The Precision Revolution: GPS and the Future of Aerial Warfare
Ever since so-called smart bombs debuted in the Vietnam War, precision weapons have been an expected part of modern warfare. While most Americans are aware of the use of these technological wonders, frequently viewing images of pinpoint accuracy on their television screens, few understand how the weapons work. In this very readable explanation, Michael Rip and James Hasik not only clarify the complex technology but chronicle the use of these modern marvels and elaborate on the promises and the pitfalls behind them.
At the root of today's precision weapons is the Global Positioning System (GPS) -- the same system used by professional marine and aerial navigators and even by modern hikers, drivers of upscale automobiles, and sailboat owners. The authors remove much of the mystery of this satellite-based system, explaining how it has revolutionized the art and science of navigation and overturned many of the solutions to the age-old problems of targeting. Relevant examples taken from today's headlines demonstrate both the capabilities and the limitations of these weapons. Their use in Bosnia, Kosovo, and the stand-off engagements in the no-fly zones of Iraq make a great deal more sense with this book in hand. Many of the emerging debates spawned by a mandated review of U.S. defense policy are clarified. From the details of the weapons systems and their employment to their political implications, this sweeping analysis of the effects of a revolutionary technology on military operations and strategy is without parallel. A wealth of illustrations help the reader understand how technologies work and fit together, how they are practically used, and what they mean for the future.