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"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
- Larry Niven

Flying Crowbars  
  Kinetic energy weapons deployed from space.  

I think human beings have always known that you have a special ally when you are fighting people who are below you.

"Project Thor was recommended by a strategy analysis group back in the eighties," Curtis said. "Flying crowbars." He sketched rapidly. "You take a big iron bar. Give it a rudimentary sensor, and a steerable vane for guidance. Put bundles of them in orbit. To use it, call it down from orbit, aimed at the area you're working on. It has a simple brain, just smart enough to recognize what a tank looks like from overhead. When it sees a tank silhouette, it steers toward it."
From Footfall, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Ballantine in 1985
Additional resources -

Pournelle described a weapons system like this in 1964; he published a more complete description in 1975. He describes it this way:

The basic weapon system consists of an orbiting element some 20 to 40 feet long. It requires a GPS receiver to locate itself; a means of taking it out of orbit; an atmospheric guidance system, such as a means of changing its center of gravity (moving weights, small fins, etc.), and a communication system to give it a target and activate the system. No warhead is wanted or needed. Thor will impact a target area at about 12,000 feet per second; that is sufficient kinetic energy to destroy most hard targets, with minimum collateral damage and of course no fall-out. Achievable accuracy has been estimated at ten to twenty feet CEP (circular error of probability).

Read more at JerryPournelle.com.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Footfall
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to Footfall
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

Flying Crowbars-related news articles:
  - 'ETs Attacked Me With Meteorites' - Bosnian Man
  - Joint Precision Airdrop System (JPADS)

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