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Lets Talk About Ballistic Missile Defense


LostCosmonaut
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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

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Rods from god stationed in Solar orbit so that they have sufficiently high reentry speeds to catch a nuclear missile.

You have to have precogs to make this work, of course.

That is actually a great idea... Have satellites detect a launch, and Rods from God (or some variation thereof) launch a projectile to intercept. Moreover, have it engage while the ballistic missile is re-entering, to prevent debris from flying into orbit. 

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I've read conflicting sources on "Rods from God" and some state that they are a flawed concept as they would burn up during reentry.  A 1ft diameter titanium tungsten pencil might not withstand our atmosphere and gravity.  Getting a single 9 ton rod into orbit would be difficult as well, let alone a bundle. 

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That is actually a great idea... Have satellites detect a launch, and Rods from God (or some variation thereof) launch a projectile to intercept. Moreover, have it engage while the ballistic missile is re-entering, to prevent debris from flying into orbit. 

 

I think it actually doesn't work. The ICBM will probably be reentering upon detection (I think) and thus there's no way you could launch a rod from god fast enough to catch it.

Hence the joke bit about it being in Solar orbit.

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It dosent work

 

Russian ICBMs have alot more warheads than western ones, and even then US BMD might catch 10 of them

 

letting a couple of thousand get through, when you only need a couple dozen to gut your population, and a couple hundred to make your country unlivable

 

Dead hand reponse systems incase of a premptive strike being succesful are much more useful

 

Russia stronk, etc. 

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AFAIK US try to use kinetic projectiles to defeat warheads, while soviets planned to use nukes for that. Currently the only way to protect a country from nuclear salvo is destroying missiles while they are on land. Which means that direct conflict is to risky, which is only way to not be nuked.  :lol:

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Enhanced-radiation warheads seem like the best option for destroying incoming nukes.  You go from having to smash a missile into a missile to having to get a missile inside of the kill radius of an EM warhead against another warhead.  That strikes me as much easier.

 

The only problem I foresee is that this makes saturation defense impossible; you can shoot off a fuckload of EM warheads or the first one to detonate will break all the subsequent missiles unless they are precisely spaced.

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      There is another difference in Soviet anti-nuclear attack protection vs USA - IIRC Soviets tried to cover only main points of country, while US is trying to deploy their defence system near sources of danger, at known paths of missiles. Although currently we are developing missiles which can strike US from many more paths, which is undermining US anti-ICBMs defence efficiency in case of WW3. 

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AFAIK US try to use kinetic projectiles to defeat warheads, while soviets planned to use nukes for that. Currently the only way to protect a country from nuclear salvo is destroying missiles while they are on land. Which means that direct conflict is to risky, which is only way to not be nuked.  :lol:

 

We used to be thinking about nukes as well. That's what Spartan and Sprint used. As far as I can tell one of the biggest problems is figuring out which warheads have been successfully engaged. Nice thing is if you engage high enough, they can't debus and you can ruin a whole MIRV in a single shot.

 

 

Enhanced-radiation warheads seem like the best option for destroying incoming nukes.  You go from having to smash a missile into a missile to having to get a missile inside of the kill radius of an EM warhead against another warhead.  That strikes me as much easier.

 

The only problem I foresee is that this makes saturation defense impossible; you can shoot off a fuckload of EM warheads or the first one to detonate will break all the subsequent missiles unless they are precisely spaced.

 

We were apparently able to get a bunch of successful interceptions with Nike Zeus by the criteria given by a nuke tipped ABM back in 1962 off Kwajalein (nine of thirteen tests successful, with a lethal radius estimated as north of 200m and south of 1000 feet, source). Honestly I rather doubt that hit to kill would be impossible or even necessarily particularly hard these days, unless the people making RVs can wring some performance out of the things for maneuvering.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We used to be thinking about nukes as well. That's what Spartan and Sprint used. As far as I can tell one of the biggest problems is figuring out which warheads have been successfully engaged. Nice thing is if you engage high enough, they can't debus and you can ruin a whole MIRV in a single shot.

 

 

I would think that the fast-fission flux impacting the bomb fissile material would cause that RV to not produce radar returns anymore.

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I would think that the fast-fission flux impacting the bomb fissile material would cause that RV to not produce radar returns anymore.

 

I would think that even if the warhead fizzles, it might do so in enough of a low energy manner that the debris could still produce significant returns.

 

 

I'm going to mention dust defense again, since it is one of the most gloriously insane, yet surprisingly workable, plans I have found:

 

A concept called “Dust,” “Environmental,”

or “Ejecta” defense involves burying “clean”

nuclear weapons in the vicinity of missile silos.

The bombs would be exploded on warning of a

Soviet attack, filling the air with dust which

would destroy Soviet RVs before they reached

the ground. Though there is little technical

doubt about the high effectiveness of dust

defense, there is considerable concern about

public reaction to plans for the deliberate

detonation of nuclear weapons on U.S. territory.

(from http://www.princeton.edu/~ota/disk3/1981/8116/811605.PDF)

 

Given that high yield thermonuclear weapons seem to be cleanest relative to their yields, something like the B53 (or any B41s left lying around) would be the logical choice.

“Achilles’ heel”
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