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Army Laser Passes Drone-Killing Test

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the zap-it dept.

The Military 173

Nerval's Lobster writes "Commercial package-delivery drones such as those revealed by Amazon and DHL could face danger from more than shotgun-toting, UAV-hunting yahoos following the successful test of a drone-killing laser by the U.S. Army. Though it's more likely to take aim at enemy observation drones than Amazon's package-deliver 'copters, the U.S. Army's High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL-MD) did prove itself in tests last week by shooting down 90 incoming mortars and a series of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). The original goal during the test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was to burn out or blow up mortar rounds and blind the cameras or other sensors carried by drones. The laser proved capable enough to damage or slice off the tails of target drones, which brought them down, according to Terry Bauer, HEL MD program manager, as quoted in the Dec. 11 Army announcement of the test. The quarter-sized beam of super-focused light set off the explosives in the 60-millimeter mortars in mid-flight, leaving the rest to fall 'like a rock,' Bauer said. The laser could target only one mortar at a time, but could switch targets quickly enough to bring down several mortars fired in a single volley. The laser and its power source are contained in a single 500-horsepower, four-axle truck but was directed by a separate Enhanced Multi Mode Radar system. The next step is a move from New Mexico to a testing range in Florida early next year 'to test it in rain and fog and things like that,' according to Bauer."

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173 comments

Slashdot is for fucking bastards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707277)

Frits Pots

Reflective Armor (4, Interesting)

Kagato (116051) | about 4 months ago | (#45707313)

Laser, neat. Couldn't you just wrap the UAV in Mylar to deflect it?

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 4 months ago | (#45707383)

If you paint them red they go faster. If you paint them reflective, they don't get destroyed by the laser.

Re:Reflective Armor (3, Insightful)

Tuidjy (321055) | about 4 months ago | (#45708111)

> If you paint them reflective, they don't get destroyed by the laser.

You wish.

Polished metal mirrors reflect about 90%. if you use some really expensive metals, you can push it to 95%. Milar, dielectric coatings, etc. can go up to 99.99%, but only in specific wavelength.

Sounds great? Well, no. That's the reflection you get in vacuum, when the mirror is pristine. Now fire it from a mortar, have it heated by the air rushing past, and then apply even 1% of the output of the laser we're talking about. Your nice upper layer is gone, and your reflection drops like a rock... followed by the rest of your round, once the payload overheats and blows up.

Very expensive reflective coating may buy you a fraction of a second, maybe even a whole one... but mortars are (1) cheap (2) slow to get to the target. So you just made each round a lot more expensive, and you still may not have bought enough time for it to get to the target.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708247)

While the idea of "Cover yourself in mirrors to protect against lasers" deserves a correct rebuttal, in this case I believe you've missed a joke.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45708339)

OK, so mirrors are obviously not a serious counter-measure.

What about some sort of prismatic lens?

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

jafac (1449) | about 4 months ago | (#45709127)

simply replace the explosive payload of the mortar round with semtex or similar plastic explosive. Detonates from electrical charge, not shock or heat, like TNT. (also much more expensive - but with our defense budget, no expense is spared, right?)

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#45709511)

Besides it really wouldn't be worth the bother as you could either spam the site from multiple directions, thus giving the tracking a lot harder time, or you could just use IEDs or suicide bombers which of course wouldn't be affected by your fancy laser.

Every time I see new "super tech" like this all I can think of is Vietnam, the USA had tech light years ahead of the enemy...who then proceeded to make it so messy that the USA gave up and pulled out.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

EvilSS (557649) | about 4 months ago | (#45708537)

No no no no. Did you learn nothing from the import fad of the last decade? If you want it to go faster, you have to paint it primer-gray and cover it in stickers for aftermarket automotive component manufacturers. Shez, everyone knows that.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#45708875)

Grey primer?

Based on the import fad, it appears huge trunk wings, under-body neon and graphic wraps make a car faster.

Grey primer cars (with or without stickers) are often actually fast. Limited dollars and all.

Re:Reflective Armor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707393)

Plain old metallized BoPET, and now you're lit up like a Christmas tree. Though, the concept does have merit. Perhaps a sheet of bumpy mylar to scatter emissions?

Re:Reflective Armor (3, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 4 months ago | (#45707441)

I'll give you two answers, feel free to pick the one you like.

