Arsenal of Democracy Archives

May 4, 2004

Son of Thor

Rather a while ago, Jerry Pournelle helped develop a weapons concept called Thor. Basically Thor was a collection of meter-long tungsten rods in low-Earth orbit, each rod having it's own de-orbit package and guidance vanes. Whenever a powerful (but non-nuclear) strike would be needed, commands would be send to the appropriate number of Thor rods, which would de-orbit, then guide itself to the target.

By the time these puppies hit the ground, they've got several thousand feet/second kinetic energy each. You better believe anything hit by one (or more) of these is going to be wiped out, like a bolt from above. Or, like Thor's hammer.

While the DoD hasn't gone that far yet, it has developed what calls "A Deadly Bomb With No Explosives." (scroll down to the May 4, 2004 entry)

The CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapon (“PAW”) is basicallly a cluster bomb carrying several thousand steel and tungsten "bullets," instead of the usual bomblets. This results in a non-explosive, kinetic-kill weapon with very good accuracy, where the "bullets" reach speeds of up to 1,000 feet/second. The target is destroyed without secondary explosions, or any "leftover" unexploded munitions on the ground.

Wow. But, I still want to see the orbital version...

May 12, 2004

Size Does Matter!

I orginally posted this on Dean's World while I was guest-blogging, but I like it so much I'm putting it up here as well.

This is dedicated to Anna over at Belligerent Bunny Blog, in honor of her marvelous "Arsenal of Democracy" series.

One of the more perennial debates in the armed forces has been size (caliber) vs. stopping power. This is why the US Army originally developed the M1911 .45 caliber pistol during the Phillipine Moro insurrection.

Today the US armed forces (as well as most American police) use the M9 9mm (.35 caliber) pistol. Interestingly enough, the Marines are looking at buying a new .45 caliber model to replace the M9. Sometimes, bigger is better.

There's a similar search going on for the rifle range as well. The Leitner-Wise Rifle Company has developed a kit that upgrades the standard M-16/AR-15 5.56mm (.22 caliber) automatic rifle to 12.7mm (.50 caliber).

Just for reference, the US Army Air Forces used .50 caliber machine guns in the classic P-38, P-47, and P-51 fighters. The Browning M-2 ("Ma Deuce") .50 caliber machine gun was the most efficient air-to-air weapon before the development of 20mm and larger automatic cannon.

The upgrade kit results in a rifle that fires what's called a "mini-50" round, which is shorter than the standard M-2 or Barrett sniper .50 caliber round, but still carries a hefty wallop. The resulting rifle is about 36 inches long and weighs between 8-12 pounds, depending on configuration, with a recoil similar to a 12-gauge shotgun. A standard 30 round M-16 clip will hold 10 mini-50 rounds.

Besides stopping power, a .50 caliber rifle makes an excellent anti-vehicle or anti-helicopter weapon, not to mention the impressive effect of an armor-piercing round...

Personal note: I do not, ever, want to be on the recieving end of one of these puppies...

There's a good photo of the modified rifle from here.

New Bio-Terror Weapon Unleashed!!

What we laughlingly call "responsible authorities" in Washington D.C. deny the following unclassified story.

A new threat is about to terrorize the MidWest: insurgent cicadas.

Yes, the Bush administration has once again lied to America, despite Dubya's complaint that "Rumsfeld never mentioned anything about any goddam cicadas."

But fear not, for Cincinnati has faced the latest challenge with a Rapid Response High-Tech invention: the Cicada Swatter(tm).

While the Cicada Swatter(tm) may look like an ordinary badmitton racket, that's a part of its 21st Century stealth technology. Don't be fooled by cheap copies imported from haughty, nuanced France!

Scoring (number of swatted bugs) is as follows:
- 20 swats: Hunter.
- 70 swats: Predator
-100 swatts: CICADANATOR

Now available at Cincinnati Walgreens and Krogers. Website (under construction) here.

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