Navy laser test aircraft drone
Courtesy US Navy
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They promised us flying cars. We’re still waiting. Tesla and Uber don’t begin to cut it. But now, after a successful test by the US Pacific fleet, it looks like frickin’ laser beams have finally fully taken a big step into the 21st century.

From CNN:

Images and videos provided by the Navy show the amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland executing “the first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser” to disable an aerial drone aircraft, the statement said.

The images show the laser emanating from the deck of the warship. Short video clips show what appears to be the drone burning

The Navy’s not announcing exactly how powerful the laser is, but experts estimate it’s in the 150 kilowatt range.

From the Navy’s statement:

“By conducting advanced at sea tests against UAVs and small crafts, we will gain valuable information on the capabilities of the Solid State Laser Weapons System Demonstrator against potential threats,” said Capt. Karrey Sanders, commanding officer of Portland.

The U.S. Navy has been developing directed-energy weapons (DEWs), to include lasers, since the 1960s. DEWs are defined as electromagnetic systems capable of converting chemical or electrical energy to radiated energy and focusing it on a target, resulting in physical damage that degrades, neutralizes, defeats, or destroys an adversarial capability.

Navy ships face an increasing number of threats in conducting their missions, including UAVs, armed small boats, and adversary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems. The Navy’s development of DEWs like the LWSD, provide immediate warfighter benefits and provide the commander increased decision space and response options.

How long before Crimson Trace produces a long gun version?





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  1. That is really nifty. I’m pretty sure that if handheld laser guns ever do become a thing, you’ll have to kill a storm trooper to get one.

      • I have seen for sale in Truck stops a power pack smaller than a cigarette package that is supposedly powerful enough to start a truck with a dead battery. That’s a LOT of amps.

        It will probably only start that truck once before recharging, but even so a man could carry a lot of them.

        • I would agree that it is theoretically possible to have a rifle sized DEW. I’m sure a decently small enough battery pack could be made to offer several short bursts as well. But the biggest issue in producing one of these is HEAT. What is the peak efficient of the fiber laser they are using? I’d imagine a fairly large heat sink or liquid cooling would be required.

      • I have read that the best defense against a laser weapon is for the surface to be highly polished.

        As for manned aircraft, how good/darker/reflective does the pilot’s visor need to be in order to keep a laser from blinding him?

        • Dark/opaque enough that he can’t see out. OTOH, we’ve had systems for several decades (std on B-1) which react to turn cockpit windows opaque quickly enough to prevent a nuclear detonation from blinding crewmembers, then back to clear as soon as the threat has passed, might work against lasers without modification and definitely could be modified without much trouble.

        • I believe that the wavelength they use for these weapons are least likely to be reflected by polished surfaces. And besides, no mirror reflects 100% of light so it would still absorb a size-able amount of energy and thus be weakened.

      • I’m thinking we’re going to see a greater propensity for the deployment of smoke generators on a wider array of vehicles soon. The best way, outside of polishing to a mirror shine to defeat lasers, is simply to put up a dense cloud of particulates into the surrounding atmo.

        Mie Solutions (scattering) under Maxwell’s Equations, is what to look up if you’d like to know more.

        • Good way to protect the aircraft directly behind you, really close. Not any good to you, though.

        • True, but I was more thinking of forward operating drones of various stripes deploying screens. Probably should’ve been a bit less vague, though I don’t really want to give any potential Oppfor any solid nullification ideas.

  2. Has anyone heard the rumors that the CA wildfires last year were being used as cover by [unknown] to destroy, with aeral DEWS, the homes and businesses of [not sure which group or groups]? Really. I have a relative that was sending me these photo of houses that burned but the nearby trees were not touched by fire. Clearly, my relative reasoned, the trees were untouched because the house was hit from the air by a DEW.

    I acted amazed, because I was.

    • I’m not impressed until the laser is followed by an instantaneous long-range launch of an airborne super-bionic Great White to eat survivors.

    • just a construction accident. We’re trained to go in there and save lives, and the first thing you do is check for vital signs.”

