warfare, strategical and tactical implications

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sun Nov 18, 2007 4:22 pm

dnavas,

The superconducting section shorts out the non superconducting section.

Roger
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Postby Roger » Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:43 am

Keegan wrote:A land based polywell powered directed energy beam is also a possibility i can see the US pursuing in the near future.


With out polywell, this has already been done, I recall airborne directed energy beams have been tested.


This upsets me greatly as it will no doubt be used for missile defense
Early versions will be for single targets, assasinations etc. Missile defense bah hum bug.

A lot of people dislike the insanity that is MAD, but it has worked hasnt it ? Shit on me and ill shit back on you before your shit has even hit me. We will be in the shit together and no one likes the smell of shit.


That was the American view of MAD. Which had absolutely no basis in reality when viewed by a Russian. Live in the steppes and deal with ravaging Mongol Hordes for 100's of yrs, realize how that creates an cultural identity centered on just surviving.

I offer MAD as a American construct based solely on an American cultural identity


Even with the industrial might of WW2 it was still 40 years before rockets entered space.


Goddard 1st flew in 1926, the V2 (A-4) was sub orbital, 55 miles altitude in 1942, thats 16 yrs.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

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Postby MSimon » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:22 am

MAD worked as long as the Russians remembered WW2 and were at least somewhat western in outlook.

With folks who have a kamikaze view of war fighting it might not be so effective.

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Postby JD » Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:58 am

Mad worked mostly due to the structure of the Soviet economy. That economy's sources of production were more centralized than in the US. Even with a fairly successful first strike enough retaliatory systems would remain in the US to easily service the smaller number of high value areas in the Soviet Union. As a note keep in mind that it wasn't just one weapon per target. A targeting scheme for Moscow, from the late '60's was declassified years ago. It involved 40 warheads, a mix of air, ground and subsurface penetrator. I can only imagine what the would have been left of the Soviet equivalent of Norad.

As far as tactical systems. The Bussard reactor would replace the nuclear power plants in current ships. It would eventually be much cheaper and probably a bit smaller and more easily maintained. Smaller ships could carry them. It would be more evolutionary than revolutionary, please keep in mind that current military reactors are fairly compact already.

In the area of directed energy weapons and or hypervelocity kinetic weapons the power supply is not the stumbling block at the moment. Heat dissipation and energy storage are the big problems. A hundred kw laser will do a number on any aerial vehicle. The problem, you'll have at least 6x that amount in waste heat to dissipate plus needing a rapid discharge storage system for the shots. Once you have long term energy storage system to power the shots why waste a cantankerous fusion pile that would need monitoring on an orbiting weapons platform. Solar cells would be far cheaper and easier to put up. Solar cells could easily charge a good storage system designed to handle the number of shots permissible before redlining the coolant system. This also applies to rail guns on the ground or even an orbital version of Thor's Hammer.

Where a fusion reactor, along the Bussard lines, would shine is in the logistics field, not the weaponry field.

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Postby MSimon » Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:42 pm

JD,

Two things about the Bussard reactor and the Navy. On the smaller ships the boilers take up significant room - the gas turbine drives less.

Second - one of the big cost drivers for fission nukes in the Navy is personnel training due to the unused fuel stored in the core. This could be cut way back for a Bussard Reactor since none of the failure modes include power pulses of 100X designed output. Plus since there is no residual heat of any significance (only neutron activation - no fission products) you don't need any emergency cooling - and even if such cooling was required it would be for minutes not hours.

I could see reactor training cut from 1 year to 3 months. One month of theory two months of reactor hands on training.

I could also see recruiting from a wider band of personnel due to the smaller number of catastrophic failure modes and the smaller radiation danger.

Something else I just remembered. In a fission nuke - if you shut down while operating from a scram of some type or even a neat and orderly shut down, if you can't get the reactor restarted within 1/2 hour you have to wait 24 to 36 hours for the Xenon to decay depending on the prior operating level:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... xenon.html

There would be no such restriction on a Bussard Reactor.

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Postby Roger » Sat Nov 24, 2007 6:03 pm

Roger wrote:
Goddard 1st flew in 1926, the V2 (A-4) was sub orbital, 55 miles altitude in 1942, thats 16 yrs.


At that point, molecules of atmosphere are farther apart than the V-2 was wide. At least one V-2 was launched from White Sands, to measure the distance from molecule to molecule @ altitude.

