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US Missile Shield already Defeated?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the already-surrendered dept.

Science 375

Anonymous Coward writes "Forbes is reporting that although interest in the missile defense system has waned while the US military addresses more pressing matters of immediate concern, the Russians have already developed an anti-missile-defense missile designed to defeat the system. Were the US military to actually prove that the missile defense shield worked, the Russian rocket's "zig-zag" flightpath taken en route to it's target would render the shield useless. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the non-ballistic trajectory would leave the projectile virtually impossible to down or divert. The author feels inclined to say that the missile defense shield was intended as a defense against rogue states such as North Korea that have not acquired this technology yet."

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375 comments

star wars 3.0 (2, Funny)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617760)

Well since this is like the second attempt at creating this missle defense system, why dont we wait till version 3.0 comes out. I am sure they will have a patch to cover this scenario, but then we will discover that through a buffer over run you will be able to defeat the system.

Re:star wars 3.0 (4, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618258)

Its simple, really. We re-edit the war so we shoot first.

Re:star wars 3.0 (2, Funny)

EEBaum (520514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618368)

Yeah, and we all know how excellent the OTHER "Star Wars 3" was.

Correct me if I'm wrong (5, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617762)

But hasn't the shield failed to even stop missiles when their trajectory is known before th test even starts? I think that this is one of those things that is simply too difficult a task to make work under battle conditions. At least for now...

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617888)


I think that this is one of those things that is simply too difficult a task to make work under battle conditions. At least for now...

Exactly. Someone really should have told Bush this before he scrapped a perfectly good 30-year old treaty in favor of science fiction nonsense...but then again, they probabaly did. As we all know by now, our fearless leader isn't too keen on hearing things he doesn't want to hear.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (1, Insightful)

RailGunner (554645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617985)

Someone really should have told Bush this before he scrapped a perfectly good 30-year old treaty

No. The treaty was with the Soviet Union, the USSR.

That entity no longer exists. The treaty was useless since the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

Treaties can also be broken at any time. That treaty would not have stopped nukes from raining down on American cities. The missle defense shield *might*.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618307)

The treaty was with the Soviet Union, the USSR.

That entity no longer exists. The treaty was useless since the collapse of the Soviet Empire.


Wrong. The Union of Independent States formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union was successor in interest for all treaties and contracts. So the ABM contract was still valid.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618328)


No. The treaty was with the Soviet Union, the USSR.

Sophistry.

The treaty was useless since the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

Because whatever political entity succeeds the Soviet Empire couldn't possibly launch nuclear missiles at us, could they?

Treaties can also be broken at any time.

People can be murdered at any time as well...that doesn't make it right. For this treaty to be abrogated legitimately, one of the necessary conditions for abrogation spelled out in the treaty must be met. To justify his unilateral action, Bush cited Article XV of the ABM Treaty, which states that the Treaty could be abrogated by one of the parties "if extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests." To date, the President has not specified the 'extraordinary events' which supposedly prompted his decision, and has not explained how the United States' continued adherence to the ABM Treaty could 'jeopardize' its 'supreme interests'.

That treaty would not have stopped nukes from raining down on American cities.

Funny...the treaty was in existence from 1972 to 2002, ans I don't recall a single nuclear incident on U.S soil during that time. Fast forward to now...no treaty, and Putin's bragging about a missile that can penetrate our defense system (admittedly, not much of a boast, given the pathetic state of the 'missile defense system'). Seems to me there's a bit of a correlation there.

The missle[sic] defense shield *might*.

You might want to keep up on current events [washingtonpost.com] . Bottom line: our President threw away a 30-year old treaty like so much garbage, needlessly antagonizing other nations, to pursue a technology that is still firmly in pipe-dream status. Not much of a surprise, though, given that this same President pulled out of the Kyoto Accords on Climate Change, withdrew the US from the treaty creating an International Criminal Court, opposed a Protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention that would allow for inspections and verification, and failed to fulfill US obligations related to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. Again, I can't help but see a trend.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618122)

Mod parent up. The missile shield is pure propaganda, it doesn't work. In desert storm, the western media hyped up how patriot missiles were stopping Iraqi missiles from bombing Isreal, in fact later reports showed that they stopped none, that's right 0. And, there was no evidence that the Patriot ever hit a missile in testing either. A lot of the technology from that era is used in the current proposed shield with the same lack of success in test. but yet again, the current day media hypes it up and leads people to falsely beleive it works.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (1, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618395)

It's totally irrelevant now. The Iraq War is letting the administration sink a bunch of money into defense contractors and companies, so they don't need some radndom project as an excuse to pay those companies. The same objective has been accomplished.

