Friday, March 28, 2014

Doomsday Machine

I did not know that Russia still relied on Ukrainian components for their weapons as much as they still do. Which leaves Ukraine an option to deter the Russians.

This is interesting:

It is an ironic fact that much of the equipment used by the Russian troops in Crimea, and those maneuvering on Ukraine's border, is produced by Kyiv's military industry.

The equipment includes the motors that keep all of Russia's combat helicopters flying and many of the engines that power Russian naval ships. It also includes about half of the air-to-air missiles carried by Russian fighter planes. ...

The Ukrainian facilities which are most important for Russia's military are Motor Sich in Zaporizhzhya, which produces helicopter engines, Yuzhmash in Dnipropetrovsk, which manufactures rockets and missiles, and the Russian company Antonov's plant in Kyiv, which makes planes.

For Russia to capture these three production facilities, the Russians would have to advance all the way to the Dnieper River. That's a deep advance.

If the Ukrainians rigged the key machine tools for destruction and prepared to destroy blue prints and technical data, whether paper or electronic versions, they could quite possibly deter the Russians from invading if the Russians believe that the sources of key weapons components will be wrecked.

Given Russia's conventional weakness (compared to the task of defending a vast border) which forces Russia to rely heavily on the threat of massive nuclear attack to deter invaders, Ukraine's threat to destroy the source of these components not only reduces Russia's conventional forces but weakens Russia's nuclear force.

UPDATE: A quick update. If, as the article notes, the factories and their exports to Russia are so important to Ukraine, maybe an alternative to preparing to blow the machine tools and documentation in place is to take a page from the Soviet Union's reaction to Nazi Germany's invasion.

The Soviets moved entire factory gear the the Ural Mountains region to avoid losing the production capacity. What if the Ukrainians move the key factory components, documentation, and skilled employees to western Ukraine for the duration of the crisis?