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From: (Thomas L. Billings)
Subject: Re: Repost: Re: SDI
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 1997 17:07:18 -0700

In article <5smedb$>, Oleg Zabluda
<> wrote:

> wrote:
> : The Salt 1 treaty was signed in the late 60's/early 70's, outlawing
> : effective ABM systems (the Russians, BTW, continued to build ABM's
> : to the limit of the treaty, while the Americans, until SDI, didn't
> : even have a program, and still never got any operational ones; _and_
> : crippled the Patriot so it wouldn't be convertible to a decent ABM
> : weapon, which the Russians didn't do to their anti-aircraft missiles,
> : which is why theirs are better at that sort of thing now; how come
> : this is never seen as destabilizing moves on Russia's part.)
> I have a really hard time believing that Patriot (in ABM mode) was
> turned into a joke, uncapable to protect from 30 year old conventional
> tactical ballistic missiles, to comply with anti-ICBM treaty. Especially
> since the Rusians were developing an effective weapon of this
> sort (looks better too).

Actually, you're right.  Patriot wasn't crippled to comply with the ABM
Treaty.  It was crippled with the explicit intention of not allowing any
demonstrations of operational Tactical ABM.  It was believed, amongst the
1970s/1980s peacnik crowd I was in contact with at the time, that such
successful demonstrations would only encourage renewed "nibbling" assaults
on the ABM Treaty WRT strategic missile defenses.  The ABM Treaty itself
only covered defenses against ballistic missiles which had ranges more
than about 4,000 kilometers, IIRC.

The initial resistance to ABM had come from some of the american academic
and military hierarchies, where it was realized by 1959 that ABM defenses
would quickly divert resources away from their projects, and towards those
hierarchies which would participate in strategic defense.  They were not,
generally, the same groups as those doing ABM work, either within the
military, or within academia.  Few hierarchies are able to be objective
about such changes in their future.  Our academics, and the politicians
that listened to them, certainly weren't.  They were, however, experienced
in Washington's budget wars.  They were also all too thorough, at
squelching the slightest degree of demonstration of effective ABM

I'm told that, as a result, the pentagon budgets between 1975 and 1985
contained explicit denials for even a  dollar of the money in the budget
for Patriot to be spent on giving it a Tactical ABM capability.


Tom Billings

Institute for Teleoperated Space Development Billings)
ITSD's web site is at,

Date: 8 Feb 90 17:21:30 GMT
From: mnetor!utzoo!  (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: More Info On SSX

In article <> aws@vax3.UUCP (Allen W. Sherzer) writes:
>Another interesting thing about SSX is the funding source: SDIO. This
>is a good sign IMHO because they more than anybody else in the government
>needs low cost to LEO. 

Well, yes, but...  The other side of the coin is that SDIO's need for low
cost to orbit is so well known that it's difficult to get a major project
aimed at lower cost to orbit funded, because Congress does not want to face
the SDI deployment issue, and putting off the capability to do it postpones
the question.  That's what happened to ALS, which was originally talking
about fielding an interim launcher in the (now) immediate future.

As I've heard it, the major reason why SSX is being funded by SDIO is
simply that SDIO is the only well-funded high-tech organization within
the government that is still young enough to be flexible.  Nobody else
would fund such a project seriously without studying it for a decade first.
SVR4:  every feature you ever |     Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
wanted, and plenty you didn't.| uunet!attcan!utzoo!henry

Date: 25 Jun 91 18:10:01 GMT
From: ssc-vax!bcsaic!hsvaic!  (Dani Eder)
Subject: Re: SDI funding

In article <3015@ke4zv.UUCP> gary@ke4zv.UUCP (Gary Coffman) writes:

>DoD's SDI boondoggle has cost hundreds of billions with no missile
>defense near deployment. . . . 
>No new military capabilities are in place due to SDI,. . . 
>SDI is under strong
>attack in Congress and by members of the space science community as
>a total waste and duplication of effort.

