As promised, here is a meatier piece for some light weekend reading. Mostly a translation/summary of this piece in VZGLIAD, which is entitled “USA blinked and missed Russia’s re-armament with a principally new type of rocket.”
TRANSLATION OF LEDE PARAGRAPH
The effective use by Russia of winged rockets, striking objects of the ISIS terrorists in Syria, is not only, and not so much, a sign of the growing might of the Russian armed forces. By re-arming itself (with this technology) Russia has, for the first time in several decades, managed to cope with the losses that occurred when she signed one of the most important treaties at the end of the Cold War.
END OF TRANSLATION
Goes on to say, that the debut of the new 3M14 (“Kalibr”) rocket in the Syrian conflict, caused a worldwide sensation. And also forced analysts to go back to their books and study the ABM Treaty concerning medium- and long-range missiles.
The USSR and USA worked on this treaty for a very long time, almost 20 years, painstakingly trying to figure out the difference between medium and long. The appearance of the American “Tomahawk” missile, the prototype of the “winged missile” was a game-changer for all. The point being, that the “Tomahawk” can fly low, beneath anti-missile radar, and attain its target without being detected. The two sides could not agree on a formula for parity. It was only when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union, that the two sides were able to agree, mostly due to the Soviet Union making major concessions to the other side.
On 7 December 1987 the two sides agree to destroy land-based medium- and long-range missiles as a class. This suited the U.S., since the Tomahawks could be launced from sea or air, not just land. The USSR did not have anything comparable to the Tomahawk.
After 1991 the U.S. used its winged missiles effectively in the various conflicts. Just in Yugoslavia alone, in 1999, around 700 missiles were used. And continuing up to 2011, when the 2000-th known winged missile launch from an American ship destroyed one of the residential homes of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
In the early 2000’s, the Americans were floating the idea of basing anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe, under the laughable pretext of “averting the Iranian threat”. This plan was a wake-up call to the Russian General Staff. In 2007 the General Staff started floating the idea of scrapping the ABM Treaty. In theory, the ABM Treaty has no statute of limitation. But 30 years after the signing of it, Russia discovered a trap. Namely, “new rocket nations” such as India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, and both Koreas, have the full legal right to make winged rockets and base them anywhere. Only Russia is restricted in this respect, thanks to this archaic and unfair treaty.
It was precisely this clause, which led to the public sparring about Russia’s intention to place “Iskander” rockets in Kaliningrad, to counter American placement of anti-air systems in Poland and Rumania.
All the discussion around the Iskanders actually deflected American attention from the real revelation, which was the “Kalibr” winged rocket. Even though this was not exactly a secret project. In fact, the re-arming of the Russian fleet with winged rockets, has been proceeding at a rapid pace, including the entire Caspian fleet, which has been transformed into a striking mighty fist, protecting Russia’s Middle Eastern flank.
The VZGLIAD article concludes thusly: From the point of view of the ABM Treaty, the re-arming of the Russian fleet is completely lawful. [Since the missiles are launched from sea, not land.]
The U.S. simply “blinked” and missed this event. The reason is American hubris: After 1991 they led themselves to believe that the Russian military-industrial complex had simply ceased to exist. Therefore, they made no attempt to refurbish the ABM Treaty or include modifications for sea-based systems.
Because of their typical tendency to underestimate their opponents, the U.S. was duly “shocked” on October 7 of this year, when Russia showed off her new shiny winged rockets in the Syrian conflict.