1) When you are fighting a less-advanced army, they won't have the technology to implement your suggestions.
2) Defense (haha) contracts are written based on what will sell with congress, not necessarily what is useful

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#45707483)

Ad 1)

Giving a surface a reflective coating and polish it is a craft humanity knows since at least 2000 BC (that's about the age of the oldest mirror ever found). So I don't expect 1) to be valid in any sense.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#45707735)

a good aluminum mirror is 90% reflective, your bathroom mirror less so, and reflective mylar (with aluminum powder) even less and a bronze one of 2000 B.C. even less 80% of a 50 KWatt beam in the area of a quarter.....thank you for playing.

Re:Reflective Armor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707863)

The problem with mirror defenses is that they would have to stay reflective even while getting burned. Most mirrors are a thin layer on top. Shame, it would be hilarious if it worked though.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#45708017)

there are "optical mirrors", probably this system has them. turning a missile into one is left as excercise for the student, they require a special substrate and a vapor deposition process

Re:Reflective Armor (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#45708091)

Yes and no. The 90% are only valid if the laser beam hits the object nearly at 90 degrees. Then indeed, the reflection will cause 90% of the energy to be reflected and 10% will be heating the surface. But still, this means we need to have a 10 times larger laser to have the same effect than on a non reflective (black) object.

But in general, the beam will hit the surface at lower angles, and then we have to multiply the energy with the sinus of the angle. So if it hits the surface at 45 degrees, only about 71% of the energy will be transferred, and we need to increase the laser beam another 40%. And at lower angles, there is total reflection, and 0% of the laser will be able to heat the surface, as 100% of the energy is reflected. In general: if we build a drone like a stealth bomber with a shell of plane, mirroring facettes, laser beams will be rendered totally ineffective except for the seldom case that they hit the drone's surface at 90 degrees with 10 times the necessary energy.

Re:Reflective Armor (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708579)

This is racist but......

and then we have to multiply the energy with the sinus of the angle

This sounds like some Jew math to me.....

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#45708859)

but this is not mirror we're talking about, missile or aircraft is not optically smooth nor anything like 90% reflective.

no need to increase anything, they're using 50 KW for this test and going to roll out 100 KW in production, doesn't matter what the fraction is, on 3 sq cm of area the flying thing will be toast

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 4 months ago | (#45707695)

Hey, I'd pay GOOD money if we could get a civilian version of this thing...that would target the fscking stoplight/speed cameras in the city. And of course, the soon to be coming to your town, speed limit drones as yet another method to collect revenues.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#45708101)

3) reflective surfaces become markedly less so when flying in the real world, what with dust and such
4) no surface is 100% reflective, and will rapidly char as it absorbs heat, bringing its reflectivity down.

Re:Reflective Armor (4, Informative)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#45707493)

No, reflection from a plastic with aluminum powder embedded in it is only partial, the remainder of the energy is turned to heat. These high powered lasers can bore a hole through a normal household mirror, by the way, for the same reason.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

DM9290 (797337) | about 4 months ago | (#45707897)

No, reflection from a plastic with aluminum powder embedded in it is only partial, the remainder of the energy is turned to heat. These high powered lasers can bore a hole through a normal household mirror, by the way, for the same reason.

1. they don't fire the laser at the reflective side of the mirror. the non-reflective side of a mirror is usually tarnished and pretty dark colored.
2. the metal in a mirror is very thin.

not saying it is impossible, but it strikes me that the development cost of a laser resistant mortar would be far far less than the cost of a laser system that can reliably destroy such a mortar.

I don't think mylar is a good material to use either.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

Kookus (653170) | about 4 months ago | (#45708371)

How about aerogel? Then use rf/ir or lasers instead of wires to control motors. Then there would be absolutely nothing to hit in the tail except motors and battery packs and a few other odds n ends in the electronics department.

In the end there's probably always something that's target-able by a laser to disable the uav enough to make it worthless, so I'm sure something that can either reflect or bend the laser beams enough to protect those parts is the better approach.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 4 months ago | (#45708183)

These high powered lasers can bore a hole through a normal household mirror, by the way, for the same reason.

I would really like a citation on that, especially on the part how they don't get burned by the reflected light.

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

Kuroji (990107) | about 4 months ago | (#45708469)

Most mirrors are not perfectly reflective surfaces, despite how it might appear to the naked eye. The amount of light striking the mirror also causes heat build up, but the imperfections will reflect the light imperfectly if at all and your mirrored surface will now have larger imperfections for the laser to screw up. As this happens on a time scale of next-to-instant, well... you know.

