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Zippity Zap: A what-if on the MAS Flight370 Disappearance

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By Achyut Dutt

1943 – Guided missiles developed at Peenemunde, Germany. V-1 & V2 rockets launched at Britain, under the guidance of Nazi rocket scientist, Wernher Von Braun (post-war career: chief architect of the Saturn-V rocket which powered the Apollo missions to the moon. If Hitler had decided to pursue his childhood passion to be a freelance artist, there might never have been a mission to the moon).

1945 – First nuclear test, “Trinity”, Jornada Del Muerto, New Mexico, USA. Yield: 20 Kilotons.

1949 – First Russian nuclear test, “Pervaya Molniya”, Kazakhstan SSR. Yield: 22 Kilotons. Technology stolen by a mixed US/UK group of individuals known as the ‘Atomic Spies’.

1955 – The USSR perceives a serious threat from the US and Britain’s vastly superior strategic delivery systems: long-range strategic bombers. It begins development of the SA-2 guided Missile. The age of the ICBM (Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile) begins and the strategic arms race is on.

1960 – US Air Force “Project Defender”. Ludicrous proposal to launch into space a swarm of satellites with BAMBI, Ballistic Missile Boost Interceptors. Multiple satellites would criss-cross over the Soviet Union, 24/7. If an enemy ICBM approached, the BAMBIs would open a large metal net, which would destroy the missile on impact. Unfortunately, calculations showed that over 3,600 such satellites would be needed in order to keep enough above the USSR at any given time. Looney, Dr Strangelovish. Proposal dropped.

1962 – Soviet R-36 Fractional Orbit Bombing System Anti-Ballistic Missiles in production. First Chinese ICBMs tested.

1964 – First Chinese nuclear test, “Chic-1”, Lop Nur, Mongolia. Yield: 22 Kilotons.

1967 – Lecture by physicist Edward Teller, father of the Hydrogen Bomb (scary guy), where he proposes an alternative to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction), which was a kind of suicide pact in which everyone gets killed. Teller’s brainwave will have the US not only survive a multiple Soviet ICBM launch but win. He suggests defending against Soviet nuclear missiles with X-Ray laser bursts from space-based weapons systems. Ronald Reagan, ex-cowboy, Governor-California, listens keenly.

1979 – “High Frontier”, a proposal to build strategic defense using space-based weapons, now found feasible through emerging technologies.

1980 – “Dauphin” and “Excalibur” laser tests carried out successfully for the first time. Plan to launch satellites with built-in nuclear warheads that can be detonated seconds after a Soviet missile launch. The resultant burst of X-Ray laser will down multiple oncoming warheads simultaneously. Optical Lasers for surgical strikes also planned.

1983 – Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), created by US President, Ronald Reagan. Widely criticized as unrealistic. Derisively called ‘Star Wars’ by the mainstream media.

1986 – US experiments with Neutral Particle Beams and Chemical Lasers.

1988 – US Project “Brilliant Pebbles” conceived. High-velocity, watermelon-sized, teardrop-shaped projectiles made of tungsten will detect and destroy incoming missiles. Loonier. Cancelled in 1994.

1994 – US cancels most SDIO initiatives after the fall of the Soviet Union. Or so it leads the world to believe. Optical laser weapons system research continues.

2003 – US perfects THEL (Tactical High Energy Lasers) and MIRACL (Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser) technologies after extensive trials over ten ultra-secret shuttle missions. Dummy satellites and high-flying unmanned drone aircraft targeted and vaporized without a trace. Debris – zero.

2013 – China defines Air Defense Identification Zone over disputed Japanese Senkaku Islands. A carrier task force, headed by the Liaoning, starts aggressive patrols in the Sea of Japan, the busiest commercial shipping lane in the world. The tinderbox is lit. Time now for the US to prepare for a “live” test.

2014 – MAS Flight370, Boeing 777 with 239 souls on board, an hour out of Kuala Lumpur, cruising at 35000ft over the Gulf of Thailand. Seat belt signs are off and drinks are being served. The Malaysian ATC tells the pilot, “We have to hand you over to Ho Chi Minh City,” to which, the pilot responds, “All right, good night.” The aircraft is not heard from again.

Dress rehearsal successful. The Americans provide all-out support at rescue and recovery. The cost had been built into the dress rehearsal budget.

2014 April – Chinese ambassador to Washington summoned to the US State Department and given a single sheet of paper with two typewritten lines in Mandarin. Translated, they read, “Forget Asia. We are the landlords. You are just one of the tenants. Back off.”

PS: The above is pure conjecture and should only be read, beer in hand.

Illustration: Achyut Dutt


Achyut Dutt, 59, builds jet engines at Pratt and Whitney Canada. To read more about his take on life, just google ‘spunkybong’. To contact him, email:

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