Didn't know Lasers were this far along....


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berettaprofessor
April 9, 2013, 12:37 PM
This news story about the Navy deploying a laser weapon stunned me this morning; http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/08/navy-to-deploy-laser-to-destroy-drones-small-boats/?hpt=hp_t5

I had no idea lasers like this were any more than a dream right now; I understand infrared lasers on battlefields making life uncomfortable for an antagonist, etc, but laser power able to actually destroy a small boat? Drones? Do they really exist or is this some journalists misconception of what it actually does?

And if it's real, where do I get one? (man-portable, of course!)

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Romeo 33 Delta
April 9, 2013, 12:48 PM
I think Federal regulation of "firearms" is about to get a bit more complicated. (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

I read/heard that the cost per shot is about $1.00 (Ammo's really cheap ... however the firing platform is REALLY EXPENSIVE)!

brigadier
April 9, 2013, 12:49 PM
A friend of mine who's a Romanian army vet told me they had stuff like this when Ceausescu was in power.

My understanding is that the us military's hesitance to use lasers as weapons has in the past been mainly because of their uncontrolability and ease of being turned on the user.

TBH, I am still skeptical of this new system for those reasons.

alsaqr
April 9, 2013, 12:50 PM
Lasers capable of bringing down aircraft and missiles have existed for some time. Deployment was held up while the target acquisition system was developed.

http://www.theverge.com/2013/4/8/4197316/navy-laser-weapon-deploying-2014-shoots-down-drone

mgmorden
April 9, 2013, 01:00 PM
My understanding is that the us military's hesitance to use lasers as weapons has in the past been mainly because of their uncontrolability and ease of being turned on the user.

Um, a laser is FAR more controllable than conventional arms. There's no recoil forces, and its a stream beam that follows a very specific path. Its not quite the same as sci-fi where the Stormtroopers can't hit anything - the laser is at an invisible wavelength and is just a brief pulse rather than some laser bolt you see shooting out of a gun, but they're incredibly precise and they're no more susceptible to be "turned on the user" than any other weapon.

The main thing that has held up deployment of lasers for so long are power requirements. It takes a LOT of energy to fire a laser powerful enough to do damage to structures and personnel in an instant. Putting them in a fixed location works well for defensive uses but no offense due to the fact that all shots must be line of sight. We're finally getting to the point though where our power generation/storage capabilities can put this on some (large) moving platforms like a large airliner-sized plan, or a ship.

I wouldn't hold my breath on a handheld sized one anytime soon, but this type of large laser has become viable for military use.

blakeci
April 9, 2013, 01:09 PM
Is there something wrong with me if the first thing I thought of when I read this thread was Dr. Evil making air quotes and saying "Lazer":evil:

brigadier
April 9, 2013, 01:19 PM
Is there something wrong with me if the first thing I thought of when I read this thread was Dr. Evil making air quotes and saying "Lazer"

Allot of people seam to be mimicking Dr. Evil nowadays.

Zoogster
April 9, 2013, 01:21 PM
There is many big issues with laser weapons. Reflection off objects is a big one. A small percentage of a beam strong enough to damage objects will have the power to blind friend and foe alike with unshielded eyes.
Consider that even lasers not strong enough to do more than slowly burn something can permanently damage the eyesight of those nearby if they even reflect under 1% of the beam off a water droplet or reflective surface for a split second.
Now ramp that up to a big powerful laser strong enough to actually destroy objects.
.0001% of this beam can probably blind you for life if it reflects off a wave for a fraction of a second.



The blinding capabilities of such weapons are what I think they are ultimately aiming towards anyways. If they are technically aiming at a boat to destroy it and blind everyone on board as a side effect, they are not really using an illegal blinding weapon right?
Oops did we blind everyone on board for life prior to boarding or destroying with minimal resistance with conventional arms?


In the future warfare may involve common use of such things that permanently blinds everyone around who is not wearing something over thier eyes.
Which has ramifications for rebels and civilians facing government forces as well.
The dictator of the future may fly over and blind half the town that is resisting them.

JustinJ
April 9, 2013, 01:25 PM
"He said the "solid-state laser is a big step forward to revolutionizing modern warfare with directed energy, just as gunpowder did in the era of knives and swords.""

I wonder if this means the whole laser is solid state? If so that is amazing. To generate sufficient energy to destroy a boat it has generally required very large chemical lasers such as the one being developed to shoot down missiles from a converted 747. One problem with lasers though is that they probably won't be terribly hard to defeat by using an outer layer of reflective or other types of materials.

The link below is about the converted 747 anti-missile platform:
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2010/10/22/boeings-airborne-laser-fails-second-shootdown-test/

FourTeeFive
April 9, 2013, 01:30 PM
http://atomicgator.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/sharks_w_laser_beams.jpg


http://forums.pelicanparts.com/uploads20/sharks_with_frickin_laser_beams_attached_postcard+p239174773458964175baanr_4001339729000.jpg

85win
April 9, 2013, 02:04 PM
A few years back, the US Air Force fit one of these on a 747. The work was done in Wichita, Kansas for a year or two. The laser was meant to be flown to conflicts and was suppose to be able to shoot missiles, etc down while in flight. I cannot remember if the project got completed.

hso
April 9, 2013, 02:14 PM
Ships mounted weapons are just a tab beyond our scope (especially directed energy weapons).

Sam Cade
April 9, 2013, 02:17 PM
The blinding capabilities of such weapons are what I think they are ultimately aiming towards anyways. If they are technically aiming at a boat to destroy it and blind everyone on board as a side effect, they are not really using an illegal blinding weapon right?


That would be Article 1 vs Article 3 wouldn't it?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protocol_on_Blinding_Laser_Weapons

Al Thompson
April 9, 2013, 02:35 PM
Ditto to what hso said. :)

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