• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

MX (Peacekeeper) deployment concepts.

Maury Markowitz

From the Great White North!
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
I've done a lot of reading on these topics over the years, my personal interest being ABMs but that often pushes over to counterforce issues. Some of the studies I've seen are truly hair-raising.

One of the earliest is the PSAC report on Nike Zeus. They note that even if the system worked perfectly, the Soviets could simply drop their warheads upwind of the cities, just out of range of the missiles. These would cause so much fallout that it would kill almost as many people as a direct attack. With a few thousand warheads, 90% of the US population would die. Now later descriptions of such wars never seem to mention this, and I'm curious why. Does anyone know of changes to the understanding of fallout that might explain this?
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
8,922
Reaction score
181
Maury Markowitz said:
I've done a lot of reading on these topics over the years, my personal interest being ABMs but that often pushes over to counterforce issues. Some of the studies I've seen are truly hair-raising.

One of the earliest is the PSAC report on Nike Zeus. They note that even if the system worked perfectly, the Soviets could simply drop their warheads upwind of the cities, just out of range of the missiles. These would cause so much fallout that it would kill almost as many people as a direct attack. With a few thousand warheads, 90% of the US population would die. Now later descriptions of such wars never seem to mention this, and I'm curious why. Does anyone know of changes to the understanding of fallout that might explain this?
This comment relates to Peacekeeper deployment concepts how?
 

RyanCrierie

Crazy Researcher
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
835
Reaction score
21
Website
www.alternatewars.com
One of the earliest is the PSAC report on Nike Zeus. They note that even if the system worked perfectly, the Soviets could simply drop their warheads upwind of the cities, just out of range of the missiles. These would cause so much fallout that it would kill almost as many people as a direct attack. With a few thousand warheads, 90% of the US population would die. Now later descriptions of such wars never seem to mention this, and I'm curious why. Does anyone know of changes to the understanding of fallout that might explain this?

So, NIKE ZEUS forces the soviets to move from direct casualties (Blast/Thermal Pulse) which are somewhat hard to defend against, to indirect attacks such as down wind radio logical dirty bursts; which can be defeated with relatively cheap fallout shelters, and this is a failure, how?
 

marauder2048

"I should really just relax"
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
75
Maury Markowitz said:
Now later descriptions of such wars never seem to mention this, and I'm curious why. Does anyone know of changes to the understanding of fallout that might explain this?
If we are talking about the same PSAC report: it used the earlier Everett and Pugh (WSEG-5) fallout model which
did not have the benefit of US and Soviet atmospheric testing which resumed in the early 60's.

IIRC, that model could overpredict fallout by a factor a five.
 

RyanCrierie

Crazy Researcher
Joined
Dec 19, 2006
Messages
835
Reaction score
21
Website
www.alternatewars.com
Also, NIKE ZEUS is pretty much equivalent to SM-3 today in vBO. (Burnout Velocity). That is the major determinant of defended footprint radius (next to how far in front of you your tracking radar is)
 

Maury Markowitz

From the Great White North!
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
marauder2048 said:
If we are talking about the same PSAC report: it used the earlier Everett and Pugh (WSEG-5) fallout model which
did not have the benefit of US and Soviet atmospheric testing which resumed in the early 60's.

IIRC, that model could overpredict fallout by a factor a five.
Ahh, this sounds like the likely culprit.

Do you have any pointers to material that compare these models?
 

Maury Markowitz

From the Great White North!
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
RyanC said:
So, NIKE ZEUS forces the soviets to move from direct casualties (Blast/Thermal Pulse) which are somewhat hard to defend against, to indirect attacks such as down wind radio logical dirty bursts; which can be defeated with relatively cheap fallout shelters, and this is a failure, how?
I don't recall saying anything about "failure"? I do recall that this was the primary reason that McNamara stated he would not fund any deployment of an ABM that didn't also include funding for fallout shelters, and further, that they should go ahead with fallout shelters in any event.

