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(Popular Science)   The Israeli defense shield is intercepting rockets with unprecedented success. How does it work? Here comes the military science   (popsci.com) divider line 54
    More: Followup, military sciences, Israelis, Israeli defense, Iron Dome, Soviet Empire, interceptors, missile defense systems, President George H.W. Bush  
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3658 clicks; posted to Geek » on 20 Nov 2012 at 11:54 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-20 10:39:22 AM  
OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.
 
2012-11-20 11:56:43 AM  
And actual operational reports from the theater in question put its actual success rate anywhere from 10-50%. Mostly this is hype. Most likely, Hamas uses any damn rockets it can find, and many of them simply don't work for shiat.

/old news, move along
 
2012-11-20 11:57:31 AM  
Do we have independent confirmation about IronDome's effectiveness? Call me cynical but i'm not taking Israel's word about their own missile defense systems success rate.
 
2012-11-20 12:04:28 PM  

Carth: Do we have independent confirmation about IronDome's effectiveness? Call me cynical but i'm not taking Israel's word about their own missile defense systems success rate.


Yeah, they even quote the inflated Patriot numbers from Desert Shield/Storm. And are these percentages from all projectiles or just the ones flung at populated areas?
 
2012-11-20 12:15:28 PM  
In before Ronnie's Star Wars Missile Defense plan apologists:

Taking out conventional payloads at this percentage is respectable (if verified) to reduce incoming damage.

The problem is that Ronnie's plan for a similar solution to nukes is that if it misses 5-10% (if it were even close to that good) we'd still beef hooked as the wartheads it didn't intercept would still be too many.

A boondoggle is still a boondoggle 30 year later.
 
2012-11-20 12:15:30 PM  

TheotherMIguy: And are these percentages from all projectiles or just the ones flung at populated areas?


The latter. Iron Dome ignores anything that not going to hit a populated area.

And Aegis is supposed to stop against guided missiles, no? That's harder than stopping simple rockets.
 
2012-11-20 12:15:37 PM  

RandomAxe: And actual operational reports from the theater in question put its actual success rate anywhere from 10-50%. Mostly this is hype. Most likely, Hamas uses any damn rockets it can find, and many of them simply don't work for shiat.

/old news, move along



10-50%....link to the stats or your full of sh*t.
 
2012-11-20 12:19:33 PM  
*warheads

Fookin lack o coffee.
 
2012-11-20 12:21:50 PM  
I'd be more impressed if they were also tracking the missles well enough to evac street corners when one gets through.

Remember kids, part of not getting shot is not being there when the bullet comes.
 
2012-11-20 12:26:37 PM  

TheotherMIguy: Carth: Do we have independent confirmation about IronDome's effectiveness? Call me cynical but i'm not taking Israel's word about their own missile defense systems success rate.

Yeah, they even quote the inflated Patriot numbers from Desert Shield/Storm. And are these percentages from all projectiles or just the ones flung at populated areas?


One difference TFA glossed over: A typical SCUD missile is screaming in at Mach 5. Even a BM-21 rocket (the best available to Hamas) is traveling at less than half that, and the homebrew Qassam rockets probably only barely supersonic.

It's a much easier thing to shoot down a slower moving rocket, especially if you can spot it on radar immediately after launch.
 
2012-11-20 12:27:33 PM  
Each of these batteries carries 20 missiles according to the article. What happens when the enemy launches 40 rockets? Can multiple batteries work together to cover an area? Or would they step on each other's toes?
 
2012-11-20 12:31:26 PM  
You'd think the article would have been a little more skeptical just based on its own findings. They talk about the reported success rate of the Patriots in the Guif War and how that differed from reality, then accept the reported success rate of the IronDome without looking into whether the same issues exist with the incoming missiles from Gaza. Common sense would suggest that "officials" have a vested interest in making the missile shield appear to work optimally regardless of how it actually performs.
 
2012-11-20 12:44:55 PM  

wildcardjack: I'd be more impressed if they were also tracking the missles well enough to evac street corners when one gets through.

Remember kids, part of not getting shot is not being there when the bullet comes.


Not enough time.

With a rocket like a Qassam II, with a 4 mile range, you're going to have at best around 50 seconds between launch and impact*. You'd have to identify the launch, calculate its trajectory (which might be erratic enough to confound the system anyway), and warn people in that area to take cover, and they must have time to do it, all in less than a minute.


