Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cold-War Technology Race Continues
Reverse-swept wings have been the next big advance in fighter planes for about 30 years now. Americans built a prototype in the 80's. Russians built a prototype in the 90's. Recently Russia announced that it is moving ahead with reverse wing technology. It promises a fighter that is more agile, especially at trans-sonic and super-sonic speeds. What the disadvantages are, I don't know. Perhaps the military isn't telling.

While Americans have the best funded military and probably have among the most motivated and creative personnel, they no longer have the edge in nerve. The American military (along with the Canadian and European militaries) has become risk-adverse. When it comes to experimentation with exciting and radical technologies, it seems the edge goes to Russia.

Of course, the other possibility is that the American researchers are all over this. They just choose not to publish their military secrets. It's possible that these are lousy ideas but since they are undeniably spectacular, they make great press anyway. That does seem to be the Putin M.O.

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