For the laser itself to be burned by the reflected light, you would need a mirror that is pointed specifically at the laser and at nothing else.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 4 months ago | (#45709003)

lasers use an optical mirror at one end and partially reflective one at the other. you will be helping the "stimulated emssion" process with your hypothetical mirror.

lasers of "mere" hundreds of watts under CNC control are in fact used to cut ordinary mirrors at many factories. note this article is about 50KW rig that will be upgraded to 100KW

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xQxh8XvXdU [youtube.com]

Re:Reflective Armor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45709585)

I think this video is much better, though the substrate for these mirrors appear to be plastic instead of glass. The mirror is covered with a cloudy protective film, but he peels it back to show that it is indeed a mirror.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-VlVmBZGI4

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

jmichaelg (148257) | about 4 months ago | (#45707579)

How well a reflective surface would work would depend on the laser's power and frequency. Mylar doesn't reflect all frequencies of light and is imperfect at reflecting the ones it does. Pour enough joules onto the target and you don't care that 90% of them are being deflected - the remaining 10% will do the job.

I've always thought that the ideal anti-mortar device would be a radar that told you exactly where the mortar round came from. "You shooting at us? Here, have a little present in return."

Re:Reflective Armor (5, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 4 months ago | (#45707675)

I've always thought that the ideal anti-mortar device would be a radar that told you exactly where the mortar round came from. "You shooting at us? Here, have a little present in return."

This is know as counter-battery radar [wikipedia.org]. It has been around for at least a few decades. I was in the Marines during the 1991 Iraq War (the one that made sense), and we had counter-battery radar then. When an Iraqi mortar fired, our 155mm howitzers would back-trace the trajectory and return fire before the mortar round even impacted.

Re:Reflective Armor (4, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 4 months ago | (#45707931)

Back in '72, when I was in the Navy, I worked on a radar-guided anti-aircraft missile. (Never mind which one.) Its on-board guidance was designed so that if you jammed the signals, the missile would home on the jammer instead. Not quite the same as what you're talking about, but similar.

Jammers (1)

phorm (591458) | about 4 months ago | (#45709309)

So all the bad-guys have to do is put their jammer on top of a hospital or orphanage or whatever. They they get to put out some nice publicity about how the US is killing orphans and sick people.

Hiding behind civilians is a fairly common thing among certain terrorist groups.

Re:Jammers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45709707)

So all the bad-guys have to do is put their jammer on top of a hospital or orphanage or whatever. They they get to put out some nice publicity about how the US is killing orphans and sick people.

No need, the US is ensuring "nice publicity" all by itself. [reuters.com] *scnr*

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#45708125)

Plus you only need to apply enough energy to kill the reflectivity: a charred mirror isnt terribly reflective anymore.

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

seven of five (578993) | about 4 months ago | (#45707653)

1. No mirror is perfectly reflective; they all absorb some light. 2. Any crud on your mirror makes it even less reflective.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

AdamHaun (43173) | about 4 months ago | (#45707751)

You're not going to be wrapping an optical sensor in Mylar, so the laser can still blind the UAV.

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#45707921)

As others have pointed out, nothing is perfectly reflective. But that somewhat misses the point: a reflective surface only helps against a low-energy laser: one that only damages through radiant heating.

A high power laser weapon in the atmosphere is not a "beam of light" so much as a "column of exploding plasma". If you dump enough energy into the immediate environment of the target, it becomes very difficult to armor against.

Re:Reflective Armor (2)

Smauler (915644) | about 4 months ago | (#45708759)

My energy saving idea as a kid was a room with perfectly reflective surfaces. You could just turn a light on for a millisecond, and the room would be perpetually light. Then I realised everything in the room would need to be perfectly reflective too. Not a problem, a cool suit could do that, I thought... but you'd have to have a gap for the eyes, so it would lose its efficiency. I also realised that although the room would be pretty energy efficient, it would not be very practical, and if the surfaces reflected more of the electromagnetic spectrum, a slightly nasty side effect would be that it would actually cook your eyes. I gave up on the idea.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

anzha (138288) | about 4 months ago | (#45708025)

answer is no. HELSTF did a bunch of tests during the 1980s with spinning reflective cylinders against different laser powers. The results were surprisingly negative for protection: the battlefield is dirty/mirrors like to be clean and mirrors for lasers tend to be VERY wavelength sensitive.

