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Author Topic: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.  (Read 142222 times)

Offline Brickmuppet

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1050 on: September 13, 2017, 07:38:36 pm »
I have a yield question, I initially posted this in an earlier post, but it didn't really fit.

Is there a good general figure for how much a fissionable tamper will increase the yield of a Teller-Ulam device?

 Historically the B-41 went to a theoretical yield of 25megatons from 9 megatons for the clean version, the dirty version of RDS220 (Tsar Bomba) was estimated at twice the clean yield.These assume an increase in yield from two to just under three times the yield for a enriched uranium tamper or somesuch. Neither was actually tested.

The W-71 was especially "clean". Could replacing its (purported) gold tamper result in a 10+ MT device?

Regarding current events, ASSUMING the DPRK test was a "clean" version of their weapon, (with say, a lead tamper)
Would 500-700 kt be a reasonable assumption for maximum yield if one assumes that...
A:this was a clean version and
B: the DPRK does not lack for enriched uranium?
(See here for that last assumption...
http://www.38north.org/2015/08/jlewis081215/)

Very high yields rapidly get into diminishing returns, but high yield dirty weapons might be an area of development that would seem logical for a nation with a limited number of fusion warheads. I'm not sure how much difference it would make as a practical matter, but I was curious about this.

Offline sferrin

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1051 on: September 14, 2017, 04:58:57 am »
I have a yield question, I initially posted this in an earlier post, but it didn't really fit.

Is there a good general figure for how much a fissionable tamper will increase the yield of a Teller-Ulam device?

I recall reading somewhere that the main difference between the Peacekeepers W87 (300kt) and the D-5s W88 (475kt) was the tamper.  There was also a plan to make a 475kt variant of the W87 by doing the same.
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1052 on: September 14, 2017, 06:24:03 am »
I have a yield question, I initially posted this in an earlier post, but it didn't really fit.

Is there a good general figure for how much a fissionable tamper will increase the yield of a Teller-Ulam device?

I recall reading somewhere that the main difference between the Peacekeepers W87 (300kt) and the D-5s W88 (475kt) was the tamper.  There was also a plan to make a 475kt variant of the W87 by doing the same.
From Nuclear Weapons Archive:

Quote
The warhead yield can be upgraded from 300 Kt to 475 Kt by adding rings or a sleeve of oralloy (highly enriched uranium) to the second stage. This probably entails replacing depleted uranium rings used in a cylindrical fusion tamper so that less energetic neutrons can produce additional fission.

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Weapons/W87.html
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1053 on: September 14, 2017, 08:01:34 pm »
Despite recent pair of $900M contracts, LRSO's future still TBD

The Air Force's award last month of a pair of contracts to launch a Long Range Standoff weapon competition does not necessarily reflect a firm Defense Department decision to procure a new, nuclear-armed cruise missile, according to the defense secretary.
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What??
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Offline Triton

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1054 on: September 14, 2017, 08:47:16 pm »
http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/11/talk-little-nukes-cover-lacking-foreign-policy-strategy/#disqus_thread

It doesn't seem like the Defense Science Board report or the Nuclear Posture Review 2017 are advocating lower-yield nuclear weapons to address numerical gaps in conventional forces. I don't quite understand what foreign policy strategy is lacking to which Tom Nichols refers. How does increased spending on conventional forces by the United States address a low-yield nuclear attack by an adversary? Does the prospect of a conventional counter-attack by numerically superior forces have the necessary deterrent effect? Does a superior conventional force change the Russian Federation military doctrine of the use of low-yield nuclear weapons for "de-escalation of a conflict"?








Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1055 on: September 14, 2017, 09:07:07 pm »
http://thefederalist.com/2017/09/11/talk-little-nukes-cover-lacking-foreign-policy-strategy/#disqus_thread

It doesn't seem like the Defense Science Board report or the Nuclear Posture Review 2017 are advocating lower-yield nuclear weapons to address numerical gaps in conventional forces. I don't quite understand what foreign policy strategy is lacking to which Tom Nichols refers. How does increased spending on conventional forces by the United States address a low-yield nuclear attack by an adversary? Does the prospect of a conventional counter-attack by numerically superior forces have the necessary deterrent effect? Does a superior conventional force change the Russian Federation military doctrine of the use of low-yield nuclear weapons for "de-escalation of a conflict"?
IMHO, I've found over the decades I've followed nuclear issues the arms control community seems to either create a strawman and/or incorrectly, by accident or intention, misstate the other sides arguments, strategies, theories and argue to the point they wanted in the first place, mainly we really don't want any nukes starting with the US disarming.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline Triton

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1056 on: September 14, 2017, 10:26:20 pm »
IMHO, I've found over the decades I've followed nuclear issues the arms control community seems to either create a strawman and/or incorrectly, by accident or intention, misstate the other sides arguments, strategies, theories and argue to the point they wanted in the first place, mainly we really don't want any nukes starting with the US disarming.

They seem to not consider the military doctrines, foreign policies, and military capabilities of potential adversaries when expressing their arguments against nuclear weapons. The United States isn't the only nuclear power pursuing lower-yield nuclear weapons. Other nations seem to believe that they can control the rungs on the nuclear escalation ladder.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2017, 10:32:01 pm by Triton »

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1057 on: September 14, 2017, 11:36:02 pm »
IMHO, I've found over the decades I've followed nuclear issues the arms control community seems to either create a strawman and/or incorrectly, by accident or intention, misstate the other sides arguments, strategies, theories and argue to the point they wanted in the first place, mainly we really don't want any nukes starting with the US disarming.

They seem to not consider the military doctrines, foreign policies, and military capabilities of potential adversaries when expressing their arguments against nuclear weapons. The United States isn't the only nuclear power pursuing lower-yield nuclear weapons. Other nations seem to believe that they can control the rungs on the nuclear escalation ladder.
From a John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory report
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Offline bobbymike

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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1059 on: September 21, 2017, 08:07:48 pm »
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline bobbymike

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline bobbymike

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1062 on: September 24, 2017, 08:38:55 pm »
From Air Force Association Daily Report 9/21/17

GBSD Fits in Current ICBM Facilities, New Installations Not Needed

The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program will make use of existing ICBM launch facilities, program director Col. Heath Collins told Air Force Magazine at ASC17. An Air Force analysis of alternatives concluded “the effort, the cost, the schedule impacts”—including the necessity of gaining land-use rights and navigating “the environmental protection rules and laws of today”—made building 450 new launch facilities “very cost prohibitive,” Collins said. While the Minuteman III launch facilities will need to be refurbished to house modernized ICBMs, Collins said his team has conducted “analysis on the concrete” at the facilities and found them “very strong. Those are still solid launch facilities.” He also said using the existing silos would present no significant technical limitations on the GBSD design. “We’ve gone through hundreds and thousands of different iterations of what the launch vehicle could look like and what size it needs to be to meet our requirements,” Collins said. “The existing launch facilities are plenty big enough.” —Wilson Brissett
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More on Bomber Vector

When will we get to see the new bomber “vector,” which lays out the 30-year-plus plan for bringing on new bombers and phasing out old ones? It’s up to Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, according to Global Strike Command chief Gen. Robin Rand. “We’ve done a great job,” Rand said at an ASC17 press conference Tuesday. “We’ve provided (Goldfein) our inputs, we have socialized this with our teammates in Congress, so I’ve gone over and had multiple engagements with staffers and chairmen and ranking members of our key defense committees, I’ve spoken to Senators and (representatives) from … states that have bombers. We want to make sure we give the Secretary of Defense the headspace that he needs to review the plan. And I won’t speak for him about when that will happen.” Rand also reported a “lessons learned” study is underway—internal to AFGSC but with Northrop Grumman—that is a “deep dive” into what went right and wrong with the B-2 program, in order to make the B-21 a more seamless and cost-effective project. “A lot of the expertise that was on the B-2 is still going to be part of the B-21, so we want to capture the people who worked that program … these folks will transition into the B-21.” —John A. Tirpak
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http://www.airforcemag.com/Features/Pages/2017/September%202017/Bomber-Flooring-and-LRSO-.aspx
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Offline bobbymike

