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Originally posted by paraphi
Are there anti-missile/rocket weapons systems in place around the world which can contend with the type of low tech, low level, "point-and-shoot-and-hope-you-kill-some-innocent-civilians" rockets being fired by Hezbollah into Isreal.
The Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) is a joint project of the United States and Israel designed to destroy short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, ground- and air-launched rockets, unmanned aerial vehicles, mortar shells, and artillery projectiles. It consists of an advanced radar that detects and tracks incoming rockets, and a high-energy laser beam that destroys them.
Once operational, THEL will consist of four main components: a command center, a fire control radar, a pointer-tracker, and the high energy laser itself. The command center, known as Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I), will manage all aspects of the system, including detecting, tracking, and destroying incoming targets within THEL’s range. C3I will be operated by a two-man crew: a commander and a gunner.
Positioned near the hostile zone, the fire control radar will continuously scan the horizon for threats. Once an incoming rocket has been detected, the radar will calculate the target’s trajectory and enable the pointer-tracker to lock on to the target. THEL will be mounted on a large gimbaled assembly that will allow the pointer-tracker to swivel when tracking the rockets.
Once the target is within range, the pointer-tracker will focus THEL’s high-energy deuterium-fluoride (DF) laser beam on the incoming rocket. The DF laser beam is created by mixing fluorine atoms with helium and deuterium to generate DF in an excited state. A resonator extracts the DF and transforms it into a beam of coherent, monochromatic light.
The beam itself is only a few inches in diameter, but is powerful enough to heat steel at 200 yards or more. The pointer-tracker will keep the laser beam focused on the incoming rocket until the intense heat causes the warhead to explode. Debris from the blast will fall short of the rocket’s intended target, thus effectively neutralizing the threat. Once deployed, THEL will be capable of firing 60 shots before reloading. The system will operate at a per-kill cost of approximately $3,000, making it one of the most inexpensive anti-missile systems in existence.