Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blinded Me With Science

"Soft" kill of a guided missile with a laser was known to be the easiest thing to do with current power levels and wavelengths available in conveniently-produceable lasers -- that is, by burning out or dazzling the guidance unit.

The procurement guys however were always saying, gee, come on, that's not exciting, I want something to blow up! Give me Flaming Wreckage!!!

Unless a demonstration in the field for the top brass produced Flaming Wreckage, there was little interest in funding the project.

Well the real-world demands of the GWOT seem to have finally filtered through the dinosauric beast's nervous system, producing this news item:
Jet with anti-missile system leaves LAX
LOS ANGELES - An MD-10 cargo jet equipped with Northrop Grumman's Guardian anti-missile system took off from Los Angeles International Airport on a commercial flight Tuesday, the company said.

The FedEx flight marked the start of operational testing and evaluation of the laser system designed to defend against shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles during takeoffs and landings.

Adapted from military technology, Guardian is designed to detect a missile launch and then direct a laser to the seeker system on the head of the missile and disrupt its guidance signals. The laser is not visible and is eye-safe, the company said.
The testing is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Counter-Man Portable Air Defense Systems program. BAE Systems has also been working for the government on a similar airliner defense system and has successfully tested it.
About time! Hurray.

Of course, the article then has to quote go-to wet-blanket guy John Pike:
John Pike, a defense analyst at, an Alexandria, Va., think tank, suggested that development of the system was the lesser of issues for the airline industry.

"I think the problem is making the numbers work in the sense of figuring out who's going to pay for it," he said.
Oh please.

How much would YOU pay extra for a ticket to have an anti-missile laser on board???

Enough to cover the costs of they system, I'm sure.


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