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US Tests New Missile Defense

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the doesn't-involve-sharks-or-lasers dept.

The Military 278

pumpkinpuss writes "The US military yesterday shot down a missile in a test simulating a long-range ballistic missile attack by a potential adversary such as North Korea or Iran. The target missile was launched from Kodiak Island, Alaska, at 3:04 PM Eastern time, tracked simultaneously by several ground and ship-based radars, and intercepted by a 'kill vehicle' 3,000 kilometers away over the Pacific 25 minutes later, according to the Missile Defense Agency. Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly said, 'The kill vehicle was sent to a very accurate spot in space giving us great confidence.'" Reader gilgsn points out the testing of a different "multiple kill vehicle" by Lockheed Martin, which was able to hover over the ground and track a target. Video of the test (WMV) is also available.

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278 comments

Its... (0, Flamebait)

XTrollX (1398725) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012559)

Nice to see that our tax dollars are going towards a good cause.

It will be cut. (5, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012583)

We don't need it anyway. If we are attacked during the Obama administration, he would call up the people that launched the missile, and after they talk, the aggressors will will see it Obama's way and press the self destruct button.

Re:It will be cut. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012633)

Obama can do Jedi mind tricks?

Better (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012669)

Obama can do Jedi mind tricks?

Better. Even if you are the biggest and baddest, you still treat others with respect. It works miracles.

Re:Better (5, Insightful)

aurispector (530273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012763)

Your first comment was modded funny, so apparently others thought they saw sarcasm. OTOH this comment makes the first one kind of scary.

Re:It will be cut. (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013141)

Of course, the real issue is which probability is higher: somebody lobbing one ICBM at us and the system successfully working, vs. the system causing increased tensions with Russia which gives a freer hand to China, Iran, etc.

Re:It will be cut. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013265)

the real problem with it working is the only thing more devastating than a nuke detonating would be successfully vaporizing one in the atmosphere.

Re:It will be cut. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013233)

Actually the chances we're going to need this during the Obama administration are probably a lot less than during the Bush years as Obama isn't likely to go pissing off every other country in the world like Bush did.

Re:Its... (0, Flamebait)

VagaStorm (691999) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012825)

I admittedly did not read the article, but how is this system supposed to track a nuke in a backpack?

Re:Its... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013303)

It wouldn't have to fit into a backpack. Smugglers have submarines [freerepublic.com] with 15 tons of cargo capacity. Who knows how many runs they make every year. Then there are tunnels [msn.com].

Re:Its... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013529)

I admittedly did not read the article, but how is this system supposed to track a nuke in a backpack?

It doesn't, but it makes people sit at home and feel safe so they don't see it coming. It's like taking sleeping pills before an earthquake, just relax and everything is fine.

Re:Its... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013897)

A nuke in a backpack is good for a surprise attack but not much use as a threat. Anyhow backpack sized nukes are not technologically trivial things to construct.

Re:Its... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013253)

Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon and all the other subs get their systems operational and sit in their chairs watching the scopes waiting for the target vehicle to launch. This simulates the conditions of the future ops centers when they're fully staffed - these people are essentially temps. The "surprise" window is six hours long where the target vehicle crew pushes their button whenever they want. They don't tell anyone they did it. It's now up to the intercept team to detect and intercept the target, so yes, it's a little slice of a "real world" situation.

The question is, if six hours costs $120 million, what will full time operations cost? Granted they actually prepped for months, expended two vehicles and have to temporarily deploy all these people and gear. Taking that out of the balance sheet, what's it going to cost to operate the real deal? It's expensive but still not so expensive that it's cheaper to allow the West coast of the U.S. to be showered with N. Korean nukes.

Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Insightful)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012593)

I can understand N. Korea since they can actually reach the Aleutians... but Iran? I'd like to see some propaganda that actually is realistic and Iran coming up with a missile that can reach the US is something of a fairy tale.

Maybe using it to stop a missile from reaching Israel.......

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (5, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012603)

Iran can't yet hit the USA, but can hit Israel and europe. Also they aren't called ICBM for nothing. They can travel around the globe.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012635)

...can hit Israel...

If they would stop stealing Arab land, we wouldn't have to be worrying about this!

Settlers == squatters.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012851)

The stinky Arabs have no claim to any of that land. It was Jewish land long before that pig fucker Mohammed ever came along. If anything, those Arab bastards should repent and give back all the land they stole from the Jews.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Funny)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012943)

Yeah, let's spend another couple of thousands of years on solving the issue...

