US Prompt Global Strike Capability

bobbymike

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From Global Security Newswire: http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/nw_20090701_5635.php

Gen Chilton is my favorite general in the Air Force. He boldly speaks of the requirements for not only prompt global strike but a strong nuclear deterrent with a modernized triad. He has piloted several shuttle missions and is very well spoken with regard to national security issues. Chilton 2012 for President!
 

bobbymike

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From Defensetech.org April 12, 2010:

Gates Says U.S. Has Conventionally Armed ICBMs

Yesterday, on NBC’s Meet the Press, Defense Secretary Robert Gates may have revealed the existence of a new weapon in America’s arsenal, a conventionally-armed ICBM. It was thought development and deployment of conventionally tipped ICBMs was still years away; a prototype is scheduled for a test flight next month.

Responding to a question from NBC’s David Gregory on the ability to deter nuclear armed rogue states, Gates said: “We have, in addition to the nuclear deterrent today, a couple of things we didn’t have in the Soviet days… And we have prompt global strike affording us some conventional alternatives on long-range missiles that we didn’t have before.”

the rest of the story - http://defensetech.org/2010/04/12/gates-says-u-s-has-conventionally-armed-icbms/#axzz0l87v45fQ
 

Skybolt

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Probably is a prototype of CAV/FALCON.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Or more likely the conventional Trident program has gone ahead:

In 2001, Defense Department planners began searching for something that could hit a foe almost instantly without risking a nuclear holocaust. Most of the solutions -- unmanned bombers, faster cruise missiles, hypersonic "glide vehicles" coasting in from space -- required a decade or more of development. The Navy, however, had been testing conventionally armed Trident II missiles since 1993. With a few hundred million dollars, strategists said, the first Prompt Global Strike submarines could be ready to go in just two years.

The $60 million conventional missile needs to be far more accurate than the nuclear version. But the multiple warheads can lock onto GPS coordinates while streaking through space. Upon entering the atmosphere, the warheads use flaps to steer to a target. With the Trident II's range of 6000 nautical miles, subs armed with the missiles could threaten a whole continent's worth of enemy positions. "Now," says Benedict, who leads the Trident conversion effort, "we've got the capability to hold all of these targets in all these hot spots at risk at one time."

In 1988, Lockheed Martin's Trident II D5 nuclear ballistic missile entered service on Ohio class submarines. In the Prompt Global Strike program, each sub would be armed with 22 nuclear Tridents, along with two retrofitted Tridents, each with four independently targetable warheads. here's how a conventional Trident II would work.


1 Gas pressure ejects the Trident II from a patrolling submarine. Once the missile clears the water, the first-stage engine ignites and the aerospike at the nose extends to improve aerodynamics. Stage 1 burns for approximately 65 seconds. When the Trident is locked onto targets at its maximum range (roughly 6000 nautical miles), this burn carries the missile a few hundred miles downrange at a 45-degree angle. Because all propellant must be used, the missile corkscrews to burn off excess fuel for closer targets.
2 As stage 1 falls away from the missile, the second-stage engine ignites for another 65-second burn that carries the Trident an additional 500 to 800 miles downrange. The nose cone fairing (blue) is ejected to shed weight.
3 After separation from stage 2, the third stage engine burns for approximately 40 seconds, concluding the boost phase and lofting the Trident II up to 600 miles above the Earth -- the altitude of some weather satellites.
4 At the apogee of the Trident's trajectory, the third stage falls away, leaving the post-boost vehicle, or bus (red). It receives navigational updates and deploys the four individually targeted warheads (green). Traveling at 13,000 mph and accurate to 30 ft., the warheads are GPS-guided on descent by means of tiny flaps. Two types of warheads are under consideration: the fragmentation version, which shatters tungsten rods just above a target, and a bunker-busting metal "shock impactor" that relies on kinetic energy for its destructive power.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/4203874?page=1
 

Skybolt

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So the US have developed an Homing MaRV for Trident II. Possible, but how they concealed its TESTING, since an Homing MaRV (GPS or other) with a conventional warhead is undistinguinshable form a nuclear one ? Or, it has not been tested yet. BTW, an Homing MaRV with a 30 ft accuracy is a wonderful first strike weapons on nuclear ICBM silos... rather destabilizing, isn't it ?
 

sferrin

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Skybolt said:
So the US have developed an Homing MaRV for Trident II. Possible, but how they concealed its TESTING, since an Homing MaRV (GPS or other) with a conventional warhead is undistinguinshable form a nuclear one ?
Given that it would manuever only in the final phases you'd probably have to have an observer (electronic or otherwise) fairly close to see it performing the terminal manuevers. Also, it could be the other side did see and simply hasn't said anything. It's not like guided RVs have never been tested in the past.



