Missile Defense: plus ca change, plus la meme chose


Some of the cost increase results from the Pentagon’s need to make sure that its tests “better reflect an evolving threat” — particularly the use of balloons and other decoys that would be used by a real incoming missile to evade interception.

Ever since the death of PC military flight sims, I’ve fallen behind on my military tech studies, so can someone please explain this bit to me? They’re talking about deployable balloons used as countermeasures on a rocket during its boost phase, correct? Balloons that have a similar radar signature to the rocket itself? Do they deploy smaller, multiple balloons, or one big bad ass balloon?

I hate it when large dogs hump my leg.


I believe they’re actually deployed during the cruise stage. In theory the warhead would be accompanied by a payload of self inflating decoys shaped like the warhead, with a similar radar profile and which, since this is outside the atmosphere, would be traveling the same speed as the real warhead.

As evidenced in the article, the amount of difficulty of successfully deploying a warhead alone is significant. Adding “easy” countermeasures is not really easy. Furthermore, if you ever test them, you let the US see them, allowing further refinement of models from internal studies.

If you don’t test them, it’s unlikely they’ll work and may impair weapon deployment in the process.

Russia is the only country with the capability to effectively counter at this point, but they aren’t using “easy” countermeasures: maneuverable warheads, not decoys.