Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

DARPA Developing Defensive Plasma Shield

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the now-we-just-need-blasters dept.

Sci-Fi 318

galactic_grub writes "According to an article at New Scientist, DARPA is developing a plasma shield that would allow troops to stun and disorientate enemies. The system will use a technology known as dynamic pulse detonation (DPD), which involves producing a ball of plasma with an intense laser pulse, and then a supersonic shockwave within the plasma using another pulse. The result is a gigantic flash and a loud bang in a the air. 'The company has also pitched a portable laser rifle, which would be lethal, to the US Army. It would weigh about fifteen kilograms, would have a range of more than a mile, and could have numerous advantages over existing rifles - better accuracy and the ability to hit a moving target at the speed of light.'"

cancel ×

318 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Lasers? (5, Funny)

kungfujesus (969971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907005)

Any chance we can put them on sharks? I believe that would greatly increase the lethality of the lasers.

Why the toys??? (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907287)

This seems like pretty typical Pentagon. Hey troops, don't worry about the fact you have insufficient low-tech tools. Don't worry that you have to go scrounging through dumpsters for scrap metal to make armour http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/12 /10/us_stance_on_armor_disputed/ [boston.com] . Don't worry that the rifles are inadequate and the US soldiers would prefer AK47s http://www.thenewblackmagazine.com/view.aspx?index =451 [thenewblackmagazine.com] .

Please ignore all that folks. Don't worry, in the future we'll have a bunch of new toys for you...

Suggestion to the brass: before you play with the high tech stuff, get the low tech stuff right first.

Re:Why the toys??? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907441)

You know the Pentagon has different people who do different things, right?

Now, if the adminstration would handle the war properly, those issues could be resolved. Until that is done, those troops are fucked. I know a lot of high ranking people have quit because they can't get what they want for the troops.

You want to help? keep writing your reps, the paper, orginize a protest to get the troops what they need.
The best way to do that is with oversight committees.
I didn't want to invade Iraq, and I think we were wrong in doing so, but I sure as hell don't want our troops unprepared.

Re:Why the toys??? (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907819)

Now, if the adminstration would handle the war properly, those issues could be resolved. Until that is done, those troops are fucked.

If the administration could handle itself properly, our troops wouldn't be fucked either. It's not even necessary to say anymore...

Re:Why the toys??? (5, Insightful)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907509)

Modded 5, Insightful?!?!

Insightful would have done some real research and found the "scrounged" armor was a very short term issue and there have been 8+ major uparmoring mods and more than 70,000 fully armored vehicles in Iraq/Afghanistan now.

Insightful would have known the "underarmored" vehicles were HUMMVs which were replacements for Jeeps. You know, Jeeps, those open-sided and open-topped vehicles.

Insightful would know the true status of the M-16. Same story, bud. The first ones, 40 years ago, were rushed into use and there have been a huge number of modifications. The AK-47 isn't that great. It's not good at a distance, there's less control of the bullet's destination and the vast majority of them were made very, very sloppily which means they spray bullets almost randomly. Read your own link, it says some American troops are using captured AK-47s because the ammunition is so available. Why might that be? Do a little research on calibre and interoperability of ammunition. Just because ammunition is available doesn't mean it's more useful than an M-16 nor does it mean it's preferred over the M-16. Gad, your comment shows you don't really know much about the weapons or tactics.

Re:Why the toys??? (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907775)

Fred, you sound firmly in charge on these military matters.
At what point will you announce the presidential run, and start squashing the juice out of the various bugs in your path?

Re:Why the toys??? (4, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907927)

AK-47 is obsoleted by AK-74 (which can use NATO ammo, BTW).

Besides, accuracy at a great distance usually means nothing in city warfare. You almost never have ranges larger than 15-20 meters and AK-47 works great at these distances.

Re:Why the toys??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907827)

Dude, chill.

DARPA is the pie-in-the-sky research arm of the government. They think seriously long term, because if you want to stay in the lead, you have to.

But of course, if we didn't spend money on DARPA research, we wouldn't have cool stuff like the Intarweb, because the initial concepts came out of DARPA's think tanks.

