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aquitaine
2012-May-03, 03:51 PM
The discussion in my previous thread reminded me of this, so I went through youtube and found a rather interesting 30 minute long documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDCzpAuWM1w) about the project, how it was envisioned, and what progress had been made up to when the video was made (which was probably the very early 90's). Just looking at the technical side, I think it had a lot of potential. It wasn't just about laser weapons, although there was a lot of development in that regard, but rather it had a multi-layer approach with several different tracking methods working simultaneously and different sets of ABM weapons for different phases from initial launch to warhead reentry. It's definately worth a look.


Thoughts?

Squink
2012-May-03, 04:54 PM
Thoughts?
Midcourse systems deployment continues to outpace development and testing: Additional Missile Interceptor Deployed At Fort Greely (http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/additional-missile-interceptor-deployed-at-fort-greely/)

Latest Ground-Based Midcourse Defense test (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-Based_Midcourse_Defense#Intercept_tests):

FTG-06A Dec 15, 2010 Failure This test was similarly designed to FTG-06, over an increased distance of 4,200 miles.[12] While the Sea Based X-Band radar and all sensors performed as planned, the test was unable to achieve a planned intercept of a ballistic missile target.[13]

The requisite Sea based X-Band Radar is being cut (http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/03/navy-ballistic-missile-defense-budget-falls-2013-033112w/)

The $7.75 billion fiscal 2013 budget request for the Missile Defense Agency maintains procurement levels for most missile and development systems but features several reductions, including seven fewer Aegis ballistic-missile defense warship conversions and the inactivation of the Sea-Based X-Band floating radar based in Alaska. I wonder what expensive system they'll dream up to replace it, or will defense just totally move into 'security theater' mode on this?

Swift
2012-May-03, 04:58 PM
Just looking at the technical side,
All,

Please make sure to keep the discussion technical and leave politics out of this thread.

I wonder what expensive system they'll dream up to replace it, or will defense just totally move into 'security theater' mode on this?
Comments like "security theater" are too close to political commentary for BAUT

Gillianren
2012-May-03, 05:57 PM
I know my mother got an AA in "laser electro-optics" back in the '80s and had a professor who worked on the program. He was of the opinion that the laser part, at least, would never work.

danscope
2012-May-03, 06:01 PM
Techically, it is a collosal waste of funds, and technically has no merit. Our efforts are better spent on good space telescopes. :)

swampyankee
2012-May-03, 08:18 PM
I agree with danscope (a rare event). Dave Parnas had some very appropriate (even for BAUT) comments on the feasibility of the required control software for the originally conceived SDI program. Try this pdf: http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/przybils/courses/CBD06/papers/p1326-parnas.pdf

Solfe
2012-May-04, 03:33 AM
I wonder about anti-missile defenses. At the end of a novel I read, (Tom Clancy, but I can't remember the book) a navy ship fires on a ballistic missile as a "can't hurt to try" defense. And of course it works, it is Tom Clancy after all.

A couple of countries have the ability to shoot down satellites. More have the ability to launch stuff into to space. Many have modern naval and ground missiles that can hit airplanes at long range. The US has a plane that can fire a laser at a launching missile. Surely there are more countries that have secret/embryonic programs to do such things.

Ballistic missiles have overfly a lot of terrain to reach a target. I wonder if the world in general has a collective SDI system, simply by virtue of having lots of marginal equipment that might be able to hit a ballistic missile. I don't mean to imply that this is a CT plan or the equipment is ready for deployment, only that it has been prototyped and ready for a test. Imagine the coup you could claim by blasting a missile out of the sky, even if it wasn't aimed at you. The result might be worth a couple of million dollars of equipment; if half a dozen countries tried this, someone might get lucky. Someone might try especially if the pay off was having one country be very angry and another very grateful. As a third party, you could simply say "We did it just because we can, not because we care. We Rock!"

Try enough different things and it might work. Too optimistic?

korjik
2012-May-04, 05:24 AM
The real problem is, until it is called upon to do its job for real, there is no way to know whether it is worth it or not. Considering the massive operational security on these things, there is no real way to tell what the systems capabilities are before it is go time. Even then we may not even know. Think about how bad the science reporting we know about is, and then consider that military reporting is at least as bad, but that the military dosent want the press to leak things out. Unlike scientists.

