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Anti-Missile Laser Weapon Successfully Tested

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the how-fair-was-the-test dept.

United States 636

xPertCodert writes "A latest attempt to build a futuristic laser weapon appears to be a success. Joint Israeli-US developed laser destroyed a large caliber rocket in a latest New Mexico test. The press release also contains links to some interesting video and photo material, related to THEL (Tactical High Energy Lasers) defense systems."

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636 comments

LOL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097713)

GNAA rules

FAQ: Connecting to the Gay Internet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097717)

Q: How does one gain access to the gay internet?
A: Easy. Just type "c::###"
(C colon, enter colon, pound pound pound)

A few flaws (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097719)

The test went fairly well, but it wasn't without incident. After reviewing the field test, the project lead recommended adding the following warning label:

"Do not look into laser with remaining eye."

Sorry, it had to be said. :)

Re:A few flaws (1)

cshark (673578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097809)

Man, those "benai zonote" (sons of bitches for those of you who aren't fluent in Hebrew) are really on the cutting edge. I wonder when the portable version will be coming out. heh heh

wow (-1, Insightful)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097722)

so hows this gonna stop some lunatic packing a car full of explosives n blowing up that section of a city anyway?

Re:wow (5, Funny)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097783)

Well, I guess we WILL get to see a $10 million missile fired at a $10 tent protected by another $10 million laser.

In the end the guy with the explosive beatup mercedes still wins.

Re:wow (4, Insightful)

delong (125205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097831)

It isn't. Neither is an F-16, does that mean an F-16 is worthless? The weapon isn't meant to counter car bombers, obviously.

This is a tactical battlefield weapon meant for force protection. The article concerns the mobile THEL laser.

The larger, immobile THEL theoretically will be able to shoot down *mortar shells*. It has already been tested to successfully shoot down Katyushka small caliber rockets. These are revolutionary weapons systems.

Re:wow (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097884)

The larger, immobile THEL theoretically will be able to shoot down *mortar shells*. It has already been tested to successfully shoot down Katyushka small caliber rockets. These are revolutionary weapons systems.

youve missed the point. How the hell are they going to target a car/person/whatever in the middle of a city intent on blowing up a part of the earth? Sure it can shoot down anything, but the fact remains that you still have to know what the target actually is.

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

zors (665805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097937)

Thats like saying that because a handgun cant be effectively used against airborne targets, its useless.

You need different defense systems for different offensive systems.

This is for use againt missiles, mortar shells, and the like.

Re:wow (1)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098029)

It's pretty obvious YOU missed the point. This is not designed to do that. Terrorists aren't the only threat in the world today.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097952)

If the lunatic was going to use an intercontinental ballistic missile to carry a car full of explosives across the pacific to the city for parking, then the laser beam will successfully prevent that.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097983)

so hows this gonna stop some lunatic packing a car full of explosives n blowing up that section of a city anyway?

It's not. This weapon is to defend against retaliation for preemptive strikes carried out against countries breeding suicide bombers.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097987)

>so hows this gonna stop some lunatic packing a
>car full of explosives n blowing up that
>section of a city anyway?

That is a phony argument used by people who believe that the US should be defenseless against a nuclear powered mad man like Kim Jong Il.

The missile defense system is not meant to stop all threats. It is only meant to stop the threat of ballistic missiles.

There are other ways to counter the low tech threats mentioned by those who wants the US to be caught with its pants down. To stop a backpack nuke, you can intercept the individual carrying the nuke via law enforcement.

By the way, you can't use law enforcement techniques to prevent Kim Jong Il from launching his nukes.

great... (5, Funny)

arctan1701 (635900) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097726)

now all we need are the sharks...

Re:great... (5, Funny)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097745)

No, all we need is a giant foil pan full of popcorn.

Re:great... (2, Funny)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097888)

And a wisecracking kid to organize the raid to reprogram the targeting computer to point the laser at the pan.

Dr. Dodd: Why is that toy on your head?
Chris Knight: Because if I wear it any place else, it chafes.

Don't forget... (0, Offtopic)

ircShot_guN (737033) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097805)

...the mutated sea bass.

Re:Don't forget... (0, Offtopic)

Adriax (746043) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097818)

Will they be ill-tempered?

