Casting doubt on Indian nuclear weapon designs and yields

Chandi Prasaad
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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 02:57

Sanjay wrote:Now, you are correct regarding the fact we need to look at the veracity of his concerns and the answer really is to look at the subsequent scientific articles and would suggest doing so before saying his comments are accurate.

His concerns were debated - though of course not specifically naming him - and his arguments rebutted.

Please enlighten us on where his arguments are rebutted?

But again, read the articles - infact a phenomenal one cowritten by our very own Ramana is on the BRM.

Ask Mr Ramana now. I see his position is different now.

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Postby Sanjay » 23 May 2008 03:04

Chandi, I don't see Ramana changing anything regarding the yields.

For the articles - check the articles they are extensively cited in the BRM piece:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/I ... amana.html

Here are some other links relating to the scientific debate - I am pulling these from my archives I do not know if the links still work:

http://www.iisc.ernet.in/currsci/nov102000/contents.htm.

http://www.barc.ernet.in/webpages/lette ... etter.html.

http://www.iisc.ernet.in/~currsci/dec25 ... cles23.htm.

And: S.K. Sikka, Falguni Roy, G.J. Nair. 1998. "Indian Explosions of 11 May 1998: An Analysis of Global Seismic Body Wave Magnitude Estimates", Current Science 75, no. 5, 10 September 1998, pg. 491


What I do see is a concern that we all have that S-1 was really intended to achieve 200kT.

However, we are all basing this on shaft depth analysis at present.

Please look at this site and the depth/yields used:

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Nevada.html

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 03:07

Sanjay wrote:To throw the cat among the pigeons, General Sundarji believed that any Indian nuclear deterrent would be based around fission and boosted-fission weapons with yields from 20KT to 150KT. Check out his Blind Men of Hindoostan.

Sunderji was cracking open the door to nuclear India, and had his own constrain to come to a solution that was relavant at that time when he was alive. Times has moved on and this is different India, different role, threats/countries and constrain. You wish to freeze India in history as if nothing has changed since then? No can do.

BTW who is carrying Gen Sunderjee's role now? Let us ask him?

I hope you see the problem.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 03:09

Sanjay wrote:Chandi, I don't see Ramana changing anything regarding the yields.

For the articles - check the articles they are extensively cited in the BRM piece:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/I ... amana.html

Here are some other links relating to the scientific debate - I am pulling these from my archives I do not know if the links still work:

http://www.iisc.ernet.in/currsci/nov102000/contents.htm.

http://www.barc.ernet.in/webpages/lette ... etter.html.

http://www.iisc.ernet.in/~currsci/dec25 ... cles23.htm.

And: S.K. Sikka, Falguni Roy, G.J. Nair. 1998. "Indian Explosions of 11 May 1998: An Analysis of Global Seismic Body Wave Magnitude Estimates", Current Science 75, no. 5, 10 September 1998, pg. 491


What I do see is a concern that we all have that S-1 was really intended to achieve 200kT.

However, we are all basing this on shaft depth analysis at present.

Please look at this site and the depth/yields used:

http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Nevada.html

Sir I have read them all and many others to arrive at my considered position.

From his posts I do see Ramana's changing position.

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Postby Sanjay » 23 May 2008 03:15

Chandi, SFC knows a lot more than it lets on at present and has established a decent liason with BARC and DRDO.

You are entitled to your position. I just happen to disagree based on similar or different research.

Sundarji's role is harder to fill and more important to fill. He used to think. He never believed a deterrent should be static.

20-150kT boosted fission and fission is fine for phase 1 of a deterrent but what about later down the road ?

Let's even accept that S-1 was a 45KT TN weapon and worked - not far fetched at all - but even that capability while significant is very modest.

We are all barking up the wrong tree to some extent complaining about BARC lying and deception and shaft-depth etc etc.

What we have not looked at is at best we are left with a TN weapon weighing 500kg for a 200KT yield - that's really very large and a significant limiting factor. Look at the very large payloads of Agni and Prithvi - 500-1000kg is standard (for large fission or 200KT boosted fission weapons). This dramatically restricts our ability to consider MIRVs etc.

BARC lacks the simulation facilities and test data to reduce the size of that TN weapon. The approach has to be two fold - improve simulation facilities and consider an eventual resumption of testing.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 03:20

Sanjay wrote:Chandi, I don't see Ramana changing anything regarding the yields.

