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Airborne Boeing Laser Blasts Ground Target

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the lazlo-approved dept.

The Military 419

coondoggie writes "The airborne military laser which promises to destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage has for the first time actually blown something up. Boeing and the US Air Force today said that on Aug. 30, a C-130H aircraft armed with Boeing's Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) blasted a target test vehicle on the ground for the first time. Boeing has been developing the ATL since 2008 under an Air Force contract worth up to $30 million."

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Quick! (5, Funny)

nhstar (452291) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295615)

Someone find the house full of Popped Corn!!!

Re:Quick! (5, Funny)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295677)

Dude, seriously. That was a pretty corny joke.

Re:Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295713)

Just like black jokes are NIGGER jokes. Get it? Get it?! Black, Nigger, HAHAHAHAH! It's a laugh fucking riot!!

Re:Quick! (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295717)

Aha! The MythBusters may need to retest this again.

Re:Quick! (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295779)

Absolutely!

I mean seriously. How did they get the shark to fly?

Re:Quick! (5, Funny)

pryoplasm (809342) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296035)

They just took jumping the shark to a whole new level...

Re:Quick! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295751)

The Crossbow project led to the house full of popcorn! http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/real_genius.html [dailyscript.com]

And Kent? (5, Funny)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295617)

Stop playing with yourself!!

Sigh (2, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295625)

So how is it working against mirrors?

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295637)

A mirror surface will harden the target, but even the best mirrors do not reflect all light and a combat laser can still burn a hole in it very fast.

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295653)

I meant the reflections. Are they willing to blind anyone within eyesight?

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295767)

I suppose that would fall under the category of collateral damage, and they're probably expecting everyone within sight of the target to be, well, "The Enemy(tm)."

Re:Sigh (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295777)

The purpose of this tool is war. So, yes.

Re:Sigh (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295855)

The purpose of this tool is war. So, yes.

We already have plenty weapons with lots of collateral damage and they're being used, that was never in dispute. The question was how can this be a weapon "with little to no collateral damage" if in fact the reflections do collateral damage. If we didn't care about colleteral we could just throw a nuke at it.

Re:Sigh (0, Redundant)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296017)

This is meant to destroy missiles that have already launched. It's safe to assume no one will be standing next to them.

Re:Sigh (0, Redundant)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296043)

Oops, I guess it's not. My mistake. Still, does every article about this technology need dozens of comments about mirrors?

Er, not exactly? (5, Informative)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296355)

From WP [wikipedia.org] :

The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) program is a US military program to mount a high energy laser damage weapon on an aircraft, initially the AC-130 gunship, for use against ground targets in urban or other areas where minimizing collateral damage is important. The laser will be a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL). It is expected to have a tactical range of approximately twenty kilometers and weigh about 5,000â"7,000 kg. This program is distinct from the Airborne Laser, which is a much larger system designed to destroy enemy missiles in the boost phase.

Re:Er, not exactly? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296449)

Did it take you more than an hour to copy and paste from wikipedia? ;-)

Re:Sigh (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295881)

So much for "no collateral damage."

Re:Sigh (5, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296075)

No, permanent blinding weapons are illegal

Blinding weapons are banned by 1995 United Nations Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzler_(weapon) [wikipedia.org]
http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/0/49de65e1b0a201a7c125641f002d57af?OpenDocument [icrc.org]

Re:Sigh (0, Troll)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296121)

The funny thing is that you expect the United States to follow any international convention ever.

Re:Sigh (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296153)

Did you read your own links? From the second:

It is prohibited to employ laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices.

Causing blindness is not a combat function of this weaponry; it's a side-effect of the other side trying to subvert the weapon. They were also not specifically designed to have such an effect. Their goal is to blow shit up from the air, with a particular emphasis on fired projectiles but probably used for vehicles as well (as per this example). In most cases there won't even be anybody around to get blinded.

A bullet through the eye can cause blindness too, that doesn't make it banned. Intent matters.

Re:Sigh (1)

xalorous (883991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296257)

Reflections from this type of weapon would be lethal. kthxbye

Re:Sigh (0, Redundant)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295749)

The laser itself has two mirrors ...

Re:Sigh (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296061)

I was looking for a good place to crack a "Real Genius" joke. There's already a thread about popcorn... something about a "Real Genius" thought of that...

A mirror surface will harden the target, but even the best mirrors do not reflect all light and a combat laser can still burn a hole in it very fast.

Surprisingly, a mirror wouldn't work nearly as well as cheap glossy white paint.

