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?
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.
Artillery ammunition isn't currently that sophisticated.It is unlikely that an adversary would waste time trying on-projectile counter measures as any additional payload would require a reduction in warhead size. Ultimately an arms race in this niche would result in expensive artillery rounds that were less effective than they were originally - a win-win for us!
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.
What they HAVE in common is exhibited precisely in the movie "BRAZIL". Any one who reads Design News should be required to see the movie. I'm betting that most of the readers of this column don't know about "Brazil" the world's most accurate (and entertaining) predicition of the future.
It should be required viewing for all high school and college students.
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.
Yes, if you read the article it has only been successful as a simulation. Until real-life targets and real-life countermeasures work it is still pie-in-the-sky. And collateral damage has to be zero = no non-targets destroyed. It's too early for the posted enthusiasm.
Not all applications require no collateral damage. It can be handled operationally by implementing in an AO with clear fire zones. As I staed in a previous post, CM is very unlikely for this class of target.
More than likely adversaries would try to overwhelm the system to regain effectiveness. This would require more of them to break cover and become targets themselves, which incidentally, is the biggest problem we have in low intensity conflict; identifying bad guys well enough to fit the ROEs. When they finally meet criteria under the ROEs, they don't last very long.
Closing speed in this application is an order of magnitude less than BMD (the current progeny of SDI), and BMD has proven fairly successful.
Current systems like the CIWS can detect, track, and intercept artillery rounds with unguided 20mm DU or tungsten rounds.Although it shoots 3000 rnds/min to accomplish the task, this new system uses a guided interceptor to reduce the amount of ammo expended for defense.
Lock Mart has had some issues in other areas in the past, but also a long line of successes in the missile realm (PAC-3, THAAD, ATACMS, GMLRS, Hellfire...).Although it is ballistically launched, a guided weapon is a guided weapon.
Intercept by tracking works best if the launch takes place from the target area. If these rockets are fired from a "safe" area, they will lose effectiveness. This means intercept can easily change to pursuit and that's whole new ballgame - and may add to enemy fire.
Of course, launching from the target area will surely increase the incentive to make a hit.
I hate to be skeptical but hitting a missile with a missile is a daunting task----seeing is believing.I worked in ballistic systems during my years in the Air Force and deployment speeds lead me to believe the reliability relative to "hits" would be considerably lower than would be tolerated.Basically, show me a system and give me the hard data on the number of strikes.
One interesting unmentioned fact is that if the system can track incoming well enough to hit them, it can also track well enough to locate the launch site and target it with "suitable response". The result is that an attempt to overwload the intercept system would certainly provide lots of return fire targeting information. One other detail is that the same intercepting system could also target incoming with directed energy weapons, which have a very good "hit" score Also, directed energy travels very fast.
Wiliam K; That is a very good point. Optimization of that feature might even be a better route to go. If one shot from a position was enough to have that position identified and destroyed by return fire (in less than a minute ?), who would dare to shoot first ?
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