The official performance results aren’t available yet, but General Atomics confirmed this afternoon that it’s next-gen aircraft carrier launch system successfully launched an F/A-18E Super Hornet on Saturday, not with steam but with its new electromagnetic aircraft launch system, or EMALS.
Directed energy weapons -- the laser weapons of the future -- have shown promise in both their power and their precision. But there are some serious technological challenges involved in weaponizing devices like powerful chemical lasers, not least of which is dealing with the vast amounts of waste heat they generate. General Atomics recently tested a wax-fueled storage device that might just overcome that hurdle, opening the door to the next generation of energy weapons.
This is my boom stick. Well, not mine, but General Atomics'. Known primarily for manufacturing the Predator drone, General Atomics has also moved into the weapons business, as demonstrated by this first ever successful test of their "Blitzer" rail gun. This involved the cannon firing a number of rounds down the range at the US Army's Dugway Proving Grounds.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.