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Defense against Hypersonic Glide Vehicles

fredymac

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That would explain why Russia and China are so upset. Because ABMs don't work. Yeah, that's it.
Specifically Russia is upsed because ABM facilities in Europe can be easily used at first strike ground attack platforms. Not that they will easily intercept few hundreds ICBMs with ease in case of big boogaloo.

These missiles have no warheads. They rely on impact speed. An F-35 would easily pose a greater threat in that scenario.
 

Desertfox

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You've seen what MDA wants you to see. Are the RVs realistic representations of threat RVs? Is the clutter and debris representative? Are the decoys representative? Has it been tested against "stealth" RVs, against jamming, against nuclear detonations in space? Against all of the above?

Russia and China can not afford the US spending money on GBI, because they can not afford the US to actually achieve a breakthrough. Its not a question of if GBI works or not, its a question of will the US eventually get a working GBI? And if the US succeeds, they can not afford to have their nuclear deterrent be no longer viable. So they themselves have to spend money on countering missile defense.

You know what actually lead to real reductions to offensive nukes? Diplomacy and treaties, SALT I, SALT II, ABM, START, INF, START II, SORT, New START...
 

GARGEAN

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These missiles have no warheads. They rely on impact speed. An F-35 would easily pose a greater threat in that scenario.
Thing is - they are not only missiles that can be stored in Mk.41
 

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I am also for stealth aircrafts having internal hypersonic weapons with a higher probability destroying air defenses by not getting spotted by nearby sources depending on the mission requirements. An aircraft from 300kms away gives a less reaction time response than one that is 3000kms the one that is 300 kms away will reach their targets 1st. I expect much from the development of the B-21 and any projects related to scramjets.
 

sferrin

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You've seen what MDA wants you to see. Are the RVs realistic representations of threat RVs? Is the clutter and debris representative? Are the decoys representative? Has it been tested against "stealth" RVs, against jamming, against nuclear detonations in space? Against all of the above?

Russia and China can not afford the US spending money on GBI, because they can not afford the US to actually achieve a breakthrough. Its not a question of if GBI works or not, its a question of will the US eventually get a working GBI? And if the US succeeds, they can not afford to have their nuclear deterrent be no longer viable. So they themselves have to spend money on countering missile defense.

You know what actually lead to real reductions to offensive nukes? Diplomacy and treaties, SALT I, SALT II, ABM, START, INF, START II, SORT, New START...
Yeah? Which one of those addresses China? Which one of those protects against an accident or irrational actor? Which one of those protects against conventional ballistic missiles?
 

edwest

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So... there is a missile... uh, HGV defense gap which means hundreds of defensive warheads need to be built. Good news for Defense Contractors.

Regarding irrational actors, something along the lines of, "You do X and we blow up your country." should help.
 

fredymac

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You've seen what MDA wants you to see. Are the RVs realistic representations of threat RVs? Is the clutter and debris representative? Are the decoys representative? Has it been tested against "stealth" RVs, against jamming, against nuclear detonations in space? Against all of the above?

Russia and China can not afford the US spending money on GBI, because they can not afford the US to actually achieve a breakthrough. Its not a question of if GBI works or not, its a question of will the US eventually get a working GBI? And if the US succeeds, they can not afford to have their nuclear deterrent be no longer viable. So they themselves have to spend money on countering missile defense.

You know what actually lead to real reductions to offensive nukes? Diplomacy and treaties, SALT I, SALT II, ABM, START, INF, START II, SORT, New START...

As I have mentioned previously, it would be an exception for MDA testing of ABM systems to be run any less rigorously than tests done on other military systems. I expect the GBI to perform as I expected an F-35 after passing full operational certification. If you think having an F-35 come after you flying in any non stealth fighter alternative is not a problem, that reflects more on your judgement than anything else.

If Russia and China were to pursue their own missile defense programs, they would present the US with the same problem. And once again, no matter how well they thought they worked, they still wouldn't want a US ICBM launched at them. This defensive standoff does not rely on their good behavior which is the reason your laundry list of treaties has broken down. In the long term, the only behavior you should expect from foreign countries is that they will act in their best interests as they see them (not as you see them on their behalf).
 
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fredymac

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So... there is a missile... uh, HGV defense gap which means hundreds of defensive warheads need to be built. Good news for Defense Contractors.

Regarding irrational actors, something along the lines of, "You do X and we blow up your country." should help.

The HGV gap consists of how many threat units right now? Everyone is at the starting line. At least we have a prospect of getting an HGV defense up and running before significant numbers of HGV missiles are put into inventory.

