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Do Hypersonic Missiles Make Defense Systems Obsolete?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the harder-better-faster-stronger dept.

The Military 365

An anonymous reader writes "The Diplomat's Zachary Keck wonders why the U.S. government is doubling down on missile defense systems even as hypersonic missiles threaten to render them obsolete. Keck notes that hypersonic missiles pose two distinct challenges to current missile defense systems. First, they travel far faster than the missiles the defense systems are designed to intercept. Second, they travel at lower altitudes and possess greater maneuverability than the missiles the current systems have been built to destroy. Nonetheless, the U.S. was planning on spending $2 billion a year on missile defense through 2017, and now the Pentagon is asking for an additional $4.5 billion over the next five years."

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First Beta Fuck! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187887)

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK Beta!

USERS WILL RISE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188127)

You keep modding this stuff down and we, the USERS, of Slashdot will only grow stronger! YOU NEED US DICE.

FUCK BETA

Bee Keepers and the Audience (-1, Offtopic)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46187891)

Calling us the Audience is like the Bee Keeper calling the Bees the audience.

Bees make honey. You can set up bee boxes and have bees live in the boxes and make honey that you can harvest. But the bees are free to leave at any time. The only reason the bees stay is because the boxes are less trouble than building a beehive. Try making the bee box unusable and the bees will just go build a beehive elsewhere. Don't believe it? They've been building beehives for a lot longer (*cough* Usenet *cough*) than bee boxes (*cough* Slashdot *cough*) have been around.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (-1, Offtopic)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#46187933)

+1 mod up.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 6 months ago | (#46188071)

Just like you would on Usenet. ;-)

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46188105)

Heh, heh. :-)

My mention of Usenet was only to point out that smart people have been around longer.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 6 months ago | (#46188077)

When you stir up a colony of bees, they buzz around angrily and try to sting you. On the surface, they appear mad, but I think some of them secretly enjoy it. Otherwise, they'd probably go back to the business of making honey as soon as they could.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46188137)

I would prefer things to go back to normal. But yesterday I realized I was not alone in my dislike of Beta. I even gave feedback. It is beyond clear at this point that nobody has heard nor is listening.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (2, Informative)

s.petry (762400) | about 6 months ago | (#46188207)

I submitted my first post yesterday [slashdot.org] , but have not yet received the votes to make the front page. Feel free to get this up on the main page.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188151)

Why are you siding with Dice? Why do you hate /.?

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (2, Insightful)

runeghost (2509522) | about 6 months ago | (#46188227)

When you stir up a colony of bees, they buzz around angrily and try to sting you. On the surface, they appear mad, but I think some of them secretly enjoy it. Otherwise, they'd probably go back to the business of making honey as soon as they could.

And then when you replace their hive with a plastic beach ball in a week, both they and you will be surprised and astonished when honey production drops to zero and stays there.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 6 months ago | (#46188241)

" On the surface, they appear mad, but I think some of them secretly enjoy it. "

I think it's pretty safe to say that if they are stinging, they are genuinely angry. After all... it kills them.

I could be wrong, but I don't think /. contributors are any more masochistic than bees are.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (3, Insightful)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about 6 months ago | (#46188361)

That's actually been my concern: Slashdot becomes so polluted with "f* beta" that nobody wants to read or contribute to it anymore. We keep hearing that the main value of the site is its interesting/insightful/funny comments (true enough), yet most of the comments from yesterday were none of the above.

Yes, the bees are angry. You know it, I know it, the beekeepers know it. So let's all go back to making honey and see how they sort out the hive problem. Otherwise, without honey, the colony won't make it through the winter.

(Sorry for carrying the beehive metaphor a bit too far. ;-)

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (1)

seven of five (578993) | about 6 months ago | (#46188279)

Best post I've seen all day.

Re:Bee Keepers and the Audience (5, Insightful)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 6 months ago | (#46188335)

Old-school Slashdot user from the 90s here.

I think what everyone is trying to say is that Slashdot should be left alone. No big makeovers, no big changes. We like it the way it is, and want it to be immune from the pile of suck that has taken over the rest of the web.

