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Why Drones Could Be the Future of Missile Defense

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the cheaper-than-licensing-star-wars dept.

The Military 167

An anonymous reader writes "With North Korea's failed missile launch Friday, it is clear many nations around the globe are attempting to acquire missiles that can carry larger payloads and go further. Such moves have made the United States and its allies very nervous. Missile defense has been debated since the 1980's with such debate back once again the headlines. Most missile defense platforms have technical issues and are very expensive. One idea: use drones instead. '... a high-speed (~3.5 to 5.0 km/s), two-stage, hit-to-kill interceptor missile, launched from a Predator-type UAV can defeat many of these ballistic missile threats in their boost phase.' Could a Drone really take down a North Korea missile? 'A physics-based simulator can estimate the capabilities of a high-altitude, long endurance UAV-launched boost-phase interceptor (HALE BPI) launched from an altitude of approximately 60,000 feet. Enabled by the revolution in UAVs, this proposed boost-phase interceptor, based on off-the-shelf technology, can be deployed in operationally feasible stations on the periphery of North Korea.'"

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SBX-1 (5, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703741)

Not a drone, but the US Navy's Sea-based X-band RADAR (SBX-1) [wikipedia.org] — a completely self-propelled (max speed: 8 knots), semi-submersible modified oil platform designed for use in high winds and heavy seas — is also part of the Missile Defense Agency's Ballistic Missile Defense System. It can track an object the size of a baseball from about 3000 miles away. SBX-1 sailed to the region to monitor the North Korean launch:

http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/29/navy-ships-out-radar-system-ahead-of-north-korea-launch/ [cnn.com]

A brief history of SBX-1 — great pictures: http://www.mda.mil/global/documents/pdf/sbx_booklet.pdf [mda.mil]

Re:SBX-1 (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704121)

It can track an object the size of a baseball from about 3000 miles away.

How many baseballs can it track at one time? And once it has figured out which are the real baseballs and which are fake*, how quickly interceptors be launched after the real ones?

*The details of which are highly classified. Because dummys and countermeasures are dirt cheap compared to the discrimination technology. Once you know what the SBX-1 is looking for, ICBM payloads can be updated inexpensively. And they are classified because we have publicly demonstrated how well we can see all this space junk. And how well we can shoot a piece of it down. But funding would be at risk should the public realize that an important piece in the middle is missing.

Re:SBX-1 (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704161)

Quite right.

And you've also demonstrated, even if not your intent, quite well why secrets are necessary, even in open and democratic societies — not to keep them from our own citizens, but to prevent adversaries from understanding our capabilities, techniques, sources, and methods.

Re:SBX-1 (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704537)

We can hope that those granted the clearance to perform the necessary oversight are honest enough to tell us the truth: Whether or not this missile defense system actually works. Without telling us how or showing us the evidence. I'd have more faith in them if their political lives didn't depend on repeated cash infusions from the very companies that build the stuff that may or may not work.

Re:SBX-1 (2)

deanklear (2529024) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704779)

"One great engine to affect this in America would be a large standing army, maintained out of our own pockets, to be at the devotion of our oppressors. This would be introduced under pretext of defending us, but, in fact, to make our bondage and misery complete."

--Alexander Hamilton

Re:SBX-1 (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705149)

Hey, I appreciate a non sequitur quote from the founding fathers as much as anyone — or should we take this to mean that the United States monitoring an attempted long-range missile test by North Korea is somehow "oppressing" us?

Re:SBX-1 (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704757)

Not to mention how long can you feed the thing gas? The wiki says that pig is sucking down on SIX 3.6Mw generators and there are plans to add two more of those hogs on top of those 6. i'm sorry but if there were EVER a case for nuclear power that giant power hog would be it. if we were in an actual war situation how long would we be able to keep feeding that thing with all the other fuel needs of the country and military?

While i think drones are a good idea that thing is just too much of a piggy on conventional fuel. Instead we need more like that giant flying wing NASA was showing off, something solar powered that can stay up for weeks on end. park those suckers over anyone like NK that you are worried about, but sucking down as much gas as that oil rig radar? i just don't see that as a long term viable system, not with the cost of oil rising.

Re:SBX-1 (3, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704801)

As for how many, the Aegis Radar system can track 100+, and this system is based on that, so at the very least it should be able to track a hundred of so. Realistically, if more than 100 missiles get launched, they would never be able to be shot down in time. An ABM shield is currently only useful against an accidental, terrorist, or rogue launch of under a few dozen missiles: any more and no missile-based defense system is going to be able to stop it.