For the articles - check the articles they are extensively cited in the BRM piece:

http://www.bharat-rakshak.com/MONITOR/I ... amana.html


The foundation of this article written ions ago with limited data by Ramana, Matt & V Sunder, is ripped apart by this post by V Sunder in the last incarnation of this topic.

vsunder wrote:Here we go. Schooner a PNE was emplaced at the SAME depth as POK-1,
and was 35kt. Sedan a PNE was emplaced at 194m and was 100kt.
Off course as Arun_S points out coupling is a factor and one can only compare apples to apples etc etc... Since POK-1 was a declared PNE
a comparison can be made with Schooner that was emplaced at 108m.
I am using the tables that accompany my article in the Monitor and which in turn are taken from Toman's paper presented to the IAEA, in fact the table is a scan of the relevant pages from Toman's note. So indeed POK-1 had a very high design yield, that is now very amply clear. The work of Toman, the Chinese tests and many other factors.


vsunder wrote:Gerard: Several points.

(a) Surely you agree PNE's should be compared with PNE's. Indians were well aware of PNE tests in the USA having witnessed them in Nevada first hand. One time googling came up with names long ago. So much for Venn diagrams. POK-1 was a declared PNE is it not?
So why should one not compare it with another PNE shot like Schooner.
Are you suggesting Schooner vented, they why would Toman use it on his curve? I mean if it was not contained what then would you assign as a value for a crater radius? So I am completely lost with what you wrote. But Toman/ Nordyke has assigned a value and it has a spot on the curve clearly marked.

(b) However, here is the caution. Schooner was emplaced in hard rock, see its position in the Toman curve that accompanies my article. So in dry hard rock the curves predict a smaller crater for the same depth and same yield. So now what is the story in POK. Well read what I write about what RC said in IISc, the situation he said is close to NTS, from what he said I took it to be 75 y^1/3.4 etc etc. Thus maybe one may have to put
something less than 35kt, but surely putting 10kt is wasting resources, digging a 109 m shaft and maintaining it for water logging etc. Water logging was a problem as is clear from reading WOP. Also RC did say for S-2 there was no good crater because of granite strata so the situation is close to hard rock and less alluvium. So one can say with confidence that the POK-1 shaft could take 25kt for sure in a PNE type shot and even more for a non-PNE shot. So yes if you arrange for less coupling and less PNE effects then surely you can emplace bigger yield devices. Unless I am missing a point I dont understand your comment. Yes Sedan and Schooner moved earth but if you arrange for the shot to move less earth then can you not increase the yield? POK-1 was put into a L shaped shaft and maybe a larger chamber.

(c) As far as S-2 I dont know honestly. Could it be a smaller shaft ?
Not having two huge tests; a massive S-1 and another massive S-2 could damage the sub-kt shafts for the next day, damage Khetolai who knows.
Could it be conservatism, here is what has been weaponized, that has the right size and weight to put on a Prithvi the basic missile(not Agni yet remember) and prove it to the army it all works. No fancy gimmicks etc.
What if something new was tried and it fizzled then the army has a real problem. No such issue was there in POK-1 it was not weaponized and the idea was to get a bang and use the PNE figleaf. They should have gone for broke. Look I dont know.

I stop here I am in a dangerous zone, my post count is going up Admins can I remain a TRAINEE forever. Seems I havent much to say. My aim is to be <100 posts in 10 years!!


Based on the above and applying the same logic and argument in the original BRM paper will now show that the yield was between 25 and 35kt. The truth somewhere in between.

--- Added later-----
That takes the crutches away for good from the belief on this forum that proven yield of Indian TN is 45kt.

Now that number for TN weapon drops to a little more modest 30kT.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 03:25

Sanjay wrote:Chandi, SFC knows a lot more than it lets on at presen

Anything to substantiate it?

As far as I know SFC has heart burn with current options.

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Postby Sanjay » 23 May 2008 03:34

Anything to substantiate your claim of SFC heartburn ?

We seem to be shadow boxing on that point.

You are entitled to the 25-35KT claim - and I will neither accept nor reject it because I said the same thing in 2000.

Do we really have much more information than then ?

The shaft-depth conclusions need to be re-examined. The US data has given me pause for thought.

You seem to be under a misapprehension that I have a firm position regarding yield etc. Frankly I don't - not on the basis on what I know at present.

I will not comment on V Sunder's analysis save to say I am privy to it in substantially greater detail and generally agree with the concept. It is the extrapolation to the conclusion I have concerns over ( I am not saying he's right or wrong).

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 04:02

Sanjay wrote:Anything to substantiate your claim of SFC heartburn ?

We seem to be shadow boxing on that point.

Exactly.
It was a rhetorical response. I cant substantiate it without compromising my source, just as much as you perhaps. So let us keep out non-public domain information.

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Postby Sanjay » 23 May 2008 04:09

Actually if it is public domain info - I refer to an interview given by the CO of the SFC in late 2005 to Force Magazine in it he refered to cooperation with the "scientific community" to ensure a viable deterrent.

Remember also that there was earlier cooperation between the scientific community and the IAF for the gravity bombs leading up to the 1994 Mirage 2000 flight trials.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 04:21

Sanjay wrote:Actually if it is public domain info - I refer to an interview given by the CO of the SFC in late 2005 to Force Magazine in it he refered to cooperation with the "scientific community" to ensure a viable deterrent.

I met him few times before and after he was CO.

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Postby Sanjay » 23 May 2008 04:22

We need him to give more interviews.

At the end of the day whether or not S-1 achieved what it was supposed to, India's TN capability is still largely nascent.

Bulky fission and boosted-fission weapons are our lot for a while. That is a limiting factor on the everything - delivery systems to size of arsenal.

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 06:25

Sanjay wrote:We need him to give more interviews.

At the end of the day whether or not S-1 achieved what it was supposed to, India's TN capability is still largely nascent.

Bulky fission and boosted-fission weapons are our lot for a while. That is a limiting factor on the everything - delivery systems to size of arsenal.


This is, IMO a reasonable assumption.

If I were to descend to the level of "Oh what will our neighbors say?" (or Log kya sochenge?) I just wonder if "bulky" was not the state of the warheads in the US and USSR in the 1960s.

I have no doubt that deterrence works even with a "bulky weapon" scenario. Someone else has already pointed out the Noko example. I would add to that the example of Pakistan's deterrence value versus Iraq, or Iran's nuclear deterrence value to the US.

The whole idea of reducing the value of weapon size and yield to the question of deterrence is (in my view) as follows.

Nuclear weapons are held in inventories primarily as a symbol of the punishment one is capable of inflicting. Any adversary has to confront the reality that he, or his forces or much of his support system may get wiped out if he indulges in bravado and that bravado does not work.

The posture of "deterring" somebody can only come from
1) Possessing nuclear weapons
2) Having means to deliver them.
3) Having the ability to inflict unacceptable pain on an adversary.

This means that the mind of an adversary - i.e what he thinks of you and your weapons is an integral part of deterrence.

If the above three goals are achieved by anyone, then deterrence is working, but that does not mean that weapon designs should not be improved or perfected.

I believe that the window period for overtly testing new designs is over.Unless there is a "chance event" of a nuclear conflict that raises alarms all over the world. overt testing of huge weapons will not occur in the foreseeable future.

To my mind this poses restrictions as well as opportunities. The restrictions are fairly obvious. I believe we on BRF have spent a great deal of time thrashing out the restrictions imposed by the inability to test overtly.

I would also like to point out and talk about the opportunities. Testing is certainly being done covertly and surreptitiously in all nuclear weapons states. What is not clear is how many non NWS are doing the same thing. The other thought that occurs to me is that this forced research into small undetectable weapons is likely to lead to the development of small nuclear weapons that can then be applied into war that is considered "winnable"

IMO nuclear wars were basically unwinnable because of the pain they inflict on both sides. I must hastily point out that losing 10 cities and 25 to 50 million people while "defeating" an adversary is not, by my view "victory". These are philosophical points about which people will disagree and have already disagreed - and my intention is merely to state my view and not force it down someone else's throat.

But the development of new and small weapons probably increases heir attractiveness and this would serve as an "opportunity" presented by the inability to test overtly. What are the "national technical means" required for this?

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 06:54

shiv wrote:The whole idea of reducing the value of weapon size and yield to the question of deterrence is (in my view) as follows.

Nuclear weapons are held in inventories primarily as a symbol of the punishment one is capable of inflicting. Any adversary has to confront the reality that he, or his forces or much of his support system may get wiped out if he indulges in bravado and that bravado does not work.

The posture of "deterring" somebody can only come from
1) Possessing nuclear weapons
2) Having means to deliver them.
3) Having the ability to inflict unacceptable pain on an adversary.

This means that the mind of an adversary - i.e what he thinks of you and your weapons is an integral part of deterrence.

If the above three goals are achieved by anyone, then deterrence is working, but that does not mean that weapon designs should not be improved or perfected.

I believe that the window period for overtly testing new designs is over.Unless there is a "chance event" of a nuclear conflict that raises alarms all over the world. overt testing of huge weapons will not occur in the foreseeable future.


if the above postulation is correct it will be instructive to also think what drives China, US, Russi, France & UK to state their targets on what qty and yield quality they consider necesary to serve their deterence requirements. Indian postiure has to be meaningful and matching the likely challanger.

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 07:00

Chandi Prasaad wrote:if the above postulation is correct it will be instructive to also think what drives China, US, Russi, France & UK to state their targets on what qty and yield quality they consider necesary to serve their deterence requirements. Indian postiure has to be meaningful and matching the likely challanger.


