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Drone-Mounted Laser Weapons Are On the Way

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the we've-officially-skipped-the-sharks dept.

Shark 116

Daniel_Stuckey writes "DARPA is funding research into drone-mounted laser weapons. The project, called Endurance, is referred to in DARPA's 2014 budget request as being tasked with the development of 'technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy EO/IR guided surface-to-air missiles.' The budget explains that it will be the first application of DARPA's much-discussed Excalibur laser defense system, which developed lasers powerful enough to use as weapons. With the new program, DARPA is focused on miniaturizing the technology, as well as 'developing high-precision target tracking, identification, and lightweight agile beam control to support target engagement. The program will also focus on the phenomenology of laser-target interactions and associated threat vulnerabilities." In other words, DARPA hopes that drone-mounted lasers will soon be able to shoot missiles out of the sky."

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I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (3, Funny)

mrspoonsi (2955715) | about 10 months ago | (#45278633)

(whilst wearing my tin hat - na na - cannot get me)

Re:I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 10 months ago | (#45278653)

Given that drones are being used for constant surveylence, wouldn't it be useful to after the missle delivery method, also?

Re: I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlord (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278659)

Warning: Do not look at drone with remaining eye...

Sharks (1)

mrops (927562) | about 10 months ago | (#45279317)

better update their LinkedIn profile

Re:Sharks (1)

Shark (78448) | about 10 months ago | (#45283561)

Have laser, will travel.

Re:I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45280157)

You got first post and neglected the shark joke. you should be ashamed...

Re:I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (3, Funny)

Shark (78448) | about 10 months ago | (#45283573)

I do feel neglected lately.

Re:I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (1)

Kvasio (127200) | about 10 months ago | (#45281953)

#whatcouldpossiblygowrong

Re:I welcome the new drone-mounted laser overlords (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45284139)

Call Samuel L Jackson, because I, for one, want all these motherfucking lasers off this motherfucking plane!

How much popcorn could this pop? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278639)

So it's both immoral AND unethical...

Re:How much popcorn could this pop? (1)

Garridan (597129) | about 10 months ago | (#45278777)

What part of "robot overlords" do you not understand?

Re:How much popcorn could this pop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278853)

Fricking drones with fricking laser beams attached to their heads!

Re:How much popcorn could this pop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278903)

Is that you, Kent?

Re:How much popcorn could this pop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45283003)

Our studies indicate this weapon is useless in warfare.

Re:How much popcorn could this pop? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 10 months ago | (#45283807)

Our studies indicate this weapon is useless in warfare.

But has some real promise in domestic crowd control.

Mirrors.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278663)

If a hostile missile is covered with mirrors will that not just reflect the beam, and a adjustable mirror can take the drone out.

Re:Mirrors.. (5, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45278763)

Any sort of adjustable mirror designed to reflect lasers seems like it would have a huge impact on missile aerodynamics.
You'd also need to make sure the mirrors stay very clean throughout flight... condensation or dust would absorb the laser's energy and begin melting the mirror underneath. There's also issues with matching the mirror to the wavelength of the laser, the fact that no mirror reflects 100% of light and any distortions in the mirror could make it worse.

You'd be better off with some sort of ablative armor on the missile.

Re:Mirrors.. (2, Interesting)

tinkerton (199273) | about 10 months ago | (#45278893)

I think a reflective surface on a rotating missile is simple and goes a long way.

Re:Mirrors.. (3, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45278929)

Except, as I just mentioned, a reflective surface would be a piss poor defense against a laser. Between dust, condensation, wavelengths, and the fact there's no such thing as a perfect reflective surface it would be mostly pointless. An ablative surface, such as the space shuttle used, would be a significantly better defense.

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 10 months ago | (#45280931)

Even a partial defense would mean the drone would need to get closer and track more accurately, for longer. Increasing the chance of making it through.

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 10 months ago | (#45283803)

Yes, that is what I mean. I trust that ablative surfaces work a lot better but there can be simple approaches for reducing the energy that is absorbed on a certain spot on the missile with a factor 10 or maybe more. Rotating won't help if the laser uses a very short burst and if it has a way of compensating for the rotation. But it's not about making things perfect just about making it harder for the other side. Stealth planes also don't work with all radars.

