Originally posted by Biigs
reply to post by pteridine
dont forget about inertia, these rockets are pretty big and moving VERY fast, the kinetic force from just the mass of the payload would likely rip a
boat in two anyway let along the detonation.
Most ballistic missile warheads tip the scales at a few hundred pounds (the W56 1.2 megaton warhead from a 1990s-era LGM-30F was about 700 lbs), and
the warheads aren't going to be moving at 'meteor strike' velocities. A dud strike would probably tear a 'boat' to pieces, but a ship the size of
an aircraft carrier would be somewhat less damaged. Such an impact might be problematical...any damage to the flight deck is going to be serious in
terms of operational capability, even if it doesn't endanger the ship's actual survival, and any penetration into the hangar deck is going to be
messy, full stop. On the other hand, modern U.S. CVs and CVNs have proven remarkably hard to sink. A look at the fires aboard the USS Forrestal and
the USS Enterprise will give you some idea of just how hard.
But like i already speculated before, i would not be surprised if they pack a few small tactic nukes into those things, they arnt cheap but compared
to US air craft carrier they are peanuts.
Not a smart move. Ballistic missiles with conventional warheads are already a dicey proposition...after all, the target of the missile has no way to
know whether the incoming 'care package' is conventional or nuclear until the warhead goes off (best case) or initiates (nuclear case). With a
purely conventional spread of warheads, you don't do nearly the damage of a nuclear strike, but you also don't immediately escalate the war to a
full-up "laydown at the O.K. Corral". With a nuclear strike, your target is *gone*, but the war suddenly got a lot more deadly. "Mixing in" a few
tactical nuclear warheads with a conventional package gets you the worst of all worlds. Your target might survive the use of tactical nuclear devices,
particularly a dispersed and well-defended target like a carrier task force, and you've just crossed the nuclear threshold, which means that the
highly irate surviving members of the task group will more than likely respond with any and all means at their disposal. A Ticonderoga and a couple of
Arleigh Burkes is already bad for your health, even without the carrier they're escorting...but when the entire sales and marketing staff of the
Curtis LeMay Canned Sunshine Company shows up for a house call, it's going to be ugly. The question isn't whether or not a few tactical nuclear
devices are cheaper than a U.S. aircraft carrier....it's whether or not you're willing to trade a few naval bases and their associated population
centers for said carrier.