As far as interceptors go, it would be launching Patriot missiles, and the US has over 1000 launchers for them in service, so taking out a half-dozen missiles wouldn't really be a challenge. Again, in the case of a major launch by China or Russia, no missile shield even close to being built is going to do anything at all to stop it.

Re:SBX-1 (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705015)

North Korea would cause more damage to North Korea by trying to build dummy ICBMs than it would cause damage to any other country with a WORKING ICBM -- which it still hasn't gotten right.

Cheaply made decoys? More like stationary explosion towers. That's about all their missiles are as it is, and these are the ones they CARE about getting right...

Re:SBX-1 (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705241)

How many baseballs can it track at one time? And once it has figured out which are the real baseballs and which are fake*, how quickly interceptors be launched after the real ones?.. Once you know what the SBX-1 is looking for, ICBM payloads can be updated inexpensively.

You're missing the point of catching the ICBM during the boost phase.

Re:SBX-1 (1)

joe_kull (238178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705655)

Setting aside the idea that it doesn't matter whether there are decoys in the payload of an ICBM if you shoot it down during boost phase for the moment, effective decoys aren't trivial for a country like North Korea to add to their vehicles due to weight.

Good analysis of this issue is at Arms Control Wonk [armscontrolwonk.com] (there is a particularly good discussion in the comments section).

Re:SBX-1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704205)

How much longer until someone comes out with stealth drones for knocking out radar?

Re:SBX-1 (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704391)

Not long [wikipedia.org]

Re:SBX-1 (1)

Cigarra (652458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705461)

Coming soon to your favorite enemy Air Force [wikipedia.org] .

Re:SBX-1 (1)

TheCouchPotatoFamine (628797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704505)

that was a fun read - thanks!

Summary written by US propagandist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703749)

Missile defense is an _offensive_ weapon. It takes away the worries of mutually assured destruction.

While the context was tactical nuclear weapons, this statement by George W. Bush makes clear the mindset of those in power in the U.S., "I want nuclear weapons I can use."

Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (3, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703829)

Missile defense, as the name implies, _is_ defensive. It gives _us_ the advantage, which is a good thing — unless, of course, you don't want us to have that advantage.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703919)

No, I don't want anybody to have the advantage.

That is the point.

If some psycho in the US government thinks he has the advantage, he might actually vaporize a few million people, set off a chain of events that results in nuclear winter which wipes out many millions more-- even the rednecks in the US that like to chant, "USA USA USA..." at every opportunity they can get..

If you are so indoctrinated into "USA USA USA USA..." that you cannot see how this is a bad thing, well there is probably no hope for you, nor point in trying to have a conversation with you.

I

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (4, Funny)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703957)

If you are so indoctrinated into "USA USA USA USA..." that you cannot see how this is a bad thing, well there is probably no hope for you, nor point in trying to have a conversation with you.

I

Clearly, parent was vaporized by a nuclear weapon in mid-sentence. Maybe even a "nukular" one launched by rednecks. RIP AC.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704021)

No, I understand all too well. The doctrinal notion of MAD, even if absurd, only works when your enemy fears or cares about destruction (as we do).

To paraphrase The Peacemaker, I'm not afraid of the man who wants a hundred nuclear weapons — I'm terrified of the man who only wants one.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (2, Funny)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704073)

Do I worry you? I want three!

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704105)

Ouch. You should be modded up.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (2)

Cigarra (652458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705489)

How infinitely arrogant one has to be to decide their "enemies" are not even capable of acting rationally.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705559)

The Soviets and now Russian Federation have an advanced, multilayer ABM system around Moscow.

So why are you pointing at the United States as being the bad player in the missile defense game?

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703963)

The major powers already have enough offensive to destroy anyone else.

However, they can't use it because of mutual assured destruction. Or put another way, they can use it, but the retaliation would be too devasting to contemplate.

On the defense side, a missle defense system disables the enemies ability to first strike on us. This is a good thing, and is the defensive aspect to a missile defense system.

However, a missile defense system disables the opponents ability to retaliate our first strike, and is a crucial element to enabling us to first strike with impunity. That is a very VERY offensive element to missle defense systems.

That said, we still should participate in the missile defense race, it would be beyond foolish to let our opponents develop missile defense while we have none.