      The session was videotaped, Massey said. When the Marines learned this, they confiscated the tape. Marine commanders at Quantico later denied the statements attributed to the sergeant by Massey. They even denied to Owens that such a briefing occurred. But the landing of the CH-46 at the ball field was big enough news in the rural community to make the local paper.

      As Owens continued for the next three years to compile information about the incident, other discrepancies were noted. The official crash reports said the helicopter skidded only a foot after hitting the ground. But Owens measured skid marks 11 feet long. Barkley’s autopsy report incorrectly indicates his left femur was broken. Owens saw the compound fracture, but it was in Barkley’s right thigh.

      Based on various ground radars, the crash reports include tables and graphs indicating the helicopter’s airspeed, direction and position at given times over specific coordinates. But they fail to coincide with reports from witnesses (who were never interviewed by government
      investigators) who reported the aircraft at a much lower altitude, much lower speed and different flight path.

      The Marine Corps reported that three of the four rotor blades detached after the helicopter dipped into the trees. But the rotor attached to the aircraft was the only one showing impact marks. The three loose blades were located almost 50 yards away, without any impact marks, suggesting they came loose in the air, not from impact with trees.

      Lending credence to this theory is the detachment of one of two input modules, a drive-shaft assembly located between the engine and main transmission. Owens found it resting 124 feet from the wrecked aircraft, leaning against a tree. Yet the 140-pound, three-foot high drive
      assembly a key engine component does not show up on the official crash scene diagram. Owens thinks it was omitted because it would suggest a crash scenario inconsistent with official conclusions.

      Crash reports said the dead crewmen were cut out of their seats. Owens said Barkley was on the ground, and that his seat was destroyed. Another mystery: The Marine Corps said Barkley was the pilot. But Owens said he had been in the copilot’s seat. The man Owens found in the command seat was the co-pilot, Capt. Scott J. Reynolds, 33, of Wasau, Wisconsin, a Persian Gulf War veteran and a pilot since 1987. Another crewman not in his seat was Staff Sergeant Brian D. Haney, 32, of North Ridgeville, Ohio. He flew that day as a quality-assurance specialist, the Marine Corps said. Haney had flown with President George Bush to Europe, across the country in the last presidential campaign and with the Bush family on weekend getaways to Camp David.

      One witness who saw the helicopter fly over in the last few minutes before the crash described seeing someone standing in the open crew door, like he was about to jump. Another witness “saw a subject hanging out of the aircraft yelling before it went down,” a local 911 log noted. Another witness, a woman, said the helicopter barely cleared electrical power lines at a location where the crash report puts its altitude as about 1,600 feet.

      The person standing in the crew door likely was Haney. Both his legs had severe compound fractures, consistent with injuries sustained by someone who was standing up when the helicopter crashed. The fourth crash victim was Marine Sergeant Timothy D. Sabel, 27, of Ripon, Wisconsin. A Marine since 1984, Sabel was among 38 people on a transport helicopter that crashed in South Korea in 1989. Only 16 survived. Sabel spent a month in the hospital and a year of convalescence before he was fit for duty. He then became a crew chief on a CH-53D. He had been assigned as a crew chief to HMX-1 only three months before his death. Sabel was the only person aboard who was a regular crew member on that particular aircraft.

      Fall Guys

      The official cause of the crash, according to the Marines, was the improper installation of a load demand spindle (LDS) cable collar, a small roll pin.

      “It’s like linkage in a car,” Owens explained. “If you put it in the right way, the helicopter flies. If you put it in the wrong way, it doesn’t fly. There’s one of these on each side of the engine. Two experts that I talked to at Sikorsky [the company that designed and builds Black Hawks] said if it had been at improper installation, it would have happened instantaneously and the helicopter would not take off.”

      According to Marine maintenance records, the allegedly faulty installation of the LDS cable pins occurred about a month before the crash. In the interim, President Clinton had flown in the helicopter from Washington, D.C. to the aircraft carrier Roosevelt near Norfolk, Va.,
      and back again. The same Black Hawk helicopter had been flown earlier the day of the crash.

