Skip to comments.In test, US airborne laser shoots down missile: Pentagon
Posted on 02/12/2010 3:29:37 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
A high-energy laser mounted on a US military aircraft has shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of the weapon, the US Missile Defense Agency said on Friday.
The experiment -- evoking a scene out of a science fiction film -- was carried out off the central California coast at Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center at 8:44 pm Thursday Pacific time (0444 GMT), the agency said in a statement.
"The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile," it said.
The laser, mounted on a turret on the nose of a modified 747 aircraft, is designed to knock out an enemy missile by burning a hole in its side.
The project has been touted as potentially revolutionary, as the lasers are supposed to destroy ballistic missiles just after launch, when the missiles are moving at a slower speed on a predictable path.
The test could provide a boost to the five billion dollar program that has faced technical problems and been scaled back from initial plans that called for building a fleet of seven laser-equipped aircraft.
Last year Defense Secretary Robert Gates cancelled funds for a second prototype aircraft and called for more research to refine the weapon. He said the proposed role for the laser remained "highly questionable" amid questions about its cost and effectiveness.
The proposed defense budget for fiscal 2011 has no specific funding for the airborne laser but includes about 99 million dollars for directed energy research, Missile Defense Agency spokesman Richard Lehner said.
Aerospace giant Boeing is the lead contractor for the program, with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin as partners.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
An excellent demonstration of the potential of HEL weapons. Even better than shooting down mosquitoes!
On the downside this program could divert money better spent on ACORN projects./s
I wonder if it works on people..
If you have a big enough targeting mirror and powerful beam
Hmmm. No comments so far on the range or the size and speed of the target.
I’ll give him his due, this development and testing has continued on his watch.
One of my favorite movies
“Ill give him his due, this development and testing has continued on his watch.”
Let’s just hope that the laser R&D hasn’t just been devoted to improving Obama’s super-human ability to swat flies (documented here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rbUH_iVjYw):
Watch a laser gun kill mosquitoes
Probably a standard target missile. Range is the biggie, though... and we're not likely to be told that.
In the beginning of development I remember reading of a posted kill range of 200 miles. Whether true or not, actual range will be governed by a number of factors such as altitude, airborne particulate count, type of missile and so forth. Was the missile a solid fuel or liquid fuel?
Special Ops guys would love it.. Speak to the tribal elders, call down the wrath of god, have Taliban members dissolve in a pillar of fire. Talk about hearts and minds.
The real fun begins when the solid state electrical lasers hit the 100KW+ level with the requsite cooling to go with it. They have a free electron laser down to a length of <20' and approaching 100KW of power. Deploying one of these on a ship gives a battle group some serious fleet defense against ASM. I saw some reporting stating that the F-35 had the electrical generating power to support a solid state laser once the cooling issues are resolved.
Aviation week says it was a short range ballistic missile. So the size of the target was probably fairly small. Speed of the target would depend on when it was engaged. ABL engages during boost, so the target is accelerating all the time. So sooner would be better, lower speed. However, letting it climb up out of the thick atmosphere might be a good idea, or get above a cloud deck etc.
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