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Thread: U.S. Missile Shield Won't Work

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    LOL, forgot about the whole vacuum thing.
    No problem.
    However, the payload of a ICBM warhead is finite. Anything you add either takes away payload, or takes away range.

    If they have to put a 20kt warhead on it in place of a 200kt warhead(the size difference between the two is pretty small), for instance....then the MBMD interceptor has already saved 10s of thousands of lives in the event of an excange.

    That's called virtual attrition.
    A primitive warhead of the type the North Koreans are likely to produce would weight in the neighborhood of 500 pounds. 50 mylar balloons plus heating elements would weigh about 30 pounds. You are not going to get enough "virtual attrition" to make a mid-course interceptor worthwhile. It is a waste of $10 billion a year. If you need to spend the money, spend it on securing US ports against cargo container nukes.
    And there's still no saying that with 20 interceptors the US won't still get the missile anyway. Remember, this is designed to protect vs launches of a couple missiles.
    The US may get be able to get 200-400 interceptors in place by 2010-2012, IIRC. By then, NK could have a dozen missiles in place. In missile development, the hard part is making the first working missile. It is not hard to manufacture copies. The economics work against you; one ICBM is a lot cheaper than 50 EKV interceptors, even assuming the interceptors are 100% accurate.

    Another problem is that the EKV is dead-end technology. There is no evolution path to a more capable system. A viable mid-course intercept system would be one based on beam weapons, neutral particle or laser. It would make far more sense to spend the money there rather than on an instant "white elephant" like the EKV.
    Last edited by Broken; 07 Jan 05, at 01:22.

  2. #62
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    "50 mylar balloons plus heating elements would weigh about 30 pounds."

    Except that those ballons have to be inflated, and as you astutely pointed out, there is no air in space...so compressed air or whatever gas will have to be carried aloft. That will probably weigh at least as much as the ballons and releasing mechanism(which in and of itself will add weight and expense).

    SO you've now added significantly to the cost of your ICBM. NMD costs more, but we've got a HELL of a lot more to spend than the DPRK.

    And if they have to build that many warheads, it will cost them immensely. Missiles may be 'cheap'(and cheap is a very relative term for an ICBM), but the nuclear devices that sit atop them are anything but.

    And again, this is to protect vs a launch of 1-2 missiles, which i believe it surely can do.

    Another thing one must consider is that the Chinese and NK ICBMs are first generation systems, and like the US and Soviet 1st generation systems, they are likely to be highly unreliable and innacurate, like the infamous Scud missile...some 60% of which miss so badly that Patriots weren't even fired to protect Kuwait city from them in the last war.

    10bn a year vs 8,000,000(NYC population) incinerated Americans is very cheap insurance, indeed.

    What they need to do is ALSO spend money on protecting ports.

    Before anyone says it aint available, i'll direct you to about 10,000 stupid social programs that we need a lot less than port security or ICBM defense.
    Last edited by Bill; 07 Jan 05, at 01:25.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    "50 mylar balloons plus heating elements would weigh about 30 pounds."

    Except that those ballons have to be inflated, and as you astutely pointed out, there is no air in space...so compressed air or whatever gas will have to be carried aloft. That will probably weigh at least as much as the ballons and releasing mechanism(which in and of itself will add weight and expense).

    SO you've now added significantly to the cost of your ICBM. NMD costs more, but we've got a HELL of a lot more to spend than the DPRK.
    You don't need compressed air, a tiny dab of gas-generating chemicals in each balloon works fine. Since there is no outside air pressure, even 0.1 PSI inside the balloon is overkill. Like I said, 50 balloons weighs about 30 lbs.
    And if they have to build that many warheads, it will cost them immensely. Missiles may be 'cheap'(and cheap is a very relative term for an ICBM), but the nuclear devices that sit atop them are anything but.

    And again, this is to protect vs a launch of 1-2 missiles, which i believe it surely can do.
    North Korea has material for six nukes already. They will have enough for ten well before 2010. China circulated plans for a relatively compact nuke to both NK and Pakistan a decade ago. This is the design currently sitting on top of Pakistan's missiles.