ABM systems are kinda like string theory. Sounds nice, but until we have a data point, we dont have any way of really telling if it works. Truth be told, I dont really want the data point for an ABM system tho.

The Israeli Iron Dome ('http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_Dome') is an operational system to destroy SBMs and arty rounds. Maybe more a grapefruit to orange than an apple to orange comparison.

Solfe
2012-May-04, 10:49 AM
Techically, it is a collosal waste of funds, and technically has no merit. Our efforts are better spent on good space telescopes. :)

Hum... I would take that a step further. It is better to ye olde ballistic missiles into launchers for space telescopes.

glappkaeft
2012-May-04, 03:46 PM
The US has a plane that can fire a laser at a launching missile.

Correction, the US had a plane that could try to fire a laser at a launching missile but that program has ben canceled and the plane has been flown to the boneyard.

Swift
2012-May-04, 04:07 PM
A couple of countries have the ability to shoot down satellites. More have the ability to launch stuff into to space. Many have modern naval and ground missiles that can hit airplanes at long range. The US has a plane that can fire a laser at a launching missile. Surely there are more countries that have secret/embryonic programs to do such things.
IIRC, one of the technical limitations of the SDI system was the share numbers involved in stopping a massive ballistic missile attack. Sure, there exists technologies to shoot down a missile or several. Such systems were demonstrated, for example, during the first Gulf war. But back in the middle of the Cold War, if the US and the USSR ever had conducted a full scale exchange, we were not talking about a missile or two, we were talking about hundreds of land based missiles being fired (by both sides), not to mention sub and aircraft launched missiles. And if, for example, the USSR launched 10 missiles at Washington, an SDI system that stopped 90% of them (to make up numbers) would still leave the city destroyed.

Solfe
2012-May-04, 04:45 PM
IIRC, one of the technical limitations of the SDI system was the share numbers involved in stopping a massive ballistic missile attack. Sure, there exists technologies to shoot down a missile or several. Such systems were demonstrated, for example, during the first Gulf war. But back in the middle of the Cold War, if the US and the USSR ever had conducted a full scale exchange, we were not talking about a missile or two, we were talking about hundreds of land based missiles being fired (by both sides), not to mention sub and aircraft launched missiles. And if, for example, the USSR launched 10 missiles at Washington, an SDI system that stopped 90% of them (to make up numbers) would still leave the city destroyed.

True enough. I was thinking more of the reverse issue, one ballistic missile against several anti-missile systems. It seems to me a massive missile launch is always going to be a losing game.

Shaula
2012-May-04, 04:46 PM
Correction, the US had a plane that could try to fire a laser at a launching missile but that program has ben canceled and the plane has been flown to the boneyard.
I think it is going to end up at the Airforce museum at Wright-Patt. They certainly said they thought they were getting it last time I was there.

Solfe
2012-May-04, 04:52 PM
So the plane with lasers didn't work. It doesn't surprise me, I was always amused with how similar that weapons was to the laser plane in Real Genius. :)

Shaula
2012-May-04, 05:01 PM
I think what was annoying about the ABL was that it was only ever intended as a testbed for high powered lasers. When it was being built the idea was to de-risk the introduction of high powered solid state lasers which were 'just around the corner'. They didn't show up in time and so they locked onto the idea of the COIL. Then, just when the solid state arrays started edging into the useful power area they cancel the ABL because of the problems with using COIL...

Squink
2012-May-04, 07:13 PM
I think what was annoying about the ABL was that it was only ever intended as a testbed for high powered lasers.
...just when the solid state arrays started edging into the useful power area they cancel the ABL A ship seems a much less restrictive testbed for these things than a plane could ever be:
Navy: We’re 4 Years Away From Laser Guns on Ships (http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/navy-lasers-four-years/)

Also:

Northrop grumman fires up rugged solid-state laser weapon (http://phys.org/news/2012-05-northrop-grumman-rugged-solid-state-laser.html)

Shaula
2012-May-04, 07:21 PM
A ship seems a much less restrictive testbed for these things than a plane could ever be:
Not to the airforce :D

Van Rijn
2012-May-05, 06:31 AM
IIRC, one of the technical limitations of the SDI system was the share numbers involved in stopping a massive ballistic missile attack. Sure, there exists technologies to shoot down a missile or several. Such systems were demonstrated, for example, during the first Gulf war.


