posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 03:28 AM
Thanks. I should point out that that last comment should be 'General Dynamics (and MacDac) _not_ Lockheed. As the buyout had not yet been made and
so Lockheed was not a part of the lawsuit which followed the A-12 disaster.
Was the original mission of the B2 not towards taking out Soviet Mobile ICBMs?
Yeah, and if the B-2 had been available in time, it still could not have survived in a layered IADS as dense as that covering Eastern Europe 'just'
to hunt SS-20. Even as I doubt if doctrine would have let a SIOP asset be risked (wrong signal, too few airframes to make ballistic-delivery count on
widely dispersed TEL units).
That said, for much the same reasons, the B-2, to me, is more of a decapitation asset designed to exploit (unsupported) the massive holes in the
Soviet radar coverage along their northern and southern borders as any system specifically intended to suppress-on-demand SS-24/25 based
1. If, in an already tense situation, the Soviets start seeing MULTIPLE atomic dets reported across the heart of their deepest homeland strategic
assets, they are going to 'assume the worst'. And flush every silo they have on a use-or-lose basis of proven effect as much as intent retaliatory
2. If you are out there getting 20-50, still operational, road or rail based TELs as a second-strike reserve, AFTER you have more or less allowed all
the hardened silo systems to launch (because, again, you cannot get enough stealth platforms and cruise over the fence to cap every hole without being
caught). You have both ensured that the U.S. is a radiologic wasteland, win-lose-or-last-man-standing 'drawn'.
And guaranteed there is so much EMP and hardkill (rollback as a 100nm wide corridor clearance effect) in play that the threat IADS is going to be
virtually non existent.
OTOH, if you are truly 'wired in' to the enemy C3 at it's highest levels, peeking into his his undersea cable traffic as much as head, the notion
that the Russians can make another Cuba/Berlin incident happen without your knowing about the planning stage precursors is much less severe.
At which point, you are left with madman or palace coup (highly isolated actions begun without the participation of the whole Soviet military as much
as Politburo 'process of execution' activity cue) scenarios in which release of the strategic forces can occur but only on more limited level.
In these conditions, the 'targeting' is entirely diplomatic. As in do we decapitate X, Y and Z before or after they can get into secure bunkers so
deep that it takes a Titan or BUFF (W/B-53) combination to shake them down?
If the answer is before, then just a few B-2 with AGM-131 as much as B-83 can drop on Moscow and a couple other key C3 routing centers, from far
enough away, to possibly score the headshot and let us deal with the aftermath, /quickly/ in a mass publicity/media campaign (Think UN and Adlai
Stevenson with the U-2 photos). While the Russians try to find a replacement head of state and a locksmith to cut new keys for their reserve
The final alternative being some kind of 'we see it coming' crisis not unlike that described in Clancy's _RSR_. Wherein someone gets desperate and
the 1,001 analysts at Langley _do their job_ in time to realize why. Yet are still powerless to do a damn thing about it, /before/ the meltdown.
Indeed, under these conditions, the whole premise of _RSR_ and the _WWIII_ novels is not so much faulted as backwards, because they assume that the
threat to the ME would come as a function of lost rather than gained oil.
And that they would need to take NATO out of the picture first. When in fact, nuclear tripwire brinksmanship works the other way around to secure
their WARPAC satellite safety belt specifically with the intent of making a charge into the PG happen without worrying about forces (or rems) in place
on their own border.
i.e. If you want to hostage your faltering Glasnost/Perestroika'd economic fate to that of the world overall, steal their oil and dare them to pull a
Desert Storm (300 days on) action with 6,000 mile RORO logistics in 20 knot competition with your by-rail ability to shift entire divisions 2,500
miles at 60mph.
In this case point, the B-2 forms a valid ability to single-strike 'impress' the threat force (coming through Iranian and Afghan mountain pass
chokes) with your bloody minded intent: "If I can't own it, neither will you."
Even if only once.
Whether the Spirit is better than a cruise carrier or naval launch system is probably only relative to how much dial-a-yield you promise the locals
"Better a B61 than a W88." to show fallout restraint with. Responsiveness would be critical and we didn't have cruise with the ability to do even
holding orbit or throttle-up/down targeting updates back then.
Just wondering how it was supposed to identify these targets ie on boards systems or via satellite....
Me too. I personally believe that, while the Batarang has a fairly sophisticated ELS system (sufficient to micro-bearing 'tip toe around' escort
threat bubbles as large as the S-300V WEZ) based on a tape-threatlist, it is /nothing close/ to the ESM/ELINT suite of a true ferret like the RC-135
or some of the Rhyolite followons. And yet that ability to mouse-squeaks-in-an-etherous-field sneak into your spectrum use (discrete strategic comms)
-as they happen- on a first encounter basis is the only way I can think of that you could guarantee tracking the GRU missile troops in their
individual scramble areas after they had left the shed.
I suppose it's possible that one of the 'black' constellation in HEO or GEO exists solely to 'theater wide' track regional Russian mobile
strategic flush deployments but frankly, I don't think they have the optical resolution that a LEO reccer does and you could never guarantee or even
/test/ them if they are a radar platform.
In terms of the B-2 itself, actively, the APQ-181 is a Ku-band system and while it is powerful, by bandwidth choice, it is no JSTARS. Very high
vertical resolution in spot mode means you can probably see and maybe even auto-classify the vehicle if you can find it.
But very poor area (range resolution) coverage in sector, along with NO rapid-downrange response capability (SRAMs raison detre`) means you are
effectively 'Hunting Taller Trees In The Taiga'.
With an axe. At a walking pace.
It should probably be said that I am not a great fan of the B-2. I appreciate it's symbolic role as a strategic 'guilty conscience = paranoid
discretion' intimidation platform but as a real world weapons system, it was and remains a tremendous waste of resources without enough sortie depth
of microforce, CONUS radius, to justify it's presence in the OOB.
Tactical flying wings offer a lot more, but only because they are small and cheap enough to restrict the number of things you can expect them to do
while still being range+loiter PRESENT as a 'many vultures circle the soon to be carrion corpse' mechanism for wide area threat coverage.
'In God we trust, everyone else we keep an eye on.'