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Northrop Grumman Markets Weaponized Laser System

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the hoping-for-a-bulk-discount dept.

The Military 246

stephencrane writes "Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. The solid-state laser unit weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit a 100 kW beam. It looks like some piece of stereophonic amplification equipment out of the '50s. Or Fallout 3. The press release suggests that FIRESTRIKE 'will form the backbone of future laser weapon systems.'"

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246 comments

In other news (4, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767461)

Northrop is also working on a weaponized shark system.

Wayne Newton being held by the miliary (3, Funny)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767475)

Apparently, he is the only one who could defeat this system, due to his rhinestone covered suit.

Re:Wayne Newton being held by the miliary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767591)

Dude I think you misheard. They are holding Tom Jones.

Re:In other news (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767487)

I wonder if this laser can pop popcorn? From long distances? In someone's house?

Re:In other news (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767577)

I wonder if this laser can pop popcorn? From long distances? In someone's house?

Yes. First use the laser to set the house on fire. Next use it to blow up firetrucks trying to put out the fire. The popcorn will then pop as desired.

Re:In other news (4, Funny)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767811)

That would be genius! Really!

Re:In other news (2, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768157)

The only thing more impressive I could think of, would be driving a six inch railroad spike through a board.....

Now...what would I use to do that with.....?

Re:In other news (3, Funny)

Adriax (746043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767511)

I can guess how that board meeting went:
Engineer: *holds a model shark in one hand, a model of their laser system in another* "Behold!" *mashes two models together*
Cue large round of applause and back patting from board members.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767805)

How the hell can the first post be redundant? Overrated maybe, but not redundant. I thought it was funny personally. I hope the meta-moderators hit them over the head with a clue stuck.

Re:In other news (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768077)

well, the "sharks with friggin-lasers on their heads" joke is already mentioned in the article (at the very end). so repeating a joke that's in the article can be considered redundant to some people. besides, it's a pretty old/tired joke that gets mentioned pretty much every day here.

Re:In other news (1)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767875)

It will take a lot of miniaturization. The one they have now is way too big and heavy for a shark's head.

Re:In other news (2, Informative)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767999)

way too big and heavy for a shark's head
 
You need to do more shark research. At a mere 400 pounds, it wouldn't bother this shark [wikipedia.org] at all to carry several around.

Re:In other news (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768079)

Things weigh a lot less in water. I weigh about 150, and my kids could carry me at age 5 when I'm in the pool (which they found highly amusing). They'd have to reduce the drag coefficient, though. Maybe they should collaborate with Boeing or Lockheed Martin.

Re:In other news (3, Informative)

AnarkiNet (976040) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768259)

You don't weigh any less in water, but someone "picking you up" or "carrying" you while in water is aided by the fact that people are buoyant. I can guarantee that a 400lb metal box is not buoyant in the slightest.

EL Tiburón de Morte (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768243)

EL Tiburón de Morte

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767483)

Prefab lasers.

Evil Geniuses rejoice everywhere.

That's no home stereo... (1)

Redfeather (1033680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767485)

It's a solid state laser weapon.

Re:That's no home stereo... (3, Insightful)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767635)

sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack

Don't worry guys, the TSA is working hard on updating their "do not mix with aircraft" list to accommodate this.

Yes but (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767499)

We are gonna need a bigger shark.

Re:Yes but (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767921)

In other news, Northrop Grumman announces they have contracted InGen to clone C. Megaladon.

Laser sharks Post no 1 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767503)

Yahoo, laser sharks.

(And a whale to carry the power pack)

More details? (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767513)

This [regmedia.co.uk] pic from TFA shows a "heating/cooling" interface which shows that the units are going to need a coolant circulation system which would makes the whole system more cumbersome than it appears at first glance. With each LRU at 400 pounds + the cooling system I doubt these would be mounted on a hummer.

Another bullet point is that TFA states that "The firm has said that at least eight of these can be linked up to get a proper 100 kilowatt beam" but how exactly would that be done? this [primezone.com] provides an idea, anybody "in the know" wanna chime in?

