Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Man vs Machine

January 28th, 2014 - 3:31 pm

Is this end of dogfighting – again?

The AN/AAQ-37 electro-optical Distributed Aperture System (DAS) is the first of a new generation of sensor systems being fielded on the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. DAS consists of six high resolution Infrared sensors mounted around the F-35 airframe in such a way as to provide unobstructed spherical (4π steradian) coverage and functions around the aircraft without any pilot input or aiming required.

Although unmanned aerial vehicles have lately been in the news, air superiority, according to Maj. Gen. Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former Israel Air Force commander is the real foundation of power. Unless you own the skies you cannot send in the drones.

According to Eliyahu, air forces are largely trading in expensive fixed-wing and rotary aircraft, which saves on life-cycle and training costs. However, he believes UAVs cannot deter enemies well enough yet.

“UAVs will not contribute enough to deterrence to prevent war,” said Eliyahu. “When the F-35 is operational in Israel, it will have a dramatic effect on deterring our enemies. So even if we have hundreds of UAVs, it won’t impact the balance of power as much as a single squadron of F-35s.”

The interesting thing about systems like the AN/AAQ-37 is that they represent a third pathway, as distinct from the man only or the autonomous only air combat vehicle. They represent a machine-assisted human operated combat vehicle. A kind of cyborg model. As Gary Kasparov noted in his article on chess and computing, a sufficiently powerful computer can often beat a man; but a man assisted by a relatively inexpensive computer usually beats the most powerful machines conceivable.

This synergy is known as “Moravec’s Paradox, in chess, as in so many things, what computers are good at is where humans are weak, and vice versa,” says Kasparov. So when human and machine get together the result is greater than the two separately. Kasparov notes that the world consists of complex problems, few of which can be analytically solved in polynomial time. Chess is a toy example of a complex system, and yet: “the number of legal chess positions is 10^40, the number of different possible games, 10^120 … Diego Rasskin-Gutman points out that a player looking eight moves ahead is already presented with as many possible games as there are stars in the galaxy.”

Solving these problems is beyond a machine. It is beyond unaided human capability. But put the two together and … So for most worthwhile problems human beings extended by machines is the way to go.

Eliyahu’s intuition is that the air superiority battle falls into that class of problems that are so complex they cannot be addressed in any ordinary algorithmic way. Therefore there is the need for a man in the loop — albeit a machine assisted man — to solve the challenges of the near future.

The emergence of a new air combat paradigm may have the same destabilizing effect that advances in naval architecture caused in the early 20th century.  Advances in turbine propulsion, director fire control and armor made the  naval power of Great Britain obsolescent at a stroke.  Not only did this deprecate the vast legacy store of British warships, it rendered many of the traditional skills of seafaring valueless.

The real measure of an airforce, as has been pointed out by commenters on the Belmont Club, is not in the airplanes but in the airmen. If pilot skills are automated to a degree wherein relatively unskilled persons can become viable air fighters then the huge investment of the US military in traditional pilot skills will be lost.  As with the Dreadnought era all world powers will essentially find themselves starting at zero.

The US may in particular find its lead over rivals vanished as a result of its own technical innovations. Admiral Jackie Fisher convinced the British government that the only viable way forward was to abandon Britain’s legacy fleet in favor of a new class of warship called the Dreadnought.  By so doing, Fisher reduced Britain’s lead over its nearest rivals to a mere matter of months. A paradigm change is hardest on the market leaders. Especially when the market leaders are led by management that is not especially interested in grand strategy or air combat.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Top Rated Comments   
"And if you accept the fact that he was indeed an American citizen, as I strongly suspect he is"

That's kind of my primary point. What evidence has been presented that Obama was actually born in a hospital in Hawaii? He couldn't pass an SF86 background check. Everything he or his agents HAS provided has turned out to have been falsified. His SSN? Issued from a Northeastern city. His draft card? Faked. His birth certificate? Same. Certainly, his past gives the term "checkered" a whole new meaning.

