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

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posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 07:14 PM
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Nothing we're talking about is even "Confidential"... Biggest general-public mistake is assuming classification.

Otherwise, you're right; however, you merely reiterated exactly what I said. Additionally, SOSUS is limited in it's hydrophone locations.




posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 07:21 PM
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MT2 (SS)
Strategic Fire Control Division
USS Kentucky (Gold) / USS Alaska (Blue)
1999-2004

Sandman, you're not saying I pulled this outta my ass, are you?



posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 07:28 PM
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Zaphod58, if you're interested, it's water that ejects a torpedo from the tube -- Not compressed air. On a Trident, 1500psi air does spin the Torpedo Ejection Pump turbine that pumps the water, but water flushes the torpedo out.

And, boy, that air noise is LAF when you're standing in the torpedo room.



posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 07:40 PM
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Originally posted by GSak
MT2 (SS)
Strategic Fire Control Division
USS Kentucky (Gold) / USS Alaska (Blue)
1999-2004

Sandman, you're not saying I pulled this outta my ass, are you?


Absolutely not! No disrespect intended.
Just repeating what I have read, seen and heard. Very limited, but I am a Cold War study. I grew up in the middle to end of it, and majored in political economics. What did I do with it? Got the ratings and became an airline pilot. I get to talk to a lot of military pilots though, some B-52 pilots as well, and enjoy the armchair General position. No expert, but I do have a broad interest and information base, unclassified.

[edit on 14-2-2006 by Sandman11]



posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 07:49 PM
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What I did get out of the BUFF pilots, was that when SOUSAS sensors detected a Soviet "Boomer" close off our coast, the potential of a "depressed trajectory" launch with only about 5 minutes warning would force the pilots of SAC to have to actually sit in the cockpits ready to go. Not much warning time.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 06:36 AM
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Sounds like Gsak is a boomer sonar expert, quite a source. He probably is the authority on acoustics of a missile launch in this group. So the question is, how far can such a launch be detected acoustically, assuming precautions are taken. How vulnerable is a SSBN after a missile lauch? I wouldn't give a Chinese or Russian SSBN much of a chance after a launch, so I guess it depends on who we are fighting. The next best in the world is probably the Russians, as a potential adversary. (of course the British are probably better than Russians, maybe better than us, but they are not potential combabant adversaries). How good are they? Their latest attack sub, still fitting out, is suppose to be better/quieter than any of the Los Angelas class. Russian Weaponry in subs is also more innovative than the US, at least in the public world.



[edit on 15-2-2006 by Sandman11]



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 11:25 AM
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Minimum-loft trajectories at or near the minimum range of an intercontinental missile are less than ideal when you're talking about re-entry stress profiles, and five minutes isn't even remotely close to the minimum flight time of a long-range, multi-stage, solid-fuel missile. I'm not too familiar with the technical details of IRBMs or cruise missiles.

I'm sure that back in the days of the old triad, the BUFF drivers were drilled into the dirt... but the days of bombers being alert during high-number DEFCONs are long-gone.

I'm interested in what comes out of the original E2 re-entry body program, especially as it applies to non-nuclear payloads. The technology (according to public sources) is supposed to be able to reduce the RB impact velocity enough to facilitate useful bunker penetration.

The summary of my reason for posting here, I suppose, is that it's a smart move to go conventional with the D5. They're not accurate enough to pull it off without improved accuracy, but I think that a re-entry-phase terminal steering upgrade would hit big with tungsten KEPs or conventional/thermobaric HE.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 11:41 AM
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Submarine SONAR sucks. I've met SOSUS guys, but didn't talk detection ranges -- It would be classified Secret, anyway, if I had.

The spherical array is useless, in my opinion. The towed arrays (when they're not broken) are okay, but you need to pay attention to detail to get anything out of them.

It's hard to say, man... it depends on the sea state and the ambient noise. It depends if you have retarded dolphins following you around and making noise -- If you want to jack-up a boat's detection capabilities, air-drop dolphins right above it.

