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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:39 pm 
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Ah, the joy of idiomatic translation. In German it is indeed "versteck-die-Wurst" (hide the wurst)... :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:45 pm 
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Jotun wrote:
Ah, the joy of idiomatic translation. In German it is indeed "versteck-die-Wurst" (hide the wurst)... :lol:

From which one can presume that if the guy in question was remarkable untalented, the poor girl would be getting the worst of the wurst.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:12 pm 
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David Newton wrote:
Jotun wrote:
On German subs, thanks to the somewhat cramped quarters, the guys and gals usually manage to keep their pants zipped until they reach a port and are accommodated in a hotel.

On other grey-painted ships, it is absolutely possible to find nooks and crannies to explore each others' nooks and crannies. As a junior officer, I always elected consciously to not have seen anything, honestly, sir, when I encountered a couple playing hide-the-salami while doing my rounds while officer of the day in port (some of the more emote departments I had to check were quite popular with the crew to couple), and I was not the only one. That kind of stuff is inevitable anyway. It would only have led to useless and needless paperwork.

A CO, on the other hand...nope.


Now surely on a German ship it wouldn't be a salami: that's for the Italians. On a German ship it would be a good, old knock-(them-up)-wurst with which hide and seek is being played.


Oh you of little culinary knowledge. Salami is a type of sausage well known and appreciated. It's not all Bratwurst over here. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:33 am 
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Craiglxviii wrote:
I'd question the basic assertion that there is no-one left wise enough to be deterred by it.......... however, the UK Deterrent does a number of things, not least of which is keeping our permanent seat on the Security Council, keeping us in with the Cousins at a VERY close level on all manner of strategic goodness, etc.


I'd question that question of the basic assumption . . . any "wise" leader or country knows the simple act of using even a single nuclear device against ANY target would destroy the worlds economies, so tightly tied together are we all. My own opinion is the only people or persons who would even consider using one against the UK are a) religious fundamentalists, b) stateless terrorists, c) individuals who hear voices / blame HMG for a family death(s), d) Non-UK teen males trying to impress Jody Foster/Niki Minaj/whoever the latest squeeze is. Lets be honest, the only state leader who might be daft enough is Kim Wrong-un, who, quite frankly, can't really be as stupid as that else the 'party' would have got rid of him years ago. Even his own family would do him in to preserve what they see as the status quo.

So in any of these cases, a dedicated SSBN-based nuclear deterrent wont even figure into the equation. As for the security council, with respect the UN can hang for all the good it does - it needs to be allowed to crawl away somewhere and die quietly; being on the Security Council does nothing for us other than gets us worried we might lose our seat on it. As for The Cousins, we have more to offer them through GCHQ bases across the globe than we'll ever get out of a Trident replacement.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:36 am 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
Jotun wrote:
Ah, the joy of idiomatic translation. In German it is indeed "versteck-die-Wurst" (hide the wurst)... :lol:

From which one can presume that if the guy in question was remarkable untalented, the poor girl would be getting the worst of the wurst.


I think you mean, the wurst of the worst? :D

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Last edited by Craiglxviii on Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:38 am 
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Andy L wrote:
Craiglxviii wrote:
I'd question the basic assertion that there is no-one left wise enough to be deterred by it.......... however, the UK Deterrent does a number of things, not least of which is keeping our permanent seat on the Security Council, keeping us in with the Cousins at a VERY close level on all manner of strategic goodness, etc.


I'd question that question of the basic assumption . . . any "wise" leader or country knows the simple act of using even a single nuclear device against ANY target would destroy the worlds economies, so tightly tied together are we all. My own opinion is the only people or persons who would even consider using one against the UK are a) religious fundamentalists, b) stateless terrorists, c) individuals who hear voices / blame HMG for a family death(s), d) Non-UK teen males trying to impress Jody Foster/Niki Minaj/whoever the latest squeeze is. Lets be honest, the only state leader who might be daft enough is Kim Wrong-un, who, quite frankly, can't really be as stupid as that else the 'party' would have got rid of him years ago. Even his own family would do him in to preserve what they see as the status quo.

