rwessel
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Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:42 am

USS Ponce is deploying to the Arabian Gulf next year, carrying a 100KW Laser Weapon System (LaWS) for anti-drone and anti-small boat use. This would mark the first operational deployment of this sort of directed energy weapon.

The link contains a video. Anyone know what drone is being targeted in the test is?

http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ser-gun-to-sail-on-us-warship.html
 
L-188
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:02 pm

I want to know how this thing isn't effectively countered by a mirror
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BladeLWS
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:35 pm

Depends on how good the mirror is, if an aircraft or weapon were to be fitted with mirrors to defeat a laser is would need to be 100% perfect. Meaning no gaps, scratches, or openings for the laser to penetrate.

In other words mirrors don't work for this kind of thing.  
 
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Tugger
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:40 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):
I want to know how this thing isn't effectively countered by a mirror
Quoting BladeLWS (Reply 2):
In other words mirrors don't work for this kind of thing.

However inclement weather is another thing.

This a step forward in the technology, this is not yet a "weapons system" but it is getting closer to a time when it can and possibly will be. And if it is developed and effective then it could very much be a counter the "mass missile" threat to the modern navy. Still though, there is a loooong way to go.

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rwessel
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:58 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):
I want to know how this thing isn't effectively countered by a mirror

Mirrors are far from 100% effective, and even a mirror reflecting 90%* of the beam will still be absorbing the other 10KW, and only a tiny bit of dirt on the best optics will absorb enough energy at these power levels to trash the surface almost instantly. Besides, LaWS is IR, and good IR mirrors are hard to begin with. And you can't mirror everything.

But yes, you could help the target survive with appropriate surface treatments, but I can't image you'd buy yourself even a single order of magnitude.


*Yes, you can get mirrors more efficient than that, well over 99% for relatively wideband visible light reflectivity, but nothing you could really do as a surface coating on an aircraft, and again, that's not IR.
 
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:49 pm

Quoting rwessel (Thread starter):
Anyone know what drone is being targeted in the test is?

Looks like a BQM-147a Dragon/Exdrone

http://www.unmanned.co.uk/autonomous...cle-uav-specifications-data-sheet/
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wingman
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:11 pm

I don't get it, there's no green beam and no peeuw peeuw sound. We waste all this money on weapons and the stuff never works right. I want to see green laser light and shit exploding on contact with surround sound.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 4:15 pm

The system is mounted on the USS Dewey, DDG-105, not the USS Ponce, AFSB(I)-15 as the story implies. USS Ponce will get this system installed in Oct. 2013 before she deploys to the ME in 2014. USS Dewey has been refitted as the test ship for the LaWS system and has given up her helio pad and hanger to mount the system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Pon...aging_Base.2C_Interim_.28AFSB-I.29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Dewey_(DDG-105)

The problem I see with the LaWS as currently configured is the amount of deck space the system takes away from other needed functions, like heilo ops, as well as the amount of electrical power this system needs to function at max capacity.
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:01 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 1):

I want to know how this thing isn't effectively countered by a mirror

Like the other said. You can reduce the efectiveness of the laser with mirrors. But you also add a ton of weight onto your airframe.

An easier solution is to polish aluminum to a reflective quality. Unfortunately keeping it polished would be a maintenance problem as the aluminum will oxidize and loose it's luster.

A polish gold plated surface coating may help   

bt
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ThePointblank
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:15 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
The problem I see with the LaWS as currently configured is the amount of deck space the system takes away from other needed functions, like heilo ops, as well as the amount of electrical power this system needs to function at max capacity.

Once we actually design ships to mount LaWS as standard instead of an afterthought, we can get around the deck space requirement. For electrical power, USN ships that have nuclear propulsion or Integrated Electrical Propulsion will have the necessary power reserves to power such a weapon; for example, the Ford class carriers and the Zumwalt class destroyers.

Quoting rwessel (Thread starter):
Anyone know what drone is being targeted in the test is?

According to what I've been told, the BQM-147A Dragon.
 
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:18 pm

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 9):
A polish gold plated surface coating may help

The Air force would never go for that - It would reduce the average cost per pound of the Modern Combat Jet.....
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:02 pm

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
as well as the amount of electrical power this system needs to function at max capacity.

Remindes me of all those Star Trek shows where they divert energy from life support   

Don't know how much energy the system uses, but I can see the ship going to half speed while the generator charge up for the laser.


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rwessel
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:59 am

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 9):
For electrical power, USN ships that have nuclear propulsion or Integrated Electrical Propulsion will have the necessary power reserves to power such a weapon; for example, the Ford class carriers and the Zumwalt class destroyers

Nuclear power isn't much of an issue one way or the other. The nuclear carriers don't have significantly different amounts of total horsepower installed than their non-nuc predecessors did. What matter is how much generating capacity is hung on the back end of that (or on the back-end of whatever propulsion system the ship is using).

