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Spartan/Sprint ABM and Derivatives

airrocket

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Conical ABM missile made quite a stir in the 80's gossip's then quickly faded from vogue. Wish I knew if any ever went into service and what became of them. Seems a few made to to museums I would love to pick one up from a remote desert aerospace boneyard....
 

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Firefly 2

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Posting this in a hurry, as I need to leave for work.

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/sprint.html

There is quite a lot to be found via google. ( using " sprint abm system" )

Cheers
Wouter
 

RyanCrierie

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They did go into service...for like half of a month.

See, SPRINT was to be the last-ditch defensive component of the SAFEGUARD system.

If any re-entry vehicles made it past the SPARTAN long range missile screen (which defeated decoys and MIRVs by simply hitting the warhead bus at long range before they could deploy); then SPRINT would intercept them within the atmosphere.

It was deployed at the Stanley L Mickelson Complex along with SPARTAN in the 1970s. But Congress, led by Ted Kennedy, defunded the system a mere few weeks after it achieved IOC. So, it was in service for only a month.

Just another reason to hate the Kennedies.
 

sferrin

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http://srmsc.org/

http://srmsc.org/ref1020.html#p2ch9 (21Mb PDF there at the top)


http://www.nuclearabms.info/Sprint.html

for starters
 

airrocket

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Nukes to kill nukes... weird science. I only became aware of Sprint in the mid 80's after its demise. That delay in awareness was probably due to a temporary lapse of early 80's awareness "glory years". Since the warhead was of nuke nature I probably won't stumble on one in the desert bone yards anytime soon. If I want one I'll have to build my own version similar to one pictured.
 

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flateric

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...
 

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sferrin

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airrocket said:
Nukes to kill nukes... weird science. I only became aware of Sprint in the mid 80's after its demise. That delay in awareness was probably due to a temporary lapse of early 80's awareness "glory years". Since the warhead was of nuke nature I probably won't stumble on one in the desert bone yards anytime soon. If I want one I'll have to build my own version similar to one pictured.

HEDI might interest you. Think of it as a hit-to-kill Sprint, albeit just a research program.


http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/app4/hedi.html
 

Triton

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Video snippets concerning Spartan and Sprint found on YouTube.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACme4UG0tpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vq4mWyYl2Y
 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsnkmpJhzlo


At 16 seconds it goes white hot. B)
 

Triton

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RyanCrierie said:
It was deployed at the Stanley L Mickelson Complex along with SPARTAN in the 1970s. But Congress, led by Ted Kennedy, defunded the system a mere few weeks after it achieved IOC. So, it was in service for only a month.

Just another reason to hate the Kennedies.

That's an unfair statement. The Anti-Ballastic Missile (ABM) Treaty signed by President Richard Nixon and General Secretary Leonid Brezhniv in 1972 and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT) I treaty signed by President Gerald Ford and General Secretary Leonid Brezhniv in 1974 pretty much killed the Safeguard program. Under the ABM Treaty, only one Safeguard site was permitted. Three Safeguard sites were originally planned. The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex was designed to defend the Minuteman ICBM silos in North Dakota in the case of Soviet nuclear attack, not civilians. The point of Safeguard was to protect silo-based ICBMs for a retaliatory strike after a first strike by the Soviet Union. Congress administered the coup de grâce.
 

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That's an unfair statement.

It's the truth. This was allowed under the ABM Treaty (a useless treaty if there ever was one); the Soviets also built one around Moscow, and maintain it to this day.

What's really interesting are the sizes of:

SPARTAN
GBI
Soviet/Russian Long Range ABM

missiles.

They're roughly the same size; so it stands to reason that they have near continental range -- so the Mickelson site would have protected most of the continental US from it's site in North Dakota -- not just the US Missile Fields there.

But Ted Kennedy led the effort to defund it only a MONTH after it was operational.
 

sferrin

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RyanCrierie said:
What's really interesting are the sizes of:

SPARTAN
GBI
Soviet/Russian Long Range ABM

missiles.

They're roughly the same size; so it stands to reason that they have near continental range -- so the Mickelson site would have protected most of the continental US from it's site in North Dakota -- not just the US Missile Fields there.


Nope. Spartan and Gorgon were/are VERY different from GBI. 300-450 mile range for Spartan at best with Gorgon somewhat less. GBI is 3000+ The short of it is GBI has a much higher fuel fraction, is optimized for range rather than acceleration, and doesn't have to push a heavy 5 MEGATON warhead that Spartan carried.
 

RyanCrierie

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An apology guys here -- ABM is a politico-military subject very dear to my heart so I get a bit heated over it.

As pennance, some stuff from RG 544 at Archives II Relating to SPRINT.

The numbers refer to variants proposed for the SPRINT Mission. I don't know which number was picked for production.

The ABM stuff I found in the Army RG 544 stuff was very disorganized, in large boxes, and all jammed tightly together in one mass with no separating folders.
 

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RyanCrierie

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Some graphs regarding performance of various configurations.
 

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RyanCrierie

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Some final stuff...

With all the stuff buried away in that little box; if you had the time to dig through ALL of it; you could use that as a starting point for an "American Secret Projects: ABM".

Sure, there's nothing shatteringly convient like a Missile Characteristics Sheet, but a lot of graph paper, which needs to be looked over to find the goodies.

I was a bit pressed for time, so I didnt' fully cover the entire box; hence why I only have snippets of graphs for Configuration I and II.
 