How does an irrational person react to the prospect of death? At the top most level, you could say "irrationally". Why would you want to peg your future to that? In a democracy, unaddressed long term threats wear down public resolve. If you can solve the problem technically, why wouldn't you?
 

edwest

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I think the solution is being implemented now and will be upgraded as needed but we -- and the enemy -- cannot be informed.
 

Desertfox

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Yeah? Which one of those addresses China? Which one of those protects against an accident or irrational actor? Which one of those protects against conventional ballistic missiles?
For a long time China was not an issue. Coincidentally (?) China started updating and building up its ICBM force when the US left ABM. Perhaps they felt it no longer was an adequate deterrent.

What "irrational" actor? Only North Korea even counts (Iran has no ICBMs) and they too didn't even have a successful launch until way after ABM was dead. And as crazy as Kim Jung Un is I wouldn't label him as irrational, he knows full well what would happen were he to launch a nuke at the US. Deterrence works.

Conventional ballistic missiles? Isn't that what THAAD, Patriot, and AEGIS are for? None of which ran afoul of ABM btw.

As I have mentioned previously, it would be an exception for MDA testing of ABM systems to be run any less rigorously than tests done on other military systems. I expect the GBI to perform as I expected an F-35 after passing full operational certification. If you think having an F-35 come after you flying in any non stealth fighter alternative is not a problem, that reflects more on your judgement than anything else.
Except MDA isn't quite military and is partially contractor run... Contractors who's next contract depends on successful testing... Let's just say that I've seen how MDA runs things and your assumptions are not quite correct...

If Russia and China were to pursue their own missile defense programs, they would present the US with the same problem. And once again, no matter how well they thought they worked, they still wouldn't want a US ICBM launched at them. This defensive standoff does not rely on their good behavior which is the reason your laundry list of treaties has broken down. In the long term, the only behavior you should expect from foreign countries is that they will act in their best interests as they see them (not as you see them on their behalf).
Look at the number of nuclear warheads and systems back in the Cold War before SALT I and look at the numbers today, and tell me those treaties did not work...

Yes those foreign countries will act on their best interests and those interests including limiting nuclear weapons. They want nuclear reduction treaties, they don't want to be spending gobs of money on new weapons systems.
 

sferrin

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Yeah? Which one of those addresses China? Which one of those protects against an accident or irrational actor? Which one of those protects against conventional ballistic missiles?
For a long time China was not an issue. Coincidentally (?) China started updating and building up its ICBM force when the US left ABM. Perhaps they felt it no longer was an adequate deterrent.
And here I thought you were serious.
 

fredymac

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What "irrational" actor? Only North Korea even counts (Iran has no ICBMs) and they too didn't even have a successful launch until way after ABM was dead. And as crazy as Kim Jung Un is I wouldn't label him as irrational, he knows full well what would happen were he to launch a nuke at the US. Deterrence works.

- MDA isn't quite military and is partially contractor run... Contractors who's next contract depends on successful testing... Let's just say that I've seen how MDA runs things and your assumptions are not quite correct...

Look at the number of nuclear warheads and systems back in the Cold War before SALT I and look at the numbers today, and tell me those treaties did not work...

Yes those foreign countries will act on their best interests and those interests including limiting nuclear weapons. They want nuclear reduction treaties, they don't want to be spending gobs of money on new weapons systems.

MDA is under congressional scrutiny. You imply it is acting improperly. I must assume you think damaging evidence is available in closed testimony but somehow doesn't get leaked. That exceeds my capacity to suspend disbelief.

You have mentioned twice now that you are familiar with missile defense from the inside. Given your political leanings, the only thing that makes sense is as a treaty compliance observer. I certainly would never associate myself with an organization whose purpose I opposed.

Of course Russia and China like nuclear treaties. Cheating is easier when you have a one party state versus another where opposing political views are competing.

As for what Russia and China want, I will observe their actions to determine for myself what those are. Unless you want to show me authenticated internal policy discussions at the top levels of government of those countries.
 

Dilandu

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For example comments above recognize that MIRV decoys can and will evolve to counter greater tracking/ discriminating capacity.
Well, there is a way to make missile defense really cost-effective: make it boost-phase. Kill the missile while it is climbing up, before it could deploy warheads and decoys.
 

stealthflanker

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These missiles have no warheads. They rely on impact speed. An F-35 would easily pose a greater threat in that scenario.
The problem Russia have is with the VLS not the missile. There almost NO differences between Mk-41 used in Shore based AEGIS which Russia is worrying about and the one shipboard that used to launch Tomahawk. Russia keep suspecting that well.. This ABM Site can be launch site for Tomahawk.
 

