Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Watch a Lockheed Martin Laser Destroy a Missile In Flight

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the missiles-missiles-missiles dept.

The Military 177

An anonymous reader writes "As well as providing the equipment necessary to fire missiles, defense contractors also want to offer customers the ability to defend against them. Lockheed Martin is doing just that with its Area Defense Anti-Munitions (ADAM) system. ADAM is a high energy laser system mounted on a trailer allowing it to be transported around quickly to help defend high-value targets. It is still in prototype form, but basically uses a 10-kilowatt fiber laser which can be focused on to a moving target up to 2 kilometers away."

cancel ×

177 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Did this one havce a GPS unit hidden in it? (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675653)

n/t

Re:Did this one havce a GPS unit hidden in it? (1)

tsadi (576706) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675739)

The final application doesn't need GPS units as sharks can find their way without GPS guidance.

Re:Did this one havce a GPS unit hidden in it? (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676389)

Sharks have built-in GPS. You just need to purchase it's use "in-app".

Interesting (5, Funny)

LocutusMIT (10726) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675671)

But can it be mounted on a shark?

Re:Interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675757)

Sure, as long as it's a trailer sized shark
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_shark

Re:Interesting (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676487)

I'd settle for a video of this thing destroying a shark which has been launched into the air.

Cool (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675683)

Bet it costs a fortune, though.

Re:Cool (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675843)

Bet it costs a fortune, though.

Just ask some loan sharks with lasers...

Re:Cool (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676391)

Bet it costs a fortune, though.

Just ask some loan sharks with lasers...

Just loan them the shark long enough to fire a few shots.

Re:Cool (5, Insightful)

RobertNotBob (597987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675995)

Sure... but that was implicitly addressed when they discussed the cost of REPEATED use. So this is a Pay (a lot) ONCE, vs a missile (or other ammunition based) system which is Pay (less, but still serious coin) EVERY time you shoot.

It's not so bad when you put it into context.

2 kilometers isn't very far away. (4, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675691)

Considering this a defensive system 2 kilometers means the high velocity threat is nearly on top of what you want to protect. It's 'destruction' is still likely to rain down debris nearby.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (3, Insightful)

CrimsonKnight13 (1388125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675723)

Since it's a prototype, I'm sure progress will need to be made to extend the range & power of the laser. Otherwise, it'll only be a short-range solution.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (3, Insightful)

tsadi (576706) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675769)

The 2km limit is likely due to the heat lost due to the atmosphere.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675973)

Since you can deal with that using a proper wavelength, I'd go for thermal bloom problems instead.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (5, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675915)

Considering this a defensive system 2 kilometers means the high velocity threat is nearly on top of what you want to protect. It's 'destruction' is still likely to rain down debris nearby.

well.. most missiles aren't kinetic energy weapons.. few broken windows isn't as bad as a warhead exploding inside your building.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (2)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675929)

It's 'destruction' is still likely to rain down debris nearby.

Which would you prefer? Debris or an explosion?

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675961)

Why does everything always have to be a binary choice? I'd like debris and an explosion.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677019)

The only thing worse than splashing an enemy missile at 2km is the alternative.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677155)

Which would you prefer? Debris or an explosion?

Depends, how big is the debris and what's it made of, and how far away is the explosion?

Big giants chunks of debris would be no fun, nor would it be if the missile had radioactive material and destroying it turned it into a dirty bomb.

I'm more curious to know how much of this test was 'real', and how much relied on some of the tricks they've done in the past by essentially making it impossible for it to miss.

It's not like they haven't stacked these tests in their favor in the past to the point that you'd need whoever might be shooting at you to schedule an appointment and tell you exactly where the missile is coming from. Which kind of defeats the purpose.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (4, Insightful)

cfalcon (779563) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677221)

"Big giants chunks of debris would be no fun, nor would it be if the missile had radioactive material and destroying it turned it into a dirty bomb."

No, that would be the BEST CASE scenario.

If the missile has radioactive material then:

1)- It is already a dirty bomb. Destroying it minimizes the damage.
2)- IT IS A NUKE. Destroying it saves likely a city.

Neither of these are likely, but you'd rather 1000 dirty bombs than one fissile warhead.

Just a few seconds to react (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675965)

Considering this a defensive system 2 kilometers means the high velocity threat is nearly on top of what you want to protect.

