Skip to comments.US mothballs airborne laser missile defense weapon
Posted on 03/04/2012 11:28:49 PM PST by U-238
The Pentagon has mothballed a laser-equipped jumbo jet after 15 years and $5 billion worth of research to develop an airborne missile defense system.
Budget cuts shot down the Airborne Laser Test Bed but some research into anti-missile lasers will continue, according to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
"We didn't have the funding to continue flying the aircraft," agency spokeswoman Debra Christman told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/xEnw3z ).
The plane, a Boeing 747 mounted with a high-energy chemical laser, has been sent into storage at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, the agency said. The base near Tucson, Ariz., serves as a boneyard for military aircraft.
The Boeing had been based at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California's Mojave Desert. It was the centerpiece of the laser-based missile defense system research program that began in 1996.
It provided hundreds of Southern California jobs through aerospace companies such as Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
The conclusion of the program "represents the end of a historic era in airborne directed energy research, not only for Edwards Air Force Base but for the Department of Defense at large," Lt. Col. Jeff Warmka, director of the Airborne Laser Test Bed Combined Test Force at Edwards, told the Times.
It was one in a series of missile defense programs that originated in President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983 the so-called "Star Wars" missile shoot-down effort that was criticized as impractical, expensive and overreaching.
The Missile Defense Agency said the program completed a key objective in February 2010 when the laser-equipped plane tracked and destroyed a test missile in flight off the Southern California coast.
(Excerpt) Read more at cbsnews.com ...
Shame on the Pentagon!
But he’s not an anti-American Muslim, and he resents your even thinking it!!
The final flight was on February 14th according to the Missile Defense Agency
That doesn’t sound feasible to me as a weapons system.
The ALTB demonstrated a workable directed energy weapon for missile defense by tracking and destroying. I hope that they move the project to the black projects and continue development.
It also provides a foundation for other laser missile defense projects.
That I can see.
I wasn’t thinking of applications when I spoke too soon.
It won’t be lost, I don’t think.
It will be just like the rail gun technology, kept in development until something really useful comes from it.
Put this laser technology on space based satellites and now we’re talking.
THe government has invested billions of dollars into the project. They are not going to let it die. They will just plug it into other military applications.
That will be the perfect place to put this technology
Why not, it was to stand off and blast enemy missiles from fairly long range. Would have been just the thing to have 3, maybe only 2, stationed near Iran and then just zap anything the Mad Mullahs and ImADinnerJacket put up. You can put a might big laser into a 747. Including the fuel for quite a few "shots". I have a former coworker, who is also a former Missile Launch Officer, who worked on that project, first as a contractor, and then as an activated Reservist to back fill for some active duty guys who were needed elsewhere after 9-11.
That will be the perfect platform to use this technology. Use the laser on the X-37.
The Pentagon obeys the orders of coming from the Czars in the White House, who in turn work for that Community Organizer.
You would have to protect it with fighters and probably an AWACS, but the same can be said of the AWACS itself. The ex AWACS crew who was our project manager said the airplane should have a yellow stripe down the top. If any enemy got anywhere near, the tactic was to shut down the radar and dive to get outa Dodge as quickly as possible. :)
How many shots could you get per flight and their level of fire power compared with a similar sized bomber with moab’s?
I know it’s not completely comparable, but I’m sure you get where I’m going with this.
Actual test of the 747 laser against an airborne target. There is a video of it somewhere IIRC.. here it is.
I remember when Obama proclaimed that the United States would not weaponize Space. Meanwhile, China and Russia continue to work on Satellite Killers.
The same applies to him saying that we would not modernize our Nuclear Weapons. Now he just wants to eliminate them while our enemies go the other way.
We will not survive another four years with these people in power. It's that simple.
MOABs are fine for taking things out on the ground. But as we saw in Desert Storm, some will get launched before we can find and destroy them. This would get most of those. The leakers would have to be handled by terminal defenses. This thing probably only works at altitude, lower down absorption and "blooming" would be too much of a problem
There aren't any magic bullets, not even this thing.
I agree with you.