Desertfox

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MDA is under congressional scrutiny. You imply it is acting improperly. I must assume you think damaging evidence is available in closed testimony but somehow doesn't get leaked. That exceeds my capacity to suspend disbelief.
MDA was basically given "carte blanche", their level of congressional oversight is significantly less that for other military programs. Im not saying they are doing anything improper, all I'm saying is they are not being held to the same standards as other programs.

You have mentioned twice now that you are familiar with missile defense from the inside. Given your political leanings, the only thing that makes sense is as a treaty compliance observer. I certainly would never associate myself with an organization whose purpose I opposed.
What do my political leanings have to do with anything? Im a former ballistic missile analyst and currently work on a missile defense related program, and that is as far as I can go. I am very familiar with the treaties and treaty compliance.


Of course Russia and China like nuclear treaties. Cheating is easier when you have a one party state versus another where opposing political views are competing.
Do they cheat? Of course they do. But you can't argue that the massive nuclear arsenals of the Cold War have been drastically reduced. Entire bases and hundreds of silos abandoned or destroyed, many programs canceled. Those aren't coming back. I'll take some minor cheating if it means I don't have to face 5,000 more ICBMs. And it s not like the US doesn't ever cheat or break treaties itself.
 

fredymac

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MDA was basically given "carte blanche", their level of congressional oversight is significantly less that for other military programs. Im not saying they are doing anything improper, all I'm saying is they are not being held to the same standards as other programs.

What do my political leanings have to do with anything? Im a former ballistic missile analyst and currently work on a missile defense related program, and that is as far as I can go. I am very familiar with the treaties and treaty compliance.

Do they cheat? Of course they do. But you can't argue that the massive nuclear arsenals of the Cold War have been drastically reduced. Entire bases and hundreds of silos abandoned or destroyed, many programs canceled. Those aren't coming back. I'll take some minor cheating if it means I don't have to face 5,000 more ICBMs. And it s not like the US doesn't ever cheat or break treaties itself.
MDA is an agency within the DOD and staffed as such. Its budget and priorities are subjected to congressional oversight as all DOD agencies. The current chairs of the House whose committees oversee MDA probably have views similar to yours. It is not credible to claim they would allow MDA to rig tests so they are not realistic.

Your political leanings are the source and motivation for your opposition to missile defense. As I said, Russia can count on internal US divisions to lessen any impact of cheating or to advocate that they really don't want to spend money on weapons. By the way, you spend money for weapons not because you want to but because you have strategic objectives which require military backing or threat. Its a tougher sell to say they don't have strategic objectives that are counter to US interests.

The US duly notifies its intent to withdraw and adheres to schedules for doing so. I am unfamiliar with this US cheating you mention. Did we build nukes we weren't supposed to or hid missiles? Since you are in a position to know, you are aware how much we have dismantled our nuclear weapons production capability. The asymmetry that now exists because Russia did not do likewise is just another item you find unimportant.
 

Desertfox

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You do know that MDA acquisitions are not under the normal DOD acquisitions process, right?

What do you know of my political leanings? And what do they have to do with anything? You do realize, I am employed by a major defense contractor working on missile defense related programs, right? How much have you interacted with MDA on a professional level, outside of newspaper articles and YouTube videos?

The US dismantling its nuclear weapons production capability had nothing to do with nuclear arms reduction treaties. It had all to do with military priorities (counter-terrorism) and a lack of understanding of what the DOE actually does (Remember Rick Perry?). And no we have not completely dismantled our capabilities, are we limited? Yes, but we still have the infrastructure and the workforce. See the small nuclear warheads just deployed on the SSBNs.
 

fredymac

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You do know that MDA acquisitions are not under the normal DOD acquisitions process, right?

What do you know of my political leanings? And what do they have to do with anything? You do realize, I am employed by a major defense contractor working on missile defense related programs, right? How much have you interacted with MDA on a professional level, outside of newspaper articles and YouTube videos?

The US dismantling its nuclear weapons production capability had nothing to do with nuclear arms reduction treaties. It had all to do with military priorities (counter-terrorism) and a lack of understanding of what the DOE actually does (Remember Rick Perry?). And no we have not completely dismantled our capabilities, are we limited? Yes, but we still have the infrastructure and the workforce. See the small nuclear warheads just deployed on the SSBNs.

Oversight vs acquisition. I will expend the time to verify that MDA is not subject to oversight from congress if you wish to make that statement.

