Could China’s Carriers Go Nuclear?
Will the People’s Liberation Army Navy ever take the leap into nuclear propulsion for its aircraft carriers? Credible reports confirm that the PLAN is already building at least one conventional carrier in the 80,000-ton range. Given how quickly Chinese shipbuilding has accelerated, does it make sense for the PLAN... Read more
Why Isn’t Russia an Aircraft Carrier Superpower?
Historically a land power, the Soviet Union grappled with the idea of a large naval aviation arm for most of its history, eventually settling on a series of hybrid aircraft carriers. Big plans for additional ships died with the Soviet collapse, but Russia inherited one large aircraft carrier at... Read more
India’s Aircraft Carriers Have Some Advantages
With one large carrier in service and another on the way, India has become one of the world’s pre-eminent naval aviation powers. How did the program come about? Where is it going? And what is the strategic rationale for India’s massive investment in aircraft carriers? Above — an Alize... Read more
Syria’s Nuclear Program Was Always a Doomed Idea
On Sept. 6, 2007, Israeli fighter-bombers destroyed a mysterious installation near the Euphrates River in the Deir-ez-Zor region. The strike incurred curiously little response from Damascus. A cyber-attack reportedly pre-empted a defensive Syrian military mobilization, and even the diplomatic outcry was muted. No other Arab governments commented on the... Read more
The Submarines of the Future Will Be Robotic
Imagine a future in which nuclear attack submarines — SSNs — can deploy undersea drones (UUVs) to hunt, and possibly kill, enemy subs. The U.S. Navy, at least, is taking steps to make this a reality. What impact could this have? On the one hand, UUVs could shake modern... Read more
How Defensible Are China’s Island Bases?
China has built some islands in the South China Sea. Can it protect them? During World War II Japan found that control of islands offered some strategic advantages, but not enough to force the United States to reduce each island individually. Moreover, over time the islands became a strategic... Read more
What if North Korea Had Prevailed in the Korean War?
In the summer of 1950, the Korean People’s Army came tantalizingly close to rolling up U.N. forces on the Korean peninsula. Only a heroic defense around Pusan prevented a total victory for North Korea, thus allowing Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s war-changing invasion at Inchon. But what if North Korean forces... Read more
Attack Submarines Are Getting Quieter and Deadlier
Over the past decade, air-independent propulsion — or AIP — for submarines has spread rapidly around the world. The technology, which allows conventionally powered submarines to operate without access to outside air, has the potential the shift the balance away from the big nuclear attack submarines, or SSNs, that... Read more
These Are the Flashpoints That Could Spark War in 2018
The world has managed to make it through most of 2017 without the return of cataclysmic, great power conflict. In some parts of the world — most notably Syria — tensions have declined significantly. In others, already difficult situations have grown even more tense. Here are five crises that could lead... Read more
How South Africa Voluntarily Gave Up Its Nuclear Weapons
The Republic of South Africa is the only country in the world to build a nuclear weapons program, then unbuild that program after domestic and international conditions changed. Why did South Africa decide to build nukes, how did it build them and why did it decide to give them... Read more
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