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(Fox News)   The US Navy has developed a real, honest-to-God laser gun, mounted it on a ship, and is about to begin live-testing it with the Fifth Fleet. Next step: sharks   (foxnews.com ) divider line 225
    More: Cool, Fifth Fleet, U.S. Navy, laser guns, psychological testing, Buck Rogers, airborne lasers  
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14766 clicks; posted to Main » on 08 Apr 2013 at 6:09 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-08 09:22:41 PM  
Preparations A through G were complete failures, but it appears they now have a working prototype.
 
2013-04-08 09:22:51 PM  
Forget sharks. Dinosaurs are where it's at!
 
2013-04-08 09:23:40 PM  

Khell: DreamSnipers: The dirty secret of lasers is the effect on personnel. At longer ranges these powerful lasers can permanently blind people. The horrors of war are to include a weapon that can cause wholesale blindness among soldiers and affected noncombatants.
I felt the article was avoiding this issue with this quote "of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles."  Sooner or later, blinding is going to be a major issue with these weapons.

If you're being targeted with a high powered laser like this, its intent is to take out you or the transportation you're using.  Currently, that's done by shooting projectiles out of a gun/cannon, or by rocket/missile.  With those, you have a high chance of being torn through by the projectile, or by being blown up.  And if the intended target is missed, then noncombatants have a good chance of being directly or indirectly hit.

So I really don't see what the difference is.  Blind or blown up.


The difference is there will be no attempt to blow up.
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Turning+a+blind+eye+to+inhumane+weapon s. -a016684100
In the end they will be used simply as a weapon to blind.
 
2013-04-08 09:28:41 PM  

ISO15693: Well, lets say some Iraqi boat is making hostile movements (like they were a few months ago) - we don't want to shoot them. But we can set the laser on low - say150 degrees (F) - and heat them them until they leave. Or we just burn their flag off their mast, for grins. Non-lethal, cheap, and lulzy.


Warning shots are for TV and Hollywood. In real life, you shoot to kill or you don't shoot at all. In the case of a laser weapon you're going to burn/blind/maim people.
 
2013-04-08 09:30:09 PM  

AndreMA: Why a joke? I'd think that a mirror (tuned to relevant frequencies; here in the IR gold film on mylar might be good) would be an inexpensive and moderately effective defense. As Larry Niven advises, "Never fire a laser at a mirror"


To answer your question honestly, it is moderately effective, but only for a couple of seconds. Mirrors in general are good reflectors, but not good enough.

http://electron9.phys.utk.edu/phys514/modules/module3/electromagneti c_ waves.htm

In the "Plane waves at boundaries" section, you'll see approximate boundary conditions for incident E&M energy onto a good conductor (e.g., a metal surface). The first and fourth equations in those two columns are basically telling you that incident energy is going to cause current flow on the surface of the reflective conductor. For normal mirrors at ambient light, this current is very small and you don't have much to worry about. If you start getting into 10s of kilowatts of energy though, even the mirror will start getting pretty hot pretty fast; especially for a semi-continuous-beam laser. And the thing is, those boundary conditions don't require a mirrored surface. The mirrored surface just reflects light (mostly) in one direction. Any metal surface that simply scatters light is vulnerable to the same heating effects.

And once that starts happening, stuff like this starts happening.

3.bp.blogspot.com

Obviously motorcycle exhaust pipes take more than a few seconds to discolor, but a simple mirrored surface at high temperature will begin to "discolor" (react/oxidize/whatever) pretty quickly. That, in turn, will cause it's reflectivity to drop pretty quickly, and it all goes downhill from there. Designing optics for high power systems must be done very carefully or you'll burn up your own system. That's one thing Real Genius got completely right. I have no doubt that richer countries would be able to develop a laser-resistant finish, but it would probably be impractical to deploy on every missile, boat, drone, etc.

If I were to try to defend against this weapon (and if I were a financially able country) I'd probably try coating my missiles with a light ceramic ablative material and hope that the laser doesn't burn off enough to screw up my guidance controls before it can hit its target. Wouldn't even bother with the planes and boats; just have one chuck a missile over the horizon and then turn around and run like a biatch.
 