Is there any public source information on this. For some strange reason - I am guessing that the US will have released "standards" for this, and as is usual with all standards of this type o the Russia and and the Chinese may not agree - but we will never know.

Still - it is worth seeing if anyone has said anything like "OK - for this target I need this weapon" in public.

Maybe Google uncle will help.

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Postby achy » 23 May 2008 07:36

shiv wrote:
The posture of "deterring" somebody can only come from
1) Possessing nuclear weapons
2) Having means to deliver them.
3) Having the ability to inflict unacceptable pain on an adversary.

This means that the mind of an adversary - i.e what he thinks of you and your weapons is an integral part of deterrence.


Bingo. For India with its stated NFU policy, Deterrence is the only strategic objective. Question is what proven capability forms the basis of this deterrence.

At this time, we can only say a pure fission device of 14-15 KT. TN capability of 200 KT is fairly doubtful.

shiv wrote:I believe that the window period for overtly testing new designs is over.


I think we should qualify that statement. Overt testing in near future(7-10 yrs timeframe) certainly looks improbable. But after 7-10 years, and I am stargazing here, US will be relatively in weaker position, PRC much stronger and India achieving quasi major power status, that window should force open.

India, at that point, to have deterrence of MAD capability vis-a-vis PRC and even other major pwers, must test at that time.

JMT

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 08:55

achy wrote:At this time, we can only say a pure fission device of 14-15 KT. TN capability of 200 KT is fairly doubtful.


This sets off two major streams of thought in my mind:
I will list them first and then expand.

1) I have heard from sources whom I trust that nuclear explosions are not necessarily scalable from a given design.

2) Practical deterrence postures to be adopted when one has some concerns about reliability and yield.


1) Scalability: Assuming that nuclear designs are not normally scalable, I get the idea that the true test of scalability is a series of nuclear tests to show exactly what parameters need tweaking, or even to prove that scalability may (by chance) actually work for a particular design.

We are left with two facts as I recall them (and I am willing to accept any new information that is shown to me in this connection)
a) Chidambaram claimed that S-1 is "easily scalable" up to 200 kt
b) nobody (to my knowledge) has disputed this in public. The yields have been disputed, as well as the possibility of partial burn of the secondary. It could be asumed that people might have ignored the "scalability" assertion because the test itself was only partially successful. But I don't find that credible. I you want to point out errors in what someone says it does not pay to let him off the hook on one count. So why has the scalability point not been questioned?

If true (and I may be clutching at straws here without meaning to do that), it could mean that people who have tested time and again may actually have figured out that scalability does actually work. I don;t know and I would not depend on this as useful information.

Coming to the next point:

2) Practical deterrence postures to be adopted when one has some concerns about reliability and yield.

Obviously a military commander who has a choice of warheads and targets will have to make some plans of how he can ensure beyond reasonable doubt that a particular target will be decimated. If he has a choice of "proven" 15 kt warhead and an unproven 200 kt warhead, I believe he will have to aim to use both on a given target. If both work, fine. If not , and least the 15 kt one is likely to work.

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 09:05

I really should be doing this myself - but since I have to go now - I am throwing the task open on the forum.

How many Chinese tests have been conducted? What was the yield of each of those? Of all the tests which particular yield value can be taken as indicative of a successful and reliable design that we can safely assume will work any time when launched by China.

Note that one or two megaton tests do not necessarily mean "proven", "reliable" or "scalable" unless we want to believe that it is so. But if we can attribute scalability and reliability from one or two tests for the Chinese, the same could hold true for others.

One particular piece of information that will never become public is about how many tests failed to go off in the era when nuke testing was OK. That perhaps taught more lessons than the ones that actually went off. For a given test of a particular design, what was the failure-to success ratio. What was the reliability and scalability for the Chinese?

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Postby SatishG » 23 May 2008 10:51

:idea:
1) Is it possible that every one (from India) scientists, establishment and critics (scientists who say that S1 design is a partial success/partial fizzle) are correct :?:

2) What is (could be) the actual intended design yield of S1 device before the test :?:

3) Is it possible that 45 KT was indeed achieved for S1 (2 stage thermo nuclear device) and it is indeed easily scalable to 200 KT with existing design but, (200 KT) is well below the actual full design yield :?:

4) Is it possible that the actual intended full design yield is some thing like 450 KT weapon :?:

I'm no expert but, after reading lot of threads regarding nuclear deal and nuclear weapons I got few wacky thoughts. Guru's can enlighten me further. :-?

