It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Is it bad idea to turn Trident missiles into conventional weaponry?

page: 1
1
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jan, 20 2006 @ 11:17 AM
link   
blogs.washingtonpost.com...


Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg News has another scoop that probably portends the most important strategic military development of our generation.


Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has given the Navy go ahead to develop a conventionally armed Trident missile. Two dozen existing nuclear-armed submarine-launched missiles will be converted to carry conventional warheads. The missiles will then be assigned "global strike" missions to allow quicker preemptive attacks.


For the first time since intercontinental ballistic missiles were "captured" in arms control treaties 40 years ago as unique and potentially destabilizing weapons, the United States will muddy the waters by modifying an existing nuclear weapon for use in day-to-day warfare.


The conversion of Trident missiles abandons the strict segregation of nuclear from conventional weapons.


Seriously, I support turning Trident submarines into Tomahawk launchers, but not Tridents armed with conventional warheads because it could confuse other countries that the delivery system is a nuke instead of a conventional warhead. It sounds cool at first, but in reality, it could lead to disaster. With Tridents armed with conventional warheads, politicians and the brass feels confident that they can launch as many as they want against America's enemies because its not a nuke. But the other side cannot trust that its not armed with nukes, and will retaliate with MAD.




posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 02:23 AM
link   
Good observation. The first indication that a ballistic missile is launched comes from satellite detection by the other side. This would alarm both Russia and China but I would think that a quick calculation of the warhead trajectories would ease their fears as it would be evident that the ordinance would not fall on their land.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 02:34 AM
link   
They are turning several Ohio SSBN missile submarines into SSGN Tomahawk submarines. They're not launching Tridents, they're launching Tomahawks. There is NO confusing a Tomahawk for a Trident. They're completely removing any capability of them to launch Tridents. USS Ohio SSGN 726 was ready for sea trials in October of last year.



Four Ohio-class Trident submarines that were previously scheduled for inactivation during Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004 are being converted to guided missile submarines (SSGN) over a five-year period ending in 2008. The primary missions of the SSGN will be land attack and Special Operations Forces (SOF) insertion and support. Secondary missions will be the traditional attack submarine missions of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), battle space preparation, and sea control.

These ships will be armed with up to 154 Tomahawk® or Tactical Tomahawk® land attack missiles. They will have the ability to carry and support a team of 66 SOF personnel for up to 90 days as compared to 15 days for a SOF outfitted fast attack submarine (SSN). Clandestine insertion and retrieval of these Special Operations Forces will be enhanced by the ability to host dual dry deck shelters and/or Advanced Seal Delivery System. Each SSGN will be able to conduct a variety of peace-time, conventional deterrent, and combat operations all within the same deployment.

www.gruntsmilitary.com...



Ohio is the first of four fleet ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) to be converted into SSGNs. Prior to the conversion process, each boat unloaded its complement of Trident Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles. Twenty-two of the 24 missile tubes on each boat are being retrofitted to carry up to seven Tomahawk cruise missiles, for a maximum load out of 154 missiles per boat. The remaining two tubes are being converted into Lock-in/Lock-out chambers for use by Special Operations Forces (SOF).

Each SSGN will be able to carry and support up to 66 Special Operation Forces for an extended period of time. These ships will have a specialized planning area, physical fitness equipment, and laser shooting ranges for use by the Operators. Further, SSGNs will be able to carry two Advanced SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) Delivery Systems, two Dry deck Shelters, or one of each using the lock-in/lock-out chambers as their docking sites.

www.news.navy.mil...



[edit on 1/21/2006 by Zaphod58]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 07:16 AM
link   
No, this is a separate issue -

"The fiscal year 2007-2011 Department of Defense budget plan calls for building 96 conventional warheads for 24 Navy Trident II missiles"

- they really are putting conventional warheads on D5s, and are developing an upgraded targetting system so they have the necessary accuracy.

Every other nuclear delivery system from the B-52 to the cruise missile has ended up being used for conventional warfare, so this is just a continuation of the trend.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 07:33 AM
link   
It would be stupid to put conventional Tridents on subs - the reason is - Ohi o subs are too expesnive for such task. It would be cheaper and easier to equip Minuteman or retired Peacemakers with conventional warheads and launch them from US mainland. The difference between arrival is almost nonexistent.
Ohio subs are the backbone of US nuclear war strategy.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 07:39 AM
link   

Originally posted by longbow
It would be stupid to put conventional Tridents on subs - the reason is - Ohi o subs are too expesnive for such task. It would be cheaper and easier to equip Minuteman or retired Peacemakers with conventional warheads and launch them from US mainland. The difference between arrival is almost nonexistent.
Ohio subs are the backbone of US nuclear war strategy.


