Laser weaponry is a hot topic lately (excuse the pun), especially for those who question the ethics of using them on the battlefield. In late September, the Senate approved a Defense Authorization Bill that would provide new funding for military laser weapons.
So called "directed-energy weapons" use a beam of coherent light to disable attacking troops. According to the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which presidential hopeful John McCain is a member, laser weapons provide a tactical advantage primarily because of their accuracy. In the future, these weapons could be used during combat as a defensive measure, but it's still unclear whether the Department of Defense will decide to develop them as offensive weapons.
A "shoot-down" test from a 747 is planned for the end of 2009. If the test shows that laser weaponry has potential, an additional $30 million in funding will be allocated to develop a missile defense program.
Today, low-power laser weapons are being used in Iraq to "incapacitate" enemies or "deter" vehicles from approaching checkpoints. (The Department of Defense did not immediately return our requests for information about the new funding for laser weaponry.) Similar to a Taser weapon, low-power lasers cause disorientation or temporary blindness.
In August, Boeing announced that the U.S. Army had awarded the company a $36-million-dollar contract to develop a high-powered laser weapon. The Geneva Convention specifically prohibits the use of lasers in combat, but the truck-mounted weapon under development -- called a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck -- would be used as a defensive measure, capable of shooting down rockets, artillery shells, and mortar rounds. The vehicle will use a solid-state laser system (solid-state lasers are also used in computer semiconductors), which is more efficient and accurate than standard laser weapons.
Lasers are currently used on the battlefield for targeting and tagging enemy units. For example, the LDART (Laser Detection and Reciprocal Targeting) system can read whether a vehicle has been "painted" by a laser, and warn troops of impending threats. Lasers are also used for missile guidance and to determine the range of objects on the battlefield as a guide in troop advancement.
[Via the Washington Post]
Cool! Sounds fun to play with. Oh, where is...
Actually the Geneva Convention only prohibits the use of lasers specifically designed to blind enemy personnel - there is no prohibition on other anti-personnel uses, such as using lasers to kill enemy combatants. But that would be awesome - maybe they could incinerate Bin Laden with a laser!
Luke...Trust the Force,Luke...(I couldn't resist).
It's exciting to see the development of threat-deterrence systems rather than lethal weapons. Lasers are amazing. By the way, the Geneva Convention only prohibits using lasers to cause permanent blindness.
This could spark somthing new...
A new type of war...
I have a very bad feeling about this, but it sounds great to me.
see my emp rifle pic.
This is kinda old news, (as far as the 747 mounted laser)nevertheless, the development of lasers for use in combat is fricken cool! its the next step toward phasers, photon torpedos, and eventually, QUANTUM TORPEDOS!
lol all they way! Yeah its only blinding, but nothing about setting ablaze from a few miles away
I wanna se a handheld version.And yes they have a giant laser mounted on planes but those r to big.
from what i have seen there is a air taser in development. it uses a laser to ionize a direct path to a target then sparks a charge that follows the ionized path was pretty cool to see.
Temporary blindness is fine with me. If I get into a TIC, an ambush I want to be able to light up an entire treeline or mountain side with lasers. My buddies and I would use them in a heartbeat if we had them here in Afghanistan, you bet. We'd shoot a lot less bullets, and have fewer civilian casualties.
I would think this would be helpful for shooting down incoming missels. Except all anyone would have to do is mirrorize the exterior of any missel and any laser used on it would be inefective.
I've been deployed to Iraq for about 11 months, and (in no way is that depressing hahah... anyway) we use lasers quite a bit over here for escalation of force. I've seen lasers that have been used to "deter" vehicles from approaching checkpoints, but none that "incapacitate" enemies.
Didn't Tesla invent a death ray? Why don't we have more death rays?
Why waste billions on these. Why don't we invent Satellite DNA Detectors. Find some of the bad guy's DNA (Anyone come to mind?) Since DNA is somewhat unique we could deliver a nice Hellfire suppository to the target when satellite goes on point.
sweeet! our first real energy weapon.
ive had an idea for using my laser pointer as a defence weapon for personal use by using it to temporarily or permanently blind robbers, muggers, ect.
Sudden urge to say,Captin Kirk,Fire the Proton Torpedoes...
anyways, totally cool.Laser weaponry.The future, and every little boys dream is coming true.