Let's say we have a cruise missile traveling at roughly mach 1 or about 1,150 kph - actually pretty slow compared to many missiles. That means that the missile would cover the 2 kilometers in about 6.25 seconds. Better have a hell of a good target tracking system...

Re:Just a few seconds to react (1)

berashith (222128) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676125)

not all missiles have to reach the ground to deliver their destruction. This seems to be most useful at a distance from the target, in between the suspected launch point and target. Depending on the range of motion, that could nearly double the amount of time to destroy the missile. Like you say, this may require slowish missiles, and a somewhat low trajectory to stay in range. Still, portable tracking, aiming, and power is impressive.

Re:Just a few seconds to react (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676579)

Sounds like a point defense system--for when all else fails. The targeting/tracking system need not be limited to the effective range of the laser.

Re:Just a few seconds to react (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676599)

A target tracking system for an incoming missile will have a much lower slew rate than the video, where the target is flying perpendicular to the beam. Unless the missile starts doing the Harlem Shake on the way in, it's a sitting duck for a laser adjacent to the target. Also note that the internal tracking system is good to 5km out, so that gives it 10 seconds to lock onto the final trajectory, and it can be tied into a larger tracking system as well.

This is clearly limited to smaller, slower, less sophisticated munitions right now, but I would anticipate larger power as they get better, which means effectiveness further out and quicker kills. Heck, you don't need any laser research to quadruple the power of this laser - just bring in four of them and target the same incoming vehicle.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675991)

(1) A small shower of hot debris is a hell of a lot better than a successful missile strike.
(2) 2-km is further than you think. Most of the small rockets this is meant to protect against don't have a blast radius even *remotely* close to that distance. In most scenarios even the debris won't reach the target.
(3) As another reply noted, the distance limit is probably due to laser heat loss in the atmosphere. That sort of implies that the closer the target gets, the faster the laser destroys it. I'm not sure how the two curves line up, but one can bet that even if tracking pickup is a little late, the distance at which the missile explodes is fairly consistent.

The obvious way to get around this defense, of course, is not to use a fueled rocket with a warhead, but instead a kinetic projectile (i.e. a missile-sized tungsten slug). Heating that up won't really stop it (not to mention it would be moving too fast to track, most likely). However, the technology to fire such a weapon accurately, as well as the weight of the munitions, makes such a weapon far less practical for small insurgent groups and 3rd-world wannabe armies. Even the US probably doesn't have any easily-portable system to fire high-velocity kinetic missiles of significant mass.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676157)

Even the US probably doesn't have any easily-portable system to fire high-velocity kinetic missiles of significant mass.

They're called cannons; been around for centuries.

For a decade, the US Navy has been developing rail guns to shoot *really* high speed projectiles. Progress has been slow, though.

Re: 2 kilometers isn't very far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676537)

I don't know if absorption in the atmosphere is the real problem. I assume they use a wavelength that is not absorbed much. There are more serious challenges though. First, there is seeing, which is lensing in the atmosphere due to local temperature differences. Compensating for this requires adaptive optics (mirrors that can change their curvature locally). Another, simpler problem, is one of aperture. If you want to create a small focus at a large distance, you need lens/mirror with a large diameter. However, you must still be able to turn it quickly, so it should not be heavy. This is, however, a problem that can be fixed with more power, which is easily available.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676387)

Small pieces of debris have a considerably lower terminal velocity than an aerodynamic missile. I'm sure some larger bits would still be deadly but probably wouldn't penetrate a building.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676851)

When firearms first came about, bows could out-range them easily.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677331)

Until rifles, a trained longbow men could out fire and out range firearms. (trained is the operating word here – some English bowmen’s left arm was 2 inches shorter than their right due to repeated compression of holding the bow.) (Out damage is questionable.)

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677021)

You're right I'd rather be hit with a missile.

Re:2 kilometers isn't very far away. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677253)

Considering this a defensive system 2 kilometers means the high velocity threat is nearly on top of what you want to protect. It's 'destruction' is still likely to rain down debris nearby.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy [wikipedia.org]

Hmm... I have a question. (5, Insightful)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675725)

How long before we start seeing missiles with highly polished chrome finish on the outside?

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (4, Funny)

Brandano (1192819) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675787)

There's small battery powered ones already...

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (2)

LocutusMIT (10726) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675881)

That raises some interesting questions:

Given the stresses of launch, how long would such a finish remain highly polished, or at least reflective enough to protect against a laser?

