We Have All The Best Toys: laser-cannon edition

September 5, 2014
Science-fiction comes to life

Science-fiction comes to life

(Photo via Wired)

Okay, how cool is this?

Boeing is building a laser cannon for the U.S. Army, and the new weapon has now proved it will be as capable at sea as on land. The High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD)—basically a high-energy laser mounted on top of a big truck—was successfully used to blast some UAV drones and 60mm mortars out of the Florida sky earlier this year, Boeing announced Thursday.

This test was done in a windy and foggy environment, an essential step to proving the technology is useful for naval deployment. The HEL MD used a 10-kilowatt laser—a much less powerful version of what it will eventually fire—to “successfully engage” more than 150 targets at Eglin Air Force Base, a Department of Defense weapons testing facility on the Florida Panhandle. In other words, it disabled or destroyed them.

In simple terms, the laser makes an incredibly powerful, highly focused beam of light and aims it at a moving target. Light equals heat, and, after enough heat has been transferred, the target is compromised and crashes or blows up. The Army and Boeing (which landed a $36 million contract for the project) have been working on this for the better part of a decade, par for the course for a next-generation weapons platform.

It’s a preliminary test of course –I doubt the UAVs were taking any evasive action– but the fact that the laser was effective through fog was pretty danged amazing. I can recall engineer friends back in the 80s describing the problem of lasers diffusing through fog and clouds as being insurmountable. Now? Check it off.

Which reminds me, I wonder how many of the people who called Reagan an idiot for pushing missile defense feel like eating some crow these days? The Israelis have already shown the concept works tactically on the battlefield, we demonstrated proof-of-concept with the HEL MD on our own system, and repeated tests over the Pacific show that ballistic missile defense is not at all a “Star Wars” fantasy. Other than Israel’s “Iron Dome,” these systems aren’t usable in battle, yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Like the musket ended the age of armor, energy weapons may well spell the end of the missile age.

The next phase, of course, it to mount laser cannons on giant war robots, thus making Japanese anime a reality.

PS: Video at the link.

PPS: A very good book related to this is Max Boot’s “War Made New,” which covers the evolution of warfare as competing developments in technology and the effects these developments had on strategy and tactics. This is potentially the latest example.

 


On climate change, Tony Abbott tells Europe to stuff it

April 6, 2014
Tony Abott Australia

Has no time for nonsense

Australia is scheduled to host the annual G20 heads-of-state meeting this year. The G20 is an informal grouping dedicated promoting international financial stability, and the host country gets to set the agenda. For some strange reason Tony Abbott, Australia’s Liberal prime minister, has decided that the G20 should stick to its brief and said that global warming/climate change/ritual denunciations of the Demon CO2 will not be on he agenda.

This has made Europe unhappy.

European Union officials say Australia has become completely “disengaged” on climate change since Tony Abbott was elected in September last year.

They are disappointed with the Prime Minister’s approach, saying Australia was considered an important climate change player under Labor.

One well-placed EU official has likened the change to “losing an ally”.

The EU has a long-running emissions trading scheme which was going to be linked to Australia’s market.

But Mr Abbott has pledged to scrap the carbon price in favour of his direct action policy.

Europe is sceptical of Mr Abbott’s replacement plan.

I can hear the Eurocrats’ tongues clucking and their tut-tutting even now. How are they going to live their taxpayer-funded lifestyles and carry out their dreams of “global eco-social justice,” if more nations follow Australia’s lead? They must be so disappointed in Mr. Abbott. I’m sure he’s losing sleep over it. Perhaps from laughing.

The kicker line is this:

Mr Abbott has said he doesn’t want the G20 agenda “cluttered” by topics that would take the focus from his top priority of economic growth.

Imagine that. A national leader actually concerned about his people’s prosperity and not only unwilling to sacrifice it at the altar of eco-statist group-think, but quite willing to openly “call BS” on the whole farcical charade. I’m sure that John “Climate change is a WMD” Kerry is unhappy. You can guess how that prospect makes me feel.

It’s nice to know that, somewhere in the Anglosphere, there are still nations lead by leaders who don’t have their head stuck firmly up their progressive backsides and who know that their first job is protecting their nation’s interests, not winning a popularity contest in Brussels or Turtle Bay. Canada is another.

