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Author Topic: Why does Russia care?
Gaoics79
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Putin Warns U.S.

I've seen this pop up in the news lately. Apparently, Russia is mightily miffed at the prospect of the U.S. placing missile defence installations in some of these neighboring eastern bloc states. Putin has even gone so far as to accuse the U.S. of starting a new arms race.

My question to all the people in the know is of course, why does Russia care?

Do the Russians expect the U.S. to attack them? Do they expect to be attacking the U.S. any time in the future?

If not, what is Russia so pissed off about? Is this some kind of ego thing? A remnant of cold-war paranoia?

What am I missing?

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RickyB
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They want to be treated like a superpower. If they're a superpower, then of course it's possible they'll be at war with the US tomorrow.
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hobsen
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Just as a guess, this may be the Russian counterpart to the Monroe Doctrine. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev agreed to withdraw Russian missiles from Cuba if the U.S. would withdraw American missiles from Turkey. This exchange had no military significance whatsoever, as each side still had enough ICBMs to destroy the other many times over, but having the missiles farther away made both governments look as if they had accomplished something. So it helped both of them against their own hard liners.

Right now the Russian government hates seeing U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, as both those regions have been felt for a long time to be vital to Russian interests. And Russia suffered greatly from American support for insurgents during its own occupation of Afghanistan, so Russian hard liners surely are arguing that Russia should be providing advisers and weapons to make things as hard for the U.S. now as possible. But Russia has had its own problems with Muslim terrorists, and it benefits from having the U.S. the chief target for Muslim hatred, so the Russian government has taken no action against the United States. But this probably means they are being criticized internally for being weak, so some saber rattling over the entirely harmless issue of Nato missile defense helps them to look better without costing anything.

If the United States actually did develop a shield effective against Russian missiles, this would of course change the balance of power. Then Russia would have to respond with more than harsh words. But such a shield does not seem likely this century, at the present rate of progress; and it is not a high U.S. priority. On the contrary, I believe appropriations for missile defense have recently been cut. So it seems unlikely the Russians are really worried over that.

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Sampler
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Maybe Russia actually cares about the implications of the US unilaterally ignoring a treaty it signed in good faith and thus spurring the rest of the world to develop better nuclear weapons.

After all, just 2-3 years after Bush pulled us out for the failed missile defense technology which still cannot work very well, Russia perfected a pressure-activated warhead system that makes our missile defense obsolete before it is even completed.

Maybe it is time for us to give up this bad idea of missile defense before even more new super weapons are created because of our misguided quest to become invulnerable.

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KnightEnder
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Nice post Hobsen.

KE

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KnightEnder
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Sampler,

I oouldn't disagree more. If it were just the Russians, maybe, but taking an honest look at the world today, not trying to make ourselves as safe as possible would be insane.

KE

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FiredrakeRAGE
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Sampler -

Technology does not spring fully formed into being. Figuring out missile defense technology is not going to be a one-step process. We'll not go from defenseless to perfectly defended in one step - we'll need to take many small steps to get there.

If missile defense is a good idea, then this plan has some merit. What is telling, however, is that the missile defense placement in Eastern Europe is unlikely to affect our ability to hit Russian missiles. With that caveat, it appears that Putin is spouting off for reasons internal to Russia.

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RickyB
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Pulling out of the ABM was a mistake, but Shrub and Shooter being a defective duo doesn't make Russia the good guys. Putin's regime is rather evil.
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martel
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Hobsen- I more or less agree.
In addition, while it can be argued that the times have changed, probably the major reason for the beginning of the cold war was that the USSR needed control over the governments in eastern europe for, in their view, security (remember they had been attacked twice in 40 years on that front) and the U.S.'s refusal to play along. Although I think it's absurd to believe that the Russians still can rationally fear a ground attack from Germany or any other European country, it's an area over which they have had domination in some cases for hundreds of years and in all for at least 50, even if they have forgotten the reason they need that dominance. In other words, like Hobsen said, this is basically their Monroe Doctrine.
As we can see from the recent political moves against Belarus and Estonia, there are at least some in the government who still long for the pre-eminence they used to enjoy, and I suspect this is simply another attempt to regain what they've lost.
And on a side note, is anyone worried that they might actually get their regional superiority back, if not Soviet-style, at least close? The recent moves against Belarus especially, and the way in which they are thumbing their noses at current British demands for extradition of the suspected murderers of Litvinenko seem like the first indications of a wind blowing the wrong way.

