Ground-Based Anti-Air Directed (GBAD) energy weapon

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"The U.S. Marines’ Next Anti-Aircraft Weapon Could Be a Laser"
by Robert Beckhusen on Jun 12, 2014


Source:
https://medium.com/@warisboring/marines-plan-drone-zapping-laser-weapon-141e7fc66c53

Every military in the world worth its epaulets is investing in drones. Now sensing that drones could be a threat to U.S. troops, the Marines are working on a laser to zap them out of the sky.

It’s called GBAD — for ground-based, anti-air directed energy weapon. The Pentagon’s Office of Naval Research announced on June 11 it had awarded a series of contracts for the laser, which the Marines hope will augment a looming future shortage of anti-air Stinger missiles.

ONR has tested some components for the weapon already, and wants to carry out field experiments with a 10-kilowatt laser later this year. In two years time, it wants to triple the laser’s power to 30 kilowatts.

Eventually, the Marines want the entire weapon to weigh less than 2,000 pounds and fit inside a Humvee and its replacement, the still-in-development Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.

Here’s how this weapon would conceivably work on the battlefield. At any given time, several thousand Marines are floating around the world’s oceans aboard amphibious assault ships. In the event of a crisis, the Marines are—along with the Navy’s aircraft carriers—one of the two deadliest kinds of tools the president can order off a nation’s coastline.

This means the Marines are an expeditionary force. But Marine reconnaissance units landing on a beach or entering hostile territory for the first time could be easily spotted by drones—which are increasingly being deployed by more and more nations. The GBAD is supposed to destroy these kinds of drones.

The branch is looking to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to handle detecting and tracking incoming drones, and then beaming that data down to GBAD units. The office has also selected the drone-tracking RPS-42 radar to help out on the ground.
The Marines’ vision for anti-drone warfare. Marine Corps illustration

Right now, the leathernecks in Low-Altitude Air Defense battalions train to shoot down drones with shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. But in the coming years, the Stinger stockpiles will begin running low. According to a 2013 report from the service, Marine stockpiles in 2019 will drop below the 1,081 Stingers mandated by the Pentagon’s War Reserve Munitions Requirement.

This has led the branch to extend the service life of these launchers by upgrading their day/night sights, as well as relying on .50-caliber and 7.62-millimeter machine gun rounds to destroy drones at ranges of less than 500 meters. And, of course, developing lasers to do the job.

The Navy is working on lasers for ships, as well. The sailing service plans to deploy one aboard the transport ship USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf this year.

But ground-based lasers are trickier. Energy weapons require a lot of power, and you’re relying on small vehicles instead of a huge warships to lug the weapon and power supply around. High altitudes also lower combustion pressures, which makes generators work less efficiently.

This has been an issue with another drone-tracking radar known as G/ATOR. The Marines developed the radar in part to track small drones, but its 60-kilowatt power supply began weakening at altitudes greater than 4,000 feet.

If the Marines want to zap drones in the mountains, it’ll have to make some trade offs. You don’t want a glorified flashlight, but a laser that is too powerful to work up high isn’t much better.
 

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"Bad News for the Bad Guys: Laser Weapon Being Readied for Marine Vehicles"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2014
By Eric Beidel

ARLINGTON, Va.— As the Navy prepares to deploy its first laser weapon on a ship later this summer, Office of Naval Research (ONR) officials announced June 11 that they have finished awarding contracts to develop a similar weapon to be used on ground vehicles.

The Ground-Based Air Defense Directed Energy On-the-Move program, commonly referred to as GBAD, aims to provide an affordable alternative to traditional firepower to keep enemy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from tracking and targeting Marines on the ground.

ONR is working with Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and industry partners on the development of GBAD’s components and subsystems, including the laser itself, beam director, batteries, radar, advanced cooling, and communications and command and control.

“We’re confident we can bring together all of these pieces in a package that’s small enough to be carried on light tactical vehicles and powerful enough to counter these threats,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, vice chief of naval research and commanding general, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.

The GBAD system is being designed for use on light tactical vehicles such as the Humvee and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. With the proliferation of UAV technology, Marine Corps leaders expect that units increasingly will have to defend themselves against adversaries trying to perform reconnaissance and surveillance on them from the air.

“We can expect that our adversaries will increasingly use UAVs and our expeditionary forces must deal with that rising threat,” said Col. William Zamagni, acting head of ONR's Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department. “GBAD gives the Marine Corps a capability to counter the UAV threat efficiently, sustainably and organically with austere expeditionary forces. GBAD employed in a counter UAV role is just the beginning of its use and opens myriad other possibilities for future expeditionary forces.”

The technologies being developed under the GBAD program are a direct response to the Marine Corps Science and Technology Strategic Plan, which calls for a mobile directed-energy weapon capable of destroying threats such as UAVs.

“Aggressive action against air threats is needed for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to conduct expeditionary maneuver. Everything about this program is geared toward realizing a viable directed-energy capability in support of that objective to allow our Marines to be fast and lethal,” said Lee Mastroianni, program manager for Force Protection in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism Department.

Some of the system’s components already have been used in tests to detect and track UAVs of all sizes. Later in the year, researchers will test the entire system against targets using a 10kW laser as a stepping stone to a 30kW laser.

The 30kW system is expected to be ready for field testing in 2016, when the program will begin more complex trials to ensure a seamless process from detection and tracking to firing, all from mobile tactical vehicles.

