Secret Lasers of the Soviets

Discussion in 'Military Multimedia' started by A.V., Nov 15, 2011.

  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    In the beginning of 70s military leadership of Soviet Union had a great interest in laser weapon development. Laser equipment was planned to put in space platforms, stations and aircrafts.

    All the built units were based on stationary sources of energy and didn’t meet the requirment of military space – full autonomy. This also didn’t allow designers to carry out rigorous test. The government of the USSR ordered the Navy to test and work out autonomy. Laser gun which was figured in all documents as MSU (powerful propulsion unit) was decided to be installed to a ship.

    [​IMG]


    Indeed, a lot had been changed in the ship’s hull. Traps were replaced by stem and bow section, 1,5 metre wide board bulge were formed, additional storey was built as 1 module with all equipment and rooms, a crane of 100 tonne carrying capacity was installed. To lower the level of noise all living and service rooms had sound-absorbing isolation. Cofferdam (a narrow horizontal or vertical section separating neighbouring rooms) also emerged for this purpose.“Akvilon” complex was installed very carefully. A great attention was paid at designing of its bearing.In October of 1984 first successful tests of “Foros” were carried out in Feodosiya. It was the first time in history of Soviet Navy when low flying missile had been promptly found and destructed by laser beam.But there were some disadvantages – the attack lasted for several seconds and preparations took more than 24 hours. Efficiency output was very low – about 5%. No doubt that scientists gained experience of using laser in the battle. But dissolution of the Soviet Union and following economic crisis stopped the experiments.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    “Foros” wasn’t the only Soviet Navy ship where laser units were tested.
    Practically at the same, in 1978, began modernization of dry cargo ship “Dikson” in Sevastopol and building of laser unit in Kaluga. All the work on creating a new laser gun was kept in secret. It must have become the most powerful Soviet battle laser unit. The project was called “Aidar”.
    Modernization of “Dikson” required a great amount of money and resources. Moreover during the work designers often faced scientific and technical problems. For example, in order to equip the ship with 400 air bottles designers had to put off metal covering from both sides completely. It was found out later that hydrogen could be accumulated in confined space and blow by an accident. So they had to install heavy ventilation system. Especially for laser unit the top deck was designed to be opened as 2 parts. As a result builders had to strengthen the hull which lost its tenacity. To strenghten propulsion system the ship was equipped with 3 Tu-154 jet engines.
    In the end of 1979 “Dikson” was moved to the Black Sea, the Crimea, Feodosiya. Here at Ordzhonikidze shipyard it was equipped with a laser gun and control systems. The crew settled the ship also here.



    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    The first test of “Dikson” took place in summer of 1980. The ship had only one gun salvo and it was enough to strike the target located in 4 kilometres on the beach. The hit was registered by a heat sensor installed in the target though there were no visiual signs of the beam and damage. Efficiency output also accounted for 5%. The energy of the beam was absorbed by expulsion of sea water.
    However the tests were recognized to be successful. Designers created the laser for use in space and as we know there is perfect vacuum there.
    Besides low efficiency output and battle features the unit had huge size and was difficult in service.
    Tests continued till 1985. As a result researchers got information – in what way battle laser units can be built, in what kinds of ships to be installed, they could even improve the power of laser. All planned tests had been successfully finished by 1985.
    Nevertheless designers and military authorities understood it was unlikely to put such a “monster” in orbit in next 20-30 years. These arguments were announced to senior authorities who cared besides these problems about many-millioned expenditures and time constraints of building the laser.
    By that time transoceanic opponent of the USSR faced the same problems. Space weapon race stalled in the very beginning. The results were negotiations on “defence and space” which influenced in double-ended curtailment of military space programmes. The USSR stopped all the work in several space programmes. Project “Aidar” was also finished and unique ship “Dikson” was forgotten.
    Both ships were included in 311 division of experimental ships. In 1990s laser units were dismantled, technical documentation destroyed. Pioneers of laserbuilding “Foros” and “Dikson” were sent to be destroyed.


     
    vickysingh, Kunal Biswas and SPIEZ like this.
  2.  
  3. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    What concerns land forces?Automotive laser complex.In the end of 70s – beginning of 80s global “democratic” communty dreamed under the influence of “Star Wars”. At the same time keeping in secret USSR was slowly realizing Hollywood dreams. Soviet cosmonauts flew in space armed with rayguns, battle stations and space fighters were designed and laser tanks were driven on the land.

