I would think that lasers should be good for killing drones, or
blinding tanks. Even so, for tank cameras, simple LCD covers like in
welding helmets, should probably be good protection against lasers at
On Fri, 25 Sep 2015 17:16:02 -0500, Ignoramus32266
Killing drones is one of the major objectives of deploying the 30 kW
models, which both the Navy and the Army have. I don't know about
blinding tanks. Maybe.
The way they work depends on an extremely good tracking system. The
beam spot has to remain on its target for a couple of seconds to do
any serious melting or cooking, and that's with very thin rocket and
They have some practical uses right now, but they aren't the
game-changing weapons that will be coming down the road pretty soon.
Well you are looking at baby lasers.
In the 70's - late - I saw a 8 'barrel' cut 1/2" steel plate like butter.
Lasers are for Engineering and Research are different than the
table top lasers used to study lenses.
All it has to do on an ICBM or MIRV is to create a bump or snag.
A high energy pulsed machine gun type would cause massive friction
burns that melt down by friction any ICBM or MRV.
This isn't new technology. The magic in this stuff is shoot
an ICBM with a shotgun and it kills itself.
On 9/25/2015 9:38 AM, Ed Huntress wrote:
I'm talking about an ICBM or MRV coming in at high speed
and you shoot it with a BB, the BB dents the skin which then
causes friction and burning and you know the rest. Think of the
Shuttle. Something out of place or moving into the airflow burns and
causes massive disruption and explosions as it cascades into death.
On 9/27/2015 7:07 AM, Ed Huntress wrote:
Unless one is well-placed over enemy territory, the launch rocket is
out of reach. At the target end, it's raining reentry vehicles, each
of which is equipped with a very good ablation shield to survive
reentry. It takes a very large laser to drill that shield.
The lasers Martin is talking about were the chemical lasers that were
pumped with a chemical reaction, and that could put out a continuous 1
MW beam. They've been abandoned as weapons for several reasons. They
just aren't practical.
The laser types being developed now are solid-state, mostly
diode-pumped fiber lasers developed from industrial cutting and
There are other types of lasers under development that hold promise
for weapons. Right now, in industry, we're all waiting for high-power
direct-diode lasers. There are some prototypes working now. They could
make extremely compact weapons.
Yes, but megawatts are really not enough - everything is too critical
to carry off under battlefield conditions. Needs to be tens of
megawatts, and a hundred would make this a duck shoot against all but
reentry vehicles (which will spin and have mirror finishes by then).
These issues and stories come up in Aviation Week from time to time.
Well, how much you need is a matter of what you're trying to do. Right
now, fiber laser bundles putting out on the order of 30 kW are able to
shoot down drones and disable speedboats. They apparently can shoot
down small rockets, like the ones Hamas and Hezbollah shoot at Israel.
The Israelis want a bunch of them, fast.
At 100 kW, you have a pretty useful battlefield weapon. They'll have
that soon. At 1 MW, you're able to burn through some armor.
For the shorter ranges they're working with now, it's more a matter of
focus (BPP, if you're into lasers) and tracking. The beam(s) is
focused with lenses; it doesn't depend on the parallel beams
themselves. The tracking must be absolutely amazing to place a steady
laser spot on a flying drone for a few seconds and shoot it down, but
that's what the shipboard systems can already do.
Star Wars is still a ways off.
On Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 3:37:38 PM UTC-4, Ed Huntress wrote:
Again, that's because since the Spanish American war and the time of Nicola
Tesla the US military has financially focused in on metal and chemical fas
hioning side of the military (that benefitted fossil fuel concerns) and rel
atively nothing went toward military electrophysics or electromagnetic rese
arch and production.
On Mon, 28 Sep 2015 14:37:47 -0700 (PDT), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
You seem to have a belief that the military could create magic if they
just knew what technologies would be available 50 years in advance.
As for long-range Star Wars lasers to knock out ICBMs, what do you do
if it rains?
When I was closely involved with that stuff, before the push toward
COTS, military electronics were about 20 years ahead of civilian use.
Remember the comment that the missing Malaysian airliner could have
been tracked if it carried the right technology? I built prototypes of
it in ~1995.
DARPA has pushed laser technology for decades. As I mentioned, the man
who helped me built a ruby-rod laser in 1965, Dr. Herb Elion, was
doing advanced laser research for the Navy then.
When they dropped the chemical lasers for impracticality, diode lasers
were already making progress in industry. So a lot of research tagged
along with that. Those are the weapons we have today. The realm that
further advances in laser weapons are in consists largely of problems
with maintaining beam integrity. The government has thrown a lot of
money into university research that's been working on that. It's very
Laser technology has been pushed so hard, from so many angles, for so
long, that it seems doubtful that it could have moved much faster, no
matter how much military-industrial-complex money was thrown at it.
In the mid 60's a military contractor beamed a ruby laser between
their NH facilities 15 miles apart. While they were setting up the
beam hit the ground, causing a woman to fall into a fit of religious
ecstasy from seeing the Burning Bush.
I spent three college summers working on government research grants.
We used the campus water tower to range with. It was easy
to get mechanical distance and later it was done using a laser.
On a dark night, without a moon, you could just see it on the
tower with a small telescope or binoculars.
Love the burning bush.
We worked on a neutron gun. Spooky. But I learned
how to protect oneself from a neutron explosion or beam.
Candle wax. Large thick blocks. Then the same in concrete.
I was using a machine in the same lab as our 'mad' and lovable
scientist from Scotland. Fresh out PHD in the right field.
And a voice we never heard in East Texas in the late 60's.
And 5 years after I lived in the south pacific.
On 9/28/2015 6:40 PM, Jim Wilkins wrote:
On Monday, September 28, 2015 at 7:28:37 PM UTC-4, Ed Huntress wrote:
That's beside the point. The military has always devoted the lion's share of resources to other areas. Fighters, bombers, infantry, self-propelled armor, etc. Weaponized electrophysics got hardly any comparable financing.
On Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:50:08 -0700 (PDT), email@example.com wrote:
I don't think you're right about that. The government has funded a lot
of laser research. During Star Wars, it was a huge amount.
The understanding of laser physics took some time. If you look at the
earlier books on lasers versus what it known today, it's startling.
I'm having a heck of a time keeping up just with the industrial
Research sometimes takes time and coming up with ideas more than just
On Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 5:54:49 PM UTC-4, Ed Huntress wrote:
e of resources to other areas. Fighters, bombers, infantry, self-propelled
armor, etc. Weaponized electrophysics got hardly any comparable financing
Hell. Ronald Reagan even ignored treaties with the Russians to limit stuff
like cruise missiles. Though, House Speaker Tip O'Neill and the democrats
were tougher on Star Wars related research than the republicans at that ti
me, but still. Electromagnetic and laser research, development and product
ion always get next to nothing in funding compared to stuff like
F-15s, Stealth Bombers, A-10s and M-1 tanks and munitions.
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