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Defense against Hypersonic Glide Vehicles

chimeric oncogene

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I'm rather surprised by the Chinese non-commitment to arms control. Parity would be a great improvement over their current position of gross inferiority.

The Chinese may need to get off their asses and splurge on a strategic buildup. They might need at least a five hundred ICBM force (preferably HGV-tipped) for strategic stability - especially in light of hardening American public opinion since COVID and increasing US commitment to missile defenses.

As has been pointed out since the sixties, the perception of the nuclear balance is as important as the nuclear balance itself. While numbers may or may not matter in practice (ten destroyed cities versus twenty may turn out to both be unacceptable levels of destruction), the current perception of gross Chinese nuclear inferiority is potentially destabilizing.
 

In_A_Dream

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I'm rather surprised by the Chinese non-commitment to arms control. Parity would be a great improvement over their current position of gross inferiority.

The Chinese may need to get off their asses and splurge on a strategic buildup. They might need at least a five hundred ICBM force (preferably HGV-tipped) for strategic stability - especially in light of hardening American public opinion since COVID and increasing US commitment to missile defenses.

As has been pointed out since the sixties, the perception of the nuclear balance is as important as the nuclear balance itself. While numbers may or may not matter in practice (ten destroyed cities versus twenty may turn out to both be unacceptable levels of destruction), the current perception of gross Chinese nuclear inferiority is potentially destabilizing.
Well, they rely on the deceptive practice of stating "No-First Use", which would lead you to believe they wouldn't ever attempt anything, yet. While I understand wanting to defend their authoritarian state and keeping things behind a curtain, the US isn't stupid. They can build up all they want in secret, they're not going to be left un-checked.
 

chimeric oncogene

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Well, they rely on the deceptive practice of stating "No-First Use", which would lead you to believe they wouldn't ever attempt anything, yet. While I understand wanting to defend their authoritarian state and keeping things behind a curtain, the US isn't stupid. They can build up all they want in secret, they're not going to be left un-checked.
Well, they won't start a nuclear war because they would lose, and lose hard.

The US triad is much larger, substantially more well-protected, and much more flexible, with superb command and control and unmatched nuclear ISR capabilities. You can't beat a B-2 fleet or a Lacrosse hunting down your TELs.

In that vein, the best way to destroy HGVs is to hit the missile silos before they launch.

Has the US considered any aerodynamic anti-HGVs? Use an HGV to kill an HGV? It sounds horribly expensive, but so is Brilliant Pebbles redux.
 
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In_A_Dream

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Well, they won't start a nuclear war because they would lose, and lose hard.

The US triad is much larger, substantially more well-protected, and much more flexible, with superb command and control and unmatched nuclear ISR capabilities. You can't beat a B-2 fleet or a Lacrosse hunting down your TELs.

In that vein, the best way to destroy HGVs is to hit the missile silos before they launch.

Has the US considered any aerodynamic anti-HGVs? Use an HGV to kill an HGV? It sounds horribly expensive, but so is Brilliant Pebbles redux.
Part of me thinks there are some exotic forms of physics out there that were explored to allow for more effective anti-missile defense. It's usually the de-stabilizing aspect of the research that naturally keeps a lot of that tied up. It's crazy to think most of the world looks through a similar lens in terms of what is and isn't possible, and our nation's most brightest and innovative of minds look through it via another.
 

edwest

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Looking at it from the US perspective, we are, and have been, the good guys. So China can legitimately take the same position. And 'trust but verify' should exclude the word trust. Only verify matters. "Honest, we decommissioned 20 silos." 'Really? I'm going to have to verify that.' Meanwhile, the US is wondering if 20 new silos were constructed elsewhere.
 

fredymac

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Trust is proportional to freedom of information. Countries with media who award themselves prizes for damaging reports of their own governments and where private citizens can sue for access to documents makes it a lot easier to verify.