Tiring work (4, Funny)

KanSer (558891) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097727)

I'm glad they figured out how to balance the phase variance in the polaric energy they had to run through the deflector array to fire up the phaser arrays. Ver admirable work, but it's no match for my Klingon Disrupters!

Re:Tiring work (2, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098014)

I figured we'd be hearing from Mr. Crusher [slashdot.org] telling us that we should simply reverse the polarity and we'd have a great repulsor laser.

Great now we can destroyed all the nukes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097731)

Great now we can destroyed all the nukes that will soon be coming our way if the US keeps playing around

General question... (5, Insightful)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097732)

Why do peace-types protest defense systems like this so much?
I've never understood the logic. Defensive weaponry helps reduce the threat of war.


Re:General question... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097767)

Glad you asked. I'm not a "peace type", but here is the logic:

You waste lots of money making a defensive system that is kind of imperfect.

I spend the same amount of money, or 10% of the money or so, and just make cheap rockets. Then I barrage you with rockets, while you waste the money.

When are you guys gonna realize that you need to just use the laser on the enemy ground targets?

Example - Airborne Laser Project - that might actually work great against ballistic missles.

But at $1000 per laser shot, why not point it at trucks on the ground, enemy airplanes trying to shoot you down, satellites in space, flammable infantry manning a mortar...

Re:General question... (3, Insightful)

Blastercorps (762119) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097793)

This system defends against balistic missiles. The only countries that have missiles capable of reaching US soil are Russia and China. Both of these nations are friendly towards the US currently. This is an example of the military preparing to fight the last war.

Now, don't look at me like I'm a peacenik, I am all for the developement of weapon technology for the obvious combat advantage and the spinoff technologies. BUT, this technology is completely irrelevent to counter-terrorism. Even if a terrorist group gets ahold of a nuclear bomb, it would be easier and cheaper to sneak it into the US than to develope and build ICBMs.

And even then, this system can only shoot down missiles as they are launched by flying over the enemy's territory. This means that the government has spent billions on a gimmicky star wars program that only works if we invade another country's airspace, a.k.a. an act of war.

Re:General question... (1)

jgs (245596) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097853)

This system defends against balistic missiles.

Eh? I didn't read TFA in its entirety, but the eye-candy video I watched presented it shooting down an artillery shell and an artillery rocket. If it is intended as an ABM device (and I wouldn't be surprised if the range was too short for that) then it's only one of the uses.

Re:General question... (5, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097904)

Terrorism is not the only threat out there. Not all countries are friendly with all other countries. China, for instance, may make a play for Taiwan at some point in the future.
North Korea may shoot another missile across Japan's bow.
I'd imagine both of those countries would like to have this type of defense.

IR and radar guided missiles were gimmicky at first, too. GPS was pie in the sky. The airplane istelf was considered to be of little military use at first.

OBTW, it's also for artillery size shells, not just ballistic missiles.

Read the article (5, Insightful)

ksheff (2406) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097915)

This is a tactical defensive weapon for use on a battlefield, not strategic defense. This is a mobile system meant to protect against small rockets like Katyusha class weapons. To understand why Israel is involved, you only have to look at the map on this page. [iris.org.il]

They would also be useful in defending targets against rocket attacks like the ones that have occurred in Iraq.

Re:General question... (1)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097996)

This weapon shot down artillery shells. It's useful for far more than just large scale missiles. It's mobile, too, so it can be deployed in the battlefield.

Yes, it's not going to protect against terrorists who fight more efficiently (targeting civilians/semi-civilians, as opposed to armies that fight against like-trained armies), but it's still very useful for "standard" warfare.

Re:General question... (3, Insightful)

idsofmarch (646389) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098003)

Actually this system is not designed for ICBMs, but rather to take out the Katyusha rockets that are periodically tossed in the Israeli's midst from the Golan Heights. This would be most effective in theater against artillery and multiple-launch rockets and possibly against something as large as a Scud. Again, not Star Wars which is space-based anti-ICBM technology that would only be useful against those who actually have ICBMs, but not enough to overwhelm the system. Star-Wars has been a huge waste of money and the anti-ICBM crowd is deluded in thinking this is the big threat, but behind able to knock down a Katyusha, not that's something our military could use. Think of it also as the replacement for the close-in-defense guns currently on US ships which are very ripe targets for Exocets.

