Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Military Government United States

The US Army Finally Gets The World's Largest Laser Weapon System (bizjournals.com) 130

It's been successfully tested on trucks, as well as UAVs and small rockets, according to a video from Lockheed Martin, which is now shipping the first 60kW-class "beam combined" fiber laser for use by the U.S. Army. An anonymous reader quotes the Puget Sound Business Journal: Lockheed successfully developed and tested the 58 kW laser beam earlier this year, setting a world record for this type of laser. The company is now preparing to ship the laser system to the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command in Huntsville, Alabama [according to Robert Afzal, senior fellow for Lockheed's Laser and Sensor Systems in Bothell]. "We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air..." Laser weapons, which complement traditional kinetic weapons in the battlefield, will one day protect against threats such as "swarms of drones" or a flurry of rockets and mortars, Lockheed said.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The US Army Finally Gets The World's Largest Laser Weapon System

Comments Filter:
  • Nukes (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:41AM (#54068895)

    I hope a system like this will one day make nukes obsolete so that we can start having big wars again....

    • by dimko ( 1166489 )
      As weird as it sounds, I tend to agree with that and I am native Russian speaker.
      • by sycodon ( 149926 )

        In one sense, you are both right. For all the hysteria, nuclear deterrence has been instrumental in preventing major wars which were in fact quite likely given the giant political conflicts of the cold war.

        On the other hand, when laser weapons get to the point where they can take out nukes on all their various delivery platforms, they will undoubtedly be more than capable of taking out artillery rounds, tank rounds, small buildings, revetments, groups of infantry, etc.

        Kind of damned if you do and damned if

        • I've long held that the participants in the Manhattan project deserve the Nobel peace prize. If one is alive it's still possible to pull off.

          I'd hand out a second Nobel for the H bomb.

          Perhaps a third for the Neutron bomb, just to stick a thumb in the peaceniks eye.

        • They haven't prevented a lot of acts of aggression, small wars, etc. The threat of nuclear war keeps other countries from interfering, such as sitting back and chewing on fingernails while Russia invades Georgia and Ukraine.

          • They haven't prevented a lot of acts of aggression, small wars, etc. The threat of nuclear war keeps other countries from interfering, such as sitting back and chewing on fingernails while Russia invades Georgia and Ukraine.

            That is largely regarded as the point. Intervention in those smaller conflicts by other major powers could lead to World War III, which would dwarf World War II even if nukes were not used.

            Conventional weapons have progressed rapidly, as has manufacturing. I'm afraid to know how a conventional modern World War would play out.

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            That is really awful. Georgia, the Russian were there as UN approved peace keepers when Georgia attacked under US provocation by US lobbyists with McCain as the key go between to use it in the US election at that time. The Crimea was a part of Russia and given to the Ukraine by the so called evil Soviet Union, if the Soviet Union did it by US definition it is evil, than that act was also evil, so the Crimeans choose to return. How many countries has the US actually invaded, pushed through coups, launched te

    • hopefully the US Military will have the best of the best, made in the US by legal US citizens.
    • If we gain the ability to disable missiles carrying nuclear warheads, then nuclear warheads will just be delivered in shipping containers.

      -jcr

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      They won't make nukes obsolete. And the reason we don't have really big wars is that no big country sees much to gain after the last big one. Russian was decimated and then lost the cold war. China was a basket case until Mao went round the bend. Japan was defanged. The U.S. never really cared much for imperial conquest after country solidified following the Civil War (and no it wasn't the fucking War Between the States).

      The next nasty war will either (1) start with Pakistan losing control of the nukes and

    • Only on sunny days...
    • I hope this world's largest laser the army is getting will involve a monster truck with a giant penis-shaped laser on top, driven by Beef Supreme. Then we can Monday Night rehabilitate Russia! Murica, Fuck Yeah!
      • Here's [youtube.com] what I was thinking of... the biggest, hugest correctional vehicle ever built in history... bigger than the Dildozer, bigger than the Ass Blaster... bigger than Donald Trump's hands... bigger and huger than everything ever before in history... it's the US Army's Laser Anal Intruder.
    • Nuclear war is fought like a duel in a Western movie - who takes out the gun first wins.

      Your luck was that both sides were led by pathologic cowards during the cold war.

    • And if someone invents field-generator shields we can even start having swordfights again!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:46AM (#54068911)

    "We have shown that a powerful directed energy laser is now sufficiently light-weight, low volume and reliable enough to be deployed on tactical vehicles for defensive applications on land, at sea and in the air..."

    No mention of sharks.

    • Uh...Army? If it was the Navy, that might make sense.

      I'd imagine the Army would mount it on a Horse or a Mule.

      • Uh...Army? If it was the Navy, [sharks] might make sense.

        I'd imagine the Army would mount it on a Horse or a Mule.

