Talk:LIM-49 Nike Zeus

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I'll add comments here as I go through the article. I'm doing a copyedit too; please revert if I make a mess of anything.

  • "but Jupiter fell outside the range limits and the Army was forced to hand them to the Air Force": if Jupiter is singular, shouldn't this be "hand it", not "hand them"?
I don't think so, Jupiter refers to both the design as a whole and the individual examples. "GM moved the Impala line to Saturn, and gave them all to Saturn's dealerships". Maybe just re-word this entirely?
Perhaps this is an ENGVAR thing? It sounds odd to me. If you don't want to rephrase, we can just see what other reviewers think when you go back to FAC. I wouldn't oppose for this; if it sounds OK to you it's probably acceptable USEng. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Since it appears the erroneous missile gap estimates were made over a period of years, I would suggest giving the date of the graph shown in that section, in the caption.
  • "during the period from about 1959 to 1963 the NIE estimates": this doesn't make it clear whether the estimates were made during this time period, or the estimates applied to this time period.
  • "The outer layer of the missile can be seen turning black in the Bell Labs film": I assume Bell produced a report that included film but as far as I can see there's no other mention of this in the article. I think a few words of explanation added to this footnote would be helpful. Later: Just spotted a link at the end to a movie which I assume is what this is referring to. The movie appears to be a US government production; can it be put on Commons? Then you could put a link in the body of the article.
Added, it's in the external links and I expanded the name out so that's clear.
  • "the Army, who was fighting back": might be an EngVar issue, but shouldn't this be "which", not "who"?
Changed, better?
To a British ear this should still be "which", but I'll strike it because I'm pretty sure this is normal usage in the U.S. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "The first attempt on 26 August 1959 was of a live booster stage and dummy sustainer, and broke up shortly before booster/sustainer separation": needs rephrasing; the missile broke up, not the attempt.
  • What do TTR and MTR stand for? Link? Ah, I see they're defined at the end of the article; I think you need to move up at least a parenthetical expansion of the acronym to first use.
OK on MTR but there's a use of TTR prior to the one you gloss. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Can't find one... the first mention seems to be in testing?
Oops, my bad. The first link found by a search is in the caption and that's so far down I missed the explanation in the text. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:27, 17 May 2015 (UTC)
  • "all-up testing": what does this mean?
That works, but you use it again later, so you could put "all-up" in parentheses at the place in the article it was originally so you can re-use it later. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
  • What is an Ad Hoc Panel?
The actual name, believe it or not. I've expanded that slightly for clarity.
  • The caption "A Nike Zeus A missile being test launched at White Sands illustrates the similarities between the A model and the earlier Hercules" doesn't tell me what the similarities are.
  • The first paragraph of "Early detection" switches from subjunctive to indicative halfway through; is this because the FAR was built? Or should the whole paragraph be in the subjunctive?
Rewrote this section, should be much clearer now.
  • The next paragraph is about ZARs: are the ZARs the same as the FARs in the previous paragraph? That is, the FARs were built and were named ZAR when built? If so I think some more narrative connective tissue is needed.
  • "greatly increased data collection to every two seconds": increased compared with?
  • File:Nike Zeus tracking radars on Kwajalein in 1960s.jpg mentions in its description that "the power of the ZDR presented a serious physical risk, which was mitigated using the reflective fencing". You don't mention this in the article, but if it can be sourced it seems a worthwhile fact to add. And not an issue, but I'm curious: that picture shows a featureless sphere for the ZDR, on top of the building: does that mean that the radar signals could penetrate the skin of the sphere without losing definition? I thought radar signals generally reflected rather than passed through materials.
Light, being electromagnetic in nature, only really interacts strongly across a wide band of frequencies with conductors. For a given narrower band of frequencies its generally easy to find a material that's transparent. That's why mirrors are a thin layer of metal on the back of (transparent to visible light) glass. For most of the radio region, plastic is generally transparent in spite of being opaque to the eye (which is often pigment in an otherwise clear or translucent material). Early radars were housed under perspex (plexiglass) and you can see the dish under the domes in some WWII night fighters because they didn't paint them. This was very quickly replaced with fibreglass, which is generally what we use to this day. You might have noticed that most 1950s era fighters had black or grey radomes, or did for a period, before we found paints that were radio transparent to the required degree.
OK, thanks for the explanation. Any thoughts on the "physical risk" comment? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Totally forgot about that part.. added. Was directly mentioned in the Flight ref. Maury Markowitz (talk) 23:49, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
  • I don't follow the salvo rate calculations. One Zeus site has one ZAR, and three ZDRs; it takes 20 seconds to hand off a target. Even if it is developing three tracks simultaneously and handing them off (assuming on ZDR is acting as a hot backup) then that's still only nine targets in one minute. How do we get to 14 warheads in a minute?
I'm not 100% sure on this myself, because the original source doesn't say. It is, however, authoritative, so it needs to be in there. I assume in this case they are referring to a "maxed out" site with the full compliment of 10 MSRs and 3 or 4 TTRs.
  • Am I right in thinking that that MTR close-up picture shows a cover over the MTR, rather than the MTR as it would look in use? If so, can we say so?
  • It appears that the West Point Cadets are pictured in front of a Zeus B; suggest adding the "B" to the caption.
  • As far as I can see the only time "D-15" is used is in the "Zeus missiles" section; what does it refer to?
  • "gold tampered": not sure what this means, but should it be "gold tamped"? Either way, can it be explained?
  • "The W66 is widely reported": perhaps "has been reported"? or "was reported", if this is no longer happening?
Still widely reported. It's in most references that mention it, even modern ones.
  • Suggest replacing the question marks in the table at the end with some text such as "not given in sources".
Doesn't appear to have been done? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
I added it at the bottom, but now I inlined it.

