Tag Archives | missiles

United States May Strike Syria as Soon as Thursday

Missile-Command_3NBC quotes anonymous sources that a missile strike against Syria could occur as early as Thursday. Presumably Obama will orchestrate this in the brief time between polishing his Nobel Prize medal and approving drone strikes around the world.

Via NBC:

The U.S. could hit Syria with three days of missile strikes, perhaps beginning Thursday, in an attack meant more to send a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than to topple him or cripple his military, senior U.S. officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

The State Department fed the growing drumbeat around the world for a military response to Syria’s suspected use of chemical weapons against rebels Aug. 21 near Damascus, saying that while the U.S. intelligence community would release a formal assessment within the week, it was already “crystal clear” that Assad’s government was responsible.

White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated Tuesday that the White House isn’t considering the deliberate overthrow of Assad.

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Computers That Can’t Fail

legofthesixtiesVia PCWorld:

When you see reports about the small, remote-controlled drones that the military uses to gather intelligence and target enemies in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it’s easy to assume that all our weaponry is equally modern. Some significant weapons systems that our military depends on today, though, run on technology that dates back, in some instances, to the Vietnam War era.

The U.S. Navy’s ship-based radar systems and Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment, which maintains that country’s nuclear warheads, use PDP minicomputers manufactured in the 1970s by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Another user of the PDP is Airbus, the French jetliner manufacturer.

The PDP was among the second wave of mainframes called minicomputers because they were only the size of a couple of refrigerators instead of big enough to fill a room.

The F-15 and F-18 fighters, the Hawk missile systems, parts of the U.S. Navy submarine fleet, and Navy fighter test systems on aircraft carriers use DEC’s VAX minicomputers from the 1980s for various purposes, according to Lynda Jones of The Logical Company in Cottage Grove, Oregon, which helps keep these antiquated systems functioning.

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Don’t Panic, But China Mingles Its Nukes with Regular Missiles

Picture: Flickr/Kate Haskell (CC)

This… erm… unsettling development comes out of the first comprehensive, non-governmental report on China’s nuclear warplans, written by John Lewis, a professor of Chinese politics at Stanford University.

via Benjamin Plackett at WIRED’s Danger Room:

It turns out that China’s been mixing its nuclear missiles in with its conventional ones at the same military bases. Not really, uh, advisable: that makes it really hard for other countries to figure out if a Chinese missile launch is just a conventional one or the beginnings of a nuclear Armageddon. But fret not — while China’s missile mingling may not be very sensible, it’s not going to cause World War III.

Writing in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, John Lewis warns that the intermingling could trigger a nuclear launch: once another nation watched a Chinese missile blast off, it might trigger a nuclear retaliation from a confused, panicked Russia or United States.

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