A peek on future american SLBMs and ICBMs

bobbymike

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Although this testimony is old I believe the Trident II LEP program as outlined is ongoing:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/congress/2007_h/070328-johnson.pdf
 

bobbymike

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From a Global Security Newswire article;


General Karakayev Russian Strategic Missile Forces, "In contrast to START 1, the New START [treaty] does not limit the areas, in which road-mobile missile systems of the [strategic missile forces] may operate," he said. "The New START sets no limits to the modernization of existent missiles and the development of new weapons. The new missiles are being developed with due account of this treaty," he said..........................

Our modernization plans start in ?
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
From a Global Security Newswire article;


General Karakayev Russian Strategic Missile Forces, "In contrast to START 1, the New START [treaty] does not limit the areas, in which road-mobile missile systems of the [strategic missile forces] may operate," he said. "The New START sets no limits to the modernization of existent missiles and the development of new weapons. The new missiles are being developed with due account of this treaty," he said..........................

Our modernization plans start in ?
Shortly after hell freezes over most likely.
 

bobbymike

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U.S. Plans New Docking Site for Missile Upgrades

The United States in July is expected to launch construction of a $715 million docking facility for enhancing its fleet of submarine-fired ballistic missiles, the Seattle Times reported on Sunday (see GSN, March 29, 2011).


The U.S. Navy has said the second dock site, planned for Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state, would prove key to extending the service life of the nation's Trident 2 D-5 ballistic missiles through 2042. Related operations are expected to require twice the number of days of annual dock availability possible at the base's existing berth.


The Defense Department is expected in early 2012 to deliver its environmental assessment for the dock, one of the final regulatory requirements for the four-year building effort to start.


http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/us-build-new-docking-site-ballistic-missile-updates/
 

bobbymike

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U.S. Air Force Eyes Mobile Options for Future ICBM
Feb. 10, 2012 By Elaine M. Grossman Global Security Newswire


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force is studying a wide range of options for how to base future nuclear ICBMs, including the possibility of making them mobile rather than installing them in fixed underground silos, a service official said in an interview (see GSN, Jan. 30).


Initial analyses have weighed the prospects for simply remanufacturing today’s Minuteman 3 ICBMs, according to Col. John Johnson, who heads ICBM requirements at the Air Force Global Strike Command. They have also looked at a variety of brand new options for a future ground-based leg of the nuclear triad, he said last week. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, a major report on the nation’s nuclear strategy, forces and readiness, said the Pentagon would explore “new modes of ICBM basing that enhance survivability and further reduce any incentives for prompt launch.” This might include fielding missiles that could be dispersed on trucks or trains in a crisis, according to experts. The Air Force now has 450 Minuteman 3 missiles based in subterranean launch structures in three states.

Under the terms of last year’s New START arms control agreement with Russia, the United States has said it would retain no more than 420 Minuteman 3 ICBMs. The replacement ballistic missiles are to be fielded by 2030 as today’s Minuteman missiles are retired.


In initial studies, the Air Force’s strike headquarters “reviewed the spectrum of options from upgrading the current system that we have in the field today, and all the way up to replacing with a new system with alternate basing, as directed in the NPR,” Johnson told Global Security Newswire in a Jan. 31 interview. “Those are the scope [of options] that we’re looking at.” The service official declined to provide further detail about the possible technology solutions under consideration, citing the “sensitive nature of the assessment.”


Air Force Global Strike Command last year completed a preliminary programmatic phase for the future ICBM, in which officials drafted a secret “initial capabilities document” outlining the main features needed for the future missile to perform its military missions. Air Force officials plan to vet the requirements document through the Louisiana-based command and submit it to service headquarters for approval by March, Johnson said on Monday in a written response to additional questions. By June, the Air Force hopes to receive multiservice support for its future-ICBM requirements in the form of a nod from the Pentagon’s top-level Joint Requirements Oversight Council, he said. Johnson and his colleagues are also now preparing for the next preparatory phase of the future ICBM program, in which they will draft a formal “Analysis of Alternatives” for actually filling the requirements laid out in the initial capabilities document.


