SCI/TECH: Mobile High Energy Laser Test Successfully Destroys Large Inbound Rocket

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posted on May, 7 2004 @ 09:30 AM
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On May 4, at the Armys White Sands Missile Range, N.M, a Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) successfully destroyed an in-flight large-caliber rocket with a live warhead. The MTHEL was designed and developed by Northrop Grumman for a U.S. Israeli contractor group. It is designed to intercept and destroy a wide range of targets in-flight, to protect U.S. interest, and those of its allies.
 

NORTHROP GRUMMAN
REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 6, 2004 -- As the scope of battlefield threats continues to expand, so does the versatility of a high-energy laser system to defeat them. The U.S. Army's Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (MTHEL) testbed destroyed a rocket on May 4 that's larger, faster and that flies higher than previous threats destroyed by the laser weapon demonstrator. Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) built the demonstrator for the Army and the Israel Ministry of Defense (IMoD).

The large-caliber rocket is capable of twice the range, achieves more than three times the altitude, and carries a much larger warhead than previous targets. Many countries already possess large-caliber rockets. The destroyed rocket is representative of threats faced by U.S. and Israeli forces. In testing to date, the MTHEL testbed has destroyed 28 Katyusha rockets and five artillery shells in flight.


This mobile defense system would be a great asset to the U.S. and especially Israel. The MTHEL could destroy most of the threats that Israel faces from its neighbors, especially from Hizbullah attacks in Lebanon. The advantage of an energy laser system, is that it can intercept incoming threats no matter what the speed of the object. Previous test have shown that the MTHEL can even destroy artillery shells in flight. The enemy would be successfully firing rounds assuming that they were reaching their targets, only to later learn that they were intercepted in flight. The psychological advantage is almost as good as the actual weapons capabilities. Why spend the effort launching attacks when they will only be knocked down.

The capability of a single MTHEL would provide protection of a large area. The MTHEL will be able to fire a beam once every 5 seconds, and track 15 targets simultaneously. This laser weapon system has been in development since 1995, and now it is in it's final stages of mobility testing. According to Northrop Grumman, the system expected to be battfield ready by 2007.

Additional Resources:
Videos and photographs of the MTHEL

Related ATSNN Articles:
Directed Energy Weapons, An ATS Analysis & Discussion

Additional Sources
jpost.com


[Edited on 7-5-2004 by dbates]




posted on May, 7 2004 @ 09:36 AM
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Thanks for posting this Dbates...

There is also another thread that has recently discussed this particular laser.

www.abovetopsecret.com...



[Edited on 7-5-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 09:43 AM
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You seem to be the resident expert on these weapons. Do you think that they will actually wait until 2007 to deploy these weapons? They seem to be fairly capeable right now.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 09:44 AM
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Moscow Russia has designed a revolutionary weapon that would make the prospective American missile defence useless, Russian news agencies reported Monday, quoting a senior Defence Ministry official.

The official, who was not identified by name, said tests conducted during last month's military manoeuvres would dramatically change the philosophy behind development of Russia's nuclear forces, the Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies reported.

"If deployed, the new weapon would take the value of any U.S. missile shield to zero, the news agencies quoted the official as saying"
www.globeandmail.com...



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 09:50 AM
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Well, I wouldn't say that the value of a missile shield would be zero. Unless you can manuver your missiles at the speed of light, its kind of hard to out run a laser beam. I don't believe that they plan on using these against nuclear missiles. You need line-of-sight to destroy with a laser, and that's just taking way too long when the inbound is a nuclear warhead. Nukes usually detonate thousands of feet above the ground anyways.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 10:50 AM
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I would suspect some of North Korea's neighbors would be quite interested in the system. While the system needs line-of-sight to operate, I wonder how effective it could ba against outbound missles near their source rather than inbound missles.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 11:31 AM
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I saw the story on CNN last Night, they showed the laser it a Shell from a Howister, not a missle maybe it was just bunk footage but it showed a Shell it was hitting. Pretty Sick stuff!!



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 11:32 AM
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Originally posted by dbates
You seem to be the resident expert on these weapons. Do you think that they will actually wait until 2007 to deploy these weapons? They seem to be fairly capeable right now.

Expert? Me?


The MTHEL is obviously a success as far as funtionality goes...
the greatest (but not the only) problem facing the MTHEL now and thus keeping it from short term deployment is size reduction.
However, from an operational standpoint it could concievably be deployed in the amount of time it would take to build more units, then simply recieve upgrades as it is further developed.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 11:37 AM
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"If deployed, the new weapon would take the value of any U.S. missile shield to zero, the news agencies quoted the official as saying"

Wonder if they are talking of scalar technology - If true, it could be quite scary. My guess, however, is this is still a dream - not a reality.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 11:43 AM
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Originally posted by ShiftTrio
I saw the story on CNN last Night, they showed the laser it a Shell from a Howister, not a missle maybe it was just bunk footage but it showed a Shell it was hitting. Pretty Sick stuff!!

The video clips of howitzer shells being destroyed in midflight happened months ago - chances are CNN simply had that file footage available but not footage of the recent large missile shoot down.

It strikes me as being a theoretical "given" that the large missile could be shot down, being that it's a much larger target.

The previous shoot downs of multiple launched rockets and artillery shells are far more impressive to me being that the targets are so small.

The power of the MTHEL to destroy a large missile or a small rocket is way more than adequate - accuracy and sustained tracking through the trajectory of such a small and fast moving target is what I find most impressive of all about the MTHEL.



