Preserving the US ICBM Force ?

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Pioneer

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bobbymike said:
ICBM Follow On Analysis Due in June

Orlando, Fla.—The Air Force will have a better understanding of the cost of recapitalizing its ICBM force when the Ground Based Strategic Deterrence analysis of alternatives is complete this June, Air Force Global Strike Command boss Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson said Thursday at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium here. Wilson said the AOA is currently under way to determine the future of the land-based leg of the nuclear triad. Options could include a similar system to the Minuteman III, sustaining the existing fleet, or even mobile basing. “Typically, an AOA takes 18 months, we are doing this in 10 months,” said Wilson. He added, “Affordability will be one of the key attributes that we look at. We have to maintain the Minuteman III through 2030, [so] the replacement has to be affordable.” USAF leaders have noted any investment in the Minuteman force must be able to transfer to follow on capability, and Wilson said existing ICBM infrastructure is being factored in to the AOA. Any follow on system, or sustainment of the current fleet, would have to have an initial operational capability starting in the 2030 timeframe, he added.
—Marc V. Schanz

Wow excuse my ignorance, but I am simply amazed.... no stun by the fact that the United States has neglected it's ground-based ICBM force for so many decades. ballistic missiles is not my main topic of knowledge. But can someone please explain to me why the United States and the USAF has for so long now neglected it's strategic ICBM force? I mean it's principle land-based ICBM is still the LGM-30G Minuteman III, which was last built in 1978, and it's expected to remain the only U.S ICBM until 2030! What happened to the 100 x LGM-118A Peacekeeper that the U.S taxpayer spent billions of $ developing and fielding and then decommissioned in May 2006

An what is it with the United States & USAF about being able to get it's act together in terms of designing, building and deploying 'mobile ICBM's'?
After all the concept and the reality of this designs survivability have been known and appreciated since the "Mobile Minuteman program for rail-based ICBMs to help increase survivability and for which the USAF released details on October 12, 1959. The Operation Big Star performance test was from June 20 to August 27, 1960", and yet still nothing! Again and again the United States has spent $$$$ on specifically designing both Minuteman III, LGM-118A Peacekeeper and of course the very promising MGM-134A Midgetman (cancelled in 1992). And yet nothing except a couple of hundred obsolete ICBM which can and are able to be targeted and destroyed by ultra modern Russian and Chinese fixed and 'mobile' ICBM's like that of R-36M2 Voevoda (SS-18 'Satan'), UR-100N 15A30 (SS-19 'Stiletto'), RT-2PM Topol , RT-2PM (SS-25 'Sickle'), RT-2UTTKh Topol M (SS-27 'Sickle B'), DF-31 (CSS-9), DF-31A and DF-41 (CSS-X-10).
Is there any serious prospects of a new and modern U.S. ICBM?

Regards
Pioneer
 

sferrin

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Turns out the US only fielded 50 Peacekeepers (they were suppose to do 50 more in a mobile configuration but when peace broke out and the era of conflict came to an end they cancelled that). After that they also cancelled the Midgetman mobile ICBM (because nobody would ever build nuclear weapons again and ICBMs became old-fashioned). Then they traded their newest, best ICBMs (Peacekeepers) away for START. Oh, and cut the Minuteman force in HALF.
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
Turns out the US only fielded 50 Peacekeepers (they were suppose to do 50 more in a mobile configuration but when peace broke out and the era of conflict came to an end they cancelled that). After that they also cancelled the Midgetman mobile ICBM (because nobody would ever build nuclear weapons again and ICBMs became old-fashioned). Then they traded their newest, best ICBMs (Peacekeepers) away for START. Oh, and cut the Minuteman force in HALF.

And basically just annouced the 70's era MMIII will more than likely undergo another round of 'upgrades' to extend its' lifetime beyond 2030 - at 60 years of age because there is no money for a new ICBM. :'(
 

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sferrin said:
Turns out the US only fielded 50 Peacekeepers (they were suppose to do 50 more in a mobile configuration but when peace broke out and the era of conflict came to an end they cancelled that). After that they also cancelled the Midgetman mobile ICBM (because nobody would ever build nuclear weapons again and ICBMs became old-fashioned). Then they traded their newest, best ICBMs (Peacekeepers) away for START. Oh, and cut the Minuteman force in HALF.

Perhaps they realised they didn't need such large numbers of delivery systems and warheads in a time of lessened tension and confrontation?