In addition to discussing basing options, missile requirements documents typically set performance parameters such as speed, range and payload. Beginning late last summer, Johnson and his command began establishing work groups and formulating a study plan for the Analysis of Alternatives. The study plan is “starting to put boundaries on to the left side, to the right side, of what we need to look at,” he said. “And then that will inform or prepare us better for the Analysis of Alternatives.” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz last February said his service would request funds to begin the so-called “AOA” in fiscal 2013 (see GSN, March 23, 2011). The Obama administration on Monday is expected to release its budget plan for the coming fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. The Air Force has budgeted more than $10 million in fiscal 2013 and a similar amount in 2014 to conduct the major analysis, according to other defense sources who declined to be named in discussing as-yet unannounced spending plans. The Analysis of Alternatives was earlier planned to have begun in fiscal 2012 and completed in 2014, when “DOD will recommend a specific way-ahead for an ICBM follow-on to the president,” according to a 2010 administration report to Congress dubbed the “1251 Update.” Although it is now clear the analysis will begin late, Johnson declined to address current expectations for when the AOA process would conclude.


The Air Force colonel did indicate, though, that the Analysis of Alternatives would speak to whether a future ICBM should be able to carry only a single warhead or alternatively, perhaps, include a capacity for additional warheads to be “uploaded.” The Nuclear Posture Review said that all Minuteman 3s on alert today would be “de-MIRVed” and carry just one warhead, even though they were originally built to deliver up to three warheads. The review said that loading all Minuteman 3s with a single warhead would increase stability at times of crisis by “reducing the incentives for either side to strike first.” A missile with fewer warheads makes a less attractive target for Washington’s nuclear adversaries and diminishes the risk of a “use-or-lose” phenomenon, according to conventional wisdom in nuclear policy circles. The Pentagon’s posture review did not specifically say, however, whether a future ground-based missile might be able to carry more than a single weapon. Some analysts argue that such a feature could help Washington hedge against a potentially resurgent Russia or the unexpected rise of another significant nuclear weapons state. On the other hand, it also might compel similar -- and unwelcome -- hedging actions abroad. “Some ability to ‘upload’ nondeployed nuclear weapons on existing delivery vehicles should be retained as a hedge against technical or geopolitical surprise,” the 2010 nuclear review stated. It added a caveat, though, against a multiwarhead capability on ICBMs: “Preference will be given to upload capacity for bombers and strategic submarines.” With budget pressures mounting in Congress and at the Pentagon, there have been increasing calls to eliminate plans for a next-generation ICBM, and perhaps move to a two-legged nuclear “dyad” (see GSN, Feb. 8).


However, Johnson emphasized the importance of retaining ICBMs into the future, alongside ballistic missile-armed submarines and nuclear-capable bomber aircraft. “The stability of an on-alert, homeland-based ICBM force is increasingly vital to offset the potential for instability as arsenal sizes decline,” he said in written responses. “Such a force raises the threshold for adversary attack on the homeland and negates any perception that an adversary could achieve a ‘fait accompli’ through a small-scale first strike.” Today’s expenditure-cutting mandates -- which have already triggered a $487 billion defense budget reduction over the next decade -- could compel the Air Force and Navy to team up on the development of selected technologies for future ballistic missiles, according to military sources. Johnson was reluctant to discuss details, but did acknowledge behind-the-scenes discussion about the potential for the two services to jointly build technologies for missile guidance, propulsion and fuses. If this type of approach proves feasible, future Air Force and Navy ballistic missiles might share the same design for these key components, even if the weapons differ in other ways, according to other defense sources. Navy leaders plan to initially field today’s nuclear-armed Trident D-5 ballistic missiles aboard their future Ohio-class replacement submarines, but also hope to develop a next-generation missile to replace the D-5 after the new vessels begin deploying (see GSN, Feb. 4, 2011). The Navy also wants to design a new, conventionally armed ballistic missile for its Virginia-class submarines (see GSN, Jan. 27). “Because Navy and Air Force strategic missile systems have different operating environments, having a completely common missile system is not achievable,” Johnson noted. “However, the Air Force is already working with the Navy in several technical areas.” Those include a fuse modernization effort, the development of updated guidance system components and the study of common rocket booster technologies, he said. “As DOD programs continue to compete for limited fiscal resources, it becomes more important for the Air Force and the Navy to leverage to the greatest extent possible our expertise” and identify technologies that could be used in both services’ missile systems, Johnson said.
 

Grey Havoc

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Broken record. Is Mise.​


IMAGE CREDIT: Globalsecurity.org
 

bobbymike

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Unfortunately I am feeling very cynical about the possibility of anything getting built. I imagine the "classified" report already produced looks something like this:

Minuteman III Replacement Options:

None

End report. :eek:
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
Unfortunately I am feeling very cynical about the possibility of anything getting built. I imagine the "classified" report already produced looks something like this:

Minuteman III Replacement Options:

None

End report. :eek:
Same here. Except it'd be a thousand pages, cost $10 million to produce, and say the same thing.
 

