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MTHEL, Skyguard and Israel

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posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 03:12 PM
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In 2004 the US Army and their partner, the IDF chose to cancel the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser program after having spent $400 million and being told that it would take another $400 million to get the thing operational and in the field.

The purpose of the planned MTHEL program was to develop and test the first mobile Directed Energy weapon system capable of detecting, tracking, engaging, and defeating Rockets/Artillery/Mortars (RAM), cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.

In 2004, the MTHEL shot down about three dozen airborne targets in succession, including Katyusha rockets and mortars.
It was very successful in that regard - the main drawback was the amount of money that it would take to get the system in the field and operational as well as it's size and cost of individual units once R&D was done.

Now it's 2006 and Israelis have once again been running for cover as air raid sirens wail warnings of incoming Katyusha rockets.
Perhaps it's time to reflect now that there is a ceasefire ... I wonder if the damage to property and people in Israel is in excess of the $400 million it would have taken to get units in the field?

I don't often get political in my posts, but had the MTHEL program continued, some of Hezbollah's rockets may have gotten through, but many more would have been vaporized in flight.
Yitzhak Ben Yisrael, chief of research and development for the Israeli military until 2002, recently said the system could have been battlefield-ready by now and he regrets that it was discontinued.

Well all is not lost.

Northrop Grumman last month unveiled their "son of MTHEL" system called the "Skyguard laser defense system".
Building on the company's Tactical High Energy Laser (THEL) program, Skyguard can protect ground troops, cities, etc from Rockets/Artillery/Mortars (RAM), the effective range is 5 kilometers (3.1 miles). Weather can degrade the system but not nullify it.

Northrop Grumman is in negotiations with the US services about using Skyguard to protect deployed forces, air bases or other military installations. It is also speaking with Israel, which co-sponsored THEL development, about buying Skyguard.

Can Israel truly afford NOT to get the NGC Skyguard?

Sources:
* Northrop Grumman intracompany business watch memo - July 27, 2006
* Israelis differ on missile defense: SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER, Saturday, August 5, 2006
* Mobile / Tactical High Energy Laser (M-THEL) Technology Demonstration Program: Defense Update . Com
* Northrop Unveils Skyguard Laser Air Defense System: Aviation Week, 07/13/2006






[edit on 8-14-2006 by intelgurl]




posted on Aug, 14 2006 @ 11:21 PM
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3.1 miles isn't much...but then again Israel doesn't have a huge northern border.

It would cost between 30 million to 150 million...So it wouldn't be cheap...but the more they buy the lower the "per unit" price is.

I would think they would want the northern border having them, and one in every major city...So the price tag would likely be in the billions....I dont think Israel has that much money to throw around. However...considering there situation...being a small country and often having skirmishes with neighboring countries...and the fact that these are mobile...I would think the cost of these would be worth it.





posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:26 AM
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Originally posted by Murcielago
3.1 miles isn't much...but then again Israel doesn't have a huge northern border.

True, however it is rumored that the airborne version has a range of 20 kilometers (12.4 miles), so one has to wonder just how accurate the initial figure of 3.1 one miles is.
Still 12 miles isn't great, but it's a start.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:37 AM
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Two problem comes to mind.

- Hezbollah starts firing a lot of missiles at once.
- They start adding armour to their missiles.

If you add them together it will take longer per missile which leaves a gap for the other missiles to get though



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:44 AM
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This does sound to be a usefull defensive weapon. I do hope it will work and they will get it.
However has any one discused the possibility of useing it offensively? Could it destroy tanks? Kill people on the ground?



posted on Aug, 19 2006 @ 09:41 AM
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Originally posted by chinawhite

- They start adding armour to their missiles.

If you add them together it will take longer per missile which leaves a gap for the other missiles to get though


They'll screw up the aerodynamics and you'll get warped trajectories and shortrer ranges.
Firing many missiles will screw up any missile defence, but in HEzbollah that would mean
simultaneously exposing many launchers to airborne surveillance units thus jeopardising their backbone strike force. If we'd seen MTHEL in action, I can just imagine the media consumption!!!