    Another thing one must consider is that the Chinese and NK ICBMs are first generation systems, and like the US and Soviet 1st generation systems, they are likely to be highly unreliable and innacurate, like the infamous Scud missile...some 60% of which miss so badly that Patriots weren't even fired to protect Kuwait city from them in the last war.
    China started up their second generation ICBM development during the Clinton years. I haven't been keeping track of their program status or whether they are still sharing with NK. NK's program is still liquid fuel, so there is a good chance of taking out the missiles while they are fueling (IF we can locate all their launch facilities). I would assume their guidance systems are well beyond the SCUD, which is a forty year-old tactical design.
    10bn a year vs 8,000,000(NYC population) incinerated Americans is very cheap insurance, indeed.
    Well, NYC is safe from NK for a while yet. Us folks here near LA are the targets for NK. But do the math. Ten years at $10 billion is $100 billion for 200-400 interceptors. Ten decoy-equiped ICBMs would saturate such a system.

    The EKV system may have a "window" in the next couple of years where it is operationally effective. After that, it is obsolete with no upgrade path. I don't like wasting $10 billion, let alone $100 billion, ( billion here, billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money!).
    What they need to do is ALSO spend money on protecting ports.
    This should be the priority, not the afterthought it is now. Port security could be in place now, four years after 9/11. Instead, it is barely getting started. Unfortunately, the EKV lobbyists have a lot more pull than anyone backing port security.
    Before anyone says it aint available, i'll direct you to about 10,000 stupid social programs that we need a lot less than port security or ICBM defense.
    No argument on the gov's prodigious ability to waste money.

    BTW, if you are interested in this stuff, here is a decent article from RAND . It goes into more detail than I have.


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    Last edited by Broken; 07 Jan 05, at 02:58.

  4. #64
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    "Ten years at $10 billion is $100 billion for 200-400 interceptors. Ten decoy-equiped ICBMs would saturate such a system. "

    Are you saying US can fire 200-400 interceptors? If so, how would 10 decoys "saturate such a system"?

    It would not be a bad idea for NK, or another nation for that matter that doesn't have many nukes but does have ICBM's, to fire a salvo of ICBM's with no warhead first. Then, a couple of minutes later fire the second salvo with the warhead armed ICBM's.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by brokem
    North Korea has material for six nukes already. They will have enough for ten well before 2010. China circulated plans for a relatively compact nuke to both NK and Pakistan a decade ago. This is the design currently sitting on top of Pakistan's missiles.
    A false rumour circulated by bad intel. The only evidence we have of the Chinese actually sharing nuclear secrets was that the Pakistanis asked the Chinese whether their design would work or not.

    The Chinese have not shared warhead tech with anyone.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco Lolan
    It would not be a bad idea for NK, or another nation for that matter that doesn't have many nukes but does have ICBM's, to fire a salvo of ICBM's with no warhead first. Then, a couple of minutes later fire the second salvo with the warhead armed ICBM's.
    You're assuming NK and Chinese nuclear launch sites won't be mushroom clouds 30 minutes after their initial launch.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco Lolan
    "Ten years at $10 billion is $100 billion for 200-400 interceptors. Ten decoy-equiped ICBMs would saturate such a system. "

    Are you saying US can fire 200-400 interceptors? If so, how would 10 decoys "saturate such a system"?
    Ten ICBMs x 50 decoys each = 500 targets.
    It would not be a bad idea for NK, or another nation for that matter that doesn't have many nukes but does have ICBM's, to fire a salvo of ICBM's with no warhead first. Then, a couple of minutes later fire the second salvo with the warhead armed ICBM's.
    Alternatively, fire one ICBM and detonate it over the Pacific. This will blind the X-band and infrared sensors. Follow on with the rest of your missiles. There are many ways to defeat the XKV system.

  8. #68
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    One ICBM can carry 50 decoys?

    Are there 200-400 US interceptors?

    "Alternatively, fire one ICBM and detonate it over the Pacific. This will blind the X-band and infrared sensors. Follow on with the rest of your missiles. There are many ways to defeat the XKV system."
    Great idea!

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franco Lolan
    One ICBM can carry 50 decoys?
    The decoys are just foil balloons with a little heater/inflator unit. They weigh nada.
    Are there 200-400 US interceptors?
    Original schedule was 200-400 by 2012. I don't know what the current schedule is, since the program has gone "dark".
    "Alternatively, fire one ICBM and detonate it over the Pacific. This will blind the X-band and infrared sensors. Follow on with the rest of your missiles. There are many ways to defeat the XKV system."

