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Posted: 6/24/2003 11:09:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2003 11:35:18 AM EDT by Guns_N_Shizzle]
[url]http://www.knoxstudio.com/shns/story.cfm?pk=JEDIWEAPONS-06-24-03&cat=AN[/url] Zap! Air Force eyes Star Wars-style lasers By SUE VORENBERG Scripps Howard News Service June 24, 2003 - "Star Wars" laser battles might have happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but for the U.S. Air Force they're just now starting to become a reality. A new high energy laser weapon and F-16 flight simulator, designed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Theater Aerospace Command Control Simulation Facility at Kirtland Air Force Base, will let pilots test technology that could put the United States far ahead of its enemies. The F-16 model is a smaller version of the airborne laser weapon already under development for use on a Boeing 747 for shooting down missiles. It could be ready for use in 2012, but before that happens, pilots will test the system in the simulator to see how useful it is and suggest ways it could be improved to help them in combat. "Essentially what we're looking at is that this laser can hit a target at the speed of light, almost instantly compared with the time of flight of a missile, which can take several seconds," said Jono Tyson, a contract employee from Scientific Research Corp. and assistant project manager at the simulation facility. "The laser is also a much more cost-effective weapon versus firing a missile that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. Firing the laser will likely only cost a couple hundred dollars." This fall, the two Kirtland agencies will attach the system to flight simulators in Arizona at the Fighter Weapons Training Branch. Pilots at the facility will tell the Air Force whether they think the laser is worth further development, said Rudy Martinez, the simulation facility's project manager. The laser system is a renewable weapon, another advantage. When missiles fire, they are completely destroyed, but a laser needs only to be recharged before it can fire again, said Rick Garcia, a spokesman at the research lab. The high energy laser weighs about 5,000 pounds and can fire on targets up to 10 miles away - a short distance compared with the 40-mile reach of air-to-air missiles. If the pilots like the simulation, scientists at the research lab, which developed the technology, will try to make the weapon smaller and more powerful, so it can fire greater distances and take up less space on an F-16. "What we're also trying to figure out now is how long it takes for our laser to take out a target," Tyson said. "It's not like 'Battlestar Galactica,' where you just fire, and they go down. It has to hit the target for a second or two." The system can also fire at targets on the ground, such as enemy lines or tank columns, Tyson said. To build the simulator, scientists and technicians at the simulation facility added an extra firing button on the pilot's stick and developed extensive software programs that realistically simulate the targeting instrument panel and visual firing of the system on two video screens. The one unrealistic thing about the laser is the sound it makes. When fired, the simulator makes a noise that sounds a lot like a "Star Trek" phaser blast. In real life, the laser makes no noise at all. "The problem is, pilots don't know when the weapon has fired if it doesn't make a noise," said Suzanne Baker, a software engineer who helped develop the system. "We got the noise for this one from Tactical Air Systems. I think they got it from 'Star Trek' or something, but I'm not sure. You'd think a bunch of nerds like us would know that." The system has been fully developed and tested, but it must be adapted for the much more advanced flight simulators in Arizona. Its developers will spend the next several months tweaking it to work on those systems and hope to finish late this year.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:11:48 AM EDT
IBTL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:13:47 AM EDT
That's a hell of a title you choose for this post. Sgtar15
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:15:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/24/2003 11:46:03 AM EDT by garandman]
I'll be a big enuf man to edit mine since he changed his. Please ignore this post.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:20:02 AM EDT
[img]http://images.andale.com/f2/112/111/7410906/1050290592012_IBTL.JPG[/img]
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:23:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:31:51 AM EDT
Originally Posted By The_Beer_Slayer: how about we just fry some terrorists
View Quote
Much better.
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:36:04 AM EDT
i third the IBTL
Link Posted: 6/24/2003 11:37:01 AM EDT
good job on the quick title change
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