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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Super Weapons America's Enemies Are Developing

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- [Narrator] As political tensions heighten

around the world, the threat of war

is becoming all the more likely,

with the Doomsday Clock, which represents worldwide dangers,

being recently turned closer to midnight.

Improved technologies,

along with increasingly conflicting interests,

means that militaries around the world

are now developing their own munitions.

So that begs the question,

what types of weapons would the west be subject to

should war break out?

It's time to baton down the hatches

as we look at 10 of the most destructive super weapons

being designed by America's enemies.

(soft playful music)

- Amazing! (digital chiming)

- [Narrator] Number 10:

Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power.

The affectionately titled MOAB,

which stands for mother of all bombs,

was dropped by US forces on an ISIS stronghold in 2017.

It is the largest non-nuclear weapon ever used in combat,

and obliterated its target.

Well, Russia has one that's more powerful,

known as the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power.

Working in a similar way to the American designed weapon,

this one is dropped from a bomber

and glides down with a parachute.

It detonates before hitting the ground

by the ignition of a fuel-air mixture,

and the force it produces is the equivalent to a small nuke.

That's four times as powerful as the one

that was dropped on an ISIS bunker.

It works in two stages,

with the initial blast releasing explosive materials

in a cloud, which is then detonated.

The pressure wave that this creates

evaporates everything that lies in its path,

and is followed by a vacuum effect

that compounds the damage.

This insane weapon has only ever been used once,

during a test in 2007, and the temperatures recorded

were twice that of the MOAB.

Enemies of Russia better watch out,

because this really is the daddy!

Number nine: Chinese Naval Fleet.

The Chinese ship, the Liaoning,

is a Soviet built aircraft carrier

that the Chinese bought in 2012.

It went through an extensive refit

before going into service,

and was the first Chinese aircraft carrier to enter service.

With over 2,000 personnel on board,

and even its own TV channel,

it's a sign of the country's ambitions,

and only the beginning.

However, the US shouldn't really be that worried.

The US has 11 aircraft carriers,

while this is China's only aircraft carrier,

and far less advanced than those in service by the US Navy.

For example, the Liaoning launches planes

off a sky jump style deck

because it lacks the catapults that US carriers have.

Not only that, American made aircraft carriers

are two steps ahead, already developing

electromagnetic aircraft launch systems

instead of steam catapulted launch systems,

which take time to recover.

But China also has a number of nuclear powered submarines,

with the most recent being the type 094 class.

There are currently thought

to be four of them patrolling the waters,

each of which are armed with 12 ballistic missiles

with a range of 5,000 miles,

which allows them to be in range of US territory

while remaining in Chinese waters.

While this may be worrying,

their fleet is still less than a 10th the size

of the US Navy submarine fleet.

But the Chinese fleet is advancing.

They also now operates drones, with the CH-5 variant

having a range of up to 12,500 miles.

They're equipped with smart bombs,

missiles, and radar jammers.

Previous models have already been used to eliminate Isis

and Boko Haram threats.

They're fairly similar to America's Global Hawk drones,

but are not yet anywhere near as effective.

Number eight: Russian Defenses.

As well as offensive weaponry,

Russia is significantly expanding

its defensive capabilities.

The Naval Proton Gun, for example,

is a shore based protection outpost

that's designed to prevent craft of any size from landing.

It's a souped-up version of the Russian AK-130 canon,

which is mounted on ships, and is able to fire

up to 40 rounds a minute to a distance of 15 miles.

With a laser designator and liquid cooled barrels,

it can track even the smallest of vessels

by their motion in the water.

The shells cannot be shot down

by vessel defense systems, however,

railguns on the upcoming US Navy Zumwalt class destroyers

could take these weapons out

due to their high speed of mach five to six.

Then In 2017, the Almaz-Antey defense contractor

completed trials of a new high-altitude

missile defense system, called the S-500,

which is due to enter service by 2020.

The missiles have homing heads,

so can be launched as soon as a threat is detected,

follow, and ultimately neutralize

any incoming missile attack.

The deployment of these, along with smaller versions

for use on the battlefield, will protect them

from all but the most advanced threats.

