Print 58 comment(s) - last by YashBudini.. on Jan 27 at 7:55 PM

Navy laser program moves ahead
Laser program is under review

Lasers hold a great deal of promise for the battlefield – they are able to strike at the speed of light giving a better chance of hitting a fast moving target on short notice on the battlefield.

The U.S. Navy has been working on a laser system that will eventually be mounted on ships to replace the rapid firing cannons that are designed to shoot down missiles and other threats at close range. A laser system to replace the rapid-fire guns has been in development by the Navy since the 1980's reports, and the laser system has hit a new milestone.

The goal of the Navy missile program is to create a laser with one megawatt of power. Last month, the research teams working on the project at the Los Alamos National Lab demonstrated that they could create lasers with the power needed for the Navy. A preliminary review of the program began last week and is being conducted by the Office of Naval Research.

Dinh Nguyen, senior project leader for the Free Electron Laser program said, "Until now, we didn't have the evidence to support our models."

The research team used a new injector design to shoot electrons through a series of magnetic fields and was able to generate the power needed for a viable weapon. The laser program is called the free-electron laser of FEL.

Office of Naval Research program manager Quentin Saulter said, "The FEL is expected to provide future U.S. Naval forces with a near-instantaneous laser ship defense in any maritime environment throughout the world."

The laser began as a 14-kilowatt prototype, and the research team then moved on to producing a 100-kilowatt laser. The test with the new injector has put the research team 9-months ahead of its 2011 testing schedule.

The U.S. Air force is also working on laser systems that will be mounted inside aircraft to destroy missiles in flight. The Air Force ended development of an airborne chemical laser early last year in favor of solid-state lasers.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Question
By 3DoubleD on 1/24/2011 2:27:46 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, high powered visible lasers are very visible when travelling through the air (for an example search astronomy lasers). The scattering from this 1 MW laser might even be dangerously bright for bystanders without proper eye (and possibly skin protection).

RE: Question
By SlyNine on 1/25/2011 12:40:15 AM , Rating: 3

This is a pretty powerful laser, yet no scattering effect, just the burning ordinance and the explosion. You can only see the laser when the camera can see the right electromagnetic spectrum.

So my guess is that these " scattering theories" are just that and nothing more.

RE: Question
By Jaybus on 1/25/2011 12:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
Here is a demo of the Advanced Tactical Laser hitting a small square target on the hood of a truck with enough energy to cut through the truck's sheet metal, yet you can't see any scattering at all...just burning metal where it hits.

RE: Question
By 3DoubleD on 1/25/2011 1:48:51 PM , Rating: 3
The links provided by both Jaybus and SlyNine both refer to infrared lasers. So obviously you can't see any scattering with your eyes, but it does not mean it is not there. If you were standing next to that truck in the video, you would most certainly be blinded and/or burned. The most dangerous types of lasers are those outside the spectrum visible to humans as there is no blink (or duck) reflex to protect yourself.

I do not know what type of laser is used in this navy program, but regardless of whether it is visible or not, scattering is still very dangerous. That's not so say that this isn't an extremely useful tool, what it seeks to do is amazing, but that it requires additional consideration compared to more conventional projectile weapons.

I am working on my PhD in Engineering Physics and as a result I work in many laboratories with lasers. Laser safety often seems unintuitive at first, but even seemingly low powered lasers (e.g. 1 W) can cause vision loss if safety procedures are not followed. The most dangerous class of lasers (Class 4) include lasers above 0.5 W - this naval laser is 2 million times more powerful! In a laboratory or industrial setting, the only safe way to operate such high powered lasers is to exclude humans from the operating environment (effectively making it a Class 1 laser). In battle, when firing this weapon into open air, the safety of personnel would be difficult to guarantee.

Don't let sci-fi or James Bond movies mislead you. Handling high powered lasers is nothing like they depict.

RE: Question
By jive on 1/26/2011 8:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
With high power lasers the air and any moisture or particles in it turn into plasma and emits light according to their own spectrum. This would produce visible glow for continuous laser burn, but most lasers are pulsating ones releasing the energy in bursts and hence not giving visible trace.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
Related Articles

Most Popular ArticlesAre you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Leaked – Samsung S8 is a Dream and a Dream 2
September 25, 2016, 8:00 AM
Inspiron Laptops & 2-in-1 PCs
September 25, 2016, 9:00 AM
Snapchat’s New Sunglasses are a Spectacle – No Pun Intended
September 24, 2016, 9:02 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki