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Author Topic: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.  (Read 783 times)

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Online AngiejuusanTopic starter

Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« on: March 05, 2015, 04:51:13 PM »
No, not an exaggeration-say hello to ATHENA, Lockheed Martin's latest point defense system:

http://phys.org/news/2015-03-laser-weapon-truck-field.html

If anyone can give me a comparison for the 30 Kilowatt number they throw around that would be great. I don't think this system can do much against heavily armored targets, at least not without a LOT of time to burn through the plating, but that's not the point-the point is holy shit lazors!

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2015, 04:56:17 PM »
The average American home uses 30 kilowatts a day, if that helps you find reference.

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 07:46:19 AM »
yes the laser in question uses the same power as the average american household focused into a single beam of light, with a massive amount of focus. the kilowatts need to be low lest it melt the focusing lens.

The biggest drawback of lasers as a military application is that it's underdeveloped, fragile, and super expensive. We've been able to melt small vehicles since the late 90's, but a single rock would damage the focusing lens. we've got hardier materals now. But even so it's more expensive to deploy a laser weapon than simply place an automated minigun on a vehicle set to shoot at anything within a safe range, moving over a certain speed (IE an RPG rocket) with explosive rounds.
The reason we don't deploy these things in big numbers isn't their lack of awesome, it's that bullets are cheaper than electricity.

Lasers have been part of our Anti-missile system aboard ships for over a decade, we were working on it after the USS Cole attack caused the pentagon to start looking onto shipboard protection.

Though even generals get a bit of a stiffy when they hear that they can have a real working deathlazor so it's going to get funding till it's practical.  ;D

Personally I'm looking forward to the US Exo-suit project. Makes master chief look like a wuss.

Offline Ebb

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2015, 08:00:08 AM »
The average American home uses 30 kilowatts a day, if that helps you find reference.

That probably means 30 kilowatt-hours a day. This laser is a 30 kilowatt laser, but it probably only takes fractions of a second to fire. According to this article (http://optics.org/news/5/12/18) the cost is less than a dollar a shot. The article is for a ship-mounted laser system that's been in use since last December. It's also 30 kilowatts.

Still, a lot of drawbacks. Ship-board lasers look to be pretty useful. Lasers mounted on a jeep, maybe not so much for right now.

Offline alextaylor

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2015, 09:02:15 PM »
30 kW = 40 horsepower. Modest amount, about as much as a commercial vehicle engine. Except that it's delivered in a single 'punch'.

Looking forward to this. I actually did quite a bit of photonics in uni. Laser weapons seemed like one of those things that seemed probably but nobody actually went over the practical issues. Like flight - birds could do it, why didn't people? Or cars - engines could move machines, why not use it for transport? Or "microcomputers" - all that was needed was to put more transistors into a smaller space.

Lasers are extremely power effective and power is rather cheap. Especially if you have something like a reactor on a ship.

I actually wrote a paper on the ethics and impact of precision weapons on modern warfare. I can see this as the future. Not so much because it's deadlier, but because there's far less collateral damage. You can point it at a combatant's vehicle and disable the engine instead of blowing up the whole thing or spraying the place with bullets. If accuracy picks up, law enforcement snipers can shoot weapons out of the hands of terrorist holding a hostage... or just burn off someone's finger instead of killing them. For defense, they are already being tested for shooting missiles out of the sky but are fairly ineffective.

Personally, I believe that in war, enemy leaders should be killed first, before the grunt combatants, and precision weapons like lasers go a long way in cutting down the costs of war for all sides. One of my dreams is to someday work for Lockheed Martin or Raytheon.

Offline Remiel

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2015, 09:47:42 PM »
We already have microwave weapons in use by the U.S. Military.   And I think I've read somewhere that military scientists are looking into using Infrasound as a weapon.

Which just goes to show, once again, that Command & Conquer: Generals was ahead of its time.

Offline Xanatos

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 02:09:12 AM »
Actually, Lasers are insanely effective at destroying missiles, mortars, and even tanks. The Airforce has a laser mounted to one of their large aircraft, forget which. Years ago it got tested on a tank and fragged it. Since the US military always goes for air superiority first, there isn't a lot of threat to such a gnarly weapon system flying high in the sky and sniping enemy tanks, emplacements, bunkers, etc.

It wont be long before a tank, with a built in generator, is feasible. The Laser system the Army is using, is actually not that big. Nor is the Navy's. It could easily be integrated into a Tank-platform. Supplying it with energy is likely the biggest drawback to a Laser-tank, at the moment.



This one shows the army version.

Online AngiejuusanTopic starter

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 03:05:35 AM »

I actually wrote a paper on the ethics and impact of precision weapons on modern warfare. I can see this as the future. Not so much because it's deadlier, but because there's far less collateral damage. You can point it at a combatant's vehicle and disable the engine instead of blowing up the whole thing or spraying the place with bullets. If accuracy picks up, law enforcement snipers can shoot weapons out of the hands of terrorist holding a hostage... or just burn off someone's finger instead of killing them. For defense, they are already being tested for shooting missiles out of the sky but are fairly ineffective.


All I'm hearing is "Disabling Shot" from X-COM Enemy Unknown. Which is AWESOME.

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 07:20:02 AM »
The  next step would be units of robot soldiers wielding laser guns - a rather scary idea, if you ask me (what happens if control of those guys gets out of hand?), but drones already exist...

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2015, 07:39:13 AM »
The  next step would be units of robot soldiers wielding laser guns - a rather scary idea, if you ask me (what happens if control of those guys gets out of hand?), but drones already exist...

EMP.

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2015, 09:03:33 AM »
*trying to make an Xcom joke but cant think of one* :-\

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2015, 11:21:15 AM »
EMP.

I was thinking of the movie Westworld, too, with robotic cowboys and medieval knights allocated to a kind of immersive amusement park, and then one day they go berserk and begin killing the tourist guests for real - actually there was talk of a modern remake of that one for a long time, it would have been a very interesting project to see in the internet age.

Offline Remiel

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2015, 03:06:35 AM »
*trying to make an Xcom joke but cant think of one* :-\

Clearly, we need to construct additional pylons!

Offline Mymar

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2015, 12:46:12 AM »
As others have said, at this stage it's still highly impractical, they need to find a new way of doing things before it becomes reality on every street corner. I also remember hearing once of a test fire from a 747, though I could be confusing that with the NASA telescope that's parked inside a 747.

Offline Shale

Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2015, 07:03:40 PM »
As others have said, at this stage it's still highly impractical, they need to find a new way of doing things before it becomes reality on every street corner. I also remember hearing once of a test fire from a 747, though I could be confusing that with the NASA telescope that's parked inside a 747.

I think that was a proposal to shoot down long range missiles, by shooting a laser out of a plane.

Cool, so it's sad that it's impractical. So far only for rich evil geniuses hoping to take down pretty boy spies.

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Re: Holy fucking shit, laser weapons.
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2015, 02:45:12 AM »
When my father was in the Air Force and we were stationed at Edwards AFB, they used a 747 as a test bed for a laser system designed to shoot down incoming missiles.  As I remember, it was successful, but the rate of fire was rather slow--nothing like the rate at which these new systems knock down targets.  We've had lasers as tracking systems for quite a while now, and I'm sure a lower-wattage laser is used just for that alongside the high-wattage one...but with the capacity for higher energy comes the ability to knock down a target with greater speed.  I wonder just how many targets can be destroyed if they make these even more powerful.  If they get to the point where they can have a kill a second, the only limiter will be how fast the system can acquire targets.