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Author Topic: Air-launched missile defence concept  (Read 24145 times)

Offline quellish

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Offline Maury Markowitz

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #61 on: April 12, 2018, 04:52:28 pm »
Wasn't AARS supposed to provide targeting data for depressed trajectory SLBMs (possibly with a terminally guided MaRV) ?
No, AARS was meant to do long-range MTI against Topol TELs.

I never saw a reference to it being used against SLBMs.

And how would it help against MARV anyway? MARV is a problem for the interceptor and terminal radars, not detection.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #62 on: April 12, 2018, 05:48:22 pm »
Wasn't AARS supposed to provide targeting data for depressed trajectory SLBMs (possibly with a terminally guided MaRV) ?
No, AARS was meant to do long-range MTI against Topol TELs.

I never saw a reference to it being used against SLBMs.

And how would it help against MARV anyway? MARV is a problem for the interceptor and terminal radars, not detection.

I think we are in violent agreement as to what AARS was intended to do. 

The question is which weapons would be used to prosecute the attacks against the TELs that AARS was tracking.


Offline quellish

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #63 on: April 14, 2018, 12:22:08 pm »

I think we are in violent agreement as to what AARS was intended to do. 

The question is which weapons would be used to prosecute the attacks against the TELs that AARS was tracking.

SRAMs launched from B-2s. AARS and the B-2s used MILSTAR to move data. No way to get AARS data to SLBMs in a timely fashion (SSBNs would have to be waiting for the data at periscope depth anyway and reprogramming the missiles may not be a quick process).

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #64 on: April 16, 2018, 02:25:50 pm »
Quick-retargeting of ICBMs (REACT) and SLBMs (SRS) began in the mid-80's.
I would think that it any crisis that motivated the launch of AARS, communications with SSBNs
would be easier.

Was the "mobile missile hunting B-2" concept anything more than a fanciful "Save the B-2" effort?

While the Regan administration was willing to permit ISR overflights of the Soviet Union
in peacetime (which made AARS viable) I don't think it extended to nuclear armed bombers.

Short of a US first-strike (or the mother-of-all tanker chains), I don't see how the the B-2 has much
more than residual capability in the mobile-missile hunting role.

Offline quellish

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #65 on: April 29, 2018, 09:19:44 pm »
Quick-retargeting of ICBMs (REACT) and SLBMs (SRS) began in the mid-80's.
I would think that it any crisis that motivated the launch of AARS, communications with SSBNs
would be easier.

SSBNs have (long range) communications when at periscope depth and when submerged. The submerged system is very very low bandwidth. Targets can be sent from STRATCOM over the high bandwidth system. The low bandwidth system can be used to tell the SSBN to go to periscope depth for new orders/targets/pizza/whatever. AARS would be unable to use the low bandwidth system for technical and practical reasons.

When SLBMs are retargetted imagine it as loading a new program into the system. The program isn't (and can't be) created on the SSBN.

Was the "mobile missile hunting B-2" concept anything more than a fanciful "Save the B-2" effort?

It was a primary mission of the B-2 from 81-89. The mission justified much of the stealth, the DMS and ESM, and in particular the radar. The B-2 can hang out for a long, long time over defended territory without much support. That was the idea, and that drove many of the more interesting requirements.

The plan looked something like this:
SS-20, -24, -25 are continuously monitored using national assets in peacetime (SIGINT, COMINT, overhead radar).
When hostilities are initiated AARS uses radar and SIGINT to search the areas where mobile targets are likely to be based on the peacetime monitoring. This narrows the search area and hopefully identifies precise target locations.
B-2s follow in and track the mobile targets using the strike radar. SRAMs are launched to destory them. MILSTAR is how the B-2s communicate with AARS and STRATCOM.

That was the plan as these systems were being developed and funded, and how USAF and STRATCOM were sold on participating in AARS. AARS was originally a CIA/NRO program but, you know, money.
USAF/STRATCOM needs added/changed requirements. AARS had to do much more than just be a persistent eye to satisfy SIOP needs and that drove costs up further.

There was never an actual SIOP that incorporated these elements. The world changed, programs were canceled (AARS, MILSTAR(?), SRAM-II, B-2) etc. and even the nature of the SIOP itself changed.


While the Regan administration was willing to permit ISR overflights of the Soviet Union
in peacetime (which made AARS viable) I don't think it extended to nuclear armed bombers.

