Indian Nuclear Forces of the Future...?

Gessler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,036
Likes
8,697
Country flag
Keeping in mind the fact that the S-5 class SSBN will probably have 12 missile tubes storing K-5 or K-6 intercontinental SLBMs (which will most definitely have Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles or MIRVs)....each S-5 boat, even if we assume a relatively modest MIRV capacity of 3 RVs per missile, would be carrying 36 nuclear warheads. Three such boats, if we assume each has it's own permanently assigned load of missiles, would require 108 warheads. If we're talking four boats (following the UK & France pattern of SSBN numbers) that goes to 144 warheads. That's close to the total stockpile that most experts assume India to have currently (~150 warheads).

If we assume 4 MIRVs per SLBM (like the slide I've shown below, shown by DRDO's then-chairman Dr. VK Saraswat at IIT-Bombay university) then it would be 48 warheads per sub, and 144 for Three boats and 192 for Four boats. With a quoted throwaway weight of 2 tons, likelihood is high for there to be indeed 4 x 500kg MIRVs per K-5/K-6.

Note that I'm discounting the Arihant-class as I firmly believe they'll be retired as SSBNs as relegated to a less demanding role (like conventionally-armed SSGN) once a corresponding S-5 SSBN comes online.

photo-2021-03-14-02-28-29.jpg


However - it must be remembered that India, with two nuclear-armed hostile neighbours who share land borders, certainly has no plans of giving up it's land-based rail & road-mobile nuclear deterrent like UK & France have done. This portion of the triad will continue to be armed in the form of Agni-4, Agni-5 and the in-development Agni-6 with MIRVs (plus whatever Agni-1P derived MRBM replaces Agni-1/2). The Agni-6 is reportedly designed to have a throw weight of 3 tons, so we're again looking at a significant MIRV payload (again, refer to the slide I've linked below, from same source at IIT-Bombay presentation).

Even with an extremely conservative number of only 24 Agni-6 missiles, we'll need 96 warheads for them alone. And that's just the China-focused deterrent. Our Paki neighbours will be having their own serving with NG-MRBM (A-1P descendent) and even if we assume only unitary warheads, that's another 12-24 right there, making up about 100-120 warheads for the Land leg of triad.

a5a6.jpg


And we won't be giving up the Air-launched deterrent either (like UK has done), the presence of nuclear gravity bombs as well as the possible development of a nuclear-capable Liquid-Fuel Ramjet (LFRJ) ALCM intended for the Indian Rafales (very similar to the French ASMP-A missile) indicate that this leg of the triad is here to stay as well.

Make that another 12-24 nukes for the Air triad...and add a handful of reserves.

We're looking at a need of about:

144-192
108-120
12-24
~10

...Between approx 274 to 346 warheads for the foreseeable future.

The delays of Plutonium deliveries to the PFBR prototype also point at the possibility of the Pu going to fill other, more pressing & strategically important requirements, like perhaps building more bombs.


Thoughts?

@rkhanna @COLDHEARTED AVIATOR @Indx TechStyle @abingdonboy @Killbot @Haldilal @ALBY @Hellfire
 

Haldilal

लड़ते लड़ते जीना है, लड़ते लड़ते मरना है
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
13,095
Likes
41,836
Country flag
Keeping in mind the fact that the S-5 class SSBN will probably have 12 missile tubes storing K-5 or K-6 intercontinental SLBMs (which will most definitely have Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles or MIRVs)....each S-5 boat, even if we assume a relatively modest MIRV capacity of 3 RVs per missile, would be carrying 36 nuclear warheads. Three such boats, if we assume each has it's own permanently assigned load of missiles, would require 108 warheads. If we're talking four boats (following the UK & France pattern of SSBN numbers) that goes to 144 warheads. That's close to the total stockpile that most experts assume India to have currently (~150 warheads).

If we assume 4 MIRVs per SLBM (like the slide I've shown below, shown by DRDO's then-chairman Dr. VK Saraswat at IIT-Bombay university) then it would be 48 warheads per sub, and 144 for Three boats and 192 for Four boats. With a quoted throwaway weight of 2 tons, likelihood is high for there to be indeed 4 x 500kg MIRVs per K-5/K-6.

