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Mysterious 'Forcefield' Tested on US Tanks 603

An anonymous reader writes "Not too long ago General Dynamics announced a successful test of their new Trophy Active Defense System (ADS). The Trophy ADS generates something similar to a force field around one half of a vehicle as a direct reaction to incoming fire. From the article: 'The Threat Detection and Warning subsystem consists of several sensors, including flat-panel radars, placed at strategic locations around the protected vehicle, to provide full hemispherical coverage. Once an incoming threat is detected identified and verified, the Countermeasure Assembly is opened, the countermeasure device is positioned in the direction where it can effectively intercept the threat. Then, it is launched automatically into a ballistic trajectory to intercept the incoming threat at a relatively long distance.'"
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Mysterious 'Forcefield' Tested on US Tanks

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  • Force Field? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rk ( 6314 ) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:21PM (#15114817) Journal

    Calling this a "force field" is a bit of a misnomer. It looks more like a point defense system for tanks and other armored vehicles. Very cool, but not as cool as a real force field.

    As much as we might like to blame the summary, but the term occurs in the FA, too.

    • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Profane MuthaFucka ( 574406 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:37PM (#15114927) Homepage Journal
      And the title of the article is MYSTERIOUS force field. The article describes just how the thing works. If you can describe how it works, it's not a mystery.

      Anyway, I'm sick of seeing this stupid story repeated over and over. How many times have I read this in the past two days? Everybody's calling it a force field too. Weird. It's almost like a company has a new product to sell and sent out a press release which was copied by lazy reporters. But that never happens, right?
    • Agree. It is also old news as far as less developed countries are concerned. This shit is standard armament on Russian T90 [] and Chinese T98. I am surprised yanks do not have it (I though they did) and I am even more surprised that they have to get it from Israel.
      • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TTK Ciar ( 698795 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:39PM (#15115390) Homepage Journal

        Just a little nit to pick: Drozd has been deployed on T-55 and T-80 family tanks, but T-90 uses the newer ARENA system. Also, using ARENA precludes mounting Explosive Reactive Armor modules, the latest versions of which are useful against APFSDS threats (which Drozd and ARENA are not), so it's not exactly a silver bullet.

        ObPlug: more on various kinds of active defense systems can be found on this page [].

        -- TTK

      • Re:Force Field? (Score:3, Informative)

        I don't think this is the same as the reactive armor sported by other countries. That armor is basically used to defeat shaped charge HEAP rounds by using an explosion triggered by the detonation of the round to distrupt the shape of explostion and has little value against purely kinetic rounds like the APFSDS used by most NATO tanks these days. This could actually have some effect against those rounds by diverting them well prior to their contact with the vehicle. In all it is a far more active system, mor
    • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:50PM (#15115011) Homepage Journal
      It looks more like a point defense system for tanks and other armored vehicles. Very cool, but not as cool as a real force field.

      Still, you've got to admit that this would be a huge psychological deterant. I mean, if I fired RPGs at a tank, and the RPGs (seemingly without cause) pre-detontated before they ever reached the tank, I'd be looking to get the hell out of there and warn all my friends! There would be a lot of "how can fight something like that?" discussions going on that night. :-)
      • Yes... but if you read about it on a dozen websites, you'd know exactly how it worked, and possibly be able to find a way to neutralize it. Not much of a mystery if you can get information on what it is from an official press release.
      • by arcanumas ( 646807 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:12PM (#15115200) Homepage
        There would be a lot of "how can fight something like that?" discussions going on that night. :-)

        Well i would look it up on the Internet. There is bound to be a post on some obscure forum by some guy named "Tank-H4xor" that gives direction on how to exploit a bug in the system by duct-taping a banana on the missile or a fluffy bunny something :)

        • by metlin ( 258108 ) *
          Well i would look it up on the Internet. There is bound to be a post on some obscure forum by some guy named "Tank-H4xor" that gives direction on how to exploit a bug in the system by duct-taping a banana on the missile or a fluffy bunny something :)

          I don't think McGuyver would appreciate you calling him that very much. :p
      • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rk ( 6314 ) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:20PM (#15115257) Journal

        Oh, absolutely! This is in line with US military doctrine. Create a force so overwhelming it never needs to fight. This is why we have things like Trophy, Land Warrior [], and other superiority systems.