Further, because of the increasing vulnerability of land based systems, surely a change to an emphasis of in naval systems would be more appropriate?
 

bobbymike

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Kadija_Man said:
sferrin said:
Turns out the US only fielded 50 Peacekeepers (they were suppose to do 50 more in a mobile configuration but when peace broke out and the era of conflict came to an end they cancelled that). After that they also cancelled the Midgetman mobile ICBM (because nobody would ever build nuclear weapons again and ICBMs became old-fashioned). Then they traded their newest, best ICBMs (Peacekeepers) away for START. Oh, and cut the Minuteman force in HALF.

Perhaps they realised they didn't need such large numbers of delivery systems and warheads in a time of lessened tension and confrontation?

Further, because of the increasing vulnerability of land based systems, surely a change to an emphasis of in naval systems would be more appropriate?

I would argue that at 1550 deployed warheads (New Start) the 450 silos have become the most important leg of the Triad in that any opponent would have to target 2 warheads/silo, at least, and that would leave the bulk of our warheads, hopefully, in tact at sea. Also, if SSBNs could ever be targeted having an ICBM deployed and not potentially having to redeploy it creates significant redundancy.

There is also the 'homeland' deterrent factor of the ICBM. Let's speculate SSBNs could be targeted. If Russia or China sink, using conventional means, most of our submarines would we respond with a nuclear strike against them.

From a 'public relations' stand point think of;

1) Our SSBNs are sunk there is no film footage, no civilian get hurt or even see the submarine get taken out.
2) The US sends bombers (remember we have no ICBM under this scenario) to nuke the Chinese killing possibly millions of civilians when maybe 2000 US sailors died?

With ICBMs they would have to attack CONUS with all the obvious ramifications.
 

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bobbymike said:
I would argue that at 1550 deployed warheads (New Start) the 450 silos have become the most important leg of the Triad in that any opponent would have to target 2 warheads/silo, at least, and that would leave the bulk of our warheads, hopefully, in tact at sea. Also, if SSBNs could ever be targeted having an ICBM deployed and not potentially having to redeploy it creates significant redundancy.

There is also the 'homeland' deterrent factor of the ICBM. Let's speculate SSBNs could be targeted. If Russia or China sink, using conventional means, most of our submarines would we respond with a nuclear strike against them.

From a 'public relations' stand point think of;

1) Our SSBNs are sunk there is no film footage, no civilian get hurt or even see the submarine get taken out.
2) The US sends bombers (remember we have no ICBM under this scenario) to nuke the Chinese killing possibly millions of civilians when maybe 2000 US sailors died?

With ICBMs they would have to attack CONUS with all the obvious ramifications.

From your scenario, we must assume that we know who sank the SSBN.

During the Cold War, although they were highly desired targets, the SSBNs on both sides were sacrosanct. You never did anything that would even seem to be a threat to them. You would try and passively track them, but even that continuous track couldn't go on too long IF you were detected. The messages would fly and it would be a serious diplomatic crisis otherwise.

I can't imagine (well, can hardly imagine, depending on who might be in charge at the time) the US passively sitting back and doing nothing if someone sank one or more of our SSBNs. That would be an unmitigated act of war against the whole United States. Our reaction would have to be immediate and not just a strong diplomatic finger wag. The consequences of not doing so would be immeasurable and permanent and our standing and flexibility would be compromised globally. If only one was sunk, the situation might be able to be pulled back provided an appropriate response (not necessarily nuclear, although if it had happend to the Soviet Union I believe they would respond that way) was made, but if multiples were sunk, you're at war or you fold your tent and withdraw globally.

"We've sunk your SSBNs; now we want to continue to want peace but you are now forbidden to engage in world trade, etc. without clearing it with us. Oh, and by the way? Pull all you military back to CONUS".

Move the scenario to land...through deception, years of planning and infiltration--including using political correctness as a smokescreen. Somehow enemy agents, after years of preparation render a significant number of our Minuteman missiles/silos inoperative, but don't use nuclear weapons (sabotage, Cyb attack, conventional weapons disabling the launch covers, etc.). Should we accept it because only a few hundred (or maybe none) AF personnel were killed? Before you say that's different because it's on US territory, warships are internationally considered their nation's territory. That's why entering or performing salvage is normally not done on a sunken warship without that nation's permission
 

sferrin

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IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.
 

bobbymike

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F-14D said:
bobbymike said:
I would argue that at 1550 deployed warheads (New Start) the 450 silos have become the most important leg of the Triad in that any opponent would have to target 2 warheads/silo, at least, and that would leave the bulk of our warheads, hopefully, in tact at sea. Also, if SSBNs could ever be targeted having an ICBM deployed and not potentially having to redeploy it creates significant redundancy.

