by ROBERT BECKHUSEN This is the end for Jonathan Keith “Jack” Idema. The vigilante adventurer and terrorist hunter once jailed in Afghanistan for running a private prison and torture shop has reportedly died in Mexico. According to local press reports first spotted by Robert Young Pelton, an emergency call placed Saturday led to the discovery of Idema’s [...]
Archived posts from category ‘Bizarre’
The overland train concept is a favorite of ours here at War Is Boring was initially to be nuclear-powered, but the Transportation Corps concluded that the costs outweighed the benefits. Operational overland trains were fitted with diesel or gas-turbine generators.
For a while during the 20th century, the mighty atom seemed like the key to limitless power that could be applied to almost any problem. The early success of nuclear-powered submarines was complemented by a wide range of studies and prototypes for nuclear-powered vehicles and portable installations of all types. Engineers hoped to duplicate the transformational effects of the petroleum/internal-combustion engine system with much higher power densities. Concepts seriously considered included strategic bombers, early-warning and anti-submarine platforms, seaplane transports, Doomsday drones, overland trains, mobile power plants and remote power stations. While many remained only concepts, others made it to through to hardware and deployment.
I’m chilling at Bagram Air Base outside Kabul, awaiting a flight to Logar province. Outside, F-15Es roar down the runway on their way to provide close air support to ground troops. The noise reminds me of a story I read in the latest Combat Aircraft, about a U.S. Air Force F-15 jock who had an unusual encounter during the 1991 Gulf War. To quote author Steve Davies.
In 1960 the Eisenhower era was ending, and Ike sought valedictory measures to cap his substantial presidency. To a summit in Geneva with Nikita Khrushchev, a definitive arms-control agreement and progress in responding to Sputnik, the White House added a naval adventure worthy of Captain Cook. The submerged circumnavigation of the world by the USS Triton stands as one of the great sea stories of all time, and was widely publicized in part due to the participation of the National Geographic Society.
It’s one of those grandiose ideas that gets bandied about by Pentagon scientists and pops up in the press every few years. The “Face of Allah” weapon would beam a massive, lifelike hologram over a battlefield, projecting the image of some deity “to incite fear in soldiers on a battlefield,” according to one researcher.
Meet the Man in the (Exo)Suit
There’s a world of difference between the righteous costume you’ve spent all year prepping for San Diego Comicon, and field-ready battle-rattle that won’t get you killed. There’s also a clear gap between the resources of a Lockheed Martin or Boeing and Back to the Future’s Doc Brown in his garage down the street.
From the late 1940s to the end of the ’50s, the United States Navy sought to define its role in the new Atomic Age. The Navy’s first attempt at a strategic nuclear deterrent, 1949′s super-carrier USS United States and its whiz-bang air wing, was sunk during heated battles between dissident admirals and Defense Secretary Louis Johnson. The Navy next turned to its oldest form of aircraft: the seaplane.
What do you suppose Captain Tony Nelson (Larry Hagman) of the 1960′s TV series I Dream of Jeannie was actually doing for the U.S. Air Force? One answer: He was training to be the government’s eye in the sky aboard a planned Air Force space station. Aero.org recalls the origin of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory.
First, they gave us a giant, submarine aircraft carrier. To top that, a flying aircraft carrier straight out of Marvel Comics. Now the mad geniuses at China Military Report regale us with art depicting an imaginary “Type 098″ super-submarine “for checking U.S. imperialism.
“Will Humanity Annihilate Itself?”
Fred Zimmerman, publisher of my book War Bots, writes in with this fascinating find. The blog Paleo-Future has dug up a super-cool retro vision of robotic soldiers, c. 1939.
The age-old military problem of getting stuff from here to there over challenging terrain has tested and bested the best engineers of the Machine Age. To date the heavy diesel truck remains the tool of choice for most land-based heavylift, but that hasn’t prevented brave souls from trying out more robust vehicles of much greater capacity. Indeed, the
first army to use land trains in wartime was the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. A young subject of the Hapsburgs, an engineer by the name of Ferdinand Porsche, designed and built the hybrid-drive (yes, that’s right) Landwehr. The vehicle was a success even if the military it served wasn’t. Dr. Porsche went on to some success in the automotive industry.