The US Space Force

aonestudio

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Grey Havoc

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Woops, somehow missed that the same report was in aonestudio's last post!
 

jsport

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Uhm it's a high tech project with assumed a bit of budget... why does it have a flat tire? Maintenance people, it's a a thing :)

Randy


I assume you mean the neutral particle beam program was cancelled due to funding needed for maintenance elsewhere? If so, why would the DOD say the project was cancelled due to technical immaturity? Is maintenance a thing which must not be mentioned?

Future Trends and Challenges for PB Weapon Technologies
Despite investments spanning several decades, PB weapons are currently unproven and significant challenges to their adoption remain.

Neutron and photon beam sources in SWAP-constrained packages are insufficient to generate militarily relevant effects.

In order to be militarily relevant by 2060, particle beams must propagate militarily relevant distances.

Electron beams are currently considered to be the most likely to find military application, albeit that today, due to technological limitations, propagation can only be achieved poorly in the earth atmosphere.

Militarily relevant systems are currently limited to less than a few hundred meters of effective range.

Longer ranges are possible with higher energy electrons (~1 km at 1 GeV at sea level).
The International Plasma Sciences Committee issued a grand challenge in their 2020 decadal study to improve understanding of the interactions of lasers and particle beams, to include for the purposes of advancing national security (Committee on a Decadal Assessment of Plasma Science 2020).

Optimistically, the response to this grand challenge will greatly improve propagation distances within the earth atmosphere through further research investments.

Other technical issues that will shape the future relevance of participle beams are that they generate ionizing radiation, meaning they pose significant risk to operators, bystanders, and enemy and friendly soldiers in the battlespace.

As such, particle beam targets are conservatively anticipated to be limited to locations with carefully prescribed “keep out” zones.

With these two challenges in mind, terrestrial and maritime particle beam applications are today thought to be possible, even in pessimistic forecasts, but limited to special applications where stand-off distances can be very short.

At altitudes above 30,000 feet, where human exposure is less likely and the atmosphere is thinner, the outlook for particle beams is much more positive, in conservative projections.

Propagation ranges for electron beams above 30,000 feet extend from hundreds to thousands of meters even for small systems.

As mentioned, high altitude applications and space-based concepts for particle beam-based DEWs have been developed.

Challenges for these applications include SWAP vs. electron energy and range issues, particularly the weight of systems that need to be lofted to high altitudes for long periods of time.

The technological advancement most likely to be impactful for electron beam weapons in the future consists of increased acceleration gradients.

State of the art accelerators today typically reach 50 MeV/m, but ongoing research into W-band RF linear accelerators promise to make 200-400 MeV/m gradients a reality in even conservative forecasts. Improvements in energy storage and conversion also conservatively promise to make electron beam weapons militarily feasible by improving their SWAP.

With conservatively projected SWAP improvements, the military utility of particle beam systems at or near sea level will increase with increasing range for both special and normal military operations.

Still, risk of biohazard and associated policy issues will remain, and will limit applications.

If advancements in SWAP are achieved, these technological improvements will make the most difference in high altitude applications.

With lighter and more powerful PB systems, airborne systems may reach higher altitudes and can remain aloft for longer durations.

Should the described technological advancements be achieved, it is expected that the military utility of particle beams will increase significantly.

As mentioned before, many nations participate in accelerator research, hence it is anticipated that, if driven by increasing military utility and technological capability ,conservatively proliferation could rapidly increase.

Pessimistically, proliferation could increase significantly.

Proliferation of PB technology would pose a significant challenge, both legally and to U.S. security and military superiority in future engagements.

Nevertheless, these examples illustrate how DEWs can be very precise and powerful in special and high-altitude operations, and why the U.S. should continue its investment in this area of research lest other nations take the lead.
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc

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