Future Nuclear Testing: Pros and Cons-1

ShauryaT
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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 06:56

x-post from the nuclear thread.

One would want PRC to become a friend as it would be costly to be India's enemy.
Friendships are defined in many ways. Ways to define them in this context are to have common enemies, common ideologies, maybe a common ethos/culture, as a glue. Maybe we will all be happy making gazillions of money and go to the moon to find the resources to live a wasteful lifestyle, like a beer buddy. But, all of these are far fetched, in the near/medium term.

The fact of the matter is, the Indian Republic and PRC are at best competitors, in the world we live in today. What needs to be realized here is Chou en lai was visiting India with Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai proposals, just as they were building a road through Aksai Chin –with an India sleeping at the wheels. The Indian state, had the option to build a nuclear weapon in the mid 50’s itself, by Nehru’s own admission, but decided not to do so. I will guarantee one thing, the future events of 62, 65, 71 would have been different, if the option was exercised. I am not claiming necessarily better as that would be conjecture but certainly different.

Anyways, we have our history to learn from. This history tells us that China, which did not have a border with India, till the British ruled India, were given the opportunity on a platter to extend their borders and gobble up a nation, almost the size of India, without any opposition from the only country in the world that had any reason to object. An area, which should have rightly acted as a natural buffer was a strategic loss for India. But, it did not stop there. PRC continues to support TSP, with the sole aim of keeping India locked to the sub continent. Most analysts are yet to figure out, why PRC helped TSP go nuclear? PRC’s subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) support for Bangladesh, Burma, the communists in Nepal and although at a reduced level now, direct support for Marxist and separatist groups in India are all a carefully calibrated strategy. These strategies are not of a friend. They are of an opponent, if not an enemy.

So, why would PRC not want us as a friend, as they are now in occupation of the strategic pieces of property, giving them an edge over India. India will essentially need to play the role of a challenger to the status quo, if it hopes to regain its buffer and lost territories.

Can someone assert that there will not be another leader in China, who will take the view (Mao) that there is no such historical friendship between India and China? Is there any China analyst, who can predict the future course of the Indo-China relationship?

The question is, and I am afraid, I know/fear the answer, does India see these acts and deem them to be acceptable to its ideas of India’s place in the region?

I wish you would expound on qualitative parity.


The difference in yield to weight ratios between “Thin Manâ€

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Re: Cold War , MAD , Parity are Relics not Building Blocks

Postby Prem » 05 Jun 2008 06:56

ShauryaT wrote:
Prem wrote: India dont need to throw a challenge but only to deter if challenged .
China did challenge India by gobbling Tibet and Aksai Chin and the Karakoram ranges and India did squat. So, China is sitting pretty on all it wants and moreover has TSP as a proxy. No need for China to challenge and from their perspectives, they already have all they want. i.e: India locked into a tight space in the region called South Asia, while PRC lords over in Asia and challenges the US of A. How many times do we have to learn that Military strength does not have to be at the expense of economic strength. Both reinforce each other. That is the only basis for a long lasting independent policy or else better to be part of a larger grouping.


. The many contentions we are facing now are mainly the result of political weakness caused by DIE leadership at the helm. I think our weakness is in political sphere and majoirty of our fears stem from lack of confidence in leadership .
Last edited by Prem on 05 Jun 2008 10:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby shiv » 05 Jun 2008 06:57

ShauryaT wrote:
shiv wrote:Nuclear bomb parity with China is not a pressing problem for most Indians. Relevant to our discussion, energy - with fuel or power to cook food every day is a major issue for most Indians. No Indian would disagree with the notion that we need to match or surpass China in armed might, but if asked about priority of matching China in nuclear might versus getting inexpensive energy to cook food, a large majority of Indians would choose the latter. I believe that most politicians in India are acutely clued in to this fact, petty politics aside.
If put it that way, then no doubt - no one will oppose this priority. The question is, is it really an either or?

Unfortunately the nuclear deal seems to have made it an either-or which it should not be. Nobody worried about yields until talk of the deal came up.

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Re: Cold War , MAD , Parity are Relics not Building Blocks

Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 07:01

Prem wrote: The many contentions we are facing now are mainly the result of political weakness caused by the blind men at the helm. I think our weakness is in political sphere and majoirty of our fears stem from lack of confidence in leadership .
Cannot do anything to grow that capability in the short term. Might well as grow something in our control - i.e: refine the bombs. We do not have all the time in the world. Under and Obama Presidency and a democratic ruled Congress, CTBT may well be revived and FMCT may see the light of the day. This is a high stakes game and there are no easy answers.

