Discussion:
[OT] We Are Doomed (Russian SDI)
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Quadibloc
2018-06-29 01:56:12 UTC
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Something I overlooked just dawned on me.

During the declining years of the Soviet Union, a project called the "Strategic
Defense Initiative" was unveiled by then-President Ronald Wilson Reagan.

It presented the Soviet Union with the potential prospect of a situation where
American missiles could still strike the Soviet Union, but Soviet missiles would
no longer be able to reach the United States.

And matching such a system was beyond the reach of the struggling Soviet economy!

This may have contributed a little to the collapse of Communism an the emergence
of democracy under Boris Yeltsin.

Anyways...

The concept of the Strategic Defense Initiative was disclosed, but then America
didn't actually build it.

That wasn't a problem then; the Soviet Union had collapsed, and been replaced with
a democracy.

Now... we've got Putin.

Hence, expect to wake up one morning with someone announcing on behalf of Putin or
a successor thereof that Russia's space shield is now on-line.

John Savard
J. Clarke
2018-06-29 02:16:50 UTC
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On Thu, 28 Jun 2018 18:56:12 -0700 (PDT), Quadibloc
<***@ecn.ab.ca> wrote:

>Something I overlooked just dawned on me.
>
>During the declining years of the Soviet Union, a project called the "Strategic
>Defense Initiative" was unveiled by then-President Ronald Wilson Reagan.
>
>It presented the Soviet Union with the potential prospect of a situation where
>American missiles could still strike the Soviet Union, but Soviet missiles would
>no longer be able to reach the United States.
>
>And matching such a system was beyond the reach of the struggling Soviet economy!
>
>This may have contributed a little to the collapse of Communism an the emergence
>of democracy under Boris Yeltsin.
>
>Anyways...
>
>The concept of the Strategic Defense Initiative was disclosed, but then America
>didn't actually build it.
>
>That wasn't a problem then; the Soviet Union had collapsed, and been replaced with
>a democracy.
>
>Now... we've got Putin.
>
>Hence, expect to wake up one morning with someone announcing on behalf of Putin or
>a successor thereof that Russia's space shield is now on-line.

Except that Russia is poorer than the Soviet Union ever was. They
didn't have the economic means to counter SDI then and they certainly
don't have the means to produce one now.

China's more likely in that regard--they seem to like "V-weapons" as
much as Hitler did.
puppetsock
2018-06-29 17:19:56 UTC
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Re: SDI etc. The original notions of SDI are probably not even vaguely achievable with any kind of tech we are likely to get in the next 20 years. IIRC, they got some kind of laser thingy such that it could fire once by using explosives to pulse it. But, again, IIRC, they only ever got it working on a fixed platform. Of course, I could be hallucinating all this. Or the news clip I recall seeing could have been something very different from what I remember them saying it was.

So the notion of aiming 100s or 1000s of these things so as to kill an all-out ICBM launch is still grossly far away from being done. Possible? I don't know. In Russia's budget? I'm doubting it. They might get some kind of local missile defense, along the lines of Iron Dome or some such. I don't think that stops nukes. Might not even be effective against a B52 strike with conventional explosives.

This does not mean there are no advantages to be had in space from a military point of view. Example: GPS satts are now a big part of how various military do various things. Example: satts observing stuff and providing communications are now a big part of how various military do various things.

So far, as far as I'm aware, nobody has put anything serious in the way of weapons up there. But just think back to all the cool things that became tropes. How deep does your bunker have to be to protect against Project Thor? Imagine a solar power sat that was steerable.

But from another point of view, there are other ways to prosecute conflict. It needn't be nukes, or even the usual image of spies and spooks. Consider, just as a toy model, the idea of a country coming along and offering to build a huge swath of infrastructure. Trains, airports, highways, telephone cell towers, power plants, hospitals, schools, ocean ports, and what-not. And then being in charge of maintaining all that stuff. You want your road to your school past your airport to be in good repair? Do what we want. It's not completely dissimilar to what China is doing in some places in Africa.