      The official Marine Corps explanation on the cause of the crash is further complicated by the denial of the two men involved in removing, replacing and inspecting the LDS cable roll pins in April.

      In a handwritten statement, Sgt. Van McCleaf said he even consulted the manual before changing the roll pins, and personally consulted a senior noncommissioned officer, Sgt. Jaime Lara, to make sure the procedure was done correctly. McCleaf, who was soon discharged and now lives in Pennsylvania, said Lara helped him do a pull friction test on the cables and pins.

      Staff Sergeant William Heern conducted yet another inspection of the LDS cables and roll pins, and he did an additional torque test. He also personally questioned McCleaf and, in a handwritten statement, said the proper steps were followed and double-checked.

      Owens believes the aircraft suffered catastrophic mechanical failure in the air after exposure to microwaves from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) simulator at the Harry Diamond Laboratory at Blossom Point, Maryland, about four miles from the crash site. EMP is the radio-wave emanation from a nuclear detonation, and it typically knocks out sensitive electronics.

      The secret Star Wars weapons development program was moved to Blossom Point from Woodbridge, Va., in 1988. A lawsuit forced the Virginia lab to shut down because of local electronic interference and the fear that a stronger version of the test weapon being considered would endanger the health of people and animals, as well as the navigation of commercial aircraft
      approaching National Airport.

      The type of presidential helicopter that crashed in May 1993, the Black Hawk, has navigational and avionics systems that are very vulnerable to EMP and microwave radiation interference. The aircraft frame acts as an antenna to focus the heat energy. From 1980, when the Black Hawk went into service, to 1987, 48 crewmen were killed in 29 Black Hawk crashes.

      Vulnerable Electronics

      Five of those crashes occurred when the aircraft inexplicably nose-dived into the ground. Electronic interference with highly sensitive navigational and avionics systems is believed to be the cause. In all five of those nose dive crashes, the aircraft were flying at less than 1,000 feet — just as in the crash of May 1993 — when they suddenly spun out of control and dove to the ground.

      Owens and an engineering colleague conducted tests on pieces of wood paneling from the helicopter’s executive cabin that were recovered from the crash site. Noting that some pieces of the paneling were charred only inside, Owens and the engineer placed some uncharred pieces in a microwave oven and turned it on. Those test pieces achieved an
      appearance similar to the charred pieces from the crash.

      A piece of the helicopter’s aluminum frame was similarly tested. The honeycombed frame consists of an exterior surface of fiber-filled synthetic resin encasing an aluminum core. The resin becomes flexible at 200-300 degrees F, Aluminum melts at about 1,000 degrees F. Synthetic resins are “transparent” to microwave radiation (i.e. they do not absorb microwave energy and convert it to heat; aluminum does). Pieces of the aircraft frame were recovered from the crash site on which the synthetic was firm and undamaged — yet the aluminum substrate had melted.

      One assessment prepared for Harry Diamond Labs warns that EMP tests offshore have killed large numbers of fish, and that animals exposed to EMP exhibit such abnormal behavioral effects as “permanent or temporary navigational… disorientation, fright responses and… electrical shock, including death by electrocution [and] tissue heating [caused] by energy absorption.”

      One of the first human symptoms of exposure to EMP or microwave radiation is vision failure, caused when the fluid in the eye is heated. This would explain, Owens said, why the disoriented crew flew right over an open, just plowed field — an ideal emergency landing spot — before crashing.

      Major Barkley, who’d told his son he’d see him that night, probably couldn’t see anything when he died, blinded by the government he so faithfully served.

      • Please tell me you vulgarly copied and pasted all that from somewhere, you didn’t actually type all that, did you? I know it’s COVID19 “crisis” bullshit and all, but still man, take it easy.

        • if it could be c&p I would have just put up a link.

          info like this is important and should not be forgotten. I typed it out. I did something important.

