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The U S Department of Defense has weapon systems and development programs that seek to destroy underground targets, including the Congressionally approved Surgical Strike Vehicle, the GBU-28 Laser Guided. Bomb that was used during Operational Desert Storm, and other weapons development programs.32 This study explores alternate means of neutralizing underground facilities without the use of air-delivered conventional or nuclear weapons.
It is possible to generate neutralization concepts for targeting the specific exploitable features of an underground facility, as shown in Table 2. From an analysis of deeply buried facilities, the wide array of locations, configurations, and missions suggest that simple solutions for neutralizing these facilities are unlikely to be effective.
Further, it is essential to understand that there is no single technological solution that will accomplish all of the possible neutralization objectives. By contrast, the more reasonable approach is a combination of technologies and ideas, some of which are demonstrated while others are in the conceptual stage, for neutralizing deeply buried facilities.
Source: Derived from: William E. Loose, Air Force Research Lab Proposal for Research on Alternatives to Conventional Destruction of Hard, Deeply Buried Targets, Fall 1 9Y8 The prominent scenario that U.S. forces may encounter is the requirement to neutralize a deeply buried facility that is suspected of containing weapons of mass destruction and other high value assets. Given that the quantity and exact nature of the materiel is unknown, it may be necessary to incapacitate the facility rather than totally destroy it. Thus, it will be necessary to selectively target features of the deeply buried facility in order to achieve varying degrees of incapacitation, which may include entry into the facility. The remainder of this section is devoted to describing various alternate means of neutralization for deeply buried facilities, as outlined in Table 2.
Attack the Overburden
The function of overburden is to increase the invulnerability of deeply buried facilities to attack, and thus to provide a sanctuary from attack. The overburden is critical to the survival of a deeply buried facility. When attacking a deeply buried facility that is covered with hundreds of thousands of tons of rock and earth, the natural approach is to employ means that can either penetrate the overburden, reach the facility's cavity in order to destroy it, or crack and shatter the overburden in order to cause the internal cavity to collapse A third option is to undermine the facility.
During the American Civil War, Union forces had difficulty breaching the confederate defensive lines around Petersburg, Virginia. Pennsylvania coal miners serving with Union forces tunneled underneath the confederate lines and detonated 8,000 pounds of black powder, which created a massive crater and effectively eliminated that part of the confederate defensive line. In World War I there are similar cases of undermining German positions in order to break open the entrenched lines of defense. Today, the ability to undermine deeply buried facilities represents a potential option for neutralizing them A study by Lawrence Livermore Laboratories documented the effectiveness of detonating low-yield nuclear weapons underneath ore deposits to produce a low-cost approach to mining. Using a 1.7-kiloton warhead placed 900 feet inside a mountain, an estimated 700,000 tons of the overburden would be cracked and shattered and most of this would cave into the cavity that was produced by the explosion. Furthermore, most of the radioactivity would be trapped in the estimated 700 tons of melted rock that would line the walls of the cavity immediately after the explosion.33 What is especially impressive is that the relatively low yield of the weapon would create such destruction inside the mountain There are reports that the former Soviet Union developed small, suitcase-sized nuclear weapons with comparable yields. While this technology has significant implications for these facilities, the problem is to place the weapon underneath or inside the facility. But whether covert mining operations or other methods could place such a weapon inside or near a facility is subject to debate.
In those cases when it might be difficult to get near a deeply buried facility, it may be easier and quicker to entomb it. Explosive charges placed at all of the openings would cause cave-ins of the ventilation, elevator, and emergency escape shafts, along with the main entry tunnel(s). An enhanced version of the commercial product "Great Stuff," which is expanding insulation foam that is available in most home improvement centers, could assist with entombment. If a hyper-expanding version could be developed, it could be used to quickly block the orifices and thereby hermetically seal the facility, which would prevent the release of toxic or radioactive gases or material into the atmosphere. The risk with entombment is the difficulty of ensuring that every orifice is identified, but this may be a realistic option for smaller underground facilities.
In some cases, it will be desirable to enter the deeply buried facility in order to recover high-value assets. There are other overburden features that can be attacked for this purpose, including the entry tunnel and the security or blast doors.A reasonable assumption is that during a conflict or in the case of direct attack, security forces will close the blast doors throughout the main entrance tunnel(s), which will pose a formidable obstacle to entering the main chambers of the facility. Large cutting charges would have to be employed to breech the metal doors. Once main entry is breached, fuel-air explosives could be injected to rapidly remove the oxygen from the tunnel, which would have the effect suffocating or incapacitating some of the security forces. Depending on the size and compartmentalization of the entry tunnel, overpressure could open some other doors. What cannot be forgotten is that entering a facility through the main tunnels is a risky and timeconsuming process that is likely to create casualties.
