Friday Linkzookery – 06 Oct 2006

Military Police?
Charlie at OpFor weighs in on using active military in disaster relief. He was with the Army Reserve down in the Gulf region after Katrina.

30mm Everywhere
Strategy Page on the plans to rearm AC-130s with 30mm guns. (I thought I had mentioned this somewhere, but apparently not.)

NBC Edits God out of VeggieTales
That, um, leaves us with a talking cucumber and a talking tomato. That’s great.

Russian Heavy Bombers Back In Business
That means we might have to start intercepting them once in a while.

A new chapter in education: Unschooling
I fully support homeschooling and am a homeschool parent myself, but this seems to be a bit much. As with everything related to homeschooling, it will depend largely upon the effort and commitment of the parents.

Cigarette Lighter / Beverage Holder Drive Bay

High-calorie diet fattens Gitmo inmates
No wonder they hate us. Soon the International Red Cross will be complaining that we’re feeding them too much.

The Energy Diet
This is exactly the sort of energy conservation thinking that Murdoc likes and practices. A few dumb and easy things can make a difference.

Mars orbiter looks down on rover

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years (Feb, 1950)
They didn’t predict a Red Sox World Series title, though.

Life imitates ‘Star Trek’
Meanwhile, it’s always amusing to see how old sci-fi tech has been surpassed centuries ahead of schedule.

Building the Space Elevator, One Step At a Time
On the Liftport staff blog.

Spooky Sith-O-Lanterns
If anyone makes one, send me a pic and I’ll post it on Halloween.

‘300’ teaser
Our arrows will blot out the sun!
Then we will fight in the shade.”
From the official production blog.

Updated Ark Royal sails back to sea with new muscle
Brit carrier now more of an amphibious assault ship.

New Bomber Program to Begin ‘Black’
Wow! We’re going to keep our new long-range bomber design a secret? Anyway, it’s a great article.

Intrepid Museum closes for two-year renovation
I’ll be checking out the Evil ‘I’s sister ship Lexington in a couple of weeks.

Navy to mothball the JFK
The on-again, off-again plan to deactivate the Kennedy is on again.

The Reluctant Kamikazes
New book sheds new light on the suicide pilots of WW2.

Key to marital success in afterlife: Finding a corpse
Don’t need the “until death do you part” part, now.

Carnival of Homeschooling
Going back to the 40s for the 40th installment of this excellent carnival.


  1. I agree that is very neat, its like a intergalactic photo op! For that 50 year thing I thought that overall it was a lot better then ‘pretty mediocre job’. The one where they say ‘cancer is not yet curable in 2000, but physicians optimistically predict that time is not far off’ was very good.

  2. 30mm Everywhere Can’t see anything to complain about there. Commonality makes sense and the 30mm rounds seem to be well-proven. I thought 25mm were pretty common too though – e.g. on Bradleys and other light armoured vehicles (some LAV variants?)? NBC Edits God out of VeggieTales I’m not religious but I don’t really see the point. Russian Heavy Bombers Back In Business The Russians make me worry. Are they trying to go back to their ‘glory days’ of food shortages and oppression? Cigarette Lighter / Beverage Holder Drive Bay It’s so lame, I think I have to get one. The Energy Diet I contend that the easiest way to save energy, and especially oil, is to find simple ways to avoid driving. For example, combine multiple trips into one, work from home or walk to the shops. Next time you buy a car, keep fuel efficiency in mind. Right there you have some significant benefits with relatively little effort. I don’t think we have to let conservation rule us. It’s just something smart people do to select the better option when they have a choice. Mars orbiter looks down on rover It sure is a pretty crater. Looks a bit like some kind of space flower. Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years (Feb, 1950) What a classic. They got a few things right and a lot of things wrong. Points for trying, though. New Bomber Program to Begin ‘Black’ Probably a good idea, all things considered.

  3. 10/21/31 – Mark it on your calendar. That’s they day you can take your elevator ride to space. The miracle material will be discovered on 1/1/20 (Happy New Year’s) and will go into production on 12/24/25 (Merry Christmas). It’s got to be true, it is on a Microsoft Project chart.

  4. Isn’t it well past time we had a Mach 3 bomber? Shape stealth only, none of those fragile and expensive coatings. Make it from stainless steel, just like the XB-70. Talk about ‘tough as nails’.

  5. Having the bomber ‘blck’ gets around all those pesky, ‘budget’ and ‘cost control’ efforts. As for a Mach3 bomber- I would be against it. Endurance and speed are mutually exclusive. Speed and stealth are mutually exclusive. Payload and speed are mutually exclusive. Trying to cram, large payload, speed, stealth and endurance in a Mach 3+ frame is going cost us big time. IMO we would be better off with .95 mach plane that has the big three – payload, stealth and endurance. On th eplus side, a Frank Miller version of the 300 will either be really good, or really strange, either way – I’ll plunk down 10 bucks.