Slashdot has remained one of the few sites that has changed little over the years. It is already perfect the way it is, and any change is just going to make it worse. Leave it the hell alone. There is nothing wrong with its usability, readability, etc. the way it is.

Not only that, but... if you are trying to attract a different type of user to the site, you need to keep in mind that the people who are here LIKE the current company. If you attract scores of new users, it will be like an awesome small club opening its membership to all the drunk hobos in the city. The atmosphere and feel of the site are just not going to be the same, and us core, loyal, long time users will LEAVE.

Do what you must, I hope my advice is at least read.

Not Obsolete At All (5, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 6 months ago | (#46187921)

Yes, there may be these incredible "Hypersonic" missiles, but only the people with the capability to build or purchase them will have those missiles. Everyone else will be using conventional sub-sonic missiles. Also consider the many, many missiles (hundreds of thousands? I don't know) that currently exist right now and will be used in the future.

Today's anti-missile systems will be useful for many years to come.

Exactly what I was thinking (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 6 months ago | (#46187989)

You are in a pretty good place if the only missiles that can successfully attack you are hypersonic, since they would be very expensive to build and take a lot of engineering prowess to work reliably.

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes. But the more recent missile attacks we have seen have been more blanket attacks, like the Palestinian missiles constantly bombarding Israeli cities. Anything that can protect civilian populations from that kind of madness absolutely has a place.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 months ago | (#46188069)

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

Yeah? I'm not sure exactly what kinds of missiles they are trying to protect against, but a MIRV ICBM is a missile too you know.

DUH (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188161)

Obviously they are trying to deflect BETA Missiles. Especially the ones made by Dice!




FUCK BETA

FUCK BETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188403)

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

Yeah? I'm not sure exactly what kinds of missiles they are trying to protect against, but a MIRV ICBM is a missile too you know.

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [pastebin.com] so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [slashdot.org] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [slashdot.org] to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott [slashdot.org]

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
  http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

-----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415 [slashdot.org]

Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441 [slashdot.org]

Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106) [slashdot.org] )

Re:Exactly what I was thinking (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 6 months ago | (#46188079)

The key word here is "reliably". Because the demonstrators (civilian AND military) I've read about have been as flaky as hell. Even from the Americans, who are incredibly good at building complex, reliable stuff.

The hardware is operating so close to the limit that the materials and the physics will allow, that it takes something special to make anything even fly in the first place.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 6 months ago | (#46188205)

Not just that, but the most common thing overlooked in complaining about specific defense projects is that the science and lessons learned are applied to many more things in the future, military and civilian

Re:Exactly what I was thinking (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 6 months ago | (#46188211)

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

I think a targeted strike would be the specific purpose of a hypersonic missile, or really any missile for that matter. It's probably also fair to assume that any nation with the capability of developing and fielding a hypersonic missile can also stick a nuclear warhead on it.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking (1)

srmalloy (263556) | about 6 months ago | (#46188369)

Also how much of a payload can one missile really carry? Not much, good only for targeted strikes.

That depends on what your warhead/payload is. With a hypersonic missile to disperse it, how much territory could you effectively cover while dispersing, say, a hundred kilos of weaponized anthrax spores?

Re:Not Obsolete At All (5, Interesting)

phayes (202222) | about 6 months ago | (#46188017)

Add to that the targeting dilemma where missiles at that speed are practically blind. Hypervelocity missiles are good for "journalists" in order to sell paper but not so much against the US Navy.

Re:Not Obsolete At All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188183)

So it's alot like BETA then?

FUCK BETA

Re:Not Obsolete At All (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46188185)

They may have difficulty hitting moving ships but port facilities and moored ships are vulnerable. Also, with a large enough warhead, say a small nuke, the hyper velocity missile only has to get close to put ships out of action. Ships are not the only target They can be used to take out command and control facilities, storage depots, staging areas, etc. If you can not stop the missiles front line troops may lose all support.

Re:Not Obsolete At All (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about 6 months ago | (#46188197)

Add to that the targeting dilemma where missiles at that speed are practically blind. Hypervelocity missiles are good for "journalists" in order to sell paper but not so much against the US Navy.

