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Defining Moments: Selected Highlights from 25 Years of Missile Defense Technology Development and Transfer. A Technology Applications Report

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Technology review rept.

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Providing a defense against ballistic missiles has required an immense research effort. However, with the help of the Missile Defense Agencys Technology Applications program, the research for the common defense is also being applied to promote the general welfare. Many key technologies needed for missile defense are benefiting everyday lives. High-power laser technology, conceived in the early days of the Strategic Defense Initiative to knock down missiles, is being used in medical treatments. Electronics that use materials called wide-bandgap semiconductors were pioneered for advanced radar systems and are now essential to modern communications equipment from satellites to cell phones. These new semiconductor devices are even being used in new, brighter and more reliable traffic lights and next-generation DVD players. Advanced communications systems, such as fiber optics, diode and tunable lasers, optical amplifiers and switches, and communication protocols, were also focused research efforts because of the massive amount of data to be transferred between missile defense radars, sensors, and command locations. Today, many communications technologies such as code division multiple access CDMA, which is used in cell phone systems worldwide, owe part of their success to missile defense research. There are many stories of successfully commercialized missile defense technologies that now serve the common good. These stories, along with more than 500 success stories that have been told in other Technology Applications program publications, illustrate why missile defense research is not conducted in a vacuum of simply providing for the common defense. The Technology Applications program has been striving to ensure that these technologies also advance the general welfare. This report is divided into three sections Cold War, 1980-1989 Changing Times, 1990-1999 and The Modern Era, 1999-2005 and Beyond.

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  • Information Science
  • Antimissile Defense Systems

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