Suggestion to you: before you knock the brass for spending money on shit you think is unimportant, consider how the money they've spent in the past enriches your daily life, and consider that maybe, just maybe, some of their current spending will enrich your future too.

Re:Lasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907317)

Too bad it won't greatly increase the quality of your jokes

Forget Sharks: Directed energy Sea Mammals (1)

mpn14tech (716482) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907453)

From the Danger Zone [wired.com] this briefing [wired.com] claims that flipper would do a much better job

Re:Lasers? (1)

shawnap (959909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907763)

They all laughed at my project to breed sharks with picatinny rails on their heads.

Gentlemen,...who's laughing now!?

"disorientate"? (3, Funny)

kalpol (714519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907009)

God forbid they should be terminatated.

Re:"disorientate"? (2, Informative)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907045)

I imagine it would be used for crowd control or hostage situations. There are many situations where non-lethal force is needed against an enemy.

Re:"disorientate"? (2, Funny)

FMota91 (1050752) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907193)

*Whooosh!*

Re:"disorientate"? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907637)

A bird? A plane? No! It's low-flying joke!

Re:"disorientate"? (2, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907255)

plus disorienting may be more valuable when it comes to groups you cannot guarantee an instant kill on.

in other words, disorient then kill if necessary, a kill shot is not a guarantee but if you can keep them from taking any real action you open yourself more options, which includes a few important seconds to kill the baddies. think hostages, who cares if you give the hostage a headache or such, its better than the baddies getting shots off at him if you only wound one.

let alone the fact that the public seems to take a dim view lately of actually killing enemies...

Re:"disorientate"? (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907635)

>>> imagine it would be used for crowd control or hostage situations

Why do they need controlling? Why are they taking you hostage?.........

I don't think the problem is with the overpowering the enemy; I think the problem is with identifying the enemy.

Oh, that, and 'winning their hearts and minds'.

Using non-lethal force on crowds that 'inadvertently gets innocent people' just pisses them off.

Disorientating (2, Insightful)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907913)

And using lethal force on crowds that inadvertantly gets innocent people will anger the international community.
Sometimes, it's obvious why a crowd needs controlling or a hostage-taker is taking hostages. What would you have the military do in cases where we know what the hostage-taker wants but do not want to give it to him? Hostages make great shields.
In those cases where it's not made obvious, by the time you figure out why it's being done, it's often too late to do anything. The crowd has dismantled the city; the hostage-taker is already killing hostages, and will finish with himself or the entire building he's in.

Re:"disorientate"? (1)

ElBorba (221626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907353)

Re:"disorientate"? (1)

kalpol (714519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907541)

guess i was wrong, learn something new every day!

Re:"disorientate"? (2, Funny)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907849)

"I read it in the papers, it must be true!"

I recall a Slashdot post from a while back in which a British citizen poked fun at our American use of the word "burglarized." A burglar burgles! There's no need for the extra syllable! (The reason I remember this was the humorous follow-up of, "You're right; we apogle.")

Seeing a word in the dictionary doesn't automatically make it a good word. Sure, it's in use, sure some group of people decided it should be put there, but that doesn't make it any less foolish. Language is a living, growing thing, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't prune out the rotten bits.

I, for one, don't want to give the Brits any more ammo for their merciless mockery.

Re:"disorientate"? (1)

ElBorba (221626) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907409)

Yeah, I know, preview first...

I had meant to mention that "orientated" is my favorite college idiot word.
Too bad that it's terribly underused these days. Ever since "whatnot" started making the rounds "orientated" has fallen back out of favor.

ASMD Shock Rifle (5, Funny)

npaufler (32275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907015)

Unreal Tournament-esque Shock Rifle [youtube.com] , anyone?

Re:ASMD Shock Rifle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907773)

Meh, it's to small scale. Put it on a satellite so you can get an Ion Cannon/Hammer of Dawn thing.

Seems like a typo... (1)

Sicily1918 (912141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907023)

"...disorientate enemies"? It's correct, but it shouldn't be. :)

Re:Seems like a typo... (1)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907329)

It's like nails on a chalkboard to me, too. But a quick half-dozen references derived from Googling "orient orientate" lead to the surprising conclusion that yes, both are acceptable - and "orientate" is apparently even preferred in parts of the Commonwealth. "Two peoples divided by a common language", indeed....