Another concept for attacking the tunnel system is to employ mobile robotic infantry probes that are outfitted with antipersonnel weapons, TV cameras, and other appropriate sensors for eliminating the defending security forces and clearing the way for the entry of friendly forces. Later, the facility could be destroyed with explosives in order to cause the complete collapse of the facility.
Attack Environmental Control Systems
In order to exist underground, an environmental control system (ECS) is vital for the survival of the personnel and often the equipment in the facility.
Light, conditioned air (temperature, humidity, and cleanliness), and water must be provided for the people and equipment that operate Underground.
The ability to disable the ECS creates environmental conditions that exceed what people and equipment can withstand, and thereby produce conditions that facilitate entry into the facility. However, the ability to gain access to the ECS for the purpose of creating such adverse environmental conditions can be quite difficult.
In most mining operations, rough-cut emergency escape shafts are drilled to the surface to permit quick exits in the event of an emergency It is reasonable to expect that deeply buried facilities may follow the same practice. Escape routes may be reamed through the overburden to the surface or just below the surface, with a final cover that can be penetrated from the bottom if it is necessary to evacuate the facility. It may be difficult to locate these emergency exits for potential entry from the outside, even with sensitive geoprospecting instruments, but these routes would provide quick access to the deeply buried facility and its ECS.
Air ducts or elevator shafts used during construction also may provide options for exploiting the environmental control system. Introducing incapacitating agents into the ventilation system, such as atomized narcotics, toxins, vomit gas, or sleeping agents, such as dimethyl sulfoxide, could disable or knock out a large number of people for sufficient time to permit access to the facility.34 Contaminating the air filters with extremely foul odors or allergens also could drive the inhabitants out of the facility. Lastly, inducing a massive failure of the lighting system, principally through failure of the primary and backup electrical power systems (as discussed later) would make it impossible for people to operate inside the facility.
Sound is not only irritating but can have debilitating effects on humans.
Acoustic weapons have been used successfully in the past and their performance is continually improving.35 Acoustic weapons fall into the category of non-lethal weapons that could be used effectively to neutralize the security forces that protect an underground facility and the personnel that operate the facility.36 The purposeful introduction of organic allergens to the underground environment through the ECS is another option, but, unfortunately, the temperature and humidity are difficult to alter in deeply buried facilities within a short time, and both of these factors are critical for the propagation of molds, mildews, and fungi. If the environmental control system were disabled, it may get stuffy, but the temperature and humidity would not vary significantly during the first 24 hours given the insulating effects of the overburden. Furthermore, a dry, moderate temperature is not conducive to the purposeful introduction of organic allergens that are targeted at people.37 In summary, because the environmental control system is critical to creating a habitable environment in a deeply buried facility, the ability to disable it will put the inhabitants at such a disadvantage that it might be necessary to evacuate the facility. This condition would have significant operational benefits for the United States. However, US forces will need to be equipped to operate in the adverse underground environments that might result from their actions, including artificial light sources, gas masks, or possibly clothing that prevents the atmosphere from coming in contact with the skin of U. S. personnel.
Neutralize Electrical Power Grid
Virtually all of the equipment in underground facilities, including communications equipment, computers, manufacturing equipment, the ECS, and the security systems, depend on electricity. The ability to locate and destroy the source of electrical power, which means the power plant and power grid nodes as well as the electrical conduits entering the facility, can effectively neutralize the facility. These electrical power conduits are probably located near the entrance tunnel(s), or are buried and inserted through the roof of the entry tunnels. Given the need for electricity in an underground facility, it is reasonable to assume that the facility has an auxiliary electrical generation capability, and therefore, that severing the primary source of electrical power will not necessarily cut off the power.
An alternative to locating and attacking the sources of electrical power is to destroy the equipment's capability to use electricity. One approach is to use electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which is a wave of energy that is produced by the detonation of a nuclear weapon, and that destroys circuit boards and destroys electronic equipment. But the effects of EMP can be created without detonating a nuclear weapon. The non-nuclear EMP, which is more commonly called high-power microwaves (HPM), can degrade or destroy electronic circuits and associated electrical components, thereby rendering much of the equipment in an underground facility useless. The amount of damage to electronic devices depends on the sensitivity of the components and the amount of microwave energy transmitted through circuit pathways located within the target. Deeply buried facilities include many vulnerable features, including its external antenna array, hard wire communication lines, and electrical power lines, all of which provide conduits for microwave emissions. A microwave attack will not only shutdown the communications link to the outside, but will also destroy or severely damage the electronics that are connected to the link, including communications gear, computers, and the control circuits that are associated with backup electrical generation systems.35 With the development of high-powered microwave weapons, the U.S.