Note that I'm discounting the Arihant-class as I firmly believe they'll be retired as SSBNs as relegated to a less demanding role (like conventionally-armed SSGN) once a corresponding S-5 SSBN comes online.

View attachment 103822

However - it must be remembered that India, with two nuclear-armed hostile neighbours who share land borders, certainly has no plans of giving up it's land-based rail & road-mobile nuclear deterrent like UK & France have done. This portion of the triad will continue to be armed in the form of Agni-4, Agni-5 and the in-development Agni-6 with MIRVs (plus whatever Agni-1P derived MRBM replaces Agni-1/2). The Agni-6 is reportedly designed to have a throw weight of 3 tons, so we're again looking at a significant MIRV payload (again, refer to the slide I've linked below, from same source at IIT-Bombay presentation).

Even with an extremely conservative number of only 24 Agni-6 missiles, we'll need 96 warheads for them alone. And that's just the China-focused deterrent. Our Paki neighbours will be having their own serving with NG-MRBM (A-1P descendent) and even if we assume only unitary warheads, that's another 12-24 right there, making up about 100-120 warheads for the Land leg of triad.

View attachment 103823

And we won't be giving up the Air-launched deterrent either (like UK has done), the presence of nuclear gravity bombs as well as the possible development of a nuclear-capable Liquid-Fuel Ramjet (LFRJ) ALCM intended for the Indian Rafales (very similar to the French ASMP-A missile) indicate that this leg of the triad is here to stay as well.

Make that another 12-24 nukes for the Air triad...and add a handful of reserves.

We're looking at a need of about:

144-192
108-120
12-24
~10

...Between approx 274 to 346 warheads for the foreseeable future.

The delays of Plutonium deliveries to the PFBR prototype also point at the possibility of the Pu going to fill other, more pressing & strategically important requirements, like perhaps building more bombs.


Thoughts?

@rkhanna @COLDHEARTED AVIATOR @Indx TechStyle @abingdonboy @Killbot @Haldilal @ALBY @Hellfire
Ya'll Nibbiars once PK posted about a BM but had to delete that.
 

Aniruddha Mulay

Regular Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
752
Likes
3,340
Country flag
Keeping in mind the fact that the S-5 class SSBN will probably have 12 missile tubes storing K-5 or K-6 intercontinental SLBMs (which will most definitely have Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicles or MIRVs)....each S-5 boat, even if we assume a relatively modest MIRV capacity of 3 RVs per missile, would be carrying 36 nuclear warheads. Three such boats, if we assume each has it's own permanently assigned load of missiles, would require 108 warheads. If we're talking four boats (following the UK & France pattern of SSBN numbers) that goes to 144 warheads. That's close to the total stockpile that most experts assume India to have currently (~150 warheads).

If we assume 4 MIRVs per SLBM (like the slide I've shown below, shown by DRDO's then-chairman Dr. VK Saraswat at IIT-Bombay university) then it would be 48 warheads per sub, and 144 for Three boats and 192 for Four boats. With a quoted throwaway weight of 2 tons, likelihood is high for there to be indeed 4 x 500kg MIRVs per K-5/K-6.

Note that I'm discounting the Arihant-class as I firmly believe they'll be retired as SSBNs as relegated to a less demanding role (like conventionally-armed SSGN) once a corresponding S-5 SSBN comes online.

View attachment 103822

However - it must be remembered that India, with two nuclear-armed hostile neighbours who share land borders, certainly has no plans of giving up it's land-based rail & road-mobile nuclear deterrent like UK & France have done. This portion of the triad will continue to be armed in the form of Agni-4, Agni-5 and the in-development Agni-6 with MIRVs (plus whatever Agni-1P derived MRBM replaces Agni-1/2). The Agni-6 is reportedly designed to have a throw weight of 3 tons, so we're again looking at a significant MIRV payload (again, refer to the slide I've linked below, from same source at IIT-Bombay presentation).

Even with an extremely conservative number of only 24 Agni-6 missiles, we'll need 96 warheads for them alone. And that's just the China-focused deterrent. Our Paki neighbours will be having their own serving with NG-MRBM (A-1P descendent) and even if we assume only unitary warheads, that's another 12-24 right there, making up about 100-120 warheads for the Land leg of triad.