      • DaFOOK is this even about? And why do we care? And why is it HERE? Obviously some manner of conspiracy theory, though about what I couldn’t guess. I’m sure most is bazonga, but the only part I can testify to is what seats the pilots were in. If the pilot in command was an instructor, he can sit in whatever seat he likes to fly the aircraft, without it being annotated anywhere, that is what an instructor does. Which allows a copilot to gain experience in the command seat. IOW, absolutely meaningless, so what?

        You did nothing important.

    • The crash of an Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft on 17 August, killing eight crew members and a Secret Service agent on board, was a tragic end to the First Family’s vacation in Wyoming’s Grand Teton Mountains.

      The cause of the crash in the remote Gros Ventre Wilderness Area was not immediately known. A security communications van and other sensitive White House cargo were destroyed. President Bill Clinton expressed perfunctory condolences for the bereaved families after jetting back to Washington, and then took off for a Big Apple birthday bash.

      Part of the advance aviation entourage used to transport the vehicles and other specialized equipment necessary for a traveling president, the C-130’s crash became an immediate media focal point.

      The Washington Post reported on several crashes involving C-130s over the
      past few years, and noted that the crash of the presidential equipment transport “is also the latest among several recent crashes involving military planes.” The story included a sidebar highlighting recent military aviation accidents, a list dating back to 1989.

      One crash was notably absent from the Post’s list, particularly odd because the newspaper had reported it at the time. More recent than two of the eight incidents listed, it had twice as many fatalities — four — than one of the crashes mentioned, that of a Learjet in a California National Guard war game.

      The C-130 accident is the second time since Clinton took office that a White House aircraft has crashed. The first occurred 19 May 1993. That tragedy, which killed four Marines, was all the more noteworthy because it did not involve a support aircraft, but a helicopter used to fly the President.

      Most Americans assume a thorough, fair and impartial investigation is made to determine the cause of any military aviation accident, whether it’s the C-130 in Wyoming or former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown’s Air Force transport in Croatia.

      Frank Owens thought the Marine Corps would certainly do a thorough job to find out who or what was responsible for the crash of a helicopter from Marine Corps Squadron One, or HMX-1, the prestigious presidential fleet of olive green, white-topped choppers. Owens, an archaeologist known to Maryland historians for his meticulous research and precise field work over the past 18 years had more than a casual interest in the crash of the presidential VH-60N Black Hawk in May 1993: Because he found the wreckage and the bodies.

      As months went by, Owens thought it odd that no one questioned him, even though he was the first person on the scene, less than a minute after the crash, in a heavily wooded area across the Potomac River from the helicopter’s home base at Quantico, Virginia.

      When he checked with others who also saw the helicopter fly an erratic path just prior to the crash, Owens learned they had not been questioned either. When he read the two official investigative reports, he noted enough errors — statements that did not square factually with what he’d seen — that he decided to investigate himself. “There were things that
      I saw that day, and learned through my subsequent interviews with other witnesses and through research, that just didn’t coincide with the government’s two crash investigation reports,” Owens said.

      But General Carl E. Mundy Jr., then commandant of the Marine Corps, insisted in a letter to the helicopter pilot’s family almost a year after the crash, when questions arose about the validity of the government’s findings, that “both of these investigations were carefully reviewed again, and no irregularities were discovered in their conduct… or commendations.”

      The information and exhibits Frank Owens collected, including thousands of pieces of the aircraft and its contents excavated at the crash site –many of them sharp, jagged pieces the Marine Corps failed to remove from the private property — suggest a deliberate attempt to ignore facts and reach a quick, benign conclusion that would conceal the real cause of
      the crash.

      The G-Man Cometh

      Owens’ findings also drew unwanted attention to a secret Star Wars test facility run by a Pentagon/Central Intelligence Agency contractor involved in directed, energy weapons (DEWs) research. It is located four miles from the crash site. He argues that physical evidence indicates the Black Hawk helicopter crashed because of exposure to focused microwave

      Owens’ controversial conclusions brought G-men to his door. (One was none other than the G-man himself, G. Gordon Liddy, who also took Owens’ findings seriously.) Before it was over, Owens would get a call from Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey. Another person, a longtime Owens friend who is a security specialist at the White House, visited Owens, looked at
      his material and told him he’d “uncovered a black project” and should “back off.”

