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Author Topic: North Korean Missiles
LoverOfJoy
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I missed out on much of the news because of the holiday festivities and I'm trying to catch up now.

The New York Times is saying:

quote:
It was also unclear why North Korea fired short- and mid-range missiles, which it has tested successfully in the past and of which it is said to own several hundred.

"One theory is that they knew that there was a probability that things with the Taepodong 2 wouldn't work, so it was good to fire off a few missiles that would actually work," said a senior Bush administration official, who asked that his name not be used because he was not authorized to speak about this issue.

This makes some sense but has anyone heard any other theories on their reasoning? Why else might they have done it?
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Eric
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Why might they have done it? Information gathering is my guess. The real question is what would have happened had the long range missile not failed.

If that missile had worked and started following any long range, east-bound track, we'd have found out pretty quickly whether our missile defense technology is a working technology or a work in progress.

I suspect this is something the Norks wanted to know.

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Kent
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And how do we know the US didn't shoot those missles down?
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Koner
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There are more ways than one to "bring down" an enemy missile. You don't need to shoot down their missile with one of your own.

I heard a story once from this guy I know who is a submariner in the US Navy. According to his story the submarine he was on witnessed the test launch of a missile from some coutry or other who may or may not have been testing medium and long range missiles sometime around 1995. Electronic surveillance might just possibly have picked up all of the telemetry data from this theoretical test launch.

It seems to me that if you know the frequencies that they operate on and are able to interpret the telemetry data you can do just about anything you want with a missile.

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MattP
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The frequencies are not as important as the encryption. Without prior knowledge of the encryption used to encode and decode transmissions, there's virtually nothing you can do via radio.
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Koner
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But its a pretty safe bet that if you can interpret the telemetry data, you have successfully decoded their transmissions. If you can decode their transmissions you can certainly encode your own instructions to the missle and send them via your own broadcast on their frequency.
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Kent
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If the US got those missles down and doesn't let anyone know about it, it makes the Koreans look inept and weak; which is likely what will serve us best.
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MattP
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Barring extremely poor design or a severe security breach, it would be virtually impossible for even the most advanced computing hardware in existence to break the encryption in the very short period of time that the missile would be transmitting. Drop the "virtually" from that if they're using a one time pad.

Even IF you could decode the telemetry, that's no guarantee that you could transmit new instructions.
* The telemetry frequency is likely different than the command frequency.
* The telemetry encryption may be different than the command encryption.
* The missile will only respond to properly formed commands. The command to self-destruct, for instance, wouldn't be something you could guess like "GOBOOM". It'll probably consist of a sequence of commands which are not recognizable as anything but random binary data, and that's AFTER they've been decrypted.
* The missile may respond to invalid commands by ignoring further commands, or rotating the encryption key to the next in a series.
* etc. (there are many more ways to make it even harder)

This is how I, as a software developer, would design my missile. Perhaps the North Korean missile designers aren't as smart as I am, but I doubt it.

In a practical sense, to "take over" a missile, we would have to know all frequencies, encryption methods, and encryption keys for the missile before it even launches. We would also need to know the correct command syntax AND we'd need a way to obstruct the command signal otherwise the enemy could override or interfere with our attempts to affect the missile.

That's why we're developing a system to knock missiles out of the sky with lasers and rockets. You can't just override the programming like you see in the movies - you've got to cause physical damage to the rocket through direct means.

[ July 05, 2006, 01:58 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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Koner
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hmmm interesting. It makes me wonder then why it was such a big deal that the electronic intelligence gatherers made such a HUGE deal about how important is was that they were able to gather all of that telemetry data in my hypothetical situation. And also why it was such a huge deal to the upper chain back at home as well.
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MattP
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Some possible explanations:
* The story was bogus or was "improved" through retelling
* For some countries, we may have assets in place to get the kind of intel needed to decode telemetry data.
* Missiles using oler technology may transmit telemetry using no encryption or minimal encryption.

As for why the brass would care about getting telemetry data - it's useful because it can help predict the path of the missile. If you know where it's going to hit, you can move people and equipment out of the way amd attempt to intercept it before it hits.