Re:General question... (3, Interesting)

MJOverkill (648024) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097798)

Because it is wasteful and will lead to another arms race.. So a U.S.-Isreal team develops. Now. someone will develop energy absorbing/reflecting/deflecting/whatever missiles. Then another defense system, then another missile to defeat it. Wash Rine, and Repeat, and we have another cold war.

Instead of using the money to develop new defense systems, they could have used the money to tackle the underlying social problems that cause the "bad men" to be mad at us in the first place. This way, we solve the underlying problem that facilitated the need to create the defense system. Its much more effective to plug the hole in the bottom of the boat, instead of just continuously bailing the water out.

Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097895)

0 -> painful reduction: 4 sentences.

Re:General question... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097924)

that's fucking brilliant. give money to the people who want to kill us....they'll just use it to buy better weapons. I would rather wipe all the 'bad men' and their relatives off the damn planet.

Re:General question... (0, Flamebait)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097978)

they could have used the money to tackle the underlying social problems that cause the "bad men" to be mad at us in the first place

So your going to kill all non-Muslims with that money? That's all the diaper heads care about. They got oil drums full of our money. They're still mad at us simply because we live.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know not all Muslims are bad people and want to kill us, just the nut job radicals with their diapers on to tight. So blow it our your a**.

Re:General question... (3, Insightful)

hawkeyeMI (412577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097801)

Some people see building defenses as giving us a tactical offensive advantage, which it does. That is to say, if we have a fleet of these while nobody else does, that delicate balance that existed during the cold war would be no more. The threat of retaliation in kind is reduced, if not eliminated.

It's no big deal on its own, but as Dennis Leary once said, "We've got the bombs, okay people? Nuclear f*cking weapons!"

That changes things some.

I'm all for anything that actually improves our safety, but often a lot of money goes into things that are supposed to but don't. This could well end up being one of those things. It's also better if we don't piss off the neighbors in the process.

Re:General question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097802)

Because I just hate having to pay for peace...

(Though it looks like the parent is a bigger joker than I!)

Re:General question... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097825)

Because of the way people look at it. Nuclear weapons are a trump card, something that essentially makes you, in the limit, invulnerable - maybe that other nation can pound you with conventional forces, but you can always hit them with a nuke. It keeps things at arms length, in a sense. It has enforced, more or less, a military peace since the end of World War II where, despite armed conflict, there has been no significant territory change (except the fall of the USSR, which was non-military).

Imagine you're Nation X. Nation Y, who you may or may not be on such good terms with - it doesn't matter, really - gets a 100% effective Nuclear Missile Shield (this is a theory). Suddenly, you realize that your nuclear weapons are useless. They are free to use their nuclear weapons - and conventional forces - against you with almost pure impunity. This is worrying.

In a way, gaining a nuclear defense disarms everyone else in the world, and, as a result, presents them with a security threat.

It upsets the balance of power (5, Interesting)

gotr00t (563828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097829)

As immoral and utilitarian the following may sound, it was the state of political affairs during the cold war, and continues to be this way.

Both Soviet Russia and the United States had comparable amounts of nuclear weapons, enough to destroy the other several times over by the late 1960's. What was preventing them from simply firing the missiles and ending the war forever was the fact that the other side could, and would retaliate. Even the Soviets were not willing to spend a significant amount of their population concentrated within urban areas for the chance of total victory.

When the Soviets announced development into an ABM (anti ballistic missile) system in the Stragetic Arms Limitatons Talks in 1969, it was not well recieved by the United States. The existance of such a system would mean that there would be no imperiative at hand for one side to annihilate the other and claim victory. The US, at this time, put research into such a technology as well, though notably less advanced than today's (it was called "setinel," and consisted of a pair of missiles designed to intercept), it was scrapped because it could not guarentee that major urban areas could be protected.

Such a situation still exists today. The number of nations that have nuclear weapons is higher than ever, not just the Soviet Union and a handful of other nations outside of the US. To think that the United States would never do such a thing like annihilate an entire population is to be naive. There were such plans during the Cold War to literally wipe Russia off the face of the planet. To other nations, this system poses a greater threat than nuclear proliferation, as it nullifies their political leverage in the world arena.

Re:It upsets the balance of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097938)

What was preventing them from simply firing the missiles and ending the war forever was the fact that the other side could, and would retaliate.
Yes, and that is a sad commentary on the societies and governments involved. The reason that nobody fired their missiles should have been that it was the wrong thing to do.

