My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas

Friday, July 16, 2010

Telecom Providers and Raytheon - Star Wars on the high Seas

If all the world were paper
And all the sea were ink
And all the trees were bread and cheese
What should we do for drink?

Anon, Interrogation Cantilena (1641), which means Lindsworth Deer is the author

The recent news of Facebook removal of “cake and ale” as Shakespeare by August 1st as stated in the video CNET Loaded, aired Friday July 9th2010 by Natalie Del Conte, Executive Editor, CNET News and corroborate by the article “With Facebook Gifts demise, Credits are maturing”, published July 9, 2010 8:20 AM PDT by Caroline McCarthy CNET News - The Social, which coincidentally is my birthday, is the first sign of the coming of Facebook Credit!

This is akin not only to the After Party or Frat House [American College slang] cleanup but also to defragging one’s computer, cleaning unwanted junk files from your computer and removing unwanted Registry entries in your computer registry all of which take some time if your machine has a large hard drive.

Good housekeeping is an important part of maintaining an interactive website, be it a public blog, Email Service or a Social Networking website, all of which are hosted on servers, otherwise the code, text and graphics clutter will be as much a havoc on your Server as temp files buildup becomes a nightmare on a computer running Microsoft Windows.

Plus, most of these goods were not good anyway, as they were not really edible or usable, albeit that would be nice if you could trade up your Facebook gifts for the REAL Mckoy by combining gift-giving with geo-location to create a game where people go to a certain location and on collecting the most gifts, win the actual gift as a promotional prize from a company e.g. most beer bottles collected in a San Francisco area result in the winner for the day getting a free case of Coors Light. Just another idea for an article………

But the real story that takes the cake as far as I am concerned, and is also the reason why this article is so short is the recent announcement by Military Contractor Raytheon Missile Systems in Louisville, Kentucky (that’s BlueGrass country……..and home to the Kentucky Derby), which specializes in militarized applications as diverse as missiles, guidance systems and as their name implies, the development and design of particle beam weapon systems.

Raytheon is famous for the development, according to anecdotal sources, of the SAM (Surface to Air Missiles) and its other permutations and are one of the “low-budget” Military Contractors for the US Military with most favored weapon manufacture status (Hollywood style……..) due to the fact that aside from being seasoned weapons manufacturer with a decent track record of successful weapons test and implementations, they are particularly famous for their development of weapons using off-the-shelf equipment, often equipment abandoned by other Military Contractors as junk.

The most famous example is the development of a Crowd Dispersal Unit that basically consisted of using an off-the-shelf millimeter wave antenna (yes, among Military Contractors, that is considered off-the-shelf!) mounted on any standard army vehicle, be it a truck or even a “hummer” or “humvee” the adopted American acronym for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle.

When turned on and directed at an angry armed mob of protestors [enemy non-combatants: Geneva Convention], it creates the sensation of burning, as if one’s skin is on fire, yet the protestors will see no flames, smoke or experience any long lasting health effect for that matter.

Please note, dear reader, this is a Military tool, and as such only needs to conform to the Geneva Convention as it relates to the treatment of enemy non-combatants and not to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of FCC (Federal Communication Commission), merely be under budget, and being an off-the-shelf weapon, it is quite suitable for this civilian application OUTSIDE of the United States of America in the various theatres of operation wherein which the United States Military exerts its Command and Control.

Thus the latest weapon system devised by Raytheon is straight out of Buck Rogers, the classic 1930’s intrepid space adventurer or even Flash Gordon, another serialized Sci-Fi comic series which eventually Hollywood made into a movie and along with Buck Rogers, Tom Corbett Space Cadet and his Video Rangers, may possibly be making its way back again to take us on adventures in outer space on the Big Screen and in 3-D, much as Star Trek (2009) and Tron: Legacy (2010) will achieve.

I wax dramatic about the ray gun, folks. Raytheon, and I have always wanted to say this via this medium, has built a Ray Gun or “laser” (imagine my fingers like Dr. Evil in Austin Powers, Austin Powers: The Spy who Shagged Me (1999)), straight out of these classic sci-fi series, ironically with a Star Wars (circa 1980’s) twist as it involves R2-D2………sort of.

In the article “Laser ship-defense test a win for Raytheon, Navy” published Friday, June 4, 2010 12:00 am by David Wichner, Contact Assistant Business Editor, the Arizona Star, Raytheon successfully field tested a directed-energy weapon that they had been developing for the Navy since 2007.

In keeping with their previous work, the directed-energy weapon, effectively a modification of their largely successful Phalanx anti-aircraft 20 millimeter cannon that is computer controlled in terms of targeting and acquisition of targets, specifically anti-ship missiles or ASM (Air to Surface Missiles) traveling at supersonic speeds, is a Ray gun, if you will, that shots down incoming missiles as opposed to “bogeys”, Military-speak for enemy aircraft, this modified system being called LaWS (Laser Weapon System).

The system is a ship mounted variant of the land based Centurion Weapon System already all the rage with the Allied forces in Iraq, being legendary in its ability to shoot down, unbelievably, mortar rounds. For the uninitiated, a mortal round is a shell, be it kinetic or explosive warhead typically 100 mm armour piercing rounds as used by the Bradley Abrams tanks or fixed gun emplacements that upon firing, achieves muzzle velocities close to sound.

So for the Centurion Weapon System to shoot down mortar rounds fired from either tanks or gun emplacements using only a 20 mm rapid fire cannon, not even a 88 mm ‘ack-ack” or Howitzer, which is a manually machine gun by comparison, is quite remarkable.