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Kit
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Well, telemetry is the things you want the missile to tell you so it is probably good stuff. Just being able to get the data may be a big deal, even if the data itself is less important, if the method for doing it is applicable to other applications.

On the other hand, even if you can't take it over knowing how the shooters communicate with a missile may very well help you counter it.
Possibilities:
If NO information is recieved (good or bad) then it may be designed to self-detstruct.
If some bad data is recieved it may go to a less capable "fail-safe" mode.
If the ground station recieves false information thinking it is from the missle then they may abort or misdirect the missile.

I have no idea of the US has the capabilty to screw of the NK missiles, it would be really cool if we did. But whether the US can or not has more to do with the NK design than the US electronics capabilities.


I have to say this about MattP's post though, the US should design a non-"hacking" way to stop missiles even if we can "hack" missiles. Physical attacks work regardless of the workings of the missile. "Hacking" solutions only work for hackable missiles and (given the time involved) pre-hacked systems.

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Jesse
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I wonder if they didn't destroy it themselves, being afraid to let it leave their own airspace and provide a reason for a strike, or giving us the great PR of potentially destroying it mid-air.

It seems to me that one of the most important parts of this sort of test is whether or not the thing gets off the pad and assumes the proper trajectory. That's over half the battle isn't it?

Destroying it themselves mid-air, they would still gain a mountain of data, Defy the US, and not take any serious risk of being attacked.

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javelin
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I believe that most missile tests end in the missiles self destructing once the data has been collected. This could easily mean "in mid air".
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LoverOfJoy
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But if they have tested many short range missiles in the past, what is so different about these particular short range missiles that they need to be tested as well?

If you have a stockpile of tested short range missiles, why design a different kind? Or if they were the same kind, why test them yet again?

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Jesse
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LoJ, Bush had already threatened to "stop" (can't find the darn qoute right now, sorry) any attempt at testing a long range missle. Maybe they were trying to distract? Maybe they had shoddy short range missles to dispose of? Maybe they were trying a new design which would be intended to carry the nuclear devices they've built?
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by LoverOfJoy:
But if they have tested many short range missiles in the past, what is so different about these particular short range missiles that they need to be tested as well?

If you have a stockpile of tested short range missiles, why design a different kind? Or if they were the same kind, why test them yet again?

Nuclear weapon warhead is a different animal than the normal munitions.
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LoverOfJoy
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Good point. I hadn't thought of them using nuclear warheads on short-range missiles.
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Brainard
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It is possible that NK longed the short range missles to show their clients that not all their missles blow-up unsuccessfully. This is a major source of hard currency for NK. If ME countries stopped buying these missles they are in trouble.
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KnightEnder
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Well, NK whipped out its Dong. Fortunately they seem to suffer from premature explosion.

What do y'all think we should do, if anything?

I think we should arm South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan with nuclear weapons.

However, I remain convinced that NK is no threat. That they are simply rattling their sabres in order to win concessions from us. I guess I'm saying that I agree with Bush's [Mad] stance of ignoring them.

KE

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Dave at Work
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I came across a Reuters article which claims that based on the initial trajectory, it was aimed at the waters near Hawaii.

Edited to clarify that this is the long range Taepaedong 2 (did I spell that right?) missle that was aimed at the waters near Hawaii.

[ July 07, 2006, 02:28 PM: Message edited by: Dave at Work ]

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Daruma28
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So Kim Ill Ding Dong wants to aim his piece of crap missle at ME?!?!?

Time to send in TEAM AMERICA....

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Jesse
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Japan is about two months from a nuclear weapon, should they want one.

At least, that's what I heard.

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The Drake
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America, F-yeah!
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TommySama
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Personally I think we should just liquidate Kim Jong Ill's entire government and military supply and just help some revolutionary who supports America get control.

Any good reason why we can't do this?

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KnightEnder
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So, what do y'all think of us surrounding NK with nukes in Japan and Taiwan and strengthing our ties with India? Combined with political and ecomomic embargos I think that would do the trick..