    [​IMG]


    Providing the reaction to optical-electron observing systems and weapon control systems in terms of tough climatic conditions was the main mission for laser complex. Sverdlovsk (Ekatirinburg today) design department “Uraltransmash” the leading developer of practically all Soviet self-propelled artillery designed undercarriage of the complex.

    [​IMG]


    A picture of the Soviet laser complex from «Soviet Military Power» journal.


    “Astrofizika” was one of the organizations who developed laser complexes. Its leaders held posts in the government. Thus the organization had no problems with investment and resources. By 1982 (4 years after creation) they had designed SLK 1K11 “Stilet”.

    [​IMG]



    Officially this complex is being adopted today. However, nothing has been heard about experimental machines for a very long time. There were no need in them after finishing the tests. After Dissolution of the Soviet Union they were scattered about the whole country and turned into scrap metal. In the late 90s – beginning of 2000s one of the machines was found in a utilization center near St. Petersburg.


    [​IMG]

    Another unique machine designed together with “Astrofizika” and “Uraltransmash” had a better destiny. It was SLK 1K17 “Sjatie” – a complex of new era with automatic search and targeting systems.

    [​IMG]



    New complex needed a larger amount of power. Powerful generators driven by additional autonomous propulsion unit were used for this purpose

    [​IMG]

     
    Kunal Biswas and SPIEZ like this.
  4. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Messages:
    6,503
    Likes Received:
    1,106
    Location:
    Moscow, russia
    The heavy complex was based on the latest self-propelled gun undercarriage 2S19 “Msta-S”. It was widenedin order to place propulsion and optical-electron equipment.Autonomous propulsion unit was placed in the back. Optical section including 15 lenses was put instead of gun tube. While moving the lenses were closed with armoured covers. This section could target in vertical position. Workplace was located in the middle of the cabin. Anti-aircraft gun and 12,8 mm machine gun were installed on the roof for self-defense.

    [​IMG]


    The frame was built by “Uraltransmash” in December, 1990. In 1991 the complex entitled 1K17 was tested and adopted in 1992. The government highly appreciated the work on building of “Sjatie” complex. A group of “Astrofizika” employees was awarded with State Prize. Russians were the first at laserbuilding in the whole world.

    [​IMG]


    But dissolution of the Soviet Union destroyed everything. In terms of economic crisis many defence programmes were reconsidered.
    “Sjatie” wasn’t the exception – in spite of breakthrough technologies and good results an extremely high price made Military authorities doubt its efficiency. Super secret laser gun left unclaimed.


    [​IMG]


    The only example of complex was hidden behind high fence until it was unexpectedly found in 2010 in the exposition of “the Military Technical Museum” located in Ivanovskoe village near Moscow. We should pay tribute to those who brought this exhibit, made it a public and fine example of Soviet science and engineering.

    [​IMG]


    The second machine was found in Kharkov at the tank repairing factory.
    Laser systems were dismantled from both machines. Petersburg machine has only the frame, Kharkov one is in better condition. Today enthusiasts try to preserve it in order to put it in museum in future. Unfortunately the complex from Petersburg in all probability was utilized. “We know not what good is until we have lost it…”



    [​IMG]

    SLK1K17 “Sjatie” was adopted in 1992 and was much better than “Stilet”. The first difference to be seen is use of a multichannel laser. Each of 12 optical channels (upper and lower row of lenses) had its own targeting system. It allowed to make laser unit multirange. Lenses in the middle row are referred to targeting system. Small and large lenses to the right are searching laser and receiving channel of automatic targeting system. The same pair of lenses to the left are optical sights, a small one for day-time and large – for night. Night sight was equipped with 2 highlight range finder lasers. While moving the lenses were closed with armoured covers.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The main problem of any laser is an extremely low efficiency output. Even in the modern gas lasers it doesn’t exceed 5%. It needs a lot of energy. Powerful generators and additional autonomous propulsion unit used for this purpose took much space of “Sjatie” which was based on self-propelled gun “Msta-S”.
    Generators need some time to be charged. Perhaps rate of fire is the main disadvantage of “Sjatie” laser complex.