Number seven: North Korean EMP.

North Korea is somewhat of an unknown

when it comes to weapons development.

The reclusive country has long been associated

with nuclear research, and in the past couple of years

it launched a number of missile tests

and conducted underground detonations.

They're also thought to be heavily involved

in chemical weapons research,

but despite all of these threats,

the most damage they could cause

would be through the use of a nuclear weapon,

not because of its direct impact,

but the electromagnetic pulse that it would generate.

If they do manage to develop a missile,

capable of delivering a nuclear payload

to the continental United States,

it's more likely that they will detonate it

at high altitude.

The resulting blast would rain contaminated material

down to the ground, but the resulting EMP

would have the potential to knock out large parts

of the energy grid.

This, in itself, would have a far more destructive damage

to the country's economy

than if they directly targeted a city.

Number six: Yu-74 Hypersonic Missile.

NATO provides a wall of defense

for the countries that are signed up to it,

but future technologies mean

that the traditional defensive techniques may not be enough.

In 2016, reports surfaced

of the Russian built Yu-71 Hypersonic missile,

essentially a nuclear glider that could fly,

without detection, to virtually anywhere

in the world before delivering its payload.

Once launched it enters a low orbit around the earth

and can reach up to 7,680 miles per hour.

This would allow it to reach London in only 13 minutes

and the Eastern coast of the US in little more than an hour.

What's more, the missile will be able

to hold 24 separate warheads,

each of which can be precisely targeted.

Another powerful missile is the BrahMos missile,

which has been a collaborative effort

between the Russians and the Indian Defense Research

and Development Organization.

The first successful test fire of this new design

was conducted in 2013,

and it's currently the fastest cruise missile in use.

It's able to be fired from a submarine, ship, or from land,

and to make it even more effective,

they are currently working

on making a version that's supersonic.

While there are rumors

that NATO missile defense systems won't be able

to shoot these mach two to three missiles down,

it is thought that SM-6 long-range naval missiles

should do the trick.

Number five: Russian Submarines.

As much as the race for dominance above the waves

has led to the construction of massive warships,

it's possible that the vessels that sail underwater

provide the biggest threat.

Russia has a large fleet of submarines,

and in recent years they've been more active than ever.

For example, at the end of 2017,

NATO released a report detailing a noticeable increase

in Russian undersea activity in the Atlantic.

Recent developments in the Russian navy

have seen them move towards quieter and more lethal designs.

They now have 60 full-sized subs

to the 66 that the US operates.

But one frightening innovation is the new drone sub.

Completely unmanned, it can carry nuclear weapons

to within range of anywhere on earth,

and are much smaller than the manned vessels.

They also have a range of automated spy submarines

that can remain undetected or, if they wish,

imitate any other class of sub.

Their weapon systems are advancing too.

Embarrassingly, Russia recently revealed secret plans

for a long-range nuclear torpedo, called Status-6,

which appeared on a Russian TV news network.

Launched by a submarine, it would create wide areas

of radioactive contamination, the document says.

Worse yet, Russian military experts note

that a warhead of up to 100 megatons

could produce a tsunami up to 500 meters,

or 1,650 feet high,

wiping out all living things 1,500 kilometers

or 930 miles deep inside US territory.

Now that's worrying.

Even though it can't always be seen,

the war for underwater superiority

is only just getting started.

Number four: Strategic Bombers.

No arsenal would be complete without some serious air power,

and recently both Russia and China

have revealed their new look bombers.

The Tupolev PAK-DA is the new Russian stealth bomber

that in early 2018, the US Nuclear Posture Review mentioned

as being something they should be prepared

to come up against in the future.

It's a very long-term project though,

so isn't in operation yet, and that's a good thing.

It's expected to be optimized

as a strategic missile carrier

with the ability to launch long-range cruise missiles,

as well as dropping nuclear gravity bombs.

Like its US counterpart, the B-52,

it's designed to evade detection

and be able to covertly fly into enemy territories.

It's not expected to come into service

until the 2030s, though,

so it's not something to worry about quite yet.