2013-04-08 09:33:06 PM  

Flt209er: If I were to try to defend against this weapon (and if I were a financially able country) I'd probably try coating my missiles with a light ceramic ablative material and hope that the laser doesn't burn off enough to screw up my guidance controls before it can hit its target.


Impart a spin to the rocket.
 
2013-04-08 09:35:49 PM  

ISO15693: Somaticasual: Had em' in concept since the 80s, in practice since the 90s, and in play since the mid 2000s

Did you rtfa?

The air-mounted lasers cost 1.5 billion each, and were expensive to operate, and were eventually cancelled.

These cost 32 million each, and cost $1 per "round" of power, and are going into service in 2014.

Its not so much the overall technology - its that it is now realistically affordable, and accurate (12 for 12 anyway)


And what the article failed to mention is that cost of the entire ABL program only cost 5 billion including all the development, the targets, the LASER, and the cost of the plane (A heavily modified 747).

If you are going to claim each ABL cost a billion dollars to deploy while including the cost of the aircraft it is mounted in then I want to see the cost of deploying these naval LASERs with the cost of the ship included. Lets skew things even further and include the personnel cost for putting a crew on each aircraft vs each ship. That should make things interesting.
 
2013-04-08 09:36:41 PM  

Fubini: ISO15693: Well, lets say some Iraqi boat is making hostile movements (like they were a few months ago) - we don't want to shoot them. But we can set the laser on low - say150 degrees (F) - and heat them them until they leave. Or we just burn their flag off their mast, for grins. Non-lethal, cheap, and lulzy.

Warning shots are for TV and Hollywood. In real life, you shoot to kill or you don't shoot at all. In the case of a laser weapon you're going to burn/blind/maim people.


Is that worse than Murder/Death/Kill? Still sounds better than every restaurant being Taco Bell.
 
2013-04-08 09:41:48 PM  

grokca: Finally we can get CHA written on the moon.


Boobies wins one internets.
 
2013-04-08 09:46:18 PM  

Yogimus: Flt209er: If I were to try to defend against this weapon (and if I were a financially able country) I'd probably try coating my missiles with a light ceramic ablative material and hope that the laser doesn't burn off enough to screw up my guidance controls before it can hit its target.

Impart a spin to the rocket.


Also effective, as long as the nose of the rocket isn't targeted, but very hard to guide. You'd essentially need line of sight to the target before you can impart spin. Good against stationary or very slow targets though, and you could spin up the rocket pretty quickly. I'd suspect, however, most people would just use the old fire-30-and-see-how-many-make-it-though approach.
 
2013-04-08 09:48:21 PM  

Flt209er: Yogimus: Flt209er: If I were to try to defend against this weapon (and if I were a financially able country) I'd probably try coating my missiles with a light ceramic ablative material and hope that the laser doesn't burn off enough to screw up my guidance controls before it can hit its target.

Impart a spin to the rocket.

Also effective, as long as the nose of the rocket isn't targeted, but very hard to guide. You'd essentially need line of sight to the target before you can impart spin. Good against stationary or very slow targets though, and you could spin up the rocket pretty quickly. I'd suspect, however, most people would just use the old fire-30-and-see-how-many-make-it-though approach



Agreed. Also, reflective surfaces are pointless when the laser is in the XRAY ranges.
 
2013-04-08 09:53:51 PM  

Fubini: Warning shots are for TV and Hollywood.


Personally, I shoot at my TV to kill. Same with Hollywood.
 
2013-04-08 09:54:53 PM  
Not a good cost effective system due to the curvature of the earth.  Much better weapon paradigms and much more effective.  Your tax dollars wasted.  Cool though.
 
Kiz
2013-04-08 09:56:37 PM  

loonatic112358: AndreMA: lostcat: ShadowKamui: lostcat: In other news, the new "ultra-shiny mirror finish" for sea and aircraft has become increasingly popular among militaries around the world.

Mirrors aren't Omani-directional, and may actually cause an even worse failure depending on how the light reflects out.