Your political leanings are as clear as mine. If I held your positions my enthusiasm in working for a defense contractor would be minimal. On a professional level, I am optical engineer in the defense industry and I have worked on HEL projects. Long ago, I even was in Systems Command back when Air Force officers actually performed engineering work.

We can cannibalize warheads and remove spent fissile material in order to machine new warheads. Russia could too. They don't. But then, they really don't want to spend money on weapons?
 

Desertfox

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I never said there is no oversight, all I'm saying they are not subject to the same level of oversight as other DOD acquisition programs.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to pay the bills. That said, I work on theater systems which I don't have an issue with. Its the strategic ABM busting ones that I am against for their political ramifications, fallout, and cost.

The Russians have a budget same as us. Why do you think PAK-FA is so far behind schedule? Or why was T-14 procurement curtailed? What where the effects of missile defense on the US budget? Maybe we would have gotten more than 180 F-22s, or GBSD would be road-mobile. Fact is that is billions of dollars that could have gone elsewhere.
 

bobbymike

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You do know that MDA acquisitions are not under the normal DOD acquisitions process, right?

What do you know of my political leanings? And what do they have to do with anything? You do realize, I am employed by a major defense contractor working on missile defense related programs, right? How much have you interacted with MDA on a professional level, outside of newspaper articles and YouTube videos?

The US dismantling its nuclear weapons production capability had nothing to do with nuclear arms reduction treaties. It had all to do with military priorities (counter-terrorism) and a lack of understanding of what the DOE actually does (Remember Rick Perry?). And no we have not completely dismantled our capabilities, are we limited? Yes, but we still have the infrastructure and the workforce. See the small nuclear warheads just deployed on the SSBNs.
The state of the nuclear enterprise has nothing to do with Rick Perry’s 2 1/2 years as SecEn.

We haven’t built an all new warhead since 1988 nor tested since 1992. I do blame general “path of least political resistance” of both parties. Who took the time to consistently advocate for nuke modernization over the last 30 years? Sen. Jon Kyle is the only one I actually can think of.
 

Desertfox

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Oh Im not saying it's Perry's fault, I was talking in context of the new Sec of Energy not even knowing what the DoE even did, this after he called for the DoE to be eliminated. There also was very little reason to advocate for nuke modernization the last 30 years as counter-terrorism was all the rage and Russia was in the midst of a major downsizing of their inventories.
 

fredymac

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I never said there is no oversight, all I'm saying they are not subject to the same level of oversight as other DOD acquisition programs.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to pay the bills. That said, I work on theater systems which I don't have an issue with. Its the strategic ABM busting ones that I am against for their political ramifications, fallout, and cost.

The Russians have a budget same as us. Why do you think PAK-FA is so far behind schedule? Or why was T-14 procurement curtailed? What where the effects of missile defense on the US budget? Maybe we would have gotten more than 180 F-22s, or GBSD would be road-mobile. Fact is that is billions of dollars that could have gone elsewhere.

I have no doubt that the level of oversight exercised over MDA includes the ability to conduct closed hearings for detailed technical/cost information including performance capabilities against realistic threats.

I have moved 9 times (different states) over the course of my career as a consequence of job changes. This was necessary to keep working in my field. I can imagine how horrified the Arms Control Association would be if they found out I was drawing a paycheck from them and would fire me the instant they tracked me down.

The Russians haven't bothered to inform me about the nature of their problems regarding their various weapon systems. I assume it is mainly technical in nature but I don't know. F-22 was not canceled because of missile defense.


Update:
I notice Aegis and THAAD are being repurposed to provide additional layers for ABM defense. There is still PAC3.
 
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Trident

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Is it GBI what concerns them or the follow ons (something like MKV or Brilliant Pebbles)?
Yup, Russia (to a lesser extent China, due to their numerically much more constrained arsenal) has little to worry about with the current capability and number of US missile defences. Statements to the contrary (from either side) are just propaganda - the real concern is that without a limiting treaty, nothing stops the US from eventually developing and deploying BMD to a point where it does threaten the credibility of Russian deterrence. We're still a long way off that point (just how long may be debatable), but the mere possibility that in future this situation could change is sufficiently threatening, due to absence of binding upper limits.

In that sense, the recent deployment of the Avangard HGV (despite all the Russian propaganda to that effect) actually does precious little to affect the status quo. The US used to be held at risk by Russian nukes previously and nothing has changed about the magnitude of the threat now, it's merely a pre-emptive hedge to ensure things stay that way in the event of future ABM breakthroughs.