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Re: Cold War , MAD , Parity are Relics not Building Blocks

Postby shiv » 05 Jun 2008 07:02

Prem wrote: . The many contentions we are facing now are mainly the result of political weakness caused by the blind men at the helm. I think our weakness is in political sphere and majoirty of our fears stem from lack of confidence in leadership .


Prem I request you NOT to use purely rhetorical expressions like "blind men at the helm" but state in clear terms what you se as weakness.

This "blind men" business gives licence for "incompetent" said by someone else and "traitor" by a third person and then we have colorful descriptions but no meaning.

Please edit that out.

hanks

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Postby svinayak » 05 Jun 2008 07:06

ShauryaT wrote: PRC continues to support TSP, with the sole aim of keeping India locked to the sub continent. Most analysts are yet to figure out, why PRC helped TSP go nuclear? PRC’s subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) support for Bangladesh, Burma, the communists in Nepal and although at a reduced level now, direct support for Marxist and separatist groups in India are all a carefully calibrated strategy. These strategies are not of a friend. They are of an opponent, if not an enemy.

Most of these policies does not seem to be from one country PRC alone. It seems to be from a large groups of countries together.
This is the key to understanding India's situation

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 05 Jun 2008 07:08

OK, thanks, but here is my next problem: this seems to be coming into focus nicely.

What is so holy about demonstrating 150KT - 200KT, rather than 15KT - 20KT? If I understand correctly, 15KT was the yield of a Hiroshima or Nagasaki bum. Killed some quarter million people and destroyed two industrial cities. So these are not small weapons.

So what is more appropriate for the Indian subcontinent compared to
a) Siberian border with China
b) Europe

Density of population is much lower in these parts, and villages and tactical objectives are widely spread out. Tank invasions in those places are spread over hundreds of miles. Accordingly, to stop a massive invasion, you need massive weapons, or large numbers of them. On the India-Pak border, or even the China border, the battles are over much smaller areas, and the number of tanks or other vehicles is much smaller. Look at a map to see the spacing between villages. The collateral damage with the civilian population is far worse, with the density of population and short distances between villages. So blindly accepting 150kT as the "right number" is not right at all.

Imagine that your TNs are 150KT, and you face a Paki strike corps. Would you use the 150KT, knowing that half a million civilians will die too? Or would you be much better off with a few 15KT weapons at your disposal, to target the specific regions where the tanks are coming?

Once we are past this, then, we see that the Indian deterrent is really complete. The 15-20KT weapons deter land invasions. The 45KT thingies guarantee massive retaliation that will wipe out C^3 centers, major cities, and industrial centers. And these are all small enough to fit on the missiles India has, plus they don't take immense amounts of fissile material.
**************************

Now for the idea in the French article that big nuke mijjiles deter war. This is disproved since long ago:

a) Falklands war: No one believed that the British would vaporize Buenos Aires
b) Sierra Leone, Algeria, Congo: The French did not nuke those who tortured their citizens.

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 07:09

shiv wrote:
ShauryaT wrote:If put it that way, then no doubt - no one will oppose this priority. The question is, is it really an either or?

Unfortunately the nuclear deal seems to have made it an either-or which it should not be. Nobody worried about yields until talk of the deal came up.
I will readily admit to the last part, that I had absolutely no clue about nuclear yields till this deal came up. I have looked at this question hard, if it is an either-or but am not convinced that the nuclear deal is the best option on the table for energy and concluded, it is far from either-or.

One of the unfinished tasks of the NDA regime was a comrehensive energy policy that the UPA have not done but lunged for the nuclear deal. They should have finalized the Iran project a long time ago.

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 07:20

enqyoob wrote:Once we are past this, then, we see that the Indian deterrent is really complete. The 15-20KT weapons deter land invasions. The 45KT thingies guarantee massive retaliation that will wipe out C^3 centers, major cities, and industrial centers. And these are all small enough to fit on the missiles India has, plus they don't take immense amounts of fissile material.
**************************

Wow, a complete nuclear strategy for India. I am sure, the 45KT test was by design as demanded by the users to fit our nuclear strategy?

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Postby shiv » 05 Jun 2008 07:40

ShauryaT wrote: if it is an either-or but am not convinced that the nuclear deal is the best option on the table for energy and concluded, it is far from either-or.


Fair enough. If you say so. This was the impression I had long ago - but I never thought about it further and merely read the forceful opinions on the forum

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 05 Jun 2008 07:42

Wow, a complete nuclear strategy for India. I am sure, the 45KT test was by design as demanded by the users to fit our nuclear strategy?


Thanks! Glad to be of help reasoning these things out. 8)

May or may not be exactly by design, but can you show evidence that it was NOT the right figure for India except that others use 150kT?

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 07:51

shiv wrote:
ShauryaT wrote: if it is an either-or but am not convinced that the nuclear deal is the best option on the table for energy and concluded, it is far from either-or.


