Posts Tagged ‘nukes’

More thoughts on Iran’s sat

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Iran’s satellite launch has got folks concerned about whether they’re about to perfect ballistic missile technology as well. This is something that’s good to be concerned about, but it’s worth remembering that if you can get something into orbit you’ve already got a global missile. It may not be as sexy as an ICBM capable of hitting any street you like in New York City from the moment it’s launched, but as long as you can de-orbit your payload with precision you won’t be worried about sexiness.

Nikita Khrushchev certainly wasn’t.  Right about when he was ranting on about how “we-is-gonna-bury-you” was when he was signing off on development of the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System:  strap a massive warhead to a satellite, and then de-orbit it over the U.S. city of your choice.  Technically, FOBS (as it’s affectionately known) wasn’t even in violation of the soon-to-be-signed Outer Space Treaty of 1967, since the orbits were obstensibly partial ones.

But before everybody starts to panic, let’s get back to Iran.  To attain a FOBS capability, they’d need three things.

1. Increased payload.  The Safir-2 payload isn’t enough for anything but the most tactical of nukes.

2. Precision de-orbiting capability.  Getting something into space is tough, but it’s a helluva lot easier than re-entry/landing.

3. A nuclear warhead.  Always top of any self-respecting nation’s shopping list.  And it turns out that today is the day that discussions resume in Frankfurt about just what the West should/could be doing to prevent Iran from getting one.  Hmmm.  If I were a fly, I know where I’d like to be. . .

And I should note that you don’t even need #2 if you want to have some fun with EMP effects.  But more on that later.

For an in-depth look at the weaponization of space a hundred years from now, my novel Mirrored Heavens is available at your local bookstore and at Amazon.

Nukes: the third generation

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Do you realize just how little info there is out there on third generation nukes? It’s a crying shame. Federation of American Scientists even highlights information on fourth generation nukes without saying anything about the third generation. Which is a travesty, as third generation hardware is easily the coolest. Essentially it constitutes a mechanism to deploy a warhead like a beam weapon: you detonate the device and channel the x-rays at the target and whammo. Besides my, er, private collection (of articles, not weapons) the best I can find out there is an old piece in TIME from more than twenty years ago, which isn’t that surprising, given that these weapons were intended to be the crown jewel in the SDI system.  There are times I miss the ’80s.

tick tick tick tick tick tick tick

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Amidst all the uproar over my cat last week, I’m only just now getting to the long-awaited report by Congress on weapons of mass destruction. The key soundbite: “unless the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013.” The report goes on to say that the most likely source of any nuclear device would be Pakistan, given that they’ve been peddling their nukes in every Central Asian bazaar they can find. If this sounds depressing to you, just imagine how I feel about it:  I live in Washington D.C. (why, I’m not so sure).  My cat remains blissfully unaware of all this, though he would probably welcome any scenario in which mice start to glow.