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Are Fighters obsolete?

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posted on Sep, 3 2005 @ 05:45 PM
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You won't see the end of manned fighters anytime soon. Current UAVs and UCAVs are programmed to fly a certain route to wherever, and are targetted by humans in a control center. But you can't fly them in real time for any serious capabilities. The time lag factor is too great at the range they fly at. By the time you could try to manuver your UCAV it would probably already be shot down.

Lasers are an interesting weapon, but it will require at least two to three seconds time on target to destroy what you are shooting at. If the plane you're shooting manuvers you'll lose lock-on and have to reaquire the target.




posted on Sep, 3 2005 @ 05:59 PM
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Murcielago,
Think you're mising the point. A ground based laser system is going to be totally useless because lasers only shoot in a straight line. Flying at zero feet is going to put a lot of terrain between the target and the laser. There won't be any chance of getting a clear shot. Further to that - if there are swarms of decoys or whatever it won't matter how good the lasers are because the system won't know which targets to hit - they won't be able to take them all out and plenty of armed and nasty craft can get through to the targets. Put the lasers in orbit and you've got atmospherics to deal with. Maybe one laser can take out one craft - but until the weight comes down or the rate of fire goes up - the huge number of lasers you'd need in orbit to stop an orchestrated attack would simply make the system too expensive and lengthy to deploy in the first place. Also, new electronically accelerated projectile weapons look like they'll be capable of chucking tons of metal into orbit in the not too distant future so how is orbital anything going to have a chance against that. With forseeable developments of aircraft and lasers my bet is that the aircraft will stay in front for a fairly long time to come.



posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 01:31 AM
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Originally posted by kando
A ground based laser system is going to be totally useless because lasers only shoot in a straight line.

It will work for most missiles and aircraft, just not when they fly at around 20 feet.


Flying at zero feet is going to put a lot of terrain between the target and the laser. There won't be any chance of getting a clear shot.

If your at zero feet, I think you need to perhaps start the engines...just a thought. If this would be used as a defense shield, then the only thing to get in its way if the aircraft is flying low would be some water from the ocean, and not buildings and trees.



Further to that - if there are swarms of decoys or whatever it won't matter how good the lasers are because the system won't know which targets to hit - they won't be able to take them all out and plenty of armed and nasty craft can get through to the targets.

Future lasers will be solid state and wont need any reloading or cooling down time, you can keep on lasering away.
So you can shoot at all of the targets, whether they carry a real threat or not.



Put the lasers in orbit and you've got atmospherics to deal with. Maybe one laser can take out one craft - but until the weight comes down or the rate of fire goes up - the huge number of lasers you'd need in orbit to stop an orchestrated attack would simply make the system too expensive and lengthy to deploy in the first place.

By the time lasers are in orbit they will definiatly be solid state, and wont need large chemical tanks. The atmosphere wont take much of its effectiveness away.



Also, new electronically accelerated projectile weapons look like they'll be capable of chucking tons of metal into orbit in the not too distant future so how is orbital anything going to have a chance against that.

Are you refering to railguns.?
Whatever type of projectile they use, you can still melt it, turning it into a chunk of goo or liquid, which would loose are its aerodynamics and guidence, and it would just fall back to earth.



With forseeable developments of aircraft and lasers my bet is that the aircraft will stay in front for a fairly long time to come.

Yeah, I'd guess around 10-15 years before lasers have a large impact on the modern battlefield.

[edit on 4-9-2005 by Murcielago]



posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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Originally posted by Murcielago

With forseeable developments of aircraft and lasers my bet is that the aircraft will stay in front for a fairly long time to come.

Yeah, I'd guess around 10-15 years before lasers have a large impact on the modern battlefield.

[edit on 4-9-2005 by Murcielago]


This comment only applies to anti-air laser weapons wherin the laser beam is itself the weapon. When the beam is used for other purposes (which is all we've really been able to accomplish up to now), then I would have to say lasers have been very effective in combat for many years now.

Someone asked how hot lasers got and I understood the question to be asking how hot the target would get. If that was the question, then the answer depends upon the amount of power contained in the laser beam at the point it encounters the target. To refine the answer further, it depends upon the wattage delivered per unit of target area. In other words, if the beam is very small then all the wattage is contained within a small area and the target heats up quickly, thus requiring less dwell time on target to be effective. Of course, the more wattage contained in the beam to begin with, the quicker a target will heat up. Ideally, you want the highest power and the smallest beam in order to cut the dwell time to something the targeting system can attain. Another factor though is the heat generated within the laser system itself because of imperfect optics, less than perfect mirrors, etc. These defects currently limit the amount of time a laser beam can be continuously projected without destroying the weapon, which is why laser weapons are pulsed projectors (gives the equipment a break between pulses). Another factor to consider is the actual delivery of power to the weapon. It is impractical, because of physical limitations, to actually pump enough power into the weapon on a continuous basis to make it useful. Therefore, quick discharge power storage devices, such as capacitors, are used. However, that also means the devices require recharging and the recharge time is limited by the magnitude of the power available on a continuous basis. It all boils down to a bunch of engineering tradeoffs that must be considered for each weapon.

Now, having said all that, I'll tell you that the best systems currently available require only a few tens of miliseconds dwell time on typical aircraft materials to be effective at reasonable ranges. Again though, that time will vary depending upon atmospheric attenuation and the angle of incidence of the laser beam. (The closer the aircraft, the more nearly the angle of incidence to 90 Degrees, and the dryer & thiner the air, the less the dwell time required.) The real long pole in the tent is the targeting system (i.e., actually pointing the beam at the target and holding it there long enough for the laser beam to be effective). It turns out that building the targeting system is generally more difficult than building the beam projector.

To illustrate the problems, lets take a 50 ft. long aircraft at an altitude of 25,000ft. moving at a velocity of say 1200 knots (relative to the laser beam projector). The planes velocity in miles per hour is about 1380 mph, or 2024 feet per second. If one could project the laser beam onto the aircraft and say focus it enough that the beam was only 6 inches across at the point where it struck the aircraft that would still mean the aircraft would be moving through the beam at the rate of 24,288 inches per second, or 24.288 inches per milisecond. In other words, the beam would only dwell on any one point for about a quarter of a milisecond (this, of course, assumes the beam is stationary relative to the target). Now, if the beam spot were reduced to say 1 inch across the dwell time could be reduced by a factor of 36 times (the old square law of variation at play). However, in the example used, the beam would still not be effective against that aircraft because it would still be moving to rapidly through the beam. The beam would have to be reduced in size a little further before it would be effective. At a beam size of 1/2 inch, the aircraft would be destroyed by simply flying through the beam, but we don't have an optical system that can focus a beam to a 1/2 inch spot at 25,000 ft. What we can do is try to move the beam along with the target, but the air itself causes the beam to dance around quite a bit at that range. Hopefully, you get the idea just how tough the problem really is.

[edit on 4-9-2005 by Astronomer68]



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