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Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)

marauder2048

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You can always sink one or two of their subs in retaliation, its not like they are hard to find. But thats beside the point. Yes single-warhead ICBMs in silos are stabilizing deterrents, MIRVed ICBMs in silos (like Sarmat or Peacekeeper) however are destabilizing.

Except big missiles like MX are highly resistant to pindown effects; the declassified
1979 ICBM and Strategic Force Modernization Options study indicated that MX could not be pinned down by an SLBM attack.

So the typical threats to a LOW/LUA posture are eliminated.

In theory? I'd suspect a slightly different outcome in reality since the MX as deployed as the "Peacekeeper" was based in repurposed Minuteman silo's and as such were likely MORE, not less vulnerable as compared to the various proposed MX basing systems which were supposed to be new designs with a high survive-ability.

Randy

Given that pindown resistance is a property of the missile and not the silo your suspicions are baseless.

Been quite awhile since I read such that used "pindown' to mean something other than "threaten to destroy or have the capability to destroy before use" which is not just the missile but its supporting and operational systems. :) MX, as a "missile" included both it's silo and basing in the analysis's I read as the missile itself is useless without those systems and they were highly positive with the assumption of proposed basing and operations. Not so much as they were actually deployed.

Randy

I'm using the meaning of pindown as used:

In the declassified McAir study from the late 70's
The same way it was used in CBO/OTA studies of the 80's.
The same way it was used in the 90's and through the LBSD and GBSD AoAs.
 
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Dilandu

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It ought to be possible after 50 years to come up with a smaller ICBM than Minuteman using more survivable dispersed silos.

...Just use hardened mobile launchers, like Midgetman have. It was perfectly road-mobile, and capable of surviving rather close blasts due to special shape & reinforced construction. Hardened road-mobile (or railroad-mobile, for than matter) launchers seems to be the optimal in therms of survivability.
 

marauder2048

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It ought to be possible after 50 years to come up with a smaller ICBM than Minuteman using more survivable dispersed silos.

...Just use hardened mobile launchers, like Midgetman have. It was perfectly road-mobile, and capable of surviving rather close blasts due to special shape & reinforced construction. Hardened road-mobile (or railroad-mobile, for than matter) launchers seems to be the optimal in therms of survivability.

It was only capable of surviving close blasts when separated from the tractor and hunkered down i.e. in launch position.
That was the premise: relocate a portion of the force at random intervals. The rest would be in garrisons.

They never really envisioned a continuously mobile force.

Optimal in terms of survivability would imply that the steady-state fixed-cost to attack is the
highest of any other land-based deployment options: it's not unless the system is truly continuously mobile and
the probability of location uncertainty is high.

Otherwise, the cost to attack can be as low as one close-in Typhoon.
 
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RanulfC

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I'm using the meaning of pindown as used:

In the declassified McAir study from the late 70's
The same way it was used in CBO/OTA studies of the 80's.
The same way it was used in the 90's and through the LBSD and GBSD AoAs.

Pindown, by defintion can not prevent the silos from functioning.
If it did it would be called a silo kill and not pindown.

So what is "pindown" then? As I noted I was assuming the common useage but if the actual usage is different then that would be neat to know the assumed usage.

Randy
 

marauder2048

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I'm using the meaning of pindown as used:

In the declassified McAir study from the late 70's
The same way it was used in CBO/OTA studies of the 80's.
The same way it was used in the 90's and through the LBSD and GBSD AoAs.

Pindown, by defintion can not prevent the silos from functioning.
If it did it would be called a silo kill and not pindown.

So what is "pindown" then? As I noted I was assuming the common useage but if the actual usage is different then that would be neat to know the assumed usage.

Randy

Yeah. Like there's a common usage of "pindown" anymore so than there's a common usage of "rattlespace."

Here's what the recent RAND GBSD AoA said:

In a “pin-down” scenario, nuclear weapons with short flight times, say SLBMs, can be repeatedly detonated
above the Minuteman wings so that any in-flight missiles will be subjected to lethal x-ray effects. The hardness of ICBMs in flight, and the throw weight (e.g., number and yield) of the attacking SLBMs determine the effectiveness of this attack scenario

Note: it's the same definition for "pin-down", "pindown", or "pin down."
 