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Rickshaw

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RyanCrierie said:
That's an unfair statement.

It's the truth. This was allowed under the ABM Treaty (a useless treaty if there ever was one); the Soviets also built one around Moscow, and maintain it to this day.

What's really interesting are the sizes of:

SPARTAN
GBI
Soviet/Russian Long Range ABM

missiles.

They're roughly the same size; so it stands to reason that they have near continental range -- so the Mickelson site would have protected most of the continental US from it's site in North Dakota -- not just the US Missile Fields there.

Appears you have little understanding of the physics of how either ICBMs or the ABM system worked. The greater the distance from the point of impact, the greater time required to mount an intercept. The site in North Dakota would not have been able to defend the eastern US seaboard and would have been very hard pressed to defend the relatively closer western US seaboard. If the fUSSR had used SLBMs, then it would have been impossible for ABM system to defend against them (particularly if depressed trajectories were utilised).

As all the history books relate - the concept of an ABM system in a MAD environment is potentially destabilising. It increases the desire to mount a first strike disproportionaly to its actual utility. As the pressure is already on (on both sides) to mount a first strike, that makes it increasingly likely that a war would break out.

Anyway, ABM systems are relatively easily defeated. Increased numbers of missiles or MIRVs (which BTW were expressly developed to defeat ABM systems), decoys and increased SLBM systems. Finally, if desired, there is always the possibility of fielding FOBS which would increase the ABM defence problem considerably.

But Ted Kennedy led the effort to defund it only a MONTH after it was operational.

He merely pointed out that the Emperor had no clothes. There was little point in funding a system which provided limited coverage for a limited nuclear attack when it was likely that any attack would be massive and cover all the major cities and installations in the USA, numerous times over.
 

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rickshaw said:
Appears you have little understanding of the physics of how either ICBMs or the ABM system worked.

Actually, I do.

I've managed to find one of the few books that detail how to calculate the defended footprint for an ABM system.

The missile defense equation: factors for decision making by Peter J. Mantle

While calculating the forward edge of the defended area is relatively easy, calculating the back edge and side edges is more complicated.

The book also explains why we use the Sea-Based X-Band Radar --a rough calculation I did showed that GBI's forward defended footprint against a 6.67 km/sec ICBM would be about 760~ kilometers in front of Fort Greely.

But if you added in the Sea Based XBR at Adak, some 2,250 km in front of Fort Greely, the defended forward edge footprint of the GBI against the same 6.67 km/sec threat rose to 1,500~ km from Fort Greely.

The greater the distance from the point of impact, the greater time required to mount an intercept. The site in North Dakota would not have been able to defend the eastern US seaboard and would have been very hard pressed to defend the relatively closer western US seaboard.

Actually, you're wrong. It was really ideally positioned to defeat Soviet ICBMs coming over the pole towards either coast, and would have protected the main mass of the US below it. The coasts would have been vunerable though. Ideally, we should have built two; one in Oregon and one in Maine.

This is why we picked Fort Greely for GBI; because of it's position, it made it possible to have a large defended footprint covering all of the continental united states from a single site.

If the fUSSR had used SLBMs, then it would have been impossible for ABM system to defend against them (particularly if depressed trajectories were utilised).

Depressed trajectories mean that you can't carry either decoys or MIRVs due to much greater atmospheric drag. And really, the solution to defending against depressed trajectories is to link in your existing SAM systems on the coasts to the missile defense radars, so they can engage the much lower and slower flying depressed trajectory missiles.

As all the history books relate - the concept of an ABM system in a MAD environment is potentially destabilising

False. When has a defensive system ever been destabilizing?

There was a good reason that Japan, for example, made a limitation of fortifications in the Pacific a key provision of her signing the Washington/London Naval treaties; because otherwise, there was no way Japan would be able to attack western colonies with a good chance of success.

Anyway, ABM systems are relatively easily defeated.

False. It's relatively easy to defeat decoys or MIRVs. In fact, this is why SPARTAN was developed, and why it had a significantly longer range than the original Nike-Zeus -- so that it could destroy incoming missiles well before they could debuss.

Fun fact -- the further away from the target a re-entry vehicle is released from the warhead bus, the less accurate it is -- and nuclear warhead yields have been trending down steadily since the fifties.

Finally, if desired, there is always the possibility of fielding FOBS which would increase the ABM defence problem considerably

You mean something that can easily be countered with an ASAT system (which an ABM system is, by default?)

There was little point in funding a system which provided limited coverage for a limited nuclear attack when it was likely that any attack would be massive and cover all the major cities and installations in the USA, numerous times over.

Again, you fail to understand the utility of defenses. The Soviet Union, by building up strategic defenses, was able to reduce the British nuclear deterrent from striking 200 cities (the V-Bomber force), to about 64 (Polaris force), to just one (Chevaline) by their continuous build up of strategic defenses in the form of an air defense network, and then later, an anti missile defense network.

Of course, the British then restored their 64 city destruction capability by going to Trident, and abandoning any attempt at penetrating the Moscow ABM system with Polaris Chevaline Decoys, but for a very long period from 1982 to 1994, the British essentially traded off a significant amount of warheads (1/3ds) and significantly cut the range of their SLBMs from 2,500 nm to 1,950 nm; meaning they had to be closer to Moscow in order to hit it, which was more dangerous in the 1980s, due to improved Soviet SSN forces.