I think it sounds more "moderate" to say, ".. well of course, he's an American citizen, but as an American citizen there are still a few unanswered routine questions about his college entrance and financing ...".

Why concede any point? If he turns out to be American born, fine, then PROVE IT. He forced out a good American military medical officer for having the temerity to merely ask his CinC to pass the same security standards that all military men in his charge had to pass.

I concede nothing, and returning to my original point, Obama's own people believe he's foreign born! It's a "well of course (wink, nod)". Folks are afraid that if he's pressed too hard on the issue, he'll whip out his "real" birth certificate (or more likely, a better fake") and discredit his opposition. What's more discrediting than anything else is to fail to ask the question, investigate, and hold Obama accountable, just like every other American.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's another off-topic "birther" post. DrudgeReport had a link to the Barack H. Obama foundation web site.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/01/28/photo-presidents-brother-malik-obama-wears-kaffiyeh-declaring-that-muslims-will-destroy-israel/

The information at the link indicates that 501c3 (or c4?) site was "fast tracked" to IRS approval within 30 days, while the TeaParty related groups were waiting 2 years and getting the "3rd degree" from IRS investigators. The site is run by the President's brother, who he is apparently close to. The link highlights a Hamas scarf brother Malik wears in a picture that indicates in effect, "Jerusalem is ours - WE ARE COMING", and a map that reads "From the river to the sea!", i.e. that the Muslims are committed to destroying Israel.

That was interesting, but what I found MOST interesting on this semi-official Obama site was the capture on another photograph under the site's "Mission Statement".
"Our Mission: To provide people everywhere with resources to uplift their welfare and living standards in memory of Barack H. Obama: in the region of his birth, Kenya and beyond."
Photos:
http://www.barackhobamafoundation.org/project_photos_8.html
Mission statement:
http://www.barackhobamafoundation.org/mission.html

Someone is lying about Barack H. Obama's birth place. Is it Hawaii, Kenya, or some other African nation? The number one rule should be "believe what they first told you". When Obama's intimates claim he was born in Kenya, and his autobiography book jacket indicates the same, BELIEVE THEM. When they proffer a forged birth certificate on the official White House web site, BELIEVE THE EVIDENCE. They'd have posted the legitimate certificate if they had one. I've seen reports that the "real reason" that Obama has hidden the details of his birth was due to fraud related to his University applications or loans. That's a nice theory, but one should simply take the available evidence at face value. Unless BHO is inclined to provide the facts, and provide evidence behind the facts, then one should assume that he is an immigrant (legally or otherwise) from another country (which one, who cares?). Therefore, he was never eligible to be President in the first place, which makes any other extra-constitutional action he may take or has taken superfluous. He violated his oath of office the day he walked into the White House.

The indictment of the GOP is that regardless of the disposition in the Senate, they had the knowledge, the obligation, and authority to properly investigate and impeach Obama, yet they declined to do so, for fear of losing a few Congressional seats when the Reid Senate declined to remove Obama. The GOP, therefore, cannot argue any constitutional issues in regards to Obama's executive orders, since they forfeited the moral high ground when they also refused to honor their oaths of office. That is the main reason why I consider the GOP to be a dead party, and that the country will suffer from this coup until a new political party arises to replace the GOP in this country's two party system. Any other priority pales in comparison to returning this country to constitutional authority, i.e. the government will continue to operate lawlessly until then.





11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The inventor of the F35's DAS was William F. O'Neil. It was my great privilege to work for, and with, Bill for ten years, and then be his close friend for thirty years thereafter until his death a couple of years ago. The word that all used to describe Bill was "genius." This description is appropriate, especially given the many important creations that he contributed to the world.