      Owens built a sand-table scale model of the crash site and photographed it. A government investigator — investigating Owens, not the crash –saw a photo copy of one such photograph and decided Owens had obtained tightly guarded satellite imagery. Owens was accused of illegally possessing classified information. Naval Investigative Service (NIS) agents checked him out as a spy for a foreign government. He got anonymous phone threats against him and his family if he pursued the crash. The calls were recorded.

      Finally, in what probably was an attempt by the government to portray Owens as a wild-eyed conspiracy nut, military helicopters began buzzing his home in White Plains, Maryland, shaking the windows, scaring his family and annoying neighbors. The Marines deny it. He has it on video.

      Wednesday, 19 May 1993, was supposed to be a day off for Marine Major William S. Barkley, 39, one of only eight helicopter pilots authorized to fly the president. According to his most recent fitness report, Barkley, executive maintenance officer for HMX-1, had “the highest flight hour total and most presidential flights and deployments in the 45-year
      history” of the unit.

      Major Barkley went to an awards ceremony that morning for his oldest son, Wes, then 14. He watched with pride as Wes was bestowed with a high-school letter for baseball. As often happened, though, Barkley received an electronic page from the squadron: Another pilot had
      forgotten his flight suit. They needed Barkley to fly. As he was about to leave, Barkley slapped Wes on the back, gave him one of those firm, Marine Corps handshakes and told his boy, poised on the brim of manhood, how proud he made his dad. “I’ll see you tonight,” Barkley told his son.

      Across the Potomac in Maryland, Frank Owens was looking for clues to something that happened over a century ago, unaware that he was about to be thrust into a contemporary historical mystery. He and one of his 38 volunteers were excavating a Civil War-era Union Army campsite in Nanjemoy, only four miles by air from Quantico. A steady drizzle was falling. At about 1300, Owens called it a day.

      As they drove the back roads on the east side of the Potomac, Owens and his passenger noticed a VH-60N Black Hawk helicopter with a white top cross their route twice, flying in opposite directions. Moments later, as they drove slowly along the narrow, tree-canopied Jacksontown Road, Owens stopped. Just up a logging road lay the smashed helicopter.

      After telling another motorist to summon help, Owens and his assistant jogged 75 yards to the crash site. There was no fire. The aircraft nose had broken off. Owens found Maj. Barkley on the ground underneath, dead.

      A devout Christian, he said a prayer, kneeling next to the corpse. The Army veteran immediately noticed something odd. None of the four crew members was wearing flight helmets or gloves. And despite massive head injuries to all four, and multiple compound fractures, there was almost no blood. (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology autopsies state the men died from “massive. whole body blunt inures” caused by the impact.) “I think they were dead before they hit the ground,” Owens told Soldier Of Fortune.

      With an archaeologist’s eye for detail, Owens noticed that spilled fuel had pooled by the broken tail section, away from the crew. (The Pentagon would later explain autopsy photos of apparent skin burns by describing them as chemical irritations caused by spilled fuel.) Despite the lack of a fire, though, the men apparently had been exposed to tremendous heat.

      Two of the victims’ backs were split along their spines, autopsy reports confirm. Joint ruptures at the elbows, knees and ankles, similar to a chicken leg left too long on the grill, were also noted. But there was no charring of tissue. They seemed to have been heated from the inside out.

      The Nanjemoy fire and rescue service was the first agency to get to the scene, followed by Charles County sheriff’s deputies and the state police. A Marine Corps helicopter pinpointed the spot and then another chopper flew in a security detail from Quantico. They took the names and phone numbers of Owens and others, excused everyone and roped off the

      From the very beginning, the behavior of Marines involved in the crash follow-up seemed mysterious. Although the Marine Corps would later contend Barkley and crew were conducting a “routine maintenance flight,” an NIS report noted that “due to the presence of classified
      communication gear and crypto devices, access… was tightly controlled.”

