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Subject: Rude awakening to missile-defense dream
GBU28    1/5/2005 7:55:17 AM
Rude awakening to missile-defense dream By Scott Ritter DELMAR, N.Y. – On Christmas Eve 2004, the Russian Strategic Missile Force test fired an advanced SS-27 Topol-M road-mobile intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM). This test probably invalidated the entire premise and technology used in the National Missile Defense (NMD) system currently being developed and deployed by the Bush administration, and at the same time called into question the validity of the administration's entire approach to arms control and disarmament. From 1988 to 1990, I served as one of the American weapons inspectors at the Votkinsk Machine Building Plant in Russia, where the SS-27 and its predecessor, the SS-25, were assembled. When I started my work in Votkinsk, the SS-25 missile was viewed by many in the US intelligence community as the primary ICBM threat facing the United States. A great deal of effort was placed on learning as much as possible about this missile and its capabilities. Through the work of the inspectors at Votkinsk, as well as several related inspections where US experts were able to view the SS-25 missile system in its operating bases in Siberia, a great deal of data was collected that assisted the US intelligence community in refining its understanding of how the SS-25 operated. This understanding was translated into several countermissile strategies, including aerial interdiction operations and missile-defense concepts. The abysmal performance of American counter-SCUD operations during the Gulf War in 1991 highlighted the deficiencies of the US military regarding the aerial interdiction of road-mobile missiles. Iraqi Al-Hussein mobile missiles were virtually impossible to detect and interdict, even with total American air supremacy. Despite all the effort put into counter-SCUD operations during that war, not a single Iraqi mobile missile launcher was destroyed by hostile fire, a fact I can certify not only as a participant in the counter-SCUD effort, but also as a chief inspector in Iraq, where I led the United Nations investigations into the Iraqi missile program. The rapid collapse of the Soviet Union did not leave much time for reflection on the American counter-mobile missile launcher deficiencies. In mid-1993, the Department of Defense conducted a comprehensive review to select the strategy and force structure for the post-cold war era. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the threat to the US from a deliberate or accidental ballistic missile attack by former Soviet states or by China was judged highly unlikely. In Votkinsk, US inspectors observed a Soviet-era defense industry in decline. SS-25 missiles were produced at a greatly reduced rate, and the next generation missile, a joint Russian-Ukrainian design, was scrapped after a few prototypes were produced, but never launched. After the resounding Republican victory in the midterm 1994 congressional elections, a new program for missile defense was proposed covering three distinct "threat" capabilities ranging from "unsophisticated threats" (an attack of five single-warhead missiles with simple decoys), to highly sophisticated threats (an attack of 20 single-warhead SS-25 type missiles, each with decoys or other defensive countermeasures). Funding for this program ran to some $10.8 billion from 1993 to 2000. When President Bush came to power in 2001, there was a dramatic change in posture regarding ballistic missile defense. The administration announced it was withdrawing from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, clearing away development and operational constraints. At the same time, the administration laid out a comprehensive plan that envisioned a layered missile-defense system. After studying the SS-25 missile for years, the US military believed it finally had a solution in the form of a multitiered antiballistic missile system that focused on boost-phase intercept (firing antimissile missiles that would home in on an ICBM shortly after launch), space-based laser systems designed to knock out a missile in flight, and terminal missile intercept systems, which would destroy a missile as it reentered the earth's atmosphere. The NMD system being fielded to counter the SS-25, and any similar or less sophisticated threats that may emerge from China, Iran, North Korea, and elsewhere, will probably have cumulative costs between $800 billion and $1.2 trillion by the time it reaches completion in 2015. However, the Bush administration's dream of a viable NMD has been rendered fantasy by the Russian test of the SS-27 Topol-M. According to the Russians, the Topol-M has high-speed solid-fuel boosters that rapidly lift the missile into the atmosphere, making boost-phase interception impossible unless one is located practically next door to the launcher. The SS-27 has been hardened against laser weapons and has a highly maneuverable post-boost vehicle that can defeat any int
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displacedjim    RE:Rude awakening to missile-defense dream   1/5/2005 10:12:04 AM
SS-27 development has hardly been unnoticed by us, and their continued research into a MaRV is no surprise. I admit I don't know, but I can believe the ICBM defense that we're beginning to field today would have difficulty stopping MaRVs if the Russians ever get around to building and deploying them on SS-27s, like the 36 to 40 they've managed to make operational so far. So versus those incoming RVs we'll still have the same defense we've had for the last 40 years--diplomacy and prayer--plus the possibility that our defensive system might still be able to intercept some SS-27 MaRVs. In the meantime, versus the hundreds of other Russian ICBMs/SLBMs, and all the Chinese ICBMs/SLBMs, and perhaps a decade or two in the future maybe a couple North Korean or Iranian or someone else's ICBMs, we could actually mount some defense. Furthermore, it is a certainty that technology developed in ballistic missile defense will carry over into theater ballistic missile defense, which is clearly a threat in multiple scenarios all over the world. Being unlikely to be able to intercept many of a small minority of potential Russian RVs most certainly does not render fantasy a dream of a viable national missile defense. It only means that no one should ever assume we can establish a leak-proof defense against all Russian RVs. If that surprises anyone, then they don't know much about missile defense. Displacedjim
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gixxxerking    Oh Here We Go...   1/5/2005 11:09:33 AM
...NMD is not designed to counter EVERY imaginable threat. What it does is protect us from rogue launches and attacks from nations like North Korea and Iran who would be much more likely to attack us than Russia. And if the Russians actually drank enough vodka to actually fire at us, MAD policy would likely sober them. Not to mention that they have no early warning capability. So SLBM/B-2 attack on the precious SS-27s are just as lethal as there manuverable RVs. And finally with regard to treaty. History has shown those who rely on paper defenses get beaten when the terms of the treaty no longer suit one of the signatory members. So take your anti-Bush nonsense post that shows a complete ingorance of the NMD concept and shove it. Jesus, does anybody do any research before posting?
