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The Military Government United States

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the pipe-dreams dept.
An anonymous reader writes There have been many US military machines of war that seemed to be revolutionary, but never make it out of the prototype stage. As Robert Farley explains: "Sometimes they die because they were a bad idea in the first place. For the same reasons, bad defense systems can often survive the most inept management if they fill a particular niche well enough." A weapon can seem like an amazing invention, but it still has to adapt to all sorts of conditions--budgetary, politics, and people's plain bias. Here's a look at a few of the best weapons of war that couldn't win under these "battlefield" conditions.
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The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

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  • by CurryCamel (2265886) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @03:06PM (#47294141) Journal

    You mean the rifled musket?

  • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @03:18PM (#47294189)

    Yeah I was hoping for some steampunk goodness as well, a la Brisco County Jr.

    In other news you cannot, cannot have an article about wacky war machines without prolific pictures, it contravenes no less than six seperate articles of the Internet Convention on Clickbait Guidelines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 22, 2014 @03:37PM (#47294251)

    Jeez...

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @03:43PM (#47294271) Homepage

    It's a good thing that some of those weapons were brought to the prototype stage, but not to production. Today, there's a strong tendency to have only one program underway for major aircraft, leading to production of marginal aircraft like the F-35.

    There are many smaller weapons, such as the XM8 assault rifle, which made it to prototype but were then cancelled. Guided ammo for small arms has been demonstrated, but it's still some ways from being miitarily useful.

    Laser weapons are in the same state - there are working demos, but they're not worth the trouble yet. Diode laser powered weapons are now up to 10KW (big array of 10W or so diodes), and can shoot down small rockets and artillery shells in demos. Current thinking is that, at 50KW-100KW, they'll be militarily useful.

  • by Tapewolf (1639955) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @04:42PM (#47294487)

    Government control over production and mass media isn't a left wing concept? You should coulda fooled me!

    If you travel far enough to the left or to the right, you end up in the same place.

  • by Nutria (679911) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:04PM (#47294777)

    and was totally opposed to all of those things

    And yet was still big into state welfare/education/health and control of the populous. Just like the Left, but without Collectivism.

    Heck, it didn't *need* collectivism, since it had power over the ownership class.

    And why does the American Right keep complaining about people playing the Race Card, and then quoting Hitler like they uncritically believe him?

    I don't recall the American Right (maybe the Faaaaar Right, but I don't pay attention to them) quoting Hitler on a regular basis, and when they do, it's in the vein of, Hitler said he was going to do X, and the Western Intelligentsia didn't believe him, but then he went and did it anyway. Thus, the world can't afford to ignore the rantings of crazy dictators with lots of money.

  • AVRO CF-105 Arrow, killed by the Diefenbaker government, and the subject of fevered fantasies amongst the generations of aviation fanboys ever since

    Seriously, if you believe everything ever written about the Arrow, it's the escort vehicle for the second coming of $DIETY. Reality however insists (as it usually does) in being somewhat messier.
     
    From a more balanced view, Diefenbaker probably did the Canadian military a huge favor... Arrow's fire control system was a real mess and probably years from being combat ready. Also, the day of the big heavy high speed interceptor was already starting to draw to close, being replaced by lighter and smaller air superiority fighters. Though overseas sales were often discussed, similar aircraft of the era had a dismal sales record because they were very expensive niche aircraft - and the niche was rapidly vanishing. Odds are (assuming the Arrow ever reached full combat capability) that by 1970 Canada would have been stuck with an obsolescent and aging Arrow contingent sucking up vast amounts of the slender Canadian defense budget.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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