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Raytheon's test of its laser weapons tracking system was a resounding success, scoring 4 UAV kills.  (Source: Raytheon)

Raytheon has released video of the test.  (Source: Raytheon)

The new laser version of Raytheon's Phalanx tracking system could be used to counter UAVs from hostile nations such as Iran (U.S. armed "Reaper" UAV pictured).  (Source: The Real Revo)
Company shows off video of lasers shooting down a drone

Even as the Northrop Grumman tests out its new 100 KW solid state laser cannon as part of a $98M USD Maritime Laser Demonstration program with the U.S. Navy to defend against ships, Raytheon is offering a new guidance system that may be capable of aiming laser batteries against airborne targets.

In May, the U.S. Navy coupled six solid-state lasers with an output of 32 kilowatts (the Navy's Laser Weapon System, LaWS) to Raytheon's Phalanx Close-In Weapon System sensors.  The result was successful kills of four unmanned aerial vehicles.

Raytheon is showing grainy black and white video of test for the first time at the U.K.'sFarnborough International Air Show 2010.

The tests were conducted near the Navy's weapons and training facility on San Nicolas Island in California's Santa Barbara Channel.  Phalanx used radio-frequency (radar) sensors and electro-optical tracking to direct the laser's aim on targets.

The results were impressive and easily surpassed Raytheon's 2006 destruction of a static mortar shell, and 2008 destruction of an incoming (in motion) mortar shell over land.  Still, Mike Booen, vice president of Raytheon's Advanced Security and Directed Energy Systems product line insists that the successful tests are only the start and that the full system will not be finalized until 2016, at the earliest.

Interestingly, the Phalanx system is nothing new.  It has typically been coupled, though with traditional munition based weapons, such as the 20-mm Gatling gun.  The laser-equipped system would likely more than double the range of the traditional Gatling gun.

The laser anti-aircraft batteries could be useful to counter hostile nations like Iran that have reportedly developed UAV capabilities.  Coupled with the Maritime Laser Demonstration (MLD) cannons, they could offer an unprecedented warship.  States Northrop spokesman Bob Bishop, "The MLD system we are under contract to build for [the U.S. Office of Naval Research] will be scalable to a variety of power levels.  That means that laser power can be added—or subtracted—to meet the level of response necessary to address the threat, all within the same modular laser weapon system."

The MLD program will complete its tests by the end of year.  The tests will be performed at 15 KW -- a mere fraction of the laser's full power.  If all goes well, Northrop Grumman may be able to test shots at higher power levels, afterwards.

Both the U.S. Army and the Air Force are also currently evaluating and testing laser weapons.

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RE: "...hostile nations such as Iran..."
By Kurz on 7/21/2010 9:40:42 AM , Rating: 0
Well... they wouldn't need to wage a terror campaign if we didn't meddle in their country. Ever hear of the term "Blow Back"?

Middle east is a power keg and will always will be unless we remove ourselves from meddling. The most we should have is an embassy doing simple paper work on a day to day basis without trying to change them.

Its like you going into your neighbor's house demanding their daughter to stop being a slut. The parents wouldn't be mad at the daughter they will be mad at you first.

By Anoxanmore on 7/21/2010 10:18:03 AM , Rating: 2
After you slept with her first. :)

You forgot that part.

RE: "...hostile nations such as Iran..."
By bug77 on 7/21/2010 10:44:48 AM , Rating: 3
Well... they wouldn't need to wage a terror campaign if we didn't meddle in their country.

And you came to that conclusion how? By their own words, they won't rest until the whole world bows to islam and all infidels are history. American/jewish/whoever presence in the Middle East is just the pretext of the day.

RE: "...hostile nations such as Iran..."
By TerranMagistrate on 7/21/2010 11:05:57 AM , Rating: 3
Ignorance probably.

How else does one ignore the basic fact that the Iranian regime is an fanatical Islamic theocracy with some rather ominous Islamic aspirations for the West. Their nuclear program being just one of several means to that end.

RE: "...hostile nations such as Iran..."
By MojoMan on 7/21/2010 2:14:33 PM , Rating: 2
Be careful who you call ignorant. Nobody is saying they aren't a hostile regime. However... Study the term blow back. What we are saying is we're simply giving them a reason to fight us. Even for religious reasons it is historically hard to get people to get up and go fight a war, especially against a far off country. As soon as you start messing with people's home turf though... All of the sudden that validates their religious leanings, and it becomes a rallying cry. Imagine someone invading our country "preemptively." Your reaction is to protect your home, your family, and your country. Oh... When you do defend yourself, or counter-attack, the world will look at you can go, see? We needed to attack. Look how hostile they are!


I see some of you, at least, do your own reading instead of believing everything the government and media tells you.

By gamerk2 on 7/21/2010 3:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Religion is nothing more then an excuse by a nations leaders to garner natonalistic support.

The saddest part of Iran is a majority of people have a positive view of the US, but the US keeps acting like the reverse is true.

By afkrotch on 7/21/2010 10:37:00 PM , Rating: 1
The problem is, we will be damned if we do and damned if we don't. Somalia is a prime example. There to help, we get fucked. Leave and never help again, we get fucked for not helping.

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