Thursday, August 10, 2017

Estimates DPRK CEP and OAR for HS platform

Yesterday KCNA helpfully released this item about a DPRK strategic forces general explaining exactly how long a flight of 4 HS would take to reach Guam and that they would fall 30-40 km from Guam shores.

A lot of people like Ankit Panda are saying this is an effective NOTAM as DPRK does not issue NOTAMs for its ballistic missile tests. Ankit may be correct about that but I feel like they are more/less signalling to us what they see as the accuracy of their missiles. This part of any nation's decision making is very obvious to infer once you have CEP and OAR numbers.

Based on this DPRK General's statement I can peg the 2DRMS (98% hit probability) at ~ 10km. Which puts the CEP (assuming the DPRK guys aren't being weird about statistics) at ~ 4km at a range of 3000 km.

Also noting that they choose to fly 4 HS on this mission, I am guessing that they think they will lose half to enemy action and half to platform failure. As there is no target to hit here - this appears to be a demonstration only flight - I am guessing there will be no warhead on these.

I feel this puts the DPRK perceived OAR at something like 25% for the HS platform.

The CEP numbers are reminiscent of the estimates for HS/Rodong platforms but slightly better.

I haven't had time to do detailed calculations, but maybe that is not necessary as the DPRK guys are reporting the same CEP as an HS-9 platform at 3x the range. That suggests they are doing a better job of it than they were on the older HS platforms. Absent major improvements in manufacturing, tolerances and quality control, I can think of only a few ways to achieve this.

I suspect they are using a radio signal to shut off the stage 1 engine at the right altitude and I suspect that they may be hacking a GPS or navigation signal to correct their trajectory. (This is where the discussion on grid fins is making the rounds).

I really wish the people at ACW would get in a room and beat their heads together on what they think the guidance system for the HS ICBMs is. They have eyes on this for a very long time, also I am skeptical that anyone has been able to recover the guidance compartment from the recent HS tests in SoJ. It is unlikely those would have survived impact or that it would be possible to find where they fell on the ocean floor without putting in some serious effort. I don't think one is going to get to see the guidance systems, at best one might get a few helpful hints from the Libyran HS variants that were donated after the Gaddafi regime fell. I think the ACW guys guesswork on the choice of guidance systems is the best we can do as OSINT goes.

I feel that that if the DPRK guys are themselves convinced that their CEP is poor and OAR is low (like the Guam KCNA press release suggests), then they will have no choice but to pursue a high yield staged physics package.

So far I do not believe they have demonstrated anything beyond boosting. From single point measurement of the Mb values at Pungyi-Ri I think until we see a M6.3 quake at that location and an attendant Neutrino detection events, I am not comfortable saying that DPRK has the capability to achieve staged nuclear reactions.

This I feel really acts a major driver in DPRK nuclear testing.

In the past I have stated that a "Shipping Container" or "Bullock Cart" nuke (as they call it in India and Pakistan) is not a reliable means of delivery. I stand by that, but as a holy-fuck-I-am-desperate-for-any-deterrence-at-all idea - it is sadly viable.

I feel Trump has pushed the US into a commitment trap. If Trump does not deliver a military action, he will lose face and while that might be a reasonable thing for others, it is not something he can expect to survive politically.  The US for its part will suffer even more if Trump does not action on his talk of a decapitating strike. The US will lose credibility regionally, and given how weak its position in the Korean peninsula is - the US cannot afford a major credibility loss.

We are on the path of no return.

A lot of what happens next will be determined by whether DPRK can demonstrate a staged burn capability. If Trump inspired B1-B patrols do not deter DPRK from testing - then it may make sense for South Korea to change sides and sue for peace independently of the US. 

ps - Also apologies to people who were waiting for the Bridges of Xizang County post. I am still working on correctly identifying the 11 key bridges across the Tsang Po.


At 9:00 AM, Blogger kevin torgrimson said...

