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Ground Based Interceptor (GBI)

marauder2048

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Grey Havoc said:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/29/us/politics/north-koreas-missiles-us-defense.html
Relevance? Timeliness?
 

Arjen

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As far as I'm concerned - yes to both. Perspective. Thanks, GH.
 

fredymac

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Video of intercept. I wonder if presidential release authority is required in an actual event.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAjUM_hf8DE
 

_Del_

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At the moment, I would hope not.
 

marauder2048

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Arjen said:
As far as I'm concerned - yes to both. Perspective. Thanks, GH.
I'm not disputing that a political, non-technical and dated article provides perspective.
Just not one that belongs in this particular topic.
 

_Del_

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sferrin said:
_Del_ said:
At the moment, I would hope not.
Why?
I'd hope a battery commander would have that discretion in the event of something particularly exciting?
 

Airplane

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_Del_ said:
sferrin said:
_Del_ said:
At the moment, I would hope not.
Why?
I'd hope a battery commander would have that discretion in the event of something particularly exciting?
Considering how little the time there is in a window of opportunity to have a successful launch, there can't be presidential authority involved. And why would there be in firing a defensive weapon at a potential inbound ICBM?

You can be certain however that if an interceptor was fired, the president would have learned before the launch that there was an inbound ICBM heading towards the homeland. Putting release authority with the president for a defensive weapon against an incoming nuke doesn't make sense.
 

_Del_

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Right. Does an Aegis cruiser require presidential authority to release on an incoming missile? I'd certainly hope not.

With young Kim acting squirrelly, in particular, I rather hope we don't have release authority tied to someone over the battery commander for an event window measured in minutes.
 

marauder2048

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The Combatant Commanders have weapons release authority. In practice for GMD it's USNORTHCOM
 

seruriermarshal

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:eek:

discriminated between the target and countermeasures, maneuvered into the target's path and destroyed it using "hit-to-kill" technology.
 

seruriermarshal

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from raytheon releases :

http://www.raytheon.com/news/feature/ekv_icbm_intercept.html
 

Flyaway

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Missile Defense Test 'Realistic', Syring Insists

“It actually replicated — without getting into classified details — an operational scenario that we’re concerned about,” Vice Adm. James Syring, currently at NORTHCOM HQ in Colorado Springs, told reporters gathered here around a speaker phone. While the Missile Defense Agency director didn’t explicitly say the threat yesterday emulated a North Korean missile, he did say tests replicate threats “from North Korea or Iran. In this case it was a Pacific scenario.” (Protip: Iran is not in the Pacific).

In fact, MDA tests against the intelligence community’s best estimate of where the North Korean and Iranian missile programs will be “three years” from now. “What we see in 2020…was very well replicated in the tests that we conducted yesterday,” Syring said.

That cutting-edge threat includes a high-performance target. “It flew at a higher altitude and a longer range and a higher velocity” than any target in previous tests, said Syring. It’s the first time the US missile defense system has actually been tested against a target with the performance characteristics of an ICBM, which is the threat that inspired its creation in the first place, three decades and at least 123 billion dollars ago.
With a twinge of exasperation, Syring also refuted suggestions that the test was a set-up, with the defenders knowing exactly when to fire and where to aim. “The target absolutely does not have a homing beacon on it, despite what some have written,” he said. The missile defense system “was not notified when the target was launched,” instead having to rely on radars and satellites to detect the missile’s take-off and compute its path, just as they would in a real-war scenario.

The missile defense crews did know the test was happening yesterday and the rough time window when it would occur, Syring said, but such things have to be scheduled and made public well in advance for safety reasons: “We’re launching an interceptor hundreds of miles north of LAX (Los Angeles airport, to) Hawaii,” he said. “That requires us to shut down large parts of the ocean (to) ship traffic and air traffic.”
http://breakingdefense.com/2017/05/missile-defense-test-realistic-syring-insists/
 

sferrin

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Looking at the picture released of the ICBM analog I notice the nose section had a LOT of cooling piped to it. A foreign operational ICBM would not be cooled as such. Perhaps this was to make it more difficult for the KKV to detect? Maybe they were trying to anticipate an enemy trying to sneak by by cooling their bus/RV? ???

