Bill Nourse, manager of the Extended Area Protection and Survivability Program, explains the concept behind an interceptor missile to John McHugh, secretary of the Army; John Rogers, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army; Gen. Ann Dunwoody, commander of Army Materiel Command; and Steve Cornelius, director for Missile Development, AMRDEC. Nourse holds in his hand the system's interceptor bullet, which is designed to be compact and lightweight. (Source: Army)
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.
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.
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.
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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From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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