An arms race embraces a single concept — speed. Speed can espouse a million elemental inputs, but regardless, the overarching concept remains speed: the actor with the highest speed in the end wins.
My first experience with an arms race was with my younger brother as kids in our backyard. We built all sorts of launchers that would toss rocks or sticks across the yard. My younger brother was the idea guy who came up with most of the concepts for launchers. He build them very fast; whenever I saw him back there inventing I knew I had to get out there and catch up to his lethality.
I would observe his process for erecting a new catapult or trebuchet, then immediately begin my own improved version of his at a metered pace. Stealing his technology was very CCP of me. During the final assembly of my weapon, I had to endure pelting by rocks and sticks from my brother’s completed machine.
He was fast but most of his ordnance fell short, long, or high and right — accuracy compromised for speed. When I finished my weapon with some quality control I pummeled him with accuracy, beating him back against the sea, and annexed his side of the yard; quarter was neither requested nor gifted.
An international technology arms race
The first experience I had with an international race, in this case, a technology race, was watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon. As kids, we were excited to see the spaceship and the man on the moon, though we did not understand the international implications that the adults did, i.e. that the US had beat the USSR on the moon race while blowing up fewer rockets and astronauts in the process.
Consider the monumental arms race during WWII. America was forced into the war by Japan. At the time we didn’t boast superiority other than in our Navy carrier groups. It was mostly by tactics, technics, and sound leadership that we were able to turn the entire Japanese Navy into submarines.
Japan enjoyed air superiority with its A6M “Zero” fighter, which was the fastest fighter in the war in its day. The first American contender was the F6F Hellcat which matched it in speed and was driven once again by great tactics and the staunch leadership of its pilots.
With the production of the F6F Hellcat, Japan no longer enjoyed the top air superiority fighter in the battle space. The Zero had a dangerous rival in the Hellcat, which had more quality and survivability built into it: armor protection for the pilots, heavy firepower, and self-sealing fuel tanks. The Zero’s day was done, but it was good to be king, even for a year over the Pacific during WWII.
Germany too in the initial phases of the war boasted air dominion with its pursuit fighter/interceptor armada. But America, with its second wind drawn, fielded a slough of superior fighters like the P-47 Thunderbolt, the P-38 Lightning, and the Rolls Royce of all WWII fighters (it actually had a Rolls Royce/Merlin powerplant), the P-51 Mustang.
It is a fact that Reichsmarshall Hermann Göring, the commander of the Nazi Luftwaffe (Airforce) stated: “When I saw those Mustangs over Berlin, I knew that the war was lost.”
Nazi Germany had further technological advances in terms of a jet-powered ME-262 Swalbe (sparrow) and the rocket-powered ME-163 Komet (comet). Yet, they were too little too late. In fact, there are recorded instances where American superiority fighters shot down ME-262s and ME-163s, mainly during a vulnerable point when the two German airframes were in their landing phase.
A cat and mouse game
So the arms race goes on and on in every technological aspect of war. It’s a one-time-you, one-time-me game of mouse and cat. Stay in the fight and don’t get caught being the loser is what I say when I see Sandboxx’s Alex Hollings’s writings on the developing technology of the fifth-generation aircraft and the hypervelocity Rail Guns.
From my last gleanings, I can see that the Russians hold the speed record with their MiG (Mikoyan and Gurevich) Foxbat, though the U.S. has the top fighter superiority airframe with the F-22 Raptor and its dominant suitability in so many aspects of air combat.
In closing, I’ll offer this: a man was in a serious automobile crash in which one of his arms became severed. The responding hospital called out to two other institutions to see if they had compatible limbs they could donate; both hospitals had some. When asked which hospital was to contribute, the responding hospital’s answer was: “Whoever can get here first.”
And the race was on.
By Almighty God and with honor,
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