*Arrived at by taking the information about the rockets from this page and plugging it into this page, with a best guess as to velocity. Should be order-of-magnitude close.
 
2012-11-20 12:48:39 PM  

Bhruic: You'd think the article would have been a little more skeptical just based on its own findings. They talk about the reported success rate of the Patriots in the Guif War and how that differed from reality, then accept the reported success rate of the IronDome without looking into whether the same issues exist with the incoming missiles from Gaza. Common sense would suggest that "officials" have a vested interest in making the missile shield appear to work optimally regardless of how it actually performs.


It's a much simpler problem to intercept short range rockets than it is to intercept true ballistic missiles, and the computing power available to do it has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 1990's.

Skepticism is fine, but this is an easier task with more advanced technology available. They *SHOULD* be hitting 80% of the rockets they target, just based on the hit percentage in the Gulf War.
 
2012-11-20 12:54:19 PM  

dittybopper: *Arrived at by taking the information about the rockets from this page and plugging it into this page, with a best guess as to velocity. Should be order-of-magnitude close.


I just can fathom living someplace so small. I'm about to drive four miles to take care of a cat.
 
2012-11-20 01:33:15 PM  

wildcardjack: dittybopper: *Arrived at by taking the information about the rockets from this page and plugging it into this page, with a best guess as to velocity. Should be order-of-magnitude close.

I just can fathom living someplace so small. I'm about to drive four miles to take care of a cat.


You can comfortably walk the entire length of the Gaza Strip in a single day. You can walk across it in a couple hours.
 
2012-11-20 02:31:12 PM  

dittybopper: Skepticism is fine, but this is an easier task with more advanced technology available. They *SHOULD* be hitting 80% of the rockets they target, just based on the hit percentage in the Gulf War.


And they may well be. But when you've got a documented case where the claims didn't match the reality - and that case is actually a component of your article - you should consider the possibility that the same thing might be happening here. That doesn't mean not reporting it, or assuming it's incorrect, but it does mean not assuming it is correct.
 
2012-11-20 03:40:54 PM  

Bhruic: dittybopper: Skepticism is fine, but this is an easier task with more advanced technology available. They *SHOULD* be hitting 80% of the rockets they target, just based on the hit percentage in the Gulf War.

And they may well be. But when you've got a documented case where the claims didn't match the reality - and that case is actually a component of your article - you should consider the possibility that the same thing might be happening here. That doesn't mean not reporting it, or assuming it's incorrect, but it does mean not assuming it is correct.


That's true, but incomplete: The Patriot acquitted itself much better in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which isn't surprising, because of upgrades to address the issues uncovered in 1991-1992, and because it was going against much slower missiles, not SCUDs, much like Iron Dome is designed to do.
 
2012-11-20 03:43:42 PM  

lohphat: In before Ronnie's Star Wars Missile Defense plan apologists:

Taking out conventional payloads at this percentage is respectable (if verified) to reduce incoming damage.

The problem is that Ronnie's plan for a similar solution to nukes is that if it misses 5-10% (if it were even close to that good) we'd still beef hooked as the wartheads it didn't intercept would still be too many.

A boondoggle is still a boondoggle 30 year later.


In the 80s I was quite naturally against Star Wars because young Democrats were supposed to be against anything a Republican came up with. Your use of the word apologists is laughable because the people who should be apologizing are the troglodytes who opposed it because, and this really was the argument, "it can't work because it has never been done before". Seriously, that was the major argument from a wide range of people, including Republicans, and it was as retarded then as it is now. Lots of old leftists will go to their graves "knowing" missile defense was a joke and they were right to have opposed it. Other people grew up and today can say the words "I was young and stupid, but I grew up. I was wrong on SDI. Ronald Reagan was right. I was full of hyperbole when I said Reagan wanted to start world war three. Reagan was right to oppose the Soviet Union." That doesn't mean we have to believe he did everything right, shiat, he's no Barack Obama, but a few things are pretty damn obvious.

What a lot of people on the far-left feared was Star Wars would upset the balance between the United States and the USSR. Many didn't want the US to be a clear victor, in anything. Some didn't even think Communism was inherently flawed. They were perfectly happy with MAD. With many, there was a feeling that information should be shared with the Soviets to maintain balance - espionage was OK with them. Knee-jerk anti-country-I-live-in is hardly a secret trait of far leftists, and certainly not limited to the United States. I wouldn't call them traitors. Nobody is required to give blind allegiance to the current government of the country they were born in.
 
