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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday March 05 2014, @11:00AM   Printer-friendly
from the throw-me-a-bone-here dept.

AnonTechie writes:

First Stop: Skyshield ... Next Stop: Skynet"

From an article in Wired:

Israel is finally ready to combat shoulder-launched missiles and they're going to do it with lasers. Israel's Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that SkyShield, developed by Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems, had successfully completed testing and is certified for commercial use to combat the threat of man-portable surface-to-air missile systems (MANPADS) by combining advanced laser detection and disruption technologies.

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  • (Score: 1) by Alias on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:23AM

    by Alias (2825) on Thursday March 06 2014, @07:23AM (#11814)

    Some missiles do actually have "laser" fuses. These devices are basically optical proximity detectors. They have a laser, (which is probably modulated in a specific way to prevent accidental triggering or reflection spoofing,) and a detector which detects the reflection of the laser off of an aircraft when the missile is right next to the aircraft. (Such a laser fuse usually operates out of the side of the missile.) If it is close enough to take out the aircraft, it triggers the warhead.

    Missiles that don't have a laser fuse usually have a "radar" fuse instead.

    A laser capable of heating up a missile until it fails would not be likely on a commercial aircraft. Commercial aircraft budget weight and space very carefully; a laser powerful enough to take out a missile in flight would require enough cooling hardware that it would probably be at least the size, (and mass,) of a small car. That doesn't include the aiming optics. Much of this hardware and mass would have to be inconveniently located on the aircraft to be aimable in most directions. Not practical with current technology. (At least not with technology that would ever end up in public view.)

    There are several systems, (don't know how many are in production, but there were several research systems,) that jam heat-seeking missile trackers with the use of lasers (sometimes multiple lasers in one device.) These lasers typically emit light in the 4-10 micron wavelength range. Some of those systems were designed with MANPADS in mind but they also work on other heat-seekers.

    With regard to the filters and other techniques that might make missiles immune to jamming, there is a reason for the secrecy behind the exact capabilities of the jamming devices. There is somewhat of an arms race in this area. Not long ago, the MANPADS missiles were still relatively low tech; I imagine the missiles these systems are intended to thwart haven't changed much in the last 5 years. Regardless of the physical capabilities of whatever is going on those commercial aircraft, I'm pretty sure they do not have the data/software required to defeat advanced missiles launched by modern military aircraft.