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Military test(e)s
March 28, 2013 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Jalopnik gathers ten videos of shock, awe and oopsie

See comments, too.
posted by maggieb (34 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some days you're the Missouri, and some days you're the Cushing.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:38 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


This sonic boom video from the comments really brings out my inner 12 year-old.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:43 PM on March 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


The F4 vs. wall video is my favorite.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:51 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


This link crashed Safari on my iPad twice... what are you doing in all that Javascript, Jalopnik?
posted by crapmatic at 8:58 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Robot Dog throwing the cinderblock is amazing. I was going to post that video alone as a SLYT but thought it would be better if framed among other... stuff. This is that; thanks for posting.
posted by not_on_display at 9:08 PM on March 28, 2013


Pretty sure the "Atomic Cannon" is a conventional piece of artillery with a nuclear payload. In any case, it reminded me of The Sound of the Bomb, previously.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:12 PM on March 28, 2013


The Robot Dog throwing the cinderblock is amazing why I'm going to need a 50 BMG rifle.
posted by 445supermag at 9:15 PM on March 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


The calm, reasonable tone of the announcer in that atomic cannon video gives me some serious cognitive dissonance, considering the batshit crazy nature of the weapon they're testing. In what kind of war are you going to be close enough to the enemy to use an artillery piece, and desperate enough to use a nuclear bomb? Maybe it made more sense in the Cold War, as a strategic counter to some weapon on the other side.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:26 PM on March 28, 2013


"We are here to freedom the shit out of you."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:26 PM on March 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Life imitates The Pentagon Wars imitating life.
posted by schmod at 9:26 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The calm, reasonable tone of the announcer in that atomic cannon video gives me some serious cognitive dissonance, considering the batshit crazy nature of the weapon they're testing. In what kind of war are you going to be close enough to the enemy to use an artillery piece, and desperate enough to use a nuclear bomb? Maybe it made more sense in the Cold War, as a strategic counter to some weapon on the other side.

Tactical nukes directed at military targets aren't really significantly more horrific than conventional warfare. The main reason they moved away from them is because of fears of escalation. It's just easier to draw a red line at no nuclear weapons.
posted by empath at 9:30 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Watching #4, I had the uneasy realization that while *I* was giggling madly at the videos of things exploding, I'd be more comfortable if the members of the armed forces in charge of (videotaping) the things that make things explode were a little LESS giggly about explosions.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:32 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually had a friend of mine that was a forward observer for nuclear artillery. I was puzzled.

"Forward observer? For a nuke? You don't need to aim that shit. 'Over yonder' should be about all the instruction you'd need."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:35 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess it makes more sense in a WWII style battle when there's a massive column of Soviet tanks coming your way.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:38 PM on March 28, 2013


On a related note, for some reason, a government contractor recently bought a mothballed 1000-series Washington Metrorail car, and did this to it.
posted by schmod at 9:41 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Robot Dog throwing the cinderblock is amazing. I was going to post that video alone as a SLYT...

Don't worry, we've already got it covered.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:43 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


considering the batshit crazy nature of the weapon they're testing

That nuclear cannon looks pretty sane compared to the nuclear bazooka: the Davy Crockett. Rather exciting to use, given that the maximum range of the M28 model was only 2 kilometers. It's not a joke. The American government built more than two thousand of them.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:19 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In what kind of war are you going to be close enough to the enemy to use an artillery piece, and desperate enough to use a nuclear bomb? Maybe it made more sense in the Cold War, as a strategic counter to some weapon on the other side.

The kind of war were two huge armies are staring at each other from across a border, and one decides to attack. IIRC, NATO wasn't sure if it was strong enough to actually defeat a Warsaw Pact invasion force conventionally.

Yeah, I binged on bleak Cold War stuff after the last thread.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 10:20 PM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even crazier: Blue Peacock, the poultry powered 10kT nuclear landmine.

One technical problem was that during winter buried objects can get very cold, and it was possible the mine would not have worked after some days underground, due to the electronics being too cold to operate properly. Various methods to get around this were studied, such as wrapping the bombs in insulating blankets. One particularly remarkable proposal suggested that live chickens should be included in the mechanism. The chickens would be sealed inside the casing, with a supply of food and water; they would remain alive for a week or so. The body heat given off by the chickens would, it seems, have been sufficient to keep all the relevant components at a working temperature..."It does seem like an April Fool but it most certainly is not. The Civil Service does not do jokes."

Ah, the sober, level-headed engineering of the high nuclear age. It really is surprising that we're all still alive, isn't it?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:32 PM on March 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


NATO wasn't sure if it was strong enough to actually defeat a Warsaw Pact invasion force conventionally.

