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Thread: active aircraft defense systems.

  1. #1 active aircraft defense systems. 
    Forum Bachelors Degree
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Recently on the military channel they've been featuring what is called "active defense" systems. Which are defense systems that engage threats rather than waiting to be engaged like traditional armor and other "passive defense" systems.

    To me, this seems like it might be very much viable for USAF aircraft. One of the primary threats our planes face are missiles. we already have technology that can train a laser beam on a missile from the ground and destroy it. If we could mount a similar system on aircraft it would in theory offer superb protection against both air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles. In the modern era of stealth technology this might not be a big improvement on current systems, but in the event that new radar systems defeat stealth this could be a viable alternative.

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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman
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    Mar 2012
    we already have an aircraft with the laser on it...and aircraft is very safe considering other military options!

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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Washington State
    "active defense"
    It seems to be a very broad category. Jamming, which has been around for decades could be one example.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Sophomore
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    Oct 2006
    "Active Defense" can also be a tactic. For example having aircraft strike Surface to Air Missile (SAM) launchers ahead of a strike force, destroying either the missile launch batteries themselves or their radars. This is actually part of tactics now, and has been for some time (Vietnam War era I believe). Basically a strike group would be led by aircraft carrying missiles that track radar sites such as the AGM-45 Shrike. These aircraft would be closley followed by the main attack group which would presumably be carrying other types of ordinance. The leading aircraft's job is to destroy enemy defences so that they cannot attack the followup airstrike. They are active defence as in they go out with the sole intent of destroying things that can be used to attack (such as SAM's) so that the followup airstrike don't have to use passive defence (manouvering, jamming, countermeasures).

    With today's less diversified combat aircraft, you may end up with each aircraft being a jack of all trades and able to engage multiple targets, and act as their own air defence active defence and strike aircraft, whereas in older periods you'd have specific aircraft types dedicated to each (F4 for air-air, A4 for anti-radar, A6 for ground attack), the military seem to be going toward jack of all trades type aircraft (F/A18E for Air-Air, anti-radar and ground attack.)
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  6. #5  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    You'd want to wait to deploy such a system until you had confirmed that you were already at war. It's popular in contested airspace for say, two Chinese fighters to engage a couple of approaching American fighter and sort of play around. Try dog fighting a bit to get a missile lock on the other fighter, but not actually launch any missiles, as a means to kind of intimidate the other plane into leaving or "bugging out", so there doesn't have to be a real show down. I'd have to look it up, but I remember there was some event in the late 90's or early 2000's where that got out of hand and an American plane took damage and had to land in China, which caused a bit of an international incident.

    Anyway, you'd want the active defense turned off in a situation like that, just in case.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    ok if you are converting a 747 into a fighter plane- the laser requires a huge power supply
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