2012-11-20 03:47:46 PM  
 
2012-11-20 03:57:36 PM  
Showing success is easy when you can just make-up bullsh*t numbers. Last I heard, Hamas launched one-hundred-and-flirglty-brajillion rockets at Tel Aviv, but Iron Dome took out all of them. Why would they lie?
 
2012-11-20 03:58:31 PM  

dittybopper: Very interesting analysis of SCUD/Patriot engagements in the first Gulf War.


Without opening, lemme guess: the reported success rate was horse crap.
 
2012-11-20 03:58:52 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: That doesn't mean we have to believe he did everything right, shiat, he's no Barack Obama, but a few things are pretty damn obvious.


By that standard, Barack Obama is no Barack Obama.
 
2012-11-20 04:03:05 PM  
"Israel is using the $90,000 interceptors against crude, inaccurate Hamas rockets that may cost a few hundred dollars each."
 
2012-11-20 04:03:56 PM  

dittybopper: Big_Fat_Liar: That doesn't mean we have to believe he did everything right, shiat, he's no Barack Obama, but a few things are pretty damn obvious.

By that standard, Barack Obama is no Barack Obama.


Right, but he's ALSO no Barack Obama. He's done OK just being Barack Obama.
 
2012-11-20 04:06:27 PM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: dittybopper: Very interesting analysis of SCUD/Patriot engagements in the first Gulf War.

Without opening, lemme guess: the reported success rate was horse crap.


Yeah, but *WHY* is the interesting part: Go to Appendix C. Basically, it boiled down to a handful of factors that were eminently fixable by re-engineering the warhead geometry, fusing, and intercept strategy.

There was no "gotcha" that makes it impossible to do.
 
2012-11-20 04:07:56 PM  

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: dittybopper: Big_Fat_Liar: That doesn't mean we have to believe he did everything right, shiat, he's no Barack Obama, but a few things are pretty damn obvious.

By that standard, Barack Obama is no Barack Obama.

Right, but he's ALSO no Barack Obama. He's done OK just being Barack Obama.


That's true enough, except for when he tries to be Barack Obama.
 
2012-11-20 04:11:59 PM  

dittybopper: SacriliciousBeerSwiller: dittybopper: Very interesting analysis of SCUD/Patriot engagements in the first Gulf War.

Without opening, lemme guess: the reported success rate was horse crap.

Yeah, but *WHY* is the interesting part: Go to Appendix C. Basically, it boiled down to a handful of factors that were eminently fixable by re-engineering the warhead geometry, fusing, and intercept strategy.

There was no "gotcha" that makes it impossible to do.


Let me also point out this: several Patriots actually hit and damaged the SCUDs they were targeted against, but because of the fusing/warhead issue, they didn't destroy the warhead, which kept following a ballistic path until it hit the ground.

So there were "successful" intercepts, in that the Patriots hit and damaged or destroyed the missile body, but failed to destroy the important asplodey part.
 
2012-11-20 04:52:14 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: Your use of the word apologists is laughable because the people who should be apologizing are the troglodytes who opposed it because, and this really was the argument, "it can't work because it has never been done before".


No, that wasn't the argument. The argument was based on *math* regardless how many nikes it stopped in the atmosphere where nukes exploding was bad anyway, was that any percentage that they missed would still result in the same destruction.

The math argument is even stronger because all the USSR had to do was launch cheaper decoys to overwhelm the "defense system".

There was no logical way you could have supported the program other than as a make-work boondoggle for military contractors.
 
2012-11-20 05:35:17 PM  

lohphat: Big_Fat_Liar: Your use of the word apologists is laughable because the people who should be apologizing are the troglodytes who opposed it because, and this really was the argument, "it can't work because it has never been done before".

No, that wasn't the argument. The argument was based on *math* regardless how many nikes it stopped in the atmosphere where nukes exploding was bad anyway, was that any percentage that they missed would still result in the same destruction.

The math argument is even stronger because all the USSR had to do was launch cheaper decoys to overwhelm the "defense system".

There was no logical way you could have supported the program other than as a make-work boondoggle for military contractors.


Agree its not a political argument, its a logistics one.

