Originally Posted by MrQ1701
Cool stuff! I am all for missile defense, in all it's forms. I believe the U.S. should NOT be cutting back in that area right now. That is one of few areas where I disagree with the Obama administration.
Here's an image of the YAL-1
My understanding is that it uses thermal sensors to detect the initial launch of a tactical ballistic missile (TBM), specifically from the first stage rocket booster. It then paints the missile with several lasers (probably on the wing tips, vertical tail, and the structure on top just behind the cockpit). These lasers are supposed to not only provide targeting data but also to help focus the laser to compensate for atmospheric conditions between the plane and the target. The great thing about this is that unlike interceptor missiles like the Navy's SM-1 SM-2 and SM-3, the laser can cover the distance much faster since it travels at the speed of light and practically eliminate the need to lead the larget, further more if successful the ABL should be able to take out a TBM at ranges up to 600 km or just over 370 mi. The main problem is that the plane can only carry enough chemical fuel for the laser for about 20 high powered shots or 40 low powered shots. After that, the ABL must land in order to refuel the laser.
Originally Posted by horatio
I never understood why no one tried to intercept the planes of 9/11. Isn't there a protocol for cases when a plane ends contact or leaves its flight route?
You would think so, but to be honest it wouldn't be the first time that the United States was caught with its pants down, so to speak. Fighter jets were in fact scrambled, but the fact those fighters were sent up unarmed and still didn't exactly make it in time tells you the state of readiness for such a thing. It's not like it's completely
unheard of for planes to stray off course or lose communication. Probably prior to 9/11 the idea of using planes as manned missiles was considered very remote or unthinkable for some reason which escapes me.