What stands in the way of creating an American orbital bomber

The United States is very close to realizing the idea of ​​placing strategic nuclear weapons in space. An unmanned spaceplane of the Boeing X-37B type, capable of being in orbit for years, is considered as the most likely carrier. The head of the Almaz-Antey concern, Yan Novikov, stated earlier that projects of this kind pose a potentially serious danger to Russia. However, the Pentagon separates a number of serious technological problems from the full implementation in practice of such plans.

To begin with, in accordance with Article IV of the Treaty "On the principles of activities of states in the exploration and use of outer space, the Moon and other celestial bodies" of 1966, the creation of such weapons is expressly prohibited:

The states parties to the Treaty undertake not to launch into orbit around the Earth any objects with nuclear weapons or any other types of weapons of mass destruction, not to install such weapons on celestial bodies and not to stir such weapons in outer space in any other way.

Is it any wonder what a negative reaction the American Space Shuttle program provoked from the Soviet leadership? It was quite rightly suggested that the space shuttles would be used as carriers of nuclear weapons or for the abduction of Soviet military satellites and orbital stations. The press today mockingly emphasizes that Moscow was seriously mistaken then, and Washington's intentions were the most peaceful. As "convincing evidence" is the fact that in the open documents of the Pentagon, NASA and the US Congress, allocating funding for such projects, there is no mention of the "bombing" purpose of the "Shuttle".

That is another argument, let's face it, especially when you consider that this would be a direct violation of the US's international obligations. About the so-called "Technology dual-use "no one has heard? Now the same story is repeating itself with the new American mini-shuttle. It seems that Novikov, head of the Russian defense concern Almaz-Antey, once again made a "mistaken assumption", stating the following:

It is officially stated that these devices are created for scientific purposes, and of intelligence. But we understand that, having such capacities and opportunities, according to our estimates, a small device can carry up to three nuclear warheads, a large one - up to six.

Forever us, Russians, history teaches nothing, right? Or does he teach? Let's call a spade a spade: The Boeing X-37B is a dual-use spacecraft that can be used for both peaceful research and military purposes. In the future, it can be turned into an orbital strategic bomber. First, however, the Americans will have to solve a lot of technological problems.

At first, this UAV cannot be called "invisible". Even simple civilian astronomers can observe it. The Don-2N Russian centimeter-range radar can see such objects at a distance of up to a thousand kilometers, and the Voronezh early warning radar system will see it several thousand kilometers away. The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation is able to block the sky over all key protected objects.

Secondly, the impact potential of this space UAV is significantly limited by its size. If necessary, the Boeing X-37B can accommodate several W-80 thermonuclear warheads, with a capacity of 5 to 150 kilotons, but first the warhead will have to be seriously upgraded, since it was originally developed for atmospheric flights. New guidance systems and a maneuvering unit will be needed to overcome the missile defense. All this will significantly increase the size of the thermonuclear ammunition, therefore, in a relatively modest in size "mini-shuttle" they can fit no more than three pieces.

Thirdly, it is necessary to develop the very mechanism of "orbital bombardment". It’s not just that: the Boeing X-37B is in orbit over Moscow, drops the bomb, and then it hits the bull's-eye. With intercontinental ballistic missiles, everything is much simpler, since all possible trajectories have long been calculated in advance, there is a task for a flight from point A to point B, which is performed after launch. In space, everything is in continuous motion, so the UAV needs constant dynamic correction, and this is an extremely difficult technical task. The creation of such a dynamic control system will take a lot of time and will cost fabulous money. The task could be simplified by bringing the spaceplanes to pre-calculated sections of the orbit that are optimal for delivering strikes. However, this will also simplify the task for a potential adversary, who will keep them in the crosshairs of their missile defense system. And this makes space UAVs more vulnerable to incapacitation by various methods, for example, by means of radio-electronic impact or an explosion in orbit of a nuclear warhead.

The tasks are non-trivial. It is possible that the Boeing X-37B is only an intermediate step in the implementation of a more ambitious US space weapons program, which is being used to test advanced dual-use technologies. It is possible that the Pentagon will consider it expedient to use developments in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as to increase the size of its drones so that more thermonuclear warheads can be loaded into them.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. 123 Offline 123
    123 (123) 31 May 2021 16: 37
    Your arguments are generally strange. belay

    Firstly, this UAV cannot be called "invisible".

    The B-52 can hardly be called invisible, which does not prevent it from remaining a bomber and a carrier of nuclear weapons.