Mirrors reflect (typically) 60-70% of the light that hits them, turning the rest into heat. Cheap, glossy, exterior-grade white paint often reflects in excess of 90% of the light back.

In other words, mirrors would turn about 4x as much of the light into heat as the white paint will. The difference is that mirrors reflect light without losing its coherency. White paint, on the other hand, just reflects the light in random directions.

Worried about teh lazers? Paint your tin foil hat white!

Re:Sigh (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296233)

Mirrors reflect (typically) 60-70% of the light that hits them, turning the rest into heat. Cheap, glossy, exterior-grade white paint often reflects in excess of 90% of the light back.
 
In other words, mirrors would turn about 4x as much of the light into heat as the white paint will.

However, at the energies involved that 10% not reflected is still a hell of a lot of energy on a fairly small area. The white paint might gain you a few seconds at best.

Re:Sigh (3, Interesting)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296299)

You're screwed if you're a ground target. On the other hand, a lot of laser systems (although not necessarily this one) are aimed at intercepting missiles. Missiles have more options...

First, a missile can spin. That help keeps the laser off one spot. Next is to introduce a wobble - difficult to do, although with modern control systems not completely impossible - that also keeps the laser hitting a varying spot. Lastly, if your rocket has a cryogenic fuel (i.e., LOX + LH2), you can pump your fuel through capillaries under the skin of your rocket before entering the rocket motor. That'll absorb whatever energy the laser does impart. Of course, that doesn't work with a ballistic missile after its ascent stage... but at that point you're hopefully relying on decoys.

Re:Sigh (4, Informative)

feyhunde (700477) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296403)

Visible light they reflect you mean. This is a hard concept for many people to grasp, but depending on the part of the spectra you are looking at, objects can vary to how much they reflect and how much they transmit. If everyone chooses the same reflector, like a cheap paint, you just gotta change the frequency of the light.

A great example is silver. In the very close UV, like 310 nm, it's completely transparent. Light goes thru it perfectly. by the time you get to Green light, it's over 90% effective at reflections. Good, somewhat expensive, white paint used as a reflectance standard is good between 250-2500 nm. The type of laser they have is about 1000 or so nm. Using frequency doublers you can make that high UV in 3 jumps and below the bottom of where the paint can reflect well. I've used such high powered lasers in Academia. Doublers are common.

Re:Sigh (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296111)

>>A mirror surface will harden the target, but even the best mirrors do not reflect all light and a combat laser can still burn a hole in it very fast.

In the future, all soldiers will wear shiny disco suits.

Re:Sigh (1)

semik (1242890) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296251)

Make Love; Not War.

Re:Sigh (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296129)

A mirror surface will harden the target, but even the best mirrors do not reflect all light and a combat laser can still burn a hole in it very fast.

Even so accurately reflect 95% of the light for long enough and boom goes the aircraft with the onboard laser.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296361)

There are three separate lazers involved.

The first is your standard targeting lazer.
The second is an adaptive guidance lazer to account for atmospheric distortions.

Only after the first two have fired does the main weapon fire. Kind of puts a damper on any concept for a mirror that could realistically lead to the distruction of the aircraft.

Re:Sigh (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296191)

Suppose you got a mirror that reflects 90% and reflects it back to the target. Then that laser gun plane will be pretty much fucked. And much faster than the mirrored building. ^^

With an actively controlled mirror, this should be no big problem. :)

Re:Sigh (3, Interesting)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296317)

A mirror surface will harden the target, but even the best mirrors do not reflect all light and a combat laser can still burn a hole in it very fast.

Any laser that can melt mirrors very quickly would self-destruct even faster unless its own mirrors were constantly changed. Well, I s'pose you'd only have to change the surface rather than the entire mirror. Either operation would be tricky to do precisely in field conditions. Also remember, the atmosphere itself is gonna tend to scatter that beam, so if you want to melt mirrors from a distance, your own are gonna have to get considerably hotter.

A decent reflective surface seems like it would be good enough to protect a building from this, although if the planes can also drop, say, rocks, that takes care of that. On a person, running around with a mirror would not do wonders for concealment. Personally, if I thought I was gonna be on the wrong end of a hurtin' laser, I'd light a smoky fire, kick up lots of dust, and/or wear thick layers of heat-resistant material like Kevlar while moving around a lot.

Re:Sigh (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295647)

So how is it working against mirrors?

Quite well probably. The innocents be spooked by shiny silver tanks, leaving clear-cut isolated targets for conventional drones.
       