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Sampler
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From a physics standpoint, the tech. to create better missiles is easier and will develop faster than tech. to protect against them. We will always lose this battle, so why fight it?
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Jesse
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Hush sampler.

Everyone knows the answer to dealing with these fools toting hand-cannon is to keep making breastplates thicker!!

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kenmeer livermaile
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Congrats, Sampler. You effectively squelched my former support for missile defense programs.
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Jesse said:
quote:
Everyone knows the answer to dealing with these fools toting hand-cannon is to keep making breastplates thicker!!
Actually I was wearing a flak jacket just the other day ...but I understand the point you're trying to make [Smile]
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Eric
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Actually, I think the missile defense system is mainly intended as a defense against relatively low-tech missiles like late generation SCUDs and North Korean No Dong missiles and such.

I wasn't going to participate in this thread until I realized it afforded me the opportunity to use the phrase "No Dong".

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Jesse
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Yeah, going back the subject was a great idea once technology advanced enough to make it workable [Smile]

Spending the seventeenth century sinking cash into armor wouldn't have gained much, neh?

We got to modern armor by way of a quest for better rope.

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KnightEnder
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? I'm confused. I've read a lot about body armor, "bullet proof" vests, etc. And everything I've read seems like they were looking for body armor when they found new better body armor. One report I read said some doctor observed that silk slowed down bullets in some shootings.

Of course most of that stuff is obsolete or limited/limiting, and now they are looking at spider silk, nanotechnology, and ceramic composites. Still the best body armor requires some form of metal/ceramic plate to stop high velocity rounds.

Could somebody explain to me what y'all are talking about? Thanks.

Nice to think we could find ways of defending ourselves by accident while trying to improve mankind, but it doesn't work that way most of the time. In fact, it usually works the other way. We find cool new ways of doing stuff by using the stuff we created for war. Like going to the moon with rockets that Hitler's scientists designed to bomb London and beyond.

Preparing for war has probably been responsible for more breakthroughs than any other endeavor. Anybody care to dispute that? (Space program doesn't count cause we wouldn't have gotten there without war products. [Smile] )

As for why try? Why don't we just stick our heads in the sand and hope our enemies don't create better weapons? That just ain't an American way to think. Once we figure out ways to shoot down Russian, and coming soon Iranian, ICBMs we can reconfigure that technology to help feed the poor or make our morning commutes easier.

KE

[ June 04, 2007, 01:24 AM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Sampler
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quote:
Originally posted by KnightEnder:
? I'm confused. I've read a lot about body armor, "bullet proof" vests, etc. And everything I've read seems like they were looking for body armor when they found new better body armor. One report I read said some doctor observed that silk slowed down bullets in some shootings.

Of course most of that stuff is obsolete or limited/limiting, and now they are looking at spider silk, nanotechnology, and ceramic composites. Still the best body armor requires some form of metal/ceramic plate to stop high velocity rounds.

Could somebody explain to me what y'all are talking about? Thanks.

Nice to think we could find ways of defending ourselves by accident while trying to improve mankind, but it doesn't work that way most of the time. In fact, it usually works the other way. We find cool new ways of doing stuff by using the stuff we created for war. Like going to the moon with rockets that Hitler's scientists designed to bomb London and beyond.

Preparing for war has probably been responsible for more breakthroughs than any other endeavor. Anybody care to dispute that? (Space program doesn't count cause we wouldn't have gotten there without war products. [Smile] )

As for why try? Why don't we just stick our heads in the sand and hope our enemies don't create better weapons? That just ain't an American way to think. Once we figure out ways to shoot down Russian, and coming soon Iranian, ICBMs we can reconfigure that technology to help feed the poor or make our morning commutes easier.

KE

It's this vague, haphazard nonsense of comparing the missile defense shield to bullets and armor that is hindering recognizing the problems with such an idea. Add to that this generic sense of inadvertent scientific discovery while doing something patriotic and the whole thing sounds just peachy. [Roll Eyes]


Not only is the technology to make better missiles easier, cheaper and faster to develop than interceptor technology, but the new pressure-activated warheads Russia designed have effectively made nuclear war much more likely. Once launched, these electronic-less missiles cannot be deactivated, self-detonated, communicated with or remotely self-tracked in any way. Add the fact that they will be constructed with radar-absorbing materials and have no EM signature at all and they are invisible.