But the Trident would have a much greater accuracy which given the fact that it is a convential warhead is of the most vital importance.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 07:46 AM
link   

Originally posted by longbow
It would be stupid to put conventional Tridents on subs - the reason is - Ohi o subs are too expesnive for such task.


True but if treaty obligations require the navy to retire an SSGN, then a conventional armed Ohio class would make sence.

I posted this thread a year or so ago, but the focus was on convertin minute man missiles for such a task. They would give a 30 minute responce time from launch, etc etc. I suspect that a warning system would be put into place with countries such as China and Russia to inform them of such launches.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 08:30 AM
link   

This program, known as the Enhanced Effectiveness (E2) Initiative, included an initial funding request of $30 million, a three-year study, and a full-scale flight test in early 2007.21 Congress rejected the initial funding request in FY2003 and FY2004, but Lockheed Martin Corporation, the contractor pursuing the study, has continued with a low level of research into this system.

The E2 reentry vehicle would integrate the existing inertial measurement unit (IMU) guidance system (the system currently used to guide long-range ballistic missiles) with global positioning system (GPS) technologies so that the reentry vehicle could receive guidance updates during its flight.22 A standard MK4 reentry vehicle, which is the reentry vehicle deployed on many Trident SLBMs, would be modified with steering system, allowing it to maneuver when approaching its target to improve its accuracy and increase its angle of penetration. This steering system, which the Navy has referred to as a “backpack extension,” would increase the size of the reentry vehicle, making it comparable in size to the MK5 reentry vehicle that is also deployed on Trident missiles. The E2 warhead could possibly provide Trident missiles with the accuracy to strike within 10 meters of their intended, stationary, targets. This accuracy would not only improve the lethality of the nuclear warheads but it would also permit the missiles to destroy some types of targets with conventional warheads.23 Lockheed Martin, has flown two reentry vehicles in test flights of Tridentmissiles.24 In a test conducted in 2002, it demonstrated that the new reentry vehicle could steer towards a target and strike with improved accuracy. In a test conducted in early 2005, a modified version of its reentry vehicle demonstrated that it could not only steer towards a target with improved accuracy, but also slow down and “control the impact conditions,” capabilities that would be needed for the delivery of some types of conventional warheads to their targets.

Lockheed estimates that, if the program received funding from Congress beginning in FY2006, its reentry vehicle could enter production in FY2010 and achieve an initial operational capability in 2011. The Navy, however, has not sought funding for this program since FY2004,

www.fas.org...



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 12:05 PM
link   
I like the idea of land based, conventionally armed ballistic missiles, as it seems the easiest means of achieving global strike capability. (On the other hand, I rocognise the extrodinary danger involved.)

I do not like the idea of putting them onto Ohios, for the simple reason it takes away from thier primary mission. The job of an SSBN is to take a frightening percentage of our nations nuclear weapons, and go hide. Launching ballistic missiles is the anti-thesis of hiding.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 05:27 PM
link   
I honestly don't see this happening. No way. It's WAY too risky. They're gonna call up China and Russia and say "We're launching some ICBMs, but don't worry! They have conventional warheads, so there's nothing to worry about." After they got done laughing, they'd say something along the lines of "Sure. Pull the other one now why don't you." Sure an ICBM with a conventional warhead would be flexible, and give you an worldwide strike in minutes capability, but there is just WAY too much potential for an accident in this. There's no way to differentiate between a surgical strike with one or two missiles, and an actual conventional warhead on one. This seems more like a case of someone trying to come up with some way to improve our capability, for a small amount of money, and get promoted for it.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 09:33 PM
link   
Zap, its not that risky, why would the US attack China and Russia with 2 SLBM’s or ICBMS? The Russians and Chinese can track the trajectory of the missile and they wont confuse it for a real strike, especially if we warn them beforehand. However, I agree that putting them into SSBN’s is a bad idea, their primary mission is to launch Nuclear Weapons, this would reduce their Nuclear Capability and add other complications. Like others have mentioned the strike time between ICBM’s and SLBM’s would be negligible, and the countries we are likely to attack don't have the capability to detect our launches whether they be land based or sea based. Redesigning some of the retiring Peacekeepers is the best way to go about this, they carry up to 10 MIRVs, giving them greater payload capability.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 09:44 PM
link   
It's called a Decapitation Strike. You launch a limited strike of just a few missiles and take out their leadership wihle they sit there minding their own business. While that may not be what's going on, that's going to be what they're THINKING. One of the things that has been done with ICBMs is to put the warhead in orbit, let it orbit a few times, and then drop it on a target. Even if you track the missile trajectory it's possible to change it once the warhead separates.

