[FoRK] For those indoctrinated by the military

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Wed Jul 21 12:36:37 PDT 2004

> An alternative perspective. You should try to cultivate more of them.
> Attack helicopters - I guess that would be one of the things the Russians
> copied from Vietnam - dumbasses.

That is simply the evolution of warfare.  Helicopters were great for
about twenty years, and then the US started deploying effective
countermeasures against them in the 1980s (as the Russians learned in
Afghanistan).  The Russians learned how to design for close air support
the very expensive way.

The US has actually been scrapping new helicopter development, though it
is committed to upgrading existing ones.  While I don't remember where I
heard it very recently, but the A-10 (a very well-engineered combat
aircraft) has been granted a last minute reprieve and is slated to be
upgraded i.e. they are substantially extending its service life.

The US is still mostly using Cold War equipment that has been patched
with some upgrades.  A broad slate of completely new technology
platforms is scheduled for deployment over the next several years,
bringing a very substantial leap in capability over what the US already
has.  The new platforms are, quite frankly, pretty scary to the extent
they completely obsolete existing platforms.  The ability to effectively
and methodically destroy irregular forces and guerillas in urban and not
so urban settings were explicit design goals in many of these systems.
The targeting and tracking granularity of the automated fire control and
surveillance systems is no longer vehicle and unit size nor is it
dependent on the centralization of resources in big capital equipment.
Instead it is more like a decentralized swarm of smaller machines that
can work at the granularity of a specific individual.

This is actually big picture bad in the same way that strong AI is big
picture bad.  In an environment where such things exist, all you can do
is hope that it isn't used against you because there isn't much you can
do about it in such cases.  If the initial conditions aren't favorable,
then you are all but hosed.  Naturally, the US military is already
testing primitive active countermeasures against such weapons.

j. andrew rogers

FoRK mailing list

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