My own thought is even if we could make that expediture, put the interceptor solution in orbit and manage the data logistics that the offensive capabiliy would ramp up much more quickly than the defensive one if you were trying to protect a sufficiently large area.

SDI was a reasonable concept if you limited the area it was trying to protect (like the Soviet's with Moscow) but even that could be countered with much less cost than the defense; variants of MIRV, cruise missles, other delivery channels. It would actually push the development of technologies forward and/or increase the number of nukes in play, something that increases the likelyhood of MAD being started.

The MAD world is something I think most people have forgotten, that on any given day we could see civilization end as a reality and not something you see in a movie or hear as political hot air. I am glad I a dinosaur in this respect.
 
2012-11-20 06:30:26 PM  
They are using Hand of God like in "The Stand"
 
2012-11-20 06:52:22 PM  

Big_Fat_Liar: lohphat: In before Ronnie's Star Wars Missile Defense plan apologists:

Taking out conventional payloads at this percentage is respectable (if verified) to reduce incoming damage.

The problem is that Ronnie's plan for a similar solution to nukes is that if it misses 5-10% (if it were even close to that good) we'd still beef hooked as the wartheads it didn't intercept would still be too many.

A boondoggle is still a boondoggle 30 year later.

In the 80s I was quite naturally against Star Wars because young Democrats were supposed to be against anything a Republican came up with. Your use of the word apologists is laughable because the people who should be apologizing are the troglodytes who opposed it because, and this really was the argument, "it can't work because it has never been done before". Seriously, that was the major argument from a wide range of people, including Republicans, and it was as retarded then as it is now. Lots of old leftists will go to their graves "knowing" missile defense was a joke and they were right to have opposed it. Other people grew up and today can say the words "I was young and stupid, but I grew up. I was wrong on SDI. Ronald Reagan was right. I was full of hyperbole when I said Reagan wanted to start world war three. Reagan was right to oppose the Soviet Union." That doesn't mean we have to believe he did everything right, shiat, he's no Barack Obama, but a few things are pretty damn obvious.

What a lot of people on the far-left feared was Star Wars would upset the balance between the United States and the USSR. Many didn't want the US to be a clear victor, in anything. Some didn't even think Communism was inherently flawed. They were perfectly happy with MAD. With many, there was a feeling that information should be shared with the Soviets to maintain balance - espionage was OK with them. Knee-jerk anti-country-I-live-in is hardly a secret trait of far leftists, and certainly not limited to the United States. I ...


This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

If you look on Google you can find old time quotes from people who insisted that heavier than air flight was impossible, guitar bands were washed up, radio has no commercial potential, TV is a fad, personal computers are just toys, faster than light travel is impossible (there will be some as yet unknown loop hole), etc. But they have always been proven wrong sooner or later.
 
2012-11-20 07:18:47 PM  

kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.


It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.
 
2012-11-20 07:44:15 PM  

lohphat: kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.


You've been reading Weber's Harrington series, haven't you?

/Thousands upon thousands of missiles!
 
2012-11-20 09:25:47 PM  
The military created a training program for this back in the 80's.
gamrfeed.vgchartz.com
 
2012-11-20 10:02:32 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.


Aegis is very old. Iron Dome is very new.
 
2012-11-20 10:07:50 PM  

lohphat: kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.


Yeah - even if SDI was 95% effective, with 5000 warheads, 250 nukes scattered about the US will essentially end the entity known as the United States of America.
 
2012-11-21 12:33:57 AM  

vygramul: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.

Aegis is very old. Iron Dome is very new.


Well, it really depends on what you mean by Aegis. Aegis has been continuously improving. Current versions of Aegis should have similar capabilities to the "iron dome" if they are deployed in settings with multiple detection sites. The success of the "iron dome" is largely due to the multi-layered radar Israel deploys giving them excellent telemetry, and multiple launch locations which give them the best odds of interception. Notice they are only protecting certain areas. The biggest part to a successful engagement is early, accurate detection. Then you need properly placed kill vehicles capable of intercepting the incoming missiles.
 
2012-11-21 07:36:02 AM  

lohphat: kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.


You still have to expend the missiles to launch the decoys, and they are expensive.

Also, SDI was a complete concept: It envisioned attacking during the boost and mid-trajectory phases also, before any decoys could be deployed.
 
2012-11-21 07:44:41 AM  

lohphat: All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper.