“said the airplane should have a yellow stripe down the top. If any enemy got anywhere near, the tactic was to shut down the radar and dive to get outa Dodge as quickly as possible.”
As an Ex-Sentry/RivetJoint Crew Member, I wholeheartedly agree with that tactic.
Haven’t the Russians countered laser defenses by making their missiles with a highly reflective / heat-shielding outer coat?
I do not believe it.
This technology WILL be transferred to al Qaeda by Obama.
Obama and the DNC are determined to destroy America,
and the GOP is docile, and agrees.
But free sh*t for obamamites increases.
Obama; - “Oh yea, and scrap the rest of the missile defenses as well. Now if we can just get rid of all our nuclear weapons,,, then we will be really safe!”-
Possibly a sentiment that will resonate with the history of the words “Peace in our time”.
The President’s personal 747 meanwhile is in the air almost daily flying this fund raising buffoon around all over the world.
The tech on that plane (chemical lasers) is outdated. Solid state lasers are much more viable. The plane was kept flying not so much to perfect the laser technology as it was to work on targeting and tracking technology.
And if the AWACS were to stay and “fight” what would you expect the outcome to be?
These laser’s will only be worth while when they can develope high power solid state lasers.They will be much more economical.
I’d like to see the Air Force mount those baby’s on a fighter plane to replace or complement its cannon.
Nothing like melting the enemy’s aircraft.
You could have the AWACS do double-duty and mount the laser ON the AWACS. Be able to track fighters and missiles AND shoot them down from long range.
You pay for it!, stupid thing was a waste of money.
several years ago, north korea decided to launch a new icbm... it promptly blew up shortly after launch... they then had a little temper tantrum, and launched a bunch of their tested proven shorter range missile... they all promptly blew up... how do you suppose that happened??
and for another example... they mounted one of these things on an M1 frame years ago... 25 miles away, they lit off a 155mm howitzer... this thing acquired, tracked and SHOT DOWN the projectile in flight... not once, but 3 times in a row...
I can see a ground based system being effective. That would be without question.
But if having it on a plane is just as effective, I can support that.
Next in line should be the rail gun. It is also a money devouring rat hole.
It wasn’t—it was just a big science project. This was actually a good decision that should have been made long ago. Allows the Missile Defense Agency to focus its resources on more viable programs like Aegis BMD and Ground-based Missile Defense.
Perhaps the recent success of the Arrow Weapons System is one of the reasons for dropping the laser system (see: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2854575/posts)
A President who took his Constitutional obligation to defend the country seriously would continue to persue both systems. However, this President has taken money from Defense so that Sadra Fluke can have orgies. So the Defense department is going with the system that is closer to implementation
Not one single elected official in the republican party has complained. Bush was attacked and forced to show the dims ever receipt where every penny was paid for by the campaign. That is just one reason of many that I am no longer a “republican”. I may vote for Conservative republicans... but the party left me.
I am still a Republican, but one who does not believe in his party.
REpublican politicans seem to enjoy having the Democrats pee down their leg and tell them it’s raining.
They stand there with it running down their leg and grinning.
That was my thought on it. Because it’s a plane, it’s ability to carry the chemical fuel would be limited and you couldn’t refuel readily. So, unless the system was super efficient, the application for using a plane was relatively limited.
But I do see the potential use of lasers in a ground-based defense system.
You obviously did not look at the cutaway, the laser fills the 747, it wouldn't even fit on a 707 airframe, let alone leave any rooms for the stuff already on the AWACS. I've been in one, they are pretty crowded.
They may have, although I don't think so. But in any event it would not help. Might make the damage worse. That's not your laser pointer. The beam carries lots of momentum, It kills not so much by absorption of the energy in the beam, but rather by momentum transfer, just like a really hot bullet.
The higher density, and humidity, air at low altitude cause problems. Blooming and absorption, chief among them.
It’s interesting to know lasers can do that at relatively short ranges - I know there are concepts such as Solar Sails which use the principle of momentum transfer of photons to achieve high velocities, but that takes huge distances and times to achieve the acceleration.
Any literature on momentum transfer through lasers would be greatly appreciated.