Wait, what?
Are you really saying blind supersonic ordinance doesn't present a threat to the US Navy?

Re:Not Obsolete At All (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188041)

We also have to remember that anti missile systems will soon be laser based, meaning that said missiles won't be able to dodge them, unless they can go faster than the speed of light..

Re:Not Obsolete At All (3, Interesting)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46188229)

A missile that can handle the heat of hyper velocity can probably handle a laser hit. It is also difficult to track and lock on to an object moving that fast. A hyper velocity missile with a little software to jink around may be able to evade the laser.

Re: Not Obsolete At All (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 6 months ago | (#46188297)

Not quite true. The big problem with the ABL is maintaining target lock long enough for the laser to burn through.

Unless the lasers are firing from a handful of targeting positions. It is a bitch to track in real time.

Re:Not Obsolete At All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188055)

DOWN WITH BETA

Why use missiles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188169)

In today's World, all one needs is to brainwash some folks and they'll go walk the bomb over for you with the hope of making it in Heaven or some other such fantasy.

Who needs expensive hypersonic missiles when you got religion and fanatics.

Re:Not Obsolete At All (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 6 months ago | (#46188181)

Conventional missiles have been supersonic for oh, 60 years or so now.

But yeah, I agree, the question is a stupid one. No, missile defense isn't obsolete, it'll just have to evolve to handle faster targets. Dare I say it...it's an arms race, and always will be.

Re:Not Obsolete At All (1)

Bovius (1243040) | about 6 months ago | (#46188191)

I don't understand why we're still making kneepads. Kneepads are completely ineffective at protecting knees from hypersonic missiles, but spending on kneepads continues to rise. Kneepads are obsolete and we should be focusing our efforts on knee-mounted lasers to defend against this new hypersonic threat.

Re: Not Obsolete At All (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188231)

Will it be useful against Slashdot Beta?

Re:Not Obsolete At All (2)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 months ago | (#46188409)

Today's anti-missile systems will be useful for many years to come.

Are today's anti-missile systems useful? Or are they just meant for posturing? I remember during the first Gulf War that not a single PATRIOT missile shot down a SCUD. Is there anything better today?

And this is why... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46187925)

And this would be why the R&D types, especially Navy, have been pushing like mad to get higher output lasers without the clunkiness of the old chemical-powered ones...

Re:And this is why... (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#46188037)

Please....the push is to be allowed a front seat at the money trough, nothing else matters.

Re:And this is why... (1)

Yakasha (42321) | about 6 months ago | (#46188271)

Please....the push is to be allowed a front seat at the money trough, nothing else matters.

While I admire your pessimism, I think you're a little off. The personality traits that help one last the 20-30 years in the military necessary to be promoted to a position to make those kinds of decisions do not normally include greed.
I'm more inclined to believe their drive lies with "blowing shit up", and "America! Fuck ya!".

Re:And this is why... (5, Insightful)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 6 months ago | (#46188093)

And once the anti-missile lasers are well-established, there will be a push for faster-than-light missiles.

And then of course, we will have the technology we need to explore other star systems.

Re:And this is why... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46188177)

Probably silly question: wouldn't the effectiveness of that be reduced by mirror-coating the missile? I'm aware mirrors aren't perfect and won't be perfect on a missile, but you wouldn't need to completely bounce all the energy away. As I understand it, we don't have a laser that can focus on and cook a normal missile in the air yet, if reflective coating doubled the time required for a laser, wouldn't that double the requirement for the laser?

Googling didn't immediately bring up anything more than short answers to forum posts like this.

Re:And this is why... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188333)

It would depend on the exact nature of the laser, but typically, no. Anti-missile lasers need to put a large amount of power into the target relatively quickly, which means any anti-reflective coating (even if it's 95% reflective, which would be damned impressive on a missile) is going to be vaporized very nearly instantly. You'd probably be better off with an ablative coating that would vaporize when hit, absorbing the energy of the laser. Mirrors also tend to only work very well across a narrow spectrum, which means you'd need to know the type of laser you were going to get hit with. And the problem gets worse if the mirror isn't perfectly clean (since dust will absorb the laser and melt the mirror).

hypersonic hypershmomic (3, Interesting)

xevioso (598654) | about 6 months ago | (#46187927)

So maybe it's because a lot of people's jobs rest on these missile defense systems being implemented?

