Cold Start & Nuclear Warfighting in Indian context

Arun_S
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Postby Arun_S » 21 Mar 2006 05:47

War fighting requires various tool. One does not go to war with a pure binary black & white scenario (read limited options). There are lots of grey shades that have a uitility in offensive as well as defensive options.

Thus battlefield warheads are as neccessary as high or medium yield types. As I said before Indian cold-start doctrine to deter IRoP requires tacticle balltlefield weapons, and plentiful at that.

we cant really use more then a dozen or so, as the nuclear fallout will harm India.
Please do some reading and analysis before coming out with a hot air statement like that and substantiate it with data/logic/reference or precedence.
Last edited by Arun_S on 21 Mar 2006 05:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Neshant » 21 Mar 2006 06:56

> How many time did US proof test W88 thermo-nuke war head

US has conducted over 1000 tests overall if I'm not mistaken. I've heard it said that that amounts to 1 test every 17 days since they first tested the bomb. Its quite a staggering number. After a while, they would not have needed to test due to the confidence factor in the design of their weapons.

India on the other hand barely has any test history to go on. One test back in the 70s. Three tests (of questionable success?) in 1998. No country can build a reliable (let alone minimum) deterrent based on 1 thermo-nuke test.

US is not signing the CTBT because of North Korea. If north korea tests, japan will need to test. And the only way they can test without causing controversy is by having it secretely tested at an American test site.

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Postby Calvin » 21 Mar 2006 09:48

Thus battlefield warheads are as neccessary as high or medium yield types. As I said before Indian cold-start doctrine to deter IRoP requires tacticle balltlefield weapons, and plentiful at that.


This has been repeated often enough that it is becoming fact. However, it is not AT ALL clear that allowing tactical nukes serves a deterrent posture on an escalatory ladder. On the contrary, a counter value posture is *known* to have deterrence, since it directly addresses the notion that a nuclear war can be fought, and completely negates a first strike advantage. There is nothing in Cold Start or in the DND that suggests Indian contemplation of battlefield use of nukes, although India expects Pakistani battlefield use of nukes. In short battlefield use of nukes plays into Pakistan's strengths, not ours. In the Chinese case, this is even more accentuated since China is not an open democracy, and there is even less deterrence associated with battlefield use of nukes.

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Postby Arun_S » 21 Mar 2006 10:24

Gerard wrote:The W88 and W87 are similar in design.
Design traces its origin to the LASL device tested in the 250 Kt Almendro shot (Operation Toggle), 6 June 1973 (13:00:00.08 UCT).


The W87 was tested 10 times (including one test at full yield).

Let me submit the following:

1. There is much literature available to understand the issue/non-issue and relate it to the Indian design, test and experience.

E.g. http://www.lasg.org/archive/1995/noprob.htm

2. As regarding Shakti-1, Even if its secondary burn was only 10% of the fuel (irrespective if it was designed for 10% burn or not; as no one will know for sure, except the design and fabrication team; the rest of world can only guess and my guess is as good as anyone else for neither has any proof/basis for the claim). The approximately 25Kt pure fusion stage yield is considered by people in the know, to correspond to final weapon yield of 200-350Kt when the passive tamper & case is replaced with a fissionable tertiary stage material that is fissile for high energy neutron spectrum. And this physical process is not related to pressure mechanics. Third stage of TN weapon is the simplest to design and prove.

3. The process to make Indian TN weapon from the Shakti-1 weaponizable design (that was the term BARC & DRDO team used) is no different from what was used for W88 weapon quoted above.

So why does Indian design process has to go through a process (with target bar set very high) any different from W88 design? Is there a basis for Indian TN weapon to go through the proverbial "Agni Pareeksha"?
Simply because:
    A) Everything Indian is suspect? or
    B.) Everything Indian must be proved 10 times more rigorously to show to the world that we are potent? {Having just 1 child is NOT proof enough to potency, rather than insisting on having 10 children to prove potency ;) }
    C) Everything done by DRDO is not above board, so they must jump 10 times higher to make sure there is no hidden hand below to cheat?
Which one of the above forces you to think that Indian TN weapons should be designed different from W88?

4. Proof testing of components (as the US design team now does, as against what they used to do in early 50's) is based on critical design review and FMEA (Failure Modes Effects Analysis). And they are largely related to Primary Stage components (in descending order of sensitivity and pareto):
. a) Safety, arming and electronics,
. b) Implosion assembly
. c) Pit
. d) Packaging
. e) Radiation channel and case
. f) Secondary (fuel and tamper driver)
. g) Spark plug (if any)
. h) Tertiary stage material

Proofing need be done on items identified in FMEA. And sub-system & system proofing done by cold test.

