Air Weapons: February 10, 2004


Solid fuel rockets are difficult to build, and the United States was the first to perfect the manufacturing process half a century ago. Russia never caught up with the United States in this area, despite mighty efforts. But there was one area in which even the United States failed, and that was in developing a variable thrust rocket motor. Until now, that is. The solution came in the form of smaller, cheaper and more reliable microprocessors. Similar to the CPU chips that drive your personal computer, variable thrust solid fuel rocket motors finally worked reliably when there was enough computing power to do all the necessary calculations quickly enough. With variable thrust, missiles powered by solid fuel rocket motors can now choose between speed and range, as well as being more effective at hitting moving targets. Thus missiles will now have microprocessors working at both ends, in the guidance system and the rocket motor. This particular technology is probably high on the Chinese list of things they'd like to have, legally or otherwise.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close