Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Anti-missile Technology

FYI. A pretty good animation, from a Wikipedia link, showing why missiles can fail in their boost-phase.


Blogger Ted said...

When I heard it failed in the first 35 or 40 seconds, I wondered if it had help. I know that on part the the missile defense system was a 747 that had a chemical laser that could burn through the skin of a missile. I don't know the range of it.

7/04/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger NooYawkah said...

Offically the Pentagon has said that it has taken no action in response to these missile firings, but I like this unofficial version...

Also, if this were true, I wonder if the NYT editorial staff is bummed that they couldn't leak any info on this technology sooner.

7/04/2006 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

You wouldn't tell the Nokors if you did shoot it down. A laser eating through the booster might be detected by telemetry, but then it's possible the telemetry was being jammed too. If you admit it, the Nokors are going to call it an act of war.

From the Nokor point of view, even if the US didn't do it, they couldn't rule it out. So if an airborne laser system or some other thing did take it out, mum's the word. Who knows?

7/04/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger J. Random American said...

If the missile had help failing, I think it is far more likely to have come from an seaborne radar array than an airborne laser.

7/04/2006 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

It makes you wonder if the Nokors thought that the multiple launches would have the US lighting up everything they had to detect what they were launching. It would expose US detection capabilities. That would be a very sophisticated tactic and probably way above their pay grade. If the US did paint the long range missile and knock it down in under a minute, the US is far out in front with SDI technology.

7/04/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

It could also be possible that the US has broken their telemetry and usurped their control.

7/04/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"If we can take it out in the boost phase, that'd be best."

It was lost in the boost phase.
Let the rumors flow.

Don't worry, be happy.
Mr Kim's not.

7/04/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Varifrank has a hilarious letter which contains a grain of truth. It's humiliating for Kim Jong-Il. So I'd say there might be some danger that Kim will have to try something just to save face.

7/04/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

don't care about WHY it failed, I just want the BUYERS of Nokors "hardware" to be concerned that WHEN they NEED it, IT COULD FAIL

Reminds me of the IDF over Lebanon vrs the Syrians..

Nothing could be finer than your enemy realizing they bought BILLIONS in junk....

Ha ha ha ha ha ha haha

7/04/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

Maybe the Chicoms put them up to multiple launches so as to get a read on our defenses. And maybe some Nork rocket scientists are against a wall tonight.

7/04/2006 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Those with Google Earth can look at the launch site located at N40°51'17" E129°39'58". The facility is located half a mile from the sea at the end of a line of hills. It's not very useful as a warfighting site. So it's main utility might be to obtain test information that would in time lead to a viable missile design that could be commercialized for sale to other countries. In this respect, the loss of today's launch must represent a large financial blow. Whether they got any useful data, I don't know.

7/04/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

"Failure" of the missile is normal and expected in a developmental missile testing program. That is WHY they use the word test. Debugging will make for a better, more reliable launch platform.

Unlikely that the US or Japan had anything to do with it's failure, as much as the "high tech is the answer to all political/ideological problems" crowd wishes it were so.

IMO, the real discussion items, fantasy lasers aside, are these:

1. N Korea was warned by the US that an ICBM launch was "unacceptable". OK. Now what? We warned them that nuke weapons were also "unacceptable". Now they have 6-8. Clearly "unacceptable" has different meanings to different people. To Bush, thoroughly ensnarled in Iraq and helpless to do much in way of credible threatening of any other nation anymore, "unacceptable" means tough talk. Texan for "all hat, no boots."

2. China, our #2 money lender, leading trade deficit "partner", and our great future strategic economic&military rival could have restrained their Puppet State, but did not.

3. What was the trajectory of the long-range missile? Where was it headed, what direction?

4. A nuclear power simply cannot launch with no warning to other nuke powers. N Korea should learn this soon, or what China or South Korea wants will be absolutely irrelevant if we see an ICBM coming out of Korea heading our way. Or conclude Japan is at increased risk.

5. Missile defense is not meant to be the exclusive means of dealing with enemy missiles. The #1 way of deterring is imparting the knowledge you can and will destroy a nation attacking you with them, not that you can knock 3-4 out of 10 missiles launched against you down. Anti-missile capacity is far more effective in dealing with a foes few scattered surviving missiles after the bulk have been thermonuclearized than letting them launch waves at a somewhat porous defensive shield.

7/04/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger NooYawkah said...