I do not understand why people are mesmerized by the idea that India has go through the same motion/steps that US did through its 50 years of nuclear weapon development history, and that path is sacred and the only way to confidently know that Indian stuff is half as good as US/Chinese/Russian weapons?

No effort is spent to understand:
a) What historical experience the US team critically need and carry forward when they designed the last 2 nuclear weapons in mid 1980?
b) What tools and process US team use to design the new weapon? Think of instrumentation, material science (including hi-energy physics), simulation and experimentation process? And relate it to what was available to BARC/DRDO?
And see what they did not have? (Including if any, the test data from all US /Rusian test from 1945 to 1975)

Hopefully this will lead to better and hopefully correct understanding

5. The weaponizing from a weaponizable design and proving (by experimentation) that S1 test design construct is unchanged and incremental changes are validated. Is full system testing absolutely necessary?

If Indian military is not confident of the Indian nuclear weapons, unless they see the full yield for themselves, it is their competence problem. They need to see what does US/Chinese/Russian military do today to pose confidence in their weapons? some of them were made 30 years ago and have aged and changed significantly?

Again either Indian military is as competent as others, OR thick-skinned to not trust BARC/DRDO (mafia playing a trick). They are of course free to float a global tender and specify and buy imported strategic weapon, and try their luck to get a bid (apart from one from remanent of AQK Inc) and the chance to verify full yield before they buy ;)
Last edited by Arun_S on 21 Mar 2006 13:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ramdas » 21 Mar 2006 11:10

4. Proof testing of components (as the US design team now does, as against what they used to do in early 50's) is based on critical design review and FMEA (Failure Modes Effects Analysis). And they are largely related to Primary Stage components (in descending order of sensitivity and pareto):
. a) Safety, arming and electronics,
. b) Implosion assembly
. c) Pit
. d) Packaging
. e) Radiation channel and case
. f) Secondary (fuel and tamper driver)
. g) Spark plug (if any)
. h) Tertiary stage material



In that case, once we are confident about the primary, would it be possible to design a reliable two stage system with a reliable secondary ?
Of course, one may not get the best possible yield/weight ratio, but as long as we can be confident with a thermonuclear warhead so designed, we may not need to test the same design further. Of course, testing with an active tertiary is unnecessary.

Also, are there thermonuclear warheads without spark plugs ? As far as I knew so far, spark plugs were required to ignite the secondary... may be I am mistaken.

re: Bharat Karnad article, it seems to have been written after Bush's visit, as the separation plan with 8 reactors + PFBR military has been referred to.

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Postby Arun_S » 21 Mar 2006 11:15

Calvin wrote:
Thus battlefield warheads are as neccessary as high or medium yield types. As I said before Indian cold-start doctrine to deter IRoP requires tacticle balltlefield weapons, and plentiful at that.


This has been repeated often enough that it is becoming fact. However, it is not AT ALL clear that allowing tactical nukes serves a deterrent posture on an escalatory ladder. On the contrary, a counter value posture is *known* to have deterrence, since it directly addresses the notion that a nuclear war can be fought, and completely negates a first strike advantage. There is nothing in Cold Start or in the DND that suggests Indian contemplation of battlefield use of nukes, although India expects Pakistani battlefield use of nukes. In short battlefield use of nukes plays into Pakistan's strengths, not ours. In the Chinese case, this is even more accentuated since China is not an open democracy, and there is even less deterrence associated with battlefield use of nukes.

I submit the following for consideration for whatevery it may be worth. I leave the final assessment/determination to connecting the dots to the reader.

1. 1998 tests and mutual counter value attack option did not establish deterrence and peace.

2. Pakis have responded with increased (Mushy calls it Calibrated) low intensity war in Kashmir at a threshold different from what will trigger open war and nuclear escalation, knowing that thousand wounds strategy can continued with impunity.

3. Op-Parakram was too massive and slow. So India came up with Cold Start doctrine to punish Puki's if they cross Indian red-line; yet do not cross the Pakistani (and also International opinion) red-line to nuclear threshold.

4. Paki's are alarmed with Cold Start doctrine and have declared that Cold Start will invite warning nuclear shot on Cold-Start IA formation.

5. War gaming the above, the Indian position of having only one card in hand; that of exercising DND and mounting a full annihilatory counter strike, severely limits Indian hand. India has to have all options available to exercise an option most suitable (at that time) to achieve the objectives.

That means all option to response to Nuclear First strike on (albeit warning shot) on IA formation? The size of the escalatory response HAS to be totally Indian choice (i.e. not constrained by availability of just 2 size of weapon yield), including responding with controlled escalation of say 20 counterstrike with surgical precision and low-yield(0.2 Kt) on opposing troop concentration, and Mushy's HQ and other select command nodes (0.2Kt weapon ensures little collateral damage, thus a morally sustainable war fighting means). With low yield and precision, that just upped the ante to Puki commanders, testing/daring them show balls to go next step (to warning shot) and nuke an Indian city, knowing by that time fully well that Indian response will be well calibrated and will take out say 10 puki cities for each Puki nuke on Indian city? OR call it quits with Cold Start formation path already cleaned up by those tactical nukes on formations opposing it.