First, let us get the right order of magnitude.  The SDI budget has
been close to $3 billion since 1983, for a total of about $24 billion.
We in fact already have a missile defense in deployment, the Patriot.
The ERIS and HEDI projects within SDI will do a similar job, but
will attack bigger missiles from further away, possibly using
different detectors than the Patriot radar.  The basic job is the
same, though, of hitting an incoming missile with an outgoing
ground launched missile.

The fact that no new military capabilities are in place due to SDI
should not be read as an indictment against it, since the program
was designed to be a research program to determine if a missile
defense system against large-scale attack is possible.  Deployment
of a missile defense system requires approval of the president and
congress, and would require abrogating or re-negotiating the ABM
Treaty, so it would in fact be illegal if we had deployed an SDI
type system.

As far as being a duplication of effort, who else besides SDI is
developing megawatt class lasers?  Can you cite what areas SDI
duplicates other military or civilian research?  As far as being
a waste, I suggest that is a matter of opinion.  For myself,
I believe that SDI has done more for space development's future
than NASA in the last decade, simply because SDI has been spending
far more for actual R&D, and has had such a difficult mission (
combating ICBMs), that it is forced to spawn ideas and develop
new technology.  Going to the Moon in it's day had a similar
effect - the challenge of a difficult project spawned all sorts
of new developments.

Specifically, SDI has directly and indirectly promoted better
access to space at lower cost.  Directly in supporting such programs
as ALS, now NLS, where the amount of stuff SDI had to put in space
REQUIRED low cost and high annual lift capacity to make SDI
possible.  Recently, though very small interceptors (brilliant
pebbles) has reduced the need for launch to space for SDI, so you
have seen less emphasis on launchers by SDI.  

SDI indirectly promoted access to space by: developing big lasers
that can someday be used for laser launch and beamed power to
run propulsion systems, developing gas guns to
deliver brilliant pebbles, developing coilguns to shoot down 
warheads, but which could also be used for space launch, developing
small, smart spacecraft, which technology can be adapted to planetary
exploration, and developing stronger, stiffer materials (SDI wanted them
for beam weapon structures), which materials can be used by any space

Dani Eder
Advanced Civil Space Systems

From: (JamesOberg)
Date: 14 Feb 2001 22:34:30 GMT
Subject: Why Does Russia HAVE an ABM? WAS arguments for an anti-missile defense

Just curious in all these arguments that ABM systems are useless and

Why does Russia have one if it's so damned useless?

Granted, Moscow-area only, but it protects  a third of the Russian population
and industry, and as far as Moscow is concerned, the important third. And
granted, it's "allowed" -- but WHY spend billions on keeping it operational?.
Against who is it aimed?

From: (Tom Billings)
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military,,alt.war.nuclear,alt.politics
Subject: Re: China Threatens U.S. With Nuclear War Over Taiwan
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 2000 22:26:46 -0800

In article <LjLj5.111884$>, "Declan
O'Reilly" <> wrote:

> The "Lower Velocity" agreement, on interceptors with speeds less than 3
> km/sec, which permits deployment of these theater missile defense systems
> provided that they are not tested against ballistic missile targets with
> velocities greater than 5 km/sec or ranges that exceed 3,500 km. Under the
> U.S. interpretation of this agreement, the U.S. can deploy the Army PAC-3,
> Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and the Navy Area Defense
> systems.
> This was one of the 1997 amendments to the 1972 ABM treaty , which if i read
> right , is the reason that you say that the patriot missle system cannot be
> a violation .

Actually, the original ABM Treaty defines a prohibited ABM system
as being any system directed (and tested) against a ballistic warhead
that travels more than 3,500 kilometers before impact, IIRC.  So, the
 original limits on the ban, which are still the legal ones, since the Senate
hasn't ratified any changes, exclude PAC-3, THAAD,  and the Navy Area
Defense systems from the ban.  It is more capable systems, which the
Clinton administration wishes to keep out of the budget, which are
excluded from testing and deployment by the original Treaty, and
even more so by the revised Treaty limits on the speed of re-entry
vehicle targets.


Tom Billings

Oregon L5 Society

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