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 11):
Don't know how much energy the system uses, but I can see the ship going to half speed while the generator charge up for the laser.

It's a 100KW laser. Even assuming 10% total efficiency (unlikely to be that low in this scale of application), that only needs 1MW input, and assuming a 90% efficient generator (again, low for that size), you'd need about 1500hp off the engines while the laser was firing (assuming you were powering it directly, and not off a capacitor bank that would be charged more slowly - given the modest size, I don't see the percentage in the latter, but...). For reference, an Austin-class LPD has about 24000shp installed, although given that this is still a test bed, who knows what's been done to the Ponce herself (I could easily see a dedicated generator for the application, just to keep things nicely self-contained).
 
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kanban
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:09 am

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 8):
A polish gold plated surface coating may help  

how about simple chrome plating..granted EPA would make us go to China for the processing
 
L-188
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:26 am

Quoting bikerthai (Reply 8):
But you also add a ton of weight onto your airframe.
Quoting kanban (Reply 13):
how about simple chrome plating..granted EPA would make us go to China for the processing

I think you might be overthinking this a bit.

Frankly I think you just need to make sure Biff Tanner puts both coast of Turtle Wax on your Mustang.


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Quoting bikerthai (Reply 8):
An easier solution is to polish aluminum to a reflective quality. Unfortunately keeping it polished would be a maintenance problem as the aluminum will oxidize and loose it's luster

We are thinking the same there. The point of these lasers at this point is to put enough energy into a target that A:The structure heats to failure, B: Enough energy ends up heating something in the target up to it's auto-ignition temp.

That takes energy and time, Polishing will reflect the energy and manuvering will make it harder for the laser to maintain a single point on the target.

Quoting rwessel (Reply 4):
Mirrors are far from 100% effective, and even a mirror reflecting 90%* of the beam will still be absorbing the other 10KW, and only a tiny bit of dirt on the best optics will absorb enough energy at these power levels to trash the surface almost instantly. Besides, LaWS is IR, and good IR mirrors are hard to begin with. And you can't mirror everything.

The mirror doesn't need to be 100% effective, it just needs to reflect enough energy that the laser can't practically put enough energy on the target when it is in range.

Quoting wingman (Reply 6):
We waste all this money on weapons and the stuff never works right. I want to see green laser light and shit exploding on contact with surround sound.

Agreed, where is the KABOOM! THERE SHOULD BE AN EARTH SHATTERING KABOOM!

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travelavnut
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:48 am

Quoting wingman (Reply 6):
I don't get it, there's no green beam and no peeuw peeuw sound. We waste all this money on weapons and the stuff never works right. I want to see green laser light and shit exploding on contact with surround sound.
Quoting morrisond (Reply 10):
The Air force would never go for that - It would reduce the average cost per pound of the Modern Combat Jet.....

         Thanks guys!!!

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
The problem I see with the LaWS as currently configured is the amount of deck space the system takes away from other needed functions, like heilo ops, as well as the amount of electrical power this system needs to function at max capacity.

Besides not needing any ammo, what are the benefits of such a weapon?
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nomadd22
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:13 am

Good luck making a reflective layer that doesn't turn the aircraft into the best radar reflector in the world. Even better if the system uses a low power laser for aiming and ranging.
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kanban
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:14 pm

Quoting travelavnut (Reply 15):
Besides not needing any ammo, what are the benefits of such a weapon?

keeping the Admiral's coffee warm from a mile away?
 
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bikerthai
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:58 pm

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 16):
Good luck making a reflective layer that doesn't turn the aircraft into the best radar reflector in the world.

And there's the rub . . . those are the questions that keep us Engineers well employed.

But one major point in stealth is to reflect the radar in the different direction than where the radar is comming from. This same principle would apply to the laser reflective material.

The one benefit of aluminum (and gold) is that the material is a good heat conductor as well as a good heat sink. Quickly getting the heat away from the laser site would buy you some additional time.

 
Quoting kanban (Reply 17):
keeping the Admiral's coffee warm from a mile away?

With a phase array radar, you can do the same, and keep the Admiral warm at the same time.

bt

[Edited 2013-04-19 07:06:22]

[Edited 2013-04-19 07:07:02]
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bikerthai
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RE: Anti-Drone Laser On USS Ponce

Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:09 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 14):

Agreed, where is the KABOOM! THERE SHOULD BE AN EARTH SHATTERING KABOOM!

Nah,

I remember Babalon 5. Just seeing a ship sliced in two is satisfying enough. I don't need to hear or see the KABOOM.

bt
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