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012971)

... why does it matter now anyway? It's not like the people living in those areas NOW are affected by whatever happened earlier? One still live where one live. Also we're all just humans, borders and owning more land when what you need to live on don't make much sense anyway.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013117)

Nuclear holocaust to Israel for "stealing" land that is less than 0.1% of the Arab world? Not to mention how many Jews were expelled from their land in Arab countries... yet, non of them attempted wholesale inhalation of their Arab country of origin!

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013469)

Congratulations on using "Jews" and "wholesale" in the same sentence without it being a racist joke.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (4, Interesting)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012741)

I can understand N. Korea since they can actually reach the Aleutians... but Iran?

I think Iran and North Korea are simply the easiest threats to identify right now. What this system is designed to do is counter any country that is not deterred by the threat of massive retaliation. Whether it be Iran, North Korea, a destabilized Russia, or a fundamentalist lead Pakistan, this system should give pause to any suicidal leader who is willing to trade the annihilation of his country for the chance to wipe out at least one American city.

That being said, by the time Iran acquires the ability to launch ICBMs at the US, this program may actually work as advertised.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Insightful)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013207)

I think Iran and North Korea are simply the easiest threats to scare the public with right now.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012791)

So since we've got some tiny islands that N Korea could barely reach if it got really lucky, that N Korea could benefit from attacking only by escalating a shooting war with the US, we should... polish the trigger and load the gun?

If N Korea could hit something that actually damaged US ability to counterattack militarily, economically, or - last resort, like always - diplomatically (like cut off their trade with all their neighbors), then we might want to consider an antimissile defense. But the Aleutians are a buffer against such an attack. If they hit them, we'd suffer minimal loss, and N Korea would finally find itself facing the most global opposition possible. It would be a boon to the US, just as Georgia's attacking Russia finally gave Russia the chance to slap down its Georgia nuisance.

Because the US, unlike N Korea, has plenty of reach anywhere in N Korea, once the nice guy gloves are off. And N Korea, unlike the Aleutians, is full of targets useful for destroying its regime.

In case you missed it, I'll make it plain: an antimissile defense of the Aleutians from N Korea is precisely the worst distraction from the proper, conventional response. Even plainer: exactly like invading Iraq when a couple dozen mostly Saudis attacked us from an HQ in Afghanistan protected by the secret police in Pakistan, antimissile defense of the Aleutians from N Korea is a bait & switch that would just squander everything, including unprecedented world alliance, to make everything worse, with no way out.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (5, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012925)

So since we've got some tiny islands that N Korea could barely reach if it got really lucky, that N Korea could benefit from attacking only by escalating a shooting war with the US, we should... polish the trigger and load the gun?

I think this is an arms race. Right now North Korea can only hit some tiny islands, and our tests only work in well controlled simulations. The hope is, by the time Korea can hit our mainland with nukes, we have a fully functional and completely deployed version of this technology. We can't just sit on our hands and wait for Korea(or Iran, or Pakistan) to obtain the capacity, and will, to hit us before we start the decades long research and development.

If they hit them, we'd suffer minimal loss, and N Korea would finally find itself facing the most global opposition possible. It would be a boon to the US, just as Georgia's attacking Russia finally gave Russia the chance to slap down its Georgia nuisance.

What we are preparing for is the nuclear ICBM equivalent of a suicide bomber. The coldly logical, and successful, strategies of MAD do not hold when confronted with an opponent that doesn't care if they face "the most global opposition possible". Losing a large American city to a nuclear ICBM is not at all equal to Russia's "Georgia nuisance".

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013249)

North Korea can hit the US with a nuke right now! All it takes is a container shipped into the New York harbor.

Assuming, of course, that NK actually has any nukes after their "test."

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013289)

I'm far more concerned about North Korea hitting Tokyo than Honolulu or LA. The sad truth is that tensions between Korea and Japan haven't died down that much since WWII.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1, Flamebait)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013069)

Georgia attacking Russia

Er, what??? Do you actually believe what Putin says? Since when defending yourself against attacks from (Russian-sponsored) terrorists from YOUR OWN TERRITORY "attacking Russia"?

Either you're trolling, or... I don't really want to know what could be an "or"...

