FYRP: This Will Be on the Test

After escaping the clutches of a term paper draft, it returns!

Associated Press | Whoops.  Seems like the people in charge of the most powerful weapons known to man just weren’t up to the job, and needed a bit of extra training.  Not the first mistake of this manner.

Navy Live | Apparently, the Navy actually listens to talk about nuclear force cuts.  Hint: it doesn’t really like it.

Breaking Defense | The SM-3 Block IB missile seems to be working, following three successful tests since May of 2012.

Breaking Defense (again) | The X-47B performed a touch-and-go landing on the USS George H.W. Bush.  I wonder what’s next?

Foreign Policy | New START implementation is facing opposition, never mind the New START follow-on.  Yousaf Butt proposes a DIY solution. Is the President listening?

FAS Strategic Security Blog | Apparently, the Pentagon’s China Report omitted some key facts about strategic nuclear forces.

Bloomberg | Gary Milhollin sees Iran’s nuclear plans as a long-term, not a near-term, threat.

Nukes of Hazard | Senator Graham just can’t get enough MOX money, can he?  But he really promises it wasn’t pork or anything!

We hope you enjoyed this installment of FYRP.


  1. Anon2 (History)

    Does anyone here have an estimate for the probability of successful intercept by the SM-3 against a DPRK hypothetical ICBM? Is a high reliability intercept something for now (May 2013), or is this pushed off in the future.

    Also, does anyone have additional information on the 4 “short range” DPRK missile shots?

    Finally, has anyone seen confirmation that the 2 Musudan’s were defueled and put back in the bunker? The best that I have read indicates they have been moved somewhere else. If they have been put back in the bunker, this is clearly a signal of de-escalation.

    We are now waiting for Dennis Rodman instead of Godot to return to the DPRK for talks. He is our last best hope for peace.


    • Anon (History)
    • Anon (History)
    • j_kies (History)

      Anon2; why would you believe that the various SM3 versions would have significant probability of ICBM intercept considering that isn’t what they were designed to do? If you are willing to accept extremely low probabilities of success (closely bordering on zero) even short range interceptors ‘serve’ as an ICBM interceptor with tiny kinematic coverage. Despite the forgoing, any system not designed as an ICBM interceptor, should not be assessed to have any real performance in that role.

      Overall, the problem is governed by sensor coverage at sufficient quality to direct the interceptor to the RV (no onboard decision), threat v interceptor relative velocities determine how far the interceptor can fly to meet a threat trajectory (launch areas). The reasons that SRBM or theater missile interceptors are not practical ICBM interceptors are manifold but the basis issue is that you need far better off-board sensing to permit intercept attempts with very poor likelihood of success.

    • Anon2 (History)

      Thank you Mr. Kies.

      What I have learned from your analysis (which I trust is reasonable) is that the SM-3 is not an ICBM interceptor, and therefore performs poorly if drafted into that role. Too bad, as that has limited the effectiveness of using the SM-3 to counter the DPRK potential threat to the continental US. I am assuming the SM-3 is better at shorter ranged target intercepts, perhaps the Musudan for example.

      I am no expert here, but I would imagine that the sensor coverage could be improved from several vantage points including in orbit, airborne, ground and sea based. I question if that is simply a network engineering problem to get the various systems to communicate and process the real time data, or if more and higher quality radar, optical, and IR sensors need to be designed and fielded.

      I find all this engineering work fascinating, but I cannot change careers (even if someone would hire me). Thank you for letting me peek behind the curtain.