23 December 2010

US Navy wants electric boom-boom and pew-pew

Foremost on every Israeli's mind when it comes to security is missile defense. How are we going to best defend against nation states (and their proxy armies) who aim tens of thousands of rockets and missiles at our civilian population centers? Israel has acknowledged this threat with a dazzling array of kinetic missile defense systems which aim to knock the offending missile (teel in Hebrew) out of the sky. This topic took center stage at the International Aerospace Conference in Jerusalem, which I attended. Rather than discuss these kinetic hit-to-kill systems (which would take its own blog post), let's discuss lasers here, because they're pretty nifty, and it seems to be the way that the US Navy is trending.

Ten years ago, Israel (together with TRW) developed a truck-mounted laser which successfully knocked down shorter range katyusha rockets and artillery shells, but unfortunately this program was scrapped due to the immense cost of developing a new powerful laser system.

Tactical High-Energy Laser (THEL)

Enter Uncle Sam, and Mike Rinn, VP of Directed Energy Systems, Strategic Missile & Defense Systems at Boeing. At the Aerospace Conference referred to above, Mike Rinn discussed using lasers today to do what Israel tried to do before - to shoot down missiles, both short- and long-range, as well as enabling many shots per hour. Mike also proudly showed us the UAV shoot-down video below, with the caveat that it was only a technology demonstrator, and still a work in progress.

For Israel's security, it behooves us to help and watch our wealthier allies develop better systems to help keep our nation safer.

Let's talk Navy.


The U.S. Navy seems to be trending towards electric-powered everything, and not just lasers. They do want to get their hands on the new Boeing airborne laisser technology, and not just 'cause it's cool. It actually works, and the only ammo would be electricity (eventually). But that is a ways away, and the Navy realizes that. The Boeing airborne laser is currently a chemical laser, which is not practical for field deployment (too many super-dangerous chemicals and super-sensitive support systems needed). BUT, Boeing is concurrently working on a free-electron laser utilizing the technology gleaned from their airborne laser, which would only use electricity. And then they can pew-pew the bad guys or incoming missiles. Recently, the Navy tested a mini-me laser which shot down 4 UAVs over the water. pew pew.

Next: The electric railgun. Recently, the navy blew away the previous record of the most powerful railgun evah (set by themselves, of course), with a mind-blowing 33 megajoules propelling a hunk of metal to supersonic speeds. This railgun can reach out and touch someone at 100 miles with violent intimacy. They are working towards developing a stronger one that can reach 200 miles. By the way, one megajoule is the equivalent of a one-ton car hitting something at 100 mph. And they packed 33 of them into a very small and cheap package. boom-boom.

Here's a video of Navy electricity at work. At the end of the video, they display their unit's shield which bears their apt motto: Velocitas Eradico. Speed destroys.

And lastly, the Navy just successfully tested their electric catapult. This catapult (made by General Atomics, of the Predator fame) works off of the same principles behind the railgun, just that it holds an F-18 instead of a lethal projectile. Anywho, this catapult is a prominent feature in the new Gerald Ford class of aircraft carriers currently being built in the Newport News shipyards. The electric system obviates the need for the caustic, slower, and outdated steam system, which was so prominent in the iconic opening scenes of Top Gun. sigh.

Here's a video of the catapult test:

So even with all of these electric systems being developed, and with the US Navy developing increased electricity capacity on their new carriers to power their pew-pew, there'll always be a place for some good old-fashioned boom-boom.

A mini-mushroom cloud billows behind Army engineers from E Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armour Regiment "Steel Tigers" and Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians attached to 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. Click for hi-res version. (via: militaryphotos.net)

[written for DoubleTapper by Yishai from Digital Irony]

تنسيق-الكليات-لعام سكس نيك كس

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