Fair enough. If you say so. This was the impression I had long ago - but I never thought about it further and merely read the forceful opinions on the forum
This is what clinched it for me. FWIW:


[quote]
The way out
Yes, energy is an important objective. Yes, good relations with the US are important. One possible source was cooperation with the US in this field. But that cooperation, evidently, comes with an unacceptable price tag. Stop looking to this deal as the key to better Indo-American relations. Stop looking to Americans for nuclear energy. Stop looking to nuclear energy as a significant component of our electricity supplies.
This last factor — looking to atomic power as a major component of our electricity supplies in the future — has been the strategic flaw which has landed us in this quicksand. The sequence of the government’s reasoning has been:
• We need huge quantities of energy.
• Nuclear energy has to supply 35,000 megawatts of what we need — against the 3,500 megawatts it supplies today.
• While we have the requisite reserves of natural uranium, we are not able to get enough of it out of the ground for the reactors.
• Hence, the operating/plant-load factors of all the reactors have been falling since 2000. Therefore, we need imported uranium.
• Therefore, we need this agreement.
• Therefore, we have to accept the conditions that go with this agreement.
Now, it is true that with the quantities of uranium that we are currently mining and milling, we cannot pursue both — that order of power generation as well as our weapons programme — simultaneously. If for electricity one uses X amount of uranium, I was instructed, for weapons, one needs 7X. That is why we have had to come to two decisions:
• Limit the weapons programme.
• Go in for imported uranium fuel — whatever the conditions attached to securing it.

The way out is six-fold
First, as far as nuclear reactors are concerned, look to them principally for our weapons programme, not for electricity — for we do have other ways of securing electricity, but we do not have other routes to nuclear weapons.

Second, for energy look to other clean sources. For instance, clean coal; methane through coal; most important, hydroelectric power. I remember studies that have been done about the enormous potential for the latter in just the Northeast. The 5-6 stage Dihang-Subhansiri project itself has the capacity to generate 22,000 megawatts. NHPC is now executing one part of it, and this alone will generate close to 2,000 megawatts. I remember how for a decade the Dibang project had been languishing with the Brahmaputra Board; that board was almost comatose, in any event it did not have in its charter the authority to raise money for projects; we strove to get it transferred to NHPC; NHPC is now executing the project; even this project has the capacity to generate 3,800 megawatts... This is the route to energy self-sufficiency, to energy security. We have the technology. We can fabricate the turbines and ancillary equipment right here. The projects will generate jobs in the numbers that we need.
Third, intensify uranium mining and milling. A myth has been spread by interested parties as well as by those who have not been able to get the irritants out of the way, that we do not have adequate natural uranium. A good corrective to such propaganda is an excellent study done by none other than Ashley Tellis, one of the architects of this very nuclear deal, and one of its most persuasive advocates.
Entitled Atoms for War? it shows that we have much more than enough of uranium. (The study can be downloaded from www.carnegieendowment.org/publications). Tellis notes that India is widely acknowledged to have reserves of 78,000 metric tons of uranium — some estimates put the figure higher. Using the most optimistic plant-load factors, he calculates that all the reactors currently in operation as well as those that are under construction and the weapons programme over the entire lifetime of these plants will require 14,640 to 14,790 metric tons of uranium. He shows, next, that if the eight reactors that India has declared it will use for military purposes were to allocate a quarter of their cores for the production of weapons-grade material, the total amount of natural uranium that would be needed to run these facilities for the remaining duration of their lives would be between 19,965 to 29,124 tons. Finally, the fuel required to run over their entire life cycle the two research reactors that are used for producing weapons-grade plutonium will be 938 to 1,088 tons. The two last steps would yield India 12,135 to 13,370 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium. This would be sufficient to increase our arsenal by 2,023 to 2,228 nuclear weapons. The total uranium required to run over their entire lifetime all these facilities, would thus use up just a third to one-half of the uranium deposits that are already known to exist.

Tellis writes that the present shortage of uranium is “a temporary aberrationâ€

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 08:01

enqyoob wrote:
Wow, a complete nuclear strategy for India. I am sure, the 45KT test was by design as demanded by the users to fit our nuclear strategy?


Thanks! Glad to be of help reasoning these things out. 8)

May or may not be exactly by design, but can you show evidence that it was NOT the right figure for India except that others use 150kT?
Who am I to provide this evidence? Deterrence is in the eye of the beholder. Perception plays an important part in it. There are generals and admirals and NSAB board members, who have spoken on the issue. The information is out there for all of us to read. I just finished Raja Menon's old book on nuclear strategy for India, but there are many others, who have spoken.