Besides, you could hear a launch far away, but would you know what it was if you weren't looking for it? It depends on who's on watch in the shack.

My answer is, that if a fast-attack wasn't onto them and they weren't near a SOSUS hydrophone, they'd get away with it, acoustically. The ocean's too big.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by GSak
Submarine SONAR sucks. I've met SOSUS guys, but didn't talk detection ranges -- It would be classified Secret, anyway, if I had.



What about the sonar technology on the Seawolf and Virginia? Are they an improvement over the sonar in the Ohio class boomers you served on?



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 12:48 PM
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Yes, but the more noticable improvements would be to the fire-control system and data integration. Broadband sonar is still a just a guesstimating technology.

Heads up, no one in the sub community says "boomer" -- That was the nickname in the days of the 41-for-freedom boats (Unless, of course, you're talking about the "boomer pin" that we wear below our fish). Also, no one says "Ohio" anymore, either. It's just "Trident" -- Even in official documents -- With the exception of very formal change-of-command or commissioning/decom literature. We don't care, really, but it pegs you as an outsider.

Just lookin' out.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:00 PM
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Originally posted by GSak

Heads up, no one in the sub community says "boomer" -- That was the nickname in the days of the 41-for-freedom boats (Unless, of course, you're talking about the "boomer pin" that we wear below our fish). Also, no one says "Ohio" anymore, either. It's just "Trident" --


So its pretty much just simply a boat. A big boat.
You believe its a good idea to have the Trident missiles be converted to launch conventional warheads? Or just have the silos launch Tomahawks?



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 01:58 PM
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Yup, "boat" or "the boat" are common ones (never "ship").

The accuracy CEP of the current D5 guidance sytem (Mk 6) is unacceptable for conventional weapon use. Improvements would have to be deployed to the guidance system and/or to the re-entry bodies (RBs; RVs if you're Air Force).

In theory, I believe that conventionally-armed D5 missiles could and would play a critical role in covering high-value targets within the Prompt Global Strike (PGS) concept, if they were to be implemented.

The downside of a solid-fuel post-boost control subsystem is the reduced overall footprint size -- This is the overall area within which all the target aimpoints are contained. Submarines will never go with a liquid fueled PBCS due to safety reasons.

Some of the variables: Will the targets be pre-planned or adaptively-targeted? If adaptively targeted, would the crews be using EAM retargeting or would they be issued standard target change data tapes, magneto-optical discs, radio room downlink, whatever...

How many exercises and tactical launches would be required to validate the concept and end-to-end response time? Someone has to make an EAM and get it approved. The boat's radio guys and the EA team have to receive / decode the EAM. The Skipper, XO and EA team members have to authenticate the execution order. The missile techs, Weps and Aweps in MCC have to input and verify the targeting data. The crew has to man battlestations. The guidance systems have to spin-up. And the missile has to fly it's entire flight profile before it releases it's payload.

Now you have to look at what targets we're willing to "uncover" for missile-to-footprint reassignment for these new conventional sorties. Are alert boats on both coasts going to be made available for conventional target packages? Are they going to be assigned to mod-alert boats only? Are these strikes going to be considered an OPLAN 8044 (SIOP) execution??? Holy crap, I just pissed myself.

Just don't be a sheep and start baaa'ing about the co-existing of conventional arms amongst nuclear. You'd see a fire-control system software revision, at a minimum -- Maybe even new hardware interlocks. There'd be non-nuclear verification with radiacs, there'd be micro-managing, and there'd be more layers of safety abstraction than would even be needed.

No doubt Lockheed would be thrilled that we'd be spending more money on missiles we're actually going to shoot. I'd put-up with the extra gas generator replacements and fired-tube cleanings if I thought I was part of actually hitting something besides water.


If there was a chance that the targets were going to stand still for a couple hours, you can count that a Trident crew would be more than happy to go tactical. It'd just be an expensive shot.

