(Washington, D.C.) If a nuclear-armed enemy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile were speeding its way through space towards a heavily populated U.S. target, commanders in charge of defending the homeland would at most have a mere 20-to-30 minutes to destroy the incoming weapon.
With lives dangling upon a precipice of total devastation, and the earth’s future potentially in jeopardy, U.S. defenders would be tasked with finding, tracking and destroying the attacking nuclear missile.
If a Space-Based Infrared satellite detected a launch, it would quickly send sensitive data signals to an Air Force command center where the information would be evaluated by computers. Then, the command center would send a wide-sweeping “alert through the ballistic missile defense system,” a Senior Pentagon official told Warrior.
“When a satellite recognizes something that looks like a launch, it has a mathematical formula in a computer that tracks the heat source,” the official said.
“Then we start turning on radar”... he added.
Response decisions, which could involve the immediate deployment of a well-armed and ready U.S. nuclear triad…. hinge almost entirely upon .. time. In effect, the faster tracking, targeting and countermeasure analysis can take place, the greater the chance lives - or even the entire country - could be saved. The speed and accuracy with which crucial intelligence information can be gathered, organized and fused for decision-makers, will determine the outcome.
“Once you see the rocket, it is an easy mathematical formula that can calculate the speed and trajectory. You can usually tell where it is going to land. If you have enough radars you know exactly how fast it is going and where it is going to be -- so you know where to send the GBI(Ground Based Interceptor),” the Pentagon official said.