Can a Hardened Nuclear Missile Silo Be Disable With A conventional weapons strike?

Discussion in 'Nuclear, Chemical & Bio Weapons' started by Dayton3, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    17,653
    Likes Received:
    4,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I never got that idea out of his posts. But it occurs to me that the Iowa class battleships were designed to withstand a one ton shell making a direct hit.

    IIRC one ton is close to the size of a large Soviet era antiship missile and cannon rounds reach up around Mach 2. Again about the speed of a Soviet antiship missile.

    So if the Iowa class vessel could withstand a one ton shell hitting at Mach 2, then chances are that in terms of kinetic energy transfer a Soviet antiship missile would not be that big a deal.
     
    Mushroom likes this.
  2. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Well, not really.

    The reason for this is pretty obvious if you think about it.

    Russia (like the US) uses almost exclusively fixed missile locations for all of their ballistic missiles (all of which are nuclear BTW). This is primarily because of the 1987 INF Treaty, in which both nations agreed to dismantle all conventional ballistic missiles. And since there was little use for either nation to have mobile ballistic nuclear missiles, both sides pretty much canceled all of those systems.

    Now China on the other hand, it is not a party of the INF Treaty. Therefore they have both conventional ballistic missiles, as well as nuclear ballistic missiles that are primarily launched from mobile launchers.

    And several of these locations are right on the coast.

    And the same is true of Iran. A great many of their mobile missile forces are literally within a stone's throw of the Persian Gulf. To get a bit technical, this is to enlarge the BMOA (Ballistic Missile Operational Area) as close as they can to potential targets.

    So technically, you are correct. There are no "coastal missile silos" to target.

    But in actuality, you are incorrect because there are 3 nations that are potentially hostile (China, Iran, North Korea) that place a great many of their ballistic missiles on mobile launchers, and station these right on the coast.
     
    primate likes this.
  3. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    Messages:
    9,509
    Likes Received:
    1,983
    Trophy Points:
    113
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This is a GBU 39 Bunker buster. They say it can penetrate 6 metres of reinforced concrete.

    Newer bombs may exist.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Baff

    Baff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2016
    Messages:
    9,509
    Likes Received:
    1,983
    Trophy Points:
    113
    With missiles the kinetic energy isn't the problem. Heat is.
    They use chemical warheads. The metal ignites and the whole ship superstructure superheats and the crew jump over board or burn to death in the oven it has become.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I don't even think a 16 inch cannon is firing a purely kinetic penetrator. It will have a high ex warhead I expect.

    The importance of speed in anti ship missiles is the ability to defeat countermeasures.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2018
  5. perdidochas

    perdidochas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    27,303
    Likes Received:
    4,334
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Read for comprehension. The earlier poster just mentioned that the barrels of battleship guns are excellent starts to build bunker buster bombs. It's unfortunate that we don't have more mothballed battleships to take the barrels off of.
     
  6. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    38,029
    Likes Received:
    16,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Actually the Clinton administration broke the law and had all of the spare 16" gun barrels cut up and sold for scrap.

    Why Bunker Buster Bombs Are Made From Spent Barrels
    https://www.realcleardefense.com/ar..._made_from_spent_howitzer_barrels_110846.html

     
  7. Mircea

    Mircea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,891
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    113
    No.

    Nuclear blasts do not damage the silo or the command/control center.

    What the nuclear blast does is damage the silo doors, which prevents the doors from opening, and in some cases depending on the over-pressure generated (which is relative to the size of the warhead and height-of-burst), drives the silo doors into the silo damaging the missile. Any damage to the missile more or less renders it useless. Warped silo doors won't open, and any attempt to launch the missile would result in nothing short of the missile burning up in the silo. While the warheads won't detonate, they will create an environmental mess.

    No conventional warhead could ever generate the amount of over-pressure necessary to damage a silo door.

    What kind of FUBAR nonsense is this?

    That is factually incorrect.

    Russian short-range ballistic missiles are all mobile and they have both conventional and nuclear warheads for their short-range missiles.

    Russia, like China, also has mobile ICBMs.

    The INF Treaty does no such thing. The INF Treaty specifically prohibits ballistic and non-ballistic missile in the intermediate range. The INF Treaty has no bearing on SRBMs, ICBMs or SLBMs.

    Wrong again. Russia has mobile ICBMs. Mobile ICBMs are unlikely to be destroyed in a first-strike, which makes them very useful for a counter-strike.

    The US maintained the mobile Lance short-range ballistic missile system, until President Bush unilaterally withdrew it from the inventory of the US Army and USMC in 1991.
     
  8. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Wrong. This is so very very wrong.

    Because of the INF treaty, all conventional ballistic missiles were phased out. That is why the Pershing system was chopped. The only ballistic missiles in use today by those countries are only nuclear (they Russians however do still make conventional systems for export use).

