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DARPA’s announced the development of a new laser that will take down drones and other small flying objects. But what’s made the new zapper more practical is what every male fears most: shrinkage. The apparatus necessary to generate a 150 kw laser – enough to destroy aircraft –  used to be the size of a decent sized passenger plane. Now they’ve managed get the same firepower into a package that will fit on the back of a flatbed truck. And they’re only gonna get smaller . . .

The new system, called HELLADS, will be tested against rockets, mortars and surface-to-air missiles some time next year. They’ll also be conducting “simulated air-to-ground offensive missions.”

The big advance with these weapons is in the strength of the lasers and in their portability. Saft’s Annie Sennet-Cassity told Fast Company that while previous military laser prototypes were stronger, they were also about the size of a passenger jet. This creates obvious difficulties in battlefield or aerial use. A 150-kilowatt laser beam is powerful enough to destroy aircraft. Previous military laser weapons primarily relied on blinding pilots with laser beams, rather than destroying the aircraft itself.

DARPA’s ultimate goal is to shrink the frickin’ lasers down to the size that they’ll be easily mounted in tactical aircraft. I’m holding out for a model I can mount on my front bumper. Unfortunately, as the subtitle to the Fast Company article makes clear, shark mounting apparatus for the new weapon will be sold separately. And since it’s a government weapons development project, you know it won’t be cheap, either.

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  1. So… What exactly is it that’s stopping bad guys from chrome plating their rockets, completely defeating directed energy weapons?

    • or shooting volleys. those lasers can only be fired so many times before they run out of juice.

      • Chrome plating isn’t nearly reflective enough to stop a laser. It’s something like 98% effective at reflecting energy. That remaining 2% of the beam’s energy is enough to turn the plating into vapor, at which point you no longer have a nice shiny surface.

        Volleys will work, but the key isn’t the number of rounds fired over a sustained period, but rather at once (if it takes 1 second for each round to be burned, and you’ve got 20 seconds of vulnerability to the laser, how many mortar bombs do you need to have impacting at once to keep the laser from burning all of them). I wouldn’t doubt that we’d have the capability to provide juice to these as long as necessary. It may be expensive, but that’s what our bloated military budget is for.

  2. Just wait until bad guys have their laser too. If you think we are the only country which will possess this technology forever take a look at what Pakistan and NK built.

  3. Obama will probably get this thing fully sorted out………… then give all the info to Russia, Iran, NK, etc.

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