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 11:53 AM
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Originally posted by Baerwolfe
"If deployed, the new weapon would take the value of any U.S. missile shield to zero, the news agencies quoted the official as saying"

Wonder if they are talking of scalar technology - If true, it could be quite scary. My guess, however, is this is still a dream - not a reality.

It is implied that they are referring to the maneuverable re-entry vehicle that the Russians have been working on the past few years.
It's also certainly possible that the Russians have been working on a hypersonic cruise missile...
It is known that they have been diligently working on a hypersonic vehicle of some kind.
It may also be important to note that the US is testing a hypersonic cruise missile - flight test begin towards the end of 2004. Expected speeds are in the Mach 6 range.


[Edited on 7-5-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by CommonSense
I would suspect some of North Korea's neighbors would be quite interested in the system. While the system needs line-of-sight to operate, I wonder how effective it could ba against outbound missles near their source rather than inbound missles.

That is what the ABL (airborne laser) is for...
With a range of hundreds of miles, the ABL is designed to detect a launch and/or be networked to another aircraft that detects a launch and attack that missile in it's boost phase.
The other side of the equation is the MTHEL which although primarily is designed to neutralize artillery/rocket threats could also be used to neutralize incoming larger missiles like the one referred to in this newstory.

[Edited on 7-5-2004 by intelgurl]



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 12:11 PM
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Could this be used on other things besides missiles? Maybe to take a hole out of a plane or ship? Could it be adapted to underwater combat, not that there is much of that anymore?

Also is there anyway o stop this? Maybe a shiny mirror
?



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 12:16 PM
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I was thinking about 'line of sight' problem. Yes, if the MTHEL was deployed on the ground, it would be impossible to use against a nuke. But what if it was put in orbit. I remember reading something like that when Reagan's 'Star Wars' plan was being talked about.

KayEm will love this - she's from Redondo Beach. This is only the second time I have heard it mentioned. The first was an episode of 'Angel'



posted on May, 7 2004 @ 01:06 PM
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Originally posted by jakeb16
Could this be used on other things besides missiles? Maybe to take a hole out of a plane or ship? Could it be adapted to underwater combat, not that there is much of that anymore?

Also is there anyway o stop this? Maybe a shiny mirror
?


"Could this be used on other things besides missiles? Maybe to take a hole out of a plane or ship?"
Sure, the plane far easier than the ship simply because the fuel tanks would be so easily accessible by the beam.

"Could it be adapted to underwater combat?"
No... there are other options here... a recent developement with shockwaves that neutralize incoming torpedoes is one...

"Also is there anyway o stop this? Maybe a shiny mirror
?"

This is a common question people have about DEW's, lasers in particular.
First off a shiney mirror on a missile is probably not very aerodynamic... if the surface of the missile is polished to reflect like a mirror the laser will still take it out.
I have an in depth explanation for this at the following link:
Are Laser & Kinetic Weapons Closer Than We Think?
The short answer is this:
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. Not the sort of thing that's practical in combat.

Please also consider that as the missile flies through the air, the heat generated, the humidity, air pollution, dust particles and general oxidation cause surface anomalies immediately upon being fired or launched - this spotting on the projectile gives the attacking DEW ample nonreflective surface area to heat and thereby neutralize it.

One other consideration here is lasers come in a variety of bandwidths and what is a mirror to one bandwidth is not a mirror to another bandwidth and can in fact instantaneously be vaporized with a bandwidth that does not find the mirror reflective.



posted on May, 8 2004 @ 12:30 PM
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If we deploy this kind of system the U.S. may become virtually untouchable. Just the kind of thing we need. This test makes me feel a lot safer



posted on May, 8 2004 @ 02:05 PM
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hmm... makes you wonder what they could do with such power; I for one will not be sleeping easier tonight is this MTHEL is for real....



posted on May, 11 2004 @ 04:11 AM
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Originally posted by cyberdude78
If we deploy this kind of system the U.S. may become virtually untouchable. Just the kind of thing we need. This test makes me feel a lot safer


So this sytem would have prevented a civilian aircraft from being flown into a building ...noooo. This would have prevented a woman with explosives strapped to her waist and blowing herself up....noooo. This would have prevented all the bomb attacks by the IRA in britain throughout the 70's and 80's.....noooo.

It would be very good at exploding an incoming attack by light aircraft loaded with medium/high level nuclear waste which then explodes over a city just as originally planned leaving the city uninhabitable for centuries......

You are not safe and never will be safe from a determined terrorist and even more so from a terrorist who does not mind losing their own life. The solution is to eliminate the support for the terrorist which actually means treating people with dignity, respect and fairness something which the west fails to do miserably. You will never eliminate the hardened (potential) terrorist but you might just get their peers to confine them to the corner of a pub/bar as the whining paranoid villiage idiot.



posted on May, 11 2004 @ 04:45 AM
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hey people,

I have a few question:

Does anyone know how large such a unit is ? how large the "power pack" how Many Kw/MW the laser shots at und lastly what the reloading speed of this unit is ?

It sounds very interessting... if it can fire at rapid speeds without having to reload for X minutes and without needing a deploy a small reactor near it



Wolve



posted on May, 11 2004 @ 03:03 PM
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I don't know the actual dimensions of the vehicle, but you can see from the concept picture that it is quite large.

The unit probably has a self contained generator for supplying the power for the salvos. Think of a modern diesel-electric locomotive. Same concept. The fuel it carries actually runs a large electric generator, and all the work is done with electric motors. In this case the electricity generated would power the laser.

As for speed of operation, it is reported that it can fire once every 5 seconds.





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