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Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser  
User currently offlinetitanmiller From United States of America, joined May 2006, 90 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 2 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 8755 times:

I was just thinking about the ABL program when I realized that it seems like an awful lot of money to spend when the countermeasure is to simply strip the paint off missiles and polish the aluminum to a mirror finish. I'm sure that the engineers though of this.

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePowerslide From Canada, joined Oct 2010, 571 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8718 times:

Quoting titanmiller (Thread starter):
it seems like an awful lot of money to spend

You can't put a price on homeland security. I believe that laser technology is the future and should be invested in accordingly.


User currently offlinelegs From Australia, joined Jun 2006, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 8717 times:

Quoting titanmiller (Thread starter):
simply strip the paint off missiles and polish the aluminum

Simply polishing the missile skin isn't enough to defeat a very high powered laser like the YAL-1A. Even at what appears to be a mirror finish, it is an imperfect mirror at a microscopic level, and will continue to absorb some of the laser energy, eventually to the point where structural integrity is compromised.

Had it been this easy to defend against, I guarantee that the money would not have been spent in development. Some very smart people worked on the ABL project.

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
laser technology is the future

I'm all for development for the sake of development, and I agree laser tech will play a big part in the future battlefield (and elsewhere). However, I'm not quite so sure about chemically pumped lasers, like the COIL in the YAL-1A.

[Edited 2011-12-11 20:19:46]

User currently offlinebikerthai From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 2197 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 8581 times:

The only way to keep that polish finish is to use Clad aluminum. Even then you would probably have to keep polishing it periodically to keep it from oxidizing. Maybe someone at AA can clue us in.

Clad aluminum would add extra weight to the missile and might reduce range.

Besides, I don't know if any one uses aluminum skins any more for the boost stage of the missile. Graphite epoxy would be my guess as the material of choice.

bikerthai



Intelligent seeks knowledge. Enlightened seeks wisdom.
User currently offlineSP90 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 388 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 6734 times:

Looks l like the ABL test plane is heading to the boneyard.

http://www.mda.mil/news/12news0004.html


User currently offlinebennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 7816 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6427 times:

You could always use aluminium baking foil,  

The extra weight would be limited and some protection gained.


User currently offlinespeedygonzales From Norway, joined Sep 2007, 745 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 6249 times:

Depleted Cranium had a good post on the YAL-1 last december:
http://depletedcranium.com/the-yal-1...ng-airplane-but-whats-it-good-for/



Las Malvinas son Argentinas
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12181 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (2 years 10 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 6072 times:

Quoting titanmiller (Thread starter):
seems like an awful lot of money to spend when the countermeasure is to simply strip the paint off missiles and polish the aluminum to a mirror finish. I'm sure that the engineers though of this.

It takes more than a shiny surface to defeat a chemical laser.


User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 51
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5436 times:

Quoting Powerslide (Reply 1):
You can't put a price on homeland security. I believe that laser technology is the future and should be invested in accordingly.

        

I hope they reconstitute the program someday as the technology seemed sound.



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5423 times:

Great program, kinda felt like a modern take on a cold war dinosaur.

I would expect the developed technology will find another application. They were testing a laser on a AC-130 that could burn through engine blocks of cars, and then there was one that could cook off mortar rounds in flight... those seem like more practical uses for lasers right now rather than a giant laser flying around in case someone launches scuds.


User currently offlineUSAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5172 times:

Had they decided to go operational with it, they could easily stationed the aircraft at a U.S. or NATO European air base and integrate it into Obama's scaled back missile defense of Europe. I realize it would be expensive, but as a taxpayer, as well as a former USAF officer, I'm disheartened over the $ Billions spent on this program, which by all accounts, seemed relatively successful and was close to becoming combat ready, and then cancelled.

My guess is that the aircraft will be mothballed.



336th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson AFB
User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 733 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 5128 times:

It's a sunk cost. So you now look at whether additional spending would make it worthwhile to do anything with what you already have.

The answer's no. Keep it mothballed.

Always thought Korea or Bahrain were the only two stations that made sense with the limited range.


User currently offlinePellegrine From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 2495 posts, RR: 8
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4862 times:

Looks like a few hundred million dollars wasted per plane, and billions for the program.    Where are the fiscal conservatives?


oh boy!!!
User currently offlineRonaldo747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 395 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4432 times:

It must have only a handful of cycles and a few hundred flight hours, at most. At the structual sight, it's still a brand new airplane. Just hope someone (USAF/NASA etc.) will find a new task for her. Maybe a second SOFIA-airplane?

User currently offlineHumanitarian From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 106 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4356 times:

Quoting Ronaldo747 (Reply 13):
It must have only a handful of cycles and a few hundred flight hours, at most. At the structual sight, it's still a brand new airplane. Just hope someone (USAF/NASA etc.) will find a new task for her. Maybe a second SOFIA-airplane?

A second life is already being looked into.


User currently offlineSSTeve From United States of America, joined Dec 2011, 733 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 4213 times:

Quoting Humanitarian (Reply 14):
A second life is already being looked into.

I'm not sure it should be. Sure, a nearly new frame sitting in the desert is a bit of a shame, but OTOH, given some sort of fulminating crisis in Iran or North Korea, perhaps this thing would be deployed. Remove the equipment and it's no longer on the shelf.


User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3871 posts, RR: 27
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 4201 times:
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Quoting Pellegrine (Reply 12):
Looks like a few hundred million dollars wasted per plane, and billions for the program. Where are the fiscal conservatives?


The WTO says that money was a blatant subsidy to Boeing.. so they had to park it (humor)


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