modern U.S. missile defense program traces its roots back the 1980s
and the controversial "Star Wars" program.
While the 1980s program's ambitious goals proved utterly unrealistic
for the time, they ignited interest in the topic, and today with
modern electronics we are finally on the verge of realizing some of
the project's key goals.The U.S. Air Force just wrapped up
Laser Testbed (ALTB) against real missiles with dummy
payloads. The results were
a resounding success.The ALTB at 8:44 p.m. (PST), February
11, 2010 fired on a "short-range threat-representative ballistic
missile" and destroyed it. The test began with the missile
being detected by sensors and then the use of low-energy lasers to
track the target and estimate atmospheric disturbance. The
missile "critical structural failure" while still boosting,
after being hammered by the powerful megawatt-class High Energy
Laser.Next, a "solid fuel short-range missile" was
launched, approximately an hour after the first launch. Again,
the test passed with flying colors, identical to a similar solid fuel
rocket interception that was carried out last week on February
3.The ALTB is a massive electronics platform loaded aboard
Boeing 747-400 Freighter aircraft. The package features
infrared sensors to first detect missiles by homing in to their
exhaust plume. It then employs to kilowatt-class lasers dubbed
the Track and Beacon Illuminator, respectively, the first of which
tracks the target with precision and the second of which accounts of
the atmospheric disturbances.Then comes the critical step.
A package in the plane's nose underbody uses a very large telescope
to focus a megawatt-class COIL beam (generated by an Chemical Iodine
Oxygen laser) onto sensitive regions of the target.The
success of the program has raised a great deal of interest in the
U.S. Armed Forces for the the platform. In addition to nuclear
missile defense, it could be used as air platform to defend against a
variety of traditional missile strikes in arenas across the world.
Firing the missile is somewhat expensive, requiring special chemicals
to power the laser, however, it is still much cheaper than
traditional missile-based interception technology, and it it has the
advantage of being able to score hits on multiple missiles in quick
succession.The Air Force has also been testing a separate,
similarly named laser dubbed the "Advanced
Tactical Laser", which is mounted aboard a Hercules C-130H
test aircraft. The ATL is designed primarily to strike at
ground targets from the air, while the ALTB strikes at missile
threats. The ATL will use a slightly less powerful laser,
estimated to be between 100 and 300 kilowatts. The ATL is also
advancing well, scoring hits on moving ground targets.In both
cases, skepticism remains about how successful the designs would be
against surprise attacks and evasive targets. Nonetheless,
optimism is high at the Air Force's advanced weapons division
following the laser aircrafts' growing body of successful tests.
quote: The US is still at least a decade away from full-scale deployment
quote: The first nukes on Japan we used would not have been considered "ready for prime time" during peace time, but push came to shove and the military did what they needed to do to get the job done.
quote: Within just one WEEK, the residual radiation levels at Hiroshima were 1/1,000,000 of the total dose received from the blast itself. Levels have long since returned to normal background levels.
quote: "Fat Man" was a mathematical miscalculation as the 20-kiloton blast was twice what was intended...when you rush things, that's the risk you take. They also killed 170,000 more people than intended
quote: I'd compare it to the destruction of many African populations via slave-trade.
quote: I think a flock of F-35s with miniaturized versions of these weapons would be your primary means of attacking an enemy's own directed-energy positions.
quote: Ground stations are FIXED. Their positions are known beforehand. A fighter has to be tracked to be fired upon..and a stealth fighter with the radar echo of a mosquito is much more difficult to target than an installation that can't move around.
quote: You're still dodging the main point.
quote: You're right, the US regularly launches nuclear missiles with impunity, doesn't it?
quote: Iran (already planning ahead for when it gets them)
quote: ...some republican nutjob...
quote: Well lets make a list of which countries have used nuclear weapons against others: 1. The US 2. erm, ummm, there aren't any others So with that track record, I wouldn't trust the US with the ability to nuke another country, knowing there can be no retaliation.
quote: The ABL project is totally worthless against any nation with more then 150 BMs which means it is of Zero threat to Russia or China
quote: With ICBMs they have a lever in negotiations with the US (as do the US over Russia). If the Russian ICBMs are no longer effective weapons, bang goes their leverage.