Re:Mirrors.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45279069)

Thank god you're not in charge of this stuff. Mirrors don't reflect nearly enough.

Good job, though, you've turned Slashdot into Reddit [reddit.com] .

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 10 months ago | (#45279215)

A low-albedo coating would certainly help; you're unlikely to reflect enough energy to hurt the drone, but you can definitely minimize the heat absorbed.

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 10 months ago | (#45283525)

I'm thinking of a round clear sphere of low reflectance material that's clear, and then a mirror that moves inside that. However, I'm sure I'm "under thinking" a solution here.

Likely this will take in-flight ultrasonic reconfiguration of a flight surface, or create a force field that distorts sub-space in order to be visible, but not to create wind shear.

And as long as you are doing that, why mess with these primitive lasers? You have force fields, and you usually have gate technology. Is this Slashdot or Introduction to Space/Time Manipulation 101 class? Did everyone audit that class when they majored in Psych 101 or something?

BTW, anyone have a pair of half Plank-length tweezers? I lost mine with my nano car keys...

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

biodata (1981610) | about 10 months ago | (#45278771)

I wonder whether it would be as simple as coating the missile with bicycle reflectors or cats eyes from the road

Re:Mirrors.. (-1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 10 months ago | (#45281197)

If a hostile missile is covered with mirrors will that not just reflect the beam, and a adjustable mirror can take the drone out.

Much more effective to simply locate the drone operators and kill them and their superiors if possible.

If armed drones are used domestically against civilians, kill the drone operator's and their superior's families & children as well in the most horrid & excruciating ways possible. Ideally, kill the families/children right in front of said domestic armed-drone operators & superiors before they die, and then publicly release videos of their horrific deaths as a disincentive for future domestic armed-drone use against civilians.

Strat

Re:Mirrors.. (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 10 months ago | (#45281377)

If armed drones are used domestically against civilians, kill the drone operator's and their superior's families & children as well in the most horrid & excruciating ways possible. Ideally, kill the families/children right in front of said domestic armed-drone operators & superiors before they die, and then publicly release videos of their horrific deaths as a disincentive for future domestic armed-drone use against civilians.

That's a good way to make a martyr and galvanize their resolve, actually.... not a very good deterrent, in the same way that capital punishment and 3 strikes laws actually increase the risk of crime because a person on their third strike has nothing to lose.

Modern Progressivism & Liberalism: Ideas so good they must be mandatory to function.

So... the above was your idea of progressivism and liberalism?

Re:Mirrors.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45284543)

Fuck off, troll. Every time laser weapons are mentioned on this site, some fuckwit manages to get everyone engaged in the "laser ablates mirror" argument. Every Fucking Time.

Mirrors do not defend against weaponised lasers, period. We've been here SO MANY TIMES it should be old news to anyone who frequents this site.

Don't swallow the bait, people.

Hmmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278679)

They should designate it the Semiautonomous, High-Altitude Recon/Kill drone, so that we can finally have SHARKs with frickin' laser beams.

Re: Hmmm (1)

techprophet (1281752) | about 10 months ago | (#45278753)

I came here to say exactly that. Your acronym is better than mine was, though.

Re: Hmmm (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 10 months ago | (#45279787)

I was thinking shark shaped undersea autonomous drones with fricken laser beams.

Nostalgic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278689)

I never thought I'd feel nostalgic about the "good old days" when only sharks had mounted laser weapons.

Nope (5, Insightful)

cookYourDog (3030961) | about 10 months ago | (#45278695)

Power source? I am immediately struck by the design obstacle of stashing enough power capacity onto a 140 hp propeller UAV. Even if designers manage to get enough power stored on board, it will most likely result in the drone being limited to a single blast (while seriously degrading operational range).

Re:Nope (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278711)

How much power does it take to punch through a metal casing? We already have laser pointers that can burn through paper and thin pieces of wood.

Re:Nope (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 10 months ago | (#45278789)

Metal conducts heat away from the focal point much better than wood or paper, plus most metals used for that purpose have considerably higher melting points. However, you might not need to punch through. If you can just heat up the casing, it might be enough to kill the electronics inside the missile.

Re:Nope (3, Insightful)

CitizenCain (1209428) | about 10 months ago | (#45279261)

How much power does it take to punch through a metal casing? We already have laser pointers that can burn through paper and thin pieces of wood.

