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Laser & Microwave Weapons

Khafee

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This is only effective against drones and maybe projectiles. I do not think it will do any good against missiles.
Depends on the KW being projected.
 

Khafee

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Pentagon Halts Work on Directed-Energy Beam to Stop Enemy Missiles
4 Sep 2019
By Oriana Pawlyk
[IMG]

An artist’s rendering of how a B-1 bomber deploying a laser weapon. (DARPA)


The Pentagon is shelving a directed-energy program it was hoping to use in space to destroy enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles in their boost phase.

Dr. Mike Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, told audiences at the 2019 Defense News Conference that the Defense Department is "deferring work on neutral particle beams indefinitely."

"It's just not near enough term," he said Wednesday at the conference outside Washington, D.C.

Instead, the DoD will need to focus on directed-energy and laser programs that can produce more power and be tested and executed faster on space platforms and aircraft, Griffin said, adding that his department is investing more research into high-powered microwaves.

"We're focusing on nearer term applications of directed energy, particularly lasers of higher power than we currently have," he said. "We need to be in the hundreds of kilowatts realm, and we are prioritizing that."

The Defense Department was hoping to use neutral particle beam (NPB) weapons as space-based anti-missile systems to dismantle ICBMs in their boost phase shortly after takeoff. The Pentagon first tested an NPB concept in 1989 as part of an experiment called Beam Accelerator Aboard a Rocket, or BEAR, according to DefenseOne.

Neutral particle beams aren't lasers, but operate in similar ways. They use subatomic particles to achieve effects, or "beams composed of accelerated subatomic particles traveling at near-light speed," DefenseOne reported. Laser photons travel at light speed.

Neutral particle beams also travel "in straight lines" and cannot be impaired by electromagnetic fields, according to DefenseOne.

The Missile Defense Agency requested $34 million to initiate neutral particle beam development. But in the House's version of the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, lawmakers requested an extensive study first. The MDA was hoping to test neutral particle beams in orbit by 2023.

As part of a larger Pentagon effort to expedite weapons programs and get them in the field faster, Griffin said directed energy testing needs to accelerate for researchers and developers to understand the minutiae of the systems and how to improve them.

"We need to better understand the lethality of such systems, understand things like beam control, and we need to know how to scale them up in practical ways," he said.

"There are a lot of practical problems with real-world weapons systems, and we need to dig into those," he added.

DoD officials have long touted the use of space-based sensors and weapons, which they say would be able to monitor, detect, track and impair missile launches.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump called for the best cutting-edge missile defense weapons and systems as Pentagon officials unveiled the long-delayed Missile Defense Review, the DoD's blueprint to address how the U.S. can best defend against missile threats from around the world.

"We will ensure that enemy missiles know no sanctuary on Earth or in the skies above," Trump said during a speech before service secretaries, lawmakers, troops and press in the Pentagon auditorium Jan. 17.

The MDR was originally due late 2017.

According to the review, the Pentagon believes it will need a mix of ground, air and space capabilities to stay ahead of advanced threats.

"New DoD analysis will evaluate the possible effectiveness of space-based interceptor technologies and their cost-effectiveness when compared to other systems based on land, sea, and in the air," the study said.

https://www.military.com/daily-news...directed-energy-beam-stop-enemy-missiles.html
 

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Soldiers to Shoot Lasers from Stryker Vehicles in Upcoming Test
5 Aug 2020
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Artist’s conception from Northrop Grumman of a directed energy prototype solution on a U.S. Army Stryker combat vehicle. (Northrop Grumman)

The head of the Army's directed-energy weapon effort said Wednesday that soldiers will be firing lasers from Stryker combat vehicles in a test next year to select the firm to equip the service with the high-tech air-defense weapon.

Army program officials for the service's Directed-Energy Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) effort -- a key modernization priority designed to equip a platoon of Stryker wheeled combat vehicles with 50-kilowatt lasers in fiscal 2021 -- outlined new details of the shoot-off event between Northrop Grumman and Raytheon scheduled for the third quarter of fiscal 2021.

As part of its new modernization strategy, the Army continues to stress the importance of involving soldiers in equipment development and testing much earlier than in past efforts.
"The soldiers will actually do the combat shoot-off; it won't be done by contractors," Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space, and Rapid Acquisition, said during a Defense News space and missile defense webinar.

In July 2019, the Army selected Northrop and Raytheon to develop competing prototypes of 50-kilowatt laser-equipped Strykers as part of a $203 million deal that includes Kord Technologies as the prime contractor.

Once fielded, the laser-armed Strykers will protect Brigade Combat Teams from unmanned aerial systems (UAS); rotary-wing aircraft; and rockets, artillery and mortars.
"We are super excited about the directed-energy mission and bringing that technology to bear on the battlefield," Thurgood said.

The Army plans to team the directed-energy M-SHORAD Strykers with kinetic M-SHORADs, which will be equipped with more conventional air defense weapons.
"In the operational construct, there is a mix of kinetic killers and directed-energy killers," Thurgood said. "That's important because there really is no
one weapon system that is the placebo of life. ... You need a mix of weapon systems on the battlefield to be successful."

