US Hypersonics - Prompt Global Strike Capability

bring_it_on

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Yes, and we have some very carefully worded statements suggesting that GBSD has been designed to accept these type of future upgrades over its lifecycle.
 

In_A_Dream

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It only seems necessary for the US to develop a hypersonic warhead if current ballistic missiles are not up to the task of deterrence. That seems like a hard sell right now; neither Russia or China have significant ABM defenses (outside Moscow). Also it isn't clear that China is developing a nuclear boost glide warhead, although Russia is known to operate one in very small numbers.

The US still seems in the early stages of hypersonic research and infrastructure development. Further testing and improvements should allow a break out capability to be quickly realized in the future if necessary. Any future ballistic missile (GBSD) should be designed with a glider payload in mind as a future option, but I don't think this is particularly hard to do - Avangarde flies on a Soviet vintage booster.
With where China is headed, it'd probably be prudent to assume they have a nuclear capable BG vehicle.
 

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Regardless, it doesn't really change the deterrence logic. China has no defense against US ballistic RVs.
 

Josh_TN

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Regardless, it doesn't really change the deterrence logic. China has no defense against US ballistic RVs.
How do we know they're not working on ABMs? They certainly have in the past and have tested several ASATs.

China May Have Operational ASAT Program, Reports Say | Aviation Week Network

I suspect China is working on ABM systems, but they have no historical programs to refer back to and would be starting from scratch in that effort compared to even Russia. The US of course has an extensive amount of research and testing (and deployments) of ABM weapons up to simulated ICBM targets, but even the US has an extremely limited ability to influence an ICBM attack. It seems wildly unlikely the Chinese have any current or breakout capability with regard to ICBM/SLBM RV interception. At a minimum, such a capability would be known to the US defense establishment even if it wasn't known in open source. You can't fire an ABM missile or BM simulator without an IR signature that can be detected from orbit. Plus almost any ballistic missile test involves issuing warnings to civilian aircraft across a wide patch of sky. The PRC tested the DF-21D against a floating target last year. The USAF was able to monitor the test with an RC-135, most likely as a result of the air traffic notices that had to be given ahead of time.
 

sferrin

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Regardless, it doesn't really change the deterrence logic. China has no defense against US ballistic RVs.
How do we know they're not working on ABMs? They certainly have in the past and have tested several ASATs.

China May Have Operational ASAT Program, Reports Say | Aviation Week Network

I suspect China is working on ABM systems, but they have no historical programs to refer back to and would be starting from scratch in that effort compared to even Russia.

FJ ABM - Wikipedia


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Josh_TN

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Regardless, it doesn't really change the deterrence logic. China has no defense against US ballistic RVs.
How do we know they're not working on ABMs? They certainly have in the past and have tested several ASATs.

China May Have Operational ASAT Program, Reports Say | Aviation Week Network

I suspect China is working on ABM systems, but they have no historical programs to refer back to and would be starting from scratch in that effort compared to even Russia.

FJ ABM - Wikipedia


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View attachment 647863

Mea culpa, I'd not heard of it. Probably because it never went to operation. Presumably the warhead was nuclear, given that vintage? I suppose nothing stops the Chinese from breaking with the US practice of conventional interception, but deployment of an effective system would not be quick or go unnoticed. At a minimum, the ABM radars needed to operate any missile defense of any kind ought to be pretty obvious when in operation. I believe China operates a limited number of these looking towards the island chain, but I don't believe any existing system faces towards the pole. The Russians on the other hand have ringed their country with ABM radars, which presumably is a response to US SSBNs which could theoretically launch from almost any direction.

I still think that conventional RVs are enough for the coming decade and that basic research and infrastructure build up, along with the introduction of the first round of conventional weapons (AGM-183, CPS, LRHW) should be the US priorities. Shoe horning a W-93 into a large hypersonic glider can wait. As far as we know, China hasn't done this yet and Russia is counting theirs as part of their New START total, which means it doesn't increase their strategic deterrent.
 

sferrin

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Regardless, it doesn't really change the deterrence logic. China has no defense against US ballistic RVs.
How do we know they're not working on ABMs? They certainly have in the past and have tested several ASATs.