Re:Sigh (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295821)

So how is it working against mirrors?

If I remember my Car Wars, the way past a reflective surface was with an x-ray laser. Or was that through paint clouds?

Re:Sigh (1)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295977)

If I remember my Niven, the defense against lasers was water vapour. And x-ray lasers are pumped by a fission weapon.

Yeah, I know it's SF, but the water vapour sounds plausible.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295877)

Someone please make me a cube-corner reflector tin foil hat

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295961)

Mirrors only reflect a portion of the light cast on them. The remaining portion causes the mirror to heat up and reduces its efficiency at reflecting light and makes it heat up even more.

Re:Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295979)

You know, if the existence of this weapon is enough to cause our enemies to carry around enormous mirrors to defend against it, while giving away their position to conventional troops, I'd say it's working pretty well.

Re:Sigh (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296031)

So how is it working against mirrors?

I relies on a ground crew to throw some dirt at the target.

Re:Sigh (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296285)

Or equip them with paintball guns. brigs a whole new meaning to "painting the target."

Re:Sigh (1)

xalorous (883991) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296249)

Mirrors only work against a small range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Everyday mirrors reflect visible light. This type of laser probably is not visible. Probably in the ultraviolet or higher bands. It'd melt through any surface short of a perfect blackbody.

Re:Sigh (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296423)

If we can get all our enemies to paint their tanks in mirrors, I think we can declare success.

That will make them immediately visible, and we can take them out with conventional weapons easily enough.

Slashdotted? (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295631)

They missed and cooked their server instead.

no collateral damage (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295645)

Thank god this circumvents the stipulation in the Geneva Convention against weapons that cause blindness. As the lasers purpose is stated as an anti-vehicular weapon, the side affect of inducing blindness is A-OK.

Re:no collateral damage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295813)

regular explosives can cause blindness from the flash too, or the concussion.

Re:no collateral damage (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295845)

yes, that cauterised tunnel that exited through the back of the cranial cavity was the direct cause of the casualty's blindness.

Re:no collateral damage (-1, Troll)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295991)

My! Isn't the written description of a horribly killed human being such a wonderful source of levity? I am chuckling so! Almost chuckling audibly. You might even say, with some amusement and a smile, laughing out loud.

The only thing that could have made your description of a human being with a hole in his head more enjoyable is if someone got to whip out their cock and fuck that laser head hole! Wouldn't that be such fun? Can we drink beers whilst we tell each other such stories? I am certain that with a few beers we can thing of some even more amusing and laugh inducing ways to kill human beings.

It'll be just like that scene in Schindler's List where the soldiers lined up a bunch of Jews just to see how many people their rifles could penetrate in a single shot. Imagine what kind of fun it will be to see how many human heads our laser can burn through! Oh it will be so much fun, we should have CAKE after we try it! Not the dead people though. No cake for them.

I'm sure I can find a Bible passage somewhere that can justify these kinds of things.

Re:no collateral damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296115)

My! Isn't the written description of a horribly killed human being such a wonderful source of levity?

It is indeed sir, it is indeed.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to surf on over to stileproject to masturbate to pictures of dead people.

Re:no collateral damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296157)

Who the hell are you? One of Sybil's personalities? "whilst"?!

Re:no collateral damage (1)

lastgoodnickname (1438821) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296235)

Fine, except the cake is a lie!

Re:no collateral damage (3, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295889)

As in the Falkland war, one flash and your pilots retina is ash.
A 'ship' can just light up the sky with its weapons based laser system and the tame media will never know.
Thank god the embedded media will never tell the truth about weapons that cause blindness or phosphorus weapons ;)

Re:no collateral damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295915)

Uhhhh......If you get blinded by this device its likely some kind of statistical anomaly. Sure maybe 1us exposure your blinded but by 2us your entire head is vaporized. Although i technically you would probably be blind... you would also technically be dead.

Re:no collateral damage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296279)

At the energy densities needed by this weapon specular reflections from meeger dust particles in the air are easily enough to cause permanent blindness even when the intended target is some distance away.

Re:no collateral damage (5, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295943)

"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."
~William Tecumseh Sherman

More quotes... [thinkexist.com]

Re:no collateral damage (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296329)

"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." ~William Tecumseh Sherman Hmmm, I wonder if this also applies to the genocide happening over in Africa. Seems pretty cruel to dismember, scar and cut into people with machetes and the like, yet that seems to be amazingly cruel and also seems to have been around for a good while indeed.

