Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Larger Wallop for 1 SSGN

The first time this topic appeared at Molten eagle was Thursday, October 25, 2007. For the next week to 10 days, one element of M.E.'s readership surged sharply as it was read and passed among professionals with related expertise and matching security clearances. In the following four years and eight months, there has been nothing spectacular to update the original premise - just as one would expect with such a highly classified program.

According to Anthony Cordesman, a reknowned security analyst and Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in his 2007 TV interview, 'the public has only heard about penetrating weapons from the 1990s, not what the U.S. now has that may work great.'

A question of major interest now, in March 2012, is whether an SSGN has yet been configured as a one-off platform to launch the naval version of a bunker buster, a munition designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground. Those who know the answer are obviously not free to discuss an affirmative answer, but are free to refute the existence of such an increasingly necessary munition. Read on.

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) developed by The Boeing Company, is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5-foot long enclosure of hardened steel. source The 44- foot length of a Trident II missiile (SSGN missile tube capacity) easily accomodates the MOP. Which is the more stealthy method of launching 10 MOPS at ten underground bunkers: from 10 (corrected from 5) flying B-2 bombers, or from 1 hidden SSGN?

The Defense Department's new Iraq war funding request proposes upgrading the B-2 stealth bomber to carry the military's largest satellite-guided bomb capable of penetrating deeply buried bunkers. The new 30,000-pound bomb is six times bigger than the Air Force's current 5,000-pound bunker-buster. ... The B-2 is the only U.S. bomber capable of penetrating an adversary's most dangerous air defenses such as those believed in use by North Korea and Iran.
- source

Trident II SLBM weight: 130,000 lb each (in up to 24 tubes). How many empty tubes (not the tubes filled with 7 cruise missiles) does one SSGN have available for Submarine Launched Bunker Busters (SLBBs)?

Reader are not being asked to take Molten eagle's word for anything. You may prefer what an admiral said:

Spring 2000 Vol. 2, No. 3 (Undersea Warfare) - by RADM Richard P. Terpstra, USN: OH, How Offensive - Hard and deeply buried targets will remain a difficult task.

The large volume of an SSGN missile tube also lends itself to the possibility of housing a powerful conventionally-armed penetrating missile should we need it. Such a weapon could change an enemy's calculus and make bunker duty a lot less desirable for our foes. Development and deployment of the SSGN will allow us to keep this fearsome conventional option open. - RADM Richard P. Terpstra, USN
The good admiral certainly does not seem convinced that the an SSGN bunker busting task would be difficult to manage, does he?

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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