That was a joke.

Why a joke? I'd think that a mirror (tuned to relevant frequencies; here in the IR gold film on mylar might be good) would be an inexpensive and moderately effective defense. As Larry Niven advises, "Never fire a laser at a mirror"

and if you're firing it at something the same color as the laser, be patient


That's why the beam of this new laser is bright pink.

Sure, you can paint your ships bright fluorescent pink, but then it's easy for us to see you coming.
 
2013-04-08 10:02:24 PM  

Yogimus: Agreed. Also, reflective surfaces are pointless when the laser is in the XRAY ranges.


Also true. Or if they ever do get this thing into 100sKW or megawatt ranges.
 
2013-04-08 10:03:11 PM  

Kiz: loonatic112358: AndreMA: lostcat: ShadowKamui: lostcat: In other news, the new "ultra-shiny mirror finish" for sea and aircraft has become increasingly popular among militaries around the world.

Mirrors aren't Omani-directional, and may actually cause an even worse failure depending on how the light reflects out.

That was a joke.

Why a joke? I'd think that a mirror (tuned to relevant frequencies; here in the IR gold film on mylar might be good) would be an inexpensive and moderately effective defense. As Larry Niven advises, "Never fire a laser at a mirror"

and if you're firing it at something the same color as the laser, be patient

That's why the beam of this new laser is bright pink.

Sure, you can paint your ships bright fluorescent pink, but then it's easy for us to see you coming.


Cary Grant and Tony Curtis approve.
 
2013-04-08 10:04:07 PM  

Sanguine Dawn: First of all, you don't "burn" mist. The problem with lasers is that they are light and are subject to refraction and diffusion. More moisture = more dissipation of the beam. This also limits the effectiveness of lasers in ANY atmosphere (even a dry one) The effectiveness of this weapon over a distance will not be cost effective to achieve. A more reasonable development for energy weapons is in directed particle cannons that fundamentally turn the air into a superconductor and then electrify it, frying directional computers and possibly igniting warheads.


Well then we just need to ramp up our x-ray laser tech.
 
2013-04-08 10:36:51 PM  
aurorous

It's good to see the mythos of St. Ronnie alive and well. I believe Gorbachev had a very piquant quote about reducing complexities to either/or propositions.
 
2013-04-08 10:37:36 PM  

mark12A: Because People in power are Stupid: Might be a better missile defense than what is currently used on ships.

O RLY?

[media.defenceindustrydaily.com image 800x570]

R2 never breaks!

Actually the fleet used to say CIWS stood for "Christ It Won't Shoot!"

/Jesus Christ this text editor is farked up!


nteresting tidbit... In the usa we call it R2D2, while the British it is called a Dalek.

/Exterminate!!!
 
2013-04-08 10:38:13 PM  
They wont use it on manned aircraft just like seatbelt laws wont be used to pull you over and get a ticket.
 
2013-04-08 10:50:04 PM  
this is not cool.

it's an admission.
 
2013-04-08 10:57:18 PM  

Flt209er: AndreMA: Why a joke? I'd think that a mirror (tuned to relevant frequencies; here in the IR gold film on mylar might be good) would be an inexpensive and moderately effective defense. As Larry Niven advises, "Never fire a laser at a mirror"

To answer your question honestly, it is moderately effective, but only for a couple of seconds. Mirrors in general are good reflectors, but not good enough.


It's okay, they only need a few seconds.  It worked fine in Superman II.
 
2013-04-08 11:20:47 PM  

Rhino_man: On the PONCE? Seriously, Navy? You're going to put it on the oldest, shiattiest gator in service? The rest of its class was dismantled or sold to Spain YEARS ago. Its decommissioning has been postponed THREE TIMES. It doesn't have dedicated berthing spaces, PEOPLE SLEEP IN THE P-WAYS!

WTF, Navy? WTF are you thinking?


They're thinking if something goes wrong, they're not out a couple hundred million dollars in the ship alone.

That, if it can work on that boat, it can work on any other boat of the same size and displacement and up.
 
