Quite a smart move, the US will be able to threaten all of the China coast and a significant amount of targets int he Russian Pacific. And since these weapons are not counted toward strategic warhead numbers, doing so without committing a single strategic warhead.
And making Guam a warhead sponge…
Truly Cold Was Mk2 is upon us.
For the cruise missile we’ve been developing and improving it for about five decades. It’s the sea launched Tomahawk cruise missile being tested from a ground firing platform. We’ve even got relevant experience. A modified Tomahawk was used as the former US ground launched cruise missile that were all destroyed when the INF treaty was implemented.
Truck-a-hawks are going to be non-trivial to nuclearize if we ever decided to. The requirement to be nuclear capable got dropped in later Tomahawk variants. More importantly, is an issue with the W80 Mod 0 warheads the Tomahawk carried. It’s a pretty significant issue. We don’t have any. We dismantled them. (Cite)
And yet despite that, there’s zero information on a new US IRBM in development. That leads me to believe that it’s either BS, or some kind of jack-legged combination of off-the-shelf boosters and existing systems- like maybe finding some kind of way to boost a JDAM 4000 miles with existing boosters or something like that.
I had thought that, e.g., ATACMS, could easily have been modified to have a 1-2000 km range or more, but wasn’t because of INF concerns? Though F-35 with JAASM-ER, should be able to do most of what a modern Pershing 2 system would be able to, without any destabilizing IRBM launch signature. F-35 combat radius on internal fuel is what, 600nm? And add JAASM-ER’s range of at least 500nm, and that’s pretty close to the 1500 mm or so between Guam and Taipei. I’m sure there are stealthy external or conformal tanks the -35 can use to bump that range up a bit more.
The longest range variant of the ATACMS only had a 300km reach. The INF limit is <500km so it wasn’t being limited by the treaty. It’s also on it’s way out. The Army has been developing the Precision Strike Munition (PrSM) as it’s replacement. That has the max INF allowed range of 499km so there may well be some potential to push it further without a lot of extra development. The time frame for fielding to replace ATACMS is 2025. That fits roughly with the unnamed IRBM fielding time frame if the changes don’t require significant development time. I haven’t seen any mention of specifics, though, unlike the Tomahawk test.
It’s also more susceptible to air defenses than an IRBM.
Does the US have similar missiles (sea, air, surface or ground-launched) in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan or the Philippines?
The US has never been all that big on land vehicle-launched missiles. How will exiting the INF treaty affect potential conventional wars? How much of an advantage for the US to launch its missiles from land vehicles in addition to submarines, surface ships or aircraft?
I’m not sure about the last point, given the RCS differences between the two delivery modes. Patriot and THAAD can whack IRBMs in terminal phase, and I am willing to bet the PLA’s equivalent can too. But they can only hit what they see. IIRC, one of the S-300 variants in Syria was stationed close enough to be able to resolve this F-35, but didn’t fire or even try to lock on with its Flap Lid. I can imagine JASSM-ER’s RCS is even tinier.
I know that ATACMS was only deployed with a ~300 km range motor; I’d heard the size of the missile would’ve allowed for a much more long range motor, if desired, but it would’ve run afoul of the INF treaty. I know someone like Stranger will be coming by to explain that I’m grossly oversimplifying this, and I am, but as to there being no warheads for a redeployed TLAM-N, TLAM is a touch wider than a B-83. B-61s are even skinnier. Would it be that much of a kludge to just repurpose some of the B-61s or 83s for this new missile, assuming we don’t just go ahead and finally get the RRW underway?
The Chinese equivalent of THAAD is the HQ19. THAAD (and HQ-19 and S400) are not really designed to protect against warheads with more advanced counter measures and in the case of THAAD it is expressly useless against MIRV.
We are not looking at SS4’s and Jupiter missiles, Newer systems have Maneuverable Re-Entry Vehicles,hyper sonic glide vehicles. WE have also seen the emergence of MIRV payloads on shorter range missiles.
I doubt the new IRBM will have a simple blunt nosed SRV.
I am guessing that exisging stockplile will have warheads available, though I would be very surprised if the W-76 or W-87/W-88 are not deployed on the IRBM at least.
Coventionally armed CM have a real role as do conventionally armed short range BM’s.
A coventional longer range BM is just a an expensive arty piece. Single use.
The F-22 and F-35 wouldn’t chiefly be used to strike themselves although they would do that too. They’d be used to stealthily penetrate Chinese territory, spot targets then call in and guide off-board weapons like those CMs and BMs. Or munitions carried by other platforms like F-16s flying at low altitude and stand-off distance. The B-2 might also be used that way, especially if you mount sensors, including in its bomb bay.