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Disarmable Arms

Sure would be nice to be able to shut down a batch of '80s-vintage Stinger missiles about now.
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When we supply aid to foreign groups in the form of weapons, we should use weapons that are engineered to lose their functionality upon receipt of a remotely-generated signal. Alternatively, the weapons could be designed to shut down automatically after a suitably long time, unless they were "refreshed" by any of a number of means.

I omit a description of a specific technique for initiating the shutdown or refreshing process not because it is WIBNI, but because there are so many ways it could be done, and I am not qualified to judge which is most secure.

A problem could arise if an enemy could get control of the shutdown procedure, but we control nuclear weapons in a similar way, and this is judged safe enough. Even so, this risk would be mitigated by the fact that our own forces would not use disarmable arms in most cases.

beauxeault, Sep 25 2001

Microsoft http://www.halfbake.../idea/microsoft.com
Seems that my computer is renderred useless by a collective of software manufacturers, chiefly MicroSoft.com. I'm sure they have blue-screens for the new '2000' version of the Stinger. [pathetic, May 06 2002]

Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com
Seems that my computer is renderred useless by a collective of software manufacturers, chiefly MicroSoft.com. I'm sure they have blue-screens for the new '2000' version of the Stinger. [pathetic, Oct 04 2004]


       being able to remote detonate the missiles in question would be realy usefull if your enemy hapens to have them in their posesion...
RobertKidney, Sep 25 2001

       RK, I had considered a remote-detonate option, but once such an option became known, in this case, the Taliban would start storing some of the weapons in hospitals and schools.
beauxeault, Sep 25 2001

       I wonder if any system could survive intact on any weapons that were posessed for so long. If I had bought these weapons I would devote much time and resources to disabling the disabler. Nice thought though, how about a antitamper upgrade program with software industry upgrade cycles?
darndog, Sep 27 2001

       Why not just integrate IFF (identify-friend-or-foe) circuitry into the guidance systems? That way, our missiles would never target our planes, no matter who we sold (or gave) them to.   

       Of course, this would certainly put a damper on US weapons sales, opening up the market for the cash-strapped Russians and Chinese who seem to be willing to sell anything to anyone if the price is right. I guess, at best, this idea would do nothing more than get us shot down by foreign-made weapons rather than domestic. The results are the same, though.
Guncrazy, Sep 27 2001

       IFF can be well dodgy. During the Falklands conflict, a British destroyer was sunk because the anti-missile missiles recognised an incoming excocet as French, and therefore harmless.
Lemon, Sep 27 2001

       I think most of those stingers are useless by now. They need refreshed after awhile. Saw it on an interview with the guy who originally sold Congress the idea back in the '80's.   

       Shareware weapons of mass destruction... If you've found this shareware version of 'my.dirtybomb' useful for your political cause, then please send a check for $30 to 'Bob's Software and Weapons of Mass Desctruction Emporium...'
RayfordSteele, Jan 07 2002

       Me thinks a carefully orchestrated EMP could do the trick.
RayfordSteele, Jan 07 2002

       Emergency Medicine Physicians
thumbwax, Jan 07 2002

       TeeHee [RayfordSteele]... maybe until you paid the fee it would only produce a flag with the word 'BANG' written on it upon detonation.   

       Oh, BTW, EMP = Eat My Pants, or perhaps Electromagnetic Pulse methinks...   

       I also don't think that the Bond style countdown timers (with those very clumsyperson-friendly BIG buttons) would be of any use anyway as they always stop at 0.00.01 which is of no use at all really, especially if you purchased the weapon to make a big hole in something.
Starmanz, Jan 07 2002

       Rayford]: What power source were you thinking of for the EMP countermeasure? I think you'll find, if you look into it, that the power required to produce an EMP sufficient to shut down hardened military grade electronics is on the order of a small nuclear weapon. This would produce its own set of problems, likely making the Stinger strike preferable to enduring the side-effects of the EMP countermeasure. Now, maybe if you found a way to control lightning . . . .   

       (later) In response to PeterSealy's EMP link (which is really interesting). The devices descibed there are not countermeasure devices--that is, they cannot be used to deter some inbound missile on a case-by-case basis. They are, rather, bombs designed for pre-emptive EMP strikes on infrastructure rather than weapons. But maybe they could be used for shutting down a bunch of weapons in storage (unless they are stored within a Faraday cage as mentioned).   

       An aside: One part of the article describes the cost to build an EMP device as from $1000-2000USD which means that maybe using one of these to shut down those damn loud car stereos roaming the neighborhood would be a possibility. This EMP use was explored here on the œB a few months ago.
bristolz, Jan 07 2002

       I heard recently that special forces went in a week or so before the invasion of Afghanistan and bought all of the Stingers back. Didn't cost much either.
Madcat, Mar 22 2003

       I thought again about this idea recently. I'd think it would help address the threat of terrorists trying to shoot down aircraft as they land/depart.
beauxeault, Mar 22 2003

       This is baked in one sense, just not for small arms. You can't just walk up to a nuke and set it off, you need all sorts of codes and in the case of ICBMs, a pair of launch keys. The concept of weapons that can be given to "sketchy" allies is an amusing and perhaps valuable one, ,though I shudder to think of what could happen if opposing forces got their hands on the devicee that triggered that shutdown.
Madcat, Mar 24 2003

       In view of the music industry's continuing lack of success in the area of piracy protection, I don't think any such system would stay intact on the weapons if someone really wanted them gone.   

       If such a system had been implemented on the Stingers in the 80's, do you think they would be difficult to circumvent with today's technology?
MaxMad, Jan 28 2004

       You are aware that the radioactive material in nuclear warheads becomes useless as an explosive device after about fifteen years?   

       Similar instability of the material itself might allow for less proliferation... but it might also lead to a "Use it while we've got it" attitude on WMDs.
ye_river_xiv, Aug 11 2006


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