The same defenses also significantly cut into SAC's capabilities.

It used to be that in the sixties; having a clip of four one megaton bombs in a B-52 for a weight of 10,000 lbs of weapons was sufficient to penetrate to your target and destroy it; and with 600 B-52s, you were assured that even if a goodly portion of the force was shot down, you'd still have enough to kill the Soviet Union.

But by 1979, you only had 343 B-52s, meaning that you had to load up the force with more weapons, not only to take up the slack of the cuts in bomber numbers, but also to suppress increasingly dense Soviet defenses -- a eight round rotary launcher for SRAMs is easily 20,000~ lbs fully loaded with missiles.

Later on in the eighties, EVEN more weight was added with the addition of ALCM pylons and launchers.

Basically, by the end of the Cold War, the B-52Gs and Hs would have had to tank up almost immediately after takeoff, in order to have the range to reach their targets -- and even then they would be nearly tanks dry over the target (courtesy of M. Kozlowski, 379th BW(H) Wurtsmith, MI).
 

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Back on topic for ABM.

The "Enhanced Radiation" Warheads developed for SPRINT and SPARTAN (5MT on SPARTAN and 1KT on SPRINT) were the first applications of the "neutron bomb" principle by the U.S.

They were developed for three basic reasons:

1.) In the high atmosphere where SPARTAN was to initate; the primary effects of nukes, mainly thermal pulse and airblast were minimized.

2.) At the low altitudes SPRINT was expected to operate at, (100,000 feet or lower); minimizing the primary causes of property damage - mainly airblast and thermal radiation (even if it was 1 kiloton) was important.

3.) Due to their basic nature, nuclear weapons MUST have neutron absorbing materials in the warhead for it to function.

If you were to hit a nuclear warhead with a large sleet of neutrons; the materials in the warhead would gobble it up like crazy, and cause the warhead to dud when the signal to initate it is sent.

I suppose you could shield a nuclear warhead against neutrons, but then that would massively increase the weight of the warhead; due to some factors:

A.) Lead or steel do not shield against neutrons.

You need

10" of Regular Concrete
or
8" of Polyethylene
or
9" of water

to attenuate neutrons by a factor of 10.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
OK... which is it? Can't be both.

OBB, you've hit the nail on the head, in much the same way B. Bruce Briggs did in Shield of Faith, his survey of American Strategic Defenses from the turn of the 20th Century to SDI.

ABM opponents have always fallen upon two tacks.

1.) It won't work.

If that's defeated, then they fall back onto their next plank.

2.) It's too destabilizing.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
Orionblamblam said:
OK... which is it? Can't be both.

OBB, you've hit the nail on the head, in much the same way B. Bruce Briggs did in Shield of Faith, his survey of American Strategic Defenses from the turn of the 20th Century to SDI.

ABM opponents have always fallen upon two tacks.

1.) It won't work.

If that's defeated, then they fall back onto their next plank.

2.) It's too destabilizing.

Cold War MAD was not based on a simple notion of 'we wont use nukes if you dont' it was based on the concept that any direct conflict between the Soviet Union and NATO would rapidly deteriorate towards all out nuclear war whether the politicians trying to control it wanted it to or not, the simple reason being the application of Clauzewitzian friction. Thus the greater the proliferation of delivery systems and defensive systems the more likely the slide to nuclear war. The threat of nuclear war did not prevent nuclear war, it prevented a scenario that may have resulted in nuclear war. In this context an ABM system is destabilizing but only once a situation has escalated to the point of conflict, therefore it is a stabilizing factor up to that point. The reason being that they are yet another variable added to the potential outcome of any escalation in tension.

However, todays systems are intended for something quite different. They are based n the calculation that rogue states (and other lower tier states) will seek to reduce the freedom of action of the US and her allies by deploying and using ballistic missiles potentially equipped with CBRN warheads. The model is what Saddam Hussein used his missile forces for in 1990 when he tried force Israel into the conflict and thus break the coalition. The other concern is that small states might be tempted to prevent others from allowing US deployments or over flights by threatening missile strikes or even threaten the US itself with retaliation. Thus the current ABM effort is designed to prevent these more primitive threats rather than the massed ICBM forces of the Soviet Union. Obviously the current system could provide a basis for a peer rival scenario system, especially if the multiple KKV concepts had been followed through with- unfortunately they were cancelled by Barak Hussein Obama.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
rickshaw said:
As all the history books relate - the concept of an ABM system in a MAD environment is potentially destabilising. ...
Anyway, ABM systems are relatively easily defeated.

OK... which is it? Can't be both.

Of course it can. Two points. We are dealing with perceptions, not necessarily reality. If an opponent feels they are at a disadvantage and their opponents are able to strike first and survive any counter-strike by the first power's surviving forces, then the first power will be under increased pressure to strike first.

Secondly, we are dealing with events along a time line. When introduced, the ABM system destabilises the MAD paradigm by creating the perception in the mind of the side without the ABM system that they will need to launch first in order to destroy their enemy's nuclear forces because the ABM will allow their opponent to launch first and be defended against a surviving counter-strike. Later, when counter-ABM systems are introduced, the MAD paradigm returns to equilibrium and so hence the value of the ABM system is reduced because of the counter-measures introduced to defeat it.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
rickshaw said:
Appears you have little understanding of the physics of how either ICBMs or the ABM system worked.

Actually, I do.

I've managed to find one of the few books that detail how to calculate the defended footprint for an ABM system.

