The Unz Review • An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 TeasersiSteve Blog
Is Bullet-Hits-Bullet Missile Defense Just a Cover Story?
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeThanksLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Thanks, LOL, or Troll with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used three times during any eight hour period.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

From the NYT oped page:

We May Not Be Able to Stop a North Korean Missile
By JOHN F. TIERNEY JUNE 1, 2017

When the collision with the mock intercontinental ballistic missile occurred on Tuesday afternoon, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency was filled with excitement and relief. The first full intercept test in three years of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system was deemed a success. Some proponents of the program have presented the test as proof that the $40 billion system is capable of defending the United States against long-range missiles that could, in the future, be launched by a rogue nation like North Korea.

The larger context, however, tells a very different story. Of the 10 tests of the system since 2004, when the Bush administration prematurely declared it operational, six have failed to destroy the target, including three of the last five tries.

More revealing than the test record are the actual tests themselves. Each is highly scripted to maximize success. The timing and other details are provided in advance, information that no real enemy would provide. The weather and time of day are just right for an intercept. An adversary would use complex countermeasures, such as decoys, alongside the real missile to try to fool the defense system, but only simplistic versions of this trick have been included. Under realistic testing conditions, the program’s success rate would almost certainly be lower.

But … that’s assuming the actual plan of battle is to try to destroy an incoming 17,000 mph nuclear missile by hitting it directly with your interceptor missile. That kind of bullet-hits-bullet accuracy seems unlikely.

That, by the way, is why you don’t shoot at ducks on the wing with a rifle. You use a shotgun. Similarly, anti-aircraft guns during WWII used shells with proximity fuses.

We obviously already have the missile defense equivalent of a shotgun shell or an anti-aircraft shell for severely damaging anything with a sizable diameter. It’s called a nuclear bomb.

Is this bullet-on-bullet testing just a cover story for the real plan of equipping the interceptor with a nuclear warhead that will explode if it gets within, say, a kilometer of the incoming ICBM?

 
Hide 146 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. The zeroeth amendment covers immigrating missiles as well. The Pentagon is racist. Also, No Nukes!

  2. Makes sense. And as we learned from the iSteve book club feature The Third World War, a nuclear explosion high enough in the atmosphere won’t lead to deadly radiation on the ground.

    • Replies: @James Richard
    @Dave Pinsen

    Thanks Dave, you are really giving me the warm and fuzzies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuP6KbIsNK4

    , @Olorin
    @Dave Pinsen

    Darn it. If only Hillary had thought of that for taking out those Macedonian Content Farms with EMPs, she could have beaten the Norkors to "WW3: This time it's her turn."

  3. I spent part of my 1960s Army career at the Presidio of San Francisco. Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers. The Artillery crews confided in me —as a fellow GI— that the Nike Hercules systems emplaced so close in (in this case only about 6 miles from SF Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street Hall) to most key American cities were in fact armed with nuclear weapons; and while they were understandably reluctant to be more specific, the yield of a single warhead was on the order of 10-20 kilotons…roughly that of the much larger, but less efficient Little Boy: the dumb gravity bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. I believed completely what they told me then and have had no reason in the ensuing 48 years to question that narrative. But in response to Dave Pinsen, above, those detonations —if worse came to worse— would be at elevations below 30,000 feet… Nowhere near the stratosphere. But still vastly preferable to a Soviet megaton-range weapon dropped onto the cupola of City Hall.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    My suspicion, and that is all it is, is that there are far more nukes stashed around the country than anyone would admit. Most are probably American.

    Replies: @FPD72

    , @Alfa158
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    One of the boondoggle Bomarc anti-aircraft missiles caught fire in its shelter on a base in New Jersey in 1960. The firefighters eventually put the fire out but the water spread the radioactive materials from the warhead around the area and it's still fenced off.

    , @Rod1963
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    That GI was pretty spot on. My father worked on a Nike Hercules site on Mt. Gleason by Los Angeles. I saw the site as a boy when it was still active.

    Yes the missile had nuclear tipped war heads meant to knock Soviet bombers out of the air over the ocean by over pressure. The warheads were Hiroshima class.

    BTW Mt. Gleason tracked Kruschev's plane as he flew into LAX and there was a Nike ready to launch if ordered. IOW we were ready to nuke LA to knock out the king of the commies if need be.

    Gotta remember back then the government was flat out insane, it had been running radiation experiments on civilians(since Trinity) and military personnel . We were detonating nuclear war heads back in the 50's and 60's and having soldiers march into the fallout and see what would happen to them. Well a lot of them got radiation poisoning and were sick for weeks on end. Radiation poisoning is horrible even at the non lethal dosages. Civilians seeking medical care got it bad too to. They were unknowingly injected with uranium, plutonium and polonium. Kids with terminal diseases got hit with lethal doses of X-Rays. All the stuff is documented but sadly forgotten.

    It's about as evil as one can get. Of course it was all in the name of science so it makes it good.

    , @Autochthon
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    Just as it was proposed in an earlier thread that the conquest of (the rest of) Europe by Russia would at this point be not a tragic subjugation but a joyful liberation, so also the detonation of a nuclear warhead on San Francisco's city hall would be heaven-sent and salubrious for the U.S.A.

    (For a few dollars more, do you suppose we could we also have one take out the governor's mansion and the legislature in Sacramento...?)

  4. What’s a kilometer? Something from France? Like a nine day workweek or a global carbon tax scheme?

    • Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    @Anonymous

    "What’s a kilometer?"
    It's part of the Metric system. For example, a day in Metric time is one hundred hours as opposed to twenty four in Imperial time.

    Replies: @BenKenobi

    , @fitzGetty
    @Anonymous

    ... think Vichy (my grandfather muses), think the two faces of Janus, think weasel, ferret ... think spite & ingratitude after various 20th c rescues of their dubious civilisation ...

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Sarah Toga

    , @inertial
    @Anonymous

    Kilometer is as American as (the ols style non-mass produced) apple pie. Americans were among the early promoters of the Metric system. Then, shortly before the end of the 19 century they suddenly turned on it. I am not exactly sure why but it coincided with the rising Anglophilia among the elites.

    , @Inquiring Mind
    @Anonymous

    Don't let those fromage-mangeant traitres tell you different. The kilometer along with the whole rest of the Metric System is French -- the French Revolution. They even had a Metric Calendar

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar

    Yes, the week had ten days so I guess it had a nine day workweek to keep the peasants from stirring counter-revolutionary trouble.

    Check out the Calendar ladies, though, especially the summer months. Is it hot in here, miss?

  5. J.Ross says: • Website

    I took a fun specialized class on Pentagon boondoggles in college, it had among its readings a research physicist describing an earlier bullet-hits-bullet idea as “a bunch of [monosyllabic physics term for randomized organic matter].” I don’t see any new information or conclusive proof here. Let me save you some time.
    Is this military research money spent under Obama? Then it’s sensible and good and nerd-cool: hic-a-doo-la.
    Was it spent under Trump? Then you’ve just got to grow up and admit that the world is a more complicated place than any immature wunderwaffen hoax could hope to fix in just one jejeune step.

  6. @Dave Pinsen
    Makes sense. And as we learned from the iSteve book club feature The Third World War, a nuclear explosion high enough in the atmosphere won't lead to deadly radiation on the ground.

    Replies: @James Richard, @Olorin

    Thanks Dave, you are really giving me the warm and fuzzies.

  7. Anonymous [AKA "Endgame"] says:

    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it’s capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it’s actual success? I think an MIT professor claimed it had only a 10% success rate after reviewing it’s performance against Scud Missiles?

    • Agree: James Richard
    • Replies: @Thirdeye
    @Anonymous

    Yes, that was a piece by Theodore Postol. And the Scud is a big easy target as far as missiles go. The booster stays with the warhead, just like a V-2. Patriot Missile doctrine specifies four launches per target and it badly underperformed that.

    Replies: @Jack D

    , @E. Rekshun
    @Anonymous

    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it’s capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it’s actual success?

    Careful...the Patriot Missile and its predecessor, the SAM-D, put bread on the table for four generations of my family. My 90-year old grandmother is still collecting my grandfather's pension from one of the Patriot contractors, and he's been deceased for over twenty years.

    Replies: @ATX Hipster

    , @Chrisnonymous
    @Anonymous

    Yes, but that MIT professor called into question the official narrative about Assad's use of sarin, so we have to take his past work with a grain of salt...!

  8. @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    I spent part of my 1960s Army career at the Presidio of San Francisco. Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers. The Artillery crews confided in me —as a fellow GI— that the Nike Hercules systems emplaced so close in (in this case only about 6 miles from SF Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street Hall) to most key American cities were in fact armed with nuclear weapons; and while they were understandably reluctant to be more specific, the yield of a single warhead was on the order of 10-20 kilotons...roughly that of the much larger, but less efficient Little Boy: the dumb gravity bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. I believed completely what they told me then and have had no reason in the ensuing 48 years to question that narrative. But in response to Dave Pinsen, above, those detonations —if worse came to worse— would be at elevations below 30,000 feet... Nowhere near the stratosphere. But still vastly preferable to a Soviet megaton-range weapon dropped onto the cupola of City Hall.

    Replies: @Ivy, @Alfa158, @Rod1963, @Autochthon

    My suspicion, and that is all it is, is that there are far more nukes stashed around the country than anyone would admit. Most are probably American.

    • Replies: @FPD72
    @Ivy

    And to whom would the nukes stashed around the country that aren't American belong?

    Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In a hot war with Russia, Russia will immediately knock out all satellites with nuclear weapons.

    I once heard a military analyst say a rogue country could launch a missile into Earth’s orbit (geosynchronous altitude) with a warhead full of BBs and an explosive charge and destroy ALL satellites. I think this would seriously hamper any U.S. ABM defense.

    Ted Postel, MIT professor and former missile and weapons expert for DoD and U.S. Navy, has said an ABM system could never work.

    • Replies: @NickG
    @Anonymous


    Ted Postel, MIT professor and former missile and weapons expert for DoD and U.S. Navy, has said an ABM system could never work.
     
    Agreed, you dont even need missiles, a ship pulling into New York with a Nuke would be easy for any nuclear armed state to achieve.
  10. It’s a cover story to hide the fact that we have beam weapons that can hit missiles. Reagan’s Star Wars program kind of faded away in the public mind… but there’s no proof that it actually ever ended.

    That’s my aluminum foil hat theory, and I hope I’m right.

    I think we’ve done a lot better job keeping our “high flying assets” secret in recent decades than we did, say, in Lyndon Johnson’s day, when he just had to brag about the SR-71.

    Edward Teller’s dream just might be up there ready to zap missiles, and we don’t want anybody to know about it. We pretend to test and demonstrate county fair stunts like bullet hits bullet — which, as others here have correctly pointed out, existed, yes even in nuclear-tipped form, in the days of Nike (the missile, not the shoe or the goddess).

    I live near an old Nike base. It is a known fact that the second-generation Nike missiles carried nukes to blast Russian bombers out of the sky.

    • Replies: @oddsbodkins
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The amount of R&D that was needed to make star wars work was staggering. It would require the entire careers of many thousands of highly talented people. I really can't believe that big of a project could stay hidden that long in this era. Even back in WW2, it was obvious to physicists that something was drawing a lot of them to New Mexico.

    Nukes on interceptors seems plausible, though.

    Replies: @Lot

    , @Anonymous
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The fact that the Nike missiles were nuclear tipped (or more precisely, some were) was never very secret. Nor was the fact that the Nike had a crude but implemented ground to ground mode and could be used against ground or sea forces or as a short range ballistic missile.

    The approximate number of nuclear weapons the US has, their types, and even most of the places where they are based is not a big secret today either. They may have a couple here and a couple there that are not public knowledge, but a combination of arms control, environmental, and various other public documentations pored over by two groups-antinuclear activists and "nuke foamers" who make a hobby out of studying the nuclear weapons establishment (and who are willing to work together) have resulted in an astonishing amount of information being available-everything but the actual blueprints of working weaponized nuclear devices is out there.

    The only thing the government really wants to do is to make it somewhat difficult for a nation or group not having the ability to make its own fissionable material (which is a manufacturing issue, but a big one requiring big plants and big money) to make, not just something that goes bang, but something that goes bang reliably and efficiently and is able to be transported, fuzed, and delivered with some feasibility, in the event that they somehow do get a quantity of fissionable material. Any nation or nonstate actor that can mine uranium and enrich it inhouse or alternatively manufacture plutonium with particle accelerators or a reactor is effectively unstoppable given time and a secure place to work on it. Activities like these are big and tend to be easily found out-they employ lots of people and take up a lot of land, a lot of power, and a lot of manufacturing resources.

    Howard Morland was the guy who broke much of this, and his book, The Secret That Exploded is required reading for anyone, pro or anti, who wants to understand nuclear weapons.

    Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian

    , @Brutusale
    @Buzz Mohawk

    Not tinfoil hat at all; in The Moon is a Harsh MistressHeinlein posited beam interception of spacecraft and missiles. The key would be targeting ability, but a 186,000 mps beam is much quicker than 4-5 mps than a ballistic missile.

    , @Jus' Sayin'...
    @Buzz Mohawk

    There were four Nike bases within hiking distance of my house when I was growing up. (Back in the 1950s boys regularly walked ten or so miles a day in search of adventures.) A lot of Army brats from the people running those bases were schoolmates. A census was taken of them every year and the city was reimbursed by the feds for their education.

    I was a fairly precocious kid and figured out there was no way that a Nike battery was able to take out a squadron of Soviet bombers given the technology of the day. I never considered nuclear warheads though. Much later I learned that later Nike systems were equipped to carry nukes. Whether they did or not I have no idea.

    The bases must have been decommissioned before the 1960s though. I remember making regular looting expeditions to the empty bases with my friends at an age I achieved well before 1960. We probably broke scores of federal laws but the authorities tended to regard juvenile hi-jinx with much more tolerance than they do now.

  11. I think you’re onto something but its also the NYT, which means that we can assume right off the bat its mendacious to the point of being a lie until proven otherwise.

  12. It might be rather difficult to make even the nuclear shotgun work in practice. Remember, 17,000 mph is really fast—roughly 5 miles per second. The nuclear warhead on the interceptor would need to detonate with a precision of perhaps no more than half a second in order to have a reasonable chance of destroying the ICBM. That in itself is hardly an unachievable tolerance, but there’s a problem.

    If the ICBM released several MIRVs and decoys, they would all need to be destroyed; and since the releases would be staggered by much more than the interceptor’s nuke’s effective range, it would require multiple interceptors to destroy them all. That introduces the difficulty of keeping multiple nuclear warheads on hand at the interceptor’s launch installations, ready to be armed and loaded out within a few minutes. Besides, we might only get one shot at this. Even if the first interceptor manages to destroy the first MIRV, who knows whether the other ones will still be able to track their targets, let alone detonate with the required precision, after we just EMP’d the upper atmosphere. Each subsequent nuclear blast would cause further ionization and electromagnetic interference, multiplying the difficulty of tracking the remaining in-bounds. Two or three such blasts and we’d be effectively blinded. At that point any kind of interception countermeasure would be rendered useless.

    If I were North Korea and I suspected that this would be the US response to a missile attack, I might decide to launch an unarmed rocket at United States just to watch us temporarily destroy all our communications in the pacific theater. That would be the perfect gambit with which to begin the real attack.

    • Replies: @map
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Why would any of this happen? We are not rendered blind by the ionizing radiation hitting the atmosphere from the solar winds.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

  13. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    We actually had a nuclear tipped air-to-air missile during the Cold War called the Genie

    A live Genie was detonated only once, in Operation Plumbbob on 19 July 1957. It was fired by AF Captain Eric William Hutchison (pilot) and AF Captain Alfred C. Barbee (radar operator) flying an F-89J over Yucca Flats. Sources vary as to the height of the blast, but it was between 18,500 and 20,000 ft (5,600 and 6,100 m) above mean sea level.[3] A group of five USAF officers volunteered to stand hatless in their light summer uniforms underneath the blast to prove that the weapon was safe for use over populated areas. They were photographed by Department of Defense photographer George Yoshitake who stood there with them.[4] Gamma and neutron doses received by observers on the ground were negligible. Doses received by aircrew were highest for the fliers assigned to penetrate the airburst cloud ten minutes after explosion.

  14. I’m not sure how much more destruction the Koreans could wreak, really. The fork was stuck in this country back in ’65.

    • Agree: Old fogey, Sarah Toga
    • Replies: @Sarah Toga
    @ANON

    Truth!

    The Hart-Cellar immigration disaster of 1965 was, and is, a kill shot to our Nation-State. It and its subsequent variants are the real enemy.
    NORK is not good, but it can be dealt with by pushing a few buttons.

    Not so the imbeds, sleeper cells and other forms of vibrant enrichment that infest our land due to the immigration disaster.

  15. As cover stories go, ‘60% failure under ideal conditions’ is pretty poorly written.

    Of course, it is the Pentagon. Maybe it started at ‘10%’ and by the time everyone got a piece, it was inflated by 500%

  16. I mean, we designed a nuclear bomb to do just that, the W-71. And I truly hope that we do secretly have a couple of these missiles armed with those warheads so that if a ICBM really does get launched at us, we have the best chance of shooting it down.

    But, unfortunately, I doubt that we do. I had a chance to talk with a former extremely, extremely high up general at NORTHCOM, and he didn’t even seem to recognize the name Sparten when I asked him about it and told me point blank that for political reasons we don’t do that anymore.

    Would it be ridiculously stupid to depend on a kinetic kill when you don’t have to?
    Yup.
    Could I see us doing it anyway?
    Unfortunately, absolutely yes.

    • Replies: @Bastion
    @LabRat

    Evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb.

  17. Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife, daughter’s and I traveled to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to spend the long holiday with my son – an Airman 1st Class in the USAF’S ISR program, destined for Aircrew on the Air Force’s MC-12. I’m an Air Force veteran myself, having served in an USAF Tactical Control Squadron in Germany during the 1980’s.

    To answer two questions:

    1. “We May Not Be Able to Stop a North Korean Missile.” – Yup, we could. And with 1989 technology.

    2. “Is Bullet-Hits-Bullet Missile Defense Just a Cover Story?” – I don’t know. But I will tell you this: the USAF spends it’s entire bureaucratic life thinking about Air (and Space, and anything that flies about two inches above the surface of the Earth) Dominance, not the Hollywood “Air Supremacy” nonsense in films and fiction.

    The Hollywood/popular fiction “Air Supremacy” doctrine works like this: “You shoot down 49 of ours and we shoot down 51 of yours and we win!”

    But from the day I joined the Air Force till the day I got out the doctrine was: “We shoot down ALL of yours, and you shoot down NONE of ours, and we bomb the hell out of you to boot.”

    After a trip to San Angelo, Texas, and a joyous reunion and long talk with my son, it was obvious that that remains the USAF doctrine all these years later, I’m pretty confident. It’s a good doctrine: an essentially “we’ll kick your ass” American doctrine; and makes me sleep better at night. Especially with Trump as president.

    He is going to school in a building on the base that has no windows, and when I mentioned I was worried about him being deployed upon graduation to South Korea to face off against their Northern antagonists, he just grinned, and changed the subject.

