Pat Toensmeier

Pat Toensmeier
Articles
Nuclear Blasts Can’t Hide From Radio Telescopes 

In the future, if a rogue nation is caught secretly testing a nuclear weapon, and is confronted with credible evidence about blast size, location, date and time of detonation, satellites and radio telescopes may get the credit. Researchers at Ohio State University and astronomers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have discovered that GPS and GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) satellites, along with the Very Large Array (VLA) of 27 radio telescopes in New Mexico, can detect atmospheric disturbances caused by nuclear blasts.

Ceramic Materials Supplant Conventional Armor Plates 

Ceramic materials have become viable—even better—replacements for conventional metallic armor plates on tanks, personnel carriers and other armored vehicles. They not only resist penetration by most explosive projectiles encountered on a battlefield, but provide considerable weight savings, which in turn increase the agility and maneuverability of these multi-ton platforms. Ceramic plates, however, have one significant problem: weakness in the adhesive bond that connects them to their composite backing material, which reduces their effectiveness.

HMX The Latest In Military Energetics 

NEW YORK – The state-of-the-art in military energetics is HMX, a powerful material that is dense, thermodynamically stable and low in sensitivity — in other words, a devastating explosive that is safe to handle. Research by the University of Michigan and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) indicates that the explosiveness of HMX can be increased with no trade-off in sensitivity, by combining it with an energetic known as CL-20, which while powerful, is by itself too sensitive for use.

HMX The Latest In Military Energetics 
The state-of-the-art in military energetics is HMX, a powerful material that is dense, thermodynamically stable and low in sensitivity — in other words, a devastating explosive that is safe to handle.
Boom Times In Military Explosives 

The state-of-the-art in military energetics is HMX, a powerful material that is dense, thermodynamically stable and low in sensitivity—in other words, a devastating explosive that is safe to handle.

Research by the University of Michigan and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) indicates that the explosiveness of HMX can be increased with no trade-off in sensitivity by combining it with an energetic known as CL-20, which while powerful, is by itself too sensitive for use.

Prospects Dim For Business Travel In U.S., Europe Next Year
Primarily cause continues to be persistence of economic downturn.
MAG Uses Cryogenics To Reduce Machining Costs 

As contractors make greater use of composites and high-strength metals in aircraft structures, attention is focusing on ways of improving manufacturing productivity and reducing per-part cost. One technique to emerge for the machining of parts is cryogenic cooling, which can increase machining speed, reduce cutting force, extend cutting tool life, and lower the time and cost required to finish components.

Network Security In The Cloud 

As more users adopt cloud-based computing networks to achieve bandwidth efficiency, hardware reduction and other benefits, issues arise over the ability to access different operating systems in the cloud, host multiple domains, assure data resilience and, importantly, maintain security. Three companies have partnered to develop a system that they say is innovative in that it provides a secure, scalable, redundant platform for cloud networks in sensitive environments, including tactical military use.

Technologies Evolving To Cloak Battlefield Vehicles From Sensors
The ultimate stealth protection for anything on or over a battlefield would be the ability to disappear from view.
Safe Harbor 

As work proceeds on the first of the Royal Navy's two Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, authorities at what will be their home port, HMNB Portsmouth, England, have approved a design for the Portsmouth Approach Channel, the body of water through which the 65,000-tonne (71,630-ton) ships will transit. The carriers will be the largest vessels ever docked at Portsmouth. As a result, based on a design developed by BMT Isis Ltd., the Royal Navy will dredge a new approach that is 30 ft. deeper than the current one. The draft of both ships is 36 ft.

Air Power 

The ScanEagle mini-UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), in use by the U.S. Navy, has logged its first flight powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The UAV, developed by Boeing subsidiary Insitu Inc. of Bingen, Wash., flew 2.5 hr. with the propulsion module. The flight test is significant since the U.S. Defense Department expects fuel cells to play an increasingly important role in improving the mission capability of UAVs and other platforms. One benefit of fuel cells for UAVs such as ScanEagle is reduced weight.

Forging Supply 

The U.S. Air Force is looking for one good aluminum alloy. The service wants a higher-strength alternative to alloy 2014, which is widely used in aerospace components and fittings, as well as military vehicles and weapons, due to its machining and forming properties. It also wants an alternative to alloy 2040, developed and produced by Alcoa. This material has enhanced properties compared with 2014 that reduce landing-gear weight, but it's a single-source metal, and costly.

Cold War Tension In Berlin, 1961 

Reviewed By Pat Toensmeier

Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

By Frederick Kempe

Berkeley Books, 2011

579 pp.; $29.95

The Berlin Wall symbolized the Cold War. Frederick Kempe writes of the events that led to its construction in 1961, sealing the division of Germany.

Traffic Jam 

As roadside bombs proliferate, the danger to vehicles isn't just on the battlefield, but city streets. Companies are turning to commercial products to respond to the threat. Cassidian, a division of EADS, offers a Convoy Protection Jammer to counter roadside bombs. The device uses Cassidian's Smart Responsive Jamming Technology to detect and disrupt signals commonly used to detonate bombs— those in the 20-mhz-6-ghz frequency range. Once detected, the device transmits jamming signals in real time that match the hostile frequency.

High-Strength Hulls 

An innovation in a welding process could open the door for the U.S. Navy and shipbuilders to construct hulls of marine-grade titanium—a development that would substantially increase strength, decrease vessel weight and eliminate corrosion. The innovation is in friction stir welding, which joins metal with heat created by the high-speed rotation of a spinning pin tool. The pin tool plasticizes—but does not melt—metal, forming a weld as it moves along a joint. Efforts to use it with titanium had failed because the pin tool would erode and mix with the metal, degrading it.

 
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