DId you read the thread of the Russian officer that recently got an award from the UN? Standard Soviet doctrine was that if ANY missiles were launched from the US without warning, they retaliate with everything they have. What happens if we warn say China, and they don't believe us? They're going to launch their own right back. They might not be able to hit the US, but they can hit Japan, Guam, Korea, Okinawa.... It's just too risky to even take the CHANCE at a misunderstanding.

[edit on 1/21/2006 by Zaphod58]



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 10:05 PM
link   
But Zap, I’m sure we can come up with enough safeguards to ensue such a misunderstanding does not occur. If we could the benefits would be unprecedented, global reach within minutes using conventional weapons.

I know what you are trying to say though. Below is an incident that came within minutes of ending the world. In 1995 a scientific team near Norway fired a missile in the atmosphere to collect data. The missile was picked up on Russian early warning radar, this put the Russian on alert. Coincidently the missile was following a similar route as US warheads coming in over the north pole would. This prompted the Russians to activate their equivalent of the “nuclear football” and to order several SSBN’s to prepare for strategic missile launch. Thankfully the missile fell into the artic water minutes before the Russians were about to give the order the launch Nuclear missiles at the US. It is the closest the two countries have come to a nuclear exchange, closer then perhaps even the Cuban Missile Crisis.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 10:08 PM
link   
There was another incident where they registered 5 US ICBMs launched. Their orders were to launch immediately, but the commander delayed and they were able to show it was a computer glitch. If he hadn't delayed and had followed orders, we wouldn't be sitting here right now.



posted on Jan, 21 2006 @ 10:19 PM
link   
Yes, in my scenario the Russians could only launch when their President issued the order. Several Russian generals issued an order to Russian subs to launch strategic nuclear missiles at the US, however the Russian president at the time Boris Yeltsin hesitated and delayed repeating the order. If he hadn’t we also would not be here today.



posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 02:13 AM
link   

Originally posted by WestPoint23
Yes, in my scenario the Russians could only launch when their President issued the order. Several Russian generals issued an order to Russian subs to launch strategic nuclear missiles at the US, however the Russian president at the time Boris Yeltsin hesitated and delayed repeating the order. If he hadn’t we also would not be here today.


I have never heard of orders being given to the submarines. The Russian system is far more dependant on computers rather than humans. For example the Russian football would issue the codes directly to the launch centers or SLBM's, it wouldn't go through generals etc.
So I find it highly unlikely that orders were given to submarines to launch, especially when they would be targetted at cities.



posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 02:17 AM
link   
The incident I'm thinking of is a lot less well known. Their standing orders were to launch immediately if they detected a US launch. No waiting for codes, or orders to subs, or anything of the sort. It was an immediate launch situation. They detected 5 missiles, the commander decided to wait, since it was only 5, and it turned out to be a computer error.



posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 02:53 AM
link   
I think conventional armed Tridents wouldn't be such a bad idea. Everyone talks about ooooh, what about Russia and China. Well unless you're attacking them what difference does it make, they aren't going to do anything if the warheads aren't coming towards them. So what's the problem ?

As the article I posted states above, conventionally armeds tridents offer far greater performance at destroying buried targets than any ' bunker buster ' the US or western powers currently field.

A slow lumbering Tomahawk makes a poor substitute.



posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 02:55 AM
link   
Because as I stated before, once they're in the orbital stage, it would be possible to alter their course and drop it on China or Russia, even if you launch on a different trajectory.



posted on Jan, 22 2006 @ 03:06 AM
link   

Originally posted by Zaphod58
Because as I stated before, once they're in the orbital stage, it would be possible to alter their course and drop it on China or Russia, even if you launch on a different trajectory.


Woudn't make any difference, a decapitation strike wouldn't work today. By your logic any rocket launched in space could be a FOBS. You don't see them going on alert, everytime a satellite is launched.
Besides the Chinese or the Russians would have plenty of time to respond if a warhead came their way.
I don't see any doomsday scenarios as some people do.




top topics



 
1
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join