Essentially, as soon as one of these is launched, it is as good as detonated. These things cannot be called off.

[ June 04, 2007, 02:03 AM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Lyrhawn
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Are you insane? Are you seriously suggesting that an ICBM with even the lowest radar profile isn't going to be visible from a billion miles away from the GIANT FLAME SPOUTING OUT THE BACK OF THE MISSILE? From information I've seen on the most recent Russian missiles, it hasn't successfully masked the heat signature.

What they're doing with getting the missiles to change course in midflight is interesting, but I'm skeptical of the shielding they're supposed to have.

They're nervous because right now they really don't have any cards in the deck except their nukes. When we eliminate their nuclear capability, they have no cards left. Their military is largely in shambles, their military industrial complex is devoted to arming everyone in the world except Russia. Their navy is a joke/shadow of what it used to be. Their army is eviscerating itself in Chechnya. They simply don't have the force necessary to be a major player in the world, except for their nukes. So a missile shield from the US becomes their only tool of force, because the only other thing they have is oil/gas, and even that isn't much of a tool anymore with them kicking out Western Energy companies. It's compelling us to find more homegrown sources. That's one of the reasons OPEC tries to keep the price of oil reasonable and not $80+.

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Sampler
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Are you insane? Are you seriously suggesting that an ICBM with even the lowest radar profile isn't going to be visible from a billion miles away from the GIANT FLAME SPOUTING OUT THE BACK OF THE MISSILE? From information I've seen on the most recent Russian missiles, it hasn't successfully masked the heat signature.

What they're doing with getting the missiles to change course in midflight is interesting, but I'm skeptical of the shielding they're supposed to have.

They're nervous because right now they really don't have any cards in the deck except their nukes. When we eliminate their nuclear capability, they have no cards left. Their military is largely in shambles, their military industrial complex is devoted to arming everyone in the world except Russia. Their navy is a joke/shadow of what it used to be. Their army is eviscerating itself in Chechnya. They simply don't have the force necessary to be a major player in the world, except for their nukes. So a missile shield from the US becomes their only tool of force, because the only other thing they have is oil/gas, and even that isn't much of a tool anymore with them kicking out Western Energy companies. It's compelling us to find more homegrown sources. That's one of the reasons OPEC tries to keep the price of oil reasonable and not $80+.

-With the rocket pushing it on descent, it doesn't matter if everyone can see it, nothing can catch it.

-If the rocket is off on descent, the lack of electronics and stealth-shielding means no EM sig. and no target lock.

Either way it beats the missile defense of the future.


The stationary missile defense right NOW can't even knock down the primitive missiles it was designed for with anything more than a 5-10% success rate. And the mobile Aegis system won't be able to protect in-land targets like St. Louis and Kansas City.

[ June 04, 2007, 03:42 AM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Lyrhawn
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I remain unconvinced that they are laserproof. Lasers are only becoming more and more highpowered, smaller, and more numerous in the US military. Between the Boeing ABL and the laser they're planning to mount on the F35 Lightning, I have to wonder at the kind of shielding they have on them. They'd have to have hard shielding so the beam can't knock it down, and extreme heat shielding to make sure it can't be burned out, which would probably be the best method.

As good as they are getting, we're only getting better too. We've had stealth technology for decades, which means we've had decades of testing and experience in detecting stealth technology. The Russians just showed us their cards, I have no doubt that we have something in our backpocket the US public hasn't even heard of yet.

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Sampler
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What does a laser matter if the computer can't get a target lock on something because it is moving too quickly? Add to that the problems of maintaining a target lock on a stealth-coated missile being forcefully propelled down through the atmosphere and you cannot find a computer fast enough to plot out the course of such an object and the coordination necessary for interception, even for something like shooting a laser at it.


It seems Iran realizes what a joke our MDS really is, with Russia reassuring them. How comforting!
web page

[ June 04, 2007, 05:12 AM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Colin JM0397
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Skipping down to comment, so someone might have said this already - I'll dig up the column, but it's on the CFR's website, IIRC.

The main problem is Russia, as all nations, must look at things politically and strategically (ie militarily). I'm sure many have already said the political reasons, but militarily a state must look simply at their own capabilities and the capabilities of potential adversaries. Our missiles on their doorstep make for a big first strike capability. Whether or not we'd politically ever want to do that, militarily they're simply looking at our physical capability to harm them and it is way in our favor if we do this.