And still other novel ways: Do what we want or we'll issue visas to every single one of the "refugees" that are clogging up our downtown areas. Or, do what we want or we'll drop the price of oil by drilling in Alaska wild life preserves. Or, do what we want or we'll outlaw production of <some key item> due to environmental concerns and your country will be hosed. There are tons of novel and innovative ways to be aggravating to people you don't like without ever even glancing at the "Big Red Button."
Kevrob
2018-06-29 18:10:49 UTC
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On Friday, June 29, 2018 at 1:19:59 PM UTC-4, puppetsock wrote:
> Re: SDI etc. The original notions of SDI are probably not even vaguely achievable with any kind of tech we are likely to get in the next 20 years. IIRC, they got some kind of laser thingy such that it could fire once by using explosives to pulse it. But, again, IIRC, they only ever got it working on a fixed platform. Of course, I could be hallucinating all this. Or the news clip I recall seeing could have been something very different from what I remember them saying it was.
>
> So the notion of aiming 100s or 1000s of these things so as to kill an all-out ICBM launch is still grossly far away from being done. Possible? I don't know. In Russia's budget? I'm doubting it. They might get some kind of local missile defense, along the lines of Iron Dome or some such. I don't think that stops nukes. Might not even be effective against a B52 strike with conventional explosives.
>
> This does not mean there are no advantages to be had in space from a military point of view. Example: GPS satts are now a big part of how various military do various things. Example: satts observing stuff and providing communications are now a big part of how various military do various things.
>
> So far, as far as I'm aware, nobody has put anything serious in the way of weapons up there. But just think back to all the cool things that became tropes. How deep does your bunker have to be to protect against Project Thor? Imagine a solar power sat that was steerable.
>
> But from another point of view, there are other ways to prosecute conflict. It needn't be nukes, or even the usual image of spies and spooks. Consider, just as a toy model, the idea of a country coming along and offering to build a huge swath of infrastructure. Trains, airports, highways, telephone cell towers, power plants, hospitals, schools, ocean ports, and what-not. And then being in charge of maintaining all that stuff. You want your road to your school past your airport to be in good repair? Do what we want. It's not completely dissimilar to what China is doing in some places in Africa.
>
> And still other novel ways: Do what we want or we'll issue visas to every single one of the "refugees" that are clogging up our downtown areas. Or, do what we want or we'll drop the price of oil by drilling in Alaska wild life preserves. Or, do what we want or we'll outlaw production of <some key item> due to environmental concerns and your country will be hosed. There are tons of novel and innovative ways to be aggravating to people you don't like without ever even glancing at the "Big Red Button."

There was a mixed bag of ground-based missile defense tech. See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-Based_Midcourse_Defense

Sea-based Aegis seem to work, with the earlier version designed
to protect the Navy's fleets.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Combat_System

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Ballistic_Missile_Defense_System

The most useful thing about SDI systems was their status as
bargaining chips in SALT and START negotiations. If you can't
be 99.9% sure that "the missile always gets through," limitation
agreements make sense. Those resources can be kept in the taxpayers
pockets, or spent on other /b/o/o/n/d/o/g/g/l/e/s/ "pressing needs."

Kevin R
Peter Trei
2018-06-29 21:06:07 UTC
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On Friday, June 29, 2018 at 2:10:53 PM UTC-4, Kevrob wrote:
> On Friday, June 29, 2018 at 1:19:59 PM UTC-4, puppetsock wrote:
> > Re: SDI etc. The original notions of SDI are probably not even vaguely achievable with any kind of tech we are likely to get in the next 20 years. IIRC, they got some kind of laser thingy such that it could fire once by using explosives to pulse it. But, again, IIRC, they only ever got it working on a fixed platform. Of course, I could be hallucinating all this. Or the news clip I recall seeing could have been something very different from what I remember them saying it was.
> >
> > So the notion of aiming 100s or 1000s of these things so as to kill an all-out ICBM launch is still grossly far away from being done. Possible? I don't know. In Russia's budget? I'm doubting it. They might get some kind of local missile defense, along the lines of Iron Dome or some such. I don't think that stops nukes. Might not even be effective against a B52 strike with conventional explosives.
> >
> > This does not mean there are no advantages to be had in space from a military point of view. Example: GPS satts are now a big part of how various military do various things. Example: satts observing stuff and providing communications are now a big part of how various military do various things.
> >
> > So far, as far as I'm aware, nobody has put anything serious in the way of weapons up there. But just think back to all the cool things that became tropes. How deep does your bunker have to be to protect against Project Thor? Imagine a solar power sat that was steerable.
> >
> > But from another point of view, there are other ways to prosecute conflict. It needn't be nukes, or even the usual image of spies and spooks. Consider, just as a toy model, the idea of a country coming along and offering to build a huge swath of infrastructure. Trains, airports, highways, telephone cell towers, power plants, hospitals, schools, ocean ports, and what-not. And then being in charge of maintaining all that stuff. You want your road to your school past your airport to be in good repair? Do what we want. It's not completely dissimilar to what China is doing in some places in Africa.
> >
> > And still other novel ways: Do what we want or we'll issue visas to every single one of the "refugees" that are clogging up our downtown areas. Or, do what we want or we'll drop the price of oil by drilling in Alaska wild life preserves. Or, do what we want or we'll outlaw production of <some key item> due to environmental concerns and your country will be hosed. There are tons of novel and innovative ways to be aggravating to people you don't like without ever even glancing at the "Big Red Button."
>
> There was a mixed bag of ground-based missile defense tech. See:
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground-Based_Midcourse_Defense
>
> Sea-based Aegis seem to work, with the earlier version designed
> to protect the Navy's fleets.
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Combat_System
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Ballistic_Missile_Defense_System
>
> The most useful thing about SDI systems was their status as
> bargaining chips in SALT and START negotiations. If you can't
> be 99.9% sure that "the missile always gets through," limitation
> agreements make sense. Those resources can be kept in the taxpayers
> pockets, or spent on other /b/o/o/n/d/o/g/g/l/e/s/ "pressing needs."

