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Battlefield Lasers

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the also-useful-for-making-popcorn dept.

Technology 688

KeyShark writes: "An article on FoxNews describes how front-line troops soon will be protected by battlefield lasers designed to shoot down rockets, artillery shells and even mortars."

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688 comments

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first booyah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662508)

booyah!

Re:second booyah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662540)

Boooooooo yaaaaahhhhhH!

Re:third booyah (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662581)

Groundskeeper Willy and I will stay behind to remove asbestos and the word 'evolution' from our school.

Boo yaH.

Not too hard. (3, Interesting)

man_ls (248470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662518)

Sounds like they put a fire-finder radar tracking station onto a laser. They've had the ability to plot trajectory and such of incoming shells for quite a while, but now they'll be able to do something about it other than leave.

Unfortunately, I have suspicions if this will ever make it to deployment. The U.S. also has an anti-satellite laser weapon that has been tested and confirmed to work by overloading the circuits -- and it was nixed because of the poltical tension it would create.

Re:Not too hard. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662641)

Actually, it's an amazingly difficult control systems problem, especially if you have no advanced warning, as in these cases. The rockets that they downed were Katyushas, which are really simple, THICK metal tubes full of explosives. I saw the video of the tests back in July--the thing is really impressive. The laser itself in invisible and the source looks like one of those World War II signaling lamps on ships. If you look at the video of the Katyushas, you just see it flying along, it gets red, then poof!
As far as deployment goes, Israel has been pressuring the US for the last several months to at least put up a few stations in northern Israel--it's that effective. The main problem right now is that it's just not mobile, and it's not battle hardened. In other words, taking it out would be easy. But, eventually given enough money and time, they'll get this on the back of a truck, and then you're in business.

Re:Not too hard. (1)

maladroit (71511) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662642)

It seems unlikely that political tension would causing deployment problems. There's a world of difference between the strategic and the tactical.

An anti-satellite weapon creates strategic worries - it could be used as a prelude to first nuclear strike, for instance, or directed against civilian satellites in some sort of economic warfare.

This, however, is almost purely tactical, and purely defensive. There really isn't someone trying to defend the right of mortar shells to land on someone.

Purely defensive??????? I dont think so.... (1)

SirTreveyan (9270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662739)

I can see this being used against tanks. It would come in very handy first causeing the reactive armor to detonate prematurely making it easier for later traditional rounds to penetrate. Hell...why not just keep the damn thing firing at a tank...Im sure that a tanks surface is not match for temperatures like the surface of the sun.

missle defense (1)

jrs 1 (536357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662663)

i'd always assumed that this idea was impractical because i'd thought of this a long time ago and assumed that if it was feasable, someone would have done it by now. anyway, it could be extremely useful in a world war; to detonate missiles in mid-flight, before impact. a nuke exploding over the atlantic could be a lot less harmful than exploding in a major city. i guess it'd just have to be very very accurate.

Re:Not too hard. (2, Interesting)

Lobsang (255003) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662717)

Not too hard?

I think it may be impossible. You're forgetting:

1) Decoys
2) More decoys
3) Even more decoys
4) Foliage
5) Line of sight
6) Rain
7) Fog
8) Snow

Am i forgetting something here?

Re:Not too hard. (2)

flacco (324089) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662728)

The U.S. also has an anti-satellite laser weapon that has been tested and confirmed to work by overloading the circuits -- and it was nixed because of the poltical tension it would create.

The coming space-weapons arms race with China will probably make political tensions irrelevant.

But what they'll really be used for... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662523)

...is to annoy the other guys, by shining them on stuff.

NO! To make jiffy pop! (2, Funny)

xeeno (313431) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662553)

like in real genius.

Bad timing (1)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662526)

It's too bad the US soldiers in Afghanistan didn't have that. They'd have been able to protect themselves from their biggest threat

Re:Bad timing (3, Funny)

Dr Caleb (121505) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662561)

from their biggest threat

You'd have to have a pretty big laser to shoot down a B52.

Funniest /. post *ever* (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662618)

This comment contains no text 'cuz the subject sez it all.

Re:Bad timing (1)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662629)

Shooting down aircraft could be an interesting application. Target the fuel area. If computers can track a morter, it shouldn't too much harder to track a jet, as long as it's performing basic maneuvering. We already have hand held laser weapons, as long as you call using a laser pointer and flashing them in a person's eye, a weapon. Make it brighter and more conventional, and you got a weapon that can blind the enemy.

