Science fiction fans and generals alike have long fantasized about what it'd be like to have a laser weapon at their command. Now at last such dreams are nearing reality. After years of steady milestone progress, military contractor Northrop Grumman has reached a significant mark -- the first 100 kW steady-state laser.
The laser is part of the Joint High-Powered Solid State Laser Phase 3 Program, which combines 8 lasers in chain fashion to create a "superlaser" of sorts. Each laser can deliver up to 15.3 kW individually and is about the size of a large briefcase. Together they form a unit about the size of a couple garbage dumpsters stacked together, which can deliver a peak beam of 105.5 kW. The device has operated continuously for 5 minutes, a major landmark in integrity.
The beam quality is an impressive 3.0 or better, and full power is reached in 0.6 seconds.
At 100 kW, the laser is capable of delivering a military-ready deadly beam. The unit could see deployment aboard next-generation battleships and cruisers or aboard large aircraft. States a company release, "In fact, many militarily useful effects can be achieved by laser weapons of 25 kW or 50 kW, provided this energy is transmitted with good beam quality, as our system does."
However, the relatively large weight and high power requirements remain obstacles to deploying the lethal laser.
Northrop Grumman is not satisfied with the significant breakthrough. They want to continue to shrink the device so that one day it might be portable on the battlefield. Dan Wildt, vice president of Northrop's directed energy systems program, adds, "It is still a little heavy and a little big."
quote: I'm also not real keen on us being the first ones to be inflicting terrible burn injuries on enemy fighters.
quote: You mean besides the widespread use of flamethrowers in WW2, or chemical weapon burns in WWI ?
quote: Personally, I'll bet that being killed by a laser is a lot less painful than getting shot in the gut and taking a few hours to die.
quote: how else can anybody reconcile paying 3x as much (as a percentage of GDP) for less effective care (in many/most outcome measures vs. northern Europe).
quote: To take this to a computer analogy, I feel like I'm saying the 9700 Pro is faster because the benchmarks say so and some others are saying the 5800's are faster because it's nVidia and nVidia is always faster.
quote: Guess what- everybody already has emergency health care
quote: and that kind of care costs exponentially more than the routine care than can prevent emergency care....healthcare is one system that would have been reformed long ago if doctors didn't have great lobbyists
quote: Even though capitalism is next to Godliness, the US healthcare system is irreparably broken
quote: According to a recent report, the United States has $480 billion in excess spending each year in comparison to Western European nations that have universal health insurance coverage. The costs are mainly associated with excess administrative costs and poorer quality of care.
quote: No, I absolutely do not think that anything about healthcare is free...Just like we don't privatize defense (which costs taxpayers about 1/3 as much by the way) healthcare is too big and too important to have a little oversight as it does.
quote: That cost is already assumed by everybody else with a stake in the healthcare industry.
quote: The rebellious numbers that show the US behind other nations are things like average life expectancy and infant mortality. Look it up-we're not the leaders in health care, but we do spend twice as much (sorry for error above) of our American GDP on it:
quote: Those premises however do not verify that the current method of funding health care in the US is any good.
quote: Guess what- everybody already has emergency health care and that kind of care costs exponentially more than the routine care than can prevent emergency care.
quote: 3x as much (as a percentage of GDP) for less effective care (in many/most outcome measures vs. northern Europe).
quote: It consists of eight lasers chained together to form a super laser.
quote: A Northrop Grumman engineer tinkers with the deadly 105.5 kw solid-state laser.
quote: A Northrop Grumman...engineer...monitors a solid-state laser
quote: ...based on it's color
quote: You can't photograph a laser beam like that