Potential Poseidon accuracy

PMN1

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This site suggests Poseidon accuracy could have been far better, how true is the suggestion?

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-73.html

The low-yield warheads were deliberately chosen so that Poseidon was not suitable as a first-strike weapon against Soviet hardened strategic targets, but very effective as a retaliation weapon against "soft" targets (like cities). Because it was feared at the time, that an effectively invulnerable high-precision high-power SLBM would destablize the nuclear balance of deterrance, the development of a new stellar-inertial guidance system and high-yield warhead was not approved by the Department of Defense.
 

Andreas Parsch

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I'll see and find out tonight which of my various sources on Poseidon is the origin of that statement. Not all of them are of equal reliability (as I had to learn after I wrote the SLBM articles :-\ ).

Andreas
 

PMN1

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Andreas Parsch said:
I'll see and find out tonight which of my various sources on Poseidon is the origin of that statement. Not all of them are of equal reliability (as I had to learn after I wrote the SLBM articles :-\ ).

Andreas

Do any of them say what kind of CEP would the new system have compared to the Mk5 and 6 later used in the Trident I and II?
 

Andreas Parsch

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Andreas Parsch said:
I'll see and find out tonight which of my various sources on Poseidon is the origin of that statement. Not all of them are of equal reliability (as I had to learn after I wrote the SLBM articles :-\ ).

Ok, here we go ...

The following paragraph is a quote from

Norman Friedman: "US Naval Weapons", Conway Maritime Press, 1983 .

System development ran afoul of a new concept of the role of the submarine-launched strategic force: it was to be limited to attacks on 'soft' targets, i.e. on Soviet cities, in retaliation for Soviet attacks on the United States. High precision and high warhead yield were rejected, because they would directly threaten the Soviet ability to attack the United States, and thus (in theory) make the Soviets more likely to exercise those forces in a crisis, to use them rather to lose them. In the 1970s Mutual Assured Destruction was considered a strong stabilizing force in superpower politics, and Polaris/Poseidon, survivable and capable of striking large soft targets rather than small hard ones (such as missile silos) was often seen as its most effective expression. Thus the Department of Defense refused to develop the stellar-inertial guidance system required to give C-3 high accuracy, and also refused to sanction the development of a new high-yield warhead. Both of these decisions were reversed in the subsequent development of Trident.

No data on the expected accuracy of a stellar-inertially guided Poseidon is given.

Regards
Andreas
 

Mercurius Cantabrigiensis

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PMN1 asked the same question in another place, and I replied there.

But for the benefit of this forum:

Friedman's account of the reasons behind the decision not to install a stellar-inertial guidance system for the Poseidon may not be completely accurate. At one stage, the US DoD fully backed the idea.

In the draft of a 1 December 1967 memorandum to President Johnson, US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara recommended “developing a stellar-inertial guidance system for the Poseidon force”, and stated that “The JCS and the Secretary of the Navy concurred in the development of a stellar-inertial guidance system”

Opposition to the scheme seems to have come from the US State Department. As I have posted in another place, in his ‘Aerospace Memoirs’, Art Lowell recalls that when he was Assistant General Manager, Polaris Program...

“By Kissinger State Dept. fiat, SSPO [US Navy Strategic Systems Program office] was not permitted to have such accuracy in its FBM [Fleet Ballistic Missile], for fear the Soviets would believe that we were preparing for a first strike against them.

"By the time of Trident, however, the FBM system had been released from this restraint, its mission defined to include ''counterforce'', and SSPO was permitted to make improvements in its submarine navigation systems, and add stellar tracking to the Trident's guidance system (we’d had a stellar observation window in Poseidon all along, but were not allowed to add the tracking components.)”


Mercurius Cantabrigiensis
 

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