However, the humanist in me would argue that the minute we developed strategic missile defense that we should give it away. The world will be a better place if NOBODY can first strike on anyone.

The world will not be a better place if any nation, including the US, can first strike with impunity.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704181)

However, a missile defense system disables the opponents ability to retaliate our first strike, and is a crucial element to enabling us to first strike with impunity.

Only if you are sure it is going to work 100% perfectly... Or maybe 98% perfectly if you are willing to accept a few cities and millions of deaths as acceptable losses. Against an opponent with many missiles a missile defence isn't that useful.

Against countries with only a few missiles though it is viable. So given that it would probably be best not to develop missile defence systems because it will only force countries like North Korea to build larger and larger arsenals to defend themselves against the US, while affording the US itself no real protection.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704475)

Do your homework. Do you remember what happened to the Soviet Union? They did produce a large amount of excellent hardware but ultimately they could not keep up economically. How do you think North Korea is going to fund an arsenal big enough to get around the US without a functioning economy?

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (3, Informative)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704609)

Exactly. Close 100% of North Korean GDP is going towards military uses whether the US has missile defense or not. Forcing North Korea to use up a large part of that budget building a larger, yet less effective, arsenal is a win.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (4, Insightful)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704191)

However, a missile defense system disables the opponents ability to retaliate our first strike, and is a crucial element to enabling us to first strike with impunity. That is a very VERY offensive element to missle defense systems.

Nobody wants to risk everything on a worldwide missle defense system that's never been operationally tested. Nobody wants to live in a world where several other continents have been nuked into radioactive ash. Believe me, the people planning and building missle defense systems sincerely hope that they never have to be used. Nobody's imagining it as an enabler for a first-strike capability.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704213)

The world will not be a better place if any nation, including the US, can first strike with impunity.

- maybe, but then the world would be a much more radioactive place for sure, and radiation is good for you.

we will give it away... (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704257)

However, the humanist in me would argue that the minute we developed strategic missile defense that we should give it away. The world will be a better place if NOBODY can first strike on anyone.

..we will offer it as a no cost option to any country that wants to fall in line with American interests...so it becomes a diplomatic and strategic tool for keeping our allies close and gaining new ones.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (3, Interesting)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704655)

I find these rebuttals humorous in the sense that opposition to missile defense comes in two opposing forms: 1) missile defense should not be implemented because it is a waste of money since it is such an immature a technology that even if widely implemented a few MIRVs can still penetrate, and 2) missile defense should not be implemented because such an effective shield would make the shield bearer more willing to nuke another country.

In criticizing ballistic missile defense, these systems are made out to be at once completely ineffective and completely effective. I think this contradiction points to a conclusion somewhere in the middle: that ballistic missile defense partially effective, and that it really has only one use, which is to safe guard against errant launches and rogue groups in possession of at most a handful of missiles. In other words, it fails as a strategic threat.

This is why, in addition to the US, Russia and China, along with many regional powers around the world, have active anti missile systems in place, and why the US isn't moving against existing or new systems in those countries (which it would if it in fact wanted to "strike with impunity").

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704701)

only one use, which is to safe guard against errant launches and rogue groups

oh shit, I should preview more if I want to make so many edits :(

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704731)

Which of our opponents are developing missile defense? I suppose some people consider China to be an opponent, but I think it would be beyond foolish to escalate that into a war. Iran and North Korea?

Why are we still concerned with first strike? If a nuclear bomb kills Americans, it's not going to be in a missile.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704007)

Missile defense, as the name implies, _is_ defensive. It gives _us_ the advantage, which is a good thing — unless, of course, you don't want us to have that advantage.

True. But we are not talking about a missile defense system so much as an air to ground missile system that happens to be capable of shooting missile silos when they are about to launch. North Korea is one of the most target-rich areas in the world. There are so many good targets to launch missiles at that a hypothetical but not yet working long range missile is not the most important use of such a thing.

I fully support them having missiles pointed at North Korea, with or without drones. Though, I prefer they fix the GPS jamming thing first. Otherwise, I would expect to see the following tactic:

1. Jam GPS until the drone turns 180 degrees.
2. Fire up your missile silos.
3. Watch the missiles target random places in South Korea.
 

