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US Air Force Wants a Laser for the Spectre by 2020

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posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 04:05 PM
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The head of the US Air Force Special Operations Command wants to put a 120 kilowatt laser into the AC-130 by 2020. First to defend against MANPADS and other SAMs and then to be used as an offensive weapon. The concerns are about beam quality and the specifically, the beam director.

Keeping the beam director mechanically or rather vibrationally isolated is the real key. We've built 100+ kw beam directors before (MIRACL, THEL, ABL, ATL). Its more whether or not we can keep the beam on target steadily enough now on the 130.




posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 04:37 PM
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a reply to: anzha

They've already successfully tested a laser on a C-130H.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 04:49 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That was the Advanced Tactical Laser (the ATL I mentioned), was it not? That's a chemical laser, either DF or HF, and the HELLADS derivatives are solid state lasers rather than chemical lasers.

Anyone who wants to place a chemical weapon on the battlefield needs their head examined. Florine is bad joojoo. REALLY bad.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 04:52 PM
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a reply to: anzha

It was, but it showed that they can successfully track a target despite the vibration of the airframe.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 04:56 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Tracking and keeping the beam spot where it needs to be for maximum effect are different critters.

I know since I left the zapzap industry the adaptive optics are much better, but that is probably orthogonal. My concerns were mechanical isolation of the BD especially if other weapons are in use.

I traded death rays for skynet in the career path.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:00 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Yes, but if they can keep the ATL on target to achieve burn through on a target, and they did, there's no reason they would have trouble with any other laser.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:06 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Poor Chevy blazer too. That hole they burned through the hood is gonna need some body work to fill.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:07 PM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

A little Bondo, some 200 mph tape and it'll be good as new.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:39 PM
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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: anzha

It was, but it showed that they can successfully track a target despite the vibration of the airframe.


the target was stationary on the ground

No doubt things have improved since then and I'm sure everyone expects better targeting, but that trial was not really a demonstration of a useful targeting mechanism.

The YAL-1 shot down a missile in 2010 - so that seems like a more appropriate example to base conjecture on.

I note to that the laser in question is a "chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL)" - whioch appears to use no fluorine? Although the mix of chemicals it does use isn't all that appetizing!!



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:41 PM
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a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

They were shooting down Sidewinder missiles in the 70s and early 80s.

Stationary or not, the point was that they could overcome the vibration of a C-130 airframe and hit a target. Not that lasers can hit targets in general.
edit on 9/16/2015 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:41 PM
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a reply to: anzha

Is there a focal point on the laser or at they just as powerful throught the beam (understand it will probably lose power during it's travels).



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:46 PM
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I figured we were already using some kind of laser already, and those in the "know" knew that. So now they're going white with their lasers?



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 05:55 PM
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a reply to: Forensick

Adaptive optics are your friend here. You can change your focal length.

No matter what, you're going to get loss due to the atmosphere. The lasers normally operate in the wavelengths that this is at a minimum. There will be falloff no matter what you do, but you also fly above 30k feet and can do most of your zapping from there and it significantly helps. Not that the C-130 would do that, but thinking of the F-X and FA-XX or a fleet defense drone.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:02 PM
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a reply to: MystikMushroom

There might be some black work, but must was just plain classified. DARPA finally got all the pieces just right with HELLADS.

The Navy has also made really significant progress on the Free Electron Laser, but that's a shipboard laser only. The awesome part is you can tune your beam's wavelength. Even if you could have a magic material that was a perfect reflector at one wavelength they could change the beam's wave and wham.

Laser work was significantly reduced during the 90s, not because it went black, but because it was equated with Reagan's star wars program and not quite developing as fast as promised.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:04 PM
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a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

I was thinking of MIRACL, THEL and ATL. COILs are almost as nasty.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:09 PM
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Even though the laser is much smaller than the ATL I think they will have to remove something significant to make space and free up 5000lbs. I wonder if they will drop the director through the bottom of the fuselage again? I recommend the video in the link because he first mentions Tactical Off Board Sensing which is a pretty cool notion for foul weather CAS.
Cool thread OP



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:14 PM
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a reply to: howmuch4another

I think they are dumping the 105mm. However, they're redoing the weapons mix in general.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:19 PM
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a reply to: anzha

No, they put it back. They're changing some of the other guns though. The 40mm Bofors went to a Bushmaster 30mm. The first two Js will have the 105 retrofitted, but they're going to be standard on later aircraft.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:31 PM
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since ABL the footprint of a laser identical in strength has shrunk to 1/10 the old foot print. addtionally they went solid state and eliminated the need for exothermal fuels and oxidizers. advances in tech have also greatly improved bloom resistance as well as atmospheric interference. not quite ready for fielding but rising in TRL is phase shift and other forms of no moving parts beam steering.



posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 06:38 PM
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originally posted by: anzha
a reply to: howmuch4another

I think they are dumping the 105mm. However, they're redoing the weapons mix in general.


I don't think so...they committed the J variant to the 105mm less than a year ago..Maybe because they are only putting the laser on 4-5 gunships they will replace the BAG. Sure sounds like the desire to make the J model more modular and flexible in its weapons load has had a negative impact on stability and targeting.



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