I'd better get one, too (3, Informative)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907061)

If there is to be a balance of power of any kind.

Re:I'd better get one, too (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907251)

I don't think you'll have to worry about that. A weapon with such perfect accuracy would allow some crazy person to sit a mile away popping little cauterized holes through people's heads with ease. And the police wouldn't be able to do a thing about it as the beam (unless I'm mistaken) would be practically invisible. I don't think any government would sell something like that to its citizens.

Re:I'd better get one, too (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907687)

'I don't think any government would sell something like that to its citizens.'

If governments wanted the people to have power (utlimately all power is derived from force) our rebel leader forefathers wouldn't have had to put the right to bear arms in the constitution. It exists precisely because power must be distributed and a disarmed citizenry only have power at the mercy of the government.

Re:I'd better get one, too (5, Funny)

textstring (924171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907691)

if you're wearing your tin foil hat you may be able to reflect the beam back at the shooter

Re:I'd better get one, too (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907879)

I don't think any government would sell something like that to its citizens.

But they'll sell it to a friendly terrorist that is working for the "right" people. And then they flip it for a small markup. Like in every prohibition, the more "obscure" markets will take up the slack. When they get them down to pocket size, it will be fun to watch them try to control its distribution. Besides, none of this is absolute. Defenses against these weapons are one the way. Just another arms race we are in...or the same one actually.

New products (2, Funny)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907085)

Fresh from the R&D of UAC, we today present you with... THE FUTURE. BEHOLD THE BFG-9000! The future of all warfare, never again will the people of your country stand a chance of usurping your power even if they are the majority! I for one welcome our superiorly armed overlords. (Two memes in one post!)

Re:New products (0)

Bugs42 (788576) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907249)

(Two memes in one post!)
In Soviet Russia, Natalie Portman imagines a Beowulf cluster of BFG 9000s!

(Three memes! Top that!)

Lasers efficient at killing? (4, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907093)

I thought lasers made inefficient weapons because they cauterize the wounds they create.

Dan East

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907219)

Two Words: "Head Shot"

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907267)

I could use another hole in the head. It could come in useful to hold many things, extra pencils, screw driver, the possibilities are endless.

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907669)

"I could use another hole in the head. It could come in useful to hold many things, extra pencils, screw driver, the possibilities are endless."

New fangled porn.

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (0)

streptocopter (1052066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907367)

Two Words: "Head Shot"
Two words: "Tinfoil Hat"

Head shot? (1)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907993)

Haha, a cauterized brain. That'll bring the thinkin' to a sudden stop!

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (5, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907325)

Depends on what the laser is tuned for. If it's tuned for cutting, then yes, it will leave a cauterized hole. But if it's tuned for energy transfer (think: turning water to steam), it's more like being shot with an exploding bullet.

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907371)

imagione a whol appearing anywhere in your torso. Now does it really matter if it keeps bleeding through the hole?

You are screwed.

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (1)

hostyle (773991) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907983)

a whol? like a whole new me? a twin? hey, i think i quite like that ... conjoined lesbians twins ... oh wait

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (2, Interesting)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907513)

To say nothing of the mayhem they cause due to some of the beam reflecting off the target, or missing it partly or completely. As I recall, this was deemed a major drawback to the airborne laser discussed here about a year ago. Also, the lasers require very large amount of input energy in order to generate a militarily useful beam. This means consumables, added weight, transportation, firing prep, detectability by the enemy, etc. This sounds like Pentagon bullshit to me, disinformation designed to frighten and fake out naive Third World military.

Re:Lasers efficient at killing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907673)

I'd say it depends on how much power the laser has. A laser just barely strong enough to make a hole, that might be an effect to think about.

OTOH, if a bunch of tissue in your chest instantly is cooked into steam, that might have a somewhat "explosive" effect, amplifying the damage.

But as someone else noted, if you have a hole that enters into your body you are having a bad day.

Fucking 'editors' need an English class. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907095)

The system will use a technology known as dynamic pulse detonation (DPD), which involves producing a ball of plasma with an intense laser pulse creates, and then a supersonic shockwave within the plasma using another pulse.

English, motherfucker. Do you speak it?
Morons.