There is also the 'homeland' deterrent factor of the ICBM. Let's speculate SSBNs could be targeted. If Russia or China sink, using conventional means, most of our submarines would we respond with a nuclear strike against them.

From a 'public relations' stand point think of;

1) Our SSBNs are sunk there is no film footage, no civilian get hurt or even see the submarine get taken out.
2) The US sends bombers (remember we have no ICBM under this scenario) to nuke the Chinese killing possibly millions of civilians when maybe 2000 US sailors died?

With ICBMs they would have to attack CONUS with all the obvious ramifications.

From your scenario, we must assume that we know who sank the SSBN.

During the Cold War, although they were highly desired targets, the SSBNs on both sides were sacrosanct. You never did anything that would even seem to be a threat to them. You would try and passively track them, but even that continuous track couldn't go on too long IF you were detected. The messages would fly and it would be a serious diplomatic crisis otherwise.

I can't imagine (well, can hardly imagine, depending on who might be in charge at the time) the US passively sitting back and doing nothing if someone sank one or more of our SSBNs. That would be an unmitigated act of war against the whole United States. Our reaction would have to be immediate and not just a strong diplomatic finger wag. The consequences of not doing so would be immeasurable and permanent and our standing and flexibility would be compromised globally. If only one was sunk, the situation might be able to be pulled back provided an appropriate response (not necessarily nuclear, although if it had happend to the Soviet Union I believe they would respond that way) was made, but if multiples were sunk, you're at war or you fold your tent and withdraw globally.

"We've sunk your SSBNs; now we want to continue to want peace but you are now forbidden to engage in world trade, etc. without clearing it with us. Oh, and by the way? Pull all you military back to CONUS".

Move the scenario to land...through deception, years of planning and infiltration--including using political correctness as a smokescreen. Somehow enemy agents, after years of preparation render a significant number of our Minuteman missiles/silos inoperative, but don't use nuclear weapons (sabotage, Cyb attack, conventional weapons disabling the launch covers, etc.). Should we accept it because only a few hundred (or maybe none) AF personnel were killed? Before you say that's different because it's on US territory, warships are internationally considered their nation's territory. That's why entering or performing salvage is normally not done on a sunken warship without that nation's permission

Don't disagree with what you're saying but one big difference is that during the Cold War we had 1000 ICBMs with 2500+ warheads AND hundreds of bombers - also 20+ boomers back then as well.

You couldn't risk taking out just one leg of the Triad. If you went to an all Boomer force you only have 8 to 12 targets to get rid of 98% of the US's deterrent then SSBNs become a more relevant target.

So worse case scenario - our SSBNs are sunk with conventional torpedoes so not only does the US have no 2nd strike BUT Russia (to use our peer nuke competitor) STILL HAS all 1550 of its weapons.

What would you do launch a massive conventional attack with the threat of nukes headed back at you?
 

Triton

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bobbymike said:
And basically just annouced the 70's era MMIII will more than likely undergo another round of 'upgrades' to extend its' lifetime beyond 2030 - at 60 years of age because there is no money for a new ICBM. :'(

I believe that the current state of the United States' nuclear force is a result of the "peace dividend." The political trend in the United States is to reduce the size of the nuclear arsenal with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) and New START. If there were sufficient funds available, I believe that new nuclear warhead designs and new ICBM and SLBM designs would be a difficult political sell in Washington DC. Mostly because the political leadership could not produce a clear and present danger to the United States to justify the expense. Against whom would this modern ICBM force be used against? The Russian Federation? People's Republic of China? France? The United Kingdom? North Korea? India?

For decades the United States has sold the nuclear arsenal to the American public as a deterrent to war under the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD. The last increase of the United States nuclear force was sold by the Reagan Administration to counter increases in the nuclear force made by the Soviet Union and a supposed missile-gap. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and treaties to eliminate nuclear weapons and retire nuclear weapons delivery systems between the United States and the Russian Federation, a new competitor in the nuclear arms race has yet to emerge. It's debatable whether an up and coming challenger will be the People's Republic of China.

During the George W Bush Administration, the new nuclear project was not a warhead for a new ICBM or SLBM but a new weapon to deal with terrorists hiding in mountain ranges or targets protected by concrete bunkers--the earth-penetrating weapon (EPW). The EPW was intended to be a low-yield nuclear device that would detonate close to the ground producing a shock wave similar to an earthquake that would destroy the target. This proposed weapon generated considerable negative public opinion due to the fallout that would it produce and concerns over nuclear proliferation.

