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January 08, 2003



This sounds like "thor" from sci-fi writer Jerry Pournelle, except the Thor concept dropped them from orbit. Then you're talking orbital velocities 18k mph versus 200 mph. no nukes needed.


I agree with Joe, this is pretty well travelled territory, though I'm pretty unsure that you could drop such a payload from high enough in-atmosphere to get the desired performance. I'd guess that supersonic at impact probably isn't fast enough (using an online source for the weight of a cubic inch of steel, I get a mass of ca. 1700 pounds for the putative weapon). Also consider the lack of rigidity inherent in this design -- seems to me that the back end of this thing is going to fold over on impact, and have a serious detrimental effect on penetration.

If you're interested in the topic, poke about the Rand site -- somewhere there's an old monograph hanging about on fractional bombardment (i.e., from orbit using space based weaponry) using kinetic warheads -- there's a goodly amount of numbers concerning the energy release from MIRV sized projectiles; IIRC, the numbers are pretty impressive.

Cecil Turner

A normal GP bomb from a dive-toss delivery is going very close to mach 1 at impact, and the penetration is only in the 20' range. Performance on the special-purpose penetrators suggest the cross-section and density are more important after impact than before, but if you're talking a purely kinetic solution, you'd want a lot more speed. I also suspect a dive bomber from its practical max altitude would be able to generate more impact velocity than a B2 doing a level delivery at its ceiling, but in any case it's not going to rival the orbital stuff.

It's probably worth pointing out that the deep bunker problem (and specifically the DPRK's reputed complexes) were the driver behind developing the new nuclear bunker-busters, which were recently re-requested by Rumsfeld.


You Sick Deranged slave fucks!!!!!


The French have an older weapon known as the Durandal anti-runway bomb. It works on a kinetic principle as it has a rocket in the tail that accelerates it straight down. It may, however, have explosives that go off at the bottom to make a bigger hole so it is not purely kinetic.


Sounds like a great idea, unless you are one of the 50,000 odd American soldiers in South Korea who glow in the dark for the rest of their short lives. Or if you live in Korea, Russia, China, or Japan. Remember the Israeli's destroyed the Iraqi reactor BEFORE it became active.


Not likely to lead to explosive distribution of radioactive substance. The reactor will shut down, take a short forever to repair. and will still be vulnerable.

But no worries now. The Chinese have the situation well in hand. And Kim has whatever he likes in hand.

Majestic 12

This sounds a lot like Heavy Gear's (see ww.dp9.com) "Ortillery" (ORbital aTILLERY) although that one dropped the projectiles from orbit.

Dickie Shep

All of this fancy engineered kinetic stuff sounds great, but if you don't have the WILL to use it, and it's past time for that, it might as well all be cotton candy. And it may not be a bad idea to use prototypes in an operation strike since such a strike should have happened already; waiting for a perfect solution sounds like nucular (sic) suicide for America. Dickie Shep, Jersey City, NJ

Dean Anderson

Gentlemen this all sounds quite fascinating. I just have a couple questions. If this incident were to have taken place in the early 60s,would Slim Pickens have wanted to kick a spear out of the bombay? would he have changed his name to spike?

James R. Rummel

Ben R. Rich talks about a plan back in the 1960's to use the SR-71 as a launch platform for kinetic energy weapons in his book Skunk Works:A Personal Memoir of my Years of Lockheed.

The extreme speed of the spy plane (at least Mach 3, almost certainly more) would mean that high-density penetrators would be useful. According to Rich the idea was received with enthusiasm, but the Air Force brass never followed up.

So far as I know, we can't do something like that now since the SR-71 fleet has been retired and is not operational. Stealth is presently seen as the way for aircraft to survive, instead of flying really high and really fast. That means we probably don't have any aircraft that could attain a high enough velocity to make unpowered kinetic energy weapons worthwhile.



This article presents one more clue, why we need to dispose of the sick puppy named "USA".


Hey Russian,

Hmmm, who arms the muslim extremists?

You Russians would sell your first born if the price was right. Nobody cares about or trusts you....please go away.


i grew up in the 60's.for a brief period i discovered what life is like without a gun at my head.at least the russians loved their children too.stop iran,persuade china to annex n.korea


hey, american. who armed the israelis with nukes?
who startet wars in the whole world? giving extremists reasons for beeing extremists?



Something to remember.

It was the US who funded both the Taliban and Iraq for most of the 1980s.

So in reply to your comment to russian, Yes they may have bought the guns off the russians, but you gave them the money to do it.


Pointing fingers at who did what and who funded who is not the point of this site. The discussion of theoretical kinetic energy weapons is. When dealing with kinetic energy weapons accelerated mass is what it's about. Just look at meteor crater or the Tunguska event of 1908. Virtually any space fairing nation can develop a kinetic energy weapon with nuclear yields. i.e. Take a good sized chunk of steel, tungsten ect. wrap it in a heafty coat of ceramic. Then launch it on a sling shot trajectory around the moon, this would generate the velocity needed. The velocities after the slingshot would be upward of 70K f/sec a 6 ton mass at this speed would be about 5 megatons. Definitely a first strike weapon and untraceble since the round trip will take about 5 days. Like rocks from an over pass. Of course there has to be some guidance controls to esure targeting, once the progectile enters terminal phase there would be nothing you could do. On the moral upside for all those bleeding hearts out there. After the use of many of these weapons and the exctinction of our pathetically juvenille species we would at least do one good thing with out collective last breaths and save the planet from radioactive poisoning.


I hope the recent explosions in Iran (blamed to "UFO"s at the time I write this) are because of this weapon.

To Russian, Human and all other wise-guys: I'm sick of you communist weirdos who kept half a world in a concentration camp, including Eastern-Europe; go embrace islam, this is the next murderous cult who can satisfy your needs....

Stephen Daedalus

This is simply a non space-based version of the old cold war "Rods From God" concept. That said, causing a radiological disaster by spearing a nuclear reactor is totally out of the question. If you make those tungsten rods something more along the lines of a large tungsten sheath around a DU core and base them in low earth orbit... Then you could work something meanignful. If you can manage to have such an RV strike a target with GPS precision at mach 7+ then the combination of the kinetic energy yield and pyrophoric nature of the DU (Depleted Uranium) core would annihilate an above-ground installation. I suppose it is even possilbe to use successive strikes on the same location to "Dig" to a depth where the shockfront from the strike could "bunker bust" beyond conventional or nuclear depths.

The idea that any of this is "untracable" is laughable however. No matter WHAT version of a KEW you imagine, if a high value target in pyonyang or iran experienced a kiloton or megaton level event, people are going to draw the logical conclusions.

Also, it is a violation of existing treaties to have even a tungsten pole with a guidence package in space... so your guidence would have to come in the form of a carefully planned ballistic trajectory.

Finally, addressing the "around the moon" concept... why? You can achieve a good effect by slingshotting the object in a decaying trajectory ending in a ballistic trajectory. Frankly, a 20 megaton detonation is massive overkill and that kind of energy release would have radiological effects simply as a result of particle interaction, gamma rays produced and absord... etc.

Not my real name

Who cares. Support apathy. Or don't. I don't give a shit.


Oh boy, loud explosions. Not very subtle. Drop a couple balloon-loads of flesh- or metal-eating bacteria on your target, sit back and quietly wait. Less flashy, but just as effective, if your objective is to render a site useless.

Diego Vega

Man in earth. Technology evolves. Man stays the same. Sad isn't it?
I now understand why the only real solution is the elimination of mankind from the universe.


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