Paki's using nukes first on IA formation is yielding the initiative to India to choose a response on Indian choice of magnitude, time, number of reply gift packages & targets is just too big a losing proposition. All the time India retains the initiative & moral high ground to use a quantum of retaliation of its own free choosing (including full DND outlined annhilatory counter strike).

This makes the Paki threat of using nukes to deter India from Cold-Start doctrine un-sustainable/invalid/losing proposition.

6. Tactical nukes thus have to be plentiful so they are available for use on short notice. Also because the actual number to be used in one or two order higher than what IA will absorb in the first round of warning shots.

7. Cold Start doctrine is able to meet objective irrespective of the response by Pukis.

Now some data to support the above:

A) Last summer military exercise in Rajesthan tested Cold-Start doctrine. It is documented to have war gamed Pakis attacking the formation with few nukes. That did not stop the war excercise. So one can envision how did it continue forward? (Any one thinks it envisaged using only 15Kt & 200Kt weapon?)

B.) All US and Russia till date continue to retain tactical nukes as war fighting weapons, even though the cold war scenario if fighting over the planes of Germany is long gone.

C) Nuclear war fighting doctrine never became obsolete or irrelevant. In fact it has become more refined, albeit hidden from public debate.

D) Shakti-3 (0.2 Kt yield) was a tactical weaponizable design (Shakti-4 & 5 were experimental).

E) Shakti-3 was based on non-Pu fissile material whose critical mass is much smaller (only 2Kg). A design that makes for radically smaller weapon size.

F) Apart from other reasons, BARC needs FBR in mil camp because the stockpile for S-3 based weapon is solely dependent on it. Other weapons can be fashioned from PHWR.

So with above reasoning I will repeat my assertions as and when relevant, without making it a case of a lie repeated often enough becomes truth. ;)
Last edited by Arun_S on 21 Mar 2006 13:35, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby Alok_N » 21 Mar 2006 11:29

Arun_S wrote:No effort is spent to understand:
a) What historical experience the US team critically need and carry forward when they designed the last 2 nuclear weapons in mid 1980?
b) What tools and process US team use to design the new weapon? Think of instrumentation, material science (including hi-energy physics), simulation and experimentation process? And relate it to what was available to BARC/DRDO?


Arun, I agree with you, and as kgoan said, a large amount can be done without "live" testing ... regarding availability of tools, lemme just say this ... back in the late 70s here was the situation:

1. most folks were using punch-cards to program simulations ... computing power today is approximately 100,000 times higher.

2. rad-hard solid-state electronics did not exist. only thing "hard" was pentodes.

3. control systems available in one chip today required a relay-rack full of modules and required 10s of kW to run as opposed to mW today.

4. material science was just being born as a discipline ... field emission microscopes had just been invented, scanning electron microscopes had not.

5. CNC machines were around only in 2-d models ... 3-d versions were under development.

6. CAD/CAM design tools were non-existant ...

you get the idea ... today, one can probably simultaneously "virtually design" millions of versions of a device and simulate them in less time than it took to physically design and blow-up one version back then ...

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Postby Arun_S » 21 Mar 2006 11:46

ramdas wrote:Of course, one may not get the best possible yield/weight ratio,
What makes anyone think it was not the best possible yield/weight ratio? Why the assumption is negative? Do you know S1 weight? and its comparision with W88?

What if I say that S1 based weapon is only a few tens of lb heavier than w88 ! For what it is worth that is my assertion & that is not just cooked up in my head.

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Postby JCage » 21 Mar 2006 12:37

Arun,

Beautiful post & very lucidly put.

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Postby Arun_S » 21 Mar 2006 12:47

JCage wrote:Arun,

Beautiful post & very lucidly put.

Thanks but which one?
Last edited by Arun_S on 21 Mar 2006 13:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JCage » 21 Mar 2006 13:11

Arun_S wrote:
JCage wrote:Arun,

Beautiful post & very lucidly put.

Thanks but which one?


Nuke doctrine vs demands of cold start one - really well written, perhaps it should be expanded into a piece. JMHO. Or at least mailed to the powers that be if you can contact them.

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Postby Anoop » 21 Mar 2006 18:46

Arun_S,

Pakistan has threatened the use of a nuclear weapon on Indian forces in Pakistani territory even prior to the announcement of the Cold Start doctrine, most notably during Op. Parakram.