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Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Reply #1063 on: September 29, 2017, 06:44:38 am »
Nuclear Posture Review Provides Opportunity to Reset US Policy

9/29/2017

—Wilson Brissett​

​The last of 50 Minuteman III ICBMs is removed from a launch facility at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., in compliance with the New START agreement with Russia. The Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence said the US must move away from its primary goal of nonproliferation toward a top goal of cultivating nuclear power for strategic deterrence. Air Force photo by A1C Breanna Carter.

​The Trump administration’s ongoing Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) offers an opportunity to fundamentally reshape US nuclear policy, experts in deterrence and arms control said at a Task Force 21-Minot event in Washington, D.C., Thursday. In response to a newly complex strategic threat environment, the US needs to shift away from a primary goal of nonproliferation toward a top priority of cultivating nuclear power for strategic deterrence, said Frank Miller, principal at the Scowcroft Group, and Robert Joseph, senior scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy.

The most recent NPR, completed by the Obama administration in 2010, was “explicit about its objective,” Joseph said, and its “first priority is nonproliferation.” In that NPR, Russia is “described more as a partner than a threat,” China is “not mentioned” at all, and the threat of a North Korean ICBM attack against the US homeland is considered unrealistic, Joseph said.

The 2010 NPR also considers it “acceptable for Russia to have a larger nuclear force” than the US, and it establishes a US policy of “no new nuclear capabilities,” Joseph said.

But “much has changed in the past seven years,” Joseph said, and the strategic threat around the world is “much more complex and dangerous.” For one, Russia has “vastly superior theater nuclear forces,” he said. This means that Russia has developed new, low-yield nuclear weapons and has conducted exercises to explore their tactical deployment, according to Miller.

As a result, the US has “deterrent gaps” in its strategic policy, Joseph said, that need to be addressed in the NPR. The administration’s process marks “an opportunity … to turn the current situation around dramatically,” Miller said. The goal should be to “restore nuclear deterrence as the first priority of our nuclear policy,” Joseph said.

“We need to explore some new capabilities” as well, Miller insisted, including a focus on low-yield nuclear weapons and enhancing nuclear command and control infrastructure. To do so, he said, “is easily affordable.” Estimates show that total spending on nuclear forces at the height of the current modernization effort would represent “seven percent of all defense spending,” Miller said.
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Sustaining, Modernizing Nuclear Forces Vital to US Survival

Maintaining current US nuclear forces and replacing aging systems with modern weapons is “indispensable for national survival,” Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration, said Thursday. The current global “strategic environment” is “more dangerous” and “more polarized than ever before,” he told the audience at a Task Force 21-Minot event in Washington, D.C. While the US reduced nuclear forces in the decades after the Cold War, when hopes for lasting peace with Russia and other adversaries ran high, “history tells us that today’s behavior is normal,” Weinstein said, noting that history gives us no example of a nation that “voluntarily got weaker and survived.” Given the complexities of strategic threats today, “we’ve had some really great news,” Weinstein said, in the announcements of new contracts for the ICBM system, cruise missile, and the B-21 nuclear-capable bomber program. But those programs are all in early stages of development, Weinstein said, and “we have to maintain our current capabilities until the new capabilities are ready.” Key to speeding the arrival of new nuclear systems will be clear requirements, stability of natural resources and supply chains, and the identification and empowerment of “thought leaders” within program management, Weinstein said. —Wilson Brissett
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

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Offline bobbymike

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Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.

Charles W. Eliot