Foreign Policy – the serious thinkers: Rolling the iron dice
From Wired as so often, this came out the week of SAS(SeaAirSpace) in DC, a conference/exhibition by the Navy League (the premier Naval support/booster society.)
Lasers are used every day for cutting sheet metal, the main issue in weaponizing has become compactness, cooling, and beam forming over miles not inches. The line of sight, zero time of flight nature of its sting, along with some ability to vary your effect and to choose what sort of damage you do (shown in the video), low chance of collateral damage AND the low cost per shot make even a modestly powerful laser weapon a very interesting for ships deployed in zones where the threat can be very low tech but hard to discriminate from non threat till very late, or where you would rather disable than destroy.
An extremely cogent point is how the current situation is pointing out the limited usefulness of Nukes in the long twilight between proven technical capability and getting beyond only having enough to commit (a messy) suicide.
The Virtues of Stubbornness: Mules at War
Lance Cpl. Tyler Langford, anti-tank missileman, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, leads his pack mule during a hike at Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport, Calif., Oct. 13, 2012. Langford used skills he learned in the Animal Packers Course, taught four times a year at MCMWTC. The 16-day course teaches Marines how to use animals in the region they find themselves in as a logistical tool to transport weapons, ammunition, food, supplies or wounded Marines through terrain that tactical vehicles cannot reach. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ali Azimi
Why DARPA has been working BigDog and other legged support robots, problem is that robots don’t eat grass, and can’t be grown on a farm.
Wired and others have been nattering about the Chinese carrier, it’s nascent flight wing, how crappy the hardware is, how hard the job is, etc, etc. working to defuse the China threat they think is being blown up by the Pentagon and congressional hawks.
Look at the two pictures above, the time from first flight to rational threat back ‘in the day’ was a few years, the big gun guys were laughing the whole time. That Fighter struggling off the Lianoning is a threat today if need be, and you do not have to impress an admiral to be able to sink his fleet. No it’s no realistic threat today but don’t make the mistake of equating little with none, the US capability with the capability required to be a threat, or today with forever. The US CVN capability is essentially static or downtrend, China is on the edge of asymptotic rise, with a century and millions of man years of prior experience across the world to pull up on. As other articles in have discussed, what really is a CV in the 21st century? So how long could it be till a Chinese CV threat is more than a wild card? Not long is my estimate.
This seems to say it all and Tragically this looks like an I told you so from a huge number of angles, and perhaps it need not have been so.
Seen in Wired (best society of tech pup ever.)