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The laser was mounted aboard the USS Paul F. Foster, a decommissioned U.S. destroyer-class warship.  (Source: Destroyers Online)

The laser strikes the engine of the moving motorboat.  (Source: ONR via BrightCove)

On fire the ship is now crippled as it is struck by four foot waves.  (Source: ONR via BrightCove)

Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy hope to use similar lasers against small aerial targets and unarmored boats in the near future.  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
The era of laser warfare may have just begun

United States Navy ships each year face many threats.  While large threats mandate heavy munitions or rockets, the majority of threats are from small motorboats with armed occupants.  Dealing with these threats is tricky -- larger munitions are potentially lethal and expensive.  But using smaller munitions places the ship's crew at risk.  Thus the non-lethal accuracy of a laser weapon would be a highly desirable tool for the U.S. maritime warriors.

Sailors' dreams of having such a weapon at their disposal advanced a step forward to reality, with Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) completing the first live test [press release] of a solid state weapon laser at sea. 

On Wednesday the USS Paul Foster, a decommissioned destroyer, was retrofitted with Northrop Grumman's 15-kilowatt solid-state high-energy laser (HEL) prototype.  The laser creates a high-energy burst of light by running electrons through specially designed pieces of glass or crystals.

The eventual goal of the $98M USD Maritime Laser Demonstrator (MLD) is to install 100-kilowatt lasers on ships.  But the smaller 15-kilowatt system proved it might be sufficiently deadly for some applications.

Motoring into the U.S.'s Pacific testing range near San Nicholas Island off the coast of central California, the ship set its aim at a large inflatable motorboat, moving a mile away.  Firing a pulse of light, the experimental laser struck a crippling blow [video] damaging the engines and setting them on fire.  The target was crippled, floating dead in the ocean.

The success was not easy.  The scientists had to deal with ocean waves that could reach four feet in height.  And they had to deal with the day's humidity and the salty air over ocean waters.

But adverse conditions did not stop the laser from finding is mark with a killing shot.  Describes Rear Adm. Nevin Carr [profile] in an interview with Wired's Danger Room, "I spent my life at sea and I never thought we’d see this kind of progress this quickly, where we’re approaching a decision of when we can put laser weapons on ships.  When we were doing the shot and the engine went, there was elation in the control room.  It’s a big step, a proof of principle for directed energy weapons.  [Ten kilowatt beams like the test laser] can be operated in existing power levels and cooling levels on ships today."

The U.S. Navy could see deployment of lasers to warships over the course of the next decade, though their installation will require new crew training and the development of new battle tactics to fully leverage their capabilities.  Small lasers could be used effectively both against airborne targets like UAVs and against small ships that lack thick metal plating.

Northrop Grumman's rival Raytheon Comp. (RTN) has successfully killed UAVs with a laser system that couples six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts.

In the more distant future (the 2020s, specifically) the Navy is working on a "superlaser", a megawatt-class laser capable of cutting through 2,000 feet of steel per second and offering battle-sinking power.  The more powerful ONR laser is called the Free Electron Laser.  Leveraging a new technique called free electron injection, the project has made significant progress already.

Adm. Carr comments, "This is an important data point, but I still want the Megawatt death ray."

The U.S. Navy is not alone in its thirst for laser guns.  The U.S. Air Force is also testing new laser designs that could be mounted to helicopter gunships and used to cripple UAVs, missiles, Humvees and lesser vehicles.

 



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I may seem callous, but...
By Boze on 4/11/2011 10:45:50 AM , Rating: 2
...who cares about non-lethal accuracy for small craft? I'd rather use the laser to kill the occupants from a mile or two out and then take control of the small craft and its contents.

Now obviously in certain cases you're going to want the occupants alive so they can be detained and questioned, but anything you can salvage from the enemy that can then be used against them is a plus.

I wonder how this will change military medicine as well. I'm certain there's going to be laser-based injuries that'll need to be treated, and I honestly don't think any physicians have extensive knowledge in that area. Then again, it may not matter when the "megawatt death ray" cuts a swath through a ship and we end up with cleanly severed heads and torsos, like the beginning of that terrible movie Ghost Ship.

