Skip to comments.First Test Fire of an Airborne Laser
Posted on 12/04/2008 11:54:17 PM PST by gandalftb
The US military has carried out the first test-firing of a laser weapon system housed aboard a 747 plane.
The Airborne Laser (ABL) was conceived to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles in the early stages of their flight.
An airborne intercept of an in-flight ballistic missile is planned for 2009.
Scientists are reported to be working out other uses for the flying weapon - which could help secure continued funding. These extra missions include shooting down surface-to-air missiles, cruise missiles and even enemy aircraft.
A laser beam travelled the length of the aircraft at 670 million miles per hour.
It raced from the aft section, through the beam control and fire control system, and out through the nose-mounted turret.
After acquiring and locking on to the target, a second, high-power laser fires a three-to-five-second burst from the turret in the 747's nose.
Against solid-fuel ICBMs the useful range would be about 300km.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.bbc.co.uk ...
“...he will give the technology to the Chicoms because the world should not have only one superpower.”
Precisely the first thought in my head reflecting on the “Socialist” Government just elected.
Can they be tested on Somali pirate skiffs?
In my mind’s eye, I picture an Iranian president at an open air lecture (in a stadium) and disappearing in a puff of smoke.
An alternate target worth considering.
and the result
You should probably also factor in any contamination of the mirrored surface such as dust, dirt, oils and anything else that could absorb the energy.
That's why it would do little good as a cruise missile shooter.
The laser requires 4 tons of chemicals per shot fired.
until they replace it with a solid state laser, it will be not be all that useful.
What about chaff?
Don’t worry, 0bama will defund it because it will be “weaponization of space”.
Gee. Where are all of the knuckleheads who say that this is a waste of money because all we need for anything is a .50 cal?
What happens is that no reflective is perfectly reflective. Absorption of even a small amount of the laser's energy damages its reflectivity, which causes it to absorb more energy, etc.
A combined AWACS/laser platform would be interesting. It could detect targets and terminate them at the same time, and be out of range of conventional air-to-air missiles while doing so.
I suppose you could “spin” the missile as well as reflective coating the skin, so that no single targeted spot gets overheated. I really don’t know the physics of these particular lasers well enough to know if that would work.
You’d still have to dissipate more energy than the laser was applying in order to keep the whole missile from eventually overheating and destructing. It’s all a matter of (Energy in the Laser Minus Energy Dissipated).
Maybe that's why they put it on a 747. It has the cargo capacity to carry several shots worth of chemicals.
Yeah. Like I said, I don’t really understand the underlying physics enough.
I wouldn’t think that the Pentagon would have invested money into this project for this long & with this level of testing without the technology being able to delete affordable countermeasures. But then I often don’t understand the underlying logic of government research programs, either. ;)
“747 wing design fades long before that altitude.”
I guess you missed the word “modified” in my post. ;-)
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