[F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI all over again?

Earliest MessagesPrevious MessagesRecent MessagesOutline (1640 previous messages)

rshowalter - 04:43pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1641 of 1653) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

Fossil fuels are going to stay important for a long time. And here is an area where Russia has some leverage -- and some common interests. Peace, and enhanced communication, are very much in the interest of all reasonable people here.

almarst-2001 - 04:47pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1642 of 1653)

One of the real problems I see is that, while most developed nations seems to have taken a desision and formulated their vision for the future and their place in it (including I think, even Russia), the US is still in a post-cold-war shock.

almarst-2001 - 04:50pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1643 of 1653)

Sorry, but I have to leave now.

Thanks for a good conversation. Hope to continue.


rshowalter - 04:52pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1644 of 1653) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

The US involves very many persuadable people, and has a political system that is dynamic and persuadable, too.

rshowalter - 04:57pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1645 of 1653) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

rshowalter 3/27/01 6:33am

rshowalter 3/28/01 7:58am , which itself has links that might be useful to look at again. Simple, logically incremental things, that could be done, and that could help.

lunarchick - 05:02pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1646 of 1653)

On fuels - the growing area of alternative energy has to be monitored for developments.

Kyoto: global warming: lack of support from Bush -- who lived in OIL rich TEXAS. When sea level rises and remaps land - he may then take note.

eurocore - 08:29pm Mar 28, 2001 EST (#1647 of 1653)

Use of a laser seems unlikely to me. You'd have to heat part of the structure to a sufficient degree to melt the metal or scramble the electronics within.

As the object is fast moving through a cooling airstream, with (potentially deliberate) variations in acceleration preventing accuracy beyond more than a 20-30cm, (due to microsecond relay time between observation and beam aim correction), and atmospheric absorption taking over 95% of the beams energy (over several hundred km via satellite reflection), it seems you'd have to have at least twenty times as much power as is required to melt a 20cm metal radius disc, assuming it were possible to correct for missile acceleration changes at relativistic speeds. (ie: no lag between observations and correction to transmitted beam - instantaneous electronics!)

The heat capacity of steel is relatively low, but just a thin layer of material on the outside of a potential future ICBM (carbon composite), would make the energy required to destroy the missile quite extravangent. (Several times more than CERN, for example, uses). If the missile split into smaller warheads, with faster sideways accelerations, the beam radius generated would have increase and the power correspondingly.

I'd be very interested if an economically feasible laser plan could be created to prevent relatively large numbers of (slightly altered) ICBMs arriving at there targets. I'd be surprised (currently), if one missile was shot down given the above analysis!

Best Wishes,

Tom Oliver

PS: Anyone who has got a feasible plan - please let me know! (

More Messages Unread Messages Recent Messages (6 following messages)

 Read Subscriptions  Subscribe  Post Message
 E-mail to Sysop  Your Preferences

 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  / Missile Defense

Home | Site Index | Site Search | Forums | Archives | Shopping

News | Business | International | National | New York Region | NYT Front Page | Obituaries | Politics | Quick News | Sports | Science | Technology/Internet | Weather
Editorial | Op-Ed

Features | Arts | Automobiles | Books | Cartoons | Crossword | Games | Job Market | Living | Magazine | Real Estate | Travel | Week in Review

Help/Feedback | Classifieds | Services | New York Today

Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company