I don't believe that politicians have the fortitude to pick up the political hot potato that is new nuclear warheads and new ICBMs and SLBMs. Hence the plans to modernize the existing force of ICBMs and SLBMs.
 

bobbymike

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Triton said:
bobbymike said:
And basically just annouced the 70's era MMIII will more than likely undergo another round of 'upgrades' to extend its' lifetime beyond 2030 - at 60 years of age because there is no money for a new ICBM. :'(

I believe that the current state of the United States' nuclear force is a result of the "peace dividend." The political trend in the United States is to reduce the size of the nuclear arsenal with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) and New START. If there were sufficient funds available, I believe that new nuclear warhead designs and new ICBM and SLBM designs would be a difficult political sell in Washington DC. Mostly because the political leadership could not produce a clear and present danger to the United States to justify the expense. Against whom would this modern ICBM force be used against? The Russian Federation? People's Republic of China? France? The United Kingdom? North Korea? India?

For decades the United States has sold the nuclear arsenal to the American public as a deterrent to war under the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD. The last increase of the United States nuclear force was sold by the Reagan Administration to counter increases in the nuclear force made by the Soviet Union and a supposed missile-gap. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union and treaties to eliminate nuclear weapons and retire nuclear weapons delivery systems between the United States and the Russian Federation, a new competitor in the nuclear arms race has yet to emerge. It's debatable whether an up and coming challenger will be the People's Republic of China.

During the George W Bush Administration, the new nuclear project was not a warhead for a new ICBM or SLBM but a new weapon to deal with terrorists hiding in mountain ranges or targets protected by concrete bunkers--the earth-penetrating weapon (EPW). The EPW was intended to be a low-yield nuclear device that would detonate close to the ground producing a shock wave similar to an earthquake that would destroy the target. This proposed weapon generated considerable negative public opinion due to the fallout that would it produce and concerns over nuclear proliferation.

I don't believe that politicians have the fortitude to pick up the political hot potato that is new nuclear warheads and new ICBMs and SLBMs. Hence the plans to modernize the existing force of ICBMs and SLBMs.

Bush also had the Reliable Replacement Warhead to produce a robust replacement warhead for all delivery vehicles and the Advanced Concept Initiative to research tailored effect warheads.

But I agree that Bush 41 told the US that nukes were now worthless which was followed by Clinton saying "A Republican WWII hero said nukes were worthless I agree" followed by Bush 43 saying "Hey we actually should modernize" to which politicians INCLUDING Republican Congressmen said "Nope we agree with your dad and Clinton"

Now we sit with a decaying nuclear enterprise probably unable to either technically, monetarily or politically produce a new warhead or new ICBM.
 

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Triton said:
I believe that the current state of the United States' nuclear force is a result of the "peace dividend." The political trend in the United States is to reduce the size of the nuclear arsenal with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) and New START. If there were sufficient funds available, I believe that new nuclear warhead designs and new ICBM and SLBM designs would be a difficult political sell in Washington DC. Mostly because the political leadership could not produce a clear and present danger to the United States to justify the expense. Against whom would this modern ICBM force be used against? The Russian Federation? People's Republic of China? France? The United Kingdom? North Korea? India?

It's called "deterrent". China and Russia are both building new ICBMs and SLBMs. Who are those suppose to be used against? If we want to keep a viable deterrent we need to invest in it.
 

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sferrin said:
It's called "deterrent". China and Russia are both building new ICBMs and SLBMs. Who are those suppose to be used against? If we want to keep a viable deterrent we need to invest in it.

You're preaching to the choir, sferrin. New nuclear warheads and new ICBMs and SLBMs do not seem to be a political priority on either side of the aisle in Washington DC. It seems that disarmament is more politically popular. We should also be investing more in ballistic missile defense.
 

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Won't there be surplus life extended D5s coming online when the first of the Ohio-class boats retire? Not sure if they could be ensiloed..
 

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sferrin said:
IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.


Actually, not so hard. They did studies on this back in the day.


http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Documents/US_Misc/RDA-TR-4301-001.htm


RDA-TR-4301-001


A SOVIET PARAMILITARY ATTACK ON U.S. NUCLEAR FORCES - A CONCEPT


NOVEMBER 1974


Detailed analyses show that Minuteman and Titan silo doors can be penetrated by a 40-pound shaped charge. Flammable fluids then poured through the breach caused by the shaped charge and ignited would assure catastrophic damage to the missile. Alternatively, a 75-pound shaped charge will penetrate the closure, the nose cone, and subtantially damage the missile warhead. Thus, the total amount of equipment required to destroy a Minuteman or a Titan is under 100 pounds and could be concealed and transported in the trunk of a small car.


