A new study sponsored by the American Physical Society concludes that U.S. UU. Systems to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles cannot be trusted to counter even a limited nuclear attack and are unlikely to achieve reliability in the next 15 years. The United States missile shield is designed to launch a missile that should hit an ICBM warhead when it re-enters.
So far, the United States has conducted three successful tests, but there are doubts about its true ability to stop even a limited ICBM attack. In the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the specter of nuclear war looms in the public mind in a way never seen since the Cold War. In fact, while the international community is slapping Russia with a series of restrictions and sanctions, it is difficult not to jump into the worst nuclear scenario, particularly given that Russia has the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in the world. What is more alarming is that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently put Russia's deterrent forces, including nuclear weapons, on high alert.
Many experts agree that this level of threat is unprecedented in the post-Cold War era. But given how far computers, drones and laser technologies have come since the Cold War era, one might think that advanced technology could deter a nuclear weapons threat. In fact, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced the start of a program mockingly called Star Wars by critics, by which the United States could protect itself from strategic ballistic nuclear weapons in space. Engineers have been grappling with this question for decades.
However, strangely enough, and despite monumental advances in physics, computer science and A, I. Over the past four decades, the engineering problem of missile interception has not yet been resolved. But Wells pointed out that such a thing is certainly physically possible. There is no theorem that says 'you can't achieve missile defense', he added.
Has an ICBM defense missile system. It's called Land-based Mid-Course Defense (GMD) and it's the only system currently deployed to defend the U.S. A recent study sponsored by the American Physical Society concluded that the GMD cannot be trusted to counter even a limited nuclear attack. The study focused specifically on North Korean ICBMs and determined that the U.S.
It is unlikely that the defense systems in place will be reliable enough to ensure that the mission will be a success in the next 15 years. Experts tell Salon that despite technological advances, as Wells noted, there are a few reasons why this is such a difficult problem to solve, scientifically speaking. The main reason is that it is simply extremely difficult to intercept something so small (about a meter long) that it moves so fast (15,000 miles per hour) in such a short time. Not to mention that part of the trajectory of these warheads occurs in space.
Grego said that ICBMs are, by design, difficult to intercept. The warheads, of which there are multiple and which emerge from the missile cone, are relatively small, making it difficult to attack. Some of these warheads could be decoys and contain nothing. Similarly, the ICBM's journey takes you through the vacuum of space where, as Grego says, there is no air resistance or very little air resistance, so a light lure doesn't slow down compared to a heavy warhead.
This makes it difficult to decipher which is the real warhead and which one or which are false. Grego explained that this is known as the problem of discrimination. But what about trying to intercept the ICBM during the impulse phase, before the warhead and decoys deploy? That window is extremely short and therefore incredibly difficult to figure out how to intercept, Grego said. In order to intercept the missile during this phase, the defender would have to be very close to the launch site to arrive on time.
Wells added that there is concern that interception during the impulse phase could detonate the warhead in friendly territory. Experts say it's not impossible to create a robust and reliable ICBM stop system, but it's certainly very challenging. Hundreds of satellites and spacecraft monitor Russia's nuclear forces from above. So far, they haven't seen much to worry about.
As a subscriber, you have 10 gift items to give each month. Anyone can read what you share. At the end of February, when President Vladimir V. Russia's Putin declared that his country's nuclear weapons were entering “special combat readiness”, US surveillance team went on high alert.
Hundreds of imaging satellites, as well as other private and federal spacecraft, began looking for signs of increased activity among Russia's bombers, missiles, submarines and storage bunkers, which contain thousands of nuclear warheads. But U.S. atomic guardians have reason to keep looking, experts said. Moscow has long practiced using relatively small nuclear explosions to compensate for losses in the field.
And some military experts are concerned about what Mr. Putin could do, after setbacks in Ukraine, restore his reputation for nervous cruelty. If Russia prepared for an atomic war, it would normally disperse its bombers to reduce their vulnerability to enemy attacks, said Hans M. Kristensen, Director of the Nuclear Information Project of the Federation of American Scientists, a private research organization in Washington.