The limited aims of the Cold Start doctrine (if it ever moves beyond conceptualizing) make it less necessary for the PA to resort to a nuclear attack.

The PA fights its war with one eye on its political chances of retaining power after the war - the use of nuclear weapons so early in the game is both an admission of failure to protect Pakistan even from a modest Indian attack, as well as a guarantee that the international mediation after the war will remove the PA from power.

War-games are not always representative of how the actual war will proceed. In any case, the simulation of an attack on our forces is meant to be a drill of decontamination/recovery efforts.

While having tactical nuclear weapons is not a bad thing per se, it may reduce the space for the conventional battle to occur by advancing Pakistani red-lines even further up, by tipping our hand on delivery platform preparation. The entire IA effort post-Kargil has been to increase the space for conventional conflict and this would seem to run counter to that.

At least, that's what I think and am open to correction.

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Postby Manne » 21 Mar 2006 21:47

SaiK,

Fear is NOT the only key nor is India's future development a lock. I must echo Arun_S and urge you to reflect a bit more.

arun,

Japan has been more or less positive about IUCNA. Our problems lie elsewhere as I keep saying.

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Postby sraj » 21 Mar 2006 23:15

India must never accept any International or IAEA seismic monitors on its soil -ever!

But what can you do about seismic monitors just across the border!

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Postby ramana » 21 Mar 2006 23:19

The US built a seismic monitoring station in Nilore, Pakistan in early 1995.

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Postby Johann » 22 Mar 2006 00:33

Arun S,

The battlefield role for American weapons is now only notional and vestigial. American 'tactical' weapons outside the SIOP are almost entirely stationed in Europe and intended to retain the American link to NATO defence. They provide a political, deterrent effect, warning any potential attacker that they may face American nuclear weapons. This link will be retained for as long as Europeans feel both insecure, and uninclined to spend on defence.

The real American action when it comes to 'nuclear warfighting' and low yield weapons intended for first strike counter-force against 'rogue' regimes - hitting and destroying buried and hardened WMD production and storage facilities, leadership bunkers with minimum destruction to the nation as a whole. The idea is that this posture would in itself serve a deterrent purpose, but intelligence is of course the real challenge beyond issues of penetration. If the country has presumably already weaponised, there will always be ambiguity about the ability to get all of them, or to prevent at least regional allies (eg South Korea) from being held hostage.
So it becomes really more of a (in these days asymmetrical) battle of nerves and resources, just as the competing first strike postures of the superpowers in the 1970s and 1980s were a battle of nerves and resources. It takes strong political consensus (or dictatorship depending in the system) and/or available resources to sustain that kind of competition over time.

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Postby Arun_S » 22 Mar 2006 01:50

S. Valkan wrote:'Afternoon, folks.

This is indeed a wonderful debate on this crucial topic. Thanks to all the erudite BR-Fites for the ongoing explainations of the finer points of this deal.

One thing that still rankles me is the issue about annual Presidential certification.

Doesn't this make the deal beholden to the whims of the current US administration of the time ?

What are the ramifications for the "in perpetuity" clause of IAEA safeguards if an NPA President backs out of the deal sometime in the future, and chokes the NSG supply along with it ?

What is the safety net, assuming the Thorium cycle has not yet kicked in ?

S. Valkan: Welcome to BR Forum.

I am not as concerned, due to following:

1. In the agreement India will stockpile adequate fuel to ward off disruption (E.g. say 10 years worth of rolling stock) (this provides time space to mitigate any eventuality w/o risking national economy)

2. As a reaction to Tarpaur experinece of US breaking commercial contract, India this time demanded that not only US but uncle also get signature from all its relatives to agree to this deal and sigup to provide fuel till eternity. For this purpose Bush called head of Russia/UK/France/Canada get their agreement to this before he landed in Delhi.

3. India needs the imported fuel for next 20 years, after that it is Thorium Nirvana. So why buy a more expensive insurance policy? Thus spend that political captial on stuff that is is more valuable.

Johann: Sure, America is a behemoth (as of now) and has different playfield and tactic, but for the reason you mention in the first paragraph shows that in figthing against a classical organized state army/country(that has Nuclear wepons), "nuclear warfighting" capability requires tactical nuclear weapons. That is as true & relavent for India in the Cold-start backdrop that I mentioned.

Why is it that US & Russia are decommissioning all mega-ton weapons but no such move on "tactical warheads"? That proves that it has role in current doctrine.

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Postby Johann » 22 Mar 2006 06:34

Arun S,

My point wasnt that small yield weapons have no role with the Americans (or potentially with the Indians), but that their role is changing, from *battlefield* use (eg halting an armoured thrust, or destroying a rear assembly area, or an entire air base) ie 'tactical' weapons to more flexible *strategic* weapons that keep deterrence relevant in the 21st century. Pinpoint assured destruction against a regime and its leadership and WMD assets, rather than massive assured destruction against a nation as a whole.

