Lasers that can take down an aircraft or zap a boat in roiling seas are certainly the weapons of the future. But smaller lasers that disrupt rather than destroy could be an even simpler defense system.
Raytheon, which built a laser that cooked a UAV in flight last year, is one of several defense firms working on lasers that take a somewhat more passive approach, such as disabling a missile's guidance system to prevent it from connecting with its target. Raytheon is developing common infrared countermeasures (CIRCM) systems to be installed on Army and Navy helicopters, and large-aircraft infrared countermeasures systems for the Air Force.
The Quiet Eyes Laser Turret Assembly directs a quantum cascade laser to disable missiles, the company said. It is designed to be installed on any type of airplane, and recently passed a test at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in a C-130 Hercules.
The company is also using off-the-shelf, lightweight fiber lasers that can go on any helicopter, which would solve the weight problem that has plagued airborne laser systems. Previous directional infrared countermeasures were deemed too heavy for any helicopter except the CH-47 Chinook, but Raytheon's new generation is designed to fit helicopters down to the size of the Bell AH-1Z Cobra, according to the company. Raytheon unveiled its technology at the Paris Air Show today.
The CIRCM laser would use low-power lasers to jam missile guidance systems — a few dozen watts, rather than tens of thousands of watts, like the laser weapon system demonstrated last year. The CIRCM energy beam can vary in width, output, modulation and frequency, allowing a wide range of possible uses.
This means the laser could be customized to seek out and cripple an enemy system dependent on electronics — whether it's a guided missile or an aircraft. Raytheon is even working on outfitting missiles with electronics-disabling capabilities, rather than just explosives, according to Aviation Week.
Other defense firms including ITT, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin are also working on CIRCM systems, in response to an Army draft request for proposals.
The Army expects to pick one by late September, and the winning contractor will have 21 months to test and demonstrate its technology. The Navy will adopt the Army's choice, according to Raytheon.
A: CIRCM systems. Love it!
B: Electronic disruption + explosives = Momma's Down-home Awesome Sauce Recipe
I mean, what a great idea! A missle that EMP's right before impact? Kill the electronics, then destroy anything within the blast radius. That's what I call target neutralization.
Comm: "Chapel, sitrep."
Chapel: "Target has religion. 72 virgins, on your mark."
Seems to me like if you disable the guidance system... then you just have a missile with an unpredictable trajectory going crazy and still crashing/exploding somewhere...
Also... how feasible is it to shoot a missile with a laser from a helicopter? Seems like the missile would be out of range really fast...
What's the range on these things, anyway?
I don't know if radar guided missiles would be affected or not...but definitely infrared seeking missiles.
That's probably what most helicopters have to worry about anyway...since they're so low to the ground they have to worry about man portable air defenses...which are usually optically guided.
Most infrared guided missiles have short distances...less than 10 miles given optimum conditions and around 6 miles for an effective lock. Plus, helicopters generate a lot less heat than a fighter jet like the F-16's F100 engines at mil or afterburners.
Depending on the range and if the helicopter is moving towards or away from the missile, it would be a few seconds to maybe 20-30 seconds until the missile hits its target.
Also...a missile that is not tracking you is a LOT better than one that is tracking you. I believe US missiles will self destruct if it loses track of its target or runs out of fuel/kinetic energy to reach it.
You know my engine ;-) except i work on the 15
I wonder if they can have the laser at ground level, have it shoot over to the aircraft and redirect or reflect it to hit the target. If so and could do it with minimal equipment, maybe something like a uav could be mounted with this. Might need something to recharge the laser back to strength but if it doesn't start from scratch maybe it could take up less weight/space. Maybe.
So if what you say is accurate, seems like the laser defense system would need to be computerized in order to effectively target missiles...
Still... seems like one could just fire multiple missiles at the same target. While the laser is busy frying one of them, the other 'splodes it...
Seems like flares would still be cheaper/more effective than this laser system--at least against infrared/heat seeking missiles
the targeting system will be pissed of by the task, LOL ... those flying mirrors (manned or drone) will be busy going up and down, left and right, avoiding enemy shot, no time to adjust the mirror and hold still ... aww ... what do I know about the design ... those researchers may already come up with the solution. :D
But to think about it again, your idea may has merit.
The drawback of weaponized laser is the amount of energy it requires. And that means batteries, big ones. That's why, I think, it's too heavy to fly. What if they put the electrical generator part on land, and broadcast the energy to the airplanes (I think I saw some clips about broadcasting electricity on youtube). The airplanes only carry the laser gun part.
But again ... that will limit the operational range to eyesight ...