Skip to comments.Next Generation Cruise Missile Meets Warfighters' Needs
Posted on 03/09/2006 3:27:11 PM PST by SandRat
New Cruise Missile brings bad guys a BIG BOOM!
I'm (unfortunately) far more impressed by and I believe rightfully concerned about the Russian "Sunburn" cruise missile. Primarily oriented as an anti-ship weapon. Some numbers of which are in the hands of the Chinese and the Iranians (guarding the Sts of Hormuz) Google "sunburn missile" for more info. I'm not aware of any effective defense the US Navy has against this item; That doesn't mean we don't, just I'm unaware of any.
I wanna puke.
"Achieving demonstrated in-flight reliability turned out to be our biggest challenge in the transition from development to full rate production," said Colonel Jim Geurts, who manages the program as the Long Range Missile Systems Group commander.
I'm glad to know they finally got the thing working right, but given the first of these two excerpts, I could have predicted the second. People like to complain about military specifications and standards ("An elephant is a mouse built to Mil Spec"), but there are reasons the specs and standards exist.
One is to avoid repeating mistakes. As one of my supervisors once told me, "Mil Specs are a record of every mistake we ever made." Mistakes like putting dissimilar metals together, so you get electrogalvanic corrosion in the presence of moisture.
Another is to assure that reliable parts are designed into a piece of equipment from the start. The Army once fielded a radio that had electrolytic capacitors that used sulfuric acid as an electrolyte. It has a high dielectric constant, so you can make the capacitor a lot smaller. But when it eventually leaks, it ruins everything around it. It took us years to get those things out of the supply system.
Yet another is to assure that once a piece of equipment is fielded, the necessary parts are in the supply chain. During Vietnam, some Pentagon weenie decided that we didn't need to Mil Spec gasoline-powered electric generators. Just buy commercial units "off the shelf" and ship them to Vietnam. So they did. And once they were in Vietnam, when a spark plug failed, or a carbureter float sprang a leak, or a throttle spring broke, there were no replacements in the supply system. An otherwise-okay generator had to be tossed out and replaced for lack of spare parts.
I just hope that this missile works out as they want, or it will be another failure in a long line of failures.
Thanks for the post -
Story about the PRC-104 (a portable HF commo unit)
At an air show, a civilian asked why we got 'ripped off' as the unit cost 5 grand a pop.
My answer - "Its worth it and then some - this radio can cold soak at -40 for 2 full days, and I know if I need to call for beans or bullets, it is on frequency, it works. So my life is worth 5 grand, ya".
Is mil-spec always the best, maybe not, but the stuff I used I could mostly count on to work in the extreme conditions where we worked. If it didn't work, it was because iot was broke hard.