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013531)

I wish I had modpoints. Your points are good and well-taken.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012829)

Once North Korea has ICBMs they will sell them to Iran and the like.

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_01-02/IranNK [armscontrol.org]

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013005)

And considering how high tech and modern north korea is that can only be like, what, centuries from now? =P

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013437)

They tossed one over Japan a couple of years ago. That means they've solved a lot of the fundamental problems, and what they have left to do is mostly a question of scale and manufacturing ability.

The vast majority of people in North Korea may live like medieval peasants, but that's because their leadership keeps whatever material wealth the country can generate to themselves, or they sink it into arms production. They should not be underestimated.

Since the country is so opaque, I'd think that it's unsafe to assume that they don't have the ability to hit the West Coast already.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (2, Insightful)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012847)

I can understand N. Korea since they can actually reach the Aleutians... but Iran? I'd like to see some propaganda that actually is realistic and Iran coming up with a missile that can reach the US is something of a fairy tale. Maybe using it to stop a missile from reaching Israel.......

You answered your own question. Iran is a missile threat versus countries such as Israel, Turkey, and Europe, which are allies. Keep in mind that a good bit of the missile defense system will be located in Israel and Eastern Europe.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (4, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013269)

I can understand N. Korea since they can actually reach the Aleutians... but Iran? I'd like to see some propaganda that actually is realistic and Iran coming up with a missile that can reach the US is something of a fairy tale.

I don't understand why it's automatically assumed that this defense system will be both stationary and based in the US. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a deployable theater-wide defense system. Remember the Gulf War, and all that crap with the Scud missiles? Those were nuclear-lift capable ballistic missile systems.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013641)

This system is going to be the stationary fixed base one. In Alaska, California, and maybe the EU.

Then there is the Navy one, thats on US and Japanese destroyers, which also has an anti-satellite capability.

Then there is the ABL which is the mobile Air Force part, and there are smaller tactical lasers for dealing with tactical (non-nuclear) rockets for places like Israel and forward deployed units in theatre.

Re:Iran? Uh huh ... yeah (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013781)

At the moment Iran and North Korea are the ones who seem like they might have the ill will to fire a missile at the US or at some other nation which might be under the protection of the US antimissile system. That does not mean this will continue to be the case.

Having a system capable of shooting down a high flying ballistic missile could come in extremely handy in the near or more distant future. These systems take a lot of time to develop and having one in the inventory is something that may very well turn out to be a life saver.

Lets not forget some things: The Patriot missile was designed as a general purpose surface to air missile with some capability to shoot down medium range missiles. Boy were we glad it had that capability when we entered the 1991 Gulf War. The F-117 was designed to be a light bomber and ground attack aircraft for use against the Soviet Union in a war in Europe. It turned out to be extremely valuable to have the stealth aircraft in the Gulf War as well.

ICBM's are the one threat that (up until now) there has been very little, if any, effective defense against.

I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (5, Interesting)

kop (122772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012601)

What a beautiful machine! I really love it's completely evil and aggressive look. The way the camera shakes because of the massive amounts of unergy it uses to keep hovering. This thing will be a hit computergame enemy.
I am a pacifist but i love military tech. Is that sick?

Re:I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012803)

Lots of room for criticism there though unfortunately.
- unlike the predator, you're certainly not going to shadow anything with THAT. It's low, it's big, it's visually very obvious, it's LOUD, and it's got a worthless "loiter time".
- they launched it each time from a hover pit. A bit like they use when testing prototype hovering planes similar to the harrier, where they're worried that engine backwash or hot air ingestion is going to cause it problems. Requiring a hover pit for real world aunch is a problem.

It looks less impressive than the phoenix lander.

Re:I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013659)

Umm...its a vehicle for use in space, not on in a theatre or tactical sense.

http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/html/asptmkv.html [mda.mil]

"The Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) system allows more than one kill vehicle to be launched from a single booster. The system consists of a carrier vehicle with on board sensors and a number of small, simple kill vehicles that can be independently targeted against objects in a threat cluster. The integrated payload is designed to fit on existing and planned interceptor boosters."

"The MKV system includes a carrier vehicle with on-board sensors and kill vehicles weighing approximately 10 pounds."

Re:I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (2, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012833)

"I am a pacifist but i love military tech. Is that sick?"

No. Look at entertainment, if you judged people by the entertainment they watched the prisons would be full. We like the idea of destroying stuff and violence, but does liking violent movies like SAW 3 - make everyone who watches it sick?