This attack mode was only one of many the PSAC considered. They also noted that due to the limited traffic handling capabilities of Zeus, there was a 90% chance that a direct attack by 4 warheads within one minute would allow one to hit the Zeus, thereby destroying 100 missiles. They also noted that a single warhead with a small number of credible decoys would do the same. Thus an initial attack on the Zeus sites would basically render them useless, and they could see no way around that.

Thus Nike-X.
 

Maury Markowitz

From the Great White North!
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
bobbymike said:
This comment relates to Peacekeeper deployment concepts how?
Apparently the third para of my post never made it.

I wanted to go on to say that these early reports were similar to the ones prepared during the MX debates. Specifically, there are calculations that show rail-basing could be countered by attacking the entire US rail network, while air-basing suffered from a similar problem due to the relative softness of aircraft. Long and short, by the 1970s there were so many warheads available that massive checkerboard attacks like those considered in the original PSAC report were now relatively straightforward.

That's why I thought Sentinel was so clever. The presence of a single short-range missile means the Soviets have to use 13 more of their own (or 26 depending on their profile).
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
12,118
Reaction score
363
Maury Markowitz said:
That's why I thought Sentinel was so clever. The presence of a single short-range missile means the Soviets have to use 13 more of their own (or 26 depending on their profile).
Could you elaborate? ???
 

Maury Markowitz

From the Great White North!
Joined
Feb 27, 2014
Messages
73
Reaction score
1
sferrin said:
Could you elaborate? ???
Sure!

Consider a deployment of 10 MX missiles in silos situated in a set of 100 silos. The silos are spread out so you have to use a separate warhead against each one, no "two-fers". Let's further assume the Soviet warheads are good enough to hit these silos without needing a backup RV just in case.

So in this case you need 100 warheads in order to attack the field. But that's totally worth it, because you likely have 10 warheads on each of your missiles, so it's a straight up exchange of 10 of your missiles for 10 of theirs.

But now let's add a single ABM for each MX. Here's the trick - I know where my MX is and the Soviets don't. That means I can watch the attack as it unfolds, and find the one that's going to hit the silo where the MX is that I'm assigned to protect. And then I shoot down that one RV. The other nine fall on empty silos.

In order to counter this, the Soviets have to add a second RV to every silo. And if I add another ABM, a third. This is a huge force multiplier. Sure, SALT limits the US to only 100 interceptors, but if each one of them is protecting a field of 10 silos, or 23 I think was the real number, you end up being able to soak up about half of the entire Soviet fleet before you lose even one MX.

It's not that such a system eliminates the possibility of your MX fleet being destroyed, but it makes it SO expensive that the very idea of counterforce becomes meaningless.

The same basic idea applied to Sprint II and Hardsite, but in that case it was the inaccuracy of the Soviet RVs that worked in their favour. With a CEP around 2 miles, they needed to shoot about three RVs at every silo, so the Sprint would pick off the one that was going to land close enough and let the other two hit the empty ground. That, however, was rendered moot by improved INS.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
12,118
Reaction score
363
Maury Markowitz said:
sferrin said:
Could you elaborate? ???
Sure!

Consider a deployment of 10 MX missiles in silos situated in a set of 100 silos. The silos are spread out so you have to use a separate warhead against each one, no "two-fers". Let's further assume the Soviet warheads are good enough to hit these silos without needing a backup RV just in case.

So in this case you need 100 warheads in order to attack the field. But that's totally worth it, because you likely have 10 warheads on each of your missiles, so it's a straight up exchange of 10 of your missiles for 10 of theirs.

But now let's add a single ABM for each MX. Here's the trick - I know where my MX is and the Soviets don't. That means I can watch the attack as it unfolds, and find the one that's going to hit the silo where the MX is that I'm assigned to protect. And then I shoot down that one RV. The other nine fall on empty silos.