There are many flaws in the above plan. What if national assets did not know the (general) locations of all the mobile missiles at the start of hostilities? How would AARS get in place in time? How many AARS would be needed to cover SIOP, Trans-SIOP, and post-SIOP needs?
How would AARS lift off the ground with the weight of all the computers it would need? They were trying to automate like.... all of NPIC. Into the aircraft.

Would it not make a little more sense if AARS was a high speed aircraft rather than a persistent subsonic one?

Short of a US first-strike (or the mother-of-all tanker chains), I don't see how the the B-2 has much
more than residual capability in the mobile-missile hunting role.

This is how the B-2 and AARS were sold to the people who funded them. Whether this would have worked in practice is another thing.

Offline jsport

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #66 on: April 30, 2018, 12:51:51 pm »
"There are many flaws in the above plan. What if national assets did not know the (general) locations of all the mobile missiles at the start of hostilities? How would AARS get in place in time? How many AARS would be needed to cover SIOP, Trans-SIOP, and post-SIOP needs?
How would AARS lift off the ground with the weight of all the computers it would need? They were trying to automate like.... all of NPIC. Into the aircraft.

Would it not make a little more sense if AARS was a high speed aircraft rather than a persistent subsonic one?"

yes these are now contemporary issues.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #67 on: April 30, 2018, 05:29:04 pm »

SSBNs have (long range) communications when at periscope depth and when submerged. The submerged system is very very low bandwidth. Targets can be sent from STRATCOM over the high bandwidth system. The low bandwidth system can be used to tell the SSBN to go to periscope depth for new orders/targets/pizza/whatever. AARS would be unable to use the low bandwidth system for technical and practical reasons.

The submerged system was not particularly low bandwidth since the BALPARS data set was not small and was sent twice a day.
Indeed, GAO in 1992 said that C3 to SSBNs is about a prompt as ICBMs silos and there was no operationally meaningful
difference in time to target for SLBMs.

In any event, the crisis that prompted the launch of AARS would have prompted SSBNs to come shallow.



When SLBMs are retargetted imagine it as loading a new program into the system. The program isn't (and can't be) created on the SSBN.

It's interpolation or extrapolation from the existing target set which they have to do anyway to accommodate the BALPARS data.

Was the "mobile missile hunting B-2" concept anything more than a fanciful "Save the B-2" effort?

It was a primary mission of the B-2 from 81-89.

Which is contradicted by:
 
Welch's congressional testimony in 1989:  “finding and striking highly mobile targets is neither the reason for the B-2...."
GAO, which said in 1992 for the B-2 vis-a-vis SRTs that "no special capability exists or is foreseen" 
and the declassified NSDD 178 (July 10, 1985) which says that:

"During the development of the ATB, design options will be preserved to ensure that the ATB could ultimately have the capability in conjunction
with other national assets to locate and attack relocatable targets within the Soviet Union and other potential adversaries"

That's pretty far from a primary mission. Had it in fact been ATB's primary mission there would be no need to mention this.

I can't find any evidence that any of the counter-SRT warheads that were studied were envisioned for SRAM II.


The mission justified much of the stealth, the DMS and ESM, and in particular the radar. The B-2 can hang out for a long, long time over defended territory without much support. That was the idea, and that drove many of the more interesting requirements.

You would have needed all of the above and SRAM II just to survive against the mobile SAM systems and to prosecute attacks
against the existing stationary target set protected by terminal defenses. 


There was never an actual SIOP that incorporated these elements.

Agreed.


While the Regan administration was willing to permit ISR overflights of the Soviet Union
in peacetime (which made AARS viable) I don't think it extended to nuclear armed bombers.

There are many flaws in the above plan.

Who claimed it was flawless? But it is well attested to in the declassified documents.
It's clear that there were no flawless plans or concepts for countering the SRT threat.

Would it not make a little more sense if AARS was a high speed aircraft rather than a persistent subsonic one?

No. Because EO/IR and particularly SAR/ESM/GMTI all like long dwells and low platform speed.
That leads you to persistent subsonic platforms or ICBM/SLBM rapid delivery of subsonic platforms like MSTART
which is of course consistent with REACT and the other SRT targeting system the US actually funded and pursued.

Short of a US first-strike (or the mother-of-all tanker chains), I don't see how the the B-2 has much
more than residual capability in the mobile-missile hunting role.
This is how the B-2 and AARS were sold to the people who funded them. Whether this would have worked in practice is another thing.