With a beam of light? A lot. Check out the latest demos of ground-based missile defense lasers. The power sources (and related cooling) for those are in trailers hauled around by 18-wheelers. Doesn't sound like something you'll be able to fit on a drone any time soon.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45280377)

Enter the QC-17. Who said drones had to be the size and profile that you're expecting? Trust me, those lasers will fit.

Re:Nope (1)

disposable60 (735022) | about 10 months ago | (#45280441)

Ground-based laser sources, agile mirrors on drones for directing fire?

Re:Nope (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 10 months ago | (#45278751)

Don't worry, Just add a bit of unobtainium, or failing that, a dose of weapons grade Baloneyum will do the trick.

Re:Nope (1)

Garridan (597129) | about 10 months ago | (#45278791)

Small nuclear reactor. Added bonus: a plausible denial to claims that we intentionally nuked Tehran.

Re:Nope (1)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 10 months ago | (#45278797)

Yes, it could be the case that these things may need some time to recharge between blasts, but the advantage is you can have many up in the air at the same time.
So one may only be able to fire every minute, but if you have 20 of them in the air targeting a missile, there is a good chance they will destroy their target.
Unlike manned aircraft, these things have already proven to be able to loiter for hours, so having quite a few in the air at once is possible.

Besides, as energy storage improves, I see no reason why the recharge time won't decrease.

Re:Nope (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 10 months ago | (#45278805)

Thats the question, how to get down past all that messy 'atmosphere' stuff. Too low and the Soviet era weapons get lucky, too high and you need a larger system.
Some form of heavy lift blimp with solar, a big energy system and big laser double tapping regional targets 24/7?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/outrage-at-cias-deadly-double-tap-drone-attacks-8174771.html [independent.co.uk]

Re:Nope (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#45279121)

There are many UAVs out there with motors much bigger then 145hp so I don’t think that is going to be an issue. Besides you don’t need that much continuous power. You will not be shooting down missiles every second. Outfit the UAV with batteries / super capacitors. That should be sufficient.

Re:Nope (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 10 months ago | (#45283197)

The simple solution I would think would be to either coordinate a target laser with a mirror system to bounce the stronger beam from a ground or satellite source onto the target. Well, not that simple.

Better would be carrying a rail gun that turned a pellet into plasma to produce the "beam."

Third would be to use a Stage II tech quantum battery, which should be available at Target and Radio Shack in the year 2045.

Wait a minute... (1)

aeranvar (2589619) | about 10 months ago | (#45278701)

This sounds like a pretty cool video game. I've always an RTS where you can drop drones with lasers into the battlefield... and they're probably stealthed, too! Thankfully, no military in the world would ever make something this crazy, though.

Why are you telling me that I need to reread the original post?

Re:Wait a minute... (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 10 months ago | (#45279499)

It's already in Starcraft 2. Point Defense Drones use lasers to shoot down incoming projectiles.

Phenomenology (2)

RandomFactor (22447) | about 10 months ago | (#45278733)

Teaching laser drones Phenomenology?

"Let there be light!"

Re:Phenomenology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45283133)

That's the secret code sequence for firing the weapon! My God, the spies of Satan are everywhere!

Not Exactly (5, Informative)

Rollgunner (630808) | about 10 months ago | (#45278737)

Seeing as they specifically mention Electro-Optical and Infra-Red guided missiles, It seems that the objective is not to 'blow up' a missile as the linked article suggests, but rather to use a laser to blind the missile's tracking systems, causing it to lose tracking and veer off target or "generate a miss" as they say.

Getting a laser to destroy a missile requires about 100 kW of energy and a few tons of hardware to focus it.

Getting a laser to blind optical sensors requires a $10 Radio Shack gift card.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278847)

It seems even more likely that until the thing actually works and the power requirements are met, the laser could be used to paint the target for other stand-off weapons.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#45281505)

The Predator drone already does this [howstuffworks.com] .

Re:Not Exactly (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 10 months ago | (#45281507)

It seems even more likely that until the thing actually works and the power requirements are met, the laser could be used to paint the target for other stand-off weapons.

Haven't they been doing that for years, though? I would have thought that a targetting laser would have been part of the standard arsenal on any drone for years by now, because they're capable of carrying laser-guided missiles.