I'll wait for the next model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907097)

It's range is only a mile. It weighs more than thirty pounds. It emits a laser beam that can be seen with the right equipment. I think I would much rather have a conventional (much longer range, lighter) sniper rifle.

Re:I'll wait for the next model (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907227)

Over the course of a mile, a bullet would drop by about ~18 feet over that distance. As well as taking a couple of seconds to arrive at the target. A laser would take a small fraction of the time and not drop at all.

Re:I'll wait for the next model (1)

Gregb05 (754217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907295)

Fuck Einstein! Light doesn't bend with gravity any more!

Laser rifle (5, Insightful)

wmwilson01 (912533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907111)

It's amazing to imagine how much something like the laser rifle would change the military. Sniper school spends a lot of time on the details of a bullet's behavior over time with the obvious affects of gravity and the wind, especially when you're dealing with a moving target. To be able to shoot a laser without really any of those constraints, that travels at the speed of light... A sniper's job will become a whole lot easier... unless you want to get into the fact that the majority of a sniper's job is about getting in and then hopefully back out.

Re:Laser rifle (2, Interesting)

brit74 (831798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907379)

Not to mention the fact that it will be that much harder to locate the sniper. At least a gun produces a muzzle-flash and sound.

Re:Laser rifle (3, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907429)

A laser of this size is likely to provide a flash of light and sound (not stunning as in the other technology). This is due to the laser ionizing the air it travels through (creating the same sort of plasma as the other part of the story). I would expect the path to be very visible to anyone looking in the right direction at the right moment.

33kg is not a light weapon, and not something a sniper could simply hold up for precision firing with his hands. You would probably need a tripod, etc. So in the end you are looking at a not-very-sniper-like weapon.

Correction (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907451)

33lbs ( = 15kg)

Sorry. Typing wrong units. At least I don't work for NASA

Re:Correction (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907603)

At least I don't work for NASA


Awesome.

For reference, 33kg is about what the M2 "50 cal" weighs. Awesome gun, but not an infantry weapon by any means.

-Peter

Re:Correction (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907709)

Don't worry; by the time it gets accepted, it'll be well over 33kg.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907563)

Where do you get the idea that snipers hold rifle's standing up?

Methinks you're confusing sniping activities by infantry (Saving Private Ryan movie, for example) with real snipers.

Real sniping is long distance and some of the rifles ARE quite heavy. Putting a bullet into an electrical generator or an engine is also sniping.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908029)

I never said standing up. But either you have to support a weapon with your arms or rely on external supports (like a tripod). Otherwise you don't have the mobility needed to aim the weapon. Ideally the supports need to be properly mobile and uniform (supporting on an uneven rock might not be a good thing).

Re:Laser rifle (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907781)

Sound? Maybe.
Light? The weapon is light. If you are looking in the right direction at the "right" moment to see the beam, you'll likely get hit by the beam.

Re:Laser rifle (2, Insightful)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908037)

Actually, despite other errors in the GP post, you're missing something important. Scattering even by molecules of air is significant at power levels much lower than this thing operates at. Watch videos at http://www.wickedlasers.com/ [wickedlasers.com] . Their 100mw pen sized lasers scatter enough to look like a fucking light saber swinging around, and this laser rifle is probably hundreds of times more powerful. If its in the visible range (although probably it isn't) in battlefield condition it would probably make a flash like some kind of Anime Superweapon. Even if its not in the visible range, the same effect is going to apply, it'll just need special gear to see it, something like night vision for IR lasers, and for UV it'd be easy enough to rig something up (it's not like plenty of types of sensors aren't UV sensitive). Also, unlike a ballistic sniper rifle, Anybody watching with such a system will instantly know the exact location of the sniper.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908047)

No. If you are looking in the right moment and the laser is weak enough, you won't see anything unless it is smokey or dusty. I.e. you have to have something to reflect the light to see a weak laser.

If the laser is stronger, that is different. It will ionize the air, which will generate a glowing plasma. You aren't seeing the laser's light, but rather the plasma it generates.

Re:Laser rifle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907867)

you are looking at a not-very-sniper-like weapon.

If you read the book Marine Sniper, you can read about Carlos Hathcock using an M2 machine gun for extreme long-distance sniping.