But right now, he said, “none of that is obvious. Since 1962, when one of the first U.S. espionage satellites failed to detect a shipment of missiles and 158 nuclear warheads that Moscow had sent to Cuba, the surveillance powers of the United States in orbit have skyrocketed. Today, hundreds of public and private imaging satellites are continuously exploring the planet to assess crops, map cities, manage forests and, increasingly, reveal the secret actions of nuclear states.
Russia's arsenal exceeds in size the nuclear arsenals of all other nations, creating a challenge for analysts to fully assess their situation. US private companies such as Maxar, Capella Space and Planet Labs have provided analysts with hundreds of close-up images of Russian atomic forces. Planet Labs alone has a constellation of more than 200 imaging satellites and has specialized in focusing on military sites. Private fleet tracked Russian nuclear forces long before the war, revealing maintenance work, as well as routine drills and exercises.
That kind of basic understanding helps analysts discover the real preparations for war, experts said. A false alarm sounded shortly after Mr. A Twitter account, The Lookout, published that a satellite had detected two Russian nuclear submarines leaving a northwest port. The Express, a London tabloid, warned in a headline of “strategic readiness”.
The news received little attention because experienced experts realized that the subheading was a planned exercise. Still, Jeffrey Lewis and Michael Duitsman, satellite imaging specialists at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies in Monterrey, California. Normally, about half of Russian submarines equipped with long-range missiles go out to sea on scheduled patrols, while the rest remain at their docks to rest, perform repairs and perform maintenance. Analysts see empty docks as a warning sign.
To assess the current situation, Dr. Lewis approached a large submarine base known as Gadzhiyevo in Russia's Arctic North. Images in Google Earth show a dozen huge docks protruding from rocky fjords. The Middlebury team examined a close-up image, taken by Planet on March 7, showing four of Russia's submarines next to two of Gadzhiyevo's docks.
Duitsman said a separate image of the entire base revealed that all of its active submarines were in port, suggesting that they were not preparing for a nuclear attack. The team also studied images of a military base in the wild lands of Siberia, where mobile launchers move long-range missiles on crossing roads as a defensive tactic. The Dutchman said that images taken on March 30 by one of Capella's radar satellites, which can see through clouds and night darkness, showed no signs of unusual activity. Finally, near the southern banks of the Volga River, the Middlebury team observed Saratov-63, a nuclear weapons storage site for long-range missiles, as well as the Russian air force.
The images, taken by Planet on March 6th, revealed a snowy landscape and, Sr. The Dutchman said there is no evidence of a high alert state. Nuclear analysts and experts say the accumulated evidence suggests that Mr. Putin's declaration of “combat readiness” was not an order to prepare weapons, but rather a sign that a message of war could soon arrive.
Pavel Podvig, a longtime Russian weapons researcher, said the alert likely prepared the Russian military for the possibility of a nuclear order. Nikolai Sokov, a former Soviet diplomat who negotiated arms control treaties, agreed. It is possible that an order will arrive. The deputy director and now a senior professor at Johns Hopkins, said he found the personnel aspect of the Moscow escalation process to be the most worrying.
Chief News Correspondent, Senior Policy Analyst at The Daily Signal, National Defense Center After launching an invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin sparked even more global concerns by putting his nuclear forces on high alert. We have no way of defending ourselves against a major Russian nuclear attack. Putin's recent incendiary rhetoric, the sound of nuclear sabers and military actions in Ukraine are proof of the need for a strong and modern America. The Daily Signal asked Patty-Jane Geller, a policy analyst for nuclear deterrence and missile defense at The Heritage Foundation's Center for National Defense, what to think of Putin's provocative rhetoric.
Here are Geller's answers to six questions from Fred Lucas of The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation's multimedia news organization. The simplest answer to this question is that, while the probability is not high, it is not zero either. The threat must be taken seriously. Unlike the U.S.
