions and actions are focused almost exclusively on the war on terror. The perception persists in both Washington and Islamabad that “the U.S. needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the U.S."

In this context, adding the nuclear weapons issue to an overly crowded policy agenda with Pakistan will definitely over-load the circuits. The net result is probably that Pakistan leaders have concluded they can build as many nuclear weapons as they can produce plutonium and highly enriched uranium. They will take symbolic steps to better secure nuclear materials and weapons, but the question of “how much is enough” is off the table.

If this business as usual situation continues, the world should ready itself for a very rough ride in terms of nuclear weapons in the next two decades of the 21st century. South West Asia will be the dominant driver to an unstable world our children will rightly accuse us of having ignored to their peril. American decision makers in the 1980s chose to ignore on the ground realities after the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan.

The blow back next time will be orders of magnitude larger and more tragic." See WHOLE ARTICLE.

August 10, 2013

Pakistan doesn't need India's nuclear submarine capability

What INS Arihant may look like, with its reactor reportedly going critical in August 2013, four years after Arihant was launched (in 2009).
India is very slowly building a nuclear (propelled) submarine capability as one aspect of its great power aspirations and as a counter to China's more developed nuclear submarine program. Many in Pakistan who follow naval matters believe Pakistan should also build nuclear submarines. However the cost of such an endeavour and low strategic utility of such submarines for Pakistan are two arguments against building nuclear submarines.

Even nuclear submarines in the Arabian Sea around Pakistan's landmass are highly vulnerable to air power, MRBMs and conventional submarines. Hence Pakistan's geography provides little advantage for nuclear submarines. Pakistan's AIP capability for two of its Agosta subs is highly efficient for anti-shipping, anti-submarine and missile land attack missions against India and other neighbouring states.

Meanwhile the reactor of India's locally built nuclear propelled submarine INS Arihant has reportedly gone critical - meaning it started working - today.

See . It will be several years until Arihant goes into service ie. becomes operational.

A news item on Arihant's criticality.

India's other nuclear submarine, INS Chakra ("II") - built by the Russians.

Here are some details on Arihant including the all important weapons fit .

August 9, 2013

Is a India - Pakistanwater war imminent?

A sketchy Nimoo-Bazgo Layout Plan

An interesting post on Australia Online Opinion, April 17, 2012 paints India in a rather bad light. Haven't made up my mind whether this is really justified.

A prominant Pakistani wrote in Lahore's The Nation "Indian hostilities and conspiracies against the country will never end until she is taught a lesson."

"...At issue are Pakistan's concerns over India's ongoing construction of two hydroelectric dams on the upper reaches of the Indus River. Islamabad is concerned that the 45 megawatt, 190-foot tall Nimoo-Bazgo concrete dam 44 megawatt Chutak hydroelectric power project will reduce the Indus River's flow towards Pakistan, as they are capable of storing up to 4.23 billion cubic feet of water, violating the terms of the bilateral 1960 Indus Water Treaty. ...The Indus is Pakistan's primary freshwater source, on which 90 percent of its agriculture depends. According to a number of Pakistani agriculture and water experts, the nation is heading towards a massive water shortage in the next couple of years due to insufficient water management practices and storage capacity, which will be exacerbated by the twin Indian hydroelectric projects, as they will further diminish the Indus' flow."

In an age of 1,000+ megawatt power stations the 45-150? megawatts to be generated by these proposed dams seems miniscule. Perhaps the more valuable resource is additional water for Indian agriculture or cities?
Is this a storm in a teacup or an  issue causing serious friction between Pakistan and India?

August 8, 2013

India vs Pakistan cyberwarfare?

The Cold War between India and Pakistan sometimes takes the form of cyber warfare - or at least hackers sending malware. The Register, August 7, 2013 reports :

"Security researchers have uncovered what appears to be a malware-based attack targeting Indian military or government entities and designed to steal information.

The malware linked to the attack "contains specific artifacts that [link it] to a commercial Pakistani entity," according to security intelligence firm ThreatConnect..."

 See whole article.

But its not that simple. As in many malware issues its unclear who or what country is doing what.


August 7, 2013

Has Pakistan deployed any Shaheen-2's?

Shaheen-2 on parade again but is it deployed on trucks or in silos?.
The Shaheen-2 (Urdu for 'hawk') has been on parade often enough, but is it actually deployed by Pakistan.
MissileThreat describes the Shaheen-2: 

"The [Shaheen-2] Hatf-6 was first displayed in March 2000;...first flight test occurred in March 2004... two final tests in April 2008. Limited production of 5 to 10 missiles may have begun in 2005 with production numbers reaching 25 to 30 by 2008 [according to what evidence?]. The second flight test in 2008 was performed by an army crew from the Strategic Force Command, so the missile is presumably in service.