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bobbymike said:
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Air Force is studying a wide range of options for how to base future nuclear ICBMs, including the possibility of making them mobile rather than installing them in fixed underground silos, a service official said in an interview (see GSN, Jan. 30)
About time. Silos are just giant fixed targets nowadays, with increasingly precise weapons becoming available to the global munitions market. Plus, fixed silos mean that entire states become radio-active death zones in the event of Nuclear war due to thousands of groundbursts, and the radio-active fallout fun downwind on the east coast due to that.

Plus, they're just not as secure as you might think. There was a document written by R&D Associates in November 1974 for DARPA titled "A Soviet Paramilitary Attack on US Nuclear Forces -- A Concept".

Basically, it concluded that you could penetrate Minuteman and Titan Silo doors with a 40 pound shape charge, and then pour flammable liquids inside the breach. Alternatively, a 75 pound shape charge would penetrate the silo door, and mess up the missile inside pretty much.

It concluded the total weight of equipment needed to destroy a silo would be under 100 pounds and could fit in the trunk of a small car.

Additionally, because the silos have only one security fence, and are otherwise unguarded; a single person can destroy a ICBM in less than five minutes, which is less than the response time of base guards, even those with helicopters, due to the remoteness of the sites themselves.

They also posited using laser guided anti tank missiles to take out B-52s to be fair, but a B-52 base is much more compact and easily guarded than a Missile Wing at F.E. Warren.

For SSBNs, it was covert limpet mines, or torpedoes launched from a fishing boat; or using mortars combined with remotely piloted air vehicles to spot for them.

You can download the report here:
www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/operation_and_plans/NuclearChemicalBiologicalMatters/759.pdf
 

sferrin

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RyanCrierie said:
Basically, it concluded that you could penetrate Minuteman and Titan Silo doors with a 40 pound shape charge, and then pour flammable liquids inside the breach. Alternatively, a 75 pound shape charge would penetrate the silo door, and mess up the missile inside pretty much.

It concluded the total weight of equipment needed to destroy a silo would be under 100 pounds and could fit in the trunk of a small car.
www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/operation_and_plans/NuclearChemicalBiologicalMatters/759.pdf
Where in marked contrast, with a mobile ICBM you could simply use the car to kill it. Good thing we don't have any cars. Oh. . .
 

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sferrin said:
Where in marked contrast, with a mobile ICBM you could simply use the car to kill it. Good thing we don't have any cars. Oh. . .
If you wanted to kill a mobile ICBM, you'd have to make it past the escort first; as it would be escorted in any case, like the Russkies do with theirs.

Now, granted; if you were sufficiently ballsy, you could find the likely dispersal roads for wartime (only so many roads away from the peacetime base that has the garages and such), and set up an ambush with an ATGM; but the odds would be much less in your favor than with "find ICBM silo in middle of nowhere and mess with it".
 

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sferrin

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RyanCrierie said:
sferrin said:
Where in marked contrast, with a mobile ICBM you could simply use the car to kill it. Good thing we don't have any cars. Oh. . .
If you wanted to kill a mobile ICBM, you'd have to make it past the escort first; as it would be escorted in any case, like the Russkies do with theirs.

Now, granted; if you were sufficiently ballsy, you could find the likely dispersal roads for wartime (only so many roads away from the peacetime base that has the garages and such), and set up an ambush with an ATGM; but the odds would be much less in your favor than with "find ICBM silo in middle of nowhere and mess with it".
Except there is a lot of security associated with ICBM silos. Just because there isn't a soldier sitting on the lid with a gun doesn't mean they aren't watched. As for the mobile ICBM those things aren't exactly armored. An IED or readliy available .50 caliber sniper rifle could mission kill it.
 

GeorgeA

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Well if this thing would be anything like the Midgetman launcher, it'd be pretty heavily armored.
 

sferrin

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GeorgeA said:
Well if this thing would be anything like the Midgetman launcher, it'd be pretty heavily armored.
Even Abrams tanks aren't immune to IEDs and shots in vulnerable areas.
 

bobbymike

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The future of the ICBM from Air Force Magazine 25 years ago.


http://www.airforce-magazine.com/MagazineArchive/Documents/1987/July%201987/0787icbm.pdf
 

sferrin

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Thought that was going to be something current.

