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Old March 18 2013, 08:15 PM   #273
Crazy Eddie
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Re: SpaceX is a go for April 30th: 1st commercial launch to space stat

gturner wrote: View Post
newtype_alpha wrote: View Post
Nobody says that. What they say is that the interceptors that currently exist can't quite pull this off under battlefield conditions because both their timing and their tracking requirements are infeasible under those conditions.
But compared to the normal battlefields where we use missile interceptors, the ICBM and LRBM battlefield is pristine, with vastly simpler trajectories (no hard aerodynamic maneuvering), no smoke, no clouds, no birds, and no nearby aircraft with 10,000 pounds of jamming equipment. It might as well be laboratory conditions.
Except that in laboratory conditions you know exactly where the missile launched from, exactly what it's trajectory is, and there's no actual risk involved if you intercept it too late or too low, plus there's usually only one target and you know for sure that's the one you're shooting at.

Under battlefield conditions, you have uncertainties in the detection of the launch, the accurate determination of its trajectory and potential questions about whether or not the radar signature you're tracking is a signal object or multiple ones or whether there are others coming up behind it from other launch sites. Either way, you have between 15 and 30 minutes from the time of launch to the time of impact and you have to figure all of this out within a narrow launch window if you're going to really pull off the intercept.

It's actually easier to intercept mortar shells and short range rockets, since the firing solutions and tracking data can be worked out by a single set of sensors and the only trick is positioning those sensors in the right place to direct the interceptor (IOW, not all that different from normal AA warfare).

Which is why people who've mastered aerial missile combat in hurricanes shouldn't have any problem pulling it off in perfect weather with not only no wind, but no air.
That's just it, though: hurricane conditions represent "battlefield" conditions, not merely short range. Put it simply, it's much easier to TEST a weapon system than it is to USE one in uncontrolled conditions. It isn't half as simple as you'd think, especially when the interceptor's infrastructure system is given virtually no warning at all before the actual attack.
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