The truth is humans (generally) are infinitely curious they want to explore every nook and cranny of existence, I would imagine most people would try / watch or do anything once within that individuals limits, if no one could find out about it, not because humans are 'bad' or 'evil', but because they want to know what the experience is like.

http://www.amazon.com/Saw-III-Unrated-Full-Screen/dp/B000LC3IDI/ [amazon.com]

How come we haven't nuked ourselves yet? (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012875)

I am a pacifist but i love military tech. Is that sick?

There are those who would argue, that military tech guarantees peace.

Of course, if your game has wackos instead of rational players, all bets are off.

Even when the Cold War started to heat up, the US and the USSR were wise enough to keep their fingers off the buttons.

I am not so sure if the Next Generation Nuclear Players will have this same wisdom.

Re:How come we haven't nuked ourselves yet? (1, Interesting)

Paua Fritter (448250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013221)

There are those who would argue, that military tech guarantees peace.

Of course, if your game has wackos instead of rational players, all bets are off.

Even when the Cold War started to heat up, the US and the USSR were wise enough to keep their fingers off the buttons.

I am not so sure if the Next Generation Nuclear Players will have this same wisdom.

This is why a missile defense is such a dangerously stupid idea.

The advantage of the old nuclear doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) lay in the fact that it was assured. There was no "risk" about it - if the US attacked the USSR then the US would also be devastated (and vice versa). With a missile defense on the other hand, there's less certainty, and hence greater risk.

Even if the shield is not actually very effective, there's still an increased possibility that the US could escape massive retaliation, and this can only cause the Pentagon to be more likely to take the risk. This is obviously bad for the population of "designated enemy countries" such as Iran, but it would also be a very bad idea for the population of the US, because it is a very high-risk strategy. Furthermore, since the military strategists of other countries know that a "missile shield" may make the Pentagon more trigger happy, they will naturally take steps to counter the perceived threat. In the face of this threat, it's actually rational for the USA's designated enemies to deploy nukes, develop ICBMs, with MIRVs, with lots of "dummy" warheads, etc, as well as to prepare asymmetric measures which completely side-step the missile shield.

MAD was and is a farce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013849)

It only seemed to work because the blatant stupidity of it terrified the much more rational USSR.

Re:How come we haven't nuked ourselves yet? (3, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013881)

Actually, I think that missile defense makes a lot more sense in this era. While it was certainly a destabilizing force in the cold war (in a maddeningly "War is Peace" kind of way,) the calculus changes completely when you're dealing with the asymmetric challenges of rogue states and the remote possibility of an non-state entity getting access to a few missiles. In the new case, MAD is in no way going to prevent them from launching, and wouldn't prevent us from using ours on them, due to the sheer difference in number.

Also, in a purely technical sense missile defense makes more sense with asymmetric threats, because theres no way such a system could shoot down half of Russia's arsenal flying at us, we'd have to have double or triple the number of interceptors, based on what I can tell of general precision. However, if its only one or two, or one that got fired off by accident, throwing multiple interceptors at it is totally worthwhile.

Really, I think the biggest risk is upsetting Russia with it, even though it really doesn't make sense because there's no way we could stop a barrage from them. But demagogues and presidents trying to look tough on the world stage won't necessarily approach it logically, at least not in public.

Re:I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013047)

Depends. If you are struck awesome by a video of a slow nerv gas working, I would presume you have some problems to cope with. If you like the high tech stuff and explosions; well, people are naturally drawn to that. And of course also to the thin line between living and death as occurs on the battlefield.

Of course, watching some horribly wounded people on battlefields should quickly quench anybody's blood thirst. Maybe that's why we see so little of that on TV, save on terrorist attacks (where most pictures are pretty grotesk). Body counts and unseen people in coffins are much less difficult to look at and probably are responsible for a short adrenaline rush. Films like Saw (to recall another poster) actually show that even wounded people can do this, probably to a smaller percentage of people.

As well thinking humans though, if we look at war critically, we should notice that war should only be the very last option (as it wasn't during Iraq, or even Afghanistan, IMHO). Too many people still live on emotions and then try to fit in reality instead of trying to do it the other way around. You seem to have mastered this, so congratulations to you and don't feel too bad about your slight obsession.