"With a twinge of exasperation, Syring also refuted suggestions that the test was a set-up, with the defenders knowing exactly when to fire and where to aim. “The target absolutely does not have a homing beacon on it, despite what some have written,” he said. The missile defense system “was not notified when the target was launched,” instead having to rely on radars and satellites to detect the missile’s take-off and compute its path, just as they would in a real-war scenario."

Tinfoil hat lunacy there. ::) I'm amazed that anybody could have the patience to deal with that kind of stupidity.
 

Flyaway

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Maybe I am naive but people were really suggesting the stuff he's having to refute there?
 

TomS

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I've seen enough testing to know that these events aren't exactly unscripted. The specific refutation Syring gave is certainly true -- no homing beacon and no signal into the GBI system when the target fires.

But that doesn't mean that the system operators didn't know a test was imminent or the parameters of the test in some detail. (There are only so many launch sites available for example.) That colors their actions as they respond to the test launch. It also means that they've been over the interceptor and systems with a fine toothed comb to make sure they're in good condition, which may not be true in a bolt-from-the-blue operational scenario.
 

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If my memory serves me, when the Homing Overlay Experiment was conducted 33 years ago, the charge of a rigged test with a radio homing beacon planted in the target was so fervently believed by the majority Democrats in Congress they actually called in the FBI to conduct a criminal investigation.
 

marauder2048

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Flyaway said:
Maybe I am naive but people were really suggesting the stuff he's having to refute there?
We shouldn't be linking to it but that NYTimes article has those notions.

sferrin said:
Tinfoil hat lunacy there. ::) I'm amazed that anybody could have the patience to deal with that kind of stupidity.
Recall, Syring successfuly deflected a rabid AvWeek journalist who later had to be put down.
 

sferrin

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TomS said:
I've seen enough testing to know that these events aren't exactly unscripted. The specific refutation Syring gave is certainly true -- no homing beacon and no signal into the GBI system when the target fires.

But that doesn't mean that the system operators didn't know a test was imminent or the parameters of the test in some detail. (There are only so many launch sites available for example.) That colors their actions as they respond to the test launch. It also means that they've been over the interceptor and systems with a fine toothed comb to make sure they're in good condition, which may not be true in a bolt-from-the-blue operational scenario.
Imagine the media s--t storm if there were no coordination whatsoever and the GBI operators were out to lunch when the target launch occurred.
 

marauder2048

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TomS said:
It also means that they've been over the interceptor and systems with a fine toothed comb to make sure they're in good condition, which may not be true in a bolt-from-the-blue operational scenario.
But the same is also true for the test target.
 

Mark S.

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Would assume that those GBI's in Alaska have the systems monitored and corrective action taken when various parameters tested fall below required values. I don't think they are a completely wooden round. That's what Built-In-Test systems are for.
 

DrRansom

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The question of pre-shot round testing is extremely relevant. The present GBI has serious and inherent reliability issues, which was recognized when it was viewed as a stop-gap system with a replacement to shortly follow. (Guess what never happened...)

If the test has a substantial EKV work-over before the flight, compared to annual maintenance for the rest of the GBI fleet, then the test is not representative.

In either case, one success is far below the reliability required for a national BMD system and the EKV should be replaced ASAP with an improved and more reliable model.
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
The question of pre-shot round testing is extremely relevant. The present GBI has serious and inherent reliability issues, which was recognized when it was viewed as a stop-gap system with a replacement to shortly follow. (Guess what never happened...)

If the test has a substantial EKV work-over before the flight, compared to annual maintenance for the rest of the GBI fleet, then the test is not representative.

In either case, one success is far below the reliability required for a national BMD system and the EKV should be replaced ASAP with an improved and more reliable model.
I would say it's a HELL of a lot better than nothing at all.
 

DrRansom

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sferrin said:
I would say it's a HELL of a lot better than nothing at all.
As an applied R&D project, the BMD system is great. As an actual tool of policy, it is nowhere near good enough to be significant. Thankfully, the conditions don't exist yet which require it to be good.
 

sferrin

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DrRansom said:
sferrin said:
I would say it's a HELL of a lot better than nothing at all.
As an applied R&D project, the BMD system is great. As an actual tool of policy, it is nowhere near good enough to be significant. Thankfully, the conditions don't exist yet which require it to be good.
Against a North Korea or Iran it certainly is. Of course there are certain schools of thought who think even demonstrating 100% effectiveness over a thousand tests would still be "unproven" and "nowhere near good enough to be significant". I'd prefer to stick to practical realities. A North Korea or Iran won't be able to blackmail.
 