Still though, its a pretty exciting time to be in the Navy. Almost makes me want to go back in.




RE: I may seem callous, but...
By omnicronx on 4/11/2011 10:56:25 AM , Rating: 4
Seems like overkill to me, you want to blow up a little zodiac, use one of the many large guns mounted all around the ships in question.

Disabling a small draft like this is not exactly an easy thing to do.. so I can see the need for something like this..

I bet Greenpeace is trembling in their eco friendly wet-suits right now ;)


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 12:45:30 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Disabling a small draft like this is not exactly an easy thing to do.. so I can see the need for something like this..


Oh it's easy, just not cost effective. There are any number of things in the arsenal that could easily take out small craft at range, but they cost about 10 million a pop, give or take.

Lasers are perfect for Navy warfare because the massive energy source needed is already built in; the nuclear reactor.

Once we have lasers that can punch a hole through an armored warship below the waterline, hey, I'm all for this stuff. Don't see why some people are such haters.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By 91TTZ on 4/11/2011 2:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
What would you be using that costs $10 million each? There are numerous other things that will do the job for much cheaper.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 2:39:36 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
What would you be using that costs $10 million each? There are numerous other things that will do the job for much cheaper.


Well I was assuming non projectile weapons. You know, anti-ship sea skimming missiles. Cruise missiles etc etc.

Or was I really supposed to assume this technology is really being developed so we can only use it against things the size of bass boats? No. It's going to be mached up bigger and bigger and advanced until, eventually, it WILL be competing directly with much less cost effective solutions. Like the before mentioned guided projectiles.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By 91TTZ on 4/11/2011 4:58:05 PM , Rating: 4
It's not really going to compete against the other guided missiles since it's going to be very range limited.

Since a laser only goes in a straight line, you're going to run into limitations with enemy ships being over the horizon when they're far away. You'll probably be limited to 20 miles or so.

If a ship is shortly beyond that, they could shoot a RIM-67 Standard at it ($400k) which is good for about 60 miles, or they could use a Harpoon ($1.2 million, good for over 60 miles), or they could use a Tomahawk (about $1.4 million) that's good for about 1,300 miles.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 7:01:49 PM , Rating: 3
So let's say at 20 miles you have a few options. Lob stupid shells at the target, hoping to get a hit. Fire a million dollar missile, let's not forget the cost of the launcher systems and sub-systems and support systems...

OOOORRR warm up the megablaster!

I think saying this would "not" compete is being a bit presumptuous. Although, touche', I could be being a bit too optimistic.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By tayb on 4/11/2011 7:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's range limited in the sense that Walkie Talkies and phones were once range limited. Who knows what distances we will be able to achieve with this kind of technology but I would seriously doubt the first iteration of the device maxes out the distance.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By MrTeal on 4/11/2011 10:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
I think every scientist on this project who's not a member of the Flat Earth Society is probably aware of the maximum range of this weapon.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/12/2011 7:31:59 AM , Rating: 2
The same was said about radar. Now we have over-the-horizon Radar technology.

Never underestimate man's ability to push the limits of something.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Paj on 4/12/2011 7:54:56 AM , Rating: 2
Thats only because the radar signal bounces off the ionosphere. I doubt a laser beam could do that without attentuating badly, if at all.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By vol7ron on 4/12/2011 10:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
I want to use Cerebro and kill all the mutants


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By rcc on 4/13/2011 6:13:45 PM , Rating: 2
They'll use flying jellyfish with big mirrors.


By voodoochile123 on 4/15/2011 1:10:30 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, there is a solution to everything. Maybe some kind of mirror/booster fitted to a UAV would be the first step. But who knows what the boffins will come up with. It's obvious to me that some day, not too far away, this will be fitted in to a plane, so line of sight won't be as big of an issue. Then it will be on a satellite etc.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By corduroygt on 4/11/2011 2:27:27 PM , Rating: 1
A trained sniper and a M82 should be able to take out that boat for much cheaper though :)


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 2:41:39 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A trained sniper and a M82 should be able to take out that boat for much cheaper though :)


What if they are miles away and in heavy sees? I would like to see the sniper who could pull that off.

