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    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

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rshow55 - 07:33am Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1256 of 1264) Delete Message

Gisterme says that "nearly everything" I've said about technical details is not correct. Could that mean "I can't find a single example, so I'll wave my hand . . ." ?

In MD14 rshow55 3/1/02 7:07pm there are some significant examples. Here are two key ones -

First: A matter of geometry, based on facts about sines and cosines worked out before Isaac Newton's death:

" The "lasar weapon" programs have been significantly discredited -- because countermeasures are easy, because adaptive optics is not easy, and because a fundamental misunderstanding about the "perfect coherence" of lasers has been made.

" Alignment good enough for lasing" has been confused with the far more difficult alignment needed for laser beam coherence for destroying targets over long distances. "

"This has probably undermined every single BMD laser program in existence. (To be good enough for lasing, one needs alighnments so that the cosine of alignment angle is almost exactly 1 -- . . . to be good enough for aiming, alignment, already difficult for lasing - has to be thousands of times better -- probably impossible, even for a lab curiosity . . . . . .)

Do you question the geometry gisterme?


"The midcourse interception program that has taken up so much diplomatic space has always been vulnerable to extraordinarily easy countermeasures. . . . It costs perhaps a ten thousandth as much to defeat the system as it costs to build it. Perhaps much less. Some facts are based on physics of the sending, reflection, and recieving of electromagnetic radiation (light, radio waves, or any other) are now well known, and inescapable.

Of course, these facts are not only well known, but also old -- known well before 1970. New knowledge hasn't changed them.

rshow55 - 07:34am Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1257 of 1264) Delete Message

Can the US, for enough money, get a decent batting average destroying targets with ridiculously unrealistic "countermeasures" ? Sure. I've never disputed that. When gisterme cites "successes" -- those are the successes refered to. But the questions and issues in MD353 rshow55 3/10/02 11:16pm remain.

There are very solid reasons why countermeasures for MD are thousands, tens of thousands, or MORE times cheaper to build than the systems themselves.

Among other things, it is easy to put a warhead inside a reflective balloon identical to many other reflective balloons in terms of outside shape and reflectivity. This is an idea that has been around a while -- discussed by three dozen physicists who were apalled enough by the MD fraud to visit Congress in 2000.

I haven't exactly run away from specific examples of checking. I commented to manjumicha2001 that I thought the system was, by tactical standards, as "devoid of merit as a herringfish is of fur" - and suggested that if he wanted to discuss why in detail, that he might download the Coyle Report so that we could get down to cases.

I suggested the same to Mazza. Gisterme, I make the same offer to you, as set out in MD353 rshow55 3/10/02 11:16pm

Gisterme I'll respond, point for point, to gisterme 4/11/02 3:24am . It seems to me that your posting reinforces the reasonableness of getting the interest of nation states (and that is what it would take) to get some key things checked to closure, in ways that would actually matter. MD1239 rshow55 4/10/02 6:44pm .

almarst-2001 - 08:10am Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1258 of 1264)

Nuclear-Tipped Interceptors Studied - Rumsfeld Revives Rejected Missile Defense Concept -

rshow55 - 09:21am Apr 11, 2002 EST (#1259 of 1264) Delete Message


"Richard L. Garwin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and prominent missile defense skeptic, said nuclear interceptors still pose several significant technical problems.

" When you actually look at the question, you find that it takes a very large warhead -- more than a megaton -- to destroy anthrax spores in bomblets that may be spread over a distance of five kilometers or more," he said.

" Worse, there are hundreds of civilian satellites as well as many U.S. military satellites vital to our national security that would be imperiled by nuclear explosions. And there are electromagnetic pulse vulnerabilities in an advanced society such as ours that would occur to any point within line-of-sight of the nuclear explosions."

The "vulnerabilities" are serious -- they'd probably destroy most PC's, the entire telephone and internet grid, and many-most information dependent electrical appliances within very wide areas. And, or course, be instant death for people with pacemakers . . . .

Many satellites would be more vulnerable, even, than PC's.

And odds of blinding radars would be great -- suppose two missiles were launched, a minute, or five minutes apart?

For all the politics, the administration knows it is in technical trouble (and perhaps knows a little better because of this thread) - - and the whole world ought to want to look carefully at this.

We're involved here with a boondoggle that needs to be stopped - - and a great example of why it is that bad ideas, with inertia behind them - - go on and on.

We're squandering as much technical resources as were spent on the Apollo project -- for stunts with no tactical use whatsoever.

We have to protect against nuclear risks - and other risks -- but it has to be done in ways that work.

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