rickshaw said:I suspect it wouldn't have ended it but would have caused its escalation.
The Soviets were already having nightmares because our factories were disgorging bombers at a seemingly unbelievable rate, practically overnight we built up a ballistic missile force eight times larger than theirs and our missiles were MIRV capable to boot (the soviets were just starting overcome the issues involved with MIRV in the early 60's), and we had stuff on the drawing board that they just didn't have the resources for.
Before the Kennedy Administration (in no small part the actions Robert McNamara) started gutting programs the Soviet's nightmares seemed like they'd only get worse...
ARADCOM was a planned US Army ballistic missile defense system that would have covered all of North America, were it to become operational the fledgling Soviet missile force would be rendered completely impotent and obsolete
F-12 and F-108 fighters were to be mach 3 capable and among their cornucopia of ordinance would've been thermonuclear tipped air to air missiles, were they to enter production the Soviet bomber force would be nothing but lambs led to slaughter (NORAD as it was is bad enough)
B-70 Bomber was to be a mach 3 strategic bomber, were it to go into production the whole Soviet air defense system (built up to stop SAC bombers from using the Urals as their own private parade route) would've been rendered completely useless
X-20 reusable spacecraft was entering the prototype stage and SAC had plans for it to serve as a reconnaissance and orbital bombardment platform
The Soviet Union was already writing checks it couldn't cash trying to match the X-20 with the MiG-105, counter the B-70 with the MiG-25 interceptor, and counter America's future mach three fighters with a mach 3 bomber of their own
If the Soviet Union knew that the United States was seriously planning an interplanetary warship....
...well Khrushchev and Soviet leadership would've (after changing into a fresh pair of pants) decided that the game was getting waaay too hot for them and diplomatically 'fold', trying to match the United States would clearly be a losing proposition and the Soviet Union could best guarantee its survival and the survival the communist ideal by staying out of America's way and concentrating on perfecting the worker's paradise at home.
The destabilizing nature of such a weapon system would have been extremely dangerous to MAD.
The policies that led to "MAD" were purely American and at the time Orion was being contemplated, said policies weren't in place yet.
The Orion battleship would've been the ultimate deterrent, it is completely unpremptable by any earthbound system and only the United States has the combination of resources to construct such a craft and viable means of interdicting spacecraft like it.
In a hypothetical crisis once 'Orion' establishes geostationary over the aggressor nation, said crisis is over as the aggressor would realize that diplomacy is the only viable course of action to end the crisis. It's actually very stabilizing
As to it being useful to fight a potential invading alien race, I rather think that if they are able to harness energy sufficiently to have an interstellar invasion force, we'd need something a tad more powerful than one Orion. Perhaps a computer virus?
The ship was an early Cold War Air Force program
...for those of you playing the home game "early Cold War Air Force" means "Strategic Air Command", with SAC (specifically under LeMay and Power) if they want a shiny new toy, you can bet that they want a ton of them
There certainly would've been more than one and given the interplanetary capability of the thing, one could imagine the long-term plans they had. (Pluto might become the new 'Alaska' for SAC delinquents )