Re:More details? (3, Informative)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767615)

from here: http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m998.htm [fas.org]

The High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) is the replacement vehicle for the M151 series jeeps. The HMMWV's mission is to provide a light tactical vehicle for command and control, special purpose shelter carriers, and special purpose weapons platforms throughout all areas of the modern battlefield. It is supported using the current logistics and maintenance structure established for Army wheeled vehicles. The HMMWV is equipped with a high performance diesel engine, automatic transmission and four wheel drive that is air transportable and droppable from a variety of aircraft. The HMMWV can be equipped with a self-recovery winch capable of up to 6000 pound 1:1 ratio line pull capacity and can support payloads from 2,500 - 4,400 pounds depending on the model. The HMMWV is produced in several configurations to support weapons systems; command and control systems; field ambulances; and ammunition, troop and general cargo transport.

Sounds like the Hummer can carry quite a FEW 400 pound laser packs. In fact, a light and fast platform like the HMMWV is IDEAL for a weapons system like this. I expect we'll see this deployed within 10 years.

Re:More details? (3, Informative)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767779)

it's not a weight issue. it's a power issue. the Humvee can't just run one of these off it's alternator like it can with the air conditioning. It's a high power laser system, which needs a lot of back end support (cooling, etc). Probably not made for a HMMWV. Maybe one of the larger vehicles. Notice from the release that operation is "Continuous, as long as power and coolant are provided". So power's not internal, it has to be hooked to some sort of converter. That will likely be another box almost as big as the laser itself. Cooling will be a third box (that must be powered too) also about the same size. These are big.

Re:More details? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768193)

Exactly. The article states that the laser is only 20% efficient, thus the 100kw beam requires a 500kw power source. It would take one heck of a diesel engine to run a 500kw generator.

However...

An M1 Abrams tank has a 1500 horsepower turbine engine which would be more than enough, and is easily capable of carrying the 1.5 tons of laser modules and probably 0.5 - 1 tons of cooling equipment. You could theoretically replace the main gun with one of these, though I have no idea if it would make tactical sense to do so.

Re:More details? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768217)

The hybrid drive train FCS family of tracked vehicles would have the ability to power and haul such gear, and this has been envisioned for many years.

https://www.fcs.army.mil/ [army.mil]

HMMWVs are merely light utility trucks.

Re:More details? (1)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768307)

How about in an airplane? You have plenty of power and weight/space don't need to be an issue. I would think something like this could provide a higher precision alternative to the projectile weapons mounted in an AC130. The main issues that come to mind are stability (how long would you need to hold this steady on a target) and range.

Actually, a quick bit of googling reveals that is in the works [engadget.com] ,

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768337)

power can be provided by a high density capacitor bank, as long as you don't need a continuous beam. recharge time could be problematic, but a supplemental power source could be fitted.

there's already talk of going all electric and using a turbine for a generator, allowing the vehicle to generate a lot of energy quickly.

i doubt we'll see them replace the 50 cal machine guns with these anytime soon, but who knows?

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767627)

I'm not "in the know" but I have a feeling someone I know is... I'll ask. ;)

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767637)

It would fit well as a larger laser destroyer. Get four or five of these fully linked 8-generator combo guns up and cooled, everything powered from a light nuclear reactor below should work very well and still be fairly light.

Re:More details? (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767747)

The HMMWV is not ideal for mobility. It is a cheap light tactical truck.

Where a laser would be a good fit is in upcoming hybrid-drive FCS-type tracked vehicles. Tracks give far superior mobility, more usable interior space, and can carry more armor. The hybrid electric system offers plenty of electrical power.

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767885)

Another bullet point

Can a laser have bullet points?

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768173)

This [regmedia.co.uk] pic from TFA shows a "heating/cooling" interface which shows that the units are going to need a coolant circulation system which would makes the whole system more cumbersome than it appears at first glance. With each LRU at 400 pounds + the cooling system I doubt these would be mounted on a hummer.

Another bullet point is that TFA states that "The firm has said that at least eight of these can be linked up to get a proper 100 kilowatt beam" but how exactly would that be done? this [primezone.com] provides an idea, anybody "in the know" wanna chime in?

Re:More details? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768191)

FAIL.

Re:More details? (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768201)

"...anybody "in the know" wanna chime in?"

Each 'weapon' emits 15kw in one 'spot'. Put eight 'spots' on target and you get "a proper 100Kw". The 'synchronization' comes from being able to 'steer and fire' the weapons simultaneously. Oh, and don't forget the weight -1.5 tonnes ('nes' indicates metric)- and the efficiency -~20%- and total power requirements -~500Kw input power for ~100Kw out- means that this thing won't be mounted on a Humvee any time soon.