Nice to see your are back and a post on DPRK. Trumps bombastic remarks of "fire and fury" has certainly pushed the US into a commitment trap. Having travelled to the demilitarized zone 2 years ago and having spent time in S.Korea, I have a fond interest in the region. S. Korea needs a leader to step up and do exactly what you suggest and negotiate independently. Will China actually be a voice of reason and possibly broker peace talks ? Utterly crazy. I can't believe we are heading down this path of a certain military strike as Kim Jong-un will not back down, and if anything Trumps remarks have only fed into the propaganda machine to unite his contries populace. I look forward to more of your posts regarding the Koreas and your expert knowledge of perceived nuclear capabilities etc.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I think the worst error that could be committed is to underestimate trump.
I think noko will launch missiles at guam but not strike it. trump may very well act on this provocation. I am nearly certain thaad is going to get used at the minimum. there may also be large scale attacks on noko ships and subs.


At 11:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

I fear that as SecDef Mattis indicates with his comments, we are in a place where escalation is going to happen and no one will be able to control it.

The only issue now is that if DPRK experiences use/lose pressures and launches a strike, will it succeed.

Trump has committed us to a major theater war in Korea.

It is interesting to note that Mattis was at Kitsap yesterday. IIRC that is the back end of the logistic chain to the Guam Activity.

Dear Kevin,

I am not an expert on missiles, I merely understand the basic aspects of it. I think the real experts on DPRK missiles are at ACW and it would be best if their directly spoke to the issue of guidance system quality.

My best guess is that DPRK guidance seems to have improved with each generation of HS missile. It is not clear to me how he could achieve that without RF guidance but perhaps I am missing something obvious.

I think it is likely that DPRK has illegals on Guam and that they could monitor the test. I would be inclined to keep an eye on DPRK number stations to see if there is any spurt in activity.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger quantum chaos said...

Mav, this may not be good for India. What if china offers to put a leash on NoKo in exchange for a limited war against India. Some in DC maybe inclined towards this option. No?

At 4:10 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Quantum Chaos,

I don't know how exactly China would exploit this to their advantage, but quite frankly Trump has given the situation to them on a plate.

The US is like Wiley Coyote right now, having chased the North Korean road runner off the cliff and it is now pedaling in the air in the hope that it does not fall.

Whether one pedals forwards a la Trump or backwards a la Mattis is irrelevant - because one is pedaling in the air.

At 4:13 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The situation is a runaway - Trump has failed bigtime- we are locked in an unwanted escalation with KJU.

I am not saying the situation can't be managed, with competent people we could end up with a complex, unjust and reasonably bloody solution but I am not seeing a path way out of stage sanctioned mass murder.

Both KOSPI and DJIA can see this too right now.

At 4:17 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Also unless credible barriers are established, the entire world will slide into war as a leak like this exists in every deterrence regime. Without a major psychological barrier put into place, we will see the onset of a global nuclear conflict.

This is one of the major paradoxes of nuclear deterrence, if breached locally it will be conceptually breached globally.

I was once a foolish young man with idiotic ideas in my head. I was set right by a conversation with a Nahan alumnus. It was then I came to see the men of the SG as a breed apart.

The movie "Failsafe" comes to mind.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

I highly doubt the US would use nukes against noko because:

a. we don't have to. we can destroy them conventionally. and,

b. historical precedence, mcauthur wanted to nuke the chinese and truman fired him for speaking out publically against truman's directives.

it would take a dastardly turn of events for the US to justify to itself to use nukes. not even a 9-11 event. besides, ivanka, the public conscience for the Donald, wouldn't like it. seriously.

so yes, there are a number of fail safes for the US system and the most important in my view is, don't laugh, tradition.

keep in mind trump's bombast is also intended for the chinese who in his mind is partly responsible.

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

yes trump listens to ivanka. she's about the only moral guiding light he has.

At 3:19 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

as I suspected the noko emperor has no clothes.

At 4:27 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Ralphy,

As long as rational thought processes remain in both countries, there is no likelihood of a nuclear exchange.

So if one wants to save the world from a nuclear holocaust, one has to create a space for rational thought processes to take hold. If that space for rational thought is actively denied, nukes will fly.

Trump upped the ante with his rhetoric, he played the "Madman Gambit". KJU has traditionally played this card and Trump simply played it back to him. The Kims have used this card as a way to ward of unwanted escalation while staving off domestic opposition. It is a parlor trick that doesn't really work.

