“It’s fair to say that there are other countries working on this technology. That’s safe to say. But I would also say that a lot of what makes this successful came from the way in which we consolidated all of the complexity into something that can be operated by (a single sailor).” – Capt. Mike Ziv, US Navy ready to deploy laser systems this summer; rail guns aren’t far behind [at foxnews.com]
A plasma rifle in the 40 watt range? Go team USA.
Yes, let’s give even more dangerous weapons to those who violate our rights. What could possibly go wrong by ensuring that no one can stand up to the government?
Sorry but he said “…Plasma rifle…”, not force field. Lead still ventilates.
Yes, and do you realize what a rail gun can do? The last people you want with this type of technology is the government.
Totenglocke: I know what nuclear weapons can do, and they’ve been sitting on those for well over half a century. I get that some people want to look all edgy and iconoclastic by freaking out over everything the U.S. Military does, but some things just aren’t worth losing sleep over. They’re always building toys that kill people and break things; it’s their job. Unless I was sitting on the billions upon billions of dollars it would take to get a nuclear arsenal of my own, I’m assuming a fight with them is going to be a little tilted in their favor no matter what.
Lucky for me, I know and I am good friends with many, many active duty and retired servicemen, and I assure you that they’re real, flesh-and-blood human beings with many of the same likes, dislikes and concerns you probably have. They’re not scowling, jackbooted thugs eager at all times to kick your door down at 3:00AM and crush Freedom’s throat under their heel. Maybe it’s time to exit the Starbucks and actually get to know some of them for a change…?
Sun goes up, sun goes down, TotesMaGoats hates the military and all cops… Tis inevitable.
Take a deep breath Tote. Change your panties. This is just new tech. Russia and a number of countries are working on their own versions.
Flintlocks are so yesterday.
Pssst, China has already fielded a laser weapon.
If by “Not far behind” they mean 2020, then I’ll buy that.
They’ll likely put one on ZUMWALT in the next couple of years. The problem with the railgun is electrical power. DDG 1000 is the only one so far that can make enough.
I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.
It’s a trap!
But I don’t want to be a Jedi! And my dad’s an evil dork. 🙁
Hey. I’m awesome and you know it. One more thing, the 1970’s called; they want their haircut back 😛
Meesa dumb, racist caricature that step in poo-poo! Meesa ruin entire series!
*whistles, beeps, and boops*
We Death Star now.
All I want is one…one lousy Death Star, and this administration won’t even fund that.
They’re trying to come up with a design that can take out just a red state per each firing.
technology is all well and good, but what happens when the batteries run out? when SHTF happens I’ll be happy to stick with my self-contained percussive caps with black powder and projectile in individual replaceable units.
Black powder? Smokeless hasn’t been around long enough to be trustworthy?
Black powder has been around for almost a millennium. It’s time-tested technology. This “smokeless” powder of which you speak has barely been around for 1/8 that amount of time. I’ll wait until all the kinks are worked out, thank you very much!
Swords are much more time tested than black powder. If you’re using cap locks or flintlocks, hell even matchlocks, you’re still just an technology addict on a fad bandwagon.
Nothing but bronze swords for me!
I guess when the SHTF you could make your own black powder more easily than smokeless. Otherwise I would rather have smokeless powder too.
It tell you what I trust: Rocks. They can be used as projectiles, thrown to trebuchets. They can be used as hand-held weapons, held in fists or attached to handles. They can be used defensively, simple piles or elaborate castles. When the SHTF, I will put my faith in rocks.
White powder is just a passing fad 🙂
When your rail or laser gun’s batteries run out in a SHTF/WROL/zombies situation, if there isn’t a wide selection of conventional weapons lying on the ground to choose from you may be doing it wrong.
That’s when we switch to torpedoes. In case the phaser goes down.
I hope you’re kidding sota?
