Threat to Russia: U.S. to deploy hypersonic weapons in Germany

BERLIN, ($1=0.86 Euros) – When, in the late 1970s, the Soviet Union deployed SS-20 intermediate-range nuclear missiles to the Warsaw Pact countries, the United States did the same by sending Pershing II missiles to Germany under the authority of the 56th Field Artillery Command of the US Army.

Hypersonic weapons in the U.S. The formation of Dark Eagle began
Photo credit: US Army

Subsequently, the signing in 1988 of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces [INF] Treaty put an end to what was called, at the time, the “Euromissile crisis”. And, the end of the Cold War justified the dissolution of this 56th Field Artillery Command.

However, the security architecture that had been put in place in Europe during – and after – this same Cold War has gradually crumbled over the last few years, with the suspension, or even the end, of several armaments.

In 2014, for example, the Obama administration accused Moscow of developing the 9M729 “Novator” [or SSC-8], banned by the FNI treaty. Then, that President Trump used the pretext to withdraw the signature of the United States from this text. And, at the same time, NATO has indicated that it will take “deterrent measures” against Russia … but without going so far as to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.

We must prepare to “live in a world without a nuclear disarmament treaty” in Europe and “with a Russia which continues to deploy missiles” capable of hitting European cities, argued Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary-General, in August 2019. “We must ensure that we have a credible deterrent,” he insisted.

Anyway, and if there is no question of deploying nuclear missiles formerly prohibited by the FNI treaty, the US Army has just reactivated the 56th Field Artillery Command [now called “56th Artillery Command”] in Kassel [Mainz], in the southwest of Germany. The ceremony marking the return of this unit from the Cold War was organized on November 8, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

This reactivation of the 56th Artillery Command is part of the “Multi-Domain Task Forces” [MDTF] program, which the US Army has been gradually implementing since 2019. It is a matter of bringing together capabilities within the same formation. in field artillery, air and theater missile defense, intelligence, computer warfare, and electronic warfare. The idea is to be able to coordinate long missile strikes via a network force.

The first MDTF, based in Lewis-McChord [Washington State], was formed from the 17th Field Artillery Brigade, which received, in October, the prototype of a long-range hypersonic weapon [LRHW], developed as part of a cooperation between the US Army and the US Navy. Called the “Dark Eagle,” this consists of a missile carrying a hypersonic glider. Does this mean that the 56th Artillery Command will have them in the future? There is every reason to think so.

As a reminder, Russia has taken the lead in hypersonic weapons. At the end of 2019, it commissioned the Avaguard system [a hypersonic glider launched by a ballistic missile, note] and it is preparing to do the same with the Zircon, intended for its naval forces. It also has the Kinjal, an aero-ballistic missile carried by the MiG-31K.

Threat-to-Russia-U.S.-to-deploy-hypersonic-weapons-in-Germany
Photo credit: opex360

In medium and long-range artillery, the US Army has also launched the MRC [Mid-Range Capability, also called “Typhoon”] program, which consists of developing new intermediate-range missiles by taking advantage of some models in service with the US Navy, such as the SM-6 and the Tomahawk. Finally, the PrSM [Precision Strike Missile] project aims to replace the MGM-140 ATCAMS tactical ballistic missile of the HIMARS artillery system with a new machine with a range greater than 499 km, ie the limit formerly imposed by the FNI treaty.

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