So in any of these cases, a dedicated SSBN-based nuclear deterrent wont even figure into the equation. As for the security council, with respect the UN can hang for all the good it does - it needs to be allowed to crawl away somewhere and die quietly; being on the Security Council does nothing for us other than gets us worried we might lose our seat on it. As for The Cousins, we have more to offer them through GCHQ bases across the globe than we'll ever get out of a Trident replacement.

Except the stateless actors won't be deterred by any form of deterrent regardless of the platform its based on.
What does having nuclear weapons buy us? You need to read The Nuclear Game (One).

Quoting Stuart here:

Quote:
What nuclear weapons buy for a New Nuclear Power (NNP) is the fact that once the country in question has nuclear weapons, it cannot be beaten. It can be defeated, that is it can be prevented from achieving certain goals or stopped from following certain courses of action, but it cannot be beaten. It will never have enemy tanks moving down the streets of its capital, it will never have its national treasures looted and its citizens forced into servitude. The enemy will be destroyed by nuclear attack first. A potential enemy knows that so will not push the situation to the point where our NNP is on the verge of being beaten. In effect, the effect of acquiring nuclear weapons is that the owning country has set limits on any conflict in which it is involved. This is such an immensely attractive option that states find it irresistible.

Only later do they realize the problem. Nuclear weapons are so immensely destructive that they mean a country can be totally destroyed by their use.

So. What were nuclear weapons good for? It sems they are more of a liability than an asset. To some extent that's true but the important fact remains, they do limit conflict. As long as they are in place and functional they are an insurance policy against a nation getting beaten. That means that if that country is going to get beaten, its nuclear weapons have to be taken out first. It also means that if it ever uses its nuclear weapons, once they are gone, its invulnerability vanishes with it. Thus, the threat posed by nuclear weapons is a lot more effective and valuable than the likely results of using those weapons.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:04 am 
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Craiglxviii wrote:
Francis Urquhart wrote:
Jotun wrote:
Ah, the joy of idiomatic translation. In German it is indeed "versteck-die-Wurst" (hide the wurst)... :lol:

From which one can presume that if the guy in question was remarkable untalented, the poor girl would be getting the worst of the wurst.


I think you mean, the wurst of the worst? :D


I see it is devolved into discussions of euphemisms for the male member. Sigh...

I think this is yet another case in point for segregation of the sexes in the military. What does one expect the males and females to do when they are trapped together on patrol for a few months? I don't think it necessarily means that the SSBN has become the LoveBoat but it does call into question how crew efficiency will suffer. I realize the CO is supposed to be a god incarnate on his/her vessel but does that mean they stopped being human?

"When is the last time we made port call?"


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:05 am 
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What else did you expect, maturity and sense? ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:18 am 
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Craiglxviii wrote:
Andy L wrote:
Craiglxviii wrote:
I'd question the basic assertion that there is no-one left wise enough to be deterred by it.......... however, the UK Deterrent does a number of things, not least of which is keeping our permanent seat on the Security Council, keeping us in with the Cousins at a VERY close level on all manner of strategic goodness, etc.


I'd question that question of the basic assumption . . . any "wise" leader or country knows the simple act of using even a single nuclear device against ANY target would destroy the worlds economies, so tightly tied together are we all. My own opinion is the only people or persons who would even consider using one against the UK are a) religious fundamentalists, b) stateless terrorists, c) individuals who hear voices / blame HMG for a family death(s), d) Non-UK teen males trying to impress Jody Foster/Niki Minaj/whoever the latest squeeze is. Lets be honest, the only state leader who might be daft enough is Kim Wrong-un, who, quite frankly, can't really be as stupid as that else the 'party' would have got rid of him years ago. Even his own family would do him in to preserve what they see as the status quo.

So in any of these cases, a dedicated SSBN-based nuclear deterrent wont even figure into the equation. As for the security council, with respect the UN can hang for all the good it does - it needs to be allowed to crawl away somewhere and die quietly; being on the Security Council does nothing for us other than gets us worried we might lose our seat on it. As for The Cousins, we have more to offer them through GCHQ bases across the globe than we'll ever get out of a Trident replacement.

Except the stateless actors won't be deterred by any form of deterrent regardless of the platform its based on.
What does having nuclear weapons buy us? You need to read The Nuclear Game (One).

