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Lockheed develops huge laser gun weapon


Posted on Wednesday, 5 February, 2014 | Comment icon 38 comments

The weapon is set to be deployed on warships. Image Credit: Bradley J. Sapp / US Navy
The defense contractor has built and demonstrated a working 30-kilowatt laser weapon for military use.
Having been a staple of science fiction for years, the laser gun may soon be heading to real world battlefields thanks to Lockheed Martin's latest invention - a huge 30-kilowatt "weapons grade" laser capable of shooting down drones or enemy artillery.

The device works by combining several individual lasers of different wavelengths that combine in to a single coherent beam. Lockheed has claimed that the weapon is not only the highest power laser beam of its type ever documented but is also very efficient - using half the power of a solid-state laser.

While there is still quite a way to go before the platform will be ready for deployment on actual military vessels, Lockheed's successful test of the laser has proven that it is a viable concept.

"This 30-kilowatt milestone shows our commitment to producing the high-beam quality and high power needed to address a variety of military 'speed-of-light' defensive operations," said the company's senior vice president Ray O. Johnson.

Source: io9.com | Comments (38)

Tags: Laser


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by badeskov on 7 February, 2014, 0:39
One of the problems with laser, probably no it would not. The battle becomes between the finish of the mirror and how much energy the laser is able to deliver. Say you need x amount of Joule to negate a missile, if your mirror reflectivity is 50%, then your laser needs to double the energy output to enable a kill. If your mirror reflectivity it 90%, well, your required laser energy output goes up proportionally. And so the battle between cost, technology and probabilities ensues. Cheers, Badeskov
Comment icon #30 Posted by regeneratia on 7 February, 2014, 19:04
Why?
Comment icon #31 Posted by lightly on 8 February, 2014, 1:17
power
Comment icon #32 Posted by aquatus1 on 8 February, 2014, 5:27
Depends on the target. Porous materials like brick, ceramic, and concrete tend to crack explosively, fuels and explosives explode, although with less intensity, curiously enough, than normal (something about the laser evaporating the gas faster than the cascading ignition, or some such)and metals geth ot occasionally even drooping. Not necessarily. Most materials reach a state of equilibrium where the heat output matched the input and it doesn't affect it anymore. Also, some things burn entirely and the ash is no longer reactive. Remember that ideally, one is trying to limit the amount... [More]
Comment icon #33 Posted by aquatus1 on 8 February, 2014, 5:33
On a more practical level, even if a missile managed to get beyond the launch phase with its mirror shine intact, by the time it reaches cruising speed, its already going to have smashed into bugs, moisture, dust, and all those other things that have to be washed off of planes. A mirror finish may just end up being a few extra milliseconds of protection. Accuracy. No laser is going to be more powerful than a missile.
Comment icon #34 Posted by F3SS on 8 February, 2014, 13:33
Accuracy and speed. No other weapon could reach a target so fast. It might not be practical in many cases but if it were possible wouldn't you want to reduce a target to the least amount of destructive debris if it were above a populated area? I'd rather have that ideally sustainable laser stop something dead in its tracks stopping its trajectory, even it's a melted pile of liquid metal, and fall straight down than simply explode it sending large chunks of heavy metal flying in every direction to crash down in the city below like we do now. If we ever achieve satellite laser weap... [More]
Comment icon #35 Posted by Frank Merton on 8 February, 2014, 13:40
Lets stop the missile first and then worry about debris.
Comment icon #36 Posted by aquatus1 on 8 February, 2014, 13:50
Ehh...depends... Large chunks of heavy metal are going to cause less damage than a pool of molten metal. The solid metal will break things, but the molten metal will not only break things, it will set them on fire. A better option is to use the laser with a precise short burn, taking out the thrust system, and just having the missile land where it does, typically digging itself into the ground (or street). Modern missile systems have fail-safes that deactivate them when something major goes wrong (such as the rocket motor blowing up), so there wouldn't be much danger of the missile deton... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 23 April, 2014, 13:42
That be bad. When commercialised ppl be murdering everyone


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