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 11:51

shiv wrote:We are left with two facts as I recall them (and I am willing to accept any new information that is shown to me in this connection)
a) Chidambaram claimed that S-1 is "easily scalable" up to 200 kt
b) nobody (to my knowledge) has disputed this in public. The yields have been disputed, as well as the possibility of partial burn of the secondary. It could be asumed that people might have ignored the "scalability" assertion because the test itself was only partially successful. But I don't find that credible. I you want to point out errors in what someone says it does not pay to let him off the hook on one count. So why has the scalability point not been questioned?

Shiv saar THAT is the whole point! Who will bell the cat? When the Cat holds all the marbles to play? We are back to Square ONE. So I replay the previous Q&A.
Chandi Prasaad wrote:
Sanjay wrote:Chandi, Frontline and the author of that article were rabid opponents of the tests. If the gentleman in who I think it is, then there's also a personality clash, disgruntlement and career issues involved.

Subsequent to that article, numerous articles appeared in scientific journals and BARC's inhouse journal thrashing out the points in some depth. If there are issues raised, it is to those we need to look those articles and pick holes in them

But I ask this again - has anyone really successfully rebutted those articles ?

With a bar set that high, pray tell us who has till date really successfully rebutted any article(s) on Indian nuclear test/weapons?

To successfully rebutt one needs data. And all data available is from selected secretive dropping by top scientists. The rest of the world can skrimage and score browni points with those select dropping and still come to no successful rebuttal to any article. The drama akin to Dog chasing its tail. :wink:


But dare not ask these questions because one is dangerously close to questioning the Grand Ayatollah. Rule A) of opening post does not permit exploring that space. So live with your rules whereby unchallenged statement by scientific community becomes brahma satya. And that truth as propounded by RC prevails, who are we mortals to question?

If Chidambaram claimed that S-1 is "easily scalable" up to 200 kt it must be true naa. :wink:

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 12:33

people need to understand something . the nuke deal has a business context and a security context . those who are pushing for it are trying a delicate balance between the two.

the security / NPA lobby in the U.S will see itself become redundant if India is allowed to test even after signing the document. it is not the missile range of the Agni-III that the Americans are worried about , but the yield of the warheads on them. They are more than happy to have an Indian deterrent based on 20Kt weapons. because they know , it can't threaten most of their military com assets anyway. they will be more than happy if India never develops earth penetrating warheads and other EMP weapons. for validation you need either a multi-billion dollar laser ignition facility (verifies up to 93 per cent criticality) or more testing.

Contrary to what people think , the U.S is not really bothered about limiting our ICBM ranges. it's planners are okay to give India "notional deterrence " capability against itself. which is basically that "you (India) can target our population centres , but not more". So , that India has something . but not the whole deal. that's how deterrence works- you give some you try to take more.

i knew people would bring up Noko and it's doability. here again is something that is touted without realising the sum total of North Korea's situation.It is not Noko's nuclear capability which is scaring the americans . it is their total war making potential, whether 11000 tube artillery assets in range of seoul, chemical and biological weapons, special forces numbering in the 100000, the list can go on. this is no Iraq.

besides all this Noko has no oil and has the backing of China, which can intervene much more easily than it could in the case of Iraq. it is basically a hyper terrorist state . America has to keep the heat on it nevertheless, because if it doesn't then the whole of East Asia will go nuclear.

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Postby Neerajsoman » 23 May 2008 13:17

I think we may be barking up the wrong tree.

Intellectual curiosity aside, it may be in India's best interests to keep the yields of her nuclear weapons a secret.

It is common knowledge that Israel has the capacity to produce thermonuclear weapons. To test for the sake of international validity would be a strategic error. I Computer modeling has come far enough to avoid physical tests. Tests are now the tools of and rogue nations and brinkmanship. We have looked to our neighbors and the international community for self-validation for far too long!

If we are to mature as a country, we must realise the strength of secrecy. As yet, we seem to have failed on that front. It is better to let our neighbors spend resources on attempting to figure us out--why give them data on a silver plate? The nuclear deterrent is a psychological one rather than a physical one. Take Israel's example again--even if there is no conclusive evidence of nuclear capability (aside from Mordechai Vanunu's indiscretions) none of its neighbors would dare attack for fear of the mythical Jewish Bomb.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 13:32

Neerajsoman wrote:I Computer modeling has come far enough to avoid physical tests.

IIRC computer were invented and available before 1998 also. So why the need for nuclear test, or LCA test flights? So what happened to S1? Why was India on verge of testing in 2002? Surely GOI did not snatch away computers from BARC scientific community.

Computers worldwide have a bad design flaw. Put in Junk the damn computer gives out Junk that does not stand the heat of Pokhran.