    I got it, without pressing further: the USAF would clear the skies of North Korean aircraft in the space of an afternoon. It is not arrogance: it is reality. The United States Air Force would clear the skies of any airborne threat over North Korean airspace in a real war within hours, along with the U.S. Navy’s aviation assistance from their carriers. We both know that, even separated by a generation of Air Force service, and from my day to his.

    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South? Such a flinching of duty from our political elites would mean a lot of South Korean army troops would take it on the chin – along with tens of thousands of U.S. Army and Marine Corps. troops that would be backing them on the ground.

    These things concern me as an American citizen having once served his country in a military branch of our nation: that such considerations mean nothing to our political, academic, and media elite’s doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Jason Sylvester


    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South?
     
    Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar.

    Replies: @Autochthon, @Mr. Anon

    , @Whoever
    @Jason Sylvester

    I agree with you about our capabilities and the dominance doctrine. There is a lot of disparagement of our armed forces by pundits and commenters, and misunderstanding of what our aircraft are designed to do and what their purpose is.
    For example, I've read the F-35 denigrated because it can't "dog fight," as if this were 1917 rather than 2017. But the F-35C (carrier variant) functions as a forward sensor node in the Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) system, relaying targeting information back to shooters in the Carrier Strike Group. The Navy's CONOPs (CONcept of OPerations) is based on SEAD (Suppressing Enemy Air Defenses) rather than evading enemy aircraft. As you say, we kill them all. They don't even get near us.
    The F-35C's EOTS (Electro-Optical Targeting System) provides continuous 360-degree coverage and threat analysis, and recommends which target to attack and how best to counter or negate a threat. The airplane was never designed to "dog fight" and doesn't have to. No enemy airplane is going to get near it.
    I also agree with you that "political correctness," or whatever you want to call it, may make all our capability of no avail. Hopefully, we won't have to find out.

    Replies: @Anon

    , @The Alarmist
    @Jason Sylvester

    The official AF doctrine has many statements, but the biggie is ...


    "Control of the vertical dimension is generally a necessary precondition for control of the surface. "
     
    Note that that is no guarantee of control of the surface, much less success of the mission.

    As for the political, we were the tip of the spear, but we didn't make policy. I didn't like where policy was going by the late '80s, so I found my way to a rewarding civilian career, where I actually have some perhaps small influence, via regulatory capture and the ability to throw major investment funds around, over elected and unelected officials.

    You can do it by being politically active ... by starting at the grass-roots level and becoming a cog in the machine. That's a lot more useful than simply worrying about things.
  18. The Star Wars research hit at least one snag, the development of decoy missiles. Russia could launch 1000 missiles, 900 of which are decoys.

    But with rogue states the bullet-vs.-bullet idea became plausible again and research and testing was revived or continued. DPRK does not have 900 decoy ICBMs, or 9 for that matter.

    Kwajalein test launches, such as the one a few days ago, are common. MIT Lincoln Laboratory is heavily involved:

    https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/fieldsites.html

    Is it plausible to hit a bullet with a bullet? Yes. Is there a system that could be launched in combat today, or is it still in R&D? Probably that’s classified.

    • Replies: @Karl
    @mukat

    17 mukat> Kwajalein test launches

    correct my aging memory if needed..... no launches AT kwajelein. Kwajelein does radar

    Kwajelein is US Army.

    , @Brutusale
    @mukat

    If any appreciable percentage of Massachusetts residents had idea about what's going on at Hanscom AFB/Lincoln Labs they'd be marching in the streets.

    Me, I want more of whatever they're doing. I also love the fact that the research is going on at a place that's 500 yards from the place where Paul Revere was captured.

  19. @Anonymous
    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it's capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it's actual success? I think an MIT professor claimed it had only a 10% success rate after reviewing it's performance against Scud Missiles?

    Replies: @Thirdeye, @E. Rekshun, @Chrisnonymous

    Yes, that was a piece by Theodore Postol. And the Scud is a big easy target as far as missiles go. The booster stays with the warhead, just like a V-2. Patriot Missile doctrine specifies four launches per target and it badly underperformed that.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Thirdeye

    It's been a long time since the Gulf War. Computer processing power has gone up exponentially - an iPhone has the processing power of a 1980s Cray supercomputer. The Israelis have improved on the Patriot and have pretty good success against incoming rockets. You may have noticed that rocket attacks against Israel have largely stopped - Hamas and Hezbollah realize that the game is not worth the candle - they shoot off 1 rocket that gets blasted out of the sky short of its target and the Israelis then proceed to pound the shit out of them. It's like the perp who swings his fist at a cop - is the satisfaction of hitting the Man really worth getting beaten unconscious by 10 cops with billy clubs (and that was in the old days - now they just shoot you)?

  20. Having read a great deal about this system, I agree that it cannot work until decades more research. All previous tests have been rigged, and this one too. However, if they did hit a bullet with a bullet, that would be impressive. It seems a blast-frag warhead would be better, or even a nuclear one as we once had. But they decided a direct hit warhead is best.

    The one minute official proof of destruction video was distributed widely and posted on numerous websites, here is one:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2017/05/31/watch-the-exact-moment-a-kill-vehicle-takes-out-a-mock-ballistic-missile/?utm_term=.8310a7f38e21#comments

    I noticed that the target missile blew up before the intercept missile appeared. Many comments by readers noted the same thing. In the second intercept video from a different angle, you can see something streak by in the lower left corner of the video as something explodes in the center. Did they blow up the missile as it was “intercepted” but not actually hit?

    You might think the video would include an explanation. Is the Pentagon just incompetent at scrubbing evidence, or arrogantly using Groucho Marx who once said:

    “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? ”

  21. Dee says:

    http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/brilliant-pebbles-the-revolutionary-idea-strategic-defense

    This was a ‘smart rocks’ system. Put them in low earth orbit and it’s like a shotgun; which is what you need to take the warhead and all the decoys out at the same time.

    Of course if it’s a submarine launched attack just off the coast, this won’t help.

    We really need China to get serious about N. Korea and sponsor a coup this year….

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Dee


    http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/brilliant-pebbles-the-revolutionary-idea-strategic-defense

    This was a ‘smart rocks’ system. Put them in low earth orbit and it’s like a shotgun; which is what you need to take the warhead and all the decoys out at the same time.

    Of course if it’s a submarine launched attack just off the coast, this won’t help.

    We really need China to get serious about N. Korea and sponsor a coup this year….
     
    Did you read that Heritage piece?? WTF? Did a deaf person transcribe it??
  22. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    I took several classes from Ted Postol at MIT in the Science, Technology, and Society department, including one called “Technology & Policy of Nuclear Weapons Systems” that covered this very subject.

    This whole thing is a scam – we can’t intercept ICBMs like we claim. Missiles win over missile defense systems every time.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    @Anon

    You heard Postol's arguments. Have you heard the other sides (probably classified) arguments?

    Harvard Professor Matthew Messelson asserted unequivocally that an outbreak of anthrax in the Soviet Union was natural and not due to an accidental release from a Soviet bio-weapons facility. He was later proved wrong. During the Vietnam War, Messelson claimed that what appeared to be North Vietnamese nerve gas attacks on South Vietnamese peasants were actually contaminated bee shit, evidently falling in massive quantities from enormous swarms of migrating bees. Strangely these swarms seemed to appear only over villages that were at least putatively hostile to the Viet Cong and NVA regulars. Such a phenomenon has never been discovered and since the Vietnam War the subject has been dropped.

    Prog academics like Postol and Messelson are notoriously unreliable when bloviating on any topic impinging on military issues.

    Replies: @Sarah Toga

  23. @Anonymous
    What's a kilometer? Something from France? Like a nine day workweek or a global carbon tax scheme?

    Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever..., @fitzGetty, @inertial, @Inquiring Mind

    “What’s a kilometer?”
    It’s part of the Metric system. For example, a day in Metric time is one hundred hours as opposed to twenty four in Imperial time.

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
    @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5-s-4KPtD8

  24. Well, the bullet-hits-bullet successes occured at altitudes of 100-150 miles, just above re-entry after typical ICBM apogees of 750 miles. There is plenty of experience exploding high and low yield nuclear warheads at those altitudes back before the partial test ban. The high yield megaton-order bombs caused EMP and other problems, the low yield kiloton-order did not. Bomarcs were surface-to-air missiles designed to be used against strategic bombers. The nuclear version had a 10 kt warhead effective anywhere within about half a mile from a bomber.

    So Steve’s idea of what they’re really trying is feasible if they can explode small warheads within several hundred yards of ICBM’s.

    I Don’t know what effect planned, massive EMPs, eg from a few Russian megaton low-earth orbit bombs, would have on the control system. I don’t know the cumulative effect of dozens to hundreds of small anti-ICBM explosions all within a few hours, regarding EMP’s and satellites, but doubt it would be much: too disseminated.

    If this is what they’re really doing though, it seems like it could work against what N. Korea could launch, but all I know is what I just looked up on Wiki. I’d like to hear from someone with background knowledge.

  25. Back in the 1960s both the Spartan and Sprint anti-ballistic missiles had nuclear warheads. The yield on the Spartan was five megatons–very high–about four times as large as the present B-83 modern strategic bomb. I don’t know the yield on the Sprint, but it was much lower. Both were designed to be detonated at fairly high altitudes and to attack the electronics of incoming warheads, mostly with X-rays outside the atmosphere. Don’t know how well they would have worked.

    But the idea of equipping an anti-ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead these days may run into significant problems. I happened to be reading the Nuclear Matters Handbook on line and ran across a surprisingly candid statement that the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration is having increasing difficulty certifiying the reliability and safety of the existing stockpile of nuclear weaons (the Stockpile Stewardship Program). These weapons were designed to be cutting edge given the technology of the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in getting the best yield-to-weight ratios. They were designed with an intended service life of about 20 years. Since the United States will not test nuclear weapons, they really are increasingly in the dark about how these things are going to work if they ever have to be used (I hope never!). I doubt that there are any Sprint or Spartan warheads still around, so any new warhead would have to rely on purely theoretical calculations of yield and safety. In light of increasingly efficient chemical explosives, I doubt that there’s any plan to place nuclear explosives on anti-ballistic missiles.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    @Diversity Heretic

    Oh, and another thing about the existing nuclear weapons complex--there is no capability of manufacturing "pits," the plutonium core of nuclear weapons, since Rocky Flats closed. I suppose the national labs could produce something, but again, without testing, no one would really know whether it works. The Nuclear Matters Handbook clearly identifies that the U.S. will eventually need a pit manufacturing capability, but I doubt that it can ever work up the political will to acquire one.

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic, @Anonymous

  26. In one of Noam Chompsky’s books there’s a rant about why the Star Wars defense system from the 80s was bullshit. The gist was that missile research is part of the America’s backdoor industrial policy. The MIT engineering professors he worked with would get money to work on a complex problem that would them create technological spillover. In the 80s that meant the next generation of computer processors and operating systems.

    Maybe a nuke or something similar would make sense to destroy an incoming missile, but we almost certainly don’t live in a world where that’s an issue. The North Koreans aren’t dumb and the elite over there know that launching a missile wouldn’t end well for them. They’re acting crazy because they’re starving in North Korea and historically the deal has been that when North Korea stops acting crazy, then they get food. UPI (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/05/18/UN-10-million-North-Koreans-are-starving/6371495120825/) is claiming around 20% of the country isn’t getting enough food, so the story is unfolding the same way once again.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Aristippus

    Yes, I agree. Kim isn't actually crazy, he just wants us to THINK that he is nuts to keep us off balance and exact concessions. He has no intention of conducting some kind of Pearl Harbor attack on the US - the last one didn't end well for Japan even though it was a much more even match. What he really wants is anti-Khadaffi-izing (Saddam-izing, Ceausescu-izing ) insurance. He has no desire to be overthrown, executed and/or sodomized by "democracy advocates" and wants to make sure that's never going to happen. He wants to be a scorpion that everyone is afraid to touch. Saddam and Qudafi had the same strategy but didn't get far enough for it to work for them. But as soon as they gave up their nuke programs they were dead men walking. Kim won't make that mistake.

    Maybe with a new incoming leftist government in Seoul, Kim will pretend to negotiate so that the South will send him food (I doubt that he will fool Trump - you can't bullshit a bullshitter) but he is never ever ever going to give up his nukes even if everyone in Korea outside the royal family and their core supporters has to starve. If you forget all the "Communist" window dressing, Kim is just an old fashioned Oriental despot (as was Stalin, the mentor of all modern Oriental despots) so that the lives of the peasants don't mean squat - if a few million starve it's no skin off his back. He cares for them even less than the Democrat Party cares for American white proletarians.

    Replies: @Anonymous

  27. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “…Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers…”

    https://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm:

    National Park Service
    Golden Gate
    National Recreation Area California

    …During the tense years of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1979, the United States Army built and operated close to 300 Nike missile sites in the United States. These sites were designed as the last line of defense against Soviet bombers. Today, a dedicated group of volunteers works in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the continuous task of restoration at site SF-88L, the only fully restored Nike missile site in the country…

    …Tours are available at 12:45 and 1:45 PM. On the first Saturday of each month, we host our Nike Veterans Open House…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Missile_Site_SF-88:

    “…As part of SALT I, one missile site each could be retained by the United States and the Soviet Union for historical purposes, and SF-88 was chosen as the historical missile site in the United States…”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Hercules:

    “…a surface-to-air missile (SAM) used by U.S. and NATO armed forces for medium- and high-altitude long-range air defense. It was normally armed with the W31 nuclear warhead, but could also be fitted with a conventional warhead for export use. Its warhead also allowed it to be used in a secondary surface-to-surface role, and the system also demonstrated its ability to hit other short-range missiles in flight…”

    Also:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Nike#Nike_Zeus:

    “…The first successful intercept of an ICBM by Zeus was in 1962, at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands…”

    And:

    http://nikemissile.org/ (The Nike Historical Society)

    http://nikemissile.org/site_sf88.shtml

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @anonymous

    There's a ruin of a Nike radar site on Dirt Mulholland Drive west of the 405 freeway between Bel-Air and Encino in Los Angeles. My dad's office building at Lockheed in Burbank had a big X on it on a map in Moscow.

    The missiles were in the Sepulveda Dam flood control basin near the interchange of the 405 and the 101.

    Replies: @Whoever, @fitzGetty

    , @SteveRogers42
    @anonymous

    One of the work-arounds following JFK's withdrawal of the Jupiter IRBM's from Turkey post-Cuban Missile Crisis was the fact that the nuclear-armed Nike-Hercs at Incirlik could be used in a surface-to-surface role. (What goes up must come down.) Thus, an "offensive" weapon was removed, but an offensive capability remained.

  28. @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    I spent part of my 1960s Army career at the Presidio of San Francisco. Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers. The Artillery crews confided in me —as a fellow GI— that the Nike Hercules systems emplaced so close in (in this case only about 6 miles from SF Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street Hall) to most key American cities were in fact armed with nuclear weapons; and while they were understandably reluctant to be more specific, the yield of a single warhead was on the order of 10-20 kilotons...roughly that of the much larger, but less efficient Little Boy: the dumb gravity bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. I believed completely what they told me then and have had no reason in the ensuing 48 years to question that narrative. But in response to Dave Pinsen, above, those detonations —if worse came to worse— would be at elevations below 30,000 feet... Nowhere near the stratosphere. But still vastly preferable to a Soviet megaton-range weapon dropped onto the cupola of City Hall.

    Replies: @Ivy, @Alfa158, @Rod1963, @Autochthon

    One of the boondoggle Bomarc anti-aircraft missiles caught fire in its shelter on a base in New Jersey in 1960. The firefighters eventually put the fire out but the water spread the radioactive materials from the warhead around the area and it’s still fenced off.

  29. @anonymous
    "...Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers..."

    https://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm:


    National Park Service
    Golden Gate
    National Recreation Area California

    ...During the tense years of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1979, the United States Army built and operated close to 300 Nike missile sites in the United States. These sites were designed as the last line of defense against Soviet bombers. Today, a dedicated group of volunteers works in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the continuous task of restoration at site SF-88L, the only fully restored Nike missile site in the country...

    ...Tours are available at 12:45 and 1:45 PM. On the first Saturday of each month, we host our Nike Veterans Open House...

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Missile_Site_SF-88:


    "...As part of SALT I, one missile site each could be retained by the United States and the Soviet Union for historical purposes, and SF-88 was chosen as the historical missile site in the United States..."

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Hercules:


    "...a surface-to-air missile (SAM) used by U.S. and NATO armed forces for medium- and high-altitude long-range air defense. It was normally armed with the W31 nuclear warhead, but could also be fitted with a conventional warhead for export use. Its warhead also allowed it to be used in a secondary surface-to-surface role, and the system also demonstrated its ability to hit other short-range missiles in flight..."

     

    Also:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Nike#Nike_Zeus:


    "...The first successful intercept of an ICBM by Zeus was in 1962, at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands..."

     

    And:

    http://nikemissile.org/ (The Nike Historical Society)

    http://nikemissile.org/site_sf88.shtml

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SteveRogers42

    There’s a ruin of a Nike radar site on Dirt Mulholland Drive west of the 405 freeway between Bel-Air and Encino in Los Angeles. My dad’s office building at Lockheed in Burbank had a big X on it on a map in Moscow.

    The missiles were in the Sepulveda Dam flood control basin near the interchange of the 405 and the 101.

    • Replies: @Whoever
    @Steve Sailer

    The ruins of a Nike site and radar station still exist on Magic Mountain in the San Gabriels. You can reach it by taking the Magic Mountain fire road off of Little Tujunga Canyon Road. You have to park at the access road and hike up to it. I think one of the episodes of The Unit was filmed there.
    The ruins of another Nike site are just below Mt. Disappointment. You can reach it by hiking a couple of different trails from the Mt. Wilson Observatory road.

    , @fitzGetty
    @Steve Sailer

    ... intriguing, a picnic is indicated today near the spot ...

  30. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    https://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm (Golden Gate National Recreation Area California)

    And https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safeguard_Program:

    “…U.S. Army anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system designed to protect the U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman ICBM silos from attack, thus preserving the US’s nuclear deterrent…

    …Safeguard was the ultimate development of an ever-changing series of designs produced by Bell Labs that started in the 1950s with the LIM-49 Nike Zeus…

    …Sentinel began construction in 1968 but ran into a firestorm of protest over its bases being placed in suburban areas…

    …Instead of deploying the ABM system to protect cities, the new deployment would protect the missile bases themselves, ensuring that no limited attack could be contemplated. This did not have to be perfect, or even close to it…

    …Safeguard was a two-layer defense system. The long-range Spartan missile would attempt interception outside the Earth’s atmosphere… If the Spartan failed… the high performance and high speed but short ranged Sprint missile would attempt an interception within the atmosphere. Both missiles used nuclear warheads, and they relied on destroying or damaging the incoming warhead with radiation rather than heat or blast. The Spartan carried a weapon with a 5 megatons of TNT (21 PJ) yield; the Sprint in the 1 kiloton of TNT (4.2 TJ) range…

    …only the North Dakota site was completed.”

  31. @Buzz Mohawk
    It's a cover story to hide the fact that we have beam weapons that can hit missiles. Reagan's Star Wars program kind of faded away in the public mind... but there's no proof that it actually ever ended.

    That's my aluminum foil hat theory, and I hope I'm right.

    I think we've done a lot better job keeping our "high flying assets" secret in recent decades than we did, say, in Lyndon Johnson's day, when he just had to brag about the SR-71.

