AerospaceFan
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Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:06 am

Could the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle be converted into an intercontinental cruise missile?

Granted, it's slightly less speedy than the CGM-86, but with its intercontinental range (7,500 miles), it could be launched in the continental United States and strike high-value targets a quarter of the way around the world. It might even be equipped with a nuclear weapon, such as the W-80, perhaps at some cost to its range. (The U.S. could compensate for range limitations by basing such a missile in Guam, a U.S. territory, or another U.S. base.)

On the other hand, the Global Hawk is not designed to be a low-flying terrain-following missile; but could it be converted to serve that purpose? And, anyway, could it serve as a high-altitude CM against countries that can't shoot it down at altitude?

Just a few questions.

[Edited 2006-01-01 17:07:13]
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dl021
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:19 am

It would be a waste of time and money to convert those airplanes into missiles.

THey are specialized reconnaissance assets and would not make very good missiles since they are not fast or maneuverable. Their primary defense is low visibility and high altitude.

We have plenty of delivery options for any type weapon we want to use in any conflict, and the Global Hawk is designed specifically for other purposes.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:21 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 1):
We have plenty of delivery options for any type weapon we want to use in any conflict, and the Global Hawk is designed specifically for other purposes.

I mean production of the converted design, not conversion of existing airframes.  Smile
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dl021
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:28 am

Either way it would not be a successful cruise missile.....too slow and unwieldy.

Cruise missiles need to be fast and low to the ground able to move around terrain so they are not shot down.

Even 3rd world nations have ADA missiles.
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jwenting
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Mon Jan 02, 2006 2:01 am

It could indeed not be used as a cruise weapon itself.
I do see a possibly viable derivative that can serve as a launch platform for standoff weapons though, leaving the launching platform outside of SAM range and able to provide faster control data for midcourse corrections to the weapons it launches than can be provided from a control bunker thousands of miles away.
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cloudy
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:31 am

No, because it would be a ground-launched cruise missile. The US cannot have ground launch cruise missiles because the INF treaty prohibits them.
 
L-188
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:40 am

Quoting DL021 (Reply 3):
Either way it would not be a successful cruise missile.....too slow and unwieldy.

Same problem the V-1 had.

Quoting Cloudy (Reply 5):
The US cannot have ground launch cruise missiles because the INF treaty prohibits them.

That should only apply to nuclear warheads. I am pretty sure that non-nuclear ones aren't covered.
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AerospaceFan
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:08 am

Quoting Cloudy (Reply 5):
No, because it would be a ground-launched cruise missile. The US cannot have ground launch cruise missiles because the INF treaty prohibits them.

That's an excellent observation on your part. I will have to look at the treaty. The question I would have is whether the INF would apply to intercontinental-ranged cruise missiles, rather than ones with intermediate or short range.
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11Bravo
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:36 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 6):
That should only apply to nuclear warheads. I am pretty sure that non-nuclear ones aren't covered.

Actually INF applies to both nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (300-3,400 miles).

http://www.state.gov/www/global/arms/treaties/inf2.html

Quoting AerospaceFan (Reply 7):
The question I would have is whether the INF would apply to intercontinental-ranged cruise missiles, rather than ones with intermediate or short range.

As long as the missile in queston exceeds the range listed above, it isn't covered by INF although it may be regulated by the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Reductions (SORT) ratified in 2003.

Another interesting idea is to equip ICBMs with conventional warheads based on JDAM technology. This would create a highly accurate warhead that could be delivered to any point on the planet within 30 minutes.
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atmx2000
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:53 am

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 8):
Another interesting idea is to equip ICBMs with conventional warheads based on JDAM technology. This would create a highly accurate warhead that could be delivered to any point on the planet within 30 minutes.

Wouldn't they be traveling rather fast at release? Would the warhead guidable?


Also, wouldn't ICBM launches set warnings off and cause all sorts of problems?
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AFHokie
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Sun Feb 05, 2006 12:55 am

Quoting 11Bravo (Reply 8):
Another interesting idea is to equip ICBMs with conventional warheads based on JDAM technology. This would create a highly accurate warhead that could be delivered to any point on the planet within 30 minutes.



Quoting Atmx2000 (Reply 9):
Wouldn't they be traveling rather fast at release? Would the warhead guidable?


Also, wouldn't ICBM launches set warnings off and cause all sorts of problems?

The idea is feasible, but as said, you launch an ICBM, and the world is gonna think you just popped off a nuke at someone. Other countries out there that also have ICBM's aren't going to wait to see how big of a boom it makes before they start launching their own.

ICBM's will always be associated with nuclear warheads, and therefore, never be used for any other military application.
 
11Bravo
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RE: Global Hawk UAV As Intercontinental CM?

Tue Feb 07, 2006 2:30 am

Quoting AFHokie (Reply 10):
Other countries out there that also have ICBM's aren't going to wait to see how big of a boom it makes before they start launching their own.

Clearly there would be launch-on-warning issues, but that is not a problem only associated with ICBMs.

We test fire ICBMs and other sub-orbital systems from Vandenberg AFB on a regular basis.

There are many orbital launches from a multitude of sites all over the world that could easily be confused with an ICBM in boost phase.

We have used cruise missiles in combat on many occasions, sometimes launched from submarines, that flew on courses that might have been mistaken for an attack on Russia.

We have used the Army Tactical Missile System in combat, once again, fired on trajectories that could be initially mistaken for a nuclear missile launch on Russia.

I suspect that most, if not all, of these events were detected by Russian and/or Chinese missile-launch early warning systems. There are a number of redundant communication systems that are used by the nuclear super-powers to insure that mistakes are not made when these events occur. I'm optimistic that we could figure out how to do the same for a conventional-warhead ICBM.
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