But an instant-travel laser with complicated computer tracking and targeting? Oh yeah baby, that's the money shot :)


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By ZimZum on 4/11/2011 8:41:58 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
A trained sniper and a M82 should be able to take out that boat for much cheaper though :)


Name me the sniper that can hit a target in a boat while that boat is also moving and being bounced up and down by the waves of the ocean. While the boat the sniper is on is also bouncing and likely also moving under engine power.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By DougF on 4/12/2011 12:29:48 AM , Rating: 1
Umm, I do seem to recall an incident where three US Navy SEALS hit three targets on a small boat from a larger ship, and at the same time...does that qualify?


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Nik00117 on 4/12/2011 10:11:10 PM , Rating: 2
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/04/snipers_take_o...

It can actually be done...

You know truth be told why not station 3-4 snipers on every ship? Keep them on duty and when something goes up they fire away. I don't know how much their bullets cost but even if it costs $10 and the extra sea pay is another say $100 a month for a 6 month deployment and 1 round fired that's $610...A bit cheaper then all the other situations we've been given...

If it's anything better then a small watercraft...Well then blow it up.

My dad was always scored the highest in his marksmanship qualifications, he was no sniper mind you but he was a good shot...far from the best...I've seen him shot a bird which was flying at 100 yards away with a .22. I Trust our snipers are better shots then my dad. With that being said I'm confident they are up to par for the mission.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By dsx724 on 4/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: I may seem callous, but...
By FITCamaro on 4/11/2011 2:55:16 PM , Rating: 1
The power required to generate a laser pulse like this you can't just fit in a van(much less the laser itself). 15MW. Aka enough power to power several city blocks. Until we get suitcase nuclear reactors, I think we're good. And it's not like you can just hook it up to the power lines.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By zmatt on 4/11/2011 4:58:54 PM , Rating: 2
lol reading fail. Its a 15kw laser, not a 15mw laser. It's about as power hungry as a powerful microwave oven. A 15mw laser would be a powerful weapon.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By MrTeal on 4/11/2011 5:04:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's about as power hungry as a powerful microwave oven.


I would hate to eat at your house.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By rcc on 4/11/2011 5:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
a 15 mw laser isn't much good except as a short range laser pointer. A 15 MW laser OTOH would be....interesting.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By 91TTZ on 4/11/2011 5:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
15MW over what time period? You can certainly charge capacitors and have them output 15 MW for a brief instant.

As far as energy storage, 1 gallon of gasoline could power a 15 MW device for about 2 seconds.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By drycrust3 on 4/11/2011 3:58:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This technology should not be develop due to the risks of proliferation.

To late! History shows that often new ideas are developed in several places around the world around the same time, not just in one place. For example, prior to World War 2 RADAR was developed by both the British and the Germans, and at the end of the war both the British and the Germans had jet fighters. So don't be surprised if at least one other country has something in a similar or more advanced state of development.
As we saw with the American aviator who was ridiculed by military strategists for promoting the idea of dive bombing warships, I think his name was Mitchel, just because you don't want a weapons technology to be used for moral reasons or because you think it is impractical, doesn't mean people that don't like you will have the same thoughts.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By rcc on 4/11/2011 5:43:22 PM , Rating: 3
It was William "Billy" Mitchell. And without him we'd have been in deep trouble at the beginning of WWII.

As I recall, the nobles and knights of the medieval period tried to outlaw crossbows for similar reasons. It put a powerful ranged weapon in the hands of relatively untrained people. It takes years to train a skilled military archer; and weeks to train an effective crossbowman.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By drycrust3 on 4/12/2011 6:54:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It was William "Billy" Mitchell. And without him we'd have been in deep trouble at the beginning of WWII.


I thought his name was Billy Mitchell, but I wasn't sure.
quote:
And without him we'd have been in deep trouble at the beginning of WWII.