N^3, we have gone this route before and our world views simply do not meet, for now, and your argumentative skills are way superior to mine. So, I will let it be. :)

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 05 Jun 2008 08:16

Hey, you can't escape that way when all I've asked is to see the evidence. Per the postor above, the 1998 tests were OK, except that we didn't get to 150-200KT with TNs. I am asking why TNs for the Indian border should be 150-200 and not 15-20KT. It's not enough to say "Sab log 150KT hee banthe hai". The terrain and population density are very different, so why would Indian designers go for weapons that are so large in yield that no Indian commander would use them, knowing the collateral damage? Instead, thousands of Indian soldiers would die needlessly, when the presence of 15KT weapons would deter the Pakis or whoever.

Ppl here keep harping on the peacenikness of Nehru etc., but you have to remember that the Indian Army's record must be taken into account as well. Remember that 100+ soldiers died needlessly in rushing the Golden Temple, because they had to take off their boots, and go in respectfully etc,. into machinegun fire from the *&^& terrorists? Any other military would have first turned the terrorist hideout into a nice flat parking lot. At cost of zero lives of the good guys.

Also, Indian Army in 1965 hung around outside Lahore and Sialkot instead of razing them and going straight across the ruins. If these cities had been made to surrender, the 1965 war would have ended in rout for the Pakis. But 100,000 civilian Pakis would have been shaheed.

Kargil war- Indian Army were ordered not to cut across into POK.Before that, the western media coolly reported how there were only burned-out ruins of houses on the INDIAN side of the LOC - but across on the other side, the houses were pucca and right up against the border, with Pak Army terrorists wearing burkhas with their boots showing, coolly strolling around in daytime, to come out and murder civilians across the LOC at night. Farmers were farming, kids were playing in the fields. When asked if they weren't afraid of the Indians on the heights, they were quoted as saying (this was ABC, I think, not Indian media):
Indian soldiers don't shoot at women, children and farmers


So enemy planners must have a good handle on what Indian commanders will do - they will bravely go their deaths rather than sit back and clear safe fields by blasting all the civilians in the way. This is why 15kT weapons are much better for India than 200kT weapons.

I do agree on one thing: becoming dependent on imported uranium would be a horrible mistake. The price is going through the roof. But here's another argument:

We have struggled under the discrimination and "sanctions" for 34 years, and apparently all we've managed are a few crude designs (according to the Test Now! school of thought). What makes these folks think that suddenly the Indian nuke weapon development establishment is going to start outpacing the Chinese and US and all other P-5 development labs, cranking out perfectly reliable weapons within a few years? I mean, given that the first test will bring all the sanctions down on us again...

So I will still maintain (but only because I have not seen evidence that I can understand, to the contrary) that the wise course is to NOT do any live tests, just don't even mention the issue, until we have boosted our R&D and domestic industry to where we CAN do fast-paced R&D on new clear weapons.
Last edited by enqyoobOLD on 05 Jun 2008 08:35, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Gerard » 05 Jun 2008 08:35

For now a FBF 150 kt bum is ok. Why rock the boat for another 50 kt (200 kt TN) ?


Perhaps not even that.

~100 kt seems to be the choice for the UK, France, China, the US Navy (W76 - majority of its warheads) and the Russian Navy (the RSM59 Bulava is expected to carry six 100 kt warheads, the same size as that carried by the current R39 SLBM) with new, more accurate RVs.

So the FBF and the TN will likely have the same (150kt or 100 kt) yield - no extra kt for going TN. The advantage of the TN would be size and weight - primarily relevant for MIRVs, specifically for SLBMs. So basically we are talking about the number of warheads an Indian SSBN can deliver and the total number of warheads in the Indian arsenal (FBFs use more fissile material).

So does it come down to numbers?

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Postby tejas » 05 Jun 2008 08:59

So does it come down to numbers?


I guess so. We probably don't need mirved SLBM's to deal (deter) PRC and China who combined have maybe 500 bums. We would need those to deal with Uncle who has 1000's of bums.

But unfortunately we are not in that weight class. I can't recall where but I read once that every incremental 1% iincrease in India's GDP growth rate over 7 % raises an additional 10 million people above the poverty line. Even if that is an exaggeration, the point is a small increase in GDP growth rate can make a massive difference in poverty reduction. To me the trade off is worth it.

Wait another 7-8 years and we will be in an economic and political (domestic) situation where we cannot be sanctioned.

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Postby ramana » 05 Jun 2008 09:02

Sherlock, its not what you convince yourself but the other guy. once India signs this no more test/vest. Thats what all those clauses in Hyde are for are. N^3 is arguing that the bare minimum stuff is all thats needed. Atleast he got that. I think you need to lurk some more.

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Postby tejas » 05 Jun 2008 09:15

Yes why all this defence/wefence stuff.


