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Shark The Military

Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon 202

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ready-main-phaser-array dept.
Zothecula writes "In another step forward for laser weapons that brings to mind the Death Star's superlaser, Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser produced by combining many lasers into a single beam of light. According to the company, this is the highest power laser yet that was still able to maintain beam quality and electrical efficiency, paving the way for a laser weapon system suitable, if not for a Death Star, for a wide range of air, land, and sea military platforms."
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Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

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  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:14AM (#46147895)

    Lets keep them in one place, nice and tidy.

  • by Hamsterdan (815291) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @04:44AM (#46147939)

    Can we get this on that fighter? Seems only fitting...

    • by geogob (569250)

      every one knows that powerfull lasers' place is on board a B-1

    • by rossdee (243626)

      The F117 was not acually a fighter. It was designed to drop precision bombs. I don't think it has a (air) tracking radar.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      The 1990s called, they want their cool plane back.

  • Nobody has figured out how to stop laser beams that have missed their target, have they? Nope, didn't think so. Examine a missed 30kw laser beam and try to let us know if any dispersion effects will happen before a whole lot of collateral damage is done. Here's an easier challenge: show us a real, living unicorn.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      When has that been a problem with weapons, really? It's not like we have any way to stop any of those billions of bullets shot every year..

      • Here's an example of what can go wrong with beam weaponry: a fighter plane with a big-ass laser has an enemy fighter in its sights, but at the moment of truth the beam not only blasts the prey but also continues firing long enough for the coherent beam of destructive light energy to go onwards to strike a school in the metropolis below, causing a fire. Think of the children!!!

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          The same fighter fires a stream of lead at another fighter, missing and the lead raining down on a school below. How does the laser do any more/worse damage?
        • If you think that the beam of light is a problem, think of the many tons of burning fuel, explosives and scrap metal that are gonna fall out of the sky after the prey got blasted! Think of the children!

          • If a fighter plane is blown up over Kentucky, a family in Oregon or South Carolina need not worry about the debris falling on them. An errant 30kw beam of coherent light would be dangerous even in far away places.

            • by mosb1000 (710161)

              I'm not sure if you're serious or not, but the curvature of the earth would definitely prevent a laser beam from an aircraft in Kentucky from hitting a building in South Carolina, to say nothing of Oregon.

            • An errant 30kw beam of coherent light would be dangerous even in far away places.

              No, it wouldn't. A laser beam *defocuses* over long distances and becomes harmless. In an atmosphere it'll also suffer severe energy loss to the atoms it travels through.

        • by dreamchaser (49529) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @08:12AM (#46148565) Homepage Journal

          Laser weapons as they are being developed just don't work that way. The pulse is actually quite short when applied, and the target goes boom. You've watched way too many science fiction movies.

          They are also far more accurate than kinetic energy delivery weapons (big bullets).

      • by sir-gold (949031)

        Bullets fall, lasers don't

        If you shoot a gun, even a high powered rifle, it isn't going to blind someone 20 miles away like a laser would

        • by necro81 (917438)
          In how many circumstances do you have a clear 20-mile line of sight to a (potential) collateral victim? From where you stand right now, how far can you go on a horizontal plane before running into something (like a building, forest, mountain) that would stop a laser? Bullets do have limited range, especially compared to a laser, but in most battle zones, a bullet or laser will both probably run into something before it has a chance to run into an unintended victim.

          There are obviously many uses for this
          • by sir-gold (949031)

            The most popular application for laser defense currently is to have the laser mounted in an aircraft of some sort, which means that it will be fired horizontal, or even slightly downward.

        • by wagnerrp (1305589)

          Bullets fall, lasers don't

          Einstein is rolling in his grave right now....

          • by sir-gold (949031)

            Ok, lasers do technically still follow the laws of gravity, but because light has such little mass compared to it's velocity the gravitational effect doesn't really apply in the kind of scale we are dealing with (20 miles or less)

    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      Lasers might be safer than bullets, since bullets always land somewhere, while lasers disperse in space if you take care in what direction you fire them in.

    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Lasers, as most weapons, are directional. War, as most confrontations, is positional.
      Thus, collateral damage does not damage the shooter.

      Collateral damage to "not the shooter" hasn't stopped a weapon from being constructed ever in the history of mankind.

    • by abies (607076)

      You can aim laser quite well - you don't event need that much of lead on moving target... Regarding misses - it is not like it will go around earth looking for first person to kill. Good chances is that everything around the target you are aiming at is hostile anyway. In most cases they will be aimed either down (from airplanes) or up (as anti-rocket/mortar weapon), so there will be either ground or empty sky near the target. And diffraction/scattering will make sure that laser is harmless for sattelites if

    • by dbIII (701233)

      Nobody has figured out how to stop laser beams that have missed their target, have they?

      Water.

    • What would be great is if there were, say, 30 lasers mounted in a circle 1-2 meters in diameter. That way, in order to hit their target, they will focus on it, with all the lasers pointing inwards. The point the meet in the air being their intended target. Constructive interference, focused bean and all that jazz makes them effective. If they miss, then they are just 30 smaller beams scattering off being 'mostly harmless'.

      It's like, if you 'miss' with a magnifying glass, you don't burn the ants so much.

    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Fortunately, with lasers that aim up, you don't really have to worry about them falling back down. Maybe the Martians will have something to worry about, but that's not our problem.

  • Does it not seem most unfitting for a state which, though pridening itself in its alleged openness and democratic nature, can only keep itself afloat by a debt-raising mechanism, and by printing money, as well as for a state where a substantial portion of its citizens live in deepest poverty ( not to speak of their virtual illiteracy ) to develop weapons no one ever asked for ?
    • Despite your hatefulness, the US will still be one the first responders to any emergency/disaster you and your countrymen suffer.
      • That has nothing to do with hate. That has everything to do with the US not being, anymore, the state that came to Europe's rescue more than half a century ago. Things change, get over it.
    • Because Freedom, that's why! Commie.

    • by wiggles (30088)

      This [space.com] is why you're seeing this laser today. This is your "use case."

      Only an extremely powerful and fast laser can defend against a hypersonic missile. This laser is a defensive weapon, created to counter the Chinese hypersonic threat, although no one is saying it specifically.

  • Let me know when they get to the 30 MW mining laser. Then I can go harvesting some asteroids.

  • by Neo-Rio-101 (700494) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @05:19AM (#46148043)

    ...does it go.... pew! pew!... pew! pew!... pew! pew! pew!

  • I don't know the physics of it, could someone tell me whether it would be both feasible and helpful to combine various lasers of differing bandwidths into one beam?
  • "There's something very important I forgot to tell you. Don't cross the laser beams. It would be bad. Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously."
  • by Crypto Gnome (651401) on Tuesday February 04, 2014 @07:01AM (#46148341) Homepage Journal
    E Pluribus Unum!!!!!!
  • I'm highly dubious as to the real world applications of this system. Every other laser "weapon" has turned out to be highly ineffective, prone to failure & unable to meet any of its design goals. Just look at the ABL (Airborne Laser), they burnt over $5 Billion and were well on their way to burning more until some in the military hierarchy noticed that you would need dozens of them positioned inside even a small enemies airspace to be effective.

  • What happens when they take the wall wart away? How are they going to power this stuff in the field? And will that power system be hardened enough for combat while still being transportable?

  • Can it pop a giant bowl of popcorn in a house from a plane?

"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS

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