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Charging_Handle
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:02:21 PM
I was reading some stuff last night about our ICBM's. In my reading, I came across something which stated our newest and most capable ICBM's, the "Peacekeepers" were set to be deactivated sometime back in 2003 based upon the agreements made in one of the treaties. We had at least 50 of those, each armed with 10 MIRV's, or 10 seperate warheads.

Outside those, it seems we have/had somewhere between 400 and 500 active Minutemen III silos, each of which carried 3 independent warheads. But based upon what I read, we also have limited those missiles to one warhead each. So it looks like our deterent force right now as far as ICBM's go is about 400 missiles, each with single warheads.

That brings me to this. Back in May, Russia announced it had tested a new ICBM, which some say is a new version of the Topol-M, which is capable of carrying multiple warheads. The total number of warheads each of these missiles are supposedly capable of carrying are somewhere between 3-6. They plan to start deploying these in 2008 to replace older systems.

So my question is, how will these new missiles effect the balance of power between us and Russia? Isn't there a set number that limits the total number of warheads each country can possess under START? Will Russia deploy these new missiles with multiple independent warheads, or choose to just arm them with one? If Russia can have multiple warhead missiles, why are we/did we deactivate our Peacekeepers which can carry 10 and limit our Minuteman III's to only one warhead? If these new Russian missiles do give them any new advantages over us, doesn't that mean we automatically need to rearm some of our Minutemen III's with multiple warheads or put Peacekeepers back in the ground?

I don't know a great deal about the strategic nuclear capabilities of the US and Russia as of right now, as I haven't kept up with so much once the Cold War ended. But I would like to educate myself a bit. I'm just curious to see if this Russian missile is cause for a new arms race or wther it really doesn't change the overall situation all that much.

And finally, we've had lots of threads about various warplanes, tanks, submarines, helicopters, etc. I figured we might as well have a good ol' ICBM thread.
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MrClean4Hire
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:06:44 PM
We got 5 times what we say we have.

my .02
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:08:26 PM
We can fuck their shit up, and they can fuck our shit up
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:10:07 PM

Originally Posted By Neotopia:
We can fuck their shit up, and they can fuck our shit up


Thanks for putting it into terms we all can understand.
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:27:41 PM
I respectfully submit that VERY FEW people know our true nuclear capability.....
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:28:14 PM
Stacks up fine.
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:30:16 PM
stealth missiles, and drone aircraft nuclear tipped?
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kill-9
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:31:50 PM
On a related note, has Mythbusters done their show on cockroaches vs radiation?
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:38:16 PM
You forgot SLBMs:


Trident II (D5) UGM-133A

The second variant of the Trident is more sophisticated and can carry a heavier payload. It is accurate enough to be a first strike weapon. All three stages of the Trident II are made of graphite epoxy, making the missile much lighter. The Trident II was the original missile on the British Vanguard and Ohio SSBNs since USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). The D5 missile is currently carried by twelve Ohio class SSBNs.[6] Lockheed has carried out 119 consecutive successful test launches of the D5 missile since 1989, according to a company press release.[7]

Characteristics

* Purpose: strategic nuclear deterrence
* Contractor: Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California
* Unit Cost: $30.9 million
* Propulsion: three stage solid propellant
* Length: 44 ft (13.41 m)
* Weight: 130,000 lb (58,500 kg)
* Diameter: 83 in (2.11 m)
* Range: 7000 miles (11300 km)
* Maximum speed: 29,030 km/h (18,000 mph)
* Guidance system: inertial, with celestial reference or GPS guidance
* CEP: 300-400 ft (90-120 m) (using GPS guidance) or 380 meters using inertial guidance.
* Warhead (in USA usage only): nuclear MIRV. Up to eight W88 (475 kt) warheads (Mark 5) or eight W76 (100 kt) warheads (Mark 4). The Trident II can carry 12 MIRV warheads but START I reduces this to 8 and SORT reduces this yet further to 4 or 5.
* Date deployed: 1990
Dinothewap
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:45:30 PM

Originally Posted By kill-9:
On a related note, has Mythbusters done their show on cockroaches vs radiation?


Nope filmed it at Hanford WA early this month. Suposed to come out around Feb 08.
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:47:32 PM
We're lying about our capabilities.
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5subslr5
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:48:24 PM

Originally Posted By webtaz99:
I respectfully submit that VERY FEW people know our true nuclear capability.....