Is the laser accurate enough to target the engine nozzles, which would very quickly lose any lustre they may have?

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676083)

Given the stresses of launch, how long would such a finish remain highly polished, or at least reflective enough to protect against a laser?

I think you're dealing with a cascade degradation problem anyway. Once a tiny part of the reflective surface loses its reflectivity because the beam melts it, or for whatever reason that can happen, the rocket is done for. There's no problem with laser weapons that can't be solved with the pulse being strong enough and short enough, since you'll never have a 100% reflective surface. Even in experiments with laser-initiated fusion, where the cleanliness and optical properties of the whole system have lab-grade care taken of them, the optical interfaces are a bitch.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676177)

Chromium is a very hard substance but it is a bit brittle! Still, the technology of chrome plating is VERY old and the problem of adhesion of chrome plating has been solved. Don't belive me? Look at all the chome parts on older cars. By the way, I know what I am talking about, I was a chemist at a chrome plating shop.

Re: Hmm... I have a question. (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677097)

And how many of the parts that you finished were then subjected to the stresses involved on the cone of a missle?

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676467)

Given the stresses of launch, how long would such a finish remain highly polished, or at least reflective enough to protect against a laser?

Ever seen footage of those old unpainted aircraft? I'm sure these days the alloys they use are even more resilient.

I imagine designers will start to double insulate missiles as well, so that the outer skin can get extremely hot without affecting the inside temperature much.

Is the laser accurate enough to target the engine nozzles, which would very quickly lose any lustre they may have?

That will only work if you position the laser such that it can hit the nozzle. A smart missile might even use the laser beam to target itself at the emitter, similar to how anti-radar missiles work, or adjust its flight path to shield vulnerable parts long enough to avoid being destroyed.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676619)

Given the stresses of launch, how long would such a finish remain highly polished, or at least reflective enough to protect against a laser?

High power rated mirrors used in construction of high power lasers which quickly get damaged if there is a fingerprint or dust on it will still get destroyed quickly if you exceed their damage rating even when in a pristine state. In a lot of such systems, this only requires a little bit of focusing (i.e. only concentrating the power by maybe a factor of 2), and you damage mirrors specifically tuned to the wavelength and aligned to the laser. Once damage starts to form, damaged spots are not very reflective and will absorb a lot more power.

So a well polished surface will only gain you a tiny fraction of a second before damage removes the polish. You would probably be better off trying to find a way to radiate, absorb, or distribute the heat so that it only amounts to localized surface damage instead of bulk heating of components.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677419)

something like clay would probably have better time at dissipating the heat. or heck, a layer filled with water or something else that evaporates.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

westlake (615356) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676005)

How long before we start seeing missiles with highly polished chrome finish on the outside?

How reflective is chrome (or any other coating) at the frequency of the laser? What are the chances the laser will simply "punch" or "torch" its way through the finish?

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676041)

There are other ways to defeat this, too. Even the most basic evasive manuevering algorithms have proven amazingly effective at getting past other missile defense systems. It's hard enough to target something moving in a straight line, and the complexity of the problem rises nonlinearly as the target's course becomes more erratic.

  Then there's the method weapons contractors love -- firing more stuff into the air at once, to overload the missile defense systems. That might be easier or harder with this system than others, it depends on its firing rate.

Re: Hmm... I have a question. (1)

phatStrat (575716) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676473)

"Ladies and gentlemen, for your consideration... the Jericho."

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676765)

Last second maneuvering would be one way to avoid this, but this has a far higher tolerance than a kinetic vehicle defense system. For an incoming munition, a quick shift just a few feet is enough to foil a kinetic attack as the reaction rate is low even for a thrust vectored, active kill vehicle. An az-el tracking system at 1km out is going to be dealing with arc-minutes of shift per second even if the incoming vehicle is pulling several Gs of acceleration. At burnout, that rocket was likely seeing 5-10 Gs of deceleration, maybe more. High power amateur rockets with fast-burning propellants can see burnout decellerations in excess of 30Gs, especially for transonic regions. (I know; I had one shred at 60 feet in the air after leaving the pad at nearly 220Gs acceleration)

As for overwhelming the system, that's another tack. But you've just increase the cost-per-kill for your enemy. That may not seem like it matters, but a cruise missile has a 7 figure pricetag, and you can only make and transport so many of them in theater.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676791)

It makes a nice point defense system at the very least for a critical target.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676237)

Or, perhaps the standard will become "fire five rockets at once".