Re:More details? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768397)

Yeah, but "steer and fire" means that you're going to rotate the entire array until its facing the target, and then you're going to depend on the proximity of the target to cause damage because the beams are apparently fixed.

I doubt they'll have some ultra-advanced ranging system combined with self-steerable beams to focus all of the beams onto a single point from variable distances.

More likely they made crude calculations based on the destructive power of the collective beams with respect to distance and designed the size of the units so that they could be stacked to maximize damage within an ultimately narrow range.

These things are designed for ruggedness, but all "current" military technology is really 10-20 years behind "cutting edge".

BattleTech. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767533)

"Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. The solid-state laser unit weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit a 100 kW beam."

Now you can see why DARPA's working on exoskeletons.

Dammit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767547)

I should've ordered UPS 2-Day Air shipping on this thing, not ground. I won't get to play with it until late next week. :-(

Re:Dammit (1)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767943)

UPS won't ship more than 150 pounds. You should have hired a courier (and told them "no signature required," so they can leave it on your doorstep).

Dr. Evil (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767567)

Dr. Evil: [about his new "laser"] You see, I've turned the moon into what I like to call a "Death Star".
        [Slashdot snickers]

Blind soldiers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767571)

So what do we do with all the blind civilians and soldiers then? I assume soon blindness will be fully curable but I also assume there will be shortages so that only people in the military will have vision during wartime?

Re:Blind soldiers (2, Insightful)

david duncan scott (206421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767641)

You haven't seen how the US handles casualties of war [washingtonpost.com] , have you?

Eye patches and canes, maybe a dog for officers. You can't make an omelet without breaking legs.

As for civilians, well. . .

Re:Blind soldiers (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767681)

he meant exoskeletons for carrying those lasers on the battlefield, spend soldiers can go homeless like they always did, nobody cares about them

Re:Blind soldiers (3, Insightful)

level4 (1002199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767973)

If you're being shot in the face with a 15KW laser, I think blindness is the least of your worries. A direct shot from something like this will lead to blindness in the same way a bullet in your eye leads to blindness. The unit is a weapon and will be treated like one, I doubt they'll be waving it around as a joke any more than they shoot people with real bullets for a joke.

More interesting is the question of backscatter - lasers can be reflected. In fact, it would see the primary means of protection against laser fire would be a mirrored surface. On any kind of complex surface that will indeed produce a lot of scattered rays of lesser, but still blinding, power.

I would assume that the primary envisaged use case of this thing, right now at least, is anti-missile, especially at sea. Anti-ship missiles typically have a curved, if not spherical, tip, which in future will presumably be covered by a mirrored coating as a counter to the existence of laser defense systems. At least some of the laser light, then, will likely reflect back at the ship, with unpredictable intensity.

The advent of this kind of thing may indeed precipitate an interesting change in how military personnel dress and expose themselves in combat situations. Mirrored helmets for everyone who could possibly be in range would seem a likely first step ...

Disclaimer: I know nothing about laser warfare that I didn't learn from Culture novels!

Re:Blind soldiers (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768103)

There's a material out there, google for it, that can go from a transparent material to a mirrored material in around 11 seconds when current is applied to it. I could see that being used as a windshield for whatever vehicle carries these devices, and activated before firing the weapon.

Re:Blind soldiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768123)

Disclaimer: I know nothing about laser warfare that I didn't learn from Culture novels!

Unfortunately, the Culture novels usually include various forms of imaginary "Field" tech that drastically even the odds for both human-scale and starsship laser battles, typically "mirror" field configurations that act as nonmaterial perfect deflectors of laser beams*. Some of the field tech is actually technically possible, sortof (extrapolate from e.g. recent "invisibility cloaks"), but we're a long, long way from making them work the way the ones in culture novels work. They basically might as well be magic. And that's not even getting into the fictional-as-far-as-anyone-knows hyperspace mechanics that totally change the nature of the space battles from the realistic - "electromagnetic effectors" are used across relativistically absurd distances given the 3-space speed of light, but banks is careful to point out that hyperspatial quantum-equivalents are employed. Banks writes to be carefully internally consistent with his imaginary physics, and the Culture novels DO rock, but I'm afraid they don't perfectly correspond to currently known physical theory. Banks' non-Culture book "The Algebraist" is IMO excellent, and is "harder" science fiction and has more realistic space battles, but still features only-slightly-more-plausible wormholes as a core element.

