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This topic contains 19 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Brian H 9 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #518
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    Rematog
    Member

    Just thinking….

    Focus Fusion being commercially available would mean that virtually every warship of any size would have virtually unlimited range and endurance limited by food supply for the crew. This would include ALL submarines.

    So the nuclear sub would no longer be limited to major powers. Any country that can now build or buy a diesel/electric sub would be able to have a nuclear sub. And FF power subs would be extremely quiet.

    And how about this thought. 5 MW is about 6,700 hp. This is not really that much in terms of warships (not even a small destroyer). But…..what about an large automated “torpedo” with unlimited range. Picture an underwater cruise missile. It could be launched from a country’s own ports, the travel anywhere in the world underwater. Conventional or nuclear warhead. Capable of extremely silent operation (no pumps, etc…essentially solid state power) and then a high speed dash to a target, be that a warship or a city harbor….

    Plowshares into swords, eh…

    #2856
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    AaronB
    Member

    You don’t happen to work for the military-industrial complex, do you??? Maybe you should.

    #2857
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    Rematog
    Member

    Long endurance aircraft….

    5-20 MW is 6,700 to 26,800 hp. The upper end of this is about the power needed for a C-130. Using boosters for take-off, a very large aircraft could be design with range and endurance limited by its mechanical reliability and needed for crew food and water.

    Large “Loitering” aircraft could serve as AWAC’s type sentries. An unmanned version, a “super predator” drone could be launched, travel across the world to it’s combat zone, then provide observation and fire missiles, until the ammo ran out or it was shot down.

    And as transports, the FF power unit would allow non-stop flights around the world. This would have much more change effect on civilian rather then military usage, as the military already has mid-air refueling to allow this.

    Fuel costs savings would be huge, all the way around.

    One effect would be in balance of power. United States has mid-air refueling, other top tier military powers have it. But with FF powered aircraft, round the world flights would be possible with out the highly trained crews and world wide base structure the US has.

    All in all, Focus Fusion would level the military playing field, putting more power in the hands of smaller or less economically powerful countries.

    #2858
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    Rematog
    Member

    Aaron,

    Any one who thinks military applications won’t happen is a fool. Any one who pretends they won’t happen, is ignoring reality.

    Bad things happen to those who are fools or ignore reality.

    I’ve made it clear, I work in the power industry. But….I’m no fool, and as an engineer, I pay attention to reality. Even if the US doesn’t deploy these types of weapons, we MUST plan for defenses against them.

    So any forum discussing impact of a world changing technology like Focus Fusion seems to be a place where ALL effects should be discussed. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

    #2859
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    Rematog
    Member

    Space.

    The ultimate “high ground”. Using Focus Fusion power, an orbiting satellite could have the power needed to use directed energy weapons. This power would also be available for ion drives to allow limited maneuverability.

    These weapons might be lasers, microwave beams, particle beams, etc. Not expert in this, but know it is being researched.

    These “orbital battle stations” could be either manned or, more likely, automated.

    Putting something like this in orbit is, with today’s technology, limited to a handful of world powers (USA, Russia, China, possibly Japan and EU powers).

    For communications, reconn and other uses, a FF powered satellite with ion drives would have staying power and maneuverability, greatly enhancing it’s usefulness.

    Without need for solar cells, FF powered satellites would be less fragile. I would think “armored” would be unlikely due to weight it would require. But, “stealth” satellites may be possible. They would have a tiny radar cross section, be dark not shiny (so hard to see with telescope) and have all heat radiators directed away from earth.

    #2873
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    JimmyT
    Participant

    I think you are wrong about the detectability of a focus fusion device. These things will have a HUGE electromagnetic signature. Focus fusion reactors must have a pulsed gigagauss magnetic field in order to operate. I don’t think you can build a Faraday Cage which would be an adequate shield.

    Put me in an Orion and I’ll nail that sucka in a heartbeat.

    #2877
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    Rematog
    Member

    Good point, didn’t think about the mag field.

    Still, too useful an energy source not to be used, so I imagine there would be extensive efforts at shielding.

    But, it would hamper it’s military use.

    #2878
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    avturchin
    Member

    I think you don/t understand the main danger of this technology.
    If you replace H-B on the different mix of gases you will get very high level of neutron radiation. It will enable process to enrich uranium or create plutonium for every one. Or al least to produce dangerous radiological weapons.

    #2879
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    Rematog
    Member

    Oh my god…..

    Yes, this is by far and way the most frightening thing about FF anyone has mentioned. And, no way, really, to keep it from being possible….as the rest of the world will demand, and copy, the technology.

    Talk about a two edged sword….

    No, never took class in nuclear physics, and am a layman on the subject.

    I can see why supporters would not bring this up.

    #2882
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    Rezwan
    Member

    First, what’s an “Orion”?

    2nd, please explain further:

    avturchin wrote:
    If you replace H-B on the different mix of gases you will get very high level of neutron radiation. It will enable process to enrich uranium or create plutonium for every one. Or al least to produce dangerous radiological weapons.

    And third: What’s the motivation? The history of warfare is a history of people attempting to use force to acquire and control the resources of others, and defending, avenging such attempts. Once you start making these resources essentially unlimited, you are in a whole new playing field. It’s not cost effective to wage war (which invites counterattack). Far easier to trade. To just license something and whatnot. Most of the conflicts around our globe today are played out in the context of unequal distribution of resources, usually with some racial/ethnic/religious overtones – but don’t be distracted by that. That’s just the lines around which people organize best to fight each other over resources (including resources such as jobs and weapons). When it looks like resources are limited and you’re in a zero sum game, cooperation goes down and the play gets dirty. If it looks like everyone can be well on the road to progress, my bet is that cooperation and collaboration will flourish. War is just one strategy people use to get things done on this planet.