    [​IMG]

    The main advantage of laser weapon is direct fire. Independence of the wind and targeting system without ballistic corrections means accurate firing unavailable for usual artillery.
    According to “Astrofizika” brochure “Sjatie” distance of fire is twice as large as a modern tank. So if a possible tank will come closer to 1K17 it will be destroyed before opening the fire. Sounds great!
    However, direct fire is both the main advantage and disadvantage of laser weapon. It needs direct visibility to work.
    In reality such tactics isn’t very effective. Moreover most of the territories being under the battle has some kind of relief.


    [​IMG]

    And when the same possible tank will be in fire distance from laser complex it will immediately get the advantage of rate of fire. “Sjatie” can destroy one tank but while charging the batteries it can be hit by another one.
    Moreover there are more long-range weapons than artillery. For example, Maverick missile with radiolocating targeting system which is launched from 25 kilometer distance. So “Sjatie” hidden in mountains will be a perfect target for it.
    As far as dust, fog, atmospheric precipitation and smoke curtain are concerned it doesn’t stop the laser but minimize its firing distance. Thus laser complex has an extremely restricted area of tactical application.


    [​IMG]

    Why have “Sjatie” and its predecessors emerged? There are many opinions. Perhaps these machines were considered to be testing units for future miltary and space technologies. Perhaps the government was ready to invest money in order to develop technologies and through experiments find the weapon of future.
    There is a version that “Sjatie” is a psychological weapon. Possible presence of such a device may frighten opponents to loose their eyesight. Сontrary to the popular conception “Sjatie” doesn’t fall under UN protocol which bans use of dazzling weapon because it aimed at optical-electron systems rather than crew. It’s not forbidden to use the weapon which side effect may cause dazzling of people.
    This may explain the fact that news about creation of top secret weapon including “Sjatie” and “Stilet” in the USSR promptly cropped up in American free press particularly in Aviation Week & Space Technology journal.






     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  5. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,195
    Likes Received:
    2,223
    thanks for the good topic.
     
  6. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,507
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Great work.
    Maybe India should join and co-develop lasers with Russia.
     
  7. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,507
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    Hey you still didn't tell me about the electronics in defense in Russia.
     
  8. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    5,326
    Likes Received:
    1,493
    AVis how was the power supplied to power these lasers?
     
  9. SATISH

    SATISH DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    2,006
    Likes Received:
    228
    There was an aircraft mounted laser based DEW made by the Soviets in early 80s. It was mounted on an IL 76 or the AN 124...I dont know. But I have seen that system for real.
     
    A.V. likes this.
  10. SPIEZ

    SPIEZ Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2011
    Messages:
    3,507
    Likes Received:
    1,009
    USSR had aircraft mounted much before the US, now that's a great piece of info.
     
  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,593
    Likes Received:
    28,399
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    Almaz-Antey High Energy Laser Directed Energy Weapon

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    The interest in the use of High Energy Laser (HEL) Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) observed in the US, EU and Israel is paralleled by a development effort at Almaz-Antey aimed at trialling HEL DEW technology for air defence applications.

    Little has been disclosed by Almaz-Antey on the detail of this program. It clearly intended to build up expertise and experience across the whole spectrum of necessary capabilities, in this instance beam director optics, adaptive optics, tracking capabilities, and high continuous wave power level laser designs.

    The laser depicted is a CO[SUB]2[/SUB] Gas Dynamic Laser (GDL), the same technology used by the US Air Force during the 1990s Airborne Laser Laboratory (ALL) program. It operates in the LWIR band at 10.6 microns, and is operationally attractive due to its simple fuel supply in comparison with Deuterium Fluoride (DF) and Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL). What is less attractive about CO[SUB]2[/SUB] GDLs is that tropospheric CO[SUB]2[/SUB] molecules increase propagation losses, and aluminium, the primary structural material in many potential targets, has a very high reflectance in this band, thus reducing power coupling efficiency into the target, and increasing dwell time.