        • Re:Force Field? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rbarreira ( 836272 )
          From the Wikipedia page:

          Land Warrior's software system is powered by a variant of the Linux operating system and has a modular, open architecture for further improvement. Reliability in recent testing at Fort Benning has been extremely high.

          I would HATE to read this if I was a linux programmer. Is it possible to include notes in software licenses forbiding military uses?
          • by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:11PM (#15115632) Homepage Journal
            I would HATE to read this if I was a linux programmer. Is it possible to include notes in software licenses forbiding military uses?
            Such limitations would make your software less free. This is fine, of course -- I disallow use of my software by anyone in a posession of a Che Guevarra T-shirt, for example -- but it will not be part of Linux.
          • by hawk ( 1151 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:14PM (#15115659) Journal
            It's possible--but it would also mean that the license couldn't get recognised as open under the common open source guidelines.

            hawk, who intends someday to include the phrase, "This is free software. You may use it for any purpose, including the extermination of endangered species, the violent overthrow of your government, or planning a nuclear attack on Australia." :)
          • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:21PM (#15115727) Homepage Journal
            Not all programmers are peacenik hippies, you know. Even Linux ones.

            I know of several Linux programmers that would probably slaver over the opportunity to program a giant killing machine. (Although perhaps only if it walked and shot lasers and was 50 feet tall. They might not be down with programming an uncool killing machine. I'll have to ask.)

            On a more serious note, do you really think that IBM, HP, Sun, and all the rest of the companies that have paid into and supported this Linux thing would continue to do so if there was such a 'no military use' clause? If you think so, then you have no idea how much of many of those companies revenues come from government contracts, particularly defense ones. Do you think the NSA would help to secure it? I bet even NASA wouldn't touch it. (Most of their contractors who do the majority of the work wouldn't be able to, since a lot of them do a ton of military work on the side.)

            And what is "military use" anyway? Is running a logistics or inventory management system 'military use,' if the inventory being managed is bombs and bullets? What if it's just MREs? What if it's a payroll system for military personnel? How about civilian contractors? Could you use it to run a firewall--if that firewall was in a missile silo?

            Anyone who wanted to make a commercial software product and even had the dimmest hopes of ever selling it to government wouldn't be able to use any code under such a license.
            Not to mention the public-image damage you'd do by associating Linux with yet another political philosophy; as if Free Software isn't controversial enough to sell to management, you want to make sure that there's absolutely no chance that it's taken seriously?

            It would be the best thing in the world for BSD, though...
          • by sgant ( 178166 )
            How are you going to stop the military from using your open-source software? Who's going to stop them? They're the fricken military man! They're the ones with the guns and the tanks and the flamethrowers.
          • One of the FSF's software freedoms is the freedom to use for any purpose. Just as the peacenik and the warrior use feet and inches, so too they use Linux.
        • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:04PM (#15115582)
          The problem is that they lost track of the idea that they should not be fighting. The most effective army is the army that isn't used. Particularly when it doesn't fight an equally big centralized adversary. Iraq has gone a long way in getting the shine off. It's not as scary as it used to be. The Romans, inspired by the Spartans, had a doctrine also for this "si vis pacem para bellum". If you want peace "prepare" war. Note the difference between "prepare" and "wage". When the Spartans drunk on their success against the athenians forgot that they were not supposed to wage war to maintain their psychological and tactical advantages, they only taught the Thebans how they could be beaten. All armies have their weaknesses, and in history no army has been succesful agains irregular combattants in the long term (of course you're going to quash any group of irregulars that you meet in any kind of open battle, but they just keep coming, and coming and coming). A large army is expensive to maintain, and keep constantly in battle readiness. The irregulars have lots of volunteers among the opressed populations... and they choose when and where to strike. They don't have a very centralized hierarchy. They can only be defeated by defeating politically the reason they were given birth for. History is full of those lessons, but politicians are not very good at learning their lessons. Of course, in some cases it's because all of their knowledge of history comes from the Simpsons.
      • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by geniusj ( 140174 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:36PM (#15115376) Homepage
        Just a guess, but I wonder if you could defeat it by shooting 3 RPGs from 3 different directions at it? Can it act that quickly against all of them?
        • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Informative)