Because the missile site has only one security fence and is otherwise unguarded, one man could destroy a missile within five minutes which is less than the response time of the base security guards, including those using helicopters, to arrive at all but a few silos. The response times for the more remote sites are potentially sufficient to allow an attacker to destroy several sites. Under these assumptions, it would be possible for less than 650 men with 50 tons of explosives and flammable material to attack and destroy essentially all of the Minuteman and Titan missiles. The paramilitary agent may even have a high probability of avoiding capture due to the relative paucity of security forces; he would not be engaged in a Kamikaze mission.
 

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bobbymike said:
What should replace the MMIII if anything? Include basing, warhead, RV if you want. Recent RAND Report


B-52/B-1B back on Nuclear Alert, each one armed with 100+ Nuclear SDBs. Yes, it's feasible to make a nuclear bomb that small.


100~ combat coded heavy bombers (B-52/B-1B/B-2) with 100~ weapons each...that's 10,000 designated ground zeroes that receive their own little precision guided accurate to within 10 feet Hiroshimas....


...and we can recall them unlike the other two Triads.
 

marauder2048

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Wouldn't the airfields hosting the bombers be just as vulnerable to commando style raids as the ICBM fields? Further, wouldn't the SDBs range as a glide bomb compel the B-52s and B-1Bs to get uncomfortably close to modern IADS? I suppose an air-launched version of Boeing's proposed GL-SDB might mitigate that concern somewhat...
 

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marauder2048 said:
Wouldn't the airfields hosting the bombers be just as vulnerable to commando style raids as the ICBM fields? Further, wouldn't the SDBs range as a glide bomb compel the B-52s and B-1Bs to get uncomfortably close to modern IADS? I suppose an air-launched version of Boeing's proposed GL-SDB might mitigate that concern somewhat...

GL-SDB is slapping a SDB on a MLRS rocket motor. Which would imply the potentially awesome sight of a MLRS pack lowering out of the bomb bay of a B-1B. Shades of that old Missilier concept? Up engined B-1R's would give you the speed boost to do lobbing.

For comparison, I vaguely remember some WWII alt-history story of B-36's with bomb bays filled with 30 degree angled down rocket tubes, exhausting out ports on an elongated dorsal hump, as an anti-battleship strafing run measure.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
sferrin said:
IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.


Actually, not so hard. They did studies on this back in the day.


http://www.alternatewars.com/WW3/WW3_Documents/US_Misc/RDA-TR-4301-001.htm


RDA-TR-4301-001


A SOVIET PARAMILITARY ATTACK ON U.S. NUCLEAR FORCES - A CONCEPT


NOVEMBER 1974


Detailed analyses show that Minuteman and Titan silo doors can be penetrated by a 40-pound shaped charge. Flammable fluids then poured through the breach caused by the shaped charge and ignited would assure catastrophic damage to the missile. Alternatively, a 75-pound shaped charge will penetrate the closure, the nose cone, and subtantially damage the missile warhead. Thus, the total amount of equipment required to destroy a Minuteman or a Titan is under 100 pounds and could be concealed and transported in the trunk of a small car.


Because the missile site has only one security fence and is otherwise unguarded, one man could destroy a missile within five minutes which is less than the response time of the base security guards, including those using helicopters, to arrive at all but a few silos. The response times for the more remote sites are potentially sufficient to allow an attacker to destroy several sites. Under these assumptions, it would be possible for less than 650 men with 50 tons of explosives and flammable material to attack and destroy essentially all of the Minuteman and Titan missiles. The paramilitary agent may even have a high probability of avoiding capture due to the relative paucity of security forces; he would not be engaged in a Kamikaze mission.

Even Tom Clancy couldn't make that one work.
 

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bobbymike said:
To keep the topic rolling, hopefully if members are interested.

What should replace the MMIII if anything? Include basing, warhead, RV if you want. Recent RAND Report

http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG1210.html

Well I would like 450 (although think ICBMs will reduce to 420) new missiles that carry one, due to current treaty restrictions, W-87-1 475kt warhead BUT with the capacity to carry up to five just in case deployed in new 'super' hard silos like those tested for Dense Pack.
 