Putin recently spoke of some new Russian 'V-weapons' which he claimed would
allow Russia to 'win' a war against the US. These included a nuclear powered
hypersonic cruise missile. Aside from its warhead, it would leave a radioactive
exhaust. The US started developing the idea 50 years ago, but quit after
realizing the drawbacks:

https://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/putins-nuclear-powered-cruise-missile-is-a-rehash-of-an-1823588286

Also an unmanned nuclear powered and armed drone sub, allegedly running very
deep and quiet - essentially an underwater cruise missile.

Finally, a new, higher range ICBM with global reach.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/06/29/putin-new-russian-weapons-decades-ahead-foreign-rivals.html

How real these are remain to be seen.

pt
J. Clarke
2018-06-29 22:32:26 UTC
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On Fri, 29 Jun 2018 10:19:56 -0700 (PDT), puppetsock
<***@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Re: SDI etc. The original notions of SDI are probably not even vaguely achievable with any kind of tech we are likely to get in the next 20 years. IIRC, they got some kind of laser thingy such that it could fire once by using explosives to pulse it. But, again, IIRC, they only ever got it working on a fixed platform. Of course, I could be hallucinating all this. Or the news clip I recall seeing could have been something very different from what I remember them saying it was.

That was only one concept. IIRC that "smart rocks" gave way to
"brilliant pebbles", and that at one point intelligent crowbars were
in it somewhere as well.

>So the notion of aiming 100s or 1000s of these things so as to kill an all-out ICBM launch is still grossly far away from being done. Possible? I don't know. In Russia's budget? I'm doubting it. They might get some kind of local missile defense, along the lines of Iron Dome or some such. I don't think that stops nukes. Might not even be effective against a B52 strike with conventional explosives.

Moscow had a Safeguard-level ABM defense at one time. Whether it
would take out incoming warheads is an open question.

The US knew _how_ to build one--Safeguard was operational for a few
years then they pulled the plug. That system did intercept warheads
in tests--how many is not clear, but it had two chances--the big Nike
went out 100 miles with a 5 megaton warhead and if that missed Sprint
comes screaming out at 100 gs and 15 seconds later having burned two
stages it's 18 miles downrange with its kiloton and a mighty shitload
of plasma and shockwave.

>This does not mean there are no advantages to be had in space from a military point of view. Example: GPS satts are now a big part of how various military do various things. Example: satts observing stuff and providing communications are now a big part of how various military do various things.
>
>So far, as far as I'm aware, nobody has put anything serious in the way of weapons up there. But just think back to all the cool things that became tropes. How deep does your bunker have to be to protect against Project Thor? Imagine a solar power sat that was steerable.

There are treaties in place that forbid weapons in space.

In any case, don't be too impressed by Project Thor, it has about the
same yield as an equivalent mass of conventional explosives.

As for a powersat, it's a big easy target.

>But from another point of view, there are other ways to prosecute conflict. It needn't be nukes, or even the usual image of spies and spooks. Consider, just as a toy model, the idea of a country coming along and offering to build a huge swath of infrastructure. Trains, airports, highways, telephone cell towers, power plants, hospitals, schools, ocean ports, and what-not. And then being in charge of maintaining all that stuff. You want your road to your school past your airport to be in good repair? Do what we want. It's not completely dissimilar to what China is doing in some places in Africa.

But do you want control of some places in Africa badly enough to pay
for it? And how do you prevent nationalization?

>And still other novel ways: Do what we want or we'll issue visas to every single one of the "refugees" that are clogging up our downtown areas.

What, "do what we want and we'll take your refugee problem off your
hands"? I think you don't understand the concept of "visa". If
they're clogging up _your_ downtown areas the only thing "issuing
visas" accomplishes is letting _more_ refugess clog your downtown
areas. If you want them to become the other guy's problem you have to
get _him_ to issue visas.

>Or, do what we want or we'll drop the price of oil by drilling in Alaska wild life preserves.

No need for that, we already _used_ that one with no drilling in
wildlfe preserves.

>Or, do what we want or we'll outlaw production of <some key item> due to environmental concerns and your country will be hosed.

Unless they buy it from someone else.

>There are tons of novel and innovative ways to be aggravating to people you don't like without ever even glancing at the "Big Red Button."

And there tons of ways for them to be aggravating back at you.
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