2013-04-08 11:26:04 PM  

DreamSnipers: The dirty secret of lasers is the effect on personnel. At longer ranges these powerful lasers can permanently blind people. The horrors of war are to include a weapon that can cause wholesale blindness among soldiers and affected noncombatants.
I felt the article was avoiding this issue with this quote "of obliterating small boats and unmanned aerial vehicles."  Sooner or later, blinding is going to be a major issue with these weapons.


This weapon works in the infrared range. You will have a lot more than worry about than blindness.

Namely, burning.
 
2013-04-08 11:31:00 PM  

Smoking GNU: I'd have to agree with you there. With lasers all you have to do is make the missile spin and distribute the energy from the laser evenly over the surface, which would significantly reduce the likelihood of it being shot down, whereas a bullet from that thing will dot he job, spinning missile or no.


Spinning a missile to prevent high-power laser damage is like telling a ballerina to pirouette in front of a shotgun.  The energy is still going into the target, and at that level, it will be causing all kinds of fancy plasma ablation effects on the missile.
 
2013-04-08 11:33:07 PM  
Oh great. Gun nuts will be wanting to carry these now. That'll work out well.
 
2013-04-08 11:39:00 PM  

Rent Party: No one uses them any more.  The US quit using them in the late 70s.


On the contrary, I used a flamethrower in Iraq in 2009 for counter vegitation missions.

I was also issued a bayonet.  (I mostly the bayonett to cook things)

Rah!
 
2013-04-08 11:44:22 PM  
Just don't shoot it at a mirror.

i49.tinypic.com
 
2013-04-09 12:00:22 AM  
Things that easily fark up a laser: Fog, Rain, Smoke, Dust, etc.

I used to be a laser technician, scientific and industrial.  The industrial were way more fun.
 
2013-04-09 12:00:24 AM  
Why haven't we heard from Admiral Hackett?

Fifth fleet out.
 
2013-04-09 12:01:01 AM  

Doom MD: Will cuomo pass a ban on me owning an assault laser rifle?


Not if its magazine holds 7 photons or less
 
2013-04-09 12:04:07 AM  

Yogimus: way south: Counter_Intelligent: lordargent: It's supposed to burn through metal at a distance, I don't think a little bit of mist is going to stop it.

I would think the problem would be refraction.  Lasers are still light.  I'd also wonder if heat haze interfered with lasers.

It will shorten the range, but the beams can be adjusted to overcome this.
Considering this is a close range weapon system, it will be perfectly lethal at the distances they are concerned about.

Laser light is all the same wavelength, so the diffraction is minimal, and equal across the beam.  the light does not bend when crossing from water to air/air into water


Refractors (aka, laser mirrors) have to be tuned to the frequency of the laser.  With something that powerful, the laser would probably melt the refractor rather quickly.
 
2013-04-09 12:04:29 AM  

SonOfSpam: Just don't shoot it at a mirror.

[i49.tinypic.com image 600x146]


Is that... vintage Jonny Quest?
 
2013-04-09 12:06:22 AM  

mrbach: Oh great. Gun nuts will be wanting to carry these now. That'll work out well.


Anyone strong enough to carry one of those is going to do whatever the hell he wants, anyway.
 
2013-04-09 12:16:52 AM  

EvilVanMan: grokca: Finally we can get CHA written on the moon.

Boobies wins one internets.


Boobies always win the internets.
 
2013-04-09 12:17:10 AM  

The WindowLicker: Rent Party: No one uses them any more.  The US quit using them in the late 70s.

On the contrary, I used a flamethrower in Iraq in 2009 for counter vegitation missions.


You must really hate to eat your broccoli.
 
2013-04-09 12:29:32 AM  
The USS Han shot first?
 
2013-04-09 12:45:27 AM  
It's okay, they only need a few seconds. It worked fine in Superman II.Well, can't argue with that.
 
2013-04-09 12:50:08 AM  
OgreMagi:

Refractors (aka, laser mirrors) have to be tuned to the frequency of the laser. With something that powerful, the laser would probably melt the refractor rather quickly.

I feel very smart right now, because I read your post and thought... "something like this has to exist..."