It was never about an actual, working shield. Everyone knew that such a thing is nearly impossible at this time.

2p! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617765)

Second post!!

How does that work? (1)

Knight Thrasher (766792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617771)

How are they even supposed to get their missles over the Iron Curtain anyways? =)

Re:How does that work? (1)

zakkie (170306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617824)

From the Fine Synopsis, they zig-zag through, obviously... ;-)

Re:How does that work? (2, Funny)

Carik (205890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618132)

From the Fine Synopsis, they zig-zag through, obviously... ;-)

So... if you can get through the curtain by zig-zagging, would it be more accurately called an "Iron Venetian Blind"?

Re:How does that work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618232)

How are they even supposed to get their missles over the Iron Curtain anyways?

They're missiles, silly. They go UP! Just how tall do you think the Iron Curtain is??

Nice. (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617773)

The missile system is designed to protect the US against rogue states that might like to buy their missiles...if we don't pay up our protection money.

Re:Nice. (1)

joschm0 (858723) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618098)

The missile system is designed to protect the US against rogue states that might like to buy their missiles...if we don't pay up our protection money.

You mean rogue states like New Jersey?

Already covered in Get Smart (4, Funny)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617776)

All we need now is an Anti-Anti-Anti-Missile-Missile to shoot down their Anti-Anti-Missile-Missile.

Re:Already covered in Get Smart (2, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617919)

Right, here [schlockmercenary.com] .

Re:Already covered in Get Smart (1)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618022)

I think you need another missile in there-

- Missile
- Anti-Missile
- Anti-Anti-Missle-Missile
- Anti-Anti-Anti-Missle-Missle-Missile

Just because I love being a pedant. ;)

Re:Already covered in Get Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618134)

Shouldn't it be more like:

RUS: Missile
USA: Anti-Missile-Missile
RUS: Anti-Anti-Missile-Missile-Missile
USA: Anti-Anti-Anti-Missile-Missile-Missile-Missile

?

Fighting the last war (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617780)

Yay, let's build a new Maginot Line in the sky. Then, the North Koreans can send their missiles through Belgium, just like the Germans did....

if you need... (2, Insightful)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617782)

the missle defense system arent we already going to be in big trouble. I hardly think that a first strike today would only consist of ICBM launched from across the globe. If effective it would only help minimize damage.

Shouldn't make a real difference (1)

the_bahua (411625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617784)

As far as I know, a fixed trajectory only eases the acquisition by targeting systems, but is not a prerequisite for a missile-defense system even working. All that is required is enough lead time for the targeting systems to get a bead on the inbound target, and then it's vapor city.

Re:Shouldn't make a real difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617991)

Well, sorta. As I remember, the tests indicate that the only prequisites for the missile defense system working are luck and the grace of God, because without those, it barely matters what else you have going for you, it's vapor[ized] city.

Anti-anti-missle defense (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617794)

Were the US military to actually prove that the missile defense shield worked, the Russian rocket's "zig-zag" flightpath taken en route to it's target would render the shield useless.

Welcome to the game. If you build a better mousetrap, someone will come up with a better mouse. This will then force someone to come up with an even better mousetrap, and so repeats the cycle.

Personally, I'd much rather have the technology than not. As long as the technology exists, it can be improved upon. Perhaps to the level where the zig-zag isn't good enough. Perhaps we'll reach a parity whereby we'll be able to stop 50% or more of any anti-shield equipped missile. We won't know unless we try. And every bit of progress drops one more small threat out of the equation, leaving us free to concentrate of the big threats.

The alternative is to throw up your hands and give up.

Mouse or Food? (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617961)

And yet the vast majority of Russia lives in poverty [census.gov] .

It's good they've built a better mouse. That's what the people need. *note sarcasm*

Anyone find any numbers on what these "zig-zagging" missiles cost to develop? Anyone else sick of seeing countries burn money on defense while their people starve?

What it's come down to is simply Fruedian penis...err...missile envy [zmag.org] .

Re:Mouse or Food? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618095)

Whats intereting to consider as well is do the Russians reallly need a missle that can get around USs shield. Imagine the situation being in reverse, if anyone found out that the US was spending money post cold war developing a a zigzag missle to defeat Russian shield technology they would scream from the hilltops that our terrorist president was preparing to invade Russia.

Re:Mouse or Food? (3, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618133)

And yet the vast majority of Russia lives in poverty.

Considering that my wife is from Russia, I'm well aware of the situation.

