Atendendo a algumas respostas apreciativas e inúmeras ignorativas, aqui está......

07 abril 2009

End of airborne laser program

The nice thing about reading the papers in the last couple of months is that everyday Obama and his team say or do something that is completely obvious, absolutely necessary, and that we had been told could not or should not be done for mysterious reasons we could not understand. Example: ABL was a laser gun on an airplane, meant to destroy missiles. There are a number of issues with the idea, not least that the laser would be concentrated on a very small region of the missile, and it is not clear that a missile is vulnerable to be destroyed by melting any small point.

What is interesting is that control of the laser beam is one of the key issues. I worked for a couple of months on control of the beam. The primary contractor's control scheme was orders of magnitude worse than needed to keep focus, and contained some very primitive errors. Any Controls 101 dropout could have done better, but the large defense contractor did not seem to care. Their attitude was more like "we have done it in this way, we will keep spending money on the design though it won't work, and we will not make any changes unless we get extra money specifically for the purpose of making these changes."

The ABL program had very little to do with missile defense, which had always been a figment on Rumsfeld's imagination. Not to soon to end it. Meanwhile, while Washington had its eyes off the ball, N Korea got their bomb, and the Persians are close to it. Obama's common sense will be on high demand.
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