Quoting Stuart here:

Quote:
What nuclear weapons buy for a New Nuclear Power (NNP) is the fact that once the country in question has nuclear weapons, it cannot be beaten. It can be defeated, that is it can be prevented from achieving certain goals or stopped from following certain courses of action, but it cannot be beaten. It will never have enemy tanks moving down the streets of its capital, it will never have its national treasures looted and its citizens forced into servitude. The enemy will be destroyed by nuclear attack first. A potential enemy knows that so will not push the situation to the point where our NNP is on the verge of being beaten. In effect, the effect of acquiring nuclear weapons is that the owning country has set limits on any conflict in which it is involved. This is such an immensely attractive option that states find it irresistible.

Only later do they realize the problem. Nuclear weapons are so immensely destructive that they mean a country can be totally destroyed by their use.

So. What were nuclear weapons good for? It sems they are more of a liability than an asset. To some extent that's true but the important fact remains, they do limit conflict. As long as they are in place and functional they are an insurance policy against a nation getting beaten. That means that if that country is going to get beaten, its nuclear weapons have to be taken out first. It also means that if it ever uses its nuclear weapons, once they are gone, its invulnerability vanishes with it. Thus, the threat posed by nuclear weapons is a lot more effective and valuable than the likely results of using those weapons.


That's all very well, but my original question is still valid . . . has Trident, or a Trident-type deterrent, had its day. My argument is that the nuclear evaporation of a single city will pretty much destroy the worlds economies (ALL of them, including the aggressor); which then begs the question do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times? Surely once, twice at most, should be enough. Are there not other options than a massive, bloated, procurement that makes us look like top dogs, yet will have no more greater effect than a single Kim Wrong'Un Son-of-Scud missile, but at a thousand times the cost?

I actually don't have any answers. I have no idea of the lead-in time, development costs, and running costs of a dedicated four-boat SSBN fleet; I do know that if you have a small enough missile with a great enough range, you don't necessarily need to build an e new platform from which to launch it. Would not using the SSN fleet boats to carry nuclear-tipped supersonic cruise missiles be a far more effective deterrent, for example, given that a potential nation would never really know if pursuing a limited war against against the Royal Navy for example wouldn't by accident cause an attack on our nuclear deterrent? It would certainly make any future upgrading the deterrent much easier and quicker, and cheaper.

At the moment our potential enemies know our deterrent is SSBN based and that we'd therefore never risk them in a conventional war. But if that deterrent is based on a conventional-war system, would that give us the edge in deterring even the most limited of conventional wars? Or would it make us more vulnerable in that we'd be perceived as not willing to use that conventional war system 'just in case'? (This of course raises the definitive argument for or against any nuclear deterrent; an enemies perception as to whether the Prime Minister of the day would actually be prepared to kill several million 'enemy' civilians. That in itself, in this touch-feely age where the last major war is almost out of first-hand memory, is perhaps the most important.)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:09 am 
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Andy L wrote:
That's all very well, but my original question is still valid . . . has Trident, or a Trident-type deterrent, had its day. My argument is that the nuclear evaporation of a single city will pretty much destroy the worlds economies (ALL of them, including the aggressor); which then begs the question do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times? Surely once, twice at most, should be enough. Are there not other options than a massive, bloated, procurement that makes us look like top dogs, yet will have no more greater effect than a single Kim Wrong'Un Son-of-Scud missile, but at a thousand times the cost?

I actually don't have any answers. I have no idea of the lead-in time, development costs, and running costs of a dedicated four-boat SSBN fleet; I do know that if you have a small enough missile with a great enough range, you don't necessarily need to build an e new platform from which to launch it. Would not using the SSN fleet boats to carry nuclear-tipped supersonic cruise missiles be a far more effective deterrent, for example, given that a potential nation would never really know if pursuing a limited war against against the Royal Navy for example wouldn't by accident cause an attack on our nuclear deterrent? It would certainly make any future upgrading the deterrent much easier and quicker, and cheaper.