'Star Wars in Action'.. 'Return of the Israeli '.. 'Futuristic weaponry is here today' ..


Not to mention the publicity these systems would get!!

On the other hand this would get Iran/Syria all messed up and they would perhaps be forced to up the ante?? Very difficult to predict what may cause a cascade of events that eventually lead to a evenly-matched full-blown war.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 09:01 AM
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Intelgurl,

It would appear that the IDF does not agree with your analysis.

Israel waiting for answers on Skyguard

Israel to purchase anti-Kassam system

If the reports are correct, they have decided to pass on NG's DF-based chemical laser and go with a combination of kinetic interceptors and a solid state laser.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 04:55 PM
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Originally posted by ChemicalLaser
Intelgurl,
It would appear that the IDF does not agree with your analysis.

As long as Olmert (or whatever his name is) is in charge over there nothing progressive will be done about missile/artillery defense. (my opinion)


If the reports are correct, they have decided to pass on NG's DF-based chemical laser and go with a combination of kinetic interceptors and a solid state laser.

The reason Israel is getting no new information on Skyguard is because the Pentagon will not allow Northrop to release new specs and details on the system's revised performance.
One could speculate that this has something to do with China's continued acquisition of American high technology through our dear friends in Israel.



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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I suppose they can paint a layer of shiny reflective coating and turn their missiles into mirrors, and then the beam will bounce off.




[edit on 11/29/2006 by warset]



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by warset
I suppose they can paint a layer of shiny reflective coating and turn their missiles into mirrors, and then the beam will bounce off.


Judging by the smiley faces I take it you are not serious, but just in case a reader of this thread takes it that way I will clarify why a missile with a mirrored coating is not going to keep a high powered weaponized laser from destroying it.

A $600 germanium mirror for a simple 500 watt CO2 laser can be easily destroyed in a fraction of a second if it has so much as the residue of a finger print that has been wiped off with a lens cloth without benefit of cleansing solvent.

For missiles to be able to reflect enough of a weapons-class laser beam to be impervious, they'd need to be polished to an optical grade and wiped off up to clean-room specs AND that's before it is fired.

As the projectile is launched, humidity, air pollution, dust particles and rapid oxidation cause surface anomalies immediately - this spotting on the projectile gives the attacking DEW ample nonreflective surface area to heat and thereby neutralize the intended target.



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 01:10 AM
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How about a deflector/dissapator field which degrades the coherence of the incident beam..
ForceFields!

Though I'm in Star Trek territory now, I don't rule out the laboratory replication feasibility of the same



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 01:56 AM
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Originally posted by Daedalus3

Though I'm in Star Trek territory now


we are living more and more in the world of star trek lately.

Microwave cloaking devices. Shields that can block RPGs. Lasers that can destroy incoming missiles.


I wouldnt rule out anything at this point.


XL5

posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 04:49 AM
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Maybe a rotating thin ceramic sheath could be used as it would be more evenly heated and cooled and maybe used as a gyro. Intelgurl do you know if "they" have high powered 300mS UV lasers that can ionize the air enough to get large energy discharge capacitors to discharge into a missile (from 2 laser systems 1 mile appart)?



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by XL5
Maybe a rotating thin ceramic sheath could be used as it would be more evenly heated and cooled and maybe used as a gyro. Intelgurl do you know if "they" have high powered 300mS UV lasers that can ionize the air enough to get large energy discharge capacitors to discharge into a missile (from 2 laser systems 1 mile appart)?

The ceramic sheath as you describe could work, but it would have to have a diffusion layer as well as a beam termination layer.
Additionally what is the diameter of the missile the rotating sheath of ceramics is on?
What speed is it rotating at?
On a missile 5 - 15 inches in diameter I don't see much of a benefit against a megawatt laser.

The problem here is weight.

Since a simple 300 watt IR laser may not burn through, but will break 4 mm of standard ceramic sheilding quite rapidly, how are you going to accomodate this added bulk on a missile or artillery projectile without negatively affecting it's aerodynamics, range, etc?