Seriously, attitudes like freddymac's, which openly contradict the former official narrative that NMD is solely aimed at small-scale "irrational actors" and acknowledge an ambition to challenge the entire concept of MAD, worry me a great deal. They've recently begun to be adopted even by high-ranking US politicians and entirely vindicate the worst scenarios forecast on the Russian side but dismissed as alarmist at the time. This is guaranteed to elicit countermeasures, none of which will make the world a safer place, it's also yet another nail in the coffin for trust between Russia and the West. Not nearly all (or even most) of these were driven home by the West of course, but the share is far greater than I'm comfortable with as a Western citizen. As such, I hold no sway over what Russia does, so I can only deplore its behaviour and hope our own governments do better and de-escalate. Unfortunately, some of their reactions (and even a number of spontaneous actions!) were appallingly misguided or irresponsible.

At this point, if you judge the US by its actions (since you're so fond of that approach freddymac) from the perspective of Russia it'll look like an actor that cannot under any circumstance be relied upon to honour an agreement in the long term, formal or informal. I know the Russian record is no better, arguably worse, but part of that is a response to US lack of discipline in these matters - if they won't lead by example, why should anybody else accept the effort of abiding by the rules? I *expect* a free democracy like the US to have a better record than an authoritarian regime like Russia! And I'd prefer the discrepancy in its favour to be *far* greater than it in fact is!
 

Trident

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Yeah? Which one of those addresses China?
None, because they all date from an era where China was still relatively insignificant as a nuclear power - none address the UK or France either. Clearly China's status in this regard is set to change and it should ideally be included in future agreements (no disagreement from Russia on this point, BTW). Why throw away an otherwise sound treaty framework without a superior replacement already in hand though? That would be irrational, right?

Which one of those protects against an accident or irrational actor?
Irrational actor is a highly controversial hypothesis, and for exquisitely good reasons. We can start with the very notion that mutually assured destruction doesn't already accommodate such an opponent in the indirect way that edwest indicates. MAD also is conveniently robust as a policy against (vastly more accessible and therefore likely) non-missile delivery methods in a way that ABM can never be. There is also grave doubt that something like the postulated irrational actor exists in the first place. Not even North Korea and Iran have *acted* truly irrationally, if you look beyond their nutty *rhetoric* (again, it's crucial to separate propaganda from deed).

Which one of those protects against conventional ballistic missiles?
None. They were never intended to - if the US believes that a treaty which does is required, it should try to establish one with the relevant actors.

Besides, conventional ballistic missiles of intercontinental range were never a thing until (against strong protest from elsewhere) the idea began to be pursued by the US. Shorter-range missiles can be handled by tactical ATBM systems that are no concern in the strategic context.
 

Trident

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Of course Russia and China like nuclear treaties. Cheating is easier when you have a one party state versus another where opposing political views are competing.

As for what Russia and China want, I will observe their actions to determine for myself what those are. Unless you want to show me authenticated internal policy discussions at the top levels of government of those countries.
Care to elaborate and substantiate what those actions are and how they support the notion that these countries reject arms limitation/reduction? Do not forget to place those actions in proper context, which means viewing them against the background of contemporary US policies. After all, China and Russia similarly observe US actions to try and determine its intentions. Example: is Avangard an offensive move or defensive? Superficially it looks like an offensive action (after all it is an offensive weapon), yet it is in fact a defensive hedge against future NMD developments. Among all the responses to US abrogation of the ABM Treaty that Russia could have contemplated a BMD-busting HGV is not even a particularly destabilizing one. As described earlier, it avoids ratcheting up the current threat level, as opposed to exiting SORT/START and increasing warhead numbers, for instance.

As for cheating, arguably the only reason why the US record on this count is any better is that it just unilaterally leaves a treaty once it is thought to no longer suit its interests. Even then there are plenty of controversies, they just don't gain as high a profile as Russian violations (perceived and actual) do - for natural reasons perhaps, but that still doesn't mean they don't exist. One beef New START critics have voiced about the treaty is the warhead shrouds during inspections which they allege allow more or different warheads than declared to be placed below them. Ironically enough, Russia raised similar concerns quite a while ago, claiming that the US Navy shrouds during Trident D5 demos would allow Mk5 RVs (475kt W88) to be hidden under covers nominally containing only Mk4s (100kt W76). Not sure if that was ever aired in the Western press, or how it was resolved, but the treaty survived, so there's no reason why it shouldn't this time round. Unless the US isn't actually interested in its survival, that is.

Or the BMD radars in Greeland and the UK - the justification why those weren't considered flagrant violations of ABM while the USSR agreed to abandon the radar under construction at Krasnoyarsk has to be an astounding exercise in legalese.
 