Re:Bad timing (2, Interesting)

dumpster_d (536427) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662723)

The technology to shoot down aircraft was developed and during the 1970's--no big deal. I remember seeing great footage of the engine compartment being nicely sliced out of a flying drone.

Problem is: the dispersion/diffraction of a high-powered LASER being used outdoors has the side effect of permanently blinding most of the people in line-of-sight to the aircraft [which can be a lot and, of course, include one's own troops].

Question is: why not just attach a whatever-KV potential to a spark-plug in a mini-dish and knock out the target's electronics instead? Should be easier--of course, that'd have little effect upon an incoming shell/bomb once the fuse has been armed.

Re:Bad timing (1)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662645)

when you say our "biggest threat" are you talking about ourselves?

(we have killed 3 times as many US soldiers as the Taliban.)

hard part (4, Funny)

simetra (155655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662527)

The hard part will be making the lasers make a cool zapping noise like on Star Wars.

Re:hard part (1)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662627)

this is totally unrelated, but when i first saw the Segway HT i thought..."wouldn't it be cool if it made the same noise as the cars on The Jetsons?"

then 15 or so minutes later:
http://diesel.2y.net/video/JetsonSegway.WMV [2y.net]
(i apologize for the WMV format, a friend made it)

Re:hard part (1)

slashdot2.2sucks (516360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662655)

..also making the laser scatter off of nothing in empty space so you can see it.

Friendly Fire (1)

NatePWIII (126267) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662528)

Has anyone ever taken into the consideration that dangerous nature of these things? Maybe I'm thinking wrong but if these lasers are always on then it wouldn't take much to accidentally trip or turn and zap your buddy.

Any weapon has this problem... (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662609)

Trip and shoot your buddy with your rifle/SAW...

Trip and impale your buddy with your pike/sword...

And so forth.

Besides, this isn't a personnel carried device- it's a Humvee/Bradley mounted device. One's an eximer the other something solid-state. Both are going to be too large for people to carry.

a flame but... (1, Flamebait)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662532)


...maybe these can defend against friendly fire. so far all but one american military casaulty in the new war have been due to errant american bombs.

granted the frontline is a deadly place to be, but i'm shocked by how many of our own soldiers we're killing.

then again, i remember the same stories in the Desert Storm, Desert Fox, and the action against Milosovich (choppers downed/stealth fighters downed)

Re:a flame but... (3, Insightful)

man_ls (248470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662556)

This has really been how it is in any war. In Vietnam, Napalm would hit allies on the ground as well as the enemies. In World War II, bombs would fall astray and kill civilians and soldiers for the same side. If there's a situation involving dangerous equipment, and humans are involved, there *will* be human error. In this case, it's lives lost - but it was going to happen anyway.

Re:a flame but... (1)

chancycat (104884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662574)

I read today that 8 Americans have died. Four accidents, and four combat-related. Of the four in combat, three from friendly fire recently, one (CIA) killed by the enemy in the prison uprising.

That's 3/8 due to friendly fire.

Re:a flame but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662613)

You are correct. The media doesn't like reporting the accidents.

Re:a flame but... (1)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662583)

Shoot down friendly munitions erroneously aimed at you, only to be shot at for protecting the enemy? Not a good set of options there.

Re:a flame but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662705)

Casualties include INJURIES and DEATHS. There have been far more than 4 casualties in the Afghanistan operation. There have been only 8 or so fatalities, 1 during the prison uprising, 3 due to friendly fire today, 4 in a helicopter accident.

casualty

n. pl. casualties

1. An accident, especially one involving serious injury or loss of life.

2. One injured or killed in an accident: a train wreck with many casualties.

3. One injured, killed, captured, or missing in action through engagement with an enemy. Often used in the plural: Battlefield casualties were high.

4. One that is harmed or eliminated as a result of an action or a circumstance: The corner grocery was a casualty of the expanding supermarkets.

fatality

n. pl. fatalities

1a. A death resulting from an accident or a disaster: highway fatalities.

1b. One that is killed as a result of such an occurrence: The driver was one of the fatalities.

2. The ability to cause death or disaster.

3. The quality of being determined by fate.

4. A decree made by fate; destiny.

5. The quality of being doomed to disaster.

Re:a flame but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662721)

I think you missed the Mortal Combat definition of Fatality in there.

In other news SubZero was mysteriously exploded after challenger Scorpion performed an Animality and tranformed into a giant insect.

Sonya was said to have offered Friendship to Jax after breaking his neck during their heated match.

