Sunday, September 03, 2006

Even more giant floating radar

Remember this post regarding the US military's gigantic floating X-band radar installation? Well, it turned out that the 282 foot long, 50,000 tonne beast that is meant to be a key part of the ballistic missile defence scheme wasn't in position during the North Korean missile scare because it was in need of dockyard attention in Hawaii.

It turns out that the problems with it are worse than we thought. Essentially, as you could have guessed by looking at it, it's desperately unseaworthy, and its planned station is in one of the stormiest seas on earth. Not just that, but it can't be towed in waves of more than 8 feet and therefore can't move if the sea gets up, and it doesn't have a sea-boat that could be launched to rescue a man overboard. Not to mention the total lack of any self-defence capability (although the sea ought to see to that tolerably well).

Yours for $815 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This clockwork-orange anti-missile platform is a prime example of what happens when the military industrial complex has the checkbook. Check out the US attempted development of dirigibles between the wars. They couldn't handle the natural environment either but the brass knew better and they flew them until they crashed killing their crews. A freshman engineering student at any college could have taken one look at these plans and seen the inherent stability problems. How many folks will die when this thing turns turtle during a hundred year storm? Of course by that time all the checks will have been well cashed.

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