MIRACL

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SeaLite Beam Director, commonly used as the output for the MIRACL.

MIRACL, or Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser, is a directed energy weapon developed by the US Navy. It is a deuterium fluoride laser, a type of chemical laser.

The MIRACL laser first became operational in 1980.[1] It can produce over a megawatt of output for up to 70 seconds,[2] making it the most powerful continuous wave (CW) laser in the US.[3] Its original goal was to be able to track and destroy anti-ship cruise missiles, but in later years it was used to test phenomenologies associated with national anti-ballistic and anti-satellite laser weapons. Originally tested at a contractor facility in California, as of the later 1990s and early 2000s, it was located at a facility (32°37′55″N 106°19′55″W / 32.632°N 106.332°W / 32.632; -106.332) in the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.[4]

The beam size in the resonator is about 21 cm (8.3 in) high and 3 cm (1.2 in) wide.[2] The beam is then reshaped to a 14 x 14 cm (5.5 in x 5.5 in) square.[2]

Amid much controversy in October 1997, MIRACL was tested against MSTI-3, a US Air Force satellite at the end of its original mission in orbit [5] at a distance of 432 km (268 mi).[6] MIRACL failed during the test and was damaged[7] and the Pentagon claimed mixed results for other portions of the test.[8] A second, lower powered chemical laser was able to temporarily blind the MSTI-3 sensors during the test.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command. "MIRACL at HELSTF". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  2. ^ a b c Sherman, Robert. "Mid-Infrared Advanced Chemical Laser (MIRACL)". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  3. ^ Airborne Laser System Program Office. "Airborne Laser (YAL1A)". Archived from the original on 2007-03-24. Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  4. ^ U.S. Department of Defense. "Secretary of Defense approves laser experiment to improve satellite protection". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  5. ^ Plante, Chris; The Associated Press; Reuters (1997-10-20). "CNN".  |chapter= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Zack, Ed. "Miniature Sensor Technology Integration (MSTI)". Retrieved 2007-07-05. 
  7. ^ MIRACL damaged in experiment. Journal of Aerospace and Defense Industry News. December 11, 1997. via webarchive.org Accessed May 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Service more tight-lipped about MIRACL's ASAT mission. Inside the Army, November 30, 1998, Vol. 10, No. 47. via Cryptome.org Accessed May 3, 2014.
  9. ^ Koplow, David A. Death by Moderation: The U.S. Military's Quest for Useable Weapons. Cambridge University Press, 2010. Accessed May 3, 2014.
  • Lowery, Todd (Jan 1998) "Call it a Miracl" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Vol. 54, No. 1:5,6
  • Lambakis, Steven (2013) On the Edge of Earth: The Future of American Space Power ISBN 0813145783 pg 63