Ramana garu I daydream all the time that defense spending in
India could be 4% of GDP rather than the current < 2%. But that just aint gonna happen. There are simply too many different groups with a tin cup in their hand demanding gov't. money.

The externalising of the cost of many commodities by the gov't. is a massive waste of resources. Has any party come out against it? I know I am shifting gears here but my hope is once a sufficient number of people are lifted above the poverty line, the gov't. will be in a position to significantly increase defense spending. Till then I am okay with an overweight 150 kt FBF bum.

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Postby satyarthi » 05 Jun 2008 09:18

Enqyoob has made some good points. And the time to test may not be now. But still I think a demonstrated TN capability is a must for India. Although we can wait a few years.

Lets assume a scenario where India would be forced to "use" its nukes. Why must we presume that such an exchange of nukes will remain confined to the high population density areas in the neighborhood?

To me it appears that a nuclear war will happen in an extreme scenario, and the likelihood of other nations getting involved could be high.

What is to say that the next nuclear exchange would not be part of a WWIII? Recalling WWII, countries with deep resources and big and better bombs enjoyed superiority. They also fought in terrains far away from their national boundaries. So, planning for a controlled nuke exchange in the neighborhood may be myopic.

It helps to be prepared for bigger capabilities. The fissile material savings and better yield to weight ratio are distinct advantages in the favor of TN over FBF. There is the added deterrent piskological value of TN capability. After all FBF can be pushed only so far. While a TN capability can be pushed to several MTs. And as we know, deterrence is primarily a mind game.

P.S. Just thought of another "philmee" possibility. Imagine a comet or an asteroid heading towards the earth. And all the P5 nuke arsenal has been spent in breaking up the beast. But yet a big chunk remains and is heading straight towards a renzdevous with Trivandrum . Only if India could spare some Suryas with few MT TNs, the world could be saved. :) :) (Please don't shoot me).

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 09:33

N^3: Not escaping, but do need to sleep now and with you in the ring, better be prepared for a full set of 12.

Two quick things: For the scenarios you are painting, I probably agree with you. However, do not agree that those are the only scenarios. Also, apart from deterrence nuclear capabilities do have strategic value, even if you do not like it. So, there is another reason for TN capability, apart from sheer deterrence.

Next, many seniors from the user community have spoken on their needs, especially post retirement. So, I will post their views, some direct but mostly veiled, out here for what its worth.

Will need some time though. Let me know, if there is no interest, will save me valuable time, searching through hard physical pages as Google will be of partial value.

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Postby disha » 05 Jun 2008 09:35

Gerard wrote:
For now a FBF 150 kt bum is ok. Why rock the boat for another 50 kt (200 kt TN) ?


Perhaps not even that.

~100 kt seems to be the choice for the UK, ...

... So basically we are talking about the number of warheads an Indian SSBN can deliver and the total number of warheads in the Indian arsenal (FBFs use more fissile material).....

So does it come down to numbers?


Not quite. There are several parameters at work here including your adversaries.

1. It is the second strike capability. Not how much you can field but the ability to successfully throw what you have fielded! It can be achieved by several bums or some bums based on how good your ATV is and how good your MIRV/Decoy capability is and how good your reach is.

2. The adversary. Put it this way, flattening entire cities of napakis with megaton bum is useless. It is just like creating empty craters. Actually we will be doing them a favor by reducing their burden!

OTOH, a teeny tiny sub-kilotons across important manufacturing and financial, energy and education hubs across lizard will put them out of business by decades. Put it this way, 2 airplanes caused Unkil to go into deep recession - what will impact of few sub-ks will be in its important city centers? There is an equation in how much productive a population is and how much impact it will cause in disrupting its "productivity".

People have been advocating that lizards do not care about their populations. It is possible. But even in tiannenmen sq. lizards used bullets and not nukes. Its capacity to digest nukes has decreased even more since.

I am all for retaining tactical/strategic independence and all for continuing cutting-edge research into LIF etc. At the same time, if there is no effective way of hiding and sending your mini-size-mega-bums with complete certainity come what may, what is the point in testing them!

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Postby ShauryaT » 05 Jun 2008 09:40

Gerard wrote:
For now a FBF 150 kt bum is ok. Why rock the boat for another 50 kt (200 kt TN) ?


Perhaps not even that.

~100 kt seems to be the choice for the UK, France, China, the US Navy (W76 - majority of its warheads) and the Russian Navy (the RSM59 Bulava is expected to carry six 100 kt warheads, the same size as that carried by the current R39 SLBM) with new, more accurate RVs.

So the FBF and the TN will likely have the same (150kt or 100 kt) yield - no extra kt for going TN. The advantage of the TN would be size and weight - primarily relevant for MIRVs, specifically for SLBMs. So basically we are talking about the number of warheads an Indian SSBN can deliver and the total number of warheads in the Indian arsenal (FBFs use more fissile material).