At the moment our potential enemies know our deterrent is SSBN based and that we'd therefore never risk them in a conventional war. But if that deterrent is based on a conventional-war system, would that give us the edge in deterring even the most limited of conventional wars? Or would it make us more vulnerable in that we'd be perceived as not willing to use that conventional war system 'just in case'? (This of course raises the definitive argument for or against any nuclear deterrent; an enemies perception as to whether the Prime Minister of the day would actually be prepared to kill several million 'enemy' civilians. That in itself, in this touch-feely age where the last major war is almost out of first-hand memory, is perhaps the most important.)

Perhaps this is a question better answered by the Prime Minister himself...

However, to take a stab:

Quote:
My argument is that the nuclear evaporation of a single city will pretty much destroy the worlds economies (ALL of them, including the aggressor); which then begs the question do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times?


Why do you think 16? Currently we patrol with around 30-32 weapons aboard (8 missiles, around 4 weapons each). That is the Moscow Criterion- the number of warheads required to take down a single city the size of (and with the defences of) Moscow. A single 350kT weapon low airburst won't destroy a city. A single 5MT one however might. But we don't have any of those.

Quote:
Surely once, twice at most, should be enough.


It is once at most. Anyway, if some is good, more is better. Do you subscribe to the "fair fight" mentality..?

Quote:
Are there not other options than a massive, bloated, procurement that makes us look like top dogs, yet will have no more greater effect than a single Kim Wrong'Un Son-of-Scud missile, but at a thousand times the cost?


Depends on how you count "cost"... actual transferrable dollars, or the sweat of slave labourers..? Sure there are other options. They all mean the same. We could invest in a massive chemical weapons stockpile inste... err hello Porton Down. The Norks' latest missiles look to be either directly based off, or copied from a Russian strategic weapon so are hardly son-of-Scud.

Quote:
I actually don't have any answers. I have no idea of the lead-in time, development costs, and running costs of a dedicated four-boat SSBN fleet;


20 years, £50bn at a ballpark guess for design and build. £2bn a year operating costs.

Quote:
I do know that if you have a small enough missile with a great enough range, you don't necessarily need to build an e new platform from which to launch it.
That's right, we could go for something like the Vodopod. The trouble is, that is massively destabilizing so far from being a deterrent, it becomes more of an excuse for The Bad Guys to start taking out the boats carrying them.

Quote:
Would not using the SSN fleet boats to carry nuclear-tipped supersonic cruise missiles be a far more effective deterrent, for example, given that a potential nation would never really know if pursuing a limited war against against the Royal Navy for example wouldn't by accident cause an attack on our nuclear deterrent? It would certainly make any future upgrading the deterrent much easier and quicker, and cheaper.


And much much more risky. If the Deterrent is based on potentially "any" platform, it limits the capacity for limited war and increases the risk of total war against us.

Your question really revolves around, "Why do we need a deterrent?" to which the answer is, "Because it deters". So far it has deterred 40 years of Soviet military aggression resulting in the Soviet grand strategic defeat; it's deterring Fat Boy over in MediaevalLand right now; and plus it keeps the French in check.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:07 am 
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Andy L wrote:
do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times? Surely once, twice at most, should be enough.

As has been pointed out several times on these, very boards, once you start accounting for wastage from duds, defenses, and genuine bad luck, all those screams of "destroy the world __ times over!!" get shown to be "...we don't have enough devices."

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:29 am 
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The Bushranger wrote:
Andy L wrote:
do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times? Surely once, twice at most, should be enough.

As has been pointed out several times on these, very boards, once you start accounting for wastage from duds, defenses, and genuine bad luck, all those screams of "destroy the world __ times over!!" get shown to be "...we don't have enough devices."


viewtopic.php?f=11&t=116

These essays are really interesting.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:25 pm 
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Fair enough replies. I will point out I am massively in favour of a nuclear deterrent, I simply ask if there are alternatives to a Trident-type system given the cost, in particular in light of statements issued the last day or two by certain Brass about the military's chances of fighting for anything other than a medium-sized western European town.

As for my number of 16 warheads, my understanding (which may now be out-of-date) is assuming one Vanguard with 16 missiles, each with a bus limited to a single warhead. Now where I got this single warhead per missile information from I cannot for the life of me remember, but I do remember shouting out loudly "What's the point of that then?" so it may have been a radio interview with a defence spokesman; this was a couple of years ago.

Respects to all.