Anyone find any numbers on what these "zig-zagging" missiles cost to develop? Anyone else sick of seeing countries burn money on defense while their people starve?

According to Putin, the missiles already have this capability. It's just a matter of reprogramming their trajectory.

That being said, it's up to the Russian government to decide how it spends its money. The missile shield is currently being developed as a general defense. I don't see any reason why Putin wants to go toe to toe with a current ally. Rather, he's just whipping out some nonsense to make himself feel better. Remember, this is the same guy who pocketed a Superbowl ring, and nearly caused an international incident by declaring that no libraries are needed since they can fit the entire contents on microfilm. Trust me, this guy has more gaffes than President Bush, and isn't even as smart to boot. (Which is saying something.)

Putting Russia back together is a hard job, but I don't believe for a minute that he's the one weilding the real power. He's just the face they put on it. (And not a very good one, at that.)

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

mikeisme77 (938209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617980)

Considering Reagan spent over $1 TRILLION on this system already... I would rather just have the $1 Trillion back... The USSR fell because of this whole arms race thing--it's nothing but a whole in a pocket that keeps getting larger and draining more money. The ONLY people who win an arms race are the arms dealers/manufacturers.

We should have killed this project before it began--when some of the lead scientists said that they didn't think this would be effective.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618344)

I doubt we spent $1 trillion on missile defense. During the entire Reagan administration we spent 2 trillion on the entire military. It was no doubt a big research project, and I wouldn't be surprised by $10 billion in spending on SDI but no way did $1 trillion get spent even adjusted to today's dollars.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618018)

You mean attacking others while not takeing a risk yourself?

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618030)

Har- Batman, you are not going to do well here with your consistantly well reasoned posts.
Anyway, there have been conflicting reports, as I have read that the French and others say that Russia does not really have this weapon.
And my question is this- If there were one or two ICBMs headed towards us, wouldn't some brave air force pilots go on a mission and fly their planes right into the missiles over the ocean, bringing them down?
I won't belive that Russia really has these weapons until Putin bangs his shoe on the table and tells us he will bury us.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618355)

If there were one or two ICBMs headed towards us, wouldn't some brave air force pilots go on a mission and fly their planes right into the missiles over the ocean, bringing them down?

Allegedly, their missles are capable of hypersonic speeds and our aircraft are limited to supersonic speeds.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618079)

Yes, there is still a good point in having such a shield, even if it has been beaten: it reduces your list of dangerous enemies to those who have the anti-shield technology. And it presumably adds cost to every missile even those enemies build, reducing the efficiency of their economy.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense - I disagree (1)

Marx_Mrvelous (532372) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618129)

I would rather not have the technology, and spend the $1 Trillian (with a Capital T) on something more useful for American citizens.

Right now the system is dubious at best, and if technology exists that can defeat it, all that money was wasted.

So you are right on one point, this will take care of one small threat. But then we won't have any money left to address the big ones! That's not where I'd like to be.

(Source for figure: http://www.armscontrolcenter.org/nmd/fullcost.html [armscontrolcenter.org] )

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

PostItNote (630567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618170)

The question is not whether it can be made to work (most research says "not", BTW. Hitting a bullet with a bullet just is not a feasible long term solution) but whether a) anyone wants to fire an ICBM at us and b) whether the money could be used more effectively and c) whether there is any real difference between a 99% effective missile shield and no shield at all.

I contend that:
a) basically only North Korea wants to shoot at us
b) give all the money to Bruce Schneier and have him design appropriate security measures based on actual needs and not knee jerk political fear. Or simply give it to the rest of the world! $1000 per person buys a lot of goodwill. FMI, check out http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interes ting-people/200408/msg00072.html [interesting-people.org]
c) one multimegaton bomb in the middle of New York or many, it's still a smoking crater. 99% solutions are pretty much the same as 0% solutions here.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (4, Insightful)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618185)

As long as we have mutually assured destruction, getting attacked with nuclear missiles by Russia or any other State is not likely to happen because they know it would be suicide. The only reason one would create a missile shield would be to be able to attack with impunity. Even then, unless you can guarantee that the system would be 100% effective (an impossible task) you wouldn't want to risk attacking and relying on your shield. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I think the idea of America launching a nuclear missile attack on ANYONE from safely behind a missile shield is quite un-American. The only vaguely plausible threat would be from rogue groups somehow infiltrating a missile silo and somehow managing to launch one. Considering how heavily guarded those probably are, and that the perpetrators would probably still need launch codes, etc, the idea is unrealistic. If the security is that weak, our money would be much better spent helping those countries secure their missiles.

