back to article Hypersonic nukes! Nuclear-powered drone subs! Putin unwraps his new (propaganda) toys

Russian Federation president Putin has used his annual state-of-the-nation address to show off the latest additions to Russia's weapon's catalog and to warn the Western powers that his country will not be trifled with. Putin showed off video of new weapons systems, including a massive ICBM capable of launching hypersonic …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

    Mutually Assured Destruction does not require a country to fire first, but just requires countries to fire enough and accurately enough to fuck everybody.

    Thanks Puty baby, now every country and dictator will want them, making the situation a lot more difficult.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      Vlad "Pootie" Putin needs to read 'Superiority' by Arthur C. Clarke

      And I have to ask this one tiny little question: Why, of all times, is he so blatantly bragging about his nukular capabilities? This is especially important because MOST of what he's talking about is still on the drawing board [as I understand it]. You can't be "stealthy" with hypersonics, FAST underwater craft are also LOUD [and susceptible to tactical nukular missiles, like 'subroc'] and so on.

      What he seems to be saying is "we're important, too, DAMMIT! Pay attention to us, we're tired of being FORGOTTEN!"

      Being that China's economy and population are WAY bigger than Russia, I can see he's got 'China Envy'.

      He's also not happy at renewed interest (over here in the USA) of upgrading our arsenal and undoing some of the technological stagnation and possible degradation that's happened over the last (nearly a) decade.

      If he hadn't been such an ass over in Crimea and Ukraine, maybe he wouldn't have to stand there jumping up and down and demanding we PAY ATTENTION TO HIM.

      In any case, the only thing he did NOT do is pound his shoe on the podium...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        If he hadn't been such an ass over in Crimea and Ukraine,

        And maybe if the US hadn't been stirring up things in Ukraine in the first place things might have turned out differently.

        Not to mention that in Crimea, Putin has simply copied the US programme, of interfering militarily in other countries who pose some minor threat.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "Putin has simply copied the US programme, of interfering militarily in other countries"

          It wasn't a US invention, countries have been doing that since written history became a thing.

          1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            Phuzz suggested, "...countries have been doing that since written history became a thing."

            That's either an amazing coincidence in timing; or perhaps there's another explanation for this apparently common starting point for A) the written history of such activities, and B) ah, er, hmmm... written history itself.

            Excuse the pedantry, humour opportunity. :-)

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          Not to mention that in Crimea, Putin has simply copied the US programme

          Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero.

          Not to mention that this was a supposed ally where Russia had been given military basing rights. The very military bases it used to launch the invasion from in fact. Admittedly Russia got the lease on that base renewed by cutting off Ukraine's gas supplies during the winter - but still...

          Whereas you'll find countries round the world clammoring to have US bases. Because having US troops stationed on your soil is protection, whereas having Russian forces based near you is a threat.

          1. JassMan Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD @ I ain't Spartacus

            OOPS!!!

            I think you have forgotten about Grenada. An ex-British colony which suffered a coup by communists.

            OK they were seeking ties with Cuba but history has shown that Cuba has been nothing like the threat that the US has assumed them to be.

            I'm not saying that having a hard communist takeover of an already socialist/communist country was something the locals wanted but there are more diplomatic ways to undo the results of a coup d'état.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD @ I ain't Spartacus

              I think you have forgotten about Grenada. An ex-British colony which suffered a coup by communists.

              Don't think so. Again, did the US annex the territory of Grenada? Nope. They set up the old government which held elections and then left.

              Notice how the Iraqi government told the Americans to leave, and they did. They then invited them back again later after losing all that territory to ISIS.

              I didn't praise US foreign policy in my post, sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. But the point is they aren't doing it to annex territory.

              The post below yours reminds me that NATO annexed Kosovo. Which is odd because they... erm... Didn't.

              Note how Germany are still happy to have US forces based there, 70 years after they were part of the post-war occupying force. But nobody wants Russian forces there.

