Yanks build a big laser pointer

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by in_the_cheapseats, Dec 2, 2008.

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  1. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    I know bigger is better but this is taking the mick. :D

    See here Name

    I wonder how many of these you need flying to cover the area of the USA or even the projected ballistic trajectories of inbounds?

    Interesting technology, I'm sure, but the cost per airframe must be prohibitably high.
  2. Interesting; they've been trying to do this for years but the power/weight ratio has always eluded them.

    And how long before it is used as a ground weapon? Poppy fields or cocaine plantations, for example?

  3. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Well, hot and dry gives them perfect conditions for laser use, doesn't it?

    Perhaps we shouldn't give them any ideas...............
  4. Bit big for use in a classroom though, isnt it??
  5. Sorts out the class's discipline though! :D
  6. This is going to be about as useful as the ABM silo in Poland and Czech Republic. First of all, modern ICBMs launch decoys to protect the main re-entry vehicles. Second, the US would need to maintain dozens of these aircraft airborne at all times to give effective coverage. Thirdly, each airborne platform can only target one missile at a time. Russia has over 1800 operational ballistic missiles and China at least 260, so this will only stop a small fraction getting through. And finally, this system gives no protection against sea-launched cruise missiles, long-range nuclear 'rail-gun' artillery or stationary devices detonated inside the US itself.
    So, whether this system is targeted at major nuclear powers like Russia or China, or minor ones like Pakistan, Iran and N. Korea, it's just not going to work.
  7. It may not be stunningly usefull right now, but 10 years time? 20 years time? The search for new weapons isn't easy or quick or cheap. Look how long it took to to go from smoothbore muzzle loading blackpowder weapons created at heart in the 15th century to belt fed machine guns in the 19th Century. To create such a high technology weapon is going to take lots of little steps, some of which are going to look very silly at the time.............
  8. "laser pointer" ?
  9. I read about this plane 2 years ago, and then they were saying it was in a testable operational phase.

    I also believe that we have already seen it in action ala North Korean Missile test that just happened to *malfunction in boost phase*.

    With the first atom bombs in mind, think about how the bombs continued to get exponentially smaller while the brisance of the bombs have exponentially increased.

    I agree with Kitmarlowe, this technology has a bit to go yet however I can certainly see some military applications to cover wide swaths of land. If you can make it smaller, ie: small enough to fit in the space shuttle and strong enough to handle the distance, then your options just widened dramatically.

    Also, and I may be touching on sci fi here, but what about drones that could redirect or strengthen the beam like a signal booster? Link a few and your 300 mile range becomes a 900 mile range or 1200 mile range. Get a network of these up and you can cover quite a large expanse.

    Just a thought.
  10. Ten years? No, it won't take that. Look at the changes in technology in the last ten years. The next ten years of technical developments will make the last ten years of technical developments look like the output of a bunch of primary school children.

    How old is the PC? How old is the web?

    Technology is moving faster and faster. How business, and we, can cope with that change is beyond me at the moment!

  11. There are already studies into fitting a directed energy weapon onto the AC-130 or successor platform, and for a similar device to be fitted to the F-35; the laser system for the F-35 is envisaged as fitting into the space that is occupied by the lift fan on the STOVL version. That may take until the 2020s to be realised.

    The AL-1 isn't designed to deal with ICBMs, but IRBMs. The plan (which may not survive contact with the enemy), according to most stuff in the public domain other than the report the Beeb seems to have hung its hat on - perhaps the result of only one google effort - is that an AL-1 will be orbiting somewhere within range of the relevant despotism.

    The IR bloom from the IRBM launch can be located by satellite (see Desert Storm) and the lat/long communicated to the AL-1 pretty sharpish. Then (again, in theory), the laser ball is pointed in the correct direction, the thing is fired and the IRBM becomes an expensive firework.
  12. Would be nice in an AC-130 for a quick tan.
  13. Haven't I seen something along these lines before?

    Attached Files:

  14. Good point....but I'd argue that power supply is going to be the biggest brake on this for some time.

    Conisder this. The technology is out there to make Mass Drivers/Rail guns as weapons that could be fitted in warships.....The block has been generating enough power often enough to make it a true weapon. Crack power supply and usage and whoosh!