Also, we should let it be known that if they cross the 38 paralell with their million man army we will pull back and nuke them.

We can't afford to lose another 50 thousands US troops.

KE

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TommySama
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That sounds good, KE.

Unless if you want to skip straight to the bombing of military weapons caches. (this is the 'diplomacy' aspect of the negotiations.)

At this point, we bring in the politics of our negotiations, by which I man Kim Jong Ill immediately accepts every term of the GoodGuys (US, Taiwan, Japan) otherwise we liquidate him and the power of his government

Somehow though I'm sure economic embargos just means the civilians there will suffer more, which would be good if we want revolution.


Edited to add: he has nukes, so wouldn't we want to make sure he does not have them when we surround NK? Thats what I mean by the bombing his weapons caches before anything else.

[ July 08, 2006, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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Brainard
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One reason we never were too aggressive militarily with NK is that even before the nukes, most of Seoul is within artiliry range of NK. they could do a lot of conventional damange before they are shut down.

We may have to go a military route with these guys, but keep in mind that any civilian casualties in SK will be blamed on us by a large part of the world.

Also adding Taiwan to the mix (via negotiations or by giving them nukes) will greatly complicate things and ultimatly make since it will ensure that China stops what little help it has given us and starts actively helping NK more just out of spite. If we give Taiwan nukes, we might even have to close Walmart.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by TommySama:
Personally I think we should just liquidate Kim Jong Ill's entire government and military supply and just help some revolutionary who supports America get control.

Any good reason why we can't do this?

China.
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TommySama
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Damn. Somehow I knew that little blip on the map with like 1/4 the human population on it would aggravate my lil' scheme.
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KnightEnder
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Tommy, I like the idea of strategic strikes to take out his weapons, but we'd probably catch less international flack if we did it with conventional weapons.

Brainard, Jav, you mean China would start helping them openly as opposed to opposing us in the Security Council and behind closed doors?

KE

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Brainard
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If we give Taiwan nukes, yes. I believe China would do a lot -- if only out of spite.

In any event, I don't think Taiwan belongs in this issue at all. They are not threatened by NK. If NK were to attach them, China would go hard after NK as a way to gain loyalty on the island. Remeber they see Taiwan as part of their country. In the past Taiwan and China have stood together against outsiders.

A much tougher question is what would China do if we attacked NK. I don't think they would feel as threatened as when MacArther was there in the 1950s. I've read some analysis claiming that they are fearful of a failed state on their border with millions of refugees. For some reason this doesn't ring true to me. It seems that the burden of feeding much of NK is already split between the USA, South Korea and, China. I'm sure the USA would pick up the tab to feed the refugees if it was the cheapest way out of the problem. It could be that China likes having a few thorns in the side of the US.

Of course China must realize that this gives Japan an incentive to build its military further and I can't see Beijing happy about that, so I'm pretty confused on this one. Perhaps if Japan announces intentions to go nuclear as a deterant, then China would be more helpful.

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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by KnightEnder:
Tommy, I like the idea of strategic strikes to take out his weapons, but we'd probably catch less international flack if we did it with conventional weapons.

Brainard, Jav, you mean China would start helping them openly as opposed to opposing us in the Security Council and behind closed doors?

KE

China considers NK an ally, and any act of war against NK would require a response, of some sort, from China. In the past, China has suggested this would cause a war. I'm not sure where they stand today - but at the very least, they'd protest strenously with everything they can, MAYBE outside a military option (though they might supply equipment to NK).
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Brainard
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This is a little off topic, but it has to do with the relations between China and North Korea and it is funny in a pathetic sort of way...I heard on one of the Sunday morning talk shows that NK's latest trick is that when China sends them aid (coal, food), they are also keeping the trains for their own rolling stock.
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Rallan
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Looks like everyone's getting in on the missile fun. India just tested a medium-range rocket on the weekend capable of dropping a payload anywhere in China.
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TommySama
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I bought some bottle rockets over the 4th weekend :-)

They have a payload capable of being dropped anywhere in my or my neighbors yards.

[ July 10, 2006, 02:10 AM: Message edited by: TommySama ]

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