"...reported range of 2,500 km...accuracy of 350 m CEP....payload is a single warhead weighing 700 kg, though reports suggest that payloads up to 1,230 kg have been developed. The heavier payloads probably have a decreased range. The [Shaheen-2] warhead can be equipped for a nuclear yield between 15 and 35 kT [who says? Does that suggest Pakistan has not progressed in development to boosted fission - just pure fission plutonium implosion?]."

While its obvious that Shaheen-2's range is primarily intended for launch from Pakistan to hit most of India's major cities - in Saudi hands its main target would be a threatening Iran and perhaps a resurgent Iraq.

August 6, 2013

Pakistan's Nuclear Missiles - at late 2012

Blue dotted line on map indicates the (presumably normal payload) range of Pakistan's Shaheen II MRBM. Very much orientated to India but also in range of Israel.

 Video of one of Pakistan's test flights of Hatf-VII "Babur" cruise missile having a range of 700 kms.
Given Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons the following might overemphasise Pakistan's reliance on foreign support for its missile programs. The US Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) organisation has published this analysis* of Pakistan's nuclear missiles last updated February 2013. The following is the most recent-final portion of the analysis

Recent Developments and Current Status

"In 2005, India and Pakistan signed an agreement requiring both parties to provide advance notice of any ballistic missile tests. [43] Since 2007, testing activity of the Ghauri and Shaheen missiles has slowed and the majority of new developments have appeared in cruise, rather than ballistic missile systems. [44] Potential causes for this include India's investment in a ballistic missile defense system, the Ghauri and Shaheen missiles acquiring sufficient range and payload to target strategic locations in India, international pressure against intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile tests, and a shift in focus toward developing a tactical nuclear capability. [45]

[Aditional comment - the Shaheen 2 MRBM has been six times since 2004, and this missile system probably will soon be deployed]

The 2005 inaugural test-flight of the Hatf-7/Babur cruise missile stunned many observers for its technological complexity and its undetected development. [46] The extent of foreign assistance remains unclear —analysts identified design similarities with Chinese cruise missiles as well as American Tomahawk missiles, which previously crash-landed over Pakistan. [47] In 2007, Pakistan test-fired the Hatf-8/Ra'ad cruise missile, adding air-launch missile capabilities to the Pakistan Air Force. [48] While Pakistan officially claimed that NDC indigenously developed the Hatf-8, some believe that the modest range of the missile suggests foreign assistance by a country unwilling to contravene MTCR range and payload restrictions. [49] More recently, Pakistan test-fired the Hatf-9/NASR, a short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile in April 2011. Observers immediately speculated that the Hatf-9/NASR test indicated potential Pakistani intention to develop a tactical nuclear capability —an interest potentially motivated further by India's "Cold Start" doctrine. [50]

Despite flight test successes, however, analysts remain sceptical about Pakistan's indigenous design and manufacturing capabilities. The lack of robust government-industry-university R&D linkages, a known dependence on foreign suppliers for key raw materials such as steel alloys, and the technological inexperience of private industry cast doubt upon Pakistan's missile design claims. [51]

While Pakistani scientists increasingly participate in basic science collaboration with foreign laboratories, such as the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the country's industrial base lacks a demonstrated history of producing quality high-tech products. [52] A history of indigenous design claims refuted by intelligence sources further complicates assessments. [53] Analysts estimate that even gaining liquid propulsion expertise will take until at least 2013. [54] Thus, Pakistani missile development will likely remain dependent on foreign assistance for both materials and expertise in the near-term. Nevertheless Pakistan has maintained a successful missile acquisition strategy in spite of foreign dependence and a history of MTCR and U.S. Arms Export Control Act and Export Administration Act sanctions, and already boasts one of the top ten ballistic missile manufacturing capabilities in the world. [55]

Barring unprecedented industrial growth and a substantially enhanced defense-industrial base, Pakistan will likely continue its strategy of developing advanced missile systems with foreign assistance rather than pursuing the more expensive and less feasible option of pure indigenous development or advanced aircraft acquisition. [56] Continued state patronage, fuelled by competition with India, the high prestige accorded to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and the symbolic value of diversifying missile delivery systems will likely sustain continued missile development in Pakistan.[57]

* This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright © 2013 National Journal Group, Inc., 600 New Hampshire Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20037."

See the rest of this analysis and references-endnotes at

August 2, 2013

Pakistan's three Agosta 90B (Khalid Class) submarines

Agosta 90B Class submarine

An Agosta 90B. Pakistan's three Agosta 90B's (of the Khalid Class) are the most modern and effective units in its submarine arm.