Re:Anti-anti-missle defense (1)

Kevin Stevens (227724) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618194)

While the efficiency of the system against russian missles might be greatly reduced, this technology can still be deployed against less advanced nations, and act as a deterrent to anyone who may be contemplating attacking us. And yes, if we can find a way to improve the technology and take out the zig-zagging missles, we will again have a greater upper hand against less advanced countries.

Need for missile shield? (2, Insightful)

xitshsif (909565) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617796)

Why don't we just not go around pissing off other countries?
It'd be easier than spending all this money on trying to perfect something that people will always find a way around.

Re:Need for missile shield? (1, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618262)

Ok. The new official religion of the US is Islam. And all women are not to be seen in public without a male family escort. And we should give in to all demands of North Korea. Oh, and let Iran keep enriching nuclear fuel to weapons-grade levels.
My point is that some people are just pissed at us existing, and that we have so much and they have so little, or that we have different cultures, or whatever. Even if we do help them, they have no problem biting the hand that feeds them. I have no problem with trying to protect ourselves. There will always be conflict as long as there is religion that advocates destruction, or a way to interpret your religion so it advocates that, and if you aren't prepared to defend yourself if attacked, you're prepared to lose.

Re:Need for missile shield? (1)

Fr05t (69968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618378)

Wow, your parents shouldn't let you watch so much CNN.

North Korea (1)

karzan (132637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617803)

As far as I am aware, North Korea doesn't actually have ICBMs, so it wouldn't be relevant for them anyway. I was under the impression they only had medium to long range surface-to-surface missiles, so their main deterrent has always been the threat of attacking South Korea or Japan. Correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't think anyone was anywhere near having a land-based anti-missile system for surface-to-surface missiles.

Re:North Korea (3, Interesting)

stevew (4845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617878)

No - but they have subs. Missle plus sub is a bad thing.

The simple fact is that the shield was NEVER built to defend against the Russians. When it is finally completely deployed, it MIGHT be sufficient to give some protection against the Chineese because they don't have 5000 warheads... And they had something like 18 missles - though I think they are building that number up some as the US proceeds with buliding it's defense.

So - it is mostly against the "rogue" state.

The other thing that people don't realize is that this is a system of systems. There are several levels of defense that are being worked on.

The Aegis cruiser now can be upgraded for theater missle defense (and it has a fair test record.) this is a fielded system.

Then there is the Airborne Laser sytem (big 747 with BIG laser) that is used to knock out things in the buster phase. (Still very much a technology under development.)

Finally - Patriots have been upgraded to do a better job than they did during Desert Storm, and actually also have a decent test record.

Re:North Korea (1)

banaanimies (944641) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618254)

I hope your not seriously saying that North Korean subs would get to close enough to fire at US, right? And even if they could, why would the North Korea want to attack US? This whole thing is sounding just like the per-Iraq invasion drum beat.

Re:North Korea (1)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618027)

Correct me if I'm wrong but I didn't think anyone was anywhere near having a land-based anti-missile system for surface-to-surface missiles.

Isn't that exactly what the Patrait systems did (and did fairly well even 10 years ago)? Its the complexities of intercepting an ICBM which is the real problem.

Re:North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618234)

Isn't that exactly what the Patrait systems did (and did fairly well even 10 years ago)?

It's spelled Patriot, and no, they didn't work. Despite all the propaganda you heard about them, they shot down not a single missle -- that's zero (0) successful uses or tests of the Patriot missle system.

And that same technology is powering Bush's missle defense shield.

Re:Except for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618089)

I was under the impression they only had medium to long range surface-to-surface missiles, so their main deterrent has always been the threat of attacking South Korea or Japan.

Except for the North Korean warhead they allegedly found in Alaska [hankooki.com] .

But that's only Alaska, so who gives a damn.

Re:North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618158)

Alaska.

If they had this in the 80s... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617809)

...I surely would have gone bankrupt feeding quarters into Missle Command. Damn game was hard enough without the zig-zags.

Re:If they had this in the 80s... (1)

csoto (220540) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618055)

But, it DID have zig zags. Them Smart Bombs were a beyotch! I was MC King at the grocery store by my elementary school, yo! Hmm... I wonder if that has anything to do with my prefence for the trackball for GUIs...

Hmm (5, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617813)

Not to sound too critical, but this Russian rocket zig-zag pattern is done on purpose right, not because of bad engineering and poor quality construction?

Re:Hmm (2, Funny)

J0nne (924579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618073)

They just mix some vodka in the rocket fuel.