          by wgnorm ( 163220 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:53PM (#15115504)
          Just a guess, but I wonder if you could defeat it by shooting 3 RPGs from 3 different directions at it? Can it act that quickly against all of them?
          From TFA:

          The system can simultaneously engage several threats, arriving from different directions, is effective on stationary or moving platforms, and is effective against short and long range threats (such as RPGs and ATGM).

          So yes, it can handle that... even while moving.
        • Re:Force Field? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Captain Splendid ( 673276 ) <[capsplendid] [at] []> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:10PM (#15115628) Homepage Journal
          Even if you could fire several RPGs at once just to have one conclude a successful strike, the system is still doing its job by requiring way more resources to take it down. One guy with one RPG taking a tank down is one thing, but having to coordinate half a dozen guys with related weaponry to fire simultaneously is much more difficult to do.
        • Re:Force Field? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
          Probably you could, but that's a significant gain in itself. You've just tripled the work that it takes to destroy the target; actually more than tripled, since firing three anti-tank weapons simultaneously from three different directions isn't exactly simple. You have to have some way of coordinating the attack, and you'd have to fire them at almost exactly the same time -- I assume the response time of the point defense system is quite fast, so if any of the weapons were lagging it would give the system a
      • by kitzilla ( 266382 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:10PM (#15116064) Homepage Journal
        > There would be a lot of "how can fight something like that?" discussions going on that night. :-)

        And they'd all end with, "Get closer than 10 meters before you fire."

        "Ten meters? We're shooting from rooftops and through doorways. We're already working that close."

        "Good, then. And keep cranking out those IEDs."

    • TFA sounds a lot like the early descriptions of the Phalanx [] Close-In Weapons System for defense of ships against low-flying antiship missiles like the infamous Exocet []. I recall the Phalanx being described around the time of the Falklands War as throwing up a "wall" of bullets in front of an incoming missile through its extremely high rate of fire (up to 75 rounds per second). The widget in TFA may do much the same with a "force field" of fragments from the explosion of a shaped charge.

      That is, I surmise
    • Make it even simplier for /. folks ;)

      Think Battlestar Galactica NOT Star Trek :)

      Force field here is kinda like free checking, 50% off jewelry sales, or that 2-legged robot that can't stand on 2 legs.....
  • Reactive Armor (Score:2, Informative)

    by mr100percent ( 57156 ) *
    Hmm, sounds similar to reactive armor []. I wonder if it has the same weaknesses?

    • Re:Reactive Armor (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zediker ( 885207 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:28PM (#15114861)
      Its not realy similar at all to reactive armor... Its more like a miniature Phalanx system that uses a shotgun instead of a gattling gun. That still doesnt take away its cool factor though.
    • Not really (Score:3, Informative)

      Reactive armour is basically another layer of material on the outside of the vehicle. If I read TFA right, the Trophy system sends a stream of projectiles to intercept incoming threats at ranges of 10-30 metres. It's more attacking the incoming weapon ahead of time than waiting for the weapon to hit but trying to disrupt its effects when it does (though the basic principle - try to get it to explode early - is the same).

    • In the article, the threat is destroyed before it hits the tank.

      With reactive armour, the threat is destroyed by the outer layer of reactive armour before it can penetrate the real (non-reactive) armour.
    • Not even slightly. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by temojen ( 678985 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:51PM (#15115027) Journal
      Defense Update understands that Trophy is design to form a "beam" of fragments, which will intercept any incoming...

      Translation: It's a machine gun. Probably 5.56mm NATO standard, as it's just big enough and the ammo is cheap.

      Basically the same as a scaled down Phalanx [].