Re:I am a pacifist but i love military tech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013391)

You're not sick - added military tech sometimes results in fewer civilian deaths. A laser-guided smart bomb kills a lot fewer bystanders than an unguided cluster bomb.

They call this a success? (4, Insightful)

wwwrench (464274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012605)

I love how the Pentagon are hailing this as a success [google.com] even though the part that they were supposedly trying to test, (i.e. whether the system can be fooled by a balloon), completely failed to deploy.

By all accounts, these tests are completely rigged, and the system can be fooled by the simplest of tactics. The only way to really test it, is to set up a game, where you allow a completely independent team to try to fool the system and another team to try to shoot it down. It is really dangerous to kick off another cold war in order to deploy a system which is a complete fraud. This is yet another way to funnel money to defense contractors...

Re:They call this a success? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012639)

They spent $120US Million on this test. Would you want to be the one who has to say it was a failure?

Also, from TFA:

"The key to our protection . . . is to be able to have all of these different sensors simultaneously tracking" and recognizing the same object, which they did for the first time in yesterday's test, he said. "The kill vehicle was sent to a very accurate spot in space," he said, adding that the result "does give us great confidence."

To me, reading between the lines there, that sounds like they sent the kill vehicle to a pre-determined spot and managed to get the target to be there at the same time.

This whole program has been a HUGE boondoggle since its inception. I hope the new administration has the cojones to finally rein these guys in and tell them to spend the money on something more useful, such as fixing up the hopsitals we send our troops to.

Re:They call this a success? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012711)

I hope the new administration has the cojones to finally rein these guys in and tell them to spend the money on something more useful, such as fixing up the hopsitals we send our troops to.

The Pentagon will just turn it into a "Black Project" like the F-117 was.

Re:They call this a success? (4, Insightful)

profplump (309017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012831)

I don't know why you're assuming that the goal of the test was to show the system worked perfectly and could not be fooled. Doesn't it make sense to test the components -- you know, like a multi-sensor, multi-location tracking system, and the launch and guidance system of a kill vehicle -- even if the entire system is not yet functional?

I'm not saying this program is necessarily a good idea, but it seems unreasonable to assume that tests are only done on a final product, or that a failure to meet acceptance criteria means the test was a waste of money -- if it passed every test criteria on the first try wouldn't it just be a waste of money to test in the first place?

Re:They call this a success? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013153)

"The kill vehicle was sent to a very accurate spot in space," he said, adding that the result "does give us great confidence."

To me, reading between the lines there, that sounds like they sent the kill vehicle to a pre-determined spot and managed to get the target to be there at the same time.

Or the systems in it may have brought it to an accurate spot. Unless your theory is somehow confirmed or supported in some way it's not really worth much.

Re:They call this a success? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013435)

"The kill vehicle was sent to a very accurate spot in space," he said, adding that the result "does give us great confidence."

To me, reading between the lines there, that sounds like they sent the kill vehicle to a pre-determined spot and managed to get the target to be there at the same time.

That depends on what it meant by "kill vehicle". If it is the ship then yes, it is ridiculous.
However, I interpret "kill vehicle" to be the intercepting missile.

Re:They call this a success? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013627)

The tests are not rigged by "all accounts" the tests are rigged only by account of those who don't understand how the system works or how testing is done on a large scale project.

I'd expect better of Slashdot, but it appears the "ZOMG!!! They used a beacon!!! The test was RIGGED!!!" crowd is here as well.

They have to in order to justify further funding (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012685)

According to the WaPo article, the program has cost $100 billion since 1999. With a budget like this, failure is not an option.

What a waste.

Re:They have to in order to justify further fundin (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013177)

I know the russians systems are supposed to be working well. But could someone give some links to various systems or explain some differences and so on? Will this one be superior to the russians systems if they get it to work? Or are the russians systems so good enough that it doesn't really matter? Are there any known development of better systems by the russians?

You should just had ordered theirs =P

Re:They have to in order to justify further fundin (1)

Ferretman (224859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013631)

Here ya go. [ucsusa.org] The Russian system uses nukes whereas our system is a "hit to kill" system. Rather like the old game Missile Command, they fly up and detonate to catch incoming warheads in the blast.

Re:They call this a success? (1)

jessica_alba (1234100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012887)

"It was the largest, most complex test we have ever done,"
"However, he said the 40-year-old target missile failed to deploy its countermeasures -- such as decoys or chaff -- which were supposed to add realism to the test. "

North Korea only has one missile right?