Also, I am curious how hypersonic weapons will fare against a ship equipped with either a Gauss cannon, or more importantly, a laser. Wouldn't both of these be an adequate defense against a hypersonic missle, if implemented properly?

Re:hypersonic hypershmomic (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 6 months ago | (#46188293)

Every defensive system takes time to operate, staring with detection, identification, classification, target selection, weapon / ammunition selection, engagement, assessment, and reengagement (if necessary). Hypersonic weapons really cut down on the amount of time you have to do that as well as make the actual engagement more difficult, and that is just based on speed. If you add any countermeasures, such a stealth technology or jamming it gets even harder. Think of the SR-71. It was never successfully intercepted. Hypersonic weapons are an even more challenging proposition since they are going to be even faster, and likely smaller, with years of advances in materials for radar shielding, and electronics for countermeasures. To successfully engage them your defensive systems have to be quick, accurate, and either have warning or be instant-on. If your defensive systems rely upon large amounts of electricity being instantly available that is going to have some implications. I have little doubt it is possible to engage them, but definitely not easy. You can look at the work being done with armored vehicle active defense systems [gizmag.com] as an example in a lower speed regime. Bottom line is that if there are a lot of hypersonic weapons in the air at once heading toward you, you're probably in big trouble unless you have deflector shields even if you have phasers.

Re:hypersonic hypershmomic (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 6 months ago | (#46188309)

Gauss cannon

There is a lag between the time the shell is fired and the time the shell hits. That requires leading the missile. If the incoming missile jinks the outgoing shell will miss. To hit would require in flight tracking and guidance and even then misses would be likely.

Laser

Lasers are also non instantaneous as hey need time to burn through the missile. This requires precise tracking and fast beam manipulation. If the hyper velocity missile jinks well enough the laser energy will spread out and be ineffective. Also hyper velocity missiles are hardened against heat caused by air friction. A little more shielding may defeat lasers as well.

Re:hypersonic hypershmomic (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 6 months ago | (#46188383)

Well, "if implemented properly", any missile defense system would be adequate against any missile. But yeah, if they aren't putting money into developing anti-projectile lasers, then they're probably wasting time and money. Lasers could even protect against artillery or tank shells. If the army could field a tank that has a laser defense system then it would pretty much rule the battlefield, until it meets an energy weapon. Something like this [youtube.com] would make a tank pretty unstoppable if it could shoot down other tank rounds. This one [youtube.com] looks pretty interesting too, that video reminds me of the weapons command briefings in Freespace 2.

Defense Gap (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187943)

Because Hypersonic missiles are ridiculously expensive and none of the probable combatants in near to mid term future wars are likely to have them. Even after they become viable weapons, only advanced military forces like China or Russia will be able field them for quite a while. The US is not going to war with China or Russia any time soon. We need defense platforms that deal with realistic enemies, and they will use missile tech that these defense platforms are capable of deal with.

Also, Beta sucks. Long live Classic!

Re:Defense Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187997)

none of the probable combatants in near to mid term future wars are likely to have them

That's why we keep building multimillion dollar subs and aircraft carriers. Can't let the Al Qaeda navy beat us!

Re:Defense Gap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188265)

"The US is not going to war with China or Russia any time soon." Sure..... and you base this upon? As soon as the new oilfields start to run low a war will be declared (terrorists or Weapons of mass Destruction will be found in target country that happens to have resources that the US needs) China will contend the war and bingo you have a new war, are if you think you have a technological edge think again. The worlds best equipped labs are now in China, they have a r&d department that would make any geek cry with joy.

Re:Defense Gap (1)

xelah (176252) | about 6 months ago | (#46188287)

The US is not going to war with China or Russia any time soon.

Umm, I wouldn't wish to bet on that. And definitely not on the US needing to deter their militaries, especially China's. Think of Taiwan, the Japan/China disputes and Russia's tendency to invade states it thinks it ought to still own when they don't do what they're told.