Lasers suck (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662533)

But not as much as LINUX!

Re:Lasers suck (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662690)

Which is still less than your mom.

A step up for laser pointers (1)

hether (101201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662534)

Who'd have thought laser pointers would come so far? :)

"...pocket laser pointer is going to bridge the gap between the Persian Gulf War and Star Wars."

Do you think they come with different tips like regular laser pointers do?

I think their idea has great potential, but like they said, this is just their baby, the first version. Its got a way to go before its cost effective, practical, etc.

Re:A step up for laser pointers (3, Funny)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662657)

if they did come with the different tips it sure would make it easier for cowfolks to brand their cattle.

are artillery shells that delicate? (3, Interesting)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662535)

I know the airborne laser (uses the same chemical type laser) was capable of shooting down rockets by weakening the metal skins, which the forces of flight would thus rupture and cause the thing to fly apart, but are artillery shells really that delicate?

Re:are artillery shells that delicate? (3, Interesting)

pryan (169593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662605)

For artillery shells without an explosive payload, I would imagine if you could melt the tip, it would throw off the aerodynamics to throw the shell off course. That is assuming, of course, that you didn't vaporize it.

And for ones with an explosive payload, the obvious would happen in flight. :)

Re:are artillery shells that delicate? (1)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662612)

Consider: the explosion inside has to get out of the shell upon detonation. Sure, you could armor the shell more, but that would use some of the blast energy just tearing the shells apart...or turn the shell into effectively a shaped charge, blowing out only the laser-weakened side.

Re:are artillery shells that delicate? (2, Informative)

silicon_synapse (145470) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662665)

It's the armor that makes the explosion possible. If you've ever held a match to a pile of black powder, you'd know that it doesn't do a whole lot. BUT if that black powder is confined to a small space, the pressure of the gasses builds until the container bursts. Hence the explosion. Now an artillary shell contains a lot of explosive and need to make a big bang. Therefore it needs a very thick, strong shell to contain the immense pressure of the gasses until enough gas has been produced to create the desired crater. That thick shell will also make it difficult to destroy enroute.

Uh huh (1)

_pi-away (308135) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662536)

Wow, cos if it's on fox news then it MUST be true!

Save Us (1)

artlu (265391) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662539)

Hopefully lasers will also be able to detect errors in our own ammunitions so that no more innocent Americans lose their lifes as those did today in Afghanistan from that missile error.
AJ

Re:Save Us (1)

maladroit (71511) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662713)

Um ... actually a bomb error, and the laser described in the article is not for guidance (guidance lasers have been around for a while).

But no technology is going to eliminate human error. The bomb that went astray today was a guided munition, it uses GPS. But a human decides where to bomb, and if that human picks the wrong target (like a Chinese embassy), or enters the coordinates wrong, then disaster is going to follow.

FoxNews? (0, Offtopic)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662542)

Couldn't find a more reputable source?

Or, just use pen lasers (5, Funny)

chancycat (104884) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662546)

Think about it:

Eash of our troups has a pen laser and two house cats.


1) Release cats between you and the enemy.

2) Direct cats toward enemy trenches with pen light. Watch enemy freak out.

Arm the cats (1)

simetra (155655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662585)

Better yet... strap a remote-detonated bomb to the back of the cat, so when the cat is where you want, blow them up.

Re:Arm the cats (2, Funny)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662659)

You joke - but in WWII the Russians did some experiments with dogs, training them to associate the underside of a tank with food. Strap on a mine, and boom.

First field trial worked perfectly - dogs saw tanks and ran towards them. Only problem: they'd been trained to associate Russian tanks with food, not German, and forced the Russians into retreat.

(this may well be urban legend, but it's a great story)

Re:Arm the cats (2, Informative)

Zalgon 26 McGee (101431) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662673)

Gah. Hate to reply to myself, but I found a link! [ostfront.com]

Re:Arm the cats (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662691)

No It wasn't.

Got this earlier today on slashdot
Read down to get story about explosive russian dogs.

http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/archive/5-11-19101 -0-31-9.html

Re:Arm the cats (2)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662708)

Yup. The US Navy did tests like that with dolphins. Dolphins are smarter than dogs. While they're still alive, anyway.

Re:Arm the cats (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662700)

This reminds me of the 'Buttery Wholesomeness' supplement for HoL; one of the shortest lived RPGs in the world. One of the weapons featured there was called 'Kitty Kitty Bang Bang' and the illustration was of the cutest little kitten with a vest on, and on the back of the vest was a 'safecracker' style bundle of dynamite with a windup alarmclock; surrounding the kitty were a bunch of 'tick tick tick tick tick' words. It's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. The completely unknowning look on the kitty's face completes it.

