Welcome to Missile.Exchange, a ballistic missile defense (BMD) and interceptor modelling project created by Scott LaFoy and programmed by James Kelly.

How it Works

Missile.Exchanges visualizes some of the modes and math covered in the academic works of Dean Wilkening, Eric Larson, Glenn Kent, Keir Lieber, and Daryl Press.

On the defensive side, Missile Exchange uses what is called “the simple model” of ballistic missile defense. The model is outlined in Wilkenings’s “A Simple Model for Calculating Ballistic Missile Defense Effectiveness” and “How Much Ballistic Missile Defense Is Enough” and Larson and Kent’s RAND paper “A New Methodology for Assessing Multilayer Missile Defense Options

On the offensive side, the equations are drawn from Keir Lieber and Daryl Press’s “The Nukes We Need”, as well as Samuel Glasstone and Philp Dolan’s The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.

But why?

There is no easy-to-use tool for rapidly simulating generalized BMD architecture. Especially with the vibrant discussion over the deployment of THAAD in South Korea and Aegis Ashore in Romania, it became apparent that ballistic missile defense was hard to conceptualize and it would be helpful if a tool existed that allowed for toying around with BMD architecture.

Alex Wellerstein’s NUKEMAP is a fantastic tool for simulating nuclear bomb effects, and was an obvious inspiration for this project. Just as NUKEMAP provides a well-sourced and useful means of rapidly simulating multiple different scenarios, Missile Exchange aims to allow users to experiment with missile defense architectures.

Future Additions:

There is a long list of future desired features for Missile.Exchange. Most are not actually difficult, but screen real estate is limited and new ways of squeezing in more data can be difficult…

New models and model switching:

  • A different ‘simple’ model, as outlined by James Scouras
  • More complex models
  • Air burst nuclear offensive options

More granular tracking probabilities

  • Differentiate radars
  • Disaggregate a radar’s ability to track individual target and decoy types (i.e. how well can the SBX track the warheads from an RT-2PM2 Topol-M and an RSM-56 Bulava and can it discriminate these warheads from their accompanying decoys)
  • Disaggregate interceptors’ intercept capabilities vs. differing incoming targets (i.e. how well a given interceptor performs against separating vs. nonseparating targets)

Sites and unit management

  • Drop in radars, offensive/defensive batteries