My recollection was Billy was ignored until the wisdom of his arguments was forced upon those who should have listened.
Again, that just proves that just because you ban something doesn't mean that your ban is universal.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By dsx724 on 4/11/2011 6:49:13 PM , Rating: 1
This weapon allows for untraceable targeted killings from miles away that conventional and nuclear weapons cannot. Output power of 25KW over a fraction of a second will easily be fatal to humans. You can fit a megawatt class generator into a van. There should be treaties banning the development of such weapons before they become a threat to our society. Providing funding for overcoming the technical challenges limiting this tech is like pouring fuel on the fire.

The next time the president has to go anywhere, they would need to search every facility within a five mile radius or drive him in an M1


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 6:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
You're being absurd.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Pessimism on 4/12/2011 10:12:29 AM , Rating: 2
No, he's not. As this tech develops, others will copy it. A whole new class of defensive tech and countermeasures will be needed.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/12/2011 3:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, he's not. As this tech develops, others will copy it. A whole new class of defensive tech and countermeasures will be needed.


First off, you don't just McGyver up a home laser to assassinate someone with. Just trying to build one will get your red flagged as many of the materials needed are restricted. And his claim that a van can hold the power source, ok sure, maybe. But how are you going to GET that power supply? Wal-Mart?

Secondly, the idea that suddenly assassinations will skyrocket due to lasers is absurd. Rocket launchers are far easier to acquire and are just as deadly. How many RPG attacks have been used against a U.S President, to use his example?

Why bother spending millions on something, assuming you can even get your hands on everything required, when in all cases a .50 cal sniper rifle or hand held rocket launcher is cheaper, more effective, and easier to obtain and dispose of?

Stop fearmongering.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By MrTeal on 4/12/2011 12:57:14 PM , Rating: 3
A van is pretty small for 1MW. This is a 1.4MW generator
http://cfaspower.com/GTG_1545_50Hz.jpg

Also, I'd like to see a report that 15kW for a fraction of a second would be fatal to a human. Even if the fraction is 1/2 and assuming no atmospheric attenuation and 100% absorption, that's only 7.5kJ of energy, enough to heat 1 kg of water 1.8 degree C. If it got you in the eyes you'd be blind, and if the spot size were small enough you'd get very serious burns, but death would probably take longer.

Now, even if 15kW was lethal, how big is the weapon? This isn't some crappy laser pointer, the size of the optics needed to collimate a laser to a small dot a mile or more range is huge. This won't be a portable weapon any time in the near future.

Compare that to a 50cal sniper rifle. In capable hands it's range is over a mile, it can be moved, set up and shot by one person if need be. Available now, and yet society has survived.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/12/2011 3:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Compare that to a 50cal sniper rifle. In capable hands it's range is over a mile, it can be moved, set up and shot by one person if need be. Available now, and yet society has survived.


Exactly. And there's NO protection against it. No body armor on the planet can stop a .50


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By epobirs on 4/14/2011 8:41:32 AM , Rating: 3
Or it could just be used to fill a house with popcorn until comes bursting out the windows.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By bobny1 on 4/12/2011 7:04:27 AM , Rating: 1
and how much tax payers money went into that Zodiac used in the test?. Ear marks?. Noway!


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By marvdmartian on 4/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: I may seem callous, but...
By CZroe on 4/11/2011 4:22:58 PM , Rating: 3
A small craft approaches your ship and does not respond to hails. It may be a terrorist ala the USS Cole incident, or it may be some civilians who don't know any better. Chances are, it's usually a civilian. Do you just tense up and hope they aren't terrorists or do you blow it up and kill everyone? Without non-lethals, those are your options.

Non-lethal weapons are still important.


RE: I may seem callous, but...
By priusone on 4/11/2011 8:02:19 PM , Rating: 1
I agree. Sure, explosives are WAY more fun to view from a distance, "hearts and minds" mentality favors non-lethal devices.

Plus, if a naval vessel wrongfully engaged a civilian vessel (even if according to the Navy's ROE it was in the right to do so), replacing motors causes less headlines than trying to recover body parts.

