This site recently prompted
on the "geek news" website, SlashDot.
In the course of this discussions, a number of issues and questions were raised, many of which I will try to address here.
"Isn't this going to harm the model rocket and model airplane communities?"
Firstly, the cruise missile isn't a rocket, it has no rocket engine or any other parts used by model rocket enthusiasts. The hobby of amateur rocketry is already subject to some regulations designed to stop terrorists from building their own weapons.
And, while the LCCM may appear to have similarities with model airplanes, there are actually some very significant differences.
For a start, the LCCM is fully autonomous -- not radio controlled. Radio control units of the type used for models only have a range of around 1.5-2.5 miles maximum. This would make it very difficult for a terrorist to use such a system to control a would-be missile over any reasonable distance. They'd be much better off using a home-built mortar or other low-tech weapon.
Secondly, the LCCM flies almost twice as fast as the fastest RC model airplane. Most models fly at less than 70mph, meaning they are the type of target that can be "taken out" with small arms fire.
The model rocketry and airplane hobbies should have nothing to fear from the heightened awareness of the LCCM threat.
"Isn't this site just a resource for terrorists?"
The goal of this site is to educate the general public to the risk that such a low cost cruise missile could represent if they're not vigilant and aware. It might also make the public more favorably disposed towards providing the defense industry with the funding it needs to research and develop an effective countermeasure.
"A 10 kilogram warhead isn't going to do much in the way of damage"
"The pulsejet ain't going to be quiet"
"How do we prevent terrorist from using this kind of stuff?"
"Why would they [terrorists] want to build one of those missiles?"
There's also the psychological effect that a terrorist-launched cruise missile would have on the general population. "My gosh, the terrorists have cruise missiles too!" would be a chilling realization for most people, even if the practical implications were known to be far less sinister.
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