Military-Grade Awesome

Expand Your Radar Horizons (Part Deux)

In order to expand the radar early warning picket line out into the Atlantic, the US Air Force undertook a project to mount shore based radar systems on offshore platforms. Because of their similarity to the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, they were known as the Texas Towers. A week-ish (or so) ago we took a look at the development and systems of these towers in Part 1. By summer of 1955 the first platform, TT-2, was ready for installation, and was towed out to be placed on temporary legs. Once it was jacked up into place, the permanent caisson legs could be installed.

The caissons were at least 160 feet long, with approx 48 feet embedded into the shoal, leaving 55 feet in the water, and the other 60 feet or so lifting the platform high out of the water. In addition to supporting the tower, each leg contained a 140 foot internal fluid storage tube, one filled with sea water to supply the drinking water distillation equipment. The Air Force assumed occupancy of the tower in early December of 1955, and began operation if the radars. They were able to detect targets similar to a B-47 at 50,000 feet, up to 200 nauntical miles away.¹

Continue reading Expand Your Radar Horizons (Part Deux)

A-T Exclusive

Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 5

As our crazy caravan passed into the hills of southern Oregon I had been spritzed by a few rain showers, and dumped on by a few angry clouds right about the same time I realized the ZomBee no longer had wipers…

And that is when it really started raining.

We were now hauling ass downhill, once again passing our train of Big-Rig friends – the road-spray and darkness making it pretty hard to see. I grabbed a micro-fiber towel I keep on hand just in case of such an emergency and tried to wipe the windshield from over the top, but could no longer reach my hand through the gap because the new roof  panel was in the way. Reaching my hand out the window and around the roll cage only resulted in the towel flailing everywhere BUT the windshield, so I ended up flicking the bright yellow towel through the roof gap and “licking” the windscreen with it, which did not have much effect but probably looked funny as hell.

I flashed my lights to signal mike something was wrong but the lights went out completely. Again. Continue reading Extraordinarily Stupid Road Trip – Part 5

Cause and Effect

Tactical Geese

The unexpected third party in the nuclear stalemate.

Little known fact, but the eventual end of the nuclear proliferation stalemate between the United States and the Soviet Union, as well as a near-miss event that could have led to our own nuclear annihilation, were both caused by a flock of geese.

Continue reading Tactical Geese

Pushing Boundaries

Hearing Aids

Apparently, these are early attempts at hearing long distances. Maybe a pre-cursor to RADAR?

Find more like this at Retronaut. Don’t blame me if your productivity drops to zero today and for all of next week.

[Ed. Thanks to reader coupeZ600 for the tip. If you see some people sticking large devices in […]

Moments in History

Saw It Coming

Today is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese air forces. It, according to FDR, is “a date which will live in infamy”. After the attack, the US declared war on Japan and formally entered WW2.
Continue reading Saw It Coming


Startup: The Key to Victory

"How do I log on to Facebook with this?"

In the early days of the Second World War, there was one weapon, more than any other, that determined the fate of Britain at the hands of the Luftwaffe. Some have argued that the Hawker Hurricane or the Supermarine Spitfire deserve the title; in […]