Agreed.




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badfish274
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:49:25 PM
In Before Limaxray

Our SLBMs are the best in the world.

We have stealth aircraft.

Let Putin waste all the rubles he wants.
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Charging_Handle
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:49:53 PM

Originally Posted By Procyon:
You forgot SLBMs:


Trident II (D5) UGM-133A

The second variant of the Trident is more sophisticated and can carry a heavier payload. It is accurate enough to be a first strike weapon. All three stages of the Trident II are made of graphite epoxy, making the missile much lighter. The Trident II was the original missile on the British Vanguard and Ohio SSBNs since USS Tennessee (SSBN-734). The D5 missile is currently carried by twelve Ohio class SSBNs.[6] Lockheed has carried out 119 consecutive successful test launches of the D5 missile since 1989, according to a company press release.[7]

Characteristics

* Purpose: strategic nuclear deterrence
* Contractor: Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Sunnyvale, California
* Unit Cost: $30.9 million
* Propulsion: three stage solid propellant
* Length: 44 ft (13.41 m)
* Weight: 130,000 lb (58,500 kg)
* Diameter: 83 in (2.11 m)
* Range: 7000 miles (11300 km)
* Maximum speed: 29,030 km/h (18,000 mph)
* Guidance system: inertial, with celestial reference or GPS guidance
* CEP: 300-400 ft (90-120 m) (using GPS guidance) or 380 meters using inertial guidance.
* Warhead (in USA usage only): nuclear MIRV. Up to eight W88 (475 kt) warheads (Mark 5) or eight W76 (100 kt) warheads (Mark 4). The Trident II can carry 12 MIRV warheads but START I reduces this to 8 and SORT reduces this yet further to 4 or 5.
* Date deployed: 1990


I had no idea the Trident 2's had that sort of range. Wow! It seems they travel just as far as the big ground silo launched missiles if I am reading the specs of the two types correctly. Impressive!
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5subslr5
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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:50:50 PM
Generally speaking, our shit is more sophisticated than their shit. In the nuclear game I'm not certain how much that matters.



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Posted: 10/26/2007 10:53:48 PM
If it get's to nukes we're all fucked... but it should offer a short time with a target rich environment.
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webtaz99
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:19:33 AM

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
Generally speaking, our shit is more sophisticated than their shit. In the nuclear game I'm not certain how much that matters.



5sub

It matters a lot.

On one hand, more sophisticated weapons use less fissile/fissionable materials (make more of them), and are able to get much more yield due to boosting (more bang for the buck).

On the other hand, more accurate targeting means less yield is needed, and less total devices are needed for the job.

Modern war is not about leveling cities or killing vast numbers of civilians.
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:27:44 AM
Ground-based missiles and bombers are too vulnerable. All we need are subs. Keep 'em guessin'.
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:17:27 AM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 1:30:51 AM by limaxray]

Originally Posted By badfish274:
In Before Limaxray

[Lurch] You rang? [/Lurch]


Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
I was reading some stuff last night about our ICBM's. In my reading, I came across something which stated our newest and most capable ICBM's, the "Peacekeepers" were set to be deactivated sometime back in 2003 based upon the agreements made in one of the treaties. We had at least 50 of those, each armed with 10 MIRV's, or 10 seperate warheads.


PKs were deactivated in 2006 in accordance with START, but keep in mind we never ratified it. The Russians HATED Peacekeeper, and it was a destabilizing system. One of them could hold ten of their targets at risk, and hard targets at that, so from a force-on-force perspective, those were high on the Russian's priority list. We only had fifty, located at FE Warren AFB, the 400th Missile Squadron (good friend of mine was the squadron commander when they turned out the lights there). The Minuteman is also getting retrofitted with the Peacekeeper's Mark 21 reentry vehicle--a much more accurate, safer and more reliable RV.


Outside those, it seems we have/had somewhere between 400 and 500 active Minutemen III silos, each of which carried 3 independent warheads. But based upon what I read, we also have limited those missiles to one warhead each. So it looks like our deterent force right now as far as ICBM's go is about 400 missiles, each with single warheads.


Current force structure is 494 Minuteman IIIs, with a projected end-strength of 450 as we shut down one squadron of 50 at Malmstrom AFB by next summer. At one time we were supposed to limit warheads to one each, but since START was never ratified, we're not doing that. We have a mix of one, two or three-bangers, depending on what the Combatant Commander (US Strategic Command) wants.


