Submarine Matters provides an expanding database on submarines worldwide. Australia should contract in 2016 to only buy a batch of 6 Shortfins - then, in the 2030s, decide whether to buy: 6 more Shortfins or 6 Barracuda SSNs or 4 Virginia SSNs. With increasing numbers of Chinese, Russian and Indian SSNs in Australia's region Australia's Shortfins cannot attain any 2016 Defence White Paper goal of being "regionally superior". Australia would need to buy SSNs to be "superior".
September 25, 2016
Give nukes a chance! Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle (HAIV)
Nuclear weapons, have, let's face it, a rather bad press. But nukes can be thought of as cute, cuddly and useful if they save mankind (and yes womankind) as we know them. Nukes, to their credit may save us by stopping Asteroids, bent on destroying Earth.
The Leader and Follower detect, engage and destroy or deflect the Aseroid. (Diagram courtesy page 6 of this HAIV Document)
Asteroid Intercept Vehicle (HAIV) is
a spacecraft being developed byNASAto deflect
dangerousNear Earth Objects (NEOs)such as comets
and asteroids that threaten colliding with Earth. HAIVs focus on
utilizing powerful explosives, such as nuclear bombs, to achieve deflection by
detonating on the surface of the NEO to change its trajectory away from Earth.
This method ofasteroid impact avoidanceis
intended to be used on dangerous NEOs detected within a short time frame (less
than 5 years) before a possibleimpact eventwith
Earth. The idea came about when asteroid detection became accurate and since
then, scientists and engineers have come up with a well thought out design for
Even a meteor of only 30 meters in diameter (but weighing
an estimated 13,000 tonnes) caused major damage in Chelyabinsk,
After detecting many of the asteroids within our solar system
and observing their composition through meteorite remains, NASA has identified
multiple large asteroids that may collide with Earth. To combat these NEOs,
NASA has come up with the following design for an HAIV.
The vehicle is split
into two major parts; the leader craft and the follower craft. These can be boosted into space by a Delta IV M+ "Heavy" booster rocket.
The leader craft is initially attached to the follower craft,
but before impact the two crafts are spread out by an extendable pillar known
as the AstroMast Boom. Furthermore, it contains the primary guidance systems
including normal cameras andLidar(light based radar). The purpose of this
craft is to make an initial crater in the target NEO where the follower craft
may detonate in. Doing this helps direct the explosive energy of the follower
craft, hopefully applying enough force to change the orbit of the NEO.
The follower craft
contains the following:
·Solar panels and batteries to power both the follower and leader
·A large antenna and communication electronics to relay
information back to Earth.
·A camera to check on the status of the leader craft.
·Thrusters and fuel tanks to help the vehicle to travel towards
the target NEO.
·Other support systems and fail safes in the case of a
Once the leader craft impacts the NEO and makes a crater, the
follower craft detonates its NED soon after. It also relays back whether the
detonation was a success or failure which can be confirmed by observation from
There are numerous factors that have slowed the development of
the HAIV. These include but aren't limited to budget, law, and irregular NEOs.
Initial test missions have cost between $600 million to $1.8
billion and these were to test the feasibility of the guidance. A full mission
may cost much more than this amount, especially in the case of a NEO detected
with a short time till collision with Earth. With recent cuts to NASA's
funding, it is unsure whether an HAIV mission will ever occur.