If it were a more transparent organization conducting this "test", I would accept it as that and no more. With NoKo I tend to want to read between the lines.

Also, if the U.S. weren't currently ensnarled in Iraq, would you be pushing for a military solution?

High tech may not be the answer, but in this scenario I'd rather have it than not.

7/04/2006 08:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was my first guess.

7/04/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We definitely have the capability. It might not have been DOD, though. And, it might not have been on a 747. It could have been sitting in something a lot harder to see.

7/04/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What was it, eight years, ago that they tried to get this thing to fly? They don't seem to be making much progress. Maybe, they should stick to counterfeiting.

7/04/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In some parts of Texas, "unacceptable" means we'll just shoot the damned thing out of the sky.

If I remember, it's the area around Crawford.

7/04/2006 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

From the official press release it looks like 6 missiles were fired: 5 decoys and one long range Taepodong (which failed).

And,this date would have been as good as any (the President is out giving speeches and the public is on a holiday). I believe it was well planned and had to be done before more and better anti-missile equipment would be in place.

The Taepodong seems to be the one people are interested in. And, it looks like it just flopped. But, NK certainly got some information from the launch.

Captain Ed notes:

CNN reports from its Situation Room that the missiles fell into the sea just offshore of the northern island of Hokkaido. That seems to indicate that North Korea sent the missile on a route that would have taken the missile towards Alaska, or perhaps a polar route to North America. Shooting missiles at the US on our national holiday guarantees a rather hostile reaction from America.

We have not yet officially responded, but our response should remind North Korea that we will not sit quietly while nutcase dictators shoot missiles at us or our allies
See: CQ

If this is true then the situation is more disturbing. I don’t know if NK has the ability to strike Alaska but pointing missiles at the USA is not to be taken lightly. And, another thing that concerns me is the shorter range missiles could have been armed and possible hit some of our guys in that area.

Press release:

MR. HADLEY: Well, it think what we've learned is something about capabilities, the fact that they can fire Scuds and Nodongs is not a surprise. The Taepodong obviously was a failure -- that tells you something about capabilities.

What we really don't have a fix on is, you know, what's the intention of all this...? Because this is clearly something that's in violation... of the moratorium on missile tests. Certainly, the TD-2, the Taepodong-2 is. This is something the entire international community was aware they were preparing to do, urged them not to do -- and they have basically defied the international community

See: White House press release

7/04/2006 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well rufus, there not much shooting going on over that "unacceptable" nuclear cascade.

Not in Iran nor Crawford, anyway.

Maybe later, aye.

Or maybe it'll just spin to acceptability, like those previously unacceptable cascades of centrifuges in India and Pakistan.
They were "unacceptable" until they were not. Now we will supply India with even more nuclear technology.

India's nuclear capacity accepted and blessed, by US, now.

How big a Regional War will the US choose to fight, as it's Military is already streeeeched to the limits of capability. Sending the Drum Majors from the Marine Corps Band off to war, digging deep into the back benchers, they say.

As to foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq

US: Most foreign fighters in Iraq are from Egypt
Published: Friday, 30 June, 2006, 12:55 PM Doha Time

BAGHDAD: The US military said yesterday that it has several hundred foreign fighters in custody in Iraq and that most of them come from Egypt, followed by Syria, Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

“We have several hundred foreign fighters in captivity at this point of time and the greatest number come out of Egypt,” spokesman Major General William Caldwell told reporters.

“The top four countries are - the first is Egypt, followed by Syria, then Sudan and Saudi Arabia.” ..."

Iran, doesn't make the list.

"... “We try hard to identify them when we capture them because at some point of time these people will be facing Iraqi civil authorities and court and when they do we want to be able to ascertain that they are here illegally and not at the request of the government of Iraq,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell also said at least “57 foreign fighters were killed by Iraqi and US forces in the month of June” in a series of nation-wide operations.

And in the week ended June 28 about 587 suspected insurgents have been detained, he added. ..."

While 2,500 were released, as well.
Revolving doors

The Religion of Peace sends it's love, from Cairo
We send Egypt what, $4 Billion USD, annually?

7/04/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$2Billion, but who's counting. We'll never attack a nuclear power, DR. You know that. They do, too. Nuclear is "Ollie Ollie Home Free."

On the other hand, we can still fight them, elsewhere. In a few years we'll be invulnerable to all but Russia, and possibly China. The "Layered" defense is for real.

If Bush can get the timing "Just Perfect" and get the Space-Based Laser through Congress, that would finish it off.