  6. The SR-71 had some stealth (as much as if not more than the F/A-18E/F) and range at Mach 3+. Other airplanes have been built since that had stealth and range and were capable of Mach 3. Granted they couldn’t do it without burning up the edges and coatings, but those cost a lot and only do a little. No one ever got close to the blackbird with any kind of ordinance. The XB-70 had a 4000 mile range. It was a long range bomber. If they could do it then without CFD, why can we not do it now? I see the Mach 3 bomber as being the low cost option.

  7. I’ll say it before buckethead gets the chance, I think multiple smaller UAV bombers is the way to go. Instead of having a few big expensive manned bombers with large payloads, why not have heaps of smaller, cheaper ones with a couple of bombs each – all the better to hit multiple targets simultaneously and not bother spending fuel lugging around people, life support systems, etc.?

  8. For the record, I’m on the record saying the next manned bomber will never fly. We’ll get several years (and several billion) in and it will be axed because of UAVs and other unmanned options.

  9. Stealth vs radar – I have no issue with that. Shape it right, and with the right coatings you can mitigate the radar signiture. My issue, heat, at Mach 3 you are going to be IR beacon. As far I know, know one has been able to get around that issue. The XB-70 was great – but it could do a Mach 3 dash but not a Mach 3 cruise. At high Mach your fuel consumption goes through the roof. On each mission a blackbird requires several inflight refuelings. A high Mach bomber, just does not make sense to me. Its far easier and cheaper to make high mach missiles, then making the plateform a go fast. By 2018, the hypersonic cruis missiles should be online by then. As for the UCAV replacing the heavy bomber? I doubt it, and not for technical reasons, but more because there would be lot of resistance to UAV’s putting pilots out of jobs. Chances are, it will be human optional, bomber. Along the lines of an arsenal bomber, not a dash attack bomber. Watch for a Northrop/Boeing entry, they have edge in this race, since they already have a B3 blended wing on the boards.

  10. Went to see the Blue Angels at Fleetweek here in the SF Bay area (Fort Point specifically). Pretty cool (as always), but it needs a soundtrack or something. wish I brought the boom box. And ouchies..the sun she hurtses us!

  11. The SR-71 lived at Mach 3 and could overfly big chunks of the USSR without refuling, and it is relatively small, the Concorde could fly Mach 2 across the Atlantic, and you’re telling me the US in the 21st Century cannot produce a Mach 3 bomber? Please. If they keep dicking around pretty soon we won’t be able to. As for the rest of your comments, they are completely off base. UCAVs are nice toys and fun to talk about, but no one who knows anything about their mission believes they will replace bombers. The tactical mission is far too complex and fluid, and the situation awareness of a remot pilot is far too limited for this to happen. UCAVs have their place, just like cruise missiles. In fact, I think that’s what they should replace, cruise missiles.

  12. Dfens, my understanding is that planes like the B-2 fulfill more of a strategic role than a tactical one, anyway. That is what I was thinking of as the target of a replacement by a UCAV. The bombs are self-guided, they just have to be dropped in the right spot, and targetting can come via satellite link. So obviously little pilot intervention required. Tactical bombers (which I tend to think of more as ‘attack’ or ‘strike’ planes) are going to need to be human piloted for a while yet, although in some situations Predators are going to take over some roles. Launching a hellfire or two is fine for a UCAV. More complex tasks are difficult remotely.

  13. Making a Mach 3 bomber can be done. Now can you make a Mach 3 bomber that has high endurance, large bomb load, and stealth. The answer is no. It does you no good to be invisible to radar when your planes skin is a crispy 1000 degrees. Moreover, you have to ask the question, is Mach 3 needed. You would only need Mach 3 if you are going against an advanced air defense and its much easier to penitrate such a defense with a stealthy missile then a stealthy bomber. Additionaly, while the SR-71 was invulnerable to 60’s to 90’s air defenses – would it remain so in 2018? I doubt it. Not with the proliferation of high Mach value anti-air missiles. If you are not going against an advanced air defense – going Mach 3 is pointless. As for it being a low cost option? You are dreaming.

  14. Forget mach 3, there where versions of the A-12/SR-71 that could carry bombs, but it was abandoned. If you really want to go fast, you need to get up out above the atmosphere, and ‘skip’ along upper atmposphere at mach 5+.

