NEW 100 GIGABIT/SECOND WIRELESS LINKS AND DARPASeptember 18, 2013
This one was sent to me by a regular, Ms. P.H., and I have to talk about it, because as regular readers here will already know, I've been suggesting in some recent blogs that there are serious moves afoot in the area of space defense. And though I haven't blogged about it here, the US Air Force also recently announced that it was retiring and shutting down its Spacenet tracking, the facility that tracks objects in near Earth space. At that time, there was no real announcement of what, if anything, had been put into its place.
However, I have recently blogged about Russia's intentions to build a sophisticated space-based defense system able to track and destroy objects in space before they can reach Russian airspace. I suggested that such developments were as much about the Chelyabinsk-asteroid issue as they are about threats from other nations' missiles, and I suspect the same rationale holds true for western systems of space-based defense.
The problem here, as it was during the Reagan Administration's now-well-known "Star Wars" or "Strategic Defense Initiative" program, was not so much the lack of the weapons hardware - the high power lasers, particle beams, X-ray lasers and grasers and electromagnetic rail guns and plasma bolts and all the other exotic stuff that existed back then - but rather, the problem was computation, communication, and control, in short, we lacked at that time the computing power to track and target all the thousands of ICBM warheads the Russians possessed, and added to this, the communications required the accurate transmission of all that data wirelessly from ground to satellite, or vice-versa. We had the x-ray lasers and later, the reusable GRASERS (thanks to certain physical effects discovered as a result of the Reagan era program), so it was possible to place those weapons in space and fry Soviet warheads (or, as the Russians rightly pointed out, fry Russian cities not with hydrogen bombs but with coherent gamma rays).
The hardware wasn't the problem. The problem, so to speak, was the software.
With all this context in mind, consider now the implications of this article:
Granted, such a wireless communication capability would be one of those "force multipliers" that the military so loves, particularly on the modern GPS-guided battlefield with its air-and-artillery delivered smart munitions. Indeed, the picture at the top of this article is designed to get one thinking in these rather limited tactical and operational terms.
But the real application and implication, it seems to me, is the strategic one. What I suspect we're really looking at is the communication system for strategic missile defense (and I am defining the term "missile" here very loosely!) in space. And, as the Europeans and Russians have also announced their plans for such space-based and ground based systems, I strongly suspect that what we are looking at here - since it is out in the public sphere - is but the tip of the computational-communications iceberg, and that the covert capability probably exceeds the 100 gigbits/second we are being told about. Such a communications capability is, needless to say, well-suited to the strategic requirements of near-Earth space defense. Such a fiber optic scale communications ability, done wireless, and with fiber optic scale of signal degradation, would be a boon to space based missile defense. It also implies an ability to scan "missiles" for information...
To put it more bluntly, something is going on, folks, and I don't think it's all down here on Earth...
See you on the flip side...