Trident

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These missiles have no warheads. They rely on impact speed. An F-35 would easily pose a greater threat in that scenario.
The problem Russia have is with the VLS not the missile. There almost NO differences between Mk-41 used in Shore based AEGIS which Russia is worrying about and the one shipboard that used to launch Tomahawk. Russia keep suspecting that well.. This ABM Site can be launch site for Tomahawk.
Exactly. The best "reply" the US has to that concern is to say that Aegis Ashore lacks the fire control infrastructure and interfaces necessary to target and launch Tomahawk. This may very well be true, but without a treaty which grants Russia verification access it's as useless an assurance as that the missile defence system is only meant to intercept Iranian missiles. Purely informal and can be changed at the stroke of a pen.

I'll readily admit that as a supposed violation of the INF Treaty it's a rather specious (and most importantly unproven) accusation, but not in fact all that much more specious than the case against Russia (though that one must be considered proven). I mean, what Russia did is essentially analogous to the trailer-launched Tomahawk test the US performed after leaving the treaty: they flew a (legal, being naval) cruise missile from an INF-limited (terrestrial) launcher. It's not even clear if that was deliberate (i.e. the missile with treaty-busting range is actually planned to be *deployed* on land-based platforms) or merely a compliance SNAFU in which a naval missile was *tested* from a treaty-accountable launcher for convenience, without realizing the implications.

Not normally the sort of problem either side would let a treaty collapse over, but with huge and increasing Chinese arsenals of INF-type missiles neither country had any great interest in preserving it. Russia and the US were never the major beneficiaries of INF anyway - weapons falling within its scope were too short-ranged to directly threaten each other with, strategic missiles were responsible for the threat to the respective home territories. Europe saw the biggest benefit, but they were not party to the agreement so had little say (and squandered what little they had by not even trying to broker a honest resolution, rather than reflexively siding with the US).

That's why INF died - the US left over a relatively insignificant technicality that Russia did not bother to remedy because both were worried about being disadvantaged with respect to China. The intended major beneficiary failed to put in any sufficient effort to save it, while the other (coincidental) beneficiary was the cause for the lack of interest from the signatories.

I did chortle at the Chinese protestations over the US exiting INF though - rather audacious (if not downright impudent), coming from them!
 

fredymac

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Quite a wall of text. Where to begin?

SDI was all about full scale defense against ICBM's. If Clinton or Obama renounced SDI and said the US was now only going to work on limited defense I don't remember. They might have. And it would have been within their authority.

Similarly returning to full scale defense is also within the prerogative of Trump. Who told Russia that the US was forevermore giving up on full scale ICBM defense? Withdrawing from the ABM treaty makes this an obvious possibility.

You don't like ballistic missile defense. I think it is better than a mutual suicide pact. The elections decide this issue. The number of people who place greater value on "international relations" versus those who prefer to rely upon our own abilities to solve the issue technically will be measured and the policies will be determined from that.

On a moral level, I prefer being able to work towards defending myself rather than avenging the dead. I also reject the moral equivalence you show in regarding Russian and Chinese actions as no worse than the US. There too is a divide point which determines how people decide. We will know if 9 months which way things will go.
 

bobbymike

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Trident

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SDI was all about full scale defense against ICBM's. If Clinton or Obama renounced SDI and said the US was now only going to work on limited defense I don't remember. They might have. And it would have been within their authority.
SDI was officially shelved in 1993 and only revived as NMD, hence the survival of the ABM Treaty through 2002 (and the parallel hiatus in Russian HGV testing, which few people realize goes all the way back to 1990).

Similarly returning to full scale defense is also within the prerogative of Trump. Who told Russia that the US was forevermore giving up on full scale ICBM defense? Withdrawing from the ABM treaty makes this an obvious possibility.
No doubt it's completely within the prerogative of a US administration to take (the vast majority of) the steps I have criticised above - that doesn't make it a good idea by a long shot though. It's precisely the open avenue to a return to full-scale ICBM defence that worried the Russians in 2002, not a handful of interceptors of dubious effectiveness in unfavourable deployment locations.

