New US weapons can strike anywhere within 1 hr- Prompt Global Strike

Discussion in 'Americas' started by RAM, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. RAM

    RAM The southern Man Senior Member

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    Washington: In the coming years, President Barack Obama will decide whether to deploy a new class of weapons capable of reaching any corner of the Earth from the United States in under an hour and with such accuracy and force that would greatly diminish America’s reliance on its nuclear arsenal.

    Called Prompt Global Strike, the new weapon is designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site — all without crossing the nuclear threshold. In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localised destructive power of a nuclear warhead. The idea is not new: president George W Bush and his staff promoted the technology, imagining that this new generation of conventional weapons would replace nuclear warheads on submarines.

    Obama himself alluded to the concept in a recent interview with The New York Times, saying it was part of an effort “to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons” while insuring “that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.” The final price of the system remains unknown. It would be based, at least initially, on the West Coast, probably at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Under the Obama plan, the Prompt Global Strike warhead would be mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey toward a target. It would travel through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it would have to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting.

    The Pentagon hopes to deploy an early version of the system by 2014 or 2015. But even under optimistic timetables, a complete array of missiles, warheads, sensors and control systems is not expected to enter the arsenal until 2017 to 2020, long after Obama will have left office, even if he is elected to a second term

    http://www.zeenews.com/news621486.html
     
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  3. nandu

    nandu Senior Member Senior Member

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    US prepares most advanced conventional weapon: A Report

    The US is devising an advanced conventional weapon of new strength called 'Prompt Global Strike' which can reduce dependence on atomic weapons, as it aims to accomplish great tasks without crossing nuke threshold, a media report said.

    President Barack Obama
    , in the coming years, will have to decide whether to deploy such weapons cutting the US reliance on nuclear weapons, the New York Times said in its report.

    Concerns about the technology are so strong that the Obama administration has agreed to Russia's demand that the US decommission one nuclear missile for every one of these conventional weapons fielded by the Pentagon.

    The Times describes that weapons as "designed to carry out tasks like picking off Osama bin Laden in a cave, if the right one could be found; taking out a North Korean missile while it is being rolled to the launch pad; or destroying an Iranian nuclear site: all without crossing the nuclear threshold."

    "In theory, the weapon will hurl a conventional warhead of enormous weight at high speed and with pinpoint accuracy, generating the localised destructive power of a nuclear warhead," it wrote.

    In a previous interview with the daily, Obama alluded to the concept, saying it was part of an effort "to move towards less emphasis on nuclear weapons" while insuring that our conventional weapons capability is an effective deterrent in all but the most extreme circumstances.

    The Obama national security team scrapped the idea of putting the new conventional weapon on submarines, the Times said.

    "Instead, the White House has asked Congress
    for about USD 250 million next year to explore a new alternative, one that uses some of the most advanced technology in the military today as well as some not yet even invented."

    Under the Obama plan, the Prompt Global Strike warhead would be mounted on a long-range missile to start its journey toward a target.

    It would travel through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound, generating so much heat that it would have to be shielded with special materials to avoid melting, according to the report.

    http://www.brahmand.com/news/US-prepares-most-advanced-conventional-weapon-A-Report/3730/1/11.html
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Global Strikeout

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    The Pentagon's new missile program is expensive, unnecessary, and insanely dangerous.

    New weapons systems should always meet three requirements: They should be feasible, needed, and affordable. The proposed Prompt Global Strike program, which according to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been "embraced by the new administration," does not meet any. Using intercontinental ballistic missiles to hurl conventional warheads at caves is a truly bad idea. It would use technology that doesn't work for a capability the United States doesn't need at a cost it can't afford. Oh, and it could also start a nuclear war.


    The plan is to build new weapons that can hit a target half a world away in under an hour. Defense contractors concerned about the shrinking market for long-range missiles began promoting this to George W. Bush's Defense Department, where it was rejected as unworkable. Now, as they take steps to reduce the U.S. reliance on nuclear weapons, Obama defense officials are resurrecting it.

    Would such a system even work? The diagram of the concept is almost a Rube Goldberg scheme: an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches and releases a space plane that glides through the atmosphere and flies to strike area where it drops a bomb on target. A more complete schematic would include other necessary features like a heat shield that would try to stop the glider from melting on re-entry as it screams in much faster than the space shuttle. Proponents of the program say it will rely on "cutting-edge technology." (Read: "We don't know how to do it.")

    It is not that America hasn't tried. This program is basically another version of the now discredited "space plane" -- a pipe dream that, as nonproliferation analyst Dennis Gormley notes, the United States has been chasing for decades. In 2001, President Ronald Reagan's former missile-defense chief, Henry Cooper, told a congressional panel that, after three decades of work and $4 billion in development, the U.S. program had only produced "one crashed vehicle, a hangar queen, some drop-test articles, and static displays." Now the contractors have repackaged the idea and are re-peddling it to the Pentagon.

    But does the United States need this capability? No. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the United States would use this weapon. The Pentagon has better weapons in its arsenal that, if updated, could accomplish long-range strikes. Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James Cartwright favors using modern, precision-guided conventional munitions to replace nuclear weapons now assigned to such missions. He's right.
    The United States is currently fighting two wars against enemies with no air defenses, planes, or ships. The terrorists and insurgents on the other side are effectively handled by ground forces, tactical air forces, and, increasingly, drones. Drones are already deployed, and they can track and kill fleeting targets. Why would the U.S. military need to launch a missile from California to deliver a bomb to a cave in Afghanistan, when it already has drones on bases, ready to drop a bomb within minutes?

    For the global strike scheme to work, it would require unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to track fleeting targets and relay information to the space plane. Without the intelligence the military would not know what to shoot the missile at, nor be able to hit it. But if the drones are already on the target, who needs an ICBM? If the Pentagon needs more ordnance on targets, it can further develop and deploy the longer-range UAVs it already has, such as the Global Hawk.

    Then there is the unpleasant matter of the bill. The Global Strike Program could be the most expensive bomb America has ever built. There are no accurate cost estimates for the program, largely because the technology is unproven. Even if the program comes in at a bargain price of $10 billion and fields 10 missiles -- which is about what is under consideration -- each missile with its tiny payload could easily go over $1 billion each. By comparison, the MX missile program cost approximately $30 billion (in 2010 dollars) for 50 deployed missiles, but each one carried 10 nuclear warheads.

    At a time when Congress and the public are railing against deficit spending, is this really the time to start new, untested programs that will siphon funds away from true military needs? Let's be honest. U.S. soldiers do not need this capability, especially at a time when they could use better armor in battle and better health care when they return home.

    Finally, the reason Bush officials abandoned this idea was that they realized Russian concerns about the weapon were true: How would another country know if the ICBM launch they detected was conventional or nuclear? They wouldn't. There is no sure way around this problem.

    As Noah Shachtman’s at Wired's Danger Room blog notes, although the United States needs more capability against terrorist targets, "relying on conventional ICBMs to do the job, and risking a nuclear showdown, is just plain crazy." There are better, cheaper ways to give U.S. troops the weapons they need.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010

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