So does it come down to numbers?
Gerard: China will likely retain their previous capabilities, in addition to the the new ones added with 31/31a/41 and JL 2. The US main stay is 475KT. I think USSR is above 250 but less than 400, do not remember exactly now. UK and France capabilites are redundant due to the American arsenal. Most imporatant to remember is ALL of these arsenals are on TN design. Even if some of them have decided to field 100Kt war heads, as the best course of action, for now - ALL of them retain the demonstrated capability to field a MT level TN warhead. Also, ALL of them have enough maal to blow the earth 1,000,000,000 times over.

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Re: Cold War , MAD , Parity are Relics not Building Blocks

Postby Prem » 05 Jun 2008 10:13

Sorry Double Post

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Postby shiv » 05 Jun 2008 10:22

Let me be a phonograph record.

Even on this forum we are not getting agreement on testing bombs - let alone when to test. I see no possibility of this sort of issue being used to ping aam junta for opinions.

So it boils down to what someone said on this forum - a government that wants to test must just go ahead and test. The only point I can add to that is that only political will to test can cause that to happen. Political will to test cannot be conjured up easily - I did ask for suggestions - apart from actively using the media to demoralize the armed forces (an idea tat i mention only to condemn). In any case - even that might to create the political will to test seeing that only the military will be affected by sanctions (in conventional military terms) and we will once again put that secondary to the civilian economy which everyone says will thrive, testing or no testing.

The testing issue is IMO becoming a secondary matter and if India retains the right to test no matter what papers it signs - we will likely go back to the happy somnolence of 1997 to April 1998 and then June 1998 to 2008.period.

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Postby SaiK » 05 Jun 2008 17:17

shiv, imho perhaps the disagreement from various members on testing is largely due to their stance and commitment to the values established by their living economics and society. i don't think its driven out of "truth", by "heart". etc. deeply within their hearts, they would love a pucca test if they understand what it means for the security of the nation.

this is another reason, that even the politically motivated and the saffron community has to take the emotional & social route to enforce their stand, and exactly what they did after elections in 1998.

desi aaam juuuunta philosophies & sdre tolerance agenda does not fit the security model unfortunately. sometimes, too much opinion also hurts democracy, especially India's way of society setup. We need a social engineering to ensure, that tests are needed right now.

i am off the opinion, that we should re-invent the wheel on radiation weapons, especially using Th->U233. perhaps gurus can vouch that is possible and equally a larger deterrent than 200KTs.

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 05 Jun 2008 18:17

OK, thanx, Shaurya, ramana and of course shiv and everyone else. I am trying to "get" the essence of this "need to test for bigger yield" argument. So far I have failed to understand it, because in my view, deterrence is about convincing the other guy that misadventures will bring unacceptable damage.

In the Paki case, the truth is unfortunately as posted above:
Put it this way, flattening entire cities of napakis with megaton bum is useless. It is just like creating empty craters. Actually we will be doing them a favor by reducing their burden!
Their leaders share that opinion. OTOH, if we design weapons that will kill or scare away their goat population, or maybe an air-delivered anti-V1-Agra, that may be a true deterrent.

In the case of PRC, we need more and dispersed weapons, but delivery system accuracy and survivability is far more important than warhead yield. If they are convinced that an Indian counter-attack will kill off the 10 biggest PLA-run purse and shoe-manufacturing plants, that is probably sufficient deterrent. Seriously, if all their major cities are threatened by the reach of the Indian detergent, then I don't think the yield of the warhead matters.

Here's one calculation: If I am threatened with a 1MT weapon (and I live and work in places that have been on the 10MT target list of several countries, for many years), it does not scare me at all - I and everything I care for are guaranteed instantaneous shaheeddom. But if you threaten me with a miserable "dirty bomb" or a 15KT Hiroshima type bomb, that is a nightmare, because one has to worry about surviving and taking others through the aftermath. I am fairly sure the Chinese leadership has grown up in a worse threat environment than I have, being the 3rd-place superpower for a long time, and targeted by the entire P-4.

So again I don't see the point in big warheads. They are just like big Paki mijjiles - good for putting cardboard models at intersections and chest-thumping.

Some people seem so strained by the need to justify big warheads that they think in terms of "countering" the US, Russia etc. This is just dangerous nonsense, and in that respect, echoes exactly the paranoia spread by the NPAs. As the Atlanta Fishwrap quoted a local clueless teenager in May 1998:
I can't sleep because I am so worried about India's nuclear weapons
This coming from someone who lives 10 miles from a strategic weapon air base and combat aircraft plant, 60 miles from another strategic bomber base, 100 miles from the premier weapon-grade fissile material plant in the US, and hence generally in an area that is targeted with at least 10MT by Russia and China and probably France.