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Dilandu

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So what is "pindown" then?

If I understood it correctly, the idea of "pindown" is essentially the idea of high-atmospheric blockade by constant nuclear detonations over ICBM bases, spraying x-rays and neutrons and ionising the atmosphere. The idea is, that missiles could not be launched through the barrage of constant detonations, out of fear of them being disabled (mainly their guidance electronics being fried by radiation), and thus the missiles would be forced to remain in their silos (where they are better protected). So basically the idea is that by using SLBM's you could "pin down" the enemy ICBM's by exploding warheads over their bases - while your own ICBM are launched against enemy missiles.
 

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It ought to be possible after 50 years to come up with a smaller ICBM than Minuteman using more survivable dispersed silos.

...Just use hardened mobile launchers, like Midgetman have. It was perfectly road-mobile, and capable of surviving rather close blasts due to special shape & reinforced construction. Hardened road-mobile (or railroad-mobile, for than matter) launchers seems to be the optimal in therms of survivability.

The issue with mobile launchers in the US is that we really don't have as much 'room' to deploy them as people think. (Frankly no one other than the USSR did but once you have the capability it makes sense to keep it. Since the US never deployed such... :) )

Midgetman, much like the "racetrack" and "shell-game" concepts pretty much needed more infrastructure and support than the US was (or is still) willing to put out. They make sense for several reasons but not enough to convince the public or politicians which is the segment you need to get approval from to deploy :)

It was only capable of surviving close blasts when separated from the tractor and hunkered down i.e. in launch position.
That was the premise: relocate a portion of the force at random intervals. The rest would be in garrisons.

They never really envisioned a continuously mobile force.

Optimal in terms of survivability would imply that the steady-state fixed-cost to attack is the
highest of any other land-based deployment options: it's not unless the system is truly continuously mobile and
the probability of location uncertainty is high.

Otherwise, the cost to attack can be as low as one close-in Typhoon.

What he said :) The US just doesn't see a need or reason for a mobile system unless it IS a 'mobile' (air-alert bomber or subs for examples) system. Otherwise you mainly stuck in garrison somewhere and have about as much 'suvivability' as non-alert bombers. Oddly there's a note on our museum example here, (or was the last time I was over there a few months ago) that part of the concept was a series of 'super-hardened' shelters based on the European GLCM sites, (which were pretty damn impressive) that they would be deployed to in a rotating basis. I'd never heard of that exact concept before so have no idea how accurate it is.

Randy
 

RanulfC

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Yeah. Like there's a common usage of "pindown" anymore so than there's a common usage of "rattlespace."

"Battlespace" right? :) Oh there is a "common" usage along with a general one and quite often one that means exactly nothing to do with any of the above :)
"Counter-Force" comes to mind but I digress :)

Here's what the recent RAND GBSD AoA said:

In a “pin-down” scenario, nuclear weapons with short flight times, say SLBMs, can be repeatedly detonated
above the Minuteman wings so that any in-flight missiles will be subjected to lethal x-ray effects. The hardness of ICBMs in flight, and the throw weight (e.g., number and yield) of the attacking SLBMs determine the effectiveness of this attack scenario

Note: it's the same definition for "pin-down", "pindown", or "pin down."

If I understood it correctly, the idea of "pindown" is essentially the idea of high-atmospheric blockade by constant nuclear detonations over ICBM bases, spraying x-rays and neutrons and ionising the atmosphere. The idea is, that missiles could not be launched through the barrage of constant detonations, out of fear of them being disabled (mainly their guidance electronics being fried by radiation), and thus the missiles would be forced to remain in their silos (where they are better protected). So basically the idea is that by using SLBM's you could "pin down" the enemy ICBM's by exploding warheads over their bases - while your own ICBM are launched against enemy missiles.

Thanks folks that clears up a lot. Also makes a lot of sense since the stuff I was reading actually didn't get into detail but simply noted that "pindown" efforts could keep the ICBM's in the silo's where they would be more vulnerable to 'counter-force' attacks. (And that the Peacekeeper was especially vulnerable to such scenarios, again mostly due to their basing) And makes even more sense over concerns with cruise-missile "pindown" attacks.

I'd have to question the validity of the scenario itself but will grant that Peacekeeper was less vulnerable to such in flight but also point out more than a little of that was a more advanced design and technology rather than size.