Still, it's obviously not the only threat.

missiles (4, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 6 months ago | (#46187949)

I don't know, can they shoot down beta?

Lasers (2)

hunter44102 (890157) | about 6 months ago | (#46187951)

Does anyone know why they can't use lasers to knock down these fast missiles? http://www.defense.gov/News/Ne... [defense.gov]

Re:Lasers (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 6 months ago | (#46188129)

They can... but the tech may not be quite there yet. Or it might be, but we don't know. High enough intensity lasers that can be aimed and focused on an incoming hypersonic missile and stay aimed/focused long enough to take it out are sort of challenging to build, I'd wager. Also, if fired from an aerial platform, one would have to be a bit careful about any miss taking things out on the ground. People might react badly to being scorched by lasers from the sky, after all. Not to mention burning flesh is an awful smell.

So right, as I was saying... technically complex.

Re:Lasers (1)

Yaur (1069446) | about 6 months ago | (#46188387)

Probably what at least part of that $4.5B is for.

Hypersonic missiles (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187957)

It would be great if someone launched a hypersonic missile towards Beta.

Re:Hypersonic missiles (0)

runeghost (2509522) | about 6 months ago | (#46188259)

It would be great if someone launched a hypersonic missile towards Beta.

Ok, I know the whole Beta thing is pissing some people off, but that one was pretty funny.

Here's an idea (1)

DickBreath (207180) | about 6 months ago | (#46187967)

First, maybe it would be good to have foreign policies such that there aren't a lot of people who want to shoot missiles at you.

Second, Just because a certain missile defense system might not work against the most advanced missiles, doesn't mean it is ineffective against less advanced missiles. Maybe the investment should be considered in light of which countries' missiles you are concerned about shooting down.

Third, while an insane country will shoot missiles at you even as they are starving, you should make sure that they, and their neighbors to their immediate North understand what might happen if they shoot missiles at you. The country to their North might not like what could land right off their Southern border.

Re:Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188101)

If we blew the annoying countries to bits in the first place they wouldn't be there to shoot missiles at us.

ALSO DOWN WITH BETA

Re:Here's an idea (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 6 months ago | (#46188147)

If we blew the annoying countries to bits in the first place we wouldn't be here to have missiles shot at us.

FTFY.

Re:Here's an idea (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 6 months ago | (#46188235)

Or you could just buy off the foreign leaders. It's worked in the past and is cheaper.

But What about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187969)

But what about the Doomsday Device Gap?!

Re:But What about... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 6 months ago | (#46188081)

But what about the Doomsday Device Gap?!

I see you and I raise you. What about a mineshaft gap?

You can't beat the speed of light (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187977)

Why do you think everyone's investing so heavily in lasers all of a sudden?

beta Missile attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187981)

Perhaps they could use the beta server as a target for their new hypersonic missiles? no one would give a flying fcuk if the defense failed - slashdot would remain useful on the old brilliant wide text based comments network

Hypersonic beta fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46187985)

Do they need Dice Holdings corporate address?

here's the thing (4, Informative)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 6 months ago | (#46188003)

If the enemy doesn't have good targets, these missiles don't accomplish much.

According to Richard Clarke:

As early as Sept. 12, 2001, Clarke says, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld urged bombing Iraq despite repeated assurances from intelligence officials that the threat emanated from Afghanistan.

"Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq," Clarke said on Sunday's 60 Minutes. "I said, 'Well, there are lots of good targets in lots of places, but Iraq had nothing to do with it.' "

Am I the only one who actually likes the beta? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188011)

I mean, why is this so bad? Same content, except now it looks like a 2006 website instead of one from the 1990's...

Re:Am I the only one who actually likes the beta? (1)

Flozzin (626330) | about 6 months ago | (#46188261)

The text is larger, there is tons of wasted 'white space'. You can't fit as much on your screen as you can in classic. So why do I want to spend more time scrolling? Why do I want less content per screen? Why do I want to go to a website that now looks like its designed for old people who can't read small font? I didn't buy monitors with high resolution just so the massive text would be nice and crisp.