              Not many countries do. I suppose the Syrian government do - but then they use nerve gas on their own people.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            "How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero"

            Wot? People already forgot about NATO annexing Kosovo?

          3. Mage Silver badge

            Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

            Define Recently. C.f. Gibraltar, N.I. & Catalonia.

            ~

            In world history terms parts of Mexico isn't long ago.

            They got Washington burnt down for trying to invade Canada.

            Florida. Even though they were going to join the Union.

            Strip either side of Panama Canal.

            Destabilised much of Central & South Americas.

            Tried to invade Cuba.

            Messed up Korea (didn't stop advancing), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.

            Puerto Rico is an oppressed Colony.

            Alaska. Ask Natives.

            Most of North American Landmass from natives LESS time ago than Ulster Plantation or Cromwell's push of people across the Shannon.

            Philippines.

            Okinawa.

            USA: You can join but can't leave.

            1. TheVogon Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              Gibraltar wasn't annexed. It was ceeded by treaty.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              You missed Hawaii (annexed in support of US businessmen and the United Fruit corporation, later Dole)

              Samoa (that was WW1, so maybe allowable to take it off Germany, but New Zealand handed the part it took over back to the locals after the war whilst the USA kept theirs)

              The Marianas (arrived in WW2, never left)

              Guam (arrived, brought snakes, destroyed the ecosystem)

              They didn't "try to" invade Cuba - they did - in 1899 (a war against Spain started by a faulty steam boiler exploding in Havana Harbour and the mechanations of William Randolph Hurst wanting to sell more newspapers), then lost it to the Cubans and failed to invade it again.

              Virtually all of central america and the carribbean (at one point or another)

              etc.

              The USA has a very long history of invading other countries in its very short existence - it's been more prolific at it than any of the older european powers.

            3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

              "Alaska. Ask Natives."

              Pretty sure the US bought that chunk of wasteland from Russia.

              1. TheVogon Silver badge

                Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

                "Pretty sure the US bought that chunk of wasteland from Russia."

                A few decades more anthropomorphic global warming and it might be quite pleasant to visit. Rather like Scotland really.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

                  Well... Scotland with bears. And no golf courses.

          4. ridley

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            "Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently? Let me give you a clue, the answer is zero."

            Maybe not annexed but the yanks, and to our shame, us have not exactly been averse to invading a country or two over the last few decades.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

            Hmmm. How many countries (or parts of countries) has the US annexed recently?

            Different style. USA usually uses CIA contractors or "bomb into oblivion", destroys a country and leaves it in ruin. It DOES NOT TRY TO REBUILD what it fucks up. It is like a spoiled child which goes and breaks other children toys and after that runs away not to deal with the consequences. It invades (directly or paying goons), destroys and leaves others to deal with the fruits of its "intervention". A good example would be the way we are dealing with the fallout around the Mediterranean rim today.

            USA interventions count so far since WW2 off the top of my head is (I will probably miss half of them): Cuba (Bay of Pigs), Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Vietnam, Iran (twice), Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, ex-Yugoslavia (twice).

            USSR + Russia: Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Chechnia (twice), North Ossetia, Crimea+Donbass and Syria. Half of those it tried to put at least some effort into rebuilding any damage it did in the process.

            So looking at the score USA has at least double the attempts to intervene militarily in other countries affairs. It also always puts exactly NIL effort to reconstruct, rebuild and fix what they fuck up (I am not counting the Haliburton/Shrub asset stripping operation in Iraq, that was clearly not an attempt to rebuild anything as far as the country infra was concerned).

            It is not a comparison which is in favor of USA by any means.

        3. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          Crimea is a tricky situation because its always been a strategically important area for Russia, its home to a lot of military facilities that haven't been part of Ukraine but rather Russian federal reservations. While Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union or at least in the Russian sphere of influence this didn't matter but as NATO gradually moves to the eastern borders of Russia this becomes a sensitive issue. At the very least Russia didn't 'invade' Crimea because it was already in Russian hands; expecting Russia to move off and leave the facilities for NATO was probably expecting just a bit too much.