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704071)

No, It is not defensive when its presence is the only way a nuclear first strike would be contemplated.

nuke = can't use as first strike weapon without risk of destruction of self by retaliatory strike.
"missile defense" = now I can use nuke as first strike weapon without concern of retaliatory strike.
"missile defense" is a first strike weapon
QED

If someone in the US government thinks he can use nukes without consequences of a counter-strike, he might actually vaporize a few million people, set off a chain of events that results in nuclear winter which wipes out many millions more-- even you.

If you are so indoctrinated into "USA USA USA USA..." that you cannot see how this is a bad thing, well there is probably no hope for you, nor point in trying to have a conversation with you.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (4, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704085)

Two of the biggest cold warriors in history, Nixon and Brezhnev, decided that missile defense systems were a Really Bad Idea (TM). Down the road of "missile missile anti missile missile" madness lies. Unilateral changes in these kinds of policies are very unwelcome and destabilizing. Imagine the US reaction if China started to pursue this sort of technology.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705573)

Except the Soviets kept their ABM site around Moscow and have upgraded it since 1969.

The US version, Safeguard was only on line for about four months.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704645)

By itself, it is defensive, in combination with having your own nuclear weapons, is offensive.
Create the missile defense, and create it well, and then destroy your entire nuclear inventory.
THEN it's purely defensive.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (0)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704693)

Any tool can be used offensively. A shield is defensive, but get a row of shields pushing someone off a cliff, that's not defense anymore.

If we develop an airtight missile defense system, and give it to Israel, Taiwan, and/or India, that's clearly an offensive move.

Re:Parent post written by anti-US propagandist (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705107)

This whole "defensive==good, offensive==bad" assumption is ridiculous. You can't separate one from the other.

Let's say your country is threatened by another country with nukes. You obtain your own nukes and delivery systems, which are *offensive*, but they accomplish a defensive goal: to prevent an attack. Now let's say you've got your MAD scenario going, and you somehow obtain completely effective missile defense. You have now gained an *offensive* capability: the ability to strike without fear of consequences.

So in strategy, you can't separate offense and defense, at least so far as saying defensive weapons are automatically benign and offensive weapons are automatically evil. You have to look at the state of affairs before and after acquiring the weapons in question.

Let's examine the assumption that missile defense is evil, because it destabilizes the strategic situation; Russia is more likely to choose to shoot first because it's use it or lose it. Fair enough, but does that mean boost phase anti-missile capability is destabilizing? Not necessarily. Arguably it reduces the incentive for a country like Iran to obtain a small nuclear arsenal and the associated delivery systems, because the political losses won't be offset by strategic gains.

That of course assumes you've got other means of delivering nuclear weapons covered: commercial shipping, drone boats (like drug dealers use), even commercial airliners. The problem with strategy is that opponents don't just give up when you block one avenue of attack.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703845)

Eurotrash spotted.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703865)

And parent comment written by... an anti-US propagandist? Seriously, do you work for Vladimir Putin or something?

You are playing word games when you claim that missile defense systems are an offensive weapon. And regarding the Bush quote that gives you such indigestion, if you think about it for at least 5 seconds, it will occur to you why your objections to his statement are asinine. If the USA couldn't use its nuclear weapons, there would be no point in having them. Duh. You may not like the fact that water is wet, but just don't pretend to be surprised by the fact that water is wet. (Not to trivialize legitimate moral concerns about nuclear weapons, just suggesting a more intelligence framing of such concerns rather than feigned, childish surprise when world leaders make obvious statements based on well known current national policy.)

OP written by idiot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703877)

rogue nations with a grudge don't care about MAD, especially evident when they choose to starve citizens in pursuit of nukes.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703881)

Uh, so?

The United States doesn't exactly have a history of shying away from more weapons of any kind.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704089)

LOL. The fact that BOTH Russia and China have a much larger missile defense system then does the US means nothing to ppl like you. Amazing.
This system is of little value to missiles that are launch in the middle of Siberia or China.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704447)

Do your homework. Mutually assured destruction does not really apply when there are n actors who can easily conceal their return addresses, instead of just 2 who everyone knows about

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705295)

Missile defense is an _offensive_ weapon

I guess you could say that considering it's no longer about holding a shield tight around ourselves, but instead effectively smothering our enemies with them.

Re:Summary written by US propagandist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705665)

Don't worry though, by the time these defences are finished the archaic notion of nations will be history as rightly it should be. Purely artificial divides are they, erected by the wealthy elites in order to allow them to convince the turkeys to fight to protect christmas and thus protect the elites wealth for them while simultaneously exploiting the turkeys.

