Murphy's Law: Reality and Desperation

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December 4, 2007: Five years ago, the U.S. Air Force successfully ground tested a Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF). The new fuze could detect when it had passed through hard material and entered an empty space, and do this for as many times as it is programmed to before detonating. The purpose of the HTSF was to destroy material in a multilevel bunker. If it is known that the material to be destroyed is in a certain level of an underground bunker, the HTSF can be set to explode the bomb at that level, after simply penetrating the other levels. But when the fuze was flight tested a few months later, there were problems. Several years of trying to fix the problems led to the termination of the program.

Still needing an HTSF, the air force has been forced to buy one from a German firm, that has had it available for over six years. The German PIMPF (Programmable Intelligent Multi-Purpose Fuze) is used in the German/Swedish Taurus KEPD 350 stealth cruise missile, and can be used on just about any bomb or missile. The PIMPF has been offered to the U.S. Air Force all through the development of the FMU-159/B Hard Target Smart Fuze. But there is great resistance to buying foreign military equipment or weapons, especially in the United States. Partially, it's about politics. Locally built stuff means more jobs for Americans. However, the United States has wasted billions over the years, trying to build stuff that was already available from foreign suppliers. Americans also tend to forget that the U.S. is the biggest arms exporter in the world, and that trade has created millions of jobs for Americans. But that sort of thing works both ways, a reality that tends to be recognized when the situation is desperate.

 


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