View attachment 103823

And we won't be giving up the Air-launched deterrent either (like UK has done), the presence of nuclear gravity bombs as well as the possible development of a nuclear-capable Liquid-Fuel Ramjet (LFRJ) ALCM intended for the Indian Rafales (very similar to the French ASMP-A missile) indicate that this leg of the triad is here to stay as well.

Make that another 12-24 nukes for the Air triad...and add a handful of reserves.

We're looking at a need of about:

144-192
108-120
12-24
~10

...Between approx 274 to 346 warheads for the foreseeable future.

The delays of Plutonium deliveries to the PFBR prototype also point at the possibility of the Pu going to fill other, more pressing & strategically important requirements, like perhaps building more bombs.


Thoughts?

@rkhanna @COLDHEARTED AVIATOR @Indx TechStyle @abingdonboy @Killbot @Haldilal @ALBY @Hellfire
I think the plan is to currently build 3 S5 class SSBN and later build 3 more for a total of 6 S5 class SSBN.
Once these 6 are built, S2, S3, S4, S4* might be converted into conventional weapons carrying SSGN.
 

Haldilal

लड़ते लड़ते जीना है, लड़ते लड़ते मरना है
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
13,095
Likes
41,836
Country flag
I think the plan is to currently build 3 S5 class SSBN and later build 3 more for a total of 6 S5 class SSBN.
Once these 6 are built, S2, S3, S4, S4* might be converted into conventional weapons carrying SSGN.
Ya'll Nibbiars may be we may have more nuclear warheads or will have more.
 

Haldilal

लड़ते लड़ते जीना है, लड़ते लड़ते मरना है
Senior Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
13,095
Likes
41,836
Country flag
Ya'll Nibbiars kya kare abhi aise koi technology nahi hai ki who thorium ko nuclear warheads kar sakte hai.


Thorium is difficult to enrich and doesn't has the properties of uranium and others to become a basis of the nuclear weapons.
 

Tridev123

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2018
Messages
589
Likes
2,009
Country flag
Reliable information on the number of nuclear warheads India has will be difficult to find. All the nuclear powers will maintain some opacity over their nuclear weapons arsenal.

But educated guesses can be made using emperical data. IAEA safeguarded nuclear facilities will have proper accounting of the nuclear materials. The unsafe- guarded facilities will mostly be used for the strategic programmes.

India is far ahead of Pakistan in the inventory of plutonium whether reactor grade or weapons grade. The Chinese may be a bit ahead because they went openly nuclear much before India.

As regards highly enriched uranium(above 90%)it is not very clear if Pakistan has a lead. India has vastly expanded its uranium enrichment capability in recent years.
Now a question is what generation of centrifuges do India and Pakistan use.
Almost all highly enriched uranium is produced by the centrifuge process in both India and Pakistan. India has been carrying out research on laser enrichment of uranium but it is unclear if industrial scale operations have started.

Somebody with the knowledge can compare India's and Pakistan's uranium enrichment capabilities. Though Pakistan initially depended fully on highly enriched uranium for creating its nuclear bombs(India on the other hand mostly used weapons grade plutonium) and had a small lead over India(assumed) India has caught up and probably surpassed Pakistan.

Plutonium bombs are much smaller and lighter than enriched uranium bombs because less plutonium is needed for the same output.

That is the reason why Islamabad with help from China is expanding its plutonium reprocessing capability.

A question. Can a high yield thermonuclear bomb be made using only plutonium and deuterium /tritium or will some highly enriched uranium be needed. Leaving aside the other elements like the trigger, conventional explosives jacket etc.
 

Gessler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,036
Likes
8,697
Country flag
Will all ballistic missiles be loaded with nuke weapons? Isn't there a chance some BMs are loaded with conventional explosive as well?
Short-range tactical BMs like Prithvi, Shaurya or upcoming Pralay will be conventionally-armed. But not any of the Agnis or K-series. Two reasons:

1) The adversary cannot tell a nuclear-armed Agni launch from a conventionally-armed one. And no one is going to wait for the missiles to land & detonate before launching a suitable response. If they see Agnis boosting over the horizon - they can only afford to see it as one thing, a nuclear attack. Only shorter-range BMs that would be flying trajectories pretty distinct from those of Agnis would be employed for conventional strike.