These things are recharged from the ships power system which is either a (or a pair of) massive diesel engine(s) or a nuclear reactor. In the former case it doesn’t run out of juice until the ship runs out of fuel, which is a different sort of nightmare in combat all together since virtually every weapon system aboard ship that’s effective further that a sailor can see (read everything remotely effective in modern navel combat) would also be rendered useless by the power outage and the ship would be dead in the water.
In the latter case it doesn’t run out of juice for 25-40 years at a time, hardly a logistical problem compared to keeping a conventional weapon supplied with ammunition.
That aside, what happens when you run out of powder and caps?
On a serious note, I actually thought about ammo sustainability at one point and I almost just regurgitated my personal answer here… but then I realized the times have changed.
You see, what I did was buy lots and lots and lots of .22lr ammo. I also have quite a few primers and the bullet molds for my calibers of choice.
However, I realize that these days you can’t even find .22 and when you do, it’s super expensive. So maybe black powder weapons are a more viable choice for sustainability… I personally still think one would be better off reloading .357 or something. Since wheel guns and lever actions don’t depend on the round to cycle the action, you can short load rounds for smaller game and still cycle reliably.
As for making black powder…. A. it is a pain in the butt. B. you can use black powder in modern cartridges if you have primers… and you can reload primers using crushed matches.
Personally, if I were going to use black powder in modern cartridges I’d either go the 12 gauge or wheel gun route. Heck, some of the rimless cartridges were originally developed for black powder.
I saw a video where Hickok45 showed black powder rounds out of a glock:
Forget the power problem. This is a fair weather weapon. Rain, dust, sandstorms or anything else that gets in the way of the beam negates it’s use because the beam degrades. Oh, and a missile with a mirror finish is a no go as well :).
You realize the laser is for short range purposes right, atmospherics or going to have less of a problem for it. And a laser with a mirror polish isn’t going to do anything against this. That was already disproved in 80s.
That’s because the laser (light) itself is not what burns. It’s the super-heated air that causes the burns.
Only at the focal point.
They already changed to magnetic catapults on the new carriers, rail guns can’t be too far behind.
Reagan already wasted a ton of money on “Star Wars.” And nothing came out of it.
Viable technology has caught up.
Oh? Something came out of it alright. It scared the Soviets half to death and caused them to cease building fixed launch points for nuclear weapons in favor of mobile and concealable launchers that were both less effective and far less accurate. It also caused them to spend disproportionately on a missile shield that also never ultimately worked and to eventually become convinced that their nuclear deterrent wasn’t much of a deterrent to us anymore.
A combination of the economic factors, increasing disparity in nuclear deterrence and their concern that we weren’t far from being able to wipe them out without fear of retaliation lead to a warming of relations during the cold war and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union without a shot being fired.
So what is it that never came out of SDI?
Better to buy peace with money rather than lives, ayup.
+1 “Star Wars” was an elaborate hoax perpetrated on the Soviets by Raygun. Didn’t put a tenth of the dollars into the program that the Soviets put into defending from it – just funded it enough to make it look scary. It was a quite brilliant strategy.
Why is it that we look at Reagan’s success with bankrupting the Soviets and not realize that we are now bankrupting ourselves? Who in the world is the F22 or F35 supposed to protect us from that the F16 and F18 cannot? Why in the world do we spend as much as the next 9 or 10 countries combined?
@karlb, Pres. Eisenhower answered your question over sixty years ago with three words: Military Industrial Complex.
Forget the F-35. Because… TERROR!!!
ALWAYS follow the money.
Laser has been a viable weapon for over 20 years, now it’s just a matter of making it robust enough to withstand combat and small enough to be practical.
What’s really interesting is the rail gun project. An inert projectile that requires no chemical propellant yet causes a massive explosion on impact is revolutionary. Safe on your vessel, devastating to the enemy vessel, what’s not to love? Not to mention the logistical solutions in play: mount the weapon, wire it to the ships power, stock pile the projectiles and your done. No propellant, no special storage requirements, no fire or explosion danger. . sailors are going to love these things.
The projectiles are not inert, as in completely passive devices.