Re:They call this a success? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013037)

They are trying to explain how they spent millions of dollars before Obama calls if off.

Re:They call this a success? (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013339)

Just because a part of the test didn't work right doesn't mean it was rigged. It means there were errors in the test. Nothing new here. Back in 2001, a radar failed a missile defense test because of a programming error. I'd chalk it up more to someone probably making a mistake than THE MAN rigging the test. More chance of a piece of equipment that failed to operate correctly than some massive conspiracy.

From TFA: (4, Insightful)

Cochonou (576531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012607)

However, he said the 40-year-old target missile failed to deploy its countermeasures -- such as decoys or chaff -- which were supposed to add realism to the test.

I guess it still qualifies as a valid test against a virtual enemy using archaic or not well maintained ICBMs.

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012767)

I guess it still qualifies as a valid test against a virtual enemy using archaic or not well maintained ICBMs.

That defines most of Russia's military hardware doesn't it? It's just a shame the threats will probably come from other countries now. Someone should tell them that they're 40 years too late.

Re:From TFA: (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013219)

That defines most of Russia's military hardware doesn't it?

Except, like, you know, it works.

Someone should tell them that they're 40 years too late.

Maybe Putin can help you with that issue. (Damn he looks cool, I guess he get to score lots of chicks.)

Re:From TFA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012813)

Too bad that such a potential adversary would never fire one of those on the US unless there is already an all out war going on on its own territory.

If there is no all out war it is much easier/cheaper for a rogue nation to go the terrorist way. (hide a nuke into a cargo ship and have it detonate when it arrives in a US harbor for example) It has the added bonus of deny ability.

If there is an all out war it means there are US troupes already fighting inside the borders of the potential adversary.

conclusion: Either they are lying about the scope of the missile deference plan, the real intention is to build a system that can defend against large scale attacks. Or it is a system to fend of retaliatory attacks from nations who are experiencing US military aggression already.
(note: whether that aggression is justified is another issue all together)

Of course the whole project could also be just a pretense for some people to make a lot of money of it.

missile defense (2, Insightful)

Paua Fritter (448250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012959)

it is a system to fend of retaliatory attacks from nations who are experiencing US military aggression already

True! The so-called "missile defense" system is in fact aggressive rather than defensive in posture. It is the shield you need to have in one hand while you club somebody with a weapon held in the other hand. It's useless to ward off attack from a strong enemy (unless you have launched a devastating surprise attack against them already), and it's useless against an sneak attack even from a weak enemy. Frankly the idea that Iran, DPRK, Venezuela, etc, would attack the US with ICBMs is simply ludicrous.

Re:missile defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013335)

Frankly the idea that Iran, DPRK, Venezuela, etc, would attack the US with ICBMs is simply ludicrous.

Which is why the proposed missile shield deployment isn't anywhere near the US borders. The missile shield is meant to protect our allies in europe and the middle east.

Re:missile defense (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013569)

Strong enemies can saturate the system by using their nuclear triads (SLBM, land-based ICBM, and aircraft-launched), so it cannot be a viable shield against a strong opponent.

OTOH, the whole spectrum of missle defense tech is worth pursuing because weaker opponents have or will have nukes. We need a defense against both tactical and strategic missiles because they are proliferating and will be in the hands of enemies willing to use them.

Missile defense advantages (1)

Dobeln (853794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013527)

The biggest advantage of operational missile defense is that it can temper paranoia regarding hostile states aquiring some missile and nuclear tech.

Also, it makes it less attractive to even seek that kind of tech in the first place, which is a nice boon.

As for the test, the fact that the ICBM chaff, etc. failed isn't really very important. What the program has achieved is plainly amazing from a technical standpoint.

I would not have expected them to get this far in ICBM interception. (Also, the difficulties in deploying countermeasures is nice in a way. If countermeasures are hard to deploy successfully, it will make the system more robust.)

Re:Missile defense advantages (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013677)

If a 100 million dollar US test of countermeasures fails, how robust are Russian or Chinese countermeasures going to be on rockets with very little maintenance?

Re:From TFA: (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012899)

That failure of the target missile probably tells you something about the operational state of the ICBM "fleet", too.

It's sad (1, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012611)

I submit that it is sad because in my opinion, the next threat to US security will not come from countries like N. Korea. It will come from home grown terror.