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sferrin said:
IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.
In reality, it is practically impossible to find the SLBM force once it is at sea. Once below the surface, unless you have SSK submarines tracking them from close range, they are invisible. Getting sufficient submarines to cover the vast ocean area which your SLBM submarines can operate in, would be prohibitively expensive and to keep them on station sufficiently long enough so that if the balloon every goes up, nearly impossible. That is the virtue of submarine based ballistic missiles. Compare that to land based ICBMs, if silo based which are immobile and easily pinpointed. With increasingly accurate guidance systems, you could drop one warhead on each silo and destroy/damage it sufficiently so it could not function.

As far as I am concerned, I'm glad to see fewer warheads and missiles in service. Keeping them in immobile silos does not make sense. Just as the UK abandoned it's planned silo based IRBM Blue Streak force in the 1960s, so I see the same reasons pertaining why land based ICBMs should be abandoned now - they are vulnerable and easily pin-pointed. If you must have land-based ICBMs, they would be much better mobile, either on railways or some other means of moving them around the countryside.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
sferrin said:
IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.

In reality, it is practically impossible to find the SLBM force once it is at sea.

And you are relying on a static technology model. When the SSBN(X) is slated to be in service til 2080 are you really going to say they will always and forever be invulnerable? 450 ICBMs are a simple and cheap redundancy insuring a much more complex problem to solve for our enemies.
 

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Byeman said:
Wrong, he is correct, he used the term "force" which means all of the subs.
[/quote][/quote]
[/quote]

All 7 of them? ::)
 

bobbymike

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sferrin said:
Byeman said:
Wrong, he is correct, he used the term "force" which means all of the subs.
[/quote]
[/quote]

All 7 of them? ::)
[/quote]

They don't recognize the potential strategic aftermath of the US possibly losing even 80% of the nuke force if our SSBNs are targeted CONVENTIONALLY.

1) We are left with 200 warheads
2) Russia has 1550 plus China's maybe now has built to New START, ya know, just to match us and Russia and they have 1550

Will a future President say 'We don't know for sure who sank our subs (maybe it was China and Russia!!) they DID NOT USE nukes BUT THE US WILL NOW USE NUKES AGAINST THEM?

Now run the 1000's of media stories around the world calling the US President a crazy warmonger who wants to destroy the planet.

Russia and or China now free to do whatever they want - invade Ukraine, take back the Baltic states (what? that can't happen) and China moves into Taiwan and other 'disputed' territories. Hey even Iran says 'The US won't re-deploy to the Middle East let's take :eek: Iraq & Saudi!!

1) So we use conventional forces probably unable to do the job anymore or with massive losses as they are currently on the way to massive cuts per Hagel's recent budget announcements
2) We threaten to use the rest of our 200 nukes against 3100 for the enemy - oops we're deterred (and see global media response above).

Now this maybe is far fetched but if you don't think the US could be deterred 3100 warheads to 200 then you don't believe in deterrence theory so why not go to zero nukes TODAY and show the world how compassionate we are?

In my scenario, still having 420 ICBM's we immediately upload back to 3 warheads now we have close to 1550 again (1260 on ICBMs 200 left on SSBNs).

Now of course if I was the President we would build back to START I levels 1200 launchers and 6000 warheads making attack on our strategic forces impossible.
 

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bobbymike said:
Kadija_Man said:
sferrin said:
IMO the silo based ICBM is actually by far the best deterrent. No, not because it's invulnerable, but because the threshold for taking them out is so high. 7 well-placed torpedoes could take out our entire SLBM force and leave us not even knowing -for certain- who did it. So we'd likely get all pissed, lick our wounds, and do nothing. And the other guys know that. On the other hand, to knock out the ICBM force, you'd have to hit 450 hard targets on our own territory, at virtually the same time. Very little chance of pulling it off in the first place and zero chance of hiding who did it.

In reality, it is practically impossible to find the SLBM force once it is at sea.

And you are relying on a static technology model. When the SSBN(X) is slated to be in service til 2080 are you really going to say they will always and forever be invulnerable? 450 ICBMs are a simple and cheap redundancy insuring a much more complex problem to solve for our enemies.

Not a static technology model at all. A case of geographic reality. How is say, China going to search the entire Pacific and Indian Oceans for a single nuclear submarine which remains submerged for most of it's patrol? If the range on the SLBMs is increased, then the problem becomes exponentially harder, for them, suddenly, the SLBM force could be patrolling any where and still strike China. If the submarine is designed to dive deeper and launch from deep underwater, then it becomes even harder to find.

Compare that to the land based ICBM silo. One place and only one place for all time. Never moves. Just a hole in the ground with increasingly accurate enemy guidance systems which will enable the warhead to score a hole in one. It is you, who is relying on a "static technology model".
 