Re:It upsets the balance of power (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097972)

what happens when you blow up a nuclear payload at high altitudes? i'm pretty sure it spreads the radiation, doesn't it? in a way that's almost worse...

Re:It upsets the balance of power (1)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098018)

Actually no, the nukes are destroyed but not detonated. The nuclear fallout is very minimal and may very well be a few large chunks of radio-active materal.

Re:It upsets the balance of power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097975)

Eh? You would rather the US have the nukes but no set plans on how to use them?

Re:General question... (2, Insightful)

beeplet (735701) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097841)

In my opinion, this kind of missile defense system - which is ambitious yet still very far from reliable - gives a threatening impression to hostile countries while giving a false impression of security here. It could easily spark an arms race as other countries develop missiles than can penetrate the defense.

A waste of money all around...

Re:General question... (1)

thejuggler (610249) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098032)

If other countries wern't so hostile in the first place there would be no need for us to build such a system. The only waste of money would be to build this if we had no enimies.

Re:General question... (1)

ttroutma (552162) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097865)

I think. They deeply secretly want war. It's a circular thing. They are projecting and trying to make themselves feel better in some really sick way.

Re:General question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097939)

Because they're all socialists and can't stand it that there are countries that resist their enslavement of all mankind.

Re:General question... (2, Insightful)

zors (665805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097977)

For one thing, it could remove the assurance of mutual destruction in the event of a nuclear war, at least in theory, at least for a short while. It could also lead to another arms race, which is never a good thing.

Real Genius (1, Funny)

QEDog (610238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097736)

Major Carnagle: Where's the laser? Professor Hathaway: It's coming. Major Carnagle: It's coming? It's not even breathing hard.

Re:Real Genius (1)

midifarm (666278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097774)

It's coming faster than you think.

Interestingly enough, look at the press release date and the date of the video.

Where's Chris Knight and Laslo Hollyfeld when you need them? Popcorn anyone?

Peace

Uh Huh (4, Funny)

Crispin Cowan (20238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097740)

Great. So now attackers just have to cover their missiles with bicycle reflective strips and the lasers become approx. 99% less effective.

Crispin

Re:Uh Huh (2, Interesting)

citanon (579906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097779)

This laser works in the infra red. Bicycle strips and most other materials that are reflective in the visible band will not be reflective against this laser. They will absorb heat nicely and go kaboom.

Re:Uh Huh (4, Interesting)

Crispin Cowan (20238) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097900)

Are you claiming that it is somehow difficult to make material that is highly reflective in the infrared range?

I suggested bicycle strips because they have a fascinating property. They are made of zillions of little sphericle beads, with a refractive index of approximately 2.0. Such beads have the interesting property that light shining into them is reflected back directly at the source. For amusement, go get a laser pointer and point it at some bicycle strips, and you will notice that your hand holding the laser pointer is painted with laser light, regardless of the angle you hit the strip from.

So if I want to beat laser missle defenses, I go into the lab and make milspec beads with a refractive index of 2.0 in the right infrared range, and the lasers suddenly don't work so well.

Bonus: make the reflective layer 1 inch thick, and make it boil when heated, and you get ablative armor: it fogs the missle with a clound that blocks the laser. IIRC, idea due to Charles Sheffield (RIP) [wikipedia.org] .

Crispin

Re:Uh Huh (1)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097926)

Ok, Hold on Guys. Your shooting a LASER at me, I need to go into my lab and develop a 2.0 refractive lense to defeat your attack. You won't mind a 3 or 4 month delay will you? Hey, dont point that at me. what are you doing? dont pull that tri..FFFFzzzzzzztttttt.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

kcomplex (414253) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098013)

For amusement, go get a laser pointer and point it at some bicycle strips, and you will notice that your hand holding the laser pointer is painted with laser light, regardless of the angle you hit the strip from.

Neat trick, I didn't think it would work, so I had to try it myself. So you bring up a good point, is there a material effective at reflecting infrared? If so, this whole project seems like a complete waste of time and energy.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097785)

And Bycycle Reflector Strips are standard equipment in any military operation, you dumb shits. Ummm, Well, Ah, ummmm. Never Mind.