Re:Reflective Armor (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 4 months ago | (#45708437)

Interesting predicament though -- do you want something reflective to protect against the laser, or do you want something absorptive to help hide radar signature?

Really? (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 4 months ago | (#45707339)

The laser could target only one mortar at a time,

In the words of 15 year old sarcasm-meisters from 1989, "No Shit Sherlock?". Though I for one welcome the innovation of lasers which are broad enough to simultaneously detonate a bunch of mortars spread out over several hundred feet in 3D space.

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45707425)

Using beam splitters, you could in theory target as many targets as the laser can handle while keeping the beams directed. You wouldn't even need to have multiple targeting systems--I vaguely remember seeing a talk once (where the lasers were being used for optical trapping [wikipedia.org]) where the beam pattern was controlled by a single piece of optics.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45709441)

Then you would be using multiple lasers ;)

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707439)

It isn't simultaneous, as the quote you gave shows... It is sequential, one-target-at-a-time. The spread-out bit is the size of a quarter.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707673)

In the words of 15 year old sarcasm-meisters from 1989, "No Shit Sherlock?".

FWIW. We used in the 70s. Think it was used in the 40s or earlier.

Doctor Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707347)

Excellent acroynm! HEL-MD - Dr. Hell

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707377)

Do these lasers come with sharks attached to their frickin' bottoms?

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707475)

Sadly not, but they would be effective in defense of sharknados.

Advantages of DEWs (4, Interesting)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45707385)

Considering drones should be susceptible to conventional means of destruction (read: bullets, missiles), I was wondering why bother with directed energy weapons? The answer appears to be (1) discretion (because a drone dropping out of the sky is totally not attention-grabbing) (2) the ability to shoot through walls (okay, that's pretty cool) [wikipedia.org], and (3) lower "cost per kill." [nationalde...gazine.org]

Re:Advantages of DEWs (2)

X0563511 (793323) | about 4 months ago | (#45707447)

Also, you don't have projectiles flying off past the target if you miss or pass-through. If there's a friendly base, city etc beyond the drone, you most probably don't want to light it up with bullets or missiles.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (-1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45707489)

"Also, you don't have projectiles flying off past the target if you miss or pass-through. If there's a friendly base, city etc beyond the drone, you most probably don't want to light it up with bullets or missiles."

Just blinding them seems more merciful to you?

Re:Advantages of DEWs (4, Insightful)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 4 months ago | (#45707529)

I don't think the laser beam has an arc and return trajectory.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (2)

bob_super (3391281) | about 4 months ago | (#45707909)

Yes but that random airliner doesn't have wings designed to resist laser cutting.

What? You mean I have to check behind the target just in case? That's against SOP.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45708005)

I haven't done the calculation, but I'd imagine that the odds of an airliner getting hit by a stray beam are much less than the odds of a civilian being hit by a stray bullet. Basing this off of the lower density of airliners in the night sky vs. people in a city. Also beams are a bit more predictable (unless reflective-material ricochet is indeed a concern).

Re:Advantages of DEWs (3, Insightful)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45707563)

Several things wrong with this.

-More like cooked--these beams aren't visible spectrum.
-Yes, I'd rather be blind than have a bullet to the head.
-Cities and buildings shouldn't be in the linear line of fire of these beams (which will mainly be shooting up). The issue that X0563511 brought up is based on that obscure sciencey concept that things that go up usually come back down.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708015)

What is someone with such a defecit of intelligence doing at a nerd site? Your comment is proof that there IS such a thing as a stupid question. Read the other comments, dumbass. Next time you visit slashdot, please fon't comment because you're simply not intelligent or educated enough to say anything important. Now STFU, moron. Go back to your retarded friends at 4chan.

Anti-satellite (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 months ago | (#45707645)

Also, you don't have projectiles flying off past the target if you miss or pass-through. If there's a friendly base, city etc beyond the drone, you most probably don't want to light it up with bullets or missiles.

And for a "kill" in space you don't get the debris problem. Just a burned out image sensor on an otherwise intact spy satellite.

Targeting and Speed of Light ... (4, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | about 4 months ago | (#45707607)

I was wondering why bother with directed energy weapons?

With speed of light weapons the target does not move very far between firing and impact. Point of aim is basically point of impact, unlike bullets. No guidance system required, unlike missiles.