          With regard to new weapons there's probably a good bit of Star Wars in there but at the same time it wouldn't pay to become too complacent. Russia has air defense systems that equal or improve on anything the US can field and their latest military aircraft seem to be at least as usable (and a lot cheaper to make) as the F35. We can argue about the relative merits of these systems but one thing is quite noticeable -- we've been hollowing out our aerospace industry which has tended to leave us with a lot of nearly working signature projects that are incredibly expensive that have great potential, assuming they can be made to work (think what happened in the UK but on a larger scale). Russia may have the same limitations but somehow I doubt it (same with China, BTW).

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        Why, of all times, is he so blatantly bragging about his nukular capabilities?

        Would it help if we all clubbed together and bought Vlad an extension operation for those vital few extra inches?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "Would it help if we all clubbed together and bought Vlad an extension operation for those vital few extra inches?"

          It might help more if you got his boyfriend some plastic surgery.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "In any case, the only thing he did NOT do is pound his shoe on the podium..."

        It pays to read the whole speech and not just focus on the shoe.

        Niki was raving on about how Russia has endured many invasions and buried many invaders after the forces have left. Soviet policy was about establishing buffer zones between Moscow and anywhere that might want to invade (which given the history of invasions is about right if you're paranoid about being invaded again). Given the way the US has been shown to export "freedom" (and the type it exports) over the last few decades, that paranoia is arguably justified.

        On the other hand, Vlad is simply poking a stick into a hornet nest - and perhaps attempting to get the USA to spend even more on its military defence technology than it already does (which is unaffordable, well beyond the official 2% GDP and already causing substantial damage to the fabric+infrastructure of american society) in the hope that it will emulate the USSR's implosion on military spend.

        If that;s the case he needn't bother, the F35 project is doing that already.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "On the other hand, Vlad is simply poking a stick into a hornet nest - and perhaps attempting to get the USA to spend even more on its military defence technology than it already does..."

          I was just remembering what did for the USSR and noting the similarities. The USA has huge debt, a President who want's to "Make America Great Again" and part of that plan is to massively spend on the armed forces, especially the nuclear arsenal, and develop new (and very expensive) weapons. I wonder how much of Putins weapons speech is disinformation and how well backed up that is?

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      No, MAD means that his new weapons are pointless. Russia could already destroy the US or any other country they wanted to with the weapons they had. Our missile defense system (if it even worked at all in real life) is designed to defend against a handful of missiles, like if terrorists took over a Russian base, or North Korea or Iran or whoever got it working. It was never designed to or remotely capable of stopping an all out assault from Russia, no matter which pole it came over.

      This is Putin campaigning in Russia: "see I made Russia strong, big bad US can't push us around!" Normally the US would ignore it, but it will end up causing Trump to redouble the stupid project to "strengthen" our nuclear arsenal. Our nuclear arsenal can already destroy Russia many times over, we don't need the capability to destroy it more times.

      It is a doubly bad idea right now because we have an unstable lunatic with his finger on the button and hardly any friends left in the White House who could talk him down. Fortunately I think the military would simply ignore his launch orders, but I'd hate to depend on their common sense overriding decades of indoctrination to follow orders.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "we have an unstable lunatic with his finger on the button"

        I nearly gave you an upvote until I read THAT part. Seriously? You actually BELIEVE that?

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

          "I nearly gave you an upvote until I read THAT part. Seriously? You actually BELIEVE that?"

          Yes it should read "in charge of the nuclear codes". There is no button as such.

    3. LeeE Silver badge

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      The trouble with partisan views is that they're guaranteed to be incomplete.

      This is a response to posturing and allegations by the West and is hardly unexpected; due to its history, Russia collectively feels very strongly about other nations trying to dominate or intimidate it.

      What Putin is doing is the same as what Trump is doing - bigging up his country and making its people feel strong and resistant to threats from others. The importance is not whether either are good people - the morals of both are open to question - but whether they're competent and whether they're respected.

