Skip to comments.Boeing Laser Avenger Shoots Down Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in Tests
Posted on 01/29/2009 1:47:10 PM PST by Reaganesque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Jan. 26, 2009 -- The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has successfully demonstrated that a laser system mounted on an Avenger combat vehicle can shoot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) like those that increasingly threaten U.S. troops deployed in war zones.
During tests last month at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., Laser Avenger achieved its principal test objectives by using its advanced targeting system to acquire and track three small UAVs flying against a complex background of mountains and desert. The laser system also shot down one of the UAVs from an operationally relevant range. These tests mark the first time a combat vehicle has used a laser to shoot down a UAV.
Representatives of the U.S. Army's Cruise Missile Defense Systems project office observed the tests.
"Small UAVs armed with explosives or equipped with surveillance sensors are a growing threat on the battlefield," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems. "Laser Avenger, unlike a conventional weapon, can fire its laser beam without creating missile exhaust or gun flashes that would reveal its position. As a result, Laser Avenger can neutralize these UAV threats while keeping our troops safe."
The tests follow a 2007 demonstration in which an earlier version of Laser Avenger neutralized improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (UXO) on the ground.
"We doubled the laser power; added sophisticated acquisition, tracking and pointing capability; and simplified and ruggedized the design," said Lee Gutheinz, Boeing program director for High-Energy Laser/Electro-Optical Systems. "Boeing developed and integrated these upgrades in less than a year, underscoring our ability to rapidly respond to warfighters' needs."
Laser Avenger integrates a directed energy weapon together with the kinetic weapons on the proven Avenger air defense system developed by Boeing Combat Systems in Huntsville, Ala. It is a Boeing-funded initiative to demonstrate that directed energy weapons are maturing and are relevant to today's battlefield.
Boeing leads the way in developing laser systems for a variety of U.S. Air Force and Army warfighter applications. These systems include the Airborne Laser, the Advanced Tactical Laser, the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator and the Tactical Relay Mirror System.
The most interesting thing about this to my mind is that this is a solid-state laser. That's a huge leap right there. You just have to hook it up to an electrical source such as a vehicle or aircraft's engine. It is literally a weapon that can't run out of bullets so long as it has a power supply. Very, very interesting.
0bamessiah better check in with his Muslim masters to see if we can remain freinds with such a weapons system.
It may be required by them that we drop weapons development so we can be friends.
Ha ha! Too late for Obamapacifists to outlaw. Time to put this baby to work...
Ahhh, my taxes at work. 3 more years under an odumba administration and we should be launching spitballs at incoming missiles.
It was a matter of time....LOL!
0bama and the left would call such a weapon “destabilizing”.
I want it, mounted in my car, for clearing out those dingleberries who like to drive in the left lane when not passing.
Israel can use this puppy on the border, pronto. Bet it could knock down Katyusha’s too.
If I understood correctly, this system was derived from the earlier system that could shoot down short range missiles. That system also managed to shoot down mortar rounds as well. With a laser weapon, if you can see it, you can shoot it down.
’ can shoot down a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) like those that increasingly threaten U.S. troops deployed in war zones.’
Great point about the solid state laser, and the ‘leap’. Dead on target there.
My question is since when have our troops been ‘threatened’ by UAV’s in combat zones?
Where has this occured? First I’ve heard of it.
Don’t misconstrue this. I’m all for the weapon system, because like many in the forum I understand we won’t always be dealing with 16th century jihadists.
I don’t know if it has happened but the technology is not beyond the reach of our enemies. Saddam Hussein was looking at flying radio controlled fighter planes loaded with explosives or other weapons into enemy positions. Heck, you could strap a vial of chemical or biological agent to an RC model plane and fly it into an enemy position. Wouldn’t be hard.
I heard that the preoeration for lasers A through G were a failure.
But that preparation H, well,..............
My question relates to whether this system could represent at threat to any of our troops that might accidentally be in the line of fire. It’s not that far of a stretch to realize targeting of a UAV downward, might put our guys in the direct line of fire. Even a side shot could put someone on the horizon at risk.
True. but you could shoot those down with a Remington 1100 wingmaster....(chuckle)
Good point. I guess the first clue would be if a ‘puff’ of bird feathers suddenly appeared, eh?
And if they (Boeing and associates) were able to double the output power from over a year ago, it's certainly a lot closer to being released to battlefield units sooner than many other laser weapons systems.
There may not be a ton of UAVs to be used against, but imaginative troops will find more uses for it,...despite any laws of land warfare concerns over what weapons cause more unnecessary suffering and which don't.
There's no mention how long (several seconds?) it actually takes the laser to destroy an inflight (UAV) or ground target (IED, UXO), but it obviously has other potential uses (disabling high voltage power lines and transformers, for instance? Or disabling civilian vehicles withot any evidence of the system being seen to fire its gun or missiles.).
Taking it further, the Stinger is the same 70mm/2.75inches in diameter as many of these precision guided rockets under development.
The vehicle already has optical fire control to engage targets at range, so it's certainly possible these rockets may be an option to replace Stingers where there aren't a lot of airborne threats.
Incorporating a laser designator won't be all that hard (I haven't been to Redstone in 3&1/2 years, hard to tell what other toys they're tinkering with since then).
Nothing about any laser is as simple as “just hooking up a power supply”. Moreover, laser beams travelling in the atmosphere are not simple things
Yes, The problem with lasers is that they are on, and when they move through a plain, they slice.
If you had a strong laser and thousands of people running right at you, a pass or two could kill them all, if the angle were optimal.
It’s a wicked weapon.
Standing behind a tree, too bad.
Standing behind the corner of a wall or building, too bad.
A phaser might rival it.
Wired reports: "On April 17th this year, one Christopher Paul was indicted on terrorism charges; these included an alleged plot to use radio controlled aircraft or boats carrying explosives".
You don't need a Predator -- just an off-the-shelf radio-controlled plane packed with explosives.
It would also make a useful addition to an AWACS plane to defend itself against threats.
keep in mind this is what the DEMOCRATS said would never work.
Failed Marvel Comics character...
But wot about point 'ead sticks?
Like with most things, they're wrong again.
Remember how they savaged Reagan over his Star Wars proposal. And then, more recently, GW over the same thing. "You can't hit a bullet with a bullet". And, of course, we can. And remember how they called Reagan "Raygun" as a way of mocking him?
And now here we are. Hitting a Predator isn't the same thing as hitting an ICBM. But step by step.
Bottom line: Nice job but will we actually use this system in real wars?
Well they did make Redstone ballistic missles, Saturn rockets, and designed the M1 Abrams tank...
Yes, the F-22 could carry it or a later version of it. And the JSF was designed specifically with such a weapon in mind. Helicopters and UAVs too.
ZAPPPPPPPPPPP! Target’s fried.
Courtesy of Israel Military Industries and Elta Electronics.