Re:Hmm (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618391)

You mean like the Scuds from Iraq? One of those docu-drama pseudo news shows did a special on the first gen Patriots that were such a 'success'. Turns out they missed completely. The scuds were unstable and zig-zagged too much to be hit. 'course, they also zig-zagged so much they would often self-destruct.

It's not a bug, it's a feature! (1, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617819)


From TFA:
Putin said the new missiles were capable of changing both altitude and direction,
Sounds like some clever froods over in Russia decided to 'pull a Microsoft' and bill a bug (defective guidance system) as a feature (anti-missile defense guidance system).

Re:It's not a bug, it's a feature! (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618101)

The Russians have had vectored thrust on some of their AA missiles for years. That's not such a big jump.

But the bomb won't arrive by missile (3, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617830)

It will be a suitcase bomb delivered by a madman.

Star Wars is just toys for the boys and pork barrel contracts.

What about an EMP? (4, Interesting)

ShamusYoung (528944) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617835)

What I've never been able to figure out, is why are we trying to get a missle that can hit another missle? That is HARD. Laying aside the question as to whether the entire system is a good idea or not, why not design an EMP-based weapon that will detonate NEAR the other missle? Nukes are complex and can't detonate without some sort of computer running the show. Instead of trying to detonate the missle (and spreading its radioactive payload all over the place) it seems like it would be better to kill the computer and keep the weapon confined to its impact crater.

Because EMPs are more Sci-Fi than reality (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617902)

EMPs are difficult to produce from a small machine. Large machines could probably generate a fluctuating field that acts as an EMP but any small device that creates an EMP is most likely some form of nuclear warhead.

So you want to fight fire with fire? Please do include how your device creates an EMP without itself being a nuclear warhead.

Slim Pickens: "Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do."

Re:Because EMPs are more Sci-Fi than reality (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618038)

So you want to fight fire with fire? Please do include how your device creates an EMP without itself being a nuclear warhead.

Detonating a nuke to stop a nuke is not without merit. If the weapon can be intercepted at either a high enough altitude or over a non-populated area (e.g. the ocean), then the otherwise undesirable explosion could save millions of lives.

I'd be counting on the detonation itself doing the trick, though. If a nuclear warhead doesn't do it, I seriously doubt the EMP will.

Re:Because EMPs are more Sci-Fi than reality (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618140)

Aren't most missle guidance systems EMP protected?

Jaysyn

Re:Because EMPs are more Sci-Fi than reality (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618366)

"So you want to fight fire with fire? Please do include how your device creates an EMP without itself being a nuclear warhead."

Sure. I'll even give you a choice. One of our nukes detonated 50 miles up against an incoming missile.. or one of their nuclear missiles detonating at an altitude of 1,000 feet directly over your house.

And your preference is?

Re:What about an EMP? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617943)

As I understand it, the missile defense system is intended to attempt a hard kill, but will go for a soft kill if it can get it. (i.e. Using the shockwave to throw the inbound off course or disable it.) An EMP pulse would be of doubtful use as most military hardware is shielded against such pulses. ESPECIALLY warheads.

Re:What about an EMP? (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618281)

"..most military hardware is shielded against such pulses."

So if I detonate a nuke a mile away from the incoming target it's shielded against the explosion?

Re:What about an EMP? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618335)

So if I detonate a nuke a mile away from the incoming target it's shielded against the explosion?

Say wha? How do you go from "shielded against EMP" to "shilded against explosions?"

If the incoming target is a mile outside the blast radius, the shielding it contains is intended to protect it from the EMP pulse that would otherwise fry its sensistive guidance computers.

Re:What about an EMP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618004)

Because the simplest EMP weapon is another nuke. Also, if it happens near your side of the fence, that EMP may well knock out plenty of stuff on your side.

Remember, "EMP guns" are still pretty much science fiction.

Re:What about an EMP? (3, Interesting)

Erich (151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618152)

Nukes are complex and can't detonate without some sort of computer running the show.

Incorrect. There was no computer in either of the nuclear weapons used in the field. Most of what you need is a supercritical mass of highly fissile material. The two nuclear weapons used against Japan in WWII used a small, regular explosion to combine two sub-critical masses of fissile material together.

Re:What about an EMP? (1)

rahmrh (939610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618371)

So produce an EMP near electroinic detonators? If you could get a big enough EMP (would would be hard unless your missle contains a small nuke itself), then that would for sure detonate the incoming, maybe not as a full yield device, but certainly the explosive used to initiate the nuclear explosion would go off and at at least make it a dirty bomb, and probably a part nuclear explosion.