An MIT graduate in aeronautical engineering, Bill was hired by Ed Heinemann for whom he designed the autopilot for Heinemann's Hot Rod - the A4D "Scooter." This autopilot was a major technical breakthrough and may well be regarded as the ancestor of all subsequent autopilots. Its novelty was the ability to stabilize an unstable aircraft. It made the A4D the most responsive aircraft in the air - and thereby greatly extended its utility and service life.

Subsequently, Bill invented the MIRV (multiple, independently targeted, reentry vehicle). This was tested, under Bill's direction, during the Reentry Measurements Program (RMP-B). This creation of Bill's literally changed the world by rendering obsolete the strategic war systems of the Soviet Union. This led directly to the various strategic arms limitation treaties.

Still later, Bill redesigned the signal electronics for the Sidewinder missile - changing it from vacuum tube to integrated circuit. This had a major impact on the missile's cost, performance, reliability and availability.

Bill also invented the Digital Scan Converter which was the first device which could produce High Definition infrared imagery.

All this was prior to his invention of the Distributed Aperture System.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (37)
All Comments   (37)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Ralph Peters presents an interesting vision of what warfare with UAVs and the ground-based equivalents might look like in The War After Armageddon. How well protected are these new avionics systems from EMP? I wonder if those of us who've grown up during the cold war might not fully appreciate how likely it is that nukes will be used in future conflicts. Might be wise to have a few hangars full of F4Us or P-40s tucked away, just in case.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most unmanned aircraft rely on networks routed through satellites that, all together, provide those very long operating ranges. But China has demonstrated that satellites are vulnerable to attack, and we are repeatedly warned of the possibility of a "Pearl Harbor in cyberspace." So the tech-obsessives want the USAF to abandon manned aircraft *right now* in favor of aircraft that rely on .... (drumroll, please) .... satellites and cyberspace networks? Really? If you lose either, there's no Plan B for airpower.

Based on these uncertainties, I think a pilot in the cockpit represents a reasonable investment against technological surprise.

"Oh, but we'll build planes that are completely autonomous and won't need networks or satellite links." Fine, but that solution will take a hell of a lot of computer chips, most of which are manufactured in .... Asia. (The topic of hardwired backdoors would fill another thread.)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's another factor - Air Superiority is only at issue when there are opponents of roughly equal wealth and technological capability. The combat aircraft are now so expensive, and so demanding to maintain, that only a highly sophisticated modern economy is able to support such a capability.

Consider this - suppose, just for the sake of argument, that Russia wanted to give Syria some top of the line fighters. Could the Syrians realistically keep them flying for more than a few weeks, at most? I don't think so. They don't have the personell, and they don't have the support systems. No 3rd world country does, which is why they choose assymetric warfare. It's the only option they have.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Here's another off-topic "birther" post. DrudgeReport had a link to the Barack H. Obama foundation web site.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/01/28/photo-presidents-brother-malik-obama-wears-kaffiyeh-declaring-that-muslims-will-destroy-israel/

The information at the link indicates that 501c3 (or c4?) site was "fast tracked" to IRS approval within 30 days, while the TeaParty related groups were waiting 2 years and getting the "3rd degree" from IRS investigators. The site is run by the President's brother, who he is apparently close to. The link highlights a Hamas scarf brother Malik wears in a picture that indicates in effect, "Jerusalem is ours - WE ARE COMING", and a map that reads "From the river to the sea!", i.e. that the Muslims are committed to destroying Israel.

