posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 03:58 AM
you can have a nice 150kw laser, but only for a short time, we must wait if the team reasearch develop a practical system.
This is the essential limitation of current ABL systems in that you get about two shots of 2-4 seconds each with a 4 second recharge inbetween and
then a somewhat longer cooldown and chemical recycle/discharge interval, followed by perhaps 10-15 more such sequences.
OTOH, the ability to go with a closed cycle system 'as big as you want' on a ground installation (or even simply to vent and screw the
environmentals if you're a 'petty dictator') is much greater since the equivalent of a semitractor's weight is not all squished out into
aerodynamic shapes that enclose systems volume very inefficiently.
THIS is where the U.S. is _not paying attention_ to the consequences of it's 'pioneering efforts'. Because if the fluid cycle 'Sterling
Engineering' is simpler to do on the ground and the engineering math and high quality tooling (the U.S. annually graduates about 60,000 engineer
majors, Japan alone does something closer to 300,000) is something that we also no longer have a monopoly on. It's not even like you can suddenly
say "Okay, nothing with a microchip in it can go to X..." because even a high end gamestation like X-box has exploitable chipsets and /those/ are
largely being engineered in Malaysia and other PacRim States.
S2A's only real short coming is diffractive optics and anaprop (obscurrants, water vapor etc.) through the low level air. Once that is beaten, it
will become /vastly/ cheaper to put a 1,001 beam directors on the ground and then _dare_ U.S. airpower to fly a contrail over the top of a site.
Certainly, at 80-100 million apiece, the JSF is going to be absolutely WORTHLESS as a 'cheap fighter' able to trade attrition at that scale. Even
if we were not so in lust with our aircrews as to be willing to send them in like beaters to find the tiger's flaming eye by stepping on it.
ch1466 - I'm guessing you have a desk job involving computers...am I right? Because it seems like all your posts are long, in other words you
probably a fast typer. And I think having a laser on the HAA is a good thing, if its just a mirror then it cant stray to far from a powerful ground
station, or the ABL.
Why should it? The advantage of defense is that it the offense HAS TO come to it. This means you can set up as layered a defensive system as you
Only idiot countries, stuck in a 1960's mindset, try to use point defense systems _clustered around targets_ to defend against the inbound threat
like a man reaching for a gun in his nightstand as the prowler comes through his bedroom door.
And yet, even for massively capable systems like S-300/400, ASTER/MEADs and ERINT; this is basically what you are restricted to because you are
counting on a given emitter-X to detect a target-Y RCS at distance-Z ranges from said aperture frontface.
If the missile is therefore sitting next to the engagement radar (which is typical even for weapons with active/autonomous homing to provide midcourse
guidance uplink) you can NEVER shoot further than you can see.
Which makes a ballistic reach on the 150km on the S-300PMU and 300-350 on the S-300PMU2/400 class unexploitable. Because even if you (netcentrically)
catch the enemy with an area-surveillance system downrange of the sight (and assuming it isn't EA/DEAD'd within seconds) the airframe WILL move out
of the engagement box before the missile arrives, 40-120 seconds later.
If there is no target in the search volume, the seeker can't find it even if it is, itself, capable of detecting the base RCS and defeating all the
target's defensive penaids (towed/freeflight decoys, jaff, crosseye/crosspol Jx etc.).
The difference with a laser system is two fold.
First, it ditches the mechanical kill vehicle. So there is no time of flight nor heavy dollar investment in a throw away weapon which needs external
guidance (i.e. one is lost upon firing, the other MUST survive to fire again). If there is no need for a fixed radar:missile association index, you
can go to much cheaper sector radars (no engagement/FC 'high gain' tracking requirement). Or move to acouso-optical systems.
Second, because you KNOW the limits, very specifically, for line of sight or range extension by mirror, it becomes easier to justify imbedding the
likely ingress routes all the way out to the border because the laser not only does not need but in fact _cannot afford_ to play arrow-vice-archer
games at the target end of the enemy air threats weapons delivery zone. It simply is too hard to track a winged JDAM (20-50nm standoff) and too many
can be launched simultaneously to defeat them all 'defensively' around that fixed attack point.
Instead, you must switch to what I call _volume defense_ where it is the dirt that the enemy flies over to get to the target which counts. Not the
objective at it's end.
Here too, lasers aid you.
