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SM-3s

This is a discussion on SM-3s within the Missiles & WMDs forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by fretburner I was referring to ground-based mid-course defense missiles -- the ones in silos. Do you mean ...


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Old April 19th, 2011   #16
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Originally Posted by fretburner View Post
I was referring to ground-based mid-course defense missiles -- the ones in silos.
Do you mean the Spartan (deployed 1975, retired 1976) and the Sprint (never operation), those were the only 2 US designs that used silos.
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For got about those ESSM's in the VLS. I thought a Tico or Burke will typically have SM-2/3s and Tomahawks in VLS and the ESSM will be on those launchers mounted on the sides of the ship (which pivots and stuff -- don't know what they call those type of launchers).
The pivoting launchers are RIM-116 RAM point defense system, the replacement for CIWS. Nothing like the ESSM. Range 3nm

AAM in VLS -- Range
Standard-2ERAM -- 200nm
Standard-2 -- 100nm
ESSM -- 27nm
plus SM-3, ASROC, Tomahawk, and Harpoon.
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Old April 19th, 2011   #17
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Do you mean the Spartan (deployed 1975, retired 1976) and the Sprint (never operation), those were the only 2 US designs that used silos.
he is reffering to the still under development GMD programme.

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old April 19th, 2011   #18
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Do you mean the Spartan (deployed 1975, retired 1976) and the Sprint (never operation), those were the only 2 US designs that used silos.

The pivoting launchers are RIM-116 RAM point defense system, the replacement for CIWS. Nothing like the ESSM. Range 3nm

AAM in VLS -- Range
Standard-2ERAM -- 200nm
Standard-2 -- 100nm
ESSM -- 27nm
plus SM-3, ASROC, Tomahawk, and Harpoon.
Ah... found it! It's called the RIM-162

The picture in the link is a 2x4 launcher. I didn't know they can be launched via VLS as well. I always thought it's like this for every ship. I guess the RIM-162 is for all other ships besides the Cruisers and Destroyers.

Edit: My bad. The RIM-162 is the designation of the ESSM. The launcher I believe is called the Mk-29 launch system?

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Originally Posted by SASWanabe View Post
he is reffering to the still under development GMD programme.

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yes, that's the one. Thanks!
And I also thought that was already operational like the THAAD.
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Old April 19th, 2011   #19
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Ah... found it! It's called the RIM-162

The picture in the link is a 2x4 launcher. I didn't know they can be launched via VLS as well. I always thought it's like this for every ship. I guess the RIM-162 is for all other ships besides the Cruisers and Destroyers.

Edit: My bad. The RIM-162 is the designation of the ESSM. The launcher I believe is called the Mk-29 launch system?


Yes, that's the one. Thanks!
And I also thought that was already operational like the THAAD.


On the Aviation-Week-And-Space-Technology (AWAST) website [url=http://www.aviationweek.com] there is an article (which will probably be in the April 25th printed addition) about the first test of the Aegis system against an IRBM missile. A missile fired from the Kwajalein Atoll to the Pacific test range near Hawaii. It was also the first test of the remote firing capacity of the Aegis system using cued information by off-board sensors. In this case an AN/TPS-2 located on Wake Island. I assume the tracking date from the mobil AN/TPS-2 was passed to USS O’Kane DDG-77 by a satellite link.

If I am reading the article correctly, it leads me to believe that the SM-3 round was lunched from the ship before the AN/SPY-1D radar of the USS O’Kane had acquired and tracked the target. But it did acquire and track the target before the impact the SM-3. The SM-3 was updates in flight using data from the ships’ own radar before impact through the ships normal S-band data link, effectively increasing the missiles’ effective range against these faster targets.

There is diagram on page 20 of AWAST April 18th issue in a related article which shows that that the tracking range of the AN/SPY-1D is greater than its detection range, if it can be cued to the approximate location of the target.
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Old April 19th, 2011   #20
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Sm3 is a very impressive system. The way they can tie in data from multiple sources and have it tactically relevant is pretty impressive.

There are actually some plans to have SM-3 land based launchers.
BMD, in from the Sea: SM-3 Missiles Going Ashore

There are advantages of SM-3 given is proven capabilities, low cost for the performance, inservice with other nations, also can't be upgunned to become a ICBM itself. Its also cheaper (80%) than GMD.
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Old April 20th, 2011   #21
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yeah but GMD and SM-3 are meant for different things, i would want to see an SM-3 intercept an ICBM before i used it instead of GMD.
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Old April 20th, 2011   #22
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I think the main reason some countries are interested in SM-3 is that GMD is too long range for them (unless its deployed within Russian or Russian aligned states). Sm-3 offers a more terminal solution but better/longer ranged than thaad.

Interesting. I wonder with SM-6 if you could make it land based and land attack?
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Old April 20th, 2011   #23
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Sm3 is a very impressive system. The way they can tie in data from multiple sources and have it tactically relevant is pretty impressive.