      Based on other government documents he obtained, which were reviewed by Soldier Of Fortune, Owens believes the helicopter was headed to its White House stand-by location in Anacostia, the far southeastern section of the District of Columbia, to relieve the stand-by helicopter that had a problem with a control pedal. Otherwise, the crashed aircraft would not have had the president’s top-secret communications device, a cryptograph, on board. Owens claims the cryptograph had been activated.

      “They said they used all security precautions,” Owens noted, “but they used local people to help transport the critical classified material out of there. They used locals’ pick-up trucks to haul the stuff out. I talked to the people who helped do it. One woman said she saw them put stuff in boxes.”

      The Marines also confiscated three rolls of 35mm film and a VHS video from the sheriff’s department, evidence that was shredded. A month after the crash, the Quantico Marine command called the Nanjemoy rescue unit, ostensibly to offer them disaster-response training. The Leathernecks landed a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter at a ball field across from the fire
      station. The briefing shocked many of the civilian rescue personnel.

      “Their spokesman, a sergeant, said that if there’s any military aircraft in the future going down, and we’re the first responders, we were not to give any first aid or CPR,” recalled Billy Massey, a member of the fire and rescue unit who attended. “One of our medic units asked, if we don’t know whether they’re alive or dead, do we initiate first aid or at least check for vital signs?

      “They said, `Just leave them alone. If they look dead, assume they’re dead.’ We’re not trained to do that,” Massey said. “I don’t care if it is top-secret government stuff or

        • helicopter crash. circumstances looked odd, someone investigated, found out the melted stuff was consistent with DEW (microwave) and the govt report was substantially false. the crew must have been already cooked when they hit the ground.

        • Really? What helicopter crash, and when? Complete fiction. No sources, no references, nothing. Made up.

        • May 19, 1993. Quantico, Virginia. VH-60N Blackhawk. 4 Marines dead.

          Maj. William S. Barkley
          Capt. Scott J. Reynolds
          SSG Brian D. Haney
          Sgt. Timothy D. Sabel

          Read The Frikkin Text before you open your pie hole next time, damn troll

    • You do realize that a laser in the 40 Watt range is no more poerful than a dim lightbulb?

      The laser on this ship is probasbly in the 160,000 Watt range, about 4,000 times as powerful as the Schwartzenegger cult plasma rifle.

      Of course the laser on the ship bernerfits from having a very large diaameter optical system that can tightly focus the laser at long range.

      • James Crawford,

        A 40 watt laser could be devastating if all of that power is concentrated into a small enough beam. The overall power is a lot less important than power density.

        Direct 40 watts in a beam that is 12 inches wide and nothing happens. Direct 40 watts in a beam that is 0.001 inches wide and I’ll bet that is the functional equivalent of a plasma cutter.

        If you are having a hard time understanding or believing this, think about how you can use a magnifying glass that is three inches in diameter to focus sunlight into a spot and almost immediately start wood on fire in that tiny spot. Here is the kicker: our sun’s radiation is about 1000 watts per 10 square feet (one square meter), or about 100 watts per square foot, when the sun is overhead. A magnifying glass that is three inches in diameter is concentrating a very small fraction of that 100 watts per square foot (about 5 watts to be exact) into a dot that is about 0.050 inches in diameter. And that spot is over 454 degrees Fahrenheit (the temperature to burn wood). Now imagine focusing all 40 watts into that same spot that is only 0.050 inches in diameter. My intuitive guess is that spot would easily reach something like 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and could easily be twice that.

      • Dear James Crawfish,
        The post is a reference to the gun store scene from The Terminator. Lighten up ffs.

  3. In physics class decades ago we were discussing the laser as a weapon. It was mentioned that targets. I.e. tanks etc.only needed a perfectly reflective coating like polished gold to survive. Talk about high defense budgets.

