Dan R Allen wrote:

> Dan:
> Where on earth did you come up with that 'shock wave' bit?

My word, not the article's. You don't need the missile to hit the incoming
vehicle, you only need to create a shock wave sufficient to
destroy/disable/deflect it, as the "3D hierarchy" puts it.

> The EKV is using
> infrared, and guides itself into the target from close range on it's own.

"Close." That's what I said. But how do you get from "close" to "bull's eye"?
Shock wave. See above.

> Sounds like the 'close-range' tracking is working fairly well. How are you

No. The article specifically said it wasn't. It also said that even in *theory*
it would only worked if the Pentagon had 3rd party information. The article
doesn't say where that would come from, but it's basically from telemetry
information and knowledge (obtained through intelligence sources) as to what kind
of missiles are likely to be fired from any given site and the characteristics of
those missiles. If you don't have that int, even a working close-range system
won't work.

> certain that these balloons that are being used are not _real_ decoys?

Balloons don't annoy people. Only gasbags do.... ;-)
Seriously, as the article *also* pointed out, "real" decoys are cone-shaped, not
balloon-shaped. Balloons are used in very preliminary testing because you need
something that's 1) airborne; 2) stays put, more or less, during the test; 3) is
cheap; and 4) is large. That's why they're using balloons at this point. But it's
not what real MIRVs use as decoys, they use cone-shaped devices (if they didn't,
they would quickly separate from and isolate the real warhead because of the
different aerodynamic characteristics of spherical objects like balloons).

Thanks for updating me, by the way -- I really appreciated this. Am also happy to
explain your own evidence to you. Bonus, dude! ;-)

> Do
> you even know how they are being used?
> I did miss the quote, but I'll speculate on that a little later.

Don't understand your question. These are supposed to be part of a "missile
umbrella" against the long-distance launch from rogue states (or Texas, too, I
suppose, although Louisiana is the roguishist state I know of...). I don't think
they're worried about Iraqi clowns selling contaminated circus souvenirs.

> > Dan:
> <...>
> > Could you point out where you got the information that the test firings
> > have been such abject failures?
> Marc:
> My latest information is as of 19/07/01. Sorry I have to quote the whole
> article and can't just give a URL, but it's in the subscriber area of The
> Economist:
> Dan:
> Oh goody, a clearly UNBIASED news article.

Let me guess: you think this is biased. Rather than just imply that
sarcastically, would it be too much to expect you to explain *why* you think it's

> ----
> Missile tests
> If at first you don't succeed...
> Jul 19th 2001
> >From The Economist print edition
> "A timely hit in space has helped the Pentagon's case

As critics have done in the past. Uh, Dan -- they're actually on your side in
this. Read it all. But they are telling the truth -- the tests have not yet
succeeded. Some believe they never will. Some believe they could, but the U.S.
shouldn't be developing this technology. There's all kinds of biases, I suppose.
But with all due respect, I think you're being your own worst enemy here in what
you're choosing to highlight from the article.

> Dan:
> Interesting that he would quote Mr. Coyle. I wonder why he quit? Did Mr.
> Coyle approach the author of this article with this information, or did the
> author seek him out for input? Why didn't he speak with the program office
> to get their side of it? Could it be that he had no real interest in the
> program, but merely wanted to whitewash the successful test with negative
> spin of his own?

I'm supposed to know this? Ask The Economist or Mr. Coyle if you want to start up
another subject other than the one we've been discussing.

> Dan:
> > I detect some major spin here - based on
> > personal knowledge, not relying on my "right-wing" news sources.
> Marc:
> The spin, as the article clearly points out, has consistently been on the
> part of the Pentagon.
> Dan:
> Marc, the other day you criticized me for using a biased news source that
> fell beneath your expectations for 'accurate' reporting.

And I did so for one very specific reason: it used a vague source which, when I
tried to investigate it further, appeared to be a non-existent source. The author
may even have been lying, although proving that would have been akin to proving a

> Yet you seem to
> base part of your criticism of a very complex weapons program on this very
> biased, factually

What are the "facts" that are wrong in the article? You didn't highlight any. You
highlighted emotional sentences which you took to be evidence of bias.

> incorrect article where the author couldn't even be
> bothered to check his facts, or seek a response from the Pentagon about his
> criticisms. A truthful reporter would have at least mentioned such an
> attempt.

Dan, this is getting silly. You have absolutely no idea how the author did his
research. Have the guts to ask him, but don't gossip like this behind someone's
back (I'm assuming the author isn't a subscriber to Zion-L).

> I can't speak to Mr. Wolfowitz' comments other than to say that they appear
> to be the typical knee-jerk reaction of someone who is supposed to know
> what he's talking about, but doesn't. This is fairly common in bureaucrats.

He's the DEPUTY DEFENCE MINISTER of the only hyperpower in the world. Think about
that. Incidentally, Wolfowitz is not only on the Pentagon's side here, but he's
got a reputation for being a hawk.

> So is NMD possible? All of the testing says that it is,

But by the Pentagon's admission the testing isn't even finished yet. You have
given absolutely no factual basis for your assertion.

> although we are not
> quite there yet.

Which of course contradicts what you just said.

> Are we putting "artificial realities" into these tests?
> Yes, as is typical of development programs where you want more than just
> simplistic data. Many of these programs are testing specific portions of
> the concept while waiting for the development of previously identified
> systems that would be part of a final system.
> For a knowledgeable person to look at a complex development program and
> insist that the test plan would not pass scientific scrutiny because it
> doesn't include operational level testing is very deceitful, at best.

Sometimes, Dan, an opinion is just an opinion.

Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and
falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark."
--Michelangelo Buonarroti

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the authorís employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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