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marauder2048 said:
The Combatant Commanders have weapons release authority. In practice for GMD it's USNORTHCOM
We had quite the political tussle over that in Japan a few years back: constittional scholars arguing that the military would be suborning the civil adminstration, the government saying that it needed to be done. Then NK fired a missile over Japan with the military operationally ready to fire if necessary, but the authorization time-lag preventing them from taking any action. THEN the rules were changed. However, in Japan, both sides must give and take - so the military only have that latitude when an emergency is declared... ::)
 

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Notice who asked about homing beacons. Not the regular defense pool reporters, it was the gal from Breitbart. The regulars seemed to be asking fairly reasonable questions about ways that the test might not be entirely representative. Except for that SBX question, which seemed weird. SBX is a deployed asset; it's pretty likely to be in position during a period of tension where a launch is possible. Having it play is not unrealistic at all.
 

Kadija_Man

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The problem with ABM defences is that they are relatively easily overcome, without having to fire a shot. All that is required is for the aggressor to develop MRV bus carrying ICBMs. Once that happens, the ABM defence is reduced in effectiveness and suddenly you have to explain to the victims of the missile warheads why their city was hit and why those other cities weren't. North Korea is well on the way to developing single warhead ICBMs. Whats the betting that Kim Jung Un has instructed his scientists to work on MRV warheaded ICBMs? Iran is apparently stalled at the moment but is unlikely to develop anything longer ranged than IRBMs.
 

fredymac

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MIRV'd warheads are countered by MIRV'd interceptors. The MOKV was originally couched in terms of redundancy to handle decoys but I am now seeing some acknowledgement that they indeed are able to be used for MIRV'd warheads.

The key to a large scale attack is effective discrimination and/or boost phase interception prior to bus deployment. No decoy will ever be able to counter discrimination based on mass. Mass affects motion behavior in response to non-uniform gravitational perturbations, response to active probes from atomic particles or high frequency EM (X-ray or Gamma ray), wideband blackbody emission profile (especially when the mass is radioactive), and LIDAR velocity signatures (wobble components in 3 axes). There are probably others but the use of cheap/dumb/lightweight decoys will become less effective over time.
 

Kadija_Man

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fredymac said:
MIRV'd warheads are countered by MIRV'd interceptors. The MOKV was originally couched in terms of redundancy to handle decoys but I am now seeing some acknowledgement that they indeed are able to be used for MIRV'd warheads.

The key to a large scale attack is effective discrimination and/or boost phase interception prior to bus deployment. No decoy will ever be able to counter discrimination based on mass. Mass affects motion behavior in response to non-uniform gravitational perturbations, response to active probes from atomic particles or high frequency EM (X-ray or Gamma ray), wideband blackbody emission profile (especially when the mass is radioactive), and LIDAR velocity signatures (wobble components in 3 axes). There are probably others but the use of cheap/dumb/lightweight decoys will become less effective over time.
The point is that it is cheaper to build multiple IRV bused ICBMs than it is to build ABMs and their associated guidance radars. The IRV bused ICBMs will overwhelm the ABM systems and saturate them. ABMs are technically difficult enough, let alone have sufficient to deal with thousands of IRVs. Not all the IRVs will be warheads but there is in theory, nothing stopping them all being warheads. The present US ABMs are fine for dealing with a limited number of single warhead missiles. They may even be able to counter a small number of IRVs. Hundreds? Thousands? No way. This is what defeated the Safeguard system back in the 1960s-70s.

As for boost phase interception, there are ways to overcome that as well, with densepack basing (it limits the number of interceptors overhead at any point in time) and the increased use of submarine launched missiles, spread out over a larger region. Then there is the deployment of interceptor interceptors. Either way, the US is suddenly required to field a very expensive system even more extensively.
 

marauder2048

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Kadija_Man said:
The point is that it is cheaper to build multiple IRV bused ICBMs than it is to build ABMs and their associated guidance radars.
I'm not sure I buy this premise with respect to hit-to-kill based interceptors since the MiRV'ed ICBMs
use very expensive strategic materials for their warheads and aeroshells.

