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Kado
11-30-2011, 03:57 PM
I have a scene where an attack submarine fires a missile at a land based target. The target is an old hotel overlooking the sea, probably made of brick or stone. It is war time and the setting is contemporary. An evacuation procedure is underway at the time of the attack.

I want some key characters and some soldiers to survive.

1. How far away would my characters need to be to survive? At the moment, I've got them about 100 metres from the target but I suspect that's far too close.

2. What level of damage are we looking at with this kind of missile attack? What would be the damage radius?

I have googled this but I can't find anything that answers such specific questions.

Help would be great appreciated.

Maryn
11-30-2011, 06:32 PM
AW has at least one of everything. I know someone who may be able to answer this for you, so I've pointed out your question. When he'll see my message and whether he's got time remains to be seen, but I hope you can get some solid information real soon.

Maryn, all helpful

Puma
11-30-2011, 06:46 PM
I know there is also quite a bit of footage on line showing long range attacks and the results. You wouldn't have to limit your search to submarine launched missiles - any of the surface to surface types should work. One of the factors should be the size and type of the warhead (which also determines size of the missile). Puma (who worked in missile engineering 40 years ago)

Kado
11-30-2011, 07:02 PM
Thanks Maryn. Puma, never thought to look at video footage, so thanks for the heads up. Guess my first stop will be You Tube.

hammerklavier
11-30-2011, 10:53 PM
Tomahawk cruise missile? Look up its capabilities... you wouldn't have to be too far away.

Kado
12-01-2011, 01:25 AM
Tomahawk cruise missile? Look up its capabilities... you wouldn't have to be too far away.

Thank you for the suggestion of Tomahawk. Just getting a name narrowed the search and I managed to discover that 100m is an adequate distance for survival. Er, kinda surprised by that actually. ^^ Good to know if ever I receive advance warning of a cruise missile about to be dropped on my house I just need to be able to sprint 100m in Olympic record time. Well, maybe Usain Bolt could do it...

BRDurkin
12-01-2011, 04:58 AM
Be advised they can mount different warheads on Tomahawks. They can even put nuclear warheads on them. My ship carried Tomahawks at various times; I believe we carried the Block Bravo variant (which I don't think had anything to do with warheads). They also had Block Charlie and maybe even Delta at that point. But I was a guns guy, not a missile tech.

My point is, you may or may not want to mention the warhead on the missile, if that detail is important as to why your characters survived.

Rick
12-01-2011, 06:25 AM
Kado, the only missiles attack submarines carry are Tomahawks, and you're correct in that 100m is far enough away to survive. We do have nuclear Tomahawks as pointed out by BRDurkin, but they are not normally carried by submarines any more.

A Tomahawk has enough accuracy to fly through a window of your hotel. As far as the damage, I can't say for sure - I've only been on the launching end. I'd go with whatever you can find on the internet.

Kado
12-01-2011, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the input guys.

Duncan J Macdonald
12-02-2011, 12:10 AM
I have a scene where an attack submarine fires a missile at a land based target. The target is an old hotel overlooking the sea, probably made of brick or stone. It is war time and the setting is contemporary. An evacuation procedure is underway at the time of the attack.

I want some key characters and some soldiers to survive.

1. How far away would my characters need to be to survive? At the moment, I've got them about 100 metres from the target but I suspect that's far too close.

2. What level of damage are we looking at with this kind of missile attack? What would be the damage radius?

I have googled this but I can't find anything that answers such specific questions.

Help would be great appreciated.


You've gotten good answers on this thread. I'm not here to speak to any of that. I am, however, going to look at your question from a different viewpoint.

(Disclaimer -- I'm retired Navy, and I've worked in both Operations and Target Selection cells)

One of the first questions you ask when you plan a mission like this is: What result do I want?
The answer to that question will tell you what size warhead you need to use. How the target is protected will change that answer. How reliable the trageting location data is will also influence the weapon type and the delivery method.

Look at the mission that took out Bin Laden. There were any number of ways to accomplish the mission, ranging from unbelivable overkill (Hey, that mountain got in the way of my view of the sunset anyway) to a lone-wolf covert agent.

In your case, you want the hotel gone. It's not a mobile target, so the options you have increase. I'm sure you have a good reason to want to use the submarine launched weapon, but I'd have to question why you couldn't launch from an aircraft. Submarines are a stealth platform. Launching a missile from one puts up a big sign that reads "Submarine Here!" for anyone in the area to see.