And this would be useful for the Dr. Strangelove/Crazy General situation. In my opinion, it's worth spending a good bit of money to have real options if someone shoots a nuclear missile at you.




But back in the middle of the Cold War, if the US and the USSR ever had conducted a full scale exchange, we were not talking about a missile or two, we were talking about hundreds of land based missiles being fired (by both sides), not to mention sub and aircraft launched missiles. And if, for example, the USSR launched 10 missiles at Washington, an SDI system that stopped 90% of them (to make up numbers) would still leave the city destroyed.

But, that means that most of our land based missiles would still exist. One of the issues in the cold war was that missile accuracy kept improving. That was giving us an itchy trigger finger, pushing us towards an "attack on warning" posture. With a missile defense, the potential attacker would be faced with more unknowns, and would give the defender more options. Happily the cold war ended, which took some pressure off, but it still clearly has been considered important in discussions between nations about nuclear weapons and defense.

dgavin
2012-May-05, 07:11 AM
I've actuatually delved through the SDI books a few times, (from different era's).

The most likey one that afar as i know they haven't buitl a prototype of, was to use a Maser (Microwave Laser), from ground based stations, to cause flash boiling in fuels of missles, rockets and aircraft.

Again this had the basic draweback mentioned before, that you'd need 20 stations to deal with a 200 missle launch, and 10% of those would still make it though. The main issue with SDI beign a failure is without building a huge number of stations, there was no way to get an effective curetain (99% or better) against a full scale launch. And even thouse would be no defense against submarine lauched missle, and cruise missles.

Basically when we invented cruise missles, and then russia stole them, SDI became obsolete itself, before it was ever brought to fruition.

Van Rijn
2012-May-05, 07:58 AM
And even thouse would be no defense against submarine lauched missle, and cruise missles.


Submarine launched missiles were inaccurate, so not good for attacking hard targets like land based missiles. A mass launch would also be pretty obvious.

Cruise missiles are slow, so for a massed attack there would be, at least, a lot of warning after the first ones hit. Nuclear cruise missiles, like nuclear bombers, would be retaliation weapons, not first strike.

If somebody wants to destroy the population centers at any cost, the defense wouldn't stop it. But that wasn't the real point, as I discussed earlier.

Van Rijn
2012-May-05, 08:05 AM
By the way, these days SDI is no longer discussed, but "ballistic missile defense" certainly is. From what I can see, far from being considered useless, it is taken very seriously indeed.

publiusr
2012-May-05, 05:17 PM
Some of the same tech needed to hit a bullet with a bullet would also be useful in targeting asteroids and capturing sample return nuggets--so it isn't a waste of resources.

What really stands out in my mind were the Kinetic Kill Vehicles hovering over the net and how well contolled they were versus some of Carmack's landers. The KKVs might be nice hoppercraft to string lines across asteroids to keept things from flying away.

aquitaine
2012-May-06, 12:06 AM
I agree with danscope (a rare event). Dave Parnas had some very appropriate (even for BAUT) comments on the feasibility of the required control software for the originally conceived SDI program. Try this pdf: http://www.cs.helsinki.fi/u/przybils/courses/CBD06/papers/p1326-parnas.pdf

Sorry for the delay, had some RL before I could formulate a response. He spent quite a bit of time talking about programming practices, which I'm not qualified to respond to since I'm not a programmer. However, his point about the target definitions being unknowable is not accurate. We had a pretty good idea as to what the Soviet nuclear capability was, as well as the general area they would launch from (the USSR) and even where they would end up going. If I may post a map of that.

http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/nuke-targets-48.jpg


So to get from there to here all of them would need to get into orbit first, and then travel a huge distance before re-entry. That, as well as weight and size restrictions on the rockets themselves the countermeasures that could be used had a fairly limited variety. For that reason the combination of radar, IR, and lasers for target discrimination and range finding should be adequate.

So as for his point about software being inherintly unreliable, this is true. So why shouldn't there be a certain amount of redundency? We knew about how many missiles they had ready for immediate launch, therefore shouldn't the number of estimated stuff needed in each layer of defense (ground based missiles, space based brilliant pebbles & railguns etc) be some mutiple of that? This way not all of them would have to succeed to get all of the incoming warheads.