A

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:38 pm 
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Andy L wrote:
Fair enough replies. I will point out I am massively in favour of a nuclear deterrent, I simply ask if there are alternatives to a Trident-type system given the cost, in particular in light of statements issued the last day or two by certain Brass about the military's chances of fighting for anything other than a medium-sized western European town.

As for my number of 16 warheads, my understanding (which may now be out-of-date) is assuming one Vanguard with 16 missiles, each with a bus limited to a single warhead. Now where I got this single warhead per missile information from I cannot for the life of me remember, but I do remember shouting out loudly "What's the point of that then?" so it may have been a radio interview with a defence spokesman; this was a couple of years ago.

Respects to all.

A


The answer to the deterrent question is, the underlying issue about stability. Nuclear deterrents require stability to be effective, and continuing stability requires nuclear deterrents... making the deterrent less stable (by putting its platform at risk of first strike) or by making every platform capable of deploying it (see the Vodopod) inherently increases the risks that the other side will use their arsenal first... so a big, secure, stable arsenal makes the world a safer place than a small, insecure, unstable one.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Andy L wrote:
Fair enough replies. I will point out I am massively in favour of a nuclear deterrent, I simply ask if there are alternatives to a Trident-type system given the cost, in particular in light of statements issued the last day or two by certain Brass about the military's chances of fighting for anything other than a medium-sized western European town.

As for my number of 16 warheads, my understanding (which may now be out-of-date) is assuming one Vanguard with 16 missiles, each with a bus limited to a single warhead. Now where I got this single warhead per missile information from I cannot for the life of me remember, but I do remember shouting out loudly "What's the point of that then?" so it may have been a radio interview with a defence spokesman; this was a couple of years ago.

Respects to all.

A

It's really a matter of time, distance, and responsiveness.

To be credible, a deterrent has to have the ability of being used before it is destroyed. So, for example, an IRBM battery 20 miles from the {Insert name of country here} (Russia) is not a valid deterrent because it will be the first thing targeted in an attack, and can be reached in under a minute by artillery and rockets. An ICBM in Nebraska, with the required range, is a deterrent because nothing can easily destroy it without plenty of warning.

So we should look at some different systems first, then at Great Britain's strategic situation.

There are five ways of a military delivering a nuclear device, not including loading in a truck or boat.
1. ICBM - fixed location, responsiveness something like 5 minutes from the order being given, fairly easy to locate and destroy by dropping a device on it.
2. Strategic cruise missile - shorter range, otherwise similar to 1.
3. Gravity bomber - disregard, because penetrating enemy defenses is too risky for the current methodologies.
4. Cruise missiles from a bomber - Responsiveness between 5 minutes and 3 hours, depending on alert status. Faster response means much higher expenses, non-linear. Easy to destroy on the ground, difficult in the air until they approach the defensive perimeter. Can be called back.
5. SSBN, either cruise or ballistic - 15-30 minute responsiveness, almost impossible to locate when at sea, extremely survivable.

We then look at what Great Britain needs.
1. Threat assessment - The only countries, excluding the US, which can reasonably deliver devices to GB are China and Russia. Russian forces are much closer and many times more numerous, so they control.
2. Timing - From a cold threat board, Russian nuclear devices could be initiating in GB in 15-20 minutes.
3. Responsiveness - Therefore, we subtract the responsiveness from that, and the decision to launch ground based missiles must be made in 10 minutes from warning. The decision to launch bombers must be within 5 minutes on active alert, or there is a risk of losing them. Using 1960's and 70's SAC timing, half would be lost on the ground even with an instant decision to make them airborne. SSBNs have no limit, since the decision to use them can be made after the enemy strike has landed.
4. A missile defense system can extend the decision time somewhat, at the definite risk of letting some of the enemy strike through.

So from that reasoning, we have the following conclusions:
1. A strategic bomber fleet for nuclear deterrence is a waste of money, since too many would be destroyed on the ground. Note when GB decommissioned it's strategic bomber fleet.
2. ICBMs can be used, but require a rapid decision to deploy them. There is no recall. This results in high stress on the leadership.
3. SSBNs are the most survivable part of the system.

Therefore, regardless of the relative costs, the SSBN portion of the nuclear deterrent is the last thing to be defunded.