In 1980's who would have thought Germany would be reunified? That border was more more or less real than any other borders. Having said that the fall of the wall might not have gone so well had they had robot guards like those South Korea guards their borders with (that can kill a man from some absurd distance like 1km) then the people may have struggled to get close enough to tear it down (not that physical removal of the barrier was the only thing needed or done).

Star Wars Missile Defense? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703807)

As long as it's not defending against a phantom menace it should work ok.

(linkie) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Star Wars Missile Defense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705315)

Exsqueeze me?

International Airspace/Space/Waters (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703817)

It looks like that will be the new battleground.

We will be staring at a future where we have crowded areas outside countries where international law allows activities, but those activities are expressly designed to create a defensive blockade around a particular country. As the original poster has said, the cost for a semi-autonomous blockade is becoming lower and lower.

While I don't have sufficient understanding of international law, nor the science fiction authors that most likely have talked about these in the past. I expect a future where we have major battles, skirmishes and wars not about sovereign land and rights, but about operations within international spaces.

The endpoint I can see as one of two places. Lots of "badland" style scenarios where nations cannot operate outside connected national corridors, or rewriting of international reducing the international areas in favour of a larger buffer.

Our rock is now getting a lot smaller.

Re:International Airspace/Space/Waters (1)

expatriot (903070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704965)

a source I considered reliable told me in the 80's that that was already happening, of course then it was on a very small scale.

How do know a predator didn't take down the last ? (1)

outofoptions (199169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703847)

Seriously, I wondered as soon as it was listed as failed if it had been taken down to test the US of A's latest technology.

Re:How do know a predator didn't take down the las (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704051)

If it was taken out by an anti-missile missile of some kind, those tend to be fairly obvious. If it was taken out by an anti-missile kinetic (railgun), there may not be any good evidence without examining the husk of the rocket. Similarly, anti-missile lasers would be extremely noticeable in the right spectrum, but that probably wouldn't be in the 'visible' portion.

Best way to hide an anti-missile cannon? Set up a grid of anti-missile missiles to take the credit.

Re:How do know a predator didn't take down the las (1)

outofoptions (199169) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705087)

My brother-in-law's brother was with the FBI and retired recently. There was a dragon fly surveillance bot on display. It was on display because it was declassified since it was already over 20 years old. The guy leading them into the building quipped, "If we had that 20 years ago can you imagine what we have today?" I actually thought of a rail gun. Some of the weapons they want us to believe are in development could already be deployed. Point I was really making, is how do we know that the failed launch wasn't brought down?

Re:How do know a predator didn't take down the las (1)

Stem_Cell_Brad (1847248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704127)

Agreed. I seriously doubt that anyone posting here actually _knows_ much about the current state of missile defense systems. I mean, you may have read a lot on the topic, but are the important details likely to be factually correct in public documents? I doubt it.

Re:How do know a predator didn't take down the las (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705103)

Seriously, I wondered as soon as it was listed as failed if it had been taken down to test the US of A's latest technology.

Why would we shoot down their missile? Even if we ignore the fugly diplomatic implications of such an act, it would have carried a significant risk of telling them something about our capabilities, and would definitely have prevented us from learning lots of useful stuff about their capabilities.

What if I told you (3, Insightful)

eap (91469) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703861)

a guided missile is just a disposable drone?

Re:What if I told you (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704009)

a guided missile is just a disposable drone?

I'd ask you how long your guided missile could loiter over a launch site.

Re:What if I told you (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704035)

Can a guided missile loiter at 50-70K undetected by enemies for 24-48 hours?

Re:What if I told you (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704119)

is a drone not considered a dron if it only has endurance of 23 hours and 59 minutes?

Re:What if I told you (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705051)

Can a guided missile loiter at 50-70K undetected by enemies for 24-48 hours?

50-70K? That's seems unusually cold to me. Is it really necessary to supercool the drone to such an extent? >:]

Re:What if I told you (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704197)

Drones are a lot cheaper, and would be able to take down an ICBM during first phase, something an anti-ballistic missle can't do.

Re:What if I told you (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704247)

If only it was 'powered by the cloud' we would have all the buzzword bases covered.....

Re:What if I told you (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704491)

What if I told you all drones are disposable?.. including (especially?) the two legged, meat eating ones...

defense money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703887)

What outrages me is, why not take some of the welfare money they steal from us hard working people and give to the lazy and put it into something useful like this? I'm sick of all this social this and that when can put money to good use my fellow comrades in the office of slashcommie.

