In its quest to develop laser weapons, the Pentagon is aiming both high and low.
The sky-high plans for the Airborne Laser call for a squadron of 747s that would train chemically generated laser beams on ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) to knock out those missiles long before they become a threat to targets in the United States. A "lethality" test of that system is scheduled for 2009, though if past delays are any indication of future performance...
For a more down-to-earth system, look no further than a truck-mounted solid-state laser now in the early stages of development. Rather than intercontinental missiles, this system would protect ground troops from smaller projectiles including rockets, artillery rounds and mortar shells. Advantages that solid-state lasers have over their COIL (chemical oxygen iodine laser) counterparts include smaller size and lighter weight--there's a reason that the Airborne Laser requires a 747--and the avoidance of big doses of toxic materials. COIL systems pack a bigger punch, however.
U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Commandhas enlisted two defense sector heavyweights to vie with each other to produce the ruggedized beam control system, a key component of what will become the High Energy Laser Technology Demonstrator (HEL TD). Northrop Grumman this week said it received an $8 million, one-year contract to do that work, followed in about a month by Boeing's receipt of a $7 million deal to do the same. For both contractors, options could extend the programs to about $50 million.
The Space and Missile Defense Command is the lead agency for the Army's high-energy solid-state laser program, the next phase of which is to boost the power capability from 25 kW to 100 kW. (According to a report from the BBC earlier this year, a solid-state laser in a lab set a record by reaching 67 kW.) (Cont..)
Management changes under way for DOD modeling and simulation
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England has ordered the creation of an executive-level panel to spearhead modeling and simulation (M&S) efforts departmentwide, according to an Aug. 8 DOD directive.The undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics will lead the new M&S Steering Committee. John Young, who currently fills that position in an acting capacity until confirmed by the Senate, has voiced strong support for modeling efforts, particularly those projects striving to predict sentiments among foreign populations in response to U.S. military actions.Other key Defense Department officials to be represented on the panel include the undersecretary of Defense for policy, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, the director of program analysis and evaluation, and the director of operational test and evaluation, according to England’s directive. The services, the combatant commanders, the Joint Staff and U.S. Joint Forces Command also will send delegates. (Cont..)
Lockheed Martin Chosen for Jet Propulsion Lab Contract
A bio-terrorism lab, dangerous chemicals, and officials trying to figure it all out before they run out of time. It sounds like the script from a movie, but it was all a drill that took place in Harrisonburg this week.
The drill, led by JMU faculty members, was to help officials learn how to react to such a situation. So if a real incident like this one does occur, they'll know what to do because they've been through it before.
COLTS NECK — In conjunction with the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, Naval Weapons Station Earle will conduct a mass-casualty drill from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 6.
The drill will take place along Normandy Road (Navy Road), near the West Front Street intersection in Middletown. Residents living or traveling in the vicinity should take note that there will be a large number of emergency-response vehicles in the area.
The drill is designed to assess the naval station and the county OEM's preparedness.
China's "Snow Leopard Commando" to drill with Russian commandoes
The Chinese People's Armed Police (PAP) has granted the title of "Snow Leopard Commando" to a detachment that will participate in an anti-terror exercise in Russia next month.At the title-granting ceremony on Wednesday, the Commando received its flag and emblem. Afterwards, Qu Liangfeng, the brigade leader, led his commandoes, wearing camouflage, helmet and boot, to swear to the nation and the people.The Snow Leopard Commando, namely the 13th Special Brigade of the PAP Beijing Corps, is scheduled to join in the Cooperation 2007 Joint Exercise with Russia's domestic security force in early September.The brigade, a first-class anti-terror force guarding China's national capital, was established in December of 2002. So far, it has handled over 90 major urgent cases and took part in a dozen military drills and performances.As an international practice, an anti-terror commando would have its unique name, according to the PAP Headquarters.