Originally Posted by alexkvaskov
Lately I've been doing some reading on OPLAN and SIOP and was wondering about the flexibility of nuclear targeting. With the US and Russia both having lowered their nuclear attack thresholds in the past 10 years, how easy is it to program new co-ordinates into an ICBM and can this be done rapidly in case of any emergency should a nuclear strike be required against non-traditional targets (i.e. Russia and China)?
Target acquiring (pre-launch) should be highly configurable and if authorized i see no reasons for a ICBM why the target package cannot be changed.
However given the launch locations (Subs, Silos or Airplanes/Bombers) you might not be able to select say missile 1 and 2 at location/site A but missile 20 and 21 at location/site B which might be a more logical choice to assure you have a perfect trajectory towards the target. (Assuming that the most ideal missile silo/platform is being selected)
Ones the ICBM is in the air i believe its a one way trip, so as soon you give the order and its lifts off the only 2 options you have is self destruct the ICBM or let it hit.
BUT i am pretty sure that the latest generations of nuclear missiles are to some extend (Or even fully) in flight configurable to adjust towards a different target.
Short said "dumb" bombs have a one way trip, outdated missiles have one way trip, but newer missiles might differ from this as i assume that if a computer can plot a set of coordinations to hit your preferred target and a GPS or similar system can guide it that a ground controller or launch coordinator can rapidly change the end destination of the weapons used by entering new values in the main computer which in turn communicates with the missile itself.
But then again i never launched a nuke and i hope dear god that none ever will, so frankly speaking my guess is as good as yours on this matter.
Fact however is that today they can fly missiles around the church and hit you between the legs the moment you are doing smelly stuff on the toilet lmao... So reason enough that they can do similar things to a ICBM or Nuclear capable smaller missile. So the amount of flexibility depend on many factors ranging from basic things like size and range to guidance and control over a missile after being fired. Personally i think that a full blown ICBM has just as much flexibility as the mount everest after launch, while a smaller missile (Say tomahawk for example) could make a detour for fun and still hit is target.
So dunno what to tell you here