  4. not powerful enough. I want to see the drone explode into shrapnel and flaming chunks. if they’re going to spend millions and billions of tax dollars on that it better be entertaining too!

  5. It’s not actually light amplified by radiation (Laser), but the concentrated cancer that is the ship’s namesake.

  6. Not interested until I can get my own laz rifle.
    (And did anyone think “Blood Dragon” when they saw the top picture?)

  7. When this technology becomes man-portable, be ready for the “in common use” of Heller to be used against us by the leftists and the illiberal-rightists.

    • depends on how much the beam widens over distance. (focus) if it were perfectly focused and there were no dust, water vapor, etc in the atmosphere it would go in for infinity.

      but it won’t be perfectly focused and that’s a good question. a mile? tens of miles? hundreds?

      • Yeah, range is gonna be pretty meaningless except in outer space, as atmospheric conditions could reduce it to zero pretty easily. In outer space, diffusion of the beam would be the limiting factor, I have no idea whether that is variable in any way (higher quality, different bandwidth, your guess),

  8. At least it’ll kill you quick, unlike Bluetooth, 5G, WiFi and other dangerous radiations polluting our environment.

  9. Something that people are probably missing here (especially young people, who were not alive or were too young to remember during Cold War 1.0 and SDI, and who have been subsequently crippled by their public-school education’s version of history) is that lasers of this power scale can mount a effective defense against a ballistic missile or MIRV weapon, which fundamentally shifts the balance of power.

    MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) had been the doctrine for decades (since the mid-1960’s) when Reagan proposed SDI. The “experts” thought Reagan quite mad – because, as usual, the ‘experts’ weren’t experts, just insiders who had feathered their nests with the profits from MAD doctrine implementation.

    Reagan’s SDI was clever in that it was part fact (in its pursuit, not an implementation) and part maskirovka. As a result, the Soviets spent themselves broke trying to keep up with SDI research and development, which is what caused the downfall of the USSR. We got the Patriot anti-missile battery out of the effort, and some more ideas.

    Ah, but “directed energy weapons” (such as the above laser) are the stuff of serious consideration, because they take very little time to aim and they can track an incoming target until destruction. Back in the 1980’s, we were experimenting with such things as X-ray lasers, which needed a two-stage nuke explosion to power the laser. It was the stuff of far-out there thinking – who wants to put a bunch of two-stage weapons into orbit, where they could be picked off or stolen? It wasn’t a sound idea.

    Ah, but a laser you can mount on a ship or in a large cargo aircraft with a power source? Now we’re getting somewhere.

    • There was some interesting work done in this field involving COIL mounted aboard aircraft done by the Air Force, and I believe but may be incorrect here, Boeing. IIRC there was a successful test of that kind of system against an inbound missile in 2011 or so. This was usually described as a hydrogen peroxide laser, which is only partially correct.

      That research goes way back, to somewhere in the late 1970’s. It’s pretty darn cool in and of itself. I believe there was talking of putting such devices in space to intercept ICBM’s on launch and negate the threat of MIRVs.

      Again, IIRC, those projects were scrapped. Don’t know if I ever saw a reason why. I want to say the actual laser in the project was in the 20 megawatt range and it may have been scrapped for electric hybrid or AGIL systems to power the laser.

      It’s also cool that the same sort of tech, particularly AGIL, has been proposed as the initial starting point for deep space exploration via vessels using a light sail to accelerate to well in excess of 1/4 the speed of light.

      • I am not an engineer and know next to nothing about lasers. But in the late 80’s and early 90’s I lived within walking distance of Lawrence Livermore Labs in Livermore, CA. They did some mad scientist stuff there. Probably still do.

        One of the things they did was shoot a laser into space from there. They said they were measuring distances. It was bright yellow and straight as far as the eye could see. My kids school did a field trip there. They demonstrated a laser to the class by shooting a hole thru Lincolns eye in a penny. Nice, perfect hole right in the eye.

        That was 30 + years ago.

      • strych9:
        “That research goes way back, to somewhere in the late 1970’s.”

