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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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RE: Price?
By porkpie on 3/23/2009 2:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
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
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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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