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Subject: Ballistic Missile Defense = = Use SAMs instead?
skrip00    4/27/2005 11:16:47 PM
I was wondering, why cant the US just build a load of SAMs to deal with Ballistic missile incomings? Something along the lines of a beefed up SM-3. I know most countries use MIRVs but you can still build a viable system made up of SPY-1 Radars and long range SAMs at a cheaper cost than you would with a larger missile with a "kill vehicle" that doesnt work all the time. You can build these systems near all the major target cities. It doesnt even have to take up much space since you would only need 3-5 rotary feed VLS units where more missiles are fed in underneath. On top of that you would have a new generation SPY-1 radar which with a few targetting radars. Not to mention, such a system *may* be used as a homeland defense SAM system should another 9/11 try to happen. To back it up, you can have the THELs backing it up to vaporize any leakers. Im making this after learning of the S-400 Triumf and reading Bear and the Dragon, along with researching the SM-3. I dont see how it is so hard to build a viable BM-defense system.
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   RE:Ballistic Missile Defense = = Use SAMs instead?   4/29/2005 4:43:43 AM
Ground based missile defense does presently use SAMs, obviously. Conventional missiles lack the range, velocity, and manueverability/terminal accuracy for destroying a ballistic missile.
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EW3    RE:Ballistic Missile Defense = = Use SAMs instead?   5/5/2005 5:38:00 PM
So far the SM-3 has proven to be the best ABM. The best way to stop a missile though is during the ascent phase before it can deploy the MIRVs. The Aegis in the Sea of Japan will eventually be part of that mechanism.
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   RE:Ballistic Missile Defense = = Use SAMs instead?   6/2/2005 11:50:57 AM
There are actually three phases of ballistic missile flight: launch, mid-course, and terminal. Launch phase is ideal for BMD, because the weapon is traveling at a (relatively) low velocity, but is also the most difficult to execute. Mid-course is a good compromise. Terminal (which the exoatmospheric kill vehicle is designed for) is the hardest to accomplish (because the ballistic missile is both traveling at peak velocity and about to MIRV), but the easiest to execute strategically (the missile is now quite near to the target area, where your defense systems are most likely to be concentrated).
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kabura       9/2/2006 7:35:54 PM

Personally I don't see how effective SAMs, which are generally designed to shoot down aircraft and slower moving theatre range missiles, could be effective against something like an ICBM even in the ascent phase. Compare a ballistic missile to two very similar systems: satellite launch rockets and the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle breaks the sound barrier in under 1 minute, and it is at around 28 miles altitude and traveling several times the speed of sound at 2 minutes when the boosters separate. An ICBM is basically a small rocket (by spacefaring standards), and indeed, several satellites have been put into earth orbit by russian ICBMs (which was one reason why Sputnik caused so much panic in the west), so the comparison isn't completely inaccurate. If anything, it'd be *harder* to shoot down an ICBM with a SAM because it would almost definately accelerate faster than the shuttle, both since it's lighter than the shuttle, and since something like the shuttle has to purposely limit its acceleration to keep the crew from being crushed into salsa. To have a chance at shooting down an ICBM with a SAM, you'd have to be very close, and detect a launch and react to it within less than a minute. Remember the ICBM, unlike a plane or a terminal stage scud, is accelerating too, so you'd have to not only overcome that acceleration, but the massive headstart in terms of speed and distance.


Trying to shoot down an ICBM in terminal stage with a SAM is basically impossible. At this point, you have a MUCH smaller radar cross section to work with (by now it's no longer a whole rocket, but probably just what's under the nose cone), and the warhead is traveling at near orbital speeds. The shuttle orbits at more than 18,000 mph, which is something like mach 23. Even using a HIGHLY conservative estimate of half the shuttle's orbital speed, an ICBM warhead would be traveling at mach 10-15, well beyond the patriot's maximum speed of mach 5.

The reason we're looking at things like airborne lasers and interceptor missiles is they give us a much larger window to act, as interceptor missiles also travel at orbital speeds, and no matter how fast a missile is, it can't outrun a laserbeam.


I guess in theory, if we could convince say, North Korea to let us set up patriot missile batteries all within 10 miles of their launch sites, and then say, had a computer system setup to do automagic tracking and launching of the patriots, we might have a chance at shooting down an ICBM in the ascent phase with a SAM. Personally, I don't let my computer upgrade without me involved in the loop, much less let it shoot off hundreds of pounds of explosives traveling at supersonic speeds, so my money is on OMG LASER.


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zcsh       10/23/2006 11:28:40 PM
Dude what do you think the patriot system is?  It was orginally a anti aircraft system that was modded for missles.  Airplanes are alot slower and bigger than warheads so I guess they are easier to hit.  Alot of times the patriot system does not prevent a missle from going off but simple pushes it off corse and prevents it from hitting its intended target. 
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