Skip to comments.U.S. Navy Successfully Tests Laser Gun
Posted on 07/21/2010 6:39:35 AM PDT by combat_boots
The U.S. Navy has successfully tested a new weapon that uses high powered laser beams that are capable of destroying high speed planes and ships. The successful test was demonstrated today at an aerospace convention in the United Kingdom where a video showing the weapon destroying a test drone was screened.
The laser gun which was designed by Raytheon Missile Systems utilizes a 32 mega watt beam of directed energy that is capable of engaging targets traveling at speeds of over 300 miles per hour from a distance of several miles. The weapon can be mounted on the turrets used by many of the ships currently maintained in the arsenals of the American Navy and Coast Guard and it has been designed with the capacity to be integrated into their standard defense systems.
While laser based weapons have been developed in the past, Raytheons design is the first such weapon to be successfully tested at sea.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsbythesecond.com ...
Still unresolved is how to mount the sucker on the frickin’ head of a shark.
Let’s start small...ill-tempered sea bass.
Gives a new meaning to the term “light it up”.
Not a good sport fishing method. The fish would be overcooked by the time it reached the boat. Not to mention the gold plated thick welding-type goggles everyone would have to wear just in case. They could save the eyes while the head explodes.
Obama’s in charge, remember that.
We’ll share the technology with our muslim “brothers” in order to help them feel good about themselves.
Then we’ll slash the program out of the budget to pay for more give aways to the lazy.
Should come in handy for the kenyan administration when the revolution begins.
LOL, actually, it was an Austin Powers reference. Dr. Evil wanted sharks with lasers on their heads, but the sharks were on the endangered species list and thus hard to obtain, so they settled for “ill-tempered” sea bass.
don’t fret...Raytheon Missile Systems is in Arizona...the Kenyan illegal alien will boycot them...
"Back in the 60's, I developed a weather changing machine which was in essence a sophisticated heat beam which we called a 'laser'...."
This is a good start. The next step will be to increase the ability to engage higher speed targets - up to 2500 miles per hour - and lower speed jinking targets.
The drone manages to keep on its flight path for a while after being targeted.
Dang. If that thing is ever to be deployed it will have to be small. How do you make anything requiring 32 meg watts small?
Very expensive too.
Given the way 'classified' defense projects get PR, likelihood is good this one is yesterday's news and that a new and improved model is already zapping more complex targets.
Does it appear the drone is painted black?
That would certainly increase the likelihood of success.
What’s the muzzle velocity?
186,000 miles per second, give or take a few.
I was looking for an fps value to compare to a cross bow.
You can run, but you'll die before you get tired. It's not really fair as the lead calculations will be nearly trivial.
186,000 miles per second.
The story is just coming out in the last couple of days. The ability to shoot down drones at least is worth noting.
It’s a black-and-white video. The drone is a dark color delta-wing type. It looks like you can see the laser light it up, but that could be flames, too. Then it starts a smoke trail, then a big flame trail. Finally it tumbles and goes down to the sea trailing smoke and flames.
For reference, depending on the wavelength a laser can cause instant permanent damage to your eyes at well under half a watt. Lasers around one watt can burn wood and cut plastic, a few hundred watts starts to cut soft or thin metals, and tens of kilowatts cuts just about anything quickly.
35 megawatts, a thousand times as powerful as needed to cut thick, hardened steel sheet. Range would be a problem though, inverse-square.
Capable of destroying ships?
I worked for a while on the Army’s/Isreali’s air-defense (anti-rocket/anti-cannon shell) chemical laser designs. Without going into classified stuff, the “color” or “reflectivity” of the target doesn’t matter much.
Damage is done to the target by the impact of the “blast” forces and damage from the impact of the energy and heat and force (not really the light) on the side of the missile that tears up the rocket - that’s why lasers are more effective against thin-skinned aircraft and rocket bodies than smaller (harder and heavier) mortar and cannon shells. Wouldn’t work against solid (non-explosive) rifle bullets or machine gun bullets - assuming you could actually find, track, shoot, and keep hitting a solid piece of metal that small anyway.
The laser light itself travels at the speed of light. (obviously.) The problem with “speed” of the target is tracking the target, aiming the laser onto the target in time, and staying on the target long enough to keep blasting it with the energy energy. Think of a 30 inch diameter searchlight you have to aim and keep aiming back on a small target from two to five miles away. (Assume you need 1/2 second to destroy a missile: A 300 knot target is easier to track than a 1500 knot supersonic target with lots of air shock waves to get that needed 1/2 second “on target” you need. So a lower speed target is easier to destroy. But a physical hit (from a cannon shell or AA shell falls due togravity and its own air resistance = its easier to “aim” a laser-straight beam on to the target than a ballistically changing physical shell.
Once fired, a physical shell can’t be aimed, can’t be re-aimed back on target, can’t be shot again, and must be reloaded into the cannon. (Very slow, requires men to reload and re-aim (or an expensive/heavy/hard-to-maintain gun platform.) A physical missile that you can aim (or is self-guided) is very, very expensive, and you can’t carry too many of them. Both AA guns or AA rockets or self-guided missiles require the same detection, aiming, guidance, and control network that a laser does. But the laser can be re-fired almost indefinitely as long as you have fuel.
A target coming at you is slightly easier to aim against, but then your outbound laser is heating the air between you and the inbound target, and so that heated air distorts the energy in the beam. A crossing target is exposed in the “clean” air as you fire the laser, so there is less distortion to the laser, but a target moving “sideways” to your position isn’t going to hit you anyway - so a moving target is less of a threat than a “zero relative motion” target.
A ship-mounted laser (and an airplane-mounted laser) is mounted on a moving platform, so its laser is always in clean air - an advantage. A ship or ground mounted laser can get connected to the biggest tanks of chemical fuel, so both tend to be larger than an air-plane mounted laser. An air-mounted laser is free to move, so it can’t be “dumb mortared” itself from behind the expected front or the sides or from sabotage.
Early in Vietnam, more than two dozen US planes were “dumb mortared” at Da Nang on the runway - a 20.00 dollar shell took out a many tens of millions dollar plane: so fixed defenses are vulnerable themselves.
Lack of re-supply ammo is a troubling problem to ships since UNREP is slow and makes the ship vulnerable to subs and cruise missiles - laser weapons can be shot many more times than cannons since fuel can be carried onboard and less is used against each inbound missile. You don’t need dozens (hundreds, thousands ?) of “dumb” cannon shells to hit a single missile. Resuppplying AA artillery for both fixed bases and ships is equally hard when either is deployed, but you have to balance a laser’s fuel trucks and fixed depots and storage tanks against re-supply vunerabilities of your convoys and the weight and difficulties of the thousands of AA shells also needed. Bottom line? Nothing is free, but lasers are better. If they work.
A laser aircraft needs to bring its fuel along so the number of shots is more limited - aerial refueling requires different fuels (H2O2 and other exotic liquidss) that can’t reseaonably be loaded into the common fuel tanks of tankers. Don’t expect arieal refueling to extend the laser on-time deployment of aircraft. The tankers are better off carrying conventional fuel for all the aircraft that might be up.
A laser-based anti-ground/anti-tank/anti-truck weapon on an aircraft? Interesting idea, but remember, the laser does need much, much more time-on-target against the three-four thick tank armor than a thin-skinned missile. Aiming a gatling gun against slow-moving/non-moving ground targets by aiming the plane and shooting hundreds of “dumb” big 30 mm explosive cannon shells is is probably simplest.
Worked with them for years.
And this laser CAN NOT destroy a ship.
Don’t forget Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM), which are displacing some of the R2D2/Phalanx systems. Much longer range and independent tracking ability.
OK, how about 982,080,000 FPS. Beats my old Bear Whitetail Hunter by a fair margin.
I don't think anyone's expecting Star Wars explosions. But burning large holes straight through a superstructure sure can cause major havoc.
Unless they do something as simple as deploying a smoke screen. I think the rail gun concept is much better for ships. A two-kilo DU slug traveling at 10,000 meters per second would do a whole lot of damage at long range. We have somewhat less-powerful railguns already tested.
Maybe in the future.
But this weapon has neither the power nor the staying power to get the job done. At best, it would smear the paint on the steel or aluminum hides of warships.
IIRC, the Navy wants to stick with solid-state lasers instead of chemical lasers, because of the volitility and storage issues with the “propellants”. That limits the power they’re going to get with this generation of lasers.
The rail-gun research shows promise, but the Navy is more concerned with delivering explosives at range than a high-speed projectile.
Ship-to-ship requires very close range = unlikely in today’s environment. EXCEPT (big exception!) when you consider small boat and “modified civilian” sabatoge/terrorist boats like in harbor or in restricted waters.
A classic destroyer/cruiser type ship is not likely to be damaged by a laser, and every destroyer/cruiser sized has been put out of action by a single conventional missile or a single cannon shell EVERY time one has been hit since WWII. (Out of action meaning it has lost one of power, propulsion, protection, combat systems.
A small (fast) boat or cruise missile is vunerable o lasers. If the enemy gets close enough for conventional cannons - use a conventional shore bombardment cannon. (5 inch, 6 inch or 8 inch) Of course, we only have a (a very few) fives now......
Being solid-state (and thus presumably electrically powered) implies that the laser's number of shots is limited only by how much power the ship can deliver, and by how many shots the system can shoot before critical components need to be replaced. Seems like a good item for a nuke-powered ship.
BTW, the New Scientist article says the beam power was 35 KW not megawatts.
Pic of laser, mounted on a MK-15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System platform, from Fox News
Much cheaper than the economic impact of one missile strike on a major US city. ( see post 9-11 global economic downturn for an example)
obama will negotiate it away to the russians for a non-binding agreement to “urge the leadership in iran to try to be less uncooperative in the future, provided that it doesn’t interfere with their plans to defeat the great satan”.
This scares the bejeebers out of me. How do you defend against it. The bad guys will have something like it in a few snaps of the fingers.