I think more accurately NATO was almost certain it wasn't strong enough. The classical balloon-going-up scenario was Soviet "shock paratroops" harrying and confusing defenders while tanks crossed the Western defenses on the Fulda plain. Much of this thinking was illustrated in The Third World War: August 1985, an actual NYT best seller (in 1979).

Conversely, the Soviets feared the outsized nuclear strength of the Atlantic treaty powers, so naturally turned toward a more robust conventional warfare response. Their naval power was primarily attuned to espionage on the one hand and pinning/harrying on the other; The Hunt for Red October, while fictional, illustrates much of the Western fear of a technological edge which would take Soviet submarine capability beyond that, and indeed towards the end of the Cold War they effectively gained the first strike capability that had always, largely unreasonably, been feared.

But again you see the logic: the NATO best-outcome scenario would have been using theatre nukes to kill a lot of tanks before they could break through. It really had little to do with equalling a supposed Soviet threat of the same, because to the Soviets such a technology had much less value.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on March 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here is a very impressive high-res picture of the F-4 test. You can find a couple more images and video clips here.

The FAA and NASA performed a test called the Controlled Impact Demonstration in 1984. Wikipedia says that it was colloquially referred to as the "Crash in the Desert", and like the F-4 test it too resulted in some impressive photos. The purpose of the experiment was to see if a particular fuel additive would result in improved crash survivability, and the conclusion was obvious.
posted by compartment at 12:04 AM on March 29, 2013


Even crazier: Blue Peacock, the poultry powered 10kT nuclear landmine.

Crazy, but almost not as crazy as blowing up a chunk of the moon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:38 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Needs more tsar bomba
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:14 AM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it goes without saying that these tests are not representative of the majority of the testing work that goes on in the military.

I was involved with environmental testing for a couple years at the beginning of my tenure of my current employment. A typical day involved going to the testing facility, making sure the equipment was set up, and then napping in the employee lounge until someone came in to tell me the test failed. Usually the only evidence of failure was one squiggly line on the monitor went a little too high or low. Then, the contractors would tear the thing apart to figure out with bolt rattled loose, reassemble it, and move on.

A lot of testing facilities are out in the desert, probably because the neighbors don't like the noise and occasional flying shrapnel. So, other tests I've witnessed involved sitting on a folding chair outside a large prefab corrugated steel shelter, slowly getting sunburned while equipment got dust blown on it or pressure applied to it.

The one flight test I've been on involved sitting in the back drinking bad instant coffee while the plane flew in large circles.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:37 AM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


We come in peace, shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shoot to kill.
posted by notsnot at 5:40 AM on March 29, 2013


I think the video of the jet running into the concrete wall and visible "atomizing" should give pause to the Pentagon truthers and their "where is the plane" shtick.
posted by kozad at 6:23 AM on March 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


9.) An MRAP Cougar fails a 60-0 breaking test.

I think they mean braking test. It passed the breaking test with flying colours.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:57 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"where is the plane" shtick

Absolutely, but to be fair, the "Crash in the Desert" shows airliners could easily be remote-control crashed... in 1984.

Didn't Homeland Security just acquire 2700 of those MRAP things in the "breaking" video? No wonder they got such a good deal.

Just don't step out in front of one.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 8:15 AM on March 29, 2013


Actually, the 1984 crash turned out to be a huge waste of money because they couldn't crash it correctly over radio control.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:08 AM on March 29, 2013


justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow: "Rather exciting to use, given that the maximum range of the M28 model was only 2 kilometers. It's not a joke. The American government built more than two thousand of them."

Jesus Christ.

I sure hope those were built as a deterrent, because unconditional surrender seems like a vastly preferable option to any conflict that would require the use of 2,000 shoulder-mounted nuclear weapons.
posted by schmod at 10:39 AM on March 29, 2013


Nuclear stuff: at the Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, you can see a replica of a nuclear device that's designed to be carried into ... some-goddam-where ... by a LRRP team. The idea is to plant it, then walk off a ways and set it off. Now, all things considered, the Atomic Cannon, in context, isn't so...um...never mind.

Anyhow, I really got a kick out the Phantom turning into moleculeoids on that blast wall. But sinking that ship, well, that was just sad. I love explosions, used to like to blow things up, but I ain't like that anymore.
posted by mule98J at 11:52 AM on March 29, 2013


The Robot Dog throwing the cinderblock is amazing why I'm going to need a 50 BMG rifle.

You need a Gravity Gun. He just wants to play.
posted by homunculus at 5:04 PM on March 29, 2013


Holy crap, I have only watched the first video so far. They hit that ship with like $6 Million worth of Harpoon missiles, and I didn't even want to add up the cost of JDAMs and other expensive toys. I fucking hate the military-industrial complex.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:08 PM on March 29, 2013


Yep, Boston Dynamics' humanoid robot is just as scary as the dog
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on April 5, 2013


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