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Red Team

Sharing the Indians’ Lunch—REMOVED

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

It now looks as if the “user” who posted these videos removed them from YouTube…if anyone knows how to dig up cached versions please let me know and we’ll post again.

This is one of the most fascinating lectures I’ve seen in a long time.

Remember when the aviation press (and we) splashed across their pages the fact that the Indian Air Force had scrubbed the floor with US Air Force F-15s and F-16s in their shiny new export Su-30s back in 2005?

Well, this guy flew in a more recent air training battle with the Indians out at Red Flag and talked about the ins and outs of the Su-30 vs the F-15. I won’t pretend to try and explain his comments for you, take the time to watch his presentation and see for yourself the treasure trove of information on one of Russia’s most impressive combat aircraft.

He also talks about some of the reasons why the US did so poorly in ’05 over in India.

(And make sure to watch minute 8:18 on part one for a look at how to kill a Raptor)…

(NOTE: New Link)


(Gouge: NC)

– Christian

Tomorrow’s Insta-Weapons

Friday, November 10th, 2006

This is Nicholas Weaver’s second article on the military impact of the spread of technology.
America owes a big chunk of its military superiority to what it can make the tools, facilities, and expertise needed to put together sophisticated planes, ships, and weapons. So what happens when much of the high-precision manufacturing behind Predators and F-22s can belocated anywhere and owned by anyone?
cnclaser2.jpgThe day isn’t as far off as it might seem. Twenty years ago, if a designer wanted a new, high-precision part, he constructed a design and handed it to a skilled (and expensive) machinist, who would produce a prototype. If more than a handful of handmade parts were needed, an even more expensive set of tooling would be created.
Today, the same designer develops his plan on a computer and then emails the design to the machine shop, which uses an assortment of CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machine tools to produce the prototype. CNC lathes can turn effectively arbitrary radially symmetric parts, cutters can create 2D shapes, and CNC mills can cut a 3-dimensional part to extremely tight tolerances. And as long as the designer only needs a few dozen (or even a few hundred) parts, the shop just feeds more material into the CNC machines and out pops more parts.
All it takes is a few shipping containers, a power hookup, and a source of refined metal ingots to produce high precision parts and designs from a high-technology mobile factory. And if that doesn’t seem like it’s got much to do with the military, think again. A major reason why the AK-47 is a “Weapons of Slow Mass Destruction” is it’s easy-to-make design. Any country with a factory base up to the low standards of Russia circa 1947 can stamp them out en masse and wreak havoc. Think of the possibilities when small jet turbines or piston engines for cheap unmanned planes become so simple that anyone can stamp them out and build their own drone air force.


Red Teaming Tomorrow’s Radars

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Nicholas Weaver is a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in California. This is the first in an occasional series for Defense Tech.
radar_truck.jpgIn the past, military technology might have consistently outpaced civilian gear. Not any more.
Civilian electronics, manufacturing, and development cycles have radically shortened and improved. The computer which runs the F-22 is an absolute design marvel for its time, for example: 700 MIPS (Millions of Instructions per Second), approximately 300 Megabytes of memory, and some 20 billion DSP [digital signal processing] style operations.
Yet its time was the late 80s and early 90s, when much of the hardware was finalized. Today, a Playstation 3 meets or exceeds this performance, for $600 instead of perhaps $30,000,000. (Of course, the F22’s avionics are considerably more robust and presumably more reliable.)
So the question becomes, what happens if America’s opponents start massively adopting commercial technology and commercial design styles? In Iraq, insurgents are already using commercial gear to build and trigger bombs. But it’s not hard to imagine absorption on a much broader scale. After all, the weapon business is a business, there are brilliant engineers around the world, and the basic building blocks continue to grow more sophisticated.
This occasional series of speculations will attempt to predict that future, by technological “red-teaming,” sketching out what an opponent could do. This first article attempts to postulate what the future of air defense radar will be, and how it will force radical changes in US military operations.