Personally, I like the idea of sending a Tomahawk their way. Especially if the craft in question had Green or Peace written anywhere on it.


Sharks
By TheNuts on 4/11/2011 12:35:47 PM , Rating: 5
Hopefully the US can soon figure out how to attach them to frickin sharks




RE: Sharks
By Sunagwa on 4/11/2011 12:49:17 PM , Rating: 4
Or we can start developing our mutated seabass technology.


RE: Sharks
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 12:50:08 PM , Rating: 4
Will they be ill-tempered?


RE: Sharks
By FITCamaro on 4/11/2011 1:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
Extremely.


RE: Sharks
By ARoyalF on 4/11/2011 11:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
They will be Eeeevil......


No, it's not.
By rcc on 4/11/2011 5:21:56 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
The laser was mounted aboard the USS Paul F. Foster, a decommissioned U.S. destroyer-class warship.


Jason, I'm going to be picky again. This was not a destroyer class ship. She is a Spruance class destroyer.




RE: No, it's not.
By Fritzr on 4/12/2011 1:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the nit while you were picking.

Spruance is a family of destroyer class vessels. Pinnace, corvette, destroyer, cruiser, heavy cruiser, battle cruiser, battleship, dreadnought etc. are classes of warship. Within those classes you have families of specialized versions of those classes.

The Spruance class destroyer is a specific subset of the Destroyer class of warship. There are many destroyers both modern and obsolete, Almost all destroyer class vessels, US and foreign, are not Spruance class ships. However all Spruance class vessels are destroyers.

To make designations more confusing the general classes designate function in tactical terms and may refer to non-naval craft such as an airship that functions as an aircraft carrier. This class is not currently in service, but has been used by air forces historically and may be revived in the modern world of UAVs.


RE: No, it's not.
By MrTeal on 4/12/2011 3:34:06 PM , Rating: 2
I think his nit was correct, and your pick was wrong.

The ship class indicates ships of similar design, say the Los Angeles submarines or the Arleigh Burke destroyers. Ships in the same class often are named after the same thing, like the WWII Pennsylvania-class battleships.

The ship type is what you're confused on. The type in this case is a destroyer.


RE: No, it's not.
By rcc on 4/13/2011 6:11:18 PM , Rating: 2
ah, yup, what Teal said.


Would never be allowed on a UK ship.
By Aloonatic on 4/11/2011 10:47:37 AM , Rating: 5
Or if it was allowed to be used, it would only happen as long as the Royal Navy issued the crew of the target boat with protective sun glasses, or take them through a 30 minute health and safety lecture on not looking directly at lasers, before using it. :o)




RE: Would never be allowed on a UK ship.
By FaceMaster on 4/11/11, Rating: -1
By aegisofrime on 4/11/2011 11:45:06 AM , Rating: 2
Or he might actually be Jeremy Clarkson in disguise :)

Oh wait, we are all in disguise on the Internet aren't we?

Right, he's actually Jeremy Clarkson.


By Aloonatic on 4/11/2011 12:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
Was just a light hearted, whimsical comment (Hence the :o) ) with a subtle undertone of satire as it really wouldn't surprise me if it, at the very least, what I said might enter some MoD official's head as they considered such a system.


By 91TTZ on 4/11/2011 2:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
They use black targets so they'll absorb the laser radiation. If the target was painted with brilliant white paint, the target would only absorb a small fraction of the laser's energy, making the time required to kill the target too long to be practical.




By kattanna on 4/11/2011 4:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
um.. no.

the paint layer would be burned through in a fraction of a second whether it was black/white or pink polka dots, and then be hitting metal


By 91TTZ on 4/11/2011 4:37:14 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily. There are high temp paints out there that can survive the high temperatures. Aircraft that were designed to drop atomic bombs were often painted in antiflash white paint that was designed to reflect away the intense flash of light generated when an atomic bomb is detonated.

Besides that, not all items turn black when they burn, some have white ashes. You'll find that with aluminum covered in white paint, the heat is dissipated faster than it's absorbed in that location.


