The Russian Defense Ministry has decided to resume the development of laser combat aircraft, capable of destroying aircraft, satellites and ballistic missiles.
On the creation of Russia's "death ray" will work Concern PVO "Almaz-Antey", named after Beriev Aviation Concern, and the company "Himpromavtomatika." U.S. gave up the development of aviation laser in 2011, calling the project inapplicable in practice and too expensive.
Development of combat lasers in the USSR began in 1965. In 1973, for the purpose established a special design bureau. The first air-based laser system placed on the aircraft A-60, established on the basis of IL-76 transporter. His first flight with the laser on board A-60 made in 1983. Already in 1984, the Soviet pilots struck first air combat laser target.
In the 1990s, military laser tests have frozen due to lack of funding. The design office actually conducted on the personal initiative of employees. On the resumption of the development of aviation laser in 2009 declared valid academic adviser to the Academy of Engineering Sciences of Russia Yury Zaitsev. As it became known in the summer of 2010, it was all about the same air laboratory A-60, which placed the "blinding laser."
The task of such a facility has been the impact on the optical homing ballistic missiles, and surveillance systems for satellites. However, information on how to determine if the engineers to achieve any progress in the development of blinding laser, no. In 2011, the project once again left without funding and equipment from aircraft A-60 partially dismantled.
According to the representative of the Russian military-industrial complex, referred to by "Izvestia", the financing of laser development in the interests of the Defense Ministry resumed. Moreover, A 60 (far survived only one of two such planes, established in 1991), a more powerful laser. According to the newspaper, this is a new installation blocks 1LK222 developed "Himpromavtomatikoy" together with "Almaz-Antey".
In ground installation option called "Falcon-Echelon" is ready and will begin testing in 2013. In particular, the laser gun to check the efficiency at differential pressures, temperatures and loads. To be placed on board the new laser unit A-60 in 2013 will be an upgrade.
As the "Izvestia", the Defense Ministry has not yet decided on what planes in the future we plan to establish military lasers. Among the options considered military transport planes and bombers. But talk about the use of lasers at aircraft combat aircraft while still early. First, the military will test your prospective installation.
In theory, a new aircraft laser must have sufficient capacity not only to blind air targets, but also for their immediate destruction. "The laser will burn the enemy high release of thermal energy. It must act in the air and the vacuum of space. Lasers are considered as a promising unmanned hypersonic aircraft or space-based platforms, "- said the source" Izvestia ".
To provide the necessary laser combat effectiveness Russian engineers will need a reliable and powerful energy sources. The quality of military laser also depends on the precision of guidance and stabilization of the beam to hold it on purpose. Further, the power of the laser beam depending on atmospheric conditions — in the end the laser beam is a concentrated light beam.
Thus, the range of the laser is actually limited to the area of sight. With increasing distance suspended in the air and atmospheric phenomena decrease the power of the beam. Furthermore, in the beam may occur the so-called "breakdown", radically reducing its capacity, and by using a very powerful Position risk of self-focusing of the laser beam in space.
With these and other challenges already facing the Americans, who refused in 2011 on the development of military aviation laser. Project airborne laser system at the Pentagon called unworkable in practice and too costly.
Experiments with a laser gun aviation in the United States were based on a modified Boeing 747 cargo plane-400F, has received index YAL-1. The first test of air laser beam to install ballistic missile took place in 2009. Shoot down the goal has failed, although located on the system it confirmed an exact hit.
The first successful test of American combat aircraft laser took place in February 2010. For the purposes of used two ballistic missiles — and solid-liquid. Installed on the Boeing YAL-1 laser gun worked in three stages. First, infrared sensors detected a missile at a set rate, then the auxiliary (less powerful) laser sighted the target and assess the state of the atmosphere. To destroy missiles used in the main laser power one megawatt. In total, the operation to destroy the first rocket took about two minutes. The second goal was shot down in the same way an hour later.
Despite the refusal of the development of aircraft laser cannons, the U.S. continues to create ground combat lasers. Promising military technologies at the Pentagon in general are paying attention. For example, in the interests of the U.S. Navy, Boeing and BAE Systems are developing a stationary 10-kilowatt laser system, combined with a conventional 25-mm cannon. In addition, BAE Systems is developing an electromagnetic gun (railgun) for U.S. destroyers like "Zumvalt."
The German subsidiary of MBDA in September 2012, in turn, has reported on the successful testing of a laser gun capacity of 40 kilowatts. As noted, the setting for several seconds burned a mortar shell and a steel plate with thickness of 40 millimeters. Previous gun capacity of 10 kilowatts successfully hit targets at a distance of 2.3 kilometers and a height difference of 1,000 meters. Israel also announced its intention to equip the laser (or electromagnetic) plants a new generation main battle tank Merkava.
In Russia the development of ground-based lasers are also conducted, but its fate is little known. In particular, in the early 1990s had created a prototype of a mobile laser gun designed on the basis of self-propelled howitzers, "MSTA-S". The project, called 1K17 "Compression", used a multi-channel solid-state laser. According to one version, especially for the "compression" has been grown man-made cylindrical ruby crystal weighing 30 kilograms. According to another version, the body served as a YAG laser with the addition of neodymium.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union project "compression", and many others like him bold initiatives have been frozen. However, given the increased interest to the Defense Advanced Engineering and ground and aerial laser systems now may well get a second life. Just under such goals in October 2012 on the initiative of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin Fund was established for Policy Studies (FPI). And the money for "high-risk research and development of" the government, apparently, will not be sorry.