And the associated guidance radars are mostly dual-use (AEGIS, TPY-2) anyway and are
thus able to ride some beneficial cost curves as do many of the components used in the
kill vehicles.

But I tend to think the real challenge is kill assessment which is a corollary to discrimination
as a means of conserving interceptor inventory.
 

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It also assumes one needs a 100% kill ratio. Entirely wrong calculation. Against a rational actor (Russia and ,usually, China for example) a defensive system adds a great deal of uncertainty to an attack. How many more warheads do you need to toss at each target to ensure that at least one gets through? Where is the defender going to concentrate his defenses? Add enough uncertainty and the appeal of launching a 1st strike gets less and less. That's the whole point. You want enough to intercept an attack by a nut job and enough to make a larger actor have second thoughts by FORCING them into the position of having to launch a full scale strike if they're going to launch at all. "Oh, you want to "deescalate" now do you Russia? Well we're going to intercept those missiles and "deescalate" right back." You DON'T need 1,000 ABMs to intercept the 1,000 ICBMs the other guy has.
 

kaiserd

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sferrin said:
It also assumes one needs a 100% kill ratio. Entirely wrong calculation. Against a rational actor (Russia and ,usually, China for example) a defensive system adds a great deal of uncertainty to an attack. How many more warheads do you need to toss at each target to ensure that at least one gets through? Where is the defender going to concentrate his defenses? Add enough uncertainty and the appeal of launching a 1st strike gets less and less. That's the whole point. You want enough to intercept an attack by a nut job and enough to make a larger actor have second thoughts by FORCING them into the position of having to launch a full scale strike if they're going to launch at all. "Oh, you want to "deescalate" now do you Russia? Well we're going to intercept those missiles and "deescalate" right back." You DON'T need 1,000 ABMs to intercept the 1,000 ICBMs the other guy has.
So in what remotely likely scenario would a rationale state actor such as China or Russia launch a "limited" nuclear strike on the contential US and not expect the most likely consequence to be a rapid escalation to a full scale nuclear exchange nuclear in which they themselves would be destroyed?

And in what scenario would any one (politicians, the general public etc.) support a larger scale missile defence project that went beyond the limited defense against the very limited numbers and capabilities of a rouge nation such as might emerge from North Korea or potentially Iran, but which still would be relatively easily overcome by the opposing peer power state actor increasing missiles (and especially MPVs) numbers at considerable lower cost than the (now rather ineffective) missile defense project.

In this context the only point of having of having a missile defense against incoming nuclear tipped missiles is to either shoot down all your opponents missiles or potentially just to buy time to allow your counter strike to be launched (thereby maintaining the effectiveness of your deterrent that would otherwise be lost).

Again the reappearing but deeply deluded fantasy of being able fight and win a nuclear war rears its head in these discussion rooms.....
 

marauder2048

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kaiserd said:
So in what remotely likely scenario would a rationale state actor such as China or Russia launch a "limited" nuclear strike on the contential US and not expect the most likely consequence to be a rapid escalation to a full scale nuclear exchange nuclear in which they themselves would be destroyed?
A plausibly deniable decapitation strike. It's always militarily tempting.

kaiserd said:
And in what scenario would any one (politicians, the general public etc.) support a larger scale missile defence project that went beyond the limited defense against the very limited numbers and capabilities of a rouge nation such as might emerge from North Korea or potentially Iran, but which still would be relatively easily overcome by the opposing peer power state actor increasing missiles (and especially MPVs) numbers at considerable lower cost than the (now rather ineffective) missile defense project.
US Domestic public opposition to regional defenses in Europe and Asia has been pretty muted.
Those regional defenses have the ability to evolve to the point where they can contend (potentially boost or post-boost) against
ICBMs and thus potentially preserve GBI inventory.

There is an irrational but durable "out of sight, out of mind" element to a lot of the opposition to offensive and defensive strategic systems.

kaiserd said:
Again the reappearing but deeply deluded fantasy of being able fight and win a nuclear war rears its head in these discussion rooms.....
Delusion or not, it was Soviet doctrine (which influenced Chinese doctrine) during the Cold War; the young officers steeped in it
are now in leadership positions.
 