7/04/2006 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iraq is over, DR. We Won. We got lucky with Maliki. He's going to give us the cover to get out.

I think, now, that we'll go ahead and let Iran have Nukes. By the time they get them they won't be a threat to us. Not an "existential" threat, anyway. If Musharraf doesn't go down in the next year, or so, Pakistan won't either.

7/04/2006 10:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, I could be wrong about Iran. Dubya might take them out next year. If he does, that will be alright, too.

7/04/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...


The loss of two buildings threw us into a recession. What do you imagine the loss of Manhattan would do to us? We can have all the layered defenses we want, but it won't do us much good if anyone can bring it up the Hudson in a garbage scow.

7/05/2006 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Cybrludite said...

JJ Mollo,

As if protecting against missiles precludes us from protecting against other threats as well... You know, we do know how to walk AND chew gum at the same time.

7/05/2006 01:01:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Yes jj mollo, many of the nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands were done by simply placing the nuclear device in an old barge for detonation. The same deal could be done with any ship.

The NK test are disturbing because if all 5 or 6 missiles were nuclear armed and properly aim at US and Allied bases or ships they could be vary destructive.

The thought of a NK or Iranian sub with nuclear missiles (or high speed torpedoes) is also very unsettling.

7/05/2006 01:14:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

Ooops, I spoke too soon.

It now looks like the 7th missile test.

7/05/2006 02:50:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

What could be going through Kim Jong Il's mind now? This shooting off of anything and everything looks like nothing so much as a person smashing glasses, crockery and flower pots against a wall in a fit of demented rage.

7/05/2006 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger RPD said...

"China, our #2 money lender, leading trade deficit "partner", and our great future strategic economic&military rival could have restrained their Puppet State, but did not."

I dunno, China can't even get their trains back from PRK.

7/05/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/05/2006 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well now it's off to the UN and the Security Council.
A prelude to Iran's next round there, I wager.
Huff and puff and not much else.

The NorKs have announced that "Sanctions" are to be considered the equivelent of "war".
The UN cannot have that.

We'll know in just days whether the Chinese or the Russians are in our camp or on their own Reservations.
If they do not stand with US over Korea, which has no real economic value to either, why would they damage their own economic interests to support US with regards Iran?

Won't be happenin', IMO.

7/05/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

rpd--That article about the Norks stealing the trains is really bizarre. Least they sent the crews back and didn't put them to work on a construction project. What a hell of a mess.

7/05/2006 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Japan must seriously consider whether or not it must invade North Korea immediately. If the world accepts mass firings of NK missiles as routine, then the world may discover one day the NKs decided not to tip the missiles with sand after all, but the real thing...

7/05/2006 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Why on earth would Japan invade North Korea? All Japan has to do is announce that they will build a nuclear deterrent and China will wake up and get North Korea back in line.

7/05/2006 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

Where Japan can probably count on an American "nucular" umbrella, a nuclear umbrella may not be there in some future administration. Japan can no longer afford to be without it's own nuclear " force de frappe". India, Pakisitan, North Korea, Taiwan, China and Russia could all be embroiled, in part or whole, in a nuclear confrontation. It is quite possible that it could happen without US participation. The Japanese must know this and it would be wise for them to recognize what is already a horrible and dangerous situation.

7/05/2006 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

stated: We send Egypt what, $4 Billion USD, annually?

rufus said...
$2Billion, but who's counting.

Not counting the 11 billion in loans that were forgiven for gulf war one.. (for sitting in the desert)

7/05/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Japan would have to build an Army and a fleet. No easy or quick task.
Japan has lived under the US defense unbrella for 50 years, it could not invade NorK, even if it desired to, it has neither the capacity nor capability.

7/05/2006 07:41:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Japan may have to invade NK to get rid of their WMD and missile programs. Air strikes can't do it alone, the DMZ is heavily fortified, and U.S. marines alone probably can't do the job. SK probably won't lift a finger to help defend Japan, anyway. So the Japanese will have to do it themselves, probably with American air and marine support. The Russians will send their ships away. If the Chinese are assured that intervention will be limited, they will just look the other way.

7/05/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Kirk Parker said...


"The NorKs have announced that 'Sanctions' are to be considered the equivelent of 'war'.
The UN cannot have that.

And why not? (Other than the fact that sanctions really are, in fact, war by slower means--just a newflanged sort of blockade, more bureaucratic, less naval and boots-on-the-ground?) Is there anything the UN could do about it if it truly were unhappy?

