Poland is fast becoming the launchpad for a NATO/US “first strike” against Russia.
A NATO Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense site is to be positioned in Poland in 2018. A direct and provocative threat to Russia’s security.
Poland will host rapid response troops starting in 2017, and has demanded a permanent NATO base.
Not being reported by the main stream media…Poland has just sealed a deal to acquire 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER (extended range) missiles from the United States, which boast an operational range of 1000+km and the capability of knocking out key stationary infrastructure sites located deep inside Russia’s territory.
Of course Russia is being branded the aggressor with regard to the NATO-Poland military build up, that is clearly aimed at preparing some type of a first strike capability against The Russian Federation.
In late November, the State Department approved another transaction- the acquisition of 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER (extended range) missiles for Poland. The deal undeservedly failed to attract much attention. In fact, it matters much and changes a lot.
The prospects for the acquisition of the extended range version were discussed as far back as 2014. The US obviously procrastinated due to political considerations. The decision to make the deal go through makes Poland the first state outside the United States to acquire the JASSM-ER.
In 2014, Poland signed a contract to procure the JASSM AGM-158A version for its F-16C/D jets. The stealth missile is designed to destroy ground targets at distances 370+km (230 mi). As of 2014, the JASSM had also entered service in Australia and Finland.
The 370 km is a great range for the purpose of self-defense. But Poland badly wanted strategic conventional first strike capability. With the JASSM-ER deal reached, its dream has come true. Using a more efficient engine and larger fuel volume in an airframe with the same external dimensions as the JASSM, the JASSM-ER has an operational range of 1000+km (620 mi) – an effective stealth weapon to knock out key stationary infrastructure sites located deep in Russia’s territory. The weapon boasts a penetrating warhead.
With the AGM-158A expected to become fully operational this year, Poland has the aircraft and crews ready to receive the extended range version. The JASSM-ER has 70% hardware commonality and 95% software commonality with the original AGM-158 JASSM.
Poland has made a significant contribution into NATO’s long-range conventional superiority to further complicate the prospects for further progress in the field of arms control. The first strike capability presupposes that Russia would introduce corresponding changes into its military planning. The home bases of Polish F-16 fighters carrying the JASSM-ER will inevitably become potential first strike targets in case of conflict with Russia.
The study of defense contracts signed recently by the United States with other countries shows that potential threats to Russia are growing. For instance, an A/N FPS-132 Block 5 Early Warning Radar (EWR) with an operational range of 5,000 km is to be installed in Qatar. Described as ordinary arms sales, the deals are kept out of arms control discourse and public spotlight but putting together bits of information allows to compose the whole picture and identify the creeping menaces.
It’s not air-to surface first strike capability only. Poland has been implementing the plans to form a 50,000 strong paramilitary territorial defense force, a planned military reserve component of the regular military, since 2015. Roughly, 20,000 guards will join the ranks of the new force in 2017.
Warsaw plans to increase the size of the army by at least 50 percent in the coming years (from about 95,000 to 150,000), including the creation of three brigades for the territorial defense of the country on the eastern flank.
The military is going through long-term modernization program with significant equipment acquisitions planned for 2017 through 2022 to involve new air defense systems, ballistic missiles, a new fighter trainer aircraft, combat and transport helicopters, submarines, self-propelled howitzers and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Around 1200 UAVs are to be procured, including at least 1000 with combat capabilities.
According to NATO plans, Poland will host rapid response troops starting this year. Warsaw has demanded a full-scale permanent base of the alliance on its territory.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.