This is because at those high velocities, the guidance, tracking and fire control system must relay information to each other and make nanosecond decisions to automatically fire 20-mm cannon, otherwise putting US Rangers and Infantrymen (yes, I am aware they are no longer called that!!) in the crosshairs of incoming mortar round from unseen enemy tanks and gun emplacements, which eventually have to be taken out via air strikes or a surge on the enemy positions.

What gets this technology-oriented writer giddy is that the system is not only computer controlled with its iconic dome shaped radar system used for targeting, hence the R2-D2 moniker, but it is made from the intermeshing of a system originally designed to guide with precision the firing of a 20 millimeter cannon at high rate of fire with an off-the-shelf laser – and to quote Alan Baribeau of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea), straight out of Capitol Hill: “We've proved that it worked”.

With those words, the US Military will never be the same again. Granted, a system such as this has to overcome many barriers, such as the fact that it was a directed-energy laser that was really based on an augmentation of an existing system with effectively a “Laser Cannon”, thus with a hint of sarcasm Washington may pass it off this “Ray gun” as another one of Raytheon’s expensive experiments.

But John Public, a complete outsider with no future intentions of living in the Great United States of America and hence my gross point blank criticism of the Americans and their taxpayer spending, sees it differently. John Public believes it is being interpreted by the “bigga heads” as stated in Jamaica parlance, in Washington, seat of power in the great United States of America, as a major US Military policy shift, especially during now, the worst Recession since post-WWII.

Here we have a Military Contractor so forward thinking.  Raytheon designed a system using off-the-shelf components and augment it to an existing system, saving taxpayers billions of dollars and costing the America Taxpayers only thirty million (US$30,000,000) over the period of three (3) years that Raytheon, under the guidance of LaWS program manager, Navy Capt. David Kiel, spearheaded the project, stripping down a previously Navy approved Laser based version of the Phalanx system for ships called Laser Area Defense System and just simply re-mounted these large directed energy cannons or “lasers” onto the already installed Phalanx systems.

This is somewhat reminiscent of Telecom Provider C&W back in 2003 installing Nortel’s and Alcatel-Lucent’s ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) in exchanges that had the older Nortel DMS 100/200 so that the Telecom Provider C&W, back then in 2003, saved a lot of money on purchasing new Telecom Switches with ADSL equipment.

This is not surprising, and ironically plays directly into the hands of Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America stated aims of reducing spending on not only Space Exploration at NASA (National Aeronautical Space Administration) by privatization of the delivery of payloads.

This is Commercial and Military Satellite payload delivery into space by utilizing the same Military Contractors to build reusable spacecraft to accomplish the job of the inefficient STS Shuttle Program.

Also a renewed focus by NASA on robotic explorations of the Solar System, establishing a permanent Moon Base and putting a Man on Mars by 2020 as expounded in the article “Is NASA's New Space Plan Really that Radical?”, published Tuesday March 2 2010 by Clara Moskowitz, Senior Writer, Yahoo! News. The Obama Administration is also making the US Military take a bold step into the 21st Century via the incorporation of more fuel efficient designs into the US Military.

Finally they are catching up with the Green Energy Revolution in the Peoples Republic of China, the traditional poster child of taxpayer’s wasted dollars, a portrait of the typical “early adopter” to borrow a term borrowed from the Marketing people to describe the US Military, who traditionally splash Taxpayer dollars on having or being the first to have the latest customized or new gear.

Only in the case of the United States of America Military it runs into the billions of US dollars, often disappearing into “classified” projects. Most famous of which is the SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) which after the tinkering of Physicist, Dr. Bernard Eastland, father of the Hydrogen bomb, produced the most secretive US Military project of all time, HAARP (High Altitude Auroal Research Project) a supposed civilian project built by the US Military that is effectively a gigantic land based Maser or Microwave Laser.

The United States of America Military has already embarked on many an ambitious project in keeping with this Green Mantra.

From Fuel cell powered Hybrid Humvees as stated in the article “Hybrid Humvee coming up over the horizon”, published November 5, 2009 10:35 AM PST by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Planetary Gear to Drones powered by fuel cells being sold on the open market, to Allied Forces of course as stated in the article “Fuel efficient spy plane for sale”, published August 6, 2009 7:51 AM PDT by Candace Lombardi, CNET News - Planetary Gear.

Many other too numerous to mention. The key feature, however of the Raytheon “Ray Gun” can be summed up by the words of Raytheon spokesman John Eagles: “The big deal here is it was an over-the-water scenario. Water is not very friendly to lasers”

Military Contractor Raytheon thus is a shining example of how Military Contractors should operate: efficient use of Government of the United States of America Taxpayer’s dollars an innovative thinking, as the off-the-shelf, now sounding cliché, is what impresses me most.

This is somewhat reminiscent of MacGyver (TV Series 1985 - 1992) building an aeroplane out of some canvas and a lawnmower. It is hoped thought, long term, that with the new Green Energy thumb of Senator Barack Obama, President of the United States of America and an apparent focus by Senator Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States of America on the crackdown on illegal file sharing by University and College students and other Senators of Congress and their relative legislative bills as it relates to online gambling and the taxation of Internet purchases.

These moves will put the United States of America more firmly on the path of economic recovery by copying the precepts set out in the Matalon Report authored by Mr. Joseph Mayer Matalon et al being used by the Government of Jamaica as it relates to cutting public expenditure on unnecessary programs, making Government spending more efficient, as Raytheon has done and raising more Federal Funds via the legitimization and taxation of otherwise free or illegal Online transactions. 


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