7/05/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

The airbonre laser is not a fantasy. The US government had prgrams for airborne and space-based anti-missile lasers going for a while and then scrapped the space-based one as two expensive. I have supplied some data acqusition equipment to one of the groups working on the airborne laser and seen a mock-up of the equipment layout inside the 747. One of the big challenges is to focuse the laser on the missile. They have to measure the diffractions the atmosphere causes and create an inverse transfer function with optics in the plane.

All this is no secret. Here is what Boeing will tell you about it:


I know that the system is flying and being tested. I have no clue if it could be deployed and used against the NoKos.

7/05/2006 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Yes, for NK sanctions are the equivalent of war. That's because juche, their much-trumpeted claim of self-sufficiency, is entirely bogus: NK would collapse without foreign trade and aid.

Therefore, by admitting sanctions = war publicly the regime loses face, and that is a kind of victory in itself.

7/05/2006 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The Russians and the Chinese, kirk, have as big a vote in the UN as does the US.

For any "sanction" to be effective it must be serious. The US already "sanctions" Iran, has for years now, to little or no effect.
Any "sanction" that would hurt Iran would also hurt Russia and China, as well as Japan, Iran's largest trading partner. (CIA factbook)

The Chinese and Russians will not allow serious sanctions against Iran. Perhaps some half measures will be announced, but nothing that will stop Iranian cascades.

As for the Koreans, the US does have "sanctions" against it, as well. Again to little effect.

If the Chinese were to shut it's border with NorK, that would have some impact, tens of thousands more NorK civilians would starve to death.

In the face of Mr Kim's actions the US has two options, war or retreat. I wager there will be no war.
Same options are available with regards Iran.
Once the "unacceptable" is permitted, as whit said about clocks, they can't be turned back.

7/05/2006 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Desert Rat, I read the Max Boot article you referenced in another thread, "Our Enemies Don't Fight With Latte`s." Link:


Pretty good post explaining why we burn through 7.7 billion dollars a month and why some have died basically to get the latte` and Cinnibon beans and bun mixes to massive bases where most of the forces in theater reside, don't interact with hardly any Iraqis, live in safety and comfort, and exist "mainly to turn food into excrement."

A nephew in theater in frontline combat, one of the 20,000 actual fighters America has, notes that for many rear ech in uniform, Iraq is a Paradise Job. Safe, tons of free stuff, every entertainment but alcohol available...far better than base life back in the States...and processions of celebrities and politicians filing in to dutifully laud the rear echers for their "tremendous sacrifice". He thinks except for the medical and combat arms repair, refuel, refit branches - the rear ech people should be ordered to grab a rifle and get out among the Iraqis or help the combat arms people at doing things like roadlocks. But

But the bottom line, it appears to cost America 462,000 dollars a year(with support, with latte`s,) to field the 20,000 actual fighters, not counting their regular pay and family benefits, or the support people dedicated to the Iraq mission's pay - which is 114-120 billion extra. Sum total per man in the field is 1.032 million per year.

Now, our soldiers may be "enormously more effective" than Mujahadeen costing 2,000 a year to fight us, but bin Laden's observation that Jihadis can fight more cheaply and eventually bleed out a more prosperous country of treasure seems to be borne out. The Jihadi's logistics costs are virtually nil to the radical ISlamists...

And besides Binnies observation, the "cost is no object" approach to keeping a volunteer military going makes a modern American volunteer in combat 14.2 times more expensive than a per combat soldier Vietnam era costs, and 22 times more expensive than a WWII GI.

And the only reason that the fiscal pain hasn't hit Americans yet is the Bushies have borrowed the money and the bill payments for the Bush "guns and butter" era will hit taxpayers after he has left office. On to Syria, anyone? Iran?

7/05/2006 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

I am proud to say I work for a company that has contributed to the 747 ABL project. We made the nose mounted gimbal.

"Fantasy Lasers"? Nope. Welcome to the world of tomorrow. The 747 ABL is ready to enter production, after more than 50 successful test intercepts (far superior to the much talked about THAAD missile system). This is no longer some pie-in-the-sky hypothetical weapon. In fact, a more compact version is currently being developed for C-130 transports for use on a more tactical level (taking out soft-skinned vehicles from 10-20 miles away, etc. etc.).

When the employees of my company read about these missile test NK was planning on conducting, we were all abuzz about the possibility of just what that video shows occurring.

