Freaking Laser Guns!

 

In the news yesterday, the Israelis test-fired the new Iron Dome Laser and shot down some drones.

In a video released by the ministry, the laser-based system can be seen intercepting a rocket, a mortar, and a drone at an undisclosed location in southern Israel’s Negev desert, during March of this year.

The ministry has been testing the laser-based defense system for several years, shooting down a drone with it last year. The recent tests were the first to be successful against the other threats, including unguided projectiles and anti-tank guided missiles. (The latter was not shown in footage released by the ministry.)

The ground-based laser system — dubbed Iron Beam — which is being developed with the Rafael weapons manufacturer, is not meant to replace the Iron Dome or Israel’s other air defense systems, but to supplement and complement them, shooting down smaller projectiles and leaving larger ones for the more robust missile-based batteries.

According to the ministry, Israel is among the first countries in the world to succeed in using powerful laser technology to develop a working air defense system and to demonstrate interceptions in operational scenarios.

Right now it’s useful for only small things, but it would be good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hypervelocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either.  Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    • #1
  2. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier.  But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light.  Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.  

     

     

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    ToryWarWriter: The ground-based laser system — dubbed Iron Beam — which is being developed with the Rafael weapons manufacturer, is not meant to replace the Iron Dome or Israel’s other air defense systems, but to supplement and complement them, shooting down smaller projectiles and leaving larger ones for the more robust missile-based batteries.

    Very good news, TWW. Israel is often in the forefront of technology, and I’m relieved to know they have some additional “tools” to protect themselves. Thanks.

    • #3
  4. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    The prime minister appears to be taking a victory lap, probably a nice boost with new elections on the horizon. 

     

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

    I expect a barrier of projectiles with physical impact, would be more effective than a light-beam that would only have contact for a small fraction of a second.  Setting up a “barrier” of laser sufficient to take down a hypersonic missile may be pretty much impossible.  Especially within an atmosphere.

    Consider that a hypersonic missile must already be able to withstand great heat.

    • #5
  6. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    That is pretty cool.

    • #6
  7. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Great News! Reagan’s Star Wars program is alive and well! Well at least in Israel. 

    I am thinking a bunch of the Mullahs are having severe heartburn right about now. 

    Send a bunch of these new Iron Dome lasers  to Taiwan and Poland. Muy pronto., please. Maybe WWIII could be avoided. 

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Also, Israel better be getting ready for an attack.  With an ability to stop incoming missiles etc while still launching their own, Putin no doubt considers Israel now an even bigger *koff* “threat” than *koff*koff* Ukraine.

    • #8
  9. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat. 

    • #9
  10. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Hot damn. Between this and the sinking of the Moskva, there’s been some really good military news. 

    • #10
  11. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains.  Good for taking out small weapons.  Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now.  The 21st century has finally arrived.  Now I just need my flying car.

    • #11
  12. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Hot damn. Between this and the sinking of the Moskva, there’s been some really good military news.

    Damaged, not sunk, and by all indications likely poor Russian maintenance.  

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    Flying cars have been around for a while, but even if they became relatively simple etc, I have a hard time being in favor of them.  So much of the damage from current vehicle collisions is limited by friction and gravity, think about what the results could be from everyday people having vehicles that are much less influenced by either.

    I suspect the “solution” to that would be centralized control, which – hopefully – nobody on this site wants.

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/news/a27320/moller-flying-car/

    The car was I think first featured as a front-page story 31 years ago.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • #13
  14. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Hot damn. Between this and the sinking of the Moskva, there’s been some really good military news.

    Damaged, not sunk, and by all indications likely poor Russian maintenance.

    Die Welt online, Der Spiegel,  and TAS/ Itar are reporting it sunk after explosions of munitions on board following the Ukrainian missile hits on it. It was being towed when it sank. They are also reporting that the crew was succesfully evacuated. 

    • #14
  15. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Hot damn. Between this and the sinking of the Moskva, there’s been some really good military news.

    Damaged, not sunk, and by all indications likely poor Russian maintenance.

    And  likely, poor damage control procedures.  Russia has now reported it sunk while they were towing it back to port.

    • #15
  16. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    https://theaviationist.com/2022/04/14/aboard-moskva/

    • #16
  17. ToryWarWriter Thatcher
    ToryWarWriter
    @ToryWarWriter

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    Hot damn. Between this and the sinking of the Moskva, there’s been some really good military news.

    Damaged, not sunk, and by all indications likely poor Russian maintenance.

    Die Welt online, Der Spiegel, and TAS/ Itar are reporting it sunk after explosions of munitions on board following the Ukrainian missile hits on it. It was being towed when it sank. They are also reporting that the crew was succesfully evacuated.

    Ah.  Well hard to tell.  But as everything in this war I wait 48 hours and see if it really happened.  

    • #17
  18. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    US air force has already tested a laser weapon that can take down a conventional nuclear missile in the boost phase, so their are ways of scaling up the power.   I don’t think the targeting is anywhere near good enough for a hypersonic missile.   The US system was just a prototype and this looks like it will be operational soon.

    • #18
  19. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    US air force has already tested a laser weapon that can take down a conventional nuclear missile in the boost phase, so their are ways of scaling up the power. I don’t think the targeting is anywhere near good enough for a hypersonic missile. The US system was just a prototype and this looks like it will be operational soon.

