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The Bar / Re: Nuclear Weapons - Discussion.
« Last post by Airplane on Today at 06:18:49 pm »
Gee it is not like we have to guess, we witnessed the strategy that brought about the end of the Cold War and ultimately massive disarmament and it was research, develop, build and deploy in potentially massive numbers - originally the US was to deploy close to 17,000 strategic warheads by 1993 (mix SDI in here as well) - until they other side came to the negotiation table, to repeat, the exact opposite of what the arms controllers wanted to do.

Without going too deeply into

the minutiae of it all, the strategy (strategic nuclear) wasn't about bringing an end to the CW era but based on containment and (mutual) deterrence.

Certainly the (disorderly, abrupt) fall of the Iron Curtain took western intelligence (and thus policy) by quite a surprise, though it's also hard to argue that such an event even could be effectively planned and managed (incidentally current putinist "hybrid" doctrine does sort of try to interpret their then experience into a strategy of influence and/or conflict in a weird, through a looking glass revanchist manner). Accounts from all contemporaneus sides point to a seat of the pants approach and basically holding tight. Things unraveled to such a degree that food aid (!) had to be promptly sent to the soon to be former Soviet Union. Mikhail Gorbachev had been chosen already quite a bit earlier by the politburo to expressly address woes that went way beyond military - let alone nuclear arms - concerns. From a pile one can't simply pick one straw and claim it to have broken the camel's back, however apocalyptic that straw may theoretically be.

It's also a complete disservice to the very human social pressures that came from within the totalitarian communist system to suggest these peoples were somehow merely cowed to change, that they lacked agency. I've met and know a fair amount of people who witnessed those events from within. They faced tanks, complete insecurity and tremendous difficulty. They have been pummeled and their identities repeatedly challenged within a lifetime to a degree you and I can scarcely imagine. Sure, this is a discussion about nuclear weapons but I think it worth a detour or a disclaimer or two to avoid availability bias, i.e. seeing only nails for having a hammer (and/or straw for a sickle, going with the CW theme). We really must do better than "they" being a blanket synonym to the "other side" in discerning who and what we're dealing with at any given point. Quite a number of "them", too, were sufficiently convinced that a nuclear apocalypse was not so probable as to have motivation and determination to organize and act in spite of nuclear deterrence.

Lest you think I can't bring this back aroud to nuclear weapons in any meaningful way, then let's reflect on the current predicament vis--vis the (end of the) CW. Russia's GDP is (even less than) 1/10th of that of the US, North Korea's less than Vermont's (!) yet overtly confrontational nuclear postures have re-emerged, ranging from frayed to precariously volatile. In certain ways the nuclear risk is more manageable (numbers) is other ways less so (proliferation, "hybrid" percolation, lack of meaningful communication or understanding of intent). Rational "arms control", among other things, is weighing risk against reward. While I (at least) can't quite imagine a feasible path below extinction level stockpiles in any foreseeable situation (and thus those stockpiles should be resourced to be as reliable, modern and safe as possible), there certainly are rational limits to what kinds of amounts of weapons the military can/is at all willing to manage or indeed society can support indefinitely. Symbolic allocation of much greater resources beyond that (the amount of "that" being a more nuanced conversation, not some fixed theoretical combined yield baseline) is almost certainly ineffective, detrimental and self defeating in a multitude of ways.

As was during the CW, arms controllers are not some homogenous group. To lose that nuance e.g. for political expediency or plain convenience is a luxury even the US can't afford (for very long at least). There are elected officials, civilians, academy and career military well and truly steeped in the subject. I myself am sort of grudgingly reading up as far as I think it's my duty as a responsible, otherwise active and engaged person to be aware of these things. I self identify as an "arms controller" insofar as at least not seeing the technology as an end in itself. Predictably and sadly there are also "peace groups" who are basically astroturfed or otherwise unwittingly cajoled from Kremlin just as there were in the olden Soviet Days (which is one of the more traditional, carried over parts of the current putinist "hybrid" doctrine), along with agents provocateurs. The spectacle of Green party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Gen. Flynn attending an event celebrating RT with Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, alone, was something else indeed.

We're hopefully just shooting the breeze here and not something more acutely, tangibly intercontinental (nor formulating policy beyond a very granular capacity or capability) so perhaps we can at least recognize that history hasn't ended and while we have the capacity of having it end, we should minimize the reasons to seek or expect that outcome in whatever form (stagnation or conflagration). Arms control agreements and protocols aren't forever either (anymore than, say, the Polaris missile was), nor entirely devoid of cynicism or even deception, but that is not to say they're useless. Just another tool in the box. Idealism is keeping track, keeping perspective, keeping direction and IMHO that's perfectly fine while also being mindful of mundane practicalities as not to be(come) too nave and/or cynical.
Two quick point, 1) Under Reagan the strategy did absolutely change to 'winning the Cold War' although through every means short of war

Yep.  100 B-1B bombers in 4 years.  Deployment of the Peacekeeper ICBM and beginning of SICBM.  AGM-129 stealth cruise missile.  Pershing IIs and GLCM in Europe.  Beginning of B-2 production.  SRAM 2 initiation. Work towards the 600-ship navy, SDI,  etc. etc. etc.