Have no doubt, that missile may well HAVE failed due to laser.

7/05/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Mr Boot's article mirrors what Jr reported in his after action debriefing, here at the house, oh about a year ago, now.

Demoralized him,
Convinced me.

He's got 41 and a wakeup.

7/05/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

What's going through Kim's mind? Probably creating an image of successful brinksmanship, with elements of Dr. No & Dr. Evil thrown in. He's a really big movie buff.

I don't think the NKs got much useful data from the TP2 launch. Some, yes, but as the rocket never staged I don't think they could get critical engineering, guidance, and other data that they were seeking.

7/05/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Yashmak said...

And besides Binnies observation, the "cost is no object" approach to keeping a volunteer military going makes a modern American volunteer in combat 14.2 times more expensive than a per combat soldier Vietnam era costs, and 22 times more expensive than a WWII GI.

Is this corrected by comparison to GDP over that same time? If I look at GDP numbers over time, I see that the US GDP in 2005 was approximately 57 times what it was in 1944. That would make our volunteer soldiers today, something like one third as expensive relative to our national product as they were in 1944.

I don't buy into the idea that our current level of military activity will in any significant way 'bleed' our economy or lifestyle. I think the only reason the 'pain' hasn't hit yet, is that the cost isn't as bad as it's made out to be.

7/05/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

A failure at T+35 sec would indicate an altitude of 50K ft or less and only a few miles downrange from the launch pad. It would also be pretty close to the time of maximum dynamic pressure, which is one of the points where a failure would be more likely.

I have little doubt that we have hacked their TM since we have been doing that with the Russians for years and years - and while the START treaties forbid encryption of missile data I doubt that the N Koreans encrypt since that costs money.

As for us activating the missile's destruct system - I really doubt that it had one. The Chinese use radio-activated destruct systems but have been incredibly casual about using them (as in "It will only hit a small village? Let it go, then, we have plenty of them.") The North Koreans are several steps down the evolutionary scale in both capability and compassion from the PRC, would not want to waste the resources on such safety features, and would be paranoid about us taking advantage of the destruct system - which would be technically difficult anyway that close to the launch pad unless they are using a Genie garage door opener for the destruct system RF link.

The public display of outrage by the Bush Admin is amusing. You just know that out of sight they are dancing a jig - as their view of the universe is confirmed again and displayed for one and all - and as Carter, Halfbright, and various Clintonista appraraticks tap dance through the old "Well, we really thought we had fixed that problem and really, our foriegn policy was not a complete disaster, really." routine.

Recall OBL's pre-election advertisement for the Kerry campaign? Well, just keep them videos rolling out, folks, and we will be hunting Democrats with dogs pretty soon.

7/05/2006 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Our father designed stained-glass windows, and was great at it (did one for the Doobie Brothers) and once, looking for info, sent my brother to Nevada to interview a man connected to work on lasers.

Big lasers.

Simple answer? No, you can't use lasers for glass, it beads up and seals right behind the cut...

So they talked some more, and the guy made a comment about America's defensive laser-like device which could destroy incoming missles 800 miles away-

"Bullshit!" shouts my brother. "That's past the curvature of the Earth!"

'Okay, Smart Guy, but I've SEEN IT AND I'VE SEEN IT WORK! So what does THAT tell you about WHERE it is?'

And my wise-guy brother shut his mouth, because he understood.

(Wretchard, you enjoy that beer?)

7/05/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

As long as the NorKs are a useful flail for the Chinese to torment US with, they will get away with all kinds of insanity. The Japanese WILL NEVER develop a conventional offensive military (cost, constitutional, public sentiment, geopolitical issues all against it) but could very easily (and relative to conventional military power) very CHEAPLY develop and deploy a nuclear missile deterrent comparable or even superior to China's. THAT would be the first (and maybe only) true cost point for the Chinese Frankenstein of Kim Jong Il. Japan is balancing the odds that the NorK threat is real enough to directly threaten them (independent of ChiCom control) or is always just a screeching (but actually harmless) hand puppet of China. As long as they perceive the latter, we are all probably better off IGNORING the NorKs COMPLETELY. Any act of war by the NorKs (against US, Japan, S Korea, etc.) should be considered a CHINESE act of war. Short of that, we should all simply mokusatsu Kim's Follies (ignore with silent contempt).

7/05/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

.."Any act of war by the NorKs (against US, Japan, S Korea, etc.) should be considered a CHINESE act of war. Short of that, we should all simply mokusatsu Kim's Follies (ignore with silent contempt)."

ouch, and what would we do after we decided the Chinese were responsible and accountable for Kim's actions?