Not sure this makes anything easier or cheaper (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39703923)

The technical challenges and cost of BMD is mainly in the interceptor and tracking/targeting which has to be there weather launched from the ground or a ship at see or drone. Yes a done can be located near a country like DPRK and therefore hit at boost phase easier than intercepting further down range (Mid Course or Terminal) however this can be achieved by a ship off the coast in the same way using SM-3. Not sure the first stage of SM-3 is the complex or expensive part? ??

Re:Not sure this makes anything easier or cheaper (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703997)

I would think it would be a huge advantage if they could pull if off. No need to negotiate with foreign countries for rights to maintain a ground launch installation. No need to worry about whether your sub will be surfaced at exactly the right moment. No need for the huge burn to get lifted off from the ground. Just drop into the air and cruise straight to your target.

Re:Not sure this makes anything easier or cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704167)

1) BMD is on surface ships not subs. Specifically Aegis destroyers that have all the software to hook Aegis into sensor and fire-control network

2) And you are going to fly drones carrying anti-ballistic missiles over nations perpetually without permission?

3) And you are going to decide and shoot down a missile in the amount of time it takes to get from launcher to 60K feet? Pretty Impressive

Re:Not sure this makes anything easier or cheaper (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704019)

A drone at 50-70K can be looking down when it launches the missile. It is easier to catch the missile when you are well above it, then when you are below it.

Wow. That might be what killed ABL. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703979)

Gates tabled the ABL for a time. This might be what did it in. Or perhaps he was hoping to improve lasers or even railguns.

Wrong place (1)

regdul (2561319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39703985)

For a boost-phase attack you need air superiority over the launch zone – or at least close to it. If you have that, why not take the missile out before it is launched?

Re:Wrong place (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704147)

You need to know where it is (difficult in case of a mobile launcher) and/or be able to penetrate a hardened shelter. Or a pre-emptive strike might not be politically feasible (clever dictators will build their launchers in the "nursery home and children's hospital" district) And if you wish to strike with when a launch is detected, you will need to have aircraft ready on CAP (continuous air presence). Dangerous and expensive with regular aircraft when your air superiority is iffy; but doable with drones.

Re:Wrong place (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704261)

Staticly based ICBMs are usually housed in hardened bunkers designed to withstand concentrated attacks. And mobile launchers are difficult to find. Drones are a good answer for both; you hit the missle during first phase, which would be difficult for the launching belligerant to conceal. Air superiority may not be nessessary with drones, they're too small and can fly too low to be seen with most warning systems. Of course you need to know where the mobile launcher is for the drone to be effective against that. That's where your intelligence comes in to play. Mobile is probably going to be the best defense against a drone.

It avoids weaponization of space for now. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704053)

The alternative bandied about since Star Wars by Lt Gen Abrahamson in Regan admin, was anti missile satellites. This avoids storing ABM assets in orbit. So to that extent it avoids weaponization of space. And since the drones would have limited range, Russia would not feel threatened. (Russia holds all ABM technology as arms race tipping the balance of power). It is moving from having nuclear armed bombers on 24/7 patrol on the northern Canadian border to having drones encircling North Korea/Iran 24/7. Limited area, non nuclear weapon, these are the good things you can say about this technology.

But, inevitable consequence of this would be to avoid the boost phase of ICBM. One way is cruise missile instead of a ballistic missile. The other way is to move the whole damned payload up into orbit. That would be a very dangerous development. Since countries with large area would not be at a big disadvantage here, this might be half decent solution against rogue regimes of smaller land area.

Drone as good as your communication network. (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704135)

How effective are drones if no one is guiding them? Do your drones still work when you satalites are shot out of orbit? Do they still work when an EMP blast from a nuclear explossion takes out terrestrial communications?

Already perfected - satellites (1)

ace37 (2302468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704203)

We already have drones that take no fuel and never leave the sky. That's a satellite. By tracking missiles with radar and using a satellite based or local-to-that-continent weapons system to shoot them down, we get the same benefit as constantly buzzing drones without the need to pay for drones hovering around scouting. To use this type of system, all we need is to keep our eyes open using our best imaging tools (radar) and then get the imaging to talk to anti-missile weapons. Then we can use lasers, KE penetrators, or whatever else, pick your favorite tech. Or the cheapest one to put into space.