This just in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662548)

Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.

Also under development: (5, Funny)

Nindalf (526257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662549)

Revolutionary new developments in extremely shiny rockets, artillery shells, and even mortars.

Re:Also under development: (1)

slashdot2.2sucks (516360) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662611)

Revolutionary new developments in lasers not in the visible range.

Re:Also under development: (1)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662640)

Revolutionary new developments in lasers whose frequency is not absorbed by typical munition casings. (Consider: microwaves can heat water inside a ceramic container without directly heating the container itself. True, they do react with metal, but at least some of the energy would penetrate.)

Re:Also under development: (1)

Phanatic1a (413374) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662646)

Making a rocket or shell shiny is easy. Keeping a rocket or shell shiny after it's been transported, unloaded, loaded into a weapon, and fired through the air at high velocities, is not.

Coming from FoxNews... (1)

Omerna (241397) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662550)

I see a new primetime special:

Giant Laser Building!
Watch 3 teams of scientists try do design and build lasers to protect our troops on the battlefield! Tonight at 8!

Come to think of it, that'd be a good Simpsons episode (the lasers I mean) or maybe a Junkyard Wars in the near future.

Yea (0)

sui (90348) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662557)

Yea coz this will work until they start making the missle's reflective.

AOL is SUPER FAST (-1)

Fecal Troll Matter (445929) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662560)

It's fun getting e-mail!

7.0 makes it even easier.

Bing! And all of a sudden you've got an instant message!

AOL 7.0, so easy to use, no wonder everyone's talking about it.

"Fox News" != "News" (1, Flamebait)

AMuse (121806) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662568)

I've known it for a long time, but the events of the WTC, and now this, are continually proving it for me.

FOX News is one of the most sensational, "check the facts later if anyone bothers to call us on our imaginative story" news agencies to ever hit the books. It wasn't 5 minutes that the first building hit the ground before FOX news had conclusive proof that Bin Laden did it.

Of course, they blamed Oklahoma City on him too, and look what happened.

For gods' sake, stay away from them.

[/RANT]

Re:"Fox News" != "News" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662625)

They may be a bit hasty with some stories, but at least you don't get the liberal slant to all the stories that you would with CNN and others. I prefer to make my own decisions and not have someone else tell me what my opinions are.

Re:"Fox News" != "News" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662718)

Oh, yeah, they are SOOOOO even-handed over there at Fox. Not a whiff of bias there at all.

Re:"Fox News" != "News" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662743)

No bias at any of the big 3 or CNN, I suppose?

Ha ha, Excellent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662750)

This post claims Fox reporting isn't liberal and the next one claims they are! But I'm sure your "objective" viewpoint must be the correct one.

Re:"Fox News" != "News" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662628)

You're just pissed because they don't have the typical left wing slant.

Re:"Fox News" != "News" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662651)

lol

You do know that the Fox news network had not yet lauched at the time of the oklahoma bombing, don't you?

They definately are weak in fact checking, but the way all the major new source tilt the news one way or another, I dont see how it makes much of a difference.

We know where this leads (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662570)

Go down the laser attack path,
disregard kinetic energy attacks,
and get your ass kicked by furry Ewoks on your first alien planet mission.

We need to say "no" to battlefield lasers. Let's continue fighting with molecules.

Heh (1)

beefstu01 (520880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662572)

I found it amusing that it costs $3000 to fire a single shot with this sucker. A bit pricy for a focused blast of light if you ask me.

Re:Heh (2, Insightful)

pagercam2 (533686) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662648)

$3000 is only half of a toliet seat at government prices!!! I think they're using chemical lasers and they are real big and complex, so $3000 for anything the government gets involved in is a pretty good price and if you can use it to save a HUMMV or M1A1 tank the saving would be great, even if you save only a single soldier per $3000 you're way ahead of the game, helps moral, keeps soldiers out of hospitals, saves having to train new soldiers, saves having to knock on parents door to tell them that Johnie isn't comming home. $3000 seems like the deal of the centrury, getting it to work is the only problem I see.

Is it really so difficult? (5, Funny)

djrogers (153854) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662575)

All I asked for were some frickin' laser beams!

Re:Is it really so difficult? (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662600)

Indeed. These won't be useful until they can be shark-mounted.