The missile defense equation: factors for decision making by Peter J. Mantle

While calculating the forward edge of the defended area is relatively easy, calculating the back edge and side edges is more complicated.

The book also explains why we use the Sea-Based X-Band Radar --a rough calculation I did showed that GBI's forward defended footprint against a 6.67 km/sec ICBM would be about 760~ kilometers in front of Fort Greely.

But if you added in the Sea Based XBR at Adak, some 2,250 km in front of Fort Greely, the defended forward edge footprint of the GBI against the same 6.67 km/sec threat rose to 1,500~ km from Fort Greely.

Assuming of course that your opponent will conveniently follow the path that your radars are designed to protect against. As you, yourself pointed out, these calculations are based upon detecting objects "in front of" one position and you recognise the difficulties in calculating the "sides" and "back edge" of the area that can be protected by the missile system at that one point. The further the targets are to the sides and back edge, the harder it is to calculate an intercept, I think you'll find.

The greater the distance from the point of impact, the greater time required to mount an intercept. The site in North Dakota would not have been able to defend the eastern US seaboard and would have been very hard pressed to defend the relatively closer western US seaboard.

Actually, you're wrong. It was really ideally positioned to defeat Soviet ICBMs coming over the pole towards either coast, and would have protected the main mass of the US below it. The coasts would have been vunerable though. Ideally, we should have built two; one in Oregon and one in Maine.

But the point is, the US didn't, did it? It built one. One in the middle of the US. You can't wish for the moon and your original point was that you felt that the one which was built could defend the whole of the USA from attack.

This is why we picked Fort Greely for GBI; because of it's position, it made it possible to have a large defended footprint covering all of the continental united states from a single site.

And I'd suggest that it wouldn't have been able to, despite what you may believe. Just look at the problems encountered nowadays in testing the present ABM defence system. They had to cheat on the early tests to even get the intercept to occur. Why then would you assume using 1950s and 1960s technology they'd have done any better?

If the fUSSR had used SLBMs, then it would have been impossible for ABM system to defend against them (particularly if depressed trajectories were utilised).

Depressed trajectories mean that you can't carry either decoys or MIRVs due to much greater atmospheric drag. And really, the solution to defending against depressed trajectories is to link in your existing SAM systems on the coasts to the missile defense radars, so they can engage the much lower and slower flying depressed trajectory missiles.

What SAM systems? By the time the ABM system was active, most of the air defences of the USA had been dismantled. Therefore, you're thrown back again on your single ABM system, in the middle of the continent, trying to intercept SLBMs launched using depressed trajectories against the coast and inland parts of the USA. I'm sorry, I just can't see it working.

As all the history books relate - the concept of an ABM system in a MAD environment is potentially destabilising

False. When has a defensive system ever been destabilizing?

When a defensive system has allowed its user to possibly launch a first strike with immunity. This increases the pressure on the other side to mount their strike first and so therefore it destabilises an already fragile equilibrium.

Anyway, ABM systems are relatively easily defeated.

False. It's relatively easy to defeat decoys or MIRVs. In fact, this is why SPARTAN was developed, and why it had a significantly longer range than the original Nike-Zeus -- so that it could destroy incoming missiles well before they could debuss.

Fun fact -- the further away from the target a re-entry vehicle is released from the warhead bus, the less accurate it is -- and nuclear warhead yields have been trending down steadily since the fifties.

So, they debuss earlier and have terminal guidance added. That negates your range advantage. More missiles and/or more warheads, overwhelms your defences, Again, that negates any advantage that the ABM provides. The increased use of SLBMs launched from unexpected directions complicates your defensive arrangements yet again. The use of FOBS again approaching from unexpected directions complicates your defensive arrangements yet again. While the initial advantage is with the deployer of the ABM system, over time, its advantages are minimised and effectively eliminated by an opponent willing and able to expend the necessary money on the means to do so.

Finally, if desired, there is always the possibility of fielding FOBS which would increase the ABM defence problem considerably

You mean something that can easily be countered with an ASAT system (which an ABM system is, by default?)

No, it can't be easily countered with an ASAT system. The reason being of course is that a FOBS does not need to be launched until just before a strike is undertaken - if your ASAT system attacks it, you've effectively declared war on your opponent and more than likely used up valuable ABM missiles which will be required to counter the main strike.

There was little point in funding a system which provided limited coverage for a limited nuclear attack when it was likely that any attack would be massive and cover all the major cities and installations in the USA, numerous times over.

Again, you fail to understand the utility of defenses. The Soviet Union, by building up strategic defenses, was able to reduce the British nuclear deterrent from striking 200 cities (the V-Bomber force), to about 64 (Polaris force), to just one (Chevaline) by their continuous build up of strategic defenses in the form of an air defense network, and then later, an anti missile defense network.

Of course, the British then restored their 64 city destruction capability by going to Trident, and abandoning any attempt at penetrating the Moscow ABM system with Polaris Chevaline Decoys, but for a very long period from 1982 to 1994, the British essentially traded off a significant amount of warheads (1/3ds) and significantly cut the range of their SLBMs from 2,500 nm to 1,950 nm; meaning they had to be closer to Moscow in order to hit it, which was more dangerous in the 1980s, due to improved Soviet SSN forces.

The same defenses also significantly cut into SAC's capabilities.

