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W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke

 
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W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/2/2019 2:02:28 PM   
kevinkins


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This is apparently coming fast: https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a26090298/trump-administration-new-nuclear-weapon/

A quick look in the database does not find it, but I am not good at that so it could be there or some equivalent.

Anyway, would like to sandbox it's effectiveness if or when available in the DB. Any ideas on how it would be deployed without going into a full nuclear holocaust?

Kevin





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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/2/2019 3:10:01 PM   
ultradave


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quote:

ORIGINAL: kevinkins

Any ideas on how it would be deployed without going into a full nuclear holocaust?

Kevin






That's the trick, isn't it. It's the reason we eliminated so many small yield and intermediate range nuclear weapons. Back then it was widely believed that once a nuclear weapon of any kind was used, it would be extremely difficult to impossible to contain to a "tactical" level. This warhead seems problematic because it's supposed to be loaded on a Trident missile on an SSBN. Not sure if that makes it more or less destabilizing (knowing they might be loaded on say, Tomahawks could be just as destabilizing)

That being said, your first part is that it's a pretty new development. I don't believe it's in the DB yet. The proposed yield sounds like a guesstimate at the moment so maybe that's why. (or it's just new)

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 4:19:30 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: kevinkins
Any ideas on how it would be deployed without going into a full nuclear holocaust?


Not really. My thinking is that making a new less destructive nuclear weapon doesn't really help you if the response is just as destructive as it always was. I know a long time ago, under the late Clinton and Bush administrations, there was some discussion of using nuclear "bunker busters" to attack certain deeply buried hardened targets. That kind of thinking seemed to have gone away under the Obama administration. It's possible it never really went away, though, and it just continued quietly.

So... if I was going to build the scenario, there's several criteria the target country would need to satisfy.

1) It could not be covered by any mutual defense agreements with a nuclear power or it's unclear that the nuclear power would actually honor those agreements.
2) The target would have to be so deeply buried and hardened that it was unreachable by a MOP.
3) The nation would have to have so alienated the international community that nobody would advocate on behalf of the welfare of the people of that nation (the widespread practice of ritual cannibalism might do the trick..).

So... basically... if my deeply buried hardened secret laboratory isolated far away from everyone else was taken over by flesh eating zombies, I could probably get domestic and international support for nuking them with this weapon. People would be like, "Yeah, go ahead, light 'em up!" Other than that, it's probably back to a nuclear holocaust.




< Message edited by SeaQueen -- 2/8/2019 4:20:09 PM >

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 5:24:13 PM   
Cik

 

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for counter-zombie operations (CZO?) you could probably just hit the entrance though. zombies are not known for their proclivity for operating heavy engineering equipment or the ability to work together (much)

maybe if i was making a scenario where the OPFOR was some sort of doctor octopus supervillain who had buried his bunker in the earth's mantle and had surrounded his secret island laboratory with lasers and was threatening the rest of the world or something.

that sounds like a fun scenario.

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 5:32:50 PM   
Gunner98

 

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quote:

So... basically... if my deeply buried hardened secret laboratory isolated far away from everyone else was taken over by flesh eating zombies, I could probably get domestic and international support for nuking them with this weapon. People would be like, "Yeah, go ahead, light 'em up!"




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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 7:40:41 PM   
SeaQueen


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Seriously, though. While I haven't read it, this book might get your creative juices flowing for some contexts in which interesting tactical questions might arrise:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0804790892?pf_rd_p=c2945051-950f-485c-b4df-15aac5223b10&pf_rd_r=7STPWKSF960XK9C8JC9P

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 7:42:48 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cik
for counter-zombie operations (CZO?) you could probably just hit the entrance though. zombies are not known for their proclivity for operating heavy engineering equipment or the ability to work together (much)


Yeah... but they are good at digging their way up from their buried tombs. Never under-estimate zombies. Have you watched no George Romero?

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 7:45:43 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

So... basically... if my deeply buried hardened secret laboratory isolated far away from everyone else was taken over by flesh eating zombies, I could probably get domestic and international support for nuking them with this weapon. People would be like, "Yeah, go ahead, light 'em up!" Other than that, it's probably back to a nuclear holocaust.


I just thought about this some more, and I think it's an opened question whether nuking zombies might violate international above ground test ban treaties.

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 9:05:22 PM   
Randomizer

 

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I hate zombies. I mean really, Really REALLY hate the whole zombie meme...

As for the OP speculation, I suspect that nuclear retaliation against any nuclear power is a given and the premise that one can freely cross the nuclear threshold against a nuclear-armed state without fear of escalation is delusional.

