Posts Tagged ‘MDA’

Airborne Laser shoots and scores!

Last night – the US Air Force’s much maligned Airborne Laser project hit the jackpot with a successful in-flight engagement and destruction of a Scud-like ballistic missile shortly after it was launched.

In the video below, a timecode that could be used to evaluate how long the laser was on target before its destruction – is noticeably missing.

The Airborne Laser is a chemically charged laser mounted in a modified Boeing 747-400 Freighter. This was originally planned to go into Operational use, but due to cost and schedule overruns, (Defense) Secretary Gates decided last year to downgrade the project to a R&D project. Whether this successful test will change the Pentagon’s plans for this system – has yet to be seen.

It is unknown how long this test has been planned, but what is interesting is that the results of this test were publicized, while another successful test earlier this month was not (last sentence in press release). It is possible that publicizing this test was meant to show an uncooperative Middle East state that continued nuclear enrichment is not a good idea.

 

Missile Defense Test gotcha


Vandenberg_Launch_04

Originally uploaded by DanDawson

Lost in the initial euphoria of a successful MDA test at the beginning of this month – was the fact that this wasn’t the “realistic” test that it was supposed to be.

During the announcement of the test – it came out that the countermeasures that were supposed to be part of this test – did not deploy.

This may sound silly or naive – but if we can’t get countermeasures to work on a simple test missile (with all of the time to prep the attempt) – can we realistically expect that a minor power has been able to integrate a successful countermeasure into their ballistic missile?