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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.

Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (5518 previous messages)

commondata - 06:01am Nov 7, 2002 EST (# 5519 of 5523)

rshow55 11/6/02 2:37pm

I take on board all your six points, rshow, and it remains a mystery to me why shooting down all planes wasn't possible (cheaply) by all states decades ago. So I'm trying to understand why you think that animal-like controls are the one breakthrough required for effective and ubiquitous missile technology and why coupled differential equations are necessary for those.

In the problem posed earlier, a missile has to accelerate towards the place where it believes its target will be in the time it will take to get there. It could make its prediction for the next millisecond - in which case it will follow a sub-optimal curve towards the target. Or it could predict where the target will be in ten minutes - in which case evasive manoeuvres are easy. Over time, the gap between the missile's belief about that position and the actual position will gradually narrow. Breaking the problem into two parts, software in the missile will have to ask:

1. What's the target going to do and where will it be?

Physical laws, current trajectory, heuristics about the likely behavior of the target, and the physical capabilities of the target being pursued will all be part of that prediction - which, at best, will be a probability distribution. This seems, to me, to be the same problem whether we have animal-like controls or not so I'll skip to the next question.

2. How am I going to get there?

This problem would be absent from the computer model which would just direct x newtons of force on the missile so that the sum of all forces produces a net force along the vector to the predicted target position. In the real world there are rocket engines and control surfaces to worry about but we'd be trying to achieve the same thing. What are special about animal-like controls? Is my assumption that the missile would just have to be more manoeuvrable than the target hopelessly ill-informed?

I'm not a rocket engineer, mathematician or physicist but it's a fascinating problem ... I hope you can correct some of my assumptions.

kalter.rauch - 06:52am Nov 7, 2002 EST (# 5520 of 5523)
Earth vs <^> <^> <^>

Mazza...and anyone else concerned with civilization's survival......

I know Rshow and his ideological dupe Lchic don't really care about defense...only appeasement and "moral equivalence" with ruthless dictators. I offered kalter.rauch 10/31/02 6:17am to Rshow as a riposte to his dismissive post vis microwaves. In return, all he would allow was......

Kalter, you're a dishonest idiot, but I'll post this and get back to you......rshow55 10/31/02 6:35am

As I expected, he has done no such thing, preferring instead to fill this forum with flowery paens to the "statesmanship" of Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Il and the babbling idiocies of Koffi Annan. And of course, Lchic has fulfilled her role as a propaganda chaff dispenser.

Be that as it may, for you and anyone else interested in REAL THREATS, as well as their solutions, I tracked down the background study paper for the Aviation Week & Space Technology article on EMP weapons (the magazine site itsself was off-line unfortunately). The paper may be perused here......

Directed Energy and Fleet Defense

You'll find Col. Walling's credentials impeccable.

Also, I include a source which has material typical of that presented by Schwartau in his survey......

Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) systems

I should mention that Schwartau's reputation has become "controversial" over the last decade. The researcher will find derisive reviews of his military surveys, though only in the most general and emotional terms...while ignoring the technical foundations behind the technology. The negative reviews also TOTALLY ignore the fact that Schwartau's work includes military/munitions as a small sideline. Critics are silent (in agreement?) with his assessment on more well-known aspects of "cyberwar".

All I'm saying is that freedom-loving peoples have real hope in this new technology. This isn't at all some delerious "wunderwaffe" delusion nor a fiscally unattainable proposal typical of an Edward Teller. The weapons, their devastating effects, and theoretical soundness are founded upon a logical progression based on well known science. Yes, there are some technical obstacles with regards to the EMP pulse, chiefest being the danger to the beam weapon from its own wit, the fact that an antenna broadcasts in "lobes", one of which COULD fry the emitter. But even this "drawback" can be turned into a plus through a feedback circuit, thereby significantly increasing the weapons lethality!!! At present, however, this is only a hope, but not outside theory.

All I'm saying is that lasers, or even "plasma packet" thunderbolts aren't the end of the rainbow, but really are the technological pot of gold which may yet deliver Reagan's SDI "umbrella" over The West!!!

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