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GBU28    gixxxerking... you dumbass   1/5/2005 12:04:41 PM
Were those my words I posted. No!!! It was an article written by someone else. I wholeheartedly agree with displacedjim's analysis... I posted the article because I thought it was ridiculous to write off NMD as pointless simply because the Russians can defeat it. As Jim stated, it still could serve some use against lesser advanced threats. I posted the damn article to show what kind of liberal bias exists. I posted it because I thought some people might get a good laugh out of it. You dumbass.... perhaps you should ask me first whether I agree with the article before you tell me to go shove it. Some people have no damn common sense.
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gixxxerking    I am A dumbass-- Gixxx   1/5/2005 1:31:41 PM
Friendly Fire. And Yes I'm a dumbass. But I'm man enough to admit being wrong and for that I apologize. I hope the excuse of trying to convince my girlfriend to "have relations", shut my daughter up, smoke a cigarette, eat, smoke another cig, , shower and shave. Then rush to work. Is a valid excuse for not reading all the way through the article. I just get so worked up because I'm always fighting foolish liberals about the concept of NMD. 1000 apologies!
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GBU28    RE:I am A dumbass-- Gixxx   1/6/2005 2:41:01 PM
That's ok... I know friendly fire does occur time to time. I just don't usually experience it. No harm done. I can see how the posting of the article might have been misconstrued as a troll post... seeing as I didn't post any comments of my own with the article. Next time I post an article that states utter non-sense, I'll make sure to put a disclaimer on it. From now on I will use a "LIBERAL BS" disclaimer for all Liberal articles I post on the forumz, so you know that they do not reflect my own opinions. Hopefully, such pre-cautions will preclude any future friendly fire incidents. :-)
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F22    RE:Rude awakening to missile-defense dream   1/17/2005 3:29:55 PM
Is it safe to come in? Is the friendly fire over? I agree with displacedjim's analysis as well. The purpose of NMD is to defend against rogue launches, or small attacks of perhaps a dozen missiles or so. Until we have defensive shields like in Star Trek, no missile defense conceivable can stop an all out attack of thousands of missiles. The attackers will always be able to launch more missiles than the defenders can shoot down. To believe that this is the goal of NMD shows a distinct lack of critical thinking capabilities. And for the skeptics who don't believe that we can ever shoot down even one missile, I suggest you go to college, get a degree in science or engineering, and really learn something. NMD doesn't require any breakthrough discoveries in physics. It is an engineering problem that can be solved, and it will be solved. Or is it better to do nothing and let a nuclear-armed rogue nation hold us hostage?
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Jungle-Man    RE:Rude awakening to missile-defense dream   1/17/2005 4:53:03 PM
And the fall back option to stop a nuclear missle attack would be to go old school, and detonate some of your own nukes over the ocean in the path of the incoming enemy missiles. You would still have some get through and cause havoc but its estimated you could get more than 70% of incoming missiles this way, if you're lucky the missiles will hit the tree-huggers who will otherwise eat you alive for contaminating the ocean with radiation, lol.
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Thomas    RE:Rude awakening to missile-defense dream   1/26/2005 10:59:46 AM
As far as I could acertain by skimming: The Scott Ritter article fails to appreciate the effect of combined arms in the air! NMD is probably designed to take out what is left after the B2 have been at the launch siloes. Not to mention what a swarm of cruise missiles will do attacking simultaneously.
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bobfall2005    RE:Rude awakening to missile-defense dream   4/2/2005 12:01:52 AM
Just a thought. Years ago when the M-1 tank was choosen, there where all sort of Media experts saying "It cost TOO much, it will not protect our soldiers, and other defeat-est crap." "The Russians are to powerful, we should just give up and kiss their butts and call it ice cream." "That thing will never fly, go back to building bikes" People who get paid by the other side, are often the on the other side. Bob
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MadRat    NMD was never meant to work   5/18/2005 12:36:01 AM
Politically its a horseload of money to the blue states. Realistically a BMD will never be sophistaicated enough to hit any target that's trajectory and content isn't known prior to launch due to the ridiculously complicated matters involved in the current state of ICBM warfare. The laws of physics have always worked against a BMD concept. To say the least the very idea of a BMD must scale to the external threat, in which case the cost scales exponentially. Even if somehow you could contain the costs of the parts - and their effects on depleting resources from other programs - you would still be unable to ever cope with factors of locality, that is placing the defense in the right line to make the interception with reasonable certainty. Rodie wrote an exhaustive book on the whole complexity of physics involved with missile based interceptors and - what he referred to as - exotic-beam weapons. Its very convincing that the whole concept of a BMD is nothing more than a pipe dream.
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