I'm not trying to downplay the immensity of this, nor the complexity and challenges, but provided it doesn't break the laws of physics it should be doable.


So the plane with lasers didn't work. It doesn't surprise me, I was always amused with how similar that weapons was to the laser plane in Real Genius.

Actually the laser plane wasn't a failure at all. It was cancelled because that kind of system needs line of sight, and from a plane that's hugely impractical since it would mean flying over enemy territory.


The Israeli Iron Dome is an operational system to destroy SBMs and arty rounds. Maybe more a grapefruit to orange than an apple to orange comparison.

That kind of system shares many of the challenges an ABM system would have. Granted it is smaller scale which reduces system complexity by an order of maginitude, but still.


And this would be useful for the Dr. Strangelove/Crazy General situation. In my opinion, it's worth spending a good bit of money to have real options if someone shoots a nuclear missile at you.


Funny you should mention that. Contrary to popular belief, Soviet nuclear doctrine was NOT based on MAD, but rather they expected any war with NATO to go nuclear. Their plans were this: If for any reason a conventional war broke out with western Europe, they (correctly) believed the US would quickly become drawn in because of our alliances, so they would immediately launch a full strategic strike on the US. Of course they knew we would launch a counter attack against them, devastating them too. But that wasn't the point, the rest of the Warsaw Pact had a 3 to 1 conventional arms advantage against western Europe, and without American reinforcements (which would take a real long time to come if we got nuked) NATO in western Europe would be hard pressed to hold them back. Theater use of tactical nuclear weapons was a forgone conclusion on both sides. Of course the consequences made them much less willing to pull the trigger than they otherwise would have been, but they believed this is what it would take to win.


By the way, these days SDI is no longer discussed, but "ballistic missile defense" certainly is. From what I can see, far from being considered useless, it is taken very seriously indeed.

A problem is that the current ABM system under development is so stripped down it probably is useless.

Solfe
2012-May-06, 02:37 AM
Looking at the daunting task, I think a ABM system could work against limited targets but completely shielding a country against a few thousand (Perhaps as many as 10,000? Who knows.) isn't feasible for the simple reason that you couldn't test such a system without making the whole rest of the world think you had lost your mind.

How could you simulate a mass launch on yourself - Drop stuff from space? Using a space vehicle to drop essentially hundreds if not thousands of "smart bricks" on your own country is not going to make people vote for you again. Lobbing stuff up from the surface or down from space that could miss and land in somebody's (foreign) backyard is not a good way to make or keep friends.

Shaula
2012-May-06, 06:07 AM
Looking at the daunting task, I think a ABM system could work against limited targets but completely shielding a country against a few thousand (Perhaps as many as 10,000? Who knows.) isn't feasible
As I understand it that was not the military aim of the first SDI work - the goal was to preserve enough of your counterstrike capability to effectively deter any first strikes against you. It was meant to be a defensive posture rather than the aggressive "More missiles... Bigger warheads... More platforms..." loop they were stuck in. It probably was only just technically feasible to put up a minimal system - but it fitted with the game theory ideas so dear to planners then. Anything that changes the numbers, even a little, is good! Trouble is that that goal is difficult to sell to people. So it became this idea of a universal shield - which was totally technically infeasible.

And ABM now does not aim to protect against a huge barrage of missiles - it is to prevent a few missiles becoming disproportionately effective as a deterrent.

Solfe
2012-May-06, 03:12 PM
As I understand it that was not the military aim of the first SDI work - the goal was to preserve enough of your counterstrike capability to effectively deter any first strikes against you. It was meant to be a defensive posture rather than the aggressive "More missiles... Bigger warheads... More platforms..." loop they were stuck in. It probably was only just technically feasible to put up a minimal system - but it fitted with the game theory ideas so dear to planners then. Anything that changes the numbers, even a little, is good! Trouble is that that goal is difficult to sell to people. So it became this idea of a universal shield - which was totally technically infeasible.

And ABM now does not aim to protect against a huge barrage of missiles - it is to prevent a few missiles becoming disproportionately effective as a deterrent.