Randy
 

marauder2048

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Given that a lot of pindown restiance is based on path distance into the chewy candy center of the ICBM... size matters..a lot.
 

Dilandu

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I'd have to question the validity of the scenario itself

Well, it wasn't tested, and so it's basically more a theory that looks worrying enough to be concerned, than a viable strategy to rely on. I.e. not the thing you might want to try, but you are worried that enemy might want to try it.
 

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Given that a lot of pindown resistance is based on path distance into the chewy candy center of the ICBM... size matters..a lot.

I'm not going to argue this one :) But I'll note that opinion varies for a pretty good reason...

Well, it wasn't tested, and so it's basically more a theory that looks worrying enough to be concerned, than a viable strategy to rely on. I.e. not the thing you might want to try, but you are worried that enemy might want to try it.

Oh no question since that's part of the military mission :)

But as a level of priority and concern, (given the number of sources maruder2048 notes, and as an side I have to ask if that's a random name or what? I had an RPG at one point in time with that name... nevermind :) ) I wonder if it's over-blown. The "pindown" stuff I read was more as an abstract in policy and strategy than actual. I'm guessing a modern applicability would be towards addressing a FOBS or something like the Southern Cruise missile scenario but any ballistic threats is questionable and the general surviability of ANY of your deterrence force under those circumstances is low at best.

it would seem a very low priority issue.

Randy
 

marauder2048

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Given that a lot of pindown resistance is based on path distance into the chewy candy center of the ICBM... size matters..a lot.

I'm not going to argue this one :) But I'll note that opinion varies for a pretty good reason...

Well, it wasn't tested, and so it's basically more a theory that looks worrying enough to be concerned, than a viable strategy to rely on. I.e. not the thing you might want to try, but you are worried that enemy might want to try it.

Oh no question since that's part of the military mission :)

But as a level of priority and concern, (given the number of sources maruder2048 notes, and as an side I have to ask if that's a random name or what? I had an RPG at one point in time with that name... nevermind :) ) I wonder if it's over-blown. The "pindown" stuff I read was more as an abstract in policy and strategy than actual. I'm guessing a modern applicability would be towards addressing a FOBS or something like the Southern Cruise missile scenario but any ballistic threats is questionable and the general surviability of ANY of your deterrence force under those circumstances is low at best.

it would seem a very low priority issue.

Randy


Pindown was neither abstract in policy or strategy nor in the pindown resistance features that were an intergral part of MX.
It's modern applicability depends on the SLBM threat size. That's much smaller than it was and the Russians et al
have probably spent too much on improving their SLBM accuracy to "waste" them in pindown.
 

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bobbymike

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sferrin

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The TRIAD of ICBMs, Bombers and subs seems to cover most of the bases.
It ought to be possible after 50 years to come up with a smaller ICBM than Minuteman using more survivable dispersed silos.

Sure. It's called "Midgetman".

I hope you don't plan on launching anything very heavy on it though.
 

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The TRIAD of ICBMs, Bombers and subs seems to cover most of the bases.
It ought to be possible after 50 years to come up with a smaller ICBM than Minuteman using more survivable dispersed silos.

Sure. It's called "Midgetman".

I hope you don't plan on launching anything very heavy on it though.
Given Russia’s modernization and recent Pentagon pronouncements on China’s growing arsenal the GBSD must have significant upload capacity. By 2030 we could be facing adversaries with twice our deployed warhead count.
 

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Yes single-warhead ICBMs in silos are stabilizing deterrents, MIRVed ICBMs in silos (like Sarmat or Peacekeeper) however are destabilizing.
It's the warhead exchange ratio that's the determinant of stability. Assuming parity in warheads, if an attacker has to expend more than one warhead for each warhead destroyed, the defender's position is improved, so attacking is disadvantageous. This is achieved with relatively hard, non-MIRVed missiles.

If the attacker destroys more than one warhead for each one expended, then attacking is advantageous. There's an obvious tradeoff between survivability and number of warheads on a missile.
 

