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"Are missiles effective?" Topic

13 Posts

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566 hits since 10 May 2018
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PrivateSnafu10 May 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

Without going into the politics of resent events, are missiles very effective in war? They seem to be a very mixed bag to me. Very effective in cases such as air-to-air or surface-to-air and less effective such as Sadam's scuds or V2's over WWII Britain.

I have some notions. Curious what your take is.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

If they can hit their target, yes.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 11:58 a.m. PST

It would depend upon what type of missile you are talking about and what it's purpose is. The AIM-9X is an outstanding air to air missile and would probably do very well in a shooting war, just based off of the history of the AIM family. Likewise with the Tomahawks which have a pretty good track record. If you're talking about the Broken-2, which is used by Yemeni rebels against Saudi Arabia or any of the Hezbollah/Hamas missiles, they are usually lucky to arrive in the general area they were targeted at. If they hit something it could produce a lot of damage, but their accuracy is definitely in doubt.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 12:33 p.m. PST

Look at it this way …

As inaccurate as they were, and as small as the payload was, what was the psychological effect of the V-2 and it's predecessors on the residents of London?

Did the public pressure the government to divert vital assets away from more practical preparations?


Oberlindes Sol LIC10 May 2018 12:39 p.m. PST

Which missiles? Effective at what?

An air-to-air missile may be extremely effective at destroying an enemy aircraft, but unable to kill or even suppress infantry.

An intercontinental ballistic missile system may be effective at deterring superpowers from fighting directly with each other, but unable to do anything else because of scale of destruction and cost of use and replacement.

BattlerBritain10 May 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

I read that V2's killed an estimated 20,000 people in London.

That seems pretty effective to me.

TGerritsen10 May 2018 1:49 p.m. PST

It also depends on your definition of missile. An arrow is a missile.

If you mean guided missile, then it depends on the cost vs the result. If you are using $30 USDmillion missiles to blow up an untrained terrorist, then you might be losing from a cost perspective, but if you didn't lose any soldiers in doing so, then you win based on how you value your own soldiers.

There are examples of very effective missiles and very ineffective missiles. It all depends on your criteria of success and how you value their cost vs. the potential cost in friendly lives.

Even in Vietnam, where air to air missiles were viewed as not very effective, the greatest number of air to air kills were scored by missiles- not guns.

You have to define the scope to determine the effectiveness. Even Saddam's scuds took up far more of our forces to hunt them down than they ever destroyed. So were they completely ineffective, or did they tie down troops who might have won the war more quickly?

PrivateSnafu10 May 2018 2:34 p.m. PST

If you take this as an example is a Hellfire more effective at destroying the enemy or our national treasury? They cost around $115 USD large.


How much does it cost to project enough power to do the same thing with a $1 USD 5.56mm round?

Personal logo Striker Supporting Member of TMP10 May 2018 3:32 p.m. PST

Short answer, yes they are.

TGerritsen10 May 2018 4:36 p.m. PST

I imagine that if you are the guy tasked with firing the 5.56mm round, that Hellfire is cheaper at any price.

Lion in the Stars10 May 2018 9:02 p.m. PST

Missiles are so effective that the Leopard 1 was designed to have less armor than the WW2 Panther. No reason when you couldn't put enough armor on a tank to stop a missile and still have the tank mobile.

Missiles are so effective that they can prevent wars entirely (ballistic missiles).

Dropping a Hellfire on a single terrorist is probably cheaper than deploying the battalion+ of ground troops to get one grunt within 5.56mm range. Also, note that it's probably 60,000 rounds fired per hit, so a Hellfire is only twice the cost of enough bullets to hit that same terrorist. And it's a quarter the cost of the Life Insurance payout if a single soldier gets killed in the process.

Also, note that rockets have a lifetime. You do NOT want to be close to a rocket with a cracked motor, the difference between rocket fuel and high explosive is burn rate, and a cracked rocket motor burns much faster than it's designed to. So you do need to shoot the oldest rockets off every so often so they don't blow up on the launcher.

Personal logo David Manley Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2018 4:33 a.m. PST

Good when they work…. :)

YouTube link

SouthernPhantom11 May 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

Effective for their cost, or effective in general?
Guided air-to-surface missiles are stupendously effective in general.

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