1. A decent range tracking camera, like unto that which showed the Columbia breakup, costs 2-4 million bucks. A decent 3D search radar runs 10-11
million. A good tuned artillery acoustic direction finding system will run you less than 200 grande.
2. There is no compareable throwaway (aside from 3-5,000 bucks of chemicals) on a half million dollar SAM.
With these two advantages, you can afford to TRIPLE the number of air defense (sensor and shooter) installation densities on the ground. So the
traditional SAM-1:Raid-1 attrition exchange rate goes further down, based on the notion that perhaps 2-3 sites play overlapping 'zone defense' and
each bag 2-3 kills before a response can even be mounted against them.
A 60-100 million dollar S-300 site is _not_, repeat NOT tradeable for even an F-35 type platform. Because you may only have 1-2 such batteries in
your entire OOB. But if you can kill 6 F-16s (25-27 million each) and lose one, 20 million dollar, THEL-M/NAUTILUS type system.
You will win the air war.
The only way to take back the high frontier once the enemy moves to SOL (Speed Of Light though the 'other definition' is also applicable) is to in
fact _yield it up_. Shifting to all lolo ingress methods and praying that you don't get hit by some idiot with a golden bb (which is even cheaper).
Of course this poses it's own problems.
In that a dead or captured pilot cannot fly another sortie. And all your IAM reliance on cheapo guided ballistic iron (even those with glide kits)
goes right out the window. Since your standoff from low level is never going to be more than about 8nm.
Even ignoring airframe costs, we WILL NOT trade aircrews, '1:1' with back of beyond barbarians. Which can only mean cruise or UCAV platforms as an
alternative. And that in turn takes away much of the glory and displaced identification 'knight complex' identification with aerial warfare as
being some kind of honorable sport.
Since robots don't /need/ pilots (i.e. their sortie rates are independent of manning ratio or fatigue), once you fire-find all the sparkle threats
with the robots as a function of corridor roll back to a given target area (using saturative attacks with missiles like LOCAAS dropped out of
aeroballistic, hypersonic, fast response weapons), you might as well continue to use said UCAVs to once more drop from altitude the equally robotic
(cheap and no human skill required after launch) bombs.
While nominally an interesting approach, this evolutionary path ignores two other problems:
A. The U.S. must come to a theater and set up a basing footprint using expeditionary pallet counts of A/B/C transferred (C-17) ton:mile densities.
If it makes sense to send mini-MIRV weapons out to kill the lasers. It equally makes sense (i.e. the technology will be available) to obliterate the
U.S. expeditionary force BEFORE it stands up.
B The 'People Factor' of what amounts to a union-dole military wage environment in which the officer flying corps are at the top of the salaried
food chain, will _never_ willingly submit to being outmoded. Hence you have what is now a 257 BILLION dollar investment in the JSF program for what
is increasingly looking to be fewer than 1,500 airframes (the original buy was for 2,398.). If, in peacetime, you expend all that capital investment
on a system which is like unto a Maginot Line in war, you won't be /able/ to recover and redirect investment into alternative methods, later on.
I have long said that war is a sport of butchers who seek not to win but to profit from losing, continually. Because the reality of conflict is that,
as it escalates on a technological spiral, you will reach a point where you can no longer leverage the battle with technical skill, tactical
'bravery' or logistical depth of resources over the people who are fighting it.
But must instead bow down and become servant to the machines which once made you a better killer but now ARE 'both the hand and the sword wielding
The sadness is that war is such a horrific event that we fail to realize it DOES have a purpose. Namely to amalgamate resources, both social and
strategic, under one legal and profit sharing system that is recognized by all as fair.
It is now too late to use it for that purpose. Because we have ourselves declared thru Nuremburg that war as a _national_ (say efficient) activity is
a crime against humanity without replacing the system of conquest with something better than entropic reinforcement of commercialism that is
In this, continuing to pioneer better war-tech which an ever smarter 'third world' now supplies an increasing majority of subcomponents for, is
asking to have to face and fight those whom we have kept from using war for it's real utility. People who WILL HAVE the skill to employ the very
systems we have taught them to exploit through suppression rather than liberation.
Such is, perhaps, a natural consequence to the break down of polarized powerblocks into an 'U.S. and Anarchic' environment. Yet from Rome and
Charlemagne to Spain and England it is also a VERY bad idea for overall global stability of civilization itself.
And if we fall from here, it will be a long drop indeed before anything catches us to start crawling up the slippery slope again.