November 18, 2004

Fuzzy fuzzy fuzzy

Russia is developing a new type of missile which will render the US Missile Defense Shield useless. So the reporters breathlessly claim.

Not so fast.

It's not really "new" in the sense that nobody knows what it is or might be. There are very few actual "new" types of weapons throughout history, the vast majority are variations and enhancements on already existing designs. Since this is a missile, then we already know basically how it's going to work. The devil is in the details.

Secondly, the MDS is designed to deal with today's threats, knowing that most of tomorrow's threats will just be better versions of what's already out there. Even if Russia deploys a superduper missile that the MDS can't handle, there's still a world full of existing threats that it can deal with. To claim that one new missile makes it worthless is like saying everyone should throw away their bulletproof vests because we've now got an Airborn Megawatt Laser system.

Posted by Ted at November 18, 2004 07:32 AM
Category: SciTech

My understanding has been that the current form of the SDI isn't intended to handle a "full preemptive strike" situation from Russia anyways. They can already launch everything and get enough through. My understanding was that this was to handle to China/Korea/Iran situation where we may have to deal with 1-10 reentry vehicles.

Posted by: Phelps at November 18, 2004 12:30 PM

You're right, and China is right on the threshold of joining Russia. For that scenario, we've still got MAD.

Posted by: Ted at November 18, 2004 12:53 PM
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