Re:Am I the only one who actually likes the beta? (1)

akinliat (1771190) | about 6 months ago | (#46188291)

Well, yes, you are the only one who likes the beta. And let me tell you why ...

The problems with the beta aren't about how it looks, but about how it works. Even the complaints about narrow text columns and excessive whitespace are based on how difficult those features make it to use the site for it's intended purpose (reading and posting comments).

In addition, the beta removes critical elements of the comment functionality, and it's largely based on Javascript. That functionality is the core of the site, and many in the Slashdot community (the people that actually post all these nice comments that everyone comes here to read) would rather pour battery acid in their shorts than allow Javascript to run on their browser.

Creating a Slashdot that looks like Beta, and functions like the current site would take any competent web designer no more than a few minutes (just some CSS tweaks), and it would be easy to maintain both looks, because switching stylesheets is easy. Unfortunately, that's not the approach they've taken, and so now they face the choice of either throwing away all the work they've done on the Javascript-based Beta (essentially they may as well start over if they do this) or having the bulk of their contributors leave, which would basically kill the site.

Do Hypersonic Styles Make Slashdot Obsolete? (5, Informative)

FUCK BETA, FUCK DICE (3529333) | about 6 months ago | (#46188013)

Betas? We don't need no stinkin' betas! FUCK BETA

No, Because Not Everyone Can Afford Them (4, Insightful)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about 6 months ago | (#46188021)

The simple answer is no, because not everyone can afford them. Even more importantly, those who can generally already had the ability to overwhelm any missile defense system via sheer numbers of warheads. The US really isn't as concerned about people like Russia and China attacking us, they have a very vested interest in stability.What the US is concerned about is a country like North Korea nuking Japan or the US West Coast. Or really even having the ability to do so, as it stop almost all US influence in the area. That is what missile defense systems are designed and deployed for.

The artical has at least one conficting statement: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188031)

"...hypersonic missiles fired from intercontinental ballistic missiles travel at lower altitudes..."

I believe "intercontinental ballistic missiles" travel at well over Mach 5. More like 10-15,000 miles per hour than 3,000-7,000. So anything fired from them will also be traveling faster, at least at the start.

Second, the term "missile defense systems" includes things like the new laser weapons. And those can be fired at "lower altitudes and possess greater maneuverability than the missiles" targets. And a directed energy beam weapon is faster than ANY missile OR cruse missile.

Re:The artical has at least one conficting stateme (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 6 months ago | (#46188397)

It says lower altitudes, not lower speeds. There is no contradiction there.

Procurement inertia (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 6 months ago | (#46188033)

This happens a lot. Note that the US loves supercarriers too and keep building them, even while more rational people know that they'll be sent to the bottom within minutes of an high-intensity, high-tech war breaking out. The Chinese allegedly have ballistic missiles with reentry vehicles which can find and hit moving ships.

Every major war has started with equipment, tactics, strategy inherited from the last war. The start of WWI, with light horsemen charging into, and getting cut up by, machine gun fire. The officers had their ideas -- and that was _it_.

The reasons for all this are complex, but in a nutshell, it's got to do with inertia, hubris, egos, and defence pork.

The US is lucky in a sense -- despite all this, their technology development pipeline is very deep, their resources are huge, and they are culturally adapted to change in a way that most other cultures are not.

Re:Procurement inertia (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46188337)

Note that the US loves supercarriers too and keep building them, even while more rational people know that they'll be sent to the bottom within minutes of an high-intensity, high-tech war breaking out.

This is harder than you think........

Yes and no.... its an arms race. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46188043)

Its an arms race. Yes, hypersonic missiles will render obsolete different types of interceptors. However, hypersonic missiles tend to have shorter ranges as they burn their fuel less efficiently. As as result, missile interceptors at longer range will probably be effective. Closer in... Lasers... or something else fast enough to deal with such a missile.

Its all a tug of war.

First thing's first... we need to render all legacy systems obsolete. The current missile defense system should be able to protect us from any of the older threats pretty much with impunity.

Good.

Then we only have to worry about the newer ones and most countries don't have access to that tech. The Russians... the Chinese... who else? So that means the only systems capable of getting through are modern russian and chinese tech. Which neither power has in great supply and neither power is likely to use unless they want to go for WW3.