Re:Uh Huh (1)

deglr6328 (150198) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097980)

It is very difficult to make high quality reflective mirrors in the IR >99% reflective let alone something you could stick on the sides of a missile out in a dirty battlefield and still have reflectivities in the 9x% range. The laser is likely in the megawatt range so even if you had 99% reflectivity you would still be absorbing 10 kilowatts of energy. The reflective properties of any substance will be destroyed very quickly under those high heat conditions, exponentially increasing the absorbed incident energy and making the surfave even more absorbant. I would guess no material could handle even a few seconds of exposure to the lasers' full power. Remember the laser is not intended to explode the rocket, just to ruin its aerodynamic surfaces so it can't be maneuvered and consequently breaks up due to structural stresses.

Now we just need... (0, Redundant)

dark404 (714846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097753)

a shark with the cranial fortitude to wear it.

Lasers can shoot anything! (1)

Behrooz (302401) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097757)

Pfft, anyone could have guessed that this would have been a success. Everyone knows that a laser can shoot anything! Oh, unless the laser is being held by, or possibly just anywhere near a stormtrooper, in which case it can and will shoot everything except what it is being aimed at.

Oh dear. By that argument, Ashcroft's stormtroopers really are a threat to national security. I should never have doubted... we're all gonna die!

Now I understand (2, Funny)

AdvancedLoser (778225) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097758)

why some small towns have suddenly disappeared outside the test area.

videos (5, Informative)

doormat (63648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097762)

are here [northropgrumman.com] .

WMP or QT are availabe.

Heh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097806)

The "rah-rah" tone of that one video reminds me of the one we see at the start of Real Genius.

Oh great.. (5, Funny)

Malawar (674186) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097764)

So that's what happened to my missile.

Fire the LASER (-1, Troll)

Veramocor (262800) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097776)

First Fire the LASER POST!

Re:Fire the LASER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097835)

wow have mods lost there sense of humor?

Dates. (3, Interesting)

FreeLinux (555387) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097777)

Most of the pictures are dated 2000. I suspect that in four years since those pictures, the project has made significant advances. However, those results and pictures are likely classified.

Oh, by the way: FIRE THE FEAKIN LASER!!!

Re:Dates. (1)

monophaze (208297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097921)


yea, now they have dolphin's [navy.mil] with laser beams attached to their frickin heads!

Domestic Use Soon? (5, Interesting)

Eponymous Cowboy (706996) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097781)

I wonder how long until these will be deployed domestically, around various government buildings (such as the White House, the US Capitol, or the Pentagon).

They will be touted as the perfect solution to a problem with heretofore only imperfect solutions [ceip.org] (until, say, a passenger aircraft is accidentally shot down of course).

The biggest differences between this and previous missile defense systems are cost and multiple-use capability. You're not talking about using multi-million dollar missiles to shoot down incoming missiles, so you don't need to be so selective about when firing the thing off. And if you miss, you can try again ... and again.

As a defensive tool, these are, quite honestly, awesome. As an accident-waiting-to-happen in the hands of an overly-enthusiastic operator, they are, well, a little bit scary I guess.

Re:Domestic Use Soon? (4, Insightful)

delong (125205) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097874)

I wonder how long until these will be deployed domestically, around various government buildings (such as the White House, the US Capitol, or the Pentagon).

It won't. This isn't a "missile defense system" per se, it is a tactical battefield weapon designed for force protection. To be used to defend troops and installations against short range tactical weapons like rockets, mortars, cruise missiles, etc. Not of much use in the continental US.

However, these lasers, and especially the larger, immobile THEL version, are perfect for Israel. Israeli communities and the IDF are constantly being harrassed by hit and run Katushka rocket, mortar, and guided missile threats from HAMAS and other Pal terrorists in the Territories, and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

c 'magic missile' (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097782)

Oh crap. Well, I guess I'll just have to use color spray instead.

Whoah (0, Troll)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097784)

On the whole, Preperation-H was a success!

Are You Gay? (-1, Flamebait)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097803)

here is the thing I would like to do to a Slashdot Nerd, and boys, you can find my email. Basically, I think you need some LOVIN. And by that,I mean blow jobs. I'm seriouse. You kids spend way too much time here, when you could be gettin a nice wash of your tool. It's not gay, it's real. Go for it.

Re:Are You Gay? (-1, Flamebait)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097839)

I Got A Tool For Ya....... Swollow This!!!! oh, don't forget to pull the trigger.

