CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Tuesday, June 27, 2017



High-energy LASER from an Apache attack helicopter - destroys a target almost a mile away


  • Weapon is almost silent and invisible which makes it hard for enemies to detect
  • First time a laser has successfully fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft
  • Laser systems have been on the Apache since 1984 when it first entered service
  • However, they were low-powered and could only guide air-to-ground missiles 

The US army has successfully hit an unmanned target using a high-powered laser mounted on a Apache AH-64 helicopter.
The demonstration was the first time a fully integrated laser system has successfully fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft, according to defence company Raytheon who manufactured the device.
The weapon is almost silent and invisible which makes it particularly hard for enemies to detect and could be used on the battlefield in the near future. 

The demonstration (pictured) was the first time a laser was 'fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds,' the company said
The demonstration (pictured) was the first time a laser was 'fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds,' the company said

LASER WEAPONS

Laser systems have been on the Apache since 1984 when it first entered service. 
However, they were low-powered and could only guide air-to-ground missiles. 
The test was the 'first time that a fully integrated laser system successfully engaged and fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds,' defence company Raytheon said. 
The weapon is almost silent and invisible which makes it particularly hard for enemies to detect and will be on the battlefield 'sooner rather than later'. 
The US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons and there has been a 30-kilowatt laser on the USS Ponce - an amphibious transport dock ship - since 2014. The laser, which was tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico successfully hit a target 0.9 miles (1.4 km) away.
The demonstration was the first time a laser was 'fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft over a wide variety of flight regimes, altitudes and air speeds,' the company said.
The laser was manufactured by Raytheon who said their device 'provides long-range surveillance, target acquisition, tracking, range finding and laser designation'.
Laser systems have been on the Apache since 1984 when it first entered service. 
However, they were low-powered and could only guide air-to-ground missiles.
These lasers are particularly accurate because unlike bullets and artillery which fire in an arch, they fire in straight lines and are powerful enough to destroy targets.
The company used an electro-optical intrared sensor - which is a version of the Multi-Spectral Targeting System.Demonstration is the first time a fully integrated laser system has successfully fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft (artist's impression), according to defence company Raytheon
Demonstration is the first time a fully integrated laser system has successfully fired on a target from a rotary-wing aircraft (artist's impression), according to defence company Raytheon

High energy laser on helicopter fires at target at missile range

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These lasers (pictured)  are particularly accurate because unlike bullets and artillery which fire in an arch, they fire in straight lines and are powerful enough to destroy targets
These lasers (pictured)  are particularly accurate because unlike bullets and artillery which fire in an arch, they fire in straight lines and are powerful enough to destroy targets
'By combining combat proven sensors, like the MTS [Multi-Spectral Targeting System], with multiple laser technologies, we can bring this capability to the battlefield sooner rather than later', said Art Morrish, vice president of Advanced Concept and Technologies for Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems.
According to Matthew Ketner, branch chief of the High Energy Laser Controls and Integration Directorate, the power of the laser beam can be adjusted for any material - there is even a non-lethal adjustment for human targets.
Mr Katner said lasers have taken out cruise missiles, mortars and other projectiles during testing. 
The weapon (pictured) is almost silent and invisible which makes it particularly hard for enemies to detect and could be used on the battlefield in the near future
The weapon (pictured) is almost silent and invisible which makes it particularly hard for enemies to detect and could be used on the battlefield in the near future
 Laser systems have been on the Apache (pictured) since 1984 when it first entered service. However, they were low-powered and could only guide air-to-ground missiles
 Laser systems have been on the Apache (pictured) since 1984 when it first entered service. However, they were low-powered and could only guide air-to-ground missiles
'Unlike a traditional gun lasers don't run out of bullets', he said.
However, they do use a lot of energy and are unable to penetrate haze, smoke and materials with anti-laser coatings.
The US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons and there has been a 30-kilowatt laser on the USS Ponce - an amphibious transport dock ship - since 2014.
Pictured are the effects of the laser on various materials, displayed during Lab Day at the Pentagon. Lasers have taken out cruise missiles, mortars and other projectiles during testing
Pictured are the effects of the laser on various materials, displayed during Lab Day at the Pentagon. Lasers have taken out cruise missiles, mortars and other projectiles during testing
The US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons and there has been a 30-kilowatt laser on the USS Ponce (pictured) - an amphibious transport dock ship - since 2014
The US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons and there has been a 30-kilowatt laser on the USS Ponce (pictured) - an amphibious transport dock ship - since 2014
It has been tested extensively and is authorised for defensive use, Mr Katner said.
At the end of May, Department of Defence bosses revealed a new $3.2m (£2.5m) project with Clemson University engineers to investigate the science behind laser weapons.
The military has already deployed some lasers as defensive weapons to shoot down incoming missiles and drones, but the two projects will address underlying issues with making them more widespread.
Laser blasters were also used throughout the films, seen here in 'Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope' (1977) with actors, from left, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. THe US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons
Laser blasters were also used throughout the films, seen here in 'Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope' (1977) with actors, from left, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. THe US military is increasingly looking into laser weapons
The laser, which was tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico successfully hit a target 0.9 miles (1.4 km) away
The laser, which was tested at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico successfully hit a target 0.9 miles (1.4 km) away
Earlier this year a silent killer that could spell the end for enemy drones was tested by US Army infantry troops for the first time.
During a ten day firing exercise, 50 drones were brought down by the laser weapon, an improved version of a system that was tested last year.
And it is hoped that Stryker infantry-transport vehicles mounted with the laser could soon be deployed to the front lines.
The Mobile High Energy Laser (MEHEL) is just one system the US Army is exploring to deal with the growth of inexpensive off-the-shelf unmanned aerial systems that are being used in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Marines will soon get their new King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter, which costs more than an F-35 and can carry two armored Humvees at once