7/05/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

As for the thread on the US rear echelon footprint, i have been reading about the US's egregious "tooth to tail ratio" (TTTR) for as long as I could read (a long time). I have read criticisms of it during the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, VietNam, and the Cold War (all of which were military victories and all but one political victories). Every time I have read these stories, the author has unfavorably compared our TTTR to that of OUR ENEMIES, all of whom WE DEFEATED. Perhaps the US Army knows something of the value of stable (even wasteful) logistics that authors such as Max Boot (a very capable writer) or even our esteemed colleagues on this blog with prior military service (by the way, thanks guys & gals) know about such matters. The very nature of Democracies, both at war and at peace, makes them easy targets for hideous stories of waste, sloth, mismanagement and all manner of human foibles. YET WE KEEP WINNING. In peace and in war. The US has always been stunningly wasteful in detail and remarkably economic in the big story. I think we are seeing more of the same here.

7/05/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...


We respond commensurate with the act. I don't relish the thought of fighting the Iranians, let alone getting into some kind of dust up with the Chinese, but we still hold massive advantages. The Chinese could reign in the NorKs in a matter of hours by twisting the life support line they give them. There would be no excuse for their not slamming them if they committed an act of war. I think China needs our market AT LEAST as badly as we need their trade. They've never had to REALLY choose between US and the NorKs, and I think they never will. If they ever felt KJI was overplaying his usefulness, they'd bush a button and the miserable cretin would disappear.

7/05/2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Staring in Disbelief: I think that Tooth to Tail Ratio is meaningless. Take a look at the 509th Bomb Group in WWII. Horrible tooth to tail ratio, including the Manhatten Project. Dropped two bombs and ended the war and probably prevented WWIII from breaking out as well; was worth every penny.

Same thing could be said about the F-117 in Desert Storm. One wing of airplanes requiring all that specialized development and support. Proved to be unstoppable. And the USSR folded right after that capability was demonstrated.

Or take GPS. Horrible Amount of Tail - and with no Tooth. The same is true of all our space systems - and we can't even think of get along without them.

When someone speaks of Tooth to tail he is really saying "If all of those people were assigned to ME as part of the organization I commanded then I would do a much better job at their jobs than all of those REMFs do now - but especially, I would be much higher in rank, with power to match."

Tooth to Tail Ratio is meaningless - capability is what counts.

7/05/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dewage said...

Two thoughts occur to me:

1) The NorKs are not rich. It looks like it is almost cheaper to shoot off missles than to maintain them. Now they have to replace a half dozen perfectly good missles.

2) Let's not forget that the road to the U.S. is over Japan. The Japanese are smart, they got money; who's to say they don't have their own ABL/Pulse Phased-Array Radar/Sci-Fi Phaser thingy for anti-missle defense.

7/05/2006 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

I guess the classic is the Zulu,
All tooth
No tail,
All to,
No avail.

7/05/2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Latest AV Week says that the Feds have frozen the U.S. assets of China Great Wall Industries because the company was aiding Irianian missile development efforts. And you can bet that if they helped the Iranians they helped the North Koreans as well.

Certain People tried to point out that allowing the PRC to launch American made satellites would be a decision that we would regret. It proved to be an American-run training program for the PRC - and Iran - and North Korea.

And my bosses' boss threw the package I had created in the trash...

7/05/2006 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Tooth to tail,
a Kingdom lost, for lack of a nail.

The over view discussion, starling, is I think, about the "American Way of War".

No, not in the major post WWII engagements. Were the losses or draws to be laid at the politicians or the military's door, or some combination there of, most likely.

The discussion should be about Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan, heck all of the 'stans for that matter, and how we advance the ball, there.

There will be no massive deployments of US troops to any of those locales, rest assured of that. The need for force projection into those areas remains though, or the Mohammedans will continue their advance.

The military is doing what it does best, that is not, however, what the President has called for, publicly, as the primary mission. Standing up the Iraqi Army and Police is "public priority #1" except in Iraq.
Or so the published reports, both MSM and milblogged, seem to indicate.
Segregation of Commands does not promote either independent actions by, or responsible training of, the Iraqi, as illustrated at Camp Taji.

The need to better train and implement foreign troops into a Coalition or the Willing is going to become even more important in the "Long War". By treating the Mohammedans as localized criminals the importance of local allies becomes ever more apparent.