It used to be that in the sixties; having a clip of four one megaton bombs in a B-52 for a weight of 10,000 lbs of weapons was sufficient to penetrate to your target and destroy it; and with 600 B-52s, you were assured that even if a goodly portion of the force was shot down, you'd still have enough to kill the Soviet Union.

But by 1979, you only had 343 B-52s, meaning that you had to load up the force with more weapons, not only to take up the slack of the cuts in bomber numbers, but also to suppress increasingly dense Soviet defenses -- a eight round rotary launcher for SRAMs is easily 20,000~ lbs fully loaded with missiles.

Later on in the eighties, EVEN more weight was added with the addition of ALCM pylons and launchers.

Basically, by the end of the Cold War, the B-52Gs and Hs would have had to tank up almost immediately after takeoff, in order to have the range to reach their targets -- and even then they would be nearly tanks dry over the target (courtesy of M. Kozlowski, 379th BW(H) Wurtsmith, MI).

This would be Soviet defensive system which was unable to prevent Mathias Rust from flying his Cessna into Red Square?

You're also assuming that Moscow is the only target worth attacking. In reality I suspect it would be both the least valuable target to attack and perhaps even the last one attacked (destroy the capital and you risk decapitating the Soviet nuclear forces and who then can order a ceasefire?). You're also assuming that a defensive system which can defeat slow, high or later low flying bombers would also defeat ICBMs. Why?
 

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rickshaw said:
Orionblamblam said:
rickshaw said:
As all the history books relate - the concept of an ABM system in a MAD environment is potentially destabilising. ...
Anyway, ABM systems are relatively easily defeated.

OK... which is it? Can't be both.

Of course it can. Two points. We are dealing with perceptions, not necessarily reality. If an opponent feels they are at a disadvantage and their opponents are able to strike first and survive any counter-strike by the first power's surviving forces, then the first power will be under increased pressure to strike first.

But if as you say ABM *can't* work, then no amount of American ABM shielding would bother the Soviets.

Secondly, we are dealing with events along a time line. When introduced, the ABM system destabilises the MAD paradigm by creating the perception in the mind of the side without the ABM system...

And which side was that? Both the US and USSR had ABM systems. At least for a month... and then only the Soviets had ABM systems. And did the withdrawl of Safeguard cause the US to launcha first striek against the Soviets?
 

sferrin

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Orionblamblam said:
and then only the Soviets had ABM systems. And did the withdrawl of Safeguard cause the US to launcha first striek against the Soviets?

Exactly. For decades Russia had the only ABM system and it didn't automatically start WWIII. In fact the Cold War ENDED WHILE only one side had ABMs so to say it's "destabilizing" is disingenuous at best.
 

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sferrin said:
Orionblamblam said:
and then only the Soviets had ABM systems. And did the withdrawl of Safeguard cause the US to launcha first striek against the Soviets?

Exactly. For decades Russia had the only ABM system and it didn't automatically start WWIII. In fact the Cold War ENDED WHILE only one side had ABMs so to say it's "destabilizing" is disingenuous at best.

Russia had a system of limited capacity and intention that everyone knew was useless in a large war. Now propose that you engage to build a very large scale system for national defense, against which it may be feasible for a large scale attack to be defeated, or perhaps a retaliatory attack of one's surviving ballistic missiles. Even if that is merely a perception in the mind of one's opponent, it is highly destabilizing, because it threatens to remove the articles of deterrent from one's opponent and as a result removes any reasons for restraint from the side with the ABM, possibly encouraging them to launch a first strike since that would allow them to completely minimize or eliminate damage to themselves if they felt it could withstand whatever survived the first strike (and thus lowering the other side's nuclear threshold in order to avoid said first strike, and so on and so forth). It would require irrational actors to permit its construction rather than start a limited war (and presenting system destruction as a fait accompli) to keep the status quo ante.

[quote author=RyanCrierie]
Actually, I do.

I've managed to find one of the few books that detail how to calculate the defended footprint for an ABM system.

The missile defense equation: factors for decision making by Peter J. Mantle

While calculating the forward edge of the defended area is relatively easy, calculating the back edge and side edges is more complicated.

The book also explains why we use the Sea-Based X-Band Radar --a rough calculation I did showed that GBI's forward defended footprint against a 6.67 km/sec ICBM would be about 760~ kilometers in front of Fort Greely.

But if you added in the Sea Based XBR at Adak, some 2,250 km in front of Fort Greely, the defended forward edge footprint of the GBI against the same 6.67 km/sec threat rose to 1,500~ km from Fort Greely.[/quote]

If you happen to have the book still handy, would it trouble you much to post the relevant equations? Aside from general interest, it also helps to ensure that the equations aren't inherently tainted. Why, incidentally, a 6.67km/s target? Atlas-F SMC on your site indicates a burn out just short of 7.3km/s, doesn't it? I'm curious as to how quickly the defended zone shrinks with rise in missile speed.
 

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Rosdivan said:
... it threatens to remove the articles of deterrent from one's opponent and as a result removes any reasons for restraint from the side with the ABM...

In the years after WWII, when the US had the monopoly on The Bomb, we knew that the Soviets were the next big threat. We knew that Soviet intentions were world conquest. We knew that the Soviets were reasonably well thrashed. And yet, even though we knew we could nuke them without them nuking us back, we somehow managed to not nuke them.

And an ABM system does not need to be 100% effective to be worth doing. If the ABM system could only save 50% of your cities from being evaporated, that's both better than nothing... and not near good enough to make you decide that you are invulnerable.

