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  #61  
Old 06-19-2009, 09:28 AM
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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.
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  #63  
Old 06-19-2009, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MrQ1701 View Post
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.

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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
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.
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Last edited by Akula2ssn : 06-19-2009 at 10:10 AM.
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  #65  
Old 06-19-2009, 10:15 AM
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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?
Go rent the movie United 93. It deals exactly with that issue and what happened. Its very good. The parts on the making of it on the disk are very informative also.
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  #66  
Old 06-19-2009, 10:21 AM
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Thanks, Akula, I did not know that unarmed fighters were sent in the air at 9/11.
Sh*t happens but I hope that after 9/11, these procedures were improved.
I can't remember for certain (which is surprising since I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news of the first planes), but I think it was after or around the time the first plane struck the WTC that the fighters were scrambled. I believe their target was United Flight 93. As you can imagine those fighter pilots had a rather terrible dilemma to deal with while in flight. Had they been armed they would have been faced with making that decision on whether or not to shoot the plane down. Since they were not arm, they were faced with different decision. Should they decide that they had to take the plane down, would they go so far as to crash their own fighters into the hijacked plane. So yeah, talk about your lose lose situations.

Another thing I forgot to mention is that normally military fighters are also restricted on how fast they can go, because of the sonic booms from going full throttle. However, during emergencies like 9/11 those restrictions can and were lifted. Even with the restriction lifted, those fighters still didn't make it in time to intercept.
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Last edited by Akula2ssn : 06-19-2009 at 10:41 AM.
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