Tactical weapons have been very significantly reduced by both the Americans ans the Russians, in fact whole classes of them have been removed from the active arsenal. However because they were seen as separate from the architecture of MAD and national power, unlike intermediate and long range weapons there was no need for a carefully negotiated maintenance of parity. Reductions were unilaterally rather than bilaterally made. Tactical weapons however do continue to play a significant role in Russian plans to defend against an invasion, particularly after Kosovo.

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Postby Arun_S » 22 Mar 2006 08:23

Johann,

Yes US has a forward-defense policy. India does not. Although who amongst us does not want India to have a forward defense policy. Thus I understand what you are saying w.r.t. USA.

All that I am submitting that that India requires all escalatory options to nagate Pakistani option to raise the nuclear flashpoint threat & card when India excercised its Cold-Start option to handle next Pakistani esclation in terrorist violanace in Kashmir or other states. Abelity to wage and assuredly win nuclear warfare against the Nation of Pigs is required to take air out of Puki bogy of threatening use of nuclear weapons even if their existance is not at stake and they can willfully claim the red-line is as low as ant crossing the border from Indian side.

This a flexible response option that is hugely escalatory but not yet fullfilling their annhilation death-wish. That is where the 15Kt does not play a role; Sub-Kt does. Not saying that Sub-kt cant be used in a strategic setting to make corpes of Corp Commanders.

Very similar to Russians ...

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Postby Johann » 22 Mar 2006 09:06

Arun,

OK, so you arent talking about a battlefield role for Indian sub-kt weapons. More of an assured weapon of retaliation focussed on the PA leadership (this actually brings up the intelligence challenge that I talked about). I would agree that is the 'sub-strategic' model that the UK, France and the US are moving towards, although not necessarily sub-kt.

Where do you see the advantage of such low-yield weapons over conventional weapons in a retaliatory role? As opposed to say a neutron bomb?

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Postby SaiK » 22 Mar 2006 09:26

has unkill tested neutron bombs, how do they measure the area of kill v/s Kilo Tonnes. will a neutron bomb say droped in a bordering puki city, affect on our side? can neutron bombs be used for against regiments and battalions during a war [any legal issues like the geneva convention for use of chemical weapons and blinding lasers]? is it okay to be used against terrorist camps and hide outs?

of course, the inverse of using neutron bombs against the concept of humane thinking gets beaten when we use the word "pakis". something, in humane creeps in, when they go erratic with A, M and K words, holding nuclear weapons in their hands.

finally, but not the least, will it provoke an outrage against us, if we use neutron bombs on pakis, like how japs pride were ended by the now sole super pariahns.
===

PS: would neutron bombs be effective against NBC shields and armours? how much of paki battalion is equipped with such plastic shields?

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Postby Calvin » 22 Mar 2006 09:38

Cold Start is intended to expand the window of conventional warfighting below the nuclear threshold.

War gaming the above, the Indian position of having only one card in hand; that of exercising DND and mounting a full annihilatory counter strike, severely limits Indian hand. India has to have all options available to exercise an option most suitable (at that time) to achieve the objectives.


It is not clear why exercising a countervalue response to a battlefield nuclear strike is "limiting", and secondly, it is not clear that a battlefield nuclear riposte has any deterrent value to a Pakistani leadership.

0.2Kt weapon ensures little collateral damage, thus a morally sustainable war fighting means


A 0.2kT weapon has a kill radius of around 0.5km. Given population densities, which will probably kill 10,000+ in the vicinity of GHQ.

With low yield and precision, that just upped the ante to Puki commanders, testing/daring them show balls to go next step (to warning shot) and nuke an Indian city, knowing by that time fully well that Indian response will be well calibrated and will take out say 10 puki cities for each Puki nuke on Indian city? OR call it quits with Cold Start formation path already cleaned up by those tactical nukes on formations opposing it.


This is the same argument that every escalationist puts forth. If the Pakistanis are going to be deterred after a tactical nuclear weapon riposte, they will be deterred even *more* by a countervalue riposte. Why do you want to risk 100,000+ Indian deaths before responding?

The world recognizes the right of countervalue response to a nuclear attack. What do we gain by even playing the game of escalation?

Last summer military exercise in Rajesthan tested Cold-Start doctrine. It is documented to have war gamed Pakis attacking the formation with few nukes. That did not stop the war excercise. So one can envision how did it continue forward?


Vajra Shakti demonstrated the ability to fight in an NBC environment. This does not imply acceptance of an escalatory ladder, it merely deters a Pakistani battlefield nuclear strike.

