Re: MORE| Re: eeyore and tigger

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Tue Jun 13 2000 - 12:38:18 MDT

John Clark wrote:
"[ Robert-Coyote ]" wrote:
> Of cource ICBM newks are not the best way to take out a country, as
> biologicals are cheaper and stealthyer.
> Spike Jones <> Wrote:
> > This sounds too much like a physics teacher arguing that
> >heavier-than- air flight is impossible as the Wright Flier passes
> overhead.
> The difference is that heavier than air flight does not become more
> difficult
> as time progresses but an effective anti-Missile system does. Your opponent
> is not going to sit on his hands while you build your system and he wouldn't
> have to
> do much to make your life very difficult indeed.
> Example: There has been a lot of talk about optical LASERS fired from
> airplanes,
> but if I just buy some paint at Home Depot and paint my warhead white you'll
> have to
> increase the power of your LASER about a hundred times. If I went a little
> more high tech
> and used a non-conductive reflective coating tuned to the frequency of your
> you'd have to increase the power many thousands of times.

This really isn't so. Based on the pulsed power work I've seen, mirrored
surfaces do little to protect, because they heat up so rapidly. A missile will
not only have to be mirrored, but it will have to be spinning and have a very
good heat conducting surface, or it will have to have a thick ablative coating
over its entire surface, quite a bit of weight.. A warhead re-entering is quite
hot and non-reflective, though its ablative coating does give it some

A laser essentially drills through atmosphere, and when it hits a solid object,
the top layers of material absorb so much energy so quickly that its thermal
conductivity, i.e. its ability to conduct thermal current, is slower than the
amount of of heat being put into that material. Much as kinetic kill objects
work so well because they travel faster than the speed of sound within the
material, when heat is applied to a location faster than the material can pipe
it away, you generate a thermal shock wave within the material, and the material
generally explodes as a result. This is my basic understanding of why high
powered lasers are so effective.

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