back to article US missile defences in successful Pacific test

The Pentagon has moved a little closer to its eventual goal of a complete US missile-defence umbrella, carrying out a successful trial above the Pacific last week. According to a Raytheon release, Standard interceptors launched from the Aegis cruiser USS Lake Erie destroyed both a "ballistic-missile target in space" and a " …

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SM-2 vs SM-3 ?

It's a slight misnomer to Refer to the SM-2 Block III as an Older Version of the SM-3, As I understand it the SM-3 is pretty much a dedicated Anti-Ballistic Missile weapon whereas SM-2 is primaily an Anti-Cruise-Missile and Anti-Aircraft weapon (with a secondary ability to be used on surface ships as far as the horizon) with no signifcant Anti Ballistic Missile role and little in common between the two, except that they are fired from the same multipurpose Vertical Launcher that launches almost all the US Navy's current surface lanched missiles, including Tomahawks and Anti Submarine Missiles.

Why are they desgnated as Missiles in the same series at all? probably a fudge to make it seem as if its a lower risk/cost development to Congress compared to an all-new design and thus less liely to be canceled.

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No defence from ICBMs

SRBM, IRBM-- fine, sure, probably something that can be shot down. There's not a bloody thing anyone can do about an ICBM though, because it's much easier to stack more MIRVs into one than it is to shoot all those MIRVs down.

USA has fifty interceptors? No biggie. Just launch two ICBMs, each with twenty five decoys and twenty five real warheads, all mounted on their own reentry vehicles.

The only defence against an ICBM attack is to play nicely and not piss people off too bad.

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Defense against ICBMs

The only defense against ICBMs, other then not having them used against you, is to shoot them down before they reach their appropriate trajectory.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so fast

ICBMs can and have been shot down in tests.

Detecting decoys is part of the design. Decoys have less mass they heat up faster during re-entry. Put that behind your man-made sapphire crystal window housing the IR sensor and smoke it! But that's only a concern if you want to wait until re-entry to shoot it down. It's much easier to kill it (with a kill vehicle, of all things) higher in the atmosphere while the MIRVs are still on-board. For that technique please see the Spartan and Sprint programs from the 1960s and 70s. The ABM treaty didn't exist for nothing! The U.S. has withdrawn from that treaty, though. Now there is THADD, LEAP and other more classified programs.

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Hurr

Total Annihilation players have had these for ages...come on...

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On second thoughts

If we had a network of satellites in space that could knock out the guidance systems of these ICBMs and send them off into space we'd be safe.

Maybe Reagan did do one thing right...

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Anonymous Coward

If it's based in Alaska

Then all you guys in the lower 48 states better hope no one fires a missile at the US during the summer. There won't be anyone left to man the controls, they'll all be out fishing for King Salmon.

Don't believe me? Call the UK Consulate's Office in Anchorage any time during the months of June thru August.

When you get the message "we're on vacation during the only 3 decent months of the year we have in Alaska - see you in September or if it's urgent, call LA.". you'll begin to understand what I'm saying.

The curious thing about that is this also happens to be the only 3 months that anyone British is likely to need any help - being the tourist season and all. Oh well, that's "couldn't give a fuck* Alaska" for you.

* Which is another reason you should be worried about having a missile defense base here.

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Anonymous Coward

but what about ABL?

everyone's talking about the latest lump of metal to shoot down incoming missiles, but don't forget that boeing's airborne laser is in the works, and could be operational in the next few years. if they get THAT working, the added range and accuracy means they may even be able to hit ther target in the boost phase. no MIRVing to worry about, and it's a big fat juicy target that IR gear will be able to track easily with the huge launch plume. throw in the fact that the amount of forces in it means you won't even need to throw as much power at it (relatively speaking),

alright, the plane they're currently looking at is a 747, but give it a fighter escort and some jamming gear, and it can be a serious headache for anyone trying to launch.

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hmmmm

Am I the only one who's more worried about the Yanks having this kind of power over an alternative ICBM threat?

As the late Bill Hicks once said does it not frighten anyone these fundamental assholes have their finger on the button saying "Tell me when Lord, Tell me when"

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Total waste

This is just another excuse to give billions to a contractor. If, as el prez claims, terrorists are the real threat, why worry about missiles? Countries powerful enough to have long range smart ICBMs understand the concept of mutual destruction/annihilation.

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