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Weapons Races is a military television documentary series examining the development of various new military technologies and how their evolution impacted tactics and strategies used in warfare since the High Middle Ages, but focused mainly on film since World War I. It is an eight part series exposing the most significant weapons races to transform modern warfare, from the original concepts that overturned military thinking to the most advanced versions of each weapon in service today. Whether it's a new idea such as radar, or a series of breakthroughs producing a dramatic new weapon like the jet fighter, in each case it shows that enemies have to react with their own countermeasures - creating a competitive arms race.
|S01E01||The Race for the Jet Fighter||31/12/2006||There will never be another manned jet fighter as powerful as the Lockheed F-22 Raptor. Its extraordinary capability is the result of a weapons race to evolve the perfect combat aircraft which began well before Frank Whittle invented the jet engine. This programme looks at the requirements such as speed, endurance, manoeuvrability, and fire power which pushed designers to explore the technological limits; the pilots who flew them; and examines how combat honed their mounts into ever-more deadly killing machines.|
|S01E02||The Race for the Battle Tank||31/12/2006||The most fearsome tank on today’s battlefield is the US M-1A2 Abrams, virtually impregnable, fast, and capable of destroying an opponent many miles away. It is the most perfect example of a weapons race which began over 90 years ago to find a fighting machine capable of breaking the stalemate of the World War 1 trenches. The programme looks at how these behemoths were shaped in combat; how the competing requirements of protection, cross-country ability and firepower were refined; and how tactics such as Blitzkrieg were developed to make the Battletank King of the Battlefield.|
|S01E03||The Race for Radar and Stealth||31/12/2006||As soon as the idea of strategic bombing was conceived, men began to look at ways of detecting them – or at evading this detection. Today’s stealth technology as exemplified in the Lockheed Martin F-117A Nighthawk seems to have won a race which began in the 1930s with the possibility of developing a death ray! The radar weapons race hotted up when the British showed how vital it was in the Battle of Britain. This programme looks at developments ever since, with ever-more extraordinary ways of spotting all sorts of military and civil machines or of evading detection.|
|S01E04||The Race for the Nuclear Bomb||31/12/2006||The explosion of an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert in July 1945 showed that the Allies had beaten the Nazis in the first lap of a race to develop the ultimate weapon. The first bombs were so bulky they needed a massive bomber to deliver them; today, the Tomahawk cruise missile is barely larger than a torpedo and can carry a far more powerful weapon hundreds of miles. This programme looks at the weapons race which continued with the Soviet Union using every means possible – particularly espionage - to catch up with the United States, and then competing to produce smaller and more deadly bombs. Today, the race has entered a new phase – with the threat of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of unstable regimes or terrorists determined to use them.|
|S01E05||The Race for the Strategic Bomber||31/12/2006||Since the days of the Zeppelin airships of World War I, military planners and engineers have dreamed of a strategic bomber that can win wars by targeting an enemy’s economy and not just its frontline forces.|
|S01E06||The Race for the Strategic Ballistic Missile||31/12/2006||The Trident D5 intercontinental ballistic missile can reach the other side of the world in a little over 30 minutes. It is a descendant of the very first ballistic missile, Adolf Hitler’s V-2 terror weapon.|
|S01E07||The Race for the Nuclear Submarine||31/12/2006||The commissioning of the first operational nuclear-powered submarine in 1954 launched a transformation in naval warfare that ended a half-century later when the USS Virginia went to sea.|
|S01E08||The Race for the Aircraft Carrier||31/12/2006||As soon as the first planes took to the skies in the early 20th century, farsighted naval officers planned on ways to use them in warfare. By World War I, aircraft were taking off from converted cargo ships; today, they land on nuclear-powered supercarriers.|