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Laser, Away!

February 18th, 2014 - 3:14 pm

A

Welcome to the Laser Navy:

The Navy plans to deploy its first laser on a ship later this year, and it intends to test an electromagnetic rail gun prototype aboard a vessel within two years.

For the Navy, it’s not so much about the whiz-bang technology as it is about the economics of such armaments. Both costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out.

“It fundamentally changes the way we fight,” said Capt. Mike Ziv, program manager for directed energy and electric weapon systems for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

The Navy’s laser technology has evolved to the point that a prototype to be deployed aboard the USS Ponce this summer can be operated by a single sailor, he said.

The solid-state Laser Weapon System is designed to target what the Navy describes as “asymmetrical threats.” Those include aerial drones, speed boats and swarm boats, all potential threats to warships in the Persian Gulf, where the Ponce, a floating staging base, is set to be deployed.

All that power in the hands of a single sailor. It’s not just a high-tech weapon, but fully deployed lasers and EM guns would reduce the Navy’s logistical needs by… well, by a lot.

Amazing stuff, but I won’t really be happy until Special Forces troops are issued lightsabers.

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Cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle

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All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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>>Amazing stuff, but I won’t really be happy until Special Forces troops are issued lightsabers.<<

It's been tried......
http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/11/pentagon-scraps-lightsaber-weapons-program-gross-misconduct-numerous-injuries/
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Both [lasers and railguns] costs pennies on the dollar compared with missiles and smart bombs, and the weapons can be fired continuously, unlike missiles and bombs, which eventually run out."

Railguns don't run out of ammo? Who knew? (OK, yes, you can carry a lot more railgun shells than smarty-pants missiles, but c'mon, professional reporters...)
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
OH YEAH. And I'm a girl.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know the business laser will be in the microwave range. But I'd REALLY love for them to affix a bright Red, Blue, and RGB-White Laser to this thing, that activate a second before the big one. Just so they know who has a FRIG'GIN LASER NAVY!
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pretty sure most of the baddies already know who has the god button.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
pew pew pew pew pew pew
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment

I had one simple request, and that is to have a DDG with frickin' laser beams on the foredeck! Throw me a bone here, what do we have?

An ill-tempered LPD.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
LPD is big enough to carry the RDT&E crew and test gear. It also has space for the capacitors mentioned below. The USS Ponce is being used as a BETA site.
DDG's are already crowded for space. It is not yet time to remove an existing weapons system for this one. Standard Missiles still outperform lasers at extended ranges.
Plus, DDG/DD/CG etc are all very busy with the world.
21 weeks ago
21 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm still skeptical of first-wave lasers. The R-squared law conspires against you in a way that makes their ease of aiming something of a moot point, and the power draw is ridiculous. I wonder if they're slaving these things to onboard nuclear plants. That'd keep 'em up, at least.

Railguns, though, are the freakin' cannon of the gods. The shells may not look very scary, but they're padded out to be heavy as all get out, sometimes using depleted uranium. So when you deliver them at hypersonic speeds via a railgun, well, suddenly you've got a cannonball with so much kinetic energy it causes atmospheric nitrogen to fluoresce as it flies and puts a six foot hole in a warship. Though, sadly, all that fluorescence and sound is also eating the energy it delivers, so I don't know what their effective range is.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
The point of Lasers is to negate that pesky R^2 issue. They don't break any laws or anything, but they can still get a reasonably sized dot a kilometer out. Once you start pumping 100+kilowatts into things, you can afford to spread that over a few hundred square centimeters.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Lasers are basically about anti-missile defense. Your point defenses are much more effective if you don't have to worry so much about running out of ammo.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment

My best buddy from college is a lead engineer/manager on rail guns at Patuxent.

Recently when we get together, he says less and less about it, but smiles more and more.

“They work. You’ll see.”

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Capacitors. Lots and lots of capacitors. Only practical way to deliver that kind of energy quickly.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Witness the power of this armed and fully operational... landing platform dock. /Palpatine

23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why the eff would you want a close quarters equivalent of a very hot knife? One of the primary benefits of directed energy weapons is r.a.n.g.e.

Lightsabers: The design equivalent of a nuclear-tipped axe.
23 weeks ago
23 weeks ago Link To Comment
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