2) BMs are not a very efficient way of delivering ordnance over long distance. For example a single Rafale on deep-penetration strike mission can place as much ordnance on target as at least 5 x ballistic missiles. And the planes can do it much more accurately. To equate the effect of a strike package of 7 x Rafales, you'll need to launch about 35-40 missiles.

Plus, the planes can be re-used.

BMs only make sense in these situations: When you don't have strike aircraft that can penetrate defenses OR to deliver strategic payloads like nukes OR striking tactical targets not far from the battlefield in an event where air cover isn't available (that's where tactical BMs come in, btw).

That's why the US Army only maintains a small number of ATACMS missiles, bcuz they mostly rely on airpower to deliver tactical ordnance.
 

no smoking

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
4,474
Likes
1,208
Country flag
2) BMs are not a very efficient way of delivering ordnance over long distance. For example a single Rafale on deep-penetration strike mission can place as much ordnance on target as at least 5 x ballistic missiles. And the planes can do it much more accurately. To equate the effect of a strike package of 7 x Rafales, you'll need to launch about 35-40 missiles.
You are comparing apple to orange. They are for different target in different stage.
Ballistic missiles are generally used in the beginning, playing as the can opener. By knocking out the key points of enemy's air defense network/commanding centers, lower enemy's battle effectiveness. This can minimize the loss of jet and pilot. Then it is the time of your air strike jets to join, and their targets will be those enemy forces, airport, logistic centers, etc.

Plus, the planes can be re-used.
Ok, just let us use your figures to make estimation:
Firstly assume both accomplish their jobs;
Then assume only 1 of 7 Rafales is shoot down.

The cost of 1 Rafale is $130m, the total costs of the pilot is $40m ( since they are the best of the best), so roughly the total loss is $170m.

The cost of 1 short-range (<1000km) is around $5m, so 40 missile is $200m.

The Rafale is costing a little bit less. However, it will take less than 1 month to produce another 40 missiles in war time while there is no way you can get a new pilot for Rafale within 1 month.

BMs only make sense in these situations: When you don't have strike aircraft that can penetrate defenses OR to deliver strategic payloads like nukes OR striking tactical targets not far from the battlefield in an event where air cover isn't available (that's where tactical BMs come in, btw).
All the major powers are developing short to middle range ballistic missiles with conventional warhead. Maybe you know something that they don't know.

PS: you forget one thing - speed. Crossing 300km range, Rafale will need at least 6.7 minutes with 2 Mach while a ballistic missile will only need 2.6 minutes with 5 Mach. In other words, in most of cases, enemy's defense system doesn't have time to react

That's why the US Army only maintains a small number of ATACMS missiles, bcuz they mostly rely on airpower to deliver tactical ordnance.
1. Until 2018, US produced 3850 ATACMS, more than 600 was fired in the war. You really can't call it small;
2. Since 1991, US has been dealing with insurgents or terrorists, which do you think need to be dealt with ballistic missile?
 
Last edited:

Gessler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,036
Likes
8,697
Country flag
You are comparing apple to orange. They are for different target in different stage.
Ballistic missiles are generally used in the beginning, playing as the can opener. By knocking out the key points of enemy's air defense network/commanding centers, lower enemy's battle effectiveness. This can minimize the loss of jet and pilot. Then it is the time of your air strike jets to join, and their targets will be those enemy forces, airport, logistic centers, etc.
Only if you're fighting some rag-tag horseback militia with no radars or AD network.

Ballistic missiles are probably the worst way to commence active hostilities against a peer or near-peer adversary. They allow for least surprise factor & maximum time for enemy to prepare defences, or move mobile targets away. They can be seen coming over the horizon.

The opening strikes against a competent adversary would require maximum surprise, and once surprise is lost, maximum effectiveness on target. Against established AD network that would involve flying low & releasing standoff smart munitions which themselves fly low/hug terrain. OR, if you have them, terrain-hugging cruise missiles all the way - while using low flying aircraft to conduct SEAD & DEAD.

Ok, just let us use your figures to make estimation:
Firstly assume both accomplish their jobs;
Then assume only 1 of 7 Rafales is shoot down.