Statements of equivalence reflect as much on the one making the assertion as in the claim itself. Consider that the country that aspires to nukes and ICBM's can't even address the issue of whether its leader has just died and who would be in charge if true.
 

edwest

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There is much from World War II that is still classified in the US and the UK, including a good amount of T-Force documents. I think it would be fair to say that the major players, the US, China and Russia, have had decades to figure out how to respond to each other. Sadly, if I invent a sword, my potential enemy may copy it. Why? Because he's afraid I might use it against him. So when I see him making swords, I invent a shield to better my odds should we ever meet in combat. And since 1945, nothing nuclear in combat. China did not test its first atomic bomb until 1964.

Decades of scenarios involving defense and attack exist. Whoever is in charge is not the primary issue. Matching or exceeding military weapon capabilities has always been the goal. The leadership hears from the military who advises them. I doubt any President thought about the next very secret weapon.
 

chimeric oncogene

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I don't know whether this is accurate, but I've heard online that the Chinese have a reasonably large series of tunnels running through missile bases in Sichuan, which they use to hide and disperse ICBMs in an MX-style shell game (which is kinda why their mobile systems can only launch from tarmac).


On reflection, it's reasonably clear that the Chinese don't want to join the treaty because they don't want to tell the world exactly how many missiles they have. It is probable that the Chinese believe that uncertainty regarding their nuclear capabilities has deterrence value (especially since the Chinese government is probably too cheap to buy very many weapons they think they'll never use, and I would guess skimped the hell out of its strategic program to buy shiny destroyers instead - because, hey, you can always use a Navy! Anti-piracy, peacekeeping, show the flag, humanitarian intervention - so cost effective). This kind of thing is why I really don't find estimates of huge Chinese arsenals credible - it's pretty clear that the traditional posture has been minimal deterrence at minimal cost.

I do see them adopting HGVs early, though. Since their posture is probably countervalue (cheapest way to fight a nuclear war), a hit in total weapons numbers is not so important as being sure of getting through missile defenses to blow up twenty cities with forty warheads.
 
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fredymac

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There is much from World War II that is still classified in the US and the UK, including a good amount of T-Force documents. I think it would be fair to say that the major players, the US, China and Russia, have had decades to figure out how to respond to each other. Sadly, if I invent a sword, my potential enemy may copy it. Why? Because he's afraid I might use it against him. So when I see him making swords, I invent a shield to better my odds should we ever meet in combat. And since 1945, nothing nuclear in combat. China did not test its first atomic bomb until 1964.

Decades of scenarios involving defense and attack exist. Whoever is in charge is not the primary issue. Matching or exceeding military weapon capabilities has always been the goal. The leadership hears from the military who advises them. I doubt any President thought about the next very secret weapon.

I think the person in charge does make a difference (ie, Stalin vs not Stalin). There is also the problem of succession in a system like that. It can wind up with multiple factions with the loser facing the firing squad. In such circumstances, who has their finger on the button is being disputed and subject to violent change.

I'm almost afraid to ask what is a "T-Force". As for WWII secrets, the only ones I'd like to explore are the Venona radio intercepts. I'd like them all to be publicly released (75 years is enough) so everyone can take a crack at decrypting them using today's supercomputers and AI algorithms. There was a very brief interval right after the collapse of the Soviet Union where the vaults containing stolen nuclear secrets were opened to inspection and the sheer bulk of it made it clear a handful of spies couldn't have done it alone.
 

edwest

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I will say nothing about T-Force then. Venona? Not much there. Cyphers and decryption, along with historical events, have moved on. I doubt anyone will reveal the extent of American/Allied attempts to get information out of the Soviet Union between May 1945 and later. Strategic Aerial Reconnaissance was the bulk of known efforts. The US began cracking Russian codes during the war. Russian aggression was a real problem.
 

Firefinder

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Getting back on topic somewhat...

I do wonder if we see the return of the AIM97 SeakBat style of weapon.

