Rodrick Su (rsu@tigana.com)
Thu, 20 Jul 2000 06:37:47 -0700


> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-gundam@ml.aeug.org [mailto:owner-gundam@ml.aeug.org]On
> Behalf Of L. M. Lloyd
> Sent: Wednesday, July 19, 2000 7:50 PM
> To: gundam@aeug.org
> Subject: Re: [gundam] Questions for Mark Simmons (and everyone else)
>
>
> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
> Hash: SHA1
>
> I think that your analysis of military development is a bit skewed by
> its reliance on a naval analogy. Naval vessels are far and away the
> largest, most expensive and time consuming single vehicles
> constructed by any military force, and as such their development
> usually takes a very different path than things like aerospace,
> cavalry and infantry weapon development. For example you will notice
> in Gundam the rate of ship development does not move at anything near
> the rate of MS development.

True. Currently, the newest fighter/interceptor in USAF is the F-22, which
features vector thrust engines, radar stealth, unheard of maneuverability,
fly by wire. It's pretty much a revolutionary improvement over the plane
that it is replacing, the aging F-15 and the slightly newer F-16. Navy and
Marine are also getting a similiar upgrade in plane in the JSF, a carrier
based stealth fighter that looks to be a cross between F-16 and F-22 frame.
And the Navy/Marine have no backup plan if the plane failed. JSF will be
replacing the aging F-14, F/A-18, the Harriet Jumpjet, A-6. Compare that
with the carriers design, whose frame basically haven't change much in the
past 30 years.

> It seems to me that MS development is most analogous to aerospace
> development. By that I mean that you can certainly get some minor
> improvements by increasing the power plant, or upgrading the weapons
> systems, but any major performance improvements pretty much
> necessitate a new frame.
>
> Using the aerospace analogy, it seems to me that there are very few
> nations, east or west, that employ an evolutionary model. Sure,
> pretty much every nation has one or two airframes that have proved so
> versatile that the will keep it in service for 20 years or more in
> some role with occasional performance improvements. But as a rule,
> most airforces the world over seek revolutionary solutions for
> mission critical tactical solutions, provided the nation in question
> can afford to research such a solution. The reason for this is that
> any major increase in the maneuverability of an aircraft, almost
> always requires that you redesign the airframe (and usually flight
> control system as well), and once you are redesigning the airframe,
> you might as well undertake a redesign of all the other systems as
> well. This seems to me to be pretty much how MS would work as well.
> To get faster reaction times out of a mech, you would usually have to
> redesign the entire joint structure. By the same token, getting a
> more maneuverable MS would require a new configuration of thrusters,
> verniers, reactors and a new control system. Once you have changed
> all of that, it seems kind of silly to spend the extra engineering on
> figuring out how to shoehorn all this into an existing unit.
>
> All this said, the mobile frame was an attempt to allow evolutionary
> development of MS, unfortunately then the introduction of the
> variable frame pretty much shot that to hell.
>
> I am not saying that revolutionary development is innately superior
> to evolutionary development, what I am saying, is that in some cases
> (such as aerospace) evolutionary development is not particularly
> feasible. For example, if any nation ever fields a capable, field
> serviceable, air superiority helicopter, it is highly unlikely that
> refitting existing helicopters or airplanes will provide a credible
> solution for other nations. By the same token, America's current mini
> remote tank development program, is likely to necessitate
> revolutionary solutions by the other military powers, as their
> introduction, will most likely undermine the basic survivability and
> deployment tenets of all modern tanks.

Well, there had been example of evolutionary improvements in a the plane
design. Witness F-15, which has receive continous upgrade. I believe we
are now in F-15F model. And the warhorse of USAF for many many years F-4,
which I believe is still in service in some capacity somewhere in the world.

[ Rodrick Su [ ]
[ rsu@tigana.com [ I might be crazier than you think. ]

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