      What is actually most important about this address is that it hints at some revolutionary advances in technology and even if none of them are actually true as stated it's still likely that some significant advances have been made.

      With hints of 'nukes, the safety of these new advances might be an issue though.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

        "What Putin is doing is the same as what Trump is doing - bigging up his country and making its people feel strong and resistant to threats from others. "

        And both are making as much money as possible in the process. For instance the new motorway to the Russian winter Olympics would have been cheaper to pave with Pravda handbags than the price that it actually cost to build!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mutually Assured Destruction - MAD

      Presumably Americans will be able to buy them in Walmart soon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crazy thing is that Russia, China and America are :-

    All staunchly independent.

    All will shove a gun in your face to get their way.

    Non of them like being told what to do.

    and all dumb and rich enough to do it.

    All (currently) Fascist and Dictatorial in (true) nature.

  3. Tim99 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Possible scenario

    As well as embiggening himself, perhaps Putin is trying to break the US economy by getting them to spend pointless amounts of treasure on 'defence' - Just like Reagan did to help break the old Soviet Union?

    This may be pointless, as much of the US economy has been purposed to develop unnecessary/late/ineffectual weapons systems for many decades (like the F35?). The US voter might be persuaded to stump up the money on this stuff, rather than on health and social care (which is actually bigger than defence spending) but they seem to be unaware its true purpose - To channel very large amounts of taxpayers' monies to a very small number of (already very rich) people.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Possible scenario

      "unnecessary/late/ineffectual weapons systems" "like the F35?"

      well, people used to say bad things about the M-16, too, when it first came out. nowadays, after a few decades of serious use and tweeking, it's probably one of the best small arms any military might have in its arsenal. IMBO [In My Bombastic Opinion] it's better than an AK-47, though AKs are probably cheaper to make [it was a design feature of the AK to be cheap/easy to make].

      Give the F35 some time, so the bugs can be worked out, and the benefits of having a common airframe for what is basically 3 different kinds of aircraft will make a lot more sense. Sometimes you have to look at "total cost of ownership", and how military supply systems work on ships and when deployed in the field. Keep in mind that you need SPARE PARTS for all of those planes, to deal with war damage and normal wear and tear. And so, the basic design feature of 'commonality' is a serious tactical advantage, from a supply/material standpoint.

      [having been in the military, having been a 'repair parts petty officer' and had to deal with the navy supply system, it's important to consider THAT aspect, too, with respect to weapons systems and availability and so on].

      In Sun Tzu's book, "The Art of Warfare", he talked about how important it was to make sure your troops were properly supplied for whatever campaign they were to be sent on. Supplies are extremely important.

      Anyway, that's my $.10 worth on the F35. It's really still a "beta release". Then again, in a time of war, sometimes those 'beta release' weapons make all the difference. I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE? And I think it was the P51 Mustang with the Merlin engine that really did the trick to help end the war a bit faster...

      1. ciaran

        No real commonality in the F35

        bombastic bob says "the benefits of having a common airframe "

        Sorry bob, there's only about 25% commonality between the different versions.

        Each version of the F35 has different wings, for example. The F35-B uses aluminum in the central body while the others use titanium.

        The current projected "Total cost of ownership" is so high the USAF is saying its unsustainable.

        The actual underlying design is flawed for current needs. Its range is too short, and the body too wide. The US Navy doesn't want it.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: No real commonality in the F35

          The F35 is a disaster, and no amount of "tweaking" will save it. It would have cost us much less to buy a lot more F22s for combat superiority, and an updated F18 for the common case with air superiority in place.

          Besides, in a decade all human piloted fighters will be obsolete. Someone (probably China) is going to build small and comparatively cheap drones that rely on kinetic kills. Maybe with jet engines but if they could make it work without they'd be really cheap - just fit a solid rocket booster in the back to briefly go supersonic when they go in for the kill. Now you might say "hey an F22/F35/F18 is way more maneuverable than a drone with a solid rocket booster that will flame out in a short period of time" and you'd be right. Except a wing of jets will be facing a thousand of these drones, and there will be nowhere to hide.

