Recently, the US Navy patented a new Laser-Induced Plasma Technology. The idea behind this research is that military aircraft have the ability to “spoof” their location during air combat as protection against heat-seeking missiles. Interestingly, this new technology may have the ability to appear like a UFO.
The US developed the first Sidewinder heat-seeking missile in the 1950s, and the latest version of the AIM-9X is still in front-line service around the world. This type of sensor works so well because hot exhaust gases from jet engines glow like beacons in the infrared, making them easy targets. Pilots under attack can launch decoy flares to draw a missile away from the launching aircraft, but they only provide protection for a few seconds. More recently, laser infrared countermeasures have been released that dazzle the infrared seeker.
A sufficiently intense laser pulse can ionize and produce a burst of bright plasma. The laser-induced plasma effects program uses individual plasma bursts as flash or stuns grenades—a rapid series of such pulses can even be modulated to convey a spoken message. In 2011, Japanese company Burton Inc demonstrated a rudimentary system that created moving 3D images in mid-air with a series of rapidly generated plasma dots.
A more sophisticated approach uses an intense, ultrashort, self-focused laser pulse to create a glowing filament or channel of plasma, an effect discovered in the 1990s. Known as laser-induced plasma filaments (LIPFs), these can be created some distance away. of the laser for tens or hundreds of meters. Because LIPFs conduct electricity, they have been investigated as a means of activating lightning or creating a ray gun.
One of the interesting things about LIPFs is that, with proper tuning, they can emit light of any wavelength—visible, infrared, ultraviolet, or even terahertz waves. This technology is the basis of the Navy project, which uses LIPF to create ghost images with infrared emissions to trick heat-seeking missiles.
The Navy declined to discuss the project, but the work is described in a 2018 patent: “where a laser source is mounted on the rear of the air vehicle, and where the laser source is configured to create a plasma induced by laser, and where the laser-induced plasma acts as a decoy for an incoming threat to the air vehicle.”
The patent goes on to explain that the laser creates a series of columns of plasma in the air, which form a 2D or 3D image using a raster-scanning process, similar to the way old cathode-ray televisions display an image.
A single decoy halves the chances that an incoming missile will pick the right target, but there’s no reason to stop at one: “There may be multiple laser systems mounted on the rear of the air vehicle with each laser system generating an ‘image’. ghost’ such that there would appear to be multiple aerial vehicles present.”
Unlike flares, the LIPF decoy can be created instantly at any desired distance from the aircraft and can be moved at will. Equally important, it moves with the aircraft, rather than quickly zooming away like a flare, providing protection for as long as needed.
The aircraft carrying the laser projector could also project decoys to cover other targets: “The potential applications of this LIPF flare/decoy can be expanded, such as using a helicopter that deploys flares to protect a battleship, or using this method to cover and protect a naval squadron, a military base or an entire city.
The principal investigator for the patent is Alexandru Hening. A 2017 article in the Navy’s own TI magazine says that “Dr. Hening has been working on laser-induced plasma at Naval and Space Warfare Systems Center Pacific since 2012.”
“If you have a very short pulse, you can generate a filament in the air that can spread for hundreds of meters, and perhaps with the next generation of lasers you could produce a filament as long as a mile,” Dr. Henning said in the journal, indicating that it should be possible to create “ghosts” at considerable distances.
Ghost planes that can move at high speed and show up on thermal imaging cameras may ring a few bells.
The Laser-Induced Plasma Technology – Mistaken For UFOs?
After the leak of infrared videos recorded by fighter pilots on the Pacific coast during their encounters with UFOs – called unidentified aerial phenomena by the Pentagon (note the omission of the word “object”) – there was a great stir and debate in regarding national security and the possibility that foreign nations —or aliens!— are violating restricted airspace.
The protagonists of the videos seem to make sudden movements impossible for physical aircraft, they spin in the air and glide in “transmedia” mode at a phenomenal speed. But far from being able to represent technology from another world, and considering what is revealed in this article, all the maneuvers described by the pilots would be easy to reproduce with a projected ghost image.
However, why would the Pentagon released videos of their own secret weapons to show the world? Furthermore, why would you not inform your pilots and personnel aboard warships that they are being part of an experiment? Looking at it this way, the “LIPF” explanation seems unlikely.
But other nations may have their own version. In the early 1990s, the Russians claimed they could produce glowing “plasmoids” at high altitudes using high-power microwaves or lasers—these were intended to disrupt the flight of ballistic missiles, a response to the planned “War of the Moons.” Galaxies» American—. And while nothing came of the project, there is a possibility that the technology may have been refined for other applications in the decades that followed.
Breaking a spear for the pilots
But not everything that is plasma laser shines. The nobility forces us to recognize that this type of military technology could fall short —perhaps very short— when it comes to trying to explain what the Navy pilots reported.
For example, among the things that seem to disqualify images of plasma filaments as a source of “UFOs” might be the radar systems of Super Hornet strike fighters. During the famous Nimitz incident, these objects were detected by the E-2C Hawkeye airborne command and control aircraft and the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton. Plasma, unless associated with a physical object, is generally not detectable by radar. Also, pilots report seeing solid objects, not “ghost images” made up of light beams.
Another reason the LIPF theory is unlikely is that lasers degrade with distance. This would require a ship or plane generating an image to fly relatively close to the illusion in a very noticeable way. None of the pilots reported seeing any other planes in the vicinity, and in 2004 the USS Princeton spotted one of the strange objects at 80,000 feet, much higher than even the U-2 spy plane flies.
It is also impossible for these ghostly illusions to be able to interfere or block the radars of the pilots who dared to pursue and film them, as reported by Commander Chad Underwood, the pilot responsible for videotaping the famous Tic Tac UFO.
Certainly, the technology behind the 2018 patent is an innovative way to defend aircraft from incoming missiles. As an explanation for the UFO sightings observed by the Navy over the last 16 years, it bears repeating, it falls short.
After all, aerial encounters between planes and UFOs have been going on for many decades, when the technology alluded to here wasn’t even on anyone’s papers.
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