    Great idea!
    Old idea. Check out the RAND article at the bottom of my post to Sniper.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers
    You're assuming NK and Chinese nuclear launch sites won't be mushroom clouds 30 minutes after their initial launch.
    The initial "jammer" ICBM launch needs only a one minute (or less) head start, not 30 minutes. You want the follow-on ICBMs as close to the lead jammer ICBM as you can without fraticide effects. That way, the fireball ionization acts as additional shielding from sensors.
    Last edited by Broken; 07 Jan 05, at 04:08.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers
    A false rumour circulated by bad intel. The only evidence we have of the Chinese actually sharing nuclear secrets was that the Pakistanis asked the Chinese whether their design would work or not.

    The Chinese have not shared warhead tech with anyone.
    Check this report by FAS on Pakistan. Scroll down to the section on Foreign Assistance.

    Actually, the original source is this document by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, but it is rather long-winded.
    Last edited by Broken; 07 Jan 05, at 04:03.

  12. #72
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    Both are wrong. I'm the moderator at Forum at China-Defense.com. We've examined the studies and it contradicts big time with known Chinese departments and schedules (it helps when you can read Chinese).

    Also, John Pike has moved from FAS to Globalsecurity.org and CDF has worked extensively with the person responsible for the Asia section.

    In fact, we have seen no evidence that the Pakistanis have even weaponized their nukes. There was a rumour that during Kragil, they've loaded nukes onto their F-16s but to date, I have not seen any such bomb rack.

    From what we know of the Chinese personalities involved, none would give the time of day to the Pakistanis nor the North Koreans.

    In short, the Chinese have always been willing to fight India down to the last Pakistani and the US down to the last North Korean but they will never allow Pakistan nor North Korea to win.

    Also, with jammer ICBMs, several known facts that contradicts your theory. China has very few ICBMs and North Korea none. The Chinese nuclear posture relies heavily on political warnings. They have not drilled anywhere near the Russian SRF and the American SAC on surprise attacks. Thus, they need the necessary time for a proper build up and launch sequence ... which tantamounts to warning for the US.
    Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 07 Jan 05, at 05:33.

  13. #73
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    I've seen both the RAND and the FAS reports torn to shreds in rebuttals in the past.

    They mylar ballons have to be dispersed correctly, and that implies a dispersal mechanism, which again, is not cheap.

    And i'd also point out that for all this wonderfully flowery theory, not even the US, UK, France, or Russia use mylar balloon decoys.

    So there is no proof they'd even work...they've never even been tested.

    And like OOE said, there is no proof that the DPRK can even MAKE an ICBM, and NO, i have no faith whatsoever that they could outdo the actual CEP of a scud considering the intercontinental range involved.

    China, btw, is believed to have less than 20 non-mirved, non-decoyed unitary warhead ICBMs.

    You are therefore screaming about a threat that doesn't even exist. We don't even have the systems you're talking about as if they'd be 'easy' to do.

    In space, nothing is easy to do, and nothing is cheap. The best commercial launch rates are what, $10,000 USD per pd. You add 30lbs of decoys plus a 10lb dispersal unit and you just added AT LEAST $400,000 dollars to the cost of the unit, and restricted your warhead size in the process.

    400k is nothing to us, to the DPRK, that's a LOT of extra unit cost.

    It's called rocket science for a reason you know, cause it's compi-cated.
    Last edited by Bill; 07 Jan 05, at 06:37.

  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers
    Both are wrong. I'm the moderator at Forum at China-Defense.com. We've examined the studies and it contradicts big time with known Chinese departments and schedules (it helps when you can read Chinese).

    Also, John Pike has moved from FAS to Globalsecurity.org and CDF has worked extensively with the person responsible for the Asia section.

    In fact, we have seen no evidence that the Pakistanis have even weaponized their nukes. There was a rumour that during Kragil, they've loaded nukes onto their F-16s but to date, I have not seen any such bomb rack.

    From what we know of the Chinese personalities involved, none would give the time of day to the Pakistanis nor the North Koreans.