          When the first such "dogfight" takes place and human pilots are slaughtered by sheer numbers, that will be the end of the F35 program - long before it is scheduled to end in 2070. Yes you read that right, that's seriously how long the F35 is projected to be viable! The Air Force is run by guys who used to pilot a jet, and they are unable and unwilling to see a future where pilots aren't needed in fighter jets - even half a century from now! That's how out of touch they are.

          1. TheVogon Silver badge

            Re: No real commonality in the F35

            "Someone (probably China) is going to build small and comparatively cheap drones that rely on kinetic kills"

            So sort of like a guided missile type thing? Oh, wait, we already have those!

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: No real commonality in the F35

            "Except a wing of jets will be facing a thousand of these drones, and there will be nowhere to hide."

            I don't think you've thought this through. In order for them to be cheap enough, they're going to have to be both light and simple. Simple affects their radar cross-section, making them easier to spot. Light makes them vulnerable to techniques that wouldn't affect a real jet, such as an airburst explosion (and since it would be anti-materiel, it shouldn't run afoul of rules of engagement). Plus I don't think it would be possible to swarm a wing of jets in all three dimensions without some sort of advance warning. At the least, they'll probably always be able to climb OVER them.

            PS. Why kinetic kills anyway? Most modern munitions use the types of warheads they use now because an air-on-air kill gets tricky at speed and some kind of "shotgun" effect helps in these situations.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: No real commonality in the F35

          I think you may need to look at the kinds of stuff that typically gets repaired/replaced to understand what I mean here. But yeah there are 3 versions that I know about, and of course they have differences. The question is whether the things that are maintained all of the time are also "that different" between them, things like avionics, hydraulic systems, the engine, yotta yotta. Just sayin' that's the thinking behind the basic design. And the supply system has to stock spares for all of that...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible scenario

        people used to say bad things about the M-16, too, when it first came out. nowadays, after a few decades of serious use and tweeking, it's probably one of the best small arms any military might have in its arsenal

        Bombastic bob evidently bases his views on his extensive experience of Counter Strike*.

        It is also worth thinking that by far the most "popular" assault rifle in the world is the AK47 and its variants. It has adherents, but when the chips are down, I suspect most troops would choose a H&K weapon, and ideally a 7.62mm version, instead of the crappy air gun pellets that are the NATO standard round.

        * I certainly do :)

      3. Jason 24

        Re: Possible scenario

        "He talked about how important it was to make sure your troops were properly supplied for whatever campaign they were to be sent on."

        <caveat>According to wikipedia</caveat> we built 20,351 supermarine spitfires and 14,851 hawker hurricanes during the second world war.

        How are you going to supply that many F35s during war time if we can't manage a dozen now? Or the Typhoon with the wonderful idea of building different parts all over the world. Can we even repair the typhoons here since the deal was Turkey would do it?

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Possible scenario

          fortunately, modern warfare isn't "a numbers game" any more. But the way that all of the aircraft of WW2 were supplied was basically a government 'takeover' of existing industry that was focused on producing things like cars. There were no new cars for a few years during WW2. They were building aircraft and tanks and jeeps instead.

          Seriously, though, if you want mass production, don't you want a "common airframe" instead? That should make it cost less and have more interchangeable parts.

          And - somewhat related to other comments - an advantage of an M16's small round COULD be the fact that you can carry more of them [because they'd weigh less]. Though I admit I never had the chance to actually fire one when I was in the military. But I know people who have.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Possible scenario

            The M16's .223 or 5.56mm round is designed to tumble when it hits the body causing maximum damage - also the idea of a smaller bullet was to cause casualties, not death. A dead soldier is just dead, a wounded soldier takes two other soldiers to evacuate, thereby removing three soldiers from the battlefield instead of just one.