It has more than 2,000 low-performing, non-strategic nuclear weapons, also known as a battlefield, that Russia could use in a conventional conflict in Europe to force the enemy to retreat. Putin had been using the rattle of nuclear sabers during the build-up of his invasion of Ukraine, threatening nuclear war and conducting nuclear exercises. If Russia continues to fail in its conventional military efforts to seize Ukrainian cities and overthrow the Ukrainian government, Putin could see the explosion of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine or at sea as his best way to force Ukrainians to surrender or avoid further external intervention. But Putin must know that the use of nuclear weapons would break the 75-year taboo that the world has established against the use of such weapons.
Doing so would certainly cause more harm than harm to Putin and Russia. A nuclear attack on Ukraine, beyond the potential damage to Ukraine's countryside and people, would only immensely strengthen the international response, profoundly undermining Russia's efforts to subjugate its neighbor. A nuclear attack against a NATO or US state is less likely. But the important message here is that in the fog of war, especially against an aggressive autocrat, the United States and its allies must be prepared for anything.
A nuclear attack against Ukraine would be unnecessary, unjustified and utterly criminal. Putin started this war of choice in the absence of a real threat to Russian security, despite Russian misinformation. Failure on the battlefield of an illegal and immoral conflict would be no reason to resort to the world's most dangerous weapons. Ukraine is not a member of NATO and therefore the United States does not extend its nuclear umbrella to Ukraine.
The United States and NATO are not militarily involved in the conflict either, so they have no obligation to respond using military force. That said, the United States, with its NATO allies, would need to coordinate a forceful response that would address the horror of Putin's nuclear attack on Ukraine and deter further aggression. Russia deploys at least 1,500 warheads on hundreds of missiles based on air, land and sea platforms that can attack the entire U.S. Russia is also developing new “novel” capabilities that may affect the US.
Fortunately, the United States also maintains a nuclear triad that can attack all of Russia, providing a strong deterrent to a Russian attack. Programs to replace these outdated capabilities with modern systems are just being launched, and each year they must overcome opposition from far-left members of Congress. Many Americans find it hard to believe that we have no way of defending ourselves against a major Russian nuclear attack. The missile defense system is designed to defend against limited nuclear attacks by rogue states such as North Korea.
We have 44 domestic interceptors that couldn't defend themselves against Russia's hundreds of nuclear missiles. Policy of Relying on Nuclear Deterrence to Confront Russia's Nuclear Threat to Homeland. This policy has been the subject of debate for decades, and critics argue that increasing our missile defense will force Russia to build more offensive weapons, even though history shows multiple examples that this is not happening. Deploys an Aegis Ashore missile defense system in Romania and is building one in Poland, but they are targeting the Iranian missile threat.
Russia's missile arsenal can overwhelm those systems. Moscow also alleges that the U.S. You can launch offensive missiles from such defense systems in Russia, but that's not true either, the systems are purely defensive. The disparity they see is explained by what we call Russia's “non-strategic nuclear weapons”, which I spoke about earlier.
When it comes to strategic nuclear forces, such as ICBMs capable of reaching each other's homelands, the U.S. And Russia has a close parity with the new START arms control treaty. But New START excludes this whole category of non-strategic weapons. As mentioned, Russia has at least 2,000 of these weapons, and it is even expected to double this figure by the end of the decade.
In fact, the United States has begun development of a new non-strategic weapon, a sea-launched cruise missile, but the Biden administration reportedly wants to scrap it. The United States needs to catch up in this category, reducing Russia's asymmetrical advantage, to ensure that it can completely deter Russia and, not to mention also a China increasingly capable of working with nuclear weapons. Americans need to understand the different roles nuclear weapons play in Russia and the U.S. Moscow believes that its status as an important nuclear state is fundamental to its desire to be treated as a great power.
Despite public statements to the contrary, Moscow seems to believe that nuclear weapons can be used in a conflict to win. Russia violates nuclear treaties and lies about it. The United States sees nuclear weapons as a tool primarily to deter, prevent war altogether, or prevent war from escalating beyond conventional. As Russia builds new and dangerous nuclear systems, we need to reject the proposals of the left to dismantle our nuclear triad.
This piece originally appeared on The Daily Signal. Laura Grego, Stanton Nuclear Safety Fellow at MIT Nuclear Safety and Policy Laboratory, told Salon. . .