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Yes single-warhead ICBMs in silos are stabilizing deterrents, MIRVed ICBMs in silos (like Sarmat or Peacekeeper) however are destabilizing.
It's the warhead exchange ratio that's the determinant of stability. Assuming parity in warheads, if an attacker has to expend more than one warhead for each warhead destroyed, the defender's position is improved, so attacking is disadvantageous. This is achieved with relatively hard, non-MIRVed missiles.

If the attacker destroys more than one warhead for each one expended, then attacking is advantageous. There's an obvious tradeoff between survivability and number of warheads on a missile.


You seem to be under the impression that the only thing warheads are used for is to kill other warheads.
 

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You seem to be under the impression that the only thing warheads are used for is to kill other warheads.
Not at all. If I have 1000 warheads, and you have 1000 warheads, but it takes 3 of mine to kill one of yours, then after I've used all of mine you still have 667 left to destroy my cities while I can't do anything to yours. If one of mine destroys 3 of yours, then I can wipe out your missiles and still have 667 of my own to blackmail you with.
 

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P.S. But what is clearly NOT wise, is to concentrate on silo-based missiles instead of mobile launchers.

Mobile launchers pretty much kill the cheap argument.

Mobile launchers also create a huge local security problem that likely wouldn't work out well in the US. Also the higher yield of Russian weapons would work to their advantage in a situation where a wide area needed to be blanketed for mobile suppression purposes.

On the other hand, the current silo basing basically just acts as a nuclear sponge with no second strike or launch on impact capability. It does seem of rather questionable utility. The main argument I'd have for it is some kind of technical revolution make SSBNs drastically easier to detect at their patrol stations.
 

marauder2048

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Mobile launchers also create a huge local security problem that likely wouldn't work out well in the US. Also the higher yield of Russian weapons would work to their advantage in a situation where a wide area needed to be blanketed for mobile suppression purposes.

Are you talking about blind bombardment? The only real threat there is from close-in Russian SLBMs and AFAIK,
they always MiRV with comparatively low yields.

On the other hand, the current silo basing basically just acts as a nuclear sponge with no second strike or launch on impact capability.

They'll just LOA/LOW; the scope/scale of an all-out attack on GBSD would be completely unmistakable.
If GBSD is as pin-down resistant as MX there's no issue on the technical side.
 

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The same deceptive information and wrongheaded strategic analysis, IMHO, repeated over and over.

I am very concerned that the too often delayed, desperately needed nuclear modernization programs will take a radical cut depending on the outcome of the November election.

 

Dilandu

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Essentially this is the reiteration of "nuclear sponge" role - the assumption that land-based ICBM are so attractive & important target, that enemy would be forced to deliver a significant part of his first strike capability to dealt with them.
 

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Essentially this is the reiteration of "nuclear sponge" role - the assumption that land-based ICBM are so attractive & important target, that enemy would be forced to deliver a significant part of his first strike capability to dealt with them.

They are though, which is part of the reason why it's been so effective.
 

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I continue to scour the Internet for any details o on GBSD specifications, has anybody come across anything?

I have read longer range but that’s about it.
 

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I continue to scour the Internet for any details o on GBSD specifications, has anybody come across anything?

I have read longer range but that’s about it.

Haven't seen anything and I doubt we will. The DoD in general and USAF in particular has been vastly more secretive about its projects in the last few years than it was post cold war. Probably absolutely a good idea, but kinda makes the mil boards more spartan.
 

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Pentagon estimates new ICBM system to cost $264 billion over life cycle
The Office of the Secretary of Defense projects the military's new intercontinental ballistic missile system -- the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent -- will cost $264 billion over its life cycle, which could extend into the 2070s, Air Force spokesman Capt. Joshua Benedetti confirmed in a statement to Inside Defense today
 

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STRATCOM boss swats at suggestion to extend Minuteman III service life

The head of U.S. Strategic Command moved to bat down suggestions that the Minuteman III -- the Air Force's aging intercontinental ballistic missile -- can be upgraded to remain in service longer than currently planned in order to free up funds the Pentagon wants to allocate to a replacement: the estimated $85 billion Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program
 

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More detail


“This nation has never before had to face the prospect of two peer, nuclear-capable adversaries who have to be deterred differently,” he said, referring to Russia and China. “Actions done to deter one [country] have an impact on the other. This is way more complicated than it used to be. [GBSD] is an example of a capability we’re going to have to have to address threats like that.”
 

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