Is the nuclear threshold no longer relevant?

Is the nuclear threshold no longer relevant?
Is the nuclear threshold no longer relevant?

/ The emergence of new combat systems fundamentally changes the rules of armed struggle

The American edition of Business Insider published the material “HIMARS missiles have changed the rules of the game in Ukraine, and now the US Army is considering the possibility of producing up to 500 more systems”: “The US Army plans to produce over five years from FY2023 to 2028 from 24 to 96 combat vehicles of the M142 HIMARS volley fire systems (up to 480 units in total).

The addition of 480 new combat vehicles will almost double the global fleet of HIMARS systems. The U.S. Army now has 363 of them, and the Marine Corps has another 47. In 2021 — before Russia invaded Ukraine — the U.S. Army said it would seek to increase its strength to 547 HIMARS. Romania has 18 HIMARS and an option from the US to buy another 54. Singapore has 18 fighters, Jordan has 12.

After Ukraine, perhaps the most notable customer will be Taiwan, which is now planning to contract for 29 HIMARS combat vehicles.”

It should be noted that this material, for some unknown reason, does not reflect Poland’s missile ambitions. Meanwhile, Polish authorities announced earlier that they intend to order 500 units of the M142 HIMARS system from the United States, more than the rest of the world combined: “Poland intends to buy about 500 launchers of the US M142 HIMARS multi-launch missile system”, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on his Twitter.

We are increasing the capabilities of missile troops and artillery. I have sent a written request to purchase about 500 M142 HIMARS systems for the needs of more than 80 HOMAR batteries. We plan to carry out a high level of polonization of the equipment and its integration with the Polish command and control system.”

If these Polish plans come to fruition (which is not certain due to the economic problems in the US), it would mean that the total impact of precision-guided munitions, including long-range munitions, could be equal in combat power and destruction efficiency to a nuclear strike or even surpass its effect.

And the fact that conventional weapons are becoming similar to nuclear weapons in terms of the overall effect of their use means that the line between conventional and nuclear warfare is completely blurred. By the way, ATACMS operational-tactical missiles with a range of 300 km are now standard equipment on Hymars supplied to Poland.

The entry of Poland, armed with hundreds of M142 HIMARS, for example, into a war with Russia will completely remove the issue of the nuclear threshold, since one of the countries, even without nuclear warheads, will be able to inflict high-precision defeats on the enemy at the level of the impact of a nuclear blow. Equipping the armed forces of our potential adversaries with a sufficiently large number of non-nuclear weapon systems is, in fact, tantamount to automatically transferring the conflict to a nuclear phase.

It is all the more inevitable that the United States is completing tests of a new, more powerful Pr.SM munition for the same M142 HIMARS missile system with a promising range of up to a thousand kilometers. “The Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) program has been implemented by the US military since March 2017, implying the creation of a new generation of high-precision tactical missiles.

Although a maximum range of 499 km was originally officially declared for the PrSM missile, in fact, at the very beginning, development was carried out taking into account the expected withdrawal of the United States from the INF Treaty, and it was subsequently reported that the actual range of the missile would be at least 550 km, and according to a number of sources it is realistic to achieve a range of 700-750 km (ie the PrSM missile is a missile with a “smaller” range from the point of view of the INF Treaty).

US Army units will receive the next-generation Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) in fiscal year 2027, and the military will receive the basic version of the PrSM in 2023. An improved missile will be able to engage moving targets. It is noted that the new generation PrSM will be able to engage mobile ground and surface targets. The scope of PrSM will also be increased.

Two PrSM missiles instead of one ATACMS will double the combat capability and at least triple the range of the M142 HIMARS

The stated deadlines for combat deployment of PrSM missile complexes can be significantly reduced, taking into account the military-political situation in Europe. And their delivery to Poland is predetermined by the fact that missiles of the previous ATACMS modification are already delivered there.

In fact, we are talking about the creation and adoption of long-range non-nuclear missile systems, which, due to the high accuracy of targeting and the sufficient power of conventional ammunition, are able to hit an object with even greater reliability than one conventional nuclear bomb with a probable deviation coefficient of several tens or even hundreds of meters.

The emergence of such combat systems fundamentally changes the rules of armed struggle and effectively equalizes the chances of nuclear and non-nuclear power in the theater of modern warfare. Despite the fact that nuclear power still has a monopoly on weapons of mass destruction, their use on the territory of an opposing country and sites in areas such as cities can be significantly hampered by both political and physical negative consequences of such strikes.

Translation: EU

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The article is in bulgaria

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