    Edward Teller's dream just might be up there ready to zap missiles, and we don't want anybody to know about it. We pretend to test and demonstrate county fair stunts like bullet hits bullet -- which, as others here have correctly pointed out, existed, yes even in nuclear-tipped form, in the days of Nike (the missile, not the shoe or the goddess).

    I live near an old Nike base. It is a known fact that the second-generation Nike missiles carried nukes to blast Russian bombers out of the sky.

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Anonymous, @Brutusale, @Jus' Sayin'...

    The amount of R&D that was needed to make star wars work was staggering. It would require the entire careers of many thousands of highly talented people. I really can’t believe that big of a project could stay hidden that long in this era. Even back in WW2, it was obvious to physicists that something was drawing a lot of them to New Mexico.

    Nukes on interceptors seems plausible, though.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @oddsbodkins


    The amount of R&D that was needed to make star wars work was staggering.
     
    1980's Star Wars would have ended up costing 15% of GDP to be minimally effective against the USSR. Our adversary was better than any now, and our technology was far more primitive.
  32. Dude, you need to read up on the Sprint Missile. Phenomenal technology from the Sixties. Nuclear weapon tipped.

  33. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    An ironic iSteve HBD angle:

    Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex:

    “…The Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex… near Grand Forks, North Dakota… provided launch and control for 30 LIM-49 Spartan anti-ballistic missiles, and 70 shorter-range Sprint anti-ballistic missiles…

    …The site achieved initial operating capability on 1 April 1975, and full operational capability on 28 September 1975. The complex was deactivated on 10 February 1976, after less than a year of operation

    …In December 2012, it was purchased by the Spring Creek Hutterite Colony of Forbes, North Dakota, at auction for $530,000…”

    “You can buy a nice handmade quilt… or… how would you like a tour of one of our 100 nuclear missile silos?” 😉

  34. Lot says:

    Anti missile defense does work. Its most pressing issue is its extremely high costs. This is part of the reason that the USA’s alliance with Israel is so important. They have a top military R&D program. They lack the resources for a broad R&D program that only the USA, China, and Western Europe can afford. But they have a few specialties, and are able to produce technology at a lower cost than our military industrial complex.

    Israel has the experience of being the constant target of huge numbers of low-quality missiles from the West Bank and Gaza, semi-regular experience with Hamas’s more professional and modern missiles, constant planning for an Iranian long-range attack, and finally dealing with Iraq’s Soviet-quality scuds during the Gulf War.

    These numbers are probably exaggerated a bit, but still fairly accurate:

    On 10 March 2012, The Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of rockets launched from Gaza that would have landed in populated areas. By November 2012, official statements indicated that it had intercepted 400+ rockets. By late October 2014, the Iron Dome systems had intercepted over 1,200 rockets.

    In addition to their land-based deployment, Iron Dome batteries will in the future be deployed at sea, where they will protect off-shore gas platforms in conjunction with Israel’s Barak 8 missile system.

    Iron Dome is part of a future multi-tiered missile defense system that Israel is developing, which will also include Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Beam, Barak 8 and David’s Sling as early as 2018.

    David’s Sling is an Israel Defense Forces military system being jointly developed by the Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the American defense contractor Raytheon, designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 km (24.85 miles) to 300 km (186.41 miles). David’s Sling is meant to replace the MIM-23 Hawk and MIM-104 Patriot in the Israeli arsenal.

    Operating at Mach 7.5 speeds and with a cruising range of 300 km, the Stunner missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude, such as Iskander, using an on-board dual CCD/IR seekers to distinguish between decoys and the actual warhead of the missile, in addition to tracking by Elta EL/M-2084 Active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar. The multi-stage interceptor consists of a solid-fuel, rocket motor booster, followed by an asymmetrical kill vehicle with advanced steering for super-maneuverability during the kill-stage. A three-pulse motor provides additional acceleration and maneuverability during the terminal phase. David’s Sling became operational in April 2017.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Lot


    Anti missile defense does work. Its most pressing issue is its extremely high costs. This is part of the reason that the USA’s alliance with Israel is so important.
     
    That is, of course, nonsense. America is quite capable of developing anti-missile missiles on its own.

    Replies: @Lot

  35. @Diversity Heretic
    Back in the 1960s both the Spartan and Sprint anti-ballistic missiles had nuclear warheads. The yield on the Spartan was five megatons--very high--about four times as large as the present B-83 modern strategic bomb. I don't know the yield on the Sprint, but it was much lower. Both were designed to be detonated at fairly high altitudes and to attack the electronics of incoming warheads, mostly with X-rays outside the atmosphere. Don't know how well they would have worked.

    But the idea of equipping an anti-ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead these days may run into significant problems. I happened to be reading the Nuclear Matters Handbook on line and ran across a surprisingly candid statement that the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration is having increasing difficulty certifiying the reliability and safety of the existing stockpile of nuclear weaons (the Stockpile Stewardship Program). These weapons were designed to be cutting edge given the technology of the 1970s and 1980s, mostly in getting the best yield-to-weight ratios. They were designed with an intended service life of about 20 years. Since the United States will not test nuclear weapons, they really are increasingly in the dark about how these things are going to work if they ever have to be used (I hope never!). I doubt that there are any Sprint or Spartan warheads still around, so any new warhead would have to rely on purely theoretical calculations of yield and safety. In light of increasingly efficient chemical explosives, I doubt that there's any plan to place nuclear explosives on anti-ballistic missiles.

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic

    Oh, and another thing about the existing nuclear weapons complex–there is no capability of manufacturing “pits,” the plutonium core of nuclear weapons, since Rocky Flats closed. I suppose the national labs could produce something, but again, without testing, no one would really know whether it works. The Nuclear Matters Handbook clearly identifies that the U.S. will eventually need a pit manufacturing capability, but I doubt that it can ever work up the political will to acquire one.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
    @Diversity Heretic

    Oh, and another thing about nuclear weapons. The existing PALS (Permissive Action Link System), which authorizes the use of a nuclear weapon, is designed with the idea that nuclear weapons will be used offensively: to attack a target in another country. That might have to be relatively fast, but either the President or a fairly high ranking military officer (if the President or his successor is incommunicado) has to act to initiate the launch code. But the decision to launch a defensive missile has to be made very quickly, otherwise the chance of successful interception and destruction passes. The existing PALS would have to be significantly reconfigured (the authority might rest with the commanding officer of a launch site) to permit the authorization to launch a nuclear tripped interceptor with any chance of success. Which might mean that an Army or Air Force colonel would have nuclear use authority.

    So I don't see nuclear-tipped interceptors as very likely.

    , @Anonymous
    @Diversity Heretic

    The Bomarc was a real piece of work since not only did it have a nuclear warhead, the airframe itself was actually made out of radioactive thorium-aluminum alloy.

  36. @oddsbodkins
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The amount of R&D that was needed to make star wars work was staggering. It would require the entire careers of many thousands of highly talented people. I really can't believe that big of a project could stay hidden that long in this era. Even back in WW2, it was obvious to physicists that something was drawing a lot of them to New Mexico.

    Nukes on interceptors seems plausible, though.

    Replies: @Lot

    The amount of R&D that was needed to make star wars work was staggering.

    1980’s Star Wars would have ended up costing 15% of GDP to be minimally effective against the USSR. Our adversary was better than any now, and our technology was far more primitive.

  37. Re-entering warhead velocity is reckoned in miles per second. Even a 20 kT nuclear explosion could easily “miss” such a target since the window of opportunity to destroy it is so short: milliseconds. A conventional warhead, by comparison, is orders of magnitude less able to destroy a target. So I’d guess you’re probably right: current U.S. missile defense systems deployed against nuclear ICBMs are nuclear armed.

  38. Lot says:
    @Jason Sylvester
    Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife, daughter's and I traveled to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to spend the long holiday with my son - an Airman 1st Class in the USAF'S ISR program, destined for Aircrew on the Air Force's MC-12. I'm an Air Force veteran myself, having served in an USAF Tactical Control Squadron in Germany during the 1980's.

    To answer two questions:

    1. "We May Not Be Able to Stop a North Korean Missile." - Yup, we could. And with 1989 technology.

    2. "Is Bullet-Hits-Bullet Missile Defense Just a Cover Story?" - I don't know. But I will tell you this: the USAF spends it's entire bureaucratic life thinking about Air (and Space, and anything that flies about two inches above the surface of the Earth) Dominance, not the Hollywood "Air Supremacy" nonsense in films and fiction.

    The Hollywood/popular fiction "Air Supremacy" doctrine works like this: "You shoot down 49 of ours and we shoot down 51 of yours and we win!"

    But from the day I joined the Air Force till the day I got out the doctrine was: "We shoot down ALL of yours, and you shoot down NONE of ours, and we bomb the hell out of you to boot."

    After a trip to San Angelo, Texas, and a joyous reunion and long talk with my son, it was obvious that that remains the USAF doctrine all these years later, I'm pretty confident. It's a good doctrine: an essentially "we'll kick your ass" American doctrine; and makes me sleep better at night. Especially with Trump as president.

    He is going to school in a building on the base that has no windows, and when I mentioned I was worried about him being deployed upon graduation to South Korea to face off against their Northern antagonists, he just grinned, and changed the subject.

    I got it, without pressing further: the USAF would clear the skies of North Korean aircraft in the space of an afternoon. It is not arrogance: it is reality. The United States Air Force would clear the skies of any airborne threat over North Korean airspace in a real war within hours, along with the U.S. Navy's aviation assistance from their carriers. We both know that, even separated by a generation of Air Force service, and from my day to his.

    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South? Such a flinching of duty from our political elites would mean a lot of South Korean army troops would take it on the chin - along with tens of thousands of U.S. Army and Marine Corps. troops that would be backing them on the ground.

    These things concern me as an American citizen having once served his country in a military branch of our nation: that such considerations mean nothing to our political, academic, and media elite's doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

    Replies: @Lot, @Whoever, @The Alarmist

    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South?

    Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    @Lot

    Exactly. In a just and sane world, the Arabian Peninsula would have been made vidrious on 12 September 2001, with more where that came from.

    We have not won the so-called war on terror because we have not fought it.

    Replies: @res, @Moshe

    , @Mr. Anon
    @Lot

    "Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar."

    So why doesn't our "military ally" Israel do it? When was the last time that Israeli soldiers fought along side american soldiers? Oh, that's right..............never.

    Replies: @Jack D

  39. @Diversity Heretic
    @Diversity Heretic

    Oh, and another thing about the existing nuclear weapons complex--there is no capability of manufacturing "pits," the plutonium core of nuclear weapons, since Rocky Flats closed. I suppose the national labs could produce something, but again, without testing, no one would really know whether it works. The Nuclear Matters Handbook clearly identifies that the U.S. will eventually need a pit manufacturing capability, but I doubt that it can ever work up the political will to acquire one.

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic, @Anonymous

    Oh, and another thing about nuclear weapons. The existing PALS (Permissive Action Link System), which authorizes the use of a nuclear weapon, is designed with the idea that nuclear weapons will be used offensively: to attack a target in another country. That might have to be relatively fast, but either the President or a fairly high ranking military officer (if the President or his successor is incommunicado) has to act to initiate the launch code. But the decision to launch a defensive missile has to be made very quickly, otherwise the chance of successful interception and destruction passes. The existing PALS would have to be significantly reconfigured (the authority might rest with the commanding officer of a launch site) to permit the authorization to launch a nuclear tripped interceptor with any chance of success. Which might mean that an Army or Air Force colonel would have nuclear use authority.

    So I don’t see nuclear-tipped interceptors as very likely.

  40. Is this bullet-on-bullet testing just a cover story for the real plan of equipping the interceptor with a nuclear warhead that will explode if it gets within, say, a kilometer of the incoming ICBM?

    Yeah, or just detonate it when and where you think best, based on what’s known about the target. Nuclear detonations aren’t over right away, they leave a nice big ball of fire lingering for a bit. Plus the shockwave. None of that is good for an incoming missile. Not to mention the EMP effects.

    Speaking of, that would be one of the downsides of detonating a nuke in the atmosphere. That and a nice radioactive cloud.

  41. I once heard a military analyst say a rogue country could launch a missile into Earth’s orbit (geosynchronous altitude) with a warhead full of BBs and an explosive charge and destroy ALL satellites. I think this would seriously hamper any U.S. ABM defense.

    I smell BS.

    It might be rather difficult to make even the nuclear shotgun work in practice. Remember, 17,000 mph is really fast—roughly 5 miles per second. The nuclear warhead on the interceptor would need to detonate with a precision of perhaps no more than half a second in order to have a reasonable chance of destroying the ICBM. That in itself is hardly an unachievable tolerance, but there’s a problem.

    Are you accounting for the fact that a nuclear detonation has lingering effects? It’s not like you can just drive through the blast zone 30 seconds after it goes off. There’s a substantial shielding effect. As you say, the incoming missile is traveling 5 miles a second, so, detonate 5 seconds before it gets there.

    If the ICBM released several MIRVs and decoys, they would all need to be destroyed

    Good point, you’d want to intercept outside of MIRV deployment range (my uneducated guess is it’s relatively limited, compared to the overall distance traveled by the missile from launch to target).

    Also, we’re mostly talking rogue states here. Do the Norks even have MIRVs?

    who knows whether the other ones will still be able to track their targets, let alone detonate with the required precision, after we just EMP’d the upper atmosphere

    Might be a goose/gander situation there; I’d guess our shielding is better than the other guys’. On the other hand, tracking a missile is a lot harder than hitting a fixed target.

    The Star Wars research hit at least one snag, the development of decoy missiles. Russia could launch 1000 missiles, 900 of which are decoys.

    A decoy ICBM doesn’t strike me as something that sounds cheap to build. Anybody got the prices of an ICBM with, and without a nuclear payload?

  42. @Jason Sylvester
    Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife, daughter's and I traveled to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to spend the long holiday with my son - an Airman 1st Class in the USAF'S ISR program, destined for Aircrew on the Air Force's MC-12. I'm an Air Force veteran myself, having served in an USAF Tactical Control Squadron in Germany during the 1980's.

    To answer two questions:

    1. "We May Not Be Able to Stop a North Korean Missile." - Yup, we could. And with 1989 technology.

    2. "Is Bullet-Hits-Bullet Missile Defense Just a Cover Story?" - I don't know. But I will tell you this: the USAF spends it's entire bureaucratic life thinking about Air (and Space, and anything that flies about two inches above the surface of the Earth) Dominance, not the Hollywood "Air Supremacy" nonsense in films and fiction.

    The Hollywood/popular fiction "Air Supremacy" doctrine works like this: "You shoot down 49 of ours and we shoot down 51 of yours and we win!"

    But from the day I joined the Air Force till the day I got out the doctrine was: "We shoot down ALL of yours, and you shoot down NONE of ours, and we bomb the hell out of you to boot."

    After a trip to San Angelo, Texas, and a joyous reunion and long talk with my son, it was obvious that that remains the USAF doctrine all these years later, I'm pretty confident. It's a good doctrine: an essentially "we'll kick your ass" American doctrine; and makes me sleep better at night. Especially with Trump as president.

    He is going to school in a building on the base that has no windows, and when I mentioned I was worried about him being deployed upon graduation to South Korea to face off against their Northern antagonists, he just grinned, and changed the subject.

    I got it, without pressing further: the USAF would clear the skies of North Korean aircraft in the space of an afternoon. It is not arrogance: it is reality. The United States Air Force would clear the skies of any airborne threat over North Korean airspace in a real war within hours, along with the U.S. Navy's aviation assistance from their carriers. We both know that, even separated by a generation of Air Force service, and from my day to his.

    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South? Such a flinching of duty from our political elites would mean a lot of South Korean army troops would take it on the chin - along with tens of thousands of U.S. Army and Marine Corps. troops that would be backing them on the ground.

    These things concern me as an American citizen having once served his country in a military branch of our nation: that such considerations mean nothing to our political, academic, and media elite's doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

    Replies: @Lot, @Whoever, @The Alarmist

    I agree with you about our capabilities and the dominance doctrine. There is a lot of disparagement of our armed forces by pundits and commenters, and misunderstanding of what our aircraft are designed to do and what their purpose is.
    For example, I’ve read the F-35 denigrated because it can’t “dog fight,” as if this were 1917 rather than 2017. But the F-35C (carrier variant) functions as a forward sensor node in the Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) system, relaying targeting information back to shooters in the Carrier Strike Group. The Navy’s CONOPs (CONcept of OPerations) is based on SEAD (Suppressing Enemy Air Defenses) rather than evading enemy aircraft. As you say, we kill them all. They don’t even get near us.
    The F-35C’s EOTS (Electro-Optical Targeting System) provides continuous 360-degree coverage and threat analysis, and recommends which target to attack and how best to counter or negate a threat. The airplane was never designed to “dog fight” and doesn’t have to. No enemy airplane is going to get near it.
    I also agree with you that “political correctness,” or whatever you want to call it, may make all our capability of no avail. Hopefully, we won’t have to find out.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Whoever

    I always chuckle when I see a pundit opine on the F35 and gloss over the value of long range passive (optical) targeting in ACM. Obviously they have no aviation experience so they don't realize that being able to get fire control quality tracks optically, and push them to the tin cans loaded with 96 to 112 SM3 missiles, is well, let's call it unsporting.

  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Buzz Mohawk
    It's a cover story to hide the fact that we have beam weapons that can hit missiles. Reagan's Star Wars program kind of faded away in the public mind... but there's no proof that it actually ever ended.

    That's my aluminum foil hat theory, and I hope I'm right.

    I think we've done a lot better job keeping our "high flying assets" secret in recent decades than we did, say, in Lyndon Johnson's day, when he just had to brag about the SR-71.

    Edward Teller's dream just might be up there ready to zap missiles, and we don't want anybody to know about it. We pretend to test and demonstrate county fair stunts like bullet hits bullet -- which, as others here have correctly pointed out, existed, yes even in nuclear-tipped form, in the days of Nike (the missile, not the shoe or the goddess).

    I live near an old Nike base. It is a known fact that the second-generation Nike missiles carried nukes to blast Russian bombers out of the sky.

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Anonymous, @Brutusale, @Jus' Sayin'...

    The fact that the Nike missiles were nuclear tipped (or more precisely, some were) was never very secret. Nor was the fact that the Nike had a crude but implemented ground to ground mode and could be used against ground or sea forces or as a short range ballistic missile.

    The approximate number of nuclear weapons the US has, their types, and even most of the places where they are based is not a big secret today either. They may have a couple here and a couple there that are not public knowledge, but a combination of arms control, environmental, and various other public documentations pored over by two groups-antinuclear activists and “nuke foamers” who make a hobby out of studying the nuclear weapons establishment (and who are willing to work together) have resulted in an astonishing amount of information being available-everything but the actual blueprints of working weaponized nuclear devices is out there.

    The only thing the government really wants to do is to make it somewhat difficult for a nation or group not having the ability to make its own fissionable material (which is a manufacturing issue, but a big one requiring big plants and big money) to make, not just something that goes bang, but something that goes bang reliably and efficiently and is able to be transported, fuzed, and delivered with some feasibility, in the event that they somehow do get a quantity of fissionable material. Any nation or nonstate actor that can mine uranium and enrich it inhouse or alternatively manufacture plutonium with particle accelerators or a reactor is effectively unstoppable given time and a secure place to work on it. Activities like these are big and tend to be easily found out-they employ lots of people and take up a lot of land, a lot of power, and a lot of manufacturing resources.