*Note "beam weapons" in the culture novels are often tunable gamma-ray lasers by human standards, or streams of more exotic particles. The abbreviation CREWS (Coherent Radiation Emission Weapon System) is used to get across they aren't "just" terran-scale laser weapons systems.

Re:Blind soldiers (2, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768253)

"The advent of this kind of thing may indeed precipitate an interesting change in how military personnel dress and expose themselves in combat situations. Mirrored helmets for everyone who could possibly be in range would seem a likely first step ..."

Mirrored helmets are sniper bait, but a full-face combat helmet system with auto-darkening lenses would reduce eye damage from reflections. Auto-darkening welding lenses are cheap to produce.

http://www.millerwelds.com/products/weldinghelmets/ [millerwelds.com]

defense (2, Interesting)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767599)

So what exactly happens when they point the laser at a tank with a bunch of large corner cube reflectors mounted on it? I mean, if even a fraction of the laser energy comes back I could see this being a real problem.

Re:defense (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767737)

Just hit the tank with a conventional missile first.

Re:defense (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768291)

"Just hit the tank with a conventional missile first."

After which it won't need lasing. The reflectors would make a nice sparkly target. :)

Only the good guys will be allowed one. (1, Insightful)

bornwaysouth (1138751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767765)

It doesn't sound like an anti-tank weapon. More like a means of frying eyeballs.

So what happens if it is mounted in a suitable high office in New York. You could cripple the city for a while. Drawing the curtains will not help. And the good news is, the operators do not have to commit suicide. The targets are stationary and keep office hours. It could be programmed and left. Visual Basic sounds appropriate.

Re:defense (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767803)

Lasers, reflectors?

God damnit, now I want to go grab a few of my old friends and play a RIFTS [wikipedia.org] ® campaign. Never got around to playing a Glitter Boy [nationmaster.com] .

Re:defense (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767949)

Something tells me that tanks with corner cube reflectors will be easily detected and fall prey to conventional weapons...

Re:defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768033)

Uhhh you send in the A-10 Warthog to bust that shit open with depleted uranium rounds. Lets see your mirrors reflect that.

This is a anti-missle/jet weapon mainly.

Water vapor or sand cloud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768039)

What if the bad guys' vehicle had sensors that figured out they were having a laser trained on them, wouldn't some of the beam's pinpoint energy be absorbed or deflected by a simple fan arrangement that blew downwards and kicked up a cloud of sand or dust around the vehicle? Or shoot out water vapor or from internal tanks? Same thing for shipboard protection against directed beam weapons, just keep the thing shrouded in a big cloud of seawater mist. Seems pretty obvious to me.

Re:defense (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768139)

Well first off it would be hard to hit the tank with a laser unless it was very close, or you were on a hill, since lasers are line of sight. These would probably be for anti air, most likely anti-missile, since lasers travel a *lot* faster than other rounds targeting is simpler. I wonder, are there any designs for stealth cruise missiles?

so what next ? (3, Interesting)

Atreide (16473) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767625)

ok for christmas I get my brand new 15kw or later my 100kw laser gun.

but what can i do with that ?
explode a potato in a 10 minutes static shot ? or melt aircraft wing in 1 second ?

also laser is light, therefore someone just needs to diffract or reflect the stream to be protected ? is that right ?

Re:so what next ? (3, Interesting)

stdarg (456557) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767847)

The explanation I've heard is that even though you see the light being diffracted or reflected, it's still being absorbed and re-emitted at the photon level. The material has to be able to stand up to the energy of the beam. Most mirror surfaces would quickly decompose.

Re:so what next ? (3, Informative)

bziman (223162) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767901)

also laser is light, therefore someone just needs to diffract or reflect the stream to be protected ? is that right ?

Not quite... a reflecting surface has to absorb all the energy and then re-emit it when it is reflected. With a regular mirror, it's a piece of glass with a silvered back. This would rapidly heat up and destroy the glass, and the silvering. With a highly reflective metal surface, it would still heat it up and destroy its reflective properties with hasty abandon. Do a google search for anti-missile lasers to read how a laser weapon actually works.

Re:so what next ? (4, Interesting)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767927)

ok for christmas I get my brand new 15kw or later my 100kw laser gun. ... but what can i do with that ?

