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Airships May Play Key Homeland Defense Role, Officials Say
American Forces Press Service ^ | March 5, 2005 | By Gerry J. Gilmore

Posted on 03/05/2004 12:35:42 PM PST by Calpernia

The dirigible, or airship, may be employed as a tool to detect potential attacks against the United States, DoD officials told House subcommittee members March 4.

"We believe the best way to protect Americans is to defeat terrorists as far away from our homeland as we can," Air National Guard Maj. Gen. John A. Love said in his prepared testimony before the House Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee. Love is a senior officer with U.S. Northern Command, the unified command charged with defending the United States from land, air and sea attack.

Paul McHale, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and National Guard Bureau chief Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum also provided testimony.

While U.S. troops are taking the fight to terrorists in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, Love asserted it's also important "to win the 'home game' by protecting, defending and defeating threats against our nation."

Recent technology demonstrations, Love said, point to the potential use of airships to patrol a 500-mile "buffer zone" established outward from the American coastline.

High-altitude airships, Love continued, could provide "over-the-horizon" surveillance across North America "and out from our coastal waters for air, ground and maritime threats."

Use of airships for homeland defense purposes, McHale explained, is consistent with DoD's charter to provide "the military defense of our nation from attacks that originate from abroad." Testing of prototype dirigibles, he said, demonstrated they "could provide wide area surveillance and communications capabilities."

McHale pointed out DoD's partner role with the Department of Homeland Security in its mission of protecting the nation against, and preparing for, acts of terrorism. DoD, McHale said, stands ready to "provide assets and capabilities in support of civil authorities, consistent with U.S. law."

National Guard Bureau chief Lt. Gen. Blum told House committee members the Guard "is uniquely suited for operational missions inside the U.S. to help protect both the American people and our critical infrastructure."

In fact, there are now 32 certified Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Teams, the three-star general said, noting, "More are on the way." Blum said each team features 22 Army and Air National Guard specialists trained to detect and identify chemical, biological or radiological hazards, and assist in follow-on activities.

Another initiative involves the reinforcement of WMD civil support teams, Blum noted, with "existing medical, engineer and security forces from either the Air or Army National Guard."

The result, Blum pointed out, is "a more robust capability in response to a WMD incident."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: airship; dirigible; houseterrorism; maritime; nationalguard; northcomm; northerncommand
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1 posted on 03/05/2004 12:35:43 PM PST by Calpernia
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To: MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; Jessamine; ...
Pro Military News!

Use of airships for homeland defense purposes, McHale explained, is consistent with DoD's charter to provide "the military defense of our nation from attacks that originate from abroad." Testing of prototype dirigibles, he said, demonstrated they "could provide wide area surveillance and communications capabilities."

Private Mail to be added to or removed from the GNFI (or Pro-Coalition) ping list.

2 posted on 03/05/2004 12:36:54 PM PST by Calpernia (http://members.cox.net/classicweb/Heroes/heroes.htm)
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To: Calpernia
I didn't see any mention of these airships being deployed on our southern or northern borders. Are we to assume all threats will only come via the oceans?
3 posted on 03/05/2004 12:42:13 PM PST by umgud (speaking strictly as an infidel,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,)
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To: Calpernia; Alamo-Girl
Yes!!

The U.S.A. needs millions of them!

(and hundreds of NEW Domestic 'gas refineries' too.... for good, cheep, gas....25 cents a gallon!)

Hot air?

:-)

4 posted on 03/05/2004 12:44:11 PM PST by maestro
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To: Calpernia
Airships are rediscovered almost as often as passenger trains.
5 posted on 03/05/2004 12:44:57 PM PST by Grut
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To: Calpernia

6 posted on 03/05/2004 1:14:44 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Calpernia
Airship our borders!
7 posted on 03/05/2004 1:15:41 PM PST by blackie (Be Well~Be Armed~Be Safe~Molon Labe!)
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To: Calpernia
This guy is late for the first world war or he is half in the bag.
8 posted on 03/05/2004 1:18:00 PM PST by cynicom
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To: umgud
Excellent point.
9 posted on 03/05/2004 1:36:03 PM PST by JOE43270 (JOE43270)
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To: Calpernia
McHale pointed out DoD's partner role with the Department of Homeland Security in its mission of protecting the nation against, and preparing for, acts of terrorism. DoD, McHale said, stands ready to "provide assets and capabilities in support of civil authorities, consistent with U.S. law."