The flip side question is why do we need this and is the provocation worth it?

Here’s the main site: http://www.cfr.org/
Search for something like “Russia missile defense” and you’ll get a bunch of good stuff.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Sampler:
What does a laser matter if the computer can't get a target lock on something because it is moving too quickly? Add to that the problems of maintaining a target lock on a stealth-coated missile being forcefully propelled down through the atmosphere and you cannot find a computer fast enough to plot out the course of such an object and the coordination necessary for interception, even for something like shooting a laser at it.


It seems Iran realizes what a joke our MDS really is, with Russia reassuring them. How comforting!
web page

Stealth isn't a magic cloaking shield like on Star Trek. Powerful radars, like the kind in the F22 Raptor (the most powerful airborn radar in the world) can still spot them, and generally you shoot them down with lasers in the boost stage, not when they are already past the peak of their ballistic arc, which still brings up the problem of their heat signature. During the Cold War we had planes constantly in the air ready to bomb the Russians. If this escalates, I don't think we'll have a problem getting permission from the Europeans or Japananese, or maybe even our -stan friends to have ABL planes in the air constantly. Their nukes will never make it out of Russsia.
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Jesse
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KE - Kevlar was a lucky break. The woman who invented it was just trying to come up with a better fiber.

The argument that war advances science requires one to believe that the guys killed were all idiots.

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Sampler
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Sampler:
What does a laser matter if the computer can't get a target lock on something because it is moving too quickly? Add to that the problems of maintaining a target lock on a stealth-coated missile being forcefully propelled down through the atmosphere and you cannot find a computer fast enough to plot out the course of such an object and the coordination necessary for interception, even for something like shooting a laser at it.


It seems Iran realizes what a joke our MDS really is, with Russia reassuring them. How comforting!
web page

Stealth isn't a magic cloaking shield like on Star Trek. Powerful radars, like the kind in the F22 Raptor (the most powerful airborn radar in the world) can still spot them, and generally you shoot them down with lasers in the boost stage, not when they are already past the peak of their ballistic arc, which still brings up the problem of their heat signature. During the Cold War we had planes constantly in the air ready to bomb the Russians. If this escalates, I don't think we'll have a problem getting permission from the Europeans or Japananese, or maybe even our -stan friends to have ABL planes in the air constantly. Their nukes will never make it out of Russsia.
I never said stealth was magic, but combine it with the speed of these missiles being propelled on descent and sustained target lock & parabolic course calculations will become impracticable, if not impossible.

Also, Russia is big enough where, even if we had planes nearby, unless they were IN Russian airspace, they would not make it to some parts of western Siberia or inner Russia.


Besides, Russia could launch these things from submarines anywhere in the world. We do not have enough Aegis cruisers for world coverage and that would be cost ineffective. The polar regions would be extremely difficult to monitor.


I wonder why noone seems concerned that the new MDS has essentially led to missiles that cannot be called off or stopped remotely once launched. This means that all the room for human error is now gone, and accidental nuclear war is that much more likely. Can anyone say "failsafe?"

[ June 04, 2007, 04:18 PM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Gaoics79
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quote:
Besides, Russia could launch these things from submarines anywhere in the world. We do not have enough Aegis cruisers for world coverage and that would be cost ineffective. The polar regions would be extremely difficult to monitor.
From what I hear, the Soviets used to have these mega subs called Typhoons that would hide beneath the polar ice caps for long stretches of time, possibly even years. The things actually had indoor swimming pools and other recreational facilities for their crew.

Their sole purpose was to wait for the signal and they'd pop out of the ice and launch ICBMs at American targets.

I'm no military expert, but how can the United States stop a threat like this? Then again, maybe Russia doesn't have the budget for this kind of thing anymore.

quote:
The main problem is Russia, as all nations, must look at things politically and strategically (ie militarily). I'm sure many have already said the political reasons, but militarily a state must look simply at their own capabilities and the capabilities of potential adversaries. Our missiles on their doorstep make for a big first strike capability. Whether or not we'd politically ever want to do that, militarily they're simply looking at our physical capability to harm them and it is way in our favor if we do this.
Well by that logic, shouldn't Canada be threatening a new arms race? I'll bet the U.S. has plenty of ICBM's capable of hitting us [Smile]

Seriously though, my point is: what you're saying only makes any sense if there's a plausible reason for Russia to believe that it's going to be at war with the U.S. sometime in the future. Is that really likely to happen?