Ammunition is unlimited as long as you have power.

And because sci fi fans have been waiting for this since 1898. The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells.

2 nd ammendment question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707657)

Well, if the Government has all these energy-super-ray-guns-whatnots and the only thing we're legally to own are throwbacks to the 19th century, I think these lasers blasters shoujld be legally mandated to be available to the public.

Otherwise, the Second Ammendment is just worthless - a bone to throw to us peasants to make us feel that we have retained at least some rights from the Constitution.

Or - fuck it! What is the point of the Second Amendment anymore when the Government has ray guns and we have outdated shit.

Re:2 nd ammendment question (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45707755)

I'm not a firearms enthusiast. But if I had to be armed, I would choose a "slug thrower" over a ray-gun any day--much less complicated tech that can go wrong. And, as people have pointed out elsewhere, bullets are not stopped (and bounced back) by reflective sheeting.

Re:2 nd ammendment question (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#45708187)

bullets are not stopped (and bounced back) by reflective sheeting.

Nor is any laser of any reasonable power. Not sure the exact formula / power, but a quick google search indicates that hobbyists cut things like reflective mylar foil with 3-watt CO2 lasers, which Im sure can be powered by a 500HP generator.

Generally an object in the battlefield will not be dust-free, and anything at all that isnt reflecting light is absorbing energy. Very quickly even a highly reflective surface burns and stops being reflective.

Re:2 nd ammendment question (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708669)

"I don't know anything about this, but I'll give you my opinion anyway."

Re:2 nd ammendment question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45709435)

"I don't know anything about this, but I'll give you my opinion anyway."

Seems fair, if the parent did not need to know anything why should the responder.

Re: Targeting and Speed of Light ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707813)

Sci-Fi fans are waiting for directed energy weapons _that make cool wee-ooo-wee-ooo sounds_. Also, why is the laser in one truck, but is directed from another facility? Might it explode? That'd be cool, too.

Re: Targeting and Speed of Light ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707935)

Also, why is the laser in one truck, but is directed from another facility?

There is more than one truck. Their fire is coordinated and controlled. The facility may be providing tracking information from other assets.

Re:Targeting and Speed of Light ... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 4 months ago | (#45708219)

Not to mention that pesky problem of missiles and bullets raining down on people below being a problem of the past with DEWs.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 4 months ago | (#45707663)

Directed energy also has the advantages of a high rate of fire, easier reloading, and no recoil, and it travels at light speed. It's a better replacement for bullets in many situations, effectively firing as long as there's electricity, and burning a hole through practically anything, without needing to worry about travel time.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (2)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 4 months ago | (#45707811)

Actually, discretion can matter depending on who the adversary is. Radar can theoretically track a missile or even a bullet back to its source; a laser is not traceable in that way. If, for example, one envisions fighting another well-equipped industrialized country, that could matter considerably. Air defenses that could fire without revealing their locations would have a an edge. (Unlike in science fiction movies, lasers do not make a visible beam unless there is smoke or dust to scatter them.)

Since lasers propagate at the speed of light, there is by definition no way to know one is incoming before it hits. That's another advantage.

Re:Advantages of DEWs (1)

barlevg (2111272) | about 4 months ago | (#45707941)

Assuming the laser platform wasn't firing through some complicated Rube Goldberg-style mirror setup, wouldn't you be able to figure out where it was fired from based on where on the drone was hit / angle of incidence? If I get shot in the back, my buddies aren't going to look in front of me for my shooter.

Who gives a fuck? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707401)

million of American children ARE STARVING THIS WINTER, and the best we can do is brag about some fucking laser that will oppress a bunch of other homeless people in a different country?

Slashdot you are an enabler - this is not stuff that matters, and we've known the science of lasers for quite some time now. Bragging about the treasonous military is going to do nothing good for anyone.

Bullshit! (0, Offtopic)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#45707503)

America pays millions every year for obesity related healthcare for poor people getting free food.

Murica: The country where Poor & Fat coincide (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707879)

America pays millions every year for obesity related healthcare for poor people getting free food.

We're trend setters.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707631)

... oppress a bunch of other homeless people in a different country ...

Since when do the homeless have mortars and aerial drones?

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

couchslug (175151) | about 4 months ago | (#45708181)

"million of American children ARE STARVING THIS WINTER"

Citation needed, and post with your nick, bitch.

I do and don't care who I piss off.