    What has not been disclosed by Almaz-Antey is the progress on this project, especially in the critical area of adaptive optics and wavefront sensor technology for controlling adaptive mirrors. GDL technology is relatively mature, and derivative chemical laser designs will be largely determined by Russian capabilities in developing power modules for a given laser type. The choice of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] GDL may have been simply determined by its availability and low risk, as a means of demonstrating and proving other more sensitive system components.

    An operational HEL DEW air defence system will emerge only once the laser and beam director technology has matured to the point where a robust deployable design can be built. Given the Russian penchant for robustness and incremental evolution of designs, it is not difficult to postulate a configuration for such a system:

    1. Beam Director Platform (BDP): an evolution of the existing demonstrator carried on an 8 x 8 MZKT-7930, or towed by an MZKT-7930 in an articulated semi-trailer arrangement.
    2. HEL Power Stage System (PSS): ideally integrated on the BDP vehicle to maximise mobility, but may need to be carried separately if volume is too great, the latter impairing mobility.
    3. Engagement Radar System: a derivative of the existing 92N2E Grave Stone carried on an 8 x 8 MZKT-7930.
    4. Fuel Supply Vehicles: 8 x 8 MZKT-7930, probably based on an existing fuel tanker.
    The CONOPS for such a system would be similar to the US Army MTHEL system, although it is likely the Russians will pursue a fully mobile configuration, consistent with their doctrine for SAM systems (refer below). It is likely that a key role of such a DEW would be the interception of PGMs, this placing the weapon system firmly in the domain of point defence.
    Until we see further disclosures from the Russian MoD or Almaz-Antey, a more detailed assessment of this system is not feasible. Given the sensitivity of HEL weapon lethality performance to operating wavelength and beam quality, any predictions of achievable range performance would be at best speculative. For a system to be operationally effective, a sustained power output of the order of a MegaWatt would be required.

    [​IMG]
     
    SPIEZ and A.V. like this.
  12. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,593
    Likes Received:
    28,399
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN

    Almaz/Beriev
    A-60 High Energy Laser Directed Energy Weapon Testbed

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Initiated by the Soviets as a parallel program to the US Air Force Airborne Laser Laboratory, the Almaz/Beriev A-60 program aimed to demonstrate an airborne HEL DEW capability, and provide baseline data for the development of an operational weapon. The A-60 was therefore a research testbed, even if an operational capability were to be later based on this design.

    Two demonstrators were built, the first flying in 1981, the second in 1991. Much of what is available from Russian open sources does not detail actual progress or achievements in this program.

    Observable design modifications to the Il-76MD Candid host airframe include:


    1. Nose mounted fairing for the installation of a steerable beam director turret (curiously a similar arrangement to the much later Boeing YAL-1A design).
    2. Removal of aft clamshell doors, replacement shell with a large axial exhaust aperture.
    3. Enlarged main undercarriage sponsons with inlets and exhausts for an undisclosed system (likely laser and systems cooling).
    4. Removal of the tail gunner station.
    All open source imagery shows a dummy optical beam director turret installation in the nose. Claims by Russian authors that the beam director was to be deployed from a dorsal hatch are impossible to reconcile with the unique ball turret shaping characteristic of a rotating and tilting beam director. Subject to basic design of the turret, this arrangement would provide at least hemispherical solid angle coverage, and possibly slightly more subject to turret tilt angle relative to the cylindrical fairing shroud.

    There have been no disclosures on the type of laser intended for the A-60, although given the concurrent effort by Almaz on the CO[SUB]2[/SUB] GDL for the ground based mobile point defence weapon, it is reasonable to assume the same design. The large exhaust port in the aft fuselage is consistent with a GDL or chemical laser.


    The current status of this program is not clear. At the end of the Cold War research funding collapsed for most advanced programs, but it is not known whether this project was mothballed or disbanded. If the Russian Air Force sought an airborne laser weapon then the A-60 project would be a viable starting point.


    [​IMG]
     
    SPIEZ and A.V. like this.
  13. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2009
    Messages:
    15,624
    Likes Received:
    11,703
    kunal sir looks like we are not too far.

    from DRDO's LASTEC
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,593
    Likes Received:
    28,399
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
  15. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,593
    Likes Received:
    28,399
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN

    I was not aware of this development..

    thanks for sharing..
     

Share This Page