That was interesting, but what I found MOST interesting on this semi-official Obama site was the capture on another photograph under the site's "Mission Statement".
"Our Mission: To provide people everywhere with resources to uplift their welfare and living standards in memory of Barack H. Obama: in the region of his birth, Kenya and beyond."
Photos:
http://www.barackhobamafoundation.org/project_photos_8.html
Mission statement:
http://www.barackhobamafoundation.org/mission.html

Someone is lying about Barack H. Obama's birth place. Is it Hawaii, Kenya, or some other African nation? The number one rule should be "believe what they first told you". When Obama's intimates claim he was born in Kenya, and his autobiography book jacket indicates the same, BELIEVE THEM. When they proffer a forged birth certificate on the official White House web site, BELIEVE THE EVIDENCE. They'd have posted the legitimate certificate if they had one. I've seen reports that the "real reason" that Obama has hidden the details of his birth was due to fraud related to his University applications or loans. That's a nice theory, but one should simply take the available evidence at face value. Unless BHO is inclined to provide the facts, and provide evidence behind the facts, then one should assume that he is an immigrant (legally or otherwise) from another country (which one, who cares?). Therefore, he was never eligible to be President in the first place, which makes any other extra-constitutional action he may take or has taken superfluous. He violated his oath of office the day he walked into the White House.

The indictment of the GOP is that regardless of the disposition in the Senate, they had the knowledge, the obligation, and authority to properly investigate and impeach Obama, yet they declined to do so, for fear of losing a few Congressional seats when the Reid Senate declined to remove Obama. The GOP, therefore, cannot argue any constitutional issues in regards to Obama's executive orders, since they forfeited the moral high ground when they also refused to honor their oaths of office. That is the main reason why I consider the GOP to be a dead party, and that the country will suffer from this coup until a new political party arises to replace the GOP in this country's two party system. Any other priority pales in comparison to returning this country to constitutional authority, i.e. the government will continue to operate lawlessly until then.





11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
People should be focused on Obama's university transcripts and not his spurious birth certificate. Some "stuff" was going on while Obama was a university student and Obama's shills in the MSM have done a good job at keeping it a secret. If anything, the focus of Obama's birth certificate is like a magician's sleight of hand distracting the public from the more important issue of Obama's university transcripts.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
And lets not forget the financing as well. I've often suspected that at least a part of his college education was financed by scholarships reserved for foreign students. And if you accept the fact that he was indeed an American citizen, as I strongly suspect he is, that would mean that he at least partially financed his education by fraud, plain and simple. That I think is what he's been trying to hide all along. The birther thing is just a decoy.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"And if you accept the fact that he was indeed an American citizen, as I strongly suspect he is"

That's kind of my primary point. What evidence has been presented that Obama was actually born in a hospital in Hawaii? He couldn't pass an SF86 background check. Everything he or his agents HAS provided has turned out to have been falsified. His SSN? Issued from a Northeastern city. His draft card? Faked. His birth certificate? Same. Certainly, his past gives the term "checkered" a whole new meaning.

I think it sounds more "moderate" to say, ".. well of course, he's an American citizen, but as an American citizen there are still a few unanswered routine questions about his college entrance and financing ...".

Why concede any point? If he turns out to be American born, fine, then PROVE IT. He forced out a good American military medical officer for having the temerity to merely ask his CinC to pass the same security standards that all military men in his charge had to pass.

I concede nothing, and returning to my original point, Obama's own people believe he's foreign born! It's a "well of course (wink, nod)". Folks are afraid that if he's pressed too hard on the issue, he'll whip out his "real" birth certificate (or more likely, a better fake") and discredit his opposition. What's more discrediting than anything else is to fail to ask the question, investigate, and hold Obama accountable, just like every other American.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What evidence has been presented that Obama was actually born in a hospital in Hawaii?"

Oh, nothing, as long as you refuse to acknowledge the TWO separate Hawaii local papers which included his name in the then-current birth announcements.

The problem is that with crazies like you, real-world facts don't matter. You just fall back to the next absurd claim on your fantasy list.

You can't deal with the fact that Obama won 2 national elections, so you propagate idiot conspiracy theories. The Democrats did the same thing after the Florida 2000 recount. They couldn't accept that Bush won, so they spent the next 8 years chanting "selected, not elected."