I'm done with a first pass; when these are dealt with I'll do one more read through. This is clearly FA quality, with some minor fixes; I'll be supporting at FAC when you take this back there.

I was very interested to read about the neutron production; I've just finished working on radiocarbon dating, where the atmospheric nuclear tests are mentioned because the neutrons generated an enormous amount of carbon-14, known as bomb carbon. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 11:49, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

Mike Christie, I hope you don't mind the delay here, I wanted to take a break from this and come back with fresh eyes. Let me know! Maury Markowitz (talk) 14:07, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Looking good; I'll be supporting this at FAC when you bring it back. I've split the comment below into a separate section. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
I've struck everything above. This is in great shape; I think it's ready to go back to FAC. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 09:27, 17 May 2015 (UTC)

Question about gold liner[edit]

I would just like to bring to your attention that at one time in its article, I had included the fact that the W71 warhead is reported(by Robert ) to have used a gold tamper/liner. However the most recent editor to that article(User:Crosbiesmith) removed a great deal of information, such as this, that I had added. Have a look at the article edit history to see what I mean, and their rationale for removing the gold mention: "rm. 'gold liner' claims from self-published sources". Is such a rationale legitimate? Moreover there is more than 1 source that corroborates this use of Gold in the W71, Carey Sublette's site( ) states: "Gold (Z=79) has been used in at least one weapon design as part of the tamper (or possibly the radiation case) - the W-71 warhead for the Spartan ABM missile. The W-71 used the thermal X-ray flux as its kill mechanism, so it was important for them to escape the weapon with as little hindrance as possible. The choice of gold may have been to tailor the opacity so that the hot X-rays present at the end of the fusion burn could escape without being absorbed. Gold is a good tamper material and has been used in ICF target designs due to its opacity". So, I'm not entirely sure what to do as I'm an IP editor and User:Crosbiesmith is registered. Any assistance would be appreciated. (talk) 12:12, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

I've split this comment to its own section and unindented it; hope you don't mind. Maury is the best person to respond to your comments, but I can tell you that self-published sources are not usually allowed on Wikipedia, because of the difficulty of establishing whether they are reliable. The relevant guideline is here. Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 13:42, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
Nuclear weapon design is not my strong suit, but ICF definitely is, and I know gold is used in the targets for precisely this reason. But more broadly, gold is mentioned in many sources as a potential tamper material both in the primary as well as the secondary. I seem to recall that many primaries have (had) gold in them. Do you want some help in those other articles? Maury Markowitz (talk) 23:43, 16 May 2015 (UTC)
I would appreciate another reference(other than Sublette) to Gold being used in the tamper, as Crosbie over on W71 has tagged that statement as requiring a reference. The Los Alamos Primer you linked to above does not concern itself with thermonuclear tampers.
Moreover, I have also read that the W71 was somewhat directional in its emittance of X-rays, not a LASER such as Project Excalibur but the flux out the tip of the warhead was somewhat higher than out the sides. Can you corroborate this too? Thanks (talk) 10:36, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the directionality of the W71, I have not seen it mentioned in anything I've come across to date. However, it is worth noting that this is during the period where the US was developing their nuclear shaped charges under CASABA and HOWITZER, so perhaps something useful will turn up as those projects are unclassified (if ever). In essence, simply changing the casing materials around the bomb can focus the output, so it wouldn't be difficult to do for the W71. Maury Markowitz (talk) 16:00, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
I agree, it seems I've had a similar reading as you on this matter, including nuclear shaped charges for project orion. However one thing that really bugs me, is that, as you've acknowledged: simply changing the casing materials around the bomb can focus the output, so it wouldn't be difficult, so I ask, why then is it reported as such a surprise to researchers working on Project Excalibur, that focusing it's output could be done with high Z materials? Surely that would've been obvious to them with the knowledge of how the older W71 worked?
I initially brought this up in that article's talk page too, but got no replies and thought I could bounce this question off you here? (talk) 18:58, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Ahhh, that is a very different issue actually. In the case of Casaba, for instance, the deposition of energy onto the pusher plate causes it to rapidly heat and explosively expand. The mechanical effects of this expansion travel much faster in the metal than outside it, so by carefully shaping the plate you can get the expansion from the entire plate to arrive at the same spot at the same time, while the material around it is sort of "fogging" into a mist. This is precisely the same effect as a conventional shaped charge, although the energy transport is not mechanical, but radiation based (AFAIK).

