Posts Tagged ‘SLBM’

[UPDATED] Who hid the recipe?

Poseidon – C3

Originally uploaded by rob-the-org

Every organization has had it happen. For whatever reason – the one person who “knows” how things works leaves the organization and there were certain things that only that person knew how to do.

That’s fine when you are dealing with a store or consulting business – but how about the assembly of a nuclear warhead?

That’s what has happened w/ the warhead for the US Trident submarine launched ballistic missile. The Sunday Herald recently reported that the UK Trident modernization plan is threatened with costly delays because no one in the US weapons plants knows how to make a hazardous material code named ‘Fogbank.’

I remember seeing articles over the last couple of years talk about how all of the bomb designers at Los Alamos were nearing retirement and there was concern over who would be left to build the bombs when they left. I guess we know the answer to that question now….

But you have to wonder – if this lack of knowledge was an unspoken reason why the previous Administration had been pushing a new warhead design (the Reliable Replacement Warhead) so strongly.

[Update, March 11] And talking about developing nuclear warheads – take a look at this ScientificAmerican article about ‘Advances in Monitoring Nuclear Weapons Testing‘ (the article’s authors claim that any test of at least 1 kt would be detectable, and in some parts of the world – even below 1 kt).


Trident – last of the UK deterrent force?


Originally uploaded by Frank Bennett.

In the next 10-15 years – the Trident D-5 SLBM deterrent force for both the US (Ohio-class) and the UK (Vanguard-class) will be approaching the end of their service lives.

In the UK, the government got approval from the House of Commons in March of 2007 to spend between 15 and 20 billion Pounds on a new class of submarines to continue to maintain a submarine launched deterrence.

Even though this program was approved, some former senior British military officers have recently come out and said the Trident replacement is ‘irrelevant’ and would prefer to see the money spent on conventional forces (which are more useful in today’s War on Terrorism).

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The Russian’s have been busy over the Thanksgiving holiday

Topol Intercontinental

Originally uploaded by Danner Gyde

First – on Wednesday (11/26) – they test fired a new RS-24, MIRV capable ICBM from Plesetsk to the target range on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Then on Friday (11/28) – they test fired a new ‘Bulava’ SLBM from the White Sea also to the Kamchatka Peninsula.

Hopefully Cobra Ball got some good info about both tests.

Maybe the new Administration will realize that we better start putting some R&D into the Triad, since the newest US ballistic missile is the Trident 2 D5 (using late 70’s/early 80’s technology).