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Real-Life Laser Rifle: Army Goal

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by ZeSpectre, Apr 27, 2007.

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  1. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/04/plasma_pulse_la.html

     
  2. Risasi

    Risasi Member

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    I'm holding out for an ultra-compact acoustic weapon...
     
  3. Evil Monkey

    Evil Monkey member

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    HA! Yeah, I heard about this and saw the same picture back in 2002-2004. Ain't happening any time soon.
     
  4. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Ris, that will have to be imported from Russia now.:D The Russians were always nuts for that kind of stuff.

    It will probably be a crew-served weapon at first but we may be just a couple of decades away from "Starship Trooper" guns.:)
     
  5. jlbraun

    jlbraun Member

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    Uh, no. There are significant power, efficiency, and emitter lifetime problems. I worked on foamed Ti supercapacitors for such an application and the power density was on the order of ONE MILLION TIMES less than gunpowder on a volume basis.

    Until we have matter-beam-supported quantum singularity generators or get the ability to control and store antimatter handheld portable laser weapons will not ever be practical.
     
  6. Riktoven

    Riktoven Member

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    I wouldn't say that.

    In the last 2 years electric car batteries have doubled in power with a decrease in weight. That's technology I have access to.

    I can only imagine that the technology the USAF and NSA have now is a fair bit superior to what I get to play with.

    I give this less than a decade before it's operational in aircraft, and 10-20 years later we'll have the man-portable versions.

    The drawback has always been using lasers, or any form of focused energy, to burn the target. This technology damages the target with shock waves that require far less power than incinerating the target; and with the right enhancements, can be pulsed at a variable rates on a target until that target's resonance frequency is found and it shakes itself apart.

    This is going to come fast now that people are looking into more creative uses of the power than burning the target.
     
  7. jlbraun

    jlbraun Member

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    I will say that there is a significant potential to use lasers to ionize paths through the air, down which one can launch an electrical arc. That technology has great potential as a stun/incapacitate weapon, and portable prototypes have been built.
     
  8. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Member

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    I'm with Braun on this one. I'd much rather see some thunder-making technology used in the future. We've learned from Nature before and it's done wonders for us.
     
  9. heron

    heron Member

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    I spent much of my life being a hard-core sci-fi fan, and as much as I love the idea of energy weapons, I think they're likely to stay in the realm of fiction.
    Firearms have a number of advantages that would be very hard to overcome. They are simple and cheap to produce, and relatively easy to service in the field, and the weapons and ammunition are easily portable. Any practical energy weapon will need enormously sophisticated electronics, which cannot be easily serviced -- for example; if your target moves, will the device need or be able to keep it in phase? Energy density from power supplies is also a big issue, as well as a possible readiness issue with shelf-life or need for periodic recharge of batteries. The technological facilities to produce such things are also a strategic and tactical vulnerability issue.
    I think that simple chemistry and metallurgy will trump the space-guns for long after we're all forgotten. My money is still on slug-throwers.
     
  10. mek42

    mek42 Member

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    A company to look at is Ionatron, Nasdaq: IOTN.

    I used to own shares of this company before they became IOTN when they had a different business agenda. I am not a current shareholder.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2007
  11. heron

    heron Member

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    I was in a hurry to finish my previous post, but I'll add this.
    Energy weapons will supplant firearms when they have a specific mission that firearms cannot accomplish.
    Try this scenario: a bad guy has taken refuge in a museum, and you have to neutralize him without risking damage to the Rembrandts on the wall. If you like it even more complex, you have to shoot through the wall that the Rembrandt is hanging on. Definitely not the job for your typical .308 sniper rifle. It's easier if you don't need to actually kill the guy (though no one would mind if you did) -- in other words, if you had more options than lethal only.
    I know, this particular problem is easy: seal the building and pump in gas, but you get the idea.
    Thinking about this, you can come up with a variety of scenarios that would require different weapons for different missions. These special applications may have some advantage, but it comes at a very steep increase in cost and complexity, which are still unnecessary if all you need to do is kill or wound someone within reasonable range.

    No need to wait; go to the sporting goods store and get a police whistle, or for more effect, one of those little gas-cartridge-powered airhorns. ;-)
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    If and when, a battery with the size and capacity of a magazine full of ammo will have a lot of applications besides a beam weapon. But I think that will take longer to come up with than the emitter.
    Maybe a laser on an MG pintle drawing off a vehicle power supply?
     
  13. ZeSpectre

    ZeSpectre Member

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    I read an interesting article a while back about a form of prototype weapon that had "cartridges" but they were basically capacitors roughly the size of a shotgun shell. ZOT, charge used up, "shell" ejected and next one fed in... ZOT and so forth. It was for some form of microwave based weapon.

    Function in field trials was far better than expected and each "round" was very light so you could carry a lot of them. Unfortunately when not in use they tended to self discharge over a fairly short period of time so it obviously wasn't battlefield ready yet but who knows what someone will come up with.
     
  14. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

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    I'm still waiting for a Barret or smaller sized MASER. Just imagine the events you can have out west with some of those.

    "The Fourth Annual Montana 2000 Yard Cattle Drive and Barbecue Cookoff of 2023" :D

    -K
     
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