  • Marines new CH-53K King Stallion chopper has been approved for production
  • Heavy-lift helicopter can carry three times the cargo of the old Super Stallion 
  • Program comes at a cost of $131million per aircraft, higher than some fighter jets



The Marines will soon get a major upgrade to their cargo helicopter fleet.
The Department of Defense earlier this month approved a Navy request to begin production on the CH-53K King Stallion, the powerful new helicopter set to replace the workhorse Super Stallion, which has been in service since 1981.
At a program cost of roughly $131million for each of the 200-aircraft order, the Marines expect their new choppers to be a massive improvement over the old Super Stallions.
'They’re not even in the same galaxy,' Colonel Henry Vanderborght, the Marines H-53 program manager, said at a recent defense conference, according to AIN. 'The capability we’re going to field now is eye-watering.'
The Department of Defense earlier this month approved a Navy request to begin production on the CH-53K King Stallion (pictured)
The Department of Defense earlier this month approved a Navy request to begin production on the CH-53K King Stallion (pictured)
CH-53E Super Stallion
CH-53K King Stallion
The Marines Super Stallion (left) will eventually be replaced by the new King Stallion (right)

CH-53E Super Stallion

Entered service: 1981
Max Payload: 30,000 lbs
'High/Hot' Payload: 9,000 lbs 
Speed: 172 mph
Ceiling: 10,000 feet 
Power Plant: Three General Electric T64-GE-416 turboshaft engines (4,380 SHP each) 
Unit Cost: $38.5M (inflation adjusted)H-53K King Stallion 
Enters service: 2019 (estimate)
Max Payload: 35,000 lbs
'High/Hot' Payload: 27,000 lbs 
Speed: 172 mph 
Ceiling: 9,520 feet 
Power Plant: Three General Electric T408-GE-400 turboshaft engines (7,332 SHP each)
Unit Cost: $87.1M 

King Stallion: First flight for the Sikorsky helicopter

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The new helicopter triples the payload capacity of the old Super Stallion in those conditions, for a 27,000-pound payload capacity that allows the King Stallion to transport two fully armored Humvees or one LAV-25 amphibious armored reconnaissance vehicle.

WHAT ARE 'HIGH/HOT' CONDITIONS?

  • Sea-level lift-off, temperature 103F
  • Travel at least 110 nautical miles
  • Landing zone 3,000 feet above sea level, where temperature is 91.5F
Naval testers set these specifications to replicate combat conditions. The heavier carrying capacity is needed to operate in desert environments as Humvee armor has steadily gotten heavier, upping the vehicles' weight from 5,500 to 8,500 pounds in the 1990s to 12,000 pounds today.
The King Stallion will also introduce a fly-by-wire flight control to improve safety. The electronic flight controls replace the manual controls on the Super Stallions.
'In the CH-53E there’s, no kidding, an iron rod that goes all the way from the pilot’s hand to the flight control surface,' Vanderborght, who flew the craft for years, told Naval Aviation News. he said. 
'You’re coming in at night and you’re trying to land that huge aircraft and a dust bubble engulfs you and you lose sight of the ground.'
The King Stallion (pictured) will have triple the payload capacity of the old Super Stallion in 'high/hot' conditions
The King Stallion (pictured) will have triple the payload capacity of the old Super Stallion in 'high/hot' conditions
The Marines also aim to dramatically reduce maintenance requirements, which currently clock in at 44 hours of work for every hour of flight on the aging Super Stallion. 
Lockheed-Martin Sikorsky is undertaking the 200 unit production run for a program cost of $25.3 billion. Including R&D costs, the price breaks down to more than $131million per aircract.
That's even more than the notoriously expensive vertical takeoff and landing version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35B, which clocks in at $122.8million. 
But Vanderborght argues that the media has overhyped the King Stallion's cost in stories claiming it costs more than the F-35. The 'flyaway' unit cost of the CH-53K is really $87million, he said.
Per-aircraft costs will come down if the new chopper succeeds in attracting foreign buyers. 
Germany has expressed interest in buying 41 of the King Stallions, as has Israel, a Lockheed executive has said. 
The CH-53 heavy cargo line has been in service for decades. Shown is the first flight of the YCH-53E on MArch 1, 1974
The CH-53 heavy cargo line has been in service for decades. Shown is the first flight of the YCH-53E on MArch 1, 1974

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