When the USS Boxer took down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz, it apparently represented a baptism by fire for new technology. The Wall Street Journal understands that the action was the US Navy’s first use of MADIS (Marine Air Defense Integrated System), an anti-drone system adapted for the sea. The technology uses jammers to block a drone’s communications and force it to crash. Some versions of MADIS can also fire at the drones, although it’s not clear that was the case here.
The Defense Department hasn’t officially said what it used against the drone, but MADIS was present aboard the Boxer at the time. You can see it on top of the tan vehicle in the photo above.
The incident illustrates the rapidly changing nature of warfare. Increasingly, the US is finding ways to take action against military targets without firing a shot — it reportedly used a cyberattack to disable Iranian missile control systems in June. These theoretically avoid sparking fiercer conflicts. The question, as you might imagine, is whether or not this will avoid prompting escalations that could include conventional military responses. While Iran hasn’t launched full-scale counterattacks of its own at this stage (its seizure of ships isn’t a straightforward response), there are concerns that these ‘softer’ methods could still prompt fiercer reactions in certain circumstances.
Source: Wall Street Journal
This week the BBC told the remarkable story of the man who invented the “black box” flight recorders — and of all the resistance he enountered along the way.
dryriver shared this summary:
In 1934, a passenger plane name Miss Hobart crashed into the sea off the coast of Australia. Among those killed was Anglican missionairy Rev Hubert Warren, whose last gift to his 8 year old son David had been a crystal radio set.
Young David Warren spent hours a day tinkering with the radio, eventually learning enough electronics engineering to build his own radios and sell them to other people. David Warren later grew to be a Rocket Scientist working for Australia’s Aeronautical Research Laboratories. In 1953, the department loaned him to an expert panel trying to solve a costly and distressing mystery: why did the British de Havilland Comet, the world’s first commercial jet airliner and the great hope of the new Jet Age, keep crashing? David Warren was confronted with a daunting problem — how to determine from heavily deformed crashed plane fragments what had happened to the plane while it was in the air… Warren had an interesting idea — what if every plane in the sky had a mini recorder in the cockpit…?
Warren’s superior did not approve of the idea and told him to stick to chemicals and fuels.
When Warren got a new boss, the new boss was more sympathetic, but told him to do the R&D for it in complete secrecy. Since it wasn’t a government-approved venture or a war-winning weapon, it couldn’t be seen to take up lab time or money. “If I find you talking to anyone, including me, about this matter, I will have to sack you.” When Warren first floated the idea of a cockpit recorder publicly, the pilots’ union responded with fury, branding the recorder a snooping device, and insisted “no plane would take off in Australia with Big Brother listening.”
Undeterred, Warren took to his garage and invented the first “Black Box” flight recorder.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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