There are actually some plans to have SM-3 land based launchers.
BMD, in from the Sea: SM-3 Missiles Going Ashore

There are advantages of SM-3 given is proven capabilities, low cost for the performance, inservice with other nations, also can't be upgunned to become a ICBM itself. Its also cheaper (80%) than GMD.
Given that the GMD is more expensive and hasn't been performing in tests very well as of late, wouldn't you rather want to have more GMDs than SM-3s? I mean, you want to intercept ICBMs from as far as possible to the area/region you're protecting it right? Or would you rather have say fire 2 salvos of GMD for each ICBM, and if it fails, you fire like 4 salvos of SM-3 and if that fails, 8 salvos of PAC-3s?

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yeah but GMD and SM-3 are meant for different things, i would want to see an SM-3 intercept an ICBM before i used it instead of GMD.
You probably meant the opposite, i.e. GMD intercept before SM-3? Or are you saying, a boost phase intercept by an SM-3 from a Tico/Burke near the country/region launching it?

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I think the main reason some countries are interested in SM-3 is that GMD is too long range for them (unless its deployed within Russian or Russian aligned states). Sm-3 offers a more terminal solution but better/longer ranged than thaad.

Interesting. I wonder with SM-6 if you could make it land based and land attack?
What for? Mimic Russia's S-300/S-400?

Although, an Air-Launched SM-6 is probably a good idea -- making it something like a new Phoenix Missile. An AWACS/Tanker killer perhaps?
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Old April 20th, 2011   #24
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You probably meant the opposite, i.e. GMD intercept before SM-3? Or are you saying, a boost phase intercept by an SM-3 from a Tico/Burke near the country/region launching it?
no i mean SM-3 is designed to intercept IRBMs and GMD is designed to intercept ICBMs, an SM-3 would struggle to hit an ICBM but GMD could easily intercept an IRBM.
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Old April 20th, 2011   #25
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GMD/SM3 and Pac3 all intercept at different heights. ICBM is at different heights through its trajectory (projectile motion). GMD is a high altitude interceptor in the middle and highest part of the flight. SM3 intercepts at a lower altitude. Pac3 is basically when its on top of you, seconds away.

GMD won't be suitable for everyone, if you can't deploy it roughly in the middle of the flight path, (poland eg can't thats in russias territory), then its not suitable. SM-3 is more suitable for them, being more terminal yet still highly capable.
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Old April 21st, 2011   #26
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GMD won't be suitable for everyone, if you can't deploy it roughly in the middle of the flight path, (poland eg can't thats in russias territory), then its not suitable. SM-3 is more suitable for them, being more terminal yet still highly capable.
That makes sense. I wonder if there's any other location to put the GMD silos to intercept missiles from countries like Iran and NOT piss of the Russians. And if there is, if that country is willing to host these missiles?

I guess Obama's plan is okay? SM-3 Ticos/Burke's on constant "patrol" along the Mediterranean sea?
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Old April 21st, 2011   #27
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Well it offers protection at a price.

The main advantage of ship based intercepts is they can move around to where they are needed. And that may be in different positions depending on the requirements and threats.

I explored the posibility of putting GMD on a ship in the battleship thread. It would have to be a very large ship. It would still annoy the russians, but its proberly less anoying than GMD permanently located near their borders.
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Old April 22nd, 2011   #28
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I have been following, in a completely unclassified way, ABM developments for over the past forty years. I would like to share with you what little I have learned to help clarify some of the many issues that are being brought up, in a somewhat disorganized and piecemeal fashion within this thread as they relate to the SM-3. But the SM-3 is only the most visible part of the discussion because it is in the process of not only proving itself but the very concept and has a development path to even greater utility.

I was once involved on the others-side of this equation, I once worked in the Polaris ballistic missile program at one time, so I once had some inside information on that side of the equation.

I have been promoting the ABM defense idea as an alternative to just making more and bigger bombs as the best way to address national security problems for a long time. I have done so as one group of self-promoting, self-professed peacenik egghead geniuses, one group after another has universally stated that the very idea of hitting a bullet with another bullet was flatly imposable.

As results have now shown, it is gratifying to prove once again that anything that is not forbidden by the laws of physics is just another engineering problem that only requires more work.

That said, there are still problems which have not been satisfactorily solved. Just to be clear there is no conceivable ABM system that will make nuclear war winnable, since it requires only one warhead to succeed in penetrating any kind of ABM defenses to destroy a large city, there will never be a tactical situation where anyone can safely start a nuclear war against another power with significant nuclear capacity of its own, without running the unacceptable risk of massive causalities. Causalities which would be so high as to make any conceivable gain from using nuclear weapons offensively in an aggressive manner worth the costs by any rational method of judgment. Unfortunately sanity is not a universal requirement for gaining national authority in some places.

ABM capacity was once thought to be a completely strategic issue but that is no longer true. As technology is developed for tactical non-nuclear ballistic missile applications it concurrently effects strategic operations and vice versa. The two are now blending together both along technological and functional command lines.

