The ABM Treaty Charade - A Study in Elite Illusion and Delusion

SOC

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This is one really interesting book. I saw it referenced in a lot of places, and given the subject matter, I had to track down a copy. Good luck finding a new copy, by the way, I paid out the rear for one still in the shrinkwrap! Anyway, the author, William T. Lee, is attempting to prove that the USSR had a nation-wide ABM network, employing nuclear-armed S-200 and S-300 missiles. He does this through analysis of a whole mess of declassified documents from both the USA and the USSR/Russia, as well as other relevant source material, all of which is indexed. If you are in any way interested in the development and fielding of Soviet ABM systems, or the politics surrounding the ABM Treaty, track this book down. You won't be disappointed.
 

Skybolt

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Well, I'd say: Lee tries to prove that URSS was trying to develop all along the 70's AND 80's a nationwide ABM system using a building block method, i.e. building anti-tactical missile mobile systems with the technical capability to intercept an ICBM reentry vehicle but incapable to do that lacking radar capability, and then network them using large fixed battle management radar centers (like Krasnoyarsk) disguised as long distance SLBM attack early warning radars. Moreover, Lee points to the real dimensions of the USSR military budget, and is expecially interesting when he talks of the Gorbachev era. Lee is not convincing in saying (the book is from the middle of the 90's) that Boris Eltsin's Russia had maintained the ABM capability (probably USSR never attained the capability she was trying to achieve). That was a politically motivated opinion, in my opinion, they were the years of the after Star Wars ABM-yes/ABM-no debate in the US.
BTW, still now the real amount USSR devoted to the military budget is unknown, expecially under the last Breznev and successors. There are estimates, but they vary a lot. Characteristically, while just after the end of the Cold War the historians (well, most of them) tried to reduce the estimate (they were trying to say the the Reagan's buildup was useless) , year after year the amount kept growing, and now it is near the Lee's estimate (30-35 per cent of the GDP).
It was really a different time....
 

Skybolt

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Think of some hundreds of SA-400 Triumf launchers deployed around the country linked via redundant secure networks connection with large fixed battle management radar center. The concept was sound, don't have any idea if it was feasible from a technological level of the Soviet data communication and software industries, and from an economical point of view. Think for example that the Triumf would have to be defended by SAM batteries, linked between them. The complexity and cost would have skyrocket (the URSS was trying to build an anti-USA system, not an anti-rogue state or anti-PRC).
 

SOC

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Oh, it would've certainly been effective to a point. The missiles were to be armed with nuclear warheads. Makes accuracy slightly less important.
 

KJ_Lesnick

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SOC,
Oh, it would have certainly been effective to a point. The missiles were to be armed with nuclear warheads. Makes accuracy slightly less important.

You know, I've always wondered why our ABM designs (Bush-Administration) never incorporated a nuclear-tip. They could take out the warhead with no problem and probably any "decoys" along with it. The only concern I could see is fall-out, but if the missile was taken out far enough away from the US that wouldn't be a problem. But we need some kind of ABM system so we can deal with certain countries (psst... China, North Korea, Pakistan: China's got a horrible human rights record, including Tiananmen square where they sprayed hundreds if not thousands of men and women asking for democratic reforms with lead, and mowed over hundreds more gleefully with tanks, practice widespread censorship on a widespread-scale, periodically threatens to take over Taiwan and US efforts to intervene, and ultimately wants to take over the world and is currently responsible for all sorts of product recalls and stuff; North-Korea's run by a brutal psychopathic dictator who has essentially brainwashed his people, and turned the entire population into a giant cult; Pakistan is run by a dictator who's done things that Bush and Cheney could only do in their wildest wet-dreams -- you know dissolving their legislative branch, throwing lawyers demanding rule of law in jail, and establishing a dictatorship.)

I could understand why the USSR wanted to develop an ABM system. I think we were foolish not to have built one -- I mean we could have signed the treaty, swore on a stack (as in a stack of bibles) that we'd never develop an ABM system, then developed a whole secret network anyway while nobody was looking (Normally, I would be against such practices of deviousness and deception, but in this case -- ending the Cold-War in a fairly simple way, I could rationalize it.).

The primary purpose of an ABM system isn't to defend ourself from an enemy attack; it's so we can nuke the crap out of any enemy we choose (In an offensive role), and be able to swat down all their retaliatory ICBM's with impunity while they get boiled away in a flash.


