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A Northrop Grumman engineer tinkers with the deadly 105.5 kw solid-state laser. Northrop Grumman recently announced it had created the world's first 100+ kw solid state laser, raising hopes of laser warfare.  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

The 105.5 kw laser reaches its peak power in 0.6 seconds. It consists of eight lasers chained together to form a super laser. All of these components are contained in Northrop's laser weapon system demonstrator, seen here.  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Northrop Grumman passes an important milestone, as laser weapons near deployment

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."



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Price?
By CityZen on 3/23/2009 10:37:52 AM , Rating: 1
Anyone wants to guess how much will Northrop Grumman charge the US of A Armed Forces for each one of these ...?
I'd venture the bill won't be pretty ...




RE: Price?
By bldckstark on 3/23/2009 12:16:31 PM , Rating: 2
Although I understand your point, I personally don't care what they cost.

If we can make all missiles obsolete with this weapon, everyone has to find a new way to destroy the world.

But yeah, I don't want them to charge it to my credit card.


RE: Price?
By FITCamaro on 3/23/2009 1:09:53 PM , Rating: 1
Well with Obama likely cutting F-22 production to save money for all his socialist spending, I'll bet this will also be cut.

We can spend money on anything and everything except where it could actually be used. Who cares about national defense or border security? We need free health care for deadbeats and illegals.


RE: Price?
By superkdogg on 3/23/2009 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 3
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.

Even though capitalism is next to Godliness, the US healthcare system is irreparably broken-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).

The numbers attached to the projects are scary, but healthcare is one system that would have been reformed long ago if doctors didn't have great lobbyists and if the common person understood the waste and lack of return on investment.


RE: Price?
By porkpie on 3/23/2009 2:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
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).
Do you actually believe those "studies" capture all the true costs of socialized medicine in European nations? Or since they're all compiled by groups pushing for socialized medicine here, that they're accurately and honestly rating just how "effective" the European medical care is?


RE: Price?
By superkdogg on 3/24/2009 5:50:15 PM , Rating: 2
I guess I didn't actually do the studies myself or read each one thoroughly and skeptically to try to figure out if they cut costs in half for European nations. I guess I just believed that if the studies were completely bogus somebody like those who are presenting the opposing viewpoint would have already impaled them. I wasn't able to find studies or analysis to that effect.

The fact is that the argument against is ideological, but not supported in the factual record. From a theory standpoint I did agree with all those who are currently aligned against me until I educated myself.

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.


RE: Price?
By Steve1981 on 3/24/2009 9:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
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.


Here is the flaw: when someone benchmarks video cards for comparative purposes, they have to ensure that the other variables, eg the processor and RAM are controlled, otherwise the comparison is worthless.

In comparing health care systems among different countries, it simply isn't possible to control (nor does it seem that anyone has attempted to account for) pertinent variables such as diet, environmental factors, etc. IOW, saying the USA spends X more than Italy on health care but has worse life expectancy therefore Italy's health care is better is overly simplistic. It doesn't account for the other variables, and as such, it is hard to take such studies seriously.


RE: Price?
By Steve1981 on 3/23/2009 3:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Guess what- everybody already has emergency health care


Sort of. EMTALA has ensured that anybody that presents to an ER will receive treatment. It does not make such treatment free, although there are more than enough folks with nothing to lose by abusing such a system.

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


Yes, doctors have been lobbying for quite some time for reduced pay rates under Medicare and Medicaid! You see, their nefarious scheme makes it such that most family practice doctors can't afford to see a lot of Medicare and Medicaid patients, effectively forcing those poor and elderly to rely upon emergency rooms for basic treatments.

quote:
Even though capitalism is next to Godliness, the US healthcare system is irreparably broken


Do you think that there is anything remotely free market about the US health care system???


RE: Price?
By superkdogg on 3/24/2009 5:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
Doubtful that anyone is coming back to this anymore, but just for the record...

No, I absolutely do not think that anything about healthcare is free-that's kind of my point. Even though it currently is broken, my point is that we already all pay for it. The cost of running the entire system is behind the setting of rates. Since a hospital knows that it's going to lose money in some places due to uninsured/underisured/non-payment the rates reflect this, driving up cost to insurance companies and being passed along. That cost is already assumed by everybody else with a stake in the healthcare industry.

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:

http://www.nchc.org/facts/cost.shtml

Nobody in health care wants to be a government-overseen employee or a straight up federal employee. The reason is obvious: they would not make excessive salaries. There are many people who this would not affect, of course, but the top-level administration of a large provider is currently at least a 7-figure job now and that simply wouldn't be the case in any other model-thus there is a lot of friction against a major change. Don't get me wrong, I do not blame them for their attitudes and I am grateful for people with the skills and minds to practice medicine. Those premises however do not verify that the current method of funding health care in the US is any good.

Here's one quote from the National Coalition on Health Care that basically sums up my point:

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.