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Postby Arun_S » 22 Mar 2006 10:04

Johann,
Firstly its not just pretend, but full seriousness to follow the esclatory path to conclusive end, if for any reason Islamic Republic Leadership first uses Nukes on Indian defense force without large collatral damage.

Irrespective Cold-Start or some thing else. Irresptive it is IA formation in desert or naval-ship or airbase.

Limited or warning first strike on India will at Indian option invite either annhilatory destruction of all population centers of Paki-satan, or calibrated destruction of vital Paki formations, leaving no opposing formation standing against Cold-Strike penetration. Can it be done by convetional wepaons, not that I can think of in Indian setting.


Where do you see the advantage of such low-yield weapons over conventional weapons in a retaliatory role? As opposed to say a neutron bomb?
Beastly vengence and terror in the heart of the Pure Pigs. Secondly there is no intention to keep intact enemy assets with the intention to steal or occupy.

Added Later: BTW Blast radius of Neutron weapon is more than Low Yield Tactical weapon. The only area it is better to Low Yield tactical weapon is effectiveness against men inside armoured vehicle that are otherwise almost completely immune to blast effect of tactical nukes unless it takes direct nuke hit just few meters away .
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Postby Arun_S » 22 Mar 2006 10:16

Calvin wrote:A 0.2kT weapon has a kill radius of around 0.5km. Given population densities, which will probably kill 10,000+ in the vicinity of GHQ

1. Not all weapons are launched for maximum kill radius. Burst below optimum altitude give a reduced and controlled destruction radius. That addresses the GHQ issue.
2. OTOH 500-1000 meter radius is eminently effective against troop concentration manuvere just before attack and military garrison.

Vajra Shakti demonstrated the ability to fight in an NBC environment. This does not imply acceptance of an escalatory ladder, it merely deters a Pakistani battlefield nuclear strike.
Prey how? without an escalatory counter battlefield nuclear strike?

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Postby Tapasvi » 22 Mar 2006 14:40

there wont be any second strike in a nuclear war with Pak. and we have to make sure that we are much ahead of TSP in detecting possible strike chance and not to take our NO FIRST STRIKE rhetoric seriously. we cant let them strike first even in worst case.

number of nukes doesnt matter. workability of a nuke matters.

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Postby JCage » 22 Mar 2006 15:07

Vajra Shakti demonstrated the ability to fight in an NBC environment. This does not imply acceptance of an escalatory ladder, it merely deters a Pakistani battlefield nuclear strike.


No it doesnt. Arun is right. NBC prep basically means that the formation may survive, which is all well & good, but those in the impact zone (bar armour) & nearby will be incinerated. In essence, NBC prep is all well & good, but its hardly deterrence. A couple of tac nuke strikes at a bridgehead can cause a lot of problems & Pak should not be under the assumption, that its defensive fortifications plus such N usage, will remain under the threshold. Since, India will have to risk massive retaliation and hop immediately to the next highest rung on the N- ladder. OTOH, if India were to react with multiple tac- N strikes against Pak formations (not near cities), the message would remain the same & an escalation to city vs city would be avoided.

Cold Start is all well & good, but what India really needs to do is beef up its SATA & Artillery. Punishing arty barrages may make much more sense than mobilizing each time around.

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Postby Johann » 22 Mar 2006 21:42

Arun,

Of course a threat has to be serious to have any value.

However if you want to employ limited nuclear retaliation on military/government HQs an urban area, and if you want to limit collateral damage, an enhanced radiation weapon will produce far less fallout. Blast effects of course depend on the altitude of detonation, but correctly set a small ER weapon would guarantee death but with minimum blast effects on buildings and minimum fallout. Also makes a great deal of sense if your troops are going to be in the area - for example if the retaliation was against the PA Corps HQ engaged with the IA formation that was nuked.

If on the other hand you want to produce a visibly ravaged building with minimal collateral damage then precision-guided conventional weapons will do the trick.

The PRC interestingly enough publicly boasted of their ability to build ER weapons in 1999, some ten years after they are believed to have tested such a design. It was almost certainly intended as a reminder to Taiwan, and perhaps the USN as well.

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Postby Johann » 23 Mar 2006 01:23

Given that decisions on retaliation (where and how much) will be in the hands of the Indian PM and Cabinet, and the roles that civilians play in shaping and determining nuclear doctrine, I would strongly suggest that this thread remain in the strategic issues forum, although separate from the July-18th centric thread.

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Postby ramana » 23 Mar 2006 01:30

Two admins have stated that this thread belongs here.