Turns out I guessed right: Plasma mirrors. And I'm obviously not the first to guess they could be used for intense lasers.

/ I am so SMRT! :P
 
2013-04-09 12:56:39 AM  

Counter_Intelligent: lordargent: It's supposed to burn through metal at a distance, I don't think a little bit of mist is going to stop it.

I would think the problem would be refraction.  Lasers are still light.  I'd also wonder if heat haze interfered with lasers.


That's exactly it. It's not shooting a beam of fire or something, the light itself isn't hot. The light just heats up whatever surface absorbs it, so if the light is reflected it won't work.
 
2013-04-09 12:56:42 AM  

Maul555: Rhino_man: On the PONCE? Seriously, Navy? You're going to put it on the oldest, shiattiest gator in service? The rest of its class was dismantled or sold to Spain YEARS ago. Its decommissioning has been postponed THREE TIMES. It doesn't have dedicated berthing spaces, PEOPLE SLEEP IN THE P-WAYS!

WTF, Navy? WTF are you thinking?

its on the
USS Dewey - DDG 105
either you cant read, or someone corrected a typo.


FTFA:"Navy officials announced Monday that in early 2014, a solid-state laser prototype will be mounted to the fantail of the USS Ponce and sent to the 5th fleet region in the Middle East for real-world experience."

Either you can't read, or someone corrected a typo.

alienated:Oldest ? Thats the Denver ....

Right you are.

Mr. Shabooboo: It's better to use an old ship as a test bed than take a more useful ship from frontline service just
to modified for use as a test platform for new stuff.


Good point.  I hadn't thought of that.

PluckYew: What years & Division?  The reason I ask is one of my former shipmates, transferred to the Ponce in '89.

/former USS Portland engineer


22nd MEU, 2009.  Did some of my workups and part of my deployment on the Ponce, but most of the deployment was on the Bataan.

Archae hippy: The constitution (1797) is still in service...


I said gator, that means an amphib.  The Constitution is a Frigate.
 
2013-04-09 01:06:13 AM  
ThreadSinger:

Sanguine Dawn: First of all, you don't "burn" mist. The problem with lasers is that they are light and are subject to refraction and diffusion. More moisture = more dissipation of the beam. This also limits the effectiveness of lasers in ANY atmosphere (even a dry one) The effectiveness of this weapon over a distance will not be cost effective to achieve. A more reasonable development for energy weapons is in directed particle cannons that fundamentally turn the air into a superconductor and then electrify it, frying directional computers and possibly igniting warheads.

Think of the idea that missiles will become obsolete as directed energy defenses become the situational norm, their trump being magnetic rail sabots. Directed energy will be unlikely to stop a tungsten rod flung with little heat signature from miles and miles away.

Though, lasers would definitely be useful in space. Nothing's gonna help us if we start laser-shredding up eachother's satellites in orbit. Imagine a giant whirling hellstorm of fractured nearly forever in orbit that rips everything we send up there to ribbons, effectively blocking us from meaningful use of space. Freaky eh?

Indeed. If I were a rogue state/non-state actor, that would be some nasty terrorism. Set up some kind of energy weapon (or recoiless rifle) in space, cut down national and commercial satellites (or just nudge them out of orbit), and watch the debris clouds fly. Bad news for the longevity of what's up there, unless you want to start armoring satellites at ludicrous cost.


You don't need lasers for that. This is one of the more worrisome things about countries like China and Iran getting orbital capability.

The US, and more specifically it's military are very dependent on satellites ranging from low level spy satellites to GPS. Militarily we're actually VERY dependent on them.

So our abilities could be degraded (in milspeak) by anyone who can get a rocket into the right orbit traveling in the opposite direction carrying nothing more than a stick of dynamite and a barrel of sand. BOOM! 10,000,000 "kinetic kill vehicles." Even if nothing happens for a while, you can't know when something you depend on will get hit, so you can't rely on them.

If *your* military doesn't depend on satellites, then it's worth your while to research how to deny orbits to potential enemies who *do*.
 
