titanmiller
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Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:34 am

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.
 
Powerslide
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:08 am

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.
 
Legs
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Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 3:37 pm

RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:13 am

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]
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:36 pm

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.
 
SP90
Posts: 351
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:09 pm

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

http://www.mda.mil/news/12news0004.html
 
bennett123
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:30 pm

You could always use aluminium baking foil,  

The extra weight would be limited and some protection gained.
 
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speedygonzales
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:07 am

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/
Ignorance kills. :tombstone:
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:43 pm

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.
 
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USAF336TFS
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Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:00 pm

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
 
Oroka
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:33 pm

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.
 
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USAF336TFS
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:48 am

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
 
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ssteve
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:25 pm

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.
 
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Pellegrine
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:24 am

Looks like a few hundred million dollars wasted per plane, and billions for the program.    Where are the fiscal conservatives?
oh boy, here we go!!!
 
Ronaldo747
Posts: 293
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:06 am

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
Posts: 105
Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 1:00 am

RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Wed Mar 14, 2012 4:32 pm

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.
 
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ssteve
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:21 am

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.
 
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kanban
Posts: 3744
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RE: Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser

Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:27 am

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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