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Electronics & Test

Army's Rocket-Intercept System Hits the Mark

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BRedmond
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Silver
Hitting Targets
BRedmond   5/23/2012 9:25:13 AM
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The headline and lead paragraph are somewhat misleading.  The rest of the article explains that the targets hit so far are theoretical and programmatic.  They haven't actually launched any ordnance yet.  SDI is pretty old school by now but I'm sure that looked good in simulation too.  The proof comes when you have an actual missile in the air and the system shoots it down.  Somebody else said that we're talking smaller distances but we're also talking about smaller targets and maybe higher speeds.

TJ McDermott
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Blogger
What do these three things have in common?
TJ McDermott   5/23/2012 3:18:19 AM
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1999 - Mars Climate Orbiter lost because of a metric / US units mixup.

2003 - NOAA N-Prime weathe satellite dropped because one team borrowed retaining bolts without telling the other.

2011 - F22 Raptor pilots losing consciousness due to an as yet repaired oxygen generator problem.

What do these three things have in common?

Lockheed Martin and its culture of lack of procedural discipline.  The first two incidents should NEVER have occurred.  It will be interesting to learn what is really wrong with the F22 oxygen generators.

The company has a history that they can't seem to shake, and it costs taxpayers.  I want this rocket intercept system to work; it's a bloody good concept.  But I don't want design bugs fixed when the Army purchases the next upgrade.

"Bloody typical. They've gone back to metric without telling us."  I think of this quote from Bob Hoskins' character from the 1985 movie Brazil every time I see Lockeed Martin in a headline now.  They've earned it.

Greg M. Jung
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Platinum
Yesterday's Dreams...Today's Reality
Greg M. Jung   5/22/2012 9:46:52 PM
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I also remember how people scoffed at SDI when it was first proposed.  Amazing how small the rockets are (like a Patriot missle in the palm of your hand).

On a side note, I wonder if the radar tracking system could be fooled by any chafe ejected by the incoming object.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Going to the next level
Charles Murray   5/22/2012 8:12:57 PM
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SDI was the first thing that I thought of, too, Naperlou. Obviously, there are differences in the types and altitudes of the targets, but the basic concept seems to be there.

gsmith120
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Platinum
Rockets Systems Technology
gsmith120   5/22/2012 7:45:36 PM
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Elizabeth I really enjoyed this story.  I designed parts of the fuze portion of the Patriot missile.  This is some good technology and so many advancements are continuing to be made and discovered.

naperlou
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Blogger
Going to the next level
naperlou   5/22/2012 9:21:44 AM
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Elizabeth, this is an amazing feat.  I worked on SDI many years ago and we were developing technology like this to intercept ICBMs.  The fact that such small and extensive systems can be developed to protect from things like artillery shells is truly taking that technology to the next level. 

Come to think of it, if we can do this, maybe SDI is not such a stretch after all.

Beth Stackpole
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Blogger
Another level of protection for the troops
Beth Stackpole   5/22/2012 9:15:35 AM
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This technology seems like it could really save a lot of lives. Heartening to hear that initial tests show it hits its mark. What's the time gap between subsequent rounds of testing and when it can actually hit the battlefield?

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