I enjoy history for the fact that it is a road map showing us how we got here from there. Military history and the effect of intelligence gathering are at the top of my list. Think of the battle of Midway and the efforts of Joseph Rochefort & his team decrypting the Japanese military codes.
Of course you can have intelligence that is 100% accurate, but you need military commanders who believe it and act on it – thank Adm Nimitz & Adm Spruance for taking that intelligence and changing the Japanese Navy from an offensive to a defensive posture all at Midway.
Lest I completely lose my focus tonight, I was reading a fascinating article on Bletchley Park in the BBC History Magazine.
Bletchley Park was wartime Britain’s equivalent of the NSA (perhaps minus monitoring Angela Merkel’s conversations to her husband on what to get at the supermarket) and I learned that they did a lot more there than “just” cracking the Enigma, the code generated by that German machine that was considered by many to be impossible.
The knowledge of this code is said to have cut the war in Europe’s duration by 2 years, according to some.
The biggest surprise for me was learning that Bletchley Park was more than just a place that housed math geniuses like Alan Turing .
It went from a population of 200 in 1938 to over 10,000 in 1944, and became an ‘Intelligence Factory”. It was highly segmented and efficiently organized. One of the funnier stories was learning that until declassification in the 1970s, some spouses found out that the other worked there only when meeting each other at reunions.
More surprising facts?
It was more than a code breaking operation but evolved to becoming an integrated signals intelligence entity.
Because it was centralized, there was a lot of co-operation and knowledge sharing. (this I read elsewhere was the also main reason for focusing the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos)
It was the size of the operation that allowed the success of the code breakers.
I’ve got an extensive collection of patches, mostly VF patches. As I’ve learned more about the history of NAVAIR, I’ve come to appreciate that colorful history reflected in patches.
Here are pics of some I’ve seen from VFP-63. VFP-63 was established in 1962 and did a WESTPAC deployment in July I that year. They made numerous deployments to WESTPAC and Vietnam till disestablishment in June of 1982. They operated the RF-8 Crusader and were known as “The Eyes of The Fleet.”
Here are some patches from -63s various deployments. Warning, some of these are pretty salty but that’s what makes them interesting 🙂
Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that acknowledges continued Divine Providence that makes this Nation great.
“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor — and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.'”
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks — for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His Providence which we experienced in the tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.
“And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn [sic] kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease [sic] of science among them and us — and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. — Given under my hand at the City of New York, the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”
I wish all of our readers and their families a blessed Thanksgiving
I’m always running into interesting things while doing research for content here. Yesterday, I ran into something called the Luneburg Lens.
Let’s start with the picture:
A radar reflector can be made from a Luneburg lens by metallizing parts of its surface. Radiation from a distant radar transmitter is focused onto the underside of the metallization on the opposite side of the lens; here it is reflected, and focussed back onto the radar station. A difficulty with this scheme is that metallized regions block the entry or exit of radiation on that part of the lens, but the non-metallized regions result in a blind-spot on the opposite side.
This is an Edwards AFB, F-22 Raptor launching an AIM-9L Sidewinder during testing. If you look aft of the missile’s exhaust plume you’ll notice an odd shape dorsally mounted on the aircraft fuselage. At first you may think it’s a camera that mounted to record launch of the missile but it’s a device meant to enhance the radar signature of the aircraft, called a Luneburg Lens.
Luneburg Lenses are used in radar reflectors to enhance radar signature of low-observable aircraft to operate in airspace that’s being controlled/observed by air traffic control. Here’s a closer look on how it appears on the F-22:
It’s kind of a grainy image so we’ll try another view of the lens on the F-22:
Here’s a close-up (again apologizes for the graininess):
The Luneberg Lenses are also used in target drones such as this Teledyne-Ryan Firebee II drone (the lens appears above the forward wheel of the dolley and aft of the air intake):
In this case the Lenses are used to enhance the radar signature in order to more accurately simulate radar signature of threat aircraft.