    Secondly, the impact potential of this space UAV is significantly limited by its size.

    "Multiple thermonuclear warheads" don't count? By the way, the device exists in 2 "standard sizes"

    However, according to Russian estimates, a small device can carry up to three nuclear warheads, and a large one - up to six.

    In general, some pitiful 20-30 warheads. Not even talking about anything. winked

    Thirdly, it is necessary to develop the very mechanism of "orbital bombardment".

    Didn't they take care of it? Conscience didn’t allow? So they have been collecting daisies in space for so many years?
  2. sgrabik Offline sgrabik
    sgrabik (Sergei) 31 May 2021 17: 19
    It is necessary to develop a space fighter capable of destroying American spacecraft and shuttles in any orbit !!!
  3. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 31 May 2021 17: 52
    One said, All the media happily began to discuss.

    And how many Rockets are there in the warehouses of Roscosmos?
    And each one can be stuffed with several warheads. How else did Omerov's analogue of Novikov not think of saying something like that ..
    “But we understand that, having such free capacities and opportunities, according to our estimates, the Soyuz Rocket can carry up to .... nuclear warheads, the Proton Rocket - up to ......., the Rokot Rocket - up to .... . "Etc.

    But there are also underwater bathyscaphes and drones in countries ... You can also say about them ...
    1. Rum rum Offline Rum rum
      Rum rum (Rum rum) 31 May 2021 18: 55
      1. Rockets launched from the ground are announced in advance for launch and tracked by everyone who needs it. Any deviation from the declared trajectory, combat alert in the enemy camp. But the liberals will not say this.
      2. The maneuverable carrier is already in orbit and is itself a guidance or disengagement system, if you like (accordingly, the enemy's reaction time is sharply reduced).
      And head interception is tricky. But the liberals don't care about that.

      You never know what maneuvers this crap does. Oh, what a mini satellite is this detached, oh yes it is a warhead! Oops.
      Three warheads if they hit the right place is a lot. No need to pretend to be a naive simpleton. Hydroelectric power station, nuclear power plant, etc. etc. But the liberals don't think about it.
      1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
        Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 1 June 2021 01: 26
        Taki and mini shuttle and tracked and prepared by everyone ... and so on.

        and it does not suddenly change its trajectory either. According to the requests of specialists who were alarmed after Novikov's illiberation - in a few rounds ... But invented liberals don't give a damn about everything, yes ...

        But the Soyuz rocket is a completely different matter ... "And what kind of mini satellites have separated, oh yes, these are warheads! Oops."

        But the invented that liberals, that cheers-non-liberals "do not care about it."

        Since the time of the shuttle and the blizzard, everything was nothing for 30-40 years, and suddenly OOPS, Novikov dawned on ...

        Rather, it is a fable about a fox and grapes.
        There is no own shuttle, there are no masks either, the C7 director of missile launches crashed, Sea Launch, oops, out of bounds, ... you have to call someone else's shuttle somehow.
        You cannot name G, it has been flying for a long time, which means ... it means ... they want to shove tanks in there ... oh, warheads ...

        Recently, the media have already shoved tanks ..., ugh, missiles, into the ekranolet Chaika, there is experience ...

        And by the way, in the commentary it was about the expectation of Omerikovsky "Novikov"
        And he will be a liberal, illiberal, time will tell ...
  4. zenion Offline zenion
    zenion (zinovy) 31 May 2021 18: 37
    Nothing will work for them. Two guys will make it so that when they train all the bombs will fall on the places where they were born.
    1. Petr Vladimirovich (Peter) 31 May 2021 19: 00
      Pip those on the tongue! The guys have not been on vacation for many years ... And the daily allowance was as it was ... You have to go with your Doshirak ... And how much does a bar of dry sausage cost? fellow
  5. zzdimk Offline zzdimk
    zzdimk 1 June 2021 06: 08
    There was a strong feeling that the article was out of Damansky's fingers ... And here - Marzhetsky. Bummer.
  6. monman Offline monman
    monman (Garik Mokin) 2 June 2021 16: 10
    Marzhetsky identified 3 problems for Russia and amers.
    Problem number 1, that the shuttle is not "invisible" is erroneous - the shuttle makes maneuvers on the back of the Russian globe, and it is impossible to predict this, but it creates the problem of finding it. But problem 2 and 3 are hypoptical - the Americans are not going to create nuclear heads for the shuttle, it is very expensive and useless.
    But what you can expect from shuttles is in this article:
    How SpaceX Could Become Space Force's No.1 Defense Contractor
    "How SpaceX Could Become Pentagon's # 1 Contractor in the Space Force"