AKA a big fast long range missile to allow a slower bird to take down a faster target.

Probably be extremely easier to do today then it was thanks to the whole sensor fusion. Like F22/35/AWACS spots it and a F15 missile truck with alot of missiles fires at it. Actually the old B1R idea may work better for this missile...

Thu its has been reported that the new E2 Hawkeye radars can already guide the Aim120s in so Im likely slow on the uptake.

Of course this assumes thats it does not turns out that hypersonics are as overhyped as the Mig25 was...
 

In_A_Dream

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Well, they won't start a nuclear war because they would lose, and lose hard.

The US triad is much larger, substantially more well-protected, and much more flexible, with superb command and control and unmatched nuclear ISR capabilities. You can't beat a B-2 fleet or a Lacrosse hunting down your TELs.

In that vein, the best way to destroy HGVs is to hit the missile silos before they launch.

Has the US considered any aerodynamic anti-HGVs? Use an HGV to kill an HGV? It sounds horribly expensive, but so is Brilliant Pebbles redux.
Forgot to say that the CCP/PLA doesn't necessarily need to take anything nuclear, the "No-First Use" policy is just a manipulative ploy to make everyone believe China is unwilling/incapable of provocative actions on a destructive scale (nuclear or not). But they can use it as leverage. Think about if they somehow indirectly disabled/neutralized key components of STRATCOM. If they indirectly disabled satellite networks, took down communication nodes across the world, etc, how far could they go before America would consider launching nuclear weapons (last resort) as a response? Imagine a scenario where the US has the spine of its communications architecture broken while the PLA moves in on Taiwan during an "Exercise" (Taiwan is only ~80 miles from the Mainland), but the US can't stop China conventionally because China holds its own nuclear card, which it can threaten to use if the United States interferes.

The key for China (in this scenario), is to have formidable nuclear arsenal but never use it as anything other than leverage. And to them, everything under the sun below nuclear weapons is on the table. They are quite confident they can push the US, via non nuclear means, quite far in multiple directions, without soliciting a nuclear response. This is their plan and one they believe they can follow through with to achieve regional geopolitical goals (>> Taiwan <<) in the near-term future.

But to get back on topic, China leans on not signing any treaties that limit their ultimate leverage (like nuclear arms controls) because it handicaps their future plans, but chooses instead to put up a facade that they are a country focused on economic enrichment, not nuclear war. That's China for you, deception to the grave, "Art of War", etc. In the realm of hypersonic defense, on the strategic level, the US is going to need to dust off some concepts from the past. On the regional/theater level, there's not much outside more developed DEW that will have much of an impact (no pun).
 

Josh_TN

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Ultimately deterrence is probably easier to establish than defense, with regards to hypersonics. The US seems to be attempting a defense in the long term while in the near term creating its own offensive weapons, with the target set unambiguously being inside mainland China. This also explains the expansion of AGM-158 purchases to 10,000. There is recognition that such a conflict will most likely require non nuclear strategic bombing against a sophisticated air defense system. Why engage PLA-N units at sea when they are more easily targeted in port, or alternatively damage the infrastructure that builds them. The PLA has a very limited ability to extend the conflict to US territory outside Guam.

Back on topic, the difficulty in engaging hypersonics is in their ability to greatly change their flight path, and thus the intercept solution, with very modest random angular changes. However each turn costs range/speed, so ideally this is done only close to the engagement zone of the defense as these maneuvers have to be proactive. A hypersonic moving down a predictable trajectory is no more challenging than engaging a ballistic target or satellite. The US defense effort seems to be to extend that engagement zone by increasing defense range and increasing sensor coverage. Global sensor coverage (the planned GEO layer of IR satellites) in particular can force the hypersonic to always be maneuvering since potentially it could be engaged at any point along its flight path. As for extending the engagement zone, it wouldn’t surprise me if US air launched hypersonics were ultimately given a anti-hypersonic role to have the capability to rapidly extend the engagement zone in a given theater. B-52 bombers could loiter in safe airspace providing cover while land or naval assets are able to deploy or complete a task under cover. This strategy would be greatly enabled by the B-52 re-engining program. Though this concept would probably have to wait for costs and size to be greatly reduced- likely in the form of 3D printed SCRAM jets like the HAWC demonstrator.
 