That brings me to this. Back in May, Russia announced it had tested a new ICBM, which some say is a new version of the Topol-M, which is capable of carrying multiple warheads. The total number of warheads each of these missiles are supposedly capable of carrying are somewhere between 3-6. They plan to start deploying these in 2008 to replace older systems.

So my question is, how will these new missiles effect the balance of power between us and Russia? Isn't there a set number that limits the total number of warheads each country can possess under START? Will Russia deploy these new missiles with multiple independent warheads, or choose to just arm them with one? If Russia can have multiple warhead missiles, why are we/did we deactivate our Peacekeepers which can carry 10 and limit our Minuteman III's to only one warhead? If these new Russian missiles do give them any new advantages over us, doesn't that mean we automatically need to rearm some of our Minutemen III's with multiple warheads or put Peacekeepers back in the ground?


This goes into the make-believe world of Treaty Math. Here we go:

- The warhead limit set on previous systems are in force. So, if the SS18 could only carry 8, then according to the treaty the Russians can't field a system to replace it with more than 8 warheads. If they field a new system, it's not specifically listed in the treaty, but is covered by it. BTW, the total number of warheads is NOT limited by START--the inspectable item is the downstage. In this case, the only thing that matters is that the new systems must be declared as having the capability to carry no more warheads than the system it replaces.

- The Moscow Treaty covers the number of warheads available. According to this treaty, the US and Russia are limited to 1700-2200 operationally deployed warheads. For bombers, these are counted as sitting in the igloos on the base, but for ICBMs and SLBMs the only ones that count are those mated to the bus and placed on the missile. The total number between all three systems cannot exceed 1700-2200.


I don't know a great deal about the strategic nuclear capabilities of the US and Russia as of right now, as I haven't kept up with so much once the Cold War ended. But I would like to educate myself a bit. I'm just curious to see if this Russian missile is cause for a new arms race or wther it really doesn't change the overall situation all that much.

And finally, we've had lots of threads about various warplanes, tanks, submarines, helicopters, etc. I figured we might as well have a good ol' ICBM thread.


Our systems have always been better--more reliable, survivable and accurate than theirs, mainly due to our technological edge and our ability to out-spend the USSR. But, our systems are now going on 45 years old (the oldest site, A02 at Malmstrom, was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962). They've been updated over the years, but the infrastructure (the launch facilities, control centers, and the cables connecting them) are all original. In addition, the missiles and warheads themselves are all designed for a Cold War mentality--i.e., bigger hammers to strike someone else's forces before they get off the ground. That doesn't exactly match the current need.

Here's what's worrisome about Russia. This announcement is one of a long list of things that imply Russia is NOT the friends some liberals would lead you to believe. For example:
- Russia has, in the last three years, fielded three new ICBM and SLBM systems
- Russia has recently announced plans to produce a maneuverable ICBM reentry vehicle for the express purpose of defeating our ABM system
- Russia has recently announced it will buy back and refurbish the Tu160 bomber (the Blackjack, or B-Oneski), and plans on building four our five more per year
- President Putin has recently announced that he wants Russia to become the #1 exporter of military aircraft in the world
- Russia, in the last six months, has begun penetrations into the US and British Air Defense Identification Zones with Blackjack and Bear bombers, the first time since 1994 they have done that. These penetrations were common during the Cold War and were stopped under Yeltsen as provocative. In the last six months there have been, I think, something like 15 penetrations.

Putin is a hard-liner, make no mistake about it. He's looking to revisit the glory years of the Communist Party. Unfortunately, the only thing that separates Russia from Nicaragua right now is their nuclear capability--otherwise they're just another Third World country.

And, because no good military thread is complete without pictures...



My babies, three Mark 12As on a MMIII bus.



Remember, guaranteed delivery, 30 minutes or less, or the next one's on us!

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Merlin
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:16:39 PM

Originally Posted By limaxray:
snip

Our systems have always been better--more reliable, survivable and accurate than theirs, mainly due to our technological edge and our ability to out-spend the USSR. But, our systems are now going on 45 years old (the oldest site, A02 at Malmstrom, was activated during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962). They've been updated over the years, but the infrastructure (the launch facilities, control centers, and the cables connecting them) are all original. In addition, the missiles and warheads themselves are all designed for a Cold War mentality--i.e., bigger hammers to strike someone else's forces before they get off the ground. That doesn't exactly match the current need.

snip


I remember when they shut down the MM line in Seattle in 1980, I went to work for Boeing right after that.