China May Have Operational ASAT Program, Reports Say | Aviation Week Network

I suspect China is working on ABM systems, but they have no historical programs to refer back to and would be starting from scratch in that effort compared to even Russia.

FJ ABM - Wikipedia


View attachment 647861 View attachment 647862

View attachment 647863

Mea culpa, I'd not heard of it. Probably because it never went to operation. Presumably the warhead was nuclear, given that vintage? I suppose nothing stops the Chinese from breaking with the US practice of conventional interception, but deployment of an effective system would not be quick or go unnoticed. At a minimum, the ABM radars needed to operate any missile defense of any kind ought to be pretty obvious when in operation. I believe China operates a limited number of these looking towards the island chain, but I don't believe any existing system faces towards the pole. The Russians on the other hand have ringed their country with ABM radars, which presumably is a response to US SSBNs which could theoretically launch from almost any direction.

I still think that conventional RVs are enough for the coming decade and that basic research and infrastructure build up, along with the introduction of the first round of conventional weapons (AGM-183, CPS, LRHW) should be the US priorities. Shoe horning a W-93 into a large hypersonic glider can wait. As far as we know, China hasn't done this yet and Russia is counting theirs as part of their New START total, which means it doesn't increase their strategic deterrent.
Can't really wait on the W-93. Our nuclear warhead infrastructure is decrepit as it is. They need the exercise.
 

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I don't think there is anything else in the pipeline except the W88 modernization. I agree that we definitely need new warhead production sooner rather than later. I just don't think we need it to be hypersonic for the moment; we just need something that comes down at Mach 20-30 and goes bang.
 

sferrin

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I don't think there is anything else in the pipeline except the W88 modernization. I agree that we definitely need new warhead production sooner rather than later. I just don't think we need it to be hypersonic for the moment; we just need something that comes down at Mach 20-30 and goes bang.
China isn't the only potential adversary.
 

Josh_TN

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I don't think there is anything else in the pipeline except the W88 modernization. I agree that we definitely need new warhead production sooner rather than later. I just don't think we need it to be hypersonic for the moment; we just need something that comes down at Mach 20-30 and goes bang.
China isn't the only potential adversary.

I don't think Russia capable of setting up a capable ABM system outside of Moscow right now, if only for financial reasons. So I consider the deterrent is intact for the foreseeable future. Just to be clear, I have no problem with the US developing a hypersonic nuclear weapon, but I think there a lot of other much higher priorities in the hypersonic realm right now and money is tight. Right now it seems like its an open question if the replacement nuclear cruise missile gets funded.
 

marauder2048

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I don't think there is anything else in the pipeline except the W88 modernization. I agree that we definitely need new warhead production sooner rather than later. I just don't think we need it to be hypersonic for the moment; we just need something that comes down at Mach 20-30 and goes bang.
If you want to deliver nuclear earth penetrating weapons by ICBM/SLBM the stall speeds on the some of the BGVs look to be
within the air-dropped EPW survivable impact velocities.
 

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marauder2048

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quellish

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If you want to deliver nuclear earth penetrating weapons by ICBM/SLBM the stall speeds on the some of the BGVs look to be
within the air-dropped EPW survivable impact velocities.

The original Common Aero Vehicle requirements had deployment of conventional air dropped munitions in mind. It was going to slow down to aircraft like speeds and deploy SDB, WCMD, etc. A very different vehicle than AHW/SWERVE though.
 

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Forest Green

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1725 miles is an oddly specific range for something that presumably can trade velocity for distance, up until the glider's stall speed. It also would be just far enough to reach Taiwan from Guam but *not* be able to range the mainland.
Depends where it's fired from I guess. Who knows?
 

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