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The Military Government United States

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened 133

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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  • Re:Helicopters (Score:3, Informative)

    by aix tom ( 902140 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @03:52PM (#47294303)

    Well, having been in an (German) Army Helicopter unit the "tight interaction" between ground troops and flying units requires stuff that fixed-wing aircrafts are not really good at. They can't stand still in the air, the cant land vertically in tight spaces (without burning people with jet exhaust like a VTOL jet would) , etc...

    Basically anything fast/long-range/big is usually handled by the air force planes (or helicopters), while slow/agile/close coordination with ground troops is handled by the army air corps. Usually with helicopters, although some planes are used by armies, like the Britten-Norman Defender by the British army.

  • Re:Helicopters (Score:5, Informative)

    by Austrian Anarchy ( 3010653 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @04:15PM (#47294389) Homepage Journal

    I heard that the army uses helicopters not because they want to but because they have to (Air Force having jurisdiction over planes existing since late 40s as a seperate branch) and that in many missions they use helicopters planes would actually be superior.

    Is this true?

    The Key West Agreement that formed the Air Force had a stipulation that the Army would not have any armed aircraft. Lather that was re-interpreted as no armed FIXED-WING aircraft.

    Side note on the Cheyenne, the helicopter that was to be the scout helicopter for the Cheyenne attack aircraft evolved into the AH-1 Cobra. IIRC, the original scout helicopter for the Cobra was the OH-6, later replaced by the OH-58.

  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @04:41PM (#47294479) Homepage

    From the Stranger-than Strangelove dept:

    http://jalopnik.com/the-flying-crowbar-the-insane-doomsday-weapon-america-1435286216/ [jalopnik.com]

    Essentially a flying, unshielded nuclear reactor that flies around pissing out fission products, and crapping hydrogen warheads.

    All to defend freedom and democracy,. of course...

  • by Hamsterdan ( 815291 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:07PM (#47294577)

    AVRO CF-105 Arrow, killed by the Diefenbaker government, all blueprints and airframes destroyed... (rumors say one might have survived)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

    Brings a new meaning to Black Friday :(

    MACH 1.98 *official* speed, that's for the Mark1 with Pratt & Whitney J75 Turbojets, could have been even faster with Iroquois engines (that was in 1959), it tested faster than that on its first flight even with the J75s, but was lowered down to 1.98 because they wanted to sell the Iroquois engines.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

    Could even replace the F-35 with lower costs

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

    A really nice documentary was made in 1996 starring Dan Aykroyd

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

    Build it at a smaller size, with modern weaponry and avionics, kinda like the Dassault Mirage...

  • Re:It's all politics (Score:4, Informative)

    by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:09PM (#47294591) Homepage Journal

    I worked Crusader for a while. I seem to recall that it was designed for Cold War, specifically a REFORGER scenario.

    The collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and specifically the fall of the Soviet Union kind of made it useless, because it was too heavy to fight anywhere else.

  • Crappy websites (Score:5, Informative)

    by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @05:11PM (#47294597)

    Here's the list using the Wikipedia pages, so that you don't have to click through the tedious article and follow the links to various crappy websites that don't even have pictures:
      AH-56 Cheyenne [wikipedia.org]
      B-70 Valkyrie [wikipedia.org]
      A-12 Avenger [wikipedia.org]
      Future Combat Systems [wikipedia.org]
      Sea Control Ship [wikipedia.org]

  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @06:57PM (#47294969) Journal

    You were the one who brought up kinetic energy-- rifle vs carbine is quite relevant.
    M14: 850 m/s, 10 g bullet= 3.6 kJ
    M16: 948 m/s, 4g bullet =1.8 kJ
    M4: 880 m/s, 4 g bullet= 1.5 kJ

  • Re:Helicopters (Score:4, Informative)

    by morethanapapercert ( 749527 ) on Sunday June 22, 2014 @09:52PM (#47295559) Homepage
    uhm,....sort of

    What you're thinking of is the result of the Key West Agreement [wikipedia.org] which basically says the Army can have air assets with a reconnaissance or medical evacuation role. If they have a need for a fixed wing aircraft, blimp, helicopter or whatever within those roles, they can have them. Combat aviation machines remain the purview of the Air Force, so the A-10 tank buster and the AC-130 gunship whose primary mission is a ground support role are NOT Army assets, but Air Force. In practical terms, this has limited the Army to "low and slow" unarmed fixed wing recon platforms and helos for medivac duties. However, after the Viet Nam War, the Army was able to expand on those roles and start using smaller turboprop and light jet fixed wing craft for cargo transport and armed helicopters such as the Apache.

    The Navy (and Marines) was able to keep its own combat aircraft for several reasons. My own summary of those reasons are a) Navy often operates too far away from Airforce bases for the usual type of cross-service support and b) The navy had done an excellent job of proving in the recently ended WWII of how effective carrier based aircraft are. A capability the Navy was not going to give up without a serious fight...

    *It is generally accepted in military circles that special/covert operations units are exempt from the agreement, but because of the nature and scope of their missions, they are usually limited to choppers and transport craft anyway.

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