Re: COMP: China's 20Gflop Machine

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 19 Jan 1999 09:30:18 -0500

Billy Brown wrote:

> Spike Jones wrote:
> > Billy Brown wrote:
> > > Of course, the nukes could still be a problem if we don't
> > > get an ABM system built soon.
> >
> > we are working on that furiously, but i can assure you it is one damn
> > difficult technological problem. {8-[ spike
> I know. I always got a kick out of the idea of building one that could
> handle a full-scale exchange with '80's technology. Still, it seems we
> should be able to get something moderately effective in the next decade or
> so, if we can ever get a president willing to let it happen.

Yes, by '87 all of the major systems proposed at that point had been built as prototypes and tested either on the ground or in space. All that was lacking was a sufficiently powerful computer system to manage the whole shebang. Here's what had been tested:

x-ray laser (underground nuke test)
CO2 laser (air test @ 20-80 mile ranges through atmosphere) electron laser (ground tested, technology now used for treating cancer) F-15 launched kinetic kill vehicles (mostly for ASAT work)(air launched, tested against satellites)
Missile launched kinetic kill vehicles (ground launched, tested against other missile dummy warheads in space)
railgun launched kinetic kill vehicles (ground tested) adapted phalanx gun system for terminal perimeter defense (tested) High Exoatmospheric kill vehicles (ground launched)

The computer software expected to run an entire sytem was thought to require at least several hundred million lines of code, which was serveral times larger than any programming done in the 80's, but all of it of course needed to be bug free....;)

As I recall, even Dr. Ashton Martin of the Union of Concerned Scientists admitted, despite the groups' propaganda in the media to the contrary, that,"the dispute is no longer scientific".

Mike Lorrey