quote: the more likely one is where Iran develops nukes, uses somali pirates to get a cargo ship or two, loads them up with a nuke on the top cargo pod, then detonates them in LA Harbor or SF Bay before Customs even looks at the contents. We would have no defense against it in either place.
quote: the more likely one is where Iran develops nukes, uses somali pirates to get a cargo ship or two, loads them up with a nuke on the top cargo pod, then detonates them in LA Harbor or SF Bay before Customs even looks at the contents.
quote: Detente didn't work but the left failed in their idyllic beliefs in revisionist history so they keep trying to push for a cooling of tension through talk rather than fixing the problem in the first place. To negotiate one must be in a position of superior power. Reagan proved the positive side and JFK proved what happens when you don't i.e. the Cuban Missile Crisis.
quote: Detente didn't work but the left failed in their idyllic beliefs in revisionist history so they keep trying to push for a cooling of tension through talk rather than fixing the problem in the first place. To negotiate one must be in a position of superior power. Reagan proved the positive side and JFK proved what happens when you don't i.e. the Cuban Missile Crisis
quote: What are you on about? Reagan contributed to the escalation of tensions. And the soviet nuclear stockpile in the early to mid 80s was increasing rapidly.
quote: Gorbachev cancelled it precisely because he knew that a soviet escalation into space weapons would torpedo the easing of tensions that was occurring in the late 80s.
quote: The problem is that a cargo ship wouldn't even need to be pirated. How much would it really cost to bribe a crew of 15? It's not like smuggling doesn't already occur on a fairly regular basis.
quote: So what's to stop smuggler's bringing Iranian and/or N.K. nukes across the US/Mex border and detonating near a city center?
quote: But what will be developed to counteract lasers?
quote: Maven: Infrared is LESS effected by the atmosphere. Shorter wavelengths (like blue) get scattered by the atmosphere...
quote: For anyone interested in peace, stability, and ending the threat of nuclear holocaust, this can only be construed as a great leap forward.
quote: In both cases, skepticism remains about how successful the designs would be against surprise attacks and evasive targets.
quote: Why? In a simplistic sense, one target is easier to hit than four...but if those four warheads are much closer than the single missile, that may not be true. Also, the additional time gives you additional shot attempts at each target.
quote: A nuke warhead with its firing ciruits fused is relately harmless. Worst case scenario is some very minor radiological exposure if the physics package is broached...but that's nothing compared to an actual explosion.
quote: odds are no one whatsoever dies.
quote: You began this nonsense by claiming that an undetonated warhead would be extraordinarily deadly
quote: Uranium metal is not dangerous to handle.
quote: Actually you have it in reverse. Handling the metal in solid form (assuming its not HEU, of course) is less risky than powdered yellowcake. Your only worry is accidentally inhaling or ingesting some...and that's easier to do with a powder than a solid.
quote: But your vision of the physics package of a nuke being as radioactive as the interior of a nuclear reactor is some Hollywood-fueled fantasy. Now get over it, and move on.
quote: "First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia. We will encircle the last bastion of capitalism, the United States of America. We will not even need to fight. It will fall as a ripe fruit into our hands."
quote: But numerous Soviet leaders and high party members said just that, as I've already demonstrated. You still don't understand. A basic tenet of their ideaological philosophy was that the Soviet System-- as titular head of world communism -- was in a state of perpetual war with capitalism. It was taught to everyone in the country, from small children upward, and their expansionism was a simple outgrowth of that philosophy. It was considered their moral duty to spread communism throughout the world, by any and all means necessary.
quote: How many nuclear warheads are mounted on missiles currently? About 40,000. How many are in the hands of terrorists? Zero? One?
quote: nally, your point is no more than a variant of the logical fallacy known as the "false dilemma". We don't have to choose between defending ourselves from missile attacks vs. terrorist attack. We can do both.
quote: There's a huge difference between calling out for a world communist revolution
quote: TextActually, it IS a small step, as we are already hitting missiles post-boost phase. And we're not doing it with a beam that moves at the speed of light, but with an EKV warhead, a significantly harder feat.
quote: Firing the weapon is somewhat expensive, requiring special chemicals to power the laser
quote: Firing the missile is somewhat expensive...