Railguns Fried, Fizzle Before the Fourth of July

 

U.S. Navy image of railgun prototype firing

Military.com reports the Navy has finally ended the railgun program. What caught my eye was a reference to other services’ abandoned futuristic weapons. What each had in common was strong support over many years from the military-industrial complex: a uniformed proponent, Congressional support, and defense contractors. I started my military career in the 1980s just as the Sergeant York air defense gun system collapsed under spectacularly bad testing results, so can sympathize.

Railguns were supposed to be the new super cannon, a system in which you impart energy to a projectile at launch, then have it go ballistic the rest of the way to a target. Notionally, this is more efficient than packing propellent into the projectile, in the form of a rocket or missile. However, the big guns of World War II battleships set the peak for traditional cannon “tube” artillery. Railguns were supposed to be a revolutionary next step in rank and energy delivered to a target. They involve no combustion, instead relying on a set of rails electrically charged like one polarity of magnets, with the projectile holding the opposite charge being flung down the length of the rail, repelled by the rails’ charge.

Unfortunately, they have proved unworkable. The basic construction fails under single or repeated shots, destroyed by the energy imparted at initiation. At the same time, the energy budget for each shot is far beyond all but a handful of ships in the fleet. It just takes far too much electricity to charge capacitors to deliver the sudden burst of energy to the rails.

The railgun will now join the ranks of other costly, yet never implemented weapons programs like the Future Combat Systems, Comanche helicopter, and Next Generation Cruiser projects.

The end of the railgun program was foreshadowed last month when a White House fiscal budget for 2022 revealed the Navy pulled funding for the Gun-Launched Guided Projectile — a meter-long projectile first developed exclusively as a round for the experimental railgun.

“The decision to pause the EMRG program is consistent with department-wide reform initiatives to free up resources in support of other Navy priorities [and] to include improving offensive and defensive capabilities such as directed energy, hypersonic missiles and electronic warfare systems,” the Navy’s statement said.

The Future Combat Systems and Comanche helicopter were both Army dreams. The FCS was supposed to save lots of money by a common core platform on which everything from the successor to the M1A1 Abrams tank to infantry and self-propelled artillery vehicles would be built. It was doomed from the outset, but held out year after year as the Army’s mechanized future. The Comanche helicopter concept came along as the Soviet threat was crumbling. It was supposed to the Army’s stealth aircraft, a light scouting and attack helicopter that could survive in a Soviet technology high threat environment. A stealthy helicopter is still perfectly visible and slow enough for all manner of ground and air countermeasures. Still, the idea hung on from 1991 to 2004.

The Navy railgun advocates, like the “gun mafia” in the Army Air Defense Artillery community, wanted a futuristic gun, a 21st Century super battleship delivering hard science fiction style performance in competition with the aviators and missile crews. It appears, for now, that tubes or rails are just not going to outrange missiles, rockets, and air-delivered munitions. Yes, tube artillery will still have an important place, but will not really be the king of the battlefield or the seas. Further, the Navy will either have to accept the risk of pulling in closer to shore with naval guns or rely entirely on missiles and aircraft, facing enemy missiles and aircraft in a battle of range and lethality.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Isn’t China still working on railgun development, and aren’t they getting better results?  Seems like I’ve seen that somewhere.

    • #1
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Isn’t China still working on railgun development, and aren’t they getting better results? Seems like I’ve seen that somewhere.

    Not sure, but I would take any reports with a Pacific Ocean of salt.

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Isn’t China still working on railgun development, and aren’t they getting better results? Seems like I’ve seen that somewhere.

    Not sure, but I would take any reports with a Pacific Ocean of salt.

    Yeah that’s a good default position, but if China has railgun technology that “works” except it kills the gunner each time it’s used or something, that would stop the US Navy from pursuing it but it wouldn’t matter to China.

    • #3
  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    The system as it stands might be too dependent on finding a Billy Mitchell or a Hyman Rickover-type figure to shepherd a concept through completion. The problem with charisma is it’s blind to engineering reality. 