  15. Heck, we could not intercept any of 4 jet airliners travelling at Mach 0.86 near our capital and you think it is a snap to intercept something travelling 4 times as fast? Missiles follow the same aerodynamic laws as airplanes. Just because a missile can go Mach 5, doesn’t mean it can do that speed long enough to catch a Mach 3 aircraft. What you don’t understand is that the air actually becomes a shield at Mach 3. That’s why the SR-71 was invulnerable in the ’90s and still is today. As for the role of the bomber, in the ’50s through the ’80s big bombers were thought to be strictly strategic. They were designed solely for the mission of nuking fixed targets in the USSR. Since the first Gulf War their mission has changed substantially. Now the concept is for them to show up in-theater and loiter so they can provide support to troops on the ground. This has been one of the good things guided bombs have brought to the table. They allow large bombers orbiting at high altitude to provide close support. This is the other advantage of having a bomber that’s fast. It can get on target quickly.

  16. Thank you Nicholas, for saving me the trouble of repeating myself. On another note, I watched the ‘300’ trailer, and while it looks cool, it looks slightly less than period-accurate.

  17. Hech, the Germans had a mach-3 bomber back in 1943. It was called: Vergeltungswaffe 2 (A4/V-2 It just needed a little fine tuning.

  18. You are right in that the speed of the SR-71 made it hard to shoot down. It has to do with detection time, and missile endurance, it has nothing to do with this mythical air shield at mach 3. Mach 3 aircraft do not loiter. Anyway I think I have beat this subject into the dirt.

  19. It all depends what you want the bomber for. If you want it for tactical purposes, loitering time is important. If you want it for strategic purposes, penetration of air defences is important, and speed helps in some ways but is pretty secondary. There are also, in my mind, distinct classes of tactical intervention. It’s one thing to be a kind of aerial artillery – to be able to drop bombs on a set of grid co-ordinates on command. A B-52 with JDAMs can do that. But it’s entirely another thing to actually perform close support. That’s a task you need an A-10 or sometimes an F-16 for. But while close air support is a tactical bombing role, I wouldn’t call the kind of aircraft that perform it ‘bombers’. Fighter-bombers, or attack aircraft perhaps. So if we’re talking about a ‘new bomber’ I think we’re talking either strategic roles, or the ‘hands-off tactical’ roles that planes like the B-1 and B-52 perform today, and which I believe UAVs are already capable of to some extent.

  20. True enough a Mach 3 vehicle will not have the loiter time of a subsonic aircraft. To say that would be over selling the concept. On the other hand just because it is capable of Mach 3 does not mean it has to loiter at that speed. Speed is always good, though. Getting ordinance there sooner is always better than later. Whether it is performing a tactical or strategic role, speed will always help. Did you also notice this comment in the article: ‘When you look at the requirements for a long-range [platform] — persistence, payload — the next generation gunship may look less like the gunship that we all would recognize, and look more like a bomber that we would all recognize.’ Now this is crazy. A bomber/tanker I understand but a bomber/attack airplane? What are they smoking?

  21. Yep, although now that I found out how to convert Richter scale to tons of TNT yield, it was a pretty small device or a fizzle. 2kt. Not exactly something to get too worried about. But the problem is that this means they are one step closer to making a proper strategic nuclear weapon, and we definitely don’t want them to do that.

  22. Almost a daisy cutter. Now I get to go to work and waste some more of your defense tax dollars. Yeah, this is why I went to college and studied my butt off.

  23. I only read the 30mm and Active Component/Disaster Relief Stories. Holy snikies…………..this plan actually makes sense. The cynic in me thinks it’s all a cruel trick! LOL! PS: Good lookin’ out planners and military! Active Military Component/Disaster Relief: I’m with the article author and the Colonel quoted by the author, on this one. There were excellent reasons for the Posse Commitatus Act that are still existent today. Our active military is truly great, but let’s assign them to do the things they designed for, and not let our fearless leaders put them and us on a slippery slope that’s best avoided!

  24. not sure were getting a real stolry on the NorK Nuke. Such a blast, if atomic, should/may have been detected by radiation sensors at atomic energy plants in Japan and elsewhere. The several neutrino detectors throughtout the world would also sense it instantly. I have heard only of seismuic readings. Absent that other information, this could have been faked with several kilotons of conventional explosives. Or perhaps it was a partial test.

  25. MO, What are the stats of the enspiffened HMS Ark Royal vs the Makin Island? And, as with Makin Island coverage, no word on whether the Ark Royal can fight from orbit or transform.

  26. MO, Nevermind-answered my own question. Looks like the Ark Royal is about 3/4 the size of Makin Island, but I think might carry more aircraft. Not sure how they’d stack up though after transfo…erm, transmogrifying.