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 14:05

It is common knowledge that Israel has the capacity to produce thermonuclear weapons. To test for the sake of international validity would be a strategic error. I Computer modeling has come far enough to avoid physical tests. Tests are now the tools of and rogue nations and brinkmanship. We have looked to our neighbors and the international community for self-validation for far too long!

Ever heard about the Vela incident ? Israel has tested it's weapons off the coast south Africa covertly and probably more than once . Moreover they have had continuous support from the U.S on several technological fronts. it has tested cruise missiles with dummy warheads off the coast of Srilanka as well.
If we are to mature as a country, we must realise the strength of secrecy. As yet, we seem to have failed on that front. It is better to let our neighbors spend resources on attempting to figure us out--why give them data on a silver plate? The nuclear deterrent is a psychological one rather than a physical one. Take Israel's example again--even if there is no conclusive evidence of nuclear capability (aside from Mordechai Vanunu's indiscretions) none of its neighbors would dare attack for fear of the mythical Jewish Bomb.

Total glop. israel has the capability and it's contours spread far beyond some whistle blower's statements. the Jewish bomb is not a myth neither is the Samson option. Israel will definitely use it's "mythical weapons" in the event of a consolidated Arab invasion of it's territory.



Computer modeling


it's not just "computer modelling ' that you need , but a full blown laser ignition facility and even then you only validate sub-critical paradigms.

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 14:36

the new generation of pure fusion weapons will be the only ones that are truly scaleable , radioactive fall out will be minimal allowing battlefield use . do people propose to develop this with computer modelling alone?

Obviously a military commander who has a choice of warheads and targets will have to make some plans of how he can ensure beyond reasonable doubt that a particular target will be decimated. If he has a choice of "proven" 15 kt warhead and an unproven 200 kt warhead, I believe he will have to aim to use both on a given target. If both work, fine. If not , and least the 15 kt one is likely to work.


here a scenario related to "practical deterrence" is being considered wherein deterrence has already failed. During arms limitations talks and bargaining between nation states such immaculate logic is not going to work > Moreover i can easily contend by the following hypothetical scenario



"The 15 kt warhead gets intercepted and the 200kt is a dud , then?"

Bottom line is once you have only small yield weapons the number of weapons and delivery systems also go up by a magnitude. Instead if you miniaturize 250 kt weapons and have 8 of those on a bus , the enemy is gonna be scared.


There is no point in questioning the need to test once you except that our 250 kt baby has to be "refined" . or else simply say that no it worked , it was reduced yield onlee. I mean justifying a 45kt yield doesn't help the argument in the least.
A full spectrum of weapons is required , not just low yield weapons .
Last edited by sauravjha on 23 May 2008 16:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Gerard » 23 May 2008 16:08

It is common knowledge that Israel has the capacity to produce thermonuclear weapons.


The Israeli traitor Vanunu photographed what appears to be a weapon mockup of a "sloika" type weapon (LiD surrounding a T boosted Pu core) inside Dimona. This is not a true 2 stage radiation implosion (Teller-Ulam) type TN weapon.

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 16:17

that hardly proves anything . so based on this particular photograph you are going to contend that Israel has not really mastered the daisy chain?

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 16:31

Chandi Prasaad wrote:
shiv wrote:We are left with two facts as I recall them (and I am willing to accept any new information that is shown to me in this connection)
a) Chidambaram claimed that S-1 is "easily scalable" up to 200 kt
b) nobody (to my knowledge) has disputed this in public. The yields have been disputed, as well as the possibility of partial burn of the secondary. It could be asumed that people might have ignored the "scalability" assertion because the test itself was only partially successful. But I don't find that credible. I you want to point out errors in what someone says it does not pay to let him off the hook on one count. So why has the scalability point not been questioned?

Shiv saar THAT is the whole point! Who will bell the cat? When the Cat holds all the marbles to play? We are back to Square ONE. So I replay the previous Q&A.:


But how come the Western experts are not questioning it? Surely it should be easy for me to write to any Western nuke expert and ask him if scalability is possible or not. You could do that too and then there would be someone serious questioning that statement. That way no Indian has to worry about belling any cats.

The possibility exists that Chidambaram could have been right.but we will not know until we do more tests - or drop bombs on someone. Under the circumstances this issue (of scalability) can at best be declared as unsettled one way or another.

But tests are not going to occur soon. Does that mean we give up? Or does it show any way forward? If we cannot test and we simply must have a nuclear arsenal there has to be a way out, and if one is not visible, one will have to be found.

How is the US testing?

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Postby Gerard » 23 May 2008 16:40

The Sloika is quite inefficient and heavy. Why would Israel be building such weapons (as suggested by the Dimona mockup) if they had access to more sophisticated TN designs?

