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SDI: Happy Birthday!

  1. Sep 16, 2006 #1
    Next Saturday 9/23 will mark the 24.5'th (twenty-four-and-a-halved) birthday of our adorable undead zombie, the anti-ballistic missile defence. Having outlived both Reagan himself and the Soviet union, it still remains as ever, a powerful political concept (though never yet, an operational one).

    Brief history:

    The American Physical Society's 2003 report on how feasable boost-phase intercepts are:

    And of course, 19 years of Bob Park opinionations on ABM's:
    http://www.google.com/search?as_q=m...obpark.physics.umd.edu&as_rights=&safe=images :biggrin:
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2006 #2
    I especially enjoyed this one:
  4. Sep 18, 2006 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Shhhhh! The taxpayers might hear you. No one is supposed to notice that. I mean think of the $billions at stake. Any day now, it might become effective :rolleyes:
  5. Sep 18, 2006 #4


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    A week or two ago, there was a successful interception test.



    Defense experts, however, agree that this is but a tiny step forward, towards the ultimate goal of realistic missile defense.


  6. Sep 18, 2006 #5


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    A historic problem with SDI is the definition of success, or the 're-definition' of success. If the missile leaves the launch site, it might be considered successful. :rolleyes: But in reality, if the interceptor fails to intercept - well - BOOM! That's not much of a success.

    Hopefully an airborne laser system will be more successful, but then there is the matter of actually finding the target.

    For every anti-missile system, there are effective counter measures to render it less than fully effective.
  7. Sep 18, 2006 #6
    True, but this is no different than any other technological arms race. Modifying a warhead is one thing, but as anti-missile technology progresses it attacks the missile in earlier stages of its flight.
    This requires a completely new approach to entire systems and methodics. An airborne laser will probably be effective until the next generation of missiles, in addition to other inherent design limits that make it much less than fully effective under certain conditions.
  8. Sep 18, 2006 #7


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    The key thing to remember - "you can't hit what you can't see". :wink:
  9. Sep 18, 2006 #8
    That is why the specifications of the tools used to identify missile launches and trajectories are highly classified. It is another battle in this technological arms race.
  10. Sep 18, 2006 #9
    Here is some information about the heart of the system, the Green Pine radar.
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