      Reactive armour has no electronic control, it's just a sheet of explosives sandwiched between two layers of steel held off of the vehicle hull. When a HEAT shell detonates on the surface, the explosive sheet also detonates, disrupting the jet.

      • I'd bet that it's based on a Metal Storm [] gun of some sort. You could call them "machine guns" but they have no moving parts and a rate of fire a couple orders of magnitude higher than modern gatling cannons. See also their Wikipedia entry. []

        (I don't have any insider information; I'm just thinking the technologies are a really great fit.)
    • Armour Technologies (Score:3, Informative)

      by DG ( 989 ) *
      This system is a point defence system, similar in concept to the system deployed on the French LeClerc tank, and sort of a scaled-down, simplified version of a naval point defence like Phalanx.

      But you aren't all that mistaken by comparing it to reactive armour, as the functionality of reactive armour is getting more complex all the time. A new-generation Russian reactive armour uses a sequence of outward-facing, linear shaped charges inside the reactive armour "brick", all tied together with a common detona
  • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:22PM (#15114831)
    Then, it is launched automatically into a ballistic trajectory to intercept the incoming threat at a relatively long distance.
    Strange ...

    Ballistic - relating to or characteristic of the motion of objects moving under their own momentum and the force of gravity; "ballistic missile"

    So....... if I keep my enemies at bay by throwing rocks at them, I am protected by a "force field"?
    • by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:27PM (#15115303) Journal

      I agree somewhat - they're describing a phalanx CIWS for a tank. They'll only be in the clear when they burst a plasma sphere around the vehicle at the moment the projectile intersects with the sphere's location. Till then, they're just matching incoming fire. Maybe we can call this type of system something different, such as a Matched Incoming Line of Fire, or MILF.

      Personally, I'd like to have a MILF in my car.
  • by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew&thekerrs,ca> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:24PM (#15114839) Homepage
    If I read that correctly, its not really a forcefield as we think of it. Its more like a bunch of sensors, that when they detect a threat, shoot something in the way of the threat so the decoy is hit instead of the tank. Its like chaff or any other decoy.
  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:24PM (#15114840)

    ...and the anonymous contributor of the story doesn't fare so well, either.

    From TFA:

    The Trophy active protection system creates something equivalent to a hemispheric "force field" around the protected vehicle.

    And from the summary:
    The Trophy ADS generates something similar to a force field around one half of a vehicle as a direct reaction to incoming fire.
    (Nice attempt at paraphrasing, but while the word 'hemispheric' may translate literally to the phrase 'one half of a vehicle', the real meaning is obfuscated. But at least the submitter isn't actaully calling the Trophy active protection system a 'force field' per se...)

    And finally from the title:
    Hardware: Mysterious 'Forcefield' Tested on US Tanks
    Well done,'ve effectively sensationalized the story into something it patently isn't. You must be auditioning for a position on Fox News.
  • How long before this device opens and something launched automatically into a ballistic trajectory directly into someone's chest because of a system error?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    More like a patriotic ether if you want to get technical.
  • Direct Video Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:37PM (#15114925) Homepage
    Direct Video Link [] of the thing in action.

    As you can see from the video, calling it a "forcefield" is nothing but an attempt to get free publicity. This thing is in reality a point defense system that uses radar to sense incoming projectiles and shoots out the equivelant of chaff to destroy the projectiles before it hits the vehicle.

    • Re:Direct Video Link (Score:5, Informative)

      by racermd ( 314140 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:10PM (#15115172)
      Chaff does little to prevent ballistic projectiles from actually reaching their target. The purpose of chaff is, instead, to confuse radar receivers by overwhelming them with an abundance of reflected radar energy. It's like shining a bright light at a camera so it can't see anything through the glare.

      This system, it appears, is a point-defense system. It's not unlike the Navy's CIWS (pronounced Sea-Wiz) defense guns. That system fires thousands of rounds per minute at an incoming ballistic target and essentially wears the casing down until it self-destructs at a safe distance from the ship. Employing such a system on a ground-based vehicle seems to be the next logical step.

