"Most wanted our "Star Wars" back then (SDI), and well as our new "Star Wars" to ELIMINATE any threat of a nuclear exchange, or a rogue launch. If our new technology can do that, it will be worth every penny we put into it."
One of the biggest bluffs of all time, was Reagan's threat to unleash the "Star Wars" program during the Cold War. This mythical program, would have made the ICBM threat just about obsolete. And without the ICBM threat, the concept of MAD (mutually assured destruction) was over. Then when the threat of MAD was over, so would be the Cold War.
Flash forward to today. With the expiration of the INF treaty this week, and the introduction of hypersonic missiles, we are now in a whole new ball game with the Russians. The concept of MAD has not been discussed for decades, and way too many people on both sides think a nuclear exchange might be "winnable". With that kind of insane thinking, where does that leave us?
While our main deterrent against an incoming enemy missile is still the BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense), it remains "shooting a bullet with a bullet". In other words, even though our shore based BMD, as well as our sea based BMD (AEGIS weapon system), keeps improving and getting more capable, it remains a "Hail Mary" should an attack happen.
What is going to happen in the near future, is straight out of Buck Rogers. It is "Star Wars" on steroids. It is going to be a combination of new and developing technologies to counter any enemy missile attack. But the technology which seems to be getting the most buzz right now, is the laser. Better known as the "speed of light" missile deterrent.
Now, lasers are not new. Plus, they have been considered for years for use in the battlefield. But every time they were considered, that idea fell short. Too heavy, too much power required, too this, too that. Now after years of research, coupled with some breakthrough technologies, both the Air Force and the Navy are on the verge of fielding laser weapons. The first sea born laser might be used on the USS Zumwalt, which will make this spooky looking ship, look and act even spookier. The airborne version should be ready to be used on 6th generation fighters. 6th generation fighters will be the version right after the F-22 and F-35.
There are other things also being cooked up as possible additions to this new version of "Star Wars". Directed energy weapons, such as microwaves and particle beams, and of course, the long awaited rail gun. All of these weapons have been worked on for decades, but the wait time was for the technology to catch up. How to get maximum punch, from maximum power, using a minimal footprint. And like with our laser programs, we are just about there.
My hope today is the same as it was in the 1980's before the Cold War ended. Most wanted our "Star Wars" back then (SDI), and well as our new "Star Wars" programs to ELIMINATE any threat of a nuclear exchange, or a rogue launch. If our new technology can do that, it will be worth every penny we put into it.