alt.thinking.hertz •SCAM Doodlebug •

The Scam Doodlebug

"Pinpoint accuracy - We bombed the right city!"

The B-52 bombers (not to my knowledge any relative of vitamin B-12) were slow lumbering beasts.  In terms of cost effectiveness, shooting them down with homing anti-aircraft missles was a sensible option for the Soviets.  Even when flying low close to the ground to try to evade radar they were sitting ducks.

So the aerospace team developed a missile, a succesor to the 'quail' missile already carried by the B-52's.   Unarmed, this new device would not be a new weapon and hence not a violation of SALT, nor a potential replacement for the B-52.  A missile none the less, for it would fly with the B-52 and give the Ruskies something else to worry about and to shoot at. 

Given its role in jamming Soviet air defence radars along the Tallinn Line it embodied the antithesis of stealth technology.  Smaller than the B-52 it was, even with its jamming 'off', to have a radar profile large enough, close enough to that of the B-52 bomber to confuse the Soviet's primitive radar.  The new missile was the ' SCUM' - Subsonic Cruise Unarmed Missile.

"Um, 'SCUM' doesn't sound too good sir, lets try a different name."

They settled on: SCUD - the Subsonic Cruise Unarmed Decoy.

The decoy was exactly as it was designed to be, slow and lumbering, like the B-52 it would accompany. It looks like the airforce really really didn't want to give up their B-52's and specced the SCUD so it couldn't make the B-52 (or it's planned successor the B-1) redundant. 

Then someone realised that Russian valve technology, although not quite as high tech as Uncle Sam's transistors, was still good enough to tell the difference between a SCUD and a B-52.  The B-52 would be too easy to pick off. The solution: arm the decoys so that the Ruskies have to shoot them down too, and use lots more of them. SCUM had evolved into: SCAD - Subsonic Cruise Armed Decoy.

An 'Armed Decoy'? A bit of an oxymoron - like 'Military Intelligence', someone pointed out, only they probably used the 'ethical business' example of an oxymoron so as not to hurt anyone's feelings. What they needed, that person said, was a: SCAM - Subsonic Cruise Armed Missile.

Shite. This naming business is all too full of pratt-falls for the military mind. Let's just call it Cruise Missile and be done.

And so it was. 

alt.thinking.hertz •SCAM Doodlebug •
"The Scam Doodlebug" page last updated 5-July-2003