    Howard Morland was the guy who broke much of this, and his book, The Secret That Exploded is required reading for anyone, pro or anti, who wants to understand nuclear weapons.

    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
    @Anonymous

    Or, like Israel, you could just jump the line by stealing fissionable materials from the United States, and while you are at it, steal the nuclear triggers, the krytons. Easy peasy.

    Replies: @James Richard

  44. @Steve Sailer
    @anonymous

    There's a ruin of a Nike radar site on Dirt Mulholland Drive west of the 405 freeway between Bel-Air and Encino in Los Angeles. My dad's office building at Lockheed in Burbank had a big X on it on a map in Moscow.

    The missiles were in the Sepulveda Dam flood control basin near the interchange of the 405 and the 101.

    Replies: @Whoever, @fitzGetty

    The ruins of a Nike site and radar station still exist on Magic Mountain in the San Gabriels. You can reach it by taking the Magic Mountain fire road off of Little Tujunga Canyon Road. You have to park at the access road and hike up to it. I think one of the episodes of The Unit was filmed there.
    The ruins of another Nike site are just below Mt. Disappointment. You can reach it by hiking a couple of different trails from the Mt. Wilson Observatory road.

  45. @Diversity Heretic
    @Diversity Heretic

    Oh, and another thing about the existing nuclear weapons complex--there is no capability of manufacturing "pits," the plutonium core of nuclear weapons, since Rocky Flats closed. I suppose the national labs could produce something, but again, without testing, no one would really know whether it works. The Nuclear Matters Handbook clearly identifies that the U.S. will eventually need a pit manufacturing capability, but I doubt that it can ever work up the political will to acquire one.

    Replies: @Diversity Heretic, @Anonymous

    The Bomarc was a real piece of work since not only did it have a nuclear warhead, the airframe itself was actually made out of radioactive thorium-aluminum alloy.

  46. @mukat
    The Star Wars research hit at least one snag, the development of decoy missiles. Russia could launch 1000 missiles, 900 of which are decoys.

    But with rogue states the bullet-vs.-bullet idea became plausible again and research and testing was revived or continued. DPRK does not have 900 decoy ICBMs, or 9 for that matter.

    Kwajalein test launches, such as the one a few days ago, are common. MIT Lincoln Laboratory is heavily involved:

    https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/fieldsites.html

    Is it plausible to hit a bullet with a bullet? Yes. Is there a system that could be launched in combat today, or is it still in R&D? Probably that's classified.

    Replies: @Karl, @Brutusale

    17 mukat> Kwajalein test launches

    correct my aging memory if needed….. no launches AT kwajelein. Kwajelein does radar

    Kwajelein is US Army.

  47. @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    I spent part of my 1960s Army career at the Presidio of San Francisco. Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers. The Artillery crews confided in me —as a fellow GI— that the Nike Hercules systems emplaced so close in (in this case only about 6 miles from SF Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street Hall) to most key American cities were in fact armed with nuclear weapons; and while they were understandably reluctant to be more specific, the yield of a single warhead was on the order of 10-20 kilotons...roughly that of the much larger, but less efficient Little Boy: the dumb gravity bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. I believed completely what they told me then and have had no reason in the ensuing 48 years to question that narrative. But in response to Dave Pinsen, above, those detonations —if worse came to worse— would be at elevations below 30,000 feet... Nowhere near the stratosphere. But still vastly preferable to a Soviet megaton-range weapon dropped onto the cupola of City Hall.

    Replies: @Ivy, @Alfa158, @Rod1963, @Autochthon

    That GI was pretty spot on. My father worked on a Nike Hercules site on Mt. Gleason by Los Angeles. I saw the site as a boy when it was still active.

    Yes the missile had nuclear tipped war heads meant to knock Soviet bombers out of the air over the ocean by over pressure. The warheads were Hiroshima class.

    BTW Mt. Gleason tracked Kruschev’s plane as he flew into LAX and there was a Nike ready to launch if ordered. IOW we were ready to nuke LA to knock out the king of the commies if need be.

    Gotta remember back then the government was flat out insane, it had been running radiation experiments on civilians(since Trinity) and military personnel . We were detonating nuclear war heads back in the 50’s and 60’s and having soldiers march into the fallout and see what would happen to them. Well a lot of them got radiation poisoning and were sick for weeks on end. Radiation poisoning is horrible even at the non lethal dosages. Civilians seeking medical care got it bad too to. They were unknowingly injected with uranium, plutonium and polonium. Kids with terminal diseases got hit with lethal doses of X-Rays. All the stuff is documented but sadly forgotten.

    It’s about as evil as one can get. Of course it was all in the name of science so it makes it good.

  48. the real plan of equipping the interceptor with a nuclear warhead that will explode if it gets within, say, a kilometer of the incoming ICBM

    Computer simulation of the system in action

  49. @anonymous
    "...Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers..."

    https://www.nps.gov/goga/nike-missile-site.htm:


    National Park Service
    Golden Gate
    National Recreation Area California

    ...During the tense years of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1979, the United States Army built and operated close to 300 Nike missile sites in the United States. These sites were designed as the last line of defense against Soviet bombers. Today, a dedicated group of volunteers works in partnership with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the continuous task of restoration at site SF-88L, the only fully restored Nike missile site in the country...

    ...Tours are available at 12:45 and 1:45 PM. On the first Saturday of each month, we host our Nike Veterans Open House...

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Missile_Site_SF-88:


    "...As part of SALT I, one missile site each could be retained by the United States and the Soviet Union for historical purposes, and SF-88 was chosen as the historical missile site in the United States..."

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nike_Hercules:


    "...a surface-to-air missile (SAM) used by U.S. and NATO armed forces for medium- and high-altitude long-range air defense. It was normally armed with the W31 nuclear warhead, but could also be fitted with a conventional warhead for export use. Its warhead also allowed it to be used in a secondary surface-to-surface role, and the system also demonstrated its ability to hit other short-range missiles in flight..."

     

    Also:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Nike#Nike_Zeus:


    "...The first successful intercept of an ICBM by Zeus was in 1962, at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands..."

     

    And:

    http://nikemissile.org/ (The Nike Historical Society)

    http://nikemissile.org/site_sf88.shtml

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @SteveRogers42

    One of the work-arounds following JFK’s withdrawal of the Jupiter IRBM’s from Turkey post-Cuban Missile Crisis was the fact that the nuclear-armed Nike-Hercs at Incirlik could be used in a surface-to-surface role. (What goes up must come down.) Thus, an “offensive” weapon was removed, but an offensive capability remained.

  50. @Anonymous
    What's a kilometer? Something from France? Like a nine day workweek or a global carbon tax scheme?

    Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever..., @fitzGetty, @inertial, @Inquiring Mind

    … think Vichy (my grandfather muses), think the two faces of Janus, think weasel, ferret … think spite & ingratitude after various 20th c rescues of their dubious civilisation …

    • Replies: @oddsbodkins
    @fitzGetty

    Think of the French blockade at Yorktown that prevented Cornwallis from escaping with an intact army, that he could have then landed elsewhere. And of the French who fought next to Washington to press the advantage at that critical moment.

    Think of the million men who died to stop the German advance for the three years before we got into WWI.

    , @Sarah Toga
    @fitzGetty

    think . . . really great wines
    think . . . Brigette Bardot - even more beautiful as a Senior, since she became an Immigration Patriot for her people

  51. @Steve Sailer
    @anonymous

    There's a ruin of a Nike radar site on Dirt Mulholland Drive west of the 405 freeway between Bel-Air and Encino in Los Angeles. My dad's office building at Lockheed in Burbank had a big X on it on a map in Moscow.

    The missiles were in the Sepulveda Dam flood control basin near the interchange of the 405 and the 101.

    Replies: @Whoever, @fitzGetty

    … intriguing, a picnic is indicated today near the spot …

  52. http://www.gao.gov/assets/220/215614.pdf

    The Patriot missile system had a small error in its range calculation software that grew larger over time. The battery at Dhaharan that missed the Scud that hit a barracks full of PA National Guard troops had been operating continuously for 100 hours, making the error so large the radar was scanning the wrong patch of sky. Other problems included Iraqi longer-range missiles breaking up on reentry, in effect creating their own decoys with bits of fuselage.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Tom-in-VA

    This sounds like a software bug that is easily fixed. We've had 25 years to fix that bug. I know the US gov. really stinks at software but that might have been enough time. Worst case we can sub it out to the Israelis.

    Replies: @Tom-in-VA

  53. @Anonymous
    In a hot war with Russia, Russia will immediately knock out all satellites with nuclear weapons.

    I once heard a military analyst say a rogue country could launch a missile into Earth's orbit (geosynchronous altitude) with a warhead full of BBs and an explosive charge and destroy ALL satellites. I think this would seriously hamper any U.S. ABM defense.

    Ted Postel, MIT professor and former missile and weapons expert for DoD and U.S. Navy, has said an ABM system could never work.

    Replies: @NickG

    Ted Postel, MIT professor and former missile and weapons expert for DoD and U.S. Navy, has said an ABM system could never work.

    Agreed, you dont even need missiles, a ship pulling into New York with a Nuke would be easy for any nuclear armed state to achieve.

  54. @Jason Sylvester
    Over the Memorial Day weekend, my wife, daughter's and I traveled to Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas, to spend the long holiday with my son - an Airman 1st Class in the USAF'S ISR program, destined for Aircrew on the Air Force's MC-12. I'm an Air Force veteran myself, having served in an USAF Tactical Control Squadron in Germany during the 1980's.

    To answer two questions:

    1. "We May Not Be Able to Stop a North Korean Missile." - Yup, we could. And with 1989 technology.

    2. "Is Bullet-Hits-Bullet Missile Defense Just a Cover Story?" - I don't know. But I will tell you this: the USAF spends it's entire bureaucratic life thinking about Air (and Space, and anything that flies about two inches above the surface of the Earth) Dominance, not the Hollywood "Air Supremacy" nonsense in films and fiction.

    The Hollywood/popular fiction "Air Supremacy" doctrine works like this: "You shoot down 49 of ours and we shoot down 51 of yours and we win!"

    But from the day I joined the Air Force till the day I got out the doctrine was: "We shoot down ALL of yours, and you shoot down NONE of ours, and we bomb the hell out of you to boot."

    After a trip to San Angelo, Texas, and a joyous reunion and long talk with my son, it was obvious that that remains the USAF doctrine all these years later, I'm pretty confident. It's a good doctrine: an essentially "we'll kick your ass" American doctrine; and makes me sleep better at night. Especially with Trump as president.

    He is going to school in a building on the base that has no windows, and when I mentioned I was worried about him being deployed upon graduation to South Korea to face off against their Northern antagonists, he just grinned, and changed the subject.

    I got it, without pressing further: the USAF would clear the skies of North Korean aircraft in the space of an afternoon. It is not arrogance: it is reality. The United States Air Force would clear the skies of any airborne threat over North Korean airspace in a real war within hours, along with the U.S. Navy's aviation assistance from their carriers. We both know that, even separated by a generation of Air Force service, and from my day to his.

    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South? Such a flinching of duty from our political elites would mean a lot of South Korean army troops would take it on the chin - along with tens of thousands of U.S. Army and Marine Corps. troops that would be backing them on the ground.

    These things concern me as an American citizen having once served his country in a military branch of our nation: that such considerations mean nothing to our political, academic, and media elite's doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

    Replies: @Lot, @Whoever, @The Alarmist

    The official AF doctrine has many statements, but the biggie is …

    “Control of the vertical dimension is generally a necessary precondition for control of the surface. “

    Note that that is no guarantee of control of the surface, much less success of the mission.

    As for the political, we were the tip of the spear, but we didn’t make policy. I didn’t like where policy was going by the late ’80s, so I found my way to a rewarding civilian career, where I actually have some perhaps small influence, via regulatory capture and the ability to throw major investment funds around, over elected and unelected officials.

    You can do it by being politically active … by starting at the grass-roots level and becoming a cog in the machine. That’s a lot more useful than simply worrying about things.

  55. Could be nuke-tipped, but not in any numbers that would deter bigger threats like the russians and chinese. Reasons given by others above are good. For Nork threats, we can use nuke or kinetic to take out re-entry vehicles, but we would ideally catch them in the boost phase with a directed enery weapon either airborne or space-based.

  56. The only use I can think of for these things is if the Russians phone up to say “Dear God we’ve launched one by accident. Here are the details, please shoot it down”.

    Or indeed if the USAF launches one by accident and wanted to shoot it down itself.

    Otherwise the attack will always easily saturate the defence. The bomber didn’t always get through, but enough warheads always will.

  57. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Dee
    http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/brilliant-pebbles-the-revolutionary-idea-strategic-defense

    This was a 'smart rocks' system. Put them in low earth orbit and it's like a shotgun; which is what you need to take the warhead and all the decoys out at the same time.

    Of course if it's a submarine launched attack just off the coast, this won't help.

    We really need China to get serious about N. Korea and sponsor a coup this year....

    Replies: @Anonymous

    http://www.heritage.org/defense/report/brilliant-pebbles-the-revolutionary-idea-strategic-defense

    This was a ‘smart rocks’ system. Put them in low earth orbit and it’s like a shotgun; which is what you need to take the warhead and all the decoys out at the same time.

    Of course if it’s a submarine launched attack just off the coast, this won’t help.

    We really need China to get serious about N. Korea and sponsor a coup this year….

    Did you read that Heritage piece?? WTF? Did a deaf person transcribe it??

  58. Claiming that missile defense doesn’t work or that it’s a physical impossibility is one of those weird left wing articles of faith that I don’t really understand. It’s become its own sort of cottage industry, like “military reform” where people can make a living writing articles and giving speeches about it. Do people really believe that the military and the aerospace industry need to engage in elaborate charades to spend whatever they want? O

  59. @Hanoi Paris Hilton
    I spent part of my 1960s Army career at the Presidio of San Francisco. Distributed throughout the hills across the Golden Gate bridge were underground launchers housing Nike Hercules missiles intended to intercept Soviet strategic bombers. The Artillery crews confided in me —as a fellow GI— that the Nike Hercules systems emplaced so close in (in this case only about 6 miles from SF Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street Hall) to most key American cities were in fact armed with nuclear weapons; and while they were understandably reluctant to be more specific, the yield of a single warhead was on the order of 10-20 kilotons...roughly that of the much larger, but less efficient Little Boy: the dumb gravity bomb which wiped out Hiroshima. I believed completely what they told me then and have had no reason in the ensuing 48 years to question that narrative. But in response to Dave Pinsen, above, those detonations —if worse came to worse— would be at elevations below 30,000 feet... Nowhere near the stratosphere. But still vastly preferable to a Soviet megaton-range weapon dropped onto the cupola of City Hall.

    Replies: @Ivy, @Alfa158, @Rod1963, @Autochthon

    Just as it was proposed in an earlier thread that the conquest of (the rest of) Europe by Russia would at this point be not a tragic subjugation but a joyful liberation, so also the detonation of a nuclear warhead on San Francisco’s city hall would be heaven-sent and salubrious for the U.S.A.

    (For a few dollars more, do you suppose we could we also have one take out the governor’s mansion and the legislature in Sacramento…?)

  60. @Lot
    @Jason Sylvester


    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South?
     
    Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar.

    Replies: @Autochthon, @Mr. Anon

    Exactly. In a just and sane world, the Arabian Peninsula would have been made vidrious on 12 September 2001, with more where that came from.

    We have not won the so-called war on terror because we have not fought it.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @res
    @Autochthon

    Did you mean vitreous, or is vidrious a word I don't know? I googled for it and got some hits, but no definition and nothing to convince me the hits weren't typos.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Autochthon

    , @Moshe
    @Autochthon

    I get the glass reference but the word as you spelled it still eludes me. Did you coin it as a derivation of the vitr-- root?

  61. @Anonymous
    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it's capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it's actual success? I think an MIT professor claimed it had only a 10% success rate after reviewing it's performance against Scud Missiles?

    Replies: @Thirdeye, @E. Rekshun, @Chrisnonymous

    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it’s capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it’s actual success?

    Careful…the Patriot Missile and its predecessor, the SAM-D, put bread on the table for four generations of my family. My 90-year old grandmother is still collecting my grandfather’s pension from one of the Patriot contractors, and he’s been deceased for over twenty years.

    • Replies: @ATX Hipster
    @E. Rekshun


    My 90-year old grandmother is still collecting my grandfather’s pension from one of the Patriot contractors, and he’s been deceased for over twenty years.
     
    My children, who belong to whatever they're calling the generation born to Millenials, will marvel when I tell them about 20th century pension plans.
  62. Missile defense is a giant jobs program. The overseas American Empire is a giant jobs program. The garrisoning of American Empire troops in Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea and most other places is a giant jobs program. Aircraft carriers are giant jobs programs. Aircraft carriers are expensive tripwires. Chinese missile barrages are cheap.

    Me about 30 years ago to a person who worked on missile defense: Will it work?

    Person involved in missile defense: The Soviets could overwhelm with drones and a dozen other things, but, when it comes down to it, who cares as long as the money keeps rolling in.

    North Korea is a problem for the Russians, Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans. Let them bastards deal with that frigging place, dammit!

    • Agree: James Richard
  63. North Korean nuclear strikes(s) against the United States would likely not involve a ballistic missile. It is still unproven and it may malfunction.

    They would probably load a few diesel submarines with nuclear bombs and surface near Manhattan/SF/DC and light them off. That is my worry and that is an attack far more difficult to defend.

    • Replies: @Anon
    @Yak-15

    Diesels are a defensive asset. Most of the Nork diesels don't even have AIP. And to penetrate the US coast in range for a submarine missile attack (which they have neither the launcher nor the missile to do) your little Nork conscript submarine crew has to traverse the entire operating area of 2 US fleets, loaded with LA and Virginia class subs, P3s, P8s, and God knows how many SH60S. It's not even remotely a realistic proposition given their capabilities relative to those of the silent service.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Lurker

    , @Eagle Eye
    @Yak-15


    They would probably load a few diesel submarines with nuclear bombs and surface near Manhattan/SF/DC and light them off.
     
    Do the Norks have a GOFUNDME page?
  64. @Anonymous
    What's a kilometer? Something from France? Like a nine day workweek or a global carbon tax scheme?

    Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever..., @fitzGetty, @inertial, @Inquiring Mind

    Kilometer is as American as (the ols style non-mass produced) apple pie. Americans were among the early promoters of the Metric system. Then, shortly before the end of the 19 century they suddenly turned on it. I am not exactly sure why but it coincided with the rising Anglophilia among the elites.

  65. Anyone play Missile Command in their youth?

  66. 1. In the Age of Chelsea Manning, I really don’t think we could keep a secret nuclear weapons program, like nuclear-tipped ABM systems, a secret.

    But the program does have value. If we, mostly Americans on Steve’s site, cannot be sure that THAAD isn’t a cover for some more effective program, then the Chinese and North Koreans must plan as if we have a program that does what THAAD is supposed to do. So, if their limited nuclear war plan is to hit Okinawa, Guam and Pusan at T = 0, with a few in reserve to coerce a Japanese surrender or say goodbye to Tokyo and Yokohama, without missile-defense they probably need 2 warheads per target because some number of NORK missiles will not get to their destinations. Add in US missile defense, and you need 3? 5? warheads per target?