Sharks... (2, Funny)

zakkie (170306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617855)

OK, so who owns the freakin' IP on sharks with freakin' lasers on their heads? Whoever does will win this little pissing contest... sharks with lasers > zig-zag missiles, no doubt.

None of us can really know... (1)

pulse2600 (625694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617869)

..if this is true or not. Remember our misinformation campaign during the Cold War that helped bankrupt the Soviet Union? Additionally, how would we know if the US missile shield can't hit these new missles? I could imagine that the technology has advanced from the failures reported in the media since the start of the project. Just because we haven't said we can do something does not automatically mean we can't do that thing. It just means the public doesn't know...that you and I are not privy to such information, and for good reason.

Basically the same tech (2, Funny)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617883)

As our Tow, Dragon, and Tomohawk systems use to avoid being shot down on their way to the target. And they're right- there ain't no defense against it YET.

I can think up a possible defense, but it'd be rather nasty on the environment- large microwave generators at a high enough power broadcasting a cone that cooks the electronics of any missile within range, thus making evasive missiles purely ballistic. But like I say- it'd also be cooking birds, wildlife, destabilizing the Ozone Layer.....

Re:Basically the same tech (1)

$ASANY (705279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618308)

What technology would that be which 'prevents' TOW and Dragon missles from being shot down? Suppressive fire?

Re:Basically the same tech (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618387)

As our Tow, Dragon, and Tomohawk systems use to avoid being shot down on their way to the target. And they're right- there ain't no defense against it YET.

What?!?

What!?!

Antitank missiles do swerve in flight, but only at the end and only so that they can hit the tank on the top, where it has less armor than the side. I don't think it would be practical to make a wire guided missile evade being shot down even if there was something to shoot it down. These are ground to ground weapons you're talking about.

I can think up a possible defense, but it'd be rather nasty on the environment- large microwave generators at a high enough power broadcasting a cone that cooks the electronics of any missile within range, thus making evasive missiles purely ballistic.

Ummm, yeah that sounds practical. You should work for the government on some of these stupid pork projects. Another way to do it is to attache a homing beacon to all of our enemies missiles, just like we had to do for the tests of our anti-missile shield, last time I checked the status. Railguns are the solution and everyone knows it, or something.

Watch out for big, bad Russian technology! (1)

Puhase (911920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617908)

A missile that zig-zags eh?
I really wonder what this will do to the accuracy rating of that missile. Russian standards are pretty low as Russian radar and targeting systems are dreadfully behind current US military tech, and with the additional variation in trajectory who the hell knows where that thing will fall?
If you look at the history of the development of ballistic missiles, the Russians focused on huge missiles with tons of warheads so that it could go ridiculously off course and still damage the target. The US went for things like the cruise missile, that had a small number of warheads but was very accurate. Thats why we have "Aegis" class radar.
Oh, and Putin's bragging about the fact that his missiles can change trajectory in flight? *gasp!* Obviously thats thousands of times better than our amazingly advances unmanned drones which can be equiped with small missiles or used for laser guided targeting.
All sarcasm aside, I wonder if the Russians are still using the very dangerous and unmanagable liquid fuel in their missiles?

Re:Watch out for big, bad Russian technology! (1)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618205)

yeah, I wouldn't worry too much. With this zig-zag capability, Russia is more likely to hit Mexico than the US.

Re:Watch out for big, bad Russian technology! (1)

Tharkban (877186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618222)

Wow, looks like we win!

we're so cool.

What about the 100,000RPM miniguns? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617913)

Wasn't that one of the intentions of designing the new super machine guns you've beenh hearing about that can put a thousand rounds in the air before the first one hits?

However... (1)

utlemming (654269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617929)

President Putin also mentioned that while the Russain Federation has developed the technology, Russsia does not have the funding to actually launch the missle. "With all our rotting submarines, and degrading nuclear facilities, it would just be too costly to construct and maintain one of these new-fangled 'zig-zag' missle. Really, the purpose of this press release is to inspire, uh, what is the term, ah, yes, FUD."

This is no surprise (2, Interesting)

johndierks (784521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617932)

Shooting down a ballistic missile that you fire is hard enough. The scale of the problems is immense. They're trying to shoot down an object that is somewhere in 10 billion cubic miles of space, that's going as fast as 15,000 miles per hour. The physics of the problem are near impossible for graceful newtonian arcs, let alone the engineering of such a feat. The solution to the problem is such a tenuous single state solution that adding any other factors (zig-zagging missiles, decoy missiles, or something as expected as slight shift in air density) make the task functionally impossible, given the little or no warning that a nuclear missile attack tends to arrive with.

