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Thread: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

  1. #21
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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post

    The next issue to solve is power. How can we deliver the wattage required to destroy the target now that we figured out how to hit it.

    ...

    In short, now that we have the delivery method, we just need to figure out the best way to put out X megawatts, however many we decide is enough to destroy an ICBM at sufficient range.

    Until we decide that, spending money on a half-measure is a waste. We are very likely to put a combat laser on an airplane some day, we just need some more work on the laser itself.
    Looks like the power issue is already figured out:

    "...At 8:44 p.m. (PST), February 11, 2010, a short-range threat-representative ballistic missile was launched from an at-sea mobile launch platform. Within seconds, the ALTB used onboard sensors to detect the boosting missile and used a low-energy laser to track the target. The ALTB then fired a second low-energy laser to measure and compensate for atmospheric disturbance. Finally, the ALTB fired its megawatt-class High Energy Laser, heating the boosting ballistic missile to critical structural failure. The entire engagement occurred within two minutes of the target missile launch, while its rocket motors were still thrusting.

    This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform. The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense, with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers, and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies.

    Less than one hour later, a second solid fuel short-range missile was launched from a ground location on San Nicolas Island, Calif. and the ALTB successfully engaged the boosting target with its High Energy Laser, met all its test criteria, and terminated lasing prior to destroying the second target. The ALTB destroyed a solid fuel missile, identical to the second target, in flight on February 3, 2010..."

    Airborne Laser Testbed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by Porchev View Post
    Looks like the power issue is already figured out:
    This works well enough for short range, but as range increases power requirements increase. The lasers developed so far need to be improved before deployment becomes practical.

    There's also the "ammunition" issue. A chemical laser can only fire so many times before the aircraft has to return to base. A volley of "decoy" launches before the real weapons launch could be a problem.

    Pure electrical generation is ideal, because then you can just charge some big ass capacitors using the plane's built-in (and probably beefed up) generators. These lasers, so far, have power output and heat issues to work on.

    So far we can satisfy any of our operational requirements but not all of them at the same time.
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  3. #23
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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    This works well enough for short range, but as range increases power requirements increase. The lasers developed so far need to be improved before deployment becomes practical.

    There's also the "ammunition" issue. A chemical laser can only fire so many times before the aircraft has to return to base. A volley of "decoy" launches before the real weapons launch could be a problem.

    Pure electrical generation is ideal, because then you can just charge some big ass capacitors using the plane's built-in (and probably beefed up) generators. These lasers, so far, have power output and heat issues to work on.

    So far we can satisfy any of our operational requirements but not all of them at the same time.
    This technology is still evolving, but having limited ammunition is something all armed aircraft have to deal with. I don't know how many "decoy" launches there may be, but shooting down some missiles is better than no missiles.

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by American View Post
    You care to offer some suggestions?
    Well, "ScottD" has an extremely valid point though probably only thinking about the surface criticism to be had with this.

    The perfect example of "practical" spending would be the body armor versus F/A-22 argument. The Defense Industry had been receiving billions of dollars to perfect their flying toy, yet the only personal protection our troops ever had was a fragmentation vest circa Vietnam War technology. The reason is simple. There is no money to be made with vest technology and people like Clinton and Rumsfeld concreted the idea that technology alone was going to win our wars. This would be the negative lesson the morons on the hill learned from the perfect scenario of the Gulf War (Shock and Awe should have put this delusion to rest).

    Another area of argument would be the upArmor versus Nuclear Sub scenario. With IEDs exploding all over, the UpArmor technology was slow to come. And when it pieced in little by little it merely wound up bogging down the HMMWVs, damaging the axles, and restricting troop access in and out of the vehicle. But Navy Admirals were able to convince the morons on the hill that our fleet of Subs needed a nuclear upgrade. Again the money is to be made in nuclear technology....not preserving troop life.

    Today, no nuclear sub is benefitting anybody in this war and no F/A-22 has supported any troop on the ground. There is no naval enemy to be dealt with (we control the seas). There is no air power to dogfight with (we control the air). I would argue that our most valuable resource is the troop, especially considering that it is the troop and his experience that is going to win this decades long war we embarked on in 2001. But to the Defense Industry and to the idiots in suits our most valuable resource is that next gadget or toy that is going to be preserved for an imaginary war with China or any other bogeyman enemy used to convince politicians that "nothing is too good for our troops."

    There is a place for technology. And lasers shooting down rockets is definately useful. But we have a habit of running away with our fantasies and dreams. We have a way of allowing the Defense Industry to change a few insignificant aspects of their toys just to keep the Program alive. Eventually they lose sight on why the Program exists at all.