As for the asteroid, if there's a really big one coming, I don't want anyone to do anything silly like trying to break it apart. I don't mind instant extinction along with everyone else. V all gotta return to elementary state sometime.

Just don't even start down that path, please. If you have good reasons why larger guaranteed warhead yield is critical to India's security or strategic independence, please don't keep it secret - let us non-experts know about it.

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Postby Rye » 05 Jun 2008 18:53

What I don't understand is the notion that a 100 kT or 200 kt or 1MT is a must -- as if somehow countries can make a bigger point by killing more people with more destructive weapons.

Let us recall that "Little boy" and "Fat man" were in the 15kt range, and the Indian nukes that were tested in 1998 are around the same yield, though significantly more compact.

What is the basis for claiming that India's deterrent is bulletproof only with a bomb that is 10 times more powerful than the ones used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima by the USA?

How does killing more people, but essentially having the same "deterring"/horror effect on the enemy help? A 20kT detergent will take out a large number of people and at that point, a 20kT weapon is as good as a 200 kT weapon in the mind the largely innumerate human populace...this is truly analogous to the "a wink is as good as a nod to a blind man" truism.

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Postby satyarthi » 05 Jun 2008 19:42

FWIW politicians have uttered the Pokharan-III word.

N-deal OK if no ban on Pokhran III: Advani

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Postby ramana » 05 Jun 2008 21:32

ramana wrote:When to test is a good question. Earlier I used to think that India needs to test only as a deterrent for escalation control ie if there is a crisis with major challengers India chooses to test.

However after allt he RT and RM instabilities and other knowledge imbibed from this forum I am convinced it has to be a series of tests of the pry(1), pry+secy+spark plug(1), pry+secy+spark plug+ tertiary(3).

This should proof the whole system and tell those who need to know there is adequate fissile stockpile.

However I would announce more than these and show restraint after the minimum is met. 8)


Somebody e-mailed me why I want all these tests. I am not the one who wants the tests.
When the scientists addressed the news conference on May 16th 1998, the S1 was described as a weaponisable device and not a weapon. If it has been moved beyond that it has to be proofed to same standards as elsewhere. Even if it retains the same yield. Thats all I am saying.

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Postby svinayak » 05 Jun 2008 21:42

So the question why Test is required again should never be asked again.

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Postby John Snow » 05 Jun 2008 22:28

By the same logic we should stop testing Missiles (after one success) LCA, Arjun. If this norm is accepted then I will start a SSI to supply indeginous Nuke aircraft carries (ADV or ATV)

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Postby Raj Malhotra » 05 Jun 2008 23:28

Re Arun

Is it possible that in Pok-2 the TN nuke that a non-fissile Tamper/pusher. This would mean that the yield would be low, fission yield from Tamper and tertiary blanket would be absent and the ratio of fusion vs fission would be high. This would also mean that there would be unburnt Li-D in the nuke.

Replacing the non-fissile tamper with a fissile material would (?) lead to straight forward upgrade to 150kt-200kt device and to add the fissile blanket to the nuke will take the yield to 200-500kt range (??)

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Postby rocky » 05 Jun 2008 23:56

I have a question.

Assuming that RC's statement that Iyengar was only a chemist and hence cannot correctly asses the yield (please correct me if I'm wrong here). Then what non-chemist explanation exists to justify the RC's statemens?

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Postby ramana » 06 Jun 2008 01:46

Raj, Do a spreadsheet exercise and use the ratios that lakshmic gave out on the stated and the goal. The numbers will speak to you.
Thanks for listening.

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Postby Gerard » 06 Jun 2008 03:44

i am off the opinion, that we should re-invent the wheel on radiation weapons, especially using Th->U233


That also produces U232, which cannot be separated from the U233 by centrifuge, gaseous diffusion etc (only one mass unit difference).
One of the U232 decay products is Tl208 which itself decays, releasing hard gamma radiation that would be lethal to personnel and destructive to electronics etc.

Perhaps a future laser enrichment (AVLIS/MLIS) system would be able to clean U233 but such technology is not available now. That BTW would also be applicable to cleaning Pu239 of the Pu240 and other isotopes, turning reactor grade Pu into weapons grade (though Pu itself is a lot more difficult to process than U).

As regards an increase in India's fissile material stockpile, build a bigger version of Dhruva and get the fast breeder operational.

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Postby shiv » 06 Jun 2008 06:43

ramana wrote:Raj, Do a spreadsheet exercise and use the ratios that lakshmic gave out on the stated and the goal. The numbers will speak to you.
Thanks for listening.