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (2)

bcmm (768152) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676783)

What about retroreflectors? Presumably, it would require only a miniscule fraction of a missile-killing laser beam to screw up the tracking optics.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677131)

And it is pretty trivial to filter out the vast majority of a know wavelength for sensitive optics, even at the high power levels. Additionally, if the laser is focused on the target, it won't be focused by the time it gets back to the area around the source.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676973)

> How long before we start seeing missiles with highly polished chrome finish on the outside?

Shouldn't be long, we have a black man as commander-in-cheif

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (2)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677223)

Aluminum is usually the go-to material for broadband reflectance in the visible spectrum. It's about 93% reflective [wikimedia.org] when freshly applied (it corrodes on contact with oxygen to form a thin layer of transparent aluminum oxide which helps protects it from further corrosion but degrades reflectivity - better to coat it with something else). You can improve it a bit with coatings, but those are highly directional. Silver is a bit better for most of the visible spectrum, but falls off quickly towards the blue/ultraviolet end which is where many powerful chemical lasers emit (dunno what this system uses). Chrome is actually pretty bad, usually around 60%-80%. Other tricks like dielectric mirrors [wikipedia.org] are highly sensitive to wavelength and incident angle, while total internal reflection prisms [wikipedia.org] (common in binoculars) only work for a narrow range of angles.

So best-case aluminum will still absorb 7% of the laser energy, meaning worst-case the laser needs 14x more time to heat up a target vs. a black one (ignoring cooling). Of course if the range of this laser is only 2 km, that may make a huge difference.

Re:Hmm... I have a question. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677405)

A new generation of reactive armor will have to be developed to defend against lasers. Some kind of fun phase-change material stored in layers of lattice?

Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (4, Insightful)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675737)

>> As well as providing the equipment necessary to fire missiles, defense contractors also want to offer customers the ability to defend against them.

Naturally. How else would you extract top dollar from both sides?

Re:Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675981)

I'm pretty sure niether China nor North Korea got their missiles from Lockheed Martin.

Re:Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676345)

Stealing weapon technology from Western defence contractors is commie tradition.

Re:Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676347)

Not directly, you mean. Once created, it's inevitable the technology will be leaked to or be "clean sheet" re-engineered, by, eventually, all of one's enemies.

Re:Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676375)

Unfortunately, Slashdot doesn't have an option for the more-precise "+1 Tragicomedy"...

Re:Act Now, Supplies Are Limited (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676521)

How else would you extract top dollar from both sides?

Lobbyists, bribery, paranoia, and threat construction. None of which require you to offer defensive systems against your own "defensive systems."

Aircraft carriers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675797)

Maybe carriers won't go extinct after all

Re:Aircraft carriers (0)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675949)

Maybe carriers won't go extinct after all

I'm sure they'll have a missile design that's immune to this soon enough.
moreover, this design looks like it needs to know the type of missile?

and editors, why the fuck is the subject in flight if it's tethered missile? or am I superman since I "flew" on a zipline once??

Re:Aircraft carriers (2)

cyberchondriac (456626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676031)

You watched the wrong (bottom) video then - that was last year's test. This year the missile was in free flight. However, the site provided both videos on the same page.

Re:Aircraft carriers (1)

akb (39826) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676273)

This laser with its 1.5km range would be of little use against a maneuverable DF-21D [usni.org] traveling at Mach 10. SM3 is the missile being tapped to for that duty but the kill vehicle is not the big challenge.

Re:Aircraft carriers (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676475)

That *might* be true. Remember that Mach 10 is not the likely speed of the craft at full atmospheric density, and at high speeds the integrity of the heat sheilding is very critical to performance. For an incoming missile, the long range slew rate on the laser will be very low (i.e. easy to acquire and track), and actual penetration of the airframe won't be necessary if the skin is at or near it's thermal limits on final approach to the target.

So, yes, 1.5km will be covered very, very quickly by a hypersonic vehicle on final targeting (likely around 2 seconds, M=2.5, at 1 atm), but it won't take much more before this system will be capable of destroying one as long as it can track it and apply power as soon as it enters the effective zone.

home version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675829)

Now if they can make it small enough to zap the flies and mosquitos that inhabit my house in the summer...