Quote:
My argument is that the nuclear evaporation of a single city will pretty much destroy the worlds economies (ALL of them, including the aggressor); which then begs the question do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times?

This is incorrect. There are people and popular opinion effects, but there are no cities which if destroyed, would wreck the world's economy. The systems are much more robust than that. There will be uncertainty and some depressive effects, but there are substitutes. When Hurricane Sandy shut down New York, it resulted in a blip. Hurricane Harvey probably had a bigger impact by shutting down all of the Texas Gulf Coast refineries, but that was very temporary.

And there are some cities which, if destroyed, would probably improve the world's economy (cough - D.C. - cough), like Pyongyang or Kinshasa.

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KDahm wrote:
Andy L wrote:
Fair enough replies. I will point out I am massively in favour of a nuclear deterrent, I simply ask if there are alternatives to a Trident-type system given the cost, in particular in light of statements issued the last day or two by certain Brass about the military's chances of fighting for anything other than a medium-sized western European town.

As for my number of 16 warheads, my understanding (which may now be out-of-date) is assuming one Vanguard with 16 missiles, each with a bus limited to a single warhead. Now where I got this single warhead per missile information from I cannot for the life of me remember, but I do remember shouting out loudly "What's the point of that then?" so it may have been a radio interview with a defence spokesman; this was a couple of years ago.

Respects to all.

A

It's really a matter of time, distance, and responsiveness.

To be credible, a deterrent has to have the ability of being used before it is destroyed. So, for example, an IRBM battery 20 miles from the {Insert name of country here} (Russia) is not a valid deterrent because it will be the first thing targeted in an attack, and can be reached in under a minute by artillery and rockets. An ICBM in Nebraska, with the required range, is a deterrent because nothing can easily destroy it without plenty of warning.

So we should look at some different systems first, then at Great Britain's strategic situation.

There are five ways of a military delivering a nuclear device, not including loading in a truck or boat.
1. ICBM - fixed location, responsiveness something like 5 minutes from the order being given, fairly easy to locate and destroy by dropping a device on it.
2. Strategic cruise missile - shorter range, otherwise similar to 1.
3. Gravity bomber - disregard, because penetrating enemy defenses is too risky for the current methodologies.
4. Cruise missiles from a bomber - Responsiveness between 5 minutes and 3 hours, depending on alert status. Faster response means much higher expenses, non-linear. Easy to destroy on the ground, difficult in the air until they approach the defensive perimeter. Can be called back.
5. SSBN, either cruise or ballistic - 15-30 minute responsiveness, almost impossible to locate when at sea, extremely survivable.

We then look at what Great Britain needs.
1. Threat assessment - The only countries, excluding the US, which can reasonably deliver devices to GB are China and Russia. Russian forces are much closer and many times more numerous, so they control.
2. Timing - From a cold threat board, Russian nuclear devices could be initiating in GB in 15-20 minutes.
3. Responsiveness - Therefore, we subtract the responsiveness from that, and the decision to launch ground based missiles must be made in 10 minutes from warning. The decision to launch bombers must be within 5 minutes on active alert, or there is a risk of losing them. Using 1960's and 70's SAC timing, half would be lost on the ground even with an instant decision to make them airborne. SSBNs have no limit, since the decision to use them can be made after the enemy strike has landed.
4. A missile defense system can extend the decision time somewhat, at the definite risk of letting some of the enemy strike through.

So from that reasoning, we have the following conclusions:
1. A strategic bomber fleet for nuclear deterrence is a waste of money, since too many would be destroyed on the ground. Note when GB decommissioned it's strategic bomber fleet.
2. ICBMs can be used, but require a rapid decision to deploy them. There is no recall. This results in high stress on the leadership.
3. SSBNs are the most survivable part of the system.

Therefore, regardless of the relative costs, the SSBN portion of the nuclear deterrent is the last thing to be defunded.

Quote:
My argument is that the nuclear evaporation of a single city will pretty much destroy the worlds economies (ALL of them, including the aggressor); which then begs the question do we the UK need a dedicated platform with the sole purpose of carrying enough warheads to destroy the worlds economies 16 times?