The cost of 1 Rafale is $130m, the total costs of the pilot is $40m ( since they are the best of the best), so roughly the total loss is $170m.

The cost of 1 short-range (<1000km) is around $5m, so 40 missile is $200m.

The Rafale is costing a little bit less. However, it will take less than 1 month to produce another 40 missiles in war time while there is no way you can get a new pilot for Rafale within 1 month.
Your math is off.

To assuredly place 40 missiles' worth of payload on target, realistically you'd need to launch 80 missiles because of CEP odds. And even more (~100) when you take into account that some will inevitably fail to travel the distance, and some will be shot down by AD.

Against point targets that need to be taken out in opening stages of war i.e. a particular building like aircraft HAS, ammo/fuel dump, ATC tower, radar station etc. this becomes even more critical. The standard ATACMS has a 100m CEP (without any add-on PGK), for Prithvi its markedly worse.

The typical F16 fighter HAS is 30m long & only 15m wide - and that's among the larger structures that you could target. Places like ATC tower & radar station are much smaller.

If you don't launch enough missiles, the effect is likely to be like that Iranian attack on US base where 11 missiles each with ~1 ton warhead equated a lot of shock and awe but in terms of actual damage caused (with regard to loss of life or loss of critical infrastructure) - effect was damn near ZERO or very negligible.

Doesn't seem very effective now does it?

Now compare with same amount (~11 tons worth) of smart munitions (SAAWs, LGBs, SCALPs) launched from survivable DPSA planes like Rafales - A base like that would be totally crippled with precision strikes.

All the major powers are developing short to middle range ballistic missiles with conventional warhead. Maybe you know something that they don't know.
I never said conventional BMs were useless, throw them away. Every weapon has a time & place to use.

PS: you forget one thing - speed. Crossing 300km range, Rafale will need at least 6.7 minutes with 2 Mach while a ballistic missile will only need 2.6 minutes with 5 Mach. In other words, in most of cases, enemy's defense system doesn't have time to react
Um...it seems you think ballistic missiles travel in a straight line. They don't. They travel in a ballistic trajectory - that's what makes them ballistic....and that's also what makes them ill-suited for surprise attacks.

1. Until 2018, US produced 3850 ATACMS, more than 600 was fired in the war. You really can't call it small;
In the same period, how many air-strikes did US conduct? Tens of thousands? If not 100,000+?

Yes, I will call that small in comparison. The US used to engage more targets every week than we did in entire independent history of India.

2. Since 1991, US has been dealing with insurgents or terrorists, which do you think need to be dealt with ballistic missile?
Yet they don't mind dropping dozens upon dozens of dumb bombs from B-52s to wipe out Taliban camps as late as last week.
 

no smoking

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
4,474
Likes
1,208
Country flag
Only if you're fighting some rag-tag horseback militia with no radars or AD network.

...... low flying aircraft to conduct SEAD & DEAD.


No, You misunderstand effect of terrain hug, it is not mean to avoid being detected (with multiple radar networks, AEW&C and satellites, it is nearly impossible), but avoid being tracked and locked.

In other words, you can only assume that your surprise will be valid until your jet taking off.


Your math is off.

To assuredly place 40 missiles' worth of payload on target, realistically you'd need to launch 80 missiles because of CEP odds. And even more (~100) when you take into account that some will inevitably fail to .....

Now compare with same amount (~11 tons worth) of smart munitions (SAAWs, LGBs, SCALPs) launched from survivable DPSA planes like Rafales - A base like that would be totally crippled with precision strikes.
:facepalm: >100m CEP? When did you get that, grandpa?

Even India's Prithvi claims a CEP better than that!
According to public information,
US ATACMS < 30m,
Russia Iskander < 15m.
WIth such accuracy, you only need 3 missiles for each target. Considering the rocket failure and anti-missile defense, you probably need 9 missiles to destroy each target (high value target only).



Um...it seems you think ballistic missiles travel in a straight line. They don't. They travel in a ballistic trajectory - that's what makes them ballistic....and that's also what makes them ill-suited for surprise attacks.
I already used the extremely low speed (5 Mach) to accommodate that while using the supersonic speed (2 Mach) instead of cruise speed to calculate the jet flying time.



