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Anti Aircraft Laser unveiled at Farnborough

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I still think that small fighters will be able to avoid the turbo lasers and we'll have to destroy them ship to ship plane to plane. :wink2:

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It's nice to hear that they design a gun to kill UAVs before they give those kites AI and unite them into SkyNet.

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must remember to wear the factor 1000 sun block with the mirrored reflection...

 

Mirrored reflection doesn't neccesarily work. I've seen lasers fry mirrors.

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How about that space age, light bending shizzle they're developing now to make Bird of Prey style cloaking surfaces? If the material could handle the throughput of however many mega watts remained of the laser after several thousand feet in distance and altitude through Navy weather.. come to think of it, how much would there be left to deflect anyway. These will probably be useful as a last line of defence to complement the Goalkeeper system in taking out the ordinance fired at a ship, but the distances and weather involved in taking out the aircraft firing them make it impractical. Chuck into the mix a particulate based chaff style countermeasure e.g. fine "water" vapour made to vibrate at a certain resonance on the skin of a slow enough moving platform for a cheap and cheerful alternative to Predator skin or Birds of Prey.

Edited by GwynO

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Cool will give it a try out on Sunday - its obviously pretty short range at the mo.

 

 

One that could take out ICBMs - now that would be a game changer rendering missile based attack almost null - no doubt there will be counter measures against this in the future.

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Imagine this high tech site getting completely disabled by an ancient smoke round :pope:

 

Popular misconception. Almost all lasers punch through smoke as if it weren't even there.

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impressive display, but then again...not. How effective would this laser be against a maneuvering aircraft? Not very, I imagine. It could be good against Katyushkas and Scuds, but a manned aircraft simply won't fly straight and level long enough for the heat to build up.

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A laser is going at the speed of light...no aircraft is going to maneuver out of it unless it hits the gimbal limit of the turret.

 

In addition, the beam is invisible...the first time you know you're under attack is when your aircraft malfunctions...or you smell smoke...

 

And a laser that is capable of destroying aircraft is not like a sunbeam (which is what most people think of)...it has FAR more energy behind it.

 

There are a LOT of misconceptions about what lasers are and how they work...

 

FC

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I would trade any M61 Vulcan for such a laser gun aboard a jet fighter. No need to aim before the target, as your shot has the speed of light. The dream weapon for high-deflection shots !

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The only thing is, like mentioned, you need to dwell on target for it to damage. A fleeting shot will peel the paint or scorch the skin, but you'll need a few seconds for a real damaging shot. Now with a turret with a lock-on feature, that's not an issue, but in a dogfight snapshots won't cut it while with bullets a lucky hit will do just as much damage as one carefully placed.

 

They have cameras able to track almost anything now, as long as the gimbal motors can keep the target in the FOV.

 

 

"Too close for guns, I'm switching to lasers!"

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If the beam can be aimed by a lightweight set of mirrors/optics it shouldn't have trouble staying in place.

Would be interesting if the laser "core" could be inside the plane linked to dozens of small turret windows on the surface. 360° missile defence and we're back to guns-only dogfighting in cool sunglasses. :rofl:

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The problem is that laser energy although impressive enough at short range, doesn't really cut it at long range in Earth's atmosphere for two reasons. First a beam will spread out over distance, the larger the distance, the wider the laser dot will have spread out which spreads the energy over a larger surface area, however this is not half as much a problem as absorption. Absorption is what happens when the laser beam has to travel through several litres of water vapour in the form of mist, cloud, rain, sleet or snow in the atmosphere, indeed any small particles like dust, or even just gas molecules get in the way of the laser and gradually the energy is lost to these little collisions that even if they don't stop the photons, still serve to scatter them in all different directions. If this weapon is to be credible at long range to shoot down aircraft, it really will be dependant on the weather.

 

Also, it isn't as if countermeasures haven't already been bashed out http://www.freepaten...om/4673250.html

Edited by GwynO

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This is good development and I laud the developers, but this still isn't viable against manned aircraft. It's a popular misconception that as soon as a laser touches something it "instantly" explodes. It doesn't work like that. It has to stay on target for a period of time in order to super-heat the target. In the video, the laser is held in position for about seven seconds on the drone while flying straight and level.

 

A manned aircraft would never let that happen. The pilot, if he wasn't already maneuvering, would feel the heat and pull some violent evasions to get away from the beam.

 

When the developers can get the beam so powerful it only needs to be held on target for ONE second, instead of the current seven, then you'll have something really dangerous.

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You will recieve a warning as a pilot, your RWR would light p like a christmasstree, cause you still need radarguidance for this toy

 

Would be interesting if they could send a EMP Beam to an aircraft ... you even don`t need to shoot it down, iw would fall from the sky by itself.

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The pilot, if he wasn't already maneuvering, would feel the heat and pull some violent evasions to get away from the beam.

 

I don't think there's a lot the pilot will be able to do to break lock, if the turret they're using is the latest version of Phalanx it can track a Sunburn anti-ship missile through a 20g terminal weave. Pretty much all point defense weapons systems can track faster than a jet can manoeuvre other wise they'd be redundant, the bonus with this is you don't have to move the mass of a gun as well, just a mirror to direct the laser energy.

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I don't think there's a lot the pilot will be able to do to break lock, if the turret they're using is the latest version of Phalanx it can track a Sunburn anti-ship missile through a 20g terminal weave. Pretty much all point defense weapons systems can track faster than a jet can manoeuvre other wise they'd be redundant, the bonus with this is you don't have to move the mass of a gun as well, just a mirror to direct the laser energy.

 

 

It isn't the same turret. Although not stated, this system by its very size and appearance imply the mechanism relies on beam spreading. Remember the wandering beams the Ghostbusters had? That's the problem with really high energy concentrated laser beams, when the beam is focused so tiny that it has a helluvahlot of watts per centimetre, it heats the air around it to ridiculous temperatures creating plasma, this plasma breakdown means the energy is dissipated in wobbly hunks of plasma even sooner than it is through a rainstorm, the laser beam widens out and renders the whole thing pointless. To avoid this, the beam can be spread at the source across a concave mirror and sent out so that the beam stays wide nearest the source and narrows as it is focused into an effective point on the target, the technological problems with this however are immense. The mirrors are subject to enormous amounts of energy, have to be constructed with precision out of very pure materials, to suppose they would then be swung about their gimble limit at anything like the same rate as a normal seeker head is a leap too far into the unknown at the moment. I'd like to see the stats on this in terms of tracking manoeuvring targets at speed (and in adverse weather) but it is likely a good "two weeks" before anything like that comes out, and even longer before a useable laser beam weapon could be swung around the sky like Phalanx.

Edited by GwynO

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The other thing is, point defense systems like CIWS and ZSUs don't need to retain a perfect firing solution lock for a long time. Once two or three shells hit the aircraft it is rendered ineffective if not destroyed. The lock doesn't have to be held for very long. Let's face it, these systems don't always hit against a determined enemy. They only need a split second of on-target firing to achieve success. It's that split second that makes them effective at all.

 

The laser system highlighted here has to maintain a lock for at least seven seconds, hitting the same spot on the airplane for the entire duration. If the current point defense gymbal systems could pull that off they would have already rendered aircraft obsolete!

 

EMP or Microwave emitters sounds tasty though. In this age of fly-by-wire most airplanes can't fly without their onboard computers. A Microwave may not kill with an impressive explosion but it could easily turn a 100 million dollar airplane into a paperweight right quick.

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