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Byeman said:
sferrin said:
Kadija_Man said:
I'd suggest that if you believe that you are being paranoid.

I'd suggest if you don't believe it you're being naïve.

Kadija_Man said:
In reality, it is practically impossible to find the SLBM force once it is at sea.

Famous last words. One would think any semi-intelligent individual would work hard to remove the word "impossible" from their vocabulary.

Wrong, he is correct, he used the term "force" which means all of the subs.

*EXACTLY* Some people here focus on single individual submarines when they should be looking at the force in toto. You do not put all your eggs in the one basket. Some are at sea on patrol, some in port, some going to or from patrol. Where are they? Somewhere in the oceans. How are they going to find them? The proponents of land based ICBMs just wave a hand and suddenly all the submarines are found and destroyed! Sheesh! If it was only that easy... ::) [/quote][/quote][/quote]
 

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sferrin said:
Byeman said:
Wrong, he is correct, he used the term "force" which means all of the subs.


All 7 of them? ::)


They don't recognize the potential strategic aftermath of the US possibly losing even 80% of the nuke force if our SSBNs are targeted CONVENTIONALLY.


Got to find them. How are you going to do that to use your conventional weapons?

As has already been pointed out, if US SSBNs start to disappear, the US Navy isn't going to sit on it's hands and neither is the US Government. Look at the over-reaction after 3,000 civilians died in New York and Washington! Sheesh, do you really, really under-rate your own government that much? I suppose unless they are chest-beating and Tarzan yelling every minute, they aren't being macho enough or aggressive enough for you? ::)

This scenario really is a paranoid delusion. It harks back to the worse days of the Cold War when the reds were supposedly about to launch a surprise attack on the USA in the next minute. Didn't you learn ANYTHING from the end of the Cold War? In reality the leadership of the fUSSR was DETERRED. It was TERRIFIED of the consequences of nuclear war. Do you honestly, really believe that either Russia or China aren't likewise today? Both societies suffered deep trauma in WWII. They KNOW what it is like to see your homeland devastated.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
As has already been pointed out, if US SSBNs start to disappear, the US Navy isn't going to sit on it's hands and neither is the US Government.

"Start disappearing"? If another nation were going to launch that kind of strike they'd make sure all seven deployed SSBNs were destroyed within minutes of each other (if even that long). And you're going to what? Try to muster an SSBN out of port in time to launch a retaliatory strike?
 

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Kadija_Man said:
How is say, China going to search the entire Pacific and Indian Oceans for a single nuclear submarine which remains submerged for most of it's patrol?

A few satellites with the sort of sensors that will likely be available a few decades from now might be able to look through all the worlds oceans in a few hours.

Yes, silos are obvious targets. But there's nothing to say that sooner or later subs won't be obvious as well. In which case, silos become the better option since maintenance and defense become easier. If someone knows where a sub is and is determined to take it out, it would be fairly easy. Taking out silos requires substantially more effort. And there are active defenses silos could whip out, where subs can only run.

Stealth is a great thing to have... so long as you have it.
 

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sferrin said:
Kadija_Man said:
As has already been pointed out, if US SSBNs start to disappear, the US Navy isn't going to sit on it's hands and neither is the US Government.

"Start disappearing"? If another nation were going to launch that kind of strike they'd make sure all seven deployed SSBNs were destroyed within minutes of each other (if even that long). And you're going to what? Try to muster an SSBN out of port in time to launch a retaliatory strike?

And how would they find all seven?

Why would they all be in port at the same time? Particularly in a time of rather obviously increasing international tension. Wars don't just come as bolts from the blue, you realise? Is the US Navy and the US Government really so incompetent that they would have all their submarines tied by by the quayside? Which is the only place they are vulnerable to strategic attacks.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
How is say, China going to search the entire Pacific and Indian Oceans for a single nuclear submarine which remains submerged for most of it's patrol?

A few satellites with the sort of sensors that will likely be available a few decades from now might be able to look through all the worlds oceans in a few hours.

Really? Sensors invariably either are designed to cover a wide area, with little detail or look very precisely at a small area in great detail. What sensors would allow such a wide area coverage and yet penetrate to sufficient depth to find the submarines while they are submerged?

Yes, silos are obvious targets. But there's nothing to say that sooner or later subs won't be obvious as well. In which case, silos become the better option since maintenance and defense become easier. If someone knows where a sub is and is determined to take it out, it would be fairly easy. Taking out silos requires substantially more effort. And there are active defenses silos could whip out, where subs can only run.