To ally the US with folk mini Z had on speed dial seems, some how, ass backwards.

7/05/2006 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The basis of the Hamadan ruling comes down to a delinking of all of the Mohammedan Wars. Stating that they are of Local, not International scope.
Now I, myself, disagree with that perspective of the Mohammedan Wars, but the Supremes see it differently, they are the Desiders in Chiefs, really.

Their perception derives from the Religion of Peace viewpoint, I believe, which Mr Bush constantly is in campaign mode for. So we all see it their way, now, aye.

There is no Islamic Global Conspiracy, it's been decided.

7/05/2006 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Staring in Disbelief - Every time I have read these stories, the author has unfavorably compared our TTTR to that of OUR ENEMIES, all of whom WE DEFEATED. Perhaps the US Army knows something of the value of stable (even wasteful) logistics that authors such as Max Boot (a very capable writer) or even our esteemed colleagues on this blog with prior military service (by the way, thanks guys & gals) know about such matters. The very nature of Democracies, both at war and at peace, makes them easy targets for hideous stories of waste, sloth, mismanagement and all manner of human foibles. YET WE KEEP WINNING.

Not Vietnam. And the best we will get from the Iraq War is a draw with Islamism. There is far more to an iseological conflict than the logistics, high tech wonder weapons our drum-bangers insist solve all deficiencies in strategy, failures in communications and intel.

yashmak - I don't buy into the idea that our current level of military activity will in any significant way 'bleed' our economy or lifestyle. I think the only reason the 'pain' hasn't hit yet, is that the cost isn't as bad as it's made out to be.

That is because all the costs have been deferred to future taxpayers. There is no "pain" at present. In the same way as the full impact of LBJ's guns 'n butter Administration hit in the 70s. Except back then America was a creditor nation with a positive trade surplus still expanding it's dominance in most key industries - The exact opposite of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, cost is no object wars style "gun's & butter" programs. Which have also involved increasing the size of the Fed Gov more than even LBJ did, Open Borders costs in the hundreds of billions, massive new agribiz subsidies of an additional 60 billion, and a 13 trillion dollar Big Pharma welfare program for Prescription drugs.

All that means Bush and his K Street Piggies doubled the national debt from 3 trillion to 6.1 trillion. Worse, long-term debt and unfunded entitlement mandates have gone from 24 trillion to 42 trillion under Bush.

Current money owed to China, Japan, wealthy Israelis, Brits, Saudis, and Investor-Class Americans + future entitlement obligation amounts to 242,000 per American.

Bush's only goal is to avoid having any of this paid for while he is in office and foist it all on future times...In the meantime, he has many more goodies to give his welthy benefactors and corporations...

RWE - I think that Tooth to Tail Ratio is meaningless. Take a look at the 509th Bomb Group in WWII. Horrible tooth to tail ratio, including the Manhatten Project. Dropped two bombs and ended the war and probably prevented WWIII from breaking out as well; was worth every penny.

Same thing could be said about the F-117 in Desert Storm... Proved to be unstoppable... Or take GPS. Horrible Amount of Tail - and with no Tooth. The same is true of all our space systems - and we can't even think of get along without them.

But all that stuff is fine for conventional war, RWE, but useless for a counter-insurgency that relies on having a 30:1 ratio of populace to our guys, and the ability of our guys to interact with the locals. At a cost of 10 million a year to field a single high tech wonder warrior who can't speak arabic and is clueless on the culture that rejects any meaningful interaction with his infidel ass - even if our troops were trained for a ME insurgency, fluent in local dialect and customs, AND Muslim ----we still couldn't afford to get a 30:1 ratio. And we still want that TTTR and not just for vital logistics but under "cost s no object Bush" expanded further for those fresh Latte`s, live entertainment weekly for all but combat troops, Burger Kings, and movie theaters and air-conditioned simu-golf facilities and Main Camp swimming pools built - otherwise less volunteers!

The result will be a 800 billion to 1.3 trillion war exceeding the cost of Vietnam and the Korean War put together, leaving an Islamist country split between 3 groups - 80% of which generally hate our guts, and our exit will come when they dip their noble fingers in purple ink and say "good riddance".

Then paying for it happens after 2008...and hopefully for the plutocrats once Bush manages to protect their taxpayer-IOU-built estates as tax-free so the borrowed money can't be recouped from them, but by payroll taxes on the "lesser 98%" of Americans.

