May 29, 2006
— Ace Sounds like a damn good idea.
The Pentagon is seeking congressional approval for development of a new weapon able to strike distant targets an hour after they are detected, a newspaper reported on Monday.
The International Herald Tribune said the weapon would be a non-nuclear version of the submarine-launched Trident-2 missile and be part of a president's arsenal when considering a pre-emptive attack.
The report quoted military officials as saying it could be used to hit terrorist camps, enemy missile sites, suspected caches of weapons of mass destruction and other urgent threats.
General James Cartwright, head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said the system would allow U.S. forces to attack targets conventionally and precisely and "limit the collateral damage".
The Pentagon would like the system available in two years, the report said.
Why haven't they done this already? Cruise missiles are nice and all, but they have teeny-tiny little warheads. You can put a much bigger explosive load on top of a Trident.
But the program has run into resistance from lawmakers concerned it could increase the risk of an accidental nuclear war. Under the Pentagon plan, both non-nuclear and nuclear-tipped variants of the Trident-2 missile would be loaded on the same submarines.
"It would be hard to determine if a missile coming out a Trident submarine is conventional or nuclear," the Rhode Island Democrat said.
What a shock that resistance comes from Democrats.
Well, Mr. Reed, here's the thing: stealth fighters and stealth bombers can also carry nuclear weapons. Indeed, they were designed with that mission in mind. And yet we do not shy away from using some of our best first-strike planes in combat simply because they could carry nukes, and someone could get the wrong idea.
Why would Russia assume that a ballistic missile sub is launching a nuclear weapon, when they know the sub also carries conventional-warhead tridents? Wouldn't they sort of realize that's it's far more likely a conventional weapon is being launched?
And why would they then attack us with nuclear weapons, just because we may or may not be launching nuclear weapons against a third country?
Posted by: adolfo velasquez at May 29, 2006 09:21 AM (7lq0v)
Maybe if we paint the non-nuclear ones Volvo Safety Orange that would clear things up.
Just a thought.
Posted by: BumperStickerist at May 29, 2006 09:23 AM (PcDvW)
With regards to fighters carrying both non and nuclear weapons, a country such as Russia or China, or any country that has its own nuclear arsenal, (think N. Korea) has a much larger window to decide if they are threatened.
A missile launch from a Trident off the Florida coast could be a nuclear attack to any country who fears one or wants to call it one as a pretext to start something themselves (think N. Korea again). There is no way at all to know where that missile is destined for.
Imagine if Russia or China were to field the same weapon. Now imagine what it would be like to be at NORAD if a launch occured.
A special signature may sound like an answer, but who would trust it?
Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2006 09:27 AM (Izsn/)
It's a very important weapon to have in my opinion, but don't Trident ICBM's cost like $500 mil a piece?
Posted by: Jason at May 29, 2006 09:32 AM (gNw0L)
Posted by: Jason at May 29, 2006 09:34 AM (gNw0L)
I think they'd be better off adapting something like the B-61 Mod 10 tactical bomb which you can dial-a-yield from 80kT (kill a small city) down to 0.3kT (kill a terrorist village). Airbursts with a micronuke would cause very little residual fallout, blast and thermal would be short range, and the prompt radiation would kill enemies within hours even if they were under cover. What's not to like?
Posted by: David Gillies at May 29, 2006 09:42 AM (RC1AQ)
Posted by: Mike S. at May 29, 2006 09:44 AM (hI/OI)
I would love to see a successfull application of this type of weapon. I just can't see how we get beyond the fact that once a launch takes place, nobody, even with a 10 minute heads up, really knows for sure what's on the Trident.
This is a case of not being able to use tactical nukes on Iran because of everything the word nuclear brings to mind, in spite of the fact that it is probably the correct weapon for the situation.
Instead we will use a nuclear platform to fall back on delivering a conventional weapon, but send the whole world into Defcon 1.
Posted by: Rich at May 29, 2006 09:47 AM (Izsn/)
Which means -- there has to be enough left over to send our way to keep that MAD thing going.
When the watch commander sees the thermal signature of a Trident launch, he'll probably think to himself: "I'm alive, therefore that bird isn't coming our way."
