NATO Has a Secret Plan to Destroy Russia's Kaliningrad Base

NATO Has a Secret Plan to Destroy Russia\
NATO Has a Secret Plan to Destroy Russia\'s Kaliningrad Base  

Key point: Moscow's Kaliningrad territory is bristling with missiles and would need to be dealt with during any conflict.

The Pentagon has a plan for destroying the defenses of Russia's most heavily-armed European outpost, a top U.S. commander said in September 2019.

The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which lies between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea and is geographically separate from the rest of Russia, practically bristles with S-300 and S-400 air-defense missiles, Oniks anti-ship missiles and Iskander surface-to-surface missiles.

From Kaliningrad, Russia can threaten NATO aircraft, ships and ground forces for hundreds of miles in all directions.

But U.S. forces believe they know how to crack Kaliningrad, Gen Jeff Harrigan, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told reporters including Breaking Defense's Sydney Freedberg, Jr. "We train to that," Harrigian said. "We think through those plans all the time, and… if that would ever come to fruition, we'd be ready to execute."

"It would be a multi-domain, very timely and effective capability that we would bring to ensure we have the access we need in that environment," Harrigian added.

"Unsurprisingly, the general didn't give details on what that plan of attack would be," Freedberg wrote. "But the unique position of Kaliningrad, nestled between Poland and Lithuania, well away from the rest of Russia, makes it both an excellent advance base and a highly exposed target."

Moscow in recent years has been beefing up Kaliningrad's defenses. Ground troops in the exclave are scheduled to receive Iskander-M ballistic missiles in 2019, "completing" the "rearmament of the missile formations of the land forces," the Kremlin announced on Jan. 1, 2019.

Kaliningrad's missile brigade possesses more than 50 vehicles, including launchers, command and maintenance vehicles and other support vehicles, according to the defense ministry. The new Iskander-M rocket can carry a conventional or nuclear warhead as far as 300 miles away.

"Russia has invested considerable energy into developing [anti-access, area-denial] capabilities and carefully positioning them to maximize their strategic effect," the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. explained on its website.

"Russia's A2AD deployments span as far north as the Arctic down to Syria, with particular concentrations in Kaliningrad and around Crimea-a sort of 'thicket of overlapping and redundant A2/AD systems,'" the center added, quoting one of its own reports.

"In the event of a crisis, such deployments would complicate NATO's ability to access key areas such as the Baltics or Poland. These relative weaknesses within NATO could increase the attractiveness to Russia of a fait-accompli."

As Harrigian stated, Kaliningrad and its garrison could be prime targets for what Pentagon planners call "multi-domain operations." That's a fancy way of saying forces simultaneously would attack from the air, land, sea and cyberspace. "A single symphony of violence to break down advanced defenses," Freedberg wrote.

Hackers could disrupt communications networks while jamming planes confuse radars. Bombers, ships and submarines could lob long-range cruise missiles. Ground forces could fire rockets. Stealth fighters and bombers could penetrate surviving defenses to drop GPS-guided bombers.

One possible part of the multi-domain plan for attacking Kaliningrad played out in the wide open when the U.S. Air Force in early March 2019 practiced a cruise-missile strike on the exclave. The mock attack was part of the flying branch's deployment of five B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to the United Kingdom.

At least two of the B-52s that deployed to the United Kingdom were nuclear-capable models, identifiable by a special fin that the Air Force added in order to comply with the New START treaty that limits the number of U.S. and Russian nuclear-delivery systems.

But it was one of the non-nuclear-capable B-52s, serial number 60-0024, that initially flew a mock cruise-missile attack on Kaliningrad on March 14, 2019, according to Steffan Watkins, an independent imagery analyst. Observers can track military flights via their transponders and radio traffic.

"USAF Boeing B-52H 60-0024 ... took off from Barksdale AFB [on] 2019-03-14 [at] 01:30 Zulu [time], flew over [Canada] and conducted a mock nuclear cruise missile strike on the Russian Federation, only turning around 60 nautical miles from Russian air space [at] 11:10 Zulu, landing at RAF Fairford [at] 13:32 Zulu," Watkins tweeted.

It's worth pointing out that a non-nuclear missile strike would match the profile of a nuclear one. It's highly unlikely that the Pentagon's first attempt to take down Kaliningrad's defenses would involve a nuke.

David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad. This first appeared in September 2019.

Read the original article.


More Related News

Russia set to return seized Ukrainian ships: report
Russia set to return seized Ukrainian ships: report

Russia is set to return Ukrainian navy ships seized a year ago, as it prepares for a summit to try to resolve the wider conflict between them, Interfax news agency said Sunday. "In accordance with agreements concluded with the Ukrainian side, three Ukrainian ships... are being towed from the port of Kerch to an approved transfer point," border officials with the Russian secret service told the Interfax news agency. The TV channel Crimea 24 released footage of the three Ukrainian boats being towed by the Russian coastguard across the Kerch Strait.

Russia providing mood music for House impeachment drama
Russia providing mood music for House impeachment drama
  • World
  • 2019-11-17 14:10:00Z

As has so often been the case since President Donald Trump took office, Moscow provides the mood music for the unfolding political drama. "With you, Mr. President, all roads lead to Putin," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared last week, and not for the first time. The impeachment investigation is centered on allegations that Trump tried to pressure Ukraine's new leader over the summer to dig up dirt on Trump political rival Joe Biden, holding up U.S. military aid to the Eastern European nation as leverage.

Russia Loves the Impeachment Hearings Because GOP Is Parroting Kremlin Propaganda
Russia Loves the Impeachment Hearings Because GOP Is Parroting Kremlin Propaganda
  • World
  • 2019-11-16 10:21:08Z

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastAs Russia's state media watch impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald J. Trump they're loving what they see. They don't think the man they brag about getting elected is in much danger. They listen in delight as Republicans parrot conspiracy theories first launched by  Russians. And they gloat about the way Trump removed U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, because they blame her for promoting democratic "color revolutions" that weakened Moscow's hold on the former Soviet empire. Best of all, from the Kremlin's point of view, they see Trump pushing Ukraine back into the Russian fold.Republicans Thought...

Roger Stone to Michael Cohen: the men in Trump
Roger Stone to Michael Cohen: the men in Trump's orbit implicated in crimes
  • US
  • 2019-11-15 20:44:59Z

Roger Stone is the latest among a growing list of people once in the president's inner circle who have been convicted on federal chargesRoger Stone in Washington DC, on 15 November. Photograph: Yara Nardi/ReutersRoger Stone, Donald Trump's longtime adviser, was convicted on Friday of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.The verdict makes Stone only the latest among a growing list of people once in the president's inner circle who have been convicted on federal charges. Below is a list of others in Trump's orbit - or that of his associates - implicated in federal crimes. Michael CohenThe president's former lawyer and fixer, Cohen pleaded...

France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict
France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict
  • World
  • 2019-11-15 17:20:47Z

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9 for their first face-to-face encounter, seeking to end the half-decade conflict in Ukraine, the French presidency said Friday. The leaders will join French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the four-way summit aimed at resolving the conflict in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have declared breakaway regions, the Elysee Palace said. Macron, who has been spearheading a drive for peace in Ukraine, had hoped to host the summit in September but it was held up by numerous obstacles that highlighted the difficulty of resolving the...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America