Re:no collateral damage (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296347)

You're worried about /blindless/? ...

You... really don't know how powerful these things are, do you?

Re:no collateral damage (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296411)

Well given the article says that they hope to achieve 10W, I guess we all better keep moving. After all, stop for more than 3 or 4 days and you're toast!

I assume they mean MW, though it's not my field of expertise. Last non-toy laser I saw was in 1989.

$30 million? (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295651)

Million, with a M? Are you sure that is not a typo?

Re:$30 million? (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295667)

Million, with a M? Are you sure that is not a typo?

Shhhh, it's only a model.
   

Pocket change! (5, Insightful)

richardkelleher (1184251) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295671)

30 Million is pretty small money for the DOD and for Boeing. There must be more money in this project somewhere.

Re:Pocket change! (0, Redundant)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295687)

Well thats just for the lasers.

Wait till you see the Shark bill from the Seattle Aquarium.

Re:Pocket change! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295903)

Per click on target, then they system has to be rebuilt from scratch :) jk

What qualifies as "blasting"? (1)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295679)

Are we talking flaming shrapnel everywhere, or some mild singing at best? TFA doesn't seem to clarify.

Coordinates (1)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295691)

The test vehicle was located at 34D 10M 15.21S North, 119D 7M West.

Video? (1)

Elitist_Phoenix (808424) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295693)

Video or GTFO??

Re:Video? (1, Offtopic)

friedo (112163) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295743)

Found it: Link [youtube.com] .

Re:Video? (2, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295763)

Even if it's just an artist's conception, there's always a picture. No exceptions.

(If there isn't, make one [imageshack.us] )

Re:Video? (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295795)

Is this Slashdot? or slash something else, followed by another slash...I am confused....

Still a chemical laser (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295769)

It's still a chemical laser. It's quite possible to make chemical lasers powerful enough to be used as weapons, but so far the equipment has been too big to be very useful. The Mobile Tactical High-Energy Laser is able to shoot down artillery shells and small rockets, but the equipment takes up three trailers and costs too much.

The solid state laser people are catching up. The current output record is around 100 KW. [northropgrumman.com] This is enough to be marginally useful for anti-aircraft use. Around a megawatt, things start to get militarily interesting.

Cooling is a huge problem for the solid state devices, though. With the chemical lasers, most of the heat is dumped with the spent chemicals. For the solid state devices, the gear has to be cooled, and efficiency is only around 20%.

Re:Still a chemical laser (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296243)

For the solid state gear, you can use heat exchangers running along the exterior of the aircraft. It's mighty chilly at FL350. You just need efficient heat pipes to get the heat outside (like you mentioned).

Re:Still a chemical laser (1)

semik (1242890) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296273)

As far as I know it is hard to cool down the radar of the Airborne, so i will be much more harder to cool down this laser staff.

Re:Still a chemical laser (1)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296447)

Thermoelectric devices may allow recovery of some of the energy lost as heat

Is this really what passes for jounalism today? (3, Insightful)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295803)

FTA

According to as post on Wikipedia, each COIL burst produces enough energy in a five-second burst to power a typical American household for more than one hour

/facepalm

Re:Is this really what passes for jounalism today? (1)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295993)

Yeah, this gives me lots of faith in my assignment to look at a specified wiki entry and verify the entry by using.... articles from journalists. Maybe I will write my paper instead on how this assignment proves nothing since the journalist probably used Wikipedia to write the damn thing.

*ponders the consequences of being right vs doing what I am told*

Re:Is this really what passes for jounalism today? (2, Funny)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296123)

And if that fails you could always resubmit your essay to your comp sci lecturer as a media example of infinite recursion.

Re:Is this really what passes for jounalism today? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296231)

Wait for some idiot referencing this in the article itself, and then some wikinazi "protecting" it from the constant "vandalism", for the circle of fail to be complete.

And people still think the idea behind of Wikipedia is physically possible...

Re:Is this really what passes for jounalism today? (1)

khchung (462899) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296359)

Has journalism ever been much better in the past? Seriously? You would probably just got the same article sans that passage before wikipedia.

not a single mention of ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29295833)

sharks yet?

Developing the ATL? (1)

pckl300 (1525891) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295907)

I'm pretty sure Lil Jon put us on the map before Boeing.

Quick Batman! (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295909)

to the Bat laser, we're going in to BATL with BABL!