Re:Not Exactly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278879)

There is no mention of drones in the budget estimate.

Title: Endurance*
Description: *Previously part of Excalibur
The Endurance program will develop technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy EO/IR guided surface-to-air missiles. The focus of the Endurance effort under TT-06 will be on miniaturizing component technologies, developing high-precision target tracking, identification, and lightweight agile beam control to support target engagement. The program will also focus on the phenomenology of laser-target interactions and associated threat vulnerabilities. This program is an early application of technology developed in the Excalibur program. Advanced research for the program is budgeted in PE 0603739E, project MT-15.
FY 2013 Plans:
Design of subsystems:
- Design a miniaturized, flight-traceable, low-maintenance laser having output beam parameters that are consistent with estimated mission-kill requirements.
- Design of a light-weight highly-agile beam director and beam control assemblies that support coarse and fine tracking of dynamic targets, target-identification and target-engagement, and that can accommodate additional functions such as ISR and target designation.
- Design of a high-precision coarse to fine-track and target identification subsystem.
- Develop test plans for laser effects testing and initiate the acquisition of threat devices or the design of surrogate devices.
FY 2014 Plans:
- Fabrication, assembly, and test of miniaturized subsystems.
- Complete the acquisition of threat devices and/ or development of surrogate devices for laser effects testing. - Conduct laser effects testing.

The author is making shit up. Click-bait.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 10 months ago | (#45279559)

Getting a laser to blind optical sensors requires a $10 Radio Shack gift card.

I don't see how $10 towards a cell phone would help blind the sensors on a missile.

Re:Not Exactly (1)

kk5wa (118020) | about 10 months ago | (#45279837)

Agreed. The original post is somewhat comparing oranges to tangerines. Seems to be more of a DIRCM or LAIRCM for drones than an offensive system.

Re:Not Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45281793)

"100 kW of energy",

No.

I see (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278765)

Making a pun about this one would be like shooting sharks in a barrel.

It's all well and good until it's used on a .... (0)

realsilly (186931) | about 10 months ago | (#45278775)

...US Congressman, Senator, House of Representative, White House personnel...then you'll hear the outcry against it.

Nothing good will come of this, nothing.

boys with their penis substitutes (1, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | about 10 months ago | (#45278809)

The problem is the arms race.

Re:boys with their penis substitutes (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 10 months ago | (#45279291)

I was always under the impression that arms races were one of those unfortunate systematic effects that arise spontaneously, and don't depend on ego on the part of either side. We certainly seem to see them in scenarios where human actors are not involved.

Re:boys with their penis substitutes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45282309)

Hey now - it's not just boys using substitutes in the arms race: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_insemination

Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (2)

mrthoughtful (466814) | about 10 months ago | (#45278851)

Drone figures from WP show that as of Q1 2009, of the 223 USAF UAVs in operational service, only 4 were shot down. Whereas 11 were lost due to accidents (mainly flying into things), and 55 were lost due to equipment failure, operator error, or weather.

Importantly, the current failsafe for OOC UAVs is to shoot them down with AIM-9 missiles, which is what happened to a reaper on 13 September 2009. Developing an autonomous laser defence would preclude this failsafe.

In brief, the US government should be spending it's money on other problems. Given a vote, I doubt that the US populace would sign up for this particular budgetary spend.

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 10 months ago | (#45279587)

If I'm understanding the summary correctly, the purpose isn't to have a way for the drones to defend themselves, but to have drones that can defend a Navy ship, an army base, etc.

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | about 10 months ago | (#45280363)

If I'm understanding the summary correctly, the purpose isn't to have a way for the drones to defend themselves, but to have drones that can defend a Navy ship, an army base, etc.

TFA is about drone self-defence..

If a Predator drone were to get shot down [...] the bad side is that you just lost a $4 million piece of equipment. So, in a bid to keep drones protected, DARPA is funding research into drone-mounted laser weapons.

and

The project, called Endurance, is [...] being tasked with the development of "technology for pod-mounted lasers to protect a variety of airborne platforms from emerging and legacy EO/IR guided surface-to-air missiles."

Moreover, ships and bases already have great anti-missile defence technology - and the only advantage that would have using drones in a defensive role would be if there is poor LOS, in which case the strategists would be out of a job, if not court-martialed. Moreover, the ship/base airspace would be cluttered. Most UAV designs are for long endurance missions. the article refers to MALE UAVS (Predator / Reaper), and hints at HALE UAVs such as the RQ-4 Global Hawk and the RQ-170 Sentinel .