2013-04-09 01:13:17 AM  

ISO15693: Danger Avoid Death: violentsalvation: Aarontology: Because we have all this extra money just laying around.

It was actually much cheaper to develop than a missile system, and if it can take even some of the role of missiles it will save quite a bit of money. And it has non-lethal uses too.

Yeah, I hear that if you synchronize it to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" album, and hand out a little free herbage, you'll finally achieve lasting peace in the Middle East.

Well, lets say some Iraqi boat is making hostile movements (like they were a few months ago) - we don't want to shoot them. But we can set the laser on low - say150 degrees (F) - and heat them them until they leave. Or we just burn their flag off their mast, for grins. Non-lethal, cheap, and lulzy.

Heck, we could even write graffiti on the side of their boat. Not that I would condone it, but writing "Justin Beiber is totally hot!" on the side of an Iraqi warship would be entertaining.

This is the beauty of using lasers. You can dial them down more than you can a bullet/missile, while simultaneously hit a remote target much farther away with greater accuracy.


Wrong.
 
2013-04-09 01:20:27 AM  

Fubini: ISO15693: Well, lets say some Iraqi boat is making hostile movements (like they were a few months ago) - we don't want to shoot them. But we can set the laser on low - say150 degrees (F) - and heat them them until they leave. Or we just burn their flag off their mast, for grins. Non-lethal, cheap, and lulzy.

Warning shots are for TV and Hollywood. In real life, you shoot to kill or you don't shoot at all. In the case of a laser weapon you're going to burn/blind/maim people.


Bullsh*t. You might want to tell that to South Korea. I seem to remember something about warning shots from the recent past--like within the last year or so...

Warning shots.
 
2013-04-09 01:23:09 AM  

hardinparamedic: jigger: This is another one of those things. One of those "war crimes."

If you're going to ban the use of chemical weapons, hollowpoints, and flame throwers, why fark around? Ban the use of rifles and grenades. Ban bombs. Just make war illegal.

Insert joke about war free zones here.

Personally, I think it'd be farking awesome if wars were decided by gigantic paintball matches.


My vote is for politicians armed with hammers.
 
2013-04-09 02:11:58 AM  

LoneVVolf: Running a-puck: This is fantastic!  Lasers work great.  Well, unless the air is misty or even really humid, thank Poseidon that never happens on the ocean.

Yogimus: Good for air/missiles, not so much on ground based targets... damn you curvature of the earth!

That's what the 16/50's are for...
[www.history.navy.mil image 740x605]

/for when something on the other side of the horizon has pissed you off...


MY GOD THAT IS A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT!
 
2013-04-09 02:52:13 AM  

PsyLord: SonOfSpam: Just don't shoot it at a mirror.

[i49.tinypic.com image 600x146]

Is that... vintage Jonny Quest?


the internet says so.
FYI, did you know google lets you do a reverse search for an image? You open up google, go to images
and then you drag a picture from where ever. Google searches for that and similar images.
Not snark, if you didn't know, now you do.
Try it yourself! It's super cool
 
2013-04-09 02:56:49 AM  
Holy crap this story is everywhere.

Could we be any more obvious in saying "Hey. Hey! HEY!!! North Korea!  We have farking lasers on our ships now.  LASERS!!!!! PEW PEW PYONGYANG PYONG-GONE! So knock it off, 'kay?
 
2013-04-09 03:06:02 AM  
What I wanna know is what kind of sound does it make when it fires.  Is it just silent? Would have to pay an additional million to get fun sound effects on trigger pull?
 
2013-04-09 03:07:54 AM  

maxheck: OgreMagi:

Refractors (aka, laser mirrors) have to be tuned to the frequency of the laser. With something that powerful, the laser would probably melt the refractor rather quickly.

I feel very smart right now, because I read your post and thought... "something like this has to exist..."

Turns out I guessed right: Plasma mirrors. And I'm obviously not the first to guess they could be used for intense lasers.

/ I am so SMRT! :P


Very cool.  I've been out of the laser business a very long time and that was not something we had, as far as I know.  I did that in the 80's when artificial ruby rod lasers were cutting edge.
 
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