posted on Aug, 22 2017 @ 03:20 AM
Yet another $100B down the drain geez
The US doesn’t actually need land based ICBMs. Just because they were needed in the past doesn’t mean the capability needs to exist for all
They can make do with SSBNs and air launched nuclear missiles.
Yesterdays threat is long gone. The Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore neither its tens of thousands strategic nuclear warheads and delivery
The current START treaty limits both Russia and the US to a mere 1550 deployed warheads and 800 delivery systems (bombers, missile silos and
submarine launch tubes).
Outside the military-industrial fantasyland of juicy defense procurement contracts, they are actually decommissioning individual launch tubes on the
Ohios to keep the limit.
Currently there are 14 Ohio SSBNs in the fleet with 24 launch tubes each. That’s 336 launch tubes total with a theoretical throw weight of 4706 W88
warheads . That’s a theoretical (!) combined yield of 2.2 gigatons.
In reality the Ohios don’t carry nearly as much warheads of course. START I reduced the warheads carried by each missile to 8 and there a lots of
W76 warheads with smaller yields (100kt instead of 475kt) in use as well.
With the current START treaty, the total number of launch tubes on Ohios will be reduced to 288. And the Tridents will carry just over 1150 warheads,
most of them being modernized W76. Actual combined yield is somewhere around 250 megatons or less than 15% of the theoretical maximum of Ohio
This alone shows even without substantial investments, the Ohio fleet could take on an even greater share of the strategic deterrence.
Especially considering that the current ICBM force is a shadow of its former self. There are 450 Minuteman IIIs, left most of them carrying only one
(!) warhead, either the W78 (350kt max) or the W87 (475kt). Combined yield is less than the Ohio fleet, about 200 megatons. Little more than the
theoretical throw weight of a single all armed up Ohio with 336 W88 warheads.
So what should be done?
The various START treaties are not going away. Going forward the US wont find itself in a situation requiring the sudden need to introduce hundreds of
new launch systems or warheads. Future reductions are more likely than not.
Given that the US already uses only a tiny fraction of the potential destructive force of its nuclear arsenal, I seriously doubt there is an actual
need to retain everything.
The US could easily get rid of ICBMs today and get to START limits be rearming submarines and bomber fleets. This would cost far less, especially in
the long run. And it would actually play to the American militaries strengths instead of its weaknesses. The US is decades ahead when it comes to
nuclear capable penetrating aircrafts, even looking only a white world assets. The Ohio submarine fleet constitutes an unrivaled capability. And the
Minuteman ICBM force is well, pretty crappy at this point.
So just get rid of it. Beef up the Ohio replacement program and funnel the rest of the money into black world penetrating platforms. Nobody cares that
the Minutemans wont be there to absorb Russian first strike ICBMs or some crap like that. Once strategic nukes are used its game over anyway.
Wont happen of course. Mattis said as much.