    Fourth: The weapons capacity is a good thing. In case the aliens attack, we need to be ready. Pesky aliens. If European conquest of Americas is any indicator, the meeting of two alien cultures may not go very well for us. We should also stock diseases. : )

    #2883
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    Rematog
    Member

    An Orion is a US Naval Aviation aircraft, a Lockheed P-3 Orion, used primarily for anti-submarine warfare.

    One resource is of course, land. In any foreseeable near term, land for growing food will be in ever greater demand. As Samuel Clemens said “Invest in Land, they’ve quit making it.” Another is political power.

    One con hope that in the future, we can move past war. It has gotten just too dang dangerous.

    But, that is hope for the future. The reality today is that we need to be able to defend ourselves. If you want peace, prepare for war.

    #2886
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    Rezwan
    Member

    There are vast tracts of land on this planet with no one on them. Plop down a desalinization plant and energy, and hey presto, you have useful, cultivable land. Suddenly – a gazillion more acres online.

    Maybe that just means a gazillion more wars?

    Power – true, something people want. But usually those around them suffer their power-lust because they provide a valuable service, and that service is stability, security, some semblance of societal order. Looking at Iraq, Hussein was a power hungry fellow who shed a lot of blood and caused a lot of misery. Eliminating him is still resulting in a lot of bloodshed and misery and the best trained army in the world has its hands full with no immediate resolution of conflict in sight. So the cost of trying to find a more egalitarian, humane power structure is possibly as high as the thing its replacing. But the real problem in the region is that the natural resource base is so degraded (deserts, salty soils, drought, etc.) and the only resource worth talking about is oil. And oil is an easily centrally controlled resource. This is one reason the mid east has been a chess game for so long with limited grassroots development. Cradle of civilization has long been depleted and needs massive restoration efforts.

    If you want peace, have a vision of what that peace will look like and how it will be inclusive.

    But yeah, self-defense techniques always come in handy.

    #2888
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    Rematog
    Member

    Rezwan, I agree with everything you’ve said. And it will take your vision of peace to bring it about.

    But, I posted this thread to discuss the ways Focus Fusion might effect the “Military Arts”. It is worth discussing. As you’ve agreed, defence is needed as well. And the best defence is often a good offense, or at least the threat of one.

    Militarily, Focus Fusion will aid/change both offensive and defensive technologies.

    And if someone attacks my country, I want their battered corpse to look so bad, no one will consider doing it again for a very long time.

    #2896
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    Lerner
    Participant

    Rematog and everyone should go over and look at the “proliferation” topic under focus fusion technology–general discussion. The key point raised ther by Rezwan and others is that with FF you rapidly make fission energy obsolete. That gets rid of the whole uranium cycle. Without fission for electricity there is no non-weapons-related reason for having uranium. It can be far more tightly countrolled–no uranium, no nuclear weapons. So FF is very anti-proliferation.

    I may be a fool in Rematog’s eyes, but I do not see military applications. Thermonuclear reactions have, unfortunately, already been applied to weapons. FF will add nothing to that. Things that were impossible before, like beam wepaons to shoot down missiles, will still be impossible. As the Star Wars program abudantly demonstrated neutral particle beams disperse at great distances and charged particle beams get tangleds in the earth’s magnetic field. The basic problem is also the overwhelming advantage of the offense. If someone throws 1,000 H-bombs against the US and you shoot down 90% (just about impossible) you still end up with rubble.

    Yes, I think FF will eventually make possible aircraft of essentially unlimited range, although for aircraft and spacecraft, safety standards will have to be a great deal stricter than for ground-based generators (planes do crash.) But would that have much impact on warfare? Does the range of US aircraft really have any impact on the war in Iraq? Did it in Vietnam? I doubt it very much.

    Anything can be used as a weapon. You can kill a person with a hammer. You can drop a FF reactor on someone from a plane and squash them. But will FF have a significant impact on weapons? No. FF’s main impact on warfare will be to make it one hell of a lot less likely. Without the central role of oil, we sure would not be in Iraq.

    #2905
    Avatar
    Rematog
    Member

    Mr. Lerner,

    I never called you a fool..I said that only fool would think that there would be NO military applications.

    I admit “satillite battle stations” are pie in the sky…today.

    But, use of a new, small (relatively) power source for ships and most importantly, submarines, is obvious. As has been pointed out, the magnetic field may be a handicap. I don’t know if this could be shielded or not. But if it could be, it would be revolutionary in it’s allowing smaller, cheaper, very quiet and fast subs.

    Yes, we have long range aircraft. But as I pointed out, most nations don’t have mid-air refueling.

    And just mining and smelting uranium ore is within the abilites of any nation with the ore to mine, unlike the very much more technically challenging and expensive process of enrichment. And if a commerially available and very common FF module could be “perverted” to make dangerously hot materials… then it just provides another tool for twisted minds.

    This is not to say I’m against FF, but I pointing out things to think about. Nothing human is perfect.

    Military technology is a means of applying energy. For most of history this has been musele. First human, then animal (horse), First directly (hit with club), then stored (bow) or leveraged (spear thrower). Modern history has seen the addition of chemical (gunpower, then dynemite, cordite, TNT), wind (sails), steam (wood, then coal then oil), intermal combustion (piston engines then gas turbines) and finally nuclear fission and fusion.

    I see no reason to believe that the “data point” of Focus Fusion will not be on this “trend line”.

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