      However, it's definitely not a forcefield.
  • Man oh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:37PM (#15114926)
    It's a sad day for Slashdot when something that could be done by a trained bat operating a tennis ball launcher is labeled as "mysterious" and vividly lauded. This is no more a forcefield than a fishing net is a cybernetic bio-containment unit. Another case of wishful PR thinking.

    Now, if they had actually trained bats, then we're on to something.
  • by TheSkepticalOptimist ( 898384 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:38PM (#15114931)
    Sorry, force fields are fields made of energy that can repel matter. Anyone watching one episode of Star Trek understands this.

    Call it protective field or simply coutermeasure device, but don't bastardize the concept of force field to sensationalize this story.

    You get all us Trekkie geeks excited over nothing.
  • Uncanny (Score:2, Informative)

    by JCAB ( 714346 )
    This is _exactly_ like the shield systems used by warships in the game Independence War [].
  • When I see something like this of course my brain starts to pick apart how it may work and what went into it. TFA didn't mention much about what was controlling it .. however this is my guess:

    LynxOS []

    Damn I wish I got paid to make stuff like that. Anyone find any other info giving more detail as to exactly what went into that system? This would be an invaluable safety system on vehicles, if nothing less just shielding the driver from the initial crash.
  • by BoredWolf ( 965951 ) <> on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @01:58PM (#15115082) Journal
    This seems like an awful lot of computing and wasted material just to shoot down a projectile at long distance. Who is to say that the projectile would even hit its target? We've had ERA [] for a while... Let the projectile come to you. If defense contractors and the armed services had to spend their own money instead of yours and mine, we wouldn't be doing any of this crazy stuff. It's only a good product if it's inexpensive and does what it is supposed to.
    • Who's to say the projectile will hit? Well, the computer for one. It doesn't bother shooting down projectiles which it knows won't hit the vehicle.

      And reactive armnour is rather limited in it's appliation.

      You can call it a waste of money if you want, but losing the vehicle and the personnel inside it is a LOT more expensive.
    • You're forgetting that reactive armor is a one-shot deal. Once the armor panel is used to counter the impact of a projectile, it's done. The vehicle is then vulnerable in that area until the spent reactive armor is replaced.

      This new system makes it so that there is no impact. It's inherently reusable, so long the magazine of whatever launches the counter-projectile is large enough in capacity and/or can be safely reloaded by the vehicle crew. The only achilies heel that I can see is the damage or destructio
    • by flaming-opus ( 8186 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:30PM (#15115793)
      Uhh, excuse me.
      Which part of "keep the guys in the tank from dying" don't you like? The US uses 70 ton tanks, the most sophisticated in the world, and they can be pretty well blown up by a guy with a 50 pound rocket on his shoulder. There are quite a few companies in the US, and in russia, who will sell you rockets with multiple shaped charges, that will pretty easily defeat reactive armor.

      The real trick to a system like this, is target identification. It's not always helpful if the tank's armor starts trying to take out some unlucky pigeon, or radio flyer. When they first started putting this sort of things on ships, they wiped out a lot of porpuses, shot the tops off some waves, etc.
  • Iranian Uranium (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoVeryTired ( 967875 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:16PM (#15115222)
    Iran announces that it has successfully enriched uranium, and shortly afterward the U.S military announces that it has laser cannons and force-fields. Coincidence?
  • Which one is it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 955301 ( 209856 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:21PM (#15115268) Journal
    Is it "half of the vehicle" or a "hemisphere of protection"? If it's a hemisphere, I don't expect that they run the protection throught the ground, and if so, that would give full coverable of the vehicle. If it's half, then it's not a hemisphere, because only a quarter of a sphere will protect half of it.