The Madman Gambit when attempted by one of the players in the game offers relatively minimal stabilization. It doesn't de-escalate so much as artificially escalate and de-escalate. This creates the illusion of stability in an unstable situation.

If both parties in a nuclear adversarial relationship play the "Madman Gambit" then both parties become obsessed with being the bigger madman and space for rational thoughts constricts rapidly.

As the game progresses it becomes harder and harder for the players to distinguish their enactments from the real thing and a small perturbation can create an unintended break of deterrence.

cont'd below

At 4:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...

cont'd from above.

Trump launched into a "Madman Gambit" - the mere fact that he did that is itself a victory for DPRK. This gambit is the refuge of losers. It's what you resort to when you have nothing left to play with. It effectively concedes victory to the opponent. Until Trump decided to pull this stunt with adequate consultations with his NSC staff - the US was actually winning the war against KJU. Bcoz KJU was portrayed as the madman and the US was the rational adult. Now that is no longer the case. The public perception is that we are in a double-Madman scenario which is very poor in terms of deterrence stability.

Trump's sudden shift in US deterrence strategy put the US into a commitment trap. Unless the US delivers on its promise after the next round of missile or nuclear tests, it will lose all credibility in the game. This will open the door for South Korea and Japan suing for a separate peace with North Korea (and its Russian and Chinese backers). It is not so much US public opinion that matters but rather the public opinion in SoKo and Japan that determines everything in this context. The ramifications of the BoJ changing its mind about the US are too frightening even for me to consider. Let me put it like this - the US-Japan alliance is the central strut of post WWII global stability - if KJU breaks that - the world will slide into WWIII.

cont'd below.

At 4:43 AM, Blogger maverick said...

cont'd below

KJU's ultimate utility to the PRC and RU is that he is able to draw the US into an expensive conflict that ultimately corrodes US regional power.*HE HAS DONE EXACTLY THAT*.

Most ordinary Americans will latch on to the "Kim Blinked" story and celebrate Trump's victory without realizing two things

1) Trump blinked first when he didn't authorize the B1-B's to fly hot.
2) All space for rational thought in the matter has been constricted and only two channels are actually active right now - the SD NYC/UN channel and the "Canadian One" (which no one seems keen to draw attention to).

I understand Ivanka has some power over her father. We have all seen the photos, they leave little room to imagine how this could not be the case.

I also understand Putin has some photos and recordings which can produce unique results with Trump as rationality goes.

However I ask you - do you really want to see the future of the planet hostage to these two people who obviously care little for the rest of us?

Are you comfortable with there being only two secure channels between Pyongyang and Washington DC?

I am putting this question to you and others who share your general opinion because right now it seems to me that Putin holds all the cards in this game and the US has just lost the modern equivalent of the Battle of Midway.

I could be wrong but Putin holds the power of nuclear destruction by proxy over the US right now. Confidence in Trump's ability here is IMHO much misplaced.

cont'd below.

At 4:53 AM, Blogger maverick said...

cont'd from above

Are you absolutely certain that this entire Kim Crisis was not manufactured to take the pressure off Trump Russia? bcoz from where I stand - it really seems so.

The sudden spurt of Nazi activity (long tied to organizations that are obviously on RIS payroll) appears to be curiously correlated to any progress toward indictments by Spl Prosecutor Mueller.

It is difficult to ignore the obvious connection that these events manifest.


At 5:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

In other related but unrelated news.

The VSP helo was lost two min after leaving the Cville downtown area.

There was no distress call.

There was an earlier incident with this exact same Helo that almost resulted in a crash.

That event was traced to unauthorized and improper maintenance of the Helo by a repair facility (Cadorath Aerospace Lafayette LLC ?).

It seems someone has been doing a crap job of maintaining VSP helos in the past. Was that at play in this crash?

At 5:07 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The Helo crashed in less than 2 min after last reporting its position. There was no distress call and it was moving at 34 mph at 2000 or so ft.

At 5:26 AM, Blogger maverick said...

In the above text

"Until Trump decided to pull this stunt with adequate consultations with his NSC staff - the US was actually winning the war against KJU. "

Should read

Until Trump decided to pull this stunt without adequate consultations with his NSC staff - the US was actually winning the war against KJU.


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