Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military United States

US Military Stepping Up Use of Directed Energy Weapons 83

An anonymous reader writes: At a conference on Tuesday, U.S. officials explained that all branches of the military would be increasing their use of lasers and other directed energy weapons. Lieutenant General William Etter said, "Directed energy brings the dawn of an entirely new era in defense." The Navy's laser deployment test has gone well, and they're working on a new prototype laser in the 100-150 kilowatt range. "[Navy Secretary Ray] Mabus said Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners, and the U.S. military needed to accelerate often cumbersome acquisition processes to ensure that it stayed ahead of potential foes."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Military Stepping Up Use of Directed Energy Weapons

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    got that phase conjugate tracking mirror done.

  • by abies ( 607076 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @07:38AM (#50203409)

    Directed energy weapons are not that interesting. I'm more scared of undirected energy weapon and very curious about ballistic energy weapons.

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      Directed energy weapons are not that interesting. I'm more scared of undirected energy weapon and very curious about ballistic energy weapons.

      Would they be interesting if they were pointed at you?

    • Undirected energy weapons? You mean like Radars? Sure, you can say they are aimed... and they're only hazardous if you're standing right in front of them.... Stupid r^3...
      • by Ihlosi ( 895663 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @08:18AM (#50203663)
        Undirected energy weapons? You mean like Radars?

        No, more like nuclear bombs. Even if you're outside the zone of blast effects, you'll still receive plenty of undirected thermal radiation.

        • by qwijibo ( 101731 )
          Energy weapons and their relationship to individuals can be similar to bullets. If there's one with your name on it, there's nothing you can do about it. It's all the ones addressed "To Whom It May Concern" that you want to avoid.
          • Energy weapons and their relationship to individuals can be similar to bullets. If there's one with your name on it, there's nothing you can do about it. It's all the ones addressed "To Whom It May Concern" that you want to avoid.

            You're talking about splash damage, not a bullet... ;)

      • I think it was pretty obvious that OP was talking about nuclear bombs.

    • Aside from some WMDs, most weapons are directed energy. A bullet fired from a gun is energy directed at the target. Ditto for missiles, knives, and high-yield nuclear bombs. Exceptions are chemical and biological weapons and dirty nuclear weapons such as the neutron bomb.
      • The services seem to use "energy" and "non-kinetic" somewhat interchangeably. So really they mean non-kinetic weapons. A bullet obviously delivers its effect in a kinetic manner, whereas a laser or microwave beam deliver energy to effect.
  • Laser propaganda (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The summary probably should have linked to this article:

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/15/05/18/1553206/navys-new-laser-weapon-hype-or-reality [slashdot.org]

  • I've been wondering for the past few years when the new wave of laser-caused blindness will strike the world. There are already plenty of lasers that won't burn a hole through you, but they will irreparably damage your eyes in a few milliseconds. Still, the rash of blindings hasn't happened. I'm not talking about airline pilots being temporarily flashed by some asshole on the ground, I'm talking about people being permanently blinded by lasers, either in war or criminal activity.
    • by abies ( 607076 )

      I think it was considered a valid defense against snipers. Mount laser with some kind of rotating prism/mirror and any sniper looking at you with scope is going to get badly hurt. But:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • by halivar ( 535827 )

      Because blinding lasers are designed to maim and not kill, they are considered to fall under the Geneva Protocol. For the most part, these energy weapons are not for anti-personnel usage, but rather anti-vehicular or anti-missile usage.

    • by N1AK ( 864906 )
      Why expect it to happen at all? What use would a laser capable of nothing more than blinding provide a criminal which they don't already have a better/cheaper/more reliable alternative. Armies could, but generally don't, already deploy far more effective weapons to reliably disable enemies (chemical weapons), what gap would a non-lethal laser fill even ignoring the fact that blinding laser weapons were specifically banned under the convention certain on conventional weapons back in the 1980s.
    • ... their opponents would simply wear sunglasses. Or some sort of eye covering that would block the light sufficiently. As a non lethal anti personel weapon it would probably work poorly once on the battlefield, then never again. Now in civilian control situations, thats another matter...

  • US military stepping up use of X because, like, why wouldn't we.

  • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @07:52AM (#50203495)

    Star wars movie!

  • Pew Pew Pew (Score:5, Funny)

    by Saint Gerbil ( 1155665 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @07:56AM (#50203519)

    Now they just need to add the sound.

  • by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @08:12AM (#50203615)

    "[Navy Secretary Ray] Mabus said Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners"

    Laser targeting != Laser weaponry. I'm surprised that SecNAV doesn't understand the difference although low energy lasers can be fun. [ted.com]

    TFA:

    "Directed energy brings the dawn of an entirely new era in defense," Lieutenant General William Etter, Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, told a conference hosted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment.

    which reminded me of:

    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    - Dwight Eisenhower

  • "the U.S. military needed to accelerate often cumbersome acquisition processes"

    Ahem. Sounds like someone is getting tired of having to pay off so many officials to get those billion dollar military contracts.

  • ... what do you people think accelerated these programs and why do you think the Navy is the first to deploy them?

    Russia and China started saying "ha ha, your carrier groups are powerless before our anti ship missiles... Tee hee!"

    And that got some Admirals worried so they went over to the various companies that build these things like Stark Labs and Luthor's Starlabs etc... and they said "I want something that kills hypersonic missiles so my carriers don't get scragged!"... and here you go.

    Hypersonic missil

  • "...Iran and other countries were already using lasers to target ships and commercial airliners..."

    This sounds an awful lot like the scaremongering that was put out surrounding Iraq and its WMDs. We all know how that turned out.

    Laser targeting and guidance systems have been about for decades. These days a simple laser pointer can be considered a laser targeting system. It is a massive technological leap to go from milliwatt laser pointers to 150kW directed energy weapons: a technical leap that Iran, and co

  • >> U.S. military needed to accelerate often cumbersome acquisition processes to ensure that it stayed ahead of potential foes

    Yes, yes! Open your wallets and support the complex! We cannot afford a LASER GAP to materialize so we must create that gap ourselves!

  • "...the military would be increasing their use of lasers..." It sounds like my childhood cartoons are becoming a reality!
  • Why do we announce things of this nature? Wouldn't it be more in our interest to just keep this sorta thing like in an "Area 51" type logic. Sure we have the capability, sure we may or may not use it. I don't think we should just say, we are going to do more of it, so you other countries that may be our enemy now or in the future, get your shit together and raise your defense against energy weaponry.

  • Any of you planning on patenting that shark-mounted laser had better back off!

    Prior art, bitches!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday July 29, 2015 @10:10AM (#50204627) Journal

    Rate me -1 troll, but I think it's hilarious that "the science fiction future" for which everyone is optimistically hoping is being brought to us by something so prosaic and "dirty" and anti-utopian as murdering people. (Well, I guess it has been through much of the last 100+ years, as in the internet and aircraft.)

    Kind of like the 'brave new world' of the internet and tech being driven by the porn industry.

    • Rate me -1 troll, but I think it's hilarious that "the science fiction future" for which everyone is optimistically hoping is being brought to us by something so prosaic and "dirty" and anti-utopian as murdering people.

      Clearly, we need a major war which absolutely requires that every soldier be equipped with a personal jetpack.

8 Catfish = 1 Octo-puss

Working...