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Sampler
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Here is a picture of one.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/russia/images/typhoon-surfaced.jpg

Look at the scale of the people to the sub.

Enormous.


According to wiki several are still in service until they will be replaced by something even better in late 2007.

[ June 04, 2007, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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martel
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Wasn't it cause they weren't nuclear powered, or am I thinking of a different sub?

And on the nukes, not to be a prick, but do either of you have any proof of what you're saying? Being an expert in neither physics nor munitions, I don't know which of you is right.

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Sampler
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Lyrhawn is right in the sense that the only things that will be able to have a chance of shooting down these new descent-propelled missile are lasers, however the detection and tracking technology to assist those lasers is probably not feasible.

The theory on how these pressure activated warheads operates is possibly that they have different internal strengths of thin metal plates creating weak chambers which are sensitive to certain densities of air pressure. These are theoretically inversely designed in a Rrussian nesting-doll configuration to allow for the chambers to collapse even as the rocket descends toward the ground. As the rocket reaches desired detonation altitude, a final chamber is pressurized by the network of air pressure and forces the mechanical detonation of the warhead.

Such devices are not stoppable by their senders once launched, and are immune to electromagnetic pulse weapons that could previously fry the electronics of a nuke by launching an EMP in the general direction of a descending warhead. In short, we relied too heavily for too long on EMP defenses because they could be vaguely pointed in broad directions and function adequately.


Additionally, these pressure activated warheads will require less heat shielding for re-entry which makes their bulk less detectable by radar, not even counting stealth-coating materials on the external hull of the missile. The lack of electronics means there will be no EM signature on the missile which adds to the stealth effect. These will be slim metal tubes falling from the sky with crude rockets pushing them. The heat source of the rocket will be the only ID we will be able to get.

And since there are no more electronics, these missiles can be powered on descent to reach extremely high speeds. At those speeds any kind of physical interception device will be at a loss to hit it. Lasers or other energy weapons would be the only possibility. And it will have to be a direct explosive hit from an energy weapon that destroys enough of the missile to render it's warhead inert, we cannot rely on a large field-type weapon like an EMP or maybe even another nuke to take this thing out, without launching something so damaging that it will also destroy the atmosphere around it and harm whatever is below. It will have to be a direct hit with a small, intense energy weapon. Even knocking this thing out of its intended trajectory will still not prevent it from exploding at a certain altitude if the warhead is not destroyed or disabled in some fashion.

[ June 04, 2007, 08:04 PM: Message edited by: Sampler ]

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Lyrhawn
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Russia's subforce is a tiny shadow of what it used to be. Like I said before, half their navy is rusting in the harbor, and they can barely afford to keep the other half running. They don't run as many crews as we do, and upkeep on their subs is much more tedious and timewasting than ours is, which means they can't stay out to sea as long as ours can. Furthermore, our attack subs regularly trail their ballistic subs (in their tiny, tiny numbers) and their attack subs. They're still a generation behind us in stealth, propulsion, and sonar. The only thing I think they've pulled even or even ahead on is torpedoes, and I'll admit that their new torps are scary, but if they can't find our subs, it won't much matter, even with active sonar pings.

Checking Wikipedia, Typhoons aren't even in active service. Only six were built, 3 are slated to be scrapped, 2 are awaiting either scrapping or modernization, and the sixth is a research test bed. They aren't action ready. That leaves Russia's seagoing mobile ballistic missile force non-existant.

Some of our ABM shield is based on attacking missiles in the decent phase, the point defense missiles, but really those only make sense for shooting down things like SCUDS, or older ICBM, like the Shahab. Generally the impact of the laser isn't what you use to knock it out of the sky, you heat the skin of the missile until it explodes and then the warhead falls on the territory of the attacking nation. The bloom from the takeoff rocket, and the heat signature make it a huge, huge target for lasers, and if we have the weapons in theater, it's over. And radars are only getting more powerful, same with lasers, which are only just coming online, and have tons of room to grow.

No system is unbeatable, and for the last fifty years or so, we've always been a step ahead of the game, and I think we still are now.

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Sampler
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Since most ICBM launches are deep underground or under water, the initial heat bloom from the launch will be negligible, probably indistinguishable from the continuous heat signature of the missile's rocket.
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