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AN/AWW-14(V)

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The Space Development Agency wants to put an initial batch of satellites capable of tracking hypersonic weapons on orbit in fiscal 2022, according to a draft request for proposals the agency released May 11.

The draft comes as SDA prepares to launch its first tranche of about 20 satellites in FY22, the first step toward its goal of hundreds of interconnected satellites operating in low Earth orbit. The agency is taking a spiral development approach, launching additional satellites with increasingly advanced capabilities in two-year tranches.

The second tranche, to be launched in FY24, will place 150 satellites on orbit.

According to the draft RFP, the agency wants a contractor to design and build eight Wide Field of View, or WFoV, satellites with infrared sensors capable of demonstrating an initial hypersonic weapon-tracking capability.

The eight satellites will also be able to plug into SDA’s transport layer satellites, which will establish a space-based mesh network with optical intersatellite cross links. That will allow data collected by the WFoV sensors to flow from satellite to satellite until it is disseminated over tactical data links to the appropriate system.

The agency released an RFP on May 1 for the first 10 satellites that will make up the transport layer. Those satellites are also set to launch in FY22.

In addition, SDA wants to launch Medium Field of View satellites in mid-FY23 focused on technologies needed for additional performance.

Here are the performance goals laid out for the eight WFoV satellites in the draft RFP:

- Develop and deliver space vehicles integrated with infrared sensors that have sufficient sensitivity and processing to detect hypersonic vehicles from low Earth orbit.
- Characterize performance of satellite-to-satellite and satellite-to-ground communication paths.
- Integrate with a proliferated transport layer to directly provide tracking information over tactical data links.
- Demonstrate interoperability between satellites provided by different vendors.
- Assess how on-board processing, communications infrastructure and advanced algorithms can enable more efficient use of communications bandwidth.
- Develop a concept of operations for a global tracking capability.
- Verify functional and performance requirements to inform future trade studies on communications; space and ground processing; and the numbers, types and capabilities of space-based sensors needed for a full global capability.

Responses to the draft are due May 29.

The release comes shortly after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced it plans to launch its first Blackjack satellite into orbit later this year, with more to follow in 2021. With Project Blackjack, DARPA seeks to demonstrate the value of low-Earth orbit satellites for the Defense Department. The small satellites will carry advanced technologies that will demonstrate space-based mesh networks and constellation autonomy.

SDA leadership previously said the agency will build off the lessons learned from Blackjack.

 
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sferrin

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Why engage PLA-N units at sea when they are more easily targeted in port, or alternatively damage the infrastructure that builds them.
It would almost certainly be both.

The PLA has a very limited ability to extend the conflict to US territory outside Guam.
For the moment. DF-26 could probably reach all the way to Diego Garcia. The Type 055s can carry some LARGE cruise missiles and eventually the SSN tap will be turned on in the largest submarine assembly hall in the world.
 

Trident

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The Type 055s can carry some LARGE cruise missiles and eventually the SSN tap will be turned on in the largest submarine assembly hall in the world.
... which isn't in fact the largest, BTW. It's slightly wider, but a good bit shorter than the famous Severodvinsk assembly hall.
 

jsport

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As the Rand Pac Study postulates if current US airpower and seapower trends continue into 2050 than PLA-N will be able to inact control up to the throughout the Pacific (hint -edge of Port Los Angles) if they wish and their PLAAF based AD sites entirely hardened ie no ability to supress there long range cruise or BMs.. This is most likely why the PRC has no interest in restarting any START treaty. Hypersonics on ships therefore could likely be launched from the US west coast to the east coast.
 

sferrin

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The Type 055s can carry some LARGE cruise missiles and eventually the SSN tap will be turned on in the largest submarine assembly hall in the world.
... which isn't in fact the largest, BTW. It's slightly wider, but a good bit shorter than the famous Severodvinsk assembly hall.
Given that this new Chinese hall is brand new, from the ground up, I would be surprised if it's output didn't exceed Russia and the US combined.
 

edwest

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Covid permitting? That's funny. If the military hasn't figured out how to protect their people by now - and amazon has - then we are in trouble.
 