    It’s always tough when a genuinely promising new technology is just short of practical. What I like best about this fine CAB writing is it not only explains the basics of each abandoned project, but does it without the usual implication, seen too often in the MSM, that the only possible answer to the question, “why did we spend money on something that hasn’t panned out” just has to be lies, greed, and waste (although, it should be admitted, there’s going to be some in any human endeavor) in the “evil, evil” military procurement system. Sometimes it’s not fraud and abuse, but unforeseen roadblocks that are part of new tech. 

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    The system as it stands might be too dependent on finding a Billy Mitchell or a Hyman Rickover-type figure to shepherd a concept through completion. The problem with charisma is it’s blind to engineering reality.

    It’s always tough when a genuinely promising new technology is just short of practical. What I like best about this fine CAB writing is it not only explains the basics of each abandoned project, but does it without the usual implication, seen too often in the MSM, that the only possible answer to the question, “why did we spend money on something that hasn’t panned out” just has to be lies, greed, and waste (although, it should be admitted, there’s going to be some in any human endeavor) in the “evil, evil” military procurement system. Sometimes it’s not fraud and abuse, but unforeseen roadblocks that are part of new tech.

    And because of that, I hope they don’t give up permanently. Some breakthrough might be almost literally just around the corner, such as some kind of Elon Musk/Tesla power storage capacitor that could change the calculations.

    • #5
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    The system as it stands might be too dependent on finding a Billy Mitchell or a Hyman Rickover-type figure to shepherd a concept through completion. The problem with charisma is it’s blind to engineering reality.

    It’s always tough when a genuinely promising new technology is just short of practical. What I like best about this fine CAB writing is it not only explains the basics of each abandoned project, but does it without the usual implication, seen too often in the MSM, that the only possible answer to the question, “why did we spend money on something that hasn’t panned out” just has to be lies, greed, and waste (although, it should be admitted, there’s going to be some in any human endeavor) in the “evil, evil” military procurement system. Sometimes it’s not fraud and abuse, but unforeseen roadblocks that are part of new tech.

    Yes, and another problem in the case of the Army FTV was a lack of coherent strategy and doctrine setting the direction of what sort of equipment would be needed in the 10/20/30/40 year future. My post on Army General Donn Starry showed doctrine and threat assessments informing negotiations between services. Another post could lay out how doctrine was first developed and then requirements for what became the M1 tank were hashed out, checking against claims of how the Soviets would fight and how we would fight.

    FTV and the Comanche helicopter were being advocated for by interested communities in the Army exactly as the Cold War ended and the security environment become more complex and uncertain.

    • #6
  7. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Also, watch “The Pentagon Wars.”

    • #7
  8. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Edward Luttwak’s The Pentagon and the Art of War, though dated, is still a good read.

    • #8
  9. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Thanks Clifford.  I used to work in defense contracting, just as an estimator, but the long-term infrastructure that gets built up around programs is impressive, and as you say, I think it becomes the project for groups within the military, and the contracting partners.

    I wouldn’t call any of it nefarious, not by a long shot.  Many new technologies live as proof of concepts, then pre-scale, but fail at next level practical development.  If you think about the explosives carried on naval vessels, propellant for projectiles, the danger inherent in carrying and utilizing it in combat, and how you could avoid all of that by substituting electricity for powder, well – it’s appealing.

    For all the efforts in some spaces to create the new, even new weapons for infantry, we were still cranking out M2’s in various configurations, and that basic design is 100 years old.  

    Note that one other thing missing in spending, by the USG – we’ve spent 18 trillion or so on New Society programs since the 1960s, but try pulling the plug on those, and see what happens.  Regardless of outcomes, those things still get funded, annually.

    • #9
  10. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    It seems there is always a tension between the tried and true weapon that can be manufactured relatively inexpensively in large numbers and the next generation weapon that is so expensive that production must be limited. Using them to their best advantage takes wisdom.

    • #10
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    JoelB (View Comment):

    It seems there is always a tension between the tried and true weapon that can be manufactured relatively inexpensively in large numbers and the next generation weapon that is so expensive that production must be limited. Using them to their best advantage takes wisdom.

    I remember reading a comment by an F-15 pilot, from memory, “The F-15 is a wonderful plane, but it would be nice to have a wingman,” referring to the cost of the plane.