    2. We won’t have any objections to bombing the hell out of the North Korean army as it slogs toward Seoul. The Korean border zone is the most heavily mined, defended and engineered area in the world of similar size, built up over a lifetime of preparing for the next Korean War. It’s not going to be one-sniper-in-a-building-of-100-civilians. (At least not in the forward areas. North Korean special forces will try to do a lot of that in the rear areas.)

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Discordiax

    Totally agree. The US stinks at keeping secrets. That is increased by an order of magnitude under Trump. If someone thought that they could score political points against Trump by leaking this, national security would mean nothing to them.

    I just saw a BBC interview with Dean Baquet, the mulatto who is the chief editor of the NY Times. He made it clear that he feels no obligation to protect the national security of the US or its allies - not his job. He views himself as a member of some kind of supra-national elite that is above pedestrian considerations like the national security of the country he happened to be born in. Vietnam broke the link between the liberal left and patriotism (the hard left was always on the side of the Soviets) and it has never been repaired.

    , @Jack D
    @Discordiax

    I doubt this would work under Trump (he would call their bluff), but hypothetically, if (God forbid) Hillary or Sanders or some other left wing Democrat is elected in 2020, what happens if Kim starts a "war of national liberation" to reunify Korea and states "any outside power that interferes in Korean internal affairs will be nuked." Might the US decide that saving S. Korea is not worth losing several major US cities?

    PS, if I was S. Korea I would be working on getting my own nukes ASAP. As the US deteriorates, it becomes less and less trustworthy as an ally. The days of bipartisan foreign policy are over and nothing ever gets ratified by Congress, so whatever policy one President puts in place (Paris Accords) can be gone at the whim of the next President.

    Replies: @Discordiax

  67. @LabRat
    I mean, we designed a nuclear bomb to do just that, the W-71. And I truly hope that we do secretly have a couple of these missiles armed with those warheads so that if a ICBM really does get launched at us, we have the best chance of shooting it down.

    But, unfortunately, I doubt that we do. I had a chance to talk with a former extremely, extremely high up general at NORTHCOM, and he didn't even seem to recognize the name Sparten when I asked him about it and told me point blank that for political reasons we don't do that anymore.

    Would it be ridiculously stupid to depend on a kinetic kill when you don't have to?
    Yup.
    Could I see us doing it anyway?
    Unfortunately, absolutely yes.

    Replies: @Bastion

    Evil will always triumph over good, because good is dumb.

  68. There is an argument that an ABM or SAM battery can fire a SSM. If in fact some SAMs have nuke warhead, and if the altitude at which the nuke detonates can be controlled, you’re not far from having a dual-capability missile, one that parades as a defensive weapon, but which has offensive capability, or component. ‘Not to suggest, of course, that anyone would be so diabolical, so sneaky, so cunning to attempt a trick like that.

  69. @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever...
    @Anonymous

    "What’s a kilometer?"
    It's part of the Metric system. For example, a day in Metric time is one hundred hours as opposed to twenty four in Imperial time.

    Replies: @BenKenobi

  70. The North Koreans are a long way from hitting Hawaii, much less hitting the US coast with a nuke. For starters, it is really hard to build a nuclear weapon. It’s even harder to build a portable one. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to build one you can load onto an ICBM and accurately deliver to a target. Frankly, we’re back to the Saddam nuclear program debate.

    That said, this sort of missile defense is stupid and pointless. If you can create a system that will knock out 100% of incoming missiles before they re-enter the atmosphere, then you have a useful counter measure. A system that knocks out 99% is useless. The reason is that even one city destroyed with a nuke will require a massive retaliation of nukes.

    In other words, you’re back to some form of mutually assured destruction. That means the missile shield is just a waste of money as the real deterrent is the fleet of subs carrying nukes. That’s ultimately what will keep the North Koreans contained. They provoke a war and the result is they cease to exist.

    • Replies: @James Richard
    @The Z Blog

    Seattle is only about 500 miles farther away from Pyongyang than is Honolulu.

  71. @Lot
    @Jason Sylvester


    My worry is: would the crippling effect of modern Leftist political correctness prevent the U.S. military from employing the mass-destruction bombing capability they most certainly have, upon a mass invasion of the North Korean Army into the South?
     
    Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar.

    Replies: @Autochthon, @Mr. Anon

    “Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar.”

    So why doesn’t our “military ally” Israel do it? When was the last time that Israeli soldiers fought along side american soldiers? Oh, that’s right…………..never.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance - the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed "ally" like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    Replies: @utu, @Lurker, @James Richard, @Mr. Anon

  72. @Lot
    Anti missile defense does work. Its most pressing issue is its extremely high costs. This is part of the reason that the USA's alliance with Israel is so important. They have a top military R&D program. They lack the resources for a broad R&D program that only the USA, China, and Western Europe can afford. But they have a few specialties, and are able to produce technology at a lower cost than our military industrial complex.

    Israel has the experience of being the constant target of huge numbers of low-quality missiles from the West Bank and Gaza, semi-regular experience with Hamas's more professional and modern missiles, constant planning for an Iranian long-range attack, and finally dealing with Iraq's Soviet-quality scuds during the Gulf War.

    These numbers are probably exaggerated a bit, but still fairly accurate:


    On 10 March 2012, The Jerusalem Post reported that the system shot down 90% of rockets launched from Gaza that would have landed in populated areas. By November 2012, official statements indicated that it had intercepted 400+ rockets. By late October 2014, the Iron Dome systems had intercepted over 1,200 rockets.

    In addition to their land-based deployment, Iron Dome batteries will in the future be deployed at sea, where they will protect off-shore gas platforms in conjunction with Israel's Barak 8 missile system.

    Iron Dome is part of a future multi-tiered missile defense system that Israel is developing, which will also include Arrow 2, Arrow 3, Iron Beam, Barak 8 and David's Sling as early as 2018.
     


    David's Sling is an Israel Defense Forces military system being jointly developed by the Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the American defense contractor Raytheon, designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles, fired at ranges from 40 km (24.85 miles) to 300 km (186.41 miles). David's Sling is meant to replace the MIM-23 Hawk and MIM-104 Patriot in the Israeli arsenal.

    Operating at Mach 7.5 speeds and with a cruising range of 300 km, the Stunner missile is designed to intercept the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude, such as Iskander, using an on-board dual CCD/IR seekers to distinguish between decoys and the actual warhead of the missile, in addition to tracking by Elta EL/M-2084 Active electronically scanned array multi-mode radar. The multi-stage interceptor consists of a solid-fuel, rocket motor booster, followed by an asymmetrical kill vehicle with advanced steering for super-maneuverability during the kill-stage. A three-pulse motor provides additional acceleration and maneuverability during the terminal phase. David's Sling became operational in April 2017.
     

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    Anti missile defense does work. Its most pressing issue is its extremely high costs. This is part of the reason that the USA’s alliance with Israel is so important.

    That is, of course, nonsense. America is quite capable of developing anti-missile missiles on its own.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Mr. Anon

    I did not say we couldn't. But missle defense's largest problem is cost, and Israel is simply much better than the USA at keeping procurement costs low. Moreover, even if we had absolute advantage over Israel in every single mil tech area, Israel would still have compative advantage and be a useful partner.

    Also sorry to be blunt, but if you think US military contractors could have developed Iron Dome on their own at the same cost Israel did, you are nuts. Triple the cost would be optimistic. More likely the initial estimate would be double the cost and the actual cost quadruple or more. Co-development with the world's only actual frequent missle defense user works much better.

  73. So you’re saying our missile defense plan is to detonate a nuke at high altitude? That would take out the enemy missile before it hits the target, but at great expense to whatever is in between.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @27 year old

    Actually no, a (small) nuke detonated high enough in space would not damage anything on the ground.

  74. Hey guys, speaking of bullets, you’re gonna be happy!

    The law-abiding good guys took another Dindu-nuffin piece of garbage off the street today…just like Zimmerman!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mo3kV0WhPlY&index=4&list=PLi8yBoN8hrZioUjMQ3rBrAM8dzrjSJQQ8&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DMo3kV0WhPlY%26index%3D4%26list%3DPLi8yBoN8hrZioUjMQ3rBrAM8dzrjSJQQ8&has_verified=1

  75. This thread is giving me a warm nostalgic buzz, it’s like going back to the Cold War.

  76. @Intelligent Dasein
    It might be rather difficult to make even the nuclear shotgun work in practice. Remember, 17,000 mph is really fast---roughly 5 miles per second. The nuclear warhead on the interceptor would need to detonate with a precision of perhaps no more than half a second in order to have a reasonable chance of destroying the ICBM. That in itself is hardly an unachievable tolerance, but there's a problem.

    If the ICBM released several MIRVs and decoys, they would all need to be destroyed; and since the releases would be staggered by much more than the interceptor's nuke's effective range, it would require multiple interceptors to destroy them all. That introduces the difficulty of keeping multiple nuclear warheads on hand at the interceptor's launch installations, ready to be armed and loaded out within a few minutes. Besides, we might only get one shot at this. Even if the first interceptor manages to destroy the first MIRV, who knows whether the other ones will still be able to track their targets, let alone detonate with the required precision, after we just EMP'd the upper atmosphere. Each subsequent nuclear blast would cause further ionization and electromagnetic interference, multiplying the difficulty of tracking the remaining in-bounds. Two or three such blasts and we'd be effectively blinded. At that point any kind of interception countermeasure would be rendered useless.

    If I were North Korea and I suspected that this would be the US response to a missile attack, I might decide to launch an unarmed rocket at United States just to watch us temporarily destroy all our communications in the pacific theater. That would be the perfect gambit with which to begin the real attack.

    Replies: @map

    Why would any of this happen? We are not rendered blind by the ionizing radiation hitting the atmosphere from the solar winds.

    • Replies: @Intelligent Dasein
    @map

    I don't actually know what will happen; I'm just conjecturing here. But I do not think it unlikely that the EMPs from nuclear warheads detonating in the upper atmosphere would adversely affect the guidance systems of other missiles in the vicinity, say within a few hundred miles.

  77. @Anonymous
    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it's capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it's actual success? I think an MIT professor claimed it had only a 10% success rate after reviewing it's performance against Scud Missiles?

    Replies: @Thirdeye, @E. Rekshun, @Chrisnonymous

    Yes, but that MIT professor called into question the official narrative about Assad’s use of sarin, so we have to take his past work with a grain of salt…!

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
  78. It seems that those convinced that an anti-missile defense system will work had never played Atari’s Space Invaders. Has anyone ever won at that game?

  79. @Aristippus
    In one of Noam Chompsky's books there's a rant about why the Star Wars defense system from the 80s was bullshit. The gist was that missile research is part of the America's backdoor industrial policy. The MIT engineering professors he worked with would get money to work on a complex problem that would them create technological spillover. In the 80s that meant the next generation of computer processors and operating systems.

    Maybe a nuke or something similar would make sense to destroy an incoming missile, but we almost certainly don't live in a world where that's an issue. The North Koreans aren't dumb and the elite over there know that launching a missile wouldn't end well for them. They're acting crazy because they're starving in North Korea and historically the deal has been that when North Korea stops acting crazy, then they get food. UPI (http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/05/18/UN-10-million-North-Koreans-are-starving/6371495120825/) is claiming around 20% of the country isn't getting enough food, so the story is unfolding the same way once again.

    Replies: @Jack D

    Yes, I agree. Kim isn’t actually crazy, he just wants us to THINK that he is nuts to keep us off balance and exact concessions. He has no intention of conducting some kind of Pearl Harbor attack on the US – the last one didn’t end well for Japan even though it was a much more even match. What he really wants is anti-Khadaffi-izing (Saddam-izing, Ceausescu-izing ) insurance. He has no desire to be overthrown, executed and/or sodomized by “democracy advocates” and wants to make sure that’s never going to happen. He wants to be a scorpion that everyone is afraid to touch. Saddam and Qudafi had the same strategy but didn’t get far enough for it to work for them. But as soon as they gave up their nuke programs they were dead men walking. Kim won’t make that mistake.

    Maybe with a new incoming leftist government in Seoul, Kim will pretend to negotiate so that the South will send him food (I doubt that he will fool Trump – you can’t bullshit a bullshitter) but he is never ever ever going to give up his nukes even if everyone in Korea outside the royal family and their core supporters has to starve. If you forget all the “Communist” window dressing, Kim is just an old fashioned Oriental despot (as was Stalin, the mentor of all modern Oriental despots) so that the lives of the peasants don’t mean squat – if a few million starve it’s no skin off his back. He cares for them even less than the Democrat Party cares for American white proletarians.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @Jack D

    I agree. You can see just has sane Kim is in that Dennis Rodman documentary in North Korea. Rodman is drunk and nuts and Kim starts keeping his distance and making sure there are no photo ops capturing his association with Rodman's behavior.

  80. @27 year old
    So you're saying our missile defense plan is to detonate a nuke at high altitude? That would take out the enemy missile before it hits the target, but at great expense to whatever is in between.

    Replies: @Jack D

    Actually no, a (small) nuke detonated high enough in space would not damage anything on the ground.

  81. @Discordiax
    1. In the Age of Chelsea Manning, I really don't think we could keep a secret nuclear weapons program, like nuclear-tipped ABM systems, a secret.

    But the program does have value. If we, mostly Americans on Steve's site, cannot be sure that THAAD isn't a cover for some more effective program, then the Chinese and North Koreans must plan as if we have a program that does what THAAD is supposed to do. So, if their limited nuclear war plan is to hit Okinawa, Guam and Pusan at T = 0, with a few in reserve to coerce a Japanese surrender or say goodbye to Tokyo and Yokohama, without missile-defense they probably need 2 warheads per target because some number of NORK missiles will not get to their destinations. Add in US missile defense, and you need 3? 5? warheads per target?

    2. We won't have any objections to bombing the hell out of the North Korean army as it slogs toward Seoul. The Korean border zone is the most heavily mined, defended and engineered area in the world of similar size, built up over a lifetime of preparing for the next Korean War. It's not going to be one-sniper-in-a-building-of-100-civilians. (At least not in the forward areas. North Korean special forces will try to do a lot of that in the rear areas.)

    Replies: @Jack D, @Jack D

    Totally agree. The US stinks at keeping secrets. That is increased by an order of magnitude under Trump. If someone thought that they could score political points against Trump by leaking this, national security would mean nothing to them.

    I just saw a BBC interview with Dean Baquet, the mulatto who is the chief editor of the NY Times. He made it clear that he feels no obligation to protect the national security of the US or its allies – not his job. He views himself as a member of some kind of supra-national elite that is above pedestrian considerations like the national security of the country he happened to be born in. Vietnam broke the link between the liberal left and patriotism (the hard left was always on the side of the Soviets) and it has never been repaired.

  82. @Discordiax
    1. In the Age of Chelsea Manning, I really don't think we could keep a secret nuclear weapons program, like nuclear-tipped ABM systems, a secret.

    But the program does have value. If we, mostly Americans on Steve's site, cannot be sure that THAAD isn't a cover for some more effective program, then the Chinese and North Koreans must plan as if we have a program that does what THAAD is supposed to do. So, if their limited nuclear war plan is to hit Okinawa, Guam and Pusan at T = 0, with a few in reserve to coerce a Japanese surrender or say goodbye to Tokyo and Yokohama, without missile-defense they probably need 2 warheads per target because some number of NORK missiles will not get to their destinations. Add in US missile defense, and you need 3? 5? warheads per target?

    2. We won't have any objections to bombing the hell out of the North Korean army as it slogs toward Seoul. The Korean border zone is the most heavily mined, defended and engineered area in the world of similar size, built up over a lifetime of preparing for the next Korean War. It's not going to be one-sniper-in-a-building-of-100-civilians. (At least not in the forward areas. North Korean special forces will try to do a lot of that in the rear areas.)

    Replies: @Jack D, @Jack D

    I doubt this would work under Trump (he would call their bluff), but hypothetically, if (God forbid) Hillary or Sanders or some other left wing Democrat is elected in 2020, what happens if Kim starts a “war of national liberation” to reunify Korea and states “any outside power that interferes in Korean internal affairs will be nuked.” Might the US decide that saving S. Korea is not worth losing several major US cities?

    PS, if I was S. Korea I would be working on getting my own nukes ASAP. As the US deteriorates, it becomes less and less trustworthy as an ally. The days of bipartisan foreign policy are over and nothing ever gets ratified by Congress, so whatever policy one President puts in place (Paris Accords) can be gone at the whim of the next President.

    • Replies: @Discordiax
    @Jack D

    I don't think it makes much, if any, difference who the US President is.

    If the North launches a strike on Pusan, Guam and Okinawa as part of an invasion of the South, and messages Tokyo and Washington to remain neutral or eat 5-10 warheads on cities, we might blanket North Korea in mushroom clouds. Or we might back down. In the harsh, cold light of pushing the button or not, I don't know that having Hillary or Trump or Obama or W or Bernie or Cruz or Sarah PAlin would change things one way or another.

    McCain might have been more likely to launch, having served in the military during the Cold War--he had to "think the unthinkable" on a regular basis, when he wasn't being tortured by the North Vietnamese.

  83. @Thirdeye
    @Anonymous

    Yes, that was a piece by Theodore Postol. And the Scud is a big easy target as far as missiles go. The booster stays with the warhead, just like a V-2. Patriot Missile doctrine specifies four launches per target and it badly underperformed that.

    Replies: @Jack D

    It’s been a long time since the Gulf War. Computer processing power has gone up exponentially – an iPhone has the processing power of a 1980s Cray supercomputer. The Israelis have improved on the Patriot and have pretty good success against incoming rockets. You may have noticed that rocket attacks against Israel have largely stopped – Hamas and Hezbollah realize that the game is not worth the candle – they shoot off 1 rocket that gets blasted out of the sky short of its target and the Israelis then proceed to pound the shit out of them. It’s like the perp who swings his fist at a cop – is the satisfaction of hitting the Man really worth getting beaten unconscious by 10 cops with billy clubs (and that was in the old days – now they just shoot you)?

  84. @Tom-in-VA
    http://www.gao.gov/assets/220/215614.pdf

    The Patriot missile system had a small error in its range calculation software that grew larger over time. The battery at Dhaharan that missed the Scud that hit a barracks full of PA National Guard troops had been operating continuously for 100 hours, making the error so large the radar was scanning the wrong patch of sky. Other problems included Iraqi longer-range missiles breaking up on reentry, in effect creating their own decoys with bits of fuselage.

    Replies: @Jack D

    This sounds like a software bug that is easily fixed. We’ve had 25 years to fix that bug. I know the US gov. really stinks at software but that might have been enough time. Worst case we can sub it out to the Israelis.

    • Replies: @Tom-in-VA
    @Jack D

    The sad irony is that the software fix arrived in country the day after the missile strike. It can also be minimized by rebooting the system every eight hours.

  85. @Buzz Mohawk
    It's a cover story to hide the fact that we have beam weapons that can hit missiles. Reagan's Star Wars program kind of faded away in the public mind... but there's no proof that it actually ever ended.

    That's my aluminum foil hat theory, and I hope I'm right.