7/05/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Meanwhile, early reports of the recount, in Mexico, has Mr Obrador slightly ahead, according to FOX News.
Count, recount & count again.

In an electoral system touted as the most legitimate in the world.
Better than the US in continuity of system. All paper ballots, all trackable.

No chads at all, just a few mismarked pieces of paper.

7/05/2006 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

"... Mexican stocks, bonds and currency tumbled on concern that Lopez Obrador, who vowed in his campaign to boost social spending to aid the poor, will hold on to this lead in the recount, snatching victory away from Calderon. ..."

Follow the money?

From Mayor Bloomberg's online service Lopez Obrador Leads After Partial Mexico Vote Recount

7/05/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger bobalharb said...

I wonder if the victory of one or the other candidate in the Mexican election would have any lessening impact on immigration to the United States.

7/05/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Long term, Calderon is the better hope, by increasing Mexican economic growth. A continuation of Mr Fox's internal reforms.
Mr Orbador is portrayed as classic redistributist, a zero sum gamester. No economic growth predicted under his Presidency.
But PAN would still be the largest bloc in both govermental houses.

Until there is a jobs creating enviorment in Mexico the job seekers will continue their exodus.

7/05/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

The most obvious reason for the failure of the Taepodong missile is North Korea is a ramshackle basket case of a third world country, overextending its economic and industrial capabilities.

7/05/2006 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

Ah, the Chinese & the Russians are resisting even mild sanctions while whispering sweet nothings in Japan's ears.

This isn't about international morality but about power politics. If Japan sets her Self-Defense Forces in motion, I'll bet that the UNSEC will actually vote for sanctions, if only to keep the Japanese at bay.

7/05/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Thats a pretty good rendering.

7/05/2006 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

At 40s into the launch, the missile would be approximately at 2000 ft/sec (1200 mph) and 35,000 feet.

Some news reports said some of the other launches were non-ballistic. What were they shooting at?

7/05/2006 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


"I guess the classic is the Zulu,
All tooth
No tail,
All to,
No avail."

and reply:

In a little safari swale
Zulus Swift Did Descend
On a massive regimental Tail
And every round 150 Foot did expend.
The End.

7/05/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Db2m said...

Yashmak said...

Have no doubt, that missile may well HAVE failed due to laser.


NORKS! All your missiles are belong to US!

7/05/2006 11:13:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Apparently, the Taepodong-2, if configured correctly, could reach Alaska or Hawaii (possible even parts of the west coast). But, that is a big if.

I see the liquid rocket motor is fueled by Gasoline/kerosene and oxidized by nitric acid and other nitrates. My understanding is these types of rocket motors can be highly unstable (which may have caused the failure).

Maybe RWE could comment on this and other aspect of the missile.

Here are some links on the missile:

See: Globalsecurity

See: Globalsecurity 2

See: Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2)

7/06/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

We may have taken this down, but not with the laser. That sucker is still too big and heavy to get off the ground in operational mode, even in a 747.

Aviation Week has been writing articles for the last few months about multi-modal radars with an active capability to focus their energy on distant targets, delivering something like a localized EMP to disrupt the electronics. These radars are currently being test-flown in relatively smaller planes (like JSTAR), and they're eventually going to get downsized to fit on the Global Hawk and similar platforms.

Given the fact that AWST never wrote about armed Predators until we heard the news about that first hit with Hellfires in Yemen from a Predator, it's not inconceivable that we have other unannounced (the NYT doesn't know about them) capabilities.

Also, given the long warning time and convenient basing options near NorK, it's possible.

7/06/2006 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

i don't know if any of you guys are still reading this post, but here goes:


Dude, we're in agreement on the TTTR. Read my post again. You're right - it is a meaningless statistic (I gotta try to be clearer!)


You need to get some antidepressants or something. I heard all that same "debtor nation debt for our children" BS IN THE EIGHTIES. Like the TTTR, most of the numbers you cite ARE MEANINGLESS. There are just as many statistics showing we're the world's runaway economic colossus with the lead widening every day. Also, how is Viet Nam a military loss for us when it took the NVA almost THREE YEARS AFTER WE LEFT TO WIN? Ya kinda have to be on the field to lose the game. Just 'cause the other side played 10, 12 , 16 innings against the four guys who lived on the field after we went home doesn't mean we lost.

And where do you get your numbers? How did you come up with a 1.3 TRILLION dollar war? I think that's absurd on it's face.

7/08/2006 04:33:00 PM  

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