11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Having worked on the design of the A-6E a long, long time ago, I'd make the observation that computers don't have "engineering intuition". Back in 1969, Grumman's Lunar Excursion Module Eagle carried Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the surface of the Moon and returned them safely to Earth. Do NOT underestimate what Northrop Grumman can do!!!

But the vast majority of their engineers used slide rules. I was the young, tech savvy computer whiz bringing them into the Computer Age. And the essence of what we did was rough out the design with a slide rule and mechanical calculator and then polish the results with an IBM 360 computer.

The senior engineers already knew the answer to a close approximation. So they could gut check the computer's output. That was how you avoided Garbage In, Garbage Out. They could advance from a Wild Ass Guess (WAG) to a Scientific Wild Ass Guess (SWAG) first.

Without any idea what ballpark the answer should be in, the black box answer from the computer could be totally worthless. You certainly did not want to be in a position of having to design it "before you found out what was in it".

Teaching engineering intuition to a human being is very hard, coding it for a dumbass machine is a b*tch. Computers are just very cheap, tireless digital coolies.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dude. Ever hear of expert systems? AI? Real AI, not the fantasy androids you see in movies. :) Computers are dumb, but they can "think" very very quickly. Given that air combat is about seeing the other guy first and reacting first, a well-designed AI pilot with the sensors mentioned in the original post would enjoy a formidable advantage.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yessir!
Been there, done that.
In my corner of the sandbox we had to estimate solutions using closed-form solutions to equations of motion, that thus gave us physical insight into the problem at hand. We usedthe digital computer (IBM709, 7090) to check for second order effects; also at that time mainframe time was expensive: an hour on an IBM cost about the same as an hour in a wind tunnel.
When I eventually had my own small staff of newbies I spent a lot of time with them, making them learn to solve problems the "old" way before they jumped on their new-fangled whiz-bang computers, whose answers they always tended to trust no matter what.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Anyone with good sense should always use a closed form solution to test their numerical method. Write your software so the higher order parts can be selectively turned off at run time. Then match the numerical solution to the closed form solution. If they match to machine accuracy then you know that most of the obvious bugs have been found and your numerical step size is probably correct. Then turn on the higher order parts to your numerical solution and calculate the fully accurate solution with confidence.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is considerable wisdom in MachiasPrivateer's post. Computers leverage the skill of the engineer who programs them. If the engineer is good and understands the limitations of his computer model then his computer program can be very useful and do far more than what the engineer could do by himself.

The common error one often sees is a really sharp engineer writes a good program and then hands the program to a guy who does not understand its limitations and uses it outside the program's limitations. At an AIAA conference, I saw a young guy present work for a hypersonic vehicle (wave rider) cruising at Mach 8 where he modeled the air around it as a perfect gas (thermodynamics was valid only for low speed). It was a nice presentation with pretty computer graphics, PowerPoint charts, etc. Only minor problem was that the results were entirely bogus. I felt bad for the young guy (his thesis supervisor was a jackass and should have caught the error early in the process).

The rocket scientists who designed the Apollo Command Module (CM) and Saturn-V were incredibly sharp but they had their limitations. They were never able to understand the physics of radiative heat flux during atmospheric reentry from lunar return. In the end , they gave up trying to understand the process, put on huge safety factors and then flight tested the Apollo-CM unmanned at lunar return speeds, e.g. AS-501 and AS-502. They core sampled the recovered CM's heat shield and proved that there was an adequate safety margin. They then said "we know it's safe for our specific mission so we don't need to fully understand the physics of reentry". Kennedy's requirement of having an America on the Moon before 1970 short circuited the usual requirement for absolute certainty. This is now a problem because people want to reuse the Apollo-CM design as the Orion capsule. It's a fine design provided you only want to come back from the Moon. However if you want to come back from Mars then you're in serious trouble. The physics is not fully understood and a huge R&D program is vital to build a safe vehicle for Mars return.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment


BC Alexis,
Well said. The most powerful weapon available is the US enlisted man because of his unequaled ability to say "No" to a stuffed shirt acting stupid. Marines live for the day that some Executive Officer fails to show his pass or steps over the line at a SpecWeaps handling exercise. Officers are expected to share the same values, with a little more polish.