You don't like ballistic missile defense. I think it is better than a mutual suicide pact. The elections decide this issue. The number of people who place greater value on "international relations" versus those who prefer to rely upon our own abilities to solve the issue technically will be measured and the policies will be determined from that.
On an enthusiast level I *love* BMD - the technology it spawned is some of the most fascinating ever invented (space-based lasers, KKVs, missiles blasting off at 100g, external burning thrusters...). But I rationally recognize that while compared to MAD it has some attractions in theory, there can be seriously unpleasant, unintended consequences in practice from re-directing the enemy's efforts into outflanking it. This risk of destabilization is one I'm not prepared to take.
 

sferrin

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This risk of destabilization is one I'm not prepared to take.
Why would it destabilize anything whatsoever? It's not like MAD suddenly went away. Nobody in their right mind thinks the kind of defenses the US is working on would stop a full scale attack.
 

kaiserd

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This risk of destabilization is one I'm not prepared to take.
Why would it destabilize anything whatsoever? It's not like MAD suddenly went away. Nobody in their right mind thinks the kind of defenses the US is working on would stop a full scale attack.
And yet that is exactly what fredymac is proposing and you have liked his comments doing so.
 

Desertfox

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You have to look at the big picture. Russia has a set number of warheads that they believe must hit the US in order to provide sufficient deterrent. A significant portion of Russia's nuclear force is vulnerable to not just a nuclear first strike but also a conventional first strike (subs, bombers, road-mobiles at base), their heavy ICBMs with a third of their warheads are vulnerable to a nuclear first-strike (depressed SLBMs).

So lets talk numbers. Lets say the Russians have 1500 warheads, they think they need 300 warheads to hit to be a viable deterrent, they also believe a first strike will take out 1000 warheads and that a future US MDA system will be 50% effective (say 150 GBIs with MKVs + AEGIS ashore, + AEGIS, + THAAD-ER) and that any strike is only 90% reliable, now they only have approximately 200 warheads hitting the US in their calculations. Since 200 is less than 300, they no longer believe their nuclear triad is viable as a deterrent.

So now their options are either, increase the number of warheads, develop new methods (their current solution), or stage a first-strike of their own. All three options are destabilizing.

I mean the fact that we are discussing "Defense against HGVs" should be an argument in itself. No GBI -> Not leaving ABM -> No Russian HGVs -> No need for defense against HGVs. And please don't tell me defense against HGVs is directed against "irrational" actors. Iran doesn't even have IRBMs and North Korea is not even capable of developing an HGV on their own. It took the Russians 20 years and all their previous experience to do it.
 

kaiserd

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You've seen what MDA wants you to see. Are the RVs realistic representations of threat RVs? Is the clutter and debris representative? Are the decoys representative? Has it been tested against "stealth" RVs, against jamming, against nuclear detonations in space? Against all of the above?

Russia and China can not afford the US spending money on GBI, because they can not afford the US to actually achieve a breakthrough. Its not a question of if GBI works or not, its a question of will the US eventually get a working GBI? And if the US succeeds, they can not afford to have their nuclear deterrent be no longer viable. So they themselves have to spend money on countering missile defense.

You know what actually lead to real reductions to offensive nukes? Diplomacy and treaties, SALT I, SALT II, ABM, START, INF, START II, SORT, New START...
Yeah? Which one of those addresses China? Which one of those protects against an accident or irrational actor? Which one of those protects against conventional ballistic missiles?
So is it being seriously stated that US efforts on missile defence have accidental launches or the so-called “irrational actor” as primary or even secondary focus/ justification?
On that basis and logic wouldn’t you want to share this technology with your opponents and friends around the world to protect them from potential accidental US launches or breakdown in US command and control systems leading to a “irrational actor” launch of a US ICBM?
 

panzerfeist1

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A significant portion of Russia's nuclear force is vulnerable to not just a nuclear first strike but also a conventional first strike (subs, bombers, road-mobiles at base), their heavy ICBMs with a third of their warheads are vulnerable to a nuclear first-strike (depressed SLBMs).
Do 400 s-400 launchers, new OTH radars,HARMONY development developments of tundra satellites,A-235 and S-500 system ring a bell to defend those assets?
 

fredymac

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SDI was officially shelved in 1993 and only revived as NMD, hence the survival of the ABM Treaty through 2002 (and the parallel hiatus in Russian HGV testing, which few people realize goes all the way back to 1990).

No doubt it's completely within the prerogative of a US administration to take (the vast majority of) the steps I have criticised above - that doesn't make it a good idea by a long shot though. It's precisely the open avenue to a return to full-scale ICBM defence that worried the Russians in 2002, not a handful of interceptors of dubious effectiveness in unfavourable deployment locations.

On an enthusiast level I *love* BMD - the technology it spawned is some of the most fascinating ever invented (space-based lasers, KKVs, missiles blasting off at 100g, external burning thrusters...). But I rationally recognize that while compared to MAD it has some attractions in theory, there can be seriously unpleasant, unintended consequences in practice from re-directing the enemy's efforts into outflanking it. This risk of destabilization is one I'm not prepared to take.

