The U.S. has spent billions of dollars developing a complicated network of sensors, radars, and interceptor missiles to thwart nuclear missile attacks on the homeland, but a simple, cost effective step can render them basically useless.
Oddly enough, it comes down to balloons.
When a ballistic missile launches, it separates the warhead from the rocket early in flight. The rocket then arcs above the earth back down towards the target.
Any country that can build an intercontinental ballistic missile could also build a handful of balloon decoys. Basically, the head of the warhead is packed with balloons. Once the missile leaves the atmosphere and the warhead releases, the balloons inflate, and one of them surrounds the nuclear warhead.
Because the warhead is now outside the atmosphere, the light balloons travel just as fast as the heavy warhead, and they all have the same radar signature.
When the interceptor missile goes to hit the warhead, it finds dozens of balloons. Hit-to-kill missile interception has been described as hitting a speeding bullet with another speeding bullet. Now imagine there are dozens of bullets, and some are fake.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)
CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.
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A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense
Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.
It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.