After all, one can simply walk into the US from Mexico and Canada. If the terrorist is well facilitated, they we could be in big trouble.

I wonder whether we as a nation, are borrowing from China to finance this already absolete technology...if the Russians are to be believed.

Re:It's sad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26012935)

You mention no fewer than FIVE foreign countries in this response without any sort of discrimination between them. It's almost as if you're just throwing out lots of names to cover all the bases so you can feel like some conspiracy theorist and say "I told you so" no matter what country is involved.

Re:It's sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013127)

Plus, he spelled "obsolete" wrong, just like a terrorist would! I say he's either a terrorist, conspiracy theorist, republican, or hermaphrodite (just to cover all the bases).

Another video about the MKV (2, Interesting)

Xelios (822510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012719)

Looks like a military propaganda video out of a cheesy sci-fi movie. In fact, it reminds me of the military commercials in Starship Troopers. Still, it shows how these things should work.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDgIBES9U9M [youtube.com]

Re:Another video about the MKV (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012897)

It's a cool idea, like MIRV for missile defense. I like the way they have what looks like two parallel programs, a safe but low performance one (MKV-R) and a risky but potentially high performance one (MKV-L). They will presumably select a winner from tests for mass production.

This sort of thing could plausibly allow the US to shoot down high tech missiles like the Russian Topol M [wikipedia.org].

Now I'm not saying the US will actually fight Russia, but the Topol M shows you what post missile defense ICBMs will look like. At the moment the US could probably shoot down low tech missiles like North Korea will develop in decade or so and sell to Iran. Technologies like MKV would allow them to have a fair crack at the sort of missiles Russia has now and China would have in the next couple of decades. Or anyone has in couple of decades really.

nice tech - completely useless (0)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012821)

Putting aside the small matter that no-one, ever has fired a missile at the US if there was ever a WMD threat to america it's much less likely to come hurtling in from space than to arrive by any other means.

The one lesson we (should) have learned from the past 20 years is assymetric warfare. Just because a country has all the shiny new, high-tech toys doesn't mean that an adversary will oblige by using the methods they've spent trillions on defending against.

This trinket is much more a victory for the defence companies who suckered a gullible government into paying for them to develop what they wanted, rather than what a defensive system needed. Still I suppose it's all they deserve.

The Multiple Kill Vehicle..... (1)

mnemotronic (586021) | more than 5 years ago | (#26012881)

This phrase from the MDA page caught my eye:

The Multiple Kill Vehicle is a transformational program adding volume kill capability for the war fighter.

I think Dodge should release a version of the old PowerWagon and call it "Multiple Kill Vehicle". Wonga-Wonga.

Not really simulating the threat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013099)

Love how they say it simulated a long range missile attack from NK or Iran, but failed to mention that because the target only flew a few thousand km, instead of the 9,000+ km from one of those 2 to the US, that it was moving at only 40% of the velocity of the real thing.

Re:Not really simulating the threat... (1)

Ferretman (224859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013651)

It seems unlikely North Korea will let us launch something from their country to do a test, don't you think?

I think the Japanese test is far more impressive: (1)

fpigulski (1425375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013151)

This was from two years ago. They can change the pitch and it looks much more agile. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGvlNufdeL8&feature=related [youtube.com]

Re:I think the Japanese test is far more impressiv (2, Informative)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013617)

That is a knock off of our KV and is launched on our Sea Based AMB system off of one of their Kongo class destoyers - thier big innovation is reallt the nose cone that splits on half so that they don't have to change pitch during the intercept to jettison the nose cone.

However when they tested their system, they launched against a simulated missile not a real target, and the missile was launched off our ship (the Lake Erie). (I was at this test it was in '06 called Stellar Tsuru.)

So, basically everything you see of the Japanese missile defense effort is an add on to our existing Aegis/SM-3 based system. They innovated a nose cone, and are redoing the second statge of the rocket motor so they can get 50 or so extra miles of range with the system. The attitude control system you see was developed jointly by Raytheon and Lockheed, the Japanese modded it to add extra telemetry.

Note that this KV can egage one target. The KV shown in the video that you dissed can engage multiple targets.

This reminds me of a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013227)

Two terrorists are standing in the middle of a desert. One asks "Hey, where did all the bombs go?". The other replies "Oh, I tested them to make sure they all work."

