Jeffrey Lewis2009 Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat

Hans has the new National Air and Space Intelligence Center Ballistic and Cruise Missile Threat.

Lots and lots of pretty pictures, especially of the DF-31, as well as new information. (Lest you think I just love missile-porn — which I course I do — the value of pictures is the IC identification of the particular system pictured.) Tables have been updated to include the number of warheads each missile carries.

I haven’t read it closely yet, but it looks like the folks at NASIC put a lot of effort into this one.


  1. Major Lemon (History)

    Pretty pictures they are too. I love pics of missiles in the morning. The more nuclear the better. Real horror show.

  2. Azr@el (History)

    I was shocked until I read the bottom and realized this was put out by Wright-Patterson’s public relations office as opposed to analyst. Very incomplete overall; entire systems are missing, the size comparison drawings are either not to scale or just plain wrong and it has a very nasueting manner of introducing French and South African cruise missiles into the threat category mix. It would serve them too much of a complement to say they relied exclusively upon google to produce this brief.

  3. Allen Thomson (History)

    FWIW, this document captions a picture of the Unha-2 “North Korean Teapo [sic] Dong 2 Launch April 2009” . It then gives the approximate range of the Taepo Dong 2 ICBM as 3,400+ miles (5472+ km) with a single warhead of unspecified weight. The weight part may be significant, because the document also has an illustration showing a generic RV dispensing chem/bio bomblets.

  4. Matthew Hoey (History)

    Had not seen this – thank for posting Jeffrey 🙂

  5. Chris Williams (History)

    They’ve got Popeye Turbo down as ‘conventional’ rather than ‘convential or nuclear’. If true, that’s interesting (though not in a good way, given that survivable second-strike capability is less destabilising than a field full of IRBMs) but is it truly the US govt’s appreciation? Or is it there for the same political reasons that UK, Israeli and French ballistic missile systems are not included?

  6. Allen Thomson (History)

    A missing missile in the document: Jericho.

  7. Rwendland (History)

    On missing rockets what about the Japanese ISAS M-V. Not many solid-fueled civilian space launch vehicles about are there?

    And the objectives for the next generation Advanced Solid Rocket seem interesting: “we will reduce the time needed for the operation of ground facilities and launches to about one fourth of the time required for the M-V Launch Vehicle. To do this, we will make the vehicle perform checks onboard and autonomously and reduce the time required for operations on the ground. Ultimately, through internet, we will be able to check and control rockets anywhere in the world simply by using a laptop computer.” Those seem hard to justify objectives if you are only making about one space launch per year with the system, as per the M-V.

  8. raghar (History)

    There were several problems. They are not using range in nm and km.
    It looks like a simplified version for a common person without any idea they are talking about whatever.
    They are not using designations of original countries.

    They are listing Iskander as a ballistic missile, when it’s actually semiballistic missile. They are missing Iskander-M designation. (Iskander-M has range about 270 nm, probably slightly less also depends on trajectory. Iskander-E is a subject of the same regulations as Brahmos.) They are missing Iskander-K.

    They are missing completely theirs own ballistic weapons, and UK, France, Israel, South Africa ballistic weapons. Surprisingly they are listing cruise missiles of UK and other countries.

    They also shown an image of a Bulava launched from Typhoon. A Typhoon must be retrofitted to be able to launch the Bulava. So far Dimitry Donskoi was retrofitted, thought one or two more would be retrofitted as well, it depends on a best before date and actual state of the submarine. Typhoon class is well made and has room for upgrades, it would be waste to not use this class as long as is reasonable. The missiles originally used with Typhoon are after theirs best before date.

    Image of “Kh-101/Kh-102 Missiles on Test BEAR H Bomber” is actually an image of a Tu bomber with a few training missiles, something with shape and mass of original missiles painted in red color to avoid unnecessary confusion.

    Chinese ICBMs seems to be deployed in a quite small number. Basically an ABM defense could put dent into them. In addition, a natural improvement of an ABM is use of multiple warheads in one launcher. While Chinese doesn’t depend on a flawed idea called deterrence, these numbers are really low.

    Re Rwendland
    Sometimes it’s smart to make a missile much better than required by specifications. It saves development time, and it simplifies its use. A launch costs are horrible, simplifying preparations for launch can drop costs quite significantly. Modern computers can diagnose majority of theirs own problems, there is no reason why missiles shouldn’t.

  9. Azr@el (History)

    I believe at sometime, most likely with the J-1/Hyflex* planning, Nihon had an eye towards ICBM breakout. This was of course after the collapse of the cold war and I suppose everyone was entitled to hedge their bets. But their continued advancements in this field seem to suggest a purely space access orientation.

    They’ve pushed towards larger solid rockets that become increasing less suitable for ballistic missile application. If they wanted to develop a switch batter ICBM/SLV then they’d shoot for a small microsat launcher that was road mobile or could squeeze into a submarine. A static behemoth launcher like the M-V is just too easily targeted.

    As far as developing the ability to launch quicker and with less personnel, I applaud their efforts. Hopefully this will help lower the cost of space access since so much of the launch cost these days are absorbed by such ancillary drivers. Considering Nihon’s limited space launch facilities, using the internet to allow their engineers in Tokyo to undertake preflight inspections of the rocket as opposed to flying them down south will probably result in significant cost savings.

    *Note that the J-1 and the Hyflx maneuverable reentry vehicle were suspended after just one launch…funny that.

  10. Yossi

    A missing missile in the document: Jericho.

    CDI claims that Jericho 2 primary contractor is the Indian Defense Research and Development Laboratory. I’m not suggesting this is the reason this missile don’t appear in the report but maybe it has something to do with it.