Political Science 378 - Hints on Nuclear Attack Assignment

Some Hints on Nuclear Attack Assignment


Here are some additional hints and suggestions on assignment 2.

1. As a first step, do all the kill probabilities:

    Russian      Pk2,2 for
    Weapons        H=2200



     SS-18m4     Pk2,2 value

       .             .

       .             .

     RS-24       Pk2,2 value

You can also try all Russian SLBMs.

United States        Pk2,2 for
   Weapons             H=5000  



Minuteman III mk12a  Pk2,2 value

      .                  .

      .                  .   

Minuteman III mk21   Pk2,2 value 

You should try the Trident D-5.

2. Now you need to use the kill probabilities, the number of warheads for the attacker, and the number of silos for the defender to formulate your attack. Begin by ranking the attacker's kill probabilities from high to low. Then rank the defender's missiles from most dangerous to least dangerous (the most dangerous can be the missile with the highest kill probability, the most warheads, the greatest total megatonnage, or something else; just pick something that's not crazy and be sure (a) you tell me how you're doing it and (b) you do it correctly). You then go down your lists, allocating warheads to silos, and figuring out how many silos you hit, how many silos you miss, how many silos you have left to hit, and how many warheads you have left over. It may be helpful to keep a tally sheet that looks something like the following:

This will be a US attack on the Russian silos.

The US has 20 MZ missiles. Each MZ missile has 20 warheads, with Pk2, 2 = .90 against Russian silos (assume all Russian silos have the same hardness).

The US also has 10 MY missiles with 5 warheads with Pk2,2 = .8.

The US can attack 200 silos with its MZ missiles (20 missiles x 20 warheads = 400, so there are 200 pairs of warheads). The US can attack 25 silos with MY missiles (10 missiles x 5 warheads = 50, so there are 25 pairs of warheads). Therefore, the US can attack a total of 225 Russian silos.

The most dangerous Russian missiles are SS-99s (10 silos); the second most dangerous missiles are the SS-88s (50 silos), the third most dangerous missiles are the SS-77s (200 silos), and the least dangerous are SS-66s (60 silos). There are a total of 320 Russian silos.

No matter what the US does, 95 Russian silos will not be attacked.

You might find it useful to setup a tally sheet like the following:

Target Type Number of Silos Attacked Attacking Warhead Type & Number Attack results
SS-99 10 10 MZ warhead pairs .9(10) = 9 silos killed, 1 silo missed. 190 MZ warhead pairs remaining
SS-88 50 50 MZ warhead pairs .9(50) = 45 silos killed, 5 silos missed. 140 MZ warhead pairs remaining
SS-77 140 140 MZ warhead pairs .9(140) = 126 silos killed, 14 silos missed. No MZ warhead pairs remaining
SS-77 25 25 MY warhead pairs .8(25) = 20 silos killed, 5 silos missed. No MY warhead pairs remaining

Results of the attack:

The US has 0 ICBMs remaining.

The Russians have 25 silos that were missed (i.e., 1 + 5 + 14 + 5) by the American attack, plus 95 silos that were never attacked.

3. Now you enter these results in the spreadsheet. There are no American ICBMs remaining, so there is no EMT from ICBMs; the assignment sheet tells you what to enter in the sheet for remain SLBMs and bombers. The Russians have the following ICBMs remaining: 1 SS-99, 5 SS-88, 54 SS-77, and 60 SS-66. These figures should be entered into the post attack SNDV column in the spreadsheet. You should also enter the number of Russian SLBMs and bombers that are assumed to survive the attack; i.e., 20% of each type of SLBM and 10% of each type of bomber.

4. Remember, in planning and executing your attack, you can only fire 1 pair of warheads against each silo.