Here's a related piece (3, Informative)

hether (101201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662576)

Military Lasers High and Low
Battle lasers are rapidly moving from the realm of theory into operational reality

The Airforce Association
http://www.afa.org/magazine/0999lasers.html

Budget overruns (1)

Darkfred (245270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662578)

At 6000 dollars a shot the enemy can just start firing rocks at us and wait for us to go bankrupt.

Re:Budget overruns (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662720)

What kind of power source would these need to be deployed permanently in military bases? A frigging nuclear generator probably. Hey, maybe this will pay for fusion research.

Missile Defense? (1)

global_diffusion (540737) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662582)

Sweet. More things built off the missle defense idea. Of course, nobody's heard of the Maginot Line...

Re:Missile Defense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662662)

I think Belgium deserves some blame for not letting france build it on their border too; that would have stopped the Germans from just going around it at least.. But sheesh, what a terrible plan that was.

France:"Come get us! We've got a Wall!"
German1:"What will we do? They've got a wall."
German2:"We'll ignore it; They probably did something French to screw it up anyway."
German1:"true, true."

American:"Just try and nuke us, we've got missile defence!"
Afghan1:"We don't have nukes."
Afghan2:"We don't even have missiles."
American:"..oh...wanna buy one?"

Re:Missile Defense? (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662674)

High-tech warfare is a game of rock-paper-scisors, but the enemy will win if you are missing one of the above, and he knows it. The Maginot line was unsuccessful because they were complacent once they had it. I don't think that will be the case in the US for a while, now that we've had both the 9-11 and the anthrax attacks.

Two arguments I've heard against missile defense are that it doesn't work, and that it wouldn't stop other attacks. For the former, the fact that it doesn't work hardly seems like an argument against research. As for the latter, if we put all our money into aircraft security and mail sanitization, we'd be unprepared for missile attacks.

Not a sermon, just a thought. (OK, maybe that phrase implies that it is a sermon. Oh, well.)

GI JOE.. (0)

diesel_jackass (534880) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662592)

Finally the GI Joe cartoons will be a little more accurate! (nobody dies, right?)

Seriously though, it seems like it would be a little easier to sneak one of these onto a plane, into a concert, to a press conference, etc. (once they're manufactured smaller).

ah well, it had to happen eventually.

Govexec.com says (4, Insightful)

hether (101201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662593)

http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0401/042301nj.htm

that "These lasers also have a drawback--their energy comes from large tanks of industrial chemicals, which have to be mixed until they glow, like an outsize high-school science project. And they are so bulky that one weapon fills a large aircraft, or a small building. "

Does this jive with the fox news article?

Re:Govexec.com says (2)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662688)

Yes, though foxnews says there's an experimental solid-state laser that looks promising. With that, it would cost 25 cents per shot, and fit on a Humvee.

Hold on a second... (0, Flamebait)

Zen Mastuh (456254) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662595)

Fox News wants us to believe that the Lunar landings were faked [badastronomy.com] , and that the government has lasers which can shoot down ordnance from space? Hmmm....

Re:Hold on a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662643)

That wasn't Fox News, it was Fox.

Expen$ive (1)

Reliant-1864 (530256) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662596)

Man, $3000 / shot? That's a lot. Use a $5 million dollar missle to blow up a tent and a $3000 shot to shoot down a $50 mortar shell. Now that's what I call efficient spending. Which side will run out of money first? For $1000, you cause the US government to spend $60,000 shooting down mortar shells (assuming shells do cost $50)

Re:Expen$ive (1)

shatteredpottery (320695) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662650)

Mortar shells cost a fair bit more than that, artillery shells still more. Particularly the newer ones. But there is a cheap way [trebuchet.com] to overwhelm such a system. :)

Doesn't Israel already have these ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662606)

I think I read a while back that Israel received some of these types of lasers from the US to shoot down Kaytusha rockets coming from Hizbollah in S. Lebanon. Were they ever used and if so does anyone know if they were effective?

Just what we need on the battlefield (2, Insightful)

Teleporting Wombat (174461) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662620)

>>The laser weapons vaporize metal.

OK, I fire it at your depleted uranium artillery shell. Vaporized uranium on the battlefield. Voila! How's that for environmental cleanup?

The end of air combat (3, Insightful)

biotechnician (538912) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662622)

Since like all technology this will disseminate to the other countries in the globe, this also means a major change in air power. Manuverablility means practically nill at the speed of light. Large aircraft equiped with lasers would in addition to destroying missles would also be able to destroy all aircraft, even if the enemy aircraft are super manuverable, stealthy, super expensive F-22 jets. In fact the developement of powerful lasers will strongly reduce the importance aircraft, all you need to do is see the aircraft and you can kill it.