Which doesn't mean we develop no counter to such weapons. Merely that we invest our resources in an efficient manner to counter threats.

Re:Yes and no.... its an arms race. (1)

FuegoFuerte (247200) | about 6 months ago | (#46188243)

And which both countries are likely willing to sell to just about any other country for the right price. "You no let us build oil pipeline through your country? What if we give you whiz-bang, now you will? Da? Good. We set."

You really think China won't supply some of these NK for a beta test against any one of the proxy nations of their most hated trading partner?

And if those countries won't supply them, the French will surely buy a few from somewhere and then sell them to whoever can pony up the cash (or diamonds, or whatever else the French may want these days).

Re:Yes and no.... its an arms race. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46188405)

Unlikely.

They sell things they're not afraid of other people having.

They don't sell their top of the line kit unless they're not afraid of it. And if they're not... then neither should we.

Seriously... do you know how many russian tanks we popped in Iraq? It was funny.

*FLU$$$H!* (1)

Chas (5144) | about 6 months ago | (#46188047)

Pentagon: What?

I think they don't understand missile defense (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 months ago | (#46188051)

Experience in the US Navy here, specifically the targeting and tracking systems. But you don't have to know what I know to know what R2D2 with a hard-on does. It is missile defense and quite effective. It works by sending projectiles at the incoming missile to disrupt it.

Anti-aircraft is a similar notion -- send up fireworks which spread particles into the air in front of aircraft and hope it interferes with the planes. A missile defense system doesn't "chase" missiles, it is launched in front of them. They then explode in front of them in hopes of disrupting them in some way. Advanced systems, in my mind, would be a CWIS at the end of a missile system. It's not hard to imagine.

Re:I think they don't understand missile defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188345)

CIWS at the end of a missile? You have the RAM-on-a-missile that is Starstreak, the first step towards the Macross Missile Massacre (AKA Itano Circus).

The "Gap" Debate All Over Again (2)

cyocum (793488) | about 6 months ago | (#46188075)

This sounds like the Bomber Gap [wikipedia.org] or the Missle Gap [wikipedia.org] all over again.

Re:The "Gap" Debate All Over Again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188213)

Don't forget about the Mine Shaft Gap!

Re:The "Gap" Debate All Over Again (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46188347)

It is the missile gap in a very literal way........

Will the EMP from a hypersonic missle blast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188113)

Fry the beta server?

No such thing (3)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 months ago | (#46188125)

There is no such thing as an obsolete defensive system (or weapon, for that matter). A knife or a fist or even a wooden stick at the right time in the right place is worth more than billions of dollars of expensive hardware.

Goverment solution to everything. (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | about 6 months ago | (#46188165)

Throw more money we don't have at the problem and maybe it'll go away.

Re:Goverment solution to everything. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188391)

Like foodstamps for hungry 300 lbs amurikens.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188189)

So missile defense works against ballistic missiles? That's funny, because I've lived through decades of claims that missile defense is a pointless boondoggle that would never be effective.

Today, of course, we're shooting down artillery shells. Our BMD systems regularly succeed in taking out ballistic missiles. All of this was supposed to be impossible.

After having been so wrong about missile defense, I'm now supposed to accept the new argument; hypersonics can't be stopped, therefore weapons development is, again, pointless.

Yeah. Right.

Fuck you and your bullshit peacenik lies.

No contest... (1)

Tim OBrien (3507173) | about 6 months ago | (#46188217)

A 6000mph missile is impressive until it's hit by a laser or particle beam moving at the speed of light...

In year 2000 we will all have flying cars. (1)

Moskit (32486) | about 6 months ago | (#46188249)

The same kind of overexcited journalists makes such assumptions. "Oh, the new shiny will be everywhere now!"

By the way - take your time to read comments while they last - many good commenters (called "audience" by /. owners) will go away when Beta is forcefully rammed down our eyes.

Alternative missile defense (0)

pellik (193063) | about 6 months ago | (#46188253)

Could the Slashdot beta disrupt hypersonic missiles?

