Missile Defense And Launch Costs

I did a thread on Twitter this morning.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Trump’s missile-defense strategy.

As I noted above, if the space segment is now feasible, it’s despite, not because of government launch policy for the past three decades (except possibly for COTS).

15 thoughts on “Missile Defense And Launch Costs”

  1. Oh no! The missiles are in Alaska, so they must not be good for anything.

    Maybe these chuckleheads should contemplate a little more why no one outside their tiny little bubble likes them.

    1. Oh, come on. Just look at a map of the United States. Alaska is in an inset map down there southwest of L.A.

      How many Russian or North Korean nukes are going to come from that direction?

  2. The other thing we got from our investment in missile defense was the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Soviet economist testified to congress that at the end they were spending over 30 percent GDP on defense.

  3. If starship meets its cost targets, I wonder if you could keep a fleet of brilliant pebbles interceptors on standby and launch them on demand? You could have guaranteed replenishment of the consternation. You could also agument the base number in a time of crisis.

  4. It’s remarkable how many mediocre people in the anti-anti-ballistic missile camp have made careers out of refusing to have a serious debate. I wonder if more than a handful of them read the book “High Frontier” when it was published almost four decades ago. (https://tinyurl.com/y76pqq8v) Most of them clearly have not considered its the arguments of the pro-defense side with due diligence.

    1. “Most of them clearly have not considered its the arguments of the pro-defense side with due diligence.”

      That’s because their purpose was to keep that portion of US resources from being used for things the USSR could not do nearly as fast. For instance, when we had a debate on SDIO here in Portland in 1983, one of the most persistent arguments by the “con” side debater was that the imminence of a successful US BMD system would cause the USSR to attack just *before* it became operational. He ignored continually that he had previously denounced the suicidal nature of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons when both sides in WW3 had them together.

      This speaker was arranged for the debate by a young “activist” male, who also harangued me outside the debate about “Able Archer”, and how the networks he was in were saying people should watch for it being the start of a nuclear surprise attack. It was 15 years later that I learned that Able Archer, as a NATO exercise, was real, and was a high concern of the Soviet KGB, because they thought it was a ruse to disguise the beginnings of a nuclear war with the USSR.

      1. The “activist” you describe pretty obviously got his talking points from the CPUSA or one of its innumerable front groups. These people seemed to make up the majority of the ‘Ground Zero’ and ‘Nuclear Freeze’ “movement” leadership during the early 80’s hubbub anent both “Star Wars” and the retaliatory stationing of Pershing 2’s and cruise missiles in Europe by the Reagan administration as a response to the Soviet SS-20’s aimed at Western Europe. I was involved in pro-SDI activism in those days and ran into these people a lot. The turnouts for public demos were sizable until the Pershing and cruise deployments were actually done. At that point, the whole “movement” magically dried up and blew away – a bit like those
        “caravans” of “asylum seekers” in Mexico that did likewise once the Congressional midterm election was over. Lefties are quite prompt about cutting their losses once a given ploy has failed.

  5. Why not write a counter piece for the Atlantic Rand?

    It was a pretty lazy article with a bunch of crude cost assumptions based on old data.

    I bet you could mass produce a shit ton of interceptors cost wise compared to an ICBM.

    After all, all ICBMs are fundamentally expendable launch vehicles. One use and therefore have an irreducible cost.

    We’re now learning to mass produce sats. That will be a cost game changer.

    1. There’d be little point in Rand wasting his time. The Atlantic was once a fairly heterodox publication, but that was a long time ago. For most of the last two decades it has been a reliably left-only publication like The New Republic, and The New Yorker.

    2. “I bet you could mass produce a shit ton of interceptors cost wise compared to an ICBM.“ Interceptors look expensive because it has taken a lot of R&D to get one to work. So if you spread that cost over a small production run you get sticker shock. Economic illiterates take that cost as a given then compare it to ICBMs which have have been in use much longer and conclude that more ICBMs would always be cheaper than more interceptors. However, economics suggests that the cost of ICBMs are probably not going much lower while the cost of missile interceptors will come down quite a bit. This doesn’t even include using lasers.

  6. You can also go big. What kind of battlesat could you build with 9m (folded) and 100 tonnes?

    (Smaller and more numerous, of course, has a significant advantage in system survivability, but still…)

    1. 100 tones is almost two Main Battle Tanks, you can start armoring the fuck out of things with that kind of throw weight.

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