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Those of you who are not yet familiar with Project Pluto can read about it here; http://www.merkle.com/pluto/pluto.html. You may then pay penance for not knowing about Pluto. In any case, I've heard various conflicting reasons for Pluto's cancellation (aside from the whole 'shitting radiation' aspect). I've seen some sources that say it would have been too easy to intercept, while I've seen others that say it would have been impossible to intercept, and the US was worried that Pluto would have prompted the Soviets to create a similar weapon (whether they could have without the industrial might of Coors corporation is debatable). Given that Pluto would have travelled at Mach 3-4 at extremely low level, I think it would have been quite difficult to intercept. Look down shoot-down technology was in its infancy in the late 60s (I think the radar set for the XF-108/YF-12 was one of the first sets with any such capability), and given that Pluto would have probably entered Soviet territory via northern Siberia, it probably could have been programmed to fly between fixed radar sites (which would have had lower range against low altitude targets). Also, even it if was detected, you still have to chase down (or gain favorable angles against) a target going Mach 3, which is a nontrivial task. If you're willing to use nuclear tipped AAMs, it's probably doable. What sayeth y'all?
10 out of 10 respondents agree that having your country hit by ICBM/SLBMs is a negative experience. How, then, can we prevent such a calamity from occurring. Skillful diplomacy ballistic missile defense! But how should a country like the US go about defending against errant ballistic missiles? Can we defend against a strike by the whole of the USSR Russia's arsenal? What about a smaller country, such as the PRC, or France (those Euros look shifty). Should we try to defend military targets, such as ICBM silos and bomber bases, or civilian population centers? How are we going to kill these warheads anyway? Direct hit to kill, as GMD uses? Or nuclear tipped? Endoatmospheric or exoatmospheric interceptors? Maybe a mixture of both? Or should we use even more exotic method, such as dust defense, or a network of orbiting nuclear mines? discuss
For the purposes of things, we'll be talking about things with a range of <300km. To my untrained eye, it seems that TBMs could be highly useful, especially for somebody who lacks air superiority. They have the capability to strike targets well outside the range of conventional artillery, while being relatively difficult to intercept (although this is becoming less true as things like Patriot PAC-3 and S-300/400 become more widespread. The cost is an issue, but it appears that if they were fitted with cluster warheads, or used against area targets (such as an airbase), it looks like they could be useful. This, and their utility even in environments with contested air superiority, means that they should be useful for somebody like the Soviet Union in the 80s (probably explains whey they invested so much in things like the OTR-21). Does this seem reasonable, or am I talking out my ass?