In the same period, how many air-strikes did US conduct? Tens of thousands? If not 100,000+?
The question is: does any insurgent group or terrorist have a modern air-defense network? or any big radar station?

Yes, I will call that small in comparison. The US used to engage more targets every week than we did in entire independent history of India.
What are these targets? Camps!

Yet they don't mind dropping dozens upon dozens of dumb bombs from B-52s to wipe out Taliban camps as late as last week.
Isn't that my point? Taliban doesn't any target worthy for a ballistic missile.
 

Gessler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,036
Likes
8,697
Country flag
No, You misunderstand effect of terrain hug, it is not mean to avoid being detected (with multiple radar networks, AEW&C and satellites, it is nearly impossible), but avoid being tracked and locked.

In other words, you can only assume that your surprise will be valid until your jet taking off.
In a heated theatre with both sides' planes conducted routine CAPs, I doubt anyone except US has the ability to do that with satellite systems. A plane (or missile) flying relatively close to terrain is difficult to spot even for AEW systems looking from above - too much clutter.

A regular BM always has an IR plume that approaches that of a space rocket - hard to miss even for relatively unsophisticated space-based systems (of the type China may have).

:facepalm: >100m CEP? When did you get that, grandpa?
Took from weaponsystems.net of MGM-140B/Block-1A - the most widely-used variant.


Even India's Prithvi claims a CEP better than that!
Key word claims.

The original was estimated at 300m for ~150km. I'd think Prithvi-II (currently in-use variant) is better but not by much.


Russia Iskander < 15m.
Only Russians would believe that.

Armenia's Pashinyan fired them in anger & found out to his dismay. Only about 10% of those fired even managed to reach the target (how many of those actually hit anything of value is anyone's guess) and that too against an adversary (Azerbaijan) that isn't overall particularly sophisticated other than the Barak-8s they had.


WIth such accuracy, you only need 3 missiles for each target. Considering the rocket failure and anti-missile defense, you probably need 9 missiles to destroy each target (high value target only).
So 9 tons of ordnance (rounding off payload to ~1 ton per missiles) to ensure that at least 1 ton's worth of warload the target? That's even worse than my estimate.

US fired 59 Tomahawks from 2 destroyers to level Shayrat air base. That works out to about 26 tons of ordnance expended to strike a total of 44 targets at the base (to include SAM missile batteries stationed there) as per report (some targets hit twice, some failed to reach etc.). Even on their worst day a Tomahawk is way more accurate at terminal stages than any BM.

Now do the math if the same 44 targets had to be struck with BMs - taking CEP & Air defences into account.

+++

The most optimistic estimates put India's entire arsenal of Prithvis (including 1 & 2, some 1s later upgraded to 2s or replaced with 2s) at approx 70-80 missiles total: https://missilethreat.csis.org/missile/prithvi/

Altogether that's about the amount of ordnance that 12 x Rafales can carry @ 7 tons of warload per plane (leaving 2.5 tons each for fuel tanks, AAMs).

We don't have any grand delusions of saturating BM strikes, we know they're not very effective. There's a reason why IA isn't very keen on the replacement BMs for Prithvi (Prahaar, Pralay, rumored Prithvi-3, so many concepts remained concepts) anytime soon and is happy with cruise missiles like BrahMos or Nirbhay in future. The only ones that harbour those delusions (or hopes) are those who like I said before don't have aircraft that can reliably penetrate air defences at low altitude.

Like the PLAAF JH-7 for example. Against modern defences its a meh plane. Low-flying characteristics are doubtful, and not even half as survivable as Rafale.

I already used the extremely low speed (5 Mach) to accommodate that while using the supersonic speed (2 Mach) instead of cruise speed to calculate the jet flying time.

5 mach isn't extremely low - its close to the burn-out speed of Iskander (as per Wiki quoting Russian source), which means at the peak of its boost stage apogee. That of ATACMS & Prithvi is considerably lesser.

And this would happen at a considerable exo-atmospheric altitude (like ~50km high), where the missile in question would be lighting up like a Christmas tree well before that and where any Barak-8 or HQ-9 associated radars would have a field day tracking them.

The question is: does any insurgent group or terrorist have a modern air-defense network? or any big radar station?

What are these targets? Camps!

