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US mothballs airborne laser missile defense weapon
CBS News ^ | 3/1/2012 | CBS News

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 ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: 747; abl; aerospace; altb; bmd; boeing; boneyard; laser; mda; miltech; missiledefense; pentagon; sdi; usaf
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1 posted on 03/04/2012 11:29:01 PM PST by U-238
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Shame on the Pentagon!


2 posted on 03/04/2012 11:29:49 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238

But he’s not an anti-American Muslim, and he resents your even thinking it!!


3 posted on 03/04/2012 11:32:30 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.~Admiral Yamamoto)
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The final flight was on February 14th according to the Missile Defense Agency


4 posted on 03/04/2012 11:36:06 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238

That doesn’t sound feasible to me as a weapons system.


5 posted on 03/04/2012 11:37:04 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: Jonty30

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.


6 posted on 03/04/2012 11:39:25 PM PST by U-238
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To: Jonty30

It also provides a foundation for other laser missile defense projects.


7 posted on 03/04/2012 11:41:05 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238

Ah yes.

That I can see.


8 posted on 03/04/2012 11:45:58 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: U-238

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.


9 posted on 03/04/2012 11:48:03 PM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: U-238

Put this laser technology on space based satellites and now we’re talking.


10 posted on 03/04/2012 11:48:59 PM PST by Java4Jay (The evils of government are directly proportional to the tolerance of the people.)
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To: Jonty30

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.


11 posted on 03/04/2012 11:51:14 PM PST by U-238
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To: Java4Jay

That will be the perfect place to put this technology


12 posted on 03/04/2012 11:52:04 PM PST by U-238
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To: Jonty30
That doesn’t sound feasible to me as a weapons system.

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.


13 posted on 03/04/2012 11:53:37 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: Java4Jay

That will be the perfect platform to use this technology. Use the laser on the X-37.


14 posted on 03/04/2012 11:54:30 PM PST by U-238
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To: El Gato

Exactly!!


15 posted on 03/04/2012 11:55:09 PM PST by U-238
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To: U-238
Shame on the Pentagon!

The Pentagon obeys the orders of coming from the Czars in the White House, who in turn work for that Community Organizer.

16 posted on 03/04/2012 11:55:17 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato

I agree


17 posted on 03/04/2012 11:55:55 PM PST by U-238
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To: Jonty30

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. :)


18 posted on 03/04/2012 11:59:12 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato

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.


19 posted on 03/05/2012 12:02:38 AM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: El Gato

Actual test of the 747 laser against an airborne target. There is a video of it somewhere IIRC.. here it is.

A System description video.

20 posted on 03/05/2012 12:07:54 AM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: U-238
Liberals will not be happy until the United States Military is a hollowed out shell.

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.

21 posted on 03/05/2012 12:12:11 AM PST by Kickass Conservative (New Tagline under construction, please watch your step.)
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To: Jonty30
How many shots could you get per flight and their level of fire power compared with a similar sized bomber with moab’s?

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.

22 posted on 03/05/2012 12:12:16 AM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: Kickass Conservative

I agree with you.


23 posted on 03/05/2012 12:13:08 AM PST by U-238
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To: El Gato

“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.


24 posted on 03/05/2012 12:25:34 AM PST by tcrlaf (Election 2012: THE RAPTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS)
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To: U-238

Haven’t the Russians countered laser defenses by making their missiles with a highly reflective / heat-shielding outer coat?


25 posted on 03/05/2012 1:24:25 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: James C. Bennett

I do not believe it.


26 posted on 03/05/2012 1:30:30 AM PST by U-238
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To: U-238

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2eehBk_DNQ&feature


27 posted on 03/05/2012 1:46:16 AM PST by LeoWindhorse
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To: U-238

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.


28 posted on 03/05/2012 3:54:46 AM PST by Diogenesis ("Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. " Pres. Ronald Reagan)
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To: U-238

But free sh*t for obamamites increases.

LLS


29 posted on 03/05/2012 3:56:04 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (WOLVERINES!)
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To: U-238

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”.


30 posted on 03/05/2012 4:07:59 AM PST by Wildbill22
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To: LibLieSlayer

The President’s personal 747 meanwhile is in the air almost daily flying this fund raising buffoon around all over the world.


31 posted on 03/05/2012 4:10:44 AM PST by Venturer
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To: U-238

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.


32 posted on 03/05/2012 4:14:33 AM PST by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: El Gato

And if the AWACS were to stay and “fight” what would you expect the outcome to be?

Rolls eyes.


33 posted on 03/05/2012 4:17:14 AM PST by saganite (What happens to taglines? Is there a termination date?)
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To: U-238

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.


34 posted on 03/05/2012 4:22:02 AM PST by puppypusher (The World is going to the dogs.)
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To: El Gato
You would have to protect it with fighters and probably an AWACS, but the same can be said of the AWACS itself.

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.

35 posted on 03/05/2012 4:23:15 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: U-238

You pay for it!, stupid thing was a waste of money.


36 posted on 03/05/2012 4:24:43 AM PST by org.whodat
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To: Jonty30

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??


37 posted on 03/05/2012 4:33:30 AM PST by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: Jonty30

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...


38 posted on 03/05/2012 4:35:36 AM PST by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
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To: joe fonebone

Interesting.

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.


39 posted on 03/05/2012 4:44:57 AM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: U-238

Next in line should be the rail gun. It is also a money devouring rat hole.


40 posted on 03/05/2012 4:45:17 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 ..... Crucifixion is coming)
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To: Jonty30

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.


41 posted on 03/05/2012 5:02:54 AM PST by rbg81 (Only taxpayers should be allowed to vote)
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To: U-238

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


42 posted on 03/05/2012 5:11:05 AM PST by kidd
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To: Venturer

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.

LLS


43 posted on 03/05/2012 5:11:43 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (WOLVERINES!)
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To: LibLieSlayer

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.


44 posted on 03/05/2012 5:22:23 AM PST by Venturer
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To: rbg81

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.


45 posted on 03/05/2012 5:28:12 AM PST by Jonty30 (What Islam and secularism have in common is that they are both death cults.)
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To: Venturer
The leadership of the republican party HATES us... Rush has told us of them admitting this to him... blasting social conservatives and stating that they do not want us at their events... they they and their wives are embarrassed by us... that is not a party to which I wish to claim membership. Like I said... 40 years of blind allegiance to the gop... but no more. They will EARN my vote or not get it.

LLS

46 posted on 03/05/2012 6:29:33 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (WOLVERINES!)
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To: PapaBear3625
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 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.

47 posted on 03/05/2012 11:08:15 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: James C. Bennett
Haven’t the Russians countered laser defenses by making their missiles with a highly reflective / heat-shielding outer coat?

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.

48 posted on 03/05/2012 11:14:54 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: Jonty30
I can see a ground based system being effective. That would be without question.

The higher density, and humidity, air at low altitude cause problems. Blooming and absorption, chief among them.

49 posted on 03/05/2012 11:22:22 PM PST by El Gato ("The second amendment is the reset button of the US constitution"-Doug McKay)
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To: El Gato

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.


50 posted on 03/06/2012 3:21:57 AM PST by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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