        You either need a sarcasm tag, or you need to catch up on your 20-year old memes.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Sunday March 19, 2017 @10:49AM (#54068919) Homepage

    How much energy goes into the laser to get the 58kW out? 58kW is just over 78 horsepower, so it's not a huge amount of energy coming out and, at 100% efficiency, it could be driven by a fairly small power source.

    Are we talking efficiency on the order of 10%, 1%, 0.1% less?

    The question comes down to, can the beam be powered by a couple of car batteries or do we need a nuclear power plant?

    • Well, the obvious answer to this question is to ask how much horsepower a shark can develop.

      At least for one of these bad boys [newatlas.com] the answer is about 300, so there might some headroom for a laser or two.

      I can't wait.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Solid state lasers with some sort of flashlamp pumps tend to be 1 percent efficient. You can get that up to 10% efficient with smartly designed fiber lasers using led pumps, but it adds a zero or two to the price (in this case 600 kW of led pumps would be millions of dollars while 6MW of arclamps would be more like tens of thousands).

    • It's 43% efficient. so 159kw (200hp) should be sufficient.
    • If the laser does its damage in a fraction of a second, 58kW is within the capability of about 30-50 car batteries. If it needs up to 5 seconds, about 100 (200, if you don't want to destroy the batteries after one or two uses. 10-20 seconds is within the capabilities of a small generator with lots of big supercapacitors in parallel (but you might need 30-90+ seconds between shots). Assuming 58kW is the INPUT power, and not the OUTPUT power.

      For comparison, a good car stereo draws 500-1000 watts (RMS), which

  • by Anonymous Coward

    But can it make popcorn?

  • ...this upcoming war will be the Pew Pew War.
  • Laser weapons, which complement traditional kinetic weapons in the battlefield, will one day protect against threats such as "swarms of drones" or a flurry of rockets and mortars, Lockheed said.

    1. Given the boondoggle that is te F35, why believe anything they say?

    2. "Batteries not included."

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      The issues with the F-35 were caused by the Pentagon. They decided to cram it full of everything they could think of. The Marines just had to have a plane that went up and down instead of being satisfied with one that goes forward. And if they really need a ground attack plane, they should take control of the Air Force's A-10 and restart the production lines for it.

      • by LRAD ( 1822746 )

        You think the A-10 is viable against modern handheld SAMS? They even have them in Syria.

  • This looks like a lot of highly trained sharks will have to go into retirement now. =)
  • Chris Knight: Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?
  • Laser weapons, which complement traditional kinetic weapons in the battlefield, will one day protect against threats such as "swarms of drones" or a flurry of rockets and mortars...

    That is if their path can be correctly predicted. Some of these missiles/projectiles, especially from Russia, have random flight paths & no one is immune to them I am afraid.

    • Shut up, Russia. :P

      Anything with mass can't magically change direction at infinite acceleration. A laser moves at the speed of light (O RLY?), and likewise, so does vision, so the only thing that has to keep up with the gigantic, multi-thousand pound rocket trying to change direction rapidly is the processing stage. We've had cameras that can auto-follow a target for decades. What's the difference between that and firing a big-ass laser at the focus point?

      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        "The new Canon 9D continuous auto-focus, capable to track up to 40 moving targets traveling at a speed of mach 20" ;D

  • You name it, we'll kill it.
  • I'm wondering if this actually can be done with parts that are not particularly advanced technologically.

    For example let's for the sake of argument assume that they are simply combining hundreds of semiconductor lasers.

    I would think that somebody without the budget and resources of the US military could also do this.

    Don't know, I'm just wondering exactly how high the barrier to entry is.

    • I think it is pretty difficult. Some of the previous laser projects talked about firing a laser to make a path for the high powered laser to travel through the air path in. Without preparing the path the laser gets absorbed too much. You also have to measure how the laser is going to bend through different air densities and stuff, so I think the pre-laser helps there also.
  • Of popcorn with that sucker.

    Props if you know where that idea came from.

  • .. will overwhelm the power output of a single truck-mounted laser, even under ideal conditions.

    For example, a 300 gram tungsten projectile will require a full second at 58 KW to be melted, assuming no reflection. An alumina projectile of 42 grams will require the same full second at that power.

  • How about firing this at the sleazeshitbags who cause people to be homeless, and those who harass and torment the homeless?
  • Or Hungry Mutant Sea Bass, Hmm I guess that would have be the 'Navy' .... So Angry Mutant Moose would be what the Army would mount them on ..

    BTW I want 1 Million Dollars ..................

  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Monday March 20, 2017 @09:31AM (#54072713)
    This gets us about 95% of the way through the plot of Real Genius [wikipedia.org]. All that remains is for Val Kilmer to distract everyone by hitting on Melania while someone else hacks the laser to fill Trump Tower with popcorn.
  • I've used bigger lasers than this for component welding of cases for RF subassy for satellites.
    58KW?
    Anything faster than sound will cool faster than this idiotic "weapon" will heat!!

If I have not seen so far it is because I stood in giant's footsteps.

Working...