Except not.

1. You still have to launch those decoys. That limits the number of real warheads you can send over. Whether you take up the space in a MIRV bus, or each has it's own missile, that's a limitation on the

2. If you can knock out a missile during the boost phase, or the early part of the coast phase of its trajectory, it doesn't matter how many decoys you stuff into it, and purely decoy missiles would be expensive, probably too expensive to waste.

3. Decoys don't act like actual warheads when they reenter. That allows you to distinguish them when using a point defense system.

Decoys *ARE* a problem for a missile defense system. They just aren't an insurmountable problem.
 
2012-11-21 07:54:06 AM  
Let me add this one thing: I'm impressed with the solutions that both the Israelis *AND* Gazans have come up with.

First, Iron Dome seems to be working well enough. No such system will be perfect, of course, but I haven't heard any serious questioning of its efficacy. Unlike the Patriot system, which was originally designed to shoot down aircraft and was adapted for use against missiles, Iron Dome was designed from the start to shoot down the sort of short range rockets that are normally fired at Israel, and they are a much easier target than a medium range ballistic missile.

Secondly, I'm impressed with the ingenuity of the Gazans in manufacturing rockets that have a decent range and payload. At first, I assumed they were firing Russian "Katyusha"-type rockets smuggled in, and they do have some of them, but I was surprised to learn about the locally manufactured Qassam rockets. Building a militarily capable rocket that size on the sly using improvised explosives and improvised solid fuel (sugar and fertilizer!) is quite impressive.
 
2012-11-21 08:15:09 AM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.


AEGIS (for some reason we capitalize it, but it's not an acronym) is not in the same league as this system. Iron Dome is a point-defense system for low-altitude intercepts; it's not really a ballistic missile defense asset. On the other end, the AEGIS TBMD system is designed to hit a ballistic missile in space. It's essentially like hitting a bullet with a bullet 100 miles in the air. Iron Dome is more akin to the Phalanx C-RAM variant than the AEGIS/SM-3 combo.
 
2012-11-21 08:32:46 AM  

kg2095: If you look on Google you can find old time quotes from people who insisted that heavier than air flight was impossible, guitar bands were washed up, radio has no commercial potential, TV is a fad, personal computers are just toys, faster than light travel is impossible (there will be some as yet unknown loop hole), etc. But they have always been proven wrong sooner or later.


I'm with you here, except on the faster than light one.

That's a fundamental law of the Universe as we understand it. It's not just an engineering problem like heavier than air flight (we knew it was possible, because birds do it), or even supersonic flight (we'd been sending objects faster than the speed of sound for centuries before Yeager).

There is no analog for that to faster than light travel.
 
2012-11-21 08:41:46 AM  

Kyoowashugi: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.

AEGIS (for some reason we capitalize it, but it's not an acronym) is not in the same league as this system. Iron Dome is a point-defense system for low-altitude intercepts; it's not really a ballistic missile defense asset. On the other end, the AEGIS TBMD system is designed to hit a ballistic missile in space. It's essentially like hitting a bullet with a bullet 100 miles in the air. Iron Dome is more akin to the Phalanx C-RAM variant than the AEGIS/SM-3 combo.


People don't seem to realize that hitting a barely supersonic short range rocket is a much easier task than hitting a hypersonic ballistic missile.
 
2012-11-21 09:40:06 AM  

Director_Mr: vygramul: Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: OK, but it doesn't explain why IronDome works and the Aegis has seemed to have had such problems.

Aegis is very old. Iron Dome is very new.

Well, it really depends on what you mean by Aegis. Aegis has been continuously improving. Current versions of Aegis should have similar capabilities to the "iron dome" if they are deployed in settings with multiple detection sites. The success of the "iron dome" is largely due to the multi-layered radar Israel deploys giving them excellent telemetry, and multiple launch locations which give them the best odds of interception. Notice they are only protecting certain areas. The biggest part to a successful engagement is early, accurate detection. Then you need properly placed kill vehicles capable of intercepting the incoming missiles.


It has been improving. It's much improved. But ultimately, there's only so much improvement you can do before you simply have to build something new. We're very close to that point.
 
2012-11-21 10:12:25 AM  

dittybopper: lohphat: All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper.

Except not.