This is incorrect. There are people and popular opinion effects, but there are no cities which if destroyed, would wreck the world's economy. The systems are much more robust than that. There will be uncertainty and some depressive effects, but there are substitutes. When Hurricane Sandy shut down New York, it resulted in a blip. Hurricane Harvey probably had a bigger impact by shutting down all of the Texas Gulf Coast refineries, but that was very temporary.

And there are some cities which, if destroyed, would probably improve the world's economy (cough - D.C. - cough), like Pyongyang or Kinshasa.


If someone smuggles a nuke in a shipping container and obliterates a Western City...that's IT for the global supply chain. Someone would have to pay for the new security that would be required, and nobody's going to be willing to do it. The new mantra would be "manufacture your products here or don't bother trying to manufacture any of them at all."

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:12 pm 
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Poohbah wrote:
If someone smuggles a nuke in a shipping container and obliterates a Western City...that's IT for the global supply chain. Someone would have to pay for the new security that would be required, and nobody's going to be willing to do it. The new mantra would be "manufacture your products here or don't bother trying to manufacture any of them at all."

I won't say every major Western port has a detector, but....

There are X-ray machines for trucks and containers at many of the land crossings from Mexico. To my certain knowledge, some major US ports on the Gulf Coast have radiation detectors in the customs areas. I haven't looked for documentation on them, so I can't say other major US ports elsewhere and minor ports have them, but I would absolutely be surprised if they didn't. Detectors are extremely inexpensive compared to the cost of the rest of the port operations, so they should be everywhere.

This is a method of delivery that's been on the radar for decades.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:45 pm 
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KDahm wrote:
Poohbah wrote:
If someone smuggles a nuke in a shipping container and obliterates a Western City...that's IT for the global supply chain. Someone would have to pay for the new security that would be required, and nobody's going to be willing to do it. The new mantra would be "manufacture your products here or don't bother trying to manufacture any of them at all."

I won't say every major Western port has a detector, but....

There are X-ray machines for trucks and containers at many of the land crossings from Mexico. To my certain knowledge, some major US ports on the Gulf Coast have radiation detectors in the customs areas. I haven't looked for documentation on them, so I can't say other major US ports elsewhere and minor ports have them, but I would absolutely be surprised if they didn't. Detectors are extremely inexpensive compared to the cost of the rest of the port operations, so they should be everywhere.

This is a method of delivery that's been on the radar for decades.


I wish I could be as optimistic as you; given how competently the US Government has performed its duties over the past decade, I have to assume it's a matter of when and not if.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:24 am 
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This is incorrect. There are people and popular opinion effects, but there are no cities which if destroyed, would wreck the world's economy. The systems are much more robust than that. There will be uncertainty and some depressive effects, but there are substitutes. When Hurricane Sandy shut down New York, it resulted in a blip. Hurricane Harvey probably had a bigger impact by shutting down all of the Texas Gulf Coast refineries, but that was very temporary.


I would disagree most vociferously; most cities routinely targeted by a nuclear power are targeted precisely because of the net effect of their destruction. Hurricanes cause only temporary hiaitus; new Orleans is still there, it just needs repairing. It is not a smoking hole in the ground.

Take my city of Sheffield (again!!!). That gets nuked, have several vital motorway junctions gone, major rail junctions gone, hundreds of thousands of casualties (local and national government, hospitals and emergency services, service industries, manufacturing centres); basically shuts down the entire north of England, emergency services diverted from all over the country, UK infrastructure put under such terrible strain. Unlike a hurricane the whole of Sheffield and its surrounds is gone. For good. Road, rail and civilian/cargo air traffic needs to be re-routed at a cost of trillions of pounds sterling for the next few years.

Most importantly, workers in every city and town in the country, and possibly most of the western world, are too scared to go to work and instead self-evacuate to areas where they feel they will not be under threat of a nuclear strike. Result? Western manufacturing and industry grinds to a halt.

Try that in Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Beijing, Moscow, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Tokyo. Take out one city of any major manufacturing country with worldwide trade commitments with a nuclear strike . . . follow the plume of radiation as it slowly moves with the wind. Real effect or no, it is all down to the perception of the workforce as to what and where is safe.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:54 am 
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Andy L wrote:
I would disagree most vociferously; most cities routinely targeted by a nuclear power are targeted precisely because of the net effect of their destruction. Hurricanes cause only temporary hiaitus; new Orleans is still there, it just needs repairing. It is not a smoking hole in the ground. Cities aren't targeted per se. Things in cities are targeted. Marshalling yards. Government complexes. Manufacturing facilities.