Fair Weather Weapon
By SnakeBlitzken on 4/11/2011 1:38:22 PM , Rating: 2
Will it work in the rain???




RE: Fair Weather Weapon
By AnnihilatorX on 4/11/2011 6:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
Don't see why not. Two possiblities.
1) Laser operate in a frequency with attenuation by water droplets in air minimal
2) Laser is powerful enough to not worry about losing some energy through rain


You can't target what you can't see.
By RedemptionAD on 4/11/2011 8:15:31 PM , Rating: 2
Metamaterials are going to be the counter to these kinds of weapons, aside from thermals they will truly be invisible. This technology is actually more than 20 years old. 15 years ago they could cloak objects the size of toasters.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/19/3d-invisibility...




By XSpeedracerX on 4/18/2011 10:10:26 AM , Rating: 2
That's not going to be effective against radar.


Mirror
By Strunf on 4/12/2011 7:40:27 AM , Rating: 2
What would stop the targets from using a mirror and use it to deflect the beam? actually that would be a very cheap away to render this weapon useless.




RE: Mirror
By InfinityzeN on 4/12/2011 8:43:19 AM , Rating: 2
Mirrors are not 100% reflective. The range is 80~85% for most mirrors and tops out at 95% for the best lab mirrors. Plus the laser is invisible, so noticing you are getting fired at happens when... you catch on fire.


Pirates
By Beenthere on 4/11/2011 2:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
The only good pirate is dead or fried twice with a laser.




Nice money shot!
By brundall on 4/11/2011 5:57:54 PM , Rating: 2
I love how they chose to destroy what looks like a pair of new Mercury Optimax 200hp outboards costing around $14,000 each.




Riot control
By slyck on 4/11/2011 8:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like the perfect weapon for disabling protestors of gov't and business. Next time someone is abusing their First Amendment rights, give em a blast and put em in their place, under the boots of the wealthy.




RE: Riot control
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/11, Rating: 0
Intended use of Laser
By RonM on 4/11/2011 8:55:05 PM , Rating: 2
This is a modification of the program to replace the old Phalanx CWIS systems with lasers. The original system uses a m61 6 barrell 20mm cannon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phalanx_CIWS

Thr Phalanx is not deemed sufficient for the new supersonic or stealthy missiles being fielded by Russia and China. (India too, but India is no longer viewed as an opponent.) While other CIWS systems use 30mm or even 35mm shells, we use the same poor ones as are in our fighters. These lack sufficient size or flight dynamics. The Navy now seeks to skip the entire use of shells. The two replacements are the SeaRAM, which replaces the 20mm cannon with an 11-cell launcher for the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, and various laser systems in lieu of the 20mm cannon. Such systems must be capable of hitting both ships, and air targets like cruise missiles, drones, and jets. A laser system is a perfect match for our Nimitz and new Ford Class nuclear carriers.




By Gnarr on 4/14/2011 4:42:56 PM , Rating: 2
...mirrors or prisms! That reflect the laser back to the source ;) A shield and a weapon in the same tool!




hello
By DEMOLIE on 4/16/2011 3:24:23 AM , Rating: 2
hi i am vishnu nice to meet you in DAILYTEACH THANKS




Don't care...
By Motoman on 4/11/2011 1:08:59 PM , Rating: 1
Wake me when they mount the laser weapon on a shark. Until then, don't bother me with your toys.




Not a ship.
By chromal on 4/11/11, Rating: -1
RE: Not a ship.
By Boze on 4/11/2011 10:50:39 AM , Rating: 4
Unfortunately that's not where modern warfare is going.

Most of the threats the U. S. Navy faces on a daily basis are from these small boats, not from some destroyer. Somali pirates, Iraqi insurgents attacking, or attempting to attack the Al Basrah oil terminal, all use small craft like this. USS Cole? Small craft.

Right now, this laser could be mounted on many Navy and be a benefit to the crew.