Re:home version (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676035)

Better yet, print one and start shooting down the drones, or at least blind all the surveillance cameras.

Why don't you take an existing product and put... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675835)

Why don't you take an existing product and put it on a truck.
Boeing did this years ago from a 747, while in flight.
so LM, who makes planes, said lets do that but do it easier by not making it fly.
yawn.

Re:Why don't you take an existing product and put. (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#43675935)

A trailer is considerably more maneuverable than a 747. It also uses a lot less gas if defending a stationary target. And a lot less $$$ overhead just to mount a weapon.

Plus pretty much all of the other reasons why automakers are still around when aviation manufacturers can make stuff that *flies*

Re:Why don't you take an existing product and put. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676117)

Well LM did do the beam control and targeting for that Laser on the Boeing airplanejust saying, its a little naive to make this Lockheed vs Boeing (it wouldn't surprise me if Boeing had some part of this laser on a truck)

Re:Why don't you take an existing product and put. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676451)

Why don't you take an existing product and put it on a truck.
Boeing did this years ago from a 747, while in flight.
so LM, who makes planes, said lets do that but do it easier by not making it fly.
yawn.

The Boeing system(the YAL-1) was a chemical laser. Those things are markedly better at high power compared to ordinary photopumped gas lasers or solid state lasers; but are somewhat disliked because of the difficulties involved in supplying and exhausting substantial quantities of nasty halogens under field conditions.

Re:Why don't you take an existing product and put. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676705)

The laser system used on previous airborne tests were chemical lasers. The lasers consumed chemicals each time they fired, which usually had really messy logistic problems and were expensive. The 747 system would only get about 20 shots before having to land and get more fuel for the laser systems.

Newer laser systems in the news in the last year or two are doing similar things that may seem like they were done a decade ago, but instead are being done with solid state lasers that only consume electricity in the short run. As long as they are supplied electricity, they can keep firing, and that makes them much cheaper and easier to actually use in real world situations. The systems should ultimately be much more robust and reliable too, but it has taken a lot of research to get such systems to be portable and high power.

Arms race. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675863)

In response, all the worlds missles are now chrome plated, and you're burning the city or a forest, or whatever on the ground.

Re:Arms race. (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676001)

In response, all the worlds missles are now chrome plated, and you're burning the city or a forest, or whatever on the ground.

That wouldn't work. The reflective surface wouldn't be able to do that with the beam hundreds of meters away. Why do you think that optical mirrors are so precisely shaped?

not as useful as you might think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43675959)

These are designed to defend against qassam type rockets. Qassam rockets are very simple rockets (steel tubes, warhead on the tip, no electronic gizmos) that are fired into Israel by the Palestinians. I doubt that they could defend against something more substantial.

Re:not as useful as you might think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676299)

Just curious if there's a reflective coating that can be applied to heavily reduce the impact of the laser.

I mean, there has to be a way to protect commercial airplanes from these weapons, which could be used on the missiles themselves.

Yet (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676421)

you forgot that part.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676063)

the longest or saiD. 'Screaming

cool, except for.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676081)

north korean missiles will be so unpredictable and so off target, it'd be *impossible* to position a truck, or even a fleet of them, in position to take one out.

Mirror surface, (1)

Pirulo (621010) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676205)

I always wondered. What if the targets are covered with a high quality reflective mirror surface?

Re:Mirror surface, (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676457)

It just takes slightly longer to destroy them. The best reflective surfaces are easily fouled by handling. Ever see what happens when you accidentally touch a headlamp (or projector) bulb with your finger while installing it? It still looks perfectly transparent, but *boom* it doesn't last long under even a 50W heat load. Now take your awesome mirror finish and send it through tens or hundreds of miles of atmospheric dust/bugs/ impurities. All of a sudden your ideal mirror becomes just good. Then we hit it with a laser and the energy that does get absorbed chars whatever is on there, which makes it even less reflective, and just like that your perfect mirror becomes just another ho-hum surface we can cook popcorn inside of.

Re:Mirror surface, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676463)

Might not help. No mirror can reflect 100% of a given wavelength. Putting a mirror on the missile will increase the time you need to train the laser on it, but the mirror will still be heating up quite a bit from a High Energy Laser. You'll be increasing the time-to-kill by the amount of time it takes to punch through the reflective layer, which may be seconds.

See? SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676309)

We told you SDI would work!!

.

Re:See? SEE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677061)

Those fucking lasers are pointed AWAY from earth. Derp. SDI was a joint soviet / US operation. What you were told was a ruse.

This is extremely out of date. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676365)

Ft Bliss USA, they were testing lasers on conventional ballistics. Maybe the program finally completed and this is the end result. But I suspect this can also shoot down ballistics as well.

Re:This is extremely out of date. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676745)

Were those the chemical laser based systems that got rejected due to unrealistic logistics requirements and limited firing rate?

Re:This is extremely out of date. (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676841)

I don't know the details for you sorry =/ There's a good chance your right. I will tell you that I heard about lasers targeting ballistics from my CO. He could have been bullshitting us. But he was not prone to that kind of behavior =)

Re:This is extremely out of date. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677285)

The Tactical High-Energy Laser shot down mortar shells over ten years ago and a few years later could defeat a salvo. But I've heard it described as being the size of several school buses and it was a chemical based laser that consumed expensive and hard to supply chemicals every time it fired. Interest was lost in the project due to how expensive it was to both make and run. Israel, who had a big interest in the project, instead went for a missile based system for their Iron Dome system. I've heard in the mean time that the laser system had been improved so it would costs about $10k per shot worth of chemicals, versus the $50k per missile in something like Iron Dome, but there were still concerns over practicality and reliability. At this point, they are probably holding out for something more like this that uses solid state lasers that would cost a few cents of electricity to fire (plus long term maintenance costs, although that should be within an order of magnitude of other similar systems, and still much cheaper than thousands of dollars a shot).

Only 2000m (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676439)

So at mach 5, you really don't have much time to kill the missile...

Noticed (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676465)

The rockets were painted black. What happens when a rocket is not painted black?

Re:Noticed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676821)

It's a red door.

Fog or Rain? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676661)

I'm guessing you need pretty clear weather for the targeting system to work.

The 80's called. They want their space lasers back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43676835)

This was talked about in the 80s (there was even a movie made about it) but was neutralized when it was learned that all Russia had to do to completely nullify this defense mechanism was to have their missiles rotate in flight.

Re:The 80's called. They want their space lasers b (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676901)

A) This is for targeting smaller missile (non-balistic). Smaller missiles are... well smaller. They take less heat to damage and cause failures and they have less surface area to spread the heat out over.
B) That was 30 years ago. Laser power and tracking has improved just a bit since then.
C) This is more about defending against the kind of dumb rockets that Hezbollah fires into Israel every so often as it is about an engagement with a highly funded modern military.

Re:The 80's called. They want their space lasers b (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677149)

Rotation of missiles in flight also makes escape velocity lower.

http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/exopolitica/exopolitics_vonbraun02.htm
http://www.brucedepalma.com/n-machine/spinning-ball-experiment/

Until it rains?... (1)

tandr (108948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676875)

Missile defense system is designed to operate when the target is in *clear* sight? What if skies are not so clear - heavy rain, fog, or dust?

"Baron, my apologies. These madmen are attacking under cover of the storm." --Frank Herbert, "Dune"

Re:Until it rains?... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677369)

It's not quite that simple. If the beam is narrow enough, it won't pass through much rain. If the beam is of the proper wavelength, fog may not deviate it much. Furthermore, there's the little element that the beam will instantly evaporate whatever water it comes close to, so it could very well "buffer" an area around it just by being there. This isn't to say it wouldn't be affected at all, but chances are it could still be effective if calibrated properly.

Phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range (1)

tekrat (242117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43676929)

Terminator: "Phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range."
Shopkeeper: "hey, just what you see here pal..."
Terminator: "Uzi nine millimeter."
Shopkeeper: "You really know your guns. This baby's perfect for home defense..."

Cool... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43677213)

But did they have to follow the video with PSY's Gangnam Style?

PETA Approved? (1)

Toad-san (64810) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677267)

Apparently no birds were harmed in the making of that video.

We'll probably never see the videos where they were :-)

What are the alternatives? (1)

eepok (545733) | about a year and a half ago | (#43677303)

Honest question.

What alternatives are there to a low-production, high-powered laser that likely requires a ton of support crew/machinery to take out missiles?

Phalanx or successors? Are these considered competent?
What about missile-to-missile platforms?

And how useful is this thing if it's not an on tangential course?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?