Posted by: Tubealloy at May 29, 2006 10:37 AM (ffmrc)
Posted by: Cutler at May 29, 2006 10:39 AM (05vwR)
Posted by: Tubealloy at May 29, 2006 10:43 AM (ffmrc)
When - if - they see one of our stealth birds, they're thinking, "Holy shit! It's right on top of us." Not that it doesn't bother me that you can always bet your bottom dollar it'll be a Democrat who, when faced with the questions of how to protect our country, first says, "But what would Kofi do?"
And Tubealloy: They never paid Alger Hiss or the Rosenbergs much. You don't have to pay the left much to betray the country. They're already sympathetic to the cause.
Posted by: grayson at May 29, 2006 11:11 AM (3Vh45)
For example, if America goes to war with Iran, and the Russians and the Chinese see a trident going up, they'll assume we're shooting at Iran; it's pretty unlikely that we'd try to start a nuclear war with them on the side.
Posted by: sandy burger at May 29, 2006 11:37 AM (loL5+)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 29, 2006 11:49 AM (+rSRq)
Posted by: JackStraw at May 29, 2006 12:08 PM (rnOZq)
( sources differ on how close Yeltsin came to pushing the button. This is a situation where you take the worst-case-scenario as the one to plan around)
Posted by: Arthur at May 29, 2006 12:35 PM (ybeje)
I see you assholes are still just as dumb, dumb, dumb as you ever were.
Oh, well...impeachment will help.
Posted by: Mike at May 29, 2006 03:30 PM (Gddcx)
Posted by: spurwing plover at May 29, 2006 05:30 PM (M9D/B)
Peace through superior firepower has always been my motto.
Something like a swarm of Sat released tungsten fleschettes would be pretty cool and cheap. Newton does the driving and anything in a quarter square mile or so becomes swiss cheese. Enviro-safe too.
Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 29, 2006 05:37 PM (gf5iT)
Now, what we could do is to have a dedicated "conventional trident" sub broadcast a signal at all times to nculear powers so they could track it and know that any launch from that boat wouldn't be a nuke...but again, would you trust the russians or chinese in the same way?
Nope. Therefore don't do this. Maybe you could deploy them on land in an allied non-nuclear country like Italy.
Posted by: Aaron at May 29, 2006 06:03 PM (DAssA)
It sure seems to me like this is a job for a short range ballistic missile, not an intercontinental ballistic missile. We don't need to be able to hit anywhere in the world in an hour's notice. There are spots we might like to hit like that, but we know where they are (Hint: Iran and North Korea) so you just park a couple of subs out there close to those targets with short range missiles on them. Then you get the advantage of a short flight time combined with the advantage of not looking like an intercontinental launch and starting a nuclear war.
Posted by: Anonymous Coward at May 29, 2006 07:23 PM (rTTky)
So, in a thread about weapons, you want to talk about impeaching the president? Nice to see that you consider impeaching the president more important than fighting the terrorists who have killed over 3,000 American citizens.
And, yes, we do need more weapons. We always, always without exception, need more weapons. Why? Because liberals like you keep getting us into wars.
This is kind of a cool idea, maybe it would be better to do it as a ship-launched weapon. That way, we preserve the subs as dedicated nuke forces, and the ship would be the non-nuclear option.
Posted by: BattleofthePyramids at May 29, 2006 08:15 PM (HJGBF)
Posted by: Jay at May 29, 2006 08:47 PM (rD+kE)
But how about a land based launch system? A Minuteman 3 set up specifcally for such a mission, with the missile and the tube itself being made incapable of projecting nukes. This way, the START treaty would allow inspection of said facility, and any launch from THAT HOLE would be safe.
Posted by: Yogimus at May 30, 2006 02:07 AM (0BLsA)
If we decided to engage Russia or China, the way they would know about it is that we would tell them. In the absence of that, a missile launch would be assumed to be directed at some target we've already expressed concern about.
Posted by: Roy at May 30, 2006 06:17 AM (2XXia)
Posted by: Rich Rostrom at May 31, 2006 06:32 PM (n/CHn)
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