    • #11
  12. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Military.com

     Railguns were supposed to be a revolutionary next step in rank and energy delivered to a target. They involve no combustion, instead relying on a set of rails electrically charged like one polarity of magnets, with the projectile holding the opposite charge being flung down the length of the rail, repelled by the rails’ charge.

    Unfortunately, they have proved unworkable. The basic construction fails under single or repeated shots, destroyed by the energy imparted at initiation. At the same time, the energy budget for each shot is far beyond all but a handful of ships in the fleet. It just takes far too much electricity to charge capacitors to deliver the sudden burst of energy to the rails.

    When theory meets reality, reality always wins.  Not to say this, or any problem, can not be solve given enough time, resources and capital, it’s just that at this point in time with the resources, money and current tech – it just couldn’t happen now.  Back to the drawing board.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Military.com

    Railguns were supposed to be a revolutionary next step in rank and energy delivered to a target. They involve no combustion, instead relying on a set of rails electrically charged like one polarity of magnets, with the projectile holding the opposite charge being flung down the length of the rail, repelled by the rails’ charge.

    Unfortunately, they have proved unworkable. The basic construction fails under single or repeated shots, destroyed by the energy imparted at initiation. At the same time, the energy budget for each shot is far beyond all but a handful of ships in the fleet. It just takes far too much electricity to charge capacitors to deliver the sudden burst of energy to the rails.

    When theory meets reality, reality always wins. Not to say this, or any problem, can not be solve given enough time, resources and capital, it’s just that at this point in time with the resources, money and current tech – it just couldn’t happen now. Back to the drawing board.

     

    And even the “failed” railgun program may have resulted in some technological advancements that help other areas.

    • #13
  14. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures. 

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market. 

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones. 

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic. 

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    • #15
  16. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    • #16
  17. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    Sometimes that’s what is required to find out that something isn’t workable at least for now.

    • #17
  18. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    Gazpacho Grande'
    @ChrisCampion

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    Agreed.

    See the source image

    • #18
  19. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown:

    Military.com

    Railguns were supposed to be a revolutionary next step in rank and energy delivered to a target. They involve no combustion, instead relying on a set of rails electrically charged like one polarity of magnets, with the projectile holding the opposite charge being flung down the length of the rail, repelled by the rails’ charge.

    Unfortunately, they have proved unworkable. The basic construction fails under single or repeated shots, destroyed by the energy imparted at initiation. At the same time, the energy budget for each shot is far beyond all but a handful of ships in the fleet. It just takes far too much electricity to charge capacitors to deliver the sudden burst of energy to the rails.

    When theory meets reality, reality always wins. Not to say this, or any problem, can not be solve given enough time, resources and capital, it’s just that at this point in time with the resources, money and current tech – it just couldn’t happen now. Back to the drawing board.

    Reality wins, but not before we lose innocent bystanders. 

    • #19
  20. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    Well, they would, but they have all this money lying around….

    • #20
  21. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    TBA (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    Well, they would, but they have all this money lying around….

    Explain that to real accountants.

    • #21
  22. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    People who criticize the military often overlook the same sorting-out process in civilian technologies. Chrysler’s turbine car, the space shuttle (well, a quasi-civilian technology), the Concorde airliner–they all worked. They were all great advances of their eras. But they each cost far too much to operate, vastly more than projected, and weren’t “robust”, too prone to unknown unknowns. So they are considered failures.

    Yet the technology of the shuttle has produced the effective X-37B unmanned orbital platform. The technology of Concorde will be revived someday in a more economically sane form. The turbine car didn’t, in the end, have enough unique advantages, but the Williams company, an outgrowth of the Chrysler project, is a successful manufacturer whose turbine products sell on an open market.

    That turbine technology probably also helped a lot with making natural gas power generation efficient and practical, using gas turbines rather than boilers and steam.

     

    We built the shuttle partly because in the late Sixties, first stage rocket boosters couldn’t land themselves. Now they can. Apple’s Newton was a failure in the marketplace, but Steve Jobs credited it with giving the company a head start on tech it would use on the iPhone and iPad. In the Seventies, AI researchers were mocked for trying to make real-time voice recognition and transcription a reality. Now everyone’s carrying it around on their phones.