Where are they storing all the old MM missiles? We used a couple to test early KEVs on the GMD program, but I have no clue where they keep all the old MM's, Hill in Utah?
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Paveway_
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:20:24 PM

Originally Posted By webtaz99:

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
Generally speaking, our shit is more sophisticated than their shit. In the nuclear game I'm not certain how much that matters.



5sub

It matters a lot.

On one hand, more sophisticated weapons use less fissile/fissionable materials (make more of them), and are able to get much more yield due to boosting (more bang for the buck).

On the other hand, more accurate targeting means less yield is needed, and less total devices are needed for the job.

Modern war is not about leveling cities or killing vast numbers of civilians.


But modern nuclear war IS about leveling cities and killing vast numbers of civilians.

To think a full nuclear exchange is anything but wipping the other country out of exsistence, civilians and all is just foolish!
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:42:39 PM
realwar
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:52:38 PM
Natty,
Your link doesnt work.
Ameetec-Arms:
We will on the other hand be offering an 45acp lower that will be a little different and not infringing on his design. So please stay tuned.
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:55:28 PM
I think the real question is how are Russia and our missile defense systems?
5subslr5
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:57:48 PM

Originally Posted By NattyB:
Russia knows very well that one of these can wipe out every major Russian city

rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9gnMifTaCNHZFwAgFmjzbkF/SIG=121ah6t0p/EXP=1193589331/**http%3A//www.shima.demon.co.uk/images/ma_fs.jpg




Yep. From Krushchev forward first the Soviets and now the Russians have well understood that fact. Even back to the Cuban missile crisis, our Missile subs were what caused the Soviet Union to stand down.


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NattyB
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:58:04 PM
height=8
Originally Posted By realwar:
Natty,
Your link doesnt work.http://www.shima.demon.co.uk/images/ma_fs.jpg

5subslr5
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Posted: 10/27/2007 12:58:40 PM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 12:59:29 PM by 5subslr5]

Originally Posted By realwar:
Natty,
Your link doesnt work.


Worked for me.

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Attman
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:07:46 PM
limaxray, What is the physical size of one of those warheads?
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:31:16 PM
These threads all get me looking out the back window towards the little hill behind our home and wondering....how long and how expensive to carve a dug-out shelter back there?

Or "how much, and how long" convert my entire basement into a fallout shelter.

God help us if the Russians ever go on a drinking binge and pop off their nukes.

Lima, when they take whole squadrons off line, what happens to all the silos? Do they keep them for other uses?

I'd think it'd be a no brainer from a COG standpoint for crews to be building bunkers like those in every state of the Union for civilian control and shelter... unfortunately what would make sense and what the government does is two different things.
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:45:14 PM
All we have to do to Russia is tell the current leader that we have all of HIS hideouts and his family's possible locations pre-targeted along with the rest of his upper 'gubment leadership. That means that his power base will not live through a nuclear exchange. Let's make it personal. Forget "the people", let's decapitate them!
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Saginaw79
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:50:00 PM
I believe we have FAR more nuclear assets than what anyone knows
limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:53:30 PM

Originally Posted By Merlin:

I remember when they shut down the MM line in Seattle in 1980, I went to work for Boeing right after that.

Where are they storing all the old MM missiles? We used a couple to test early KEVs on the GMD program, but I have no clue where they keep all the old MM's, Hill in Utah?

Yep, though we may keep a couple in vertical storage in some of the launch facilities they're shutting down (no room at the inn at Hill).

The MMII boosters are being used by the missile defense program, while the MMIII boosters are obviously going to stay in the stockpile. The PK boosters are the bottom stage for the Minotaur launch vehicle, and there's talk about using them for conventional ICBM missions. Now, that would rock!
"Three, two, one, keyturn."

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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:55:24 PM
But we have HAARP, isn't that the most powerful WMD.
limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 1:59:11 PM

Originally Posted By Paveway_:

Originally Posted By webtaz99:

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:
Generally speaking, our shit is more sophisticated than their shit. In the nuclear game I'm not certain how much that matters.



5sub

It matters a lot.

On one hand, more sophisticated weapons use less fissile/fissionable materials (make more of them), and are able to get much more yield due to boosting (more bang for the buck).