Here's a current peek:





Here it is again:
 

bobbymike

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U.S. Rocket Industry Is Looking Into An Abyss Friday, July 20, 2012

Last week, United Technologies announced the pending sale of its Rocketdyne subsidiary to GenCorp. Rocketdyne’s principal claim to fame was as a maker of large, liquid-fueled rocket motors such as those that powered Atlas, Delta and Saturn rockets as well as the Space Shuttle. In its new home, Rocketdyne will be joining Aerojet, a long-time producer of both liquid and solid rocket boosters that powered NASA launch vehicles, U.S. strategic ballistic missiles and missile defense interceptors. The pending sale will reduce the number of major U.S. producers of large rocket boosters to two companies: the Aerojet/Rocketdyne team and Alliant Techsystems which built the Shuttle’s reusable solid rocket motors, Delta rockets, and Minuteman and Trident boosters. A few other companies retain some capability, particularly in the production of smaller rocket motors.


While the Rocketdyne sale is a good move for both corporations, it signals the problematic state of the U.S. large rocket motor industrial base. Put simply, the U.S. rocket motor industry is staring into an abyss. Over the past several decades, Rocketdyne had seen its business decline sharply, first as U.S. industry was aced out of the commercial launch business by foreign competition and second when NASA shut down the Shuttle program and rolled the dice on untested commercial launch providers for much of the future of this nation’s civil space launch capability. Add to the decline in NASA business the conclusion of the ICBM modernization program, a delay in the program to develop follow-ons for the Minuteman and Trident missiles and the cut back in purchases of the Ground-Based Interceptors for the National Missile Defense system, and the consequences for the industry as whole are dire. Not only are the large primes merging but the vendor base is shrinking at an alarming rate. Many precursor chemicals absolutely essential to the production of rocket fuel are no longer produced in the United States due to environmental legislation and must be acquired from countries such as China and France. For this administration, with its focus on competition at all costs in defense acquisition, to agree to the Rocketdyne sale suggests that the Pentagon also sees a difficult future ahead for the large rocket motor business.


Maintaining a robust rocket motor industrial base is vital to U.S. national security. It also is the best way to ensure competition for future contracts, technological innovation and a surge capability. Bluntly stated, this means changing this administration’s acquisition strategy on a number of programs from a new strategic missile to replace the Minuteman and Trident, purchases of Ground-Based Interceptors, and a return to manned space flights. Without question such changes will require additional funding in a time of fiscal austerity. But such expenditures are the price of providing for the national defense in the space age. In addition, money spent now to maintain a robust rocket motor industrial base will pay dividends in terms of technologies that reduce costs and prices established by a competitive contracting environment.


Unfortunately, such a change in acquisition strategy will have to await the outcome of the presidential elections. In the near-term, Congress and the Department of Defense need to get a handle on the problem. Secretary of Defense Panetta should direct the Defense Science Board to examine the current state of and future prospects for the propellant and rocket motor industrial base. If the Pentagon won’t do it, Congress should mandate such a study. Come January 20, the next administration will have to hit the ground running if it hopes to salvage this industrial sector.
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We must exercise the industrial base for large missiles especially solid rockets for use in future strategic strike systems. I would have an immediate budget line item for a future ICBM and SLBM to replace MMIII and the D5.
 

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Aerojets LEO-7 2nd Stage Rocket Motor Completes Successful Hot-Fire Test






Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY) company, announced today that its Low Earth Orbit (LEO)-7 second stage rocket motor successfully completed a hot-fire test at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California.Aerojet monitored the recent full-duration test in support of the Low Earth Orbiting Nanosatellite Integrated Defense Autonomous System program. "This initial ground hot-fire test demonstrates the success of our motor development efforts enabling rapid, low-cost access to space,” said John Napior, Aerojet director, Advanced Programs. Three different LEO motors provide the axial propulsion for the Super Strypi launch vehicle. The vehicle’s architecture enables small satellite launches at dramatically reduced costs. Following the fabrication and test of this first set of ground test motors, Aerojet will build a set of flight demonstration motors under contract from the Hawaii Space Flight Laboratory and Operationally Responsive Space office.



The flight demonstration vehicle is planned to be launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii in the fall 2013 using a refurbished Scout rail launcher. Aerojet's second stage LEO-7 motor carries approximately 7,000 lbs of solid rocket propellant and uses design features adapted from the company’s collective commercial and government-sponsored solid rocket motor technology programs. “The design attributes of the LEO-7 motor will serve applications in both small launch vehicles and strategic deterrence missile architectures,” said Mark Kaufman, Aerojet executive director, Strategic Systems. “Additionally, the project is an exemplary demonstration of collaborative research efforts between industry and government in the pursuit of affordably sustaining our critical solid rocket motor industrial base.”
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It appears some work is being done, not enough IMHO.
 

bobbymike

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NASA Selects Aerojet for SLS Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration / Risk Reduction Negotiations

Aerojet, a GenCorp company (NYSE: GY), announced today that it was one of a number of firms selected to develop engineering demonstrations and risk reduction concepts for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS).