To provide a sense of scale, industrial laser cutters (CO2) tend to run from 100 W to 3000 W. The smaller of these lasers is five times more powerful. I imagine it could cut through an aircraft's wing in milliseconds at most; due to weight limits they aren't very thick. Of course, you'd need to do more than just bore a hole through the wing to bring down a plane.

It's worth noting that a sufficiently powerful laser will actually vaporize the surface, rather than just melting it. It can essentially cause the surface to explode from the sudden influx of heat, resulting in far greater damage than a simple cut.

also laser is light, therefore someone just needs to diffract or reflect the stream to be protected ? is that right ?

At these power levels even an optics-quality mirror tends to absorb too much energy to remain effective. Even if it's just 0.1%, that's still 150 W to 1 kW being absorbed, which will quickly heat the mirror to the point where it becomes opaque.

If you could make it work, though, a retroreflector [wikipedia.org] would be even better than a mirror, since it would redirect the laser back at the source.

Re:so what next ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768073)

Aircraft? No, aircraft are moving. It's very difficult to maintain a tight focus on such an object, and it has plenty of air cooling. Blinding the pilot or their optical instruments? Now, that's handy. It's also handy for other tight, small targets that won't easily dissipate heat. Tires, human eyes, radar antennas, etc., all seem good targets. Blowing through tank armor? Not bloody likely, the mass of metal will help dissipate any but a seriously prolonged attack quite easily.

Re:so what next ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767993)

also laser is light, therefore someone just needs to diffract or reflect the stream to be protected ? is that right ?

In theory, yes. In reality? No. Basically, if you had a perfect mirror, you could deflect a laser beam. The reality is that all mirrors have imperfections. Even if you had an absolutely perfect mirror, the environment will contaminate it with dust and water vapor. Once you blast that mirror with your absurdly large laser, those imperfections, dust, and water all heat up and promptly destroy the mirror. A good mirror might give you a fraction of a second more time before you turn into a puddle of melted goo, but it isn't much in the way of armor.

The best laser defense is probably a half-assed mirror followed by a layer of something that has a high melting point that can absorb a lot of heat before melting, followed by a layer of insulation. The idea is to first deflect as much energy as possible, absorb energy, and protect the target thermally for as long as you can. This might save you from a glancing blow or a brief hit. It would destroy the armor in the process, but it might protect the soft squishy bags of mostly water that are inside the target for a brief peroid of time. In the end, the best defense against a laser is to not get hit in the first place.

Re:so what next ? (1)

Echinos (1074428) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768211)

Umm.. no. A mirror or diffracting material would only have so much capacity for reflecting or diffracting before it starts to heat up. 100KW would need to be spread out over a lot of material to not get freakin' hot PDQ.

Handles (1)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767655)

How much ya wanna bet the Army/Navy will weld a handle on the bloody contraption and call it portable?

Re:Handles (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767727)

How much ya wanna bet the Army/Navy will weld a handle on the bloody contraption and call it portable?

At which point there will be a new Scwarzenegger movie where he carries two of the things and blasts anything that moves, all the while exclaiming, "You've just been lased!"

Re:Handles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767891)

Don't lase me bro!

Tonnes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767661)

Quick! Someone genetically engineer a gigantic shark!

Cool, now can I mount it on my flying car? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767675)

Now if I could get this mounted on my flying car (http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/11/15/007225), like, that would be totally awesome.

Well (2, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767695)

When the military gets laser rifles, it'll be that much easier for to make the case for why "assault rifles" should be regulated like bb guns.

Re:Well (2, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767739)

"When the military gets laser rifles, it'll be that much easier for to make the case for why "assault rifles" should be regulated like bb guns."

Why.....won't we civilians get laser rifles too?

:)

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767869)

Yeah! Then I could cling to my religion and laser rifle.

Take that Obama!

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768381)

Hoky religions and ancient M-16s are no match for a laser rifle on your shoulder, son.

Re:Well (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767767)

With laser control, only the criminals will have lasers.

I'm going to predict ... (1, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767699)

a sudden spike in sales of mirrors throughout the Middle East.

Re:I'm going to predict ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767729)

With all the shiny reflective surfaces in Dubai, the entire city could be destroyed by the ricochets.

Multiple lasers is the key (2, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767755)

can be synchronized with additional units to emit a 100 kW beam

Using multiple such things, each of them too wimpy to cause much damage seems important. First, it makes it much harder for the enemy to knock them off — hitting one unit disables a small fraction of the whole. Second, the power can be concentrated at different targets depending on the need (soldiers, a missile, an artillery shell, a plane) — rather than the all-or-nothing of a single giant laser. And third, an errant device will not be as harmful — for example, if, when the network of these are shooting at an incoming missile, one of them hits a civilian plane or some other unintended object. No problem — a single beam is too weak to be really harmful.