We have seen all of this before, recall Herman Kahn and Edward Teller pronouncing nuclear wars as winnable while the US Schlesinger Doctrine (President Ford's SECDEF's plan became national nuclear policy into the Reagan years) assumed that counter-force targeting would prevent escalation something much worse. Yet during that brief interregnum when Russia opened many of its Cold War files it seems clear that the Soviet Union's default nuclear response was massive retaliation against US cities just as soon as the first nuclear weapon burst over Soviet territory and that the Schlesinger Doctrine was and still is moonbeams and unicorns. One should probably give more weight to Bernard Brodie (Strategy in the Missile Age) than Kahn (On Thermonuclear War), the latter being a bible of the controllable nuclear war set.

Evidence for this lies in part in the Perimtr nuclear response system the started to be developed in the Soviet Union during the 1970's and was active until the 1990's. Styled in the press as a "doomsday machine", Perimtr (aka The Dead Hand) promised total destruction of the urban centres in the CONUS in the event of a limited decapitating (countervailing) strike by the US/NATO alliance. Of course the rejection of Khrushchev's no first use policy by Boris Yeltson has certainly been endorsed by Putin, who probably retains the ex-Soviet counter-value targeting strategy and does anybody really think that the PRC's Xi would allow a nuclear mini-strike on China without dis-proportional response?

The pundits who maintain that low-yield nukes will not lead to escalation if used against nation states with a retaliatory capability is no more than strategy by wishful thinking and an excuse to build up the current nuclear weapon stockpiles. One might be forgiven for hoping that the new crop of idiots advocating crossing the nuclear threshold with military impunity quit selling this snake oil to the nationalist/populist crowd but that's unlikely.

One big question is what are the potential consequences for the use of these mini-nukes against non-state actors? It's hard to think of a real-world situation that does not involve non-existent zombies or cartoon super-villeins where these things could have any military utility without disastrous political push back. That said I am surprised that The Donald has not resurrected the enhanced radiation weapons program as they tend to preserve real estate while wiping out those pesky, local inhabitants.

-C

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 9:16:01 PM   
Cik

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: SeaQueen

quote:

So... basically... if my deeply buried hardened secret laboratory isolated far away from everyone else was taken over by flesh eating zombies, I could probably get domestic and international support for nuking them with this weapon. People would be like, "Yeah, go ahead, light 'em up!" Other than that, it's probably back to a nuclear holocaust.


I just thought about this some more, and I think it's an opened question whether nuking zombies might violate international above ground test ban treaties.


nonsense. the only thing we are testing is: do nuclear zombies glow in the dark?

in fact, based on the possibility of this alone perhaps we should shelve this idea and just use HE instead.

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 9:34:57 PM   
SeaQueen


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quote:

One big question is what are the potential consequences for the use of these mini-nukes against non-state actors?


How about the Battle of Tora Bora? They could have nuked the mountain with Bin Laden in it and collapsed the whole thing before he escaped.

I can't help but wonder if these sorts of weapons are really less about nuclear war with near-peer nations and more about nuclear intimidation of weaker ones.

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 9:50:38 PM   
Randomizer

 

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quote:

How about the Battle of Tora Bora? They could have nuked the mountain with Bin Laden in it and collapsed the whole thing before he escaped.

They got Bin Laden without resorting to nukes, which is pretty strong evidence that crossing the nuclear threshold was unnecessary in the event. Of course there is no political baggage that comes with a nuclear super-power using nuclear weapons in the territory of a helpless, failed-state without any means of retaliation. If your ethics allow for sanctioning the use any sort of nuclear weapon to target just one person then this conversation can serve no useful purpose. It is nothing short of great power bullying of the worst sort and really unnecessary given that fuel-air explosives, deep-penetrating conventional weapons or boots on the ground provided potential non-nuclear options.

Of course when your foreign policy is driven by beating up on weaker nation-states, freely crossing the nuclear threshold is probably attractive. But that only works if they cannot hit back.

If you think that there would be no consequences to nuking Tora Bora, have a look at the Soviet Lake Chagan cratering shot or the fallout problems caused by the containment failure of the DoE's Operation Emery underground shot in the 1970's.

-C

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 2/8/2019 9:57:51 PM >

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RE: W-76-2 Low Grade Nuke - 2/8/2019 10:40:07 PM   
stilesw


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quote:

For counter-zombie operations (CZO?)


Mark 1 technology - tried and true!






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