It is not uncommon to hear that a certain military technology found its way into other applications, which then changed our lives. From imaging sensors modified to fly on spy satellites to the advanced aerodynamics used in every modern aircraft, many of these ideas seem like bad science fiction at first. p>
This is also the case.
Consider the following scenario:
To defend the United States and Canada, a wide range of interconnected radars will be launched across the two countries. Air Force personnel connected via a high-speed link to a distributed network of computers and radar ranges scan the skies for unexpected activity. One day, an unidentified plane was discovered flying over the North Pole, bound for the United States. A quick look at all known commercial flights rules out the possibility of missing a passenger plane while on vacation over the northern tundra of Canada. At Headquarters, the flight is designated as a bogie because all attempts to contact it fail. Therefore, a typical accident-free interceptor usually flies next to it to identify the aircraft and record the registration information. p>
More aircraft appear over the North Pole before the interception process is complete. Attack comes from Russia. Readiness for DEFCON 2, increased one degree less than for nuclear war. Controllers all over the country began to receive a high-level picture of the attack, which is displayed on a large screen of senior military commanders. In the console, the tracking manager taps several icons on his screen and assigns a fighter to his target. All necessary information is sent directly to the aircraft's computer without speaking to the pilot. p>
When the pilot bends down in his seat and goes to the taxi aisle, all the data needed to eliminate the attacker is present. He. She. loaded on the ship. A call from "Dolly Sweet" by the pilot confirms that the data load is fine. By removing the runway and raising the gears, a switch in the cockpit turns the flight into computers on the ground and radar controllers that monitor the jig. A large screen in the cockpit provides a map of the area and provides awareness of the main location of the target. p>
All interceptions are done manually and the pilot adjusts the throttle only. The aircraft, updated with the latest ground control data, sets its course to intercept enemy bombers. Only when the target is within the fighter's radar range does the pilot take control - then select a weapon and fire. After a quick escape maneuver, control returns to the autopilot, which returns the fighter to base. p>
This is not an excerpt from a dystopian graphic novel or a cut-and-paste for an existing aviation magazine. . In fact, this is all ancient history. The system described above was called SAGE - and was implemented in 1958.
SAGE, a semi-automated ground environment, is the solution to the problem of defending North America against Soviet bombers during the Cold War. Air defense was largely ignored after World War II, as post-war disarmament gave way to a thriving consumer economy. The Soviet Union's first atomic bomb test changed this complacency, and the United States felt the urgency of pursuing a centralized defense strategy. The anticipated attack scenario was rapid bomber waves, but in the early 1950s air defenses were fragmented territorially and lacked a central coordinating authority. Countless studies tried to come up with a solution, but the technology at the time simply couldn't meet expectations. Whirlwind I
In the days leading up to World War II, MIT researchers attempted to design a naval facility that mimics a custom aircraft design to accommodate displacement features. Study it. . Originally designed as an analog computer, this approach was abandoned when it became apparent that the device would not be fast or accurate enough for such a range of simulations. p>
An advanced digital system has been introduced. At MIT, a 32-bit word length, 16 "computational units" and a memory of 2048 words are made of Mercury delay lines. Most importantly, Whirlwind had a sophisticated I/O system. Introducing the concept of session stealing during I/O operations, where the CPU stops while data is being transferred. p>
After a few years, the Navy lost interest in the project due to its high cost. But Air Air evaluated the air defense system. After refining several radars in the northeastern United States to send numerical coordinates of targets they tracked, Whirlwind I demonstrated that coordinating the bomber's interception was feasible. The key to this was the practical application of high-reliability vacuum tubes and the development of the first core memory. These two improvements significantly reduced device downtime, and soon the increased processing made the Whirlwind I four times faster than the original design. p>
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