Aerojet’s “Full-Scale Combustion Stability Demonstration” solution was geared at improving the affordability, reliability and performance of an advanced booster for SLS. This selection is expected to result in a firm-fixed price contract with a period of performance beginning on or about Oct. 1, 2012 and ending on March 31, 2015. Designed to be flexible for spacecraft launch, including NASA’s Orion multipurpose vehicle which relies in part on Aerojet propulsion, SLS’s evolved configuration will require an advanced booster with a significant increase in thrust from exisiting U.S. liquid and solid rocket boosters.
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Programs like these are so key to keep the industrial base on the cutting edge but we have to have the will to complete new advanced designs, test and deploy them.
 

bobbymike

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My email:

Mr. Caston,

From the Rand website;

Next Generation ICBM — Maintaining Stability Using a New Land-based Deterrent Force Project Leaders: Lauren Caston
Sponsors: AF/A10*; AFGSC/CC*
Level of Effort (STE): 2.5 This study will develop a concept for a new system of a land-based strategic deterrent. This system will incorporate enhancements to C2 architecture, required capabilities and modes of basing that allow the AF to attain the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) goal of maintaining strategic stability while providing the President more decision time to respond to an attack. Additionally, integration of any potential commonalities with the prompt global strike mission and the US Navy’s part of the nuclear triad ensures the AF meets NPR and DoD policy while in a fiscally constrained budget environment.

---------------------------------------------------------
Is there any plan to release a report that would be available to the general public?
 

bobbymike

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His response arrived email today:

RAND plans to release this report as a book by the end of the year, and likely within the next two months. You will be able to find it on RAND's website at that time.
Thank you for your interest.
Yours, Lauren Caston
 

bobbymike

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As intercontinental ballistic missiles gain prominence in the Air Force’s nuclear enterprise, service officials related the importance of maintaining the system during the 2012 Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 18.


Panelists included Maj. Gen. William Chambers, assistant chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration; retired Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz, senior fellow for strategic studies and arms control council on foreign relations; and Elbridge Colby, global strategic affairs principal analyst, CNA. “The ICBM is stabilizing, lethal, responsive, survivable and highly credible,” Chambers said, adding that he sees ICBM as a homeland-based force that maintains strategic stability and supports conflict resolution below the nuclear threshold. “It does this by imposing great costs on any would-be aggressor and denying any adversary a nuclear coercion option,” he explained.


Chambers also noted that ICBMs are among the most reliable and inexpensive strategic systems to operate and maintain. “In fiscal year 2011, the Air Force provided an ICBM capability to the nation for one percent of the overall Air Force budget,” Chambers said. “That’s not a lot of money for the overall global stability that this force provides America.” While some advocates of deep reductions have called for total elimination of ICBM, the panel assured that the ICBM is essential to deterrence and strategic stability. “If the ICBM were eliminated, the number of strategic targets an adversary would have to attack to seriously undermine or even destroy the U.S. nuclear deterrent force would be reduced from more than 500 to perhaps a dozen,” Klotz said. The panel underscored the importance of maintaining the ICBM in the 21st century. “It’s very important to think about new capabilities and maintaining the same fundamental approach to deterrence — putting the fear into your opponent so you don’t ever have to go to war,” Colby said.


The panelists acknowledged that though opinions may vary about ICBM’s future, the system must continue to progress. “The most pressing task is to work toward a broad, national consensus on the steps that need to be taken to maintain a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal in the years ahead and to demonstrate real … purpose in achieving them,” Klotz said.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
“If the ICBM were eliminated, the number of strategic targets an adversary would have to attack to seriously undermine or even destroy the U.S. nuclear deterrent force would be reduced from more than 500 to perhaps a dozen,” Klotz said.
This. Despite the, "the other guy knows where each one it" he still has to hit it. It boggles my mind that anybody would think reducing it to half a dozen targets (deployed SSBNs) is an intelligent idea.
 

bobbymike

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From the Air Force Association Air and Space Symposium:

http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-121002-064.pdf
 

bobbymike

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Common Ground?

The Air Force could pair up with the Navy on a common ballistic missile concept, which if used on the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine, would aid the Navy in reducing cost, according to Rear Adm. Terry Benedict, the Navy's strategic systems director. At the Naval Submarine League's annual symposium this week, Benedict said the concept was one of several alternatives the services could choose. Benedict recently flew to Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, to discuss collaboration possibilities with the head of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. James Kowalski.
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So Trident is larger in diameter than MMIII so with the Navy go smaller, now that SLBMs will presumably carry far fewer warheads under New Start, or will the Air Force go bigger and have an upload capability?
 