Uuuuh...OOOOkaaay!

10 posted on 03/05/2004 1:37:45 PM PST by frithguild ("W" is the Black Ice President - underestimated until the left completely loses traction.)
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To: Calpernia
One satellite can do the job of 1000 airships. Airship maintenance won't be cheap, and operations will be expensive. They'll continue prototyping, but there won't ever be any such system.
11 posted on 03/05/2004 1:42:03 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: Calpernia
Big deal...we were attacked from within the last time. All the four planes came from our own airspace. Protecting the 500 mile buffer is a great add-on for our defense but we need to stop the threats from within our own borders and get into and break up the sleeper cells which nobody speaks about as if they don't exist.
12 posted on 03/05/2004 1:42:56 PM PST by Napoleon Solo
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To: Paleo Conservative
The Hindenburg crashed because its paint, made of thermite, caught on fire, not because its hydrogen exploded. Those who died were stupid and jumped - those who remained in the gondola survived and walked away.
13 posted on 03/05/2004 1:48:20 PM PST by SedVictaCatoni (Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why.)
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To: SedVictaCatoni
The Hindenburg crashed because its paint, made of thermite, caught on fire,

I think I saw something about that on the History Channel. But once the external fabric caught on fire, it was inevitable that the hydrogen gas bags would also ignite.

14 posted on 03/05/2004 1:51:30 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: SedVictaCatoni
It would be good if someone could develop safe hydrogen balloons, because hydrogen can lift about twice as much weight. H2 has a molecular weight of 2 while helium He has a molecular weight of 4. According to the Ideal Gas Law:

PV=nRT
so the same volume occupied hydrogen at a given temperature and pressure is half as dense as helium.
15 posted on 03/05/2004 2:00:52 PM PST by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Grut
Airships are rediscovered almost as often as passenger trains.

And bring back the Dymaxion car too! =)


16 posted on 03/05/2004 2:21:19 PM PST by In_25_words_or_less
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To: RightWhale
One satellite can do the job of 1000 airships.

Nope. People have the mistaken idea that every inch of the globe is covered by recon satellites 24/7. Nothing could be further from the truth, largely because of a lot of bad movies and TV shows with real-time close up "satellite recon" movies all the time.
Actually a given location on earth is lucky if it's in sight of a recon sat for a few minutes twice a day.

17 posted on 03/05/2004 2:51:30 PM PST by John H K
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To: John H K
And 36 satellites gives global coverage, while 36,000 airships would give no coverage because their cost would ground them permanently.
18 posted on 03/05/2004 2:59:17 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: umgud
I presume Major General Love is referring to dirigibles similar to the Goodyear or Monster.com blimps. I also presume he is talking about blimps carrying an array of electronic gear and perhaps a minimal human crew.

There have been a series of tethered helium filled balloons on the southern US border for a number of years. They have been, and are, being used to monitor slow flying drug planes. I think they also monitored certain types of radio and other communication traffic. I have seen, up close, one of these balloons near Deming, New Mexico. I understand this particular balloon (called an aerostat)is no longer flying.

Here is a web site that explains the US use of "aerostats".
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/tars.htm

"The aerostat is a large fabric envelope filled with helium. It can rise up to 15,000 feet while tethered by a single cable, which has a maximum breaking strength of 26,000 pounds. For security and safety reasons, the air space around Air Force aerostats is restricted for a radius of at least two statute miles and an altitude up to 15,000 feet. The aerostat network consists of three sizes of aerostats and three varieties of radar. The smallest aerostat is about twice the size of the Goodyear Blimp.

The 275,000 cubic foot, aerodynamically shaped balloon measures 175 feet long by 58 feet across the hull, with a tip-to-tip tail span of 81 feet. The aerostat system lifts a 1,200 pound payload to operating altitude for low-level radar coverage.