A bulletproof vest won't save you from a shot to the head. But you'd have to be some kind of moron to put yourself where you know you'll be shot at and *not* wear such a vest if such is available.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Rosdivan said:
... it threatens to remove the articles of deterrent from one's opponent and as a result removes any reasons for restraint from the side with the ABM...

In the years after WWII, when the US had the monopoly on The Bomb, we knew that the Soviets were the next big threat. We knew that Soviet intentions were world conquest. We knew that the Soviets were reasonably well thrashed. And yet, even though we knew we could nuke them without them nuking us back, we somehow managed to not nuke them.

We also had a completely incompetent SAC for several years, insufficient bombs and reconnaissance to decisively end the conflict with a nuclear campaign, and a belief that even with a nuclear campaign it would take several years and hundreds of thousands or millions of American lives to toss the Soviets out of Western Europe. The Soviets had a sufficient conventional (and chemical) arsenal at the time to act as a proto-deterrent unless we felt like saying sayonara to Western Europe. And of course, so what? Yes, we refrained from nuking them then. Why should they believe that because we did so once we would refrain from doing so in the future? It would, after all, be fairly simple to castigate as a mistake and lost opportunity. What rational nation would put itself in that position purposefully when it could pre-empt the possibility?

And an ABM system does not need to be 100% effective to be worth doing. If the ABM system could only save 50% of your cities from being evaporated, that's both better than nothing... and not near good enough to make you decide that you are invulnerable.

Except ABM, economies, and nations have never been quite so simplistic.

A bulletproof vest won't save you from a shot to the head. But you'd have to be some kind of moron to put yourself where you know you'll be shot at and *not* wear such a vest if such is available.

If memory serves, Soldiers and Marines have been known to not wear the vests in order to increase their mobility for dealing with insurgents, have they not?
 

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If I understand correctly the Sprint used a type W66 ERW (neutron flux) warhead. So I assume it was designed to fry the electronics of the incoming threat rather destroy it from the blast? I grew up in the MAD era 45 miles from ground zero SAC Omaha. Duck and cover was a common school drill. I still occasionally have nightmares 40 years later. There is a sudden distant yet brillent flash that fills the room, soon after I walk out onto the porch, there is an eerie silience then I witness the mushroom cloud rising up over the crest of the distant hills, then the rumble....then to south Missouri vapor streams rise up into sky and arc nothward...armageddon! ABM would've have been a comforting thought however it seems most assumed our defense missiles we're not very effective.
 

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Rosdivan said:
Orionblamblam said:
Rosdivan said:
... it threatens to remove the articles of deterrent from one's opponent and as a result removes any reasons for restraint from the side with the ABM...

In the years after WWII, when the US had the monopoly on The Bomb, we knew that the Soviets were the next big threat. We knew that Soviet intentions were world conquest. We knew that the Soviets were reasonably well thrashed. And yet, even though we knew we could nuke them without them nuking us back, we somehow managed to not nuke them.

We also had a completely incompetent SAC for several years, insufficient bombs and reconnaissance to decisively end the conflict with a nuclear campaign, and a belief that even with a nuclear campaign it would take several years and hundreds of thousands or millions of American lives to toss the Soviets out of Western Europe.

Ayup. And that's different from the more modern nuke-armed Soviets *how?*

Why should they believe that because we did so once we would refrain from doing so in the future?

Because while the Soviet leadership was evil (like the Nazis), they weren't crazy (like the Nazis). Nobody in their right mind would imagine that a decent ABM program would make a superpower so invulnerable that it would allow for a risk-free first strike.


And an ABM system does not need to be 100% effective to be worth doing. If the ABM system could only save 50% of your cities from being evaporated, that's both better than nothing... and not near good enough to make you decide that you are invulnerable.

Except ABM, economies, and nations have never been quite so simplistic.

That response is unresponsive.

A bulletproof vest won't save you from a shot to the head. But you'd have to be some kind of moron to put yourself where you know you'll be shot at and *not* wear such a vest if such is available.

If memory serves, Soldiers and Marines have been known to not wear the vests in order to increase their mobility for dealing with insurgents, have they not?
[/quote]

Yes. Are you suggestign that in the event of a nuclear exchange, the United States would be able to dump the Safeguard ABM system and run across the Atlantic real fast? Maybe the Soviet warheads would miss and hit Mexico.
 

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Orionblamblam said:
Nobody in their right mind would imagine that a decent ABM program would make a superpower so invulnerable that it would allow for a risk-free first strike.

In which case, what are you spending the money for? Why spend the hundreds of billions of dollars if you haven't materially changed the case of mutually assured destruction being the operative case?

That response is unresponsive.

If memory serves, a full Safeguard or Sentinel program would have provided defensive coverage for the twenty five most economically valuable or populous cities in America. The loss of twelve of those cities, not to mention the loss of undefended cities, would be quite catastrophic to the American economy; not to mention all the other effects from the likely destruction of trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific trade. It would be nothing less than compete and utter collapse, and being as dependent as we are on foreign sources of energy, it would be an interesting, if macabre, exercise to ponder how long we can keep the populace fed and general order in the face of unprecedented unemployment, poverty, and the loss of family. The fatalities in the first week or so will obviously be much lower, but the effects in the long run I believe would be about the same.

