Originally posted by fritz
reply to post by Brother Stormhammer[/url] Oh dear, I am undone! You are probably right. Hands up, I'll admit it. Nuclear missiles do not
travel at 11,000 miles per second. My mistake. Buggar!
Now the shooting down bit.
Take one carrier battlegroup. Take one neutron device. Launch missile.
Carrier groups get warning and starts to make an evasive course. Missile makes terminal velocity along predicted course.
Carrier group continues to alter course, randomly. Missile reaches separation height and disgorges warhead.
I can only assume at this point that you're hypothetical weapon is a ballistic missile, since those are the only types that intentionally separate
their warheads from their boosters.
There are a few steps here that are being overlooked. As soon as the missile (or its warhead) becomes visible to the carrier group's radar (or the
radar in the early-warning aircraft), the missile will be open to engagement by the Standard-ER long-range SAMs that make up the bulk of the escorts'
missile load. While the exact performance envelope of the Standard is classified, it's been shown that at least *some* versions have envelops that
reach orbital distance. It seems reasonable (if not verifiable) to assume that the ICBM / IRBM warhead would be a valid target long before it's
within danger range of the carrier. Given that the 1960s-era Nike-Hercules could score contact kills against missile warheads, a successful engagement
isn't out of the question by any stretch. On the other hand, it's not a sure thing, either, so let's assume that in spite of multiple shots at a
single target on a predictable course, the warhead reaches its initiation altitude....
Carrier group turns to evade. Warhead detonates several miles above carrier group blanketing the area with neutron radiation.
Aftermath: Carrier battlegroup is left deaf, blind and dumb - as is every other vessel for hundreds of miles.
More realistic scenario: Warhead detonates several miles above the carrier...electronics in the CIC do exactly what they're programmed to do at the
first sign of an EMP-induced current surge, and shut down for anywhere from a half second to five seconds. Crew members swear creatively while various
electronics reboot, and a few very unlucky crewmen who ignored their training and looked up get hauled to sick bay for a chewing-out and a crash
course in Braille.
You might give this a read:
Short essay on EMP effects by someone in "the business"
The author is a professional defense analyst with some rather technical publications and several decades of experience under his belt. I have a
sneaking suspicion that he knows what he's talking about.
Enemy lofts second missile with conventional nuclear payload. Result, as per my post before you replied.
If the second missile is a simple ballistic weapon, its odds of hitting the carrier group, even if said group can't engage it, are fairly small. You
do realize that ballistic weapons (namely, battleship guns) firing at much shorter ranges (a few thousand yards, vs a few thousand miles) had hit
rates in the 3-10% bracket? Even assuming guidance on a par with the open-source figures for the latest generation of US and Russian ICBMs, you're
looking at a CEP measured in hundreds of feet. That's remarkable accuracy when the payload is nuclear, but it's pretty much worthless if you're
lobbing a few thousand pounds of conventional explosive.
I was just trying to make certain people understand that there are more ways to kill a carrier battlegroup than torpedoes, missiles and bombs.
Would my secario work? Of course it would!
When the Russians detonated an exo-atmospheric device over European Russia during the early 70's, there was a widespread radio, television,
radar and electronic blackout ovcer most of Europe.
That was a small device of a couple of kilotons. Imagine a refined device like a 500 Kt Neutron warhead detonating in low space orbit.
The best way to kill a carrier group with a nuke isn't to play Buck Rodgers and try to EMP the task group to death. If you're going to use a nuke,
use it for what it's best at...massive shock. Detonate it about a mile over the center of the group (if you can get it there), and let the blast wave
and the heat do your damage.
The Russian test you mention really isn't as enlightening as you might think. The fact that it blacked out radio and television is really meaningless
in the context of a carrier group...a good thunderstorm can raise hell with civilian radio and TV. Military hardware is built to far more robust and
fault-tolerant standards. Add in four decades of R&D on hardening systems against those effects, and the results of the blast in 2010 will be a lot
As for a neutron warhead initiating in low orbit, let me know when someone's going to try that...I want to be sure I have my camera set up...the
light show should be beautiful. Neutron warheads are the *worst* types of nuclear device to use against carrier groups. They don't generate as much
blast, or as much gamma radiation (the root cause of EMP) as a standard device. They do most of their damage by induced radiation...and from orbital
distance, they'll do little more than provoke a flare in the upper atmosphere. At lower (and more effective) altitudes, they have the distinct
drawback that while they will *eventually* kill the crew of a carrier, it'll take several days for them to die, and in the first few days after the
attack, you'll find yourself dealing with the worst of all possible problems...a shipload of highly trained, nuclear capable aircrews who have
nothing to live for except revenge, and the satisfaction of taking a large honor guard to Valhalla with them. As it was with EMP, so it is with the
neutron bomb...keep it simple, go for the quick kill.