Electronic Weapons: It's So FAB

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February 7, 2009: The U.S. Air Force is installing a high-speed satellite communications terminal in its heavy bombers. This FAB-T (Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals)  enables the aircraft to communicate at broadband Internet rates (8 megabits a second). The FAB-T can also communicate with other ground and airborne radios that can share data files (video, pictures, audio). The point of all this is to enable aircraft to share all useful data with nearby aircraft and ground troops, and enable the bomber to drop its smart bombs faster and more accurately. Speed is often critical, as ground targets are frequently enemy gunmen or vehicles, who can quickly move.

Since FAB-T can also handle highly encrypted messages, which makes it is useful for messages to and from bombers carrying nuclear weapons. The U.S. Air Force is again interested in the nuclear weapons capabilities of its 162 heavy bombers (19 B-2s, 67 B-1s and 76 B-52s). Unlike ballistic missiles, heavy bombers carrying nukes can be recalled or switch targets at the last minute. But you want those messages to be heavily encrypted, and FAB-T can handle that.

 


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