Skip to comments.Airborne laser fails 2nd shootdown test in row
Posted on 10/21/2010 10:42:49 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Preliminary indications are that the so-called Airborne Laser Test Bed tracked the target's exhaust plume but did not hand off to a second, "active tracking" system as a prelude to firing the high-powered chemical laser, said Richard Lehner, an MDA spokesman.
"The transition didn't happen," he said. "Therefore, the high-energy lasing did not occur."
Boeing produces the airframe and is the project's prime contractor, while Northrop Grumman supplies the high-energy laser and Lockheed Martin Corp has been developing the beam- and fire-control systems.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates scaled back the program into a research experiment last year.
About $4 billion has gone into it since the Boeing-led team won the contract for it in 1996. The system is designed to focus a super-heated, basketball-sized beam on a pressurized part of a boosting missile long enough to cause it to fail.
For fiscal 2011 that began October 1, President Barack Obama asked Congress for $98.6 million for all of the Defense Department's directed energy research, including the Airborne Laser Test Bed.
Previously, the flying raygun had been under development as a potential part of a layered U.S. ballistic missile shield against weapons that could be fired by countries such as Iran and North Korea. Pentagon planners initially envisaged using the aircraft to shoot down ballistic missiles near their launch pads.
"The reality is that you would need a laser something like 20 to 30 times more powerful than the chemical laser in the plane right now to be able to get any (safe) distance from the launch site to fire," Gates told the House of Representatives Appropriations Defense subcommittee last year after scaling it back.
(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
Is that a brilliant move by POS defense secretary Gates? With threats all around us, from North Korea and China and Iran, he scales back a project that could shoot down their planes with a high-energy laser What a brilliant idea!
I have it on very good authority that this move has now saved us 0.00001% of the federal budget.
I have problems with Gates and the advice he may be getting
The real problem is unless you already are in the middle of a war, no one is going to make the decision to shoot a missile near its launch pad moments after it is fired.
But some day these weapons will be for real.
I agree with you.
Why is it that it seems as if our leadership (Gates, obama, whoever else) seems so hell bent to start WW3? Is this some kind of “Art of War” gamesmanship that I haven’t caught on to?
I thought the idea was to be powerful enough in deed and words such that you would never be challenged. Has the game changed?
Light in this universe comes in spherical shapes that are smaller than galaxies? Who knew?
I would have thought that a beam of coherent light scattered through atmosphere would have a cone shape that terminated at a target in a complex ellipsoid that didn't close in on itself, like a basketball.
But I'm just a cook, and culinary school doesn't cover nearly as much ground as J school does, obviously.
Scales back the project , then says it doesn’t work as
planned. Sounds like an Afghanistan strategy, wonder
where that came from?