Woomera Rocket RANGE: 6 months earlier
The control room staff, was a mix of civilian and army personnel, with a sprinkling of Naval officers as well in their pristine white uniforms, they were all cheering and hollering, back slaps were being handed out like the AFL grand final had been wone. To the casual observer, the level of animation would have seemed unusual for such a bunch of well dressed servicemen and women, but seriously out of place for normally reserved lab technicians and scientists. Suddenly a rather loud voice boomed out across the room.
“ Teeennn chun!” screamed the deep voice. Immediately all service personnel in the room stopped what they were doing and stood bolt upright at attention, the delivery had even slowed down the non military personnel who having worked in military circles them selves for extended periods, knew full well, the congratulatory part of the exercise was over, well certainly until they hit the boozer later that night most thought.
All eyes were now fixed in the Major who had called the room to order, stepping forward in his very neatly pressed disruptive pattern military uniform, Major Abe Frellman from the Defence Signals Directorates, Special Operation Unit surveyed the now simmering throng of personnel. The Major like the collective gathering was rather over joyed at the mission’s success, in fact it had been an unqualified success and now it was his job to impress upon the gathered, the nature of what they had witnessed and implications for each and every one of them should this leak to the wrong ears. Stepping forward in the confines of the bunker, Major Frellman came to a halt, “At ease people, stand easy”. Immediately the rigid military personnel relaxed their stances.
“ Now, as you will all be aware, we have validated the systems capability, in fact, I am sure you all will know, this platform has exceeded all our wildest dreams with its capability”. “For those of you who are not totally privy to what’s taken place, I can divulge some additional details about what we just did, however! what I must also tell you at this point is that the security clearance you all have, will, if you ever talk about this to anybody, be revoked, your arses thrown in jail and we might!, I say MIGHT!, afford you a trial if we are in a good mood”. Panning hiss head from left to right around the room, Major Frellman surveyed all the faces, looking for any signs of doubt or even stupidity, that usually followed with the incumbent being spoken to rather quietly later on, in a sound proof room.
“Good, it appears everybody here is a professional”. “The system we just tested was the not yet publicly announced fully on line, SM6 extended range active surface to air missile. The Radar feed which we have been receiving here in Woomera was from our JORN OTHB radar network, the target was a stealth drone aircraft”. A slight murmur crept from the collective audience and some of the brighter children twigged to what had just taken place, well, it was educated speculation and they were for the most part right in their own personal guesses. Waiting just a little longer for the whispers and coughs, along with an OH SHIT to die down Major Frellman continued.
“ Okay, we have just validated the launch platform, which was a semi trailer specially adapted to transport and launch the ER version of the SM6 missile. Now as you know, the version in production now has the active seeker head in it from the AMRAAM Missile which by itself is an exceptional platform. What we have done, along with other scientists in Broome and around the country is take this another step further.”. With that, Major Frellman turned to the white coated man standing beside him, a red haired with a scruffy red mangy looking beard and then turned back to Face the audience. “the gentleman beside me, is the head off this Project, let me introduce Doctor Obboy, he will explain further what we have just watched, in terms I am sure we will all understand”. The doctor shuffled his feet some and then looked up at the collective audience. “ Good afternoon, I am sure by now you will have , for the most part figured out what we have done, what you will not be aware off is that elements of this have never been done before or even considered and gives us, a significant advantage over any missile system currently operating on the plant.
In terms of Aircraft or cruise missile intercept capability,……….their is now, nothing like it on the planet and our so called friends around the globe, would move heaven and earth for this technology if they discover its true capabilities”. Looking sideways at the Major to ensure all was within the parameters they had discussed so far, Dr Obboy continued on. “ We have now, successfully, launched an extended range version of the SM6 SAM from a freight cell specially modified and placed on the flat bed of a generic Semi trailer. That trailer and prime mover unit are connected via SAT link to the command centre here, or if we wish, any other location we choose to have the portable post deployed to. This post, is also, as some would know, Tied into the Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar Network, known to moist as the JORN system.
Our radars range is stated at 4000 kilometres, rumour suggest we can see as far a field as the Korean peninsula, which is a bit of a stretch. What we did today was loft a missile from the transporters unit near Broome and place it into a ballistic flight path towards the Christmas islands” The Director, stopped briefly and whilst looking around the room some more, took a small sip of water from the portable sports bottle he was carrying with him, snapping the lid back on and placing the bottle on the desk, the Director continued. “So!, most will be thinking its no biggie, we intercepted a drone, well that drone was travelling at 500 knots, 100 feet of the deck, 800 miles away from the launcher”. That last statement the Director could see, stopped them in their collective tracks, mouths were agape as the realisation hit home for some. The Director pressed on. “ The radar we utilised to track the inbound was indeed the JORN system , the SM6 radar activates when the missile gets within certain range parameters of its target, so until the missile is within about 3 seconds from impact, the target aircraft simply has no idea that it is about to die. “ That drone, was also very stealthy, not a B2 or Raptor stealthy mind you, but it did have a significantly reduced radar cross section.
Even then, had it been one of those beauties, I can tell you, we can, have and do on a regular basis track stealth aircraft, this system not only gets sufficient returns from the aircraft itself due to our frequency wave length, but we can track turbulence in certain circumstances”, that brought a murmur from the room. “ So, you can see why I have been instructed to impress upon you the nature of this information and the fact that aside from the 20 people in this room only a very small other number know what we have achieved here. It is NOT to be discussed at all, Are we all crystal clear on this!”. A series of nods and yeses and SIR! Came across the room to the Directors ears..” Excellent excellent,” reaching around with both hands the Director started to unbutton the front of his white lab coat, revealing beneath it, a hideously purple and orange T shirt with CCR Rocks stencilled on the front and some other illegible gibberish as well. “ Okay then, I suggest we all pack up and then meet over at the boozer for drinks around….mmmm 15 minutes from now. I do believe that the Australian government will be collecting our tabs tonight gentlemen…time is wasting away, lets hope to it shall we!”.
With that the rooms occupants dispersed at pace to pack up their gear and power down various electronic instruments, the Director Walked over to major Frellman who had migrated to a corner of the room, stopping just short of him the Major looked up from his mobile telephone.