It's clear from all of the declassified documents that the Reagan administration wanted at least residual capabiltiy
against SRTs from all of the elements of the Triad.

Offline quellish

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #68 on: April 30, 2018, 11:29:31 pm »
The submerged system was not particularly low bandwidth since the BALPARS data set was not small and was sent twice a day.

ELF - particularly as used by the US Navy - has a bandwidth of about a word per minute. And we are talking about very short words here. That is low bandwidth.

The Navy "fast retargeting" systems introduced in the 90s and 00s are intended to shift missiles to existing fixed targets, not new ones. When a target is missed by a missile the retargeting system can shift a subsequent missile to that (already programmed) target.
Regardless, fast retargeting systems were not deployed at the time.

Indeed, GAO in 1992 said that C3 to SSBNs is about a prompt as ICBMs silos and there was no operationally meaningful
difference in time to target for SLBMs.

In any event, the crisis that prompted the launch of AARS would have prompted SSBNs to come shallow.

They would not be hanging out at periscope depth for the duration of a crisis.

Which is contradicted by:

Welch's congressional testimony in 1989:  “finding and striking highly mobile targets is neither the reason for the B-2...."
[/qupte]

Which continued:
"...nor are we likely to accomplish that in the near to mid term with great efficiency unless we make a further big commitment to some other system."

The big commitment to some other system being AARS. This was at the time when USAF was gaining a larger responsibility for that program.

GAO, which said in 1992 for the B-2 vis-a-vis SRTs that "no special capability exists or is foreseen" 

By 1992 the B-2 mission had changed. Again, the world had changed. STRATCOM had changed. SIOP, as we knew it, was dead.

and the declassified NSDD 178 (July 10, 1985) which says that:

"During the development of the ATB, design options will be preserved to ensure that the ATB could ultimately have the capability in conjunction
with other national assets to locate and attack relocatable targets within the Soviet Union and other potential adversaries"
[/qupte]

"Other national assets" here being the very systems we are talking about. AARS and satellites.

As far as the B-2 SRT mission, see attached from "Testing and operational requirements for the B-2" testimony. There are many other examples in the public record of the B-2 SRT mission.

You would have needed all of the above and SRAM II just to survive against the mobile SAM systems and to prosecute attacks
against the existing stationary target set protected by terminal defenses. 

As you might imagine this problem was studied to death at the time and the outcomes did not agree with that position. The B-2 was more than capable of accomplishing its mission given the current and projected threats at the time.

No. Because EO/IR and particularly SAR/ESM/GMTI all like long dwells and low platform speed.

A few SR-71 RSOs would disagree with that.
There is nothing inherent to, say, SAR that dictates a low platform speed.

It's clear from all of the declassified documents that the Reagan administration wanted at least residual capabiltiy
against SRTs from all of the elements of the Triad.

STRATCOM had a strategy of cross-targeting at the time. For some targets this was not practical. Not every target was vulnerable to multiple capabilities. Arms control agreements put additional pressure on STRATCOM targeting.

Offline marauder2048

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #69 on: May 01, 2018, 01:49:46 am »
BALPARS was VLF anyway so the submarine had to come (relatively) shallow to get the wind/atmospheric data
to ensure that its very expensive SLBM RBs weren't scattered. Plus, Trident D5 was supposed to be
MILSTAR compatible.

I've love to see some actual evidence that the B-2's primary mission since 1981 was counter SRT.
The 1985 document pre-dates and contradicts what you provided and was at a much higher classification level.
GAO's 1992 analysis is still valid because as they say: "Our analysis of the B-2 focused on its originally intended
strategic-nuclear mission."

Fast retargeting would have been suitable for the SS-25 threat since most of
the studies during the period considered attacks on the dispersal regions around their garrisons.

"Fast retargeting systems were not deployed at this time." Well neither was the B-2.
But I think it's clear these programs all got their counter-SRT start after 1985 per the presidential directive.
And many of the counter-SRT efforts the Air Force actually funded were not built around the penetrating bomber.

The SR-71 was retired (in part) because it wasn't a very good SAR platform; for SAR, platform velocity is in the denominator for SNR.
That's why the U-2 continued since ideally you want high, slow and good endurance.

Offline bobbymike

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Re: Air-launched missile defence concept
« Reply #70 on: May 02, 2018, 06:55:20 am »
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