MAD, I'm not sure you folks are hearing what I'm trying to say. I would offer to you that just because we didn't blow the planet up, doesn't mean MAD worked. MAD was a strategic & tactical policy and should have nothing to do with any economic structure. MAD was a policy construct of the West, particularly of the US.

MSimon raises an interesting point, which I think speaks to a scenario in which MAD would not work:

MAD worked as long as the Russians remembered WW2 and were at least somewhat western in outlook.


The Western outlook doesn't happen until the generation who were raised solely during the Cold War came to power. Prior to that Russians from the steppes ran the country, and brought with them a cultural identity hewed from dealing with ravaging bands of Mongols. In the US we have the Cowboy, and the USA was never invaded or overrun by Hordes of any kind.

With folks who have a kamikaze view of war fighting it might not be so effective.


A Very cogent point, one I will build on. For centuries Russians had survived the Mongol Hordes, then they survived the German Hordes in WWII. 100's of years of being invaded, Russians always survived. And when faced with the Cold War.... what do you think the Russians thought would happen ? The US can have their MAD, and when its all said and done, there will still be a Russians and Russia. Russia survived the Chinese Mongols, survived the German Hordes, we will survive this American Horde too.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

JD
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Postby JD » Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:02 pm

MSimon wrote:JD,

Two things about the Bussard reactor and the Navy. On the smaller ships the boilers take up significant room - the gas turbine drives less.


I understand what you're saying, those are bulky items. I'm not sure how much additional space savings a Bussard reactor would have. There will be some unique equipment requirements and the overall size of even the basic vacuum vessel is up in the air. There should a noticeable reduction in space requirements but until there's a full engineering project done I don't have a feel for it.

I fully agree with the rest of your statement. Equipment, personnel and training I lump together in the logistics area. Would this effect strategic/tactical employment? Sure thing. I categorize it as a good jump ahead in evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, employment of assets.

As of now it won't effect tactical situations to a great extent, beyond say naval units. If something like the bandied about EESTOR hyper capacitor ever comes to light then yes, things will change dramatically at the tactical level (still the heat problems though so no laser gatling gun for me yet...dammit!!!). Aerial assets, transport yes, if it can be miniaturized enough but not in the ASM or TAS arenas where combat goes on.

I once, whimsically, quipped about Bolos. Well they would be feasible with such a power supply. I could even envisage some areas where a mobile unit of that type would be useful in a high intensity ground war. I doubt if any nation would commit to the cost of such an item.

In my own assessment the balance is vastly in favor of economic development. I don't see any tremendous increase in war fighting potential beyond more effective naval units and possibly far more effective aerial logistics. Dammit I still want my laser gatling though, I need to get me a polar bear before global warming kills them all.........

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Postby MSimon » Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:40 pm

BTW, from what my former boss told me, it takes less than 90 minutes to go from scram to full power on a US Naval carrier fission reactor. In 90 minutes, ICBMs could attack the earth twice.


Actually because of Xenon poisoning it has to be done in a 1/2 hour or less. Otherwise you have to wait 24 to 36 hours.

I actually participated in a hot restart in a war zone. I was in the control room when the calculations were done and the rods were yanked.

Normally we had two reactors on line at all times except for maintenance. This was a maintenance period for the forward reactor.

A Bussard reactor would have no such limitations. There might well be some, but they would be engineering reqmts. (which are mostly unknown at this time) not fundamental physics.

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Postby MSimon » Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:43 pm

In my own assessment the balance is vastly in favor of economic development.


I agree. That makes me very hopeful.

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Postby kunkmiester » Sun Jun 07, 2009 11:15 pm

MAD is only useful when both sides are sane. Russia was sane, but even then, they were playing by a very different rule book, with much longer term considerations. Note the fact that they made their ICBM silos to be reloadable, rather than the one shot systems in the west.

We are currently dealing with at least one regime that has no interest in surviving. The leaders of Iran would gladly kill their country to wipe Israel off the map and bring their messiah back. ABM isn't that big of a deal anyway, bombers work better in many ways.

Besides which, while an orbital weapon is a sitting duck, it's a sitting duck with a giant gun that can see anything approaching for thousands of miles, plenty of time to kill any attack.

With rail guns and lasers though, a fortress becomes more practical though. Anything capable of penetrating the armor is able to be killed before it hits, rendering it as immune as they were pre-WWI. Provided you consider your strategy properly, they'd be a very nasty defensive weapon capable of laying rail gun fire for dozens of miles around, and keeping the skies for a similar area clear of artillery and aircraft.
Evil is evil, no matter how small


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