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bobbymike said:
“The ICBM is stabilizing, lethal, responsive, survivable and highly credible,”
Only in the absence of ABM. It'll be interesting to see the next couple of years as the Chinese conduct more advanced mid-course ABM intercept tests...
“If the ICBM were eliminated, the number of strategic targets an adversary would have to attack to seriously undermine or even destroy the U.S. nuclear deterrent force would be reduced from more than 500 to perhaps a dozen,” Klotz said.
Actually less than that; don't count individual silos, but the LCCs.
 

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sferrin said:
It boggles my mind that anybody would think reducing it to half a dozen targets (deployed SSBNs) is an intelligent idea.
Pfft. Think big. We've been able to design nuclear warheads that fit within 6.1" artillery shells. SDB is 7.5" in diameter. Imagine a B-2 with 200 nuclear weapons on board; or F-22/F-35 each carrying eight nuclear weapons; half the warload of a old fashioned B-2 Spirit go to war payload.
 

bobbymike

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RyanCrierie said:
sferrin said:
It boggles my mind that anybody would think reducing it to half a dozen targets (deployed SSBNs) is an intelligent idea.
Pfft. Think big. We've been able to design nuclear warheads that fit within 6.1" artillery shells. SDB is 7.5" in diameter. Imagine a B-2 with 200 nuclear weapons on board; or F-22/F-35 each carrying eight nuclear weapons; half the warload of a old fashioned B-2 Spirit go to war payload.
While what you say is accurate I would argue the US no longer has the capability nor the budget to produce a brand new warhead for what in effect would be a new design to fit in an SDB.
 

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Joint USAF-Navy Ballistic Missile 'Unlikely', But Commonality Is A Must
Posted: Nov. 29, 2012

Key differences between the Air Force's and Navy's requirements for a future ballistic missile will probably make a true joint missile development effort unworkable, but the two services are planning -- almost two decades before the Minuteman III munition is retired -- to rely heavily on common systems and components for their missile solutions. The Air Force's longtime intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Minuteman III, is set to remain in service until 2030, while the Navy is looking at ways to extend the life of or altogether replace its Trident D5 submarine-launched munition. In an effort to have a follow-on ready by 2030, the Air Force initiated a ground-based strategic deterrent analysis of alternatives (AOA) this fiscal year that is set to conclude at the end of FY-14. The air and sea services are already collaborating on at least one major modernization project -- the development of what Col. Ryan Britton, the director of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center's ICBM systems directorate, called an "adaptable" ballistic missile fuze -- and intend to continue doing so. But in a late November email exchange with Inside the Air ForceInside the Navy, Britton said the possibility of jointly developing a missile to fit air- and submarine-launched requirements is slight, and he stated that the Air Force and Navy are not pursuing a joint future ballistic missile at this time. Inside the Navy reported in October that general and flag officers from both services met at Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, to discuss potential commonality for a future ballistic missile system. A list of attendees at that meeting, was unavailable at press time (Nov. 29).


"The requirements for the Air Force and the Navy are unique enough that a single missile for both services is unlikely," Britton said in a Nov. 20 email. "Due to size constraints in their submarines, the Navy requires a more energetic propellant whereas the Air Force requires a more stable propellant based on transportation requirements. Still, there is an initiative to see what common propellant base components can be utilized to allow buying in bulk and/or utilizing the same production facilities. Bottom line: The Air Force and the Navy are looking across their missile systems to see what can be leveraged between the services." Britton said the adaptable fuze development is a prime example of that collaboration. The two services will rely on common components like batteries and radars, and cost estimates indicate a cost avoidance of as much as $2 billion might be achieved. Britton said the commitment to that joint effort is a significant change from past practice. "Previously, discussions were focused on specific technologies or needs," he said. "Now the Navy and the Air Force are looking at collaborating strategically in a system of systems approach to explore commonality at the sub-component level." The Air Force's plan to upgrade the guidance system on its Minuteman III is another potential area of collaboration. According to Britton, the service's time lines are mismatched in that sector: The Air Force is only now determining how to pursue a guidance improvement program, whereas the Navy's upgrade is complete. Still, the Air Force may be able to leverage the same industrial base and personnel in an effort to retain skills among those individuals while driving down cost. Britton made clear in his email that the lack of depth within the ballistic missile industrial base is a concern and could worsen as funding for NASA programs continues to shrink. "While the government prefers competition, in several critical technical areas, the industrial base is already down to a single vendor," he said. To combat that decline, the two military services will work together to help keep production lines open for longer, which helps keep members of industry in business. Britton said that in the past, the Air Force has purchased large numbers of munitions and then shut down production for an extended period of time.



