2010年2月13日土曜日

ALTB 弾道ミサイル撃墜成功

ALTBの試験が成功したようだ。
B747-400をセンサとレーザ装置等のALTBを組込む改修を行ない、試験した
ようだ。
映像を見る限り、
ミサイルが破壊されるまで、時間がかかり過ぎるように思う。
それに、破壊するまで、ミサイルとの距離が一定のようだ。
同速度で、同距離を保つのは難しいし、大気圏を越え再突入するミサイルの
迎撃は困難ではないのか。

現実的にはまだ改良が必要ということだろう。
次は、固体燃料のミサイルで試験とのこと。

C-130Hを改修したALTも別に開発しており、試験を開始するようだ。

ALTB試験成功は、液体燃料を主要燃料とする中国、北朝鮮やイランの
弾道ミサイルの開発、配備に対して抑制を目指すようだ。
追尾ミサイルで鈍そうなATLBはすぐに撃墜されそうな気がする。

銀河2号打上げ失敗 テポドン2号打上げ成功


Airborne Laser Testbed


ALTB Airborne Laser Testbed Successful 11 Feb 2010


Airborne Laser 2009 Executive Progress Report

---U.S. Air Force's Laser Air Armada Nears Combat Readiness---
Jason Mick (Blog) - February 12, 2010 10:19 AM
http://www.dailytech.com/US+Air+Forces+Laser+Air+Armada+Nears+Combat+Readiness/article17676.htm

Laser succeeds in tests against a liquid-fuel ballistic missile and a solid fuel rocket

The modern U.S. missile defense program traces its roots back the 1980s and the controversial "Star Wars" program. While the 1980s program's ambitious goals proved utterly unrealistic for the time, they ignited interest in the topic, and today with modern electronics we are finally on the verge of realizing some of the project's key goals.

The U.S. Air Force just wrapped up testing Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) against real missiles with dummy payloads. The results were a resounding success.

The ALTB at 8:44 p.m. (PST), February 11, 2010 fired on a "short-range threat-representative ballistic missile" and destroyed it. The test began with the missile being detected by sensors and then the use of low-energy lasers to track the target and estimate atmospheric disturbance. The missile "critical structural failure" while still boosting, after being hammered by the powerful megawatt-class High Energy Laser.

Next, a "solid fuel short-range missile" was launched, approximately an hour after the first launch. Again, the test passed with flying colors, identical to a similar solid fuel rocket interception that was carried out last week on February 3.

The ALTB is a massive electronics platform loaded aboard a modified Boeing 747-400 Freighter aircraft. The package features infrared sensors to first detect missiles by homing in to their exhaust plume. It then employs to kilowatt-class lasers dubbed the Track and Beacon Illuminator, respectively, the first of which tracks the target with precision and the second of which accounts of the atmospheric disturbances.

Then comes the critical step. A package in the plane's nose underbody uses a very large telescope to focus a megawatt-class COIL beam (generated by an Chemical Iodine Oxygen laser) onto sensitive regions of the target.

The success of the program has raised a great deal of interest in the U.S. Armed Forces for the the platform. In addition to nuclear missile defense, it could be used as air platform to defend against a variety of traditional missile strikes in arenas across the world. Firing the missile is somewhat expensive, requiring special chemicals to power the laser, however, it is still much cheaper than traditional missile-based interception technology, and it it has the advantage of being able to score hits on multiple missiles in quick succession.

The Air Force has also been testing a separate, similarly named laser dubbed the "Advanced Tactical Laser", which is mounted aboard a Hercules C-130H test aircraft. The ATL is designed primarily to strike at ground targets from the air, while the ALTB strikes at missile threats. The ATL will use a slightly less powerful laser, estimated to be between 100 and 300 kilowatts. The ATL is also advancing well, scoring hits on moving ground targets.

In both cases, skepticism remains about how successful the designs would be against surprise attacks and evasive targets. Nonetheless, optimism is high at the Air Force's advanced weapons division following the laser aircrafts' growing body of successful tests.


---Airborne Laser zaps in-flight missile---
February 12, 2010 8:48 AM PST
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10452572-76.html

In a milestone for the ambitious directed-energy project, now dramatically downsized, the Pentagon's Airborne Laser prototype weapons system destroyed a ballistic missile that was in flight. The shootdown took place February 11 off the central coast of California.

"The Airborne Laser Testbed team has made history with this experiment," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, in a statement released Friday. Boeing is the prime contractor for the Defense Department project.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency was equally enthusiastic about the results. "The revolutionary use of directed energy is very attractive for missile defense," the agency said in a statement, "with the potential to attack multiple targets at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers, and at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies.
Missile in flight 2

Unfortunately for proponents, the achievement is rather bittersweet. Where the Pentagon once had plans to build as many as seven of the one-of-a-kind Airborne Laser aircraft, a modified Boeing 747-400F, the high cost and technical uncertainties of the program prompted Defense Secretary Robert Gates last spring to cancel plans to build a second plane. The Pentagon kept the existing one around as an R&D platform.

But as a proof of concept, the Airborne Laser most certainly crossed a threshold when it KO'd the missile earlier this month.

On the evening of February 11, an "at-sea mobile launch platform"--the MDA didn't specify whether it was surface ship or submarine--fired a short-range "threat representative" liquid-fueled ballistic missile while the 747 was in the vicinity.
Missile in flight 3

This sequence of infrared images shows a missile breaking up when zapped in flight by the Airborne Laser on February 11.
(Credit: U.S. Missile Defense Agency)

Within seconds, the agency says, the aircraft detected the missile as it lifted off and used a low-energy laser (the Track Illuminator) to track it, followed by a second low-energy laser (the Beacon Illuminator) to assess and adjust for atmospheric disturbance. Then it engaged the powerhouse of the system, the megawatt-class High Energy Laser--Boeing calls it "the most powerful mobile laser device in the world"--which fires through a telescope located in the nose of the aircraft.

Within two minutes of the launch, while the missile's rocket motors were still firing, the chemical-derived High Energy Laser had heated a pressurized segment of the missile to "critical structural failure," the MDA said. The Track Illuminator and Beacon Illuminator are kilowatt-class solid-state lasers.

A short while later, a second, solid-fueled short-range missile took off from solid ground on San Nicolas Island, Calif., and the ABL likewise engaged it with the High Energy Laser, though it stopped firing the laser before destroying that missile. The MDA says that the ABL had met all test criteria, and besides, it had destroyed a similar missile in flight a week earlier.

Catching a missile during the boost phase has always been a central tenet of the ABL program--it's those first seconds and minutes, when the missile is moving most slowly and predictably, that make for the most vulnerable target. But that also was a significant argument against the system: How could the U.S. count on having a laser-laden aircraft in the right place at the right time to catch an enemy missile at take-off? Indeed, in canceling the second aircraft, Gates called the program's proposed operational role "highly questionable."

Last fall, the separate Airborne Tactical Laser aircraft, a modified C-130, hit a moving remote-controlled vehicle on the ground.

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