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First "combat" Kill For Anti-Air Laser?


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#1 DB

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 0351 AM

I hesitate to publicise this article, for reasons that will be obvious to readers, but anyway, here it is.

https://www.armyreco...i_in_libya.html
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#2 Daan

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 0648 AM

Unfortunately, the article does not provide any evidence that the drone crashed following an engagement by a laser system of Turkish provenance.

 

Some more photos of the wreckage: https://southfront.o...e-over-misrata/


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#3 shep854

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 0804 AM

This is an impressive feat, even a milestone of sorts, but it very likely the drone wasn't evading much, if at all. This simplifies the problem of holding on a specific spot on a lightweight structure for burn-through and destruction.

If advancing energy-weapon tech only interferes with drone operation, it is significant, given the rising preponderance of UAV use.


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#4 Colin

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 1339 PM

I think lasers are going to make medium sized UAV's ops very expensive. Smaller less capable and more expendable UAV may end up being the way to go, even they will quickly get targeted. Aircraft will be harder targets as they will have tougher skins. Which is another thing that will have to be considered in CAS aircraft.


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#5 Daan

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 0709 AM

I wonder whether lasers will have any effect on UAVs with a shiny polished skin.


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#6 Josh

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 1152 AM

I think lasers are going to make medium sized UAV's ops very expensive. Smaller less capable and more expendable UAV may end up being the way to go, even they will quickly get targeted. Aircraft will be harder targets as they will have tougher skins. Which is another thing that will have to be considered in CAS aircraft.

 

For smaller UAVs, the US Army and USAF are working on HPM projectors. They can sweep out an area of sky manually even if a hard target lock can't be achieved and they can affect multiple small drones in a swarm.


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#7 Nobu

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 1201 PM

I wonder whether lasers will have any effect on UAVs with a shiny polished skin.

 

And thus the phaser was born.


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#8 DB

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 1513 PM

The programmes tend to call for "directed energy weapons". As Josh notes, this includes High Power Microwave. Shiny UAVs may increase engagement times for some laser weapons, but it's likely true that the smaller they are the harder it will be to harden them against radio-frequency attack.

 

Unless they're fully autonomous, ECM should also be relatively easy.

 

If you're relying on one-at-a-time kills, you must be able to engage 250+ targets that can travel at 70mph from detection to their (suicide) engagement range. (70mph is a high-end speed for currently available commercial drones.)


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#9 DB

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 1525 PM

In the meantime, Europe has several declared laser programmes.

 

MBDA Germany/Rheinmetall in Europe are to collaborate on a system for the German government. I'd guess that this is a development of the effector MBDA already demonstrated. Not sure who is to do what though as this seems to be an enabling contract.

 

MBDA UK/Qinetiq/Leonardo Dragonfire is a tech demonstrator with a Qinetiq effector, Leonardo director (turret) with MBDA as Prime. 

 

There's also the European Union Defence Agency call for a 100kW class laser (Dragonfire is supposed to be developed to 50kW).

 

I've not seen anything public for France specifically, and nothing from other coutnries around the world but obviously there will be work going ahead - the time seems to be now.


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#10 Chris Werb

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 1545 PM

Years ago, I posted that the proliferation of relatively extremely inexpensive ground-based directed energy weapons would be a major game changer for air forces. It's happening sooner than I thought it would.


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#11 Josh

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Posted 14 August 2019 - 2334 PM

Years ago, I posted that the proliferation of relatively extremely inexpensive ground-based directed energy weapons would be a major game changer for air forces. It's happening sooner than I thought it would.

 

It hasn't yet translated into a lot of hard casualties, but it does appear to be a nuisance for the Russian airbase in Syria. And these are non state actors at a fairly low level. That said, first world orgs seem to have it under control for the moment.


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#12 shep854

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 0715 AM

Given the need for extremely light weight, wouldn't sensors be vulnerable to blinding, allowing for effective soft-kills at least?


Edited by shep854, 16 August 2019 - 1739 PM.

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#13 GARGEAN

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 0857 AM

I wonder whether lasers will have any effect on UAVs with a shiny polished skin.

There was a russian anecdote about that:
News headline:"After decades of hard work, extensive research and billions spent US Navy proudly presents USS Sparky, first in the world battleship armed with powerful lasers which are making its protection unpeneterable by common means!
News headline week later:"After week if exhausting work and few tonnes of paint spent Russian Navy reports that all antiship missiles in russian possession were successfully repainted into mirror silver color. "
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#14 R011

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 1153 AM

Reminiscent of the old story that NASA spent millions to develop a pen that would work in space. The Soviets just used pencils.
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#15 glappkaeft

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 1405 PM

Reminiscent of the old story that NASA spent millions to develop a pen that would work in space. The Soviets just used pencils.


Like pretty much all good stories it actually an old myth. Both started out with pencils but the graphite dust and risk of broken tips getting inhaled or causing shorts made them both switch to pens. Both used the "Anti-Gravity Space Pen" developed privately by Fischer. The price paid per pen in bulk for both NASA and the Soviets was $2.39. It also turns out that a regular pen works just as well, the only advantage of the Fischer pen is that you can write upside down, not an issue in micro-gravity.

https://www.scientif...tion-nasa-spen/
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#16 JWB

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 1418 PM

Not exactly cheap but not a million dollar scandal:

https://www.fisherspacepenstore.com/

 

They also make an upgraded version called the Shuttle Pen.


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#17 Chris Werb

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 2036 PM

 

Years ago, I posted that the proliferation of relatively extremely inexpensive ground-based directed energy weapons would be a major game changer for air forces. It's happening sooner than I thought it would.

 

It hasn't yet translated into a lot of hard casualties, but it does appear to be a nuisance for the Russian airbase in Syria. And these are non state actors at a fairly low level. That said, first world orgs seem to have it under control for the moment.

 

 

I'm thinking of this more as the equivalent of the first time someone fired a rifle from a biplane. It's a harbinger of much greater things to come.


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#18 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 1909 PM

In the meantime, Europe has several declared laser programmes.
 
MBDA Germany/Rheinmetall in Europe are to collaborate on a system for the German government. I'd guess that this is a development of the effector MBDA already demonstrated. Not sure who is to do what though as this seems to be an enabling contract.
 
MBDA UK/Qinetiq/Leonardo Dragonfire is a tech demonstrator with a Qinetiq effector, Leonardo director (turret) with MBDA as Prime. 
 
There's also the European Union Defence Agency call for a 100kW class laser (Dragonfire is supposed to be developed to 50kW).
 
I've not seen anything public for France specifically, and nothing from other coutnries around the world but obviously there will be work going ahead - the time seems to be now.


China and Turkey are also making progress. Russia is going in odd directions.
And Israel is developing, apparently, not 1 but 2 systems to compete with each other.
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