So would you rather hope a 30mph submarine is at the launch point and toss a few subsonic missiles with short ranges, or would you rather magically blast your opponent with eight, mach-10 warheads from outer space?

Besides, who ever said that the warheads needed to hit different aimpoints? SmackSmackSmackSmackSmackSmackSmackSmack.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 02:09 PM
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The Trident D-5 is without parallel. It is an end all be all of strategic nuclear weapons, particularly if the 6-8 warheads on each are the W-88 475 Kiloton variety which has a "hard target" capability. As a conventional weapon I would imagine it to be quite pricy, but it would bring some capability to the table. What does a D-5 cost? I guess 10-20 million? A cruise missile is only a million or so, so the cost would be high. On the other hand it would provide a very high speed, invulnerable capability to hit targets with "double diget" SAM defences. Cruise missile technology is 30 years old, and defenses against them are improving across the world. "Advanced Cruise Missiles" the Air Force has with stealth technology incorperated may offset this, but as far as weapons from a submarine, nothing would stop a Trident 2 outside of a true ABM, and even then maybe not. So the real queston is economics; how many cruise missiles can you buy for a trident 2, and which option would give the best capability? 1 Trident, or 15 or so cruise or JASSMs?



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 02:11 PM
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disregard


[edit on 15-2-2006 by Sandman11]



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 02:16 PM
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With a time critical target which might justify a conventional Trident, wouldnt' there be a complication with communication with the Sub in that ELF takes a while to even transmit something of short nature? Of course there could be UHF with the aircraft link method as well, but I know even less of this.

My only problem with the concept of conventional Trident missiles would be that they replace and consequently reduce the number of thermonuclear Tridents.
I am a strong believer in "overkill".

Was there any plans to reload Tridents at sea during a conflict? This capability might aleviate that problem to some extent.

[edit on 15-2-2006 by Sandman11]



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 03:16 PM
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> With a time critical target which might justify a conventional Trident, wouldnt'
> there be a complication with communication with the Sub in that ELF takes a
> while to even transmit something of short nature? Of course there could be
> UHF with the aircraft link method as well, but I know even less of this.

You get an ELF 3-digit code that tells you to come to periscope depth and copy message traffic.

> My only problem with the concept of conventional Trident missiles would be
> that they replace and consequently reduce the number of thermonuclear
> Tridents.
> I am a strong believer in "overkill".

They would proportionately reduce the number of survivable nuclear sorties available during a nuclear conflict -- You are correct.

> Was there any plans to reload Tridents at sea during a conflict? This
> capability might aleviate that problem to some extent.

There is, currently, no capability to reload D5 missiles at sea. Tenders never have supported D5s, and they're getting pretty old.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 03:23 PM
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Besides, the D5 is awkward to reload because it usually rifles out of alignment during the drop from the can into the tube. Sometimes they're smooth, but missile moves usually are a pain.

There is a strict limit on how many seconds of arc a D5 can be rotated inside the launch tube, and this error is proportional to missile accuracy.



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 05:17 PM
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That is too bad. I thought I had read somewhere that SLBMs were to be reloaded at by tenders during a nuke war, but maybe that is dated. Perhaps that was Polaris or Posidon that could do that? Anyway, the Soviets could reload many of their ICBMs. Like I said, I like overkill in our advantage. I am sure those silos wouldn't exist to fire a second shot as well though, but I do think the Soviets have planned more extensively in some aspects of nuclear doctrine. Hopefully I am wrong.

[edit on 15-2-2006 by Sandman11]



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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I wouldn't count on the Russians having anything superior to the C4. And you can count the Typhoons out of the equation, all together.

Your information on tenders was solid up until we flipped the ol' calendar page on the days of the C4-backfit.

Don't count on Tridents reloading trans or post-SIOP.



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:04 PM
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ELF has gone "Cold Iron", no more xmit.

ET2/SS (Radioman)
USS Alaska Blue
On Active Duty



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