Desertfox

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As the Rand Pac Study postulates if current US airpower and seapower trends continue into 2050 than PLA-N will be able to inact control up to the throughout the Pacific (hint -edge of Port Los Angles) if they wish and their PLAAF based AD sites entirely hardened ie no ability to supress there long range cruise or BMs.. This is most likely why the PRC has no interest in restarting any START treaty. Hypersonics on ships therefore could likely be launched from the US west coast to the east coast.
Hypersonics on ships (or submarines for that matter) are not restricted by New START or any nuclear treaty before it (INF...). New START only deals with strategic (ie ICBM range) weapons and the only sea-based ones that are covered by the treaty are SLBMs. The US hypersonics program was designed to be sub-launched for precisely that reason.
 

TomS

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Covid permitting? That's funny. If the military hasn't figured out how to protect their people by now - and amazon has - then we are in trouble.
The military cares quite a bit more for it's people than Amazon does.
 

edwest

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Well then, put on the over-appropriate protection gear and have at it. I'm quite tired of hearing nonsense. Recall NBC gear? And they forgot?
 

TomS

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Well then, put on the over-appropriate protection gear and have at it. I'm quite tired of hearing nonsense. Recall NBC gear? And they forgot?
Speaking of nonsense...

NBC protective clothing (MOPP gear) is brutal to work in. It's NOT the sort of thing one can wear for days on end and hope to be functional at all.

Add to that the fact that demonstrations like these typically involve large numbers of civilian tech reps, and the logistics challenges become clearer.
 

edwest

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I'm aware of that. I also know for a fact that a highly comfortable, light spacesuit-like garment is available. It needs its own air supply but that can be arranged even in a relatively remote area.
 

Desertfox

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COVID-19 does not need NBC level protection. A N95 mask + proper hand washing is enough for most interactions, caring for patients requires further levels of protection but not NBC level.
 

edwest

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Then why mention it as an obstacle?
 

sferrin

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Covid permitting? That's funny. If the military hasn't figured out how to protect their people by now - and amazon has - then we are in trouble.
I take it you didn't realize that civilians are also involved? Or were you just looking for an excuse to insult the military?
 

edwest

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Covid permitting? That's funny. If the military hasn't figured out how to protect their people by now - and amazon has - then we are in trouble.
I take it you didn't realize that civilians are also involved? Or were you just looking for an excuse to insult the military?

Yes, civilians are involved. I have the greatest respect for the military. I am simply pointing out one military imperative: The ability to do what needs to be done under adverse conditions. My comment was a literal, There is no excuse for mentioning some virus when a strategic defense program is on the line. If automakers in the US could restart production today, does the military know less about how to protect people?
 

sferrin

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Covid permitting? That's funny. If the military hasn't figured out how to protect their people by now - and amazon has - then we are in trouble.
I take it you didn't realize that civilians are also involved? Or were you just looking for an excuse to insult the military?

Yes, civilians are involved. I have the greatest respect for the military. I am simply pointing out one military imperative: The ability to do what needs to be done under adverse conditions. My comment was a literal, There is no excuse for mentioning some virus when a strategic defense program is on the line. If automakers in the US could restart production today, does the military know less about how to protect people?
Again, civilian companies, and their employees, are involved. The military doesn't have control over that. (Though I would say there's little likelihood of it stopping anything.)
 
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