Re:This is no surprise (1)

nmos (25822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618396)

Well this would have to be an either/or situation. Clearly nothing going 15000mph is going to be doing much zig-zagging. BTW are there really missles that go that fast while they are anywhere near (within 50000ft or so) of the ground?

Russian Fortune (1)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617954)

Now they can sell this technology to US itself and revive their dying economy..

What's more disturbing... (2, Insightful)

benjjj (949782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617975)

...is that the Russians are running their mouths about their nuclear capabilities again. To channel the president, the best defense against Russian missiles is a democratic Russia.

Russia isn't the issue (5, Insightful)

Shihar (153932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14617976)

Russia really is not the problem. If Russia decides it wants to nuke the US, the US is getting nuked. End of story. Sure, a missile defense system might blunt the blow a little, but the truth is there is no good way to stop a few thousand nukes. If Russia bites, it is going to hurt. Both nations are going to end in a nuclear cloud.

The real danger is that North Korea or Iran scraps something together that can just barely make it to the US. Then, through political instability, fanaticism, or provocation they lob a few nukes at the US. Such nukes would probably just barely be able to reach the US, and certainly would not have any fancy zig-zagging capabilities. In such a case a missile defense shield would be a damn nice thing to have, even if it can't stop a full Russian assault.

The real issue is cost / benefit. What are the chances that a nation is going to develop such fanatical fever that it thinks nuking the US and promptly getting glassed over in response is a good idea? The US position on nukes is pretty clear. Nuke us, and we are going to glass you, so it isn't like they are going to be confused by the response.

It would be nice to throw a few dollars at it and have technology waiting in the wings should we need it or should it ever become cost effective. If I could get an effective ballistics defense system for the cost of an aircraft carrier, I would merrily be all over that. If it is going to cost a fleet of air craft carriers, I am far less enthusiastic. A defensive weapon in the arsenal is nice, but not if it takes Apollo like time and effort to achieve it.

I would like to see low level funding of a ballistics defense system. I do not want to kludge together a half-working system at massive expense. Work towards getting the technology ready should it be needed, but don't go all out building an elaborate defense system that is massively expensive and only kinda-sorta works until there is a clear threat.

Re:Russia isn't the issue (1)

ENOENT (25325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618322)

Such nukes would probably just barely be able to reach the US, and certainly would not have any fancy zig-zagging capabilities.


Unless the North Koreans spent a couple of extra bucks and bought the technology from Russia.

Rogue state? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14617988)

So where have North Korea invaded lately? They don't seem very "rogue" compared with another certain country who has invaded two other countries in the past few years with no justification, and is building up to invading another.

Re:Rogue state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618300)

You're certainly entitled to your opinion about Iraq, but to throw Afghanistan into the mix too, just proves you're an asswipe. We went after those that instigated 911, and they were being shelted by Afghanistan. Simple as that.

Re:Rogue state? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14618392)

Sorry, no. The Taliban agreed to hand Osama bin Laden over to a neutral country, despite the USA not offering any proof as to his involvement. The USA could have brought Osama bin Laden to justice, but instead they chose to invade a country - for what? And now where is he? There's a good chance the Madrid and London bombings would not have happened had the USA accepted this perfectly reasonable offer. Way to go with the War on Terror, guys! Heckuva job!

Missles are so Y2k.... (1)

bnf (16861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618026)

Suitcases, international shipping containers, cars on ferries, tunnels from mexico and small sailing vessels all come to mind as better delivery platforms for such a weapon. Missles are not going to be the choice of a rogue nation.

That said, in the crazy poker meets chess meets jenga meets russion roulette game of geo-military politics it's probably worth a trilion dollars to prop up your bluff that you're holding THE MOST AWESOME DEFENSE SYSTEM EVER. Do you care if it works as long as it changes the game in your favor?

missle defense also defeted by mail (1)

ricky_charlet (870619) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618059)

Why worry about (and spend on) an missle defence system when adversaries are more likely to use the Federal Express package delivery system to send a bad-bomb?

Now it makes sense! (0, Troll)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618072)

The magic bullet theory was true!

The KGB really did kill Kennedy!

Missiles are so 20th Century. (3, Interesting)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618080)

I doubt a rogue state would use missiles. Why spend a few billion on a fancy missile system when you can drive the nuke over the border, fly it over in a cargo jet, or float it over in a shipping container?

