posted on Jun, 13 2006 @ 12:57 AM
Uhh, correct me if Im wrong, but the original article made no reference to ballistic missiles specifically just 'boost phase'. It then goes on to
specifically mention cruise missile defence, which would be more in keeping with the net-centric warfare.
IR weapons are notorious for 'seeker smear' in tracking truly lolo threats buried in clutter. Furthermore, the way you cue to CMs is through
sidelook (radar) search across the expected ground track 'en passant' as they provide a lateral body signature and potential radalt glint. For the
F-22, without an AIRST and with limited force numbers, once you have tracking, there is little reason to waste time subsequently swinging round onto a
wave-attack (1st, 2nd, 3rd = 20-30-40 missiles) just to deliver a snapdown IR shot against a maybe jet plume.
OTOH, if you an find a CM in 'boost phase' (just out of the launch trailer with the blip acceleration motor still burning), then _why are you not
bombing the TEL!_. Assuming you have air overhead in a contested environment, you may have /minutes to hours/ to kill a cruise weapon but TBM
engagement windows are measured in seconds.
If I want to effect a useful CM defense, I keep the airplanes with bombs going forward into enemy territory where their effect is most felt
irrespective of any spite-reaction attempts to widen the war.
Then I put multistatic JLENS systems in a series of X patterns as route defense in front of defended targets and run MALI or some other extended-LOAL
'over the horizon' system forward until they can acquire the target on a _flat_ LOS with Mountain Top type handoff sureties via a digital tether and
tracking overlap of the cueing radars.
Then I use ATL on a C-130 or M-THEL on the back of a Semi Trailer or a SeaLITE on a ship to get approaches overwatch as the last of the area defenders
come off the mid ABZ.
And finally, I put Red Rover Come Over (I dare'ya!) Skeet->AHM->ACM systems scattered in depth all over the terminal lanes to the highest value
Lastly, I _do not commit_ to an infrastructure or ground force disembarkation strategy with an advanced threat capable of making me choose between
defending what I have and prosecuting their behinds to the utmost 'with prejudice' degree possible. Half of losing is showing an enemy that you
care more for what you have than what you want to do to him. It's a loss of initiative that feeds their coup-sense of gamesmanship and tactically it
is a waste of force logistics when your SOLE offensive capability is airborne.
The AIM-120 would have to be launched from within 20 miles of the ICBM launch I'd guesstimate [going with the ICBM being non-interceptable 30 seconds
after launch due to it being quicker than the missile itself at that point], 30 secs at mach 3 is around 17 miles, 20 miles leaves a nice margin of
error. You can be sure that the airspace around a ICBM launch site will be extremely lethal, even for F-22s.
The problem here is that of wasted sorties with a small force vs. coverage likelihoods on distributed threats and 'protected' targets. Indeed,
nukes remain fools weapons whose incredible destructive ability and lingering aftermath make it impossible to achieve the purpose of the strike
without doing -so much- damage that you cannot avoid a similar escalation (counter force to value) in kind. Similarly, ballistic delivery parabolics
simply points a finger at the idiot about to burn his country to ground level.
OTOH, if I had wanted to really put a crimp in the 3rd IDs advance on Baghdad, saturation (surround sound = from behind as well as before) attacks by
150-250km ballistic missles on the order of ATACMS, stuffed with even dumb submunitions, would have been the way I went about it. Then I need only
look at the likely AAs being used and the rates of advance as relayed by ground observers with _no intent_ of direct engagement.
_Theoretically_ (no DCA, limited S2A, non functional ADGE warning), under these specific conditions, it is wiser to have a stationed force of
dry-humping interceptors doing nothing but hold-up-the-sky with a couple BPI mechanicals than it is to try and leapfrog PAC-3 batteries offset from
the axes of advance in a fashion that often put them /ahead of/ the spearheads. And in danger of attacking allied air as much as anything really
headed towards the armor units. Given enough cutoff and a headstart, an NCADE can probably handle a Mach 3-5 tactical/battlefield ballistic
It -may- also give the Iranians something to think about should they try to 'defend' a set of fixed, high value, assets with depressed trajectory
strategic shots against U.S. forces disembarking or stationed elsewhere in theater. Nothing like having radioactive bits of your own vengeance weapon
fall back on your head to make you look like a well-deserving jerk for having attempted the horrific. Again, assuming you can find the TEL and put
air overhead (where S2A BPI is largely impossible).
A proper boost phase intercept talks about interceptors with speeds of 6-10 km/sec - thats Mach 20 +.
TBMs (Theater Ballistic Missiles) typically run much slower and lower, around Mach 8-12 (5-7,000mph). Since even Shahab-5/6 (if they have them) are
about 1,500-2,000 miles short of hitting CONUS though they may make the Canucks rather miserable. If you are looking at MRBM or lower class systems,
you can 'get by' with as little as a 4km/sec interceptor (which I think is a treaty imposed limit for 'dual role' SAM systems employed tactically)
_provided_ you have the early cue to get it up and the lane-coverage to put the weapon into collision course.
The ability to hit crosstrack threats is what defines the limits of ALL mechanical interceptors.
It is why Arrow works and THAAD doesn't as an NMD system which comes across trying to defend the 'likeliest routes' out of Norkia and into CONUS
with all of 10 interceptors rather than one which is essentially just an upper tier umbrella for a very narrow ground target footprint (roughly the
size of New Jersey) all of whose 'highest value' assets are terminally cross coverable (Haifa, Jerusalem, Zekariyah, Dimona at least) with 1-2
primary arcs of midcourse loft to get into track. Backed up by smaller ERINT level systems for short range weapons (Syria and her horde of TBMs).
Now look at things from the Iranian viewpoint of 'wanting to rule the world, again' (2,500 years on). They don't need to win. They just need to
make it look like the bad ol' Western Powers are bullying a small state into a position wherefrom they 'must stand up for themselves or else'. On
the basis of "If you attack us, we wll obliterate the Jews and irradiate the Saudi oil lading/refinement capabilities." Spoiling for others what
they have neither rights to nor need of, themselves.
This act is what shows the true colors of the Iranian mind.
Of course an attack with nuclear capable systems (yes, I think they have them now) would result in instant NQA retaliation by either the House of Saud
and the Israelis. But to pound your enemy into ash by pulling the temple down around you in a 'Samson' policy, only works if you believe that
Ahmadinejad is like Stalin, a bully without balls who can be backed down. Instead of a madman leading a like minded horde of the unwashed barbaria.
If "God is pleased." by an instant of martyrdom stupidity, you must defend at the same time you obliterate for your enemy is truly rabid an without
moral compunction for his own life.
Again, in some ways, it makes sense to do this on the launch end when Mach number is low, the weapon has not bussed and there is no MIRV/MARV/LO
technology factors to consider.