Yeah, I'm not your typical reader.

I can see the "why" behind using the submarine if 1) It is already in the area for a valid reason, 2) The target has to be hit in a very narrow window of time, narrow enough that other assets can not be either set up or diverted, and 3) the reason the hotel has to be hit is a higher priority than why the submarine is there in the first place.

If you can meet those, go for it! And, from pubically available video (first Iraq War) you can see that 100 meters is fine, especially if there are elevational differences between the target and the survivors (hide 'em in a ditch).

Duncan

Anaximander
12-02-2011, 12:57 AM
As has been said by those more qualified than I, you need a believable reason why a sub would open up on a hotel. Subs are meant for stealth, and firing a missile is not a thing you can do quietly, so there needs to be a decent reason why they'd reveal themselves - time constraints, perhaps, or maybe they've been revealed already and they have the best shot compared to whatever else is in the area.

As for blast radius and survivability, I'm going to assume the sub is firing something like a Tomohawk (reasonable assumption for subs). Assuming a conventional 1000lb warhead like you'd get on a Tomohawk D or E, my best guess at lethal radius would be around 30ish metres. Most casualties would be within 75 metres, maybe 100, although you'd get a few injuries out to around 180-200m, maybe a shade further for a Tomohawk E, depending on how sturdily-built the hotel was (if it holds together, people nearby will be a little safer; if it breaks easily into small chunks that the explosion can throw at people then there will be more casualties). Also, being in a town means that other buildings will shield various places from the blast, and catch a lot of the flying rubble and stuff.

The explosion would total your average small-to-medium seafront hotel quite comfortably; fired on empty ground you'd end up with a crater around 8-10 metres across (for the usual detonation mode, anyways; different fusing and blast patterns can change this a fair bit), so you can imagine what that'd do detonating in a brick building. When the smoke clears, I wouldn't expect to find much of it left above first floor height. Also, a fun bonus fact: that kind of blast can throw small fragments nearly a kilometre, although any bits small enough to make it that far are unlikely to cause a great deal of damage; maybe the odd pebble denting a car like a hailstone would.

Kado
12-04-2011, 01:18 AM
This info is fantastic, thank you so much.

I take both your points about why the missile should be launched from a sub. There is no good reason apart from the fact that I have key characters on that sub who need to be at sea. For plot reasons, the attack needs to come from the sea.

Is it better to turn the sub into a ship? Will that affect the capabilities of the missile?

Edit: I forgot to mention, the attack is at night. Does that make a difference to anything? Also, this is a civil war.

Duncan J Macdonald
12-04-2011, 07:35 AM
This info is fantastic, thank you so much.

I take both your points about why the missile should be launched from a sub. There is no good reason apart from the fact that I have key characters on that sub who need to be at sea. For plot reasons, the attack needs to come from the sea.

Is it better to turn the sub into a ship? Will that affect the capabilities of the missile?

Edit: I forgot to mention, the attack is at night. Does that make a difference to anything? Also, this is a civil war.
If the firing platform is a ship instead of a sub, then you widen the type of missile being fired, and you can add non-US missiles. Also, your ship can range from a smaller coastal patrol ship up to a full cruiser.

Tomahawk is US and UK

SCALP Naval is French (and export, like to the South Koreans)

RBS-15 is Swedish

Naval Strike Missile is Norwegian

Of those, only the Tomahawk has sub-launch capability, so you are limiting your attacking nation to US or UK. I don't know if that fits into your story.

The capabilities of the missile being fired won't be changed. If you want to go with TLAM (Tomahawk Land Attack Missile), then it's the same bird whether it is sub- surface-, or air-launched. The missile is an all weather bird, and doesn't care if it is night or day. That holds true for all of the ones I listed above. They all have a GPS guidance capability, and can fly a route to a target.

Depending on what your key characters are there to do, there is a better chance that you can add outsiders to a surface ship's company (observers, CIA operatives, etc) than to a submarine's company. Naturally, if they are actual crew-members, then it doesn't matter.

Hope this helps.

Kado
12-04-2011, 12:03 PM
Actually, some of the characters are outsiders so that information helps immensely. Something was niggling at the back of my mind about the sub (and outsiders being on it) so I am glad to turn it into a ship.