Yes they are. The projectiles are kinetic rounds, similar to those used by tanks on other tanks. They are traveling so fast that their kinetic energy is more than ample for the task. No explosives needed.
No they are not.
They are kinetic rounds, but they also incorporate guidance and in some cases submunition dispersal systems.
So kinetic yes; inert, absolutely not.
@JAS & John L: Stop. You’re both right. It’s a candy mint and a breath mint.
IIRC a rail doesn’t doesn’t typically use an explosive projectile. It’s usually moving so fast that it completely punches through whatever you’re aiming at. Still devastating to a ship, what with a through-and-through hole in the hull…..
I’m more concerned about the weapon itself. Partly because with current technology a rail gun capable of disabling an enemy ship would be roughly the size of a destroyer. And partly because they don’t last long. They inherently wear out after a relatively low number of shots and require a complete overhaul.
Sure .. But from what I’m told the Missouri class BB barrel liners didn’t last more than 100 rounds either.
Heh … There’s a funny thought … Built in round and magazine limits. Nobody tell Bloomberg…
Rail gun? It’s just a big linear motor in a way.
@Stuart: Y’know, every once in a while someone puts something in terms I had never thought of. Nicely done.
A particle accelerator for really big particles.
Unless the electrical power source has infinite capacity and instant recharge capability, I think it would be a while between shots while the rest of the ship recovers from the brownout.
Separate electrical systems… like what was mentioned before, a couple of gas turbine generators, nuke steam generator or diesel plant all to itself (they could easily re-purpose an ammo mag to make room on an non-nuke ship).. probably on the same emergency circuit as the coffee maker.. ;-)… for those that understand that specific point – go A-gangers!
We need this up and working ASAP before China gets a blue water navy. China has watched the way we fight war (superior technology compared to our enemy) and have looked for ways to circumvent that at every level for the last 25-30 yrs. We use alot of sea based missles to strike inland targets. China’s answer – moved serious military infrastructure away from waterways and furtner inland. We relay on satellites. China’s answer – effective methods to distroy our satellites. There are other examples too. China’s weakest area is lack of blue water navy. Food is their other weak point. Arkansas grows more rice than the entire country of China.
Aside from the lack of reliability and repeatability in their more advanced technology (the Chinese are always, like the Soviets, at least a decade behind us) and the very small numbers of such high tech weapons, and with the food and naval issues they clearly have the Achilles heel of the Chinese is petroleum. Once a war with the US is on their pipelines are so vulnerable that they wouldn’t last a day, and even in the best of times the Chinese get most of their fuel via tanker, something they can’t do since they can neither protect them from or evade the US Navy.
The only solution would be to immediately invade the Russian oil fields, giving them a serious two front war, or invade south and west into the oil fields of the middle east, not a sure thing at all.
The Chinese don’t present any real threat to US military supremacy now or in the foreseeable future. They are too far behind and falling further every year while at the same time they have logistics problems that are not easily overcome at all, certainly not during time of war.
Why would they bother with military action? They are already beating the tar out of us economically. The US is largely a consumer nation. Our economy is a colander.
The trouble with that is the Chinese economy has been imitating us and making “paper” millionaires. The Provinces have been churning out their own derivatives, and there’s no Chinese SEC to stop them. The CPCC has just realized this and are soiling themselves. Their economy is getting read to implode, and their millionaires are fleeing to the US for some reason that’s beyond me…
Respectfully, Ardent, you’re engaging in some wishful thinking.
The Chinese are not a decade behind us. In some key areas they’re ahead.
They’re not stupid, and they’re not just badly copying what we do. Not anymore. While there are cultural issues that historically have given the US a lead in terms of innovation, that can in large part be made up for by large numbers of decent researchers – many of whom have tried in the US – and good funding.
In contrast, the US directed energy programs are suffering from budget cuts, with many of them on a just-keep-alive budget with no money for experiments. A couple of years back the US Navy actually canceled (well, put on indefinite hiatus) the only currently viable research towards credible anti-ship-missile self-defense lasers.
