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XPONENTIAL Innovation Preview -- www.allthingsunmanned.com

Mon, May 05, 2003

Build A Cruise Missile In Your Own Garage?

New Zealand Inventor Says He'll Do It

Ever wanna nuke the boss? [E-I-C Note: Uh... that's a joke -- right, Pete? Pal, buddy?] More importantly, ever want to get a visit en masse from just about every federal law enforcement agency you can think of (and some you never knew existed)? Then try this: build a cruise missile in your garage.

Aardvark: It Can Be Done

Bruce Simpson, editor of Aardvark, wrote an article awhile back suggesting that building an effective home-made cruise missile could not only be done - it could be done for $5000.00. "I like to think of this project as the military version of 'Junkyard Wars,'" he writes. He's serious. His plan calls for:

  • Satellite-based (GPS) guidance and targeting
  • A form of inertial (or other) backup guidance
  • Jet-powered for high speed, minimum flight-times
  • Low radar signature to reduce detectability
  • Fully autonomous flight capabilities
  • Onboard realitme video
You Get What You Pay For

Of course, given the fact that the entire missile is supposed to be built for under five grand, there are some limitations:

  • Limited range, but at least 100 miles (160 Kms)
  • Limited payload capacity, but at least 22lbs (10 Kgs)
  • Limited accuracy, but at least +/- 100 yards (100m)

And The Benefits?
  • Compact size, small enough to be transported inconspicuously and launched from a regular pickup truck.
  • Built using materials, components and tools that can be purchased without raising the suspicions of authorities.
  • Built using techniques that can be used in any suburban garage without raising suspicion or curiosity of neighbors.
A Manual For Terrorists?

Isn't this just what Osama bin Laden and like-minded terror mongers are looking for? Is Simpson playing into the hands of the enemy in our war against terror? "Why?" he asks. "I have no intention of publishing anything here that isn't available in one form or another from any number of other sources. I don't consider myself to be a particularly talented mechanical or software engineer and I'm sure that any serious terror group could do a much better job on their own by recruiting people with better skills than mine. The point of the project is to show that it's not rocket science we're talking about here.

Instead, Simpson says the idea is to raise awareness about such weapons. "The goal of this site is to educate the general public to the risk that such a low cost cruise missile could represent if they're not vigilant and aware. It might also make the public more favorable disposed towards providing the defense industry with the funding it needs to research and develop an effective countermeasure."

How do we keep this technology out of the hands of terrorists, then? "The best way to counter this type of technology being assembled by terrorists within the borders of our own country(ies) is to educate the public as to just how possible it is. The price of freedom is vigilance and without the practical proof that it could be done, who would have believed that your new neighbor could be building a "terror weapon" in their garage?"

FMI: www.interestingprojects.com/cruisemissile

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