    I think we've done a lot better job keeping our "high flying assets" secret in recent decades than we did, say, in Lyndon Johnson's day, when he just had to brag about the SR-71.

    Edward Teller's dream just might be up there ready to zap missiles, and we don't want anybody to know about it. We pretend to test and demonstrate county fair stunts like bullet hits bullet -- which, as others here have correctly pointed out, existed, yes even in nuclear-tipped form, in the days of Nike (the missile, not the shoe or the goddess).

    I live near an old Nike base. It is a known fact that the second-generation Nike missiles carried nukes to blast Russian bombers out of the sky.

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Anonymous, @Brutusale, @Jus' Sayin'...

    Not tinfoil hat at all; in The Moon is a Harsh MistressHeinlein posited beam interception of spacecraft and missiles. The key would be targeting ability, but a 186,000 mps beam is much quicker than 4-5 mps than a ballistic missile.

  86. @Buzz Mohawk
    It's a cover story to hide the fact that we have beam weapons that can hit missiles. Reagan's Star Wars program kind of faded away in the public mind... but there's no proof that it actually ever ended.

    That's my aluminum foil hat theory, and I hope I'm right.

    I think we've done a lot better job keeping our "high flying assets" secret in recent decades than we did, say, in Lyndon Johnson's day, when he just had to brag about the SR-71.

    Edward Teller's dream just might be up there ready to zap missiles, and we don't want anybody to know about it. We pretend to test and demonstrate county fair stunts like bullet hits bullet -- which, as others here have correctly pointed out, existed, yes even in nuclear-tipped form, in the days of Nike (the missile, not the shoe or the goddess).

    I live near an old Nike base. It is a known fact that the second-generation Nike missiles carried nukes to blast Russian bombers out of the sky.

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Anonymous, @Brutusale, @Jus' Sayin'...

    There were four Nike bases within hiking distance of my house when I was growing up. (Back in the 1950s boys regularly walked ten or so miles a day in search of adventures.) A lot of Army brats from the people running those bases were schoolmates. A census was taken of them every year and the city was reimbursed by the feds for their education.

    I was a fairly precocious kid and figured out there was no way that a Nike battery was able to take out a squadron of Soviet bombers given the technology of the day. I never considered nuclear warheads though. Much later I learned that later Nike systems were equipped to carry nukes. Whether they did or not I have no idea.

    The bases must have been decommissioned before the 1960s though. I remember making regular looting expeditions to the empty bases with my friends at an age I achieved well before 1960. We probably broke scores of federal laws but the authorities tended to regard juvenile hi-jinx with much more tolerance than they do now.

  87. @mukat
    The Star Wars research hit at least one snag, the development of decoy missiles. Russia could launch 1000 missiles, 900 of which are decoys.

    But with rogue states the bullet-vs.-bullet idea became plausible again and research and testing was revived or continued. DPRK does not have 900 decoy ICBMs, or 9 for that matter.

    Kwajalein test launches, such as the one a few days ago, are common. MIT Lincoln Laboratory is heavily involved:

    https://www.ll.mit.edu/about/fieldsites.html

    Is it plausible to hit a bullet with a bullet? Yes. Is there a system that could be launched in combat today, or is it still in R&D? Probably that's classified.

    Replies: @Karl, @Brutusale

    If any appreciable percentage of Massachusetts residents had idea about what’s going on at Hanscom AFB/Lincoln Labs they’d be marching in the streets.

    Me, I want more of whatever they’re doing. I also love the fact that the research is going on at a place that’s 500 yards from the place where Paul Revere was captured.

  88. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If any appreciable percentage of Massachusetts residents had idea about what’s going on at Hanscom AFB/Lincoln Labs they’d be marching in the streets.

    Me, I want more of whatever they’re doing. I also love the fact that the research is going on at a place that’s 500 yards from the place where Paul Revere was captured.

    Equally top-notch national security R&D is going on just down the road at Draper Lab in Cambridge.

  89. @Autochthon
    @Lot

    Exactly. In a just and sane world, the Arabian Peninsula would have been made vidrious on 12 September 2001, with more where that came from.

    We have not won the so-called war on terror because we have not fought it.

    Replies: @res, @Moshe

    Did you mean vitreous, or is vidrious a word I don’t know? I googled for it and got some hits, but no definition and nothing to convince me the hits weren’t typos.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    @res

    I think it's pretty clear from the context that he meant vitreous - i.e. melted into glass.

    , @Autochthon
    @res

    I meant vitreous, indeed, and it was not a typographical error (mine are legion when using a phone!). In this case I recall intentionally typing "vidrious" and thinking that the correct term. This phenomenon is a common hazard for bilingual persons, especially those of us switching constantly between languages, as we conflate cognates (Spanish vidrio = glass...).

    I apologise for the error and any confusion.

    Replies: @res

  90. @Jack D
    @Aristippus

    Yes, I agree. Kim isn't actually crazy, he just wants us to THINK that he is nuts to keep us off balance and exact concessions. He has no intention of conducting some kind of Pearl Harbor attack on the US - the last one didn't end well for Japan even though it was a much more even match. What he really wants is anti-Khadaffi-izing (Saddam-izing, Ceausescu-izing ) insurance. He has no desire to be overthrown, executed and/or sodomized by "democracy advocates" and wants to make sure that's never going to happen. He wants to be a scorpion that everyone is afraid to touch. Saddam and Qudafi had the same strategy but didn't get far enough for it to work for them. But as soon as they gave up their nuke programs they were dead men walking. Kim won't make that mistake.

    Maybe with a new incoming leftist government in Seoul, Kim will pretend to negotiate so that the South will send him food (I doubt that he will fool Trump - you can't bullshit a bullshitter) but he is never ever ever going to give up his nukes even if everyone in Korea outside the royal family and their core supporters has to starve. If you forget all the "Communist" window dressing, Kim is just an old fashioned Oriental despot (as was Stalin, the mentor of all modern Oriental despots) so that the lives of the peasants don't mean squat - if a few million starve it's no skin off his back. He cares for them even less than the Democrat Party cares for American white proletarians.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    I agree. You can see just has sane Kim is in that Dennis Rodman documentary in North Korea. Rodman is drunk and nuts and Kim starts keeping his distance and making sure there are no photo ops capturing his association with Rodman’s behavior.

  91. @Anon
    I took several classes from Ted Postol at MIT in the Science, Technology, and Society department, including one called "Technology & Policy of Nuclear Weapons Systems" that covered this very subject.

    This whole thing is a scam - we can't intercept ICBMs like we claim. Missiles win over missile defense systems every time.

    Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...

    You heard Postol’s arguments. Have you heard the other sides (probably classified) arguments?

    Harvard Professor Matthew Messelson asserted unequivocally that an outbreak of anthrax in the Soviet Union was natural and not due to an accidental release from a Soviet bio-weapons facility. He was later proved wrong. During the Vietnam War, Messelson claimed that what appeared to be North Vietnamese nerve gas attacks on South Vietnamese peasants were actually contaminated bee shit, evidently falling in massive quantities from enormous swarms of migrating bees. Strangely these swarms seemed to appear only over villages that were at least putatively hostile to the Viet Cong and NVA regulars. Such a phenomenon has never been discovered and since the Vietnam War the subject has been dropped.

    Prog academics like Postol and Messelson are notoriously unreliable when bloviating on any topic impinging on military issues.

    • Agree: Sarah Toga
    • Replies: @Sarah Toga
    @Jus' Sayin'...


    Prog academics like Postol and Messelson are notoriously unreliable when bloviating on any topic impinging on military issues
     
    Which term is redundant - prog or academic? :)
  92. @Mr. Anon
    @Lot

    "Even after all ISIS has done, we refuse to engage in strategic bombing of ISIS in its capital of Raqqa or strongholds like Tal Afar."

    So why doesn't our "military ally" Israel do it? When was the last time that Israeli soldiers fought along side american soldiers? Oh, that's right..............never.

    Replies: @Jack D

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance – the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed “ally” like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    • Replies: @utu
    @Jack D

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    , @Lurker
    @Jack D


    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world
     
    As good a reminder of Israel's value as an ally as you'll see anywhere.

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.
     
    An ever better reminder!

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    , @James Richard
    @Jack D


    On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology.
     
    Get real. We send orders of magnitude more military gear to the Jews than we get from them. Last falls $40 billion defense gift from Obongo to Bibi being the most recent case in point. Israel wouldn't even exist without the protection of the US.
    , @Mr. Anon
    @Jack D


    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either.....
     
    Unless - in a round-about-way - you count that whole business between 1941 and 1945. A minor affair, to be sure. I've never seen an accounting of it, but - just based on the likely numbers - I think it's a dead certainty that more anti-semites (by current definitions) fought and died to defeat Nazi Germany than did Jews.

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world...
     
    Anyway, it's nice to know that "cosmetics" prevent such a stirling ally from being - you know - an actual ally.
  93. Or am I wrong, and the detonation has to occur so far up in the atmosphere that there mostly isn’t a lingering fireball?

    It’s about as evil as one can get. Of course it was all in the name of science so it makes it good.

    I’m no friend to the feds, but it was all in the name of knowing what we were in for in a nuclear war.

    Anyone play Missile Command in their youth?

    Yeah, speaking of leading the target…

    That said, this sort of missile defense is stupid and pointless. If you can create a system that will knock out 100% of incoming missiles before they re-enter the atmosphere, then you have a useful counter measure. A system that knocks out 99% is useless. The reason is that even one city destroyed with a nuke will require a massive retaliation of nukes.

    In other words, you’re back to some form of mutually assured destruction. That means the missile shield is just a waste of money as the real deterrent is the fleet of subs carrying nukes. That’s ultimately what will keep the North Koreans contained. They provoke a war and the result is they cease to exist.

    Your math doesn’t work for me. How is it useless to be able to destroy 99% of the incoming missiles, lose one city, and massively retaliate with nukes, as opposed to destroying no incoming missiles, losing dozens or hundreds of cities, and massively retaliating with nukes?

    That is, of course, nonsense. America is quite capable of developing anti-missile missiles on its own.

    It also plays to Israeli/Chinese/Russian strengths (stealing the stuff we design), so, win-win.

    Hey guys, speaking of bullets, you’re gonna be happy!

    The law-abiding good guys took another Dindu-nuffin piece of garbage off the street today…just like Zimmerman!

    You and the videos. Is that the only way you get your news? The next time I watch one of your videos, it’ll be the first.

    It seems that those convinced that an anti-missile defense system will work had never played Atari’s Space Invaders. Has anyone ever won at that game?

    Nobody ever won at Frogger, either, but that doesn’t keep me from crossing the street.

  94. @res
    @Autochthon

    Did you mean vitreous, or is vidrious a word I don't know? I googled for it and got some hits, but no definition and nothing to convince me the hits weren't typos.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Autochthon

    I think it’s pretty clear from the context that he meant vitreous – i.e. melted into glass.

  95. @Ivy
    @Hanoi Paris Hilton

    My suspicion, and that is all it is, is that there are far more nukes stashed around the country than anyone would admit. Most are probably American.

    Replies: @FPD72

    And to whom would the nukes stashed around the country that aren’t American belong?

    • Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian
    @FPD72

    Well, Israel, of course. Haven't you heard of the Samson Option? As in pulling down the columns of the temple of the Philistines (read non-compliant goys, here) on oneself in order to teach the Philistines a lesson.

    Remember, it was a Jew, Sigmund Freud, who proposed the existence of a Death Drive. And who better to know?

    Replies: @FPD72

  96. hcm says:

    Would a nuclear warhead be necessary? Considering the diplomatic and political issues involved with any use of a nuclear weapons, is there any possibility of performing a similar operation using a conventional explosive? Would a conventional warhead large enough to significantly decrease the accuracy required be manageable for such a missile?

    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    @hcm

    If the interception takes place in space, a big boom doesn't do anything -- in space, no one can hear you scream, as was once said.

    A nuke would need to be big enough to fry the opposing warhead with radiation because there is no blast wave in space. The exo-atmospheric layer of Nixon's ABM system was supposed to have something like a 5 megaton H-bomb on it to get enough radiation on target at the near-miss distance.

  97. @Jack D
    @Discordiax

    I doubt this would work under Trump (he would call their bluff), but hypothetically, if (God forbid) Hillary or Sanders or some other left wing Democrat is elected in 2020, what happens if Kim starts a "war of national liberation" to reunify Korea and states "any outside power that interferes in Korean internal affairs will be nuked." Might the US decide that saving S. Korea is not worth losing several major US cities?

    PS, if I was S. Korea I would be working on getting my own nukes ASAP. As the US deteriorates, it becomes less and less trustworthy as an ally. The days of bipartisan foreign policy are over and nothing ever gets ratified by Congress, so whatever policy one President puts in place (Paris Accords) can be gone at the whim of the next President.

    Replies: @Discordiax

    I don’t think it makes much, if any, difference who the US President is.

    If the North launches a strike on Pusan, Guam and Okinawa as part of an invasion of the South, and messages Tokyo and Washington to remain neutral or eat 5-10 warheads on cities, we might blanket North Korea in mushroom clouds. Or we might back down. In the harsh, cold light of pushing the button or not, I don’t know that having Hillary or Trump or Obama or W or Bernie or Cruz or Sarah PAlin would change things one way or another.

    McCain might have been more likely to launch, having served in the military during the Cold War–he had to “think the unthinkable” on a regular basis, when he wasn’t being tortured by the North Vietnamese.

  98. @ANON
    I'm not sure how much more destruction the Koreans could wreak, really. The fork was stuck in this country back in '65.

    Replies: @Sarah Toga

    Truth!

    The Hart-Cellar immigration disaster of 1965 was, and is, a kill shot to our Nation-State. It and its subsequent variants are the real enemy.
    NORK is not good, but it can be dealt with by pushing a few buttons.

    Not so the imbeds, sleeper cells and other forms of vibrant enrichment that infest our land due to the immigration disaster.

  99. @fitzGetty
    @Anonymous

    ... think Vichy (my grandfather muses), think the two faces of Janus, think weasel, ferret ... think spite & ingratitude after various 20th c rescues of their dubious civilisation ...

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Sarah Toga

    Think of the French blockade at Yorktown that prevented Cornwallis from escaping with an intact army, that he could have then landed elsewhere. And of the French who fought next to Washington to press the advantage at that critical moment.

    Think of the million men who died to stop the German advance for the three years before we got into WWI.

  100. @res
    @Autochthon

    Did you mean vitreous, or is vidrious a word I don't know? I googled for it and got some hits, but no definition and nothing to convince me the hits weren't typos.

    Replies: @Jack D, @Autochthon

    I meant vitreous, indeed, and it was not a typographical error (mine are legion when using a phone!). In this case I recall intentionally typing “vidrious” and thinking that the correct term. This phenomenon is a common hazard for bilingual persons, especially those of us switching constantly between languages, as we conflate cognates (Spanish vidrio = glass…).

    I apologise for the error and any confusion.

    • Replies: @res
    @Autochthon

    No worries. I saw the Spanish vidrio in my search results and thought there was a small chance you were using a word new to me (English can be weird about obscure near synonyms from different derivations). Hope I wasn't annoying. I like knowing when I make errors so I can fix them, but that is not always a common trait.

  101. A few points from somebody who has worked in this area:

    Gulf War Patriot stuff: the Patriot of 1991 was not designed to kill incoming missiles; it was an anti aircraft system for the most part. Missile defense was a capability that Raytheon was working on and was pressed into service for the war. It’s record was quite spotty, with no credible confirmed kills.

    At around the same time, the Army had a competitive developmental program called ERINT (Extended Range Interceptor), which was to lead into the next-gen Patriot missile program. Raytheon would continue to be the prime contractor for the overall system, but the missile and some of the supporting ground control software were being competed. Raytheon was developing an updated version of their existing missile. The other company was LTV Aerospace (which has since been acquired by Lockheed Martin) in Dallas; they were developing the next iteration of a hit-to-kill missile which they had been refining since the early ’80s across a wide range of programs including the US anti-satellite weapon of the time. There was a fly off consisting of half a dozen test flights against aircraft and missiles, including simulated nuclear missile reentry vehicles and a simulated chem/bio warhead. The tests were done in near-operational configurations, with no artificial aiding of the system (this is a common trope among the clueless about these kind of tests). LTV’s clean-sheet design scored five direct hits and one partial but still disabling hit; Raytheon’s updated missile had one partial success and five misses. LTV won the program and today as part of LM, produces what is called the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile, which is still a hit-to-kill design. Related fact: in the ’90s, LM was building the THAAD system (which you may remember is now deployed to South Korea) but having lots of problems; one of the first things that LM did upon acquiring the hit-to-kill expertise in Dallas was to bring those experts to Sunnyvale to fix THAAD.

    The hit-to-kill capabilities work; I’m confident that the test this week was not faked in any way. And those who mumble about “artificial conditions” or “it was all predetermined” or “it wasn’t representing real-world” etc. are clueless about how this stuff works and about how to set up an effective, representative test.

    The real point that needs to be made is that the GMD system still cannot save us every time, nor can it respond to dozens (not to mention hundreds or thousands) of simultaneous threats. That was the real fantasy of SDI: defense of modest areas against limited numbers of incoming missiles is feasible (Patriot with the PAC-3 missiles, or to some degree Israel’s Iron Dome); THAAD handles larger areas but still modest numbers of adversaries; GMD can defend even larger areas but still against only modest numbers. Trying to scale these up to near-impregnable against large numbers of incoming missiles…we’re still a long way from that, and it’s likely not worth the effort to try. Missile defense against the likes of Lil’ Kim is a last resort; at some point, pre-emption has to be on the table.

  102. @Anonymous
    What's a kilometer? Something from France? Like a nine day workweek or a global carbon tax scheme?

    Replies: @Paul Walker - Most beautiful man ever..., @fitzGetty, @inertial, @Inquiring Mind

    Don’t let those fromage-mangeant traitres tell you different. The kilometer along with the whole rest of the Metric System is French — the French Revolution. They even had a Metric Calendar

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Republican_Calendar

    Yes, the week had ten days so I guess it had a nine day workweek to keep the peasants from stirring counter-revolutionary trouble.

    Check out the Calendar ladies, though, especially the summer months. Is it hot in here, miss?

  103. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Whoever
    @Jason Sylvester

    I agree with you about our capabilities and the dominance doctrine. There is a lot of disparagement of our armed forces by pundits and commenters, and misunderstanding of what our aircraft are designed to do and what their purpose is.
    For example, I've read the F-35 denigrated because it can't "dog fight," as if this were 1917 rather than 2017. But the F-35C (carrier variant) functions as a forward sensor node in the Naval Integrated Fire Control Counter Air (NIFC-CA) system, relaying targeting information back to shooters in the Carrier Strike Group. The Navy's CONOPs (CONcept of OPerations) is based on SEAD (Suppressing Enemy Air Defenses) rather than evading enemy aircraft. As you say, we kill them all. They don't even get near us.
    The F-35C's EOTS (Electro-Optical Targeting System) provides continuous 360-degree coverage and threat analysis, and recommends which target to attack and how best to counter or negate a threat. The airplane was never designed to "dog fight" and doesn't have to. No enemy airplane is going to get near it.
    I also agree with you that "political correctness," or whatever you want to call it, may make all our capability of no avail. Hopefully, we won't have to find out.