In order to counter this, the Soviets have to add a second RV to every silo. And if I add another ABM, a third. This is a huge force multiplier. Sure, SALT limits the US to only 100 interceptors, but if each one of them is protecting a field of 10 silos, or 23 I think was the real number, you end up being able to soak up about half of the entire Soviet fleet before you lose even one MX.

It's not that such a system eliminates the possibility of your MX fleet being destroyed, but it makes it SO expensive that the very idea of counterforce becomes meaningless.

The same basic idea applied to Sprint II and Hardsite, but in that case it was the inaccuracy of the Soviet RVs that worked in their favour. With a CEP around 2 miles, they needed to shoot about three RVs at every silo, so the Sprint would pick off the one that was going to land close enough and let the other two hit the empty ground. That, however, was rendered moot by improved INS.
I was talking about elaborate on Sentinal. (It sounded like you meant a different "Sentinal" than the Safeguard precursor. What you're describing sounds like LoADS (for protecting MX / Peacekeeper)):



And I agree, it's an awesome way to make the other guy have to spend through the nose to ensure the target is killed. Thought I saw somewhere where Russian ICBM silos are protected by something like Trophy on a larger scale.
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
12,118
Reaction score
363
Maury Markowitz said:
Sorry, I meant Sentry:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sentry_program
Yeah, that was a pretty sweet concept. Much cheaper to add a few more ABMs, and force the other guy to up his ICBM force, than to keep expanding one's own ICBM force.
 

bobbymike

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Joined
Apr 21, 2009
Messages
8,922
Reaction score
181
1998 MX report from Forecast International

https://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/disp_old_pdf.cfm?ARC_ID=1089

Includes very brief description of the Munster and Calmendro alternate WHs
 

Michel Van

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
4,233
Reaction score
87
We had some scenes of that Movie here
but not the entire Film by US Air Force Systems Command

"The MX: A Land Mobile ICBM" from 1980
 
Last edited:

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
12,118
Reaction score
363
Only one I could find that hadn't been posted already. . .as far as I can tell. I can't help but wonder why this needed to be so damn big when the TEL that was looked at to carry the Soviet equivalent (basically), the SS-24 Scalpel, was so much smaller.

https://www.autoevolution.com/news/maz-7907-the-24-wheeled-russian-truck-designed-to-carry-100-ton-nuclear-rockets-93665.html
 

Attachments

marauder2048

"I should really just relax"
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Messages
2,330
Reaction score
75
Were these TELs or just transporter erectors for the MX/MPS scheme?
 

TomS

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
3,234
Reaction score
139
Looking through the earlier parts of the thread, I think this is the TEL for the trench scheme. If so, it's designed to erect a hardened launch tube through several feet of soil.
 

Hobbes

CLEARANCE: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
690
Reaction score
45
sferrin said:
Only one I could find that hadn't been posted already. . .as far as I can tell. I can't help but wonder why this needed to be so damn big when the TEL that was looked at to carry the Soviet equivalent (basically), the SS-24 Scalpel, was so much smaller.
I dunno, the Soviet transporter is bigger than it looks. It's 4.1 meters wide, the Terex is based on the Terex 33-11 offroad dumper, which is 4.7 m wide. http://www.ritchiespecs.com/specification?type=Con&category=Rock+Truck&make=Terex&model=33-11C&modelid=104237
 

sferrin

CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
12,118
Reaction score
363

Forest Green

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
400
Reaction score
107
MX tunnel basing concept - tests of tunnel transporter/launcher breaking concrete
Source: D. Hobbes "An Illustrated Guide to Space Warfare" Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 0-86101-204-6
Holy crap! Now it makes sense. I always wondered what happened if the tunnel got blocked but I guess it didn't need to care.
 

RLBH

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
May 5, 2007
Messages
204
Reaction score
18
Interesting; it's not entirely clear to me whether that is a pro-Peacekeeper or an anti-Peacekeeper cartoon!
 

Forest Green

CLEARANCE: Secret
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
400
Reaction score
107
I never fully understood or liked dense pack as an idea. Much of its pros also seemed to be cons.
 
Top