Scipio Americanus: The budget is large. What we get for it… less so, especially in comparison to what we got out of it in the 50′s.
Coyote: 4% of GDP? WTF? This must be the gazillions of non-existent derivative “assets”. GDP, what a joke. The “defense” budget” is so grotesque it boggles the mind. Homeless kids eat rats in the New York sewers while the MIC ships tanks to the Ukraine. Gawd, when will this cesspool of a empire go down. Please barbarians, start eating more Eloi!
Scipio Americanus: Also, the laser is not a parallel beam but a cone focused at the target. A weapons-grade laser, at the target, isn’t much reflected by mirrors; the intensity of energy deposition is such that it burns through them. The shorter the laser pulse and the smaller the spot size at the target (for a given energy), the more pronounced this effect is. ABM lasers do have to deal with reflective surfaces as a defense because their targets are so far away that it’s hard to focus the...
Candide III: Probably neither, you need high-quality precision optics for that. I don’t think it’s easy to make precision optics robust enough to shoot it from a mortar. The laws of physics don’t prohibit it, but the round will probably be very expensive. Also, it’s difficult to damage a laser by reflecting its light back into it, since a laser is already reflecting most of its light within itself.
Alrenous: If I cover a mortar round in retroreflectors, will it substantially damage the laser or just end up blinding everyone near the truck?
Scipio Americanus: As always, there is no defense that cannot be saturated. The question comes down to relative effectiveness, which shifts with technological developments and the dance of countermeasure, countercountermeasure, etc. Also keep in mind the importance of virtual attrition – rounds aimed at defenses are yet more rounds deducted from those aimed at what’s being defended. The ABL was designed to knock down boosting ICBMs hundreds of km away, and used complicated, high-power, and...
Alrenous: Lasers favour ground troops — unless they’re so expensive the best way to take out an anti-missile laser is two missiles. 747-sized means a lot of metal, which means a lot of dollars. It also means a large, stationary target, meaning the missile can accelerate without limit, as it doesn’t need to manoeuvre. Tomahawks cost 1.6 million and probably aren’t even the most efficient option. Tanks are 6-9 million. The laser is probably more like the 747 it fits inside, a couple...
Toddy Cat: I always despised Kunstler, but he does seem to be coming around. Of course, he’s still a prick. He’ll probably be like Malcomb Muggeridge, who was an obnoxious left-wing atheist, saw the light, and then went on to become an obnoxious right-wing Christian.
Toddy Cat: Where is Frank Luke when you need him? http://acepilots.com/wwi /us_luke.html
J.D. Saunders: The world of David Drake’s Hammer’s Slammers made real. All that’s missing are the fusion-powered hovertanks, and the Helion Energy Fusion Engine is closing the gap on even that. Aircraft die. First time, every time.