The program has benefitted from previous investments, studies and technology development by the Department of Defense High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, the Penn State Electro-Optics Center and the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.

“These partnerships, along with strong support from Marine Corps leadership, are vital as we move forward to see how this capability opens up new frontiers on the battlefield,” Mastroianni said.

All the pieces for the system are being developed under ONR’s Future Naval Capabilities program, which brings proven technology to military acquisition programs in rapid fashion, going from research-and-development to delivery in five years.
 

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Racer

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I'm not sold to lasers as the holy grail of air defence:

"...but its 60-kilowatt power supply began weakening at altitudes greater than 4,000 feet."

And this in sun-shine-blue-sky clear weather?
 

Avimimus

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Well such a weapon could certainly have a role against small UAVs and as a dazzler against enemy optics. It would make sense to augment it with a couple of missiles or even a low-barrel life cannon (like a GSh-301).
 

TomcatViP

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The delay b/w the laser firing and the impact on the target is interesting (assuming both video are synchronized).
 

TomcatViP

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You are probably right. The thermal reaction of the material translate through such inertia (latent heat of fusion).
 

In_A_Dream

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Will artificially creating thunderstorms/fog/cloud cover over your desired target area be added to the order of battle when trying to mitigate the threat of point defense lasers?
 

Forest Green

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Will artificially creating thunderstorms/fog/cloud cover over your desired target area be added to the order of battle when trying to mitigate the threat of point defense lasers?
Kind of difficult to do that without flying over the target area, or near it, and with a large aircraft too.
 

Forest Green

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Is it? As long as wind and moisture are in your favor, you could induce convection, and throw a storm down range.
You could throw some precipitation down range, whether you could throw it down range further than the range of an SM-6, or the newer modifications of it, is very questionable. Especially given that your cloud seeding aircraft will be the size of a cargo plane. And this would be some rain, not a thunderstorm. Cloud seeding does not turn you into Storm from the X-Men.
 

In_A_Dream

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You could throw some precipitation down range, whether you could throw it down range further than the range of an SM-6, or the newer modifications of it, is very questionable. Especially given that your cloud seeding aircraft will be the size of a cargo plane. And this would be some rain, not a thunderstorm. Cloud seeding does not turn you into Storm from the X-Men.

Haven't the US, Russians, and Chinese experimented with the ionosphere, causing temporary "hot spots" of increased solar radiation? You could theoretically weaponize this to enhance conditions for thunderstorm/typhoon formation in the Pacific. Too speculative though, I admit.
 

Forest Green

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Haven't the US, Russians, and Chinese experimented with the ionosphere, causing temporary "hot spots" of increased solar radiation? You could theoretically weaponize this to enhance conditions for thunderstorm/typhoon formation in the Pacific. Too speculative though, I admit.
That changes the transmission property of the ionosphere for comms, it's got nothing to do with weather control... or mind control.
 

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The ionosphere also helps absorb solar radiation from the sun.
It absorbs UV radiation and X-rays, which is how the actual ions are produced in the first place, but this does not affect the weather. The property of interest is the ability of this electrically conducting layer to reflect radio waves, which naturally changes from season to season. HAARP and other similar facilities are aimed at enhancing this effect.

So I'm afraid there is no weather machine and Kate Bush will have to keep singing.
 

In_A_Dream

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It absorbs UV radiation and X-rays, which is how the actual ions are produced in the first place, but this does not affect the weather. The property of interest is the ability of this electrically conducting layer to reflect radio waves, which naturally changes from season to season. HAARP and other similar facilities are aimed at enhancing this effect.

So I'm afraid there is no weather machine and Kate Bush will have to keep singing.

If the ionosphere protects us from solar radiation, and some mechanism causes a vulnerability in that layer during the middle of the day, you don't think there would be an increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, nor an impact on the weather as a result? Even slightly?
 

Forest Green

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If the ionosphere protects us from solar radiation, and some mechanism causes a vulnerability in that layer during the middle of the day, you don't think there would be an increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, nor an impact on the weather as a result? Even slightly?
How would it cause a vulnerability exactly? It only affects a very small amount of the atmosphere and the power used is very small compared to what would be required to make a significant change. You certainly couldn't create a thunderstorm. It creates a few more ions for the purpose of reflecting radio waves. In any case, it's not exactly mobile.
 

In_A_Dream

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How would it cause a vulnerability exactly? It only affects a very small amount of the atmosphere and the power used is very small compared to what would be required to make a significant change. You certainly couldn't create a thunderstorm. It creates a few more ions for the purpose of reflecting radio waves. In any case, it's not exactly mobile.
Are you focused on HAARP? Because that wasn't exactly weather manipulation. Although...
 

Forest Green

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Are you focused on HAARP? Because that wasn't exactly weather manipulation. Although...
I thought that's what you were thinking of when you mentioned manipulation of the ionosphere. Other than that I only know of cloud seeding, which isn't too practical either and relies on favourable wind direction.

The amount of power The Sun lays down on the ionosphere is huge, what man is capable of is, by comparison, p*ssing in the ocean.
 

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HAARP (not Bull’s HARP) is a locomotive on blocks hooked up to every 1970’s Alabama trailer-park TV antennas linked together by clothesline’s, as it were. Big deal.
 

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