Russia has taken major steps in augmenting their military prowess. From new battle tank T14 Armata to developing the world’s most powerful ICBM Sarmat, Russian military is expanding its capabilities.
Russia has also been putting lot of attention on Tactical nukes.
To counter them, the U.S. Army is taking another look at a “devastating” weapon.The Kinetic Energy Projectile, or KEP, is a tungsten-based charge moving at three times the speed of sound that can destroy anything in its path. It was first tested by the Air Force and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2013.
In this video, Defense Updates analyses WHY KINETIC ENERGY PROJECTILE OF U.S IS STRONG ANSWER TO RUSSIA’S TACTICAL NUKE?
Why would the U.S. military, which has put untold billions of dollars into precision weapons over several decades, need such a blunt and terrifying weapon? The answer is to counter small nuclear weapons of Russia.
A tactical nuclear weapon (TNW) or non-strategic nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on a battlefield level military situations, mostly with friendly forces in proximity and perhaps even on contested friendly territory. This is opposed to strategic nuclear weapons which are designed to be mostly targeted in the enemy interior away from the war front against military bases, cities, to damage the enemy’s ability to wage war.
Tactical nuclear weapons include gravity bombs, short-range missiles, artillery shells, land mines, depth charges, and torpedoes which are equipped with nuclear warheads. Also in this category are nuclear armed ground-based or shipborne surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and air-to-air missiles.
The yield of tactical nuclear weapons are generally lower than that of strategic nuclear weapons, but larger ones are still very powerful.
RUSSIAN TACTICAL NUKES
Maj. Gen. William His, the Army’s director of strategy, plans & policy, said “The Russians maintain their tactical nuclear stockpile in ways that U.S have not”.
Potomac Institute head Philip Karber, who helped write the Pentagon’s Russia New Generation Warfare Study, offered a bit more explanation.
While the United States retains just a few of its once-large arsenal of tactical nukes, Karber estimates that Russia currently has anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 of the weapons.
SIGNIFICANCE OF TACTICAL NUKES
By shrinking the warhead, one can shoot it out of a wider variety of guns, including, potentially, 152-millimeter tank cannons.
Barber said ,”They’ve announced that the follow-on tank to the Armata will have a 152-millimeter gun missile launcher. They’re talking about it having a nuclear capability. And you go, ‘You’re talking about building a nuclear tank, a tank that fires a nuke?’ Well, that’s the implication”.
Though the use of tactical battlefield nuclear weapons, even very low-level ones, is not part of official Russian military doctrine, but it is a capability that they are increasingly eager to show off to intimidate neighbors and adversaries.
Kinetic Energy Projectile is a super-dense, super-fast projectile that, operating free of complex systems and volatile chemicals. Whether dropped from the sky or fired from a cannon, the principle behind these weapons is the same: hitting the enemy with something very hard and very dense, moving very fast. The principle of the kinetic energy penetrator is that it uses its kinetic energy, which is a function of its mass and velocity (K.E=1/2 Mass * Velocity) to impact target with lethal effects.
To maximize mass KEP uses the densest metals practical, which is one of the reasons depleted uranium or tungsten carbide is used.
Maj. Gen. His, said a few weeks ago at the Booz Allen Hamilton Direct Energy Summit “Think of it as a big shotgun shell”. But unlike a shotgun shell, Hix said, the KEP moves at incredible speeds of “Mach 3 to Mach 6.”
The kinetic energy projectile may become a staple of modern warfare soon as per most experts. The absence of explosive propellants to store and handle, as well as the lower cost of projectiles compared to conventional weaponry comes as great advantage.
K.E.P will be used as an advanced conventional precision effects warhead for prompt strike capability.
U.S and Russia has taken different routs in-terms of battle field level weapons. The Russian are going with tactical nukes which will cause widespread destruction whereas America is going with a more precise strike option.
For Russia, it makes sense as they already have a huge stockpile of tactical nukes. From America’s stand point, K.E.P fits well into the larger picture of augmenting precision strike options with this highly destructive technology.
It remains to be seen how this duel pans out in the future.
Audio by Scott Leffler — scottleffler.com