    Replies: @Anon

    I always chuckle when I see a pundit opine on the F35 and gloss over the value of long range passive (optical) targeting in ACM. Obviously they have no aviation experience so they don’t realize that being able to get fire control quality tracks optically, and push them to the tin cans loaded with 96 to 112 SM3 missiles, is well, let’s call it unsporting.

  104. @hcm
    Would a nuclear warhead be necessary? Considering the diplomatic and political issues involved with any use of a nuclear weapons, is there any possibility of performing a similar operation using a conventional explosive? Would a conventional warhead large enough to significantly decrease the accuracy required be manageable for such a missile?

    Replies: @Inquiring Mind

    If the interception takes place in space, a big boom doesn’t do anything — in space, no one can hear you scream, as was once said.

    A nuke would need to be big enough to fry the opposing warhead with radiation because there is no blast wave in space. The exo-atmospheric layer of Nixon’s ABM system was supposed to have something like a 5 megaton H-bomb on it to get enough radiation on target at the near-miss distance.

  105. @fitzGetty
    @Anonymous

    ... think Vichy (my grandfather muses), think the two faces of Janus, think weasel, ferret ... think spite & ingratitude after various 20th c rescues of their dubious civilisation ...

    Replies: @oddsbodkins, @Sarah Toga

    think . . . really great wines
    think . . . Brigette Bardot – even more beautiful as a Senior, since she became an Immigration Patriot for her people

  106. The Times is, most of the time, shameless propaganda. But it’s still staffed with smart, well-connected journalists. When they don’t have an axe to grind, they are worth paying attention to and this is one of those times.

    The Times has no interest in discouraging the US from developing the means to defend against North Korea’s rockets. If anything, the Times would want us to believe such a system works, lest support build up for a pre-emptive American strike on N.Korea.

    (I do realize that during the Cold War the Times opposed any and all American ABM systems, but that was because the Times liked the USSR. The Times doesn’t like N. Korea (and of course it hates Russia with more ferocity than the John Birch Society hated the USSR).)

    So I’m inclined to accept the Times’ analysis here.

    • Replies: @Johann Ricke
    @International Jew


    The Times has no interest in discouraging the US from developing the means to defend against North Korea’s rockets. If anything, the Times would want us to believe such a system works, lest support build up for a pre-emptive American strike on N.Korea.
     
    The root cause of the Times's opposition to ABM systems wasn't a love for the Soviets, although they certainly did love them. It was naivete about foreign threats and this sense that the United States is the root of evil in the modern world. Flowing from this naivete and superiority complex vis-a-vis the paranoid rubes in flyover states was a perception that defense spending is a waste of money. For the NYT, the ideal amount to spend on defense is 0, since this takes away from funds that could be used to expand the welfare state in infinitely creative ways.
  107. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Yak-15
    North Korean nuclear strikes(s) against the United States would likely not involve a ballistic missile. It is still unproven and it may malfunction.

    They would probably load a few diesel submarines with nuclear bombs and surface near Manhattan/SF/DC and light them off. That is my worry and that is an attack far more difficult to defend.

    Replies: @Anon, @Eagle Eye

    Diesels are a defensive asset. Most of the Nork diesels don’t even have AIP. And to penetrate the US coast in range for a submarine missile attack (which they have neither the launcher nor the missile to do) your little Nork conscript submarine crew has to traverse the entire operating area of 2 US fleets, loaded with LA and Virginia class subs, P3s, P8s, and God knows how many SH60S. It’s not even remotely a realistic proposition given their capabilities relative to those of the silent service.

    • Replies: @Yak-15
    @Anon

    I hope you are correct.

    , @Lurker
    @Anon

    Not to mention S. Korean and Japanese forces.

  108. @FPD72
    @Ivy

    And to whom would the nukes stashed around the country that aren't American belong?

    Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian

    Well, Israel, of course. Haven’t you heard of the Samson Option? As in pulling down the columns of the temple of the Philistines (read non-compliant goys, here) on oneself in order to teach the Philistines a lesson.

    Remember, it was a Jew, Sigmund Freud, who proposed the existence of a Death Drive. And who better to know?

    • Replies: @FPD72
    @JerseyJeffersonian

    I'm familiar with the Samson Option but have seen no evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons on US soil. Israel seems to have more than enough on their own soil.

  109. @Anonymous
    @Buzz Mohawk

    The fact that the Nike missiles were nuclear tipped (or more precisely, some were) was never very secret. Nor was the fact that the Nike had a crude but implemented ground to ground mode and could be used against ground or sea forces or as a short range ballistic missile.

    The approximate number of nuclear weapons the US has, their types, and even most of the places where they are based is not a big secret today either. They may have a couple here and a couple there that are not public knowledge, but a combination of arms control, environmental, and various other public documentations pored over by two groups-antinuclear activists and "nuke foamers" who make a hobby out of studying the nuclear weapons establishment (and who are willing to work together) have resulted in an astonishing amount of information being available-everything but the actual blueprints of working weaponized nuclear devices is out there.

    The only thing the government really wants to do is to make it somewhat difficult for a nation or group not having the ability to make its own fissionable material (which is a manufacturing issue, but a big one requiring big plants and big money) to make, not just something that goes bang, but something that goes bang reliably and efficiently and is able to be transported, fuzed, and delivered with some feasibility, in the event that they somehow do get a quantity of fissionable material. Any nation or nonstate actor that can mine uranium and enrich it inhouse or alternatively manufacture plutonium with particle accelerators or a reactor is effectively unstoppable given time and a secure place to work on it. Activities like these are big and tend to be easily found out-they employ lots of people and take up a lot of land, a lot of power, and a lot of manufacturing resources.

    Howard Morland was the guy who broke much of this, and his book, The Secret That Exploded is required reading for anyone, pro or anti, who wants to understand nuclear weapons.

    Replies: @JerseyJeffersonian

    Or, like Israel, you could just jump the line by stealing fissionable materials from the United States, and while you are at it, steal the nuclear triggers, the krytons. Easy peasy.

    • Replies: @James Richard
    @JerseyJeffersonian

    It wasn't even stealing. It was total treason by a US government bought and paid for by the Jewish lobby who purchased and blackmailed the United States Congress. When was the last time you heard of a US Congressman question our slavish support of Israel? They don't because they will be kicked out of office by Jewish money financing a primary campaign against them.

  110. EMP-disaster “fictional” stories seem to be increasing in frequency. For example, “One Second After”, a very good disaster novel with a forward by Newt Gingrich.

    The official government panic-at-EMP story is that a “rogue” actor (a terrorist group, a bad state like N. Korea or Iran) could get ahold of a nuke and, instead of radiating a small area to death, could detonate it at a high enough altitude to cause an EMP that would knock out the power in a major urban area, causing chaos, panic, and rioting.

    But what if, as Steve posits, it’s our own government who would launch one to explode and destroy an incoming missile barrage—then blaming it on the other guys is a good cover. Such an explosion would cause a massive EMP, and the feds wouldn’t want to be blamed for that.

  111. res says:
    @Autochthon
    @res

    I meant vitreous, indeed, and it was not a typographical error (mine are legion when using a phone!). In this case I recall intentionally typing "vidrious" and thinking that the correct term. This phenomenon is a common hazard for bilingual persons, especially those of us switching constantly between languages, as we conflate cognates (Spanish vidrio = glass...).

    I apologise for the error and any confusion.

    Replies: @res

    No worries. I saw the Spanish vidrio in my search results and thought there was a small chance you were using a word new to me (English can be weird about obscure near synonyms from different derivations). Hope I wasn’t annoying. I like knowing when I make errors so I can fix them, but that is not always a common trait.

  112. Lot says:
    @Mr. Anon
    @Lot


    Anti missile defense does work. Its most pressing issue is its extremely high costs. This is part of the reason that the USA’s alliance with Israel is so important.
     
    That is, of course, nonsense. America is quite capable of developing anti-missile missiles on its own.

    Replies: @Lot

    I did not say we couldn’t. But missle defense’s largest problem is cost, and Israel is simply much better than the USA at keeping procurement costs low. Moreover, even if we had absolute advantage over Israel in every single mil tech area, Israel would still have compative advantage and be a useful partner.

    Also sorry to be blunt, but if you think US military contractors could have developed Iron Dome on their own at the same cost Israel did, you are nuts. Triple the cost would be optimistic. More likely the initial estimate would be double the cost and the actual cost quadruple or more. Co-development with the world’s only actual frequent missle defense user works much better.

  113. @Yak-15
    North Korean nuclear strikes(s) against the United States would likely not involve a ballistic missile. It is still unproven and it may malfunction.

    They would probably load a few diesel submarines with nuclear bombs and surface near Manhattan/SF/DC and light them off. That is my worry and that is an attack far more difficult to defend.

    Replies: @Anon, @Eagle Eye

    They would probably load a few diesel submarines with nuclear bombs and surface near Manhattan/SF/DC and light them off.

    Do the Norks have a GOFUNDME page?

  114. @Autochthon
    @Lot

    Exactly. In a just and sane world, the Arabian Peninsula would have been made vidrious on 12 September 2001, with more where that came from.

    We have not won the so-called war on terror because we have not fought it.

    Replies: @res, @Moshe

    I get the glass reference but the word as you spelled it still eludes me. Did you coin it as a derivation of the vitr– root?

  115. @Jack D
    @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance - the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed "ally" like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    Replies: @utu, @Lurker, @James Richard, @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @utu


    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.
     
    Yeah - they really wanted to join in (Rahm Emmanuel, in particular, was strapping on his bandoliers and pistoles) - but we just had to stop them. Only cold hard cash could convince them to stand back and hold our coat while our boys rumbled with the Republican Guard.
  116. @Jack D
    @Tom-in-VA

    This sounds like a software bug that is easily fixed. We've had 25 years to fix that bug. I know the US gov. really stinks at software but that might have been enough time. Worst case we can sub it out to the Israelis.

    Replies: @Tom-in-VA

    The sad irony is that the software fix arrived in country the day after the missile strike. It can also be minimized by rebooting the system every eight hours.

  117. I don’t know why we need to spend so much on a missle defense shield. When I was in grammar school we shielded ourselves against a Russian nuclear attack by sheltering under our old wooden desks with the ink well in the corner. I think the ink well was an integral part of the defense. Also a good chance to take a peek at what was under those Catholic School uniform skirts. Remember the air raid shelters scattered throughout the city. The good old days.

    • LOL: Johann Ricke
  118. @Anon
    @Yak-15

    Diesels are a defensive asset. Most of the Nork diesels don't even have AIP. And to penetrate the US coast in range for a submarine missile attack (which they have neither the launcher nor the missile to do) your little Nork conscript submarine crew has to traverse the entire operating area of 2 US fleets, loaded with LA and Virginia class subs, P3s, P8s, and God knows how many SH60S. It's not even remotely a realistic proposition given their capabilities relative to those of the silent service.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Lurker

    I hope you are correct.

  119. @Anon
    @Yak-15

    Diesels are a defensive asset. Most of the Nork diesels don't even have AIP. And to penetrate the US coast in range for a submarine missile attack (which they have neither the launcher nor the missile to do) your little Nork conscript submarine crew has to traverse the entire operating area of 2 US fleets, loaded with LA and Virginia class subs, P3s, P8s, and God knows how many SH60S. It's not even remotely a realistic proposition given their capabilities relative to those of the silent service.

    Replies: @Yak-15, @Lurker

    Not to mention S. Korean and Japanese forces.

  120. @Jack D
    @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance - the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed "ally" like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    Replies: @utu, @Lurker, @James Richard, @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world

    As good a reminder of Israel’s value as an ally as you’ll see anywhere.

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.

    An ever better reminder!

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    @Lurker

    They're a virtual ally.

  121. @The Z Blog
    The North Koreans are a long way from hitting Hawaii, much less hitting the US coast with a nuke. For starters, it is really hard to build a nuclear weapon. It's even harder to build a portable one. It is orders of magnitude more difficult to build one you can load onto an ICBM and accurately deliver to a target. Frankly, we're back to the Saddam nuclear program debate.

    That said, this sort of missile defense is stupid and pointless. If you can create a system that will knock out 100% of incoming missiles before they re-enter the atmosphere, then you have a useful counter measure. A system that knocks out 99% is useless. The reason is that even one city destroyed with a nuke will require a massive retaliation of nukes.

    In other words, you're back to some form of mutually assured destruction. That means the missile shield is just a waste of money as the real deterrent is the fleet of subs carrying nukes. That's ultimately what will keep the North Koreans contained. They provoke a war and the result is they cease to exist.

    Replies: @James Richard

    Seattle is only about 500 miles farther away from Pyongyang than is Honolulu.

  122. @Jack D
    @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance - the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed "ally" like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    Replies: @utu, @Lurker, @James Richard, @Mr. Anon

    On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology.

    Get real. We send orders of magnitude more military gear to the Jews than we get from them. Last falls $40 billion defense gift from Obongo to Bibi being the most recent case in point. Israel wouldn’t even exist without the protection of the US.

  123. @map
    @Intelligent Dasein

    Why would any of this happen? We are not rendered blind by the ionizing radiation hitting the atmosphere from the solar winds.

    Replies: @Intelligent Dasein

    I don’t actually know what will happen; I’m just conjecturing here. But I do not think it unlikely that the EMPs from nuclear warheads detonating in the upper atmosphere would adversely affect the guidance systems of other missiles in the vicinity, say within a few hundred miles.

  124. Is this bullet-on-bullet testing just a cover story for the real plan of equipping the interceptor with a nuclear warhead that will explode if it gets within, say, a kilometer of the incoming ICBM?

    A generation before the Sidewinder, if you had said it were possible to shoot down, with a missile, an aircraft flown by a pilot maneuvering unpredictably all over the sky, I suspect you’d have gotten quizzical looks. Today, this kind of thing is routine. Once the missile is located, it’s simply a matter of tracking it and sending missiles after it, no differently from shooting down other flying objects. Scuds can go all the way to 3800 mph, and Patriots were shooting them down in 1991. Once the target missile is located, it’s just a matter of keeping the sensors locked on, and sending multiple missiles at it.

    Tierney goes on about how the missile defense system cost $40b, but that’s the cost of hardware and software R&D, not the cost of the missiles themselves, which are mechanically pretty much the same old missile designs used for SAM’s, except now they have better sensors and software. And the cost of a missile will be in the millions rather the the billions – chump change for saving an entire city from nuclear attack. Lest we forget, NYC got $20b in Federal government largesse for 3000 dead and the destruction of a skyscraper complex. A small Hiroshima-scale warhead would kill hundreds of thousands in Manhattan or 100x the dead on 9/11. $40b is a drop in the bucket, especially when you consider the possibility of multi-city detonations.

  125. @JerseyJeffersonian
    @Anonymous

    Or, like Israel, you could just jump the line by stealing fissionable materials from the United States, and while you are at it, steal the nuclear triggers, the krytons. Easy peasy.

    Replies: @James Richard

    It wasn’t even stealing. It was total treason by a US government bought and paid for by the Jewish lobby who purchased and blackmailed the United States Congress. When was the last time you heard of a US Congressman question our slavish support of Israel? They don’t because they will be kicked out of office by Jewish money financing a primary campaign against them.

  126. @E. Rekshun
    @Anonymous

    Does anyone else remember that a study of the Patriot Missile after the Gulf War showed that it’s capabilities were vastly overstated after studying it’s actual success?

    Careful...the Patriot Missile and its predecessor, the SAM-D, put bread on the table for four generations of my family. My 90-year old grandmother is still collecting my grandfather's pension from one of the Patriot contractors, and he's been deceased for over twenty years.

    Replies: @ATX Hipster

    My 90-year old grandmother is still collecting my grandfather’s pension from one of the Patriot contractors, and he’s been deceased for over twenty years.

    My children, who belong to whatever they’re calling the generation born to Millenials, will marvel when I tell them about 20th century pension plans.

  127. @Jack D
    @Mr. Anon

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world and the US has not and would not ask the Israelis to help in this way. During the Gulf War, Israel surely wanted to retaliate against the Scuds that Saddam dropped into Israel but the US persuaded them to hold their fire. On the other hand, the Israelis do supply the US with defense technology. The US government and the Pentagon in particular really sucks at producing software or even managing contracts to produce software but the Israelis are very good.

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance - the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed "ally" like the US).

    Strategically, Israel is more worried about Iran than about ISIS.

    Replies: @utu, @Lurker, @James Richard, @Mr. Anon

    And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either…..

    Unless – in a round-about-way – you count that whole business between 1941 and 1945. A minor affair, to be sure. I’ve never seen an accounting of it, but – just based on the likely numbers – I think it’s a dead certainty that more anti-semites (by current definitions) fought and died to defeat Nazi Germany than did Jews.

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world…

    Anyway, it’s nice to know that “cosmetics” prevent such a stirling ally from being – you know – an actual ally.

  128. @Lurker
    @Jack D


    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic world
     
    As good a reminder of Israel's value as an ally as you'll see anywhere.

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.
     
    An ever better reminder!

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    They’re a virtual ally.

  129. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either (nor do the Israelis want that kind of alliance – the Israelis are not willing to put their fate in the hands of a third party, even a supposed “ally” like the US).”

    An old repost:

    Haven Monahan Wins the War!, A True Boy’s Life Story, Etc.:

    Yom Kippur War, U.S. aid to Israel:

    “…On October 13 and 15, Egyptian air defense radars detected an aircraft at an altitude of 25,000 metres (82,000 ft) and a speed of Mach 3… impossible to intercept… The aircraft proceeded to cross the whole of the canal zone, the naval ports of the Red Sea…, flew over the airbases and air defenses in the Nile delta… The speed and altitude were those of the U.S. SR-71 Blackbird… According to Egyptian commanders, the intelligence provided by the reconnaissance flights helped the Israelis prepare for the Egyptian attack on October 14 and assisted it in conducting Operation Stouthearted Men. …

    …The Israelis immediately followed their success of October 14 with a multidivisional counterattack through the gap between the Egyptian 2nd and 3rd Armies, which had been detected by an American SR-71 spy plane…”

    One of the Haven Monahans was Jim Wilson:

    “The SR-71 and the Yom Kippur War”, Col (ret) Jim Wilson, Barnstormers.com:

    “…Israeli military losses were significant and assistance was requested from the United States….

    …At the time, National reconnaissance satellites did not have the capability that was needed…

    …These never before accomplished twelve thousand-mile missions…

    …My preplanned flight track over the target area went down the Suez canal past Cairo before making a left turn at Mach 3.15 to the north across the battle lines in the Sinai. I continued on a northerly course across the Dead Sea and over the Golan Heights with the panoramic and pointing cameras providing imagery of hundreds of targets on both sides of the aircraft…

    …Approaching the border of Lebanon, I made a big sweeping right turn out over Syria and then back toward the Sinai on a parallel flight path for maximum coverage. The airplane was running well, and I pushed it up a bit to Mach 3.2 before exiting the area near Port Said. …

    …The 9SRW was tasked to fly nine missions from the United States to the Mid East and back in the Yom Kippur War of 1973-1974 and completed all of them successfully…”

  130. @utu
    @Jack D

    The cosmetics of Israeli troops fighting alongside the US would be very bad for US relations with the Islamic

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.

    Replies: @Mr. Anon

    During Desert Storm the US paid Israel $700 millions to stop Israel from participating for exactly this reason.