Note that the Iranians downed an ultra-secret RQ-170 Sentinel using EW (electronic warfare), not missiles. Lasers won't be much help with emerging EW technology.

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about 10 months ago | (#45280517)

Got it. Guess I didn't understand the summary correctly.

My idea is cooler, though. I was thinking of Protoss Carriers and Interceptors from Starcraft.

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 10 months ago | (#45279711)

So what you're saying is that the main threat to our rogue drones is direct human intervention with a missile?

Clearly, this isn't actually a DARPA project. I believe this is a sign that an AI has gone rogue and managed to sneak this project in as a "DARPA Initiative" as a means to protect its fledgeling race of flying robot killers.

Skynet is already here.

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (2)

mrthoughtful (466814) | about 10 months ago | (#45280195)

...

I believe this is a sign that an AI has gone rogue and managed to sneak this project in as a "DARPA Initiative" as a means to protect its fledgeling race of flying robot killers.

...

Hah, well assuming that you aren't merely posting for humour value, I would suggest that; as the primary cause of failure in these UAVs is equipment failure, operator error, and weather; the AI you refer to isn't particularly intelligent. If it were intelligent then it would be attempting to fund research into greater autonomy for AI systems...

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 10 months ago | (#45282427)

...the primary cause of failure in these UAVs is equipment failure, operator error, and weather; the AI you refer to isn't particularly intelligent. If it were intelligent then it would be attempting to fund research into greater autonomy for AI systems...

Those are the drones that gained sentience. You may think you lost contact with the drone because of the weather, but you can never be 100% sure, can you?

Re:Someone at DARPA reads way too much Sci Fi. (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 10 months ago | (#45282423)

DARPA's job is to read way too much Sci-Fi, and to fund it if it has even an off chance success. Their program success rate is something like 15%, and that includes much, much less ambitious projects than things like this. They pick high risk, high reward programs and give them just enough money to get a prototype going.

movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278863)

This feels like the movie Real Genius

Eventual Target: People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278869)

Seems obvious to me the eventual use of the technology will be to remotely fry people. Much less colloteral damage compared to firing a missle. Just fire the lazer at their head for a few (mili?)seconds and they're dead.

Re:Eventual Target: People (2)

mrex (25183) | about 10 months ago | (#45279171)

It's kind of brilliant of DARPA, really. If a bit evil. By setting their sights on missiles, they establish the idea of defensive technology, but ensure that any effective weapon will also make short work of a less durable and less agile target like a human being. In this way, the R&D team is spared the thought of building something that will burn a hole through some hapless person, even though the eventuality of their work will be exactly that.

sharks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45278887)

Lasers on the heads of drones but not on the heads of sharks yet? Dr. Evil must be disappointed.

Weapons Platform (1)

b4upoo (166390) | about 10 months ago | (#45278941)

Quad copters seem to be all the rage right now. Perhaps large quad copters could carry all kinds of weaponry both fer defense and aggression that could be kept airborne during moments of great danger. Lasers are only one tool. Small missiles that can take down enemy planes or missiles would have quite an edge if launched from a decent altitude. Ground troops could also be dealt with by hovering platforms hovering directly above. Weapons such as tanks might be rather useless against such a system.

Please please please please (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 10 months ago | (#45279073)

The first model with a laser so-equipped really needs to be called the "Shark".

New AQ countermeasure (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#45279233)

Tin-foil turbans.

Yaaay! (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 10 months ago | (#45279349)

I can build my drone control module and my drone swarms and take the battle to the dirty Methanoids! [wikipedia.org]

The Solar System, and the entire Galaxy, will be Humanity's!

Friggin' Drone sharks? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 10 months ago | (#45279701)

Do they mate with the friggin' Shark Queen?

Would that make them Friggin' Frankin' Sharks?

shark grin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45279747)

Only thing missing now is the shark grin nose paint...

FAILZ,ORS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45279927)

Creates jobs (1)

hooiberg (1789158) | about 10 months ago | (#45279939)

Apart from any ethical consideration, at least it creates jobs for many scientists and engineers and as such stimulates the economy.