Re:Are You Gay? (0, Flamebait)

SteveXE (641833) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097852)

I read /. almost every day, im not gay, i have a gf, a job, a car and a house. I think your drug infested brain is trying to tell you something, why dont you listen for a change?

Re:Are You Gay? (0, Flamebait)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097876)

Actually yes I am, thanks for asking. Sorry, but I'm taken already. Maybe you could try the bathhouse if you're really hard up tho?

Interesting quote from a Reuters article (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097808)

Reuters article on MTHEL [reuters.com]
In earlier tests the MTHEL laser had successfully eliminated 28 short-range Katyusha rockets and five artillery shells in flight as well as several "hostile objects" on the ground.
It would be interesting to find out what those "hostile objects" were, and what exactly they mean by eliminated...

Re:Interesting quote from a Reuters article (5, Funny)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097849)

It would be interesting to find out what those "hostile objects" were, and what exactly they mean by eliminated...

They were rattlesnakes, and after being lightly fried, they were delicious. Then they were eliminated some time later.

Sooo... (3, Funny)

crazyfreakid (725264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097823)

...this means world peace for our and all following generations, right?

Re:Sooo... (1)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097889)

It's a step in the right direction. Read this if you have the balls to hear/read the truth. http://www.gunowners.org/sourcetb.htm Quick, Throw Some Flowers At Them. Maybe FZZZZZZTTTTT....... Forgot the damn bicycle reflectors.

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097986)

More like another arms race that'll make the Islamic infiltration, Islamic indoctrination, Islamic subversion and the international Islamic conspiracy to combust all of our precious American Flags seem rather small in comparison.

Invisible beams? (4, Interesting)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097848)

I have a question: From the video, it appears that the beam is invisible. The reasons for that are pretty obvious. I just wanted to ask, is it possible for a laser beam to get so hot that it causes the air inside of it to turn visibly vapourous? Just wondering if we'll ever see a beam like that so powerful it leaves con-trails like plains leave or something.

Re:Invisible beams? (2, Interesting)

hprotagonist0 (312387) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097897)

IANAP(hysicist), but I think it depends on the wavelength of the laser. The various components (N2, O2, CO2, H2O, etc.) of air absorb on different wavelengths, and the laser would have to match the frequency (or a harmonic) of those wavelengths in order to heat up the air molecules. I think.

Re:Invisible beams? (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097981)

Are you saying that if if they did make one that was uber-hot, they could adjust the wavelength to prevent the phenomenon I described?

Re:Invisible beams? (4, Informative)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097997)

A sufficiently powerful laser beam will ionize air due to the electric field strength within the beam. This can be achieved on a desktop scale with a small Q-switched YAG laser (I've done it). When the air ionizes, it begins to absorb the beam, which results in even more heating. You get what appears to be a spark floating in air. This is not wavelength dependent (except that field strength depends to some extent on wavelength), and is not related to the absorption of the beam by the gases in the air. In fact, at high enough intensities, the same effect occurs in a vacuum due to particle pair formation. Fun stuff.

Wow (2, Funny)

CiXeL (56313) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097854)

I feel so safe. This is being built right across the street from where I live.

Oh yes, I feel safer already! My neighborhood is not a terrorist target at all now. F%^&kin press releases!

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

CptNerd (455084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097917)

Oh, grow the hell up. I lived during the Cold War 2 freaking miles from the Pentagon. Nothing like having a couple dozen multimegaton thermonukes aimed in the general vicinity of your apartment.

Geeze, kids today just don't have what it takes, anymore!

False confidence (0)

aerojad (594561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097866)

So as long as everything goes exactly as planned, we're guarenteed to be probably safe!

Seriously though, why do we need to trigger a new arms race?

Jesus Christ. (-1, Troll)

King_of_Prussia (741355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097867)

When will the US learn that trying to remove the "mutual" from mutually assured destruction will earn the hostility of any number of military powers the world over?

I'm glad I live in a country that's not run by a power mad dictator with a hard-on for World War III.

Re:Jesus Christ. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097944)

I suppose your crap argument would hold water if you were a Lebanese terrorist lobbing rockets at housewives over the Israeli border; It would also go a long way to explain your canned response to an article you clearly didn't read.

Re:Jesus Christ. (2, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097949)

When will the US learn that trying to remove the "mutual" from mutually assured destruction will earn the hostility of any number of military powers the world over?

