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Air Defense: Phalanx Fitted With Laser and Passes Test
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January 11, 2007: Responding to an Israeli search (and offers of quick sales) for anti-rocket/ mortar systems, the company (Raytheon) that makes the Phalanx anti-ship missile system, has adapted a Phalanx to use a laser instead of a 20mm automatic cannon. The Phalanx radar can spot incoming object at up to 5,000 meters, and destroy them at up to 2,000 meters with its 20mm cannon. But by using an off-the-shelf solid state laser, Raytheon was able to detect and destroy a 60mm mortar shell (which is smaller than any current rocket) at  a range of "over 500 meters". The laser used can be powered by a generator, or commercial (off the grid) electrical power. Previous high powered lasers required a chemical energy system that was bulky, messy and expensive. If this modified Phalanx system is reliable, they could be used to protect towns and villages in areas, like southern Israel, where Palestinians fire home made rockets from Gaza. While the 20mm cannon has a longer range, the ammo is more expensive, and the shells will eventually come down in Gaza, where they may hit civilians. Then there's the expense. Even second hand Phalanx systems cost over a million dollars each. New ones can cost ten times that, although the price with the laser, instead of the complex, six barreled 20mm cannon, would be lower (perhaps $6 million each). The laser version would also be lighter, weighing no more than three tons.

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rudebadger       1/11/2007 10:22:55 AM
You forgot to mention the most important reason to deploying a Phalanx laser system - it is just so much cooler!
 
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dll2000    Question   1/11/2007 10:55:15 AM
Could the lasers be an inadvertant danger to commercial air traffic? 
 
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Belasarius       1/11/2007 10:59:49 AM
A laser beam is so discrete and the firing duration so short for something like a mortar round I can't see how it would possibly endanger an aircraft.   Another reason is that the power available to detonate a mortar round at 500 yards would hardly endanger an aircraft 10,000 yards away.  Eye damage might result from a strike but I think it would have to be the world's unluckiest pilot.
 
 
 
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Yimmy       1/11/2007 11:06:10 AM
With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.


 
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Herald1234    Overlooking the obvious.   1/11/2007 2:27:49 PM

With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.


Point defense.
1. schools.
2. hospitals.
3. large factories.

Plus the fact that it is a four ton solution means vehicular solution.

You can string these as beads along a barrier line or road. Several overlapping lines gives you a border defense in depth.

Mount it on a truck or tractor trailer with a generator. Use the road net to move/deploy as needed..

This is a first generation deployed solid state diode laser system. I don't know how many shots it will yield before diode burnout, but the fact that it is a unitary system that can operate within Israeli powergrid generating capacity either mobile or grid is more significant than the alleged limited range. This is a mobile laser.^1

Anything that can pre-detonate a mortar shell is going to do more than blinding damage to a human being it hits in its engagement radius.

Herald



And this is the first possible use of a laser defense as a  barrier defense.

 
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DarthAmerica       1/11/2007 2:56:14 PM

With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.



Who say's its only 500 meters?

DA
 
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Yimmy       1/11/2007 3:07:41 PM



With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.




Who say's its only 500 meters?

DA

The author of the article.

And it won't work for layerd defence due to the trajectory of the rockets.

I do concur that it would be nice for Israeli schools however, it would be hard to disagree with that.

 
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DarthAmerica       1/11/2007 3:16:42 PM







With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.





Who say's its only 500 meters?

DA


The author of the article.

And it won't work for layerd defence due to the trajectory of the rockets.

I do concur that it would be nice for Israeli schools however, it would be hard to disagree with that.



You should read the article a little more carefully because it's very carefully worded believe me. You should also consider the manufacturer...


"http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=149999&TICK=RTN&STORY=/www/story/01-09-2007/0004502788&EDATE=Jan+9,+2007"

Raytheon Successfully Tests New Solid-State Laser Area Defense System
    TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 9, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon Company (NYSE:
RTN) successfully tested a prototype solid-state laser weapon that combines
the proven capabilities of the Phalanx weapon system with the power and
effectiveness of lasers to defeat rockets, mortars and missiles at an
operationally significant range.
The prototype solid-state Laser Area Defense System (LADS) successfully
detonated 60-millimeter mortars at a range greater than 550 yards within
the tactical timeline in static ground testing conducted in partnership
with the United States government. This government-industry team
accomplished these groundbreaking prototype tests in less than six months.
The LADS demonstration used a proven, existing, off-the-shelf
solid-state laser, coupled with commercially available optics technology.
The goal of the demonstration was to rapidly prove that lasers can yield
military utility now by demonstrating that such a system could protect
warfighters against mortars. Secondary goals of the demonstration were to
offer a near-term alternative to chemical lasers, which may create
logistics challenges for the warfighter, and to prove that existing optical
and targeting components can significantly lower total laser system costs
and speed their ultimate transition to the warfighter.
Solid-state laser technology makes LADS safe to the environment, does
away with the need for caustic chemicals and radically reduces the
life-cycle cost. LADS is highly mobile and has the operational capability
to simultaneously engage multiple targets at tactically relevant ranges.
The laser system is powered by a commercially available generator or grid
electricity and provides an extremely inexpensive, almost infinite magazine
for countering mortar and rocket threats.
"In just six short months, Raytheon and government engineers went from
an idea to operational field testing of a solid-state laser system that
offers the potential of near-term protection
 
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Yimmy       1/11/2007 3:28:58 PM
Er, 550 yards, 500 meters... same thing.


 
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Herald1234       1/11/2007 3:38:09 PM







With an effective range of only 500m's, it can only cover a 1 km circumference circle - so what is the point exactly?

Fine perhaps for defending small installations, but given the lack of accuracy of the rockets encountered and the way they are just shot wildly over the border, I hardly think it a suitable option in this case.





Who say's its only 500 meters?

DA


The author of the article.

And it won't work for layerd defence due to the trajectory of the rockets.

I do concur that it would be nice for Israeli schools however, it would be hard to disagree with that.


Why is this? A parabolic rocket trajectory just means you point the laser UP. Consider just what type of cruise missile the Phalanx was originally designed to pre-detonate; Russian supersonic ASMs. The endgame profile had many types of that ASM missile PLUNGING onto a ship. So the Phalanx was agile in vertical azimuth[90 degress] as well as horizontal bearing[360 degree].
 
You can also point it at a slant, slew and elevate as the Kassam comes in. This is not difficult to envisage as to how a cloverleaf footprint defense in depth is covered. You don't use total ground coverage with a system like this. Just critical ground coverage. You can game theory the threat axis and critical ground footprints to deploy.
 
DA;
 
I won't comment on actual laser effectiveness beyond this. Until you get into the multi-megawatt emitters you have a practical range limit which for open source purposes you can speculate as being fifteen kilometers slant. Until the ABL benchtests are complete that is a good working maximum for a tactical ground based laser in clear weather. It varies with atmospheric particulate clutter and altitude.  
 
Herald  

 
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