Skybolt said:
Or, it has not been tested yet. BTW, an Homing MaRV with a 30 ft accuracy is a wonderful first strike weapons on nuclear ICBM silos... rather destabilizing, isn't it ?
More destabilizing than a 75ft accurate nuke? ::) Exactly how is a 30ft accuracy CONVENTIONAL warhead more destabilizing than a nuclear one which has a FAR higher PK against hardened targets? (30 ft with a conventional warhead against a hardened target is effectively a miss.)
 

Skybolt

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On the detactability of the testing of a Homing MaRV you are right, provided you encrypt the telemetry (forbidden under SALT, START, etc).
On the destabilizing effect, I've not mentioned a CONVENTIONAL warhead. At 30 ft accuracy, you could use a 0.1 KT warhead to bust a silo, so you could strike with really low side effect, not to mention the possibility of a decapitation strike. If firing from the Mediterranean, for example, a depressed trajectory Trident II could reach Moscow in how much time, five minutes ? Or Peking firing from the East China Sea ? 3 minutes ?
BTW, if a 30 ft. accuracy strike with a conventional warhead against a hardened target is a miss, how a conventional prompt global strike can be useful, at least if you'll not be content to strike a dictator while in a seaside resort ?
Just thinking aloud. Those sort of things were considered VERY destabilising during the Cold War.
 

Skybolt

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A little off-topic (but not much, see my last reply). The START II topic is still locked, so I'll say it here: it is my view only, or the START II count of delivery systems doen't include non-intercontinental range ones ? So, what about the in-development SLIRBM (Submarine Launched IRBM) ? And, can a 32" missile be fitted, with modifications, in Los Angeles-class and following classes attack subs ?
 

sferrin

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Skybolt said:
On the detactability of the testing of a Homing MaRV you are right, provided you encrypt the telemetry (forbidden under SALT, START, etc).
On the destabilizing effect, I've not mentioned a CONVENTIONAL warhead. At 30 ft accuracy, you could use a 0.1 KT warhead to bust a silo, so you could strike with really low side effect, not to mention the possibility of a decapitation strike. If firing from the Mediterranean, for example, a depressed trajectory Trident II could reach Moscow in how much time, five minutes ? Or Peking firing from the East China Sea ? 3 minutes ?
BTW, if a 30 ft. accuracy strike with a conventional warhead against a hardened target is a miss, how a conventional prompt global strike can be useful, at least if you'll not be content to strike a dictator while in a seaside resort ?
Just thinking aloud. Those sort of things were considered VERY destabilising during the Cold War.
Pershing II was in that class. I figured you meant conventional because that's what the thread is about. Why would I assume otherwise?
 

sferrin

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Skybolt said:
A little off-topic (but not much, see my last reply). The START II topic is still locked, so I'll say it here: it is my view only, or the START II count of delivery systems doen't include non-intercontinental range ones ? So, what about the in-development SLIRBM (Submarine Launched IRBM) ? And, can a 32" missile be fitted, with modifications, in Los Angeles-class and following classes attack subs ?
Depends how long it is. (I thought SLIRBM -based on KEI IIRC- got canned a long time ago, if it were even a formal project.) What I'd wonder is how they'd count it. ISTR they were to be four to a Trident II cell. That could be 96 conventional ballistic missiles per SSGN potentially.
 
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Ian33

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http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12061&page=89

FIGURE 4-2 Illustration of the reentry vehicles (RVs) proposed for different stages of conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) systems. A previously developed modification to ballistic reentry, E2, is the basis for the proposed short-term Conventional Trident Modification (CTM) option. For the Submarine-Launched Global Strike Missile (SLGSM), a scaled-up version of the previously developed Mk 500 is the proposed RV, which is designed to have a glide range less than 1,000 nmi.
Have a look at the picture in the link.
 

bobbymike

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Interesting comments thanks sferrin and Skybolt! I'm leaning toward covert testing of warheads on D-5s. There seems to have been a higher number of Trident test launches from about 2006 onward.