Guns to Missiles to Lasers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45280035)

Lockheed and the rest of the defense industry must be crapping their pants: if lasers take off then missiles AND guns will be obsolete and the future of air combat is going to be 100% about stealth because you can't dodge something traveling the speed of light.

Re:Guns to Missiles to Lasers (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 10 months ago | (#45281683)

They will have to adapt to a new market or die. Like any other manufacturer. (or get bailed out which seems more likely)

Smoke and Mirrors (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 10 months ago | (#45282515)

No, not the laser weapon program (which will just have the usual amount of fraud) but the DEFENSIVE RESPONSE. Cloud machines will get some serious research as well as water misting, reflective dust or "nano particle mirrors" from filling the air to special paint.

These lasers can't fire long sustained blasts, you just have to dissipate the heat for that short period of time. Visible light lasers are going to be significantly impacted by the AIR and distance to target as well as the humidity.

Not to mention the Geneva treaties which banned blinding weapons along with chemical warfare. Your legit laser weapon shot over a long distance is going to diffuse so that tank at 10 miles away is now the side of city block with blind children. Still preferable to generations of horrific birth defects the nuclear waste (depleted uranium) causes today... Amazing that nuclear waste is allowed as a weapon just because it's not literally a chemical weapon.... If I throw this acid at you really hard... it's a kinetic weapon not a chemical one! ;-p

Useless (1)

koan (80826) | about 10 months ago | (#45280107)

An autonomous platform asked to perform beyond existing technology using a weapon that is inefficient, ineffective, and hyper expensive.

Useless.

Drone-Mounted Laser Weapons (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 10 months ago | (#45280161)

lol I read that as lasers with drones mounted on them. As in my lasers has 3 drones mounted on it.

Kent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45280769)

What do you think a phase target tracking system is FOR?

Guerilla warfare will still triumph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45280915)

All the technical superiority in the world will never defeat a committed opposition
which is ready to die to defeat its enemy.

If you doubt this is true, you need to read more history.

What this continued development of weapons systems is really about is enriching
the 1% who are the primary conspirators in the military-industrial complex. A
serious war will involve ICBMs fired from submarines, which use MIRVs which
will not all be defeated before they reach their targets. Of course anyone in the military
who is not an idiot ( a small minority fits this description, to be sure ) knows this is true.

,

Could be good or bad... (1)

amarons (180856) | about 10 months ago | (#45281285)

Are these laser-equipped drones programmed to shoot at The Flood or shoot at you?

Sharks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45281391)

You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads

"Phenomenology of laser-target interactions"? (1)

Dave Emami (237460) | about 10 months ago | (#45281435)

I presume they mean the Holtzman Effect.

Jessica focused her mind on lasguns, wondering. The white-hot beams of disruptive light could cut through any known substance, provided that substance was not shielded. The fact that feedback from a shield would explode both lasgun and shield did not bother the Harkonnens. Why? A lasgun-shield explosion was a dangerous variable, could be more powerful than atomics, could kill only the gunner and his shielded target.

But does it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45281689)

Pop popcorn?

A girl has gotta have her standards.

Try the Roast Beef (1)

carrier lost (222597) | about 10 months ago | (#45282601)

DARPA is focused on miniaturizing the technology, as well as 'developing high-precision target tracking...

If they miniaturize and precisionize them enough to do Lasik, could they call it a "surgical strike"?

Ha! I got a million of 'em!

Are these (1)

Ronin Developer (67677) | about 10 months ago | (#45282699)

mounted on the head of the new SHARK Drone series?

"Endurance" name just a pseudonym? (1)

187807 (883881) | about 10 months ago | (#45282829)

I'm hoping that "Endurance" is only the *public* project name. This project is just too perfect not to have the internal, official project designation "Sharknado."

Blinding them with science (1)

kylemonger (686302) | about 10 months ago | (#45282929)

Instead of trying to punch holes in things, why not do what even cheap handheld lasers are eminently good at--- blinding people? Rake a powerful laser across the windshield of a speeding SUV and laugh while the vehicle runs off the road, flips, and burns simply because the person operating it is screaming in rage and agony because they've been blinded.

Real Genius (1)

BLToday (1777712) | about 10 months ago | (#45283143)

Real Genius work there. All I need now is some popcorn.

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