This is however a good idea for armoring satellites and the like from DEWs and is in fact in R&D.

Regarding the UV laser:
While UV lasers and their abilities in ionization/plasma propagation are well known, your question is so specific I wonder if you read about this somewhere.

I'm not understanding how the capacitors fit into the equation you describe and where they would be located,(in the air?) and why you would not directly attack the projectile with the lasing apparatus rather than use it to charge capacitors which would then attack the projectile - just not enough information. My inclination with such limited details is to think of this more like a hypothetical white paper as opposed to a real life project.

Most of the defense related research involving UV lasers has to do with subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic drag reduction by way of ionization of the streamline in front of the air vehicle. (think supercavitating except in the atmosphere, not underwater), this research also involves the side benefits of microwave resistance, which is essentially a form of plasma stealth.


XL5

posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 05:06 PM
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Hmm, so there is no ceramic like matterial that will not crack due to thermal stress?

As for the UV laser, the laser would have a thick quartz window and a thick insulating tube with a large copper or tungsten tube thats connected to one side of the capacitor.This window/tube would be put over the OC) The two lasers OR maybe beam splitters would compleat the circuit between the missile. The capacitor would be a cheaper way to add alot of peak power to the beam (vaporize sheilding) and to kill any transmissions coming from it. The capacitor would be about 100KV and over 50KJ.

I though of using a UV laser for conducting high voltage back in 1995 from chatting on IRC about lasers. Then some years after that I heard about a possible He-Cd laser taser and knew it was possible.

[edit on 30-11-2006 by XL5]



posted on Nov, 30 2006 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by XL5
Hmm, so there is no ceramic like matterial that will not crack due to thermal stress?

There is but how much weight are you going to be able to loft in the air with the missile?
Seems that simply overwhelming the DEW with a massive launch would be easier than developing a heavy misile with ceramic armor, I suppose it depends on the intended use of the missile (strategic?).


XL5

posted on Dec, 1 2006 @ 01:34 AM
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I guess, dummy missiles then. But, back on topic, maybe they would rather not start some form of arms race and running out of money or are making thier own, I dunno.

30mil for one is ALOT, unless its solid state laser diodes. The raw matterials and mfg. are probably only worth 1mil.



posted on Dec, 1 2006 @ 02:13 AM
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Originally posted by XL5
I guess, dummy missiles then. But, back on topic, maybe they would rather not start some form of arms race and running out of money or are making thier own, I dunno.

30mil for one is ALOT, unless its solid state laser diodes. The raw matterials and mfg. are probably only worth 1mil.

I think the US's main weapons competitor (Russia) is opting with the abruptly changing reentry path to out-maneuver kinetic energy interceptors and confuse DEW targetting sensors.

This as opposed to armoring the missiles with ceramics seems to be a cost efficent way of defeating defensive DEW's. If using ceramics was a more efficient concept I think our counterparts in the CIS would have embraced it.

Solid states are getting there too -

The major hold up to real life application that's been experienced is cooling of the diodes, but progress is being made. 2 years ago you could only get about 10% power out of each diode on a high powered SSL, now it's closer to 45%.

I'm still thinking we'll see 90%+ power by 2010, which would mean that the proposed SSL onboard the F-35 could technically happen, whether it actually would is based on politics and money, and of course on whether the F-35 actually rolls off the assembly line in large numbers or not.



[edit on 12-1-2006 by intelgurl]


XL5

posted on Dec, 1 2006 @ 02:34 AM
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Well dodging the beams will be fine for a while. They will probably start improve the control servos and add more computers and sensors on it or use more units to cover areas the missile might be headed next.

90% wow thats crazy, what is the main reason for all the heat, is it purity or something like crystal structure? 90% is Star Trek, 200watts in giving 180watts out and probably being very portable



posted on Dec, 1 2006 @ 03:10 AM
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What if ths system was dropped from development NOT because it costs too much but because more Isrealis deaths were needed to push up the animosity level towards Palistinians?




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