Yes. Are you suggestign that in the event of a nuclear exchange, the United States would be able to dump the Safeguard ABM system and run across the Atlantic real fast? Maybe the Soviet warheads would miss and hit Mexico.

No, I'm suggesting that sometimes it is advisable *not* to wear the vest, because there can be advantages to not wearing it, and so it is not moronic, as some of our infantry serves as examples otherwise. With ballistic missile defense, that advantage comes in the preservation of hundreds of billions of dollars in capital investment and further operating costs, which may be directed towards other military programs such as improving our conventional posture, social programs, or simply a reduction in taxes.

[edit]
In any event, this is the last of my contribution to derailment. I merely wanted to point out how it could it be seen as destabilizing.
 

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Rosdivan said:
Russia had a system of limited capacity and intention that everyone knew was useless in a large war.

Some points to make.

1.) The Moscow ABM system by itself pretty much negated the British National Deterrent -- because the british basically mirror imaged what the loss of London would mean to the UK and applied that to the Soviet Union.

While Moscow *is* an important rail hub for the Western Soviet Union/Russia, there are large amounts of lateral/ring/bypass rail and road connectiosn that bypass Moscow, so it's loss is not critical to the transportation infrastructure of Russia. From the politico/economic point of view; while it's loss would be bad; it's not lethal, like the loss of London would be to the UK.

2.) The Soviets had a "hidden" thin ABM screen over major cities of the Soviet Union with their large scale deployment of the SA-5 GAMMON system. I'm friends with Stuart Slade, who during the bad old days of the 80s actually did help plan nuclear attack plans against the Soviet Union.

Was the Russian SAM system a concern. You bet it was. Essentially the Russians had a thin defense screen over their entire country that stood a chance of knocking down at least some of the warheads we would have tossed in their general direction. How amny and what we did about it was a matter of great concern when I was working in that area. Sorry, I'm going to have to leave that there.

Essentially, if you build a high performance SAM system capable of at least making a good try at intercepting a very high and very fast airbreathing target (SR-71/B-70 or above), then that system by default, gains a ABM capability; since a ballistic missile RV will be coming in dumb, blind, and on a course that can't be changed.

High end SAMs in an ABM role wouldn't be capable of defending a large area, and they would be capable of being swamped with re-entry vehicles; because they wouldn't have the range to engage the warhead bus before it debussed.

However, their existence greatly complicates the life of a nuclear targeteer.

For example, we might put two RVs onto a factory that produces say, T-72 tank turrets (one is a backup in case the first malfunctions).

If there's a "thin protective screen" from the SA-5; there's a high probability that our lone RV which doesn't malfunction will be shot down or damaged so badly it won't initate. So we have to double up the RVs aimed at that target.

Multiply that by the number of SA-5 batteries in the USSR; and you can see how even a very thin screen that can only handle one or two incoming RVs at each complex complicates life for the nuclear targeteer.

If you happen to have the book still handy, would it trouble you much to post the relevant equations? Aside from general interest, it also helps to ensure that the equations aren't inherently tainted.

Yessir! I still have photocopies of the revelant chapters.

Why, incidentally, a 6.67km/s target? Atlas-F SMC on your site indicates a burn out just short of 7.3km/s, doesn't it?

Well, ICBMs are traditionally considered to fall between the ranges of 5,500 to 19,970 km; which ranges from 6.67 km/sec to 12.72 km/sec.

Atlas F was like 11,500+ miles; while a North Korean ICBM that could hit say, San Francisco would have a range of 5,500+ miles.

You can use these handy rules of thumb to calculate ballistic missile parameters; assuming that the missile is fired in a minimum energy, maximum range trajectory:

TOF = SQRT (Range) x 14

Time of Flight in seconds
Range is in Kilometers

Burnout speed = SQRT (Range) x 0.09

Speed is in km/sec
Range is in Kilometers

Apogee = Range x 0.25

Apogee is in kilometers
Range is in Kilometers
 

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Orionblamblam

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Rosdivan said:
Orionblamblam said:
Nobody in their right mind would imagine that a decent ABM program would make a superpower so invulnerable that it would allow for a risk-free first strike.

In which case, what are you spending the money for?

Sigh.

Alright one more time: ABM is good because it's better to lose *half* of your cities than *all* of your cities. ABM is *not* destabilizing because it's better to lose *none* of you cities than *half* of your cities.

Why spend the hundreds of billions of dollars if you haven't materially changed the case of mutually assured destruction being the operative case?

Because Seattle woudl cost more than the ABM program to replace.

That response is unresponsive.

If memory serves, a full Safeguard or Sentinel program would have provided defensive coverage for the twenty five most economically valuable or populous cities in America. The loss of twelve of those cities, not to mention the loss of undefended cities, would be quite catastrophic to the American economy...[/quote]

Indeed. Yet your arguement is that this would still cause the US governemnt to decide to go bonkers and launch a first strike as a result of having an ABM system.



No, I'm suggesting that sometimes it is advisable *not* to wear the vest, because there can be advantages to not wearing it...

Advantages that do not translate from overheated, slowed-down infantryman to fixed nation-state.

With ballistic missile defense, that advantage comes in the preservation of hundreds of billions of dollars in capital investment and further operating costs, which may be directed towards other military programs such as improving our conventional posture, social programs, or simply a reduction in taxes.

Snerk. You don't know government spending very well, do ya.

Once again: how much would it cost to replace Seattle after, say, North Korea nukes it? How brightly lit would the night skies be with the fires from the anti-ABM politicians being burned at the stake?
 