Kendra Lesnick
 

Skybolt

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KJ, when you build an interceptor missile that can strike an incoming warhead directly in the head ;) with a conventional warhead, you can always convert it to nuclear if the need arises... there are lot of rumors on this, and a lot of suppositions has been proposed on the type of nuclear weapon possibly used (one in permanent stockage, the Sprint's one, or the one used in early Standard missiles ?). Either the US has plans to do this or not, it is normal that they want to keep it aloft, if not just to keep the counterpart off-balance.
 

sferrin

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Skybolt said:
KJ, when you build an interceptor missile that can strike an incoming warhead directly in the head ;) with a conventional warhead, you can always convert it to nuclear if the need arises... there are lot of rumors on this, and a lot of suppositions has been proposed on the type of nuclear weapon possibly used (one in permanent stockage, the Sprint's one, or the one used in early Standard missiles ?). Either the US has plans to do this or not, it is normal that they want to keep it aloft, if not just to keep the counterpart off-balance.

Never heard about Sprint warheads in storage. Spartan warheads were into the 90s and then dismantled. AFAIK Standard has never had one. The W90 as I recall was on the drawing board at one time and then cancelled. There were nuclear Terriers but not Standards (no nuke RIM-67).
 

sferrin

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KJ_Lesnick said:
SOC,
Oh, it would have certainly been effective to a point. The missiles were to be armed with nuclear warheads. Makes accuracy slightly less important.

You know, I've always wondered why our ABM designs (Bush-Administration) never incorporated a nuclear-tip.

There's this thing called "EMP". . .
 

KJ_Lesnick

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Still, how far could an EMP possibly go?

If this thing was detonated far enough away from the US to not cause fall out concerns, wouldn't the EMP be far enough away too?


Kendra Lesnick
 

sferrin

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KJ_Lesnick said:
Still, how far could an EMP possibly go?

If this thing was detonated far enough away from the US to not cause fall out concerns, wouldn't the EMP be far enough away too?


Kendra Lesnick

Google is your friend. Just my two cents, this site is more for reporting on and commenting on unbuilt projects, prototypes, etc. Not canvasing the boards with numerous questions only tangentially related to the topic at hand. From the forum rules:

"No Sponging. Endless requests for information without contribution is not encouraged. "

"Persistently ignoring the posting guidelines may result in temporary or permanent banning from the forum."
 

Skybolt

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Sorry, should've said "Terrier"... but as I wrote, those were "speculations". Nothing factual.
 

sferrin

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Skybolt said:
Sorry, should've said "Terrier"... but as I wrote, those were "speculations". Nothing factual.

Interesting thing about the later "Terriers" is they looked virtually the same as RIM-67 so it would be easy to confuse them. (Yeah, I know one is a developement of the other.) BTW at one time they'd considered keeping the nuke Terriers around because they thought they might need them to deal with the SS-NX-13 (antiship SS-N-6). These days there are several missiles that wouldn't have a problem killing one but back then was another story.
 

SOC

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KJ_Lesnick said:
You know, I've always wondered why our ABM designs (Bush-Administration) never incorporated a nuclear-tip. They could take out the warhead with no problem and probably any "decoys" along with it. The only concern I could see is fall-out, but if the missile was taken out far enough away from the US that wouldn't be a problem.

I did a paper for my master's degree debating this very issue and arguing for a nuclear ABM system. If it's feasible I'll post it on my blog. One argument for a HTK system is that you have no issues with fallout or EMP damaging your own infrastructure just to defend against a single rogue-state launch (think a solitary DPRK Tapeo-Dong II heading for Los Angeles). I ignored that aspect however as I was detailing a full-scale NMD/ABM system, so single-shot kills weren't in the scope of my argument.

EMP effects will vary based on the altitude of the burst and more significantly the type of warhead used. Different warheads can release different amounts of different radiation. One term thrown around is "X-ray kill". That's about as far as I can go on that issue.
 

sferrin

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SOC said:
One term thrown around is "X-ray kill". That's about as far as I can go on that issue.

The Spartan warhead had a GOLD tamper specifically to maximize the X-ray effect.
 

Skybolt

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ahah, it's out of print. Try a second hand book service
 

SOC

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I got mine through Amazon.com, via a used book seller. Be prepared to pay around $40-50 for a new copy if you can find one (I did, so they are out there).
 

sferrin

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SOC said:
I got mine through Amazon.com, via a used book seller. Be prepared to pay around $40-50 for a new copy if you can find one (I did, so they are out there).

What type of book is it? Does it have a lot of hard information or is it speculative?
 

SOC

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The author is using intelligence information and Soviet and Russian source information to describe how the S-200 and S-300P were actually part of a nationwide ABM network. There's a lot of good info in there but the overall concept is speculation. He does make a pretty good argument, however. I've discussed this concept with Pavel Podvig and he doesn't buy into it because he hasn't seen anything to back up what Lee claims, but that doesn't mean he's wrong. One of the things I'm working on for my blog is an analysis of the available information to draw my own conclusion on whether the system was feasible and whether it existed in this form.
 

SOC

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Council for Social and Economic Studies. The book is labeled "Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies Monograph #25". The ISBN is 0-930690-54-0. 166 pages.
 

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