    So when do you know when a new technique is worth a sizeable gamble? You don’t. Of course, it’s always tougher to pull the plug when sunk cost is gigantic.

     

    And that’s one reason we have government do some of these things, basically on our behalf.

    It would be nice if they could pull the plug before the sunk costs got gigantic.

    Well, they would, but they have all this money lying around….

    Explain that to real accountants.

    For the government in general and parts of the government in particular, there is never not more money. 

    The government employs legions of accountants. 

    But they mostly just point them at citizens. 

    • #22
  23. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    TBA (View Comment):

    The government employs legions of accountants. 

    But they mostly just point them at citizens. 

    And the RepubliCAN’T gang in Congress benefits from this as much as Democrats. See the incumbents of both parties benefiting from the illegal IRS attacks on Tea Party organizations after the 2010 midterm shock. This is why they are not screaming and voting as a block against pending massive legislation that grows the IRS by 1/3 to more aggressively attack both taxpayers and existing/emerging nonprofits that would advocate wrong think.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    The government employs legions of accountants.

    But they mostly just point them at citizens.

    And the RepubliCAN’T gang in Congress benefits from this as much as Democrats. See the incumbents of both parties benefiting from the illegal IRS attacks on Tea Party organizations after the 2010 midterm shock. This is why they are not screaming and voting as a block against pending massive legislation that grows the IRS by 1/3 to more aggressively attack both taxpayers and existing/emerging nonprofits that would advocate wrong think.

    The answer would seem to be, don’t even try to get nonprofit status.  If people won’t help unless it’s a tax write-off, then they deserve what they get.

    • #24
  25. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    The government employs legions of accountants.

    But they mostly just point them at citizens.

    And the RepubliCAN’T gang in Congress benefits from this as much as Democrats. See the incumbents of both parties benefiting from the illegal IRS attacks on Tea Party organizations after the 2010 midterm shock. This is why they are not screaming and voting as a block against pending massive legislation that grows the IRS by 1/3 to more aggressively attack both taxpayers and existing/emerging nonprofits that would advocate wrong think.

    The answer would seem to be, don’t even try to get nonprofit status. If people won’t help unless it’s a tax write-off, then they deserve what they get.

    Nope. Giving up significant organizational budget advantage, and operating as a for-profit entity with associated tax and reporting requirements, is a loser strategy. 

    • #25
  26. Architectus Coolidge
    Architectus
    @Architectus

    I was (very) tangentially involved in the EMALS system (Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System) for new aircraft carriers, and when I heard about the rail gun, I thought is sounded like just a much faster version of the same idea, so should eventually be figured out.  Maybe not…  

    • #26
  27. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Architectus (View Comment):

    I was (very) tangentially involved in the EMALS system (Electro-Magnetic Aircraft Launch System) for new aircraft carriers, and when I heard about the rail gun, I thought is sounded like just a much faster version of the same idea, so should eventually be figured out. Maybe not…

    Perhaps it was the sheer magnitude of “faster” that blew past current material design limits. I suspect nuclear aircraft carriers are also among the few ships with sufficient electrical generation to load the capacitors of a rail gun.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    What we really need are the BOLOs, especially with the “Hellbore” guns.

     

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bolo_universe

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  29. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Also, watch “The Pentagon Wars.”

    Yes, and while you watch it, remember that for all the dark humor and satire, for all the stipulated corruption, vainglory, and career ambitions, the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the best mech infantry vehicle ever made.

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  30. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Clifford A. Brown: The Comanche helicopter concept came along as the Soviet threat was crumbling. It was supposed to the Army’s stealth aircraft, a light scouting and attack helicopter that could survive in a Soviet technology high threat environment. A stealthy helicopter is still perfectly visible and slow enough for all manner of ground and air countermeasures. Still, the idea hung on from 1991 to 2004.

    I have a Comanche T-shirt from Blackbird Flight Wear, probably purchased somewhere around 1995. I wore it to the grocery store last year and my bagger complimented me on it. The shirt is definitely older than he is and I wondered at the time if the whole program had existed before he was born, forgetting exactly when it was cancelled. 

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