            1. Michael Thibault
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Possible scenario

              "…a wounded soldier takes two other soldiers to evacuate, thereby removing three soldiers from the battlefield instead of just one."

              Assuming anyone gives a fuck about casualties (i.e. where "dead" is just the variable time waiting for the gates of paradise/Valhalla/etc. to open). And, for reasons of economy, and to work around the fact of armies marching on their bellies currently, the meat-bags will shortly be replaced with automata and machinery remotely controlled, so the round to be defended against is the largest the holdovers can carry in their short sorties toward the gates.

              However, there's still a place for the smaller round in a domestic setting, particularly urban ones.

              1. 404 Silver badge

                Re: Possible scenario

                True - this assumes the Geneva Convention is in effect and since the folks who make the decisions always seem to be fighting the last war... well, that's about all I can say about that ;)

      4. G.Y.

        P Re: Possible scenario

        "P" stood for Pursuit -- later became "F" for Fighter

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Possible scenario

        "I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE?"

        None.

        Sorry, you just hit a history fail.

        The 'P' designation for combat aircraft, in use in the US from WW1 until after WW2 stood for 'pursuit' which was their term for what they now called a 'fighter' aircraft.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Possible scenario

          "I mean, how many awesome planes in WW2 received the 'P' designation for PROTOTYPE?"

          As in the P-51 Mustang? The P in this case meant "Pursuit" meaning they were designed to pursue and shoot down other aircraft. "Protoype" planes these days get the prefix X for "eXperimental".

    2. Iain W

      Re: Possible scenario

      Perhaps but no one in the West knows what technologies China and Russia have developed. The Chinese already have a working quantum communications system and the Russians have a range of proven hypersonic technologies. I don't think it would take much for the US economy to implode given the self inflicted and idiotic policies of the past decades. Britain quickly lost an empire through burning treasury via two world wars. The US has inflicted its own downfall.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Britain quickly lost an empire

        Because ultimately it was mostly based on asset stripping. Ask Africans, Indians (and former Indian regions), China. Or even USA (First serious loss?) and Ireland.

        No-one anywhere outside the UK wants Empire 2.0

        Sykes-Picot was about French & UK (and a little for the Czar) divving up the Ottoman Empire, to get richer. Look how well that has worked (A) to Make UK richer, (B) for the Middle East. The Bolsheviks came to power before the plan was activated. They published it which created the Arab & Muslim "home rule" movements and factions.

  4. Paul 129
    Megaphone

    Little reactors?

    There could be quite a good market for those.

    Once the dick waving stops.

    Given the current bunch of supremo's perhaps the safest option is develop a salted weapon and nuke from orbit unlit there is no possibility of breeding more.

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Little reactors?

      The real question is who volunteered to build and test these rockets. They're a bit harder to turn off than kerosene jets when something goes wrong.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Little reactors?

      "There could be quite a good market for those."

      Assuming they work. Tiny reactors would be more difficult to control, possibly using fast fission rather than thermal. Additionally, they'd be highly inefficient because you wouldn't have enough mass to properly utilize the thermal energy. The main reason that nuclear jet engines were abandoned is that they're just TOO HEAVY to be practical.

      A tiny reactor must be created with extermely enriched fuel, 'weapons grade' or better, and it requires a pretty significant mass of external things to transfer the heat. To be controllable, you need even bigger mass/geometry and it very rapidly becomes impossible to put it into a missile. A "Big Fornicating Rocket" might be able to manage a nuclear engine (and that's been proposed) but they still need some kind of fuel/propellant to eject out the tail end and so the mass of the engine must be weight against the need for separate fuel/oxidizer and the limitations of chemical reactions.

      Anyway, putting a nuclear engine on a missile that's capable of running for "unlimited" time is extremely impractical. The physics and thermodynamics just don't work very well, ya know?

      [not saying IMPOSSIBLE just IMPRACTICAL]

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