Reagan’s Star Wars program never really took off. That doesn’t mean it was a bad idea – it just wasn’t technologically feasible at the time. Time marches on, technology gets better, and some smart cookies come up with less-ambitious projects with similar goals.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Northrop Grumman forecast Wednesday a potential “very large” market for a laser-based system it has developed to shield airports and other installations from rockets, ballistic missiles and other threats.
Northrop also is pushing Skyguard – described as capable of generating a shield five kilometers in radius – to each of the armed services and the Department of Homeland Security, company executives told a news briefing.
The technology looks to be in the $25-30 million per installation range.Ã‚Â Once produced in large quantities, that is.Ã‚Â And here’s the current sticking point:
For the United States, an initial unit could be ready in 18 months for $150 million to $200 million, added Dan Wildt, Northrop’s director of business development for directed energy systems.
Ahhhh, the ever elusive 18 month ready-date.Ã‚Â This is cool technology, really.Ã‚Â And if it comes together and really works, I could see instances where the cost is justifiable.Ã‚Â But as folks who know me can attest, I’m always skeptical of gee-whiz products with availability dates more than a few months out.Ã‚Â Not that I doubt this will happen – just that I doubt it will happen in the estimated time frame at the estimated price.
[tags]Northrop Grumman, Missile defense shield, Laser shield[/tags]