Landa Lands Lightning Protection for Missiles Assignment
When you hear the words “missile defense,” your first thought is likely about a system to protect us from incoming missiles, like the old Strategic Defense Initiative and its successor programs (which are still in development to this day). But there’s another important aspect of missile defense: protecting the missiles themselves, from lightning strikes, for instance.
Mobile towers from Landa Mobile Systems were recently selected for that purpose by the United States Department of Defense Missile Defense Agency. After extensive testing, Landa’s patented Model LMS106 HW portable telescopic lattice towers were deployed in the South Pacific. The Landa units were chosen for reliability, durability, and capability to hold up to the wind — rated to withstand up to 105 mph wind speed in unguyed deployment.
The photo above shows the Model LMS106 HW as it is being utilized for lightning protection during a pathfinder mission last March. Scott Robinson, MDA/TCT test engineer on the project, said, “We emplace it near the transportation truck to protect the rocket stage until we stack it on the pad. Then we move it to its launch position so that we have two fixed and two portable towers in place to provide protection on all sides. The portable towers allow us freedom of movement around the pad for cranes and other rocket support systems until the rocket is stacked.”
The Landa towers provide lightning protection by intercepting a lightning strike that would otherwise hit the missile, and directing it safely to ground, in exactly the same way that a lightning rod protects a tall building. The hot-dipped galvanized steel construction of the towers is one of the most commonly used materials for lightning protection systems.