For a more technical overview... (4, Informative)

mbessey (304651) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662626)

...of specifically the solid-state high-power laser, take a look at Lawrence Livermore's page on the project:

http://lasers.llnl.gov/lst/helstf.html [llnl.gov]

Tick on FOX TV this Wednesday night! (0, Offtopic)

CaptainCap (194813) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662632)

Since we're on the topic of FOX, The Tick is on tonight on FOX TV (9:30 pm) as well as it's
regular time on Thursday night. Two weeks on, two weeks off, then two night in a row, gotta love
those crazy guys at Fox.

Laser Rifles! (1)

MikeyNg (88437) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662637)

It seems to me that the next extension of this is to have laser cannon mounted vehicles. It sounds like they'll be able to get these devices cheap enough to mount on a vehicle, and then you'd get to put the temperature of the sun on infantry or wherever. Plus, you could wave it back and forth like a magic light saber of death - you wouldn't miss as much as you would with a projectile weapon. You get automatic tracing fire, but it also allows the enemy to pinpoint YOUR location pretty easily, too. But there probably isn't alot of armor that could stand up to it right now.

lasers, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662661)

Can seasoned UNIX soldiers get battlefield lasers to protect them from the lameness of linux?

This raises some frightening questions (4, Interesting)

joshjs (533522) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662664)


What's to stop them from using these things on people? They have amazingly accurate targeting systems and they're cheap to fire (article says 25 cents (maybe dollars, I forget...) per shot.

So what's to keep the defense dept. from using these things for assassinations, or ground warfare?

Would that be cruel and unusual?

Here's a question: is there a "right of the people" to keep and bear these? The idea doesn't sound assuring, I must say: what kind of signature would it leave. Bullets can be tracked, but this -- would there even be a body left?

I'm not trying to complain or predict horrors, because I'm all about the advance of tech. I just want to know a little more about this kind of thing.

Also: it's eerie that the article only mentions uses of these for defense, and not for attack, covert (which I think is a promising potential use for this technology) or otherwise. Just considering it's a time of "war" and all.

Re:This raises some frightening questions (-1)

PMM (68176) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662725)

@ $6000 per second I doubt it would be very cost affective

that said this is the U.S. military cost dosnt seem to phase them much

woof

Re:This raises some frightening questions (1, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662729)

What is more cruel a bullet in the stomach which can take days to die from or you are missing your head and on the way to the ground your body is sawed in half? I mean if people want to kill people this is a damn efficient way to go about it.

Re:This raises some frightening questions (5, Informative)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662730)

There's an international treaty that the US has actually signed (wonder of wonders!) against using lasers on people. I tend to doubt it'll be followed in practice though, when "our" forces are involved.

Re:This raises some frightening questions (3, Interesting)

Anonymous DWord (466154) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662745)

Here's a six year old report [hrw.org] on blinding weapons of the US military.

Big Magnifying Glasses (1)

simetra (155655) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662676)

Next is the Mighty BMG, allows you to burn your enemy to a crisp. Only works on sunny days though.

Fortune cookie say... (0)

Fortune Master (540773) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662710)

Do not be alarmed by the intense burning sensation.

Fox News needs to learn English (1)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662715)

I know that the illiteracy of journalists is now an american tradition but:

Smaller, cheaper and more lethal, the high-powered version of a pocket laser pointer is [...]

means that these battlefield lasers are smaller, cheaper and more lethal (all three of which I doubt) than... a pocket laser pointer. I assume that they mean smaller, cheaper and more lethal than previous generations of killer laser weapons (and even that, I doubt) but this is ridiculous.

Even though these lasers work - which, given how well the same technologies work for telescopes and given the output of an OI laser, I don't really doubt - that doesn't make this automatically a practical technology and it seems clear to me that it's a white elephant for cash starved defense contractors.

Can they target insects. (1)

stompro (24721) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662732)

I would love one if it could track and fry mosquitos.

Warning, Warning, Entering bug free zone, please wear eye protection.

A Marine's Haiku (0, Offtopic)

Knunov (158076) | more than 12 years ago | (#2662733)

This is my Haiku
There are many more like it
But this one is mine


Semper Fi!

Knunov

HELP!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2662742)

Help me I've never trolled before!!!

IS this a good start? YES OR NO
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