Why not do a BRM type article that shows that S1 was a fizzle. The graph could be part of the article. That would address the twin concerns of lack of seriousness on BR as well as the security concerns related to the fizzle.

It would also show commitment and conviction to the belief that we need to test further and a serious article would not be available for instant flaming and rhetorical disruption such as we can get on the forum. Worded well, even the contradictions and fallacies of statements of high-up people can be highlighted in such an article.

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Postby amit » 06 Jun 2008 07:23

Rye wrote: How does killing more people, but essentially having the same "deterring"/horror effect on the enemy help? A 20kT detergent will take out a large number of people and at that point, a 20kT weapon is as good as a 200 kT weapon in the mind the largely innumerate human populace...this is truly analogous to the "a wink is as good as a nod to a blind man" truism.


Rye,

If I may add to your point, the PRC leadership IMO would not be as concerned in losing a few million more people (due to a 200kT as opposed to 20KT) as it would be about unacceptable economic damage.

A few accurately lobbed (and this is very important) 20kTs on Suzhou and Shenzhen would be enough to halt Chinese growth for at least a decade. Heck you don't even need to hit Beijing or Shanghai - it would be just a bonus if you did. That one decade would signal kaput for the Communist Party of China.

I know in a new clear exchange all our major cities will be flattened but China is not going to come out of unscathe either. That would be, IMO, unacceptable as far as the PRC leadership is concerned.

Having said that 200kT is certainly more s**y and also desirable, but one needs to do a cost-benefit analysis before being ready to go through the pain that the Indian economy would go through if a test is conducted in the next 10 years or so.

JMT.

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Postby Supratik » 06 Jun 2008 08:02

I am happy that Advani said what needed to be said.

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Postby shiv » 06 Jun 2008 08:14

amit wrote:That would be, IMO, unacceptable as far as the PRC leadership is concerned.
.


In fact this IMO is the fundamental basis of deterrence. It's not what scares the people, but what puts off the leadership that counts in deterrence.

Typically "second strike capability after decapitation" is is "Just to spite you and extract revenge" . Leaders of nations are not in their line of work just to get killed and they typically do not start wars so that they can get killed. They do things to increase their own sphere of influence.

Their interests have to be put at direct risk for deterrence to work.

Taking them out directly would be a good idea - but most leaders are not stupid enough to be available for being taken out easily. Hardened nuke-survivable bunkers are for them and death and destruction is for their subjects. But impairing their ability to do their leadership work effectively and destroying a population's ability to work for their leader is necessary.

"Cities" in the 1940s and 50s were circumscribed urban collections. But in those days overpopulated third world nations did not *really* have cities. We have now is megacities that extend in every direction for scores of kilometers. Killing people is relatively easy, and more can be killed by bigger bombs.

But the US had 80% of its population in cities even 30 years ago. Taking out 25 US cities meant affecting a large percentage of that 80%. Not that the US would be destroyed, but for Americans "Life as we know it" would have been destroyed by taking out 25 cities.

India now has 30% of its people in urban conglomerations with perhaps 50-60 million in the major metros. Destroying 25 Indian cities @ 1 million killed per city would still mean the direct decimation of 2.5 % of the population and probably have an indirect effect (my estimate) on 250 million people. India would be knocked out "as we know it" but that would still leave at least 300-500 million Indians relatively untouched (what was the population in 1947?)

Similar thoughts can be expressed about what will happen in China. So China cannot "be destroyed" even by taking out 25 cities.

If anything must be taken out - it must be what is most important for "modern life" - industries, transport and communication with huge loss of life so that the living are overburdened with the need to care for themselves and the injured. The burden on the leadership must be high so that maximum destruction should be the areas that the leadership values most. Destroying defence industries and residential neighborhoods will be useless unless they are "collateral damage" but railway hubs, airports, port facilities and commercial centers and industrial conglomerations will be necessary. Crippling the economy and the ability to bring relief to dead and dying would be a cruel and necessary aim of nuclear war.

Just my filthy and regrettable thoughts. I feel I must apologize to someone for merely stating them.

Sorry - this is a terrible post. But hey we are discussing nuclear war and the toss up between bigger nukes and smaller ones.

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 06 Jun 2008 08:25

To add to the elegance of that thought process, shiv, now I can also say what I was not saying before. Note that a 15kT hit in the middle of a city is a "better" military strategy than a 1MT hit, because the whole place gets paralyzed by the need to care for the dying, survivable wounded, and walking wounded, and destitute evacuees. This clutters up the whole system. In the case of a MT strike, you just forget that city XYZ existed, and consider the new glassy area a potential airfield. Nothing much that can be done to help anyone, and ALL hospitals and facilities in the entire metro area will be gone.

This is the sweet idea of creating civilian casualties to hinder the logistics of a military machine. A Paki "IT specialist"'s dream.


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