  • Crew 36 men + 5 officers + Navy "Seals" frogmen?
  • Length 67.6m
  • Draught 5.4m
  • Surface Displacement 1,510t
  • Submerged Displacement 1,760t or 2,050t with AIP MESMA plug added.
  • Maximum Speed Over 17kt
  • Range 10,000nm

  • Photo and article courtesy of

    The Agosta submarines designed by DCN (now DCNS) of France, are currently in service with the French, Spanish and Pakistan navies. The Agosta 90B is an improved version featuring higher performance and a new combat system.

    The new submarine features a higher level of automation, which has resulted in the ship's crew being reduced from 54 to 36. Other improvements include a new battery for increased range, a deeper diving capability of 350m resulting from the use of new materials including HLES 80 steel, and a reduced acoustic signature through the installation of new suspension and isolation systems.

    Agosta Class submarine orders and deliveries

    Three Agosta 90Bs were ordered by the Pakistan Navy in September 1994. The first, Khalid (S137), was built at DCN’s Cherbourg yard and was commissioned in 1999. The second, Saad, assembled at Karachi Naval Dockyard, was launched in August 2002 and was commissioned in December 2003. The third, Hamza, was constructed and assembled in Karachi, launched in August 2006 and commissioned in September 2008.

    "The Agosta 90B is an improved version of the Agosta submarine, featuring higher performance and a new combat system."
    Work on the Hamza was halted for a time following a terrorist attack in May 2002, which killed 11 French engineers in Karachi. The third submarine was fitted with the MESMA air-independent propulsion system. The MESMA AIP successfully completed Pakistan Navy acceptance trials. In March 2007, Pakistan placed an order with DCNS for the retrofit of the MESMA AIP to the first two Khalid Class submarines, whcih were delivered in December 2011.

    Pakistan has been given a license by DCNS to offer commercial production of the submarines to potential customers.

    SUBTICS command and control system 

    The Agosta 90B submarines are equipped with a SUBTICS fully integrated combat system. This is supplied by UDS International, a joint subsidiary of DCN International and Thales, now wholly owned by DCNS. SUBTICS processes signals from the submarine's sensors, determines the tactical situation by track association, fusion, synthesis, trajectory plotting and management and handles all weapon command and control functions.


    The Agosta 90B submarine is fitted with four bow 533mm torpedo tubes and has the capacity to carry a mixed load of up to 16 torpedoes and missiles. The submarine can be equipped with the ECAN F17 mod 2 torpedo, which is a wire-guided torpedo with active and passive homing to a range of 20km. The torpedo delivers a 250kg warhead to a depth of 600m.

    Exocet missiles

    The Agosta 90B is equipped with the torpedo tube launched MBDA (formerly EADS Aerospatiale) Exocet SM39 missile. Target range and bearing data is downloaded into the Exocet's computer.
    The missile approaches the target area in sea-skimming mode using inertial navigation and then active radar homing. The missile travels at speeds over Mach 0.9, and has a range of 50km. Exocet has a 165kg high-explosive shaped-charge warhead. [it is not inconceivable that some of the Exocet warheads might be nuclear - for land attack].

    Electronic warfare

    The Agosta 90B submarines are equipped with the Thales DR-3000U radar warning receiver, operating in D to K bands. The system uses a masthead antenna array with omnidirectional and monopulse directional antennae and a separate periscope warning antenna.

    Sensor suite

    The submarine is fitted with a Thales Underwater Systems (formerly Thomson Marconi Sonar) TSM 223 sonar suite, which includes bow-mounted sonar and towed sonar arrays, SAGEM periscopes and navigation system and Thales I-band navigation radar.

    Propulsion systems

    The Agosta 90B class submarines can be equipped with a diesel-electric propulsion system [and] the MESMA air-independent propulsion system. The diesel-electric system consists of two SEMT-Pielstick 16 PA4 V 185 VG diesels providing 3,600hp and a 2,200kW electric motor driving a single propeller.

    A diesel-electrical submarine has to surface to periscope-snorkel depth to recharge the batteries using the diesel engine, leading to increased risk of detection.

    The MESMA air-independent propulsion system, being fitted to the Agosta 90B submarines for Pakistan, allows the submarine to remain submerged three times longer (three weeks is the popular estimate).  The MESMA system consists essentially of a turbine receiving high-pressure steam from a combustion chamber, burning a gaseous mixture of ethanol and liquid oxygen. The Agosta 90B's performance remains the same in all other respects, except that with the 9m long MESMA "plug" added the length increases from 67m to 76m and submerged displacement from 1,760t to 2,050t."