That was before we lost our ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. Now we are going to build something like 7 Raiders a year. We retired the AGM-129 for the older more vulnerable ALCM from the 70s. Today you get called a lunatic for proposing building 2 different fighters simultaneously.
Aerospace / Re: A-X all over again - USAF pushes for A-10 replacement
« Last post by kcran567 on Today at 06:07:11 pm »
Taking a step "backwerds" deliberate dumbing down of capabilities. A WW2 style turboprop? Are you kidding?

Would be 100% better off buying SU-25 Frogfoots to replace the A-10.
Aerospace / Re: Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 and EMD F-23
« Last post by Airplane on Today at 05:51:59 pm »
I have often wondered how the 23 was going to incorporate thrust reversing before the short field performance requirement was dropped.
Military / Re: AMDR ships
« Last post by TomS on Today at 04:21:47 pm »
I'm still curious why they went with this Block II iteration rather than just adopting the SLAMRAAM-ER.  ???

We've gone over this before.  There's a bunch of compatibility features in ESSM Blk II that aren't in the stock AMRAAM seeker.,26880.msg276477.html#msg276477,23897.msg291412.html#msg291412
Aerospace / Re: Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 and EMD F-23
« Last post by DrRansom on Today at 04:09:45 pm »
Regarding the F/B-23, I've come to the conclusion that the decision not to replace the F-15E with a FB-22 or FB-23 is critical for the USAF's present issues.

If the USAF had the FB-22/23, that would give:
- a reduced range demand on the F-35, because other stealth aircraft would exist to fulfill long range role. Reduced range would have reduced weight, which would have had all sorts of benefits for the final F-35
- a large airframe strike fighter gives a perfect platform for interim electronic attack capability, the F-35 can do some through the AESA, but weight and heat limitations restrict the number of emitters than can be fitted
- a large airframe strike fighter would have reduced tanker demands and tactical fighter usage during the COIN operations, through longer endurance and payload

But, that is in the past.
The Bar / Re: HMS Sheffield Sinking Report
« Last post by DWG on Today at 03:23:38 pm »
Yikes, that's pretty damning about the command staff. Bar the speculation, I think most of the rest of it was known, certainly the damage control issues. In fact there was no point in the RN  trying to cover up something that was being openly discussed at the time. Showing the issues were being addressed was much more likely to improve sales prospects.
Aerospace / Re: Northrop/McDonnell Douglas YF-23 and EMD F-23
« Last post by Ogami musashi on Today at 02:57:26 pm »
The EMD version wasn't the final version, just like the final F-22 version was frozen april 1992 :) Tony chong explicitely label the EMD proposal as starting point for the final version. Besides, not only one version of the F-23 was studied at the time depending on evolving requirements within the ATF program. There were post EMD configurations studied but so far we haven't been able to see any of them.
The mid wing is just a conjecture from me, but i have some points
1/among the MRF variants (1992 so just months after the EMD would have been started), 2 of them shared F-23 features (clipped diamond wings and Vtails), one of them being a sub scaled twin engine F-23 and the other being the famous single engine with thrust vectoring. And both of them went to mid wing with both the fuselage and the engines now aligned with the horizontal center line of the plane.
2/The weapon bays of the F-23 EMD were tailored for aim120-A/B with 4 of them. The adaptation to clipped fins aim120Cs (those were not part of the ATF requirement) was harder than the F-22 because the wing bulkhead literally slashed through the main weapon bay and only let place for the aim-120A/B fins to pass. Lowering the fuselage to the HCL would have made the bulkhead pass higher and offer more freedom for the payload (i think).
3/For the F/B-23 they did just that. The fuselage is now aligned with the HCL, the engines are too. The were also moved aft presumably to offer more weapon bay length.
But who knows...

As for the B-2, i'm not a specialist but i believe around the early 90's, there were some major problems with the RCS due to coatings defects and some other technical difficulties Northrop encountered and the USAF wasn't happy with that especially since TASSAM was also plagued with delays and technical problems.

There is a western Museum of flight interview of a Northrop test pilot of the F-5 and he briefly talks about the F-20. According to him, the USAF already told Northrop "they should first try managing their existing programs before thinking of adding some more". Coincidentally, the day Northrop was told to close the F-20 program, they were selected as finalists in the ATF competition.
Nice drawings,thank you Scrutor.
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