For some people the F-35 is dubious, the V-22 is dubious, Spacex is dubious etc etc. I am willing to let my eyeballs over ride any narrative. A test is worth a million Powerpoints and there is no longer any question of can it be done but simply can it be scaled up.

The current interceptor site at Ft Greely is actually very well located. Anything coming over the north pole will be exposed to an intercept from it. Crossing angle shots are possible for ICBMs heading east into California (which has a few silos as well). Videos of intercepts include some with fairly large offset trajectories between target and interceptor.

The notion of defense is bad didn't set in until the late 60's. The mindset of those times was pretty negative and had legacy connections to Johnson/McNamara (on a whole variety of military issues). I also do not assess merit to US policy based on how well it conforms to what other governments want. Missile Defense like practically everything in this country is decided by election so we only have to wait 9 more months to find out which way things will go.
 

Desertfox

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A significant portion of Russia's nuclear force is vulnerable to not just a nuclear first strike but also a conventional first strike (subs, bombers, road-mobiles at base), their heavy ICBMs with a third of their warheads are vulnerable to a nuclear first-strike (depressed SLBMs).
Do 400 s-400 launchers, new OTH radars,HARMONY development developments of tundra satellites,A-235 and S-500 system ring a bell to defend those assets?
Its not a matter of can the US actually do it, but rather do the Russians believe the US has the capability, and the fact that they are investing so much resources into defending their nuclear triads, tells us they believe the US does have such a capability. BTW A-235 is for defending Moscow, not any of their nuclear assets, and S-400/500 can only defend against certain threats.
 

fredymac

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You have to look at the big picture. Russia has a set number of warheads that they believe must hit the US in order to provide sufficient deterrent. A significant portion of Russia's nuclear force is vulnerable to not just a nuclear first strike but also a conventional first strike (subs, bombers, road-mobiles at base), their heavy ICBMs with a third of their warheads are vulnerable to a nuclear first-strike (depressed SLBMs).

So lets talk numbers. Lets say the Russians have 1500 warheads, they think they need 300 warheads to hit to be a viable deterrent, they also believe a first strike will take out 1000 warheads and that a future US MDA system will be 50% effective (say 150 GBIs with MKVs + AEGIS ashore, + AEGIS, + THAAD-ER) and that any strike is only 90% reliable, now they only have approximately 200 warheads hitting the US in their calculations. Since 200 is less than 300, they no longer believe their nuclear triad is viable as a deterrent.

So now their options are either, increase the number of warheads, develop new methods (their current solution), or stage a first-strike of their own. All three options are destabilizing.

I mean the fact that we are discussing "Defense against HGVs" should be an argument in itself. No GBI -> Not leaving ABM -> No Russian HGVs -> No need for defense against HGVs. And please don't tell me defense against HGVs is directed against "irrational" actors. Iran doesn't even have IRBMs and North Korea is not even capable of developing an HGV on their own. It took the Russians 20 years and all their previous experience to do it.

Russia can follow any policy it wants to the limits of their budget. They are not the economy they used to be (just due to the loss of their subject states). They could decide to follow the US lead (and their S-300/400500 missiles are supposed to have some anti ballistic missile capability). Or they could just build more ICBMs. Or rather keep building more ICBMS because they never stopped.

In the end, economic limits will present the hard ceiling on how far they can go with this.
 

fredymac

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So is it being seriously stated that US efforts on missile defence have accidental launches or the so-called “irrational actor” as primary or even secondary focus/ justification?
On that basis and logic wouldn’t you want to share this technology with your opponents and friends around the world to protect them from potential accidental US launches or breakdown in US command and control systems leading to a “irrational actor” launch of a US ICBM?

An accidental US ICBM launch against Western Europe or Japan? If you really think that is a plausible scenario then there is nothing I can say that would have any meaning to you. AEGIS is already deployed in Europe/Japan.

Sharing this technology with enemies is the best way to end its useful life as every detail of how the sensors and algorithms work can be tested for counter measures.
 

Desertfox

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Russia can follow any policy it wants to the limits of their budget. They are not the economy they used to be (just due to the loss of their subject states). They could decide to follow the US lead (and their S-300/400500 missiles are supposed to have some anti ballistic missile capability). Or they could just build more ICBMs. Or rather keep building more ICBMS because they never stopped.

In the end, economic limits will present the hard ceiling on how far they can go with this.
And now budget matters? This is what I've been saying the whole time...

But yes they are economically limited, and if they feel their nuclear arsenal is no longer viable and they can't defeat MDA, it could very well lead to a situation where they might feel a first-strike is the only remaining option... That is what is meant by destabilizing.
 
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