You are being very inconsistent in your statement.
The other guys are 'hostile', but it's the US's fault. hmmmm.

As to the MAD part, MAD is presently kind of irrelvant. US, Britain, France, & Russia have nukes and the long range, accurate delivery systems. And currently, we are all more or less friendly. and building down the nuke inventories.

Having a nuke, say Pakistan or Israel, is far different from being able to hit a particular spot on the globe with it.

I'm glad I live in a country that's not run by a power mad dictator with a hard-on for World War III.

too bad development on this was started long before Bush became president. Kind of blows a hole in your 'power mad dictator' theory.

Re:Jesus Christ. (1)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097994)

Because the "Mutual" CAN NOT BE REMOVED!!! Unless we start growing "Assault Flowers" that will tickle the enemy to death. Otherwise we just cease to exist and they take over. Question: Do you Eat, Drink and Breathe? If the US did not evolve the way it did, someone else would be in control and the Indians would still be out of luck. The truth hurts I Know.... Get Over It...

Sweet (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097891)

Now all we need is an Anti-Monument Laser and we'll be good to go!

What do you mean, "large caliber rocket"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097892)

What do you mean, "large caliber rocket"? Is that how they are going to be rated from now on?

Will we also see "assault rockets"? And "machine rockets"? And "rockets of mass destruction"?

Hope The Tick can keep chairface away from it (1)

spamster (766232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097908)

We just may look up and find "CHA" written on the moon someday....

Mirrors? (2, Insightful)

Romancer (19668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097912)

Couldn't you just coat or plate the missles with laser quality mirroring to get past the laser defense?

Re:Mirrors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9097969)

And then shoot it out of a tube at many meters per second using explosives? I think not. You need to make copper mirrors to reflect IR; and they are fragile. You could probably make some kind of rugged paint that had ablative crystals, kinda like the stuff used to paint crosswalks, but it would only be so effective.

Re:Mirrors? (1)

AssaultRifle (761934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9098021)

The Enemy has LASERS! Quick, retrofit the ICBM with laser quality mirroring defenses, NOW!!!. Huh, not researched and developed yet? we're screwed..DOH.....

what about multihead missiles? (1)

Begemot (38841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097929)

this is the threat, at least in israel (shihab 4 [truthnews.com] ). the latest israeli anti-missile system "ha-hetz" (the arrow) [us-israel.org] was designed to handle only singleheads. obviously it's not enough.

Accuracy (2, Insightful)

Fortress (763470) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097933)

The coolest thing about a laser weapon, IMHO, is not the power or range or even its technology..it's the accuracy.

Aiming is the same as hitting with an energy weapon in most scenarios, the lightspeed lag only becoming a factor at high speed/long range, light an orbital target. Even then, a computer-aided targeting system should be able to compensate.

Imagine if such a weapon system were mounted in a vehicle (I think I read something about a prototype of a different laser in a 737) where just having the target in the crosshairs is enough to guarantee its destruction. Gives a new perspective to sniping. Should also reduce civilian casualties.

This is the first real laser weapon (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097935)

This is the first real laser weapon. Unlike most of the stuff to come out of BMDO/MDA, this thing is expected to be useful. It's a joint US-Israeli effort, which gives it some reality.

We're not talking about ICBMs here. This is aimed more at Katyusha batteries, a WWII truck-mounted launcher for 48 tube-launched unguided rockets. Those things had a range of about 5Km back in WWII. Their accuracy is poor, but they're cheap and can fire many rockets in the general direction of the target. Syria uses Katyusha batteries, and has been developing improved versions.

Patriot anti-missiles are too expensive to use against those things. The defenders would run out of Patriots long before the attackers ran out of Katyushas. So there's a real application for a laser weapon here. It won't stop all the incoming rockets, but cutting down a few thousand to a few hundred is a big win.

Short Laser Pulses (1)

Gibberlins (714322) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097964)

Just the other day one of my professors was talking about experiments done on monkeys using very short duration but very high intensity laser pulses(I forget how short, but something like femtoseconds). Anyway, I guess they would shoot these pulses at the monkeys' eyes and they would literally shatter from mechanical stress. I suppose the same thing could happen with a rocket.

I wonder... (2, Funny)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 10 years ago | (#9097968)

If the missle was kindly feeding the defense system it's GPS coordinates, like the last missile defense test that hit the news.
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