The aerostat consists of four major parts or assemblies: the hull, the windscreen and radar platform, the airborne power generator, and the rigging and tether assembly. The hull of the aerostat contains two parts separated by a gas tight fabric partition. The upper chamber is filled with helium and provides the aerostat's lifting capability. The lower chamber of the hull is a pressurized air compartment called a ballonet. A sophisticated subsystem maintains constant pressurization of the ballonet, which maintains the shape of the aerostat's hull at all altitudes. The hull is constructed of a lightweight polyurethane-coated or Tedlar fabric that weighs only eight ounces per yard. The fabric is resistant to environmental degradation, minimizes helium
leakage, and provides structural strength to the aerostat. The windscreen compartment contains the radar and is pressurized by the ballonet. In some aerostats, the airborne power generator consists of an airborne engine control unit that drives the generator, and a 100-gallon fuel tank. Other systems use a power tether. All systems are operated by the aerostats telemetry link to start and stop the engine and its generator. Finally, the rigging consists of the flying suspension likes connected to the main tether and mooring suspension lines.

The Tethered Aerostat Radar System carries the AN/DPS-5 S-band CFAR/MTI and AN/TPS-63 search radars.

The radar data of aerostats is available to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the U.S. Customs Service. In addition, this information is available to a blockhouse ground station below, where a flight controller, seated before banks of meters and television screens, monitors the balloon's performance. All radar data is transmitted to the ground station, then digitized and fed to the various control centers for display".
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/tars.htm
19 posted on 03/05/2004 4:07:04 PM PST by miele man
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To: Calpernia
Use of gas bags seen in homeland defense.


20 posted on 03/05/2004 4:28:51 PM PST by PhilDragoo (Hitlery: das Butch von Buchenvald)
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To: In_25_words_or_less
And bring back the Dymaxion car too!

Oddly enough, a friend and I were almost decapitated by a '34 Chrysler Airflow, 'way back when. We were leaning over the engine looking at this and that, straightened up, and the hood fell shut all by itself about a second after our heads were clear. Very solid clunk!

21 posted on 03/05/2004 4:34:21 PM PST by Grut
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To: RightWhale
And 36 satellites gives global coverage ...

What kind of global 'coverage'?

22 posted on 03/05/2004 4:34:47 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
Like the GPS constellation. Global means the whole planet.
23 posted on 03/05/2004 4:36:03 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: Paleo Conservative
... so the same volume occupied hydrogen at a given temperature and pressure is half as dense as helium.

True, but buoyancy comes from the difference between the density of the vessel and that of the surrounding fluid. So if hydrogen weighs 1 and helium weighs 2 and air weighs 100, then in air the lifting power of hydrogen is 99, while that of helium is 98.

I've forgotten the actual values involved, unfortunately.

24 posted on 03/05/2004 4:45:51 PM PST by Grut
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To: Paleo Conservative
because hydrogen can lift about twice as much weight

This seems to be a common misconception ... the real relationship according to www.flyingkettle.com/jbfa.htm is:

and from www.sfu.ca/~howardc/delta/operations/operations.htm
Helium gas has 92% of Hydrogen's lifting capacity even though it is twice of its density

25 posted on 03/05/2004 4:48:34 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: Calpernia
Interesting! Bumpity bump for more opinions.
26 posted on 03/05/2004 4:51:12 PM PST by livius
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To: RightWhale
Like the GPS constellation.

Did you miss that part about 'surveillance' (or detection) in the article?

From the article: "The dirigible, or airship, may be employed as a tool to detect ..."

GPS provides radiolocation services to the user base - not surveillance or detection services ...

27 posted on 03/05/2004 4:52:06 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
We were discussing geometry.
28 posted on 03/05/2004 4:54:45 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
And 36 satellites gives global coverage...

Incidentally, for future reference, the GPS NAVSTAR radiolocation system contains 24 satellites.

Detailed info available from these authoritative sources (IOW - don't just take my word for it):

www.aero.org/publications/GPSPRIMER/WhatisGPS.html

gps.losangeles.af.mil/jpo/gpsoverview.htm

http://www.aero.org/publications/GPSPRIMER/index.html

29 posted on 03/05/2004 4:59:52 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: RightWhale
We were discussing geometry.

Funny ... John H K mentions 'recon' in the first sentence of his post ... if you want to be specific about it - simple 'coverage' is dependent on a number of factors, and, theoretically could be achived via just one geosynchronous bird ...

30 posted on 03/05/2004 5:04:09 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
... per hemisphere ...
31 posted on 03/05/2004 5:04:37 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: Paleo Conservative
lol...
32 posted on 03/05/2004 5:07:06 PM PST by sit-rep
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To: _Jim
Good, then 1 satellite could do the job of 1000 balloons.
33 posted on 03/05/2004 5:09:50 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
Good, then 1 satellite could do the job of 1000 balloons.