Orionblamblam

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Quick questions:

1) Is having an anti-SLBM submarine defense system "destabilizing?"
2) Is having an anti-strategic-bomber SAM or interceptor system "destabilizing?"
3) Is having a system of neutron/gamma ray detectors to keep an eye on infiltrators with "suitcase nukes" "destabilizing?"
4) Is having anti-tank aircraft that can take out nuclear-armed "atomic cannons" "destabilizing?"
5) Is having a medical facility tasked with finding vaccines, cures and tests for known enemy biological agents "destabilizing?"
6) Is having a room full of pimply computer geeks tasked with fighting electronic espionage "destabilizing?"
 

Abraham Gubler

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In the context of the Cold War (1945-91) between the USA and USSR even a full scale continental Sentinel ABM system cannot be considered destabilizing. Because any assessment of stability needs to look at both sides of the balance beam.

Since 1945 the Soviets were committed to building a strategic shield for Moscow against nuclear attack. This went through three main generations with at first the world’s largest concentration of anti-aircraft artillery, then the world’s first guided missile system and then the world’s first ABM system (A-35 Aldan). While this did not cover the full territory of the Soviet Union it covered the one part that the Soviet leadership was unwilling to sacrifice (debatable) to meet their objectives.

So while there was some lag between the catch up of the defensive systems ability to intercept the primary means of nuclear delivery as they evolved it provided the Soviets with an adequate shield to fire a first strike. It is because of this initial act of destabilization that the US, UK, France and China all had to invest heavily in first strike survivable nuclear delivery systems. Which includes initial fielding of the US ABM system to cover the missile silos on the Great Plains.

The only issue of Sentinel ABM being the “Emperor has no clothes” is that that SLBMs provide a first strike survivable counter system so they are possible redundant to provide this capability. Though since this survivability relies on the ability of a submarine to hide itself in the water it is subjective to a break through sensor system. It would not be very pleasant to suffer a Soviet first strike that takes out all your ICBMs and SLBMs (because they had a satellite that could track the submarines) and have no high level counter strike capability able to vapourise Moscow and so deter the attack in the first place.
 

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Abraham Gubler said:
While this did not cover the full territory of the Soviet Union it covered the one part that the Soviet leadership was unwilling to sacrifice (debatable) to meet their objectives.

There's another school of thought in The Business (TM) that considers Moscow to be the ultimate mashirikova in that it's a deliberate missile and bomb sponge for the rest of the USSR/Russia.

If as a result of all the defenses around Moscow, it takes 25 bombers instead of one to nuke it off the face of the earth, that's nearly a hundred designated ground zeroes in russia (25 bombers times 4 x 1 MT bombs each) that will escape the wrath of those 25 bombers.

Same thing can be applied to ballistic missiles -- If it takes a full squadron of Minutemen to defeat the Moscow ABM shield -- about 50 missiles; then that's between 50 and 150 warheads that don't fall on the rest of the Soviet Union (Depending on MIRV level of each missile).

It is because of this initial act of destabilization that the US, UK, France and China all had to invest heavily in first strike survivable nuclear delivery systems.

The funny thing is...

Link

Even when Moscow had more ICBMs than Washington, the Soviets did not feel secure because "they perceive[d] U.S. intentions to be aggressive and did not believe the superpower nuclear balance to be stable." For example, "virtually all interview subjects stressed that they perceived the U.S. to be preparing for a first strike." From satellite photography, the Soviets observed that U.S. missile silos were "relatively poorly protected by overhed cover and grouped rather close to each other and to the cluster's launch control center." The vulnerability of U.S. ICBM deployments convinced the high command that the ICBM "fields were first-strike weapons."

[I: 1-2, 31; II: 100 (Kataev), 151 (Tsygichko)]


SLBMs provide a first strike survivable counter system so they are possible redundant to provide this capability.

That's only recently -- with very long range missiles that can hit any point in the world from pierside.

Before they came along in the 1980s, SSBNs had to get relatively close to their targets; and launching their full salvo of missiles would have taken a goodly time, and would have been quite noisy and given off such a light show that they'd have attracted the interest of any anti-submarine forces in the area.

I mean, I've found documents flacking an ASW role for the F-108 Rapier; in which it detects SLBM launches with the ASG-18; and then zooms over to the submarine, and drops a nuclear depth bomb in the general vinicity.
 

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RyanCrierie said:
What's really interesting are the sizes of:

SPARTAN
GBI
Soviet/Russian Long Range ABM

missiles.

They're roughly the same size; so it stands to reason that they have near continental range -- so the Mickelson site would have protected most of the continental US from it's site in North Dakota -- not just the US Missile Fields there.

Sentinel was the name of the continental American ABM defense system. Spartan was its long range defense element. Sentinel was to have had 18 missile sites, which formed a ring around the US border. Due to cost and politics this was replaced by Safegaurd. This used the the same missiles but now fielding 12 sites to offer protection to high value assets only. One site was constructed at Grand forks (ND), another at Malmstrom (Montana) was partially constructed and a further site in Whiteman (Missouri) had land surveyed (and purchased?). Further deployment was stopped by the ABM politics and treaty.
However if continental defense was possible with just one site, why did the original plan have 18?

Also Spartans payload was a 1.3ton W71 warhead, whilst GBI HTK payload weighs about 60Kg. I reckon this will have a significant effect on the respective range of each system.
 

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