    The only conventional ballistic missiles allowed in current inventory for either nation are those launched by submarines. This is also a technicality, because even conventional cruise missiles like the Tomahawk are technically launched via a conventional ballistic missile which then sheds it's excess components prior to entering a cruse mode.

    China does not matter, they are not part of the INF treaty.

    And there is a reason both nations stopped using conventional ICBMs decades ago. Even without a treaty, it was simply to easy for the launch of such a weapon to be interpreted as the launch of a nuclear weapon.

    If say Russia fired a TOPOL missile at the US, do you think for a moment they would believe it was anything but a nuclear missile? It is for this very reason that the INF treaty was created.

    It was not "unilaterally withdrawn", it became obsolete. At the time of the INF treaty it was already being phased out for newer and more capable systems. Specifically the MLRS and HIMARS.

    It was also not a "ballistic missile", it operated on a much flatter trajectory.
     
  9. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    YES IT DOES!

    Did I not just finish saying it is a live and operational base for the GBI missile?

    And the claim for eliminating "coastal missiles" is accurate, because that is where China places most of their mobile launchers. For an attack on such a launch complex, a barrage by large artillery is probably the most effective way to eliminate them. The launchers themselves are not hardened, and are relatively easy to knock out.
     
  10. Mircea

    Mircea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,891
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    113
    No, you're just plain wrong.

    There's a big-ass ****ing clue in "INF": Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

    The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, commonly referred to as the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, requires destruction of the Parties' ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force.

    [emphasis mine]

    https://www.state.gov/t/avc/trty/102360.htm

    The Pershing IA and the Pershing II are intermediate range ballistic missiles.

    No conventional warheads were ever produced for the Pershing.

    The INF Treaty had no effective on the Lance Missile System, a short range ballistic missile. It is no longer in the inventory of the US Army or Marine Corps, because President Bush unilaterally ordered the withdraw of that system.

    No, wrong again. Russia maintains five short range ballistic missile systems, that can carry either a conventional or nuclear warhead.

    No, wrong again.

    The missiles are launched from a pressurized cannister. You're apparently oblivious to the fact that they can be launched through torpedo tubes on submarines.

    The missile is sub-sonic and flies a non-ballistic flight path, hence it is not a ballistic missile.

    No country has ever produced a conventional warhead for an ICBM. All of the ICBM systems ever created were nuclear only.

    That is not the reason for the INF Treaty.

    The Pershing I, Pershing IA, and the Pershing II were armed with nuclear warheads, and no conventional warheads were ever produced.

    No, wrong again.

    The Lance was originally scheduled for retirement in the 1980s, in 1985 however, the Department of the Army extended the shelf-life of the nuclear Lance to 1995. Change came again in September 1991 as President George H. W. Bush announced a unilateral withdrawal of all tactical nuclear weapons. Within the year, all units were removed from Europe and the final Lance battalion stood down at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, June 30, 1992.

    [emphasis mine]

    https://www.army.mil/article/153462/smdc_history_lance_missile_concludes_second_career

    The Lance Missile flew a pure ballistic trajectory. At maximum range, it reached a height of 47,100 feet.

    It is quite clear you have no understanding of nuclear weapons.
     
  11. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    It was withdrawn because of the fielding of the ATCAMS system. Quite a few weapon systems were withdrawn after the 1991 Gulf War. The HAWK missile, the M551, the M60, the M48, the BB class ships, PATRIOT PAC-1, the M113, the Gamma Goat, the CUC-V, and a great many others. A lot of them were replaced by newer systems, like the LANCE with the ATCAMS, and HAWK - PATRIOT PAC-1 with PATRIOT PAC-2. With the ATCAMS now a battle proven system and with enough in service the LANCE was obsolete.

    By 1992, there was only 2 LANCER Regiments left in service, down from 4 during the Gulf War, and 8 at their height (most had already been retired during the Reagan Administration in 1986-1987).

    Maybe we should bring back the LANCE, as well as the HAWK, since you seem to think obsolete systems are so important. Or maybe even the Davy Crockett.
     
  12. Mircea

    Mircea Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2015
    Messages:
    2,891
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    113
    No, still wrong.

    The Lance was originally scheduled for retirement in the 1980s, in 1985 however, the Department of the Army extended the shelf-life of the nuclear Lance to 1995. Change came again in September 1991 as President George H. W. Bush announced a unilateral withdrawal of all tactical nuclear weapons. Within the year, all units were removed from Europe and the final Lance battalion stood down at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, June 30, 1992.

    [emphasis mine]

    https://www.army.mil/article/153462/smdc_history_lance_missile_concludes_second_career

    That is the reason it was withdrawn. If you cannot accept that, there are many good therapists that can help you. Consult your local directory.

