A Navy laser set fire to a small ship bobbing in unruly seas this week, the first at-sea demonstration of one of the Navy's ray guns.
Check out the Navy's video of a fire slowly consuming the inflatable boat's outboard motors.
At times, the turbulent waters seemed ready to swallow the small craft, a testament to the laser's accuracy even in humid, unsteady conditions. The laser is part of a suite of future Navy laser weapons, which also includes the mega Free Electron Laser death ray.
This test took place Wednesday near San Nicholas Island, off the central California coast, and proves the laser can work in a maritime environment, according to Navy officials. Previous incineration tests all took place on land.
The solid-state, high-energy laser was mounted onto the deck of a self-defense test ship, the former USS Paul Foster, and integrated with the ship's radar and navigation systems. It fired a 15 kW beam across a mile of open water, but it's designed to be scaled up to 100 kW, according to builder Northrop Grumman, which has a $98 million laser contract through June 2014.
So far, it's not powerful enough to take out an incoming missile or warship — that's up to its larger brethren like the FEL. But it proves lasers can be effective weapons against small ships at relatively close range — like pirate ships, perhaps.
it's less destructive than I would have thought, but that's still pretty good progress. not to mention a video (finally)
Sheesh did they have to destroy two brand new 200 hp Mercury outboards to demo this? And we wonder why we are having a financial crisis in the federal government...
and in the next video they will be popping two black balloons.
I wonder how well this would work against softer, meater targets, say a pirate or a harder target, say an Iranian patrol boat?
Would like to see thefootage from the onboard they had there.
Jeesh guys this is a military weapons research program as in Top Secret, ya know? They're not showing us squat about what it's true capabilities are. The pacifistic "the military always lies and is wasting our money" crowd will think this thing can't light a match while the "General Patton was a wimp, our guys can kick ass Hooyah!!" crowd thinks it will take out the Death Star.
The truth is somewhere in the middle but we won't know it until it's deployed and been in battle for a few years.
@Caradoc01: it would probably kill them. This is a 14kW beam and a pulsed 1kW beam is estimated to be enough to kill a man. Of course this would probably work by cutting him in two (or at least setting him on fire). A pulsed 1kW works by effectively explosively drilling through him by flashing the water in the target's cells to steam causing an explosion of those cells and making a hole. Repeat this every few milliseconds for the next second and the guy now has a hole through him that would be fatal.
This would just cut him down.
What a waste... I could ve used those motors...sad
Make this portal in say a sniper type weapon because if like the guy above says it only takes one kw imagine a trained sniper with a lazer sniper rifle not having to worry bout the elements to skew his shot be insane. Buh bye baddies
the laser could only be used on outside targets, b/c if the laser was attwmpted to kill someone through glass, then the glass would refract the laser beam and kill your inside man.
Future armor will have to be chrome plated to reflect the laser. Should make a soldier easier to find in the bush.
I'd like to see that laser that can burn through 200 feet of steel a second hit a boat.
reflective surfaces would only reflect the light, not the heat.
This is BS, and good money after bad. The article says it's not supposed to destroy anything because thats up to it's brethren like the FEL. So the free electron laser actually exists to be the big brother of this waste of money? Our navy should be killing these murdering scumbags. With lead bullets. According to this, the object is to keep the murdering pirates away from the mighty warcraft, but still alive so they can still attack and kill the civilians on the merchantmen. So, after how many billions, we are right back where we started.
If the USS Cole had this laser, it would have prevented the deaths of 17 soldiers and the injury to 39 more, not to mention the cost associated with the cleanup and repair following the attack. I for one am proud to have my tax dollars finance a project that will guard against further attacks of the such and even allow the terrorists to be apprehended for interrogation.
This is the sort of weapon that has the potential to help usher in a new breed of precision combat, keeping more soldiers out of harms way.
@quasi44 armed forces today have big guns and small guns. we use small guns for small things and big guns for big things. its really not a new concept. and the navy is going trying to become a 100% electrical power branch of the armed forces so they will not be dependent on oil!!! the lasers, rail guns, and magnet based aircraft launched systems are all part of the overall future of the "navy of the future."
@inaka_rob: Bullets and missiles don't use oil; current launch catapults use steam that already originates from an electrical source (the nuclear power plant aboard); planes don't run on electricity; the US navy consumes 141,000 barels of oil a DAY.
@APOK011: I think the trillion dollars that the defense department spends each and every year could be put towards more humane and useful causes rather than finding better ways to kill people. Were you proud to support an unprovoked war that has led to <100,000 civilian + 4,200 soldier deaths?
For some reason, they don't want to use directed energy weapons against personnel, I think because they consider burning someone cruel, although they don't have a problem firing a piece of jacketed lead through someones body....
Also, the USS Cole had much more explosive and powerful weapons to defend itself. The problem was it didn't consider the little boat coming near it a threat. This was a procedural error, not a problem with a weapons system.
@andielite91 your post to me is confusing..."Bullets and missiles don't use oil;" I did not say other wise. "planes don't run on electricity;" I did not say other wise.
I am saying this laser is part of the navies overall goal to become an 100% electrical based branch of the armed forces in the near future. that's all I was saying. these laser cannons have the potential to be far cheaper and and more effective than bullets. You can only shoot so many round a min and make missiles so fast and powerful, but a laser's theoretical limits are essentially endless.
"the US navy consumes 141,000 barrels of oil a DAY."
thanks for that. it supports me original comment.
make it smaller more powerful and cooler and tahda you have a spartan laser! and im all for going halo!