I can only look on with envy and hope that, someday, we rejoin them.

via JoNova

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Rick Perry serves a heaping helping of red meat at CPAC

March 7, 2014

Texas Governor Perry spoke this morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and, well, got the crowd more wound up than any amount of coffee ever could. Enjoy:

smiley cheering

After his poor performance in the 2012 primary debates, there was some speculation that pain meds he had been taking to get him through back surgery had affected him. Whatever the reason, he looks to be well over it, now.  This was a great speech and he hit all the notes near and dear to a limited-government conservative’s heart. The Washington Examiner quotes the conclusion:

“My fellow conservatives, the future of this country is upon you, it belongs to you,” Perry roared. “You have the power to change America, you have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams, you are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore and you represent the renewed hope that America can be great again!”

PS: I didn’t see a teleprompter, did you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Ninth Circuit overturns California gun law

February 13, 2014

law constitution bill of rights

When even the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says progressive gun-grabbers have gone too far, it’s something to take note of:

The court concludes that California’s broad limits on both open and concealed carry of loaded guns — with no “shall-issue” licensing regime that assures law-abiding adults of a right to get licenses, but only a “good cause” regime under which no license need be given — “impermissibly infringe[] on the Second Amendment right to bear arms in lawful self-defense.” The Ninth Circuit thus joins the Seventh Circuit, and disagrees with the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. (State courts are also split on the subject.)

“Shall issue” vs. “may issue” has been a big bone of contention among gun rights advocates here in California, as high-handed county sheriffs and city police chiefs have used the distinction to deny otherwise law-abiding citizens their right to carry a weapon.

Given the differences between the various circuit courts, expect this one to go to the federal Supreme Court.

PS: The Washington Post genuinely upgraded the paper by letting Ezra Klein go and adding Prof. Eugene Volokh, founder of The Volokh Conspiracy.

via PJM.

RELATED: More analysis. What next?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Perspective: Building the #Obamacare web site vs winning WWII

November 9, 2013
D-day history

And yet Obama can’t build a working web site.

Via Twitchy, FOX’s Bret Baier read an email from a viewer on his show and then posted it to his web site. Obama and his fans liked to compare him to FDR. I wonder how they’ll like it now:

“Putting things in perspective: March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days.  December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day.  What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this progressive federal government to build a working webpage.  Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks,  planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa,  Invading Italy, D-Day,  Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin – all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!  And in that amount of time – this administration can’t build a working webpage.”

Boom.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


You can’t kill a Gurkha. You can only make him mad, which is a bad idea.

October 5, 2013
Made for hunting Taliban

Made for hunting Taliban

(Image via Wikipedia)

You’d think the Taliban would have learned from their last encounter with Her Majesty’s Nepalese soldiers, but, no, there’s always someone who thinks “this time, it will be different.”

And that, my friends, is the definition of madness:

Acting L/Cpl [Tuljung] Gurung, who serves with the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was on duty at Patrol Base Sparta, in Nahr-e Seraj, at 4am on March 22 when he spotted two Afghans running towards his sangar, or watchtower.

When he challenged them to stop, the insurgents opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle.

One of the rounds struck him on the helmet, knocking him to the ground. Groggily getting to his feet, he saw a grenade bounce into the tower.

Fearing it would explode, the married Gurkha picked it up and hurled it away a split-second before it detonated, the force of the blast throwing him to the floor.

But as the dust and debris settled, Acting L/Cpl Gurung came face-to-face with one of the Taliban who was climbing into the 3 metre high sangar.

Lacking room to aim his rifle, the soldier drew his 18inch kukri and tenaciously took on the insurgent in hand-to-hand combat.

During the fight, the pair plunged to the ground outside the base. In a life-or-death struggle, Acting L/Cpl Gurung continued to lash out with the blade.

He said: ‘He was quite a bit bigger than me. I just hit him in the hand, body, I just started to hit him.

‘I just thought, “I don’t want to die. If I am alive I can save my colleagues”.

‘I thought, “Before he does something I have to do something”. I was like a madman.’

Faced with his ferocity, the Taliban turned and fled. Acting L/Cpl Gurung’s citation said he had displayed the ‘highest levels of gallantry and courage’.

When you look in the dictionary under “badass,” you’ll find a picture of a Gurkha.

For his courage and loyalty, Lance Corporal Gurung was awarded the Military Cross, Britain’s third-highest medal. I’d say his comrades owe him a round or two in the pub, too.

RELATED: The Gurkha who took on 40 train robbers, armed only with his kukri knife.

via Craigé

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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