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Postby Arun_S » 23 Mar 2006 01:45

However if you want to employ limited nuclear retaliation on military/government HQs an urban area, and if you want to limit collateral damage, an enhanced radiation weapon will produce far less fallout. Blast effects of course depend on the altitude of detonation, but correctly set a small ER weapon would guarantee death but with minimum blast effects on buildings and minimum fallout. Also makes a great deal of sense if your troops are going to be in the area - for example if the retaliation was against the PA Corps HQ engaged with the IA formation that was nuked.

IMHO Lo Yield weapons will suffice. Neutron (ER) weapons can also do the job but only incrementally better, the down side is that ER yield is more than Lo Yield weapon (ER is typically 1KT or so).

I would also like to recall why US developed ER inspite of having Lo Yield wepons? Because armoured attack by superior quantity of Warsaw pact countries can't be blunted by Low Yeield weapons. Armored vehicle are very resistant to blast damage (the primary damage mode of non-ER weapons) (a tank gets knocked off only when the Lo Yield weapon expldes few yards from it). So yes ER will be better, but even then it will be no use against deep concrete bunker.

The PRC interestingly enough publicly boasted of their ability to build ER weapons in 1999, some ten years after they are believed to have tested such a design. It was almost certainly intended as a reminder to Taiwan, and perhaps the USN as well.
Prof Chidambram & Kakodkar said few times after Pok-II that India can make ER/neutron weapon. Google should be able to get that easily. FYI see this

'Neutron bomb capability exists'

http://twr.mobrien.com/twr/neutron-bomb.htm

http://www.tribuneindia.com/1999/99aug17/head2.htm

http://cndyorks.gn.apc.org/news/articles/asia/NBOMB.HTM

http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1601/16010840.htm

http://www.saag.org/papers5/paper451.html

http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pI ... 17005.html

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Postby Johann » 23 Mar 2006 02:17

Arun,

Thanks for the references to Chidambaram and Kakodkar's statements.

US interest in ER battlefield weapons had a lot to do with deep German unease over the fallout from the sheer number of 'tactical' weapons that would be needed to stop a Warsaw Pact armoured thrust. They would have had to destroy West Germany in order to save it. Fallout would have made the place uninhabitable for generations, and dispersal would affect a much wider area.

ER weapons were seen as a way to bypass this dilemma. They offered tactical advantages as well in terms of reducing time limits and decontamination requirements for counter-offensives by conventional forces.

The decrease in interest in ER weapons during the 1980s and 1990s came along with the reduction of tensions in Europe, and the diminishing interest in battlefield weapons.

In the world we are heading towards ER has value when striking leadership targets. If you need to kill all the people in a bunker or building more than you need to smash up its contents, then ER is the weapon for you. Remember, the radiation kill radius for ER is significantly larger than its lethal blast radius. Thats the whole point. The reduction in blast effects is one of the major reasons why its much 'cleaner' in terms of fallout. Incendiary effect is also much more limited.

There is also the possibility of directionally channeling the ER output from the weapon.

So it makes more sense for certain categories of targets - leadership/personnel in a dense urban setting, and in bunkers too deep to guarantee destruction. Obviously its not appropriate if you need to physically smash something, such as say, a bunker with chemical weapons.
Last edited by Johann on 23 Mar 2006 08:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby JCage » 23 Mar 2006 07:55

Sorry to introduce a tangent here- but:

At times, the escalation vs de-escalation bit appears to be a fair amount of guesswork , bluffmanship (dunno if the word exists) & voodoo science. Ie, you have to assume the other side will react rationally to an escalation & seek deescalatory measures or values human life to some degree. Faced with some Ahmedijinad type in Pak leadership who is not reigned in- miscalculations can be horrendous.

IMHO, Parakram didnt translate into an actual war because of this idea being "sold" to the US, who promptly used economic muscle and carrots (stick on Paki jihad, plus forced Mushy to give guarantee on stopping infiltration).

So is the western state dynamic really applicable to India, when both states are neighbours and the Pakis are fricking insane (constant support of terrorist attacks in India, always pushing India)..

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Postby Arun_S » 23 Mar 2006 08:16

Johann: I agree.

I would like to submit few other considerations:

1. If two weapons do a job, pickup one that is tested, cheap, small and less complex (in that order).

2. Losing is as much a mental state than just physical state. Breaking the enemy nation's (not just military) will to fight and cower them to surrender and humiliation is critical for Pakistan; a nation that is built on false pride, and expansive ego, at the expense of everything else. There is no reformation school for that.

3. Everyone now knows that the core and apex of Pakistan is military and only military. Its total destruction is the only ray of hope for peace. That distruction must be explicitly visibile and frightful for those few that survive for their own sins. It is foolish to say that people are innocent and only army was the devil who took over the inncent lamb (people). Nation is the atomic whole. As we say "In a flour mill the "Ghun" (worm) is pulversied along with the wheat". No pity or consideration. For the base/foundation of the military is willing and supporting people. Did anyone ever hear of mass rebellion & protest in Pakistan against ruling military? Case closed.