Isn't that my point? Taliban doesn't any target worthy for a ballistic missile.
Yeah they don't have any targets worthy of a BM strike - which supposedly are so much cheaper than using air strikes....in a war where the US is apparently leaving cuz things are getting too expensive.
 
Last edited:

no smoking

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
4,474
Likes
1,208
Country flag
In a heated theatre with both sides' planes conducted routine CAPs, I doubt anyone except US has the ability to do that with satellite systems. A plane (or missile) flying relatively close to terrain is difficult to spot even for AEW systems looking from above - too much clutter.
1628727777182.png


That First Look - Air Force Magazine

A regular BM always has an IR plume that approaches that of a space rocket - hard to miss even for relatively unsophisticated space-based systems (of the type China may have).
Detect them doesn't mean you can intercept them all, especially for short range ballistic missiles, you only get one chance.

Took from weaponsystems.net of MGM-140B/Block-1A - the most widely-used variant.
That is a laughable number. 220m for a 300km missile? Even Chinese missiles are better that

1628730715047.png

Scorecard 1: (jstor.org)

Here is the other source for MGM-140 CEP: 10-50m

MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) | Missile Threat (csis.org)

Key word claims.

The original was estimated at 300m for ~150km. I'd think Prithvi-II (currently in-use variant) is better but not by much.

Only 10% of missiles reach the target means it is Armenia's maintenance and training problem rather than Russian missile's problem.

So 9 tons of ordnance (rounding off payload to ~1 ton per missiles) to ensure that at least 1 ton's worth of warload the target? That's even worse than my estimate.
No, 9 missiles, 30% failure, then 50% is intercepted, means 3 will land in target area.

US fired 59 Tomahawks from 2 destroyers to level Shayrat air base. That works out to about 26 tons of ordnance expended to strike a total of 44 targets at the base (to include SAM missile batteries stationed there) as per report (some targets hit twice, some failed to reach etc.). Even on their worst day a Tomahawk is way more accurate at terminal stages than any BM.

Now do the math if the same 44 targets had to be struck with BMs - taking CEP & Air defences into account.
+++
Certainly, you can use cruise missiles. But as I said, you shouldn't use Rafale for the first attacking wave.

Like the PLAAF JH-7 for example. Against modern defences its a meh plane. Low-flying characteristics are doubtful, and not even half as survivable as Rafale.
1. By knocking out the key asset of enemy's air defense system first, JH-7's survivabliliy will increase;
2. There is no doubt that Rafale is far better than JH-7, but it doesn't mean it can't be shoot down.
 

Gessler

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
2,036
Likes
8,697
Country flag
Only 10% of missiles reach the target means it is Armenia's maintenance and training problem rather than Russian missile's problem.
Or it's just the quality of the missile in question, once its taken out of Russia where it can be hidden/exaggerated.

No, 9 missiles, 30% failure, then 50% is intercepted, means 3 will land in target area.
Even with those numbers saturating BM strikes don't work out.

The 1971 war was opened by PAF attacking 11 IAF air bases. While they weren't very effective, in order to achieve the Shayrat base-like effectiveness against that many air bases (taking care to knock out aircraft HAS & AD networks so friendly aircraft have it smooth, rounding off to about 15 targets per base though in Shayrat they struck 44 targets) would require us to stock damn near ~500 BMs for 10 airfields @ 45 per airfield (1 in 3 missiles striking each of 15 targets).

As you would note, we don't stock such numbers. To be frank neither does Pak (they know they have F16s). Only one who does is PLA as their air strike capabilities were sub-par. If in future they get better, you can expect some right-sizing of the Rocket Force.

Certainly, you can use cruise missiles. But as I said, you shouldn't use Rafale for the first attacking wave.
Like I said:

"The opening strikes against a competent adversary would require maximum surprise, and once surprise is lost, maximum effectiveness on target. Against established AD network that would involve flying low & releasing standoff smart munitions which themselves fly low/hug terrain. OR, if you have them, terrain-hugging cruise missiles all the way - while using low flying aircraft to conduct SEAD & DEAD."

Standoff missiles will be launched from any platform available - there is no world where the opening action of a war started by any country against any other doesn't involve airpower.
 

Global Defence

New threads

Articles

Top