Outer Space Treaty Implications of Orbital Weapons Systems Essay

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During the Cold War, an arms race involving the United States and the Soviet Union's drive for conventional and nuclear forces supremacy. This paper will focus on the nuclear arms development primarily focusing on the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) of the Soviet Union, and the measures taken by the United States to mitigate the capabilities of Soviet orbital bombardment by bolstering missile-warning technologies. The primary focus will be on improvements to ground based radar sensors, but the development of space based sensors aided in the decline in utility of orbital bombardment. Additionally, this paper will look at anti-satellite weapons (ASAT) and the contemporary implications on arms control, doctrine, and impacts …show more content…
This capability enabled US decision makers to understand the scope of the nuclear engagement and effectively employ a follow up strategy for an effective nuclear strike (Gyűrösi, 2010). The location of BMEWS ensured early warning of Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches from the Soviet Union as long as those missiles were launched utilizing a northern polar trajectory. This fact built on the assumption that for the most efficient delivery of a nuclear warhead should take the most direct route to maximize the size of the payload of the delivery vehicle. Soviet strategist also recognized this limitation of BMEWS, and developed an unconventional method to deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States by bypassing the existing sensors and potentially decapitate the leadership key and nuclear launchers and command and control infrastructure reducing the effectiveness of any retaliatory strikes (Gyűrösi, 2010). The accuracy of FOBS precluded the system employment in the counterforce role, but the accuracy would be good enough for government and non-hardened early warning sites (Gyűrösi, 2010). The primary innovation of FOBS involves the deviation from a ballistic trajectory to a method that is primarily used for lofting a satellite into orbit. This allows the nuclear payload to approach the Continental United States (CONUS) from a number of directions based upon orbital

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