I think it is always interesting to continue to monitor the size of the black budget. It is close to 30% of the TOTAL white world procurement budget. There has to be a lot of very interesting things going on B) :eek:
 

quellish

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bobbymike said:
Interesting comments thanks sferrin and Skybolt! I'm leaning toward covert testing of warheads on D-5s. There seems to have been a higher number of Trident test launches from about 2006 onward.

I think it is always interesting to continue to monitor the size of the black budget. It is close to 30% of the TOTAL white world procurement budget. There has to be a lot of very interesting things going on B) :eek:
Nothing covert about it, Lockheed's LETB-2 tail kit has flown on D-5 tests.
The size of the classified budget does not tell you much, in fact it more often than not has a few very expensive programs and lots of little ones. It's also mostly R&D, not procurement. A lot of things that are known to the public are also stuffed into there for silly reasons (until recently pretty much anything U-2 related was classified, for example).
 

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bobbymike said:
There has to be a lot of very interesting things going on B) :eek:
Not necessarily, at least from the "Secret PRojects Forum" point of view. The money could easily be spent on a mix of cost over-runs, covert operations (including just handing fat stacks of cash to scumbags to get 'em on our side), bureauocracy (including environmental cleanups and the like), contractor/politician bribing, etc.
 

bobbymike

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OK maybe I hope there is a lot of interesting things going on ;)
 

quellish

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And this is the patent that covers the Lockheed tail kit:
http://www.google.com/patents/about?id=Z7cCAAAAEBAJ&dq=6,502,785

Lockheed press release from 2003 mentioning this:
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/news/press_releases/2003/LockheedMartinAwardedPatentForAThre.html

Most of the life extension test flights since 2002/2003 have flown with LETB-2 or a development variant as the RV. It is a Mk4 with tailkit and aeroshell that makes it the size of a Mk5.
Based on information in the public domain, the CEP is likely to be around that of a JDAM. Of particular interest is that one flight demonstrated slowing the RV from Mach 8 to subsonic over the target. This demonstration was related more to CAV than LETB-2, as it's a requirement if CAV is to deploy a conventional guided weapon or submunition as a payload rather than a unitary warhead or kinetic penetrator.
 

quellish

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seruriermarshal said:
Seems like they test it 2009 ?
The LETB had a predecessor, Enhanced Effectiveness, which flew in 2002.
In 2005 the first version of LETB (LETB-1?) flew in a Trident D-5 test.
In 2009 it flew again (LETB-2), this time with more advanced avionics to demonstrate new firing range capabilities that also laid the groundwork for retasking in flight.

There may have been a test between 2005 and 2009, but I have not yet found the funding for it. Over the course of this effort the funding sources have shifted a few times along with the program name.
 

Skybolt

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Why would I assume otherwise?
Sferrin, you're right, but a Homing MaRV, from any point of view, is an eminently dual use technology (conventional and nuclear). I'd say that if you develop a Homing MaRV with a conventional warhead in mind it is easier to convert it to nuclear than the other way around. My feeling.
As for the method of counting SLIRBM, I think it is criitical for assessing the REAL weight of nuclear (as opposed to stated) in the US defense posture in 20 years. START II could well come out as being the seal on a conversion from intercontinental range to short-to-midrange emphasis. Every actual and potential rogue state power centers are well within range of an SLIRBM. And for Russia, of SRBMs like Iskander.
 

quellish

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Skybolt said:
Sferrin, you're right, but a Homing MaRV, from any point of view, is an eminently dual use technology (conventional and nuclear). I'd say that if you develop a Homing MaRV with a conventional warhead in mind it is easier to convert it to nuclear than the other way around.
Sorry, missed the earlier posts. The LETB tail kit is not homing. The Navy is though working on a new, larger RV more like CAV/HTV-2 which is for the new SLIRBM booster. It's to carry a payload of tungsten darts much like the anti-runway Pershing II variant proposed (and tested?) in the 80s. That vehicle may be homing.
 
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