Magazine Article Reaction
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"jim warren" < firstname.lastname@example.org > sent this e-mail April 01, 2006
----- Original Message ----- From: > I was reading an article in "the bulletin" regarding the problems associated > with the PAC-3 radar system in a coastal defense scenario. Here's a link to > the article. > http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=ma06samson > > What comes to mind is the fact that the old Herc radars could apparently > track incoming missiles and did in fact intercept a Hawk in their history. > I remember dad saying he pushed the button to launch the missile in this > test. Anyway, if the phased-array system won't track another missile for > some reason, wouldn't it be logical to use the old school radars in this > capacity? If the concern is that we are vulnerable to a rogue attack, and > no aircraft will be targeting our radars, why not use the old system? > > Jim Warren > Dexter, MO > email@example.com
Unfortunately, I don't believe a word in that magazine unless corroborated by a trusted source. (actually stronger than that)
That magazine has had a political, not scientific, purpose since I first heard of them - in about 1970 when they first wanted me to sign up.
Its message was that the Soviets are unstoppable,
so don't even think of defense - better Red than Dead.
Its message hasn't changed much today.
That magazine is so full of bull that you might as well read translations of the old Soviet newspaper "Pravda".
Now, a word about "flawed".
When authors have little to say,
and want to kick "it", what ever "it" is,
they say that "it" is flawed.
And what can you say?
Of course "it" is flawed - can you name anything
made by humans that isn't flawed?
People even talk about volcano cones as "flawed"
OK - so "it", the volcano cone, doesn't match their flawed expectations.
I regard the statement that '"it" is flawed',
as flawed -
what ever "it" is.
Can you find a "flaw" in that ;-))
I'm sure that even author Victoria Samson's polished teeth are flawed.
Even if they look perfect to me, my dentist will find some flaw. And even if they could be perfect, I could claim they are too large/small, white/non-white, ... for my taste, which you could claim is flawed, ... HELP!!
The article mentions "cruise" missile detection/intercept problems.
(Lets ignore the old bugaboo of off coast (submarine) launched ballistic missiles -
like why bother when there are so many better easier methods?)
The article doesn't bother to mention,
I doubt the author is aware,
that radar as used "today" is line of sight.
(The very long range radar BMEWS of yesteryear,
- looking over the north pole, - with frequencies much lower than currently used,
- refraction effects of the earth's surface, - refraction/reflection effects air masses of different dielectric - and other "secondary" effects
to help get around the line of sight problem.)
A main reason that people go to the pain and trouble of making a cruise missile today is to get low
and try to defeat ground based radar that is illuminating the straight line space above where the cruise missile wants to be.
The earth is roughly spherical, and a straight line
(or slightly refracted line due to air conditions)
from a ground based radar does not illuminate most of the space above the earth.
It makes no difference if the radar is pulse or Doppler,
- if the target is not illuminated, - it won't reflect a signal to be detected.
(Stealth is another method of not reflecting radar,
- but not part of this particular discussion.)
Unfortunately, without a reflected echo,
Nike, and no one else, can radar detect/track 'em.
Added to the above is the unfortunate fact that Nike Hercules is 50 year old technology
- like a computer 50 years out of date, yes it can compute, but at a cost of much higher initial cost, man-power and maintenance - if you had your choice, you would use modern technology and save much human labor requirement. Witness a Patriot battery cost, performance and manning (15? year old technology) vs. the number of people in your Nike battery.
"Phased array" is just another method of making a radar "beam".
- An advantage is the radar beam can be repositioned at "electronic" not physical speed :-)
- A disadvantage is that the beam cannot be made as precisely positioned (bore sighted) as say Nike tracking radars. :-(
- (The many phase shifting elements are just too variable in real life performance. - frequency, temperature, age, history, ...)
Doppler radar, in its various modes, depends on the frequency shift of the radially moving target.
The reflections of the stationary stuff can be filtered out by frequency, with the moving target exposed. :-))
Now, if we get into airborne or space based radar ... looking down on earth, not so closely hampered by the earth's curvature ... :-))
I bet the author of the piece is both
- totally ignorant - doesn't care about
the above facts.
She gets her political digs in and is happy.
(And she gets published, paid, and is happy.)
To make comments, e-mail Ed Thelen