Hummm... Were I king of the world and those were the goals, then striking first is your SDI. Set off some high altitude nukes so that your enemy takes a nice EM pulse. Don't even bother to hit ground targets. Then pray that what little ABM you have eliminates whatever the enemy has left. Hope that you conventional forces can do what they are supposed to do. And that is an epic fail because its not defense and it would be better not to launch because no ICBMs mean that there is no chance of a random city being burned. (As I sit here I write, I am listening to Russians by Sting and a commentary of Def Leppard's Rocket. The messages are "Hey, lets not have a war.")

It could be the real world generated a scenario that was actually workable. Everyone makes a enough nukes that launching them is undesirable even if you launch first. The second subs and bombers were nuclear capable, SDI vs. Ballistic Missiles is an after thought. There will always be a secondary strike.

Back to the technical aspect of ICBMs, I must be reading the wiki page wrong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercontinental_ballistic_missile). Some ICBMs are described as having an apogee of 1200 KM. That seems really high or really low to me.

How is apogee defined? From the center of the earth to the missile or from the surface of the earth to the missile. I must not understand "apogee" at all.

korjik
2012-May-06, 08:40 PM
Looking at the daunting task, I think a ABM system could work against limited targets but completely shielding a country against a few thousand (Perhaps as many as 10,000? Who knows.) isn't feasible for the simple reason that you couldn't test such a system without making the whole rest of the world think you had lost your mind.

How could you simulate a mass launch on yourself - Drop stuff from space? Using a space vehicle to drop essentially hundreds if not thousands of "smart bricks" on your own country is not going to make people vote for you again. Lobbing stuff up from the surface or down from space that could miss and land in somebody's (foreign) backyard is not a good way to make or keep friends.

You dont need to invade Europe to test if a tank works. For the US at least, figuring out if an ABM system works is pretty much as simple as launching a few dozen missiles from Vandenberg AFB out into the south pacific and having the Hawaiian ABM battery shoot them down. Do it couple times and you should have a pretty good idea on the battery density you need to protect whatever you want to protect.

korjik
2012-May-06, 08:46 PM
Hummm... Were I king of the world and those were the goals, then striking first is your SDI. Set off some high altitude nukes so that your enemy takes a nice EM pulse. Don't even bother to hit ground targets. Then pray that what little ABM you have eliminates whatever the enemy has left. Hope that you conventional forces can do what they are supposed to do. And that is an epic fail because its not defense and it would be better not to launch because no ICBMs mean that there is no chance of a random city being burned. (As I sit here I write, I am listening to Russians by Sting and a commentary of Def Leppard's Rocket. The messages are "Hey, lets not have a war.")

It could be the real world generated a scenario that was actually workable. Everyone makes a enough nukes that launching them is undesirable even if you launch first. The second subs and bombers were nuclear capable, SDI vs. Ballistic Missiles is an after thought. There will always be a secondary strike.

Back to the technical aspect of ICBMs, I must be reading the wiki page wrong (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercontinental_ballistic_missile). Some ICBMs are described as having an apogee of 1200 KM. That seems really high or really low to me.

How is apogee defined? From the center of the earth to the missile or from the surface of the earth to the missile. I must not understand "apogee" at all.

You do realize that the people whos job it is to keep their country from getting nuked figured all this out about half a century ago? That the 'whatever the enemy has left' is called 'the entirety of their strategic nuclear forces'? This is alot of the reason why we had so many Soviet Bloc invasions of western Europe during the cold war.

Also, check if it says 1200km from the surface for the apogee. Otherwise I want to know when the mole miner ICBMs were developed and how they survive their passage through the outer core of the Earth. :)

Van Rijn
2012-May-06, 09:23 PM
Hummm... Were I king of the world and those were the goals, then striking first is your SDI. Set off some high altitude nukes so that your enemy takes a nice EM pulse. Don't even bother to hit ground targets.

Then you've really ticked off the other side, and pretty much guaranteed an equal or greater response. Military hardware (conventional and nuclear) is hardened against EMP. That would have virtually no effect on the other side's nuclear forces, and they could respond conventionally as well, but probably after they did their own EMP attack, if they don't just escalate immediately.