In contrast, the Navy today is spreading out the manufacturing of its D5 missile through lots of low-rate initial production "to sustain a robust long-term demand to better align with our industrial partners' needs," he said. The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center's ICBM systems directorate that Britton heads is located at Hill Air Force Base, UT, the site of the Air Force's ICBM maintenance depot. The center itself is located at Kirtland Air Force Base, NM. In addition to long-term planning for a follow-on to the Minuteman III, the Air Force is in the process of competing support services for the weapon system through its Future ICBM Sustainment and Acquisition Construct, known as FISAC. The service plans to select its lead FISAC contractor -- whose role will be reduced from that which Northrop Grumman performs today -- in early 2013.
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Bolding mine, a pretty worrisome state of affairs for the Air Force. There should be an immediate crash program to research, develop, test and deploy a new ICBM at some some sustainable rate of 20 per year or something so that critical technologies and design expertise is not lost.
 

bobbymike

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The effort to design and develop the U.S. Navy’s next ballistic missile submarine got a major boost Friday with the announcement of a nearly $2 billion contract award to General Dynamics. The contract was awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to GD’s Electric Boat division in Groton, Conn., the only shipbuilder deemed capable of designing the Ohio-Class Replacement Program (ORP) submarine. NAVSEA, in a statement accompanying the contract announcement noted that “special incentives” are included in the cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to compensate for the lack of competition. “The Navy established a structured series of incentives to motivate General Dynamics Electric Boat and the government to further innovation to lower non-recurring engineering costs, construction costs, and operation and support costs,” Capt. William Brougham, NAVSEA’s Ohio Replacement program manager, said in the statement. “This contract employs financial incentives designed to align the government's requirement for cost savings with our industrial partners' innovation and ability to earn profit.”


Bob Hamilton, a spokesman for Electric Boat, acknowledged that cost-control is a top priority for the ORP program. “The Navy has made clear that development of the next-generation strategic deterrent is its highest priority, and that affordability is key,” Hamilton said Dec. 21 in an e-mail to Defense News. “The Navy has stated that it expects this contract will provide it with the best quality product at the lowest cost, and we agree. “EB has developed a Design for Affordability (DFA) program that we successfully used on the Virginia [SSN 774 attack submarine] program to redesign the bow while reducing the cost $40 million per ship, as well as reducing life-cycle costs. EB, along with our subcontractors and vendors, will continue to utilize the DFA program, and working with the Navy, we expect to meet the cost reduction targets in the contract,” Hamilton wrote. “This contract will provide stability to our engineering and design workforce as well as the supplier base, as well assure that the schedule for the nation's strategic deterrent submarine is maintained.” The ORP is expected to produce 12 new submarines to replace 14 existing Ohio-class submarines.


The latest contract, according to NAVSEA, also covers work on a Common Missile Compartment with Britain’s Royal Navy, which is developing a new ballistic submarine to replace its Vanguard-class submarines. Both new designs will use the same Trident D5 missiles now in service. In addition to ORP design work and continuing design and development of the missile compartment, the new contract award will, according to NAVSEA, provide for “shipbuilder and vendor component and technology development, engineering integration, concept design studies, cost reduction initiatives using a design for affordability process, and full scale prototype manufacturing and assembly.” Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, NAVSEA’s program executive officer for submarines, noted that the Navy’s approach covers the life of the program and its ships. “This contract moves the Ohio Replacement forward in setting the program's technical foundation — ship specifications, system descriptions, and design products,” Johnson said in NAVSEA’s statement.


“We are setting the tone for the whole program. By emphasizing cost control across the platform through its entire life, we will ensure that every dollar is spent wisely while designing a submarine class that will be in service through 2083.” Detail design work on the new submarine is expected to begin in fiscal 2017, with construction set to start in 2012. After a seven-year construction period, the first ship is expected to makes its first deterrent patrol in 2031.
 

bobbymike

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Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Broad Area Announcements
New basing mode;
1) New Fixed
2) New Mobile
3) New Tunnel??
 

