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SECDEF says U.S. has conventional ICBMs ready...

Ace_Austin

Member
pilot
I would only see this being used on a limited basis in response to a very high value target of opportunity. Something along the lines of finding out that in 10 mins bin Laden is going to be in a certain cave for the next hour and not have the ability to get a TACAIR in there in time. We would have to certainly clue the Russians in prior to launch and let them know it isn't pointed at them and its not carrying a can of artificial sunshine. The ability to really reach out and touch someone on short notice like that is one I am a big fan of.
 

Uncle Fester

Robot Pimp
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
It's an interesting concept, but it strikes me that the bazillions of $ we'd have to sink into this isn't really worth it, considering the odds we'd ever use it in anger. If it isn't worth a million-dollar Tomahawk to take out a cave, why would it be worth a $500M ballistic missile? And that's assuming the intel is considered solid enough to launch the thing in the first place.

Now, as a conventional deep-penetrator (giggity) that would give us the ability to knock out a deeply-buried bunker or facility in a well-defended country without sending manned aircraft in...I could feature that.

I don't think the how-will-Russia-know-it's-not-a-nuke thing is as big a deal as some are making it out to be. The danger in a launch like this is that China or Russia will think it's aimed at them and retaliate, right? But a single launch - which is how we're talking about employing this - isn't likely to freak anyone out. You can tell from the ballistics fairly early in a launch roughly where a missile is going to land. And a single launch doesn't really imply a sudden first-use nuclear attack, which is what would startle the strategic nuke powers into retaliating.
 

PhrogLoop

Adulting is hard
pilot
It's an interesting concept, but it strikes me that the bazillions of $ we'd have to sink into this isn't really worth it, considering the odds we'd ever use it in anger. If it isn't worth a million-dollar Tomahawk to take out a cave, why would it be worth a $500M ballistic missile? And that's assuming the intel is considered solid enough to launch the thing in the first place.
Don't quote me on this, but I think the Conventional ICBM is the hotness because its range and speed makes a Tomahawk look like a slingshot in comparison. It also allows for a very compressed OODA loop process. And for the recent War College grads who are about to jump on me for using such outdated phraseology, I am a firm believer that a military officer needs to master only three things: their tactical job, leadership, and maneuver warfare theory. Let the pile on begin!
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
You can tell from the ballistics fairly early in a launch roughly where a missile is going to land.
Seems to me yes... how do the things basically work? Something like launch, boost, mid-course correction, burnout, terminal phases...

The other thought that crossed my mind is cruise missile overflight of intermediate countries- not nearly as much of an issue for a ballistic missile falling out of sub-orbit and headed almost straight down onto the target inside country x.

Still, a long of buck for the bang :)

<shrug>
 

usmarinemike

Solidly part of the 42%.
pilot
Contributor
Don't quote me on this, but I think the Conventional ICBM is the hotness because its range and speed makes a Tomahawk look like a slingshot in comparison. It also allows for a very compressed OODA loop process. And for the recent War College grads who are about to jump on me for using such outdated phraseology, I am a firm believer that a military officer needs to master only three things: their tactical job, leadership, and maneuver warfare theory. Let the pile on begin!
Are you sure you're not a Marine?

Also, I would add counterinsurgency theory for this generation.


And just how cost prohibitive would a conventional ICBM development be? It seems to me like it would simply involve a different warhead with some different weight and balance calculations but the article makes it out to be some multi decade reinvention of the wheel. Why am I wrong?
 

PhrogLoop

Adulting is hard
pilot
And just how cost prohibitive would a conventional ICBM development be? It seems to me like it would simply involve a different warhead with some different weight and balance calculations but the article makes it out to be some multi decade reinvention of the wheel. Why am I wrong?
I think that the answer to the question put out earlier of just how the thing works (guidance, corrections, payload etc.) and how it differs from a nuke is what makes it expensive and involved. Too bad we can't go any further in this or any other UNCLAS forum.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
So the OODA loop is now dated? Great. What buzzwords are they throwing around these days? :-P
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
We would have to certainly clue the Russians in prior to launch and let them know it isn't pointed at them and its not carrying a can of artificial sunshine.
The danger in a launch like this is that China or Russia will think it's aimed at them and retaliate, right? But a single launch - which is how we're talking about employing this - isn't likely to freak anyone out. You can tell from the ballistics fairly early in a launch roughly where a missile is going to land. And a single launch doesn't really imply a sudden first-use nuclear attack, which is what would startle the strategic nuke powers into retaliating.
The proposal is that they launch them from a site not associated with nuke ICBMs and give Russia and China formal notice of a launch.

And just how cost prohibitive would a conventional ICBM development be? It seems to me like it would simply involve a different warhead with some different weight and balance calculations but the article makes it out to be some multi decade reinvention of the wheel. Why am I wrong?
It's an interesting concept, but it strikes me that the bazillions of $ we'd have to sink into this isn't really worth it, considering the odds we'd ever use it in anger. I don't think the how-will-Russia-know-it's-not-a-nuke thing is as big a deal as some are making it out to be.
I think that the answer to the question put out earlier of just how the thing works (guidance, corrections, payload etc.) and how it differs from a nuke is what makes it expensive and involved. Too bad we can't go any further in this or any other UNCLAS forum.
They would use current Minuteman ICBMs, which could probably be converted to conventional use without too much difficulty, there are many missile systems worldwide that are used in both conventional and nuclear roles. I don't think it would cost too much either as they could use many of the existing systems on the missiles, except the warheads of course.

Seem like this would be a nice easy way to take out Iran's nuclear program :)
Yeah, not so much unfortunately.
 

MIDNJAC

is clara ship
pilot
I have to question their accuracy. A couple hundred yard miss is bullseye if you are shooting a nuke.
Perhaps this is an open-source hint that their accuracy has improved in modern times

edit: I know nothing about ballistic missiles, so this is just my *guess*
 
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