    No doubt, you're totally unaware of the fact that Martin-Marietta was developing a follow-on to the Lance Missile System, which was effectively a Pershing II without the 2nd stage booster, to provide the Army with a nuclear short-range ballistic missile.

    As I have proven, the Lance was not obsolete at the time of its withdraw from inventory.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    It was obsolete. It had already been replaced with the ATACMS.

    And in an era of tightened budgets (where there only 2 units left). In fact, one unit (377th Field Artillery) was disbanded until 2015, the other (12th Field Artillery) was transitioned to the MLRS.

    So let me get this right. You want to keep (for some reason) a system designed in the 1960's which fires only a single missile, instead of replacing it with a system that is much more modern and capable?

    Might as well bring back the Davey Crockett and HAWK systems. After all, HAWK had just gone through a lifecycle upgrade that was to carry it through 2010.

    And yea, the final LANCE Battalion. The previously mentioned 12th Field Artillery. Which was upgraded to MLRS so it could launch the ATACMS. Maybe you have no problem operating with antiquated systems, most of us prefer much more modern systems to work with.

    You know, something that you can move and shoot with. And that does not have a rather dangerous and unstable liquid fueled rocket. Something that could only fire 3 rockets an hour.

    And keep them operational in the face of the 10% troop cuts that had been mandated.
     
  14. Toggle Almendro

    Toggle Almendro Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2016
    Messages:
    1,281
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I presume so.

    It would be a way to destroy enemy ICBMs without incurring the same need for retaliation that a nuclear strike would entail.
     
    Dayton3 likes this.
  15. Well Bonded

    Well Bonded Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2018
    Messages:
    7,190
    Likes Received:
    3,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    * Incorrect, the U.S. has 400 Minuteman III ICBM's deployed and 240 Trident II SLBM's deployed.

    * DOD Nuclear Deterrence - U.S. Policy and Strategy. 2018
     
  16. Liberty Monkey

    Liberty Monkey Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2018
    Messages:
    10,154
    Likes Received:
    14,774
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Bunker Busters could take out silo's with direct hits no problems.
     
    Dayton3 likes this.
  17. APACHERAT

    APACHERAT Well-Known Member Past Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2013
    Messages:
    38,029
    Likes Received:
    16,039
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male

    I'm guessing a 16" naval gun 2,300 lb AP round can knock out the silo where the ICBM is but not the ICBM command and control center where the Air Force missileers are stationed who actually launch the missiles.

     
  18. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    17,653
    Likes Received:
    4,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    By the way, while its obvious that conventional warheads can destroy deployed mobile ICBMs as all you have to do is damage the truck carrying them I would think that all you would have to do to neutralize an ICBM in a hardened underground silo is to jam the silo hatch.

    If the hatch won't open, it doesn't matter what kind of shape the missile is still in.
     
  19. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The Minuteman is a fixed missile location, it is not mobile. Which is exactly what I stated.

    The last attempt to make a mobile ICBM platform in the US was the Racetrack deployment of the PEACEKEEPER missile by President Carter, and Railroad deployment proposed by President Reagan. Neither plan was approved, so the idea of a deployable and mobile ICBM platform died in 1991 when the last (and only) test train was decommissioned. It now sits at the Wright-Peterson museum.

    And SLBMs are not ICBMs. That is a completely different class of missile.

    Probably the closest the US will ever come again to having a mobile ICBM is in the event we decide to start launching them from C-5 Galaxy cargo planes.
     
  20. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    It would not work.

    Somebody simply needs to look at the "Nuclear Triad" to see this in action.

    The "Nuclear Triad" is how nuclear weapons are launched. That is Bombers, Submarines, Silos. And the triad has changed greatly since it was first detailed.

    Originally the prime release mechanism was bombers. That was during the Cold War when both the US and USSR had fleets of loaded nuclear bombers in the air at all times. And in addition hundreds more loaded and sitting on runways prepared to take to the air with little warning (generally no more than 15 minutes).

    But that type of readiness is long gone, neither side holds their nuclear bomber force in that kind of readiness anymore. SO the dominant leg is now the ICBM forces.

    And those are now the first weapons of use. And with detection methods, there is no way to launch a "surprise attack". Since their inception, the ICBM was classified as the first weapon to be launched in a wide scale release. Mostly for the very reason that they are the easiest for the other side to take out. So if we tried to launch all of our birds at the Russians, they will impact at empty silos. Essentially they will pass them on the way in, as they are flying to targets in our country.

    SLBMs are the Joker in the deck. Most of them in fact were generally ordered in the event of an exchange to simply lurk underwater and watch the game play out. Then to engage targets as designated that have been able to survive the first salvo.

    There is no way to launch a "surprise attack" on an ICBM field. The opponent would see the inbound missiles or bombers long before they were within range, and would respond by launching their birds.

    That is the very reason MAD has worked for so long.
     