He put a sniper scope on the M2, sighted it in, and then would just briefly touch the firing trigger to fire a single round; IIRC he made kills about a mile distant.

So, even if the laser isn't good for the kind of shooting where you hike in from miles away, it might have a niche.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907399)

Couple points:

A laser of this size would be unlikely to be a sniper rifle. I.e. you would be talking about maybe a vehicle-mounted or stationary weapon (1 or 2-man portable) of the size of a heavy machine gun. It would still be a major change, but not in the same areas. It would be unlikely to be a reasonable stealth weapon because of its size and it would not be quiet either (you are likely to get a crackle from the plasma generation by the laser).

On the other hand, armored fighting machines would be greatly changed by this sort of thing.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

FrivolousPig (602133) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907457)

Not to mention you could shoot someone through a window without breaking the glass! Assassination possibilities abound!

Re:Laser rifle (5, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907543)

A sniper's job will become a whole lot easier... unless you want to get into the fact that the majority of a sniper's job is about getting in and then hopefully back out.

Actually, this would be a win from that standpoint as well. Current sniper bullets are always supersonic, and thus there is a loud *CRACK* sound that helps indicate the location of the sniper. The laser beam would be silent.

(If you are interested in snipers, you ought to read the book Marine Sniper [amazon.com] , a biography of Carlos Hathcock [wikipedia.org] . Hathcock commented that a sniper usually gets one free shot, because no one is expecting the shot, and surprised people don't do a good job of figuring out where the shot came from; if the sniper fires a second shot, all the people in the area will start looking in the correct direction, because this time they are expecting something. So he figured it was better to get close enough to get a guaranteed one-shot kill; even though he would be closer, he would be much harder to find than if he had to take a second shot.)

Imagine a sniper killing someone, and the only sound is the body falling over. Kind of creepy. The sniper might be able to kill the person without other people in the area even noticing!

On the other hand, assuming a high-tech enemy, it might be possible to track the sniper by waste heat from the laser. If you are putting enough energy to kill out of a laser rifle, there will be nontrivial amounts of waste heat. So there might be a special "sniper model" battlefield laser weapon that contains the heat somehow (cartridges with compressed gases, and you use the expanding gas to cancel the waste heat?). Thus the sniper model would probably be the heaviest model.

(Or perhaps the heaviest model would be the "squad automatic" laser, which could be fired many times rapidly...)

Actually, a physics question: would there be a trail in the air, caused by the laser traveling through the air, that could be seen with some sort of vision enhancer goggles? Would the air molecules be ionized or something, and could that be used to track a sniper? If so, there would be a line drawn in the air pointing from the target straight back at the sniper. But I really have no idea if that is possible.

steveha

Re:Laser rifle (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907801)

Another vital technical question; just how many times did you blow your load while writing that?

Re:Laser rifle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18908057)

lol, no kidding. Over/under on when a package from GP arrives in NBC mailroom: 6 months.

Non-lethal application (2, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907553)

I noted that they could ionize the air with a non-lethal laser, and that they were suggesting that there might be non-lethal uses for the laser rifle. This might allow for a usage essentially essentially similar to a long-range version of a Taser.

Basically, if you can ionize the air, you should have a conductive path. You could then send a high-voltage current down that path to incapacitate the person struck.

Re:Laser rifle (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907595)

I seem to recall reading somewhere that early laser development was funded by DoD people who were hoping it would make a good death ray. Of course, they were disappointed. I remember Arthur C. Clarke making a big thing out of the fact that nobody has ever managed to find a way to kill someone with a laser. Sort of sad that this particular technology has finally been robbed of its peacenik status.

Trekkies will recall that in the original pilot, Captain Pike and his crew brandished laser guns. The "phaser" was invented because they were afraid that by the time Star Trek came out, lasers would be so commonplace, they wouldn't look futuristic enough. The compulsive need to meet "audience expectation" about the future has always been Star Trek's weak point.

Lasers & Star Trek (1)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908015)

So it didn't happen when the original Star Trek came out. I'll bet they were glad of their decision when they did the later series vs. I mean, every DVD player we can replay the episodes on has a little tiny laser, harmless unless you look at it...

Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh? (3, Funny)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907115)

"It uses a programmed pattern of rapid plasma events to create a sort of wall of bright lights and reports (bangs) over the coverage area," says Keith Braun of the US Army's Advanced Energy Armaments Systems Division at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, US, where the system is being tested.

So.... they've invented fireworks, then. Finally. I mean, the Chinese military has had access to fireworks technology since the freakin' Han Dynasty! Glad to see our boys in blue are getting with the times!

Re:Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh? (1)

Velocir (851555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907497)

Green. Or khaki, possibly.

Re:Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh? (1)

AbsoluteXyro (1048620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907729)

Whoops. Boys in Blue is police, isn't it? My bad.

Woah (2, Funny)

smilingman (942304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907119)

According to an article at New Scientist, DARPA is developing a plasma shield that would allow troops to stun and disorientate enemies

Not as much as I was disorientated by that spelling...

Perfect! (1)

four+runner (1094221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907169)

HR has been complaining about the barbed-wire outside my door...this may be the perfect alternative.

flash and bang? (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907209)

Sounds like something you would want to put in a grenade rather than use as a shield. Plasma Grenades...Schweet...

The shields; (0, Troll)

Lost Penguin (636359) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907229)

The question is; can the engines take the strain, I'm giving it all they got....

Frickin' Laser Beams (1)

Saint_Waldo (541712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907239)

Any comment on effectiveness against mirrors or reflective clothing?

They mention "airborne particulate" as an issue, but nothing about what they intend to do about it. Perhaps a device [imdb.com] to vaporize the area's water supply?

Knowing is half the battle (4, Funny)

Agrippa (111029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907273)

Extensive documentaries of GI Joe vs Cobra battles during the early 80's show laser weapons have a complete inability to hit anything of value.

.agrippa.

On the plus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907855)

If we could get both sides to commit to laser weaponry, we could reduce casualties dramatically.

I believe the GI Joe vs. Cobra battles produced absolutely no casualties whatsoever, in spite of their lengthy engagements.

Also, FTA... (3, Interesting)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907281)

... is a way to change the laser rifle's intensity, and thus, its lethality. Yeah, I envision settings for STUN and KILL. Shark mount optional.

Good priorities (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907289)

It's good that our US government has their priorities straight: Building levies: no. Health care: no. Education: no. Really, really, really deadly weapons: hell yeah!

Re:Good priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907473)

Not to mention spinning propaganda that this blatantly offensive weapon is somehow a "defensive shield". WTF?

Re:Good priorities (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907545)

Well, if not for those really deadly weapons you might be typing that post in German, or Japanese. Not that I'm an overly militant person or anything. But weapons have their place. I just wish we weren't putting them in the hands of total idiot.

Bah! I heard about this years ago (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907303)

I can't recall where, but I know that at least ten years ago, I heard of the technique of routing all the antimatter inductors through the main deflector array to creat a plasma shield just like TFA.
Probably involves phase reversal of the warp coils or some other commonly used engineering technique.

I wish I could remember where I heard about this...

TDz.

Wow. Just Wow. (3, Interesting)

KnowledgeKeeper (1026242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907309)

Are United States expecting some kind of alien foothold situation? :) Airborne lasers, laser rifles, Star Wars satellites, exoskeletons, wearable computers, hand-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles, atomic and neutron bombs, personal shields made of liquids, harmless skin burners...

I don't know about others, but this sounds pretty much like stuff we could read about in comics and watch in cartoons. Wouldn't it be funny if somewhere in a small well-guarded room there's a top-notch team of physicists that does research on new weapons by reading comics?

Lethal to the US Army? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907323)

Look, we did tell the troops not to aim at mirrors, but they didn't listen...

Good they inserted the comma... or not. (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907365)

remove the comma between which would be lethal and to the US Army for fun reading!

will it help them properly evaluate intelligence? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907393)

with the revelation that the "uranium from niger" story was based on forged documents, i dont think fancy new weapons or shielding is what our military really needs.

their number one enemy at the end of the twentieth century is not bombs, bullets, or missiles, but the idiocy of the bureaucrats and politicians that give the military its orders. Vietnam and now Iraq have proven that the military is not so much under assault from liberals, terrorists, or a foreign state, but instead from the inability of its leaders to properly reason, debate, and understand the world, its history, and its peoples.

if you can build a gadget that will provide instant understanding, knowledge, and wisdom, then you might have something to write home about. until then its all flash and empty glamour.