You don't see one good physics-based reasons why this might be undoable?

I do. In fact, I see several ... one has to do with the inverse square law as it relates to the expansion of a propagating 'radio' (EM) wave ...

34 posted on 03/05/2004 5:12:19 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: RightWhale; Paleo Conservative
Good, then 1 satellite could do the job of 1000 balloons.

1 satellite in geosynchronous orbit can't do the reconnaissance job of even one balloon, because of its distance from Earth. Trying to, say, photograph Earth from geosynchronous orbit is not likely to be terribly successful.

I think I saw something about that on the History Channel. But once the external fabric caught on fire, it was inevitable that the hydrogen gas bags would also ignite.

True, though hydrogen rises so quickly that the flames shoot up and away. Looks spectacular, but much less dangerous to people on the ground, and it's over quickly. The Hindenburg's hydrogen did catch on fire, but what you see in the film is its fabric burning.

35 posted on 03/05/2004 5:15:00 PM PST by SedVictaCatoni (Your ears you keep and I'll tell you why.)
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To: _Jim
one good physics-based reasons

Just the usual. Technology marches on. The one satellite needn't have just a small antenna, nor even just one antenna.

36 posted on 03/05/2004 5:16:16 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: SedVictaCatoni
1 satellite in geosynchronous orbit can't do the reconnaissance job of even one balloon

Effectiveness is proportional to funding, which beats the inverse square law. How much money you got? Enough to build 1000 balloons and equip, maintain, and operate them?

37 posted on 03/05/2004 5:19:53 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
The one satellite needn't have just a small antenna, nor even just one antenna.

Let's try a 'fer instance' using a relatively modern, more or less common example of what we're looking at here -

- let's take the NWS's WSR-88D which employs a 28' dish, an S-band freq of 2.4 GHz (thereabouts) which results in 45 dB of gain and a 3 dB beamwidth of just under a (1) degree ...

... do you know what kind of distance an arc of 1 degree covers at 35,786 kilometers (19,323 nautical miles or 22,241 statute miles) above the earth's surface?

The problem that arises is that - MULTIPLE 'targets' would be indicated with a beamwidth at that distance - and I've not consdered the path-loss that would be encountered *both* directions - with a poor reflection/reflector (the bogey aircraft) as the source for the return (signal) ...

A better solution might be increased use of land-based OTH (Over The Horizon) HF (High Frequency) RADAR rather than a) balloons or b) an impossible satellite solution ...

38 posted on 03/05/2004 5:35:16 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
That's just optics. There's no particular reason aside from not wanting to pay for the launch costs of having a huge antenna or antenna array at geosynch elevation. Even NASA is designing monstrous arrays for deployment in space so they can spot earthlike planets lightyears away, although the new mandate may have changed the schedule. But apertures can be synthesized. The actual size of the antenna isn't such a major factor so long as the antenna can pick up signal.
39 posted on 03/05/2004 5:44:33 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: Paleo Conservative
"Oh, the humanity!"

That even gets played occassionally on KNX 1070AM news radio in Los Angeles
as a lead-in to their top of the hour news reports.
40 posted on 03/05/2004 5:52:48 PM PST by VOA
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To: RightWhale
That's just optics. There's no particular reason aside from not wanting ...

Other than not being practical for a number of reasons - I'm not going to delve into fanciful 'designs' that again, aren't in the least EVER going to be practical ... synthetic aperature RADARS work well when you can saturate a target with pulses, taking a trade-off in other parameters; parameters you don't have 'to trade off' from a platform in geosynchonous orbit ...

41 posted on 03/05/2004 5:54:30 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
That's decided, then. What size antenna do you need to get the needed resolution? No limit.
42 posted on 03/05/2004 6:02:54 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
The actual size of the antenna isn't such a major factor so long as the antenna can pick up signal.

I sense a total lack of appreciation for this 'field'; received signal strength (and transmit ERP) for *any* system is directly proportional to antenna gain - a factor which is directly controlled by 'capture area' which relates to an antenna's size ... the ONLY way to make up for a signal which has 'sunk' below the noise floor (intrinsic noise in the first active element e.g. as a front end preamplifier) is to increase antenna gain via an increase in it's size there by affecting the S/N (Signal to Noise) ratio ... even so-called Pulse Compression 'chirped' systems which can function with a N'S ratio require a workable N/S ratio prior to 'pulse compression' (in the receiver) and the resultant S/N improvement!