On the other hand, more accurate targeting means less yield is needed, and less total devices are needed for the job.

Modern war is not about leveling cities or killing vast numbers of civilians.


But modern nuclear war IS about leveling cities and killing vast numbers of civilians.

To think a full nuclear exchange is anything but wipping the other country out of exsistence, civilians and all is just foolish!

Have to completely disagree.

Nuclear weapons, first and foremost, are about deterrence. The second we launch, we have failed in our primary mission.

But, deterrence has two components: capability, and will. We demonstrate the will every day by the high level of proficiency and reliability of our crews. Capability, on the other hand, is based on our ability to wipe out the other country's ability to threaten us. Not wipe out their cities, not destroy their country, but eliminate that country as a threat to us.

True, when nukes first came about and accuracy was measured in miles, the two were synonymous. But nowadays, we have the capability to specifically target capabilities and as a result we do NOT target cities but other country's capabilities. In fact, targeting civilians is not only immoral but against the Laws of Armed Conflict.
"Three, two, one, keyturn."

"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine

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limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:22:19 PM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 2:25:40 PM by limaxray]

Originally Posted By 5subslr5:

Originally Posted By NattyB:
Russia knows very well that one of these can wipe out every major Russian city

rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9gnMifTaCNHZFwAgFmjzbkF/SIG=121ah6t0p/EXP=1193589331/**http%3A//www.shima.demon.co.uk/images/ma_fs.jpg




Yep. From Krushchev forward first the Soviets and now the Russians have well understood that fact. Even back to the Cuban missile crisis, our Missile subs were what caused the Soviet Union to stand down.


5sub


I'd change that to "one of the things that caused the Soviet Union to stand down." We also had the ICBM fleet on duty at the time, and the quick response time of the Minuteman (then on alert) was a deciding factor in the stand-down. In fact, Kennedy said specifically that the Minuteman force was his "ace in the hole," which is why the 10th Missile Squadron goes by the "First Aces." (They were the first MM squadron on alert.)

ETA: The subs provide one thing that no other leg of the Triad does. Should we, for some reason, take a hit, the subs are always out there, invisible and therefore protected. They're a great system and while not as flexible as ICBMs (they can't retarget and launch as quickly as the ICs can) they are definitely more survivable, with the accuracy for hard-target kills.
"Three, two, one, keyturn."

"If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace." - Thomas Paine

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limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:30:12 PM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 4:05:07 PM by limaxray]

Originally Posted By Attman:
limaxray, What is the physical size of one of those warheads?


Don't know the exact dimensions, but here's a picture for a sense of scale. These are Mk21s (Peacekeeper warheads), but they're about the same size.

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limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:39:40 PM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 2:40:01 PM by limaxray]

Originally Posted By JusAdBellum:
Lima, when they take whole squadrons off line, what happens to all the silos? Do they keep them for other uses?


When we took the MMIIs off alert in 1992, we blew up the top 40 ft of the launch facilities, left them that way for 60 days so the Russians could get a good look with their satellites, then filled them in.

The PK squadron and the 564th at Malmstrom will be kept in caretaker status, leaving us 100 silos near our currently active missile fields (and the support structure in place there) for future use.


I'd think it'd be a no brainer from a COG standpoint for crews to be building bunkers like those in every state of the Union for civilian control and shelter... unfortunately what would make sense and what the government does is two different things.


One word: money. In today's age--where, two years ago, I had to convince an active-duty USAF one-star that yes, we still had ICBMs and they were still on alert--do you think we, as a country, would be able or willing to sink trillions of dollars into hardened shelters? "That's Cold War mentality and a waste of money." There are Congresscritters serving RIGHT NOW who think that money spent on simply sustaining the current force (let alone upgrading it to match the threats today) is a waste of dollars.
"Three, two, one, keyturn."

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TheAvatar9265ft
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:46:33 PM
thank you for your informative responses LX
uncle_ho
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:46:54 PM
The ultimate WMD to use against Russia would be if we shipped Hillary over to them
limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:47:30 PM

Originally Posted By TheAvatar9265ft:
thank you for your informative responses LX


You're welcome. I'm kind of an idiot savant--no social skills, but I know nukes.
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limaxray
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Posted: 10/27/2007 2:48:29 PM

Originally Posted By uncle_ho:
The ultimate WMD to use against Russia would be if we shipped Hillary over to them


At the height of WWI, Germany shipped Karl Marx over there to foment revolution. Kind of the ultimate smart bomb, but long-term, it didn't quite work as planned....
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Posted: 10/27/2007 3:23:32 PM
Our ssbn fleet is the most highly capable and highly trained nuclear deterrent the world has ever seen. Sub school weeds out the idiots and those how earn the sub pin are among the most intelligent and most capable our nation has to offer.