Israeli capability is assumed but Indian capability is suspect?
Which nation has actually tested weapons?

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Postby shiv » 23 May 2008 16:43

Chandi Prasaad wrote:. So live with your rules whereby unchallenged statement by scientific community becomes brahma satya.


Recall that by the rules I have demanded, your statements are equally brahma satya. The credibility issue applies to all - scientific community and BRF members. Please read that post again. They get as much weight as anyone else.But they will not get more weight than anyone else.

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Postby geeth » 23 May 2008 16:50

>>>Under the circumstances this issue (of scalability) can at best be declared as unsettled one way or another.

If I have to swallow that, then I have to assume that RC pulled a fast one...how is that possible for a person of that calibre. Mind you, he is addressing the nation, which includes not just laymen like me - there will be someone knowledgeable enough to question him. So I discount the doubt that the device is NOT scalable. For all practical purposes, I assume that the device is indeed scalable. or else, all the people singing the chorus 'because of khetoli village, we deliberately reduced the yield' would have been caught with their pants down by the desi & international scientific community. Nothing of that happened. So I belive my assumption is right.

Now about the yield - the dispute for year or so after the explosion was whether the yield was in the range of 30 KT or more towards 45 KT - Even PK iyengar said that may be they got about 10% burn or so using his calculated yield of around 20-25 KT. I dont know the math, but I personally feel the questions being asked about the depth of shaft/yield etc are unnecessary.

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 17:06

The Sloika is quite inefficient and heavy. Why would Israel be building such weapons (as suggested by the Dimona mockup) if they had access to more sophisticated TN designs?

Israeli capability is assumed but Indian capability is suspect?
Which nation has actually tested weapons?


the sloika is usually the first step when you begin to make hydrogen bums. it can often be a stepping stone to building 2 stage weapons. the point is , the photograph could easily have been one of the many designs in the Israeli arsenal.


Israeli capability is assumed because Israel has access to yamrikhan resources like nobody's business. and both India and Israel have tested weapons.

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Postby Sanku » 23 May 2008 17:08

geeth wrote:If I have to swallow that, then I have to assume that RC pulled a fast one...how is that possible for a person of that calibre.


For this thread the caliber of the person making the claim does not count; only arguments do.

And RCs claims have been challenged; the onus to prove them exists purely on the basis of technical arguments.

@Sanjay; ChandiP et al -- the logic of Boosted fission working is that either of boosted fission worked in the primary of the TN either there would be zero yield from the secondary which was not the case since the yield was 45 KT > yield of boosted fission primary.

Did I understand that part correctly?

If so -- since I do not understand the math; can some one point me to a quick and dirty link (or a small explanation) which says how the Secondary needs a perfect set (and not a band) to have any yield what so ever?

Secondly till what minimum total yield of device can we make this assumption?

Thanks and sorry for dummy questions.

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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 17:13


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Postby sauravjha » 23 May 2008 17:18

look at the logic of Pokhran testing

1. the boosted primary of Shakti -I worked .
2. the primary of Shakti III , which is itself a boosted fission device worked.


Great, so 1+2 means we have a working FBF . Super , so we can all go home happy , because at least we have a FBF that worked in two different tests. yeah right .

and here some of the things the yamrikhans are doing

https://www.llnl.gov/str/Conrad.html
http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/archive/99-167.shtml

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Postby ShauryaT » 23 May 2008 18:35

Chandi Prasaad wrote:
Neerajsoman wrote:I Computer modeling has come far enough to avoid physical tests.

IIRC computer were invented and available before 1998 also. So why the need for nuclear test, or LCA test flights? So what happened to S1? Why was India on verge of testing in 2002? Surely GOI did not snatch away computers from BARC scientific community.

Computers worldwide have a bad design flaw. Put in Junk the damn computer gives out Junk that does not stand the heat of Pokhran.
I have always wondered about the veracity of this computer modeling reason. It is probably true that modern computing powers does offset, some testing requirements. The US and Russia did do 1000+ tests and the rate of tests did come down as computing power went up through the 70's and 80's. However, both of them had collected massive amounts of real test data through their testing programs, resulting in the last US test in 92.

The story does not end there. The same computing power was available to France, and they found it necessary to test right upto 1996 and so did China. Both of these parties had decades of testing experience by then. Why did they still find it necessary to test their final deployable weapon designs?

So, it is only with suspicion or with ignorance that I somehow doubt this statement that computing power alone has been a determinant to a degree that India does not, need to conduct further tests.

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Postby achy » 23 May 2008 19:52

India does not need further testing is pure bunkum. It does and It must.
As someone said, computer modelling is decidedly GIGO. At the end of the day, it is Modelling. Yes a great deal of design validation can be done using simulation, and nobody is arguing on that. But is it the end in itself ? That is the argument.