Stealth is a great thing to have... so long as you have it.

Yep and Submarines have it in bags and will continue to have it for the foreseeable future. Silos OTOH have none. They are targets.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
Really? Sensors invariably either are designed to cover a wide area, with little detail or look very precisely at a small area in great detail.

Yup. That's why you might, oh, I dunno, carry *two* sensors at a time, or have mulitple satellites with various sensors. Just a crazy thought.
 

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Back to the issue at hand!

http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/592708/ICBM-coalition-senators-urge-DoD---.html
 

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Don't know, why I had from the start the feeling, that this thread would run exactly the way it did .... !
I've tried to clean it up now, but actually there's not much fun ! So just some announcements :
Words like "naive", "paranoid" regarding other members in most cases are somewhat insulting
or offensive. Maybe you (whoever you are) didn't know until now, but now you know !
A serious discussion about whatsoever shouldn't need that, should it ?
I'll just delete every post containing such words completely !
 

sferrin

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I think if there were an ignore feature on this forum it would cut down on the amount of bickering quite a bit.
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
Kadija_Man said:
Really? Sensors invariably either are designed to cover a wide area, with little detail or look very precisely at a small area in great detail.

Yup. That's why you might, oh, I dunno, carry *two* sensors at a time, or have mulitple satellites with various sensors. Just a crazy thought.

Problem is that if your wide field sensor detects something, you're already past it so your narrow field sensor cannot examine it until the next pass, and of course by that time, it's gone - where? Oh, we don't know, back to the wide field sensor...

You've still failed to explain exactly what sort of sensor you're going to use to detect a deeply submerged submarine. I suppose just using this
moving-picture-waving-persons-hand-animated-gif.gif
is easier when creating strawman scenarios which bear little resemble to reality. The death of the SSBN has long been reported but they still keep building and using them. Perhaps the US Navy knows something you and your compatriots don't?
 

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Kadija_Man said:
Problem is that if your wide field sensor detects something, you're already past it so your narrow field sensor cannot examine it until the next pass

Unless, of course, the narrow-field sensor is on a second satellite trailing the first by some particular distance.


and of course by that time, it's gone - where?

How far is a boomer going to go in an hour or two?

You've still failed to explain exactly what sort of sensor you're going to use to detect a deeply submerged submarine.

Yeah, I'm afraid my ability to determine what advances are going to be made in the area of physics in the next 40 years is on the fritz. Perhaps you can clue us in so we can all make accurate prognostications.
 

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Here is an observation;

1) What military weapon system has over the course of the last 40 years (notwithstanding the history, over 70 years of strategy and tactics developed) been successfully tracked on numerous occasions with US and enemy forces getting close enough to destroy said weapon system?
2) What weapon system has never been successfully attacked and there is no history of any potential successful attack?

Answer;
1) SSNs and SSBNs
2) ICBMs in their silos - no one has ever demonstrated - on its relevant 'warshot' flight path - a missile launched from the US, China or Russia as capable of destroying a silo estimated accuracy notwithstanding. In fact opponents of MX or any ICBM modernization, mobility studies, etc. back in the day were making this exact argument. Why aren't they making it now?

Why is weapons system 1) being described as 'impossible' to track and destroy while 2) is being described as 'easily targeted and destroyed'?

No one is making the claim it is easy and it is likely improbable to 'currently' target and destroy several SSBNs. But it is obvious that by having 420 ICBMs (by far the cheapest leg of the Triad) as part of our strategic forces means you have the luxury of redundancy and therefore stability if in fact 30 years hence our SSBNs become more vulnerable.

Those that want to go to a Dyad or Monad HAVE to hope and pray the SSBNs don't ever become targetable the future of our strategic deterrence relies on it. I don't think deterrence works well on 'hope and pray'
 

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bobbymike said:
Here is an observation;

1) What military weapon system has over the course of the last 40 years been successfully tracked on numerous occasions with US and enemy forces
2) What weapon system has never been successfully attacked and there is no history of any potential successful attack?

1. Land based silos
2. SSBN's
 

sferrin

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Byeman said:
bobbymike said:
Here is an observation;

1) What military weapon system has over the course of the last 40 years been successfully tracked on numerous occasions with US and enemy forces
2) What weapon system has never been successfully attacked and there is no history of any potential successful attack?

1. Land based silos
2. SSBN's

Really? Pray tell, when has anybody flown a shot over the pole and destroyed a silo? That's right - never. Shall we go 'round and 'round again about why a silo-based ICBM is the best deterrent? Better yet, just go read post #6.
 
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