Frickin (1)

Airborne-ng (1391105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295911)

This is all well and good but when can we put them on sharks?

Re:Frickin (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295941)

That stopped being funny about three years ago.

Re:Frickin (1)

Airborne-ng (1391105) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296003)

That stopped being funny about three years ago.

But insulting strangers via a forum is in. Call me old school I guess.

Re:Frickin (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296175)

That stopped being funny about three years ago.

But insulting strangers via a forum is in. Call me old school I guess.

Your sarcasm has been duly noted and as such you have subsequently been reinstated as our forum relations officer.

Sincerely,
the in crowd

Faster than a speeding bullet? (4, Funny)

eggnet (75425) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295951)

Wow, according to the article, the laser is supersonic. Good to know.

Re:Faster than a speeding bullet? (3, Funny)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 5 years ago | (#29295983)

Whew. For a moment there, I was scared the laser might be going the speed of light. Now THAT would be dangerous.

Re:Faster than a speeding bullet? (1)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296053)

Wow, I was not aware that light moved faster then sound. Learn something every day...

Re:Faster than a speeding bullet? (2, Insightful)

Statecraftsman (718862) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296071)

Perhaps you were being facetious but they were referring to the ignition of the chemicals, not the speed of the "projectile".

Re:Faster than a speeding bullet? (2, Funny)

labnet (457441) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296413)

Not only that. They want to develop phased array systems with a total power output of 10W. Watch out paper aeroplanes!

What if Carmack tried? (1)

Tiro (19535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296015)

I am curious if John Carmack or his rocket brethren could build a better laser system for less.

Military meets genetic engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29296267)

It's time to genetically engineer Megalodons. They'd be a perfect mount for a large laser.

I'm waiting for them to shrink it down... (2, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296345)

... to a size I can strap onto my sharks, since I haven't yet figured out how to grow them to the size of C-130s.

Actually the first SUCCESSFUL attempt... (5, Interesting)

SunSpot505 (1356127) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296353)

My company's developer had a side job as "computer support engineer" for this group a couple month ago (translate: 45/hr to configure software and as a human "fail-safe"). They actually did the first test fire a month or two back.

It was only half successful.

It did destroy the target which he described as a "basketball sized item" while traveling at ~450mph or whatever a C-130 cruises at (not supersonic). Unfortunately one of the chemicals has a ph of 17 and is stored at 2500 psi. When the tank developed a leak everyone had to don gas masks, move the cockpit and then make an emergency landing before it ate the plane. A full hazmat crew run by the company had to be flown in from Albuquerque to run decontamination.

It makes me think that perhaps if they just shot those chemicals rather than the laser it might be just as effective and quite a bit cheaper.

no collateral damage? (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296369)

if everything is perfect: identify target - aim - shoot

Ooops

wrong target - sorry Beijing, we did not mean to blast your Embassy

Ooops

this schoolbus looked like a rocket launcher - really Sir

New type of scientist - extreme! (1)

silverpig (814884) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296391)

"The extreme scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today said last month they want to develop a laser system the goes way beyond today's opto-mechanical, acousto-optical or electro-optical systems to establish photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology that will provide video frame rate beam steering speeds, and emit multiple beams with a total output power of 10 W." Sweet. What school do I apply to in order to become an EXTREME scientist?

Re:New type of scientist - extreme! (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296437)

"Both systems employ a Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) that is made by combining a bunch of nasty chemicals - potassium, peroxide, chlorine, iodine and other stuff and then fired at supersonic speeds."

Huh, supersonic? Incredible! And how the lethality of the laser is affected by the 'nastiness' of chemicals?

"Interesting" journalism (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 5 years ago | (#29296431)

FTA:

The beam control system acquired the ground target and guided the laser beam to the target.

"Guided" the laser beam to the target? The journalist makes it sound like a cross between phasers and A. E. Van Vogt's "psychology" of elementary particles....

He then goes on to totally mix this up with signal carrying lasers and photonic integrated circuits:

The extreme scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today said last month they want to develop a laser system the goes way beyond today's opto-mechanical, acousto-optical or electro-optical systems to establish photonic integrated circuit (PIC) technology that will provide video frame rate beam steering speeds, and emit multiple beams with a total output power of 10 W.

"today said last month"??? What does that mean?

"extreme scientists"? (Makes me laugh thinking about images mixing most of my scientist friends with extreme sports)...

The mix-up seems intentional, to make the uninformed reading public think that soon these laser planes will be zapping tens or hundreds of targets simultaneously...

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