    Hopefully Israel started with technology that the US developed and then discarded as being “impractical” or maybe just “rude.”

    • #19
  20. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    US air force has already tested a laser weapon that can take down a conventional nuclear missile in the boost phase, so their are ways of scaling up the power. I don’t think the targeting is anywhere near good enough for a hypersonic missile. The US system was just a prototype and this looks like it will be operational soon.

    Hopefully Israel started with technology that the US developed and then discarded as being “impractical” or maybe just “rude.”

    We were working with Israel in the 90s on a high-energy laser system. Maybe this has roots from that program. Probably not the laser source but most likely in the beam director and other systems.

    • #20
  21. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

     

     

    It depends on the angle you can get on it. The laser is at the speed of light so if it’s a head-on shot it might work. A beam shot might have it pass out of range before you get enough energy on it.

    • #21
  22. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    kedavis (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

    I expect a barrier of projectiles with physical impact, would be more effective than a light-beam that would only have contact for a small fraction of a second. Setting up a “barrier” of laser sufficient to take down a hypersonic missile may be pretty much impossible. Especially within an atmosphere.

    Consider that a hypersonic missile must already be able to withstand great heat.

    I’ve wondered that too, but the guys at work think it might work in that adding additional energy to a system might send it over it’s threshold and cause a burn through.

    • #22
  23. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    You can get high power with chemicals but chemicals are nasty and have a limited magazine. Electronic based lasers don’t have those issues but don’t have the same level of power yet.

    • #23
  24. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

     

     

    It depends on the angle you can get on it. The laser is at the speed of light so if it’s a head-on shot it might work. A beam shot might have it pass out of range before you get enough energy on it.

    I think the first point was that with a laser you’re not necessarily aiming at where the missile WILL (or SHOULD) be at the time a shell or whatever, will get there.

    But as I mentioned in #5, a hypersonic missile must already be able to withstand great heat. Adding enough more with a laser to destroy it, seems difficult at best.

    • #24
  25. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    US air force has already tested a laser weapon that can take down a conventional nuclear missile in the boost phase, so their are ways of scaling up the power. I don’t think the targeting is anywhere near good enough for a hypersonic missile. The US system was just a prototype and this looks like it will be operational soon.

    The airborne laser was a chemical laser which gets you a lot of power but is nasty. The beam director is huge and was kept around. A lot was learned from that program that can be applied to other problems.

    • #25
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    Raxxalan (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter:

    Right now its useful for only small things, but it would be a good to have something that can shoot down those Russian hyper velocity missiles that made Aegis useless.

     

    I imagine the problem would be the target acquisition system, but I agree this is the most promising approach I have seen to dealing with that kind of threat.

    Right now its all about power as the article explains. Good for taking out small weapons. Nuclear missiles are a way off, but we have laser guns now. The 21st century has finally arrived. Now I just need my flying car.

    US air force has already tested a laser weapon that can take down a conventional nuclear missile in the boost phase, so their are ways of scaling up the power. I don’t think the targeting is anywhere near good enough for a hypersonic missile. The US system was just a prototype and this looks like it will be operational soon.

    The airborne laser was a chemical laser which gets you a lot of power but is nasty. The beam director is huge and was kept around. A lot was learned from that program that can be applied to other problems.

    More people need to see Real Genius…

    • #26
  27. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

     

     

    It depends on the angle you can get on it. The laser is at the speed of light so if it’s a head-on shot it might work. A beam shot might have it pass out of range before you get enough energy on it.

    I think the first point was that with a laser you’re not necessarily aiming at where the missile WILL (or SHOULD) be at the time a shell or whatever, will get there.

    But as I mentioned in #5, a hypersonic missile must already be able to withstand great heat. Adding enough more with a laser to destroy it, seems difficult at best.

    The thought is that they might be on a boundary and pushing them over the edge could cause them to destruct from the conditions they are in.

    • #27
  28. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Our Living Language (GAAAGHK!  Barf me back to the Stone Age.)

    I do not remember a writer ever confusing mortar shells with mortars until the last ten or twenty years or so.

    I still find it jarring, and would recommend that when quoting a text that makes the error, we use for example

    intercepting a rocket, a mortar [sic], and a drone

    • #28
  29. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    ToryWarWriter (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    I don’t know that lasers would be useful against hypersonic missiles either. Can they be aimed accurately enough, and quickly enough?

    I am thinking possibly a barrier. But the missile flies at 10 times the speed of sound, where the laser goes at the speed of light. Vs Aegis going at the muzzle velocity of the gun.

     

     

    It depends on the angle you can get on it. The laser is at the speed of light so if it’s a head-on shot it might work. A beam shot might have it pass out of range before you get enough energy on it.

    I think the first point was that with a laser you’re not necessarily aiming at where the missile WILL (or SHOULD) be at the time a shell or whatever, will get there.

    But as I mentioned in #5, a hypersonic missile must already be able to withstand great heat. Adding enough more with a laser to destroy it, seems difficult at best.

    The thought is that they might be on a boundary and pushing them over the edge could cause them to destruct from the conditions they are in.

    Possible, but I would have doubts that the margins are that close.

    • #29
  30. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Pretty cool! I wonder how long the laser beam has to lock in on the plane to burn through? The problem with lasers has been that they have to lock on for an amount of time. Planes are thin shelled. Lasers would probably do well against them. 

    • #30
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