titanmiller From United States of America, joined May 2006, 91 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 5 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 9122 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.
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.
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.
KC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12259 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 6439 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.
Oroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 913 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 7 hours ago) and read 5790 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.
USAF336TFS From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1445 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 5539 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
Ronaldo747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4799 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?
Humanitarian From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 106 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4723 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?
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.