IF W71 was using some sort of focusing (which I actually doubt, given the role of popping off in the middle of the tube), I suspect it would be of this form. More specifically, they could make the bomb casing thicker in some places and thinner in others, as well as change the materials, such that certain spots on the casing would become x-ray emitting earlier than others. But still, this would result in a pattern degrees across, which might get you a little bit more out of the inverse square law, but not that much.

Excalibur (and that article needs serious work!) is very different. In this case the action is that the flash of x-rays (and lots of other stuff) is essentially used like a large flashlamp. The metal is chosen to have metastable states in the x-ray region, and that means you have to have high-z, just basic physics there. The action is non-mechanical; the flash of light pumps the atoms in the rod which decay to the inversion, which self-lases, exactly like a ruby laser or the lasers in NIF. The action takes place long before the mechanical effects take effect. But I have to note that laser physics is not my strong suit. In any event, this is a real laser, coherant and highly focused, maybe arcseconds across. In this case we're talking about missile-sized dispersion out at hundreds of kilometers, or thousands.

The downside is the laser conversion efficiency. Flashtube lasers get 1 or 2% of the energy back out, and that was expected to be the case here as well. But 1% of a nuclear bomb's x-ray output is still a *lot*, and if you can deliver that 500km away? Very nice. Only problem was that Excalibur just doesn't work. IIRC, CENTURION found a one or two order-of-magnitude difference between O-group's predictions and reality, which is why is suddenly disappeared from news articles circa 1984/85. Maury Markowitz (talk) 21:37, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

'EX2' designation[edit]

The article currently states 'There are at least five Zeus models mentioned in various sources, A, B, C, S and EX2, the last of which became Spartan'. No source is given for the existence of an EX2 missile designation, nor for the claim that a missile of this designation became the Spartan. I can find a claim that a Zeux 'EX' became Spartan via Google books: [1] I can find no reference to an 'EX2'. I will remove this whole sentence as it unsourced. - Crosbie 08:53, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

'EX2' was changed to 'X2' by User:Maury Markowitz in an edit on 5th June ([2]), with no edit comment. I can find no evidence for the existence of an 'X2' designation either - perhaps this was a mistake? As I say above, the only evidence I can find that any similar sounding designation became Spartan was from the above link Nuclear Weapons of the United States by James N. Gibson, from Schiffer Publishing. I should note I rather have doubts about the reliability of this source also. However, that is not the issue initially - the initial issues are that
  • I can see no evidence for the existence of a 'Zeus X2' designation
  • The sentence refers to 'various sources', but provides no sources at all
The sentence is unsourced, appears to be inaccurate, and is doubtful even if the current designation is a typo. If no source is provided to support the sentence, it continues to be my intention to remove it from the article. - Crosbie 12:18, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
What is this "Zeus X2" you refer to? I can't find it anywhere in the article, only here on this talk page. Are you, as it appears, somehow confused by the wording of the sentence? Maury Markowitz (talk) 19:24, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
The sentence I am referring to is "There are at least five Zeus models mentioned in various sources, A, B, C, S and X2, the last of which became Spartan" - 19:32, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
And what part of that sentence states they were called, exactly, Zeus X2? If you care to read page 10-1 of the Bell document, you will see references to A, B, C and X2. Other parts of the same document talk about the S model. The DM-15 was, generally, referred to as the Zeus missile, or Nike Zeus to be pedantic (note the obvious error in the Bell work, where they reverse the terminology to become ZEUS-NIKE). There is no claim in the article that there was something called a "Zeus X2", and if you believe there is, perhaps you would care to suggest an improved wording to make this more clear? Maury Markowitz (talk) 19:55, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
I see the sentence there, "Originally designated DM-15X2 (ZEUS-NIKE X), this missile was named SPARTAN in January 1967". Is this what you are referring to? - Crosbie 04:25, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
No, I am referring to the sentence in the article, the one you keep threatening to remove. Read it carefully, and point to the place where it refers to the "Zeus X2". Maury Markowitz (talk) 11:00, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
I have referenced the A, B, C, and X2 designations with the reference you provided, page 10-1 of the Bell Labs report. I have also added a citation request for the 'S' designation. To say that 'Other parts of the same document talk about the S model' is of no use when the document is 478 pages long, and unsearchable. - Crosbie 18:33, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I found the DM-15S designation on page I-31 of the report, via a discussion group [3]. I have added this page ref to the article. Additionally, I have removed the wording 'mentioned in various sources'. The Bell Labs report is a reliable source, so we can state the existence of these designations as fact. - Crosbie 06:07, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