This group is "rigorously non-partisan" and not some liberal tree-hugging socialist outfit.

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.


RE: Price?
By Steve1981 on 3/24/2009 9:10:21 PM , Rating: 1
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.


I said free market, not free. Again, what makes you think that there is "little oversight" involved with our health care system? Our medical industry is quite heavily regulated. Pretending it is some failure in capitalism which necessitates we move to a socialized medical system is specious at best.

quote:
That cost is already assumed by everybody else with a stake in the healthcare industry.


And ultimately the only way to reduce the costs is to improve efficiency, ration care, or tell doctors what they're allowed to charge. Option 1 doesn't hurt. Options 2 and 3 certainly will in the long term. As far as socialized medicine being more efficient than free market: I have yet to see an example of a free market medical system to make a comparison to. However, given that free-market competition naturally improves efficiency and socialism historically is inefficient at everything it does, I'm not inclined to jump on the socialized medicine boat just yet.

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:


At its best, the American health care system is the best in the world. It absolutely is a leader in treatments and technology.

However, we don't get the best bang for the buck, nor do we have life expectancies to show off our accomplishments. There are a few reasons for this though.

1. Americans simply lead relatively unhealthy lifestyles. We eat crap food with no redeeming qualities, get no exercise, and then wonder why our health care costs are so high and why we die so young.

2. Americans expect Grade A treatment, regardless of the cost, regardless of their ability to pay said cost, and regardless of what other significantly less expensive but marginally less effective options might exist.

It doesn't take socialized medicine to fix these problems. It takes government not meddling in the first place. It means not trying to force charity or dictate terms to our health care practitioners. It means getting people to understand the actual costs of medicine.

quote:
Those premises however do not verify that the current method of funding health care in the US is any good.


Who said our current system was great shakes? I didn't.


RE: Price?
By lightfoot on 3/23/2009 6:05:44 PM , Rating: 1
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.

That is factually false - patients who are uninsured/underinsured consume far less health care than insured patients do. Just because the Holy Czar Obama says that preventative care will reduce health care costs doesn't make it true. Statistically speaking preventative care (the kind provided by health insurance) actually increases lifetime health care costs, it doesn't reduce them.

Uninsured/underinsured patients tend to die earlier and have much lower end of life health care expenses.


RE: Price?
By superkdogg on 3/24/2009 5:38:09 PM , Rating: 2
I think you hit on the key at the end. End-of-life and high-risk infants are the most costly patients, and an uninsured person with terminal disease won't likely get the expensive treatments driving up the lifetime cost of care.

I do wonder about your citation that preventative care drives up the lifetime cost of care, because if that's true then it would be counterintuitive for health insurance plans to waive fees or offer other incentives for these visits. I don't have any facts to support my ideas in this case-it just doesn't seem logical that insurance companies are encouraging use of services that cost them money in the long run.


RE: Price?
By JediJeb on 3/23/2009 6:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
3x as much (as a percentage of GDP) for less effective care (in many/most outcome measures vs. northern Europe).


Of course we are going to have a less effective healthcare when you look at it versus acceptable outcome since in Europe they don't treat patients if they don't think it will extend their life long enough to make it profitable.


RE: Price?
By shin0bi272 on 3/23/2009 9:31:40 PM , Rating: 2
you really wanna fix the healthcare "crisis" here's how you do it:

First, redo the tax code so that the individual can deduct their premiums again. Then go back to a health insurance plan where you have to pay for all care under a certian amount and anything above that you have insurance for (just like your car or house). That way people can shop around for the cheaper place to get those yearly checkups and wont be running to the doctor for a hangnail (I worked in health information management and Ive seen someone’s record that said they literally went to the doctor for a hangnail). Lastly get the government out of the health care market. When the government sets the prices on items and sets the funds that they will pay for a procedure you will end up not getting the best care possible first of all and on top of that you might not get any care at all. Medicare and medicaid are more than 45% of all the healthcare dollars spent in the country right now ... there is no way that that will lead to anything positive if it becomes 100%


RE: Price?
By ironargonaut on 3/23/2009 10:11:46 PM , Rating: 3
Sure, lets get the gov't to pay for health care. Then since they are paying for it they will tell us they get to make all the decisions. ALL THE DECISIONS! Like, oh your boy is on life support, we think the plug should be pulled. Sorry, that decision is not up to you mom it is up to the doctors. Just happened in Great Britian.

Thank you no. I would rather die from a treatable disease then have the gov't use the excuse they pay for my medical care to tell me what to eat and how to live.
Give me liberty or give me death!


RE: Price?
By RoberTx on 3/24/2009 1:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
The price of freedom is how much?


RE: Price?
By Biggiesized on 3/25/2009 2:26:45 AM , Rating: 2
$1.05


RE: Price?
By RoberTx on 3/25/2009 11:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
For you that might be a bit to expensive, for all others it is grossly off target.


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