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bobbymike

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bobbymike said:
My email:

Mr. Caston,

From the Rand website;

Next Generation ICBM — Maintaining Stability Using a New Land-based Deterrent Force Project Leaders: Lauren Caston
Sponsors: AF/A10*; AFGSC/CC*
Level of Effort (STE): 2.5 This study will develop a concept for a new system of a land-based strategic deterrent. This system will incorporate enhancements to C2 architecture, required capabilities and modes of basing that allow the AF to attain the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) goal of maintaining strategic stability while providing the President more decision time to respond to an attack. Additionally, integration of any potential commonalities with the prompt global strike mission and the US Navy’s part of the nuclear triad ensures the AF meets NPR and DoD policy while in a fiscally constrained budget environment.

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Is there any plan to release a report that would be available to the general public?
Update from RAND will not be published for at least two more months.
 

bobbymike

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Just a tidbit of information. I was looking at the AIAA website looking to download the Annual Strategic, Tactical and Missile Science Conference brochure. This is a secret forum but the broshure gives you some insight into what is being discussed in the world of missiles.

After not having seen it on the site for 2013 I inquired about the conference, well the conference is no more and is supposedly being wrapped into the SCITECH Conference. I was saddened by the news. :'(
 

bobbymike

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Of note the above AIAA conference will be replaced with https://www.aiaa.org/Secondary.aspx?id=15417

Plus an article from InsideDefense; Air Force Readies Contracts To Shape Minuteman III Modernization Plans Posted: Mar. 12, 2013
The Air Force will soon ask industry for help in planning how to modernize the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad, eying a big-ticket acquisition effort to either maintain the Minuteman III missile or replace it with a new ICBM that could be hidden in a custom-built underground subway system. Next month, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center plans to award multiple study contracts -- each worth as much as $3 million -- to expand on several ways of extending the operational life of the ground-based ICBM fleet from 2025 to 2075, according to a solicitation posted in January on Federal Business Opportunities. The center's intelligence, program development and integration directorate will evaluate the concept papers produced by the winning bidders as part of an eventual material development decision -- a key juncture in the acquisition process -- on whether to proceed with a new-start acquisition program, states the Jan. 7 broad agency announcement. Compelling industry proposals will be incorporated into a "ground-based strategic deterrent analysis of alternatives" that was launched last fall, according to the service notice. "The Minuteman III force is sustainable through 2030 and potentially beyond with additional modernization investment," Gen. Robert Kehler, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, said in a March 5 posture statement prepared for the House Armed Services Committee. "The ongoing Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Analysis of Alternatives is studying the full range of concepts to sustain this triad leg beyond 2030."

Meanwhile, according to multiple press reports in recent months, President Obama is contemplating dramatic reductions to the nation's nuclear arsenal that are backed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Since late 2011, the Air Force has been refining potential approaches to closing gaps identified during a ground-based strategic deterrence capabilities-based assessment. Those shortfalls will require some form of remediation, the Joint Staff said in an initial capabilities document -- a potential first step in making the case for a new weapons program.

After soliciting industry ideas on approaches to improve a payload delivery vehicle, warhead integration, basing, nuclear command, control and communications, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center last year outlined five potential alternatives to explore in an analysis of alternatives. These options, according to the January notice, include the continued use of the current Minuteman III baseline missile until 2075, with no attempt to close identified gaps; modest modernization approach that incorporates incremental changes to the current Minuteman III baseline to close the gaps; "new fixed" missiles; "new mobile" ICBMs; and a "new tunnel" option. Of these approaches, the most bold -- and potentially most expensive -- would be the "new tunnel" concept. It would require a vast underground subway-like network of pathways to shuttle new missiles around to multiple launch portals, any of which of could be used to fire the missile. "The tunnel concept mode operates similar to a subway system but with only a single transporter/launcher and missile dedicated to a given tunnel," states the notice. "The tunnel is long enough to improve survivability but leaving enough room to permit adequate 'rattle space' in the event of an enemy attack." Unmanned cars, either on rails or in "trackless" mode, would move along the tunnels and, in a doomsday scenario, use any one of the launch portals that would be built at "regular" intervals to allow the transporter to raised and fire the missile. The "new fixed" concept calls for a new "super-hardened" silo capable of withstanding "ground shock levels." The mobile concept would involve a new ICBM on a "transporter erector launcher" that is capable of off-road deployment -- one that could "leave government land to increase survivability." This system should be able to launch up to two Mk12A or Mk21 reentry vehicles, which house thermonuclear warheads. "Guidance needs to account for the deployed mode to ensure adequate accuracy is achieved while maintaining prompt responsive capabilities," states the solicitation. -- Jason Sherman
 

RyanCrierie

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We went through all this in the 1970s and early 1980s with MX. Why are we returning to it now? It kind of says to me that the USAF thinks that the prospect of a new ICBM is not feasible, and wants to kill it by study.
 
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