So, in the end, all of this this comes down to a single extra letter, a simple typo. Wow. Maury Markowitz (talk) 23:24, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

W-66 neutron bomb: failed verification[edit]

The article stated 'The W66 is widely reported as the first neutron bomb, although any differences compared to the W50, other than yield, are unclear.' The only source given was 'Berhow 2005, p. 32.' This can be seen on Google Books: [4] There is no mention of neutron bombs on this page. The word 'neutron' does not appear in this book. This claim failed verification - I have removed it from the article. - Crosbie 09:27, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

And I have RVed this change, as I was able to trivially demonstrate it was correct in a few moments of google-fu. I applaud your thoroughness in examining cites, but your behaviour when confronting these trivial issues (a typo is reason to remove an entire section?!) is becoming a chore to deal with. Maury Markowitz (talk) 16:02, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
In my comment above, I provided a link to the provided source - 'Berhow 2005, p. 32.' This can be seen on Google Books: [5]. There is no mention of neutron bombs on this page. You did not and cannot demonstrate the citation was correct, because the citation is not correct. I have not removed material due to typos and have not stated an intention to remove material due to typos. In each case, where I have removed material, or stated my intention to remove material, I have done so because no reference was provided, or because a reference was provided which failed verification. Currently, the claim that 'The W66 is widely reported as the first neutron bomb, although any differences compared to the W50, other than yield, are unclear' has failed verification. If no reliable source is provided for this claim, I will remove it from the article. - Crosbie 16:29, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be missing the forest for the trees. What you appear to be concerned about is not the content, but the tag on the content. So, as I noted on the other page, there are ample available cites that the W66 is the first ER warhead. Do you continue to dispute this? Or is the problem that the cite tag here is not pointing to one of those? If the later, please feel free to select one, or any other you chose. Maury Markowitz (talk) 22:46, 8 June 2015 (UTC)
I continue to dispute this. My problem is that the claim you have made is not supported by the reference you have provided. It is not possible to make this any clearer. I don't know what you mean by 'tag' in your comment. There is a discussion on the neutron bomb page on the question of whether the W66 is the first ER warhead, to which I have contributed - no source has been provided there which makes this claim. - Crosbie 04:18, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

A source has been provided, but you dispute it and point to the Cox report. That's fine, but to continue making the claim that no source has been provided is disingenuous. Maury Markowitz (talk) 10:56, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

No source has been provided which states that the W66 was the *first* neutron bomb. To state that there is no source for the claim that the W66 was the first neutron bomb is not disingenuous, because there is no source for the claim that the W66 was the first neutron bomb . I have not been disingenuous in stating that there is no source for the claim that the W66 was the first neutron bomb, because there is no source for the claim that the W66 was the first neutron bomb - Crosbie 18:47, 12 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't even know what you're debating any more, because your argument keeps changing. This thread started with the suggestion that the W66 is not a neutron bomb, but now it seems you're talking about it being the first neutron bomb? Let's take this one claim at a time: do you accept that the W66 is an enhanced radiation bomb, or not? Maury Markowitz (talk) 23:17, 13 June 2015 (UTC)

W50 - enhanced radiation?[edit]

The article currently states, "For this to work, the Zeus mounted the W50, a 400 kt enhanced radiation warhead, and had to maneuver within 1 km of the target warhead. Against shielded targets, the warhead would be effective to as little as 800 feet (0.24 km)." The given source is ABM Research and Development at Bell Laboratories, Project History, page 1.1. Page 1.1 of this report does not mention either the W50 warhead, nor the concept of an enhanced radiation warhead. The W50 (nuclear warhead) article says nothing about this being an enhanced radiation warhead. This claim has failed verification. If no reliable source can be provided for this claim, I will remove it from the article. - Crosbie 18:27, 8 June 2015 (UTC)