Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Russia brings back the Q-Ships?

Well that's the "positive" view of the Morinformsistema-Agat, a Russian company, selling a cruise missle launcher that can pass as a shipping container.

Though Russian arms frims, much like most other contries including the US, can only export to approved sellers.

A Q-ship is a warship disguised as a merchantman. In WW2 subs would be enticed into attacking them and then being fired upon. Q-ships could also be used to covertly attack targets due their concealed nature.

Not sure I agree with Ace's terms here, but he does paint a bleak picture.

It's a terrorist missile system, because it is hidden in a run-of-the-mill shipping container, the sort that burdens 80% of the ships at sea. And that's a terrorist weapon, then, because a lawful military force displays its military nature openly. This is expressly designed to hide in plain sight on an ostensibly civilian ship, one our Navy would be very reluctant to fire upon... until it itself has fired first.

A ship armed with one of these could ignore warnings from an aircraft carrier and keep inching closer until it's in range -- while our boys hold fire, not wishing to attack what appears to be a civilian transport -- and then hit us.

And, of course, it could fire on an American city before being inspected at port.

As a weapons system its use is questionable. But I'm sure some more Smart Diplomacy will keep Russia from selling these things to anyone with an axe to grind.

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