Shot down slow soft drones? Check. Shot down a sea-skimming mach 3 missile? Not so much.
Incidentally all of this is just my own personal opinion, I’m not speaking for the DoD, USN, DOE, or any other TLA.
The PLAN IS a blue water navy at thus point, and they’re studying hard to learn how to use it. Did you notice that this year they’re official observers at the Cobra Gold exercises? This after a PLAN battle group finished a cruise to the waters off Hawaii a month or so ago? Decision time for us…
I’m forced to reiterate a theme which the US corporates are loathe to face: During the second Clinton administration Raytheon was given the OK to sell to China missile guidance technology. China’s missiles were failing. The export permission was only granted, surprise, shortly after Michael Schwartz, CEO of Raytheon, gave $1 million to the Dem national committee for use in the re-election campaign. The same pattern was repeated in the sale of jet motor technology useful in building cruise missiles.
These actions are repeated in every domain as corporations struggle to grow profits, whether by sale of technology or through the access directly of cheaper Chinese labor, skilled or unskilled.
The point, of course, is that the more tech (much of it funded by taxpayers) that gets sold/handed to the Chinese, the more we have to spend to get a new and better layer of military technology, with the contracts for that new development often going to the same companies who lobbied to sell off to our rivals the last batch of tech. It is a losing game for the citizen/taxpayer.
Is there footage of our death rays in action, yet? I’d like to see just what kind of upgrade we payed for, here.
Sorry for the link to NY Times, but it’s the best video.
I sure hope the Chinese fly their fighters similarly…in a straight line. And the Navy needs to remember the laws of gun safety…”specifically the one about “know your target and whats behind it.”
“In a related story, the Court-martial of Petty Officer Jones proceeded today. Investigators believe the initials SM are the initials of his girlfriend and scientists are certain those initials will remained etched into the moon for the next 3 millions years.”
If this gets man portable, are we getting a “The Truth About Energy Weapons” site or will we just lump it in here?
Oh the government would ban us mere serfs from owning energy weapons for the safety of the children.
That, or they’ll require us to microstamp a laser beam….
Nah, they’ll require that the laser engrave the owner’s name in whatever you shoot with it.
We’ll just open up a ‘high energy weapons’ category tag here and carry on.
Excellent! Now DHS will truly be unstoppable!
Luckily, those idiots could break a steel cube.
Jus, I haven’t heard that one yet. I recently heard “he could break an anvil with a rubber mallet”.
Put them in a padded room with a steel ball and a feather. They’ll find a way to f*ck up the ball.
Those damn feathers sure can turn on you.
Whatever drops ammo prices.
When the price for these beauties gets down to “civilian obtainable” range, I can just see the pearl-clutching of the antis! “The IS NO WAY the Founding Fathers could have foreseen this kind of murderous technology, and they wouldn’t have wanted it to be protected by the Second Amendment!”
Can you imagine what will happen when CAD drawings for Megawatt lasers are available for 3-D printers?
(I’m not holding my breath on that one.)
It’d have to be a pretty big printer…
Has anyone else thought about the danger of such a powerful weapon being able to be operated by only one person?
Theres not a smidgen of corruption in our govt! Not a smidge!
“Operated.” That just means it takes one person to push the button. It doesn’t account for the large amount of infrastructure behind it. It doesn’t mean “man-portable.”
It’s not really inherently more dangerous than a slug thrower. Leaking or cauterized, a hole is a hole.
‘Bye, mister enemy ASM…
All 30-year old technology. If they tell us about it, they had it 25-30 years ago.
Look up the secret history of the SR-71 Blackbird. They were flying contemporaneously with the U-2 for years.
Lasers… come on.. seriously? Waiting for the enemy to go to the hardware store and buy some of that aluminum chrome finish spray paint. Congratulations, now laser-proof.
At some point our enemies will have this technology. There is something to think about.