Re: national missle defense (the old Russian answer to the problem)

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 22:11:22 MDT

john grigg wrote:

> ...Soviet answer to the problem which was to simply arm the defensive missle
> with a NUCLEAR warhead which would detonate as it got near the enemy missle!!

Ja, of course the whole point of a defensive missile is to phase out
all nukes, not add a bunch more.

> You don't need dead-on accuracy if a nuke is used!! lol

Actually for that application you really do. Remember that
a re-entry body is spiralling like a football, travelling at very
high velocity and has the ability to absorb an enormous amount
of heat, since it must do so during a typical re-entry event.

I havent done the calcs rigorously, but recall that the re-entry
body is travelling in the opposite direction as the antimissile
missile, so the closing speed is likely at least 10 km/sec.
Using very conservative estimates of heat flux capability
of the RB, and pretty much ignoring the built in safety factor
(recall that the last 89 re-entry tests in a row have been
successful) and further recalling that the burst would likely
occur in the very thin air (so no relying on the shock wave
to help out) then one can see that a burst would need to
occur within perhaps 100 meters of the RB, and even then
I wouldnt bet that the radiation flux would be sufficient in the
few milliseconds of exposure to either destroy the rad-hardened
warhead or ablate away enough material to cause the re-entry
body to fail.

Nowthen, the commies have had an opposite approach to
defense than the US. They tend to exaggerate their
capability, we tend to understate ours. Note the parades
of tanks and planes thru Moscow where they had them go
around in a huge loop so as to convince the proletariat there
were more of them than actually existed, whereas the US
position has always been: when in doubt stamp it
classified and hide everything.

The ABM treaty of 1972 allowed a number of antimissile
missiles. The commies deployed a number of systems that
we can be pretty confident would not have worked. The
US had a few for a while, but took them away when it became
clear the tech wasnt ready yet, and made no secret of the
fact that we have no deployed antinuke system as allowed
under the treaty.

> I read the
> Russians built a string of bunkers around Moscow which could repeatedly
> launch these missles in a probably vain attempt at stopping hundreds of
> incoming western missles from destroying the city.

Its referenced in William E. Burrows' excellent book Critical Mass.
My guess is that that system would not have stopped a damn one
of the incoming, not one.

> At least they addressed
> the issue and did the best they could with the technology available to them.

...which was quite insufficient at that time and now. To stop
a nuke missile after MIRV, you really need body to body contact,
which requires the very fastest computers available today, plus a
whole bunch of other support stuff that the bad guys dont have yet,
wont have for some time to come, and is a hell of a challenge
even for the good guys today.

John, you can thank your god, the rest of us flaming atheists can
only thank nothing that we never had a nuke war. John, you pray
to your god, the rest of us can only hope and pray fervently to
nobody that we never do. spike

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:33:56 MDT