On a related note, ever wonder why North Korea rarely has successful missile tests?

a high-speed (~3.5 to 5.0 km/s) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704229)

wait what ? 12600 to 18000 km/h ?

Airborne laser (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704263)

Invisible, from miles away, been around for a while........ Just thought I'd remind everybody. And that's the stuff they let us know about!

downing it with LASERS (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704267)

We have airborne laser based systems capable of taking down ballistic missiles. Who's to say we didn't already use such a system to make sure the N Korean test failed? Would be a great test for the system. Plausible deniability.

Airborne Laser (ABL) is dead... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704349)

...with controversy. But it's dead [wired.com] .

Much more plausible (and deniable, and non-attributable...) is downing it with cyber [informatio...nation.net] .

Re:Airborne Laser (ABL) is dead... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705615)

You are confusing "dead" with "the visible system for public and international consumption ran it's course, our black projects are more readily militarized so we'll just put this 747 out here in the desert and no one is the wiser."

Re:downing it with LASERS (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705157)

True, if the rocket blew up on it's own they could even deny that the laser didn't work

Nothing to see here... (2)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704271)

can defeat many of these ballistic missile threats in their boost phase

"Boost phase" means "shortly after launch," which means being close to where it was launched from, which often means violating their airspace. So your anti-missile technology relies on giving your enemy legal justification to fire to begin with.

Missile Defense is TSA in space (1)

tobiah (308208) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704383)

just a big expensive boondogle to help the sheep sleep through their sheerings. While there may be several nuclear powers willing to nuke the U.S., they wouldn't do it in a manner so traceable as a missile launch. Even North Korea isn't that crazy, I'm sure their modified fishing vessels work just fine.

Flying Chuck Norris? (2)

linuxdude96 (1382885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704385)

How much would it cost to put Chuck Norris on a missile with a handful of sledgehammers? Hard times calls for "out of the box" thinking.

Nice sales pitch (1)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704551)

And all this for the cheap price of .....

Read of this somewhere before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39704585)

Dog pod grid?

Does anyone really believe NK will attack? (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704773)

Personally, I do not think so. because, no matter how lunatic they are, they are not lunatic enough to engage the US in a war.

But I guess the war industry should keep it going, eh folks?
 

Does anyone really believe anyone ever attacked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705161)

Personally, I do not think so. because, no matter how lunatic they were, they were not lunatic enough to engage in a war.

I guess the war industry put it in the history books, eh folks?

Re:Does anyone really believe anyone ever attacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705741)

What? Your comment wasn't even relevant. It doesn't take into account military strength, or even specific countries.

The real question. (3, Funny)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704863)

Could a drone really take down a North Korea missile before it self destructs.

Cruise missile (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704905)

Please explain, except perhaps in speed, how this concept differs radically from the cruise missile.

Countermeasures? (2)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704951)

So, how well will this drone system work against countermeasures? Like, for example, simply shipping the nuke to the target location?

--PM

Re:Countermeasures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39705359)

You're right, we totally didn't think of that. Kind of negates the whole point of even trying to defend ourselves. Love that Berkeley "logic".

Re:Countermeasures? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705649)

Ocean reconnaissance drones, patrol planes and cargo facilities have radiation detectors.

A ship going 20 knots will have many chances to be detected.

Also, as different nuclear reactors have different radionuclide signatures, if they bust your cargo crate nuke, they'll figure out really fast where your materials came from. Then they'll find you.

And/Or submersible drones. (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39704979)

There's no reason to send people under the sea when a nuclear powered robot can do the same thing, cheaper and safer. You'll lose a few, and a few nuclear payloads too - but then, that's already happened, eh? The trick will be making a decent self-destruct mechanism so that they can't be stolen and re-purposed. The cost advantages and inherent stealth of submersible drones make this a no-brainer for the military.

Drones can do this, with mods (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705477)

The most vulnerable portions of a missile launch ground to ground are at the launch site, where a passive drone could wait in hiding on top of a building and be activated when the site became active, and up in space.

During the initial boost launch, the missile moves upwards fairly slowly, and a kamikaze drone could easily impact it enough to damage the flight path, either by targeting the warhead or the fuel tanks, since it could dive downwards.

However, this requires you to violate the enemy airspace, as we did with the super drone that Iran downed.

As to the apogee space attack, we already have that covered, but you're not supposed to know about that.

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