Slashcott and Beta (0)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 6 months ago | (#46188267)

Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here [pastebin.com] so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this [slashdot.org] in a new tab. After seeing that, click here [slashdot.org] to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott [slashdot.org]

Moderators - only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors - only discuss Beta
http://slashdot.org/recent [slashdot.org] - Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention.

-----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&id=56395415 [slashdot.org]
Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl?op=view&type=submission&id=3321441 [slashdot.org]
Alternative Slashdot: http://altslashdot.org [altslashdot.org] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106) [slashdot.org] )

Man, you know what (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188295)

You know what sucks about this? FUCKING BETA.

Super cavitating torpedos (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188299)

Hypersonic missiles sound cool, but super cavitation torpedo tech is more likely to be deadly to the future navy. Lasers and kinetic impactors shot into the water are going to lose effectiveness very rapidly with increasing depth of water.

Which do you think is more likely... (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46188317)

The offense part of missile technology is mostly based on the science of rocketry and the mechanics of flight - air flows, material sciences etc.

The defensive part of anti-missile technology is mostly based on IT - detecting what is a threat and what is not a threat and targeting the threats. It also needs the same speed you developed above.

So, which do you think develops quicker - the missile technology or the IT technology? My bet is on IT. It's a newer science with an established higher rate of discovery than rocketry.

Yes, it is possible that the hypersonic missiles are truly better at avoiding our anti-missiles. But that assumes we have ignored the problem, as opposed to secretly creating anti-hypersonic missiles missiles.

So anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46188319)

... it's really funny to see all the anti-Beta comments getting modded down to minus-infinity now.

Attention Dice: there are a couple things you should know.

1) Talking about a forum within the forum is ALWAYS on topic. You do not need to have a special sub-forum for "meta" discussion. So we are all going to carry on here in public like we don't care because frankly, we don't. If you don't want us airing your dirty laundry in public, do what we're all begging you to do and UN-FUCK THE SITE!

2) WE ARE WHAT MAKES THIS SITE. Do you not see that yet? If you continue on this path and we all leave, you'll think "whew! now all the troublemakers are gone!" --- but all you'll have left is a third-rate low-traffic clone of Engadget or Gawker or Verge or whatever*, and that's if you're lucky. You're actually more likely to TOTALLY disintegrate the site. Remeber Digg? Don't think it can't happen to you.

Look, I love it here, but I can just as easily kill an hour or two a day at reddit. Or maybe I'll spend the time to actually get some of my own projects done.

Good luck!

And go ahead, mod me down [youtube.com] all you want. If you do, maybe I'll get lucky and all my companions here will come to my aid and give me the "+5, Troll" or "+5, Offtopic" I've always dreamed of getting. Seriously, if that happens, I'll print it and put it up on my wall at work.

In fact, just to prove I'm not karma-whoring, I'll post as AC. But just know, this insightful/informative/trollish/offtopic/underrated comment was brought to you by sootman. [slashdot.org]

* And if that's what you wanted in the first place, you could have built your own site from scratch for a lot less. All you're doing is building a ton of bad-will among ~3.5 million registered geeks (and who knows how many ACs) that are going to spend a generation saying "Fuck Dice. They brought something perfectly good and wrecked it for no good reason." And we'll be rightfully pissed, because even though you paid for the site, slashdot is ours.

1,000 years from now, "Fuck beta" will be the geek religion's equivalent of "amen." (Ooh, I like that. I think I'll make it my new sig. Feel free to copy that -- I'd be flattered, honored, and delighted if you did.)

Safe from North Korea (1)

cloud.pt (3412475) | about 6 months ago | (#46188343)

Hey, at least the US can win the deterrence war against North Korea's nuclear rock throws...

Funny, missile defense has been augmented to... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 6 months ago | (#46188401)

...counter ballistic missiles over the past two decades and it wasn't designed for this either (and, by the way, they're REALLY hypersonic...)

They will continue to be upgraded for ABM capabilities as well.

Is there some reason why hyper sonic low level missiles couldn't be adapted to either? BTW, the Navy is spending a lot of time and money on lasers for this very reason.

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