1. You still have to launch those decoys. That limits the number of real warheads you can send over. Whether you take up the space in a MIRV bus, or each has it's own missile, that's a limitation on the

2. If you can knock out a missile during the boost phase, or the early part of the coast phase of its trajectory, it doesn't matter how many decoys you stuff into it, and purely decoy missiles would be expensive, probably too expensive to waste.

3. Decoys don't act like actual warheads when they reenter. That allows you to distinguish them when using a point defense system.

Decoys *ARE* a problem for a missile defense system. They just aren't an insurmountable problem.


It's an insurmountable problem when the defense industry has problems keeping conventional armaments like fighters and helicopters from killing their occupants.

For a missile defense system to work it requires a level of performance not yet demonstrated. Again. All it takes is for 3% of real nukes to make their target for the shield to be worthless. No such system is even close to 80% success rate let alone 97%.

Pipe. Dream.
 
2012-11-21 11:10:36 AM  

wildcardjack: I'd be more impressed if they were also tracking the missles well enough to evac street corners when one gets through.

Remember kids, part of not getting shot is not being there when the bullet comes.


They *HAVE* been doing that. The sirens only go off in the area the rocket is heading for.

TheotherMIguy: lohphat: kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.

You've been reading Weber's Harrington series, haven't you?

/Thousands upon thousands of missiles!


There are no offensive decoys in the Harrington universe--you can't build one. Ships zig around in battle, anything in unpowered flight will miss. (Other than that one early engagement against that ship with the Masadan fanatics who didn't know how to use their ship.) You have to put a missile drive on it, at that point you might as well let the drive push something useful.

I think what you are thinking of is the electronic warfare birds. They aren't intended to absorb defense fire, they're designed to confuse the defensive fire targeting. Sure, they look like the real thing and will be targeted but at least in the countermissile zone I suspect Manticore would prefer lose a real missile than one of the EW birds.
 
2012-11-21 01:24:37 PM  

Loren: wildcardjack: I'd be more impressed if they were also tracking the missles well enough to evac street corners when one gets through.

Remember kids, part of not getting shot is not being there when the bullet comes.

They *HAVE* been doing that. The sirens only go off in the area the rocket is heading for.

TheotherMIguy: lohphat: kg2095: This leftie thinks missile defense shields can and will work as the technology matures. I like them because they are defensive rather than offensive.

It's not that it can't it's a simple math equation: decoys are cheaper than real missiles and cheaper than interceptors. All you have to do to overwhelm the capacity is to launch decoys that cost 1/20th the cost of a real one and the "shield" is as porous as tissue paper. You can't match interceptors with dirt cheap decoys. Then all you need are enough real nukes to hit their target and it's still game over.

You've been reading Weber's Harrington series, haven't you?

/Thousands upon thousands of missiles!

There are no offensive decoys in the Harrington universe--you can't build one. Ships zig around in battle, anything in unpowered flight will miss. (Other than that one early engagement against that ship with the Masadan fanatics who didn't know how to use their ship.) You have to put a missile drive on it, at that point you might as well let the drive push something useful.

I think what you are thinking of is the electronic warfare birds. They aren't intended to absorb defense fire, they're designed to confuse the defensive fire targeting. Sure, they look like the real thing and will be targeted but at least in the countermissile zone I suspect Manticore would prefer lose a real missile than one of the EW birds.


Plus, a lot of engagements happen within the wedge and shield walls, and if you can get something that close, you're again better off with an actual weapon... Unless you can come up with a scenario where weapons are way more expensive and decoys dirt cheap, which Weber isn't about to do.
 
2012-11-21 03:00:24 PM  

lohphat: For a missile defense system to work it requires a level of performance not yet demonstrated. Again. All it takes is for 3% of real nukes to make their target for the shield to be worthless. No such system is even close to 80% success rate let alone 97%.


Yet.

I would also point out that the point defense systems like Spartan and Sprint would have used "enhanced radiation" warheads to achieve kills at a much greater distance from the incoming warhead than we can do with conventional warheads against conventional ballistic missiles. If you only have to get within a couple of miles of the incoming warhead to "kill" it by frying the electronics, making it essentially an inert lump, that simplifies the prospect.

It's an entirely different proposition from making essentially a kinetic kill against a warhead with conventional explosives
 
2012-11-21 04:23:32 PM  

dittybopper:

Yet.


That's an expensive "Yet".

Industrial Military Complex wet dream.
 
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