12 April, 2006

Global Strike

The Global Strike mission continues to occupy the minds of American defense planners. For those who haven't heard about it, the main idea is that the US should be able to hit high-priority mobile targets fast, before they have a chance to move. The goal is that within an hour of learning the location of a target anywhere in the world it should be possible to drop explosives on it. Unless you have something stationed in orbit, this requires something like an intercontinental ballistic missile. Until now, American ICBMs have had nuclear warheads, but the may be too much of a bang--and too dangerous politically. So the Navy is working on modifying the Trident D5 to carry a conventional warhead. This raises the issue of launching a missile that might be nuclear or conventional--and leaving the target to decide if it will wait for confirmation before assuming the worst. The Air Force (never one to be left out) is proposing a new missile. Meanwhile, the argument rages on over whether the mission makes sense.

5 comments:

Jeremy said...

It seems to me, at first glance anyway, that it would be a lot more simple and effective to merely increase the number of large, long-range bombers so that you could have a handful of them constantly on patrol, a la the B-52's in the Cold War. Just develop a new, supersonic air-to-ground missile, like the old SRAM, and the requirement should be met, more or less.

Jeremy said...

It seems to me, at first glance anyway, that it would be more simple and effective to merely increase the number of large, long-range bombers so that a handful of them could be on constant patrol at any number of global locations.

Just develop a new, supersonic air-to-ground missile, like the old SRAM, and the requirement should be more or less met.

daniel mcintosh said...

You may be on to something. A SRAM with a quick-reset GPS targeting system? Covering the whole world could be VERY expensive, and not very practical for targets that don't have a clear air corridor. And it would have to be able to destroy targets deep underground. Finally, what if GPS isn't available? I think we have to assume a really good intertial targeting system, and that's more difficult with a constantly moving launch point. Or so it seems to me. I'm not an engineer, and your mileage may vary.

I hate to admit it, but I have an irrational spot in my heart for the idea of rapid-reaction "space marines" swooping in on their suborbital ballistic carriers. I've probably read STARSHIP TROOPERS a few too many times.

I'm glad to see the comments are working. Today I disconnected the moderator function, so they should post automatically.

Jeremy said...

"I hate to admit it, but I have an irrational spot in my heart for the idea of rapid-reaction "space marines" swooping in on their suborbital ballistic carriers."

Reminds me of a strategy game I used to play, Alpha Centauri.

Eventually, you developed sufficient technology to design units to be "dropable" from orbit. Infantry, tanks, artillery, etc.

If you played as the free-market, super-capitalist faction, you could afford (barely) to equip your entire army like this. It was hellaciously expensive, impractical, and not really necessary...but cool as could be.

And in multi-player matches, nothing got the message "I'm REALLY pissed off right now" across as quickly or effectively as your entire field army suddenly appearing around your opponent's capital city.

Daniel McIntosh said...

Alpha Centauri. Now I have another strategy game to find...