Pentagon’s top R&D chief hints that lasers may never work on aircaft
The Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering claims that it may not be feasible for an aircraft to be able to shoot down a missile with a laser- at least for now.
The comments were made by Mike Griffin, who is overseeing advanced research for the Pentagon.
“As a weapon system to equip an airplane with the lasers we think necessary in terms of their power level …and get them to altitudes where atmospheric turbulence can be mitigated appropriately, that combination of things can’t go on one platform,” Griffin said. “I’m extremely skeptical that we can put a large laser on an aircraft and use it to shoot down an adversary missile even from very close.”
According to The Drive, lasers lose energy and strength the further away from the source they go, and thus have to either work in thinner atmospheres or be much more powerful than what can currently be mounted on aircraft.
Still, it seems, it’s more a matter of “when” than “if.”
While Griffin is skeptical, he’s not against lasers- in face he’s one of the biggest proponents for directed energy weapons at the Pentagon.
While the Airborne Laser experiments of yesteryear were a success, it required using a commercial-sized aircraft and was only so effective. However, aircraft and ground vehicle-mounted lasers have had varying degrees of success in recent years.
Despite setbacks, the laser appears to be the weapon of the future, and the most dependable method -at least in theory, for now- of taking out nuclear-tipped warheads raining down from above.
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