China's new Xian H-20 bomber, on the other hand,

is expected to be in service soon,

and it's at the cutting edge of stealth technology.

Little is known about this vehicle at the moment,

but it's said to resemble the B-2 Spirit bomber

that's used by the US Air Force,

and will have a payload capacity of 45 tons.

As well as being able to deliver traditional payloads,

this bomber is also being designed to engage

in electronic warfare with the ability

to disable other aircraft mid-flight.

But again, western nations seem to have this covered,

since the US alone

has 21 operational B-2 Spirit Stealth bombers.

Number three: Chinese Missiles.

With vast resources devoted to developing new technologies,

China is fast becoming one of the world leaders

in missile design.

In 2014, they carried out a test

of an intercontinental ballistic missile,

which had multiple warheads.

The basis of the design came from plans

that were illegally obtained from the US in the 1990s,

and while it's not a new idea,

it's the first time it's been applied to Chinese weaponry.

Known as the DF-41 missile,

each warhead is independently targetable once released,

which means that it only takes one of these

to get through defenses

before they can cause serious damage.

A test in 2007 showed evidence of another area

in which Chinese missiles are developing,

ones that can take out satellites.

The SC-19 anti-satellite missile

was the first successful test of this type of weapon

since the US military did something similar in 1985.

Launched as a multistage solid-fuel missile,

it was able to track a weather satellite,

and destroy it by simply smashing into it.

This is no easy thing to do,

because it requires precise tracking

and guidance to accomplish.

It means that now, if the Chinese are suspicious

of any satellites, they have the capabilities

to knock them out.

Number two: Russian Super Tank.

Despite the fact that the Cold War

ended more than two decades ago,

Russia continues to be a powerful force

on the world stage and still develops cutting-edge weaponry.

You may have seen some images

of their supposed new super tank circulating last year,

which turned out to be no more than concept art

created by a video game designer,

but this doesn't mean the super tank is a myth.

In 2016, British military intelligence

issued a warning about a new design,

called the Armata tank.

While its battleground abilities have yet to be seen,

it's thought to be much lighter and faster

than those owned by Western forces,

and has a novel turret design

that is more efficient at protecting crews under fire.

Surrounded by newly designed composite armor,

equipped with a cutting-edge radar system,

and reportedly having a higher muzzle velocity gun

and upgraded missile system,

this tank will be well placed

on the battlefields of the future,

and one to be wary of.

However, it will be difficult for this tank

to out-do the performance of NATO tanks like the M1 Abrams,

let alone outnumber them.

NATO has around four times the amount

of battle tanks as Russia at their disposal.

Number one: Cyber Military Espionage.

So we've seen that militarily,

the US and NATO has this whole conventional war thing

figured out pretty well.

That's why the biggest threat to the West

isn't necessarily the physical weaponry they're up against.

China's equivalent to the US Cyber Command

is called the Strategic Support Force, or SSF.

They're responsible for top level decisions

about cyber policy and, after years in development,

are thought to have superior capabilities

to the US in this regard.

They conduct cyber-espionage,

directly hacking into the files of foreign governments

to collect information, and propaganda campaigns,

which are less direct ways of achieving certain aims.

Their skills in the cyber arena

could spell danger for the West.

Militaries are so reliant on technology,

that a skilled attack or computer virus

penetrating US cyber security could disable the whole force.

Of course, it's not just China that does this,

they're just the world leaders.

Russia also has an effective cyber division

that is suspected of having influenced elections

across the world in recent years,

including those for the recent American

and French presidents elections, as well as the Brexit vote.

North Korea is also actively involved in this,

as unlike traditional warfare,

it can be conducted from virtually anywhere,

without needing visible military hardware.

A number of recent breaches of nationally important systems

in America, Europe, and Asia have been blamed on them,

and they show no sign of holding back.

So they there are, the weapons

that will have a large role to play

in the wars of the future.

Which of these are you most concerned about,

and are there any others you think

should have made the list?

Leave your comments below to let me know.

Thanks for watching.

(light upbeat music)

The Description of Super Weapons America's Enemies Are Developing