Take my city of Sheffield (again!!!). That gets nuked, have several vital motorway junctions gone, major rail junctions gone, hundreds of thousands of casualties (local and national government, hospitals and emergency services, service industries, manufacturing centres); basically shuts down the entire north of England, emergency services diverted from all over the country, UK infrastructure put under such terrible strain. Unlike a hurricane the whole of Sheffield and its surrounds is gone. For good. Road, rail and civilian/cargo air traffic needs to be re-routed at a cost of trillions of pounds sterling for the next few years.

What do you think happened to New Orleans? In this case, it's a sh*tter for the North. But how does it affect everyone else, aside for the strain put on healthcare and emergency services? It's hardly "terrible" strain; road links that bypass Sheffield actually do exist (M6, A1) as do rail (East & West Coast Mainlines. So there's a 25-50% increase in journey times for journeys that would have had to go via Sheffield. That gets planned into the logistics and it ends up costing more. Logistics accounts for around 12% of on-the-shelf pricing so the country sees a 3-6% overall cost increase for all goods that have to bypass Sheffield- until those links are repaired.

Most importantly, workers in every city and town in the country, and possibly most of the western world, are too scared to go to work and instead self-evacuate to areas where they feel they will not be under threat of a nuclear strike. Result? Western manufacturing and industry grinds to a halt.

I disagree completely. You have to understand that this scenario you're talking about would be happening in the midst of a General War, therefore Government control of industry and population would be in effect. In addition we have seen a number of cases where this has happened and Western manufacturing has NOT ground to a halt. The Fukushima disaster in Japan highlights this precisely- the initial result was that Western manufacturing everywhere else stepped up their production to make up the shortfall. I know, I was involved...

Try that in Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Beijing, Moscow, New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Brussels, Tokyo. Take out one city of any major manufacturing country with worldwide trade commitments with a nuclear strike . . . follow the plume of radiation as it slowly moves with the wind. Real effect or no, it is all down to the perception of the workforce as to what and where is safe.


You're not doing the RADIATION PLUME WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE thing are you? Please go and read the Nuclear Game essays> They really answer many of your questions.

As I said, a full strike has gone in on a major city; that nation is in War mode and the government has dusted off its emergency powers, taken control of population movement, taken control of industry, communications, power generation and everything else pursuant to surviving the emergency and winning the war. The workforce's opinion on the matter is secondary to keeping the workforce and the rest of the country functioning in the wake of the strikes.

Taking out a city (counter population) requires low airbursts. Low airbursts produce little fallout. What is the "plume of radiation" you're talking about? What you mean- you're talking it about it drifting with the wind- is the fallout plume. Only you're targeting cities so low airbursts don't really produce them- they do but not major ones.

That is, unless you're looking at a full targeting strategy which you've not really mentioned- you've gone from initiating a device over a city to deleting a city, which is a rather different proposition and results in a somewhat different response.

OK, we'll try your solution. The nation-state that contains that city is crippled in the short term as it struggles to cope with the emergency. The rest of the world activates their contingency plans. We saw this in the tsunami that hit Thailand- 20% of the world's diode manufacturing capacity was knocked out in the space of half an hour. What happened? A 6 week increase on lead times while mothballed plants were brought back online and small/ feeder plants were dialed up, and recovery teams went into the washed-out fabs to see what was needed to get them back on stream or relocate them. To fill in the gap, the rest of the world's warehouses increased their prices by 25% and sold off their surplus stock, then went down to Lunn Poly and ordered their Caribbean holidays for the next summer. That hiatus took 12 months to completely recover from.

So a city has gone, lots of dead and wounded. Road & rail lines get re-routed. The national economy takes a huge hit. The rest of the world carries on. Another example. Catalonia just had a week-long strike. As far as the rest of the world is concerned, Barcelona produced nothing for 7 days. Zero. Zip. What was the effect on the rest of Europe? It hasn't even noticed.

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