    Maybe this is why people don't like hanging out with me.
  • by rdwald ( 831442 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:29PM (#15115325)
    That isn't a force field at all! It just shoots you!
  • feels more like... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fak3r ( 917687 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:38PM (#15115387) Homepage
    a 'Star Wars' implementation for vehicles. Not that it wouldn't be a interesting idea, but the 'glowing forcefield' ala grabbing the Quake that I envisioned is more intriqueing.
  • by pjkundert ( 597719 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:43PM (#15115425) Homepage
    A mysterious force-field, consisting of... (wait for it!) ... a radar-triggered cannon firing a bunch of fragments (that would be "pebbles", for the non-technical reader) in the general direction of incoming explosive ordnance. Ordnance hits pebbles. Ka-Boom!

    Dude; you gotta learn to read, before submitting articles with "Man Bites Dog" headlines...

  • Not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Clsid ( 564627 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:45PM (#15115443)
    The Russians were far ahead in this field. This "mysterious forcefield" is nothing more than the US version of the Russian Arena system fitted in T-90 tanks since 1995. There are even videos on the web showing some fire tests which are truly impressive. If you find them you can see anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) get destroyed or thrown out of course by this special cannon matched to a radar system. When activated it creates a field of protection around the tank where anything approaching the tank at certain speeds of enough size gets an automatic response from the system. They also have an electro-optical jammer system called Shtora-1 which is far more interesting in my opinion than this active protection system.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @02:52PM (#15115497) Homepage
    The description of this thing as a "forcefield" seems to come from this Fox News clip [] (big SWF file.)". It's not. It's an active defense system that shoots small rockets back at incoming weapons. Exactly what it shoots back is not being revealed. UPI has a better article. []
  • by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:04PM (#15115590)
    1. gotta be expensive (we don't wanna look like cheap assholes) 2. gotta make it sound like it's out of a sci-fi movie Training donkeys to help soldiers with carrying provisions : REJECTED A million dollar noisy and entertaining robotized donkey, looks like those big quadruped machines on Hot in Episode VI - ACCEPTED Laser beams shooting out of airplanes, like on space ships - ACCEPTED Light mattery to replace bullet proof vests - REJECTED Robotized cyborg-like appendages, makes soldiers look exactly like Robocop - ACCEPTED Machine gun that shoots of RPG-s targeted at tanks - REJECTED Mysterious Force field repelling RPG-s - ACCEPTED
  • Mystery Games (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:24PM (#15115743) Homepage Journal
    That's not a "mysterious force field". That's an even more bogus version of the "Star Wars" missile defense system for intercepting ballistic attacks with ballistic attacks. Which has never even worked at the long distances, large scales and long times, as well as vast, complex, powerful systems and humongous budgets. This system is better known as "science fiction". The mysterious force you're sensing is the defense contractor budget propaganda marketing field. Which has been protecting this country from good sense for generations.
  • Hammers Slammers (Score:3, Informative)

    by cc_pirate ( 82470 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @03:43PM (#15115870)
    It seems that is nothing more than the active defense system that David Drake envisioned more than 30 years ago in his Hammer's Slammers book series. Impressive if it works, but notice how they don't really mention what happens to any friendlies near the "system" when it fires... Like all point defense systems, keeping the thing from killing your own guys is a major concern.
  • by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:03PM (#15116003)
    The title drew me into this posting. This kind of bullshit needs to stop -- it really dilutes the credibility of Slashdot. I fully understand that TFA used the term force field, but obviously someone wrote out the term "mysterious force field" with the intent of deceiving people.
  • by tod_miller ( 792541 ) on Wednesday April 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15116178) Journal
    Big hot thing coming in on radar. Fire a 'beam' of bullets at it.

    Wham. Phalanx anyone?

    Bush: Well, I done heard that these I-ranians have hi-tech equiptment and the like
    Daddy: Yes son, and we have been skimming billions off our defense budgets for our friends in the middle east for years now!
    Bush: That don't make no sense!
    Daddy: Yes son, that is the beauty of it!
    Bush: So lets get someone to make something up about our stuff, to make it sound good?
    Daddy: Thats right son, and lets sell ADS as a new optional extra on hummers!
    Bush: I like them cars! brum brum!
    Daddy: Tree Fiddy?

    please type the word in this image: skirted verification text - if you are visually impaired, please email us at

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