  21. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    17,653
    Likes Received:
    4,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Not quite accurate. During the height of the Cold War in the late 1960s, the U.S. did indeed keep B-52 bombers airborne with nuclear weapons at all time (Operation Chrome Dome)

    3 Yeah that's right with tremendous effort the U.S. kept 3 B-52s each armed with four nuclear bombs (about one megaton each) airborne not too far outside Soviet air space where they could move into Soviet airspace and destroy Soviet cities on command.

    As far as I know the Soviets never kept any bombers "in the air at all times".
     
  22. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Chrome Dome was one operation. There were a great many of them.

    Operation Hard Head had 12 bombers aloft at all times, and Operation Giant Lance culminated with 18 bombers in the air at all times.

    There were many operations like this, pretty much one started as soon as one ended. And there are still large gaps in the history of these activities, mostly due to National Security requirements.

    Giant Lance was kept a deep secret until 2002, over a decade after the Cold War ended, and 33 years after the operation itself. Chrome Dome was simply the first such exercise to effectively demonstrate that such operations were possible.

    Chrome Dome, 1964. Giant Lance, 1969. Such activities were the norm until the late 1980's when Glasnost and decreasing tensions caused them to be cancelled.

    But most of the bombers were kept on runways in a condition to take to the air with short warning, typically 15 minutes. This was more because of the limits of refueling aircraft available than anything else. And by the late 1970's, the role of such formations was replaced by ballistic submarines.

    Oh, and Chrome Dome was not 3 bombers, it was 3 routes. 4 bombers on the Northern Route (Alaska), 6 on the Southern route (US to the Mediterranean-Baltic), 2 out of Greenland. That is 12 bombers on 3 routes, not 3 bombers on 3 routes. This was mostly because the DEWLINE and BMEWS intercept RADAR systems were still subject frequent outages, as well as their vulnerability to potential sabotage.

    During the Cuban Missile Crisis, this air coverage was increased to 68 aircraft aloft at all times. 28 Southern, 36 Northern, and 2 from Greenland. By the end of the crisis, the count rose to 75 bombers aloft at all times (other than crew change and mandatory maintenance).

    And that was really only possible once the B-52 came online. Prior to this the tactic was for the B-47 bombers to be ready at all times, and in the event of a scramble to use MITO (Minimum Interval Take-Off) to take to the air. One bomber or tanker to take off every 12-15 seconds. The only reason the B047 was never used as a continuous airborne bomber is that the demand of the crew was to high. With a crew of 3 Officers and an internal configuration closer to that of a fighter, it was not an aircraft conducive to continuous operations as the BUFF was with a crew of 6.

    Soviet-Russian information on the Tu-95 BEAR operations during the Cold War are much more elusive. Even today, 25 years after the Iron Curtain collapsed, that is something they are still tight lipped about. But the general consensus about their plans was for ICBMs and SLBMs to handle most of the threats, and the nuclear armed Tu-95 bombers to go after US Navy assets at sea with nuclear bombs.

    At that time period, a nuke was pretty much guaranteed to eliminate a naval group at sea as a threat. And anybody that was in the Navy at the time should be able to tell you, a lot of time was spent on doing decontamination drills, and practicing "scattering" maneuvers in the event of an incoming attack. This is the reverse of where a fleet bunches together for mutual defense, but in separating as much as possible to keep as much of the group alive as possible.

    I spent quite a bit of time either confined below decks during such operations, or up on the deck afterwards enjoying the spray as the squids were hosing down the entire superstructure to simulate washing off radioactive fallout.
     
  23. Condor060

    Condor060 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2018
    Messages:
    1,498
    Likes Received:
    629
    Trophy Points:
    113
    When I was a kid during the Cuban Missile crisis we were stationed at McCoy Air Force base in Florida. My dad had to live in an underground bunker 1 week a month. He was a KC-135 navigator. Base was mostly Bombers and tankers. I can still remember the Operational Readiness Inspections and the tankers and bombers coming off the runway about 15-30 seconds behind each other.

    It was some crazy times. Curtis LeMay actually promoted my Dad to Lt. Colonel and performed the ceremony at the base (with 9 other officers their for promotion as well).
     
  24. Dayton3

    Dayton3 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    17,653
    Likes Received:
    4,315
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Very interesting. Any links and sources to back up those claims?
     
  25. Mushroom

    Mushroom Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,893
    Likes Received:
    947
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Source? Sure.

    http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,894429-2,00.html

    http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Pages/2011/August 2011/0811dome.aspx

    https://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/a-hard-days-night-10134983/#DgiZaLiS0c46ojEx.99

    http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread1014385/pg1

    Want more references? I can bring out even more if you wish. But these were 27 hour missions, where the relieving flight was already in the air and on patrol before the former ones returned to their base. And if required (such as during the Cuban Missile Crisis) would stay aloft even longer.
     

Share This Page