Squink
2012-May-06, 09:28 PM
You dont need to invade Europe to test if a tank works. For the US at least, figuring out if an ABM system works is pretty much as simple as launching a few dozen missiles from Vandenberg AFB out into the south pacific and having the Hawaiian ABM battery shoot them down.Last I looked into this, it was apparent that even a system that 'works' by your criteria may still prove totally inadequate for real-world use.
For some modern number jiggling on the subject see:
The Bang-Soak Theory of Missile Attack and Terminal Defense (pdf) (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=abm+missile+targeting+exponential&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CI8BEBYwBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffaculty.nps.edu%2Fawashburn%2Fdoc s%2FWashburn%2520BangSoak.pdf&ei=K-qmT_mwLaKi2wWBhYSmAg&usg=AFQjCNHDdKhC3NkFFHE9xsvBpLN6QoVrlw)

korjik
2012-May-06, 11:44 PM
Last I looked into this, it was apparent that even a system that 'works' by your criteria may still prove totally inadequate for real-world use.
For some modern number jiggling on the subject see:
The Bang-Soak Theory of Missile Attack and Terminal Defense (pdf) (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=abm+missile+targeting+exponential&source=web&cd=8&ved=0CI8BEBYwBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffaculty.nps.edu%2Fawashburn%2Fdoc s%2FWashburn%2520BangSoak.pdf&ei=K-qmT_mwLaKi2wWBhYSmAg&usg=AFQjCNHDdKhC3NkFFHE9xsvBpLN6QoVrlw)

You know, I could swear someone in this thread mentioned that no matter what you do, you wont know if a weapon system works until it is for real. The thing is a) that applies to pretty much everything, everywhere, all the time and b) is a partial defence better than none?

By the criteria you are using, the only way to determine if the US has sufficient ABM defence is to start a global thermonuclear war. That seems to be counterproductive for a system test.

danscope
2012-May-07, 01:58 AM
Just stop and " think" for a little while. Really . Did you ever stop to think that it doesn't matter 'where' the bombs drop?????? It's the radioactive waste and contamination that poisons the " entire" planet. Only mad men contemplate
using these things. That is why we work very hard indeed to not ever use them. No kidding.

Jens
2012-May-07, 02:18 AM
One of the fundamental difficulties to me seems to be that building a ballistic missile isn't all that hard or expensive. It's been done since WWII. So it would be technically possible for a country to launch 100 ballistic missiles with only one or two equipped with warheads. And countering that threat would require 100 very expensive anti-missile missiles, unless you can somehow detect which of the incoming missiles are decoys.

Solfe
2012-May-07, 02:34 AM
You do realize that the people whos job it is to keep their country from getting nuked figured all this out about half a century ago? That the 'whatever the enemy has left' is called 'the entirety of their strategic nuclear forces'? This is alot of the reason why we had so many Soviet Bloc invasions of western Europe during the cold war.

Also, check if it says 1200km from the surface for the apogee. Otherwise I want to know when the mole miner ICBMs were developed and how they survive their passage through the outer core of the Earth. :)

I am vaguely aware of that, I did say that "If I were king of the world...", I didn't say I had any qualifications. :)

I did know that most equipment is harden, but harden is not impervious. If that shielding is 90% effective and your opponent has 100 missiles, all of your equipment is dead as if the shielding is not there. Is that a good idea? I doubt it. 100 bombs would likely cause more problems than they solve.

I double checked wikipedia, and see that 1200 km apogee figure is modified with a semi-major axis number between 3,186 km and 6,372 km. I have a hard time believing that a weapons system is flying up to 1200 km from the surface of the planet. Are these numbers realistic?

aquitaine
2012-May-07, 03:29 AM
Just stop and " think" for a little while. Really . Did you ever stop to think that it doesn't matter 'where' the bombs drop?????? It's the radioactive waste and contamination that poisons the " entire" planet. Only mad men contemplate
using these things. That is why we work very hard indeed to not ever use them. No kidding.


Firstly the Russian General Staff, the ones who made the plans for the first strike doctrine I illustrated earlier, did not care about poisoning the entire planet. It was a strategy to win a war, nothing more and nothing less. One or more sides having a doctrine not based on MAD changes things because it means there is no way flinging nukes can ever be ruled out. There's already been a number of very serious close calls with them.