Now, of course, they would need to be very precisely targeted and coordinated. Fortunately, we have GPS and powerful computers...

Uh, Dr Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767837)

No.2: Uh Dr Evil, the sharks wouldn't be able to swim if we attached the lase...

Dr Evil: Silence Number 2! How about an octopus?

No.2: No.

Dr Evil: An evil octopus?

Scot: Thats the same thing you freakin moron.

Dr Evil: Scot, Shh!

No.2: No. Dr Evil, i propose we use Whales.

Dr Evil: Whales? Whales..

Number 2, i do not like you're plan, in fact, i do not like you either.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767881)

AntiHero says: This is bullshit! They can just sell laser weapons all willy-nilly! Such unmonitored debauchery and pranksterism! Silly humans. One sided fights are not fights at all, how can you feel big about yourself, you need to kill yo'self fool, because your ego sucks. Overinflated egoes are ruining the planet.

Yeah, but (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767905)

Will linux run it?

C&C (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25767911)

Looks like the US is really trying to model its Military force after Command and Conquer! /me waiting for weather machine...

Ladies and gentlemen, it is a historic day (3, Funny)

blincoln (592401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767929)

Since before the dawn of time, Man has dreamed of the laser cannon - even when Woman said it was dumb and that the costumes on Star Trek were ridiculous.
The ancient Hebrews called it "Uriel" - "the flame of God". The Romans had an entire god (Apollo) devoted to the laser cannon and its many uses. The Greeks dreamed of Prometheus stealing the laser cannon of Zeus and giving it to mortals. In Norse mythology, the end of Ragnarok is marked by the wolf Skoll consuming the last remaining laser cannon and condemning the world to a laser cannon-less eternal night.
Today, the laser cannon is at last ours. Thank you, Northrop-Grumman, and thank you, US military-industrial complex. The spirits of countless millennia stand in silent awe at what you have wrought.

15kW is not very much. (1, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767947)

Unless it is a pencil-thin or smaller beam, 15kW is just plain not very much. I mean, it's a lot of energy, I wouldn't want it pointed at my couch... but it is only about as much as you would get out of 150 light bulbs. Maybe even less, considering the conversion factor.

I guess it is on the verge of being practical. But not much more, yet.

Re:15kW is not very much. (4, Informative)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768065)

Unless it is a pencil-thin or smaller beam, 15kW is just plain not very much. I mean, it's a lot of energy, I wouldn't want it pointed at my couch... but it is only about as much as you would get out of 150 light bulbs. Maybe even less, considering the conversion factor.

I guess it is on the verge of being practical. But not much more, yet.

Well, lessee...a 100mW (20dBm or 0.1W) collimated burning laser [google.com] will pop ballons and burn dark objects such as electrical tape. This one is 15KW (~72dBm) so that's ~72-20=52dB times the power, or about 15KW/0.1W=150,000 "burning lasers", assuming Northrop-Grumman can collimate a laser as well as some guy on Instructables.

Re:15kW is not very much. (3, Informative)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768167)

I guess you haven't worked with lasers much. A 3 Watt CO2 laser will burn paper in less than a second or so. Light bulbs put out a lot of power. If you hold on to a light bulb that's on, your hand won't last very long. Nevertheless, the destructive power is small compared to conventional weapons. The advantage here is accuracy.

Re:15kW is not very much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768293)

15kW is about 180hp. That's a lot of power being delivered to a pencil-sized spot.

The future! (4, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 5 years ago | (#25767969)

The top two articles at the moment on Slashdot:

>Northrop Grumman Markets Weaponized Laser System
>Pentagon Clears Flying-Car Project For Takeoff

Has the future finally arrived?

Power? (2, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768175)

So, if I buy this new toy, how many C-Cell or 9V batteries do I need? The companies are usually to cheap to put them in the box.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25768245)

There was no stereophonic amplification equipment in the '50s. At least, virtually none at consumer or hobbyist level. Theaters had stereo systems. Per wikipedia...

Can't... resist... (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25768323)

FIRESTRIKEâs can be linked together to get a more powerful beam

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of sharks with laser beams attached to their heads!

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