Laser weapons by 2023

Discussion in 'Architecture & Engineering' started by Plazma Inferno!, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Speaking before the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, U.S. Army representative Mary J. Miller said the Army is committed to developing offensive and defensive directed-energy weapons, including high-energy lasers. While some directed-energy systems are already online, like the Navy’s XN1-LaWS program, the military has largely held off on deploying laser weapons. She said that American armed forces will be equipped with high-energy laser weapons by the year 2023.

    http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear...ers-to-shoot-laser-weapons-by-2023-160302.htm
     
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  3. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    Impressive - against rather slow moving flammable drones. Sure improvements will likely be rapid, but what the promo CGI-intensive blurbs always fail to mention is that this is a never-ending game of measures vs counter-measures. Generally the latter are cheaper and easier. Example - ground-hugging radar-to-avoid-enemy-radar use by F111 fighter-bombers in Vietnam, was defeated by simply sending up 'chaff' - aluminium foil strips, to confuse the F111 radar. An 'asymmetric tactical strategy' to borrow from US military jargon.

    So where is this all heading? Well always for unending 'defense' contractor profits. But hey, let's combine lasers and AI/robots, and, well, it sort of rings a bell:
     
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  5. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    We all know that lasers require a tremendous amount of energy to get them to work well against anything. Even with the tremendous amounts of energy they still have to lock on to the target and be able to heat it up enough to destroy it which takes time. It is difficult for lasers to do all of that efficiently today but in the future they might be able to work out those problems. Don't forget the earth is round and if a missile/aircraft is below the horizon they can't be detected until they are almost on top of you so finding them and hitting them becomes a big problem as well. What happens if a good guy plane gets in the lasers way, it could also be destroyed because the laser can't be seen by the pilot so they can't react to it.
     
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  7. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Apparently, laser weapons are ready for use today, according to the Lockheed Martin executives.
    Paul Shattuck, company director for Directed Energy Systems said that the technologies now exist. They can be packaged into a size, weight, power and thermal which can be fit onto relevant tactical platforms, whether it’s a ship, whether it’s a ground vehicle or whether it’s an airborne platform. It's just a question of the desire and when is that going to occur.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story/de...ons-directed-energy-lockheed-pewpew/81826876/
     
  8. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    It would be nice to think such advances really enhance overall peace and security. More likely, it will just add one more pathway for ever more destructive arms race fever. To emphasize an earlier remark:
    http://www.laserfocusworld.com/arti...s/optical-systems-can-help-stop-missiles.html
    So while rival military will generally keep abreast with each other, what about the inevitable trickle-down to repressive intelligence agency dirty-tricks assassination use of such things - against civilians with no such countermeasure capabilities? Add to that criminal organizations or just lone nutters out for a spree. It's called unintended consequences by some.
    Yes years away from possible general use, but years pass quickly.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
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  9. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    The US Navy has already deployed laser weapons on US naval vessels.
     
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  10. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    German weaponsmith "Rheinmetall" also has a working protoype:

    http://www.rheinmetall.com/de/rheinmetall_ag/press/themen_im_fokus/zukunftswaffe_hel/index.php

    Briefly, the laser in the 30kw version was shown to be able to destroy 5 incoming 82mm grenades in four seconds.

    The weaker laser variants were shown to be effeective in very presice strikes against ground targets like destroying a heavy truck-mounted machine gun, without killing the gun operator.

    So this seems to be a precision weapon more than a very devastating thing, but still, laser weapons are very close to practical use.

    Nope. Highly reflective surfaces will stay the bane of lasers. Good heat resistant white pigments can scatter more than 90% of the incomung laster light, reflective surfaces can reflect 95% or more.

    White pigments are cheap and reduce laser power by 90%. And there is little the laser of the future can do about it.
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    "Lasers and particle beams can not be deflected or intercepted with point defense hard-kill countermeasures."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
     
  12. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Laser weapons, because of atmospheric bloom* have no greater range than a high powered solid projectile and only cost 50 or so times more.

    * The beam passing thru air heats and expands the air in the center of the beam most. This makes the air into a long linear negative lens lowering the peak intensity the further it must travel to the target. - That is the unavoidable "atmospheric bloom."

    SUMMARY: Just because a weapon is "high tech" does not make it an improvement on what we already have. - Just much more expensive.
     
  13. BrianHarwarespecialist We shall Ionize!i Registered Senior Member

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    This is no surprise to me just business as usaul.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  14. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    Pure impact damage has come in favor again. The navy is testing railguns which fire massive projectiles at very high speeds.