Northrop and Raytheon will each bring their laser-equipped Stryker to the competitive shoot-off, he added, explaining that one of those Strykers will ultimately be the first of four vehicles fielded to the first platoon equipped with the 50-kilowatt version of M-SHORAD.

"We make a down-select, we buy three more of those, and we field that unit," Thurgood said.
 

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The Air Force successfully tested a mobile laser weapon to protect convoys from enemy drones

Jared Keller
9 hours ago

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Boeing's Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) mounted on a Utility Task Vehicle at Nellis Air Force Base on Sept. 3, 2020
(Boeing)


The U.S. military's hypersonic bullets and robot dogs aren't the only innovative technologies to get a workout during a recent Air Force exercise.

Boeing's Compact Laser Weapon System (CLWS) system successfully defended a force protection convoy against unmanned aerial systems while mounted on a ground vehicle, the company announced on Thursday.

The system was mounted on a Marine Corps Utility Task Vehicle that, produced by Polaris, integrated the CLWS as the first ground-based laser approved by the Pentagon for use by U.S. service members back in 2019.

During the demonstration, the CLWS system didn't just counter drones with a relatively-low-powered laser beam, but also transmitted live video and readings on the threats, as well as various elements of the convoy, to operators at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, according to Boeing.

The demonstration took place as part of a test of the Air Force's next-generation Advanced Battle Management System, "a state-of-the-art system designed to provide combatant commanders the ability to control Department of Defense assets in real-time," according to the Air Force.

“In a future scenario, an integrated and networked direct energy capability – as demonstrated in this exercise by CLWS – would provide operators with vital information and a means to respond to threats at greater speeds,” said Boeing Laser & Electro-Optical Systems program manager Ron Dauk in a statement.

The Air Force has been eyeing the CLWS at least since taking the system for a spin at the Army's Maneuver and Fires Integrated Experiment (MFIX) at Fort Sill in Oklahoma late last year.

The CLWS is already part of the Army’s Mobile Expeditionary High Energy Laser (MEHEL) program that, since first testing the system in 2016, has slapped laser weapons on Stryker infantry carrier vehicles deployed to Europe over the past several years.

As of January. the CLWS has successfully countered more than 100 unmanned aerial vehicles in at least five separate tests of the system, according to Defence Blog.

“The ABMS exercise is further proof of Boeing’s combat-ready capabilities,” Boeing Integrated Air and Missile Defense chief Robert Green said in a statement. “Military operators continue to have great success with our systems with only minimal training.”
 

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Lockheed Martin Releases New Animation of F-16s Using Tactical Airborne Laser Pod

15 Sept 2020

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An F-16 using its laser to target an incoming threat. (Screenshot from LM video).

“Tactical Airborne Laser Pods are Coming”.

An interesting new video has just been released by Lockheed Martin. Focusing on the Tactical Airborne Laser Weapon System (TALWS), the animation shows F-16s equipped with laser pods cooperate with a Boeing KC-46 Pegasus equipped tactical infrared sensors able to passively detect and track threats. Once the tanker (a High-Value Aerial Asset that can be targeted by several different threats) detects an incoming missile, it passes its position to the two Vipers that can use their the beam director in their pod to put high-energy light on-target and keep it there with high precision to defeat the threat.

Some parts of the animation were already included in another video that was released last month, but this time we get to see the whole “scene”.

Laser Weapon Systems

Two laser systems could be seen in the previous video released by LM: a pod mounted under the centerline hardpoint of an F-16 and a fixed system mounted in a fairing under and AC-130’s fuselage. As already explained, the systems are based on fiber laser technology, a type of laser which uses as active gain medium an optical fiber, as opposed to solid-state laser which uses a glass or crystalline solid material.

You can read everything about the Lockheed Martin Airborne Defensive Laser System for F-16 and C-130 in this article we published last month. Here is an excerpt:

The name of the laser system has not been mentioned, however, in 2017, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) awarded Lockheed Martin a contract for the design, development and production of a high power fiber laser, as part of the Self-protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program to protect aircraft from air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles.
In the press release for the contract award, SHiELD is mentioned as including three subsystems:
  • SHiELD Turret Research in Aero Effects (STRAFE): the beam control system, which will direct the laser onto the target;
  • Laser Pod Research & Development (LPRD): the pod mounted on the tactical fighter jet, which will power and cool the laser;
  • Laser Advancements for Next-generation Compact Environments (LANCE): the high energy laser itself, which can be trained on adversary targets to disable them.
[…]
The SHiELD pod was to be tested in 2021, however DefenseNews reported that the test will be delayed to 2023 due to technical challenges and complications that followed the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jeff Heggemeier, SHiELD program manager for AFRL. Adding to this, then Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin was quoted as saying: “I’m extremely skeptical that we can put a large laser on an aircraft and use it to shoot down an adversary missile even from very close.” It is not completely clear if Griffin was referring to a specific system, which most probably could be some anti-ballistic missile defense system, however this raised some concerns.
[…]
As of now, we don’t know officially on which aircraft the AFRL will test the SHiELD pod, however AirForceMagazine reported last year that the defensive laser system may be demonstrated on the F-15, while Lockheed Martin showed the pod on the F-16C and C-130J-series aircraft. An older rendering showed the pod also on the F-16V Block70.
 
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