Anti-missile lasers

  • Thread starter taylaron
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  • #1
taylaron
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i know that the military is producing a powerfull laser that can potentially knock down hazardus misiles (possibly ICBMs)
wouldent all you need to have is an estreemly powerfull VERY SMALL laser. size doesnt matter if your cutting straight through it. wither the cut is 5 inches, or 2 cm. its still cut. all electrical connections would be severed. theres no need to have the laser be huge in diamater.
right?
 

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  • #2
berkeman
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They are focusing the laser on as small a spot as possible (many many miles away). The goal is to burn through the outer metal skin and ignite any propellant tanks or piping they can. The counter strategy is to coat the missle skin with a reflective material at the laser wavelength.
 
  • #3
Danger
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And no matter what they want you to believe, the project so far is a total turkey.
 
  • #4
taylaron
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your probably right........
its a good idea though.
.......we'll get it eventually.....
 
  • #5
russ_watters
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Danger said:
And no matter what they want you to believe, the project so far is a total turkey.
Danger, there are several ABM technologies being worked on simultaneously and the media likes to talk-up the ones that are failures, but laser-based ABM defense is one that works. Not maybe, not could be, not promising: it works and will be in service in a few years. Here is the Airborne Laser:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airborne_laser
http://www.boeing.com/defense-space/military/abl/ [Broken]
The Airborne Laser (ABL) weapons system, designated YAL-1A, is a megawatt class chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) primarily designed to shoot down theatre ballistic missiles (TBMs) similar to the Scud while in boost phase. The laser system is fitted to a heavily modified Boeing 747-400F freighter and is still in the test period. The laser has been test fired on the ground but not yet in flight. However a much less powerful early flying prototype successfully shot down several missiles in the 1980s. It was called the Airborne Laser Laboratory, and was a technological pathfinder for the ABL [1].

The ABL doesn't burn through a missile, or disintegrate it. Rather it heats the missile skin, weakening it and causing failure due to flight stresses. If proven successful, a fleet of seven Boeing 747s with the ABL system would be constructed. In operation they would be divided between two combat theaters.
Though the prototype hasn't been tested yet, the fact that earlier technology demonstrators have proven successful leaves little doubt that it will work. It is important to remember, though, that this particular weapon has a range of only a few hundred miles, so it needs to be near the enemy launching the missile. The more comprehensive defense systems, however, are the ones that are failures.

Space-based lasers would work too, and could provide global protection, but would be too expensive for now. And yes, that sounds like Reagan's Star Wars. It is in fact, a direct decendant of that research, which at the time was little more than a pipe dream. But hey - on the plus side, DVD players are cheap today!
 
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  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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Much like the days when B52s were in constant flight, the ABL systems can remain in constant flight over the area of concern - like off the coast of N. Korea. This would [or does] allow them to be close enough to be effective during the first stage of a missile launch.
 
  • #7
Danger
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I'm not denying that the thing (after enough screw-ups to still make it a financial turkey) can shoot down a target missile. I'm also aware that there are several methods of countermeasures that could render it useless if the enemy decided to implement them.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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Well, all technologies are subject to countermeasures, so we take countermeasures to the countermeasures. It becomes a question of the cost to benefit ratio.

And I think you are still confusing the NMD and the old SDI program with the current ABL program.
 
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