The only possible way we're going to need the weaponry to sink a destroyer or larger is if we entered into a war with China or Russia. That won't happen for awhile, if ever.

Especially considering electronic warfare is more crippling to a large enemy.


RE: Not a ship.
By Drag0nFire on 4/11/2011 11:24:18 AM , Rating: 1
I was impressed by the pics in the article. But if you actually look at the video, it happens so slowly... definitely less impressive. Any pirate worth their salt would be able to dodge once they realized what was happening. Or get out a mirror...


RE: Not a ship.
By MrTeal on 4/11/2011 11:33:52 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know, it seemed to take about 5 seconds from the time that the laser hit until the motor caught fire. You very well might not notice that until it's too late, especially since you're likely concentrating on that big steel warship bearing down on you. If the production version halved the time, there would be almost to time to react.


RE: Not a ship.
By Jaybus on 4/11/2011 2:30:50 PM , Rating: 3
It was a proof of concept test with a 15 kW laser. It was more about target acquisition and tracking a small target bobbing up and down in 4 ft swells. Production models are to range from 100 kW to 1 MW.

Since it could lock on and track in 4 ft swells, it is highly unlikely any sea craft could maneuver away, regardless of a pirate's salinity.

Mirrors are not 100% reflective. A typical mirror has around 85% reflectance. Really expensive laboratory quality mirrors might reach 95%. 15% of 100 kW is 15 kW. So if the motor was protected by mirrors, a 100 kW laser would do to it what the 15 kW laser did to the black painted motor.

Of course, since you can't see the laser at all, you wouldn't know they were firing until your motor caught fire.


RE: Not a ship.
By MrTeal on 4/11/2011 11:27:58 AM , Rating: 4
This entire test screams anti-pirate weaponry to me. I doubt they plan to use lasers any time in the near future against hardened targets; planes and missiles are just so much more effective than a weapons system where you have to get into close visual range.

I see this being used on destroyers patrolling in areas like Somalia where you have a number of small, fast, maneuverable craft filled with heavily armed occupants. Rather than try to take them out with the big guns, you disable the craft and bring them into custody.


RE: Not a ship.
By MrBlastman on 4/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not a ship.
By FITCamaro on 4/11/2011 1:21:46 PM , Rating: 1
So now the US Navy resorts to cannibalism? Well I guess if the Democrats could do as they wished to the military, they might have to resort to that.


RE: Not a ship.
By FITCamaro on 4/11/2011 1:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
The last direct, successful attack of a US Navy ship, the USS Cole, was done by a small skiff like this. And it left 17 people dead and a rather large hole in the side of the boat.


RE: Not a ship.
By bh192012 on 4/11/11, Rating: 0
RE: Not a ship.
By Reclaimer77 on 4/11/2011 2:30:58 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't say lasers would have. He's simply pointing out to the OP that small vessels can still be threats.


RE: Not a ship.
By FITCamaro on 4/11/2011 2:57:27 PM , Rating: 1
You'd think this kind of reasoning would be common place....Idiocracy takes one more step towards the realm of reality.


RE: Not a ship.
By bh192012 on 4/11/2011 2:11:52 PM , Rating: 1
Lasers wouldn't have made any difference with the Cole. They saw the boat approach, but were not allowed to fire upon them due to their rules of engagement.

Also our warships have plenty of weapnos to take out small boats, like .50 cals etc. Lasers will be useful once they are higher power, can repeatedly fire w/o overheating and have their targeting figured out.


RE: Not a ship.
By TSS on 4/11/2011 10:32:52 PM , Rating: 1
This weapon is not ment for ship to ship combat, atleast not large ship combat. There's plenty of threat from small ships, and you don't try to hit those with 19 inch guns. Especially when you might want to not kill the people on board.

This weapon however is made for large ship to ship combat and is developped for just that reason:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYDGD9UOvyQ

Laser my ass. I'll take 2 of these.


RE: Not a ship.
By cactusdog on 4/12/2011 2:00:44 AM , Rating: 2
the problem is too many dickheads if justin beiver changed his name to Billy Beeper the problem would be solved.


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