Air Force Looks to Laser-Proof Its Weapons


JF-Expert Member
Nov 14, 2007
Real-life laser weapons aren't here, yet. But they're getting closer. Which is why the Air Force is starting to look for ways to laser-proof its bombs and missiles -- with spray-on coatings, no less.

A new Air Force request for proposals asks researchers to come up with ways to find "retrofittable laser protection for weapons." In tests, U.S. and Israeli ray guns have shown the ability to melt holes in all kinds of munitions. Several American defense contractors are working to translate those results into battlefield tools. And if they're successful, the Air Force figures, it's really only a matter of time before some adversary's mad scientists figure out how to pull off the same trick. Hence the need for "High Energy Laser (HEL)-shielding technology that can be applied to vulnerable airframe components and internal guidance electronics of [a]ir-delivered bombs and missiles."

The idea isn't to renders the weapons "impervious" to ray gun blasts. The Air Force just wants the shield to delay the laser burning through a weapon's skin -- five seconds or so ought to do the job. The best way to make it happen, the service believes, is with "a thermal protection coating (e.g., spray-on) or a broadband reflector embedded layer on [the] munition['s] skin."

You read that right: a spray-on laser shield.

In the program's first phase, the ray gun protection would be tested in the lab. After that, the Air Force wants to "field demonstrate a prototypical system capable of defending and surviving laser attack during flight." In the end, the service suggests, it won't just be the military who benefits. The spray-on laser defense could protect "commercial airliners against worldwide terrorism and proliferation of ground-based laser weapon threats."

check it out how it works @
..."hope Iran or Russia finds a way to penetrate that coating, should they discover one"
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