Secondly there's a reason those targets were chosen, as you may have noticed many of those areas are at or near almost every major city we have, especially that huge cluster in New York/New Jersey. The blasts in the downtown areas, with a civilian population mostly unable to escape, would kill huge numbers of people instantly. Intense radiation in the immediate kill zone would kill many more in short order. It wouldn't matter as much if our farmland was poisoned by fallout, there won't be nearly as many mouths to feed anyway.


One of the fundamental difficulties to me seems to be that building a ballistic missile isn't all that hard or expensive. It's been done since WWII. So it would be technically possible for a country to launch 100 ballistic missiles with only one or two equipped with warheads. And countering that threat would require 100 very expensive anti-missile missiles, unless you can somehow detect which of the incoming missiles are decoys.


The Minuteman 3 ICBM for example costs $7,000,000 each, so no, not really that cheap. Secondly it's not the missiles themselves that are dangerous, it's the warheads. To that effect there actually were systems proposed to disciminate between decoy warheads and real ones. It's all in the video in the first post. :)

EDIT: Missed this post.


You know, I could swear someone in this thread mentioned that no matter what you do, you wont know if a weapon system works until it is for real. The thing is a) that applies to pretty much everything, everywhere, all the time and b) is a partial defence better than none?

By the criteria you are using, the only way to determine if the US has sufficient ABM defence is to start a global thermonuclear war. That seems to be counterproductive for a system test.


Exactly. First ensure each component is thoroughly tested and that in a small scale work as a complete system as planned, and then multiply the number of intercepts you think you need to take down the Soviet first strike arsenal by two or three. It also doesn't have to get all of them, just getting 95% of those 1000 warheads on that map I posted really does make huge difference. Not only would the damage be much less than it would have been, it puts them at a huge disadvantage because of their lack of a comparable system to defeat an American counterattack. Plus their first strike would have failed to do its intended purpose: Doing enough damage to America to prevent our reinforcements from getting to NATO in western Europe and thereby potentially losing the ground war on that front as well. Think about it, their entire doctrine would be rendered obsolete. That sounds pretty significant to me.

korjik
2012-May-07, 05:42 AM
I am vaguely aware of that, I did say that "If I were king of the world...", I didn't say I had any qualifications. :)

I did know that most equipment is harden, but harden is not impervious. If that shielding is 90% effective and your opponent has 100 missiles, all of your equipment is dead as if the shielding is not there. Is that a good idea? I doubt it. 100 bombs would likely cause more problems than they solve.

I double checked wikipedia, and see that 1200 km apogee figure is modified with a semi-major axis number between 3,186 km and 6,372 km. I have a hard time believing that a weapons system is flying up to 1200 km from the surface of the planet. Are these numbers realistic?

1200 km up for a 6000 km ground distance? Dosent sound outrageous to me.

korjik
2012-May-07, 05:46 AM
Just stop and " think" for a little while. Really . Did you ever stop to think that it doesn't matter 'where' the bombs drop?????? It's the radioactive waste and contamination that poisons the " entire" planet. Only mad men contemplate
using these things. That is why we work very hard indeed to not ever use them. No kidding.

The US did 331 atmo test detonations, mostly in Nevada, yet there seems to be a complete lack of nuclear wasteland anywhere except in the immediate vicinity of the tests. So it very much does matter where they land. Of course, after you do take that into account, the rest of your post is spot on.

HenrikOlsen
2012-May-07, 11:44 AM
1200 km up for a 6000 km ground distance? Dosen't sound outrageous to me.
Especially when one considers what "ballistic" means in this context.
Hint: It doesn't mean ground-hugging.

Solfe
2012-May-07, 11:52 AM
HenrikOlsen
Especially when one considers what "ballistic" means in this context.
Hint: It doesn't mean ground-hugging.


korjik
1200 km up for a 6000 km ground distance? Dosent sound outrageous to me.

I was thinking 300 km from the surface. I had no idea that they went that high. Talk about being off by a lot. :)

publiusr
2012-May-12, 04:51 PM
Interesting site
http://up-ship.com/blog/?p=14689
History of missiles http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/129206-Cold-war-and-missiles

Here is that KKV hover test that is so impressive--what billions of dollars get you:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9mNNA2gEF8

What millions of dollars get you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWUyRiiG4-I