There is no cheating nature and the 'fact' of thermally induced/created 'noise' in all active devices (and even passive devices!) as used in any RF/RADAR/Radio system!

43 posted on 03/05/2004 6:07:54 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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...Blimps are useless against very large terrorists.
44 posted on 03/05/2004 6:14:09 PM PST by Consort
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To: RightWhale
That's decided, then.

Not so fast!

There is the consideration that you might end up 'blocking' other users in the satellite belt with the size antenna that is required -

- and the 'space drag' (from solar particles) on a large antenna may also prevent you from staying on-station in your orbital slot ...

The real answer, I think, to 500 mile 'detection' of aircraft with today's processing/computer power is the use of OTH HF RADAR as I mentioned previously ... then there is the possibility of 'stealth' being used ... RADAR absorbing materials/LO (Low Observables) designs aren't near as likely to work with HF (2 - 30 MHz) RF energy as with RF in the microwave spectrum ...

45 posted on 03/05/2004 6:19:08 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: _Jim
'blocking' other users in the satellite belt

The price of security. But by the time such a huge antenna were built 1000 miles across, the terrorists would be dead of old age or work-related accidents, and their children would view their parents as hopeless and it might all be over anyway.

46 posted on 03/05/2004 6:28:46 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
Better solution (since this horse won't die no matter how I flog it!) is ... OTH HF RADAR ...

Supporting excerpt from:

www.fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/airdef/an-tps-71.htm

AN/TPS-71 ROTHR (Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar)

...

This unique radar system was originally designed to provide tactical warning to battle group commanders of air and surface threats at an extended range allowing time for responsive engagement. Two US Navy high-frequency (HF) over-the-horizon (OTH) radars known as ROTHR (Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar) are operated at Corpus Christi TX and Chesapeake VA, with coverage of the Caribbean Sea and portions of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

The ROTHRs in Virginia and Texas are presently in full-time use for counter-narcotics surveillance, and a third is scheduled for installation in Puerto Rico in the near future.

...

The ROTHR Virginia surveillance area covers more than 2.2 million square miles of the Caribbean extending north-south from southern Florida to the northern coast of South America and east-west from the western coast of Central America to the Lesser Antilles.

This coverage is achieved using 5-to-28-MHz radio waves that reflect from the ionosphere.

ROTHR is a land-based, high-frequency (HF) radar which can cover a 64-degree wedge-shaped area at ranges of 500 to 1,600 nautical miles. This extended range is achieved when transmitted HF energy is refracted by the ionosphere onto distant targets. The faint energy reflected back from these targets (backscatter) is detected by the radar receive antenna after returning along the refraction path. The surface of the earth and the targets in the area of interest reflect some of this energy back through the ionosphere to a separate receive site, where it is processed to generate target track information.

...

Because the existing Over-the-Horizon Radar Systems were originally designed to perform a military mission and not a counterdrug mission, enhancements to provide a better capability to provide surveillance are being developed by the DoD Counterdrug Technology Development Program.

A series of adaptive waveforms have been developed to deal with the problem of Spread Doppler Clutter and its impact on Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR) systems for the ARPA sponsored Counterdrug Surveillance and Interdiction Program.

...


47 posted on 03/05/2004 6:37:19 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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To: Calpernia; Coop
What is old is new again. Just like WWII anti-submarine patrols. Not very fast, but a FOREVER loiter time. Probably carry enough creature comforts and a complete sensor suite.
48 posted on 03/05/2004 6:40:13 PM PST by IGOTMINE (We are being incrementally criminalized by a government that does not trust us with firearms.)
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To: _Jim
Sounds promising. Now to get HAARP to leave the ionosphere intact . . .
49 posted on 03/05/2004 6:41:10 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts; proofs establish links)
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To: RightWhale
Now to get HAARP to leave the ionosphere intact . . .

Ha ha ... HARRP hopefully will/has allowed better understanding of the vagaries that are HF/SW propagation ...

50 posted on 03/05/2004 6:44:33 PM PST by _Jim ( <--- Ann C. and Rush L. speak on gutless Liberals (RealAudio files))
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