Re:Who gives a fuck? (0)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#45708215)

The starvation rate in america is so low that it is not tracked independently of "exposure deaths". Heck, go to "feedingamerica.com" and try to actually find starvation stats: i couldnt even find the word "starve" on their stats page.

Test it in ran....lol (1)

Notabadguy (961343) | about 4 months ago | (#45707427)

They're going to move it to Florida to test it in ran and fog.

RAN = Japanese pronunciation of "rebellion."

Tomorrow's headlines: US ARMY DEPLOYS JAPANESE LASERS INTO FLORIDA TO QUELL REBELLIOUS FLORIDIANS!

We should worry (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 4 months ago | (#45708151)

...

Tomorrow's headlines: US ARMY DEPLOYS JAPANESE LASERS INTO FLORIDA TO QUELL REBELLIOUS FLORIDIANS!

You'd be surprised how much it hurts when some little old lady violently runs into you with her walker.

Cheers,
Dave

Working as intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707445)

The advertising mission of Amazon's drone delivery (to be seen as apart from any material effects that program may have) seems to be working well; it's even getting the company mentioned in articles about completely unrelated issues.

Competition... (1)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#45707705)

"Commercial package-delivery drones such as those revealed by Amazon and DHL could face danger from more than shotgun-toting, UAV-hunting yahoos "

Kudos to Yahoo! for finally figuring out how to compete.

Long history of lasers at White Sands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45707761)

Twenty years ago there was a group at White Sands called the High Energy Laser System Test Facility (HELSTF). By their front door was a concrete cube, roughly 2 feet on a side, that had a large hole drilled into it by a laser burst.

In the middle of a slightly overcast night as I was driving roughly 30 miles from the facility, and in spite of an intervening mountain range, the sky and countryside were suddenly illuminated with a very brief flash of yellow/green light.

HELSTF running a test at night. Very impressive.

Approaching useful power levels (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 4 months ago | (#45707963)

This isn't the first U.S. Army laser system that can shoot down mortar rounds. The Tactical High Energy Laser [spacedaily.com], in test since 2000, could do it. Here it is in action. [youtube.com] That took three semitrailers of equipment and tanks for the chemical laser. Each shot cost $3000 in chemicals. Israel wanted to deploy the thing, even though it was expensive to operate, couldn't run for long, and not very portable. It was just too clunky for combat.

The Army wanted a solid-state laser with that kind of punch, and now they have one. This new truck-mounted system uses a 10KW solid-state laser array. Probably a lot of small solid-state lasers. It might just be an array of 1000 standard 10-watt laser diodes. That's enough to take out artillery shells and small rockets. The only consumable is electricity.

Beam weapons are about to become real. The most likely initial user is, again, Israel, which has to deal with small rocket attacks in known areas. Israel's Iron Dome system works reasonably well but uses a pair of $50,000 guided missiles to take out each $800 attacking rocket.

Re:Approaching useful power levels (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 months ago | (#45708189)

C-RAM is exactly where speed-of-light weaponry is needed. You have rapid closing times, and you don't have as much time to track. As has been mentioned before, with DE, you "point and shoot", you don't have to worry about time of flight and evasion.

when in doubt (1)

slinks (1627039) | about 4 months ago | (#45708107)

add atmosphere. i wonder how effective smoke would be in reducing the lasers effectiveness? would you even have time to deploy the smoke. depending on the lasers tracking system you could try to avoid that/or trick it.

Amazon Drones Not My Main Concern (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 4 months ago | (#45708233)

I wants a weapon that I can attach to my phone which will cause instant annihilation of any robocall system that happens to call me.

I've never seen either a mortar round or UAV incoming. However I get multiple incoming robocalls per day.

WORK ON SOMETHING RELEVANT!!

Retroreflector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708267)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retroreflector

Re:Retroreflector? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45708533)

http://www.google.ca/patents/US3986690

So you can shoot down multiple mortars? (1)

Hobadee (787558) | about 4 months ago | (#45708911)

So your fancy new laser system can shoot down several mortars in a small amount of time?

Challenge Accepted! ...oh, and BTW, challenge already won; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zx_9_RgMPCE#t=82 [youtube.com]

Re:So you can shoot down multiple mortars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45709089)

40 mm mortars are dippy and pointless. the 203 is pretty much useful as a "big-ass shotgun" but they won't let us carry flechettes anymore.

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