    It's like I always state..."they may as well start a Light Saber program."
    Last edited by MSgt; 02-13-10 at 10:25 PM.

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottD View Post
    The program has cost us $4billion so far.

    Also, the operating cost of one of these things is $100,000 an hour. Now think about how much it will cost to get enough of these things in the air to protect us from missiles.

    Turns out Obama changed his mind and didn't cancel it once Boeing got their act together and started showing results, but personally I still think it should have been scrapped, the thing is just a money-sucker that won't even do much.
    Is that not a small cost in comparison to the life saving potential this technology has? Points for believing its being funded at the wrong time, though. It seems far more accurate and capable than previous missile defence mechanisms. I wouldnt say it "wont do much".

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tammerlain View Post
    Well

    ICBM that this system is meant to destroy can be launched from a variety of locations and generally move at high speeds. As the system targets the missiles in the boost phase, it will require the plane to be in the area of the launch I would guess the effective range would have to be within 1000 miles at most, more likely 500 or less.

    That means the US military will have to have them in the air and in the area where the ICBM is going to be launched ahead of time. Not much of a problem if you are expecting missiles to be launched from say North Korea, a small country boarding the sea where the US can keep the planes flying on a constant basis.

    But if the expectation was China or Russia then the system is a waste. China and Russia are huge countries, who just might not like having US military aircraft flying over their territory (and if it was at a point where the US military could fly over Chinese or Russian territory, the missile would have been launched a fair bit of time before then. Countries like Russia and China also have submarine based ICBM's which of course would require the US to fly over the oceans on a constant basis.

    Overall for the system to be usefull would require a large amount of resources, that the US might be better spending in other areas
    Wait wait, who says it has to be boost phase? Is that true for all ICBM systems, and does this not work for after boost phase?

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by MSgt View Post

    It's like I always state..."they may as well start a Light Saber program."
    If you, and only you, had the responsibility to spend the Defense/Military budget for 2010 how would you spend it?


    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I believe the $$ put in the FA-22 was less about internal profit, and more about international profit. Shock and Awe was like the Military-Industrial complex's version of the Apple Keynote session with Steve Jobs, or the E3 summit for Electronic Arts.
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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade but remember when the Patriot system was said to be so very effective and it turned out that they fudged all the data to make it look better than it was until they worked out the kinks?

    Did any of you notice that the story said :"Instruments on the missile verified the system had hit its mark, Boeing said."

    It did not say they effectively shot the target out of the sky. I think it's great that they can get the beam on target but until it actually shoots a missile down I'm not going be dancing in the streets over it.

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by MetalGear View Post
    Is that not a small cost in comparison to the life saving potential this technology has? Points for believing its being funded at the wrong time, though. It seems far more accurate and capable than previous missile defence mechanisms. I wouldnt say it "wont do much".



    Wait wait, who says it has to be boost phase? Is that true for all ICBM systems, and does this not work for after boost phase?
    I dont know the specifics, but I think ICBM under boost phase are going to be easier to hit ( much larger radar and heat signature) and most likely far more vunerable. ( all that fuel aboard).

    But if it can be used against warheads under reentry I can not say, the article only mention that it was tested agaist a boost phase missile

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Anti ballistic missile systems should be built but NO ONE should think they are protection against Russian or Chinese missiles. And a system intended to protect against those two should never be built.

    States like Russia and China have too many missiles, decoys and evasion systems for one of our defensive systems to work, its just going to increase the proliferation. They can build more weapons to overwhelm a defensive system faster than we can build defensive systems to counter it. Not to mention the cost ratio between build new missiles and building defensive systems.

    But a defensive system to shoot down a couple is needed in case one of the smaller nuclear states or god forbid some time in the future a non-state player goes bonkers and shoots one or two at us.

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    Re: U.S. successfully tests airborne laser on missile

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiseone View Post
    Anti ballistic missile systems should be built but NO ONE should think they are protection against Russian or Chinese missiles. And a system intended to protect against those two should never be built.

    States like Russia and China have too many missiles, decoys and evasion systems for one of our defensive systems to work, its just going to increase the proliferation. They can build more weapons to overwhelm a defensive system faster than we can build defensive systems to counter it. Not to mention the cost ratio between build new missiles and building defensive systems.

    But a defensive system to shoot down a couple is needed in case one of the smaller nuclear states or god forbid some time in the future a non-state player goes bonkers and shoots one or two at us.
    Against Russia or China they are usefull after a suprise first strike by the US that knocks out the majority of Chinese or Russian nukes

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