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The US is now starting the process of replacing 50 year old Minuteman ICBM's. The relative costs for an ICBM vs an interceptor will be better established when pricing information becomes better defined. I suspect the costs will not show a significant advantage for building ICBM's (especially when including all the associated costs in the building and maintenance of nuclear warheads). If the cost of a MIRV'd ICBM is anywhere equivalent to an MOKV interceptor, then the technical/financial aspects of deterrence are open to reassessment.

The premise behind this is a desire to transform an offensive based deterrence to a defensive one. I personally would be more at ease if Russia was relying on 40 year old ICBM's and had largely dismantled their nuclear weapons production infrastructure to the same degree the US has. A defensively oriented deterrence where progressively more capable interceptors and sensors backed by a much reduced but credible offensive capability would de-emphasize the "threat based" psychology of offensive deterrence. Moreover, it is a system which is inherently more effective when addressing a nuclear threat posed from state actors whose leadership raise questions as to their ability to rationally respond on the basis of "MAD". It is ironic, but MAD should not be expected to work on a madman.
 

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Not entirely true. The US has the Trident which is newer than the Minuteman. The Minuteman may also be old, but it has been modernized over the years. The USAF hasn't let the Minuteman languish in those silos over the decades.

I just hope when they start fielding the new missile that they actually build it in real numbers. I don't want to hear that we are buying 15 missiles a year for 25 years!
 

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marauder2048 said:
kaiserd said:
Again the reappearing but deeply deluded fantasy of being able fight and win a nuclear war rears its head in these discussion rooms.....
Delusion or not, it was Soviet doctrine (which influenced Chinese doctrine) during the Cold War; the young officers steeped in it are now in leadership positions.
Another delusional claim? You appear to have forgotten that those young officers have been exposed to the reality of what fighting a nuclear war would entail to their homeland. They will have seen Threads, The Day After, When the Wind Blows, they will have read the equivalent literature in the last 15+ years. They will not have been isolated, they will not have been prevented from accessing that information. Always remember, US Presidents were unaware of the real consequences of fighting a nuclear war until Reagan admitted he had seen The Day After for the first time in 1983. There were no excuses for any fantasy ideals about being able to effectively win a nuclear exchange after that. The Day After was first shown in Russia in 1987. If they were indeed rational they would know, there was no benefit to using nuclear weapons, except in response to the use of nuclear weapons by the other side, just as American policy makers hopefully know that (in the present President's case, it is an unknown).

If it ever comes down to a massed, nuclear exchange, how well will those 40+ ground based interceptors perform against the hundreds, if not thousands of warhead headed towards the US? Let us be realistic about this, please. Considering the high rate of failures displayed thus far in tests of the system, it doesn't look like money well spent IMHO.

"Rational" actors don't contemplate the use of nuclear weapons. They definitely don't contemplate the limited use of nuclear warheads against a word superpower. Only fools believe in such myths.
 

marauder2048

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Kadija_Man said:
Another delusional claim? You appear to have forgotten that those young officers have been exposed to the reality of what fighting a nuclear war would entail to their homeland. They will have seen Threads, The Day After, When the Wind Blows, they will have read the equivalent literature in the last 15+ years. They will not have been isolated, they will not have been prevented from accessing that information. Always remember, US Presidents were unaware of the real consequences of fighting a nuclear war until Reagan admitted he had seen The Day After for the first time in 1983. There were no excuses for any fantasy ideals about being able to effectively win a nuclear exchange after that. The Day After was first shown in Russia in 1987. If they were indeed rational they would know, there was no benefit to using nuclear weapons, except in response to the use of nuclear weapons by the other side, just as American policy makers hopefully know that (in the present President's case, it is an unknown).


"Rational" actors don't contemplate the use of nuclear weapons. They definitely don't contemplate the limited use of nuclear warheads against a word superpower. Only fools believe in such myths.
Sadly, none of these tender sentiments can be reconciled with actual Soviet and Warsaw Pact war planning
documents nor the post Cold War interviews with the officers who developed and would have executed them.

It's been extensively documented:

Odom's "The Collapse of the Soviet Military"
John A. Battilega's chapter in "Getting MAD : a nuclear mutual assured destruction, its origins and practice"
Vojtech Mastny, Malcolm Byrne "A Cardboard Castle?: An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955-1991"
 
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