Rifle or field oven? (2, Funny)

FredThompson (183335) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907401)

How long after laser "rifles" are deployed before troops figure out how to use them to heat food?

"Comrade, I see fireflies in the woods and smell burnt popcorn."
"Prepare for battle, the running dog Americans are here!"

Misread... (2, Funny)

masterzora (871343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907447)

My first time through, I thought it mentioned as one of the advantages that one can hit a target *moving at the speed of light*. And here I was wondering what target we could want to hit that would be moving at the speed of light when I realized the actual phrasing.

"Money well spent" (0, Flamebait)

The Media Mechanic (1084283) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907533)

<sarcasm>
This is great news. Now our Homeland is safer than ever from diaper headed terrorists and other warmongering evil-doers who want to topple our peaceful and humble nation.

Just think of the possible new and exciting ways to kill people with these devices!

</sarcasm>
If we spent even one tenth of what we spend on building new weapons, instead on diplomacy and peace initiatives, and curing world diseases and poverty, maybe so many people wouldn't want to attack and kill us in the first place.

Excellent... (2, Insightful)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907555)

... just what we need to win the War on Terror. A truly worthwhile project. Really makes you feel good about paying taxes.

"Future War" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18907631)

Disorientation is key to domestic control. Consider plasma balls in the context of Federalist 46.

See my discussion at:
http://www.seanet.com/~hgg9140/statecraft/war.html [seanet.com]
Analysis of J. B. Alexander. "Future War". St. Martin's Press, 1999. ISBN 0312194161.

Armies can't politically afford to use their full firepower on obviously undergunned or even pacific enemies. LEO's can't politically afford to shoot, club, or firehose political dissidents. Nevertheless, the people running the show want results. The enforcers turn to weapons which get results without leaving dead bodies and/or scars.

These include irritant gases, blinding lights, deafening sounds, electrical shocks, and similar tools. The idea is for the LEO to be able display in court a video tape showing the he himself has experienced the weapon and thus understands its implications.

Thus freed from the onus of mass civic revulsion, the LEO can use the weapon to assure results. Since of course neither the LEO nor anyone else can actually withstand the weapons over extended periods, the power brokers win and the Gandhi-wanna-bees lose.

The critical issue missing from this book is any sense that sometimes the dissidents and civil disobedients should win control of the streets, at least temporarily. Failing that opportunity to express greviences, the body politic is on its way to truly bloody civil war.

i can't wait (1)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907733)

another few years and we can have ion cannon and tiberium bombs to destroy the enemies

Laser weapons (1)

richard.cs (1062366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907787)

It's all discussed in the context of various real life and sci-fi gubs but if you go to about halfway down this page [projectrho.com] there's a pretty good analysis of the use of lasers as weapons.

The basic conclusion seems to be that the laser must be pulsed at a fairly specific frequency in order to do damage, and that some rather nice adaptive optics are needed to focus the beam on the target before it would work at all. The reason for the pulses is that each one would cause a small steam explosion tearing a relativly large hole, with sufficient time between each for the steam and debris to disperse

A large part of the problem with making effective man-portable laser weapons seems to be powering them, then again the laser rifle mentioned in the summery is not exactly lightweight

Better buy stock in Highly polished mirrors (3, Funny)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907789)

I can see it now, terrorists running around cities with multi-faceted segmented mirrors all over their bodies...

ex army, 15 kg's is fucking heavy (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907807)

15kg's ? wtf that's a LOT. modern weapons are about 1/2 that (excluding ammo) i'm assuming they aren't including the weight of the power source in that. the last thing the modern solider needs, is MORE weight to carry.

In the IPSEC world... (1)

slashjunkie (800216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18907863)

...DPD stands for Dead Peer Detection.

Coincidence? I think not...

Team Death Match anyone? (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18908043)

I for one like the Rail Gun [denken.com] over the plasma gun. Although the recycle rate is lower I find the ability to frag insurgents behind walls far more important than rapid fire.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?