I've been to Groton, CT. and had a little two week mini-training course when I was Sea Cadet. We were lead by a former COB with 30 years active duty experience who got mad respect everywhere we went on base (tight community). Russia or China are simply no match for us on or below the sea. There anti-sub capability is way behind the curve.

Once our missile defense sheild is in place and with a few more Ohio Class subs underway and the new Virginia class attack subs Russia will be well contained.

Russia doesn't have the money for their own missile defense sheild and they can't afford stealth. Their dron technology is way behind ours.

As we continue to advance far beyond our enemies we'll continue to see "tough talk," like this.


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Posted: 10/27/2007 3:25:21 PM

Originally Posted By KhanFire:

Originally Posted By Neotopia:
We can fuck their shit up, and they can fuck our shit up


Thanks for putting it into terms we all can understand.


Might as well keep it simple.
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Posted: 10/27/2007 4:00:11 PM
[Last Edit: 10/27/2007 4:10:10 PM by limaxray]

Originally Posted By SilentType:
Our ssbn fleet is the most highly capable and highly trained nuclear deterrent the world has ever seen. Sub school weeds out the idiots and those how earn the sub pin are among the most intelligent and most capable our nation has to offer.

I've been to Groton, CT. and had a little two week mini-training course when I was Sea Cadet. We were lead by a former COB with 30 years active duty experience who got mad respect everywhere we went on base (tight community). Russia or China are simply no match for us on or below the sea. There anti-sub capability is way behind the curve.

Once our missile defense sheild is in place and with a few more Ohio Class subs underway and the new Virginia class attack subs Russia will be well contained.

Russia doesn't have the money for their own missile defense sheild and they can't afford stealth. Their dron technology is way behind ours.

As we continue to advance far beyond our enemies we'll continue to see "tough talk," like this.



Don't want to make this a urinary olympics, nor to discount what the sub guys have to do, but I disagree about "most highly capable and trained nuclear deterrent the world has ever seen." They are, in fact, the best in the world (by many, many light-years) than our nearest competitor; but I think the ICBM operators have a much tougher job.

My ICBM operators spend a year in training. When done, they are not only experts in weapon security, missile maintenance, ICBM code component handling and use (those are the codes used to launch & enable), weapon system safety, personnel safety, missile safety, Emergency War Order procedures (which, by the way, have to be known COLD, no reference, and the regulations total about 500 pages), communications system operations and maintenance, but they could also qualify as journeyman engineers on weapon system design, capabilities, interaction, communications, command and control, connectivity and software. Their area of responsibility is everything and everyone in their flight area, to include security forces, missile maintenance, communications maintenance, civil engineering, wing safety, and helicopter operations. For those selected to lead the squadron command post, they are responsible for everything in ALL the flight areas in the squadron, totalling about 5,000 square miles in our case.

Our ICBM operators are THE last check on the correct action for everyone else's job in the missile field. If maintenance tells the operator to run a command, it's up to the missileer to ensure, based on his knowledge of the system and what it will do to both the missile and the command and control system itself, that the command is in fact the correct one to run. It is the missileer who ensures the cops are correctly guarding a resource, who ensures the maintainers are doing the job right (no matter how weird the situation is), and who ensures the weapon system is correctly configured, guarded and maintained at ALL times.

Every month, each missileer MUST take three 30 question tests--one on Emergency War Orders (cold, no regulations), one on weapon system design and operations, and one on ICBM code component handling. While, by regulation, 90% is passing, I have personally chewed butt for someone getting two questions wrong (93%) and sent them for remedial training. In addition, they must each have a four-hour simulator ride covering all of the above topics. Failure to do so drives the crewmember restricted, unable to perform alert duties, until they make up their training.

We have helicopter and fighter pilots amazed at the amount and depth of material our missileers have to know, and the level to which they know it.