    In short, the Chinese have always been willing to fight India down to the last Pakistani and the US down to the last North Korean but they will never allow Pakistan nor North Korea to win.
    The Chinese have assisited Pakistan in the areas of nuclear weapons development and ballistic missiles for some time. For example, a September 1999 National Intelligence Council (NIC) report stated that "Pakistan has Chinese supplied M-11 short-range ballistic missiles..." and Jane's Defense Weekly estimates India has 100 to 150 warheads and Pakistan 25 to 50. Jane's says Pakistan's Chinese Hatf-IV (Shaheen-1) can carry a 2,200 pound warhead. Then there is the 1986 Sino-Pakistani atomic cooperation agreement. Furthermore, after the 1998 Pakistan nuclear tests, collected air samples revealed plutonium of a type characteristic of China's nuclear arsenal, according to Los Alamos National Lab. China has always denied that it has assisted Pakistan's nuclear development, but the Los Alamos data is quite damning.

    The above Center for Strategic and International Studies report directly accuses China of passing warhead plans to Pakistan, but it gives no basis for it conclusion. Perhaps it is based on the Los Alamos data as well. If you conclude differently, what evidence backs your conclusion?
    Also, with jammer ICBMs, several known facts that contradicts your theory. China has very few ICBMs and North Korea none. The Chinese nuclear posture relies heavily on political warnings. They have not drilled anywhere near the Russian SRF and the American SAC on surprise attacks. Thus, they need the necessary time for a proper build up and launch sequence ... which tantamounts to warning for the US.
    What contradiction? If either China or Korea were to launch their missiles at the US, one would have to assume they would launch them all at once. Sending one "jammer" ICBM out slightly ahead of the others is not a technically daunting proposition. China has at least 20 ICBMs; sacrificing one as a jammer would not be a big deal.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    I've seen both the RAND and the FAS reports torn to shreds in rebuttals in the past.
    Shredded by who? I know Boeing and Raytheon have objected to the RAND report, but they are the prime contractors for the mid-course intercept program. The only rebuttal I have seen to the countermeasures problem is that the EKV system is just one of the "layers" of a missile defense system. So what? If it can't do it's job, why waste money on that layer?
    They mylar ballons have to be dispersed correctly, and that implies a dispersal mechanism, which again, is not cheap.
    Why do the balloons need to be dispersed? The more of them hanging around the warhead, the better.
    And i'd also point out that for all this wonderfully flowery theory, not even the US, UK, France, or Russia use mylar balloon decoys.
    Many of the EKV tests to date have deployed balloon decoys. However, the simulated warhead has never been put inside a balloon. Furthermore, the test EKV was programmed with exact models of both the balloon and the warhead IR characteristics, an advantage that will be absent in the case of a real attack.
    So there is no proof they'd even work...they've never even been tested.
    As I said, balloon decoys have even been deployed in the EKV test program. How much testing do you require of a balloon? This is not advanced technology we are talking about here. It is the EKV which has never been tested against a realistic threat model.
    And like OOE said, there is no proof that the DPRK can even MAKE an ICBM, and NO, i have no faith whatsoever that they could outdo the actual CEP of a scud considering the intercontinental range involved.
    It is true that North Korea has yet to fire a missile beyond the mid-Pacific. How is this justification for building an EKV system? If the DPRK doesn't have a viable ICBM, the EKV is a waste of money. If the DPRK can make ICBMs, the EKV won't stop them and is still a waste of money.
    China, btw, is believed to have less than 20 non-mirved, non-decoyed unitary warhead ICBMs.

    You are therefore screaming about a threat that doesn't even exist. We don't even have the systems you're talking about as if they'd be 'easy' to do.
    What does any of this have to do with North Korea? The only people who are screaming are those who believe an EKV system is justified by the "threat" of North Korea.
    In space, nothing is easy to do, and nothing is cheap. The best commercial launch rates are what, $10,000 USD per pd. You add 30lbs of decoys plus a 10lb dispersal unit and you just added AT LEAST $400,000 dollars to the cost of the unit, and restricted your warhead size in the process.
    Do the math. 30 lbs versus a 500 lbs warhead. The balloons are only 6% of the payload, and certainly far less than 6% of the program cost.

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