    Yeah – they really wanted to join in (Rahm Emmanuel, in particular, was strapping on his bandoliers and pistoles) – but we just had to stop them. Only cold hard cash could convince them to stand back and hold our coat while our boys rumbled with the Republican Guard.

    • LOL: BB753
  131. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “And no US soldier has ever fought to defend Israel either…”

    A military is a big machine; the shooter isn’t in a vacuum. I saw an American sergeant get a medal for saving Israel’s bacon as part of Operation Nickel Grass:

    “…operation conducted by the United States to deliver weapons and supplies to Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War…

    …over 32 days, the Military Airlift Command of the U.S. Air Force shipped 22,325 tons of tanks, artillery, ammunition, and supplies in C-141 Starlifter and C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft…

    …U.S. support helped ensure that Israel survived a coordinated and surprise attack…

    …traditional European allies refused to allow re-supply aircraft to land… Portugal seemed willing to help… so aircraft were dispatched to Lajes Field in the Azores Islands…

    …at least 100 F-4 Phantom II fighters were sent to Israel under Nickel Grass…

    …the planes were refueled and ordered to the front, often taking to the air within hours of having arrived…

    …36 A-4 Skyhawks from U.S. stocks, staging from Lajes were refueled by SAC KC-135A tankers from… New Hampshire and U.S. Navy tankers from the USS John F. Kennedy… west of the Strait of Gibraltar. They then flew on to the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt… southeast of Sicily where they stayed overnight, then continued on to Israel refueling once more from tankers launched from the USS Independence… south of Crete…

    …Twelve C-130E Hercules transports were also transferred to Israel, the first of the type to be delivered to the IDF…

    …military airlift shipped 22,325 tons of materiel to Israel. Additionally, the United States conducted its own seaborne re-supply operation, delivering 33,210 tons to Israel by October 30…

    …Nickel Grass vindicated the Air Force decision to purchase the C-5 Galaxy…

    …During Nickel Grass, C-5s carried 48% of the total cargo in only 145 of the 567 total missions. The C-5 also carried “outsize” cargo such as M60 Patton tanks, M109 howitzers, ground radar systems, mobile tractor units, CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, and A-4 Skyhawk components; cargo that could not fit in smaller aircraft. This performance justified the C-5’s existence…

    …Another effect of the operation was the near-resignation of then United States chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) General George Brown… nearly forced to resign after… claiming that Israel received U.S. military aid because Jews controlled the American banking system…”

    Yom Kippur War, U.S. aid to Israel:

    “…Israel had received between 34 and 40 F-4 fighter-bombers, 46 A-4 attack airplanes, 12 C-130 cargo airplanes, 8 CH-53 helicopters, 40 unmanned aerial vehicles, 200 M-60/M-48A3 tanks, 250 armored personnel carriers, 226 utility vehicles, 12 MIM-72 Chaparral surface-to-air missile systems, 3 MIM-23 Hawk surface-to-air missile systems, 36 155 mm artillery pieces, 7 175 mm artillery pieces, large quantities of 105 mm, 155 mm and 175 mm ammunition, state of the art equipment, such as the AGM-65 Maverick missile and the BGM-71 TOW, weapons that had only entered production one or more years prior, as well as highly advanced electronic jamming equipment.”

    U.S. military in Israel, 1973.

  132. @Jus' Sayin'...
    @Anon

    You heard Postol's arguments. Have you heard the other sides (probably classified) arguments?

    Harvard Professor Matthew Messelson asserted unequivocally that an outbreak of anthrax in the Soviet Union was natural and not due to an accidental release from a Soviet bio-weapons facility. He was later proved wrong. During the Vietnam War, Messelson claimed that what appeared to be North Vietnamese nerve gas attacks on South Vietnamese peasants were actually contaminated bee shit, evidently falling in massive quantities from enormous swarms of migrating bees. Strangely these swarms seemed to appear only over villages that were at least putatively hostile to the Viet Cong and NVA regulars. Such a phenomenon has never been discovered and since the Vietnam War the subject has been dropped.

    Prog academics like Postol and Messelson are notoriously unreliable when bloviating on any topic impinging on military issues.

    Replies: @Sarah Toga

    Prog academics like Postol and Messelson are notoriously unreliable when bloviating on any topic impinging on military issues

    Which term is redundant – prog or academic? 🙂

  133. Steve’s missile defense concept reminds one of the 1980’s “dense pack” ICBM basing concept:

    Dense Pack

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. (December 2008)
    Dense Pack is a strategy for basing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for the purpose of maximizing their survivability in case of a surprise nuclear first strike on their silos conducted by a hostile foreign power. The strategy was developed under the Reagan administration as a means of safeguarding America’s inventory of MX missiles during the final decade of the Cold War.[1] The U.S. commitments under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty prevented the development and staging of adequate ABM installations around its nuclear missile silos. Therefore, it was decided that new and unconventional strategies for protecting these military assets from a sneak-attack had to be developed: “Dense Pack” was one strategy. Other ICBM basing strategies considered during this time were scatterpack, deep basing, rail-mobile, alert ground dispersal, and reverse-inclination basing.

    According to the Dense Pack strategy, a series of ten to twelve hardened silos would be grouped closely together in a line. This line of silos would generally run north-to-south, as the primary flight path for Soviet inbound nuclear missiles would be expected to come from the north over the North Pole. The rationale for this thinking went like this: As the first inbound warhead detonates over its target silo, it would throw a large cloud of debris over the entire missile field. Every other warhead targeted on that missile field would have to travel through that debris cloud to reach its target, and it was theorized that the act of traveling through that debris cloud would “trash” the warhead before it could detonate. Every successful explosion over the missile field would throw more debris up into the air, increasing the chances that each successive warhead would be destroyed before it could trigger. Due to the hardened nature of the missile silos, the military believed that the silos could be destroyed only by a direct hit from a nuclear warhead; warhead air bursts were believed to be ineffective to the task of penetrating the armored silos, as were any “near-miss” ground bursts that might occur from an inaccurate ballistic trajectory. The strategy was mentioned in a speech by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.[2]

    My definition of a dense pack is a set of old hippies who take Ted Postol seriously.

    Wikipedia: Theodore A. Postol (born 1946) is a professor emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ..

    In other words, Postol was a “studies” perfesser, not an actual science prof. His job was to be a Lefty propagandist.

  134. We obviously already have the missile defense equivalent of a shotgun shell or an anti-aircraft shell for severely damaging anything with a sizable diameter. It’s called a nuclear bomb.

    Is this bullet-on-bullet testing just a cover story for the real plan of equipping the interceptor with a nuclear warhead that will explode if it gets within, say, a kilometer of the incoming ICBM?

    Drawbacks to this idea: Air is quite thin above 100K feet, therefore no fluid pressure wave — no blast wave — from nu-klur explosion. ( Plaintive little voices say, “But in the movies, things blow up with a big sound.” )

    That leaves fragmentation and radiation effects. Consider a spherical anti-missile fragmentation warhead, say one meter in diameter. Assume the warhead breaks into uniformly-sized pieces upon detonation, which travel outward in an evenly spaced, radial manner. Now calculate the probability of intercepting a warhead of less than one meter diameter at a radius of 1/4, 1/2, and 1 km from detonation. … Turns out to be a small probability.

    Furthermore, we are assuming here that an offensive warhead could not be armored sufficiently to protect it from a small mass fragmentation hit or from short term exposure to radiation.

    The radiation effects of an anti-missile thermonuclear explosion? The radiation would, at least temporarily, blind anti-missile radar and infrared sensors looking for additional inbound attackers following the first attacking missile. Furthermore, it would be hard to determine that the first incoming warhead was destroyed, considering that it might be mistaken for fragmentation debris during the crucial moments of radar and IR search in an an electromagnetically noisy environment following a fission or fusion detonation.

    Hence the logic of hit-to-kill instead of either nu-klur or non-nuke explosive warheads for exo-atmospheric missile defense.

    I am bemused by ppl. who don’t believe anything they read in the NY Times or Wash Post except when the topic is weapons systems.

  135. Theodore Postol

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Known for Criticism of U.S. missile defense effectiveness …

    Theodore A. Postol (born 1946) is a professor emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a critic of U.S. government statements about missile defense. He has also criticized the mainstream analysis of the 2013 Ghouta chemical attack in Syria. Working in collaboration with Maram Susli (known online as ‘Syrian Girl’ and ‘PartisanGirl’)[1] and Richard Lloyd, he has argued that the Ghouta chemical attack does not seem to have been launched by the Syrian government. He has also criticized the mainstream analysis of the April 4, 2017, Khan Shaykhun chemical attack in Syria.

    ..

    “…professor emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security..” In other words, a “studies” perfesser and propagandist, not a real scientist or engineer.

  136. This nuclear anti-missile proposal reminds me of the 1980’s “dense pack” idea:

    Dense Pack

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    Dense Pack is a strategy for basing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for the purpose of maximizing their survivability in case of a surprise nuclear first strike on their silos conducted by a hostile foreign power. The strategy was developed under the Reagan administration as a means of safeguarding America’s inventory of MX missiles during the final decade of the Cold War.[1] The U.S. commitments under the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty prevented the development and staging of adequate ABM installations around its nuclear missile silos. Therefore, it was decided that new and unconventional strategies for protecting these military assets from a sneak-attack had to be developed: “Dense Pack” was one strategy. Other ICBM basing strategies considered during this time were scatterpack, deep basing, rail-mobile, alert ground dispersal, and reverse-inclination basing.

    According to the Dense Pack strategy, a series of ten to twelve hardened silos would be grouped closely together in a line. This line of silos would generally run north-to-south, as the primary flight path for Soviet inbound nuclear missiles would be expected to come from the north over the North Pole. The rationale for this thinking went like this: As the first inbound warhead detonates over its target silo, it would throw a large cloud of debris over the entire missile field. Every other warhead targeted on that missile field would have to travel through that debris cloud to reach its target, and it was theorized that the act of traveling through that debris cloud would “trash” the warhead before it could detonate. Every successful explosion over the missile field would throw more debris up into the air, increasing the chances that each successive warhead would be destroyed before it could trigger. Due to the hardened nature of the missile silos, the military believed that the silos could be destroyed only by a direct hit from a nuclear warhead; warhead air bursts were believed to be ineffective to the task of penetrating the armored silos, as were any “near-miss” ground bursts that might occur from an inaccurate ballistic trajectory. The strategy was mentioned in a speech by President Ronald Reagan in 1982.[2]

  137. Does Missile Defense Actually Work? Not 100 percent. But it’s better than it used to be.

    Does Missile Defense Actually Work?

    Not 100 percent. But it’s better than it used to be.

    By Roger A. Mola
    airspacemag.com
    April 9, 2013

    That’s why this weekend ( Note the above date of this piece ) the U.S. began moving a THAAD, or terminal high-altitude area defense, missile battery to the island of Guam, 2,100 miles to the southeast of Pyongyang. The THAAD system is a kinetic or “hit to kill” weapon, meant to stop an incoming threat by ramming it head-on. THAAD’s maker, Lockheed Martin, says in promotional literature that it has “a track record of 100 percent mission success in flight testing.” That’s true, at least for the production article. When the prototypes were fired in 1999, THAAD failed in its first six attempts, but then two consecutive target strikes convinced the U.S. ballistic missile defense organization (BMDO) to order batteries costing at least $818 million apiece. Still, THAAD has never been used in real-world conditions.

    Along with the ability to shoot down threats, missile defense systems are judged on what the Pentagon calls their cost-to-kill ratio. North Korea’s missiles are far cheaper than any system designed to intercept them. The U.S. Patriot system, built for the Army in 1976, has been compared unfavorably in this regard to an Israeli system called Iron Dome, which is far less costly. But the comparison bears closer scrutiny. Each firing of an Iron Dome Tamir missile, developed in part with $200 million in U.S. aid, still costs at least 50 times more than the crude rockets lobbed by Israel’s enemies.

    That’s why this weekend the U.S. began moving a THAAD, or terminal high-altitude area defense, missile battery to the island of Guam, 2,100 miles to the southeast of Pyongyang. The THAAD system is a kinetic or “hit to kill” weapon, meant to stop an incoming threat by ramming it head-on. THAAD’s maker, Lockheed Martin, says in promotional literature that it has “a track record of 100 percent mission success in flight testing.” That’s true, at least for the production article. When the prototypes were fired in 1999, THAAD failed in its first six attempts, but then two consecutive target strikes convinced the U.S. ballistic missile defense organization (BMDO) to order batteries costing at least $818 million apiece. Still, THAAD has never been used in real-world conditions.

    Along with the ability to shoot down threats, missile defense systems are judged on what the Pentagon calls their cost-to-kill ratio. North Korea’s missiles are far cheaper than any system designed to intercept them. The U.S. Patriot system, built for the Army in 1976, has been compared unfavorably in this regard to an Israeli system called Iron Dome, which is far less costly. But the comparison bears closer scrutiny. Each firing of an Iron Dome Tamir missile, developed in part with $200 million in U.S. aid, still costs at least 50 times more than the crude rockets lobbed by Israel’s enemies.

    >>>>Chthulu is correct. Cost-to-kill is the strongest argument against missile defense systems. —DD

    When the Israel Defense Force (IDF) announced last year that Iron Dome was up to 95 percent effective against rockets fired at Israel’s border cities by the Islamist group Hamas, U.S. media were impressed. The U.S. Army had initially claimed that Patriots stopped only 80 percent of the Soviet-designed Scud missiles Iraq launched at Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War, and a government audit later estimated the success against all Scuds at no more than 25 percent. Some analysts have urged that funds for the Patriot be cut back and that the Pentagon imitate the Israeli technology. Yet Patriots have been fired some 600 times in tests and exercises since 1991 and have benefitted from decades of advances in computing, radar, guidance, and software. Today’s Patriot uses phased-array radar that sees better through urban “clutter.” Its missiles launch faster and, with improved fins and attitude control, are more nimble than those of the 1991 system.

    And, even though precise numbers for any defensive system are classified, it now appears that the Israeli estimate of Iron Dome success is also too high. In a single week in November, the IDF reported that it shot down 400 rockets, but that number was only a third of the total number of rockets fired at Israel. A decision to fire Iron Dome missiles depends on whether the trajectory of the incoming rocket threatens a populated area; most of the 1,200 rockets were left to fall. Of the rockets engaged, Iron Dome did destroy up to 95 percent.

    In after-action studies of the Patriot system’s performance in the 1991 Gulf War, both the U.S. Army and General Accounting Office estimated its effectiveness against all missiles fired, not just against missiles engaged. ( I.e., criticism of the Patriot’s performance in 1991 was based on an unfair metric.– DD) In the 2003 Iraq war, the Army changed its tactic. It reported that Patriots “scored a perfect nine for nine.” The Arms Control Association posed questions about 14 Iraqi missiles, beyond the nine destroyed, that were not engaged; the Army did not address the inaction.

  138. @International Jew
    The Times is, most of the time, shameless propaganda. But it's still staffed with smart, well-connected journalists. When they don't have an axe to grind, they are worth paying attention to and this is one of those times.

    The Times has no interest in discouraging the US from developing the means to defend against North Korea's rockets. If anything, the Times would want us to believe such a system works, lest support build up for a pre-emptive American strike on N.Korea.

    (I do realize that during the Cold War the Times opposed any and all American ABM systems, but that was because the Times liked the USSR. The Times doesn't like N. Korea (and of course it hates Russia with more ferocity than the John Birch Society hated the USSR).)

    So I'm inclined to accept the Times' analysis here.

    Replies: @Johann Ricke

    The Times has no interest in discouraging the US from developing the means to defend against North Korea’s rockets. If anything, the Times would want us to believe such a system works, lest support build up for a pre-emptive American strike on N.Korea.

    The root cause of the Times’s opposition to ABM systems wasn’t a love for the Soviets, although they certainly did love them. It was naivete about foreign threats and this sense that the United States is the root of evil in the modern world. Flowing from this naivete and superiority complex vis-a-vis the paranoid rubes in flyover states was a perception that defense spending is a waste of money. For the NYT, the ideal amount to spend on defense is 0, since this takes away from funds that could be used to expand the welfare state in infinitely creative ways.

  139. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Japan eyes Aegis Ashore defense against Pyongyang’s missiles”, Nikkei Asian Review, May 22, 2017:

    “Japan appears likely to install a land-based version of the Aegis anti-missile system used by the Maritime Self-Defense Force, driven by North Korea’s continued testing of missiles fired into nearby waters…

    …The Aegis system’s SM-3 Block IIA long-range interceptor, co-developed by Japan and the U.S., requires deployments in only two locations to defend all of Japan…”

  140. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    https://www.mda.mil/:

    “U.S. Missile Defense Agency

    MDA MISSION

    The Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) mission is to develop, test, and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.”

  141. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Missile Defense Agency helpfully notes in their History Resources page:

    “Learn much more about the U.S. Army’s first antiballistic missile in this pamphlet.

    Which is the document:

    Nike Zeus: The U.S. Army’s First ABM

    Approved for Public release 09-MDA-4885 (20 OCT 09)

    About the actual mechanism:

    “Still another problem with the Nike-Zeus was that its destruction of the incoming nuclear weapons depended on a phenomenon called neutron heating. When one explodes a nuclear weapon near another nuclear weapon, a flux of neutrons is released; these penetrate into the guts of the second nuclear weapon and heat it enough to melt it. However, this effect does not work over very great distances; so the Nike nuclear explosion could be effective against only a limited number of incoming targets.”

    About the radar-blanking problem:

    “Zeus developers theoretically examined concerns about the effects of high-altitude nuclear detonations on radar signals and subsequently verified their findings in tests at Johnson Island in the North Pacific. Studies showed that radar signal attenuation from nuclear explosion effects could be mitigated by using Zeus Acquisition Radar higher frequency signals.”

    And of course:

    “From 1963 to 1964, the Army maintained Zeus in readiness from Kwajalein to intercept satellites, if required.”

  142. @Dave Pinsen
    Makes sense. And as we learned from the iSteve book club feature The Third World War, a nuclear explosion high enough in the atmosphere won't lead to deadly radiation on the ground.

    Replies: @James Richard, @Olorin

    Darn it. If only Hillary had thought of that for taking out those Macedonian Content Farms with EMPs, she could have beaten the Norkors to “WW3: This time it’s her turn.”

  143. John Tierney’s $40b figure needs to be compared to the $30b number it will cost to update cruise missile systems to deal with new Chinese and Russian air defense systems. As usual, Democratic luminaries are opposed to the maintenance of the nation’s nuclear deterrence. Again, this is a combo of naivete and the thought of what $0 defense spending could do for the expansion of the regulatory welfare state industrial complex. These are Eloi in the flesh, hundred of thousands of years before Wells’s prediction.

  144. @JerseyJeffersonian
    @FPD72

    Well, Israel, of course. Haven't you heard of the Samson Option? As in pulling down the columns of the temple of the Philistines (read non-compliant goys, here) on oneself in order to teach the Philistines a lesson.

    Remember, it was a Jew, Sigmund Freud, who proposed the existence of a Death Drive. And who better to know?

    Replies: @FPD72

    I’m familiar with the Samson Option but have seen no evidence of Israeli nuclear weapons on US soil. Israel seems to have more than enough on their own soil.

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to All Steve Sailer Comments via RSS