Maybe it is just me... (4, Insightful)

ironwill96 (736883) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013251)

I'm not a warmonger or anything like that, but if the system has a 1 in 10 chance of stopping a nuclear missile or other rogue missile launched at a U.S. city (say mine), i'd rather have that chance than zero chance if we don't have the system.

You say Obama will just fix all the countries hating us with his new world diplomacy, but there will always be people who don't like us (this isn't Star Trek Utopia), so the likelihood of there being at some point in the future some sort of threat similar to this to us or one of our allies, is highly likely.

They've had many successes with the system so far and already have it deployed on some ships and land-based areas. Also, who says if a real missile were launched at us we wouldn't launch multiple kill vehicles. If we have 50 interceptors sitting at one base and a missile coming in, nothing says you can't launch more than one to try to take it down and/or deal with the counter measures.

hate up ... not necessarily (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013389)

but there will always be people who don't like us

OK, here's a test: name any country that "doesn't like" Belgium, or New Zealand or Sweden or ... or (the list goes on).

Maybe the best defence system would be to become more like all these countries that no-one "doesn't like".

Re:hate up ... not necessarily (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013429)

who doesn't like belgium? well the wallonians and flanders for one.
who doesn't like the swedes? the danish, the finns, the norwegians,...

ok, you've got me beat at new zealand...:->

Re:hate up ... not necessarily (2, Insightful)

poity (465672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013859)

Belgium, New Zealand, and Sweden still exist because more powerful countries like the USA and Britain fought to keep them safe.

The Allies freed Belgium after it surrendered 4 years prior; the Allies' huge sacrifices in the Philippines kept the Australian mainlands from invasion; and NATO's military presence and political weight in Europe after the war kept many countries from being absorbed by the Soviet Union.

The US may be a big bully, but without it as a counterbalance to the other expansionist forces the world would be in a worse place.

Re:Maybe it is just me... (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013621)

I'm not a warmonger or anything like that, but if the system has a 1 in 10 chance of stopping a nuclear missile or other rogue missile launched at a U.S. city (say mine), i'd rather have that chance than zero chance if we don't have the system.

And if deploying such a system destabilizes the strategic balance so that a nuclear war is significantly more likely to start in the first place, your odds calculation fails.

Silly waste of taxpayers money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013559)

Why should they build an expensive and inaccurate vector to deliver nukes, when they can simply carry them here by other means, drive them where they want to, and set them off?
Considering our borders security, and consider that not everyone is stupid in this world, people use to find the easiest way to get around obstacles.
Spend the money for more useful means, and leave the 20th century Maginot Line out of taxpayers costs.
Thanks God the last 8 years are now gone, and warlords can go back to where they belong to. Hell.

Re:Silly waste of taxpayers money (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013737)

Because state actors and terrorists have far different military objectives.

FANTASTIC Test! (1)

Ferretman (224859) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013595)

This was a fantastically successful test and demonstrates (for the 8th time) just how well this system works. It is immoral--and I use that word with precision--for a nation or individual to be defenseless.

Re:FANTASTIC Test! (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013645)

While I totally agree with you (I worked for years on the Aegis sea based ABM effort)... at this point I have to wonder just exactly WHAT we would be defenseless against with out this system.

We have an effective sea based system that can be deployed (and more importantly, moved) to protect our cities if it ever came to that. The sea based system works better, is far cheaper, and is much more survivable. Plus it doesn't require radars in the Russians backyard, which quite frankly I can see why that pissed them off royally.

Great Confidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26013623)

For that much money I demand great justice!

ten trillion defense outdone by $100 in offense (4, Interesting)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#26013775)

It's been known for quite a while in defense circles that it's generally a poor idea to have a weapojg, defensive or offensive, that can be gotten around at miniscule cost to the other side.

For example, defensive missles, due to the basic geometry of the scenario, can only protect from missles coming through a very narrow cone. You see missles can't slew sideways worth a darn when in boost, and not at all post-boost. The incoming missle is bearing down at 18,000 MPH or more, even a small angle off results in an impossible to hit target. I know, in the movies and artistic simulations you ALWAYS see missles hit at ridiculous angles, but in the real world it's a no-go.

So all the bad guys have to do is target a place that is a couple hundred miles from the nearest interceptor base, or launch from an unusual angle, or use low-trajectory missles, or use say a Cessna to deliver the bomb. Voila, or whatever the word is in NK-speak, you've bypassed a trillion dollar defense system.

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