At this point strategic defensive capacities are at best very uncertain both in the state of its technology and degree of deployment though there are probably secret capacities in existence somewhere that are unknown outside of national command authority. But whatever they may be, they are considered to be so unreliable that revealing them publicly would have a more destabilizing negative effect than any possible gain coming from their exposure. Only when a reliably demonstrated ABM system capacity is produced for the world to see for itself and be validated in public will the benefits of publicly claiming such capacity then outweigh the risks, if those capacities currently exist at all.

I will discuss only the difficulties in disabling a ballistic missile after it is launched. All of the possible methods of disrupting the launch sequence including preemptive strike will not be considered.

Surprisingly it is easy to disable a ballistic missile of any size if you know exactly when it will be launched and know the time, speed, and place on every point along its trajectory no matter how fast it is moving. That said these are things that are extremely hard to know. In fact what many people do not know, is that for many technological reasons that would take me too long to explain, two identical guided missiles, fired at the same time, from the same place, to the same stationary target, will not fly exactly the same paths to their targets nor will they arrive at exactly at the same times.

All ballistic Missiles are most vulnerable at the beginning of their flight. The longer the range of the missile the faster and the longer it will accelerate from its point of origin, the more relatively vulnerable it is. This is the best place for it to be disabled. It is traveling at its slowest speed, it is in its most fragile condition, and it is then in its easiest of all of its various phases and configurations to be detected and tracked because of its great energy output and its overall size. But for obvious reasons that is a hard weakness to exploit but there are ways.

Leaving aside STARWARS solutions requiring orbital engagement platforms, to address land based missiles of a tactical nature, where the launch points may not be too far inside the national borders of a nation state or if it is of a smallish size state, orbiting aircraft, be they RPV or manned, can both detect, track and fire specialized air–air and air-to-near-space weapons now under development to intercept enemy missiles at their most venerable boost stage of flight. Though this window of opportunity is a narrow one to exploit, it can be done. High and very high flying air breathing platforms can see and track missiles at far greater ranges than they can engage them. Which is a useful fact in and of itself.
These antimissile weapons are just variants of currently existing long range Air-to-air weapons already in existence. In many ways ballistic missiles, when they are in this stage of their flight are much easier target to hit than small maneuvering air breathing jets. The targets are far bigger and fly more predictable paths than do aircraft. These new weapons do require longer ranges and far faster intercept speeds than normal Air-to Air weapons but the tradeoffs in the requirements of simpler tracking methods and their lack of a need to have high G maneuvering ability to make fatal contact, makes them easier to build. There is also the multiple kilowatt solid-state laser option coming from cargo sized aircraft that can be good up to a range of a couple hundred miles that we could see as a deployment option as well.

There may be a place within these situations, for some versions of the SM-6 to be used to intercept both short range ballistic missiles as well as cruse-missiles, beyond the line of sight of war ships when controlled by E-2D or some similar platform on remote launch depending on the situation.

For the needs of this discussion we will assume that intermediate missiles can carry ether conventional or WMV warheads and that intercontinental missile will carry only WMD loads.

The midcourse intercept is technically the most difficult one of all to master. The short range missiles are not aloft long enough to get a good firing solution and for them we must then rely on terminal defenses. Leaving aside again possible STARWARS engagement from orbital platforms, midcourse intercepts do have the great tactical advantages for neutralizing medium and intercontinental missiles. It gives you multilayered defense capacity. What they like to call shoot look shoot. And in the strategic application it’s more like shoot, look, shoot, look , and if necessary shoot a third time. The greatest advantage of the mid-course intercept, if successful, is that it defends a far greater amount of territory than terminal defense could ever defend. If you could get it to work reliably to then shoot down any enemy offensive missiles you would only need twice the number of defensive missiles that attacking ones, while using only terminal defense system would require many more times the defensive missiles and related equipment and still leave some areas not defended.

It seems from open sources that the systems, as it is currently planned will be developed so that eventually the SM-3 block II A and later the planed and even longer rang block II B variant, be these msilliles land based or sea based, will be the first line of defense in the terminal area of engagement. The second layer at sea will be the Sm-3 Block I variants, and then lower down SM-2 variants. On land after the SM-3 block II variants it will be the High Altitude theater area defense (THAAD) then PAC III. They may eventually discontinue the SM-3 block I variants and Quid pack (THAAD) missiles in ship strike length launchers they may do this for many reasons.

Ground-Based Midcourse Defense systems still under development is seen useful only for use agenest ICBM’s and so far has had a troubled history but if the past is any indication they will eventually it up and running.

I have even at this long length, vastly simplified all the issues and the choices. There are many things of note I have not even brought up. But I hope these few paragraphs have cleared up some of the general questions and the SM-3 development into perspective.
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Old April 22nd, 2011   #29
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Awesome post Rip.
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Old April 25th, 2011   #30
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Sm-3

Do you think they will order more of the SM-3 Block 1A since it works and Block 1B hasn't even had a flight test yet?
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