Cold-start is mearly a means to rein in (control) Pakistani apex, not to change it for the better or eradicate the problem. First use of nuke weapon by Pakistan is a GOLDEN opportunity to eradicate the problem, and will not missed.

General Padmanabhan and Defense Minister George Fernandes, just spoke what is understood but unspoken by Indian military and defense establishment. What they spoke is no different from above.

4. RE weapons are 2 stage thermonuclear weapons. Thus scaling their yield to very low level matching tactical low yield weapons is tricky. Thus in terms of physical size ER are much larger than puny S-3 style weapon. India should of course make medium/big ER to sanatize the pig-pen.

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Postby Anoop » 23 Mar 2006 09:39

Here's a question for advocates of battlefield nuclear use: Do they think that the PA does not find India's threat of assured and disproportionate second strike credible?

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Postby Raj Malhotra » 23 Mar 2006 09:48

Arun_S

Regarding the subK tests by India, it would be interesting to study the neutron devices build by US over a period of time.

Some of the devices of same basic design could range from 0.1kt to 100kt.

Also testing of tactical neutron devices mean creating fusion at threshold limits which should be scientifically quite challenging.


So my interpretation of Indian SubK tests is:-

They were “weaponised designsâ€

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Postby shiv » 23 Mar 2006 15:09

Neshant wrote:
US has conducted over 1000 tests overall if I'm not mistaken. I've heard it said that that amounts to 1 test every 17 days since they first tested the bomb. Its quite a staggering number. After a while, they would not have needed to test due to the confidence factor in the design of their weapons.

India on the other hand barely has any test history to go on.


I can't argue against a personal opinion, but I do know that Chiambaram in a talk at the IISc showed a graph of increasing computing power versus numbers of tests conducted.

As computer number cunching power increased the number of tests conducted by the US (and the USSR) went down.

Chidambaram said that powerful simulations can be done easily with adequate computing power. Only a few tests are neede to validate the simulations. The actual graph and the content of his talk exist on the net somewhere - but I was unable to locate them - I have lost the url and may have the paper preseved in my own archives.

Besides - no matter how many tests you do of failproof U 235 "gun" designs, it gives little information on Plutonium designs or fusion reactions.

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Postby krishnan » 23 Mar 2006 16:16

I estimate that India possessed a stock of about 370 kilograms of weapon-grade plutonium by the end of 1997, generated by the Cirus and Dhruva reactors. Assuming the use of about five kilograms of plutonium per weapon, this was the equivalent of about 74 nuclear weapons, of which about 40 could come from Dhruva plutonium.

Although Cirus plutonium has probably been mixed with Dhruva plutonium in the past, it may not be once Cirus restarts in a few years.

If the estimated current growth of India's plutonium stockpile is based on Dhruva plutonium alone, then the supply should grow by about 20 kilograms per year. This amount corresponds to four nuclear weapons per year. At that rate, in 2005 India would be expected to have enough weapon-grade plutonium for more than 100 nuclear weapons.


http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php? ... 98albright


Old article

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Postby krishnan » 23 Mar 2006 16:22

Dunno whether this is already posted

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/India/I ... ShaktiIV_V

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Postby Arun_S » 23 Mar 2006 21:38

shiv wrote:I can't argue against a personal opinion, but I do know that Chiambaram in a talk at the IISc showed a graph of increasing computing power versus numbers of tests conducted.

As computer number cunching power increased the number of tests conducted by the US (and the USSR) went down.

Chidambaram said that powerful simulations can be done easily with adequate computing power. Only a few tests are neede to validate the simulations. The actual graph and the content of his talk exist on the net somewhere - but I was unable to locate them - I have lost the url and may have the paper preseved in my own archives.

You mean this graph from the SAAG link I listed above?

http://www.saag.org/papers5/paper451.html
Paper no. 451 04. 05.2002
THE MAY 1998 POKHRAN TESTS: Scientific Aspects by R. Chidambaram


Image

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Postby Johann » 23 Mar 2006 22:53

Arun,

I understand what you are saying - you are describing an Indian 'flexible response' posture that offers retaliatory options other than MAD, but which is not necessarily based on battlefield employment.

However fallout is a serious issue, especially given that Punjab is India's bread basket. Additionally in the aftermath India may have occupation duties and seek friendship with the Balochis, Sindhis, etc.

Using the cleanest possible weapons is very much in India's interest, and has the side effect of making deterrence even more credible.

If ER weapons produce the desired effects with less fallout, I would argue that they ought to become the basis of arsenal, at least when dealing with Pakistan, and any other close neighbours.

Obviously not an issue when it comes to what is aimed at Beijing.


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