    (lane google)

    The X-37B is a marvel of technology. Once in orbit, the spy satellite usually remains in that orbit, circling the Earth along a predetermined path at a constant speed, so the intended targets can predict in advance when it will be overhead and hide. The X-37B, by contrast, can use the Rocketdyne AR2-3 refueling engine for unpredictable maneuver. By changing speed and direction, the X-37B can change its course to appear in unexpected places at unexpected times. It is this ability to abruptly and repeatedly maneuver in orbit that distinguishes the X-37B from conventional spy satellites. (Plus, you know, its ability to land back to Earth and get into orbit again.)
    As former Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told Military.com in 2019, the X-37B can change its orbit "on the opposite side of the Earth from our opponents" so that "our opponents don't know ... where it's going to go next."
    It is an invaluable tool that supports Boeing's $ 26,2 billion a year defense, space and security business (according to S&P Global Market Intelligence). Of course, the tiny X-37B's ability to maneuver in orbit - its delta-v - is limited by its fuel capacity. This is one of the reasons the US military has recently been funding experiments to refuel satellites and spacecraft in orbit.
    This brings us to SpaceX.
    Perhaps the most important development in this regard is SpaceX and its plan to use Starship rockets to carry fuel from Earth into space, where they can fuel other starships, spaceships and satellites in orbit. With its 100 tonne payload and $ 2 million launch operating costs, Starship promises to reduce the cost of putting payloads into orbit - any payload, be it satellites, astronauts or rocket fuel - from $ 2,500 a pound currently to just $ 10 per lb. Once the Starship is up and running, refueling the Boeing X-37B in orbit should be a real possibility.
    But why stop there?
    As War on the Rocks explains, the X-37B may be more maneuverable than a satellite, but "its space capabilities remain rudimentary at best" compared to what a larger spacecraft with more engines and more fuel could achieve. on board. a spaceship like Starship itself. The Starship's huge fuel tanks, viewed as a "starship" in its own right (as WotR puts it) and not just a tanker, give Starship a "delta-V on an unprecedented scale." The Starship's sheer size may seem out of place in the atmosphere, but in the weightless vacuum of space, its six vacuum-optimized Raptor engines deliver 6900 meters per second delta-V - about 69 times more maneuverable than the most maneuverable satellite. In this environment, Starship could serve as a platform for "true US space forces flying into space", allowing them to perform both reconnaissance and surveillance, reconnaissance and combat missions anywhere from LEO to geostationary or geostationary orbit and circumlunar between the Earth. and the Moon) orbits and beyond. And acquiring these ships wouldn't be all that expensive - a defining moment given the Space Force's limited budget of $ 15,2 billion, or less than one tenth of what the Air Force gets. The estimated cost of building one starship is estimated at $ 216 million. At that price, the Space Force should be able to buy a starship for less than the cost of a single KC-46 tanker, much less than what the Pentagon is believed to have spent on developing the secret X-37B, and, perhaps even cheaper. than that when buying multiple starships in bulk.

    Based on this article, Marzhetsky has a new task - at Yan Novikov's dacha to deal with the threats to Russia from Starship. Consider how many hundreds of nuclear heads can be crammed into it and by what methods they can be intercepted. At the same time, designate a paragraph of the Convention violated by amers.
  7. Marzhecki Offline Marzhecki
    Marzhecki (Sergei) 4 June 2021 10: 42
    Quote: cmonman
    Based on this article, Marzhetsky has a new task - at Yan Novikov's dacha to deal with the threats to Russia from Starship. Consider how many hundreds of nuclear heads can be crammed into it and by what methods they can be intercepted. At the same time, designate a paragraph of the Convention violated by amers.

    Aren't you tired of clowning yourself?
    1. SemVale Offline SemVale
      SemVale (Vale) 5 June 2021 07: 07
      Author, do you have any semblance of aviation education?
      Before preparing an article, I would have read a dozen materials from serious people on space and nuclear weapons.
      And most importantly, there is no need to refer to contracts.
      After the Russian kooks for violating everything that is possible in 2014, Russia would be silent about treaties in a rag. Who will believe her now?
  8. zzdimk Offline zzdimk
    zzdimk 28 June 2021 13: 36
    The question has been asked. Answer: further development of Soviet technologies?