Besides, missiles are very visible and give away the country of origin. If North Korea fires a nuclear tipped missile, we'll know exactly where it took off and respond accordingly. If it comes over quietly, we really won't know exactly who sent it.

It was defeated before it was begun (2, Informative)

wheresjim (412717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618141)

It would be relatively simple and cheap to overwhelm the system with much cheaper drones. Star wars has been and always will be about economics. In the early 80s it was about bankrupting the Soviets, as well as giving us an extra chip to play with in disarmament negotiations that they did not have. Now it's about a President who is faced with an amazingly complex foriegn affairs landscape, and wishes to deal with it in a simplistic way (while making defense contractors rich).

"Our nuclear threat will not be coming to us in the nose-cone of an SS-20, it will come to us in a Ryder Truck" - Me discussing missle defense on the Bernie Ward show 9/10/2001

This is all rather moot (1)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618160)

You don't need to do anything fancy to break the defense, like the Russian idea of a zig-zagging warhead. Regardless of the exact implementation, every missile defense system needs to rely on radar for targeting: considering the radar profile of the B-2 is that of a marble, I bet you could do the same thing for an ICBM warhead, but with the profile of a grain of sand. Now consider the fact that this warhead is moving at hypersonic speeds, that there would most likely be dozens if not hundreds of them in flight, ten times as many dummy warheads, and other clever countermeasures such as em jamming, simply locating the damn thing on radar would be out of the question. Tracking it with enough precision to allow a laser to tag it, or an intercept missile to blow it up is simply impossible.

Of course, if we get to the point where a country is lobbing nukes at us, things are already very, very bad. The best way to prevent a nuclear strike is to stop it not while the warheads are already on their way down, but before it even launches in the first place. Unfortunately, diplomacy is something with which the current administration is not familiar. This thinly-veiled military complex kickback is more likley to start another Cold War arms race than save anybody's life.

Putin could just be saber rattling too.... (2, Insightful)

Thrymm (662097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618250)

He did not want the US/Canada to develop a missle shield to begin with. Then says his rockets can do somersaults at will to dodge tracking missles...

Develop the laser based missle defense and forego trying to knock one out with another missle.

Never worked... (2, Insightful)

Tyir (622669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618274)

Of course, the missle shield never worked anyway, for a simple reason, decoy missles.

The idea is that the missle defence 'kill vehicle' will launch after it has been confirmed a rogue nation has launched a missle against the US (or North America), and will hunt down and intercept it. The difficult is *not* actually hitting the target, which has been accomplished, but knowing which one the real target is.
Obviously, any nation sending nukes against the states would send decoy ones as well. As Theodore Postol (an expert on missle defence) recently said in a speech at McGill, not sending nukes would be like making a tank without armor, assuming the enemy doesn't have anti-tank weapons.

Even the most up to date missle defence technology really doesn't have a good way of differentiating nukes from fakes, if we don't know what the fake would look like in advance.
More info here: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/0902-03.ht m [commondreams.org]

The Best Missle Shield (1)

SporkLand (225979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618314)

Shared economies. The zig-zag missle won't fly if by blowing you up their economy takes a hit.

I actaully have no clue.

Zig-zagging = Longer transit time (1)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618333)

So even though it may be harder to get the ballistic trajectory, the missle isn't going to be going as fast. And we can still track objects even if they zig-zag, pretty darn accurately too. (Extended Kalman Filter anyone?)

This just sounds like Russian gusto to me.

Behold the future! (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618363)

You have to take this to its logical conclusion.

Both the missle and the anti-missle will be like small, remotely piloted jet fighters. Either pilot may choose to arbitarily change their weapon's vector at any time, as much as they want to.

The anti-missle will be armed with smaller, higher-velocity rockets to shoot at the missle to:

1) Make the missle prematurely detonate
2) Destroy the missle's thrusting capability
3) EMF jam the missle

The missle will be armed with smaller, detachable countermeasures such as:

1) Make the anti-missle fire its rockets at decoy targets
2) Fool the anti-missle into following a decoy target all together
3) Destroy the anti-missle's thrusting capability
4) EMF jam the anti-missle

The missle's disadvantage is a lot of its mass has to be devoted to delivering a highly destructive payload to its target.

The anti-missle's disadvantage is it has to actively tail a small moving target.

The costs of waging missle war with an anti-missle defended country will become prohibitively expensive.

The cost of a country to become properly anti-missle defended will become prohibitely expensive.

But really it will be robotic planes vs. robotic planes.

Obligatory... (1)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14618370)

No, wait--that's what they WANT us to think...

-Loyal
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