Also, Nobody is questioning the theoretical concept of Scalability. But we all know how theory gets tempered during engineering. Again, do we have technical capability to make 200 KT TN. If RC says so then I believe that we do. But do we have 200 KT TN arsenal. May be ??

Shiv, if the intent of this thread is to arrive at conclusion of what is the precise capability of India based on Pok-2, then we are not going to go anywhere. Public data is just not sufficient enough to settle the matter either way.

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Postby ShauryaT » 23 May 2008 20:41

Another thing that has been bothering me to no end, ever since Hyde came in.

As per CTBT, a nuclear test cannot attain a chain reaction and has to be less than 4 pounds of TNT for experimental purposes but as per Hyde, India is limited to 1 pound. Why this difference?

I have searched hard for the reasonings without success for over a year now, please help as it keeps bothering me.
Last edited by ShauryaT on 23 May 2008 20:42, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Chandi Prasaad » 23 May 2008 20:42

shiv wrote:But how come the Western experts are not questioning it? Surely it should be easy for me to write to any Western nuke expert and ask him if scalability is possible or not. You could do that too and then there would be someone serious questioning that statement. That way no Indian has to worry about belling any cats.

The possibility exists that Chidambaram could have been right.but we will not know until we do more tests - or drop bombs on someone. Under the circumstances this issue (of scalability) can at best be declared as unsettled one way or another.

Scaleable to 200kt claim of RC is to give an example, similar to LCA/Kaveri engine. Let us say LCA/Kaveri is designed for Mach 1.4/18kN, but during the first test only the engine starter (primary stage of TN) fired up correctly generating 200kWatt but the much boasted Kaveri turbine engine only gave 2kN thrust (against 18kN) with the afterburner ON (let us assume for the moment Kaveri has an Afterburner) (the 3rd stage of TN) with the afterburner accounting for 1.5kN thrust out of 2kN.

Now if the chief designer of Kaveri engine press conference claims that we limited the engine test at 2kN, due to safety of fuel browser that was at the posterior of the engine, and that the engine is scalable to 18kN. That is of course true because that hulk of 1000 kg metal is in principal designed for 18kN thrust, and finally when all redesigns and foreign collaboration is done will generate a thrust close to the planned 18kN. But no DDM presswalla asked the Naked Emperor how will he in the first place get Kaveri turbine to generate the 12kN pure turbine thrust before that 18kN (with Afterburner) engine can be realized? There are many rounds of sweat and agony before the turbine perform to 12kN at all altitudes and with airframe integrated before that promised land of Moses is seen by the desert wandering tribe of Israel? But this Moses promises us the honey sweet water of Jorden will be at our doorstep when we wake up next morning!

The foreign analyst did attack RC's claim that his turbine engine did not fire-up in the first place, and his castle in the sky has no foundation to support. So they treat RC's claim as wishful hot air of an idiot.

Till then India can threaten its adversary with Kiran fighter powered by the 200KWatt Jet Engine starter that was tested in the fabled Kaveri test bed. It is another question that when the Squadron commanders are ordered to go to war with Kirans in hand while the others have F18, F16, J10 and Mirage in hand how lethal short range & underpowered Kiran jet trainer will be in the glorious Indian deterrence or striking deep into an enemy armed with contemporary jets?

But tests are not going to occur soon. Does that mean we give up? Or does it show any way forward? If we cannot test and we simply must have a nuclear arsenal there has to be a way out, and if one is not visible, one will have to be found.


A credible LIF with a competent modelling team(s) to cross validate each others work is the new play field of nuclear weapon designers. But for that BARC had to change its fossilized work culture, that enables two or more weaponeer teams that are constantly reviewing and challenging each other's works. In addition this LIF + weaponeer organization can and will generate technology for next gen fission-less, pure Fusion weapons that some in the P5 are close to realizing.

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Postby Raja Ram » 23 May 2008 21:10

Interesting analogy but incorrect and not logical. There is no convincing technical argument to disaprove anything that the nuclear establishment has claimed convincingly.

Whatever is on offer so far in the thread is at best interesting logical gymnastic. Nothing so far to doubt the TN design, performance or yield. So far, there seems to be only shadow boxing and the usual allusions to "questionable integrity" of RC, AK and others.

As Adi Sankara says, if you think a rope to be a snake it does not become one and if you think a snake to be a rope .....

I am not a technical expert, but I can and do understand evidence that is available from a strategic perspective to see that the Indian capability in this area are not being doubted in the quarters that count and matter.

I will share my points later, I dont want to derail the thread with anything other than a technical discussion.


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