The Russians would constantly test us by intruding on our communications. You were expected to detect and report it. Anyone who accepted an unauthenticated order would end up at the wrong end of a green table without a water glass.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it easier to hack into a human or hack into a machine?

In previous eras, it would have been easier to hack into a human – to use psychological warfare to turn someone against his own side or to bribe mercenaries to change sides in a battle. Nowadays, it's probably easier to hack into a machine. UAV's can be hacked into, whereas fighter pilots with manual controls – or manual overrides – can't be so easily hacked.

So, despite the advantages that a machine may have in terms of physical performance, a machine's ability to obey the correct commands are probably inferior to a human's ability to obey the correct commands. The future of warfare will be determined by the ability of a fighter – whether a soldier or robot – to disregard counterfeit commands. And that's the way it's always been.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment


Eggplant,
Battleships were still useful after 1921. They were useful even in the 1980s. With luck and the rail gun we will have more BBs again. What Gen. Mitchell proved was that there was a threat and the role had changed. Adopting the tool and creating a new defensive screen was the answer. That need to defend against the air threat applied to the new CVs as much as the old BBs. The battlewagons designed after 1921 took those changes into account with increased speed, improved fire control and communications systems, air defenses, and new task force doctrines. Do not assume that a discovered vulnerability means that you start at zero and the other guy is now your equal. The legacy of professionalism and adaptability is what the British retained when the technology changed, and what the Americans also had and still have. Until the enemy within succeeds in destroying that institutional heritage, which they are working on by attacking both the size and culture of the Armed Forces, the addition of hardware by an enemy will be dangerous but not necessarily as catastrophic as our fears counsel.

SB,
Well said regarding the political leadership being critical. As for the risks of increased reliance on automated systems, that applies to all complex technologies. What pilot prefers flying a new Airbus to an old Boeing? In a new plane if a 25¢ fuse fails you are spam in a can as it goes dark. In an older plane when the lights flicker the pilot still can use the stick and rudder.

The Israelis have to talk up the F-35 and hope that Obama does not pull the rug out before they can get it. It would not surprise me if Barry wasn't dangling it like a carrot to delay Israel from hitting Iran. At this point how can they trust him to deliver? The superior F-22 is not there so the F-35 is the only game the Israelis can hope to play until someone offers something better.

RWE,
To me your vision for the UAVs sounds like long endurance self propelled retargetable auxiliary weapons and sensors. That probably could be turned into a nifty acronym, the most important feature in getting a program funded. A similar concept was behind some of the Navy's LCS program. In effect a Mission Commander in an E-3 would communicate with a pilot who would control an array of sensors, self propelled ASM cruise missiles AAW equipped drones and decoys. One flight crew could control more ordnance and occupy a somewhat larger amount of airspace than an entire formation of bombers and support fighters did in the 1940's and '50's.

The idea of multiple decoys controlled by the hidden reality is not new. Here is Arnold facing the threat of the hidden Kennedy clan.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HitAtndOsWw
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blast From the Past said:

"With luck and the rail gun we will have more BBs again. "

I once believed that rail guns would revolutionize warfare. Then a gun expert explained to me that any gun with a muzzle velocity greater than 2 km/sec has no military value. For years there has existed piston driven light gas guns that have muzzle velocities greater than orbital velocity, e.g. 7.5 km/sec. The problem with these guns is the bullet burns up flying through the air before reaching its target. The nastiest ammo out there are tank killing kinetic energy rounds. These are rods of depleted uranium that are shot from a smooth bore cannon using a discarding sabot. The rod of depleted uranium stays in one piece long enough to reach its target mainly through thermal inertia.