Here's the difference--on a sub, there are many personnel doing their job, but their job is broken up into little chunks, requiring in-depth knowledge of that piece in front of you and only requires a broad knowledge of how it interacts with the whole system. In ICBMs, it all comes together in the launch control center, where the lieutenants and captains in the capsule are the last, final meeting point for all those things, and it is their job to ensure it gets done right.

In addition, the subs have some limitations the ICBMs don't have, which make them less, not more capable. For example--subs can't retarget quickly. The console in the capsule is called the REACT console, for Rapid Execution and Combat Targeting. We can retarget, realign and launch a sortie--or multiple sorties, up to all 50 in the squadron--in much, much less time than the subs. Our launch times are quicker, providing what is currently the ONLY prompt global strike capability to the President and combatant commanders.

When my Lts and Capts go on alert, they are instantly responsible for the most powerful weapon system on the planet--up to 50 ICBMs, with up to three warheads apiece, ready to fly on a moments notice. Every decision they make HAS to be the right one, because the American people have entrusted us with this awesome responsibility; the nature and depth of that trust REQUIRES us to be nothing less than perfect.

I am humbled and truly in awe of the abilities of the captains and lieutenants I work for. Every day, they go out and do two impossible things before breakfast, most with a smile on their face and all with a deep, abiding respect for what we provide for the country.

Maybe okay, I have a little institutional bias, but while the subs are a marvel of technology and engineering, have a difficult job and are very, very good at what they do, I think the missileers and ICBMs would qualify as the most powerful, capable and highly trained nuclear deterrent force in existence.

[/soap box]
"Three, two, one, keyturn."

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Shrike37
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Posted: 10/27/2007 4:25:02 PM
Wow, very good information here. Thanks limaxray. That is what I love about arfcom, there is a discussion on ICBMs and someone who works with them everyday is here to respond!
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Posted: 10/27/2007 4:51:17 PM

Originally Posted By limaxray:

Remember, guaranteed delivery, 30 minutes or less, or the next one's on us!



You forgot the pic.



(FWIW, that pic is from Delta-01. It is now a national park. www.nps.gov/mimi/index.htm)
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Posted: 10/28/2007 4:38:03 AM

Originally Posted By Saginaw79:
I believe we have FAR more nuclear assets than what anyone knows

You've already said waaaay too much......



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Posted: 10/28/2007 5:21:26 AM
I remember reading about a Russian satellite during the cold war days that held and could fire nukes that were kept onboard. Do we have stuff like that orbiting Russia too?
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Posted: 10/28/2007 5:37:45 AM

Originally Posted By FlyingAttackPorcupin:
I remember reading about a Russian satellite during the cold war days that held and could fire nukes that were kept onboard. Do we have stuff like that orbiting Russia too?

Yeah. They service them using the invisible space planes out at Area 51.
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Posted: 10/28/2007 6:06:07 AM
[Last Edit: 10/28/2007 6:07:05 AM by FlyingAttackPorcupin]

Originally Posted By webtaz99:

Originally Posted By FlyingAttackPorcupin:
I remember reading about a Russian satellite during the cold war days that held and could fire nukes that were kept onboard. Do we have stuff like that orbiting Russia too?

Yeah. They service them using the invisible space planes out at Area 51.


Thanks for the sarcasm rather than actual intelligent conversation. As for nukes in space, I found an article about it, though admittedly for a different purpose. Still seems interesting though.

http://www.defencetalk.com/forums/ext.php?ref=www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/678370/NASA_Designs_Asteroid_Nuking_Satellite.html

I also found an article which mentions a Chinese anti-satellite system which it states "The Chinese anti-satellite system was not actually a space satellite, but rather an ICBM warhead modified to stay in orbit for a while, and home in on a satellite passing in the vicinity. ". So, yeah, not exactly what I was talking about but still on similar paths with regards to nukes in space.

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htspace/articles/20070313.aspx
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Posted: 10/28/2007 6:12:18 AM
height=8
Originally Posted By FlyingAttackPorcupin:
I remember reading about a Russian satellite during the cold war days that held and could fire nukes that were kept onboard. Do we have stuff like that orbiting Russia too?


What's the point? The average satellite takes about 90 minutes to orbit the earth, so there could be a substantial wait until the satellite is over the target. Then there is the problem of actually getting the things up into orbit. Nukes are heavy. If you tried to solve the first problem by putting the satellites into geosynchronous orbit, you run into problem two since putting a load into geosyc orbit requires a lot more power than getting the same load into a standard orbit.
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