        No offense, but watch that “…way back…” stuff. You’re making me feel really old.

        • LOL. Point taken.

          Still, for laser tech the 1970’s is “way back”. The first laser was built in 1960. So when we’re talking cutting edge work in 1977 we’re going on the order of 72% back to the beginning.

    • I was there, testify this is correct. Probably the best known result of Reagan’s efforts, though, was the cruise missile, dreamed up as nonsense to be traded away in disarmament treaties, quickly proved such a marvelous idea it was removed from the bargaining table, although we did limit the range as part of an agreement. Since that time, technology has progressed so far that it is a valuable weapon even without a nuclear warhead, and if agreements were broken it could be quickly redesigned with the original 3500 mile range as opposed to, I think, 1500 now. It is now accurate enough for targeting to decide whether to fly that 2500 lbs of high explosives in through the front door or the back door. And it can be programmed to deliver 3 different payloads to 3 different targets, hundreds of miles apart, launched from submarines, aircraft, surface ships, or land.

  10. Will the manufacturer have to figure out how to micro stamp each photon leaving the device before it can be sold in California?

  11. Excerpt; “How long before Crimson Tracer has a long rifle version…”

    Ahhhh, you shouldn’t have said that to loud…The Demo-Authoritarians will have future Anti-Freedom Legislation ready to go to (pretending) to be a crime bill under the guise of public safety…2nd amendment be damned…Better hope Sleepy Joe Biden DOESN’T get elected..(re: DNC ballot harvesting for illegal aliens and hostile foreign nation agents…)

  12. I seriously doubt that this experiment is even close to becoming reality. Its one thing on training a laser on a very, very non-manuvering slow moving drone and instantly firing a powerful laser at an aircraft flying at the speed of sound. Like the magnetic fired cannon, these weapons take one heck of a large powerplant and super capacitors to hold enough power for instant firing of the system. The plant for the magnetic cannon was as large as a train engine and twice as heavy. The host ship cannot produce the power requirements for these weapons and for the ships systems, therefore the weapon must have its own powerplant and the vessel must have the space for the entire weapons system.
    These are great experiments, but, know that the weapon that’s comes from these experiments have to be able to take out a hyperspeed missile long before it reaches its intended target.

    • Mack:
      “Its one thing on training a laser on a very, very non-maneuvering slow moving drone and instantly firing a powerful laser at an aircraft flying at the speed of sound.”

      Let’s see: Light travels through space at 186,000 MILES per second. Mach 3 would be about 3,000 feet per second. At 186,000 MILES per second, a laser beam would travel, say, 5, miles in 5/186000 seconds. That’s 2.69 x 10-5 seconds. In that time, the aircraft would travel about .08 feet or 0.97 inches. So I don’t think a high speed aircraft could get out of its way.
      However, I’m not much of a mathematician, so you can check my figures.

      • That’s ten to the minus 5 power. The web site didn’t “swallow” the superscript command I tried to use in the notation>

      • lol ok boomer! hur hur! I hope you aren’t an engineer! *snork* already knew lasers are fast enough, they’re made of light and shit… are they as fast as light? wanna see my 9mm it’s got alloy parts on it

        • Yup! That’s a diaper boy! Doesn’t math and is proud of that! Thinks being a moron is soo-o-o cool.

      • Yo, Dave!! And the lead problem is similar, lick your finger and hold it up to gauge the wind, hold up your thumb, say “that looks about right”, then hold right square on the target whether it’s headed directly toward you, directly away, directly right or left. However, it costs an awful lot considering it would be useless with an overcast.

    • Was this another military “performance-optimized-test” where the event is staged to pass?

      I’d be more impressed if it hit and destroyed an aircraft following a conventional attack profile, an incoming missile, or even artillery projectiles.

      But baby steps first.

  13. Look at the opacity of that optical filter; I can only assume this weapon can be used beyond line of sight of any ships or aircraft (or their sensors) without everyone having to put on protective gear and cover lenses


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