The same sort of argument applies towards infantry rifles. During WW-II, most American soldiers shot M1-Garands (.30-06). The recoil from an M1-Garand gets painful after a while. Eventually one can not avoid having "recoil flinch" spoiling his aim (I've experienced this). The problem of recoil flinch was one of the reasons why the .30-06 round was abandoned for the lower recoil 5.56×45mm NATO round.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The emergence of a new air combat paradigm may have the same destabilizing effect that advances in naval architecture caused in the early 20th century. Advances in turbine propulsion, director fire control and armor made the naval power of Great Britain obsolescent at a stroke. Not only did this deprecate the vast legacy store of British warships, it rendered many of the traditional skills of seafaring valueless.
................................
B52's flew over North Vietnamese columns in 1975 as they streamed south. The B52 could have destroyed the North Vietnamese army from the air. But they did not. The democrat congress prevented the big airplanes from dropping their payloads. 15 years later the Soviet Union broke up. George Kennon's 50 year strategic containment policy proved to be a success. That made Viet Nam a tactical defeat in the context of a strategic victory.

There is no strategic vision coming from the US government currently in the global war on terror. Nor is there a strategic vision from the US government on how to deal with a newly assertive China. But in both cases there is strategic vision. The vision is coming from the american people themselves. In the case of the Islamists, the USA has launched a two front war on the price of oil. One on the supply side byo fracking oil. And on the demand side by shifting vehicles over to natural gas and electricity. The goal is first energy independence. Second the goal is to kill the cost of energy. So the gulf arabs will no longer have the guilt offerings to spend on madrasses that funnel jihadists to the battlefield. On China, half of US businesses who have outsourced their labor to China are now talking about returning their businesses to the USA. The most important 4th generation nuclear work --lftr thorium reactors that will ultimately kill the cost of electricity and kill the price of oil ....in 15 years...is being undertaken by priviate individuals and corporations. They will likely succeed before China's own state program does. In fact, sometime in the next two years a very public contest will break out among a number of countries to see who can develop the first lftr thorium reactors.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The USA was built on limited government and unlimited resources. The 1970's began a period of limited resources and ever more unlimited government. The result has been that the design margins for the system have thinned considerably. Its is to be hoped that lftr reactors sometime in the future will restore the USA--and also the rest of the world-- to the pre 1970's era of cheap unlimited energy. Hard to say whether that will also result in more limited government. But people who generate their own power generally feel more in control of their destiny. (The greens view solar as the big future energy. And it willl play a part especially in rural areas as prices fall--but solar is not strong enough for base load urban suburban and industrial needs.)
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The inventor of the F35's DAS was William F. O'Neil. It was my great privilege to work for, and with, Bill for ten years, and then be his close friend for thirty years thereafter until his death a couple of years ago. The word that all used to describe Bill was "genius." This description is appropriate, especially given the many important creations that he contributed to the world.

An MIT graduate in aeronautical engineering, Bill was hired by Ed Heinemann for whom he designed the autopilot for Heinemann's Hot Rod - the A4D "Scooter." This autopilot was a major technical breakthrough and may well be regarded as the ancestor of all subsequent autopilots. Its novelty was the ability to stabilize an unstable aircraft. It made the A4D the most responsive aircraft in the air - and thereby greatly extended its utility and service life.

Subsequently, Bill invented the MIRV (multiple, independently targeted, reentry vehicle). This was tested, under Bill's direction, during the Reentry Measurements Program (RMP-B). This creation of Bill's literally changed the world by rendering obsolete the strategic war systems of the Soviet Union. This led directly to the various strategic arms limitation treaties.

Still later, Bill redesigned the signal electronics for the Sidewinder missile - changing it from vacuum tube to integrated circuit. This had a major impact on the missile's cost, performance, reliability and availability.

Bill also invented the Digital Scan Converter which was the first device which could produce High Definition infrared imagery.

All this was prior to his invention of the Distributed Aperture System.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All