    Impressive photo - the muzzle velocity of the projectile is so high, that the air behind it begins to burn from friction heat. Nitrogene and oxygene can burn up if there is engough energy to crack the N2 molecules. That fire behind the projectile is no explosive propellant leftover, it's burning air:

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    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun#/media/File:Railgun_usnavy_2008.jpg

    This projectile delivers more than 10MJ kinetic energy at impact. This is far more damaging than any contemporary (mobile) laser.
     
  15. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I can see the Army now carrying around a two ton portable generator to make the laser work.
     
  16. Q-reeus Valued Senior Member

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    BS. If it were true, such massive energy loss would restrict it's lethal range to maybe a few hundred metres tops. Hypersonic heating (particularly above ~ Mach 4) just doesn't work that way. Always, maximum temperatures are at the leading edge/nose cone areas, and primarily a result of adiabatic compression not friction. You see any signs of glow around projectile nose area? Consider the possibility all that fire is aftermath of target strike. Consult the literature to find out how it all really works; e.g.: http://www.intechopen.com/download/pdf/13418
    That much is true. However there are other issues that cast doubt over viability of rail guns in practice:
    http://www.sciforums.com/threads/electromagnets.152881/page-2#post-3337387
    see also my #23 there. Conventional munitions, like the wheel, are a hard act to top.
     
  17. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Well, that's nothing new. The Navy has been testing and developing rail guns for a very long time.

    What's important to the Navy is effectiveness and efficiency. Dramatic explosions are nice, but the Navy would much rather have an effective lower cost weapon. Laser weapons destroy targets by burning holes in the shielding and destroying the weapon. The advantages are twofold, speed and efficiency. Laser weapons destroy targets at the speed of light. They can attack and destroy many targets nearly instantaneously and you never run out of ammunition. You don't need to carry around a mountain of lead and rocket propellant with laser weapons. An effective laser weapon would be a lot cheaper than missile systems or guns. Missile systems can cost upwards of a million dollars a weapon.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    I was thinking more of a "smart" artillery shell (some terminal homing guidance) and a 20 mile range.

    I did not mention it but "atmospheric bloom" is very dynamic and makes keeping a laser beam on same spot on target at more than 10 miles away essentially impossile.

    Does anyone have hard data on max range of a confirmed kill of an aluminum skin target?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  19. ajanta Registered Senior Member

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    "ATMOSPHERIC BLOOM" It is about all kind of laser beam. I mean what about atmospheric bloom of infrared laser beam than visible laser beam ? Can infrared lasers have greater range than a high powered solid projectile ?
     
  20. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    There are fine dust particles in the air. They can absorb EM energy at all wave lengths but in the visible N2 and O2 have no absorption bands. (This is due to them being symetric molecules, but I don't go into details.) Once you move into modestly far UV or almost any where in the IR, there are many absoptions bands. Water vapor and CO2 are the most important. If the laser output wave length is in one of these band, its energy will fall, my guess, at least 1% per meter of travel.

    I would not be willing to test it, but think I would suffer no harm from a very high-powered LASER operating in the center of a major CO2 band when it was aimed directly at me, and I was more than a Km way. Not only would there be fantastic bloom (negative lens) spreading and weakening the beam, but also CO2 molecules in any part of the spreading beam would be absorpting photons and rapidly reradiating them in all possible directions, up, down side ways and every direction in between.

    I'll add a few words about why the atmospheric bloom is very dynamic especially if trying to hit a target that is moving any any direction other than along the beam. As the beam swings side ways (or up/ down) unheated air is entering one side of the beam only. Thus, the beam has much lower index of refraction on the side ceasing to be heated, which very briefly earlier was the air in the center of the beam.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
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  21. Edont Knoff Registered Senior Member

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    The shot was taken near the muzzle, the projectile had no time yet to heat up.
    And the original article mentioned plasma behind the projecile, that is ionized air, so it's likely that nitrogene and oxygene react there.

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railgun

    Translation: Due to the high pressure difference, a plasma cloud is created behind the projectile.
     
  22. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Below are videos of US Navy's laser weapons.





    At a dollar per shot, that's very good considering the alternatives.
     
  23. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    Yes if you are a ill educated economist and ignore the capital cost.

    Also, they rarely if ever tell what is the maximum kill range on an aluminum skinned (high refectivity) target
     

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