Boeing laser gun in action (courtesy network world.com)

“Boeing’s next generation compact laser weapons system is one step closer to the battlefield after it disabled a moving, untethered unmanned aerial vehicle,” networkworld.com reports. [Autoplay video after the jump] The same news org that claims laser weapons are cheaper than ballistic solutions – pennies per laser blast compared to $3m per missile! – without factoring the cost, complexity, battlefield efficacy and reliability of the laser gun itself. Or . . .

mentioning the whole Reagan-era Star Wars bluff. While the longest journey starts with a single step, it kinda helps to know how far away your destination is before you spend a trillion dollars going there. Know what I mean? [h/t mister3d]

33 Responses to Laser? I Just Met Her! And Boy Did I Get Shot Down . . .

  1. The planes are gonna look great with that highly reflective coating we’re gonna put on them to deflect most of the laser. Then we’ll be back to ballistic solutions.

      • You beat me to it.

        Besides that, though, photons being reflected still delivery energy to the target, and sufficiently energetic photons can destroy the reflective surface even while being reflected. Then the next pulse, not being reflected, delivers its full energy.

        • Then you have fun with frequency shifting lasers and non-linear optics. The problem with lasers has always been the power to weight ratio. I think very soon, we’re going to be very limited aviation capabilities against a modern military. Anything spotted above the horizon will get zapped. Hey, it might just cause battleships to make a comeback. After all, it’s rather hard to use lasers for point defense against mostly solid projectile with roughly the mass of a Taurus.

        • @WedelJ
          I doubt it. Mortars can (in theory) be detonated in flight and as they rely on the bursting change and resulting shrapnel for the majority of the damage, a ballistic peak detonation will render them largely harmless. To be truly safe, you’re talking absurdly big bore artillery with heavy shell walls that would prevent a laser detonation.

  2. The enormity of logistics cannot be ignored. If we can get to a place where defensive (and even offensive) weapons “manufacture” their own ammunition (directed-energy weapons), then we have reduced a huge problem when it comes to supporting military operations.

    Directed-energy weapons, in combination with compact-but-powerful portable energy sources such as nuclear fission or fusion, will change every aspect of the face of warfare forever. I’d rather have us on the leading edge of this change, vs. the trailing edge.

    • Imagine those frequency debates. Colt M2031 vs Glock G76. Robert Farago Jr. rebuttals to Everytown for Laser Safety. Waiting for any scrap of info about MDL. And Nick Leghorn still not reviewing Adcor BEAR

  3. Lasers have come a long way since president “Ray-Gun”. Lasers against armor may be decades off, but against anything that has to fly… Maybe not so much.

    I really want to see these as point defense systems against artillery and missiles.

    • “I really want to see these as point defense systems against artillery and missiles.”

      Time is the enemy there.

      You have to keep the energy beam on the target long enough for it to heat up and do it’s job.

      Missiles, *maybe*…

      Artillery or a nuke re-entry vehicle will be very tough.

      It does make me wonder if a lightweight foam ceramic would provide enough insulation for a long enough time for the warhead to get to where it’s going, like a spacecraft re-entry heat shield…

      • You also have to remember that artillery shells have relatively thin walls and a built in self destruct device. As for pulse duration… You’re talking milliseconds rather than seconds. The energy can be transferred in a single burst and easily focused to cut through the outer casing to get to the nursing charge.

  4. “mentioning the whole Reagan-era Star Wars bluff”
    Star Wars was a moniker pinned by evil blue house of broke (D)i<k liberal media.

    The real name was "Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)" Israel's Iron Dome sprung from it, and (despite being the AF's and NASA's whipping boy AND cash cow) it did help to produce the technology and its delivery systems shown in the video.

    "Bluff" is Obamacare, officially know as fing liberal blue house of satan's (D)I<k-bag HA FOOLED YOU AGAIN AND TOOK YOUR TAX MONEY.

    • What possible reason do we have to pick a fight with Russia? China I can see, none of the areas Russia wants matter one bit to us.

      • “What possible reason do we have to pick a fight with Russia?”

        Russia wants warm water ports and energy.

        If they decide to use force to get one or the other and the attacked country asks us for help is how we could get into a conflict with Russia.

        • Couple points.

          1. Russia is one of the largest oil and gas exporters in the world. Energy is hardly an issue for them.

          2. They already have plenty of warm water ports on the Black Sea.

          3. Why should we care? Given #1, we lose nothing if Russia decides to outright annex the entirety of Eastern Europe. Hell, it might get the rest of Europe to wake up and smell the communism.

          From a national interest standpoint, Russia is far less of a threat than China or the crazies in the Middle East.

    • “How long is the extension cord?”

      Exactly.

      This is why so much effort is being expended to develop energy-dense supercapacitors.

      Conventional power to recharge the caps so they can be rapidly discharged to power the energy beam.

      Capacitors in general and supercapacitors especially can dump *massive* amounts of energy in a very short time. Like milliseconds or nanoseconds.

    • If it’s mounted to a warship or tank, who cares? Both can generate sufficient energy to operate the laser almost indefinitely.

    • Laser beams on shark heads?

      That’s ridiculous! Are you stoned?

      We just need to figure out how to trigger a Sharknado…

      ‘Sharknado in two minutes’

      Hey, Ralph!

      Have done a movie review on ‘Sharknado’?

      Lots of guns in there…

  5. The Navy has been developing the “rail gun” that was use in “Transformers” 3? on top of the pyramid scene. Rail gun from 10 plus miles away at mark 10 no military to put in harms way, spy satellites and Predator drones for the same reason and if they are still buzzing send in the Raptor F22 and simply annihilate the gnat causing the problem. But first lets just get along, if not, rail gun, drones, F22 nice and simple. No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.
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