Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

Discussion in 'Community' started by Mr44, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, FWIW M60A3s did perfectly fine against T-72s in the Gulf War, and for alot of countries that's "good enough". The late 1970s Soviet arsenal is going to be around for quite awhile, I'd imagine-the cessation of ideology-based arms distribution with the end of the Cold War left alot of countries high and dry when it came to acquiring new equipment for their militaries.
  2. DarthCane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 4
    Correct me if you know for certain, but I'm fairly sure there's no self-destruct on ICBMs. There might be on test-launch weapons, but I imagine the live ones have no such feature. Too big a chance that the other side would throw everything it had into replicating the destruct signal and render your entire missile force useless. You turn that key and pull the trigger, there's no turning back. Furthermore, if the other guy sees them incoming he'll shoot off his own - it's "use it or lose it" at that point; if you're about to be blown to hell you might as well make sure you'll have company a few minutes later.

    I do have to laugh at "depending on how relations are with the country you just launched a nuclear strike against." [face_beatup]
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, I don't think ICBMs or SLBMs have a self-destruct. I mean, it actually goes against their doctrine when you consider it-they're meant to be the weapons of last resort, what you use when there's no other option (psychotic 1950s planning for use in W Europe notwithstanding :p); a self destruct would go against that as you could always "change your mind". Don't think either side would care for that sort of uncertainty.
  4. DarthCane Force Ghost

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    May 30, 2002
    star 4
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
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    Yes, I'm aware of both of those. o_O
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I don't know, I'm fairly certain that every ICBM since at least the original Minuteman I from the 60's, that I know of has had some sort of deactivation feature. Granted, the practical use of the self-destruct has only been seen during test flights, because, well, we haven't actually ever fired an ICBM during a nuclear strike, but I suppose I've always taken it for granted that if the remote self destruct system is in place for testing, that the ICBM's themselves would still have them while they sit in their silos. Here's an article from just last year, about a Minuteman III:

    EXAMPLE HERE

    July 27th, 2011, 7:50 am-An unarmed Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base was purposely destroyed over the ocean after an early morning test launch went awry Wednesday. A destruct command was sent to the intercontinental ballistic missle at 3:06 a.m. after Air Force controllers detected a “flight anomaly,” an announcement from Vandenberg said.

    Given how anal the US is about making sure examples like conventional land mines and cluster bombs deactivate themselves when most other countries don't, I don't think the Air Force would install a self- destruct system into ICBM's when they're built, and then take it out once the actual missile is deployed. I imagine that they probably announce to the public that the missiles don't have such a feature, from the standpoint of deterrent, but that they really do. Yes, in fact, after some digging, here's this contract awarded to Boeing just a couple of months ago:

    Jul. 2, 2012-Boeing was awarded $36 million to procure modified wafers for the Minuteman III missile system. Wafers, in the context of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile warfare, carry radio parts, batteries, and the mechanisms for a launch control to provide in-flight telemetry. They're also the part of the missile that can remotely detonate it, or the self-destruct mechanism. These devices must be secure against radio assault which could enable a target to remotely detonate the missile prematurely as a countermeasure.
    Last edited by Mr44, Dec 4, 2012
  7. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    Interesting, but what makes you all think that technology matters in war anymore?

    In Afghanistan, illiterate peasants defeated the two mightiest superpowers in history, one right after the other, with nothing but rusty Enfields, RPGs, patience, religious fervor, and sheer determination.

    And it was not a fluke. Indochina, Algeria, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq... this has happened enough times that the pattern is undeniable.

    You'd almost think George Lucas was on to something with showing us stone age teddy bears defeating a mighty techno-army.
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yes, yes....And Che Guevara really was about selling t-shirts. Kim Jong-un really is the Supreme leader of the people. And Pol Pot was simply misunderstood. Got it. Of course, none of that has anything to do with the current topic at hand.
  9. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Uh, technology matters quite a bit in war, even in these asymmetrical conflicts against guerrillas and insurgents. If it weren't for UAVs and their constant surveillance of insurgent leaders, we'd probably have lost years ago in Afghanistan.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Why not include Les Mis whilst we're being utterly ridiculous?
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  11. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Interesting. Well, I guess the main advantage of bombers then would be being able to reroute in flight, plus of course you aren't wasting the bomber if you tell it to turn around as opposed to exploding the missile midair.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    And to back it up:

    Vietnam and Indochina are the same thing, for starters. Also, both wars ended in pretty conventional warfare: the siege at Dien Ben Phu, and the NVA conducting a classical armored assault on Saigon in 1975. Lebanon? LOL ok. You can believe the Hezbollah propaganda that they won. Iraq? IDK, the steady decline of IEDs and shootouts I was in over three deployments there seemed to indicate something to me about who was winning. ;)

    But yeah, basically what Ender said. :p
  13. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Speaking of nuclear weapons...apparently the Very Large Array can tell when one gets set off underground:

    Alien invasions, nuclear explosions equally well-detected

    The article isn't very specific about just what it is the VLA is detecting, but I'd imagine radio spectrum interference from high-energy particles.


    Ohio State University researchers previously demonstrated another unlikely tool, when they showed that South Korean GPS stations detected telltale atmospheric disturbances from North Korea's 2009 nuclear test. Both techniques were born out of the discovery that underground nuclear explosions leave their mark—on the outer reaches of Earth's atmosphere. Now, working with astronomers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), they have analyzed historical data from the Very Large Array (VLA), a constellation of 27 radio telescopes near Socorro, New Mexico—and discovered that the VLA recorded a very similar pattern of disturbances during the last two American underground nuclear tests, which took place in Nevada in 1992. Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, professor of geodetic and geoinformation engineering at Ohio State, said that the new findings help support the notion that GPS systems—and their technological successors, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS)—are viable tools for detecting clandestine nuclear tests around the globe. She added that now is a good time to begin developing the concept. "With a global availability of permanently tracking GPS networks now extending to GNSS, tremendous amounts of information are becoming available, and the infrastructure is growing," she said. "We have a great opportunity to develop these ideas, and make a tool that will aid the global community." Grejner-Brzezinska presented the findings in a press conference at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting on Dec. 4 with study co-authors Jihye Park, a postdoctoral researcher in geodetic and geoinformation engineering at Ohio State, and Joseph Helmboldt, a radio astronomer at NRL. Park presented the research in a lecture at AGU on Dec. 3.



    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-stars-nukes-radio-telescopes-clandestine.html#jCp
    Last edited by DarthBoba, Dec 5, 2012
  14. Narutakikun Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2012
    star 4
    We have lost in Afghanistan. It's all over but the cryin'

    I was referring to two different wars - the one involving the French, and the one involving the Americans.

    True enough, but in both cases the ending was simply a coup de grace after a long nonconventional war.

    I do. They did.

    The Iraqi insurgents wanted us out. We're out. They won. We lost. End of story.
  15. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Riight. I must have missed that Islamic caliphate they wanted to establish.

    Seriously dude, you may want to consider your silly line of thought.
  16. Jediflyer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 5, 2001
    star 5
    As a Minuteman III operator, I can tell you there are no self destruct features on operational missiles, nor do we get telemetry from them. Those wafers are solely for test launches from Vandenberg.
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, glad to see 44 is wrong. As usual. :p
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  18. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    That depends on what your definition of victory and defeat are. If our objective in World War II was to kill off the entirely of the Japanese race, well we didn't succeed there either. If our objective in Afghanistan is to wipe out the Taliban as a fighting force, well then we've failed; if our objective was to bring modern democracy to a backward Third World country, we've failed there too. But if our goal now is simply to hold the Taliban at bay and give the rest of the country a chance to reform and modernize in the next few decades...well we're probably doing okay there. Anyway my point was, technology has helped in blunting the insurgency and in bringing about some of our aims.

    Actually the insurgents lost. Remember the Sunni-Shi'ite death squad civil war that was going on? Well the Shi'ites outnumbered the Sunnis and basically killed their way to victory. In the interest of self-preservation the Sunnis sued for peace and allied with us against the remainder of Al-Qaeda, which more or less brought about an end to most of the insurgency. The war certainly did not go well for us as a whole, and the Sunnis and Shi'ites still don't get along well, but to say that the insurgents won is really stretching it. The reason we eventually left Iraq wasn't that we were taking too many casualties from the insurgents, rather it was because we couldn't get an agreement with the Iraqi parliament for our troops to stay.

    Yeah, I remember reading somewhere that disarming missiles in-flight was just a movie myth and that it doesn't really happen in real life.
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Not wrong, it still seems fishy to me..... JF would certainly know, mine is just speculation. But sub-launched Trident nuclear missiles have a self destruct system. B-52 launched cruise missiles have a destruct system. Minutemen ICBM's have a self-destruct system installed at the time of manufacture. It would mean that silo-launched Minutemen are the only example that doesn't have a self-destruct ability even though it's installed when they're built. What's the logic behind building Minutemen missiles with self-destruct system and then removing it for operation? I mean, why would the DOD also spend 36 million dollars to harden the Minutemen's self-destruct system against "radio assault which could enable a target to remotely detonate the missile prematurely as a countermeasure." if only test missiles that will never be used against an enemy have such a feature? It just doesn't make sense.

    I suppose I could see the logic... maybe...Trident or cruise missiles have a shorter distance to travel since they're brought to the target by the vehicle that's going to launch them, so a quicker reaction is needed to destroy them. Land-based ICBM's are fixed, so they are under more direct control by the home country, but still. Flying at Mach 23, it would take a Minuteman III about 15 minutes to fly from the US to Russia. That flight time also acts as a buffer for negotiation or to act as a second look. Either the Air Force truly considers silo-based ICBM's a last ditch assault, so once they're launched, that's it....the result has to be "rided out" like a movie, which doesn't seem realistic. Or the self-destruct sequence is not kept with the individual launch sites, but some sort of central location, so the individual controllers can't destruct them, which would also make sense as well. The President is the only person who can order a nuclear strike through the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which must be also confirmed by the SecDef. The launch codes themselves are kept in the famous "nuclear football" briefcase. It would make sense that the self-destruct codes for the ICBM's would be kept under such security too. I'd bet that a high enough command, such as the Joint Chiefs, could authorize the destruct system be activated in flight if told to by the President, instead of having the dozens of ICBM launch officers face the moral dilemma of having access to the feature for each missile they launch.

  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Don't feed trolls or first year PoliSci students who have discovered cliched radicalism.
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  21. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  22. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Wocky's not a poli-sci student.
  23. DarthCane Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, I post over at the Naval Warfare Simulations forums and the mods ended up banning a guy for getting too testy. I'm not sure they were entirely right on decrying his "anti-US" bias (which I don't believe was the issue), but it sure as heck was amusing to see him argue with ex-USN guys who had put in 20-30 years working with combat systems and as such generally had a better picture of how things worked than this guy did from reading the Russian arms brochures and their claims to have the latest, greatest, do-everything-and-make-borscht weaponry.

    One of the more interesting ones was a discussion of Iran's repeated threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, and of course the whole US-technology-has-failed-against-low-tech-insurgencies trope was trotted out. Well, war at sea ain't like war on land, sonny. You need technology just to survive out there - forget going nose-to-nose with American warships, the environment can kill you first. As a guy who's done some offshore work in small boats I can tell you I wouldn't take a homebuilt